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Article by Catriona Young (2000)

Island News. The Coll Business Centre - Dead but not forgotten
 
The Coll Business Centre - Dead but not forgotten

The Business Centre was set up in 1995 by Martin Lunghi, with the help of grant aid from The Argyll and Islands Enterprise and Argyll and Bute District Council. It was set up to provide a service that at the time seemed modern and alien to most, but which soon became invaluable to many. Access to the Internet was available, as was the use of all computer facilities, fax, photocopiers and computer lessons. Martin and Wendy worked on many projects which brought in revenue for the centre including small publications, numerous holiday house brochures, and posters for island businesses and events. They also became a social centre offering citizens advice and help with paperwork, and went on to set up as many as 12 short adult education courses through Glasgow University.

Unfortunately the project was not cost effective in the long term, and the Centre can no longer afford to keep running. Many households also now own their own equipment, or have greater access to it, so the business centre has become less valuable to the community.

The Centre's equipment including the computers, scanner, photocopier and fax machine are still available for use through Island Stores where they are kept. It was important that these remained available for the use of the islanders, as that was the reason they were bought. Wendy is also very happy to continue to help, from home, with any wee projects, brochures, posters, etc., as well as printing off existing work that remains on disk. Marijke is also willing to help out with any computer or Internet problems, web design, or computer lessons.

The Business Centre was also working on a large genealogy project, tracing Coll family connections through information provided by Betty MacDougall. This project is still on-going and any information or photographs would be gratefully received by Wendy. There is still a selection of reproduced photographs of Coll over the last 100 years, available to buy from the business centre for 3 per A4 black and white print, again contact Wendy or Island Stores.

The Centre has also just reproduced up-dated millennium editions of Betty MacDougall's 'Guide to Coll' and 'Folklore from Coll', which can be bought from the shops and Post Office on the island. There is a guidebook to follow after Easter, and any money made from these small publications will be ploughed back into any future small booklets of this sort which Martin is going to be working on.

As you can see the Business Centre provided a variety of services to the island, and for the most part was voluntarily run by Wendy and Martin, with Marijke joining the team towards the end. I think I speak for all the previous users of the service when I say that the Centre will be missed, and I would like to thank all those involved with it for all their hard work over the years.

Catriona Young
Coll Magazine - Article by Catriona Young

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2007 The Coll Magazine