Bute Island Alliance (BIA) exists as a community-led forum to develop better communication and collaboration with, and between, local organisations, businesses, and individuals; to connect, enhance, attract, and initiate investments; and to help develop a more resilient local economy for Bute.
The origins of BIA lie in a ‘town hall’ meeting organised in the Spring of 2015 by Bute Community Council (BCC) in response to local concerns about population decline on the island.
The meeting was attended by over 120 local people and together they identified several positive ambitions, including a call for an organisation to coordinate and take forward key actions on behalf of the community.
Scotland’s Regeneration Forum (SURF) had already successfully carried out Alliance for Action initiatives in Govan and Kirkcaldy, and both Highland and Islands Enterprise and Argyll and Bute Council were keen to see if a similar collaborative approach could work in Rothesay to support planned larger scale investments such as Rothesay Pavilion.
SURF’s subsequent work focused on learning what was important for local residents through an open invite local steering group, public meetings, online surveys, and a review of previous consultation reports.
This knowledge ultimately became a collaboratively produced community plan for going forward through the Scottish Government funded ‘Remaking Rothesay’ Charette. Over 300 people contributed to the initial learning, and over 350 businesses, community groups, schools, and members of the public contributed ideas and opinions to help shape the final plan.
The plan identified three key areas to focus on: Employment and Local Economic Development; Physical Infrastructure; and Cooperation, Communication and Coordination; and identified the need for an organisation to take the plan forward. With SURF’s help, the original community group became a fully constituted charity to do this work.
The charity is now administered by five elected trustees and has a membership of around 40 stakeholder organisations and individuals. Actions remain defined by the membership and wider community.
Membership is open to anyone who supports the charity’s aims and open community meetings continue to be held at 11.30am on the first Friday of every month for anyone who wants to attend. You can sign up to a mailing list and get a monthly update on what is happening, and we shortly hope to have a website up and running. To learn more or sign up for the mailing list contact firstname.lastname@example.org.