Harris Voluntary Service's new Development Manager, Juliette Desportes, has begun her work with community groups.
Please introduce yourself...
I grew up in Paris and moved over to Scotland just turned eighteen for university. I studied the history of the Highlands and Islands at the University of Glasgow and became particularly interested in the history and heritage of the Gàidhealtachd. Fast forward ten years, I am now the new Development Manager of Harris Voluntary Service, which was set up sixty-years ago to respond to the needs of the community and support the development of the Third Sector in Harris. I am incredibly excited and privileged not only to live in Harris, but also to work alongside so many wonderful community groups and organisations.
How did you come to be in Harris?
I first moved to the Isle of Lewis in April 2022 to work for the Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust). I researched the history of the area, in particularly the Clearances and the 1880s and 1920s land raids. I loved it so much I never left! Since then, I have gradually made my way south to Harris. My partner Paddy grew up in Lewis but is half Hearach on his mother’s side. Paddy started working at the distillery a little over a year ago, and we are now both happily settled in Tarbert.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
I am excited to develop our existing partnership with our member organisations. I love working with people, and in particular being part of a tight-knit community. Growing up in a big city, that is something I have always missed, and I look forward to getting to know the community better in the coming months.
What is your favourite place in Harris?
My partner’s family is from and still lives in Huisinis, and I love visiting his family there. I can’t think of a more special place, charged with history and memories. The gorgeous beach doesn’t hurt either!
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I am a very keen reader, in particular of nineteenth-century fiction. I also love doing and watching sports, and I have hugely enjoyed the sports facilities here in Harris, whether the local gym or the surrounding hills.