Saturday, 29 November 2008
St Andrew’s Day greetings to Scots around the world
First Minister Alex Salmond has issued a St Andrew’s Day Message to Scotland’s family and friends around the world.
St Andrew’s Day on Sunday 30 November marks the launch of the Winter Festival period which runs through Hogmanay to Burns Night on 25 January, leading into the Year of Homecoming in 2009 which invites people to come home and join the celebrations Scotland’s culture, achievements and contributions to the world.
First Minister Alex Salmond (pictured above) said: “St Andrew’s Day is about enjoying ourselves and celebrating Scottish achievements. And, even at this time of global economic challenge, we can look with confidence to the future of Scotland - to our advances in key sectors like renewable energy, the life sciences, food and drink and the creative industries.
“So we can look back with pride on a year when a major survey of global investors acclaimed Scotland as Europe’s ‘place of the future’. And we can look forward with confidence, knowing that the ambition and talents of our people stand our country in good stead.”
Culture Minister Linda Fabiani said: “There is a real international focus to St Andrew’s Day this year with events taking place across the country and around the world - crossing borders and connecting with everyone who feels an affinity with Scotland.
“But this year is more than a celebration. It has a hard economic edge and represents an opportunity to promote modern Scotland and the Year of Homecoming in 2009, aiming to boost visitor numbers and maximise tourism revenue.
“St Andrew’s Day is also an occasion to showcase Scotland as one of the finest food producers in the world. We want to celebrate the wealth of high quality produce from our farms, seas and food manufacturers and support these industries that are so important to Scotland’s economy.
“For people at home and visitors to Scotland we are delivering better value for money with more St Andrew’s Day events over a longer period, including a weekend of activities in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens and events in other cities and towns right across the country. This year will see more people getting involved, celebrating our national day and supporting our economy.”
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Sean Connery and other top Scots
serenade expats to join Homecoming
A promotional video for the Year of Homecoming in 2009 has been launched.
Ten famous Scots combine to present the anthem Caledonia against the background of iconic Scottish scenery.
They are Sir Sean Connery, Lulu, Amy Macdonald, Sandi Thom, Eddi Reader, Brian Cox, golfer Sam Torrance, triple Olympic champion Chris Hoy, and international rugby players Thom Evans and Kelly Brown.
The 60-second advert will be screened regularly over the next week to raise awareness of Homecoming 2009 and encourage Scots to invite friends and family to return home for the celebrations.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Caledonia is a song that resonates with Scots the world over. For those far away it is a reminder of strong bonds, full of the promise of return. That is what makes it the perfect anthem for our Year of Homecoming.
“Next year we will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of our national bard, Robert Burns, who himself wrote a song for his native Caledonia. With over 200 events nationwide to mark this occasion, this advert will sing to Scots about what we have to celebrate.
“I’m especially proud of that we have a stellar line-up of Scottish talent that will deliver this invitation through this new television campaign.”
Watch the video: CLICK HERE
Homecoming website: CLICK HERE
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Friday, 28 November 2008
John Scott urges official Key Tourism Destination status for Ayrshire
AYR MSP John Scott has this week called on the Scottish Government to support Ayrshire’s drive to increase the number of tourists visiting the county, by supporting the designation of Ayrshire as a ‘Key Tourism Destination’.
John Scott (pictured above) made his call during Question Time in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday where he challenged Tourism Minister Jim Mather to back the proposal. And Mr Scott received what he believes to be a ‘very encouraging’ reply.
John Scott said: “When Scotland’s economic development agencies were restructured last year, Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire was scrapped and replaced with a new strategic body covering Ayrshire, Glasgow, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Dunbartonshire and Lanarkshire. The same regional grouping is also now used by national tourism agency VisitScotland.
“That means for the purposes of strategic economic and tourism development Ayrshire has been linked with a number of powerful central belt authorities, and I have had long-term concerns over the impact this might have on investment in our area and local economic growth.
“One way in which Ayrshire could be helped in terms of boosting our crucial tourist industry would be for the Scottish government to support Ayrshire’s designation as a ‘Key Tourism Destination’, which would increase our tourism profile and could lead to considerable investment in local infrastructure and facilities.
“In his answer to me the Minister expressed what I felt was a very encouraging attitude, and indeed said that he would be willing to explore ways to achieve this designation. This is a matter I will be following up with the Scottish Government to press home Ayrshire’s case for a real tourism boost.”
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Wednesday, 26 November 2008
Lauren Fowler of Frazer Coogans Solicitors
accredited in Child and Family Law
By: Murdoch MacDonald
Lauren Fowler, a partner in Ayrshire law firm Frazer Coogans Solicitors, has been accredited in both Child Law and Family Law by the Law Society of Scotland.
[Pictured: Frazer Coogans Solicitors partner Lauren Fowler.]
The accreditation is a recognition by the Law Society of Scotland of the quality of Lauren’s work and experience in the fields of Child and Family Law over the past 20 years.
Lauren is the only solicitor in Ayrshire to be accredited in both fields.
Speaking about her accreditation, Lauren said: “At times of possible family breakdown with all the emotional upset and distress this inevitably entails, it is important to be able to access the right legal advice in what can be a complex and confusing area of the law.”
Frazer Coogans Solicitors senior partner Norman Geddes (pictured above) commented: “We are very proud of Lauren’s achievement in gaining this double accreditation which reflects her dedication to assist her clients in these specialist and most sensitive fields of law.”
Lauren Fowler is a highly respected family solicitor and Court lawyer in Ayrshire. Having been in practice since 1988, she deals with all aspects of Court work, including child and family law, civil and criminal court. Her particular expertise is in child and family law, and she has been appointed a Safeguarder by all three Local Authorities in Ayrshire in relation to child law matters.
ABOUT FRAZER COOGANS SOLICITORS
Ayrshire solicitors Frazer Coogans have expanded rapidly from small beginnings in the 1980s to offer a friendly and personal service to all clients from their modern premises in Ayr town centre. From their Ayr base, partners Norman Geddes, Austin Thomson and Lauren Fowler – all experienced solicitors - along with their professional and dedicated staff, provide a comprehensive suite of legal services to Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland and the UK, with particular expertise in accident claims, personal injury damages, property conveyancing, divorce and family law, wills, estates and executries.
Frazer Coogans’ Ayr office operates a specialist Accident Claims & Personal Injury Damages Centre to assist clients in making claims for personal injury damages after road traffic, workplace, slip and trip accidents and also in criminal injuries compensation. This Ayrshire firm of solicitors has also established a significant presence in Scotland’s property conveyancing market, advising clients on all aspects of buying, selling and leasing premises both domestic and commercial, and handling property conveyancing for diverse clients across Scotland.
Scottish divorce and family law is another area in which Frazer Coogans solicitors possess particular expertise, advising on the legal, financial and child related issues associated with divorce, providing negotiation for amicable settlement and undertaking litigation where needed. Frazer Coogans solicitors also offer a professional, dedicated and sympathetic service for wills and estates in the UK, including the administration of estates and appointing executors.
In 2003 Frazer Coogans successfully attained the “Investors in People” standard.
The firm is fully computerised with Broadband connection. It occupies modern premises in the centre of Ayr with adjacent parking for clients and wheelchair-friendly access.
Frazer Coogans Solicitors
46 Dalblair Road
Ayr KA7 1UQ
Contact: Norman Geddes, Senior Partner
Tel: 01292 280499
Fax: 01292 611645
The Law Society of Scotland
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Massive regeneration plans for five towns of Irvine Bay unveiled
By: Kirsty Innes
REGENERATION plans have been formulated for the five towns of Irvine Bay – outlining the vision for developing the area in the coming years.
The plans follow on from a massive consultation exercise in which hundreds of local people have taken an active role to date – with further discussion planned.
[Pictured: Patrick Wiggins, chief executive of Irvine Bay Regeneration Company.]
Set in an area of outstanding beauty on the Clyde Coast, the five North Ayrshire towns strung along the 14-mile sweep of coast have been hard hit by the demise of traditional industries like fishing and mining during the second half of the 20th century, followed by the collapse of Scotland’s electronic manufacturing sector over the last few years.
In a bid to turn the area around, the Scottish Government set up Irvine Bay Regeneration Company in 2007 to create a new tide of business activity in the area surrounding the towns of Ardrossan, Stevenston, Saltcoats, Kilwinning and Irvine.
Around £100 million of public sector funding will be spent by 2020 on infrastructure and other improvements designed to attract new businesses – and new residents – into the bay area, as well as supporting the existing business base and local communities. It is anticipated that the funding will leverage hundreds of millions of pounds of private sector investment.
The regeneration plans are designed to play to the strengths of each of the five towns and their communities: harbour and marina improvements at Irvine and Ardrossan; Saltcoats and Stevenston to be reconnected to their waterfronts; the ancient abbey town of Kilwinning to become more accessible, re-establishing itself as ‘the crossroads of Ayrshire’.
“We want to create places where people will thrive, communities will grow and businesses will flourish,” says Patrick Wiggins, chief executive of Irvine Bay Regeneration Company.
“Our job is to support existing enterprises and to attract new ones, offering local people a range of job opportunities. This is an area that likes to roll its sleeves up and get down to business. The local workforce is skilled, flexible and cost-effective, while the outstanding leisure opportunities in North Ayrshire and the neighbouring islands of Cumbrae and Arran are very attractive to 21st century businesses.”
The plans are as follows:
Kilwinning – to create an attractive location to live, learn, work, visit and invest in. Key proposals include the refurbishing of the Main Street to create a town centre hub with increased shopping, office space, improved public realm works and the creation of commercial spaces. Making more of the town’s excellent transport links is also on the agenda, as is improving open spaces through landscaping.
Irvine – to create a self-confident town where people aspire to live and work and which they are proud to call home. Again, investment in the heart of the town is a key aim to develop a more vibrant and dynamic place. It is proposed to redevelop the Bridgegate to provide a strong link between the Rivergate Centre and the traditional high street. There are also plans to refurbish key buildings in the highly visible civic quarter, including the Townhouse, and there are plans for sensitive refurbishment of historic buildings in the old town centre which has many listed buildings. An announcement was made earlier this year that Urban Splash were to lead the development of Irvine Harbourside, and there are also plans for a new golf course and hotel at Marine Drive, office pavilions at Annickbank and an eco-homes development at Tarryholme.
Ardrossan, Saltcoats and Stevenston share a vision – to be revitalised places where people choose to live, work and play.
Ardrossan will become a place recognised in its own right, and not just as the gateway to the island of Arran. A vibrant waterfront and successful marina development will play a vital role in this, and the three key areas have been identified as creating a new heart of the town through a new town square with more diverse shops and better public realm works, a greater sense of arrival through improvements to the main route into town along Glasgow Street, a rejuvenated promenade and beach front with interesting buildings and better parking. The open space around Auchenharvie leisure centre provides an opportunity for developing sport and leisure facilities.
Saltcoats has great potential as the retail centre for the three towns, and there are plans to improve Dockhead Street and Hamilton Street to create more exciting shopping by day and night. There are also plans to improve the waterfront area through landscaping and public art, with the possibility of a leisure park with water-based activities. A Festival Square could be created at Saltcoats headland to host organised events, and there are hopes for an arts centre at the waterfront. There are also plans for improved commercial premises and better connections.
There is the potential to develop Stevenston as an attractive front door for the industry and an aspirational residential environment for its workers. The environment of the town will be transformed, turning its focus towards the sea and using the opportunities for residential development to create attractive neighbourhoods. The vision for Stevenston is therefore of an attractive residential coastal town set within a forest.
Across the bay, the vision is for the five revitalised town centres each with their own distinct and successful purpose to sit within a coastal park that spans the whole bay. The places will be well connected, creating an exciting environment that stimulates business growth and employment opportunities for the wider area.
Patrick Wiggins added: “The plans set out our vision and aspirations for each of the towns, and focuses our thoughts and efforts. We are grateful to the many hundreds of people who helped us with the consultation process through attending our ideas workshops, our public meetings, our exhibitions, our drop-in centres and so on.
“We will work closely with our partners – particularly our funding partners North Ayrshire Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Government – to deliver against the plans.”
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Tuesday, 25 November 2008
£6.76million funding programme for
Ayrshire rural communities launched
COMMUNITIES throughout South Ayrshire met at Maybole Town Hall to hear how they can benefit from the newly launched LEADER Ayrshire Programme. The launch was facilitated by South Ayrshire Council on behalf of the Ayrshire Local Action Group (LAG).
[Pictured at the launch are (left to right) Marion Young, Enterprise Support Officer; Councillor Alec Oates, Chair of the Council’s Rural Panel; Sarah Baird, Ayrshire LEADER Programme Co-ordinator; and Councillor Hugh Hunter, Leader of South Ayrshire Council. CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
Councillor Alec Oates, Chair of South Ayrshire Council’s rural Panel said: “LEADER aims to promote economic and community development that will create opportunities for all those who live in rural areas across mainland Ayrshire.
“Funding is available within Ayrshire rural settlements with a population of up to 10,000. Applications that support projects benefiting the rural community can be made by community organisations and public sector bodies. Individuals, who have public support for projects that are community driven and benefit wide sections of the community, can also apply.
“As LEADER match-funds, there is the potential for rural Ayrshire to receive £6.76 million. The £3.38 million funding programme runs until 2013 and will be delivered through the LAG, a robust partnership of private and public organisations, they are keen to hear about innovative pilot projects.”
This is the first of many events that will take place across the Ayrshire area in promoting and increasing awareness of how LEADER can help revitalise rural communities and support in building rural community capacity.
Further launches will be held across Ayrshire, on Tuesday 9 December 2008 at Cumnock Town Hall from 6.30pm until 8.30pm and on Wednesday 10 December 2008 at Dalry Public Hall from 6.30pm until 8.30pm.
For further information on the exciting new LEADER programme and forthcoming events visit www.ayrshire-leader.com or contact the LEADER team on 01292 673765 or e-mail email@example.com
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Residential development opportunity
for sale near Symington, Ayrshire
A residential development opportunity on the site of a former nursery near Symington in Ayrshire is offered for sale.
Lying a short distance from Symington in a semi-rural setting adjacent to the A77 at Bogend Toll, most of the six-acre site operated for many years as Fairfield Nursery.
A spokesman for the selling agents said: “Nearby Symington is an established commuter village for the main Ayrshire towns and Greater Glasgow conurbation. The subjects therefore offer the opportunity to acquire a site in a popular commuter location with significant opportunity to add value through residential development.”
The site sits south of the B730 immediately west of the A77, and a trunk road improvement scheme is likely to proceed at nearby Bogend Toll.
Offers in excess of £400,000 are invited.
E-mail enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Monday, 24 November 2008
Colin Duthie gets on his bike to cycle to work
ONE South Ayrshire Council employee has taken delivery of a new specially adapted bicycle that will change his life, thanks to the Council’s participation in the national Cycle To Work Scheme.
[Pictured: Kitted out and read for action, Colin Duthie is pictured with his new bike explaining to Hazel Munro, Human Resources Officer and Councillor Brian Connolly the benefits of his new bike. CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW / DOWNLOAD FULL-SIZE VERSION.]
As part of the Council’s ‘Up&Go’ sustainable travel campaign launched in April this year, the Council is committed to encouraging its employees to travel to and from work by rail, bus, bicycle, walking or car sharing. The main aims being to reduce congestion on the roads, reduce carbon emissions and encourage employees to exercise more.
As part of this commitment the Council took part in the national Cycle To Work Scheme, that enabled employees to purchase a bicycle and pay for it directly from their salary.
One employee who was very keen to cycle to work was Colin Duthie, Additional Support Needs and Performance Officer, but due to being an amputee Colin cannot use a standard bicycle.
Colin was in a road accident several years ago when he was very seriously injured that resulted in, among other things, his right leg being amputated. So for Colin the only way he can cycle is to use a hand cycle, which due to the specialist design is much more expensive than a standard bicycle.
After some determined effort and support, Colin has just taken delivery of his specially adapted hand cycle.
Colin Duthie said: “This is a dream come true for me, to be able to cycle to and from work, like many of my colleagues. I have never wanted to be treated differently, I just want the same opportunities as other employees. Being able to pay for my bicycle direct from my salary is superb..
“The support I have received from the Council has been amazing. I have a number of health problems resulting from my accident and it is important that I keep myself as fit as possible. Cycling to and from work will improve my fitness and is an ideal way to relax my mind before and after work. I would also like to think that other people with additional support needs may see me on my bicycle and think well if he can do it so can I and be inspired to take up cycling.
“I am committed to helping reduce pollution, so by leaving my car at home I feel that I am further contributing to protecting our environment along with many other colleagues.”
After seeing Colin’s new bicycle Councillor Brian Connolly, Chair of the Council’s Equality Group said: “The bike will enable Colin to exercise regularly and maintain and improve his upper body muscles and give him good cardiovascular exercise. The special design, with fluorescent strips, high visibility flag and other features will help to keep him safe when cycling. Colin will now be able to get out and about during his leisure time with his sons, making good use of the network of cycle paths in South Ayrshire.
“All employees within the Council, regardless of any additional support needs they have, are treated equally. Colin worked closely with colleagues from the Council’s Human Resources section to source a suitable hand bike for him and give him the same opportunity to cycle to work as anyone else.
“This is a clear demonstration to others who have mobility issues, particularly young people, that they can take part in activities just like everyone else if they have the right support.”
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