The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 28 December 2007

Ayrshire architects open branch office on East Coast of Scotland

THE Ayrshire firm of architects Lawrence McPherson Associates has opened a new branch office on the east coast of Scotland in a historic former mill building at Eskmills, Musselburgh.

[Picture: Scott Allan who is heading
up LMA’s new east coast office.]

Founded in 1994, Lawrence McPherson Associates has grown significantly in recent years with an existing staff of 17 people in their Ayr office.

Partner Euan Lawrence commented: “The partners and staff are delighted to be opening our Eskmills office, which is required to satisfy our existing and projected workloads. The Eskmills office will be headed by Scott Allan who lives locally in East Lothian and has extensive experience of the Edinburgh and Lothian development sector.”

[Picture shows: LMA partners Stephen McGhee,
Euan Lawrence (centre) and Stuart McPherson.]

Originally based at Beresford Court in Ayr, Lawrence McPherson Associates is currently based in the former Salvation Army Citadel building in New Road, which has been internally redesigned to provide a high quality design studio.

Current projects for the firm include hotel and restaurant developments throughout Scotland, several large housing developments throughout central Scotland for both national housebuilding companies and housing associations, together with several important healthcare projects including the masterplan for the new Irvine Community Hospital.

Euan added: “Within Ayrshire we are delighted to be working on private residential projects with major companies such as Stewart Milne Holdings, Dickie & Moore, Dawn Homes and Dickie Homes, and on social housing projects with Ayrshire Housing, Shire Housing and Atrium Homes.

“We also enjoy a significant healthcare workload with NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and an extensive hotel and restaurant development programme with Whitbread plc. Our expansion to the east coast has been built on our success in Ayrshire, and we look forward to continuing to grow both offices.”

Projects and further information can be viewed on the firm’s new web site at

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive
reports record festive season traffic

GLASGOW PRESTWICK AIRPORT chief executive Mark Rodwell (pictured above) reports that the Ayrshire airport will be seeing record passenger numbers over the festive period.

Between Friday 21 December and Wednesday 2 January, around 80,000 passengers will pass through the airport – 40,000 inbound and 40,000 outbound.

The total of 80,000 compares very favourably with the same 10-day period last year, when the airport handled approximately 64,000 passengers – an increase of 25%.

New routes introduced since then include Belfast, Budapest, Kaunas, Katowice and Cork. Poznan will start operating in January.

Most popular routes –

London Stansted – 13,500 in total with 7,000 inbound and 6,500 outbound;

Dublin – 7,500 in total with 4,000 inbound and 3,500 outbound;

Paris – 7,000 in total with 3,500 inbound and 3,500 outbound.

ALL flights are operating at an average of just over 80% capacity.

20,000 passengers (with a 50/50 inbound outbound split) will travel on Irish services to Dublin, Belfast, Shannon, Derry, Donegal and Cork.

THE report of these record passenger figures comes in the same week as Infratil, the company which owns Glasgow Prestwick Airport, has scooped two top business accolades at a prestigious award ceremony in its home country of New Zealand.

Infratil received the Deloitte/Management magazine Company of the Year award for 2007, while their chief executive Lloyd Morrison was named Executive of the Year despite strong competition from fellow captains of industry.

The company is well-known for creating shareholder wealth, with average returns of more than 20% per annum since its first investment in 1994.

Judges described Infratil as “one of the world’s most enlightened, best managed, focused and risk-wise investors in growth infrastructure. It is thoughtfully led, articulates its strategy and corporate objectives, and has performed consistently over time.”

They also recognised the organisation’s growing influence beyond its native shores: “Infratil has stepped beyond New Zealand with investments in Australia and Europe. It understands the importance and relevance of the world’s changing environment.”

Infratil Airports chief executive Steve Fitzgerald commented: “We are very confident that our European airport investment strategy will deliver strong returns in the longer term by exhibiting the characteristics the judges have recognised. 

“There are many opportunities to develop the excellent airports we currently own, and we remain on the lookout for new opportunities.”

The awards - in their 18th year and generally regarded as the most prestigious business awards in New Zealand - were a personal triumph for Lloyd Morrison, who is also chairman of Infratil Airports Europe in addition to his role as chief executive of Infratil.

The judges commented: “Lloyd Morrison is an astute and strategically brilliant chief executive. He questions, probes and challenges conventional wisdom.”

They added: “Morrison is an outstanding executive in tune with the market, economic issues and environmental realities. He is also in sync with the needs and aspirations of his employees.”

Morrison founded Infratil and remains the driving force behind the company, which is managed by Morrison & Co – his own firm which specialises in managing and investing in infrastructure assets.

In addition to Glasgow Prestwick, Infratil owns Kent International Airport, Lübeck Airport in Germany, two-thirds of Wellington Airport and a number of energy (mainly renewable) operations and public transport services.

Friday, 21 December 2007

A Christmas and New Year message from
Willie Coffey MSP (SNP Kilmarnock & Loudoun)

“As an Ayrshire man born and bred, I am delighted to represent Kilmarnock & Loudoun in the Scottish Parliament.

“We have such a rich history in Ayrshire - cultural, industrial and political - that has helped make Scotland what she is today. Our landscapes are breathtaking, from the coastal areas right across to the Loudoun Valley. And visitors can be sure of a welcome that is unique in Scotland.

“We can also boast that we have many world-leading brands, whether it be whisky or golf!

“The new Parliament has been very busy since May, and we have great hopes that a positive and sustaining difference can be made that will develop the whole Ayrshire economy. We want to cut red tape, and focus upon those strategic issues that will make the greatest difference to our chances of success.

“Ayrshire already is a great place to live, work and visit. And I will be doing my best to help develop the county over the coming years.

“I believe that Ayrshire is the beating heart of Scotland, and I wish all the readers of Ayrshire Scotland Business News a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year in 2008.”

Willie Coffey MSP
SNP (Kilmarnock & Loudoun)

Willie Coffey’s Scottish Parliament web page

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Christmas message from Des Browne,
MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun

“THE year of 2007 marked my 10th anniversary as the MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun. During the past decade I have seen great change and progress throughout the whole of Ayrshire.

“In 2007 I visited a number of businesses in my constituency like Mahle Engine Systems and TPS Fronius Ltd. At the time of my visit to the former it had taken on more staff, and the latter company is now in the process of finalising with a UK manufacturer their first contract in mainland China. I know from talking to companies like these that there is pride in what has been achieved in our local economy.

“Meeting with local businesses and the relevant agencies ensures that I am aware of the challenges that the economy of Ayrshire faces in sustaining and improving performance. However the performance of Ayrshire in recent years in the growing sectors such as retailing and catering bodes well for 2008, and I am sure that with the co-operation of all levels in governance it will continue to make strides in the right direction.

“I would like to thank Ayrshire Scotland Business News for allowing me to send this message to its readers, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2008.”

[Rt Hon Des Browne, MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun is Secretary of State for Scotland and Secretary of State for Defence].

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Ayr bakery does the salsa and gets its just desserts

AN AYR bakery has become the first company in South Ayrshire to gain a major new food standards award.

The Dessert Depot at the Green Street Lane Business Park has received approval to the SALSA standard (Safe and Local Supplier Approval).

[Picture shows the two directors of The Dessert Depot:
Frances Barron (left) and Ellen McPherson.]

Dessert Depot managing director Frances Barron said: “The team at the Dessert Depot are proud and delighted with the achievement of SALSA.

“This approval recognizes our commitment to quality, and provides our customers and potential customers with the knowledge and peace of mind that they are sourcing products from a company where food safety and hygiene are tightly controlled by a quality management system and are of the highest priority.

“As a marketing tool SALSA is invaluable, and will make our company visible to and give us access to a wider market including national foodservice companies.”

The SALSA, or Safe and Local Supplier Approval, scheme has been developed to help local and regional food and drink producers improve their businesses and supply their products to national and regional buyers who have introduced their own local sourcing initiatives.

The principal criteria of the standard are product safety, legality and quality.

SALSA is a joint venture between four main trade associations representing the UK food chain: the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the National Farmers Union (NFU).

The scheme was set up by the trade associations in recognition that, in many instances, smaller companies were finding currently recognised industry quality assurance standards overly expensive or having disproportionate requirements.

The need for the development of this scheme has been highlighted by an increasing drive for locally sourced food, particularly from foodservice companies and some supermarkets.

Sisters Frances Barron and Ellen McPherson, originally from Drongan, started the Dessert Depot from scratch. They leased an industrial unit, fitted it out using their own savings and a small loan from the bank, and opened for business on 3 January 2003.

At the Dessert Depot they make a range of handmade desserts, patisserie and artisan traybakes. Their traybakes are made from traditional recipes with a contemporary twist.

They also use recipes that their mother passed on to them. She was the main inspiration for them to start their own business. Sadly she died in February 2002, and did not live to see her two daughters gain success.

In four years the two sisters have built up their business from nothing. Their sales figures have consistently doubled every year, and this year will hit £500,000.

Frances and Ellen started off selling their products to coffee shops, delis and hotels. Their aim was always to build a sustainable business with an infrastructure that would support them as they moved forward and grew their business.

They now have three distributors, and Dessert Depot products can be found in establishments from the Highlands to the south of England and also in Ireland.

Three years ago they took the lease of the empty unit next door, which doubled their floor space and made room for new much needed packaging machinery, greater oven capacity and a walk-in chill.

And in August this year, due to the ever increasing demand for their products, they expanded for the second time by acquiring the lease of a third unit where they are now concentrating their shipping and packing activities. This expansion was supported and part funded by a Small Business Improvement loan provided by South Ayrshire Council.

The Dessert Depot Ltd
Unit 11
Green Street Lane Business Park
Ayr KA8 8BE

Telephone: 01292 285566
Fax: 01292 288842


Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Christmas message from Cathy Jamieson,
MSP for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley

“Looking ahead to 2008 there are real
opportunities for businesses in Ayrshire.”

“Looking ahead to 2008 there are real opportunities for businesses in Ayrshire. Larger-scale national and international businesses continue to make a huge contribution to Ayrshire’s economy, and I have been working to ensure that they receive the support they need from government.

“The Scottish Government has announced major changes to Scottish Enterprise, to be implemented in the coming months. I am concerned that the new government has already cut Scottish Enterprise’s annual funding, as well as funding for Innovation and Investment, including Regional Selective Assistance.

“Many of our local businesses are small, and often family run, and I know the challenges they face. It’s important to remember the crucial role they play in the Ayrshire economy, providing employment and vital services in many of our smaller towns and villages.

“Continuing regeneration of our town and village centres is vital to supporting existing businesses, as well as encouraging new ventures. Clean, attractive town and village centres with modern facilities are essential if we want to see people opting to live, work and shop locally.

“Improvements to transport must also remain high on the agenda, with a renewed focus on improving major road and rail links. This will be vital to assist businesses to develop, as well as ensuring people can take up job opportunities across Ayrshire. It will also be key to supporting tourism, particularly as we must make the most of the opportunities in 2009 Year of Homecoming.

“Along with my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament, I will continue to make the case for Ayrshire, and look forward to working to highlight what Ayrshire has to offer.

“I would like to wish all of the readers of Ayrshire Scotland Business News a happy Christmas and a successful 2008.”

[Cathy Jamieson was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, and in 2001 she was appointed Minister for Education and Young People. Following the 2003 election she was appointed Justice Minister and held this post until May 2007 when the administration changed. She is currently Deputy Leader of Labour in the Scottish Parliament.]

Cathy Jamieson’s Scottish Parliament web page
A Christmas message from John Scott, MSP for Ayr

“During 2008 we need to develop still further the Ayrshire brand”

“2007 has seen good progress made in developing the business and tourist sectors in Ayrshire, and I believe we are on the cusp of a time of new opportunity locally.

“During 2008 we need to develop still further the Ayrshire brand, capitalising on our skilled and flexible local workforce, our improving road, rail and air transport links and the growth opportunities that these present to both domestic companies and businesses seeking to relocate or make investments.

“Government at all levels, the enterprise agencies and other business groups all have a part to play in creating the right conditions for growth and development in Ayrshire, and that’s why it is essential that enterprise-friendly policies such as reducing business rates, cutting red tape and speeding up the planning process are given the priority they deserve.

“Above all, we must all work together to send out the message that Ayrshire is a good place to live and work, a part of Scotland that values and encourages economic development, and that as a county we are truly ‘open for business’.

"I am glad to have the opportunity to send this message to readers of Ayrshire Scotland Business News, and wish you all a happy and prosperous 2008."

[John Scott was first elected to the Scottish Parliament in March 2000, after winning the Ayr by-election for the Conservative Party. He was re-elected in May 2003 and again in May 2007.]

John Scott’s Scottish Parliament web page

Monday, 17 December 2007

South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan’s
Christmas Message 2007

“Christmas is an important date on the calendar in many countries, not just because Father Christmas arrives, but because it is a significant time in their religious calendar. A time when they remember the birth of a baby who came into the world in the most basic of places, a stable, and was put to rest in a manger in Bethlehem.

“In our truly multicultural society people follow different religious faiths, and Christmas might not be as significant for some as it is for others. I think it is very healthy that we can all join in the celebrations, respect each other’s religions and special days in the religious calendar of others.

“Traditionally Christmas also is a time when families come together to exchange gifts, eat, drink and enjoy each other’s company, with some family members travelling long distances including students coming home to eat! The extra burden of making this event joyful and stress free tends to fall on the mums. This only lasts for a short time, and we should remember that there will be many other families who will not be in a position to celebrate together, particularly those who have loved ones serving their country in the forces. They will all be in our thoughts and in our hearts.

“The truth is that for many people Christmas Day is a working day. Police officers, fire and rescue officers, medical staff and many others continue to keep important services running. So to all of you who will be working on Christmas Day, thank you for your dedication, and thank you also to your families for supporting you.

“Wherever you will be spending this Christmas and whoever you will be spending it with, enjoy your celebrations.

“2008 is just around the corner, and my wish is that the New Year will bring harmony and prosperity to you all.”
Ayr Racecourse wins top award for the fourth year running

AYR Racecourse has made it four in a row by being voted Racecourse of the Year 2007 for Scotland and the North East by The Racegoers Club.

Ayr also won the award in 2004, 2005 and 2006, which underlines the track’s status as not only Scotland’s premier racecourse but also one of the top courses in the UK.

The award comes as Ayr prepares to open even more new facilities in 2008. Work has begun on a £3.5 million Grandstand Bar which will cater for up to 3,000 people on racedays, and an Owners Bar incorporating a restaurant and with access to a betting shop. Not only will the latter be open to owners and trainers, but also those who wish to take out Owners Club Membership.

The honour from The Racegoers Club is particularly pleasing for those associated with Ayr, as the Club has 6,500 members who are all avid racegoers. Ayr has previously won the award 13 times since 1990.

Ayr Racecourse general manager William Gorol said: “I was delighted to receive this news. It is proof that the improvements we are making are appreciated by members of the Racegoers Club, who are in my eyes aficionados of the sport.

“To win this award four times in a row is especially pleasing, and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for us.”

ATTENDANCES at Ayr Racecourse rose during the 2007 flat season by 7% with an average of 3,934 per meeting.

The flagship flat meeting of the season, the totesport Ayr Gold Cup Festival, recorded its highest three-day attendance (22,000) for more than 30 years.

Other successes were the June Saturday meeting, with an increase of around 30% to 6,500, and the July Family Day which rose by around 10% to just under 4,000.

The 2008 season promises even bigger attendances, with Ayr hosting the Saints and Sinners Charity Night next June for the first time. Organisers have moved the meeting from Hamilton in a bid to increase crowd figures and raise even more money for charity.

Scotland’s premier racecourse has seen an upturn in fortunes since it was bought by Ayrshire businessmen Alan Macdonald and Richard Johnstone in June 2003, and the latest attendance figures are another major step forward.
The new owners have already invested more than £20 million in the course, and that will be increased over the winter with a new £3.5 million Sports Bar being built in the Grand Stand in addition to a new Owners Bar catering for owners, trainers and premium rate members.

Ayr Racecourse general manager William Gorol said: “These figures are a huge boost to us all at Ayr. We are striving to give the best possible deal to racegoers in terms of quality of racing and quality of the facilities, and these figures show we are getting the message across.”

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Glasgow Prestwick Airport flies Ayrshire pupils
to their favourite destinations

PUPILS from ten Prestwick and Troon primary schools have visited Glasgow Prestwick Airport to receive tickets to some of Europe’s top cities.

The group took part in Destination Challenge – a venture between the airport and local schools – and came up trumps amongst their peers.

Primary seven classes at Barassie, Dundonald, Glenburn, Heathfield, Kingcase, Monkton, Muirhead, Struthers, Symington and Troon primaries were given a destination to study.

The pupils had to report back individually with their findings and the winners will be jetting off to the places they have swotted up on.

Class teachers picked the top five entries from each class and airport management selected the overall winner for each class, who received three flight tickets to the places they studied including Paris, Oslo, Frankfurt, Riga, Budapest and many more.

This is the second time schools have taken part in the project after it was successfully launched earlier this year.

Entries were judged on creativity, best effort, knowledge of the area, airline and airport; cultural understanding and history of the area.

The winners received a tour of Glasgow Prestwick Airport during their visit, and chief executive Mark Rodwell (pictured centre above) presented the prizes.

Mark commented: “This project is a fantastic initiative, and a great link between the airport and local schools, as it offers the best possible incentive to learn about these destinations – the chance to actually visit them.

“It was hard to select the winners due to the standard being very high, and it was obvious that a lot of effort had gone into producing them. We hope they enjoy their adventures abroad.”

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce business liaison officer Claire Baird added: “We are working with schools right across Ayrshire to expand their involvement in local businesses and we were delighted to be involved with the Airport’s Destination Challenge project. 

“The students were not only given the chance to learn about a new country but were given the opportunity to win a trip to that country.

“This is a great example of how business involvement adds value to what young people learn at school.”

The full list of winners is as follows –


Saturday, 15 December 2007

Ayrshire children's playcentre wins
award for its healthy food menu

A CHILDREN’S play centre in Ayrshire is the first of its kind to be recognised by thehealthyliving award.

Juniper Jungle in Galston has picked up the major award for its efforts to make it easier for parents and children visiting the establishment’s coffee shop to choose healthier food.

[Picture shows: Juniper Jungle proprietor Colin Logan (right) receiving the award from George McIvor, chairman of Masterchefs of Great Britain.]

Proprietors Colin and Janice Logan from Mauchline decided to apply after reading about the award in their local newspaper. Juniper Jungle has been interested in providing fresh, healthy food in a clean environment since the business opened four years ago, and the healthyliving award provided a way to be formally recognised for offering healthier food choices.

The national award, recently launched by the Scottish Consumer Council, gives national recognition to caterers and the food service sector which take a range of steps to provide healthier options.

It is open to most food serving outlets in Scotland, but specifically places where people go to buy food regularly, such as workplace restaurants, cafes, sandwich shops, further education sites, hospital canteens, and restaurants.

More than 410 eating establishments across Scotland have already signed up to the award, which organisers hope will become a prestigious accreditation and the sign of healthier eating out.

Juniper Jungle is delighted to be the first establishment of its type to achieve the award for adopting a range of healthier practices, including reducing levels of fat, salt and sugar in food and by making fruit and vegetables more easily available.

Colin Logan said: “From the outset of the business we have always been interested in providing healthier food. When we first opened the business we were told that if we offered ‘healthier food’ we would only last 6 months. Three years on we are delighted to achieve the healthyliving award. For us it reinforces the importance of healthier eating and that it is achievable within a business setting.”

Colin added “At first it seemed daunting and like a lot of hard work, but once we read through the guidance we realised we were doing much of it already.

“We are a family-orientated business and it is important that as well as providing a soft play area for the kids, that the coffee shop is a relaxing and attractive area for adults to be. It is also important that the food on offer complements the activity that the children are taking part in.”

Customers visiting Juniper Jungle can select healthier options when they see an item on the menu or at a service area highlighted with the apple logo.

A recent national survey revealed that 81% believe food establishments in Scotland could to do more to provide healthier choices.

The survey, commissioned by the Scottish Consumer Council, also found 94% agreed it was important healthier options were available to people who eat out and 42% said they would buy food from an eating establishment more often if healthier choices were available.

Claire Brown, project manager of the healthyliving award, said: “We are delighted with the response we have received from eating establishments keen to get behind this award.

“Consumers are increasingly on the look out for healthier options when they eat out. It is encouraging that a family-orientated business has achieved the award. Often children’s options on a menu are overlooked, and the provision of healthier food choices on children’s menus is an
important aspect of the award.”

She added: “Juniper Jungle has gone to great efforts to achieve this award and I’m pleased we are able to give them the recognition that they deserve.”

The healthyliving award takes a wide ranging approach to encourage caterers to adopt healthier practices across the board, and will be actively promoted to consumers to help them access healthier options.

To qualify for the award, caterers need to meet a set of key criteria, which includes a commitment to providing and supporting healthier eating, as demonstrated on the menu selection, the way they prepare food, marketing and promotional activities and the way in which food is presented and sold. At least half of the food they serve will need to be a healthyliving choice, prepared using both healthier ingredients and healthier cooking methods, and healthy and nutritious food is required to be available for children in places where they are served.

For further information on the healthyliving award contact 0141 226 5261.

Contact: Juniper Jungle
Newmilns Road

Tel: 01563 829414
Fax: 01563 829415

Friday, 14 December 2007

Spirit Aerosystems Prestwick team presents
replica of historic glider to Glasgow museum

IN the 1890s a young British engineer, Percy Pilcher, was living and working in Glasgow. He was interested in the experiments that other pioneers had carried out in their attempts to fly.

He resolved to design and build his own flying machine, in the hope of being the first to fly a heavier-than-air aircraft in Britain.

In 1895 he succeeded in flying his Bat Mk2 (pictured above) in the hills above Cardross, north of the Clyde. He flew it many times, and demonstrated that he was able to control the machine in flight. He therefore deserves to be regarded as having carried out the first successful flights in Britain.

[Picture shows the replica of Percy Pilcher's Bat Mk2 glider, constructed by a team from Spirit AeroSystems and BAE Systems at Prestwick.]

The idea of building and flying a replica to mark the anniversary of this achievement was first mooted in 1985, one hundred years later.

However, this did not happen, and gradually the project developed until, on the announcement of the building of the new Riverside Museum in Glasgow, it was decided to try to build a reproduction of the glider to be displayed in the new museum.

A small team from both Spirit AeroSystems and BAE Systems at Prestwick, Ayrshire in Scotland, have been working on this project for nearly 10 years in their spare time. The reproduction of the Bat Mk2 has now been finished, and was handed over to the museum on Thursday 13 December 2007.

The glider will go into storage until the museum opens in 2011.

[Picture shows the team, left to right: Steven Cassells, David Wilson, Quentin Wilson, Ian Adams, Professor Dugald Cameron and Eric Littledike standing in front of the replica glider in the small hangar that has been loaned to them by Spirit AeroSystems. Steven and David are employees of Spirit AeroSystems. Quentin and Ian have both retired from BAE Systems and been instrumental in ensuring that this project succeeded. Professor Dugald Cameron initiated the project in the early 1990s when he was then Head of Glasgow School of Art.]

Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Ltd

Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Ltd is based at sites in Prestwick, Ayrshire and Samlesbury, Lancashire. The Prestwick site is home to around 750 employees, and is one of the largest employers in the local area. An additional 80 staff are based at Samlesbury.

The business provides customers in the commercial aerospace market with airframe structures. At manufacturing and engineering levels, this involves producing leading and trailing edges for Airbus wing assemblies, leading edge production for Boeing wings and the manufacture of tail-planes, and ventral tanks and other items for Hawker Beechcraft.

Spirit Aerosystems works closely with its customers, and is involved in the development of innovative production methods and procedures which are achieved through its global supply operations. Relationships with suppliers based across Europe, the USA, the Far East and South Africa have been developed to help deliver cost and efficiency savings back to customers.

One of the company’s key strengths lies in the development of engineering and manufacturing procedures in its UK sites, and then exporting that expertise through its global supply chain. This minimises production costs, while still maintaining Spirit’s in-house levels of quality and precision.

Formerly a division of BAE Systems, the business unit was purchased by Spirit AeroSystems Inc. in April 2006. Spirit Inc. with it’s headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, is the leading supplier of airframe structures and systems in the commercial aviation market.

Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Limited
Building 90
Prestwick International Airport
Prestwick, KA9 2RW
Scotland, UK
+44 (0)1292 479888

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Leading recruitment specialist Adecco’s
Ayr branch achieves another record year

WORLDWIDE recruitment organisation Adecco have achieved another record year at their branch in Ayr.

[Adecco Ayr branch manager Elana Chilton (left) with recruitment consultants Chris Arkley and Karen Butcher.]

Adecco Ayr has built upon its success since it opened in September 2004.

Now based at 3 Wellington Square Adecco has continued to grow, and now has three experienced recruitment consultants working within the Ayrshire market.

Karen Butcher and Chris Arkley now complete the team.

Adecco Ayr branch manager Elana Chilton says: “Having been awarded Adecco Scottish Branch of the Year in 2006, we are keen to capitalise on our success.

“We have grown our market share substantially in 2007, with a real focus on permanent recruitment.

“We have placed a variety of candidates this year in both local and multinational clients throughout Ayrshire, ranging from administrators to engineers.

“Adecco Ayr is fully committed to providing both the candidate and the client with a fantastic experience which results in a happy customer and repeat business.

“We also specialise in temporary recruitment, and provide staff within all disciplines, including catering, production, sales and finance. We are continuing to grow our network and services by adopting an innovative approach to the ever changing requirements of our clients.”

Adecco is the world leader in human resource solutions, with a comprehensive service offering that includes temporary and interim staffing, outsourcing, permanent recruitment, outplacement and career services, training and consulting.

With 6,600 offices in 70 countries and territories, they claim to be perfectly placed to support their vast client base – from local business partners to large global clients.

3 Wellington Square
Tel:01292 292943
Fax:01292 292944

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Clydesdale announces further expansion
of business banking team in Ayrshire

WILLIE MACKIE, managing partner of Clydesdale Bank’s Financial Solutions Centre in Ayr, has announced two senior appointments to further augment his Commercial and Agricultural Banking teams.

[Picture shows, left to right, new managerial appointees Jennifer Craig and David Kennedy with Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre managing partner Willie Mackie.]

David Kennedy (43) from Troon joins has been appointed as senior partner, Corporate and Commercial Banking.

Reporting directly to Willie Mackie, David will be responsible for managing the team of Commercial Business partners who are all based in Ayrshire.

David has over 20 years experience with Clydesdale Bank, having held various senior management roles within Business Banking, most recently as a credit executive within the Bank’s central credit team.

David is already well known in Ayrshire, being a member of Royal Troon Golf Club.

Jennifer Craig (27) from Blackwood, South Lanarkshire joins the team as Asset Finance partner supporting the Agricultural, Commercial and Private Banking teams.

Jennifer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role, where she will be looking to expand the Clydesdale Bank’s hire purchase, leasing and contract hire business across Ayrshire.

Willie Mackie said: “These latest appointments represent a further significant step in the expansion of our regional team here in Ayrshire. The addition of such experienced managers will add further momentum to the delivery of our Integrated Financial Services proposition.”

Clydesdale Bank plc is a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group of companies, an international financial services organisation that provides a comprehensive and integrated range of financial products and services through its group of banks. NAB is one of the world's top 30 financial services companies, and as at 30 September 2005 had total assets of £180 billion. NAB serves 7.7 million banking customers and over 2.3 million wealth management customers. Globally, the National is organised around regional businesses in Australia, Asia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. These regions include the retail bank brands, National Australia Bank in Australia, the Bank of New Zealand, and the Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank in the UK.

Clydesdale Bank PLC in Glasgow became a member of National Australia Bank Group in 1987, with Yorkshire Bank in Leeds joining the Group in 1990.

Clydesdale Bank was established in 1838 in Glasgow and has a proud history of innovation and support for Scottish industry and communities. With over 150 retail branches and a network of Financial Solutions Centres, Clydesdale is one of Scotland's largest banks. Clydesdale is currently expanding its operations into the South of England with its innovative Financial Solutions Centres, offering customers a highly integrated business and private banking service.

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Ayrshire Business News
Kilmarnock travel agent visits new
Cunard cruise ship Queen Victoria

TRAVEL AGENT Julie Muldoon from Kilmarnock in Ayrshire is one of the first people to have had a look over the latest cruise ship from luxury cruise company Cunard, the prestigious Queen Victoria.

Enjoying an exclusive VIP gala overnight event, Julie Muldoon (pictured above) was one of over 30 consultants from award-winning company Travel Counsellors to be invited onboard the impressive ship for a sneak preview.

The ship has been designed to re-capture the elegance and style of a bygone era, whilst combining the very latest state of the art technologies and facilities.

Weighing 90,000 tonnes she can carry 2,014 guests and offers something for everyone, from her world class health club and spa, eight bars and lounges to choose from, Cunardia Museum, lectures, classes and an array evening entertainment.

Julie Muldoon commented: “The Queen Victoria is an absolutely fantastic ship, and I feel very privileged to have been one of the first people to see it and try its facilities for myself.

“The whole experience was wonderful, and I can’t wait to tell my customers all about this amazing ship which really has something for everyone including families, couples, people looking for peace and quiet or those who want to be entertained and inspired.”

Travel Counsellors was recently named UK’s Best Travel Agent at the 2007 Guardian, Observer and Guardian Unlimited travel awards for a second consecutive year.

Travel Counsellors PLC is one of the UK’s largest independent travel companies with turnover at the end of its last financial year (Oct 31 2007) of £212 million, a 21% increase year on year.

Julie Muldoon works from her home in Ayrshire, using Travel Counsellors’ award-winning technology.

Queen Victoria made her maiden voyage departing from Southampton on 11 December 2007 visiting Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Hamburg and Bruges.

For more information telephone 0845 058 7221 or e-mail

Monday, 10 December 2007

Ayrshire wind turbine pioneer Gordon Proven
wins outstanding achievement award

AN AYRSHIRE businessman at the forefront of alternative energy for the past three decades has picked up the Outstanding Achievement Award in the prestigious Scottish Renewables Green Energy Awards.

Gordon Proven (pictured above) set up Stewarton-based Proven Energy in the 1980s, manufacturing small scale wind turbines. The company is now recognised as a world leader in small wind systems.

Gordon was one of eight award winners at the sixth annual awards which took place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Gordon said: “It has always been my vision to help create a greener Scotland, and I was determined to make this achievable through small scale wind turbines. I am delighted and honoured to receive this award.”

[Picture shows Gordon Proven (centre) receiving his award from BBC Scotland news presenter Sally Magnusson (left) and sponsor Jackie Wright (right), the director of Business Growth and Research at Highlands & Islands Enterprise.]

The Outstanding Achievement Award is sponsored by Highland & Islands Enterprise, and director of business growth and research Jackie Wright said: “Gordon has made an outstanding contribution to the renewable energy industry – not only in Scotland but globally.

“Due to his determination, commitment and hard work over the last three decades, Proven Energy has manufactured and installed more than 1500 turbines. Gordon is truly deserving of this award, and is an inspiration to us all.”

Scottish Renewables chief executive Jason Ormiston said: “Gordon has been an enthusiast for renewable energy long before it became fashionable. He set up a company in the 1980s manufacturing a device that could serve the needs of communities all over the world.

“Gordon has made the case for wind energy large and small and his Ayrshire company has gone from strength to strength and is now a world leader in small wind systems.”

Proven Energy is the world’s leading supplier of small scale wind turbines. The high performance turbine is the result of almost thirty years of inspiration, innovation and development.

For more details visit

Scottish Renewables is Scotland’s renewable energy trade body. Established in 1996 it represents nearly 220 companies working in wind, wave, tidal, microgeneration, hydro and biomass.

The trade body’s members currently employ more than 2,500 people in Scotland and have a combined annual turnover of in excess of £500 million. These figures are projected to increase significantly over the next five years.

By 2020, Scotland has the potential to meet more than half of its energy needs from renewable sources.

Scottish renewable website:

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Allison Lightbody Waddell Chartered Surveyors
open branch office in Ayr

AS part of their continuing expansion programme, Glasgow-based chartered surveyors Allison Lightbody Waddell have opened new offices in Ayr.

The office is situated at Falcon House in Barns Street, and will be managed by associate director Anthony Zdanowicz BSc MRICS (pictured above).

Born in Irvine, Anthony was educated at Kilwinning Academy and the University of Paisley, where he gained a BSc degree in Real Estate Management. He has worked as a chartered surveyor for seven years, specialising in commercial property.

Anthony said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of making a significant contribution to the expansion in Ayrshire of a dynamic firm like Allison Lightbody Waddell.”

[Picture shows: Anthony Zdanowicz, second from right, with ALW Surveyors directors, left to right, Graham Waddell, David Allison and Sandy Lightbody. Click on image to view full-size version.]

Director Graham Waddell said: “At Allison Lightbody Waddell we pride ourselves on a close director-led service, valued by an established clientele and an increasing number of new clients. The underlying philosophy, shared by everyone at the firm, is to add value to the client at every opportunity, with a strong desire to extend this successful business concept geographically.

“With an increasing amount of work being undertaken in Ayrshire, partly helped by the M77 upgrade and relative ease of access to their head office at Glasgow, it was a logical move, and it was felt very strongly that for an Ayrshire operation to be a complete success it had to be firmly based in the centre of the principle county town of Ayr.

“Anthony will be able to significantly increase the existing business that Allison Lightbody Waddell conducts in Ayrshire, and help to make the firm a significant player in the area. He has a strong track record, having practised with a major firm in the area and has developed an excellent network of existing clients, being very much Ayrshire born and bred. As well as excellent business contacts and an in-depth knowledge of the Ayrshire property market, he has an intuitive understanding and empathy about what makes Ayrshire tick.”

Allison Lightbody Waddell advise and act for clients throughout the whole commercial property ownership experience, from initial acquisition to asset management, tenant matters, lettings, rent reviews, lease renewals and ultimate asset disposal.

For further information telephone 01292 430313 or visit

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Ayr retailers win awards for best Christmas shop window displays

SOUTH Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan has presented prizes to the winners of the Best Dressed Christmas Window in Ayr Independent Retailer and the winner of the Multiple Retailer section.

Provost Winifred Sloan said: “I would like to congratulate the staff of all the shops in Ayr who went to a lot of effort and spent time decorating their premises. Choosing the winners was a very difficult, although enjoyable task. I was delighted to present the trophies to the winners and runners-up, and hope that they inspire others to help make Ayr town centre colourful and full of festive fun at this special time of year.”

Richard Devine, A Picken & Sons Butchers won the trophy for Independent Retailer and Wendy Russell, World of Art was awarded the runner-up trophy.

The Kyle Centre in Ayr won the trophy the Multiple Trader class and it was presented to Dave Rose, Kyle Centre manager. Elaine Connell, manageress of Henderson’s was awarded the runner-up trophy.

In addition to the trophies, the winners will receive two patrons tickets for the 2008 Ayr Flower Show that were donated by the organisers of the Show. The winners will also receive tickets from the Council to see the pantomime at the Gaiety Theatre in Ayr.

The competition was supported by Ayr and Prestwick Lions, Ayr Retailers Committee, Ayr Rotary Club, Ayr Chamber of Commerce, Ayr Guildry and Ayr Flower Show.

Pictured outside A Picken & Sons Butchers who won Best Dressed Christmas Window Display Independent Trader 2007 are (left to right): John Walker, chairman of Ayr Flower Show; Provost Winifred Sloan; A Picken & Sons Butchers manager Richard Devine; John Kean, Ayr Rotary; and Stuart Hudson, Ayr and Prestwick Lions.

Pictured inside the World of Art who were runners-up in the Best Dressed Christmas Window Display Independent Trader 2007 are (left to right): John Kean, Ayr Rotary Club; Wendy Russell, World of Art; Provost Winifred Sloan; and John Walker, chairman of Ayr Flower Show.

Pictured in Ayr Kyle Centre, winner of the trophy for the Multiple Trader class of the Best Dressed Christmas Window Display 2007 are (left to right): John Walker, chairman of Ayr Flower Show; Provost Winifred Sloan; Dave Rose, manager of the Kyle Centre; Stuart Hudson, Ayr and Prestwick Lions; and Jim Young, Ayr and Prestwick Lions.

Pictured outside Hendersons’ are (left to right): John Walker, chairman of Ayr Flower Show; Provost Winifred Sloan; Hendersons’ manageress Elaine Connell; Stuart Hudson, Ayr and Prestwick Lions; and Jim Young, Ayr and Prestwick Lions.

Friday, 7 December 2007

£150m Auchincruive regeneration will
create 2000 new jobs in Ayrshire

AN OUTLINE planning application to invest up to £150million in the transformation of 300 hectares of Ayrshire land, bringing more than 2,000 jobs to the local community, has been lodged with South Ayrshire Council.

The proposed masterplan for the regeneration of the Scottish Agricultural College’s Auchincruive Estate, near Ayr, was lodged by joint applicants AWG Property - appointed by SAC to spearhead the redevelopment - and SAC.

The masterplan will see the redevelopment of listed Oswald Hall (pictured above) into a hotel and conference centre, an 18-hole championship golf course, equestrian centre and additional leisure and outdoor facilities.

The proposal will also see the creation of state-of-the-art business and research units, and a sensitively developed residential element, providing opportunities for individuals and families to both work and have access to leisure opportunities on-site. It is estimated that in total the project is likely to create over 2,000 jobs, and the value to the economy generated by the completed development is estimated to be £80m per annum.

The masterplan comes as part of the SAC's plans to transform its business and estates to meet the challenges of the 21st century, enabling reinvestment to provide state-of-the-art facilities and services in Ayrshire, including the development of Craigie Campus in Ayr. SAC will retain an element of research and business related functions at Auchincruive.

The phased transformation of the estate will take account of its rich natural and historic heritage, retaining a number of historic aspects of the site. The listed buildings located within the site boundary, including Oswald Hall, Oswald's Temple/Tea House, Wilson Hall (pictured above) and Gibbs Yard will be retained, sensitively refurbished, upgraded and reused for a variety of purposes. Important landscape features, such as the extensive woodland copses, ornamental gardens and the arboretum will be retained and restored, and in the case of the woodland areas, will be supplemented as necessary.

The estate is well used by the public for outdoor recreation purposes and as part of the overall development strategy, it is proposed that the existing network of car parks, footpaths, cycleways and bridleways be supplemented to improve public access.

AWG Property managing director Tony Donnelly said: “The proposed redevelopment of the stunning Auchincruive estate is extremely exciting and will create over 2,000 jobs, as well as considerably enhancing the local offering through a mix of commercial, residential and leisure opportunities.

“In finalising these proposals we were aware of the high regard in which the estate is held and, in conjunction with SAC, have ensured the masterplan is sympathetic to the site's rural character, taking into accounts its rich natural and historic heritage, while offering the best facilities.

“The strategy throughout the community engagement exercise undertaken was to ensure that all the key parties involved had the opportunity to feed into the process, and we have taken this input into account in developing a proposal which Ayrshire can be proud of.”

SAC chief executive Professor Bill McKelvey said: “Proposals for the regeneration of Auchincruive will not only secure a sustainable future for SAC in the south west of Scotland, but also help realise the full potential of the estate for the benefit of the local community in Ayrshire. We are pleased to be working in partnership with AWG to facilitate this development.

“The release of land at Auchincruive will enable us to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and services in south west Scotland, benefiting both students and clients. Our aim is to provide fit for purpose education and training services through developing partnerships with Higher and Further Education Institutions through securing appropriate modern facilities for staff and students. A major part of the SAC plan is to develop a joint Higher Education campus in partnership with University of Paisley at Craigie campus in Ayr. This planned development is important for the ongoing economic development of Ayrshire and will make a major contribution to the local community.”

[Picture shows the SAC's Ayr Campus at Auchincruive.]

The public will be able to view the proposed plans at Oswald Hall, Auchincruive; at Carnegie Library in Ayr High Street and on the SAC website at:

AWG Property was selected by SAC to develop a vision for the long term regeneration and use of the site following an exhaustive selection process during 2005.

The Concept Masterplan will provide a context for the future development of Auchincruive. Detailed design proposals will be formulated in discussions with South Ayrshire Council and other stakeholders such as Historic Scotland to ensure that a high quality living, working and leisure environment is achieved.

Should the proposals be agreed, it is agreed that work on site will commence in early 2009 and be completed in phases up until 2016.

The Auchincruive site is located on the B743 Ayr to Mauchline road about 3 miles inland from the centre of Ayr itself.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Saira Hayat’s Eastern Treasure boutique opens in George Street Ayr

WHEN a young Ayr lady decided to open her own shop recently, she could draw upon not only her own experience in the retail trade, but also that of her father.

The parents of Saira Hayat (24) came to this country from Pakistan almost 40 years ago and set up a grocer’s shop in Prestwick, which has now moved to Lochside in Ayr.

Saira went to Prestwick Academy, and then went on to obtain a diploma in Arts at Cardonald College in Glasgow, specialising in jewellery design and manufacture.

She originally intended to set up her own jewellery business, but deciding the market wasn’t quite right, she opted instead for working in various retail shops including The Changing Room and Monsoon, followed by a spell at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

At last this year Saira decided that the time had come for her to start out on her own, and she made out her business plan.

Her new boutique Eastern Treasure opened this month in George Street, Ayr, opposite TK Maxx, offering a wide and intriguing selection of merchandise from Asia, including dresses, tunics, pashminas, shoes, jewellery, bags, gifts and accessories.

Saira also offers a henna body art service which is unique in Ayr.

She is catering for all ages from youngsters to pensioners, and anything that she does not already have in stock can be sourced on request.

For more information telephone 01292 880082.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Children's flight to Lapland lifts off from Glasgow Prestwick Airport

CHILDREN from all over Scotland arrived at Glasgow Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire this morning set for a memorable visit to Lapland.

[Picture shows: Glasgow Prestwick Airport's Carrie Paterson and Gemma Rooney with six-year-old Keiran MacLean.]

Every year the charity When You Wish Upon A Star take planeloads of courageous youngsters who suffer from life threatening illnesses to meet the real Santa Claus.

And this morning the Nottingham-based charity took to the skies from Prestwick for the second time, after last year’s trip - their first from Scotland - was deemed a huge success.

An aircraft carrying 70 youngsters, family members and carers on board took off at 7am this morning and is due to return at 9.30pm tonight.

Also on board and tasked with keeping spirits high throughout the day were the BBC’s Jeremy Spake, who has close links with When You Wish Upon A Star, and Chico of X Factor fame.

[Picture shows: Chico seen with Keith & Kay Stephen and their six-year-old son Gregor.]

The trip allows the brave youngsters and their families to put their troubles aside for a short time, and Lapland has plenty to keep them occupied, with giant snowmen and sleigh rides with Rudolph and teams of huskies among the attractions.

The mood was best summed up by East Kilbride mum Tammi McManus who was travelling with her six-year-old son Anton, who was supposed to visit Lapland with the charity last year, but was unable to travel.

[Picture shows: Chico with six-year-old Anton McManus and mum Tammi.]

Tammi said: “It’s the brightest I have ever seen him at five in the morning!” and revealed that Anton had never been on a plane or seen ‘real’ snow.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell revealed that the airport agreed to waive the normal landing, handling and parking charges to show support for the charity, while those who travelled on the flight were given free car parking facilities.

Mark commented: “It was great to see the children and their families here this morning looking so excited. The charity behind this is a very worthwhile cause to support, as the children and their families have experienced some hard times.

“We hope this trip will bring some much-needed fun into their lives and a smile to their faces. The airport has done everything we can to help make their experience a happy one.”

Nuance, operators of the Tax and Duty Free store at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, and WH Smith both contributed to the goodie bags handed out by the airport, which also included a group photograph of everyone before they left.

SSP, who operate most of the airport’s food and beverage outlets, supplied refreshments, while check-in staff got into the spirit of things by dressing up as Elves.

[Picture shows: Children, families and carers ready for take-off.]

The charity hopes that this year’s trip will give the youngsters a massive boost, some priceless memories and, hopefully, put them firmly on the road to recovery.

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce wins
Excellence in Membership Growth award

AYRSHIRE Chamber of Commerce has been awarded the award for Excellence in Membership Growth at this year’s national Chamber Awards. The award, sponsored by Composite Legal Expenses is given to the Chamber of Commerce that, in the opinion of the judges, has best committed to the growth of its membership by the provision of excellent services.

[Picture shows: Ayrshire Chamber deputy chief executive Valerie Russell, president Carolyn Elder, development manager Helen McBride and chief executive Bob Leitch.]

John Mullin, managing director of Composite Legal Expenses said: “Membership growth is what the Chambers are all about. A growing and retained membership points to a highly successful Chamber that is meeting (and probably exceeding) the needs of its membership. Ayrshire stood out amongst the competition for its achievements here along with its often unique and innovative approach. In Ayrshire members are often based in remote areas, so the Chamber has taken the opportunity of introducing an ‘e-membership pack’ and this has had the effect of attracting members and significantly reducing the Chamber’s carbon footprint. Also we were struck by how education and business have been linked by the Chamber through its full exploitation of an initiative called ‘Determined to Succeed’.”

Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry chief executive Bob Leitch said: “We are very proud our membership work at the Chamber and to receive this award. A Chamber is only as good as the members it has and its ability to attract new ones reflects this. By focusing on the delivery of high quality services and a commitment to continued innovation, we have managed to maintain a very healthy rate of growth and retention.”

The Chamber Awards were launched by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) in 2004 to recognise and celebrate business excellence through the successes and achievements of its Accredited Chambers of Commerce and their members. More details on the awards and the individual winners can be found at

BCC director general David Frost said: “Membership growth follows continued innovation and commitment to meeting the needs of your local business community. Ayrshire set a standard that all Chambers could learn a great deal from. There was very tough competition for this award, but Ayrshire impressed the judges with the range and creativity of its approach to membership. Congratulations.”

Saturday, 1 December 2007

First zero carbon homes in Scotland to be built in Ayrshire

PLANS to build the first Scottish sustainable homes to zero carbon standard have been unveiled.

A consortium of EcoPlus Homes, Sustainable Homes Scotland (SHS), Formworks UK and SIPS Industries can now confirm that they have a site in Ayrshire where they are ready to begin building as soon as Spring 2008 the first zero carbon homes to a design prototype they have been testing.

The development involves an investment of £50 million, and will create 150 new jobs in East Ayrshire.


The homes will be built in Galston, East Ayrshire, at a site (pictured above) owned by Allseasons at the Meadows, an ecological tourism development.

Stephen Huber commercial director of SHS, a networking platform who organised the first Scottish Zero Carbon Housing Conference in Edinburgh, said: “We are excited to see this sustainable project coming together. We want to take all aspects of sustainability into account, and utilise the experience in highly energy-efficient buildings that has been gained over the last 15 years in Europe. The sustainable dimension of the project is unprecedented in its scale and dimension in this country, and will serve as a showcase for zero carbon housing in the UK and the whole world. We want to bring Scotland to the forefront of sustainable housing, as many other countries in Europe are many years of experience ahead.

[Artist's impression of the new development. CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW FULL-SIZE VERSION]

Attended by members of the Scottish Government, prominent housebuilding bodies and industry professionals across Scotland, the Scottish Zero Carbon Housing Conference was well received and shed light on the various aspects of sustainable and zero carbon housing.

One approach that has been tested for years in Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland is the Passive House concept. It is a voluntary building standard that exceeds the present regulations. Built according to this standard, the need for heating will be reduced by 90%. Compared to conventional build, which has an average heating demand of 150kWh/m2a, these homes need only 15kWh/m2a.The remaining heating and hot water demand can be covered almost completely by renewable energies. Zero Carbon Housing will be achieved by additionally reducing the electricity demand and alternative means of supply.

Eco Plus Homes are based in Edinburgh and specialise in highly energy-efficient and environmentally friendly housing. Thomas Froehlich, technical director of EcoPlus Homes comments: “The site, beautifully situated around a lake, is the ideal place for us to commence such a development. With the commercial application of highly energy-efficient housing, we want to show that ecology and economy can go together.”

Allseasons at the Meadows is an ecological tourism development based at Galston, East Ayrshire. The site has been created as a nature reserve by the owners of the company Andrew (pictured above) and Jennifer Malcolm, and the land and 25 acre loch are home to many types of wildlife and endemic and migratory birdlife.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Fouters Restaurant in Ayr celebrates 30 years of fine dining

DESCRIBED on its website as “the small restaurant with the big reputation”, the ever popular Fouters in Ayr’s Academy Street, off the Sandgate, is celebrating its 30th anniversary of fine dining this year.

Outwardly, nothing much has changed. Located in an 18th century converted bank vault down off street level, the stone floors, uncomplicated décor and sense of subterranean calm make it a rather serene and familiar dining venue for its numerous regular clientele.

But new furnishings and fittings and a relatively new man at the helm have given the place an extra buzz and excitement.

George Ramage (45) took over earlier this year from Brian and Odette Murphy, and looks set to carry the famous restaurant on to new heights of achievement and popularity.

George, originally from Greenock, but who now lives in Troon with his partner of ten years Fiona, already boasts a distinguished CV in the catering industry.

Trained at the Gleneagles Hotel, he continued his career at Malin Court and several country house hotels in England before being appointed head chef at Auchrannie House Hotel on the Isle of Arran, where he stayed 10 years before moving to the Bank restaurant in Prestwick.

Insistent upon using fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from local suppliers wherever possible, George continues a long tradition at Fouters of specialising in a cuisine that is essentially a blend of classical French and Scottish but with an original twist.

One of his favourite signature dishes is roast rack of new season local lamb with pine nut, garlic and herb crust accompanied by honey roast root vegetables and redcurrant and thyme jus.

Asked what his ambitions for Fouters is, George replied: “I want Fouters to be not only a special occasion restaurant as it has perhaps tended to have been in the past, but somewhere for everyone to come, on any occasion.”

Prices remain eminently reasonable at this fine dining venue that has already achieved success, but whose best days are undoubtedly yet to come.

For more information telephone 01292 261391 e-mail or visit


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Thursday, 29 November 2007

New Trust takes ownership of historic Dumfries House in Ayrshire

OWNERSHIP of one of the most valuable and intact historic properties in the UK, Dumfries House in Ayrshire, has passed to The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust it was announced yesterday.

The Trust has been established to preserve and maintain the house and its magnificent contents and open it to the public, which is expected to happen in summer 2008.

The news comes at the summit of a hard fought and successful campaign launched by SAVE Britain’s Heritage in March 2007 to save Dumfries House for the nation after it had been put on the market by John Bute, the 7th Marquis of Bute.

Situated in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, about 50 minutes from Glasgow and 20 from Glasgow Prestwick Airport, the house is one of the most important Georgian houses in the UK.

Dating from the time of the Scottish Enlightenment it contains an outstanding collection of untouched 18th century furniture selected specifically for the house at the time it was built, including pieces by Thomas Chippendale and his Scottish contemporaries William Matthie, Alexander Peter and Francis Brodie.

Its contents of historic furniture were also due to be sold separately at an auction held by Christie's on 12 and 13 July 2007.

Most of the interior of Dumfries House is exactly as it was when it was first built.

In May 2007 The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, approached SAVE to offer its support and announced its pledge of £2 million - the largest in The Art Fund’s history, later increased to £2.25m.

The Art Fund was able, because of its status as a ‘Schedule 3’ body, to undertake a private treaty sale, which reduces the price to the buyers because the Inland Revenue writes off capital gains tax when the purchaser is a heritage body.

“We are thrilled that The Art Fund has been able to act as the formal legal purchaser of the house and its unique collection, enabling the sale to be organised at the eleventh hour,” said Art Fund director David Barry.

“The Art Fund has been a driving force in putting together the unique funding package behind this extraordinary campaign, and I look forward to the opening of the house and its unique contents for the public to enjoy next year.”

Funding was also attracted by the Art Fund from The Monument Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation and Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement.

Other major contributors include the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Scottish Government, and HRH The Prince of Wales, through the Prince’s Charities Foundation, who responded generously to the challenge of saving the unique collection.


"Call for prince's plan to put jobs ahead of design"

To read article CLICK HERE
Ayrshire business makes success of breeding Chinese Shar Pei dogs

A YOUNG woman from Stevenston in Ayrshire has turned a life long love of animals into a growing business.

Jennifer Grant (pictured above) has established a new company that breeds Chinese Shar Pei dogs and is the only mini Shar Pei breeder in the UK. A talented artist, Jennifer also offers fine art portraits of the Shar Pei breed.

Her business, Jen’s House of Wrinkles – named after the Shar Pei’s distinctive deep wrinkles - is already going from strength to strength, with customers showing interest from across the UK.

Jennifer has always loved Shar Pei, and her dogs are part of the family. Earlier this year, she made the decision to use her experience, passion and knowledge of the breed to start up her own business.

To help turn her business ideas into business reality, Jennifer visited Business Gateway in Irvine which provided her with information, advice and support.

Her Business Gateway adviser worked with her to develop a professional business plan, put her ideas into action and put her in touch with a number of other agencies that provided financial support including Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust, Broker Scotland and Jobcentre Plus.

A mother of one daughter, Jennifer has had to overcome a number of difficulties including coping with complex Crohn’s disease and severe dyslexia. Despite this, Jen’s House of Wrinkles is proving to be a real success.

Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire Business Gateway manager Joy Love said: “Jennifer is a great example of someone who is determined to succeed. We’ve worked closely with her in the months leading up to the launch of her new business, and it is clear that she is doing something that she is passionate about. I have no doubt that she will make a great success of Jen’s House of Wrinkles.”

Jennifer said: “I have been interested in this unique loving breed of dogs for many years, and I am delighted to be able to share my love of Shar Pei with my customers. The help I received from Business Gateway has been invaluable, and I am still in regular contact with my business adviser to make sure that Jen’s House of Wrinkles succeeds. I have combined my love of art and my love of Shar Pei, and am now running my dream business.”

For more information about Jennifer’s business, visit the Jen’s House of Wrinkles website or call 01294 467096.