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Love Local in Linlithgow: Minister hears of town’s Covid-19 fightback

A Scottish Government minister has heard how Linlithgow has shone as a “positive beacon of resilience” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur was briefed on the work done by businesses to meet the challenges caused by Covid-19 as he visited the town today (Thursday, August 19).

He met representatives of One Linlithgow, Linlithgow Community Development Trust (LCDT) and Historic Environment Scotland, as well as dropping into a number of town centre businesses who have benefited from the drive for people to choose local as part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign.

Mr Arthur, who last week launched the new Scotland Loves Local Fund which will see £2 million available for work to improve towns and neighbourhoods in this financial year, is visiting towns across the country to hear first-hand how businesses and communities are responding to the pandemic and planning for the future.

He said: “We know communities like Linlithgow are best placed to decide how to improve their local areas.

“The SLL Fund will help people revitalise their own towns or neighbourhoods, building wealth in our local communities and delivering greater, greener and fairer prosperity.

“The Scottish Government is determined to support all our citizens as they recover from the pandemic.” 

The minister, whose brief also covers public finance and planning, visited Lilypond Craft and Gifts – run by One Linlithgow chair Evelyn Noble – and met Ian and Anne Gibson of former Scottish Community Pub of the Year Platform 3.

The former professional musician also called in on Chris Corry, a strong advocate of the town and owner of independent music store Low Port Music.

Speaking as chair of One Linlithgow Business Improvement District (BID), Ms Noble was delighted to welcome Mr Arthur.

She said: “Our town has been a positive beacon for town centre resilience throughout the pandemic. Scottish Government and Scotland’s Towns Partnership support, delivered by One Linlithgow, has been instrumental in helping member businesses adapt and continue to thrive.

“Between the Scotland Loves Local and BIDs Resilience Funds last year, One Linlithgow secured £37,000 to deliver direct support, so it’s an honour to show off a thriving Linlithgow, and to say thank you.”

In October 2019, One Linlithgow was the first BID in Scotland to be created from the merger of two previous BIDs, Linlithgow Town Centre and Linlithgow Mill Road.

And the collaboration that has harnessed at local and national levels has been vital to the organisation as it has faced up to the challenges of the last 18 months.

Ms Noble added: “We’ve built lasting relationships and this visit was a  fantastic opportunity to show those bearing fruit.

“With the close cooperation of LCDT, for example, we used the resilience funding to establish our popular digital markets on, which made more than £7,000 for Linlithgow businesses in their first 10 days of going live.”

Scotland Loves Local is the drive for people to think local first and support businesses in their own community to help them recover from the pandemic while laying the foundations for a stronger future.

With the support of the Scottish Government, it is spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), whose Chief Officer Phil Prentice joined Mr Arthur in Linlithgow.

He said: “Collaboration is going to be key to a stronger Scotland post-pandemic. Linlithgow is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when people and organisations work together for the benefit of the entire community. Long may that continue.

“The way in which the town has embraced the love local message – encouraging people to choose local and support the businesses around them – has been fantastic. It was great to show this to the Minister.”More details about the Scotland Loves Local Campaign – including how to apply for the Scotland Loves Local Fund before its October 1 deadline – can be found here.