The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 2 July 2010

South Ayrshire Council launches new e-books library service

PICKING up a paperback on the train or weighing down your luggage with heavy holiday reading could now all be a thing of the past, as South Ayrshire Council becomes the first local authority in Scotland to launch a free downloadable library e-books service.

[Pictured: South Ayrshire Council libraries staff launch the new e-book service at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.]

E-books – which are available as full text electronic versions of published titles or as audio books – are downloadable publications that you can read or listen to on a home computer, laptop, mobile phone, e-book reader, iPod, iPhone, MP3 player or burn to CD, giving you access to your favourite reads anytime and anywhere.

South Ayrshire is the first Scottish Council to offer this terrific free service, and all you need to give it a try is a computer, an internet connection, a valid South Ayrshire library card (available to anyone living or working in South Ayrshire) and a PIN.

In the first instance, around 200 of the most current and popular titles – provided by OverDrive, a leading worldwide full-service digital distributor – will be available for library users. Comprising adult, children, fiction and non-fiction, authors include Kathy Reichs, James Patterson, Stephenie Meyer, Tess Gerritsen, Danielle Steele, Roald Dahl, Sophie Kinsella, Dean Koontz and Man Booker Prize winner, Hilary Mantel. The list also includes autobiographies by the likes of Barack Obama, Frankie Boyle, Peter Kay, Andy Murray and Sir Chris Hoy.

Up to four titles can be borrowed at any one time for up to 21 days and they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the South Ayrshire libraries website. All you have to do is browse the titles, check out the one you want, download it and then enjoy.

If the book you want is checked out by another user, you can add it to your wish list and you will receive an email when it becomes available. Information is included with each title to explain the compatible formats on which it will play.

[Pictured: Councillor Margaret Toner leaves her bulky heavy books behind at check-in at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, and settles for an e-book instead.]

Councillor Margaret Toner, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, officially launched the new service at Prestwick Airport. She said: “This is an exciting initiative that will further enhance the terrific online community established by our libraries service.

“By introducing e-books and audio books into our library stock, we are giving our customers more choice not only in what they read, but in how they read and for some, it will completely change their approach to reading a book.

“These new formats are ideal for use when travelling to and from work on the bus or train, for listening to while driving or out running or for just enjoying at home. For me personally, they will be of particular benefit when going on holiday as we all know how much we can add to the weight of our luggage by throwing in a few books to enjoy in our leisure time.

“And they could make a big difference to those who can’t get out and about, such as patients in hospitals or residents in nursing homes.

“This is a fantastic new service that confirms South Ayrshire’s position as one of the most innovative library services in Scotland, and I’m sure it will prove to be a big hit.”

To access the e-books and audio books, visit

OverDrive is a leading full-service digital distributor of e-books, audio books, music, and video to thousands of libraries, schools, and retailers worldwide. OverDrive provides digital download distribution for hundreds of publishers including Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins. Barnes & Noble, WH Smith, Waterstone’s, Borders,, Papyless, and many other retailers use OverDrive to supply their eRetail stores. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

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Regional Selective Assistance grants secure 5300 jobs for Scotland

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants helped to create or safeguard over 5300 jobs across Scotland during 2009/2010, Scottish Enterprise announced this week, as it published its first annual report on RSA.

[Pictured: Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson.]

The report shows that during 2009/10, businesses across a range of sectors in Scotland accepted 107 RSA offers totalling over £53.4m.

The largest single award made during 2009/10 was to Welcon Towers Limited (now known as Skykon Towers Limited) which received £9.2m to set up a facility to design, develop and manufacture renewable wind energy products. The project is expected to create 300 new jobs in Campbeltown in Argyll.

Other large offers accepted during 2009/10 include a £7.6m award for INEOS Manufacturing Scotland Limited to safeguard 551 jobs at a manufacturing facility in Grangemouth, and £4.6m for SmithKline Beecham PLC to safeguard 331 manufacturing jobs in Ayrshire.

Although the value of RSA grants accepted during 2009/10 has risen by only 2.5% (from £52.1m in 2008/09), the number of companies benefiting from the funding has risen from 88 last year to 107 in 2009/10. Furthermore, the number of jobs secured as a result of RSA funding year on year has increased 6% from 5000 to 5300.

From a regional perspective Ayrshire was the big winner, with a combined £10.3m of RSA awards accepted, signifying the planned creation or safeguarding of 1163 jobs in the area and giving a welcome economic boost to the region.

Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) accounted for 78 (73%) of the accepted RSA offers with total grant in excess of £13.2m. These projects involve planned investment of nearly £36m with the aim of creating or maintaining over 1500 jobs.

The number of offers accepted by non-Scottish owned companies has also risen from 30 in 2008/09 to 50 in 2009/10, showing that Scotland remains attractive to inward investors.

Commenting on the report, Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson said: “I’m pleased to see the huge role that RSA has played in encouraging so many companies to expand their operations in Scotland, particularly during what has been a very difficult economic period.

“As a result of this funding, these companies have secured over 5300 jobs for Scotland. Thanks to this, and the additional support provided by Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International, these organisations will go on to become even more innovative, productive and globally ambitious, delivering more for Scotland’s economy as a result.”

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather (pictured above) added: “It is encouraging to see so many companies in Scotland expanding and creating new jobs with the support of Regional Selective Assistance throughout a challenging year for the economy.

“Many of the jobs are associated with manufacturing and the development of a low carbon economy – something our future success as a nation depends on. The support Scottish Enterprise and Scottish International Development are providing, both for ambitious home-grown Scottish companies and inward investors, is invaluable.

“The challenge now is to capitalise on our strengths, taking advantage of tools such as RSA to help maintain the fragile recovery that is underway and increase sustainable economic growth.”

Scottish Enterprise has been administering RSA funding under its own legislative powers since October 2009, when it took over responsibility for RSA and SMART:SCOTLAND funding from the Scottish Government.

The full annual RSA report can be accessed CLICK HERE

About RSA

Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) is the main national scheme of financial assistance to industry. It provides discretionary grants to investment projects that will create and safeguard employment in areas designated for regional aid under European Community law.

Payment of RSA is made in instalments, typically over several years as job and capital expenditure targets are met.

For more information on RSA go to

Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s main economic development agency. Working in partnership with industry, academia and the public sector, SE aims to help make Scotland a place where business can thrive and key industries can be competitive. Its focus is to help businesses grow, encourage greater innovation and create the right conditions for companies to access property, markets and finance to increase productivity and increase Scotland’s ability to compete internationally.

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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Kilmaurs businessmen aim to conquer Munros in a year

A BAGGER and a snapper are set to don their hiking boots as they get set to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.

Pals Jock Tannock and John Dewar (pictured above) plan to conquer Scotland’s Munros during the next 12 months.

Preparations to tackle each of the 283 peaks over 3000ft are at an advanced stage, with an array of camping equipment at the ready.

Only one of the lads, both from Kilmaurs, has climbed a Munro before but they are confident of achieving the ambitious goal.

And despite the recession the local businessmen reckon the only way is up...and up. Jock, 46, said: “It’s something I’ve intended doing since I climbed Ben Cruachan as a 14-year-old boy.

“I recall vividly looking down upon Loch Awe and at the breathtaking scenery. I never imagined it would take so long to climb another, though.”

John, 48, said: “I’ve done loads of hillwalking on Arran but never anything like this. I know how tough it’s going to be but I’m sure we’ll manage.”

The idea to tackle Sir Hugh Munro’s list of the country’s highest mountains materialised thanks to the pair setting up their own businesses.

Photographs from the duo’s exploits will feature on the image galleries of Jock’s and John’s Fotografia UK websites.

People who successfully scale a Munro can order mementos such as t-shirts, caps and other merchandise online to recognise his or her feat. is also arranging organised walks and sponsored charity events, including a practice hike from Shiel Bridge to Glen Affric in a bid raise fitness levels for the maiden Munro.

“Ben Lomond will be our first climb sometime during the next few weeks. If all goes well we’ll finish with Ben Hope in Sutherland,” said Jock.

“We’re not out to break any records but are determined to climb every Munro and give a detailed account of each. Hopefully we’ll come up with some funny stories along the way.”

Photographer John added: “Jock wants me to take snaps at the summit of each mountain, whereas I only really require photos from the bottom. That means he’s on his own if we happen to fall out!”

To keep track of how the intrepid duo gets on visit or

Enquiries: John Dewar

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Monday, 28 June 2010

South Ayrshire honours Her Majesty’s Armed Forces

PEOPLE from South Ayrshire marked Armed Forces Day by lining the streets of Ayr to show their respect for serving and veteran members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces on Saturday.

Following a flag raising ceremony and an inspection of the ranks members of the armed forces marched through the streets of Ayr to the Wallace Tower. South Ayrshire Provost Winifred Sloan then presented a newly commissioned pipe banner displaying the council’s coats of arms to The Royal Regiment of Scotland 2 Scots on their bagpipes. Following an official salute the parade marched through the town and dismissed in Wellington Square.

Provost Sloan said: “South Ayrshire has very strong ties with the armed forces and we were keen to show our support for serving officers, veterans and their families. I was very proud to see such a strong turnout.

“People on active service daily put their lives on the line while serving their country and they deserve our support then and when they leave the forces. I am the Council’s Veterans’ Champion and know how important it is that we look after the men and women who have previously serviced in the forces.

“We are already looking ahead to Armed Forces Day 2011 and are discussing ideas for how we can celebrate the day in innovative and exciting new ways. As soon as the plans are formalised we will let you know so that as many people as possible can be part of the day and show their support for our present and past servicemen and women.”

In June this year Provost Sloan, Veterans Champion for the council met with various third sector organisations that provide support for veterans and serving personnel of our armed forces. Organisations such as the Royal Air Force Association; British Legion; Forces Family Support; Combat Stress; Gardening Leave; Armed forces Veterans Association as well as public sector departments such as housing, community development, job centre plus, housing aid, came together to propose a plan of action that would enhance the services already provided, by producing a Director of Services and campaign for a ‘One Stop Shop’ in central Ayr, to signpost and support veterans young and old in coping with the present stresses of our armed services personnel.

Speaking about her role as Council Veterans Champion Provost Sloan said: “The wellbeing of servicemen and women is very close to my heart. These people have served their country, put their lives at risk and often suffered mental trauma or physical injury.

“I am an advocate for the veterans, I want to ensure that people the length and breadth of South Ayrshire, and beyond, understand the difficulties that people and their families can face after they leave the forces.

“Working closely with other agencies, a drop-in centre for services personnel has been set up at Yeomanary House. Meetings take place each month on the last Wednesday of the month at 12 noon and 6.30 pm.

“Celebrations such as Armed Forces Day are a great way to show our respect for members of the armed forces, present and past, however we must remember that they need our support all the year round.”

6 SCOTS Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Platt said: “The Armed Forces Day in Ayr was a fantastic event.  It was tremendous that it was so well supported by the people of Ayrshire. Such a public display of support for the armed forces, veterans and their families means a great deal to us all.  Thank you to South Ayrshire Council for making it all possible.”

More images are available to view on Flickr: CLICK HERE

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Property specialists CKD Galbraith merge
with Donalds Chartered Surveyors

LEADING Scottish property consultants CKD Galbraith today (Monday) announced details of their expansion in Ayrshire with the amalgamation of Donalds Chartered Surveyors.

[Bob Cherry, partner and head of CKD Galbraith’s Ayr office.]

Donalds is a diverse practice including land agency, development consultancy and cottage lettings. The merger, which will take effect from 1 September this year, will result in an expansion of the range of rural and residential property services offered by the firm.

All staff at Donalds Chartered Surveyors will be retained by CKD Galbraith and will continue to serve the needs of their clients as a fully integrated part of the enlarged firm.

Residential lettings are an important part of the business of both firms, and the expanded lettings department in Ayr will manage well over 300 properties and provide a comprehensive service second to none.

Bob Cherry, partner and head of CKD Galbraith’s Ayr office, said: “We have been working in conjunction with Donalds on various projects and instructions over many years, and we very much look forward to building on our successful relationship in the Ayrshire property market. Donalds has a similar ethos to ours and we strive to provide the highest quality of personal service that clients have come to expect.”

Tom Donald of Donalds Chartered Surveyors (pictured above), who will become a consultant at CKD Galbraith, said: “The Donalds team welcomes the opportunities this merger will provide, and is confident that all clients will benefit from it.”

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr office is currently handling sales in excess of £45million with property types ranging from cottages and conversions to country houses, farms and estates.

Examples of properties currently being marketed through CKD Galbraith include:

* Skeldon Estate – an exceptional residential, sporting and agricultural estate on the banks of the River Doon. For sale as a whole at offers over £6m or in three lots. CLICK HERE

* Drumbar, by Ayr – an impressive country house, with separate flat near Alloway set within mature private grounds for sale at a guide price of £1m. CLICK HERE

* Mallard Cottage at Burton Farm – a traditional country farm steading which makes for a wonderful country house near Ayr for sale at a fixed price of £320,000. CLICK HERE

* Cambusdoon Lodge – a delightful listed cottage in historic Alloway with terraced garden offering views over Belleisle Golf Course for sale at offers over £195,000. CLICK HERE

Alternatively contact Bob Cherry of CKD Galbraith on 01292 292303 or email:

Tom Donald of Donalds Chartered Surveyors can be contacted on 01560 600581, or e-mail

About CKD Galbraith

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy specialising in serving the needs of private clients. It employs over 180 people in offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Aberfeldy, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso and Peebles.

The partnership provides the full range of property consulting services across the commercial, residential and rural sectors throughout Scotland. The company enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson.

The company’s rural arm specialises in farm sales and purchases, the management and sale of estates and woodland, valuation, professional work and building surveying work.

About Donalds Chartered Surveyors

The firm was established by Tom Donald in 1991, continuing a family tradition of five generations’ standing in serving and advising the farming and rural business community on a wide range of property matters, and with specialisations in planning and compensation, landlord and tenant relations and dispute resolution.

Although concentrated in the west and central regions, the firm’s client base extends to most areas over Scotland.


CKD Galbraith
7 Killoch Place
Ayr KA7 2EA
Ayrshire, Scotland

Contact: R A Cherry BSc MRICS
Tel: 01292 268181
Fax: 01292 292300

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There are currently 731 Ayrshire business stories permanently archived on this site. To locate those of most interest to you, please use the site search facility in the top left hand corner of this page. Type your search term in the white box, then click the magnifying glass symbol.

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