Lochaber Ideas Week 2019 – round up of events

Real Food Cafe owner Sarah Heward.

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Lochaber is at the vanguard as Scotland moves towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2020.

A packed room heard from a range of speakers at the Net Zero Business workshop on Tuesday afternoon. Representatives from the private and public sectors shared research, ideas, case studies, inspiration and a little frustration as they challenged each other to do more, faster.

However, the mood could, perhaps, best be described as cautiously optimistic.

Event sponsor, BAM Nuttall, spoke about how they use meticulous logistical planning and exacting materials selection to meet their aggressive targets.

‘You can’t just pop to the builders merchant when you’re building a project in Antarctica,’ said Edwin Lowe, environmental adviser for BAM Nuttall.

Also speaking were Stuart Reid, of pioneering Lochaber firm HW Energy. Kate Willis of Lochaber Environmental Group advocated for active travel and the LEG ebike loan programme.

Other speakers included Susan Carstairs, who has worked on the Lochaber Carbon Footprint Study that highlighted the need to address transport emissions from cars in Lochaber.

Women in Business lunch

Sarah Heward’s story had a packed room of Lochaber business women (and a smattering of men) in the palm of her hand on Wednesday during the first ever Women in Business Networking Lunch during Ideas Week at The Moorings Hotel.

Ms Heward’s story is one of passion, adventure, risk, tragic loss, grit, resilience and love.

In 2004,  she saw an ad for the vacant Little Chef in Tyndrum and in April 2005, after leaving behind a highly successful career in London to pursue a dream, she and her husband opened the Real Food Cafe serving home-made, locally sourced fast food favourites. Roadside food, just better.

During her riveting presentation, Ms Heward emotionally shared her story from April 2005 to today.

The devastating loss of her husband, borrowing money from her parents to keep the business going, caring for her ailing father until his death, the discovery that the business had been a victim of six-figure embezzlement, renewed passion and energy for the business, finding a new business partner to whom she proposed to on February 29, 2016, to thinking about expansion and what’s next for the business.

In her spare time, Ms Heward is an age group competitive triathlete training for a podium finish in the Lanzarote Ironman in February.

She is also very ‘passionate about toilets’ … working with organisations such as Toilet Twinning and Changing Places to advocate for accessible bathrooms. A passion ignited when she was caring for her father during his illness.