News from the districts – April 2, 2021

Ailsa has become a role model for others.

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A young Dunoon woman has been announced as a finalist in this year’s Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards in recognition of her incredible achievements.

Ailsa Smart, 25, is a finalist in the Enterprise category, after harnessing her creative passions to launch a successful arts and crafts social enterprise.

Ailsa, who has autism and learning difficulties, designs unique and eye-catching illustrations and tote bags which she sells via her online store, ‘Ailsa’s Art e-fax’.

She is committed to using her success to demonstrate the positive contributions of disabled and autistic people and has donated some of her earnings to several community-based initiatives.

The young entrepreneur has become a role model for her peer group and has motivated other young people in the area to seek volunteering opportunities.

This year’s winners will be announced during a live online ceremony on April 22.

The finalists join a prestigious roll call of previous recipients including Sir Andy Murray, Olympian Laura Muir, and top vlogger Jamie Genevieve. Recent winners include actor Ncuti Gatwa from Netflix’s Sex Education and the team behind Fridays For Future Scotland.

Louise Macdonald OBE, chief executive of Young Scot, said: ‘Ailsa’s inspiring achievements and incredible contribution to the community in Dunoon show how important young people are to Scotland. Huge congratulations to all of the 2021 finalists – we can’t wait to celebrate their achievements at the awards ceremony.’



An Argyll and Bute councillor has raised the problem of disintegrating road signs and a decrepit grit bin in east Kintyre.

Councillor Alastair Redman, one of three councillors representing Kintyre and the Islands ward, said: ‘I have been contacted by many of my justifiably concerned constituents in east Kintyre about the shocking condition of local signage which has rotted through.

‘There is also the dangerous state of a salt bin which the roads department has filled recently but for some reason failed to notice the crumbling state of the receptacle.

‘I have raised both of these matters with our roads department and they have assured me that both problems will be rectified.’



Following a successful inaugural Furnace history walk, the village’s community charity plans to repeat the event later this month.

Furnace SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) is delighted that Mid Argyll historian Duncan Beaton has agreed to repeat the guided walk on April 18 for those not able to make the first one.

To ensure compliance with Covid guidelines, numbers are restricted and booking must be in advance. To find out more, email


Plans are afoot to relocate two GP practices into a new surgery at Cowal Community Hospital in Dunoon.

The proposal for a single merged practice is currently being developed by Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) in partnership with the two Dunoon practices involved – Church Street Surgery and Cowal Medical Practice.

In a statement, the HSCP said that the ‘partners involved are committed to working closely with patients, staff, the local community and other stakeholders’, adding: ‘The next stage is to secure the required funding. Once secured, the project will be taken forward to develop final construction requirements before any building works commence.’