BID4Oban showcased at Holyrood reception

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BID4Oban exhibited at the annual cross-party group on towns parliamentary reception, hosted by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell MSP.

The theme of this year’s reception was a celebration of Scotland’s small and rural towns, and Andrew Spence, BID chief executive, hosted an exhibition to showcase the best that Oban has to offer to guests and members of the Scottish Parliament.

The evening was organised by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the national body for towns and all those who work to support the country’s town and city districts.

At the reception, the work of local groups in taking action to regenerate local townships was praised by the cabinet secretary and chief executive of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Phil Prentice.

Mr Spence said: ‘The event was a great opportunity to showcase our town and the work we’re doing locally to create more opportunities for business and local people.

‘It’s important that we continue to talk to decision-makers about the types of changes we need to see to ensure small towns like ours continue to thrive – but we will continue to do what we can to help.’

Ms Campbell added: ‘Communities across Scotland are doing fantastic work in our towns.

‘Whether it’s residents, businesses or local groups, it is communities who hold the knowledge and understanding of how their towns work and who have a long-term vested interest in getting things right.

‘Their dedication, ambition and hard work has led to significant improvements in many of our towns.

‘We continue to invest in community empowerment through a wide range of funds which support the regeneration of our towns.

‘The Scottish Government is providing £50 million through the new Town Centre Fund 2019/20, set up in partnership with COSLA to enable local authorities to stimulate and support a wide range of investments to help our town centres diversify and flourish.’

Mr Prentice agreed that the funding would help to drive local economic activity and stimulate and support place-based economic improvements.

‘This will be a welcome respite against the challenging backdrop of ongoing retail closures and public sector shrinkage,’ he said.

‘We want our high streets and town centres across Scotland to be vibrant, creative, enterprising and accessible.

‘These centres are at the heart of our communities and the lifeblood of our country so it is essential that we support them to become more diverse and sustainable.

“It is crucial that local and national government support the transition and evolution of Scotland’s small towns given the challenges we face in business demographics and rural depopulation.

‘As such, it is critical that a vision for our small towns is at the centre of any Scottish economic strategy.’