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Orkney’s high street heroes commended

Laura Bruce and Duncan McLean of Kirkwall BID and Beyond, with mascot Harry the Heart. (Sarah Sutherland/The Orcadian)

Five Orkney businesses and two representatives from Kirkwall BID have been rewarded for their efforts to keep the economy afloat during the pandemic.

Laura Bruce and Duncan McLean, from Kirkwall BID, have been named High Street Heroes, by Scotland’s Town Partnership (STP). STP has recently highlighted the efforts of folk from across the nation who have helped keep the heart in their communities by supporting industry.

Starlings, Wellpark Garden Centre, Sutherlands Pharmacy, Argo’s Bakery and William Shearer have also been recognised for the work they have done to keep the community safe as they shop.

Kirkwall BID, which temporarily rebranded as BID and Beyond during the early stages of lockdown, has been working hard to promote Orkney’s business community at this challenging time. Through campaigns such as Keep the Heart in Kirkwall, and Mile of Style, as well as lobbying for businesses in need of funding, the BID has had a visible presence throughout the pandemic. The “beyond” funding was recently renewed, allowing the team to spread their efforts across Orkney, this winter. 

Mrs Bruce who works for the BID as a consultant, was delighted to receive the accolade, alongside Mr McLean, the organisation’s chairman.

She said: “Since Kirkwall BID started in 2013, we feel it’s helped bring lots of buzz and business back to our town centre.

“Mostly we’ve focused on creating exciting events and fun promotions. We never imagined we’d have to help our members cope with something as serious as a pandemic.

“When the virus first hit, we realised it was going to have an enormous impact on Kirkwall, not least because a whole eco-system of businesses depends on tourism — and that disappeared overnight.

“BID has done its very best to help, and we’re proud to have our efforts recognised in this way.”

Mr McLean added: “We’re delighted to receive this award.

“I’d like to thank all the BID board, and especially our part-time but fully-enthusiastic staff, Laura Bruce, Melanie Miller, our current manager, and Kelly Kirkness, our previous manager.

“The way I see it, every business in Kirkwall is a High Street Hero. They’ve had to battle a totally unexpected catastrophe to keep their businesses afloat.

“All have worked hard, and many have reinvented what they do in imaginative ways that serve the changing needs of our community.

“BID have been cheerleaders for our town, and it’s great to have someone giving us a cheer with this award!”

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