The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Angel Alexander swoops to win the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

THE gods smiled on Ayr’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival at Ayr Racecourse with glorious sunshine and high temperatures for the three days, so it was fitting that an Angel swooped to lift the richest prize in Scottish Flat racing.


[Pictured: Angel Alexander swoops to win the 
William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse.]

And in a bizarre twist, one of the most famous ex-footballers in the world was screaming at his phone as he sat in the back of his brother’s car cheering the horse on as he watched the drama unfold on his phone.

Former England legend Michael Owen co-owns Angel Alexander with three friends – Peter Birbeck, Keith Trowbridge and Steve Mound - but his contract with BT Sport meant he had to be in London to give his views on the day’s football results instead of being at Ayr to milk the moment.

Within seconds of the three year-old gelding passing the line Owen was texting his pals and tweeting: “Get in there you beauty!!!! I’ve just won the Ayr Gold Cup!!!!!”

The money came in torrents for the Irish-trained Buffer Zone, winner of a valuable sprint at the Curragh six days earlier and who was sent off at the short odds of 100-30.

Angel Alexander, a 28-1 shot, was one of six horses racing on the stands side and his ecstatic jockey Richard Kingscote said: “I knew Tom (Eaves) would try to make it all on Major Jumbo who has plenty early speed so I just followed him and got a great tow into the race.

“I hit the front plenty soon and he wandered a bit but I put my stick down and he straightened up. These big handicaps are hard to win so I’m just going to savour the moment.”

Earlier in the afternoon Golden Apollo landed the William Hill Ayr Silver Cup for trainer Tim Easterby and jockey David Allan.

For a long time in this contest it looked as though Paul Hanagan would prevail on Gabrial The Saint but David Allan’s mount wore them down and despite the Dr Marwan Koukash owned horse rallying, Golden Apollo struck silver by a neck.

Tim Easterby also saddled the winner of Friday’s William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup when Music Society cruised through the race under Paul Mulrennan to win by a length and a half.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Johan Mjallby and David Weir to make William Hill Ayr Gold Cup draw

By: Iain Ferguson

Former Old Firm football stars Johan Mjallby and David Weir will make the draw for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup before racing at Ayr Racecourse tomorrow, Thursday 19 September.


[Pictured: Johan Mjallby.]

The draw for the Gold Cup, which is run on Saturday 21 September, will take place in the Owners’ Club at the track at 11.00am. It will be hosted by Racing TV presenter Gordon Brown and will be broadcast live on the dedicated racing channel.

.
[Pictured: David Weir.]

Trainers and their representatives of the 25 horses that will be declared for the race earlier that morning will be able to pick the stall their horse runs from once the name has been drawn by either ex-Celt Johan or former Ranger David. Both former players went on to become assistant manager at their respective clubs.

The current 13-2 favourite for the race is the lightly raced three year old Victory Day, trained by William Haggas. His previous run came in last month’s  Shergar Cup Sprint at Ascot and he won comfortably.  He is likely to be ridden by Ayrshire born jockey Danny Tudhope.

The three-day William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival begins tomorrow Thursday with the feature race the William Hill Doonside Cup, Listed Race.

To book tickets go online at www.ayrgoldcup.co.uk or call 01292 264179.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Cube Glass teams up with Ashleigh Building and signs new contracts totalling £130,000

Glass and aluminium specialist Cube Glass has teamed up with south-west of Scotland construction company Ashleigh Building and has kicked off the relationship with three contracts totalling £130,000 in value.


[Pictured: Cube Glass founder and managing director Gary Thorn.]

It is the first time that Cube Glass has worked with Ashleigh, which has offices in Prestwick and Dumfries, and the new partnership adds to the rapidly-expanding portfolio of quality clients for the Cumbernauld-based manufacturer and installer.

In a sector where winning business at all costs is a priority, Cube Glass adopts the unusual position of working only with clients with whom it has a sense of commercial affinity and whose corporate governance values it shares.

Cube Glass founder and managing director Gary Thorn said: "We are delighted to be working with Ashleigh Building, which has a non-adversarial commercial approach and an attractive business ethos.”

The first project for the new client is in Irvine, where Cube Glass is replacing existing windows, doors and building new curtain walling in an extension at the Tarryholme care home, in a deal with a value of £110,000.

Subsequently, it has been awarded contracts with Ashleigh for new curtain walling in Annan High Street and replacement and new curtain walls and windows at Struthers Primary School in Troon, with values of £7,000 and £13,000 respectively.

Mr Thorn said: “I came into contact with Ashleigh Building through hub South West, the local infrastructure partnership. I won a hub presentation and I met one of their people there and the relationship developed.”

The Ashleigh contracts are the latest of more than half a million pounds worth of work which Cube Glass has secured recently and its quotations are now averaging out at more than £1 million a month.

Cube Glass, based within Cumbernauld’s Lenziemill Industrial Estate, focuses on curtain walling, doors, windows, glass roofing systems and shop fronts as well as bullet, bomb and blast resistant glass.

With record sales this year of around £2.75m, it has 14 highly-qualified employees. Around 80% of the company’s sales are made to major companies such as Hilton Hotels, the Ministry of Defence, Arnold Clark, Morris and Spottiswood and Clark Contracts. It is operating throughout the UK.

Posted by the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Tuesday, 20 August 2019

New public library business hub proving a hit with local entrepreneur

A Troon-based start-up is going from strength to strength thanks to support from a new business hub at Troon Library.

Scotia Arts, which organises international musical arts events, started using the new Scottish Co-working Network space just over a month ago and is already feeling the benefits.


[Pictured: Scotia Arts managing director Blair Parham   
 with employee Jenn Tapner at the Troon hub.]

The Scottish Co-working Network (SCN) was launched in February this year, and aims to create a network of business hubs in underused spaces in Scotland’s public libraries.  Created by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) with funding from the Scottish Government, it is the first national network of its kind.  It is aimed at providing local entrepreneurs, freelance workers, start-ups and micro businesses with dedicated space to work, meet and collaborate.

As well as saving money on expensive rates, Scotia Arts is taking advantage of the hub’s modern office facilities and business events.  The hub’s location in the centre of town is also proving to be an excellent base for the fledgling business.

Scotia Arts managing director, Blair Parham, explained: “The Troon hub is in a great location and ideal for meeting up with people.  I was in an accelerator programme based in a nearby village, but it was too far out of town.  ‘Graduating’ from it and moving to the centre of Troon is so much better for transport links, like the train, and for shops and cafes.  It can be lonely being a start-up company and this gives us the ability to meet with other people and share ideas.”

The Troon SCN hub has four fixed desks and four hot desks and a well-equipped breakout area with refreshment facilities.  A fixed desk gives members their own dedicated space and set of lockable drawers, while a hot desk offers members the flexibility to work when it suits them.  Membership is highly affordable at £35 per month (plus VAT) for a hot desk and £50 per month (plus VAT) for a fixed desk, with unlimited access during library opening hours.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive, SLIC said: “Scotland’s public libraries offer the perfect environment to support aspiring entrepreneurs.  Libraries are located at the heart of communities, they are connected, and offer an abundance of information and resources, making them the perfect environment to support entrepreneurs.  They are ideal for small sole traders and those who may be currently running a small business from their kitchen table or spare room. 

“The response from local small business owners has been very encouraging.  New hub members are telling us that the community environment is fuelling their creativity and access to hub resources is invaluable for them when building their businesses.”

For Scotia Arts, who found out about the hub through a Business Gateway Ayrshire event, the Troon huas delivered a professional working environment at a fraction of the usual price. 

Blair said: “I did work from home for a few months, and it was OK, but you’re by yourself with nobody to talk to.  After taking on my first member of staff earlier in the year I needed more space; at the hub we have two fixed desks and we’re there most days.  Cost was a big pull - we have everything here at a really good price, which makes it an excellent choice for a start-up.”

Councillor Brian McGinley, Economy and Culture Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "The hub is already proving to be an invaluable resource for business start-ups.  Our libraries are the perfect environment to connect with information and link with other businesses and entrepreneurs, which is ideal when it comes to networking.

"We know that it’s not easy to start and then grow a business so we are doing all we can to help. Whether it’s funding, or expert advice through our AMBITION programme we are determined to give these ventures all the help they need, so I am delighted the hub is proving to be a success."

Pamela Tulloch added:“This project is further demonstration of how public libraries are transforming to ensure they meet the needs of modern communities.  Nowadays, libraries are vibrant hives of activity and you’re as likely to find a film screening, computer coding class or wellbeing support group taking place as you are to find a reading and book club.”

To find out more about the SCN and to book a tour of one of the hubs visit www.scottishcoworking.org

More information on the Scottish Coworking Network, including details of membership and prices, is available at www.scottishcoworking.org

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library matters. For more information on SLIC visit www.scottishlibraries.org

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.



Thursday, 25 July 2019

Nicholas T makes it five wins at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

COURSE specialist Nicholas T won at Ayr Racecourse for the fifth time this week (Monday 22 July) when capturing the feature race, the Flower Show at Ayr Racecourse in August Handicap (pictured).


Jockey Ben Robinson gave the 9-4 favourite, trained by Jim Goldie, an assured ride to win comfortably by two and three quarter lengths from Asian Angel.

Earlier in the afternoon another locally based trainer Mike Smith saddled Rosemay, 13-2, to win the Ayrshire Cancer Support Handicap by a neck from Betty Grable with Paul Hanagan riding.

Mike said afterwards: “That’s the second race on the bounce she has won and she certainly is a mare in form. That was a great ride from Paul.”

The opening novice stakes was won by Dick Datchery, 11-2, from the David O’Meara yard with David Nolan riding and this two year-old looks to be shaping into a decent prospect.

Irish trainer Johnny Levins saddled a double with Tai Sing Yeh, 100-30
favourite, winning the Ladies Night Handicap and Eleuthera landing the Book Direct At Western House Handicap at odds of 13-2. Both horses were ridden by Donagh O’Connor.

Former multiple champion jockey Kieren Fallon was at the track to see his son Cieren ride his first ever winner at Ayr from his first ride at the track on 9-1 chance Compton’s Finale for trainer Adrian Keatley.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Thursday, 4 July 2019

Family Fun Day at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

Racing is a sport that has appeal to all ages, and this Sunday 7 July some of the youngest racegoers in the country will converge on Ayr for the first of two Family Racedays in July.

In addition to the seven races on the card, there will be lots of family fun and entertainment which is all free and under 18s also go free if accompanied by an adult.

There is an exciting Mascot Race at 1.00pm before the first race proper, and around 10 mascots will line up in a race won last year by Morton’s Cappie The Cat who will be defending his crown.


[Pictured: Mascots participating at last year’s event.}

Other mascots lining up will include Ayr United’s Pandamonium , Hamish The Dog from the Scottish Building Society, Ayr Racecourse’s Neigh Chance, Danny The Domino from Domino Pizza and Ruggie from race sponsors PTS Clean.

Gates open at noon and children will be able to meet their favourite princesses and superheroes including Captain America, Spiderman, Hawykeye, Merida, Evie and Elsa.

There will be a special Face Painting Studio, glitter tattooists, arts and crafts station, creative clay workshops, a sticky wall inflatable, photo booth and dress up station, an exciting treasure hunt, a lego station, an amazing escape tent and a display of vintage fire engines.

In addition there will be a beat the goalie featuring Ayr United players, fairground rides, a petting zoo, rodeo bull and a wipeout simulator game.

And in a first for the Racecourse there will be a Mysterious Escape Tent.

Would-be jockeys will be able to test their skills on an ecquisizer while wearing some famous jockey silks and there will be members of the Regiment of Scotland and Royal Air Force present. For more information or to book tickets go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk or call 01292 264179.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Monday, 1 July 2019

Ayr’s high-rise flats to be replaced with new accommodation

Following consultation and engagement with tenants living in the high-rise flats at Riverside Place in Ayr, South Ayrshire Councillors have taken the unanimous decision to demolish the three multi-storey blocks and build a new development on the site.


Following consultation and engagement with tenants living in the high-rise flats at Riverside Place in Ayr, South Ayrshire Councillors have taken the unanimous decision to demolish the three multi-storey blocks and build a new development on the site.

210 households participated in a survey which revealed that 111 (51.7%) of them supported the demolition of the existing flats, with 99 (46%) of households calling for the flats to be refurbished.

Councillors went with the majority of tenants which means that an estimated 90 new one- and two=bedroom apartments will be built.  These new properties will be available in the first instance to existing tenants who have been displaced from Riverside Place and have expressed an interest in returning to this location.

This decision follows detailed intrusive technical surveys of the flats last year which revealed issues the Council was previously unaware of. These included timber window sections and panels which appear to date from the original 1969 structure of the building, as well as cavities exposed by cladding installation works in 1992.

The surveys indicated that the existing cladding system, external pitched roof covering and the windows would need to be replaced and this would require significant levels of investment.

An implementation plan will now go before Councillors in November 2019; in the meantime housing staff will be in contact with the residents to discuss their needs and housing options.

The implementation plan will give more details on the needs and aspirations of tenants and this will help inform the timescales for the demolition and the new builds.

Councillor Philip Saxton, Housing and Community Wellbeing Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “This was not an easy decision to take, but the amount of work required and the level of investment needed to refurbish the blocks, led us to consult with tenants to seek their views.

“New accommodation on the site allows the Council to provide properties which are more accessible, in line with the latest building standards and can be adapted to suit the future needs of our tenants.

“In the meantime we will continue to support our tenants, and we will be writing to them to let them know that their living arrangements will not change in the short term.

“Over the coming weeks, Housing Officers will be speaking to those tenants who selected the option to refurbish.  The Officers will discuss their needs and other housing options. 

“Throughout the process, Housing Officers will ensure that tenants are kept up to date and the implementation plan takes account of their needs and circumstances.”

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Ayrshire’s James Frew Ltd wins training award

A Skills and Training Academy Award for Best Training Culture has been presented to Stevenston-based building services company James Frew Ltd. by hub South West, the public-private partnership focused on building community infrastructure within Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway.


[Pictured: Back row left to right: Martin Littlejohn (Contracts Manager, James Frew Ltd), Kevin Kidd (Training & Compliance Manager). Front row, left to right: Elaine Kean (Training Coordinator), Margaret Milton, hub South West.]

The 2019 hub South West Skills and Training Awards were divided into two categories: Best Training Culture and Best Employment Initiative for Young People, an accolade which was won by North Lanarkshire-based CMS Windows.

The Academy awards seek to commend companies throughout south-west Scotland for their commitment to inspiring the next generation of professionals within the construction industry, as well as those firms committed to nurturing staff already working in the sector.

Entries for the Best Training Culture Award were examined on ideas and programmes that have proven successful, with a learning platform which encourages training and staff development and underpins also the overall development of the business.

James Frew Ltd contracts director Brian Johnstone said: “We are delighted to be nominated and to receive the award for Best Training Culture. We are committed to the training and development of all our team members, and set up the James Frew Academy to support our training needs. Our apprenticeship programme currently has 37 apprentices at various stages of training, with the recruitment for the 2019 apprenticeship programme underway. As part of our commitment we have appointed a “Head of Organisational Development” to continue to drive our training culture.”

Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “The skills shortages we have within our sector are all too well-known, and these awards mark an important new phase in our partnership’s commitment to raising the bar within the industry.

“In addition to supporting our commitment to engaging local communities, the small and larger firms involved with hub South West also strive to play their part in tackling wider skills issues across the industry. It is only fitting that we should applaud their efforts.”

Entries for Best Employment Initiative for Young People were judged on the criteria of youth employment, the introduction of construction as a viable career path, structured framework apprenticeships, graduate programmes and initiatives targeted at women, as well as disadvantaged and disabled people.

All entries had to be directly connected to an initiative contracted by the hub South West partnership. Tier-1 construction industry contractors including Kier, Graham, Morrisons and Morgan Sindall, were encouraged to nominate sub-contractors from their supply chains.    

Posted by the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Thursday, 13 June 2019

Fleur East to play DJ set at Ladies Day at Ayr Racecourse

By Iain Ferguson

X Factor and I’m A Celebrity star Fleur East is coming to Ayr Racecourse’s William Hill Ladies Day on Friday 20 September, when she will be performing a superb hour-long DJ set.


She will take to the stage in the Ayrshire Suite following racing, and is sure to be a huge attraction at what is one of the busiest days of the year at the course.

The singer, songwriter and rapper first shot to fame on the X Factor in 2014 when she became the first contestant on the show to hit number one on the UK iTunes Store Chart with her version of ‘Uptown Funk’.

Fleur went on to finish runner-up on the X Factor and then enjoyed huge success with the platinum selling  ‘Sax’  in 2015 which hit the top 3 in the UK Singles Chart and stayed in the top 10 for seven weeks,  was certified Gold in the Netherlands and Australia, reached the top 10 in Mexico, was a number 2 in Costa Rica and topped the airplay charts in Hungary and Croatia.

This led to Fleur signing a US record deal with Sony Music’s Columbia Records and appearing on top shows such as Dancing With The Stars, The Late Late Show and the Today Show.

The success of ‘Sax’ continues to this day with the track hitting over 100 million streams on Spotify.

At the end of last year Fleur had a stint in the jungle on “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” when she endeared herself to the viewing public and finished fourth on the show.

Now she is heading to Ladies Day at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival to play a DJ set which will relate to her own unique style, and she will play a mix of RnB, Hip-Hop and Pop.

Lindsey Smith, Ayr Racecourse’s Sales and Ayr Racecourse Sales and Marketing, said: “We are delighted that Fleur will be here at our Ladies Day which is always an amazing day.

“To have such a talented and recognisable talent as Fleur playing a DJ set here will add to what already is a really glamorous occasion – it should be a great afternoon and night.”

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


New hub for entrepreneurs opens at Troon Library

A new business hub aimed at inspiring and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is now open for membership at Troon Library. 

The hub is part of the Scottish Coworking Network and offers dedicated desk space including fixed and hotdesking options.


[Pictured at the hub opening, left to right: South Ayrshire Cllr Peter Convery; Annette Simpson, librarian; Cllr Philip Saxton; Lorraine Armstrong, librarian; Cllr Brian McGinley (sitting at computer); Cllr Bob Pollock; Cllr Craig Mackay.]

The Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) worked with South Ayrshire Council to deliver the hub, which is part of a pilot programme in public libraries across Scotland. The South Ayrshire hub is the third to open in Scotland.

The project sits at the heart of 'Ambition and Opportunity - a national strategy for public libraries in Scotland 2015-2020', which reinforces the role which public libraries play in supporting employability, innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity.  The project has been developed by SLIC with Scottish Government funding and is aimed at providing local entrepreneurs, freelance workers, start-ups and micro businesses with dedicated space to work, meet and collaborate.

The hub has four fixed desks and four hot desks and offers access to meeting rooms within the library. Hub members also have access to online resources, a programme of professional development workshops and events, and an online forum to support professional networking and collaboration. 

Membership is available from £42 (£35 plus vat) per month for a hot desk and £60 (£50 plus vat) per month for a fixed desk. Members will be able to use any of the hubs within the Scottish Coworking Network, subject to availability. Further hubs in other parts of Scotland will follow in the coming weeks.

Pamela Tulloch, chief executive, SLIC said: "Scotland's public libraries offer the perfect environment to support aspiring entrepreneurs. Libraries are located at the heart of communities, they are connected, and offer an abundance of information and resources. The new hubs will offer equal access to a support structure that will help people turn their passions and ideas into sustainable employment. They are ideal for small sole traders and those who may be currently running a small business from their kitchen or dining room table. 

"We hope the presence of this resource in Troon Library will encourage more people to consider self-employment by removing barriers, supporting innovation and providing practical tools and information.

"This project is further demonstration of the changing role of public libraries and how services are transforming to ensure they meet the needs of modern communities."

Councillor Brian McGinley, Economy and Culture Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: "I am delighted the hub is open for business. Troon Library is the perfect environment and I'm sure our entrepreneurs and small business owners will appreciate the amount of resources at their fingertips.

"Through our AMBITION programme we already support many small businesses and start-ups, so the hub is a welcome addition.  I look forward to the roll-out of more hubs across South Ayrshire in the future."  

SLIC has commissioned independent researchers to assist with evaluation of the pilot. The evaluation will provide a roadmap to enable library services across Scotland to roll-out the concept, with the aim of creating a national network of dedicated spaces in libraries for entrepreneurs. 

The initiative has the backing of a range of organisations, including the Scottish Institute of Enterprise, Creative Scotland, Carnegie UK Trust, Young Enterprise Scotland, Business Gateway, Scottish Towns Partnership, the Federation of Small Businesses and Elevator UK.

More information on the Scottish Coworking Network, including details of membership and prices, is available at www.scottishcoworking.org

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.