MEET THE BID BOARD
John Glen - BID Chair
I’ve worked in the textiles industry for over 20 years and moved to Bute 6 years ago to take up the Managing Directors position at Bute Fabrics. Being personally passionate about textiles designed and woven in Scotland, the business is built on the artisan skills and dedication of our team. Employing 52 staff, the local community and environment is hugely important in keeping young staff on the Island and attracting new skills to re-locate here. A large driver for our support of the BID. I spent 4 years on the board of Visit Bute where it became apparent that although Bute has a lot to offer, there is a huge amount needing doing to re-invigorate this lovely island. The BID provides the best route to improving the island offer for the local community, new prospective business owners and visitors alike. When I floated the idea of the BID to our staff and explained the Levy process, they agreed it sounded very fair and a no brainer in developing the town and the island. The BID is an exciting opportunity for the business and affiliated communities to pull together and create a positive lasting legacy.
Sophie Reid - BID Vice Chair
The Dressing Room
I moved to Bute when I was seven from a small village in the West Midlands in England. I still remember the ferry crossing that day and my excitement as a child to see the most beautiful Island which was to be my home, shining in the spring sun. My brother and I had a wonderful childhood on Bute with freedoms we had never had before, adventures everyday and only going home when we were hungry. BLISS. I joined Visit Bute as a Director shortly after opening my business The Dressing Room Bute in my first shop premises 10 years ago. I have always been passionate about promoting this beautiful Island so that other families can enjoy what I did as a child. Within this time on the Visit Bute Board I line managed our Tourism Officer and Local Development Officer which I greatly enjoyed. Our Local Development Officer started to look at other Scottish towns who were beginning to develop as BID areas. This is when I first heard about BIDs and believed that Bute would greatly benefit from this. An initiative that is funded by businesses who then decide on the improvements and investments for their own area. After a lot of hard work, I believe Bute is now in the best position to drive real change that will improve our beautiful Island for businesses, locals, and of course visitors. I am delighted to be Vice Chair of the Bute Bid Board and excited to be a part of a new chapter for Bute.
Duncan Martin - Board Member
Bute Blacksmiths Ltd
I am a Bute born and bred individual who has lived on this island for 59 years. I am a director in a blacksmiths fabrication business which was established forty years ago and now employs 14 people. Our work has now developed to the stage that we provide our services throughout the UK. Bute Blacksmiths now has a steel stockholding fabrication business in Glasgow. I have over the years been involved in local clubs, organisations such as Bute Shinty Club as both player and treasurer, office bearer and Chairperson of Bute Pony and Riding Club and President of Bute Agricultural Society. I have also served the Bute community for 32 years as a retained firefighter starting with Strathclyde Fire Brigade and finishing with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as crew manager.
I believe this island is unique and has so much to offer, however, I do feel it requires support and encouragement from the Bute BID team. That is one of the many reasons why I feel that becoming a director of the BID team and working along with fellow directors improvements to Rothesay and Bute can be achieved.
Jennifer Dougal - Board Member
Being brought up on Bute was an adventure, always outdoors; horse riding, sailing, exploring, counting the seals. As many do at 18, I left for the big city to study at Glasgow Caledonian University. I studied Travel and Tourism because I wanted to see the world and soon found that my favourite place to be was home on Bute. I have a 4 year-old daughter now, we love to go and discover the island. Our scenery is amazing and I feel so lucky that we have it all on our doorstep. With that being said, the facilities on Bute need to be improved for locals and visitors of all ages. I joined the family business, Bute Tools after leaving university in 2012. The business was established in 1978 by my grandparents. Now three generations of our family work together, along with our amazing team. With the shop, we are immersed in the community, it is where you see and hear first hand what is wanted and needed on Bute. Many a morning I’m taught about the ‘good old days’ of Bute’s past and thriving community. It’s where my spark for maintaining our traditions and improving our facilities for all have developed. I joined the Bute Highland Games Committee in 2018 and then the BID steering group. I put myself forward to continue on the BID board of directors as I am passionate about improving Bute for locals and visitors. I believe we will bring Bute forward. There are so many people that want our island to thrive and if we work together, we will achieve our goal!
Alistair Forsyth - Board Member
One Marine Place / Bute Boat Tours Ltd
We bought a holiday home in 2013. We felt very comfortable on Bute and saw that it had great community spirit with many volunteers trying to make Bute better. As it got harder to leave the island to head back to my home, Lynn and I decided to throw our lot in and move to Bute full time. I had various businesses on the mainland including a retail carpet warehouse, a contract flooring company and a car MOT station. When we moved permanently in 2017, we settled on Prospect House with its 6 self-catering apartments. It was then that my mum shared with me some facts that I was totally unaware of, namely that I used to come over every summer to see all my aunts and uncles who my mum fondly called the 'Rothesay People'. It turns out my Great Grandfather and earlier were all from Bute. Being on the island opened up other opportunities for me as I always loved the sea and Bute was crying out for a company that could offer our locals and tourists alike something a bit different that helped showcase our island. Bute Boat Tours was then created in 2020, but traded this year for the first time. BID is a wonderful opportunity for Bute and I feel that if I could offer what business experience I’ve gained over the years then I wanted to be able to give something back to the island that I now call home.
Erin Murphy - Board Member
Shop Owner & Holiday Accommodation Provider
I’ve been coming to Bute for nearly 20 years and fell in love with the island. I bought my wee flat here in 2014 then spent the next six years travelling back and forth from Bute to work in London during the week until Covid put a stop to that. My fiancé Chris (covid delayed the big Bute wedding plan!) is a film producer and works all over the world but luckily he too fell for Bute and now that we have a 5 month old baby boy, Argyle, we’re excited to have settled here so he can have all the adventures that come with being brought up here on this wonderful wee island. I have shops here and a holiday let business so I hear a lot of feedback and insights from tourists. As well as driving tourism, I really want to get involved with developing opportunities on Bute to provide employment. Along with two local farmers we have taken on McIntyre’s butcher shop which has been established for over 100 years. Having recently closed, we wanted to ensure it was kept as a butcher and we’re really excited to be reopening it again, securing its future, providing employment for the butchers, keeping their butchery skills and their pies here on Bute! I decided to get involved in the Bute BID because the more I learned about it the more I realised it’s a great opportunity to attract funding to the island as a collective in order to support all the existing projects and people who already dedicate so much time and effort to making Bute great. I couldn’t live here and enjoy all the benefits of everyone else’s hard work without getting involved.
Sara Goss - Board Member
The Boat House Super Suites / Harry Haw's
My love affair with Bute started in 1978, when on a Waverley trip from Glasgow I was unceremoniously dumped at the Taylors amusements for the allotted time with 72p. Two hours later I came out with 73p! Fortuitous Bute had got to me. Fast forward past 7 years working in Asia, I came back to Bute in 2000. I’m three businesses, one husband, two kids & recently a fluffy dug invested now, and I love this place more every year I’m here. My dream was to win the lottery and get all my many ideas up and running to get Bute just a slightly shinier and more activity led place to come and enjoy as both a tourist or islander. Until that happens, I’m delighted to put some of my free time into the Business Improvement District (Bute BID) as a board director. Watch this space, we may not have the lottery budget, but the ideas and dreams are still my goal!
Willie Glen - Board Member
I consider myself very fortunate to have lived and worked on the Isle of Bute for all my 57 years. The sea air has been kind to me. When I left school I joined the family's retail business. Their many businesses began when my grandparents moved to Bute back in the days when Bute and Rothesay was a thriving tourist destination. Over the years there has been a lot of changes around the island, which is a natural occurrence however, I think our beautiful island has become forgotten and is in need of a little TLC. This is why I got involved in the BID steering group which was set up to deliver the Business Improvement District or BID. I believe the BID has the potential to make difference and as business owners we all need to work together to get Bute back onto a track that the island deserves.
Lesley Paul - Financial Director BID Board
One 2 One Accountancy Services
I came to the Island of Bute when I was a small girl with my family on quite a few occasions. I then had the opportunity to come here on a short term basis over 25 years ago and needless to say I stayed! I have worked within the Accountancy sector for over 30 years in various positions and started my own business on Bute in June 2002. I have previously been involved within different charities and enjoyed the varied roles, but due to commitments with my business had to sadly cut down on my charitable work. I have had an Interest in BID and have followed its progress and I was delighted to be asked to participate in it. I feel I have more opportunity to commit my accountancy expertise at the present time. I love the Island and love the community within it, it is a fantastic place to live and work and would be happy to help to progress the future of Bute and make it more secure for future generations.
Fergus Murray - Argyll & Bute Council elected Board Member
Head of Economic Development Argyll & Bute Council
I am currently the Head of Development and Economic Growth with Argyll and Bute Council serving on the Board as a Non-Executive Director in an advisory capacity. I have over 33 years’ experience in planning, economic development, housing and area regeneration activity and I am also currently on the Board of the Scottish Towns Partnership. I am a frequent visitor to Bute both in the course of my work and also as a visitor enjoying the many qualities of the Island. For me the BID allows the opportunity for local business people to help prioritise what they want to see happen in the community where they live and work. My aim here is to offer help and advice on how this can be achieved working with a range of different partners based on the island and elsewhere.