The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 21 February 2014

South Ayrshire Council awaits Accounts Commission findings

The Leader and Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council have spoken out as they await a decision on next steps regarding an Audit Scotland report on targeted best value audit work within the Council, following consideration of the report by the Accounts Commission on Thursday 13 February.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council (pictured above), said: “The Audit Scotland report sets out six recommendations for improvement within the Council – and I want to be very clear that work on every one of these areas is already underway and has been ongoing since before the publication of this report.

“Crucially, not one of these areas relates to service delivery or the quality of our services, so we can reassure our residents on that front. In fact, the Commissioners explicitly said in public session last week that there are no concerns about the quality of our Council services.

“What has been put under the microscope are internal processes, reporting mechanisms and monitoring arrangements and we’re addressing these.

“A review of our scrutiny arrangements is underway to ensure we maximise governance throughout the organisation, performance reporting mechanisms (which do already exist) are being clearly formalised and our Council Plan – which we've taken the time to get right – will be considered by elected members at the Council meeting on 6 March.

“We are an ambitious Council, so we constantly strive to improve, and I am confident we will continue to do that – in line with any findings from the Accounts Commission – to help ensure we achieve best value for our residents.”

Chief Executive Eileen Howat (pictured above) added: “We all – the elected members, the corporate management team and our staff across the Council – take great pride in serving the people of South Ayrshire. And while we await the feedback from the Accounts Commission on what happens next in relation to this audit report, our focus will continue to be on doing the best job we possibly can.

“We are, of course, concerned at the conclusions within the report but we have various strands of work already underway across the Council to address these quickly and effectively.”

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

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Kerr & Smith Group Raceday hosts some course specialists

By: Iain Ferguson

KERR & Smith Group Raceday takes place at Ayr Racecourse today Thursday 20 February with seven races coming under starter’s orders at 2.20pm.

The feature race on the card is a Class 3, 2 mile handicap hurdle at 4.50pm with several fancied runners going to post.

Lucinda Russell runs recent course winner Final Assault while Irish raider Trucking Along from the Stuart Crawford yard is looking for a fourth course win.

The previous race, the 3 mile 1 furlong handicap chase is interesting with borders trainer Willie Amos set to choose which horse he runs between Arc Warrior and Oil Burner. Both have won at the course recently.

Elsewhere on the card the 3.20pm handicap hurdle looks an interesting opportunity for the Lucinda Russell trained The Starboard Bow.

Jockeys in action are likely to include Jason Maguire, Brian Harding, Peter Buchanan and Lucy Alexander.

Gates open at 12.20pm with the first race due off at 2.20pm and the final race, the national hunt flat race coming under starter’s orders at 5.20pm.

Following today’s meeting, Ayr next races on Friday 7 March and Saturday 8 March with the totepool racedays double header.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Ayrshire councils celebrate Ayrshire Hospice 25th anniversary

An Ayrshire wide celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Ayrshire Hospice, jointly hosted by North, South and East Ayrshire Councils, was held at the Walker Halls in Troon. The guests enjoyed an afternoon tea to mark the occasion.

[Pictured (left to right): Mandy Yule Chief Executive Ayrshire Hospice, South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie, Dr Kirsty Muirhead Lead Consultant Ayrshire Hospice, North Ayrshire Provost Joan Sturgeon and Deputy Provost of East Ayrshire John Campbell.]

On behalf of the Ayrshire Councils South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie welcomed everyone to the reception to mark the outstanding achievements of the Ayrshire Hospice.

North Ayrshire Schools Concert Band and the North Ayrshire Schools Senior Choir provided entertainment for the guests. 

South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie said: “25 years ago there was no Ayrshire Hospice and people across Ayrshire were working very hard to raise funds to establish the hospice. Since being established the hospice has grown physically, with facilities that we could only dream of many years ago. Importantly the main thing that has grown is its reputation for the care, attention and support it gives to the people it cares for, their friends and families.” 

North Ayrshire Provost Joan Sturgeon said: “The Ayrshire Hospice is a wonderful facility which has earned the respect and gratitude of us all. I am delighted that the Ayrshire Hospice, in its special anniversary year, will share the proceeds of our gala Provost’s Civic Awards event in North Ayrshire next month. The people of North Ayrshire have taken the Ayrshire Hospice to heart in the 25 years since that long-held dream came to reality.”

East Ayrshire Council Provost Jim Todd said: “It’s amazing to think that the Ayrshire Hospice has been providing such an incredible service for a quarter of a century now. Its main aim is to help people to live as actively as they can to the end of their lives - however long that may be, wherever that may be. Because this care is provided at no cost to the patient the Hospice does require extensive, ongoing fundraising support so I would encourage people to get involved in any fundraising activities they can to help the Hospice to continue to deliver its outstanding work for many more years to come.”

As a lasting reminder of the 25th anniversary of the Ayrshire the Ayrshire councils presented the hospice with a Quaich and a scroll. 

Mandy Yule, Chief Executive of the Ayrshire Hospice said: “We were very proud when North, South and East Ayrshire Council offered to host a civic reception in honour of our 25th anniversary this year.  Since opening our doors in 1989, the hospice has gone from strength to strength and we have been privileged to provide outstanding hospice care to almost 15,500 people with life-limiting illness, and their families, across Ayrshire over the last 25 years.  Of course none of this would have been possible without the unfaltering support of a very compassionate and generous Ayrshire community and dedication of our wonderful employed and voluntary staff.  Today’s civic reception is true recognition that, by working together, we can all make today matter”. 

A registered charity the Ayrshire Hospice provides outstanding quality care and services to adults with any life limiting illness across Ayrshire and Arran. This includes support and guidance for relatives, friends and colleagues of those using their services. 

The hospice has over 171 employed members of staff and over 800 voluntary staff, working together to deliver outstanding care and services to patients, families and carers across Ayrshire.

In this 25th anniversary year more school children, community groups, businesses and other organisations large and small have been generously raising funds through everything from baking to biking, jogging to jam making, washing cars to washing dishes. Every penny raised is put to good use.

Employees from the Ayrshire councils continue to support the Ayrshire Hospice with a range of fundraising events such as taking part in annual Go Purple Day, the Midnight Walk and by giving their time to support them. 

For further information about the Ayrshire Hospice go to 

Monday, 17 February 2014

It’s a double for champion jockey AP McCoy at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson  

CHAMPION jockey AP McCoy was in double winning form at Ayr Racecourse last week riding the first two winners on the card.

He had an easy time on board Stonebrook (8/11 fav) home in the famous JP McManus silks for trainer Donald McCain in the Maiden Hurdle, and then followed that with another impressive win on Layla Joan (5/4 fav) in the two mile five and a half furlong novice hurdle for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott.

W Six Times, trained by Alistair Whillans and ridden by his nephew Callum was returned at 8/1 for the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle scoring by seven lengths from Ancient Times (6/1) ironically the horse that beat her over the course last time out.

[Pictured: And The Man, ridden by Brian Harding clears the last en route to winning the feature race at Ayr Racecourse last week.]

Nicky Richards’ eight year old gelding And The Man, the 11/4 favourite, won the feature race of the afternoon, the BetVictor’s Live Casino Handicap Chase over two and a half miles in the hands of Brian Harding. The horse has now won four times at the course.

Heritage Way (5/1), trained by Stuart Crawford in Larne, Northern Ireland and ridden by his brother Steven won the concluding bumper, keeping up the outfit’s great record at Ayr.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.