The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

New York beckons for one lucky lady at Ayr Racecourse’s QTS Ladies Night

By Iain Ferguson

ONE of the most anticipated social events of the year QTS Ladies Night at Ayr Racecourse takes place on 8 August with a heady mix of glamour, entertainment and racing.


Ladies attending will have a chance of winning a bronze coin which guarantees them a place in William Hill Ladies Day Final on 18 September when one lady will win the fabulous star prize.

And this year the winner will enjoy a three night stay in New York City for two people from Friday 20 November until Monday 23 November. Sponsored by Stewart Travel and Jet2holidays the lucky lady and her guest will fly direct from Glasgow and stay in the fantastic Italian inspired Boutique Hotel Mela, located in the heart of Times Square. But that’s not all - the prize also includes a VIP Shopping Experience with top stylist and Scottish Sun fashion editor Janis Sue Smith with £1000 worth of Debenhams vouchers, a makeover and a beauty hamper worth £150.

For the second year running QTS Ladies night features a Fashion Show which will be held before racing and will be compered by former Miss Scotland Jennifer Reoch, presenter of the Riverside Show on STV, and Gary Lamont, who plays hairdresser Robbie Fraser in River City. Clothes are by Wish and the fabulous Cat Walk Show will commence at 5.00pm before racing which is due off at 5.40pm. Gates open at 3.40pm.

Spotters will be out and about to pick the best dressed ladies who will then take part in a series of heats on the Catwalk during the evening to select the girls who will win a coin and a place in September’s final.

The racing action starts at 5.40pm and the seven races run through until 8.40pm.

And then there’s even more fun with live bands playing in both the Club and Grandstand areas.

In the Ayrshire Suite Party Band Collective play Ayr Racecourse for the first time and n the Horseshoe Bar within the Princess Royal Suite Angelstar, a three-piece band will keep the dance floor busy. Both bands will play for approximately three hours.

Tickets can be booked online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk or by calling 01292 264179 and discounts are available up until seven days before the event.

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, 23 July 2015

Trump Turnberry invests in sales team as refurbishment takes shape

Three new appointments have been announced in corporate sales at Trump Turnberry as the team prepare for the relaunch of the iconic luxury resort currently undergoing a lavish renovation.

Following the opening of the £6m clubhouse and the refurbishment of The Caledonia Ballroom, three new positions have been filled to assist the sales and marketing team with their plans for relaunch in June 2016.


Ms Paulomi Debnath (pictured above) joins the resort as an account director and will be based in the London office of the Starwood sales team.  Paulomi joins from The Corinthia Hotel in London and brings 13 years’ experience gained through operators such as Radisson Hotels and Hilton Hotels Worldwide.  

Reporting into director of sales, Gillian McNeilly, Paulomi’s remit will focus on building awareness of Trump Turnberry within the London MICE market (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions), as the resort repositions itself as the premier destination for incentive groups, conferences and events. 

Shalane Breen has been appointed as an account executive and joins the resort from Elior. Previously based at Ibrox stadium in Glasgow, she was sales manager for corporate and private events.   With a Scotland and Ireland remit, Shalane will be engaging with a number of local businesses keen to learn about the new multi-million facilities at Trump Turnberry.

The appointments also follow the recent hire of Laura Findlay as business development executive. The new team join existing leisure account manager, Angus Watson, who joined from the Fairmont St Andrews in 2014.

Stephen Walker, director of sales and marketing for Trump Turnberry commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Paulomi, Shalane and Laura to the team.

“Supporting The Trump Organisation's multi-million dollar investment in both our existing, and the creation of additional meeting and function space, we recognised at an early stage the requirement to expand the sales force both locally and nationally.

“Alongside the bedroom renovation which starts late September, this allows us to entirely reposition the resort in the MICE market, win market share and encourage customers old and new to look at Trump Turnberry in an entirely new light.

“As the renovation unfolds we will constantly review the deployment of the sales & marketing team to support the biggest investment in the resort's 109 year history.”

The ongoing refurbishment at Trump Turnberry continues with the hotel’s signature venue, The Caledonia Ballroom recently unveiled following a lavish refurbishment.  In addition three adjoining meeting spaces have also been created offering perfect break out rooms.  Two additional function rooms have been redesigned The Old Tom Morris Suite perfect for pre-dinner drinks and The Ailsa Craig Suite which can accommodate up to 140. 

Meanwhile, The Trump Turnberry Clubhouse opened in June has launched a new restaurant named ‘The Duel in the Sun’ which commands exceptional views over the golf course.  The unrivalled golfing history of the resort has also been acknowledged with the creation of new clubhouse meeting rooms, including the new Champions Suite and The Tom Watson Boardroom.  A new business centre is also in operation while the professional shop has almost doubled in size and now offers 3,600sq ft of retail space.  

An extensive and phased refurbishment of the hotel bedrooms commences in October with accommodation provided throughout the winter via selected hotel rooms, Trump Villas and Lands of Turnberry apartments.  The golf courses are also redesigned during this time culminating in a grand re-opening of the resort in June 2016.

Trump Turnberry is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra complete successful tour of South Africa

By: Euan Terras

The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra (AFO) was formed back in 1982 by Wallace Galbraith MBE and his then wife to encourage and develop traditional Scottish fiddle music among young musicians in Ayrshire. 


The Orchestra has steadily matured and grown since those early days and now boasts over 100 members from all parts of Ayrshire (and Arran!), ranging from 10 - 20 years of age and includes violins, cellos, double basses, guitars, accordions, percussion and bagpipes. 

Although the Orchestra has just two main concerts each year, Summer and Christmas, both in Ayr Town Hall, they have a very busy schedule, performing at many local and community events such as Ayr Flower Show, Prestwick Promenade, Troon’s Wintertainment, Septembayr, West Sound Burns Supper and Hogmanay Show as well as events for Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce, Cancer Research and the Ayrshire Hospice, Ayr Gaiety, Town Twinning events and contributing to various Christmas Fayres, school and church events, concerts in rural communities and other charity based events across Ayrshire and beyond. 

AFO has earned an enviable reputation over the years for providing entertainment to many and for enabling young Ayrshire musicians some wonderful opportunities and experiences for performing, not only locally, but across the globe. In doing so, they have proved themselves fine ambassadors for Ayrshire and for Scots music and culture. 


Every two years the Orchestra embarks on a major international concert tour and since the 1980s has travelled to USA, Canada, Scandinavia and mainland Europe, Australia, New Zealand and China. They have performed in prestigious venues such as Sydney Opera House, the White House lawn, the European Parliament and at CERN in Geneva. 

The Orchestra have, in fact, just returned from South Africa following a 16 day visit in July which has been their most exciting, and most successful Tour ever and their first visit to Africa.

Privileged to have been invited to perform at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, the largest cultural festival in the whole of the African continent (and similar in size to the Edinburgh Festival), AFO sold out their two scheduled concerts even before they had left the UK and a third additional concert which was hastily scheduled into their programme also rapidly sold out. 

Newspapers in South Africa commented: “The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra was one of the most talked about and remembered performances of the 2015 Festival.” . 

The AFO group, 95 in number, performed further concerts at George, Cape Town, Hout Bay and Johannesburg, all of which were met with standing ovations and shouts of ‘encore’ at every venue. Another reviewer raved: "It is fair comment to say that AFO have taken South Africa by storm!” 

The Orchestra were also honoured to be invited to perform during Sunday Mass at the famous Regina Mundi Cathedral in Soweto, in front of a 2,000 strong congregation. 


Even the flight to Johannesburg with Virgin Atlantic involved an impromptu performance, with some 30 AFO fiddlers performing mid-flight in the aisles for their fellow passengers at 36,000ft, to the delight of all on board, including the crew!  


Always ready for fun, the young musicians also held a ceilidh on the summit plateau of Table Mountain, 3,500ft above Cape Town, with the dancing soon involving onlookers and staff!  

During a visit to Robben Island, Nelson Mandela’s prison for some 18 years, one of the Orchestra’s senior players, Ciaran McHugh (20), produced his violin and performed in Mandela’s actual cell block an arrangement of Blair Douglas’s bagpipe tune “Nelson Mandela’s Welcome to the City of Glasgow” – an emotional occasion for all present. 

Meanwhile, some other senior players were in the studios of the South African Broadcasting Corporation playing live on national breakfast TV, whilst AFO Directors Kathleen Terras and David Moore were interviewed about the forthcoming concerts. 

One of the Orchestra's most memorable days was spent with the Hout Bay Music Project, which aims to develop the musical skills of children from townships in the Hout Bay area. After much fun playing football, frisbee and dancing games, the two groups of children from very different cultures and backgrounds rehearsed together and then performed an exciting joint concert that night, to thunderous applause and a standing ovation!  

The Tour was not just about music however, with the Orchestra spending two exciting days on safari at a game reserve and visits to the Apartheid Museum, the Cape of Good Hope and the Cradle of Humankind. 

AFO Director and Tour Manager, Euan Terras, commented: “Our tours are not only about showcasing Scots music abroad in different countries but also about giving our young talented members of the orchestra cultural and musical experiences they will remember for the rest of their lives." 

Plans are now underway for the next AFO tour – to North America in 2017! 

The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra prides itself on being accessible to all young musicians throughout Ayrshire regardless of financial background. 

All tuition is free for players and there are no membership fees. A registered charity, AFO has no paid staff, being run entirely by parents and volunteers with much of the orchestra's activities relying heavily on concert revenues, fundraising, grants and corporate advertising and support.  

Further details about the AFO can be found at www.fiddleorchestra.com or from Euan Terras at euan@fiddleorchestra.com

The Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra is a member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Monday, 20 July 2015

Girvan’s tide of success continues with new harbour facilities

Dedicated modern rest facilities for harbour fishermen and pontoon users, a new harbour master’s office and public toilets, all created with an investment of £465,000, have been officially opened at Girvan Harbour.


[Pictured left to right: South Ayrshire Councillors Alec Oattes, John McDowall and Alec Clark celebrate the opening of Girvan Harbour Facilities.]

Known as the Girvan Harbour Facilities, this latest development enhances the pontoons that were installed in 2013, which have already brought a welcome boost for the town as a sailing destination. 

Since the pontoons were completed in 2013, they have been attracting around 500 vessels per year and there has been an increase in new visitors to the marina.  

Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder for the Council said: “With the completion of this work, Girvan Harbour is fit for the 21st century. 

“In 2013 we completed the development of the marina pontoon and now with dedicated rest facilities for visiting yachts, it’s easier than ever to visit Girvan and South Carrick. Very importantly, fishermen − for the first time ever − have dedicated facilities at the harbour, the harbour master has a new office and there are modern public toilets for both local people and visitors to the area.

“Between these new facilities and the new pontoons, over £1 million has been invested in Girvan Harbour. This shows our commitment to Girvan as a working harbour and promoting the town as a must sail to place, making the harbour much more pleasing for the people of Girvan and South Carrick and anyone visiting the area.

“Girvan and the surrounding Carrick area have so much to offer with magnificent scenery, wonderful walking, great water sports, a variety of places to eat, caring communities and a warm-hearted welcome for visitors. And with our great new facilities now open, I hope to see many more people coming to experience this for themselves.”

Speaking about the new facilities Tom McCrindle, Commodore of Carrick Sailing Club and harbour pontoon berth holder said: "Nowhere in the Clyde can compete with the new facilities newly opened at Girvan Harbour. Once the sailing community gets to know about them I am sure Girvan Harbour will be a priority destination." 

John Murdoch, ship chandler and retired fisherman said: “The new facilities have been a long time coming and are very welcomed by local fishermen and will be appreciated by fishermen calling in."

The project was led by South Ayrshire Council and was part funded with an award of £131,699 from the Argyll & Bute South Ayrshire Fisheries Local Action Group, financed by Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund 2007-2013 Programme.  

The new facility will be operated by Ayrshire Roads Alliance and South Ayrshire Council.  

Councillor McDowall concluded: “These terrific facilities really do help make Girvan a go-to place all year round for sailors, fishermen, local people and tourists.”

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

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Festival to showcase Scotland’s architecture

£400,000 funding for Festival of Architecture

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced £400,000 of funding to support the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) Festival of Architecture.


The Festival will be an international celebration of design and creativity designed to highlight Scotland’s architecture and the quality of our built landscape.

The Festival of Architecture will take place from March to October 2016 and will form a key part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. 

The Festival will receive £300,000 from the Scottish Government and £100,000 from EventScotland, and is designed to boost appreciation and understanding of our built environment as well as highlighting the economic, social and cultural importance of good architecture. 

The programme, which will be announced in due course, will comprise hundreds of events throughout Scotland, including exhibitions, performances, talks, tours, competitions and community projects as well as educational initiatives and conferences. 

Announcing the funding Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The RIAS Festival of Architecture will highlight the richness and breadth of Scotland’s architecture and the world quality of our built landscape. 

“It will be a nationwide event, showing how architecture touches everyone’s lives and engaging with Scots and visitors to Scotland – whether they have a professional involvement in architecture, or a passing interest.

“Architecture is a pivotal part of Scotland’s culture. This funding from the Scottish Government and VisitScotland will allow the Festival of Architecture to connect Scottish communities and visitors with our architecture through events & exhibitions, Scotland-wide.

“The 2016 Festival of Architecture will form a key part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design celebrations which will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s greatest assets, icons and hidden gems through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity to boost tourism in every corner of Scotland.”

David Dunbar PPRIAS, Chair of the Festival of Architecture 2016 said: “This support for the Festival of Architecture 2016 is an important recognition of the potential of this eight month-long event. The Royal Incorporation and our 62 other partner organisations are delighted that the Cabinet Secretary values Scottish Architecture so highly and that the Festival will be a key part of the themed Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

“This Festival is a national celebration, notably of great architecture, but also of how the work of architects improves people’s lives. It has the potential to transform Scotland’s relationship with its built environment, engaging local communities, young and old alike, with the art form which has been called “the mother of the arts”. By improving people’s appreciation and understanding of architecture we all have the potential to improve Scotland. It will also be great fun!”

Mike Cantlay OBE, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “Architecture is a pivotal part of Scotland’s culture and a major tourism asset, with an estimated £187m spent by visitors viewing architecture and buildings on trips to our inspirational country. This Festival is a key part of the Year of Innovation Architecture and Design in 2016 and we are really excited to see the activity and events planned. One of the big aims of the festival is to make architecture more accessible to both young and old, encouraging everyone from adventure-seeking families to seasoned design experts to engage with this artful science and discover exciting and innovative developments, buildings and structures across the country. Scotland is a nation of pioneers and it’s high time we shouted about it!” 

The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Festival of Architecture 2016, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Celebrity golf tees off at Trump Turnberry

A star-studded line up will compete in a new charity golf event which is set to make an exciting debut at Trump Turnberry, the world famous resort.


Celebrity golfers from sport, TV and entertainment will play alongside amateurs in a four ball 18-hole competition on the Open championship Ailsa course in September to raise funds for Beatson Cancer Charity. 

Beatson Cancer Charity is committed to raising significant funds to enhance the experience, treatment, outcomes and wellbeing of current and former cancer patients and their families. The charity is dedicated to enhancing people's outlook at every stage of their cancer journey throughout the Beatson Cancer Centre and related facilities across the West of Scotland. 

Beatson Cancer Charity also funds a range of specialist posts including nursing, radiography, physics and research-based staff as well as for enhanced medical equipment, innovative service developments, unique research projects and educational initiatives.

The Golf Channel’s Dougie Donnelly has gathered together a host of top celebrities including TV presenters Chris Hollins, John Inverdale and Andy Nicol along with Scottish comedian, Fred Macaulay, who have already signed up to play at Turnberry, one of the last opportunities to play the original Ailsa prior to its biggest ever makeover which commences in October.

Stephen Walker, Director of Sales & Marketing of Trump Turnberry, commented: “There is a legendary history of celebrity golf events at Turnberry and we are delighted to continue this important legacy in partnership with the West of Scotland’s leading cancer charity.” 

Charlene Elliott, Head of Fundraising at Beatson Cancer Charity commented: “We are so grateful to Trump Turnberry for choosing Beatson Cancer Charity as its official charity to benefit from this fantastic, star-studded event. Alarmingly, more than one in three people are affected by cancer in the West of Scotland - the highest cancer rate in Europe. 

“As technology advances and new treatments are developed, the demands on cancer services continue to grow so this truly fantastic level of support is so vital in helping us to continue to provide funding and services to enhance the wonderful care thousands of patients receive at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre each year.

“On behalf of everyone at Beatson Cancer Charity, I’d like to give my sincere thanks to everyone involved with Trump Turnberry and the event itself. All money raised will go a very long way in the fight against cancer, now and in the future and for that we are truly thankful.”

Amateur golfers are invited to purchase a team of three and will be allocated a celebrity on arrival at the resort.   Included in the round will be the opportunity to beat the old pro on the 11th hole when players will compete against former European tour winner, Andrew Murray.

Following the competition, all players will enjoy a sumptuous dinner, hosted by Dougie Donnelly in the recently refurbished Caledonia Ballroom when a number of first class prizes and auction items will be available.  Prize packages include golf and accommodation at Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, Trump Doonbeg and also the famed Blue Monster at Trump Doral in Miami.

The golf, dinner and overnight accommodation in lodge or classic room costs £1600.00 for a team of three.  Further information and bookings can be made at rsvp@trumpturnberry.com

Beatson Cancer Charity is committed to raising significant funds to enhance the experience, treatment, outcomes and wellbeing of current and former cancer patients and their families. The charity is dedicated to enhancing people's outlook at every stage of their cancer journey throughout the Beatson Cancer Centre and related facilities across the West of Scotland.

Trump Turnberry is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Friday, 10 July 2015

CKD Galbraith offers for sale a peaceful country house on the banks of Martnaham Loch in Ayrshire

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale Cloncaird, a beautiful country house situated within its own grounds of some 7 acres on the shores of Martnaham Loch.


The property is just a few minutes outside Ayr yet is tucked away from sight offering a unique level of privacy and tranquillity.   


Martnaham Loch is a freshwater loch, part of which is designated as a site of special scientific interest because of its rich botanical flora including white and yellow water lilies and Canadian pondweed. Many rare birds have been sighted on the loch including ring necked duck and Smew. During the winter months the loch is visited by flocks of Teal and in the surrounding fields flocks of Greylag geese and whooper swans gather.  

The property itself was created on the site of the original cottages in 1983 at Cloncaird and has well-proportioned rooms. 


The imposing double height hallway with galleried upper level provides access to the main reception rooms which have southerly views.  


The drawing room has triple aspect windows which not only afford wonderful views of the surrounding gardens but enhance the natural light.  


The kitchen/living room at the heart of the house with beamed ceiling is stylish and no expense has been spared in the luxury appliances.  

The master bedroom suite has a dressing room and ensuite shower room and there are four further bedrooms, a dark room for photography developing or other hobby pastimes.  There is a garden room adjacent the house which could be used as a gym or for indoor/outdoor entertainment.   


The house is surrounded by mature, landscaped gardens which include a variety of shrubs and trees providing shelter and year round colour. 


There is a pony paddock with field shelter which has been divided into three loose boxes. A separate outbuilding has been subdivided into a stable and tack room, dog kennel with run, boiler house, wood store and oil tank store.   

Offers Over £625,000 are being sought. 

PDF available on www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk

About CKD Galbraith 

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 225 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach. 

The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres.  CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential sales and lettings, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England. The partnership also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

To find out more about CKD Galbraith visit www.ckdgalbraith.co.uk

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Friday, 26 June 2015

South Ayrshire Council seeks views on £1.6M budget saving proposals

South Ayrshire Councillors have given the green light to budget savings of more than £4.7 million for the next three financial years, and agreed that local people and communities will be asked for their views on a further £1.6 million of budget savings proposals. 


[Pictured: Councillor Bill McIntosh, 
Leader of South Ayrshire Council.]

The decision means more than £9.3 million of efficiency savings have been identified by the Council for 2016/17-2018/19, with Councillors approving savings of £4.55 million for the next financial year in December 2014.

This leaves the Council with a further £7.5 million of estimated savings to find over the next three years, based on the Council's Financial Strategy. With levels of Scottish Government funding for this period not yet known, the strategy anticipates the need – before this week's Council decision – for a further £4.2 million savings for 2016/17, £6.4 million for 2017/18 and £6.2 million for 2018/19.

The savings approved by Councillors include more than £1.7 million of 'management actions' such as reducing budget allocations to reflect current or required levels of spending.

Management actions include a £491,000 reduction in the budget to reflect falling school rolls; a reduction of £150,000 in the central budget to support certain teaching staff costs (such as funding additional staff to support new initiatives); an increase in planning and building warrant fee income of £150,000 to reflect increases in the number of applications being received annually; and a saving of £257,897 through the termination of the existing payroll maintenance contract, which is being replaced by a new system.

Also approved – although there will be further development of these before they are implemented – was another £3 million of savings. This includes:

A reduction of £800,000 in the cost of supported living for people with learning disabilities by reviewing the level of 24 hour support provided, the care arrangements in place and creating a new shared accommodation facility.
Reducing spending from the Central Repairs Account by £300,000 to reflect better targeting of the repairs work programme, the major capital investment ongoing in schools and less need for a reactive service.
A saving of £250,000 by reviewing centrally-based educational services staff.
Saving £75,000 by reducing the number of vehicles used to sweep the streets and collect commercial waste – this will be done by using vehicles on a 'double shift' basis, meaning they are used more hours per day.
A review of how often the Council collects different household waste bins to reduce costs by £80,000 as well as the amount of waste that goes to landfill.

In addition, Councillors will be seeking the views of people and communities across South Ayrshire on proposals totalling £1.6 million – that means the Council will consider what the public think of these proposals before any final decisions are made.

The savings proposals communities will be asked for their views on are:

Ensure people get most appropriate care by balancing use of nursing and residential care to reflect support required: £600,000 saving
Review support available to older people for unscheduled care – the care that we don't yet know that people will need – to make best use of resources, put measures in place to reduce likelihood of hospital admissions and improve outcomes: £500,000
Reduce centrally-held Curriculum for Excellence and Determined to Succeed budgets, which support purchase of relevant materials: £150,000
Increase bereavement charges for burial and cremation: £82,000 
Reduce school-based Curriculum for Excellence budget, which supports the purchase of relevant materials: £60,000
Reduce programme of primary school swimming lessons to reflect a more targeted approach: £40,000
Reduce Scheme of Assistance budget for improvement works in mixed tenure blocks (where both Council tenants and private owner-occupiers live), by making less grants available to private owners: £30,000
Increase swimming lesson fee (£3.60 to proposed £5.33 per lesson) to reflect a modernised and enhanced programme with reduced class sizes, lower waiting lists, and extra classes, which supports progression through different swimming levels, includes badges and certificates and unlimited free swimming throughout the programme for those taking swimming lessons (would also include a direct debit payment option): £30,000
Increase sharing of Head Teachers in small schools: £25,000
Remove school transport provision from Maybole Road, which is outwith the statutory guidelines: £25,000
Introduce charge for administering school funds: £20,000
Review the Anti-Social Behaviour Team: £20,000
Introduce proposed charges of between £10-£50 for pre-application planning advice to reflect level of support required such as letter, meeting or site visit: £20,000.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: "Getting the most out of our money is something we all try to achieve and our priority is to ensure that every pound we spend makes a difference for the people and communities of South Ayrshire.

"That's a real challenge as we only have a limited amount of money to spend and there's lots of demands for the services we provide, so it's vital we make the right decisions about where our money goes. The savings agreed today help us do just that by making sure we can balance the budget while protecting – as far as possible – the frontline services that make such a difference to the people of South Ayrshire.

"We understand the impact the decisions we make have on those people and that's why we're seeking the views of our communities on the savings proposals that will have a more direct impact on them – for example, by changing what level of service we deliver or the cost of delivering that service.

"I would encourage as many people as possible to let us know what they think and we will take these views on board before making any further decisions to ensure we continue to deliver the best possible services with the resources available."

Councillor John McDowall, Depute Leader of the Council, added: "Determining where and how we spend the money available to us is the most important decision we make as Councillors and it's not a decision we take lightly. We've worked to put our money where it matters most and where it can make the biggest difference for people. I'm pleased our communities will have the chance to input into that process and let us know what they think of identified savings proposals before any further decisions are made."

Councillor Robin Reid, Portfolio Holder for Resources and Performance, concluded: "Like every Council, we have to live within our means and our focus has been to make sure we're running our services in the most efficient way and looking at where we can make the necessary cuts in costs with minimum impact on frontline service delivery. That's difficult, and it will only get more difficult as time goes on. But I'm confident we've done what we can to achieve that and I look forward to hearing the views of our communities before we make any further decisions."

Plans for gathering community views on identified savings proposals are currently being finalised. In the meantime, any comments or views regarding the budget savings can be emailed to budgetviews@south-ayrshire.gov.uk.

Final decisions regarding these proposals will be made later in the year as part of the 2016/17 and 2017/18 budget setting process. At that time, Councillors will also consider the uncommitted draft reserve balance – the reserves that have not been allocated for projects such as investment in ICT or to support new ways of working, or repairs and renewals. 

The uncommitted general reserves balance – the monies not allocated for specific pieces of work – currently sits at almost £15.22 million, which is 5.8% of the 2015/16 budget. In line with the Council's Financial Strategy, the Council is only required to maintain uncommitted reserves of between 2% and 4% or £5.23 million and £10.46 million.

Councillors will therefore consider the level of reserves it wants to maintain above 2% (£5.23 million) and the use of any additional funds that are then available for investment. 

Full details of the savings and proposals agreed today are available HERE.

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