The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 6 June 2008

First Minister Alex Salmond and
Prince Charles open Dumfries House

By: Murdoch MacDonald

THE historic opening of Dumfries House to the public will have a positive economic impact on East Ayrshire and surrounding areas, First Minister Alex Salmond said today (Friday 6 June).

The First Minister was speaking as he joined His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, at the official opening of Dumfries House, granting public access to the property for the first time in 250 years.

The Scottish Government was part of the consortium, brought together by The Prince, who reached agreement with the Marquis of Bute to purchase the 18th century Dumfries House and its collection to safeguard for the nation.

[Pictured at the official opening of Dumfries House: First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond (front row centre). On the First Minister's right is East Ayrshire Council Provost Stephanie Young, and to her right is Dumfries House chief executive Michael Schafer. On the First Minister's left is East Ayrshire Council chief executive Fiona Lees, and to her left is the Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire John Duncan. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

The First Minister said: “The opening of Dumfries House to the public is a historic and exciting occasion. The property itself is stunning, its furniture collection exquisite, all of which will leave a lasting impression on the great number of visitors it will undoubtedly attract.

“Yesterday, I addressed the Sustainable Places: A Scottish Future conference held in the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh. I made clear that our ambitions for sustainable development in Scotland resonate with the collaborative planning approach developed by the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment.

“And today we see The Foundation’s shared principles of community involvement and inclusion at the heart of the work in and around Dumfries House.

“The efforts of The Prince and the consortium to save Dumfries House and the development signify the collaborative approach taken by The Foundation. In addition to opening the doors of this magnificent house, economic opportunities have been created through a significant boost to tourism and regeneration.

“I look forward to seeing the future proposals from The Prince’s Foundation following the purchase of the adjoining land to Dumfries House with a view to further regeneration work in Cumnock.

“The 250 year wait to gain full public access to Dumfries House has been well worth the wait. The benefits of its opening will be experienced far wider than Cumnock, Ayrshire and the South West. An internationally acclaimed house is now open to Scotland and visitors from around the world.”

The internationally renowned Dumfries House and its collection of Chippendale and other contemporary furniture, was saved from sale and certain break-up almost a year ago after a dramatic last minute intervention by The Prince, leading a consortium of heritage groups.

The opening marks a significant step towards realising The Prince’s vision for the project, which is to use the House and surrounding land as a catalyst for the economic regeneration of the whole local area.

With £25m contributed by the Scottish Government and heritage organisations and trusts, and £20 million borrowed and provided by His Royal Highness personally, the House, its wonderful collection of furniture and its 2,000 acre estate were saved for the nation only hours before expiry of the deadline for sale at auction. The acquisition was subsequently described by the First Minister Alex Salmond as the “save of the century”.

The organisations involved included The Prince’s Charities Foundation, the Scottish Government, The Art Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Monument Trust, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and SAVE Britain’s Heritage. The Art Fund acted as the formal legal purchaser of the house and its contents and subsequently passed them to the independent charity, The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust.

Michael Schafer, the chief executive of the Trust which was established to preserve and maintain Dumfries House and to open it to the public, said: "Since it was acquired last November, months of hard work have gone into turning the property from a private house into a visitor attraction. It has been a major task to ensure that it and we are ready to welcome public tours this summer."

[Pictured: Michael Schafer, left, chief executive of The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust, accompanying His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, at the official opening of Dumfries House.]

Michael Schafer stressed: "This is very much a continuing project, and this summer’s visitors will see the House as a ‘work-in-progress’.

"The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust, to give it its full title, was determined that the public should be able to visit this year, and we are looking forward greatly to welcoming many visitors from the surrounding communities and from further afield in the coming months."

At the same time as Dumfries House was acquired for the nation, The Prince’s Charities Foundation purchased land adjoining the nearby town of Cumnock for development. It is intended that the opening of the house to the public, and the development of this related land, will together act as powerful agents of economic regeneration for the immediate area and beyond. There is a continuing and extensive public consultation process for the development project led by The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment.

Dumfries House in East Ayrshire was designed by the Adam brothers and is internationally renowned for its unique collection of furniture originally bought for the house and made by Thomas Chippendale and the contemporary Edinburgh furniture makers William Mathie, Alexander Peter and Francis Brodie.

Dumfries House website: CLICK HERE

Visiting Dumfries House

To protect the fabric of the Dumfries House building and its unique collection of British furniture – one of the finest in the world – access will be by booked guided tours only. Tickets can be arranged by telephone on 01290 551111 or by on-line booking request form: CLICK HERE

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Thursday, 5 June 2008

Glasgow Prestwick Airport launches new property website

By: Neil Richardson

GLASGOW PRESTWICK AIRPORT today launched a new microsite which is dedicated exclusively to its property portfolio.

The site complements the airport’s primary website and provides interested parties with information on all available property, including detailed accommodation descriptions, layouts and prices.

[Pictured: Aerial view of Glasgow Prestwick Airport. CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

It also offers a more user-friendly layout and an updated look, and customers can search for property by type or location.

To make navigating the site even easier, the search function includes an interactive airport map that allows users to click on their preferred location and link directly to the details of specific properties.

As a Gateway to Scotland, the airport allows customers to operate more efficiently by capitalising on the connectivity of the airport location to the other main transport infrastructures including rail, sea and road.

With the added benefit of conference and training facilities on site, the airport is the ideal commercial hub for businesses to take advantage of its strategic location.

In addition to the business facilities customers can also take advantage of new food, beverage and retail facilities.

Glasgow Prestwick Airport commercial manager Arlane Fleming said: “This new site gives us greater exposure when it comes to promoting the property assets we have here.

“It contains detailed information about what we have available to lease or rent, and the information is there for anyone who wants it. Potential customers can now search for property outwith office hours if they wish.”

Among the property assets showcased on the new website is the 36-acre residential quarters of the former military base HMS Gannet, comprising 214 rooms and amenities like tennis courts, playing fields and a gym. This would lend itself ideally to hostel-style accommodation or other residential use.

The site also features a commercial area which has a wide variety of self-contained light industrial/commercial and office units with car parking / yard facilities.

To view Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s property website CLICK HERE

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Digital CCTV systems provider Visimetrics
appoints new business development manager

SPECIALIST recording and storage systems manufacturer Visimetrics has appointed a new business development manager to focus on the company’s growing IP-centric recording solutions.

Mark Blackwood (pictured above) joins the company with more than 20 years security industry experience, most recently at ADI where he was responsible for business development of IP-based CCTV solutions.

Mark will be supporting current and future customers with system design and technical consultancy, specifically in the area of IP-based distributed recording solutions.

Commercial director Craig Howie confirms: “We are delighted to welcome Mark to the company. His extensive expertise in the field of IP-based systems will benefit the growth of our highly successful NVR solutions, OCTAR Net and OCTAR Net Array in particular.”

Mark Blackwood said: “Visimetrics has an extensively proven array of very high quality recording solutions to meet the requirements of almost any application. It was important to me to work closely with a technology-driven company where I could feed customers requirements directly into the development cycle.

“The technical capability of Visimetrics, particularly when considering the progression of IP-based recording systems, was a major lure personally and a significant benefit in quickly delivering solutions to customers needs.”

Visimetrics (UK) Ltd specialises in the development, manufacture, distribution and marketing of high-performance digital systems for CCTV and Video Surveillance. Visimetrics has gained a significant reputation for providing leading edge security solutions backed by a world-class quality and service culture.

Contact: Barry Rooney
Managing Director
Visimetrics (UK) Ltd
Skye House
Skye Road
Prestwick KA9 2TA
Ayrshire, Scotland

Tel: +44 (0)1292 673770
Fax: +44 (0)1292 677990

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South Ayrshire Police get on their bikes to patrol schools

SOUTH AYRSHIRE Community Safety Partnership has funded the purchase of four bicycles, one for each of the Campus Police Officers who work in Ayr Academy, Belmont Academy, Kyle Academy and Marr College.

[Pictured at Ayr Academy with the new Campus Police Officer bicycles are (left to right back row) PC John Munn from Kyle Academy, PC Peter Brown from Ayr Academy, David Mathieson, Head Teacher of Ayr Academy, Councillor Margaret Toner, Chair of the South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership, PC Claire Jack from Belmont Academy and PC Colin Jones from Marr College. Pictured with them are (front row left to right) Ayr Academy S5 pupils Amy Brown and Shaunnie Gillon. CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

Since February 2008 the Police Officers have been based in the four secondary schools and been actively working with pupils, teachers, the feeder primary schools and the local communities at their respective schools.

Councillor Margaret Toner, Depute Leader of the Council and Chair of the South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership said: “The Campus Police Officers have proved to be a great asset in the schools and the local communities. We decided to fund the purchase of a bicycle for each of them so that they can travel in their respective areas in a way that makes them highly visible. They will be using pedal power to drive forward the valuable work that they are carrying out.

“The Partnership supports and promotes activities for young people to encourage them to become involved in their communities and to help prevent them becoming involved in antisocial behaviour. We are continuing to build on our success by further strengthening links between young people and the rest of the community. The Campus Police Officers are a vital part of this and are involved in a wide range of initiatives such as organising diversionary schemes, school trips and pupil development programmes.”

Campus Police Officers focus on improving support for pupils, their families and the whole school community by:

* Improving relationships between young people and the Police.
* Engaging with young people and developing their role in the community.
* Problem solving in the school and community.
* Helping local people to have more say in community safety issues in the school and community.
* Participating in the Pupil’s Council/Forum.
* Developing and delivering specific projects such as Internet safety, youth crime prevention and personal safety.
* Providing a visible presence in and around the school community.
* Linking young people to existing constructive activities.
* Supporting and developing activities to address challenging behaviour.
* Linking young people to programmes and support already in place.
* Liaising with departments and organisations already involved in delivering programmes for young people.
* Promoting a restorative justice approach to encourage young people to take responsibility for their school and community.
* Reducing the number of offences in and around schools.
* Increasing the number of pupils who feel safe in school.

Superintendent John Hazlett, Sub-Divisional Officer, Ayr Police Office, said: “The Campus Police Officers help forge better links between the police, teaching staff, pupils and the wider local community. My officers provide a visible presence in and around the school community and they are involved in a wide range of initiatives such as organising diversionary schemes, school trips and pupil development programmes. The purchase of the new bicycles will allow the officers to travel within their area and be more visible and readily available to the local community.”

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Sailwest Project will attract more
sailing enthusiasts to South Ayrshire

MEMBERS of South Ayrshire Council’s Leadership Panel have agreed to the submission of a funding application to the Sailwest Project, which could lead to the economy of South Ayrshire being boosted by three exciting maritime projects.

[Pictured: Maidens in South Ayrshire, looking north. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD ANY IMAGE.]

The Sailwest Project is part of a European co-operation programme for the period 2007 to 20013. The programme is administered by the Special European Union Programme Body that has a history of administering previous cross-border programmes in Ireland. There are seventeen partners in the programme, and Donegal County Council is leading on the project of which South Ayrshire is a major partner.

In July 2007 members of the Panel approved the development of a preparatory bid to allow a full and detailed application to be developed. This has now been completed and South Ayrshire has three projects contained in their bid:

* Girvan Harbour: Creation of 29 extra pontoon berths at a cost of £400,000 that would be jointly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) £300,000, Scottish Enterprise £50,000 and South Ayrshire Council £50,000.

* Maidens: Feasibility study to create a marina. Estimated cost of £60,00 funded by Scottish Enterprise and ERDF. The Council would project manage the study and facilitate the cashflow.

* Ayr: Feasibility study to create a marina. Estimated cost of £147,000 funded by ERDF £110,250, Scottish Enterprise £18,375 and South Ayrshire Council £18,375.

[Pictured : Ayr Harbour.]

The projects will be promoted through joint marketing and promotion activity aimed at stimulating increased tourism interest in the sailing potential of the area. The Council would require to provide a cash contribution of £75,795 over the three years of the project, out of a total project cots of £750,000.

Councillor Hywel Davies, the Council’s Portfolio Carrier for Learning and Prosperity said: “To sail the Clyde Estuary is the ambition of many sailors, it is already one of the most sailed routes in Scotland.

“By participating in the Sailwest Project the Council could create facilities in Girvan, Maidens and Ayr that will attract people to the area, boosting the local economy. The eventual revenue generated collectively could be in the region of £2.5 million every year in berthing fees and additional visitor spend.

“By providing these new facilities more sailors will be encouraged to berth in South Ayrshire rather than just sail through our coastal waters. We must do everything that we can to attract sailors to berth in South Ayrshire, they will spend money when stop on provisions, gifts and at various facilities in the area. It is estimated that around 110 jobs could be supported by this development, and that will make a real difference to the lives of many people in South Ayrshire.

“Recent reports indicated that if sailing activities were developed properly an £80 million boost could be given to the Clyde communities and around £250 million to the Scottish economy. We must ensure South Ayrshire is part of that success.”

Approval was given by the Panel in principle subject to the Council’s Budget Working Group’s consideration of the proposed 2009/10 capital budget commitments.

Approval was given by the Panel in principle subject to the Council’s Budget Working Group’s consideration of the proposed 2009/10 capital budget commitments.

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Sunday, 1 June 2008

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle high fliers at Glasgow Prestwick Airport

THE Elite Ayrshire Business Circle members and their guests assembled at Glasgow Prestwick Airport for the Circle’s latest meeting at 8am on Friday 30 May.

[Pictured: Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes (centre) welcomes Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre managing partner Willie Mackie, left, and South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan, right. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION]

They were treated to a fascinating presentation by Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell (pictured below), which highlighted the airport’s importance as a major hub of the local and Scottish economies.

The presentation was followed by a tour of the airport, which included several of the parts that everyday passengers do not reach.

Guests at the meeting included John Scott, MSP for Ayr, several leading local politicians from both South and East Ayrshire Councils, and many prominent entrepreneurs and business people either located in or with a business interest in Ayrshire.

As is the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle custom, they were each afforded the opportunity of giving a brief presentation about their own organisation to the assembled membership.

[Pictured: five of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle's stalwart founder members: Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre managing partner Willie Mackie; Andrew Sinclair, Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants; Graeme Ferguson, Kestrel Press Ltd; Bill Inglis, PALIGAP Creative Marketing Agency; and Stephen Wilkie, Sinclair Scott Chartered Accountants.]

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle managing director Murdoch MacDonald said: “We are all very grateful to Mark Rodwell and his team for arranging and running such an enjoyable and illuminating morning’s visit.

“The quiet efficiency with which Glasgow Prestwick Airport is run sometimes tends to disguise what a complex operation it is.

“It’s success is inextricably intertwined with that of Ayrshire’s economy as a whole, and it is undoubtedly one of Ayrshire business’s most valuable assets.

“I would also like to thank John Scott MSP for Ayr and South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan for their continuing support, as well as our other guests from the worlds of politics and business who were joining us today for the first time.

"In particular, Provost Stephanie Young (pictured below) and Councillor Tom Cook of East Ayrshire Council, who both gave us a valuable update on current developments in their area, notably the ongoing regeneration of Kilmarnock town centre."

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes said: “Today we enjoyed another record attendance. The Circle is proving to be very popular with local businesses who see it as a unique way to enhance their business profile and to network with like-minded business people.

“Our very popular websites provide the unique capability to quickly disseminate business information on the Internet, and are designed to enhance search engine rankings of all participants.

“We are delighted by the interest in the Circle which has been shown by the local Councils and politicians, and hope that with economic development now devolved to local government, we can rapidly develop this relationship further to our mutual advantage, and, more importantly, to the greater benefit of the Ayrshire economy as a whole.”

Guests at the latest Elite Ayrshire Business Circle meeting (click on hyperlinks to view their respective websites):

John Scott, MSP for Ayr
Winifred Sloan, Provost, South Ayrshire Council
Councillor Hywel Davies, South Ayrshire Council
Stephanie Young, Provost, East Ayrshire Council
Councillor Tom Cook, East Ayrshire Council
James Hawkins, Stewart Corporate Travel (part of Stewart Travel)
Allan Ross, First Independent Finance (asset finance brokers)
Tony Flint, Culzean Autoclassica (international heritage motoring event)
John Matthews, Editor, Ayrshire Extra
Alan McLeish, QTS Group
Stuart McCallum, Thomson McCallum Financial Consultancy
George Haye, Orchard Homes Scotland
Glenn Fulton, Graham Group Ltd
Jim Sproat, Community People
Kenny McLeod, Rockwood Homes
Stewart Mackay, Rockwood Homes

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Photographs by:
Graeme Pollock Photography

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is in the process of creating an
archive of its photographs on Flickr, the online photo management and
sharing application.

The archive can be viewed at:

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle profile is at:

The archive will be added to in the weeks to come.

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