The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 22 August 2008

Colin’s world record attempt to raise awareness of disability

A SOUTH AYRSHIRE COUNCIL employee, Colin Duthie (pictured below) will be one of a team of 30 manual wheelchair users who will be attempting a world record at Lasham Airfield in Hampshire on 6 September 2008.

The British Disabled Flying Association (BDFA), who provide opportunities in aviation for disabled people, invited Colin to take part in the world record attempt after hearing about him reaching the top of Ben Nevis earlier this year in a wheelchair.

The team will be pulling a 57-tonne Boeing 757 (pictured above) along the runway to demonstrate what amazing things people who use wheelchairs can achieve. As part of the challenge those taking part are asking for people to sponsor them, all funds raised will go to the BDFA who will use them to provide opportunities for disabled people to enjoy the excitement of flying light aircraft.

Councillor Brian Connolly (pictured above) is chairman of South Ayrshire Council’s Group on Equalities and Diversity. He said: “Taking part in this event will be an unforgettable experience for Colin and everyone who watches it.

“The people of South Ayrshire will reap the benefits of Colin participating in this world record attempt for years to come. When he returns from his challenge, Colin will be giving a number of talks to people with additional support needs, and others, about his experience. Most important of all, he will be able to clearly show to others with disabilities, especially children, that they can take on challenges and succeed by being determined.”

One of the aims of the world record breaking attempt is to change the attitudes that some people have towards people with additional support needs. Another is to raise funds for the BDFA in an exciting and innovative way.

Speaking about the challenge facing him, Colin said: “I have always found that the greatest gift in life is to help others. Pulling a plane along a runway with my team members is going to be a challenge, but nowhere near as difficult as the challenges that some people face every day living with a disability.

“I feel events such as these are important to raise awareness and change perceptions and attitudes towards people in our communities who have disabilities. I think that it is particularly important that children see that having a disability does not have to hold them back from living a full and exciting life.”

Sponsorship from colleagues within the Council, members of the public or companies would be gratefully accepted by Colin. In return for sponsorship from any businesses, Colin is willing to place their logo somewhere on his wheelchair during the word record attempt.

Anyone who would like to sponsor Colin can e-mail him at or log on to where donations can also be made.

It is anticipated that the word record attempt will gain a lot of publicity, further information about the event can be found by logging on to

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Thursday, 21 August 2008

Brooksby Medical and Resource Centre opens in Largs

PEOPLE from Largs and the surrounding areas came in their hundreds to get a sneak preview of the new Brooksby Medical and Resource Centre recently. More than 500 locals came along to see the centre when it opened the doors for the first time at an open day earlier this month.


NHS Ayrshire & Arran director of primary care development Paul Ardin explained: “The open day was all about the public getting the chance to see what they could expect from the new centre. Representatives from NHS Ayrshire & Arran and North Ayrshire Council were on hand to explain how the centre would work, and how it would benefit the local community.

“Those who came along were very impressed with the centre, which is a big improvement on existing facilities. Having health and council services under one roof will make it more convenient for those accessing services.”

[Pictured left to right: David Dunlop, Largs Area Housing Officer – North Ayrshire Council; Roseann Neill, Operational and Performance Improvement Manager - North Ayrshire Community Health Partnership (NA CHP); Carole Blair, Public Partnership Co-ordinator – NA CHP; Mary Urquhart, Nursing Service Co-ordinator – NA CHP, Tom Steele, Assistant Director of Facilities, NHS Ayrshire & Arran; Jennifer McTear, Mechanical and Electrical Consultant - WSP Buildings; Esther Gunn, Customer Services Manager – North Ayrshire Council; Sheila Paisley, Project Manager IT Services - North Ayrshire Council; Alex Adrain, Divisional Housing Manager - North Ayrshire Council; and Morris McTaggart, Managing Director - McTaggart Construction Ltd.]

Within the new centre, there is a therapies suite, which includes podiatry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy services. Locals will have access to a full range of community services, including community midwifery, district nurse and health visitor services.

The centre opened on 11 August 2008, when the general medical practice and the care of the elderly day hospital moved in. One week later, Moorburn Clinic and the community elderly mental health team started working from the centre.

[Pictured left to right: Mae Hewitt, District Nursing Sister, Lyn Thorburn, Health Visitor and Mary Canning, Evening Nursing Service Manager settle into their new surroundings.]

Council and health services will work alongside each other within the centre. North Ayrshire Council will move in to the centre during the winter, and will provide social, housing, registration and other related services. This means the people of Largs and the surrounding area will benefit from greater integration and partnership working, and will have improved access to services.

[Pictured left to right: Esther Gunn, Customer Service Manager - North Ayrshire Council and Kate Lawson – Practice Manager in the reception area of the centre.]

North Ayrshire Council leader David O’Neill said: “The interest shown by the Largs residents in the open day shows that this facility will be highly valued.

“I wish the health teams who will be using the new centre this month every success. Council staff will be moving in over the winter so that we have a one-stop shop where health, housing and other needs are met at a central location and where different services can work alongside each other to meet the needs of our residents.”

Paul Ardin added: “By working together, NHS Ayrshire & Arran and North Ayrshire Council have created a custom-built facility for the people of Largs and the surrounding area. This investment is a tremendous facility, and will benefit local people for years to come.”

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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Country village pub and restaurant in Ayrshire Scotland for sale

KIRKMICHAEL ARMS (pictured below), a traditional inn dating back to around the year 1800 located within the picturesque village of Kirkmichael, 10 miles south-east of Ayr, is up for sale and on the market.


Occupying a prominent corner position in the centre of the village on the junction of Straiton Road and Patna Road, the fully fitted accommodation comprises three linked restaurant areas, a public bar, a games room, a kitchen, customer toilets, store rooms, cellarage and two rooms at first floor level.

A spokesman for the selling agents said: “The Kirkmichael Inn is a long established village local pub which, though currently closed, previously enjoyed a good reputation for food, together with a local wet sales trade within the public bar and games room. The property therefore offers an opportunity to quickly re-establish a popular venue in an attractive village setting.”

The premises are fitted along traditional lines internally with separate access to both the bar and restaurant areas. The property has a gross internal floor area of 222 sq m.

Offers in excess of £229,950 are invited.

E-mail enquiries:

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Scottish Government delivers £100 million
for affordable housing in Scotland

By: Murdoch MacDonald

DELIVERY of affordable homes across Scotland will be accelerated, as a result of bringing forward up to £100 million of spending through the Affordable Housing Investment Programme, First Minister Alex Salmond (pictured below) announced today.

The First Minister delivered the annual Donald Dewar Lecture at the Edinburgh Book Festival this evening, in which he set out a package of Scottish Government actions to strengthen the Scottish economy.

In advance of the lecture, Mr Salmond published a new housing policy document responding to the changing economic climate.

The announcement builds on the package of major housing system reforms announced by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in June, which included additional support for first-time buyers, incentives for a new generation of council housing, and increased protection for home owners.

The full programme Mr Salmond detailed in his lecture - to help Scotland meet the immediate economic challenges, promote growth and support business confidence - follows an urgent review by the Scottish Cabinet of the Government’s policies and spending plans. It includes:

* Bringing forward up to £100 million of affordable housing investment to be spent this year and next, rather than 2010-11 as originally planned. Some £60 million will be committed from national government programmes and, in line with the Concordat, the Scottish Government is discussing a further £40 million from local government.

* New criteria for housing associations to purchase unsold stock or land to deliver houses where they are needed, at best cost to the public purse.

* European Structural Funds: on top of the £180 million that the Scottish Government has already committed to spend from the 2007-13 Programmes, front-load a high share of the remaining funds to support high-quality projects and provide a direct stimulus to the Scottish economy.

* Planning: postpone the review of the system of developer contributions in Scotland, to avoid placing new burdens on development at this time.

* Tourism: new steps to ensure Scottish tourism reaps the full benefit of Homecoming 2009.

* Energy: bulk purchasing of electricity to across the public sector to safeguard the public services, and make it easier for businesses to increase their energy efficiency through a range of government schemes.

* Financial services: bring together the key players - including the major mortgage lenders - to examine the scope for easing the supply of credit to households and businesses

Speaking during a visit to a housing development in Pitlochry earlier today, First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“The global economic downturn is affecting economies across the world, and clearly Scotland cannot be fully insulated from its effects.

“But there are two reasons why the economic outlook for Scotland is positive. First, the Scottish economy continues to show encouraging signs of resilience. Second, Scotland has a Government that, despite its limited economic powers, will take decisive action to strengthen our performance and prospects. We will not simply sit back and wait for conditions to get better.

“One of our highest priorities is taking action on housing in Scotland. That is why we have published the next steps for our housing policy, and why up to £100 million capital spending will be brought forward to support these efforts and help us to meet demand for affordable housing.

“These actions will help more people across find new housing of the right kind, in the right numbers, in the right places. The new development on Castle Dubh Loan in Pitlochry is a great example of high quality, rented accommodation giving people homes to be proud of.

“As part of the full programme we are announcing to meet the immediate economic challenges, promote growth and support business confidence, this investment will help us to maintain Scotland’s reputation as Europe’s place of the future.”

This accelerated investment is made possible by a wider reallocation of capital spending, which will be delivered within the existing Scottish budget.

The Affordable Housing Investment Programme is allocated mainly to RSLs (Registered Social Landlords). Approximately 70 per cent of the programme is spent on helping RSLs to meet demand for new social housing for rent, on average subsidising just over two-thirds of the construction costs of each new housing unit.

First Minister Alex Salmond visited a 10-unit housing development at Castle Dubh Loan in Pitlochry this afternoon. The development is comprised of six houses and four flats (two for older people), taken forward under the Larach Initiative by six Housing Associations working together.

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