The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Clydesdale Bank gives Ayrshire businesses valuable export advice

“AYRSHIRE businesses are perfectly placed to import and export their goods and services, and should be encouraged to make further expansion into foreign markets.”

That was the message from Clydesdale Bank’s managing partner Willie Mackie (pictured below) when he addressed businesses at the Bank’s Financial Solutions Centre (FSC), Alloway Street in Ayr recently.

Mark Henderson, international trade partner and Neil Wilson, treasury solutions partner at Clydesdale Bank, hosted a question and answer session with a selection of Ayrshire businesses and representatives from Scottish Development International, during which they outlined how the region’s businesses can make the most from doing business internationally.

During the session the group discussed the associated risks with international trade, the importance of implementing a risk management strategy and the best ways to target new foreign markets.

Due to Ayrshire’s excellent international transport links with access to Prestwick Airport and the docks throughout the region, Clydesdale Bank is encouraging the area’s businesses to benefit from their strong geographical location.

Willie Mackie said: “We realise that, although a large proportion of Ayrshire’s businesses export, we could assist in increasing their understanding of international trading and foreign exchange.

“We have received positive feedback from the attendees about how they will be able to implement the information from the night into their business models. We frequently host seminars and presentations at the FSC, and we see it as another added benefit we provide to Ayrshire’s business community.”

Clydesdale Bank

Clydesdale Bank is part of the National Australia Group. 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. The Bank 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.

Financial Solutions Centres

Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centres (FSC) offer Members a tailored range of business and private banking services under one roof. A team of specialist partners, each with considerable local experience, work together to provide Members with end to end solutions for their business and private banking needs. In addition to banking services, the FSCs also operate as a hub for local business, with a range of networking opportunities and meeting facilities available as a benefit of membership.
Over 70 FSCs are located around the UK.

Clydesdale Bank
Financial Solutions Centre
43 Alloway Street
Ayr KA7 1SP
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: Willie Mackie, Managing Partner
Tel: 01292 272072
Fax: 01292 280202

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Ryanair creates 200 new jobs for Ayrshire at Prestwick Airport

RYANAIR'S new £8 million hangar at Prestwick Airport will create 200 new jobs and deliver significant investment to Scotland’s economy, First Minister Alex Salmond announced.


The First Minister joined Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary at Prestwick Airport to announce the creation of a second maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the airport. The Scottish Government is supporting the project with the offer of £1.5 million in Regional Selective Assistance and training grants through Scottish Enterprise.

The new project builds on the airline’s existing facility which opened in 2004. Over 400 engineering and support jobs will be sustained at the two facilities which will maintain Ryanair’s fleet of more than 200 aircraft.

Ryanair also announced three new routes from Edinburgh to Faro, Marrakesh and Paris from May 2010 as well as increased frequencies on 16 other routes from Edinburgh and Glasgow Prestwick this summer.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The Scottish Government is doing all that it can to create jobs and investment in Scotland, and this new Ryanair facility will deliver 200 new jobs to Ayrshire and invest £8 million into the Scottish economy.

“I am delighted that Ryanair is strengthening its operations in Scotland, and this announcement shows that Ayrshire has the quality infrastructure and skilled workforce to secure this major project, having fought off competition from a number of European locations.

“The Scottish Government is investing £1.5 million in this £8 million project, which demonstrates Ryanair’s commitment to Ayrshire and builds on Prestwick’s reputation as a centre for European excellence in maintenance, repair and overhaul projects.

“Ryanair makes a substantial contribution to Scotland’s economy through its engineering facilities and encouraging tourism and business traffic via its Glasgow Prestwick, Aberdeen and Edinburgh flights.

“The announcement of investment at Prestwick and new routes from Edinburgh supports this Government’s ambition to increase sustainable economic growth by attracting inward investment and creating quality new jobs.”

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary said: “Ryanair wishes to thank First Minister Alex Salmond, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Prestwick Airport for their help and support in winning this new hangar and these 200 new jobs for Ayrshire and Scotland despite intense competition from five other European airports.

“Ryanair’s new second maintenance hangar at Glasgow Prestwick Airport will create 200 new engineering jobs, in addition to the 2,200 local jobs which have already been created and sustained in Ayrshire as a direct result of Ryanair’s base and our existing hangar facility at Glasgow Prestwick.

“Ryanair's successful growth in Scotland is possible thanks to our on-going partnership with the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, who have repeatedly supported our vision for many more low fare flights to and from Scotland.”

Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson, said: “This latest investment by Ryanair in Scotland is a fantastic result for the Scottish economy, for Ayrshire and for the aerospace industry.

“Scottish Enterprise, working in partnership with Scottish Development International, has put together a strong package of support to attract and secure Ryanair’s investment in new facilities at Prestwick Airport, and we will continue to work closely with the company in the coming months.”

Infratil Airports Europe Ltd chief executive Tom Wilson said: “I’m delighted that Ryanair has again demonstrated a massive long-term commitment to the airport, Ayrshire and the wider Scottish economies. The initiatives taken by the Scottish Government to secure this investment assure many more long-term careers can be developed at this fantastic new facility.”

The Scottish Government is supporting the project, through Scottish Enterprise, with the offer of £890,000 in Regional Selective Assistance and £640,000 in training grants.

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) is the main national scheme of financial assistance to industry, and is administered by Scottish Enterprise.

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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

South Ayrshire Council agrees Budget
and freezes Council Tax again

A BUDGET for “young people, the older generation and everyone in between” was agreed at a special meeting of South Ayrshire Council today (Wednesday 10 February) as elected members approved spending plans for 2010/11.

Councillors also agreed to freeze Council Tax levels for the third year in a row, which will benefit every household in South Ayrshire. This keeps Band D Council Tax at the 2007/08 level of £1,153.95.

As part of the budget-setting process, Councillors considered priorities for the 2010/11 revenue budget of £269.186 million – an increase of £2.7 million on 2009/10.

The revenue budget funds the running costs of the Council’s operations, including the costs of employing staff, operating Council facilities and supporting the capital programme. South Ayrshire Council’s wide range of services are delivered by 5,455 employees.

One of the key priorities approved for spending in 2010/11 was an extra £1.5 million to provide care and support for older, younger and vulnerable people across South Ayrshire. This includes additional monies for care packages for older people/in-house homecare service/equipment for physically disabled and older people (£350,000), care packages for children with additional support needs (£226,038), learning disabled adults with older carers/ families in crisis (£528,623) and increasing the number of regular foster carers and child care officers (£244,047).

The Council also agreed to extend nursery provision for under fives with a further £340,000 for additional nursery hours and an extra £284,218 to extend free school meals to pupils in primaries one to three.

Residents who enjoy the outdoors will benefit with improvements to Dam Park Stadium (£80,000), while the reopening of the Girvan Boating Lake on a seasonal basis (£10,000) will be a welcome boost for residents and visitors alike. £20,000 will also be spent to improve facilities at the Citadel.

As part of the 2010/11 budget, Councillors agreed that – for the first time – South Ayrshire Council will take over responsibility for parking enforcement. From 1 April 2010, this will be managed by a team of council wardens rather than the police – a total of £100,000 has been allocated to this project.

In addition, work to improve road safety across South Ayrshire will progress with £50,000 to carry out a review of speed limits on all rural roads in line with both the Council’s own Transportation Strategy and the Scottish Road Safety framework.

Additional monies will also be allocated to help regenerate South Ayrshire communities living with poverty and unemployment through the Fairer Scotland Fund, which will be boosted by £218,000 to £1.67 million.

In addition, current projections show a surplus of more than £6 million.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “Thanks to the prudent financial management and the strategic and proactive planning that now underpins all that we do, we are continuing to invest in priority services and make a difference for the people and communities of South Ayrshire.

“In real terms, there is a reduction in our capital budget and we have less funding than originally anticipated in our revenue budget but we are managing this effectively to ensure there is a minimal impact on frontline services and our customers.

“Four months ago, we agreed that, through a package of measures including service reviews and property rationalisation, we will save around £4.25 million in the next financial year.

“Undoubtedly that will have an impact on what we do and how we do it but we can all now be confident this will be managed in the best possible way for everyone involved. It’s about doing things better – more efficiently, more effectively, more productively.

“Our agreed approach in our financial strategy is very much about looking at how we change the ‘back office’ systems, processes and the way we work to ensure we continue to deliver the high-quality services our communities deserve. This budget confirms we are doing just that.”

Councillor Nan McFarlane, Leader of the SNP Group and Portfolio Holder for Social Services, said: “It’s our role to raise the standards of this Council to provide the efficient services the people of South Ayrshire want and deserve and the budget will deliver this even though demands will always outweigh resource.

“The 2010-11 budget provides additional investment for older people, in-house homecare services, equipment for physically disabled and older people, and additional support for adoption services – all of which I am especially pleased to see as Portfolio Holder for Social Services. We’re also investing in the running track and ground at Dam Park, which will increase usage and help improve the health of our young people and adults. This really is a good news budget.”

Speaking on behalf of the Independent elected members, Councillor Douglas Campbell added: “We very much welcome this budget, which will make a huge difference to communities across South Ayrshire. I am particularly pleased it includes provision to increase the Fairer Scotland Fund budget to more than £1.6 million, which will have a significant and positive impact on vulnerable communities across South Ayrshire.

“We also very welcome the opportunities this budget provides for better working with NHS Ayrshire & Arran and Strathclyde Police – all of which will benefit the health and wellbeing of our residents. This is a confident budget that really delivers for the future – we only have to look at the investment in schools and education to see that and I look forward to seeing the projects outlined today come to fruition.”

The capital programme for 2010/11 was also approved at the special Council meeting. Totalling £15.349 million, the programme will see more than £7 million invested in schools and education, including:

* £2.1 million to renew the dining hall and construct a school extension at Heathfield Primary;

* £1.8 million to refurbish Forehill Primary;

* £1.3 million for a new-build Colmonell Primary;

* £1 million to refurbish Braehead Primary;

* £600,000 on improvement works at Symington Primary and Maidens Primary; and

* £310,000 for curricular upgrades within schools.

In addition, the capital programme includes:

* £1.35 million will be invested in bridges, roads and lighting including £380,000 to reconstruct carriageways and footpaths on Whitletts Road and £696,000 to replace and improve lighting in Ayr (Fort area), Troon (Muirhead area), Prestwick (East Road), and Maybole (Kildoon Drive, Kincraig Avenue, Queen’s Terrace).

* £1.3 million will be invested in the McCalls Avenue depot site to establish a permanent base and workshop for the Council’s tradespeople – electricians, plumbers and joiners – and also facilitate the relocation of an ICT server room and staff from County Buildings. This will assist in the Council’s property rationalisation programme and improve resilience for the Council’s computer network.

* £600,000 will be invested in Masonhill Crematorium.

* £300,000 to establish the customer contact centre and network of one stop shops, improving customer service and the customer experience across South Ayrshire.

* £250,000 to improve parks and play area at Girvan Seafront (£150,000), Ardfin Road in Prestwick (£50,000) and Murray Street in North Ayr (£50,000).

* £200,000 to improve Carnegie Library.

Councillor Robin Reid, Portfolio Holder for Resource and Performance, said: “While we did not expect a reduction of almost £1 million (£920,000) in our capital funding for 2010/11, we are maximising how the funds we have are used to deliver the best possible improvements for our communities.

“Young people, education, customer service and improved facilities are all key elements of our spending plans in this next year and the improvements agreed today will have a very real and positive impact on our residents, visitors and businesses.

“We want to provide our communities with the best services and facilities we possibly can and these will take us one step closer. There is no doubt we face a challenging agenda with limited resources, but we are making the most of what we have to make a difference.

“We are continuing to think big and deliver ambitious plans for our communities and the spending plans agreed for 2010/11 will ensure South Ayrshire continues to grow from strength to strength.”

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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Ghana flag flies high in Ayr

AYR resident Dr Charles Amarety Aryiku, (58) has been commissioned as Scotland’s first Honorary Consul-General for Ghana, at a ceremony in the City Chambers in Glasgow. The ceremony was conducted by His Excellency, the Ghana High Commissioner Professor Kwaku Danso-Boafo.

Dr Aryiku, although taking on the role of Honorary Consul-General of Glasgow in a voluntary capacity, has lived and worked in Scotland for many years, and has lived in Ayr for over 20 years.

The home of Dr Aryiku now has a brass plaque which informs people of his new position. In addition a distinctive Ghanaian flag is being flown on the front of his home.


Dr Aryiku's new role is to protect the interests of Ghanaians and promote the mutual interests of the Republic of Ghana to Scotland.

Speaking about the event, Dr Aryiku said: “I came to the conclusion that this would be a wonderful opportunity to be of service to my motherland Ghana by giving something back.

“At this stage of our national development Ghana has a lot to learn from Scotland. Ghana is still a developing country. Therefore, as the first Consul-General of the Republic of Ghana in Scotland, I hope, first and foremost, to help promote the good name of Ghana in Glasgow, to encourage friendly relations and promote tourism, trade and education. I will also have the responsibility to protect the interest of all Ghanaian nationals resident in Glasgow.

“Many Ghanaians have passed through the city in their training in the fields of medicine, engineering, architecture and agriculture.”

It is estimated that there are between 3,000 to 4,000 Ghanaians living in Scotland. However one of the functions of the Honorary Consulate is to help the High Commission build an accurate register of Ghanaians who live in Scotland.

Councillor Ian Douglas of South Ayrshire Council was at the ceremony in Glasgow, and at the unveiling of the plaque at Dr Aryiku’s home. He said: “This is a proud moment for the town of Ayr and Scotland in general. To have the Consul-General for the Republic of Ghana, a country which has gone from strength to strength since it gained its independence from London rule in 1957, choose to live in Ayr is indeed an honour. Ghana has a lot in common with Scotland, oil and friendly outgoing people. I look forward to the opening of doors both in the tourist sector and the world of commerce and industry between our countries.”

[Pictured after the flag was flown and the plaque unveiled at Dr Aryiku’s home in Ayr are (left to right) Councillor Ian Douglas, His Excellency, the Ghana High Commissioner Professor Kwaku Danso-Boafo, Dr Charles Amarety Aryiku, Honorary Consul General for Ghana and Brigadier General George K Adjei.]

Dr Aryiku is a Consultant General Adult Psychiatrist with interest in the treatment of depression and related conditions with a particular interest in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

He completed his undergraduate education in Ghana where he qualified as a doctor in 1975.

Four years later he gained a Commonwealth Scholarship for post-graduate training in Psychiatry at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

That is when he fell in love with Scotland – its culture and its people.

Following his final Royal College of Psychiatrists membership exams in 1982, Dr Aryiku worked in the Scottish Borders for two year before proceeding Cambridge in East Anglia for further training.

His love for Scotland saw his return in 1986 to take up his first Consultant job with the then Forth Valley Health Board.

Four years later in 1990, he moved westward to Ayrshire to take up his current job with NHS Ayrshire and Arran. He and his family have lived in Ayr for nearly 20 years.
He has served as a member of the Board of Governors for Hansel Village, a Charitable Organisation for people with Learning Disabilities.

He also served as the psychiatrist for the refugees at Dungavel Detention Removal Centre, for a period of five years up until 2006.

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Monday, 8 February 2010

Paligap help West of Scotland Loan Fund beat targets

CREATIVE agency Paligap has played a major part in helping West of Scotland Loan Fund (WSLF) achieve its current annual targets for lending to small and medium-sized businesses in the West of Scotland.

[Pictured: WSLF manager Andrew Dickson.]

WSLF is a unique consortium of twelve west of Scotland Local Authorities working together to provide loan finance to new and existing small to medium-sized enterprises in the region.

In April 2009, WSLF secured £6m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of a £15m fund, which will provide financial support to some 600 new and growing businesses over the next six years.

WSLF’s target for the current financial year was to achieve lending of £2.5million reaching 100 businesses. Already they have granted 85 loans totalling £2.34million to SMEs in the West of Scotland.

Part of the success must be attributed to WSLF’s successful collaboration with Ayr-based creative marketing agency Paligap, which has been working with WSLF for over four years.

Paligap provide a range of market communication services to WSLF, including:

* Brand development
* Media planning
* Campaign Management
* Website design, maintenance and hosting
* Promotional literature design
* Exhibition design

The twin objectives of Paligap’s remit are:

* To ensure that eligible and sustainable companies are aware of WSLF’s existence and their ability to draw funds from it
* To inform companies how to apply

WSLF manager Andrew Dickson commented: “We appreciate the creative and strategic support provided by Paligap, who have been a project partner for over 4 years. A key element in WSLF’s growth has been the success of our multi-layered approach to market communication through advertising in newspapers, periodicals, and industry magazines, and PR pushing potential clients to our web site and making loan applications on-line.”

Paligap sales director Bill Inglis confirmed: “Paligap’s brief has been to raise the profile of WSLF to the business community through a number of market communication channels including, web, e-marketing, events and PR. The result has been a rapid growth in the number of loans being issued and businesses being assisted with gap funding which is great to see.”

Andrew Dickson concluded: “Paligap provide WSLF with all the marketing and design services we need. We particularly appreciate the regular project meetings, and the benefits are clearly demonstrated with the number of loans we have made so far this year.”

Paligap is a creative agency that research, plan and create strategic brand building ideas and deploy them across all channels including web, press, TV, radio, outdoor, direct mail and e-mail.

Apex House
1 Carrick Road
Ayr KA7 2RA
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: Stephen Cosh, Managing Director

Tel: 01292 263777
Fax: 01292 285334

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Snow causes blip in Scottish housing market

SCOTTISH house prices rose again in January, but buyer interest and new instructions to sell property fell as bad weather caused a blip in activity in the market, says the latest housing market survey from RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) published today.

[Pictured: Sarah Speirs from RICS Scotland.]

In January, 16% of chartered surveyors in Scotland said house prices had risen, 82% said they had stayed the same and 1% reported a fall. In December no surveyors reported a fall in prices and 25% said they had risen.

However, chartered surveyors reported that buyer enquiries fell in January and new instructions to sell also dropped.

But chartered surveyors are optimistic that these negative signs are a reflection of the extreme weather conditions experienced in the early part of the month. They expect sales to increase over the next couple of months and prices are also expected to continue rising steadily.

Sarah Speirs from RICS Scotland said: “The cold snap in January clearly had an impact upon both supply and demand in the housing market with activity virtually coming to a halt amidst the seasonal chaos. However, this was just a ‘blip’ and activity and interest is likely to pick up in the coming months as the market experiences a spring bounce.

“House prices are likely to rise in the short term, but if more supply continues to come onto the market, it is possible that the market could run out of steam in the latter part of the year.”

RICS housing market survey is the longest running monthly survey of house prices in the UK, collecting data since January 1978. The survey is cited by the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee at its monthly interest rate setting meetings.

About RICS

RICS is the world’s leading qualification when it comes to professional standards in land, property and construction. RICS Scotland is a national association of RICS with 10,000 members (chartered surveyors) in Scotland.

RICS is an independent professional body originally established in the UK by Royal Charter. Since 1868, RICS has been committed to setting and upholding the highest standards of excellence and integrity – providing impartial, authoritative advice on key issues affecting businesses and society. RICS is a regulator of both its individual members and firms enabling it to maintain the highest standards and providing the basis for unparalleled client confidence in the sector.

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South Ayrshire Council starts construction
of new Colmonell Primary School

A MAJOR milestone in the history of the village of Colmonell was achieved when the first sod of turf was cut to mark the start of the construction of the new Colmonell Primary School building.

Pupils from the school, along with staff, local Councillors and invited guests watched as Councillor Hywel Davies, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder, enthusiastically cut out the first piece of turf.

Councillor Davies said: “It was an honour to be asked to cut the first sod of turf on the ground where the new Colmonell Primary school building will be built.

“This is an important part of the Council’s school investment programme. The new school building will provide a bright and exciting learning environment for the children and staff as well as a modern community resource for Colmonell and surrounding district.

“Costing £1.5 million, the single storey building will fit into the landscape of the village. The school will be environmentally friendly, with different spaces in the building designed to accommodate small and large groups of children to meet all their needs and outdoor space too.”

“It will be an education for the children to see their new school building growing before their eyes, and I am sure it is something that they will always remember.”

Cindy O’Driscoll, head teacher of the school said: “This marks the start of a really exciting time for everyone at Colmonell Primary. We are thrilled that work has begun on our fantastic new school, and are looking forward to moving in to a building which is purpose-built for delivering Curriculum for Excellence.”

The staff and pupils already know what their new school building is going to look like thanks to artists impressions and are very excited about it, one pupil James Hyslop, Primary 1 said: “The new school looks really cool.  I love the grass roof.”

The old primary school was built in 1967. In 2008, following an inspection of the school, it was decided that alternative accommodation should be found for the staff and pupils. The pupils and staff were moved to temporary accommodation, situated on the village playing fields, that has one large teaching room, an activity room, shared office accommodation, storage and toilet provision to ensure that the school continued to run smoothly.

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