This week's Councillor Column is written by Lorna Douglas, SNP councillor for Helensburgh Central.

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In a climate often portrayed as one of gloom and greyness, it was wonderful to attend some recent meetings that offered a splash of brightness and colour in a spirit of social enterprise.

* Business Improvement Districts (BIDS): The Helensburgh business community were invited to come along to a meeting about BIDs. Andrew Spence, chief executive of the BID4Oban project, gave an enthusiastic talk to local business people about the benefits of setting up a local BID project in Helensburgh.

BID4Oban has invested in marketing and improving the economy of the town by funding and supporting local projects and initiatives such as the Winter Festival and Oban Live, as well as maintaining hanging baskets in the town and a machine to clean the streets in summer when tourism is at its height.

A second meeting is being arranged to get more local business people interested and hopefully a steering group set up to look into the future of Helensburgh as a BID town.

* Culture Heritage Arts Assembly (CHArts): I was intrigued to find out that 2 per cent of the population of Argyll and Bute are involved or work within the ‘creative industries’. This compares to just 1 per cent in the rest of Scotland.

Although this may sound surprising at first, when you think about it, even from a local perspective, it is not unrealistic. In fact, Helensburgh and Lomond alone has much to offer in culture, heritage and the arts with museums, a cinema, art venue, musicians, writers, artists, actors etc.

CHArts is a two year partnership project to which has been set up to develop the creative arts sector in Argyll and the Isles, supported by the Scottish Government, Argyll and Bute Council and others.

The team will look to maximise and promote what is happening in Argyll and the Isles and aims to set up hubs, an online platform and directory, internships, school placements etc.

The success of the above depends on people working together to create vibrant communities and growth within their sector that will enhance and benefit not just those of us living here but those who visit too.

It’s sometimes hard to quantify the growth of these kinds of social entrepreneurial enterprises in monetary terms. However, it’s worth remembering that money and profit are not the only kinds of worth or value that communities need to thrive on.

If you are interested in finding out more about BIDs visit the following for more information: and More on CHArts can be found at