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Dornoch Business Improvement District unveils inaugural board

By Ali Morrison

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A NEW board has been unveiled to take the Dornoch Business Improvement District forward.

Seven of the eight positions have been filled, with one vacancy still outstanding.

The inaugural chairperson is Ginny Knox, who runs self-catering accommodation at Embo House and The Meadows House. A career marketer and general manager, she has corporate directorial experience with Coca-Cola and Ranks Hovis McDougall.

Ginny Knox is the first chairperson of the Dornoch BID board.
Ginny Knox is the first chairperson of the Dornoch BID board.

The role of vice-chairperson is filled by Sutherland native Kyle Mackay, front of house manager at the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle.

Dornoch to have Business Improvement District after businesses vote 63:45 in its favour

Ginny has also agreed to take on responsibility for the self-catering, B&B and guest house sector while Kyle, who has worked at Skibo for nearly a decade, will fly the flag for Large Tourism.

Ginny said: “Like all the newly elected board members, Kyle is passionate about Dornoch and the wider Highlands and is a real asset to our tourism industry.

“We all share a passion and commitment to working with the Dornoch business community to improve the working, trading and economic stability of the area in which we live and work.

BID board members are 'passionate' about Dornoch. Picture: VisitDornoch
BID board members are 'passionate' about Dornoch. Picture: VisitDornoch

“Initially the board plans to meet fortnightly as we urgently draw up plans for the year ahead and respond to feedback from businesses in the area.

“Dornoch has been patient as the process for creating a BID for the town has been a long one.

“The board will work together with the business community to make the initiative a rewarding experience for all.”

Businesses will receive notification of the first BID levy this week and any queries should be directed to Highland Council at: nondomesticrates@highland.gov.uk

The new BID treasurer, and the man who shares responsibility for self-catering, B&B and guest houses, is Gavin Ferguson, of Strathview Lodge.

A long-time engineering consultant, Gavin has also gained valuable experience in marketing, event management, IT and social media.

Well-known licensed trade operator Suzanne De Venny, of the town’s Eagle Hotel, will oversee pubs, cafes and restaurants.

Alongside her husband Eric, she spearheaded the town’s response to Covid-19, setting-up a well-received community food share initiative.

Self-catering owner, chartered management accountant and finance director Mark Grant will look after Professional Services and Other, along with Rob Smith, of Davochfin Farm.

Based in Aberdeen, Mark is a regular visitor to Dornoch, where he owns two apartments.

Rob, who has recently moved to the area with his young family, has quickly made his mark on the local leisure scene by providing upgraded facilities at Davochfin’s golf driving range and fishing lochans.

With a range of business management experience under his belt, including an advisory role to The Prince’s Trust, Rob brings a younger perspective to the BID board.

The retail sector is led by local stalwart and pharmacist Gareth Dixon of Mitchell’s Chemist.

A volunteer with East Sutherland Rescue Association, Gareth played a key role on the BID steering group.

East Sutherland and Edderton ward councillor Jim McGillivray will represent Highland Council on the board.

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