Bute launches first online shopping co-operative

Date: 31/08/2011

A group of producers and artists from the Isle of Bute have launched the country’s first online cooperative shop in a bid to change the fortunes of the island.

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

The site reflects the diverse range of micro-businesses on the island with produce including: high-quality fabrics; jewellery, jams, pickles, mustards and gourmet seaweed. Currently 12 producers are selling their wares on the site but it is hoped that the online offer will expand.

The web-site is part of Brandish Bute, which also operates a shop on the Island and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bute Community Land Company (BCLC), a charity established by members of the community to secure Bute's economic, environmental, and social future.

The Island’s economy has suffered in recent years due to the decline in the traditional tourism market and Bute’s current unemployment rate stands at 7.7%, twice the Argyll and Bute district’s average.

The launch of the site and store are part of a multi-faceted action plan to revitalise the Island’s economy, which has received funding from Highland and Islands Enterprise and Argyll and the Islands LEADER and follows the community buy out of a local forest last year

BCLC Chairman John McGhee said: “Micro-businesses are the lifeblood of the Island and we need to do everything possible to help them grow. Not only that, the world-class quality of our produce epitomises what the Island has to offer visitors.”

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For more information and pics, please contact Ilya Scott of Real PR on 07799 416476.

Company Profile

Real PR has been helping the Bute Community Land Company (BCLC) with the media strategy around the community buyout of a piece of land on the Isle of Bute.

The BCLC has been actively pursuing  a purchase of Rhubodach Forest as a community owned asset for Bute. The community has the statutory right to buy-out the privately owned forest under government legislation.

For more information on BCLC visit their website www.buteforest.com or call Ilya Scott on 0141 533 6975.