Minister impressed after Rothesay visit

Andy Milne of SURF, Kevin Stewart MSP, Reeni Kennedy-Boyle of Fyne Futures and Paul Duffy of the Bute Island Alliance.
Andy Milne of SURF, Kevin Stewart MSP, Reeni Kennedy-Boyle of Fyne Futures and Paul Duffy of the Bute Island Alliance.

Rothesay received a visit from a Scottish minister last week, who came to Bute to be shown around the Pavilion and several of the island’s social enterprise sites.

Kevin Stewart is MSP for Aberdeen Central and minister for Housing and Local Authority.

He visited Bute to meet representatives of the Bute Island Alliance, Fyne Futures and Bute Estate and to see how the project to refurbish Rothesay Pavilion is progressing, as well as developments including the Bute Produce market garden and the buildings affected by the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

It was announced this month that the second phase of the THI has secured almost £2m in lottery funding.

Mr Stewart told the Buteman: “It’s been exciting to hear about the plans for the Pavilion, and I’m pleased that the second phase of the Townscape Heritage has secured more lottery funding.

“I hope the enthusiasm from the community that I’ve seen here today continues into the future and people continue to come together to do what’s best for Rothesay.”

Reeni Kennedy-Boyle, general manager of Fyne Futures, was part of the group that showed Mr Stewart around the town.

She later told the Buteman: “We were delighted to have had the opportunity to give Kevin Stewart MSP a short tour of Bute Produce. The Housing & Local Authority Minister was particularly interested in our employability programme.

“Fyne Homes Group as part of wider actions has received Scottish Government support through the People and Communities Fund 2017/2018.

“The programme Growing Skills and Confidence will see six previously unemployed individuals access a wage-based learning opportunity.

“We will deliver a range of skills development and support activities to enable people to build confidence and gain employment experience. It is hoped that they will be able to progress to other employment on Bute as a result.

“Kevin spent time with the team at Bute Produce as they were learning plant husbandry in the soft fruits area. Ronnie Armstrong, Senior Horticulturist, has designed an induction programme that has a good mix of classroom learning and very practical application.

“The trainees will also learn Grow Your Own vegetables skills; seed harvesting; composting and may gain accreditation through Royal Botanic Gardens Certificate in Practical Horticulture which Ronnie is qualified to deliver.”