Pharmacist expands services and restores historic building thanks to funding from Unity Trust Bank

20/12/2023

AN award-winning pharmacist from Glasgow has turned a derelict 19th century building in Fife into a modern-day pharmacy serving rural communities thanks to six-figure funding from Unity Trust Bank.

Raymond Kelly, who graduated from Glasgow School of Art before deciding to pursue a career in pharmacy, used a £750,000 refinance loan to breathe new life into historic Liquorstane Building in Falkland and expand healthcare provision for a local aging population.

With the nearest GP surgery located three miles away and the picturesque area a magnet for tourists, Raymond’s Lomond Pharmacy delivers much-needed frontline services for visitors as well as surrounding villages.

Raymond, who was named Scottish Pharmacist of the Year as a manager at Rowlands Group before opening his own pharmacies in Falkland, Kinglassie and Charlston, said: “My original Falkland premises was in converted stables but because of planning restrictions I couldn’t expand to provide the services the area needs.

“Falkland has 1,100 residents – many of whom are over 75 – plus there are dozens of near-by farms and hamlets so demand for pharmacy services is high. We were particularly busy during the pandemic and didn’t have a day off in two years. 

“We needed bigger premises and Liquorstane Building had been vacant for years. It has an interesting history – being a former temperance hotel and masonic lodge – and my vision was to create a pharmacy on the ground floor with a larger dispensary area and consulting rooms, and create holiday let apartments on the top floor as we get tourists from all over the world, especially as Outlander was filmed here.

“We could have flattened the building and rebuilt with breeze blocks, but that felt like vandalism. We’ve restored it very carefully and residents really appreciate that.”

Raymond, alongside business partner Audrey McAnaw, three dispensers and two drivers, offer services ranging from flu vaccinations to ear wax removal and provide treatment for ailments common in the area such as insect bites. 

Raymond continued: “This redevelopment wouldn’t have happened without the support of Unity and my Relationship Manager Scott Hutchinson.

“Previous banks I’ve worked with weren’t interested in a partnership approach and helping businesses get to where they wanted to be, they just called once a year to check on finances.

“It’s a very comfortable fit working with Unity. I have a social conscience and believe in social justice so the bank’s values resonate with me, and Scott is really knowledgeable and I can talk to him about my plans.”

Scott Hutchinson, Relationship Manager at Unity Trust Bank, said: “As an ethical bank, we only lend to organisations that make a positive difference in local communities and we’re delighted to support the relocation and expansion of Lomond Pharmacy.

“Many rural communities in north east Fife are benefitting from the additional services Raymond is providing and the historic character of a much-loved building has also been preserved.”

Raymond, who is set to qualify as an independent prescriber in the spring and will be able to expand his services further, is also planning to install a new public defibrillator outside Lomond Pharmacy as the one he gifted the village at his previous premises has been called into use several times.

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