More job and apprenticeship opportunities are the key to reviving the economic fortunes of Rothesay and Bute.
That was the key finding of a meeting this week aimed at setting out the community’s top priorities for the future growth of both the town and the island as a whole.
Those who attended the latest meeting organised by Rothesay’s Alliance for Action - a loose collaboration of business owners, community representatives and ordinary residents brought together by the Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF) to try and set out the best way for the island to grow - were given the chance to vote for their top priorities in six themed areas seen as being most important to the island’s future.
The top priority items in each theme were as follows:
Unique Rothesay and Bute - 28 per cent said ‘better collaboration and co-ordination’
Young people - 27 per cent said ‘apprenticeships/employment’
Enterprise and employment - 28 per cent said ‘support for self-employed and sole traders to create employment’
A thriving community - 31 per cent said ‘employment issues’
Working together - 22 per cent said ‘employ a co-ordinator’
Rothesay’s public realm - 25 per cent said ‘create a cultural quarter’, possibly featuring the Mansion House, Rothesay Castle, Bute Museum and more of a ‘cafe culture’ feel in the centre of the town.
The same meeting heard that almost half of Bute’s young people have a positive vision for the island’s future, according to a postcard survey of the island’s younger residents.
Brian MacDonald from SURF told the meeting that 46 per cent of those who took part in the postcard survey had a positive vision of the future of Bute, compared to 25 per cent who felt the future was negative, while 25 per cent were unsure one way or the other.
More than three out of five said the lack of things to do was the major challenge for the island and its younger people.
* To find out more about Rothesay’s Alliance for Action, visit www.isleofbutetrust.org.uk/alliance-for-action.