Islanders to cash in as Bute goods go online

SCOTLAND’S first online retail co-operative aimed at promoting produce made on the Isle of Bute has been launched in an attempt to turn around the fortunes of the island.

The website will sell only food products and craft items made on Bute and will operate as a social enterprise, with the profits going to the community.

The site caters for a range of micro-businesses on the island, with products including high-quality fabrics, jams, pickles and even gourmet seaweed.

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So far 12 producers have signed up to sell their wares, but the site is expected to attract more users.

The island’s economy has suffered in recent years due to the decline in tourism, and Bute’s unemployment rate stands at 7.7 per cent – twice the Argyll and Bute district’s average and higher than the urban average in Scotland.

The move follows the community buy-out of a forest in northern Bute from Sir Richard Attenborough last year.

Bute Community Land Company chairman John McGhee said: “Micro-businesses are the lifeblood of the island and we need to do everything possible to help them grow.”

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