The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 5 April 2014

£6 million for Scotland’s marine energy industry

Latest round of WATERS funding launched

By: Murdoch MacDonald

The marine energy sector is to benefit from £6 million in funding to further develop testing of new wave and tidal energy prototypes in the seas around Scotland.

Scottish Enterprise is launching the third round of the remaining competitive funding from the initial WATERS fund in collaboration with Highlands & Islands Enterprise.

This latest round follows the success of WATERS 1 and 2 where six marine energy developers benefitted from £14.8 million funding to further develop testing of new wave and tidal prototypes in the seas around Scotland.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing made the announcement on a visit to tidal energy developer, Oceanflow Development Limited, as it prepares to load out its second generation tidal energy device Evopod on to a vessel on the River Cart in Renfrew, ahead of it being taken for testing in Sanda Sound south of Campbeltown. The development of the Evopod was supported by £560,000 first round of WATERS funding.

To reduce the cost of developing wave and tidal technologies, the WATERS 3 call will promote research and development activities in Scotland aimed at bringing leading marine energy devices to commercial application and enable Scottish developers and supply chain companies to capture an increased share of the growing UK, European and global marine energy market.

Welcoming the launch whilst on a visit to Westway Park in Renfrew Mr Ewing said: “Scotland is leading the world in the development of marine renewable energy. We are at the forefront of developing offshore and low carbon energy generation technology with some of the world’s greatest wind, wave and tidal resources heavily concentrated in the waters around our country. I am excited today to see firsthand the investment made by Scottish Government in the development of Ocean Flow prototype and the launch of this device.

“This latest funding round follows the success of our earlier WATERS support to help developers bring their devices to full-scale testing. The WATERS complements our other funding initiatives and incentives we have in place such as the £18 million Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund, the Renewable Energy Investment Fund and the Saltire Prize.

“Our ambition for Scotland’s emerging wave and tidal sector remains great. We know that the successful harnessing of ocean power takes hard work and persistence and the Scottish Government is determined to support those within the industry.”

Graeme Mackie, Managing Director of Oceanflow, said: “Scotland with its strong tidal stream resource was the obvious place to test our semi-submerged Evopod turbine (pictured above) and securing the WATERS grant support from Scottish Enterprise made it all possible. There is tremendous potential for this type of renewable power technology both in Scotland and overseas and we are looking forward to hooking up the word’s first grid-connected semi-submerged turbine in Scottish waters later this year.”

Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and low carbon technologies at Scottish Enterprise said: “This latest round of funding will ensure we can help advanced wave and tidal technologies reach the next stage of commercial exploitation. It will develop new technologies with global potential, R&D jobs, and secure the fabrication and deployment of wave and tidal stream technologies in Scotland.”

Calum Davidson, Director for Energy and Low Carbon at HIE, said: “The opportunities from Scotland’s outstanding natural resources are immense and we must continue to support renewable energy companies who are getting close to commercialisation now. HIE welcomes this latest round of funding opportunities which will assist developers to bring their devices to market and realise their ambitions sooner in the emerging global marine market.”

For more information on applying for WATERS 3 visit 

WATERS 3 is a collaborative venture between Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Companies based in Scotland and Scottish subsidiaries of overseas companies are invited to submit project proposals that will advance wave and tidal energy devices. Priority will be given to applications that support viable projects enabling full-scale proving of devices that have already been tested at part-scale, but smaller-scale demonstration projects will also be considered.

Margo MacDonald

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Build up continues for Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

THE build-up continues apace for the 2014 Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse on Friday 11 April and Saturday 12 April.

The Saturday is fast heading for a sell-out with the combination of some of the sport’s top horses plus superb entertainment proving popular.

The next stage for entries is Monday 7 April when the 88 horses entered for the Coral Scottish Grand National and the 55 currently in the QTS Champion Hurdle will have to decide whether they will stand their ground.

And the final declarations for both races will be on Thursday 10 April at 10.00am.

Last year's winner Godsmejudge (pictured above) looks like coming north again to defend his crown and become the first horse since Androma in 1985 to complete back to back doubles in Scotland’s richest race.

The QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle sees the 55 entries headed by the extremely talented Cheltenham Champion Hurdle second My Tent Or Yours from the all-powerful Nicky Henderson yard which is sure to be a huge crowd puller if running.

Large crowds flock to the track to enjoy the racing and also some superb entertainment. After racing on Friday there are two great bands to keep the party in full flow until 8.30pm.

In the Ayrshire Suite the fabulous Honey Moons will perform their versions of all-time classic hits, while in the Horseshoe Bar top covers band Dakota will also have the crowd dancing to some fabulous sounds.

And after the final race on Saturday at 5.45pm there will be three hours of live music in the Horseshoe Bar from the sensational Gangsters of Groove.

And in the Ayrshire Suite top radio disc jockey Colin McArdle will entertain the crowds with chart sounds old and new.

To avoid disappointment on the day book tickets in advance by calling 01292 264179 or go online at

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.

South Ayrshire Council pledges high quality services and balanced budget for 2014/15

The continued delivery of high-quality services while balancing the books is being promised by South Ayrshire Council as the local authority gears up to achieve efficiency savings of £4.6 million in this financial year.

The Council will spend more than £247 million of revenue funding for 2014/15, with investment focused on addressing the Council's priorities of the local economy, children and families, adults and older people, communities, and the environment.

However, it also has to deliver on the £4.6 million of efficiency savings agreed by Councillors in December last year. 

The planned savings will come from a reduction in rental costs, reviews of staffing structures, changes to services to ensure they are targeted where they are most needed and a review of some charges.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of the Council (pictured above) said: “As I’ve said before, we can’t just keep doing what we’ve always done. We have to constantly look at what we do and how we do it and make changes where we can to deliver both high-quality services for our people and communities AND a balanced budget.

“For me, that’s all about finding smarter, better and different ways of working to ensure we can meet the financial challenges we face over the next few years.

“So I was encouraged by the recently-published Accounts Commission report that says Councils needs to have an open mind about how best to deliver services and not just focus on cutting staff numbers.

“That’s very much been part of our strategy within the Council in recent years and we have been doing all we can to keep any reduction in staff numbers to an absolute minimum. We have achieved this to the best of our abilities; however, with far less money available to us, we’ve not been able to avoid this completely.”

It’s anticipated that up to 79 posts may be deleted over the course of 2014/15 as a result of the agreed efficiency measures.

Councillor McIntosh added: “It’s never an easy decision to delete any post and it’s not something we take lightly. But we have to be realistic and, with almost half of our gross revenue budget (some 43%) allocated to employee costs, I’m confident we have kept the number of potential redundancies to a minimum.

“As always, we would hope to achieve the necessary staff savings through voluntary severance, redeployment, changes to working hours/arrangements and turnover. And if there is a way to achieve the savings without losing posts, we will do what we can.

“2014/15 will be another challenging year for the Council and we will continue to make the very best of the resources available to deliver for the people and communities of South Ayrshire.”

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

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Children’s art exhibition comes to Ayr

For the first time, the winning artwork of talented children and young people across Scotland, including talented artists from South Ayrshire Council schools, is now on display in the Beanscene, Alloway Place, Ayr until 30 May 2014. 

[Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder (third from left) opened the exhibition and is pictured with winners and guests.]

The annual ‘Tesco Bank Art Competition for Schools’ is run in partnership with the National Galleries of Scotland and uses artwork from the national collection as a stimulus for creating new original pieces. It is fantastic to see how young people, inspired by a common theme create new and original artwork which is unique and engaging. This exhibition, selected from over 11,200 entries, highlights the very best artwork from our young people and shows the different artistic techniques and ideas used in each piece.

Another first for us is that a team of talented youngsters from Girvan Academy Robyn McGeorge, Becca Patterson and Tania McTaggart were awarded first place in the Group Category.  Inspired by the theme of dogs, the team used technology to create a series of colourful patchwork pieces which are vibrant and eye catching.

[Pictured: Girvan Academy trio Robyn McGeorge, Becca Patterson and Tania McTaggart were awarded first place in the Group Category. They are pictured here with South Ayrshire Councillor Alec Oattes, from the Girvan and South Carrick ward. Inspired by the theme of dogs, the team used technology to create a series of colourful patchwork pieces which are vibrant and eye catching.]

The team were overjoyed to discover they had won this prestigious national award. They said: “We are delighted that our pieces have received first place, at first we couldn’t quite believe it. Going along to the National Galleries at The Mound in Edinburgh to receive our award and seeing our artwork displayed in the gallery there was such an honour. It is just amazing that our artwork is on display for everyone to see, and now that it is coming to Ayr we are really excited to be able to see it again as part of the exhibition and share it with the people of South Ayrshire.”

The competition also recognised children whose artwork is worthy of Special Merit and Anna Hunter from Kingcase Primary School in Prestwick was one of a handful of children across the country to be recognised in this way.  Anna used a combination of colour wash and line drawing to depict her piece of a dog out for a walk.  Anna said: “I really enjoy doing art and it is nice to share it with people so that they can enjoy it too.”

[Pictured: The competition recognised a small number of children whose artwork was worthy of Special Merit, and Anna Hunter from Kingcase Primary School in Prestwick was one of a handful of children across the country to be recognised in this way.]

Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for the Council who opened the exhibition said: “The artwork is outstanding and it shows what talented young people we have in our schools. 

“To be placed in a national art competition is a great achievement. However, I think that having it exhibited at the National Galleries and then coming to your home area of South Ayrshire is magical.

“I would encourage everyone to go along and have a look at the exhibition, enjoy the colours, the shapes and the way that our artistically talented young people have created outstanding works. 

“It is wonderful that Curriculum for Excellence gives us an opportunity to recognise, celebrate and showcase the specialist talents of young people.  Taking part in artistic and cultural activities is an integral part of what makes us well-rounded people.  I particularly enjoyed chatting with the youngsters and seeing first-hand the confidence this opportunity has given them, they are a real inspiration to us all”

Tesco Bank have sponsored a series of art workshops for young people and teaching staff across the country. 

Adele Mills, Community Investment Manager at Tesco Bank said: “Tesco Bank uses its scale for good in the communities we operate by helping to provide meaningful opportunities for children and young people. We are delighted to bring the Tesco Bank Art Competition Exhibition to South Ayrshire so that many more people have the opportunity to enjoy the winning artwork which has been created by some of the country’s most talented young artists, including those from Girvan Academy and Kingcase Primary School.”

Linda McClelland, Playfair Education Co-ordinator at the National Galleries said: “Every year it is super to see the diversity of artwork created by young people from across Scotland.  Last year over 750 entries were received from youngsters in South Ayrshire which we were really delighted about.  We are heading into our 11th Year of our National Art Competition and I would like to say it’s not too late to become involved.  Entries for this year’s competition close on Friday 2 May 2014 at 4pm and I am eagerly anticipating opening the mail to see what our talented young artists come up with.”

Ross Mackenzie, Operations Manager at Beanscene said: “We are really delighted to be able to collaborate with Tesco Bank and the National Galleries to host this fantastic exhibition   Our Ayr Coffee House is such a great space and we are looking forward to having the artwork on display for people to enjoy, especially the pieces created by our local youngsters.”

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

Monday, 31 March 2014

South Ayrshire marks Earth Hour 2014

Congratulations to every resident, business and community organisation across South Ayrshire who showed their commitment to WWF Earth Hour on Saturday 29 March 2014 and highlighting climate change.

[Pictured: A night cycle, putting in the dark contest and a ghost walk in auld Ayr proved popular and illuminating – even in the dark!]

Earth Hour is a worldwide movement to help protect our planet which is organised by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature. It started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide encouraging individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour one hour as a symbol for their commitment to the planet. 

Lots of people in South Ayrshire switched off their lights for an hour to show they really care about the environment and the need for action on climate change. In total, 197 people signed up to take part pledging their support to the campaign, and many more people took part even though they had not registered.

Many people chose to organise their own dinner party, a walk under the stars or simply a quiet hour with the lights turned off. There were also some organised events which included a ghost walk which started at the Old Brig in Ayr, along to the Auld Kirk, through the town and finished up in the cells at Ayr Town Hall.

Local woman Joy Gill said: “Such an enjoyable couple of spine chilling hours, discovering the dark past and parts of Ayr, as part of Ayr’s awareness of Earth Hour! We were spellbound by the stories of Ayrshire’s notorious miscreants and transfixed by the spot where they had been held, tried and executed!”

Putting in the dark proved very popular when people put their skills to the test using glowing golf holes and start boxes at Golf South Ayrshire courses, Harling Drive, Troon. 

A mystery cycle tour which started at the Citadel Leisure Centre in Ayr and then went along the Esplanade, into Belleisle Park, through Rozelle Park, along the Maybole Road, back to the Esplanade and finished at the Citadel Leisure Centre. 

Fifteen well known landmarks across South Ayrshire were in the dark during Earth Hour, these included Alloway Auld Kirk, St Nichols Church ruin in Prestwick, Stumpy Tower in Girvan, St Jonn’s Tower in Ayr and the Auld Brig in Ayr. 

Councillor John McDowall, Sustainability and Environment Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “Yet again this year people from across South Ayrshire have shown their commitment to highlighting the need for action on climate change which could threaten the future of our world.

“Our Council and people across South Ayrshire joined in with millions of people from around the world who in a dignified and peaceful way supported WWF’s Earth Hour 2014. 

“Thank you to everyone who took part in the event. I hope that everyone continues throughout 2014 to conserve energy by switching off lights and appliances when they are not needed.”

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

Sunday, 30 March 2014

CKD Galbraith offers for sale a magnificent country house on the banks of the River Ayr

Leading independent Scottish property consultancy CKD Galbraith is offering for sale Gadgirth House, a remarkable country house built in 2005 on the site of the original mansion of the historic Gadgirth Estate.  

The Estate lies on the banks of the River Ayr, sheltered by the surrounding policy woodland and the natural incline of the countryside which provided a vital defence to the original castle in years gone by.  

Gadgirth was of particular note in Ayrshire history with early references linking the land to “de Camera” or the Chalmer family whose surname denotes their official post – Great Chamberlain of Scotland.  The chamberlain was responsible for managing the king’s revenue and served as head of the Exchequer. Colonel Burnett was responsible for replacing the then crumbling castle with a magnificent mansion which was held by this family until the end of the 19th century. In 1969 the mansion was demolished and in 1993 bought by the present owners who recommenced the careful regeneration of a vital part of Ayrshire’s heritage.

The lands of the estate still retain their beauty and the area remains untouched and the Gadgirth of today is magnificent in its own right.  Constructed within a green oak frame the abundance of exposed oak beams and rafters brings the ambience of the outdoors in.  

Of particular note is the 40 foot drawing room with its vaulted ceiling, open fire with limestone surround and views over the manicured gardens to the River beyond.  The room is overlooked by a galleried snug.  

The bespoke kitchen is the hub of the house and is open to the dining room and sun room. 

Four en suite bedrooms are located on the ground floor with the master bedroom suite on the first. 

In contrast to the original mansion, Gadgirth House is fitted with the most advanced technology and systems.

A leisure complex with a level deck swimming pool, shower area, sauna and gymnasium forms an integral part of the property yet can be open in summer months to the south facing deck courtyard.   

The grounds and gardens of Gadgirth are perhaps of equal importance as the house itself.  Extending to approximately 10 acres and mainly south facing there are paths and walks interspersed between specimen trees and a stream running down to the River.  Level manicured lawns are overlooked by easily maintained borders and are awash with seasonal colour.  

The terraces and decking surrounding the house are ideal for summer relaxation and outdoor entertaining and come complete with hot tub and built in television.  There is also fishing on the River Ayr.

Gadgirth is a truly unique country house of considerable character situated in wooded parkland steeped in history, probably one of the most stunning homes to come onto the Ayrshire market in many years.  

Offers Over £950,000 are invited.

PDF available on

For further information contact:

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

D/L Tel: 01292 292535
Switchboard:  01292 268181  
Fax: 01292 292300 

CKD Galbraith’s Ayr Office is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.