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Alfresco …. A roaring success 3000 times over!

On Saturday 19th September, the number of people using the alfresco area on Montague Street reached, and then passed, a fantastic milestone.  Mrs Tricia Edwards was the 3000th person to make use of it, and was one of 187 people on Saturday.  When being presented with her gift voucher (kindly donated by Sophie Reid, Owner of The Dressing Room) Tricia told John Weir that it was her and her husband’s first visit to the island and it was to celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary.  Tricia continued; “this anniversary just gets better, the island is beautiful as is the weather, and being able to sit outside and enjoy coffee and cake is just fantastic….. we will be back.”

Commenting on the success of the alfresco area John Weir said that; “he and the steering group were delighted with the response to the area both from visitors and from the local community. It really is fantastic to see everyone using it freely and many on a regular basis. The comments have been very supportive, sincere and, in many cases, quite humbling especially from the local residents.” There is no doubt that this facility has played a major part in allowing eateries to continue to sell food and drinks when dealing with restricted indoor facilities.  

During the Lockdown period we have been trying to support local businesses and create new opportunities. Now that Lockdown is easing, we can celebrate the alfreso dining at the amphitheatre. Please have a read of the August newsletter to see what we have been doing during recent months. Thank you to all who have visited the alfresco dining and been so positive about this new venture.

As the Chairperson of the Steering Group proposing an Isle of Bute BID (Business Improvement District), I would like to welcome you to our website. Here you will find details of this exciting opportunity for our Island; an opportunity that aims to benefit the whole island. Deciding to strive for an Island BID was of fundamental importance to our Steering Group who wanted to ensure that the opportunities were open to all, would be inclusive, and help us to work together for common goals. We all know what a fabulous Island this is, and by becoming a BID we would want to be able to promote the island to benefit our businesses, our residents and our visitors. Town centres across the country have had many recent challenges, and by working together we believe that being a BID would help support and drive businesses forward. We want to attract visitors and new businesses to the island, develop our economy, and work in partnership with existing and new businesses to help create employment and training opportunities so our island can continue to thrive.

It is easy to sit back and resign ourselves to the negative affects of change. We only have to look at any High Street in any town to see the effects. As an Island, we are all too aware of how we constantly need to work to attract tourists. It is also very easy just to identify things that need improvement. What would help our Island is a unified driving force to identify the areas needed for change, prioritise them as we, the Island,sees fit and then implementing the changes by planning together and working together. No, having a successful BID we will not be a miracle cure, but we have the know-how to make our own choices, and we have the expertise of our own businesses, and knowledge of our Island to make it happen.

I hope these pages give some flavour of what a BID could do for our businesses and economy. Personally, I believe this is a great opportunity for the Island to take control and develop what we know we need on the Island. Please take the time to consider how this could be of benefit to our community. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch – the details are on the website.

John Glen, Chairperson of the Isle of Bute BID Steering Group