This week's letters to the Advertiser include thoughts on a proposed enterprise hub for Helensburgh, the Kilcreggan ferry, the fire in December which destroyed a Helensburgh B&B, and more.

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It has now been more than a month since fire destroyed our home and B&B business.

During the days and weeks that followed we have been overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the people of Helensburgh and friends further afield.

There were so many people who rushed to help us and we want to take this opportunity to thank you all.

I do hope we have not inadvertently missed anybody out, but if we have, we apologise in advance.

Firstly, our very grateful thanks to the various shops, businesses and churches that collected food and clothing to see us through the first couple of weeks.

We also very much appreciated the funds raised to help us financially at this difficult time, including the supporters on the Just Giving page and Helensburgh Round Table.

Our thanks to Hermitage Academy who bought school uniforms, and to all the teachers who provided copies of study material for the Prelims.

We also much appreciated the help and support of a number of businesses in the town: Stirling & Gilmour Solicitors, and Steel Storage who opened their offices for us, despite being officially closed over the festive season; Murray Garage, who provided a courtesy car free of charge and gave us invaluable advice; and Helensburgh Launderette and Buttercup Moon who offered their services.

We are also deeply indebted to our church family at Helensburgh Baptist Church, the Royal Navy community and other individuals who rallied to help us: those who are storing our personal belongings and some of our furniture in their garages and sheds; to others who offered hospitality and accommodation, particularly those who took us in for a few days or a couple of weeks until we could move to longer term housing; and to those who helped to remove what we could save from the property and washed countless loads of laundry for us.

Thanks too for all the cards of encouragement, the continued prayers and the emotional support.

We really can’t express our thanks enough, or adequately convey just how grateful we all are.

From all at Killin Cottage, Lomond Street, Helensburgh

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At the Community Council meeting on Thursday I heard an interesting suggestion.

The idea is to create an Enterprise Hub within our Helensburgh Library.

The purpose of an enterprise hub is to support fledgling businesses in the initial stages so that they can establish, grow then move on.

If a few start-up businesses use the same facilities there are benefits from shared learning and expertise.

As I understand it the enterprise hub would be self-financing with a contribution toward the costs from those wishing to use it.

There is no doubt that we would like to encourage new businesses to start up and thrive in the town.

There are however, a great deal of difficulties to be faced by someone setting up on their own and if it is possible to help in that process it becomes a very sensible thing to do.

Today I visited the Library for the first time since it was built and looked at the facilities that are already there. I was surprised at how little would need to be done to kick off a fledgling enterprise hub.

There are several computers already available for the public to use, there are several tables that could be used for meetings and networking and a few places where more formal meetings could be held.

If it were possible to attract the interest of people like a business accountant, web designer marketing person and any others needed, maybe from our retired community in the town, all the building blocks for the proposed hub would be in place.

I look forward to hearing more about this in the months to come.

Dougie Blackwood, Douglas Drive East, Helensburgh

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I FOUND myself quite dismayed with your back page headline for the article on Gordon Reid (Advertiser, January 25).

I understand that headlines have to be short and “snappy” to catch the reader’s attention but this went too far.

Why did the headline imply he was “dumped”? There are plenty of other words to use to explain that this young man failed to reach the heights we have come to expect.

Disingenuous of the reporter, especially as the article itself did not reflect the headline.

Chris Atkins, Helensburgh

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I WAS pleased to hear news of the award of a new contract for the Kilcreggan-Gourock ferry on January 26, and it is my sincere hope that the people who use this service will have a reliable operation in place come the summer.

Over the last few months I have had various meetings and telephone conversations on this issue with members of the public, community councillors, council officers, and Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan.

I remain totally sympathetic and committed to the people who rely on this vital service, be it for work, hospital appointments, college, or connection with friends and family, and am very aware of the issues they have faced in recent times.

I have conveyed this message to Stuart McMillan MSP and to MPs and council officers – all of whom share my opinion that this is a vital service that connects the communities of Inverclyde and Argyll and Bute, and which must be both maintained and improved.

Earlier this month, in conjunction with myself, Stuart McMillan MSP arranged a meeting with the Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf.

Due to some of the extreme weather we have faced in recent times, this has unfortunately now had to be postponed until the beginning of March.

That notwithstanding, the message I will still be taking to Mr Yousaf is one of hope that the new ferry operator will provide an effective service for the people of this area; a service that must build a reputation of reliability, which in turn will not only sustain but also contribute to the aim of regenerating the area.

Indeed, I have been talking with members of Garelochhead and Kilcreggan community councils in recent months on just such an aim, and I firmly believe that a reliable, efficient service will be pivotal in achieving that.

A lot of people in these communities have given a considerable amount of time and effort to help resolve this issue.

I applaud them for that and I will continue to be fully supportive in lobbying on their behalf.

Cllr Iain S. Paterson (SNP, Lomond North)

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Recently the Scotch Whisky Association has expressed serious concerns about the effect of the SNP’s plans to retain single market membership on accessing new markets after Brexit.

The Scotch Whisky Association has justifiable concerns that single market membership would lock us into European rules with no say over how they are set.

This could harm the industry’s ability to sell to non-EU countries, with which it does 70 per cent of its business.

This warning is a clear signal to the SNP Government that, rather than trying to frustrate the Brexit process, it should be working to make sure that Scotland’s economy is prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that leaving the EU will bring.

Scotland has a large and fast growing alcohol industry which must be encouraged by the SNP government and not hindered.

Cllr Alastair Redman (Conservative, Kintyre and the Islands)

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Around 10 million grandparents in the UK support the day to day care of children.

Children have grown up in a digital world, and given half a chance will spend hours on their tablets or phones.

Some grandparents may feel they are out of their depth when it comes to online technology, but more than ever children need a guiding hand to stay safe.

The internet can be a wonderful place, but there are dangers. The good news is you don’t need to be a digital expert to help keep children safe:

1. Be interested in what your grandchildren are doing online: ask them to show you how it works, the games they are playing, what they like to watch and who they enjoy talking to. If the people seem a bit too old, the games or films too scary or brutal, or your grandchild is sharing too much with strangers – gently say so. Trust your instinct.

2. Negotiate boundaries: for example, limit time on the internet, and check that the games and apps are age appropriate. Coax them to spend time with you offline playing games or going for a walk. It’s these times they will remember.

3. Let them know you are there for them. If anything they read, see or hear online worries or scares them you have a lot of life experience and will try to help.

4. Try using apps and social media yourself – ask your grandchild to show you how!

5. Look out for signs that your grandchild is unusually sad or withdrawn, or seem anxious or upset. Let them know they can tell you anything.

To learn more or get help, visit

Lauren Seager-Smith (Chief Executive, Kidscape)