The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 24 September 2010

John Scott urges bigger 2012 Games role for Prestwick Airport

Transport plans drawn up for the 2012 Commonwealth Games are skewed in favour of Glasgow Airport, and downplay the significant role that Prestwick Airport should play in the Games.

That’s the view of John Scott MSP, whose Ayr constituency takes in Prestwick Airport, and who is calling for the newly-published Commonwealth Games Transport Strategic Plan to recognise a fuller role for the Ayrshire airport.

John Scott (pictured above) said: “It is clear from the Transport Strategic Plan that the significant role that Prestwick Airport could play as a point of entry to Scotland for visitors to the Commonwealth Games is being enormously undervalued.

“While Glasgow Airport has been fully involved in the preparation of the transport plan, it is clear that the same strategic partnership has not been offered to Prestwick, despite the obvious case for that airport to be a major transport hub facilitating access to and from the Games.”

“With a dedicated railway station adjoining the airport which offers a direct rail link to the centre of Glasgow in well under an hour without the need for any connecting journeys either by road or rail, Prestwick is ideally placed to handle a substantial proportion of arrivals for the Games, but as it stands the Transport Strategic Plan offers little by way of support for this.”

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Thursday, 23 September 2010

South Ayrshire Council shortlisted for national housing award

South Ayrshire Council is a finalist at this year’s housing ‘Oscars’ – the UK Housing Awards.

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Housing, the UK Housing Awards are designed to highlight the best practice and showcase excellence across the housing sector.

[Pictured: Councillor Douglas Campbell, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Customer First.]

Shortlisted in the Outstanding Achievement in Housing in Scotland category, the Council’s First Home project – aimed at addressing the increasing problem of youth homelessness and repeat youth homelessness within South Ayrshire – has been attracting much positive attention.

Launched in 2007, the key objectives of the service are to:

1. Prevent a homeless situation from arising by working with young people whilst they are still in the family home.
2. Foster skills needed to sustain their own accommodation, preventing future repeat homelessness.
3. Enable young people to play a full role in society by making access to services easier and encouraging personal development.
4. Ensure that young people understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to having their own accommodation.

Those objectives were met and surpassed, and the service will now roll out across the whole of South Ayrshire in the next two years.

The First Home Project was developed in partnership with local organisation, Aspire2gether. The Ayr based charity carry out the project on behalf of the Council, working with young people from an early stage in their pursuit of their own tenancy.

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Customer First said: “I’m delighted the First Home Scheme has been shortlisted for a UK Housing Award. It’s really exciting news that the benefits of this initiative have been recognised in such a way.

“The proactive nature of the First Home project has been the key to its success, with young people actively encouraged to take responsibility for living in their own home, take the time to develop the skills they will need to maintain a tenancy in the long term, and set goals beyond moving in to their own accommodation.”

Comments made by young people using the service were very positive and included:

“I felt as though she was a friend helping me out rather than a formal worker.”

“My worker was a godsend to me. She helped me with all my forms and correspondence, including the overcharges on my electricity account.”

“I had a wonderful experience, I started with nothing and within 2 days of my referral I had a support worker who was so helpful and understanding.”

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at the London Hilton, Park Lane, on Wednesday 10 November.

Councillor Campbell concluded: “First Home is unique in that it helps young people address their housing needs as part of a wider holistic service, which encourages personal development and makes best use of local services and opportunities.

“Of the 141 young people who used the service since 2007, only one re-presented as homeless. Quite simply, that is a fantastic endorsement of how well this project has been received and how well it has performed for vulnerable young people.

“First Home would be very worthy winners of this award and I look forward to seeing how we get on.”

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South Ayrshire Council gives green light to new housing development

South Ayrshire Council has approved the site plan, drawings and specifications for the first new build council homes in more than 30 years.

The £4.5 million new build project, at Thornyflat in Ayr (artist's impression above) is being funded by the Council in partnership with the Scottish Government.

The design of the 42 new houses has been influenced by views gathered from the public over the summer.

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Customer First said: "We were keen for local residents to have their say on the proposals and to provide their feedback.

“We considered all comments and suggestions in order to set down solid foundations for the future and I was encouraged that many people came along to the open days, submitted comments cards, or viewed the proposals online at the Council’s website.

“Suggestions such as having level entry for all houses, wider than average doors for possible wheelchair access and downstairs bedrooms for elderly, or residents with mobility difficulties have been taken on board, along with cutting edge building techniques to make these homes environmentally and family friendly.”

Plans and virtual schematics of the development were presented to the Council by architect Karen Anderson, showing the layout and artist’s impression of how the development will look once it has been completed.

Council officers will now put the project work out to competitive tender and construction will be underway by Christmas.

Councillor Campbell concluded: “It was exciting to see just how well laid out the development was, with every home having a view and great consideration clearly being given to the facilities and design of each house, in keeping with the findings of the public consultation.

“I am confident this development will deliver on its promise of building state of the art, quality affordable houses to rent and am delighted that work is scheduled to begin in a matter of months.”

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Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Ayr Racecourse sees Frankie Dettori win at the double

By: Iain Ferguson

ARISE Sir Frankie!

Jockey Frankie Dettori bowed before First Minister Alex Salmond on Saturday after piloting Redford to victory in the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup.

The brilliant Italian wowed the crowds with a flying dismount after landing his second successive Gold Cup for trainer Dandy Nicholls who was winning the famous trophy for an incredible sixth time in 11 years.

Sent off at 14/1 the five year old travelled strongly throughout the race and came with a flurry on the stand's side rail to lead inside the final furlong and power to a two and a quarter length win over stable mate Victoire De Lyphar (8/1) ridden by Adrian Nicholls.

And oh how Frankie milked the occasion as he returned to the Winners Enclosure imploring the crowd round the paddock to cheer loudly as he prepared for his trademark flying dismount.

And when he came out to receive his prize he bowed before the First Minister. But it could have been oh so different as Frankie missed his intended flight to Prestwick because he had forgotten his passport and Ryanair refused to let him fly. Frankie returned home to get his passport and flew instead to Glasgow from Stansted.

A beaming Frankie said: “I wait for 23 years before getting my first win in this race and then win it again the following year. I love the race and will be back next year to make it three in a row.”

Frankie made it a double on Saturday again emulating his achievements of last year when winning the Doonside Cup on board the Saeed bin Suroor trained Vesuve, the 2/1 favourite. Frankie again rode a well judged race and won by a neck from the front running King’s Gambit.

The William Hill (Ayr) Silver Cup was won by Colonel Mak from the David Barron stable at the huge price of 33/1. Phillip Makin's mount had three quarters of a length to spare over Sonny Red (25/1) from the David Nicholls yard.

Trainer Richard Fahey had a tremendous three days winning seven races at the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Festival including two on Saturday – Bridle Belle (7/2) under Lee Topliss in the Nigel Angus Memorial Nursery and Cosmic Sun, ridden by Paul Hanagan in the Ashleigh Construction Handicap.

Hanagan himself rode six winners over the Festival including three winners on Friday the highlight being Arctic Feeling (8/1) in the Zenith Ltd Refurbishment Specialists Harry Rosebery Stakes for the South Ayrshire Cup.

Oner of the best backed winners of the week was Cheveton (11/1) in the William Hill (Ayr) Bronze Cup holding on by a head from Courageous (13/2).

In addition to Hanagan other jockeys in form during the meeting were David Allan and Phillip Makin who rode three winners apiece.

Attendances over the three days were just under 21,000 with almost 12,400 attending Saturday's fixture – the second highest crowd at a Gold Cup Saturday in 20 years.

Ayr next races on Thursday September 30 – Giles Insurance Raceday when the first race is at 2.20 pm. For more information go online at or call 01292-264179.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 07795-565691

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Ayr Racecourse sees successful Gold Cup Festival and Ladies Day

By: Iain Ferguson

THOUSANDS flocked to Ayr Racecourse at the weekend for Scotland’s biggest flat racing festival - the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup.

More than 20,000 descended on the track over the three day extravaganza and enjoyed a heady mix of top class sport, entertainment, fun and glamour, plus a visit from Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.

The weather held up, and hotels, bars, restaurants and taxi companies reported one of their best September weekends for many years. And on Saturday the Racecourse reported hospitality was sold out.

The glamour of the occasion was underlined on Friday - Ladies Day - and what a success that proved to be, with more than 5,400 attending.


The excitement grew throughout the afternoon as the big race of the day approached - the William Hill (Ayr) Bronze Cup - because by that time 27 lucky ladies each had a bronze coin and picked the name of a horse from a tombola drum.

All eyes were ion the race as the ladies followed the fortunes of their horse. The lucky winner was Gourock woman Lucy Stuart who had drawn the name of Cheveton from the drum and the horse duly won.

Lucy won a brand new Vauxhall Astra courtesy of Kerr & Smith and Iveco Trucks and was presented with the keys to her prize by Jim Smith (pictured above) of Kerr & Smith who have now backed Ladies Day at Ayr for three years.

Runner up was Prestwick girl Jenna McCrossan who won a Norwegian cruise courtesy of Stewart Travel also long time supporters of Ladies Day.

The fun continued after racing with performances from Jamie ‘Afro’ Archer of X Factor fame and also the highly rated local band Waterfront.

Saturday’s big day with the running of both the William Hill (Ayr) Gold and Silver Cups saw First Minister Alex Salmond appear live from the course on Channel 4’s Morning Line programme before attending dinner and later presenting the Gold Cup.

And the First Minister also spent a considerable amount of time chatting to the huge crowds – more than 12,300 attended on Saturday.

Huge roars echoed round the course when Frankie Dettori steered his horse Redford to victory in the Gold Cup and he later admitted he almost decided to stay at home after forgetting his passport and not being allowed on a Ryanair flight from Stansted to Prestwick.

Alex Salmond quipped: “I told Frankie he didn’t need his passport to get into Scotland – he is welcome here anytime.”

The party continued on Saturday with appearances from Madness and Abba tribute acts and the Floorstompers.

Ayr Racecourse Marketing Manager Lindsey Smith said: “We couldn’t have scripted it better with Frankie winning his second successive William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup. The crowds were terrific and the atmosphere was spot on.”

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 07795-565691.

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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Postgraduate course helps future music entrepreneurs tune into success

UK’s first music entrepreneurship programme
launches at University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland’s new MA Music: Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the first course of its kind in the UK, gets underway this month.

[Pictured: Alan McCusker-Thompson of the School of Creative & Cultural Industries at University of the West of Scotland.]

The postgraduate degree, which has been developed in response to the changes in the music industry in recent years, will produce highly-focused individuals immersed in the realities and practicalities of the emerging 21st century music business models.

Many traditional modes of thought in the music sector are quickly becoming obsolete, with larger, institutional processes now being superseded by more technologically democratic ways of conducting business. The rise of the ‘new artist model’ which places emphasis upon commercial autonomy by artists and managers within the music sector has also created the need for the development of a new music business skillset. As a result of these changes there are far greater entrepreneurial opportunities in the music sector and this course aims to produce employers rather than employees.

This novel course will cover areas such as the creative economy, global music industries, innovation and creativity, entrepreneurship, and Web 2.0 media. Delivery at multiple sites is proposed including the University’s campuses in Ayr and Paisley, and the Centre for Contemporary Arts and Film City in Glasgow, depending on subject choices.

While the programme is ideally suited to artist entrepreneurs who wish to set up their own record labels, management or publishing companies, it seeks to further develop music-related business ideas, spanning everything from mobile tools and apps, to fashion, hotels and the visual arts and beyond. All of these sectors are continually evolving, which is no better highlighted that the apps market, which up until two years ago didn’t exist but is now currently worth £2billion and is expected to grow to £17billion in the next five years.

This course will therefore equip students with the skills that won’t simply confine them to pursuing the music industry but will enable them to work with music across a wide range of sectors.

This programme is at the leading edge of postgraduate activity in music and enjoys extensive backing from major figures within the UK music sector, such as Geoff Travis of Rough Trade whose forward-thinking resulted in what we now know as the independent sector.

MA Music: Innovation & Entrepreneurship Programme Leader, Alan McCusker-Thompson of the School of Creative & Cultural Industries, said: “The University has an established reputation for innovative programmes of study, designed to meet the demands of existing and developing industries, and our new Music Entrepreneurship course will equip individuals with the skills to pursue a number of music-related careers.

“Developing the capacity to ‘think different’ is at the very heart of the programme. Our course will raise students’ awareness of the phenomenal ‘reach’ and cachet of music within the creative industries and the extent to which music enhances all media platforms both aesthetically and commercially. That’s why we’re involving practitioners from business, the internet, the film, TV, games, publishing and fashion industries and of course the music industry.”

The University’s MA Music: Innovation & Entrepreneurship is primarily aimed at those who have an undergraduate qualification or prior experience in music, the performing arts, art and graphic design, media, film, business or any of the creative industries.

Funding for full and part-time study of this postgraduate course is available for eligible students through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) on a competitive basis. The University also has a limited number of ‘Carnegie Cameron Taught Postgraduate Bursaries’ available on a competitive basis. Scottish students undertaking either a one year, full-time or two year, part-time taught postgraduate degree in any subject offered by UWS commencing in the 2010/2011 academic session can receive a bursary of up to £3400.

Further information on the University’s Postgraduate MA Music: Innovation & Entrepreneurship or funding/bursary eligibility is available from University Direct, the University’s information service, on 0800 027 1000 or email

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Monday, 20 September 2010

Magnificent musical magic you’d be mad to miss!

A one-off evening of show stopping musical magic comes to Ayr’s Citadel Leisure Centre on Friday 8 October, promising Saturday Night Fever – a full day in advance!

Mad about the Musicals promises to mesmerise musical lovers with a packed programme of all time favourite hits from Oklahoma to Sunset Boulevard and Chicago to Starlight Express.

If you’ve got chills and they’re multiplying, then this is for you!

Performed by the stunning vocal talents of a real West End cast (pictured above), the one-off evening of glitz and glamour is not to be missed, especially if west end and Broadway showstoppers are your thing.

From the poignancy of ‘All I Ask of You’ to the drama of ‘One Day More’, the talented vocal ensemble manages to evoke the spellbinding spirit of the west end, leaving audiences enchanted and entranced.

Add to that a scintillating mix of dancing and a generous helping of side splitting comedy and the evening becomes a perfect recipe for an evening of top class entertainment for all ages and tastes.

Tickets are available on a first come, served basis from the Citadel on 01292 269793 and remember, it’s for one night only.

You’d be mad to miss it - but tickets are limited, so you’ll need to move like Greased Lightning!

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