Local B&B ‘growing’ thanks to help of Business Gateway

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A hospitality business has been able to expand its gardening offering after accessing advice and funding through the Business Gateway Local Growth Accelerator Programme.

Burnside Lodge, a two-room bed-and-breakfast located in the quiet village of Port Wemyss on the southern western tip of the Isle of Islay, is an idyllic location for those looking for a remote getaway.

As well as welcoming bed-and-breakfast guests and facilitating small civil weddings, Burnside Lodge provides a hive of activity throughout the year, with owners Tom and Kate Skinner baking cakes for local cafés, supplying pies to distilleries and even offering craft classes in furniture upcycling for customers during the quieter winter months.

Although Tom and Kate had established a good reputation for Burnside Lodge within the local area, they lost a key part of their customer base when the pandemic hit in early 2020 and turned to Business Gateway for support.

Tom and Kate used a range of Business Gateway’s services including one-to-one support from a dedicated business adviser, as well as receiving advice on funding.

The couple decided to scale up the gardening offering of Burnside Lodge to help them recover, something which they had done on a small scale in the past.

The couple received a recovery grant through the Local Growth Accelerator Programme which was put towards the cost of equipment. Tom, who was previously head gardener at the Islay Community Garden, is now on hand to help locals with gardening jobs, as well as offering top horticulture tips and advice.

This service has been critical for Burnside Lodge’s recovery from Brexit and Covid-19 and, compared to the previous year, has increased their gardening revenue considerably.

Tom said: ‘Since Kate and I took over Burnside Lodge in 2008, we have worked hard to diversify our offering and keep meeting needs of the Islay community. Brexit and Covid really took their toll on our business, but we were determined to turn things around.

‘Support from Business Gateway was essential for scaling up our offering and giving a greater choice for our customers. I can’t thank them enough for their help and support over what has been a really difficult time for our business.’

Donald Melville, Business Gateway adviser, said: ‘Like many business owners in Scotland, Tom and Kate felt the effects of what has been a hugely challenging couple of years.

‘It can be difficult to implement a new business direction, but Tom and Kate were very flexible in adapting their business. Through our Recovery grant, we were able to provide support to help them pivot their offering and generate alternative income.’

For further information about how Business Gateway can help your business, please visit www.bgateway.com