They once held the water of life. Now unwanted whisky barrels are being given a second life by craftspeople who turn them into bespoke furniture.
Many of the barrels are transformed by artisans who suffer from illness or disability.
Some of the barrels are more than 120 years old and would otherwise be used as firewood. They are turned into items from chairs and coffee tables to doorstops and cheese boards.
Rory MacDonald, founder of Gold Oak Restoration, said: “I’ve had my own health struggles so know how hard it can be to find work you love if you live with illness or disability – especially in an area of high unemployment.
“Yet there are some incredible craftspeople here and I’d love to give as many as possible the chance to use their fantastic skills again.
“Our first two team members, Matt and Scott, are superb craftsmen who had given up hope of using their skills because of health issues and were working in jobs that had no need for such creativity and passion.”
He added that the business is working with social enterprises to help develop people’s confidence and skills by giving them a chance to expand their crafts. The business would eventually like to launch its own apprenticeships programme.
MacDonald previously worked in jobs from barista to a global manager for BT. He said his mother, who worked for a whisky distillery, inspired the idea to launch Golden Oak Restoration.
Golden Oaks’ clients include pubs, hotels and corporate clients and MacDonald said he would like to export the US.
He worked with Transmit Start-Ups’ business adviser Morag Kelly to secure their investment in the business.
Kelly said: “It was especially satisfying to help Rory secure a Start Up Loan because he not only creates beautiful products but he is also incredibly committed to bringing about a positive social impact in the local community.”
Transmit provides Government-backed start up loans and said has supported 1,168 entrepreneurs in Scotland with more than £13 million in finance.