The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 22 August 2014

Town centre retail boost is South Ayrshire Council’s latest AMBITION!

The retail trade in South Ayrshire’s town centres is set to benefit from a new package of support, thanks to South Ayrshire Council’s flagship £1.5 million AMBITION programme.

AMBITION for Town Centres was launched this week by Council Leader, Councillor Bill McIntosh, and is the latest development within the AMBITION programme, which is designed to support businesses and generate economic growth throughout the area.

[Pictured: Councillor McIntosh is joined by Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure; local Troon Councillors Peter Convery, Nan McFarlane and Philip Saxton; Council Chief Executive Eileen Howat and Town Centres Officer, Marie McNulty to launch AMBITION for Town Centres in Troon.]

The programme – which was launched in September last year – will see the Council invest £1.5 million over three years to support job creation and economic growth in South Ayrshire.

The overall aims of AMBITION are to create jobs, keep jobs, help businesses start-up, help businesses grow, increase the number of social enterprises and, ultimately, help improve the local economy in South Ayrshire in a lasting and meaningful way.

AMBITION for Town Centres is based around four main routes of support:

Shop Front Improvement Grant – to improve the appearance of the ground floor frontages of commercial premises both occupied and vacant. A maximum grant of £500 can be awarded.

Retail Business Development Grant – for projects that demonstrate an increase in footfall to the local area, sales outwith Ayrshire and the generation of additional employment opportunities. A maximum grant of £2,000 can be awarded.

Town Centre Collective Grant – used to support the development of co-operative groups which can create enhanced economic impact through collective working within the retail sector.  Projects must demonstrate – through collaboration – how the group will access new customers and markets, add vibrancy to the area, increase their reach and grow revenues.  A maximum grant of £10,000 can be awarded.

And – coming soon – brand new retail incubation spaces which will provide retail start-ups with the ideal location to develop and grow, offering everything from virtual support to shop accommodation. These incubator units are modelled on successful similar units in Ayr, Girvan and Maybole and will offer a supportive environment for retailers, with direct access to hands-on specialist support and mentoring.

Councillor McIntosh said: “The AMBITION programme is a key part of our proactive and determined efforts to drive business and maximise commercial opportunities in South Ayrshire and, crucially, to make a real difference for our residents, businesses and visitors.

“AMBITION for Town Centres is designed to deliver a comprehensive package of retail support, including mentoring, advice and financial support in our five main town centres of Ayr, Girvan, Maybole, Prestwick and Troon.

“Our town centres were hit hard by both the global downturn and the impact of changes in the way people shop, spend money and set expectations for their town centres. Our programme recognises this and sets out to lay the foundations for a bold and sustainable approach to creating jobs, reducing unemployment and making sure our town centres are attractive, vibrant and geared up to welcome visitors and shoppers alike.

“It’s about doing something different to achieve the best possible outcomes for you, our town centres and our communities, which can not only change lives – it can make lives.”

Councillor McIntosh concluded: “Whether it’s your first steps as a retailer or you’re getting ready to branch out and expand, our AMBITION for Town Centres will be able to assist, helping even the smallest fledgling retailer to spread their wings!”

For further information about AMBITION for Town Centres – or for any other aspect of the AMBITION programme – call 01292 616265 or visit

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

238 entries for William Hill Ayr Gold Cup

By Iain Ferguson 

JIM Goldie’s Jack Dexter and the Willie Haggas trained, Hamdan Al Maktoum owned Heeraat are the top rated horses among the 238 entries for this year’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse on 20 September. 

[Pictured: Last year, teenage jockey Oisin Murphy clocked up four victories in one afternoon at combined odds of 9,260-1, with Highland Colori's Ayr Gold Cup win the highlight of his winning run in Scotland.]

Three previous winners of the £160,000 sprint – Highland Colori (2013), Captain Ramius (2012) and the 2009 winner Jimmy Styles are all among the entries and last year’s second, third and fourth - Louis The Pious, Jack Dexter and Heaven’s Gate are all slated in to run this year. 

There are 31 horses with a handicap rating of 100 or higher and an interesting entry is Out Do, winner of Saturday’s Great St Wilfrid at Ripon – he is one of several from the David O’Meara yard aiming for Gold Cup glory. 

David Nicholls, who has a great record in the race, has two horses who could feasibly get into the maximum 27 runner field in Don’t Call Me and Barnet Fair. 

Jim Goldie in addition to Jack Dexter has Hawkeyethenoo with a rating high enough to secure a run, but he has 16 other entries who could get runs in the William Hill Ayr Silver Cup or Bronze Cup consolation races. 

Richard Fahey’s North Yorkshire yard had 23 entries while the powerful Richard Hannon yard has Ninjago entered. 

Declarations and the public draw for the race take place on Thursday 18 September. 

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.

£1.5 million clubhouse will be well above par!

Golfers at Ayr’s Belleisle Park golf courses will soon be teeing up in style thanks to a fantastic new £1.5 million clubhouse funded by South Ayrshire Council.

[Pictured: Teeing up for the new clubhouse are Councillor Bill Grant (crouching, second from left), Councillor Allan Dorans (far right), Norman McLean from Friends of Belleisle Park (far left) and Belleisle golf professional Richard Gordon (crouching, in the middle). Behind Councillor Grant are (left to right) Seamus McNicholl and Craig Beck from contractors T&A Kernoghan. Behind Councillor Dorans are (left to right) golf starter, Kevin Johnston and architect, Stewart Glendinning. Seated in the golf buggy are Council project team officers John McCallum and Val Orrell.]

The championship course of Belleisle, designed by James Braid in 1927, is one of the most popular – and highly regarded – golf courses in Scotland, viewed by many as the best public inland course in the country.

The introduction of a new clubhouse – which should be available for use for the 2015 golfing season – will ensure the standard of off-course facilities at Belleisle matches the superb quality of the course itself. 

The clubhouse will include: 

Modern changing accommodation

A new golf professional shop

A large modern cafe bar

New starter facilities

Club rooms

Lounge area

Golf simulator room.

The clubhouse will be available to golfers playing Belleisle as well as its ‘sister’ course, Seafield, which is also within Belleisle Park Estate.

It will transform the golfing experience for locals and visitors alike, as well as local golf clubs, and will also mark the introduction of golf buggies for hire – the first time such a service will be offered at the Belleisle golf courses.

Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said: “Golf is a big part of life here in South Ayrshire and we’re very proud of our eight fantastic courses, including Belleisle, which is a real jewel in our golfing crown. 

“The start of works on the new Belleisle clubhouse marks significant commitment and investment by the Council in our off-course facilities and will ensure our golfers will benefit from the modern, first-class facilities they deserve. It will also play a key part in the ongoing regeneration of Belleisle Park.

“The Belleisle clubhouse is the start of a wider investment programme in our off-course facilities, which will see around a further £1.5 million invested in Troon clubhouse to bring it up to a quality standard and £169,000 investment to improve the clubhouse at Girvan.

“That’s a significant funding package and will ensure we offer an outstanding all-round golfing experience for the golfing community and I hope it encourages those who may not have tried our courses before to come and see what we have to offer.”

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

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Big crowds enjoy QTS Ladies Night fashion show at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

THE sun shone, there was a heady mix of glitz, glamour and fun plus a massive crowd – QTS Ladies Night at Ayr Racecourse had it all.

And there also a first for the night – the inaugural QTS Ladies Night Fashion Show held before racing in the Paddock Lawn Marquee.

This was a huge hit, and rounds of the Best Dressed Ladies competition – also held in the same venue – were busy too.

Jennifer Reoch, host of STV’s Riverside Show was celebrity compere, along with Gary Lamont, the actor who plays Robbie Fraser in BBC’S River City.

A total of 14 lucky ladies received bronze coins and a place in the final on William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Ladies Day on Friday 19 September, when up to 27 finalists will draw the name of a horse running in that day’s William Hill Ayr Bronze Cup.

First prize is a Vauxhall Adam Glam 1.4 courtesy of Kerr & Smith, runner-up prize is a fabulous holiday for two to Dubai courtesy of Stewart Travel with the winner and a friend flying from Glasgow to Dubai with Emirates Airlines and enjoying four nights at the four star Vida Downtown Dubai a great location close to Burj Khalifa, Dubai mall.

And third prize is cosmetic treatments from Coast Clinic.

The weather played a huge part on Saturday with many of the large crowd soaking up the sunshine on the Champagne Lawn Gardens at the course.

Clothes for the Fashion show were provided by Wish with hats from William Chambers.

Ayr Racecourse Sales & Marketing Manager Lindsey Smith said: “The evening was an unqualified success. We tried something a little different with the Fashion Show and it worked a treat.”

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.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle to hold next meeting at Blairquhan Castle

The next Elite Ayrshire Business Circle breakfast networking meeting will be held between 8am and 10am on Wednesday 27 August at Blairquhan Castle.

Blairquhan Castle general manager Nan Li will give a presentation about the prestigious venue, and there will be an opportunity to view some of the substantial renovations and refurbishments that have already been achieved by the new owners.

Another main speaker at the meeting will be Derek Mair, managing director of MAP Global Property Investments, who will be speaking about the work his company performs for its clients.

Derek Mair (pictured above) said: “Are hands off, hassle free, UK commercial property investments part of your business exit and wealth creation strategy?

“With record low interest rates people are looking for proven ways of making their money work harder for them. MAP Global Property Investments (MAPgpi) specialise in offering unique buy-to-let commercial property ownership in high growth markets. Historically these opportunities have only available to corporate investors or within reach of the very wealthy, and are now available to individual or first time investors with full support through MAPgpi offering guaranteed income and capital growth potential.” 

Derek Mair, Managing Director of MAPgpi, will provide an insight into the strategic opportunities the company provides to its clients in order to maximise profits and create multiple income streams through property investments as part of a business exit strategy.  He will also briefly share how you can gain access to a complete suite of solutions for business owners including how you can protect your business and personal assets, along with hassle free Auto Enrolment solutions.

A complimentary buffet breakfast will be served before the start of the meeting.

This is an open meeting, and all Ayrshire business people and their guests are welcome to attend.

However, to facilitate catering arrangements, intending attendees are requested to advise accordingly.

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle – NEXT MEETING 27/8/2014