Seallam is the Scottish Gaelic word for "let's see" and a most appropriate name for the centre of Outer Hebridean history and research situated in the village of Northton, South Harris.
It's also the hub of local historian Bill Lawson and over 40 years of his work documenting the stories and heritage of island people, creating a unique record of life here dating back to the 1720s.
Bill's incredible work originally began as a hobby, listening to the tales of local people and binding them together with old genealogical records to help grow the roots and branches of hundreds of family trees.
Alongside his late wife, Chris, they’ve managed to create a comprehensive history of the Outer Hebrides and the people of over 40 communities from the Butt of Lewis to Barra.
This unique genealogical resource and a vast library of related books and materials attract interest worldwide, many making pilgrimages to his door to trace their roots and learn more of their heritage.
Here at the Isle of Harris Distillery, we've also been fortunate to work with Bill to support our storytelling, turning to his books and knowledge to uncover interesting island information.
Bill is now 84 and, while still very active in delivering the service, is keen to hand the reins on to the next generation to develop and improve access to his work for the benefit the local community.
Preserving the "Lawson Legacy" is effectively saving the most comprehensive documentation of the heritage of the people of the Outer Hebrides and their culture.
So, we're pleased to support an exciting endeavour by the Northton Heritage Trust to secure the future of this legacy for the coming generations as a community-owned and based project.
Their new community share offer enables people, locally and all over the world, to support this worthy cause and take a financial stake in securing the project's future.
If you live in Harris, you can buy a community member share at £1 with the chance to purchase contributor shares at £25 each.
And as Seallam! covers the genealogy of the Outer Hebrides, anyone resident in our neighbouring islands can also buy shares at £25 each.
The offer is also open to the rest of the world, with an opportunity to secure a minimum of 12 x £25 shares up to a maximum holding of £10,000.
It is easy to buy shares through a dedicated website with all the information about the Trust, the share offer, the supporting business plan, and a shop where you can purchase direct.
The aim is to raise £100,000 through this share offer, and the Trust will use this money to match other the grant funding from the Scottish Land Fund and add to a Heritage Lottery grant of £97,000.
All money raised will secure this lifetime's worth of resources, the Old School House building and surrounding land, and allow for his work's physical and digital preservation and development for the future.
The share offer will close on 6 May 2022, so don't lose out on this once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the future of Harris and its history.
The Trust hopes to pay 2% interest on investments in addition to the feel-good factor of being part of the history and heritage of the Outer Hebrides.
To learn more and share the success of Seallam! please head to https://seallamshareoffer.com/