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Lochgilphead is dying

Sir,

I was delighted to read your front page headline on Friday November 23: ‘Hopes rise Lochgilphead can enjoy vibrant future’.

Having lived in Lochgilphead all my life, I have looked on with envy at Oban, Campbeltown and Helensburgh as their town centres flourished.

Lochgilphead has been dying for years – some say it doesn’t need money invested as all the big paid workers are at Kilmory.

Unfortunately they don’t live here, so don’t spend any money and possibly aren’t aware how it looks as they go in and out at the industrial estate. The buildings on the main street and the front street just look sad.

The front green for years has waited and unfortunately it still waits…this time for the council to clear away debris after a storm.

Come on – the place looks bad enough. Clear it up as it happens or do something in the development plan to make sure it doesn’t in the future.

Name and address supplied.

What do you think about Lochgilphead and its future? Contact the Advertiser on editor@argyllshireadvertiser.co.uk or message us directly via Facebook. Alternatively write to: Argyllshire Advertiser, 44 Argyll Street, Lochgilphead, Argyll, PA31 8NB

Community Christmas cash

Sir,

As reported in last week’s Argyllshire Advertiser, Christmas came early for local causes in Argyll recently when the Co-op revealed a £34,000 festive funding boost.

The money was shared by three organisations, all of whom are making a real difference to communities throughout the region. These are Argyll and Bute Youth Forum, Heart of Argyll Wildlife Organisation and Lochgilphead Phoenix Project, which wants to build an information point on the front green in Lochgilphead.

This is the latest round of payouts from the fund generated by more than  26,000 Co-op members in Argyll and Bute and means the Co-op has invested £73,750 in nine groups in Argyll since the membership scheme launched in September 2016.

Co-op members, who receive a five per cent reward for themselves with a further one per cent going to local causes when they buy own-brand products, have a say in how the money is allocated, and are encouraged to select the organisations they wish to support online.

Since the launch of the local community fund Co-op members have helped 12,000 organisations make a positive difference in their neighbourhoods and in the last 12 months alone £19m has been invested in local causes.

The fund is now supporting a wide variety of local organisations, from village halls and support groups to education providers and neighbourhood watch schemes, all of which are helping to make Argyll a better, happier, and healthier place to live.

Rebecca Birkbeck, Co-op director of community engagement.

Islanders suffer most

Sir,

I was pleased to attend the latest Argyll Islands Strategic Group meeting in Kilmory recently.

I was able to speak to Scottish Government and Argyll and Bute Council representatives about the challenges facing our island communities.

While we on the islands of Islay, Jura, Colonsay and Gigha are rightfully enjoying strong local economic growth, future growth will be stifled by poor local infrastructure, at times unreliable ferry links and the never-ending troubles with the A83.

Regardless of what political stripe the leadership of the Scottish and UK parliaments have, all should be united in getting our vital links to the mainland and wider the UK economy back up to scratch.

Without large scale investment from central government to fix Argyll and Bute’s roads and Transport Scotland’s trunk roads, our future prosperity is at risk and, as ever, it will be islanders that suffer the most.

While political bun fights in the local press letters pages are entertaining,  what we really need is action from our MSPs and MPs.

If we were talking about road and transport links between Scotland’s cities, it is highly likely these problems would already be fixed. The Scottish Government must in the future not be so urban-centric in its allocation of resources.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands ward.

Reducing the drink

Sir,

I write following the release of the latest figures on alcohol use by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The more you drink, the greater the long-term risk to your health and these ONS figures show a worrying increase in the number of alcohol-specific deaths in the UK, particularly amongst women and 60 to 64-year olds.

From time to time, we are contacted by the families of people who have died as a result of alcohol and are only too aware of the heartbreak and utter sense of helplessness people feel when trying to lead someone to seek help for alcohol misuse.

We must all do more to address the stigma that people feel in reaching out for support. For many of us, there are simple and effective ways for people to cut back on alcohol.

Taking more drink-free days each week for example can reduce the overall amount of alcohol you drink and reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses. The Drinkaware website also provides information and resources for people concerned about their drinking or that of someone close to them and our DrinkChat online advisors can direct people, in complete confidence, to local treatment agencies.

Elaine Hindal, Drinkaware chief executive.