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Heb Alpha Trading says it needs more service users to keep up with demand for its services. 

Hebrides Alpha Trading is a local social enterprise based in Stornoway which provides support (via therapeutic employment) to individuals in the community who are struggling with alcohol and other drug addiction issues.

Hebrides Alpha Trading is the trading subsidiary of Hebrides Alpha Project (which is a registered charity) which provides a residential rehab service to the community of the Western Isles for up to six individuals at a time, for up to 12 months.

Neither HAT or HAP are affiliated to any other local or national organisations or any churches.

Hebrides Alpha Trading has been operating since 2007 and in that time has supported over 130 individuals, aged 18 to 65 years - mostly men, but a number of women, too.

They provide a range of jobs in the local community including window cleaning, power washing, gutter cleaning, cardboard recycling and they have a number of clothing banks around the island.

They also keep the shoreline clean between Cuddy Point and Lower Sandwick every week and they are currently working on a project with Breedon Hebrides, assisting with making gabion baskets down at the airport as part of the sea defence work down there.

Service users also participate in certificated training courses including First Aid, forklift driving and the operation of a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (cherry picker).

Service users work from 8am to 4.30pm and will usually work for 2 days each week, but if they can only commit to one day, that is fine.

Hebrides Alpha provide bus fares and lunch each day as well as refreshments for tea breaks. Service users receive all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) required for the jobs they do and every task is covered by Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS).

Hebrides Alpha Trading do not receive any grants for their work – all of their running costs are covered through the jobs they provide in the community. As a VAT registered company this means that they have to raise over £200,000 per year which they are doing, but it makes for a very busy week for all concerned. Robert Sinclair, the Project Manager insists that he was 6ft 2ins and had a full head of hair when he started working for the project back in 2007, but we're not sure how accurate that story is.

He explains:"There is no lack of work, which is good. But what there is currently a lack of is service users to work with the project. Due to the current work load, we could definitely do with a few more.

"Referrals can come from any direction including GP’s, NHS staff, Social Work, Housing services, voluntary organisations, churches, family members or friends and also from the individual themselves. Once referred, they would come in for an informal chat and a cup of tea, to the yard on Rigs Road and take it from there.

Quotes from previous service users include:

  • ‘Being involved in the Alpha Project has been a real life-saver to me’
  • ‘If it wasn’t for Alpha, I don’t know what I’d be doing now, probably be back in jail’
  • ‘Being on the project has given me the experience and the confidence to apply for jobs’
  • ‘It has really helped me by being involved with people and getting back to work’
  • 'The Alpha Project is fantastic! I don’t know what I would do without it’
  • ‘I really want to keep working with Heb Alpha. Alpha has alot to do with me getting better’
  • ‘Heb Alpha has been an immense help in relation to my addiction to alcohol. It gives me a purpose to stay sober and light at the end of the tunnel, I have achieved goals and increased in confidence’
  • ‘I really love it, it is absolutely fantastic being out and about. The day passes far too quickly and I can’t believe how soon the end of the day comes round. I just love it.’

If you, or someone you know, would like to get involved with the project for 1 or 2 days per week, please get in touch with Robert Sinclair on 01851 705054 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.