The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 4 October 2013

First Minister Alex Salmond hails legacy as he welcomes Ryder Cup captains

Effects already being felt with a year to go until tournament tees off

The effects of the 2014 Ryder Cup are already being felt in Scotland and the legacy will continue long after the last putt has been sunk, First Minister Alex Salmond said recently as he marked a year-to-go until the greatest golf tournament in the world tees off at Gleneagles.


And young golfers of the future are foremost in benefiting thanks to funding from this golden legacy which will see almost half a million Primary Five school children take part in the hugely successful ClubGolf sports initiative by 2018.

The First Minister said: “While there will be many immediate benefits from staging this magnificent sporting occasion, there will also be the long-term effects from this golden legacy which will ensure the popularity of golf continues to grow and young talent will be nurtured.

“The combination of staging the world’s best tournament and our initiative to put a club in the hand of every nine-year-old in Scotland can only mean continued success for the sport.”

The First Minister pointed out that areas such as golf development, professional sport, and tourism are also benefitting from the Ryder Cup, with plans well progressed to create a lasting legacy for golf in this country.

Mr Salmond outlined the increased investment in professional golf events in Scotland since Gleneagles was awarded the event, with £6.8 million in additional tournament spending supporting 49 professional events since 2003. That figure will reach 55 when the Ryder Cup begins, with legacy investment on professional golf to continue until 2018. 

Recently the Scottish Government announced continuing support for the hugely successful Scottish Open which brings significant benefits to the whole of Scotland, both in terms of tourism and television exposure, while also providing a multi-million pound boost to the economy.

The unprecedented rush for tickets for the event, with applications for the Gleneagles tournament up 38 per cent on the number experienced by Celtic Manor, were “creating an incredible buzz in Scotland’s tourist industry with just a year to go”, he said.

“The excitement around the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles is building up a real head of steam as we enter the final 12 months before the tournament tees off, and I was absolutely thrilled to welcome Tom Watson and Paul McGinley to Scotland to help them celebrate this fantastic milestone aboard this wonderful train.

“The Ryder Cup is one of the top sporting events on the planet, and I am in no doubt that the 2014 tournament – being held at the Home of Golf for the first time in more than 40 years - will be a fabulous advert for the sport enjoyed by millions across the globe.

“But the Ryder Cup will be about more than the sporting action we will see during that week. Staging the event will bring a real and lasting legacy to Scotland, in terms of sport development, infrastructure, economic investment and tourism, with thousands of fans brought to Perthshire to see first-hand the beauty of our country and the warmth of our welcome.

“These benefits are already being felt, with the Ryder Cup legacy securing the funding of our hugely successful ClubGolf programme through to 2018, allowing thousands more to benefit from an initiative that has so far engaged nearly 300,000 young people. 

“We have also increased investment in professional golf, with £6.8 million in legacy funding already having supported 49 professional events since 2003, helping Scotland build a world-class portfolio of tournaments in a move that can only help bring through the next generation of Scottish talent. 

“And the recent rush for tickets, with demand up 38 per cent on that seen ahead of the 2010 event at Celtic Manor, is a real shot in the arm for Scottish tourism, with 250,000 spectators expected at Gleneagles during the week from around 75 countries.

“The event will also bring business opportunities for Scottish firms winning event contracts, as well as improvements to local infrastructure, such as the work being done at Gleneagles Station. Thousands of volunteers will get the opportunity to work at a major global event and a host of official charities, including some from the local area will benefit from fundraising events held in the run up to the event.

“This varied, exciting legacy will be felt throughout Scotland long after the winning putt is sunk and the famous trophy is held aloft by the victorious captain at Gleneagles next year.”

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Strengthening Scotland’s links with India

Minister joins the Queen’s Baton as it starts its international relay 

External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf will visit India this month to strengthen Scotland’s education, business, tourism, cultural and diplomatic links with the country. 

Mr Yousaf will depart on 10 October as the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay starts its 288-day journey around all 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth. The Baton’s first destination will be New Delhi. 

[Humza Yousaf, Minister for External Affairs and International Development with a group of students from Strathclyde University. Mr Yousaf will be visiting India later this month. Pictured left to right: Sauptak Banerjee, Amey Karnik, Troambaka Datta, Strathclyde University Vice Principal Kenneth Miller, Mr Yousaf, Joydeep Dubey and Hemant Chandran.]

The Minister will undertake several business, cultural and diplomatic engagements during his six-day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai. He will meet representatives of government as well as existing and potential investors across a range of sectors. 

Mr Yousaf will also host or attend events to promote Scotland as a place to study, visit, live, work and do business. His programme includes engagements designed to promote Scotland’s unique higher education system in India, and to learn more about the crucial impact of the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund on some of the country’s poorest communities. 

In preparation for the visit, Mr Yousaf today met with Indian students at the University of Strathclyde, some of who have been supported to study in Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Saltire Scholarship programme. His meeting follows publication of the Times Higher World Universities Ranking which puts five Scottish universities in the world’s top 200. 

Speaking from Strathclyde University, Mr Yousaf said: “Our relationship with India is very important to Scotland. As one of the world’s fastest expanding economies and an important investor in Scotland - providing around 3,200 Scottish jobs - India is a major priority for our overseas engagement. 

“Scotland’s remarkable strengths in education, technological innovation and cutting edge research and development mean that Scottish companies are ideally placed to take advantage of this growing market. 

“Our links with India are already strong and this Government’s ambition is to further strengthen our existing links – by securing new inward investment, encouraging more students to enrol at our universities, and enticing more tourists to visit Scotland.

“The whole country is gearing up for 2014 – when Scotland welcomes the world to what will be the greatest Games ever. The Scottish Government is determined to capitalise on the economic opportunities of the Games to leave a lasting legacy for Scotland. 

“Next summer Glasgow takes centre stage and by capitalising on the excitement and momentum around the Games and through events such as the Queen’s Baton Relay, we can showcase to the Commonwealth why Scotland is a great country in which to live, study, work, invest and also to visit.”

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

African adventure showcases the best of Zulu culture at Ayr Town Hall on Friday

Africa, Africa (Giya Ngengoma) a vibrant and globally acclaimed masterpiece of dynamic and traditional Zulu culture, comes to Ayr Town Hall on 4 October 2013 from 7pm.

[Pictured: A taste of the Mighty Zulu nation show, where the power of dance meets pulsating Zulu drum rhythms!]

Presented by the acclaimed Mighty Zulu Nation Theatre Company (currently touring the UK) the amazing voices of the cast, coupled with the power of dance and the pulsating Zulu drum rhythms have already delighted audiences across the world.

Since the theatre was formed in 1982, in Durban, South Africa, it has toured extensively, bringing an energetic take on Zulu culture to theatres, festivals and schools, while offering young South Africans the opportunity to develop their musical and choreographic talent from grass roots to professional excellence.


Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure said: “Africa, Africa is a potted history of the Zulu nation’s culture and foundation, cleverly put together with traditional Zulu dance and song and told through the story of a native wedding.

“The powerful Zulu Witch Doctor plays a significant and unifying role in this production and the added dimension of the energetic traditional Ngoma dance sequences and the incredible drumming are the highlights of the show.”

Theatre director Dr Iain Storey added: “We’re keen to bring our blend of African dance and music to audiences in Ayr and our main aim is to grow positive perceptions of our culture and respect for ethnic values, to encourage us all to share our common humanity. 

“We’ve loved being in the UK and we’ve had great sell-out shows from venues as diverse as the Isle of Lewis, to performing for HRH Queen Elizabeth II on Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abby. 

Councillor Grant concluded: “Africa, Africa offers outstanding entertainment for the entire family, with fun audience participation, to make this musical and dance showcase a truly memorable and magical experience.”

Africa, Africa (Giya Ngengoma) will be at Ayr Town Hall on 4 October at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £14 (no concessions) and can be booked through the Ayr Gaiety Theatre box office on 01292 288235 or

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Trailing in the footsteps of Robert the Bruce

The story of Robert the Bruce, his links and cultural impact in Carrick and South Ayrshire is to be brought to life through three picturesque trails in the local area.

The project, driven by the Association of South Ayrshire Community Councils (ASACC), was revealed at a special meeting in County Buildings, Ayr, opened by Provost Helen Moonie.

[Pictured: Provost Moonie addresses delegates who came to learn more about the Bruce Trail.]

Provost Moonie welcomed delegates and said: “South Ayrshire and Carrick enjoy clear links to Robert the Bruce and I am passionate about the need to preserve and develop such an important heritage.

“The project is exciting – it will help us to add value and strength to this rich cultural, political and social heritage – linking past generations to the present – and on to generations yet to come.”

During the meeting, delegates, community representatives and potential funding partners were shown the results of extensive public consultations and the proposed trail paths, which will connect to the existing trail in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Bruce trail in Carrick and South Ayrshire will offer an extensive and joined-up network of paths that all link to the life and times of the King of the Scots and will cover three areas.

* Central – Maybole, Turnberry, Kirkoswald, Crossraguel Abbey, Maidens 

* North – Ayr, Prestwick, Dundonald, Loans, Barnweil Tower, Tarbolton

* South – Girvan, Barr and Hadyard Hill, Ballantrae and Loch Ryan

Supporting the trail, a number of road signs, plaques, information boards, cairns, marker stones and colour booklets are also planned, helping to set the scene and tell the tale of Bruce’s life and legacy in the area.

In addition, societies such as Carrick 800 and The Bruce Trust and The Friends of St John’s Tower have all expressed interest in re-enactments and events to help bring the monarch’s role in the area vividly to life.

Ideas for re-enactment events include the Parliamentary meeting at St John’s Tower, Ayr in 1315, Bruce's landing at Maidens and the meeting and marriage of Bruce’s parents: Robert Bruce and Marjorie of Carrick.

ASACC chairman Peter Mason said: “The Bruce Trail offers an ideal opportunity for our rich Bruce heritage to be formally recognised and marketed to those interested in history, both local and national.

“The trails are set in areas of outstanding natural beauty and are suited to walkers, ramblers and anyone who loves the great outdoors.

“As well as that, the paths make their way through many of the villages and towns that Bruce would have known, giving us the opportunity to develop hospitality, food and entertainment packages.”

His comments were echoed by Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, who concluded: “Each and every community in South Ayrshire can trace a link to Bruce – from Ballantrae to Girvan, Turnberry to Ayr and Prestwick to Dundonald.

“This fantastic project, with all the possible spin-offs from it, can help deliver sustainable economic benefits to all of our communities and I am delighted by the lead role the Association of Community Councils has played in driving this.

“I look forward to its continued progress and completion with great anticipation.”

Closing remarks by Sandra Osborne MP also echoed the feeling of the meeting that this project demonstrated true community involvement and engagement and should be encouraged in its endeavours.

ASACC will now be developing the next stage of the project, with communities and interested groups being involved in design, wording and siting of trail interpretation boards, as well as possible events to mark the eventual opening.

Anyone wishing to get involved can contact Julia Whitaker at Ailsa Horizons on 01465 710628 or email:

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.