The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Fund to strengthen communities

Ayrshire’s Crossroads Community Hub and the Carrick Centre in Maybole are amongst 26 community-led organisations to receive Scottish Government investment for local regeneration. 


[Pictured: Crossroads Community Hub.]

Enterprising community groups who are delivering economic and regeneration benefits to their areas by refurbishing disused buildings, developing renewable energy projects and creating jobs opportunities, will receive a share of an additional £668,000 investment. 

A boost to the Strengthening Communities Programme (SCP) will see an extra 26 projects drive forward community-led regeneration in their areas. This comes on top of the £3 million which was allocated to around 50 projects in April 2014. 

The additional funding will help build the capacity of local organisations and allow communities to deliver initiatives which respond to their aspirations. It is part of the extra £10 million announced in the Programme for Government, to give people and communities the powers to address inequalities.


[Pictured: The Carrick Centre in Maybole.]

Community Empowerment Minister Marco Biagi revealed the successful community groups on a visit to Mac Arts in Galashiels which will receive support towards its long-term aim of converting a former council building into a multi-purpose arts facility. 

He said: “I am delighted that 26 innovative projects across Scotland will be able to benefit from £668,000 of funding from the Strengthening Communities Programme. Very often, it is the people within their own communities who can best identify how their areas should be improved, which is why this increased investment and support for these local projects is so crucial. 

“This funding will help communities breathe life into disused buildings, produce opportunities for renewables generation, establish community transport and tourism initiatives and create new jobs. 

“People living in rural areas clearly have different priorities to communities in the central belt and the wide range of projects reflects Scotland’s diversity. 

“This investment shows exactly what we want our Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill to achieve. The Bill, which reaches its final stage next month, will support and make it easier for groups to tackle inequalities in their areas, it will give communities more powers to take over assets and will strengthen their voices in the decisions that matter to them.” 

Other new projects to benefit from SCP include the Crossroads Community Hub in Ayrshire which is working to redevelop an old school site into a food and education hub, Balornock East Residents Association in Glasgow’s new community centre plans and the Unst Partnership in Shetland’s community renewables and waste recycling schemes.

After lying empty for four years, the St Andrews Arts Centre in Galashiels was transformed into Mac Arts, which is run by the Duncan MacKinnon Music and Arts Trust (DMMAT). The Trust took over the former Borders Council building in 2012 with the goal of transforming it into a cultural and recreational venue for the local area.

Dave Angus from Mac Arts said: ‘This award from the Strengthening Communities Programme will allow the Duncan MacKinnon Music and Arts Trust to further develop Mac Arts into the Borders’ leading music and arts venue.

“As a charitable organisation that relies on volunteers, this is a fantastic boost that will help us ensure that Mac Arts is able to provide top quality entertainment and arts space for everyone in our local community.”

The additional £668,000 for the Strengthening Communities Programme is part of the overall £10 million Empowering Communities Fund which was announced by the First Minister during her Programme for Government. 

The Strengthening Communities Programme is a partnership approach between the Scottish Government, Scottish Community Development Centre, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS), Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS) and Carnegie UK Trust.


Ayr Racecourse hosts Scotland’s first Listed Race of the Flat season

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse stages Scotland’s first Listed Race of the 2015 Flat season with the Scottish Sun/British Stallion Studs EBF Land O’Burns Fillies Stakes on Saturday 20 June.

The £40,000 race, one of three Listed contests at the track during the flat campaign, is the centrepiece of Scottish Sun Raceday, Ayr’s opening Saturday meeting of the season and one of the highlights of the Scottish racing calendar.

The Land O’Burns Fillies Stakes is a sprint over five furlongs and has an impressive roll of honour with the Alan Berry trained Look Busy landing the spoils in 2008, Tommy Stack sent Sugar Free over the Irish Sea to win in 2009 and the most recent winner was Conrad Allen’s Hay Chewed last year.


[Pictured: Hay Chewed wins last year’s 
Scottish Sun Land O’Burns Fillies Stakes.]

In addition to this Listed contest there are two valuable handicaps on Scottish Sun Raceday – the Scottish Sun On Sunday Handicap over a mile for three year-olds and the Scottish Sun Handicap also over a mile for four year olds and upwards. Both these races carry £25,000 in prize-money.

Ayr hosts two more listed races on the Flat during 2015 - the William Hill Doonside Cup over one mile two furlongs on Saturday 19 September and the Shadwell Stud Harry Roseberry Stakes over five furlongs on Friday 18 September. The course also hosts Scotland’s only Group race, the William Hill Firth Of Clyde Stakes on Saturday 19 September.

Looking ahead to the Scottish Sun/British Stallion Studs EBF Land O’Burns Fillies Stakes, David Brown Ayr Racecourse managing director said: “We pride ourselves on the quality of races we run at Ayr, and the Land O’Burns is one of our best known contests always attracting good quality fillies.

“It is also our first major race of the flat season, and we anticipate another good entry this year.” 

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.


Friday, 29 May 2015

Kincaidston Primary School celebrates modernisation

The children of Kincaidston Primary School enthralled guests with an evening of musical entertainment to mark the completion of the school’s new £2.5 million refurbishment programme, which has increased space in the school and enhanced it. 


[Pictured: Kelsie Bradley P7 (left) and Shannon Lindsay P6 (centre) and Councillor Margaret Toner (right) unveil commemorative plaque to mark completion of the school modernisation.]

The completion of the work, which has transformed the school into a place fit to meet educational needs of the 21st century, marks another important chapter in the history of the school, which has 184 children. 

After unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion, Councillor Margaret Toner, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder said: “When you step into Kincaidston Primary School you enter a bright, light, colourful building, which provides the ideal environment to deliver modern learning and teaching. There is a real community spirit about the school with children enthusiastic about their learning.

“Children are our future and we must give them the best education possible. The investment in this school demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that children and staff are inspired by their surroundings and that school is a positive experience for all children.”

After the official opening of the newly refurbished school by Councillor Margaret Toner the Reverend Liz Crumlish, School Chaplain dedicated the school.  

The guests then enjoyed musical entertainment with ‘A Journey Through The Decades’, with a performance by the school choir who sang We Like Joyful Music and various primary classes who sang Bye Bye Baby, Don’t Stop Believin’, Circle of Life, I Gotta Feeling and Happy.

The Council worked with architects, children, parents and the community to ensure that the work met the needs of the school. 

The school building has undergone a transformation which includes many outstanding features such as:

• Classrooms modernised to a very high standard.
• 21st century ICT resources.  
• New kitchen area.
• New STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) room.
• Open learning areas upgraded and new furniture introduced which offers a wide range of learning experiences for the children.
• The nursery classes transformed to create pleasant and fun places for the very young children to enjoy their learning. 

Ian Sturgeon, Head Teacher at the school said: “I would like to express my thanks to children, parents and carers, staff and the local community for the patience, support and co-operation during the modernisation programme. 

“Thanks to the significant investment by South Ayrshire Council, we have a school that meets modern teaching requirements and inspires children to learn. 

“Kincaidston Primary is a school we should all be proud of and will continue to play a significant role in the Kincaidston community for many years to come.”

A set of photographs of this event is on FLICKR.

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


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Dead heat at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson 

THE first dead heat at Ayr Racecourse in many years marked the opening of the two-day May meeting last Wednesday.

In a pulsating finish to the six furlong maiden Ancient Astronaut, ridden by Phillip Makin and trained by John Quinn, got up on the line to share the spoils with the Kevin Ryan trained Shane Gray ridden Ferryover. 


[Picture shows Ferryover (nearest camera) and 
Ancient Astronaut dead heat at Ayr Racecourse.]

Quinn and Makin won the corresponding race last year with The Wow Signal who went on to win the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville. Ancient Astronaut will attempt to emulate his now retired stablemate. 

The in-form Linda Perratt saddled a winner on each of the two days with the same horse. On Wednesday Rock Canyon was successful over six furlongs in the Weddings At Western House Hotel Handicap. 

On Thursday over the shorter distance of five furlong Rock Canyon came with a late thrust to pip another Perratt runner Saxonette and land the Bacardi Carta Oro Handicap. PJ McDonald was in the plate for Wednesday’s win but had chosen to ride Saxonette on Thursday with Connor Beasley benefitting. 

 Ayr’s top flat trainer Jim Goldie was successful on the opening day with Classy Anne winning the New Website at ayr-racechourse.co.uk Handicap with Fergal Lynch riding. 

Thursday’s feature race, the Tennent’s Lager Handicap over a mile was won by the David O’Meara trained Fort Bastion ridden by Sam James, a three and three quarter length winner from outsider Pintura, trained by Alistair Whillans. 

Hawick based Whillans had earlier won the Famous Grouse Handicap with Vicky Valentine ridden by PJ McDonald. 

Mark Johnston won the opening Guinness Golden Ale British Stallion Studs Maiden Stakes on Thursday with odds-on favourite Rogues Gallery ridden by Paul Mulrennan; and the final race of the two-day meeting, the Caledonia Best Handicap, saw Royal Duchess trained by Lucy Normile and the mount of Samantha Bell get up close home to foil Hellbender. 

Ayr’s next meeting is on Monday 8 June. For more information on racing at Ayr or to book tickets call 01292 264179 or go online at www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk 

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.


Monday, 25 May 2015

Linda Perratt on winning form at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

Linda Perratt continued her fine start to the flat campaign at Ayr Racecourse on Wednesday and Thursday of last week, saddling Rock Canyon to win on both days.


[Pictured: Rock Canyon (nearest camera) pips stablemate 
Saxonette to win at Ayr for the second day running.]

On Wednesday the six year-old gelding was sent off at 10/1 and stayed on well to beat Amis Reunis in the six furlong Weddings At Western House Hotel Handicap with PJ McDonald riding.

But on Thursday PJ opted to ride another Perratt trained horse Saxonette in the Bacardi Carta Oro Handicap over five furlongs and thought he’d won only to see  Rock Canyon (4/1)  come with a rattling late run to win by a short head with Connor Beasley riding.

PJ quipped afterwards: “I think I’ll sack my agent for putting me up on the wrong horse!”

Jim Goldie saddled his first turf winner of 2015 on Wednesday when Classy Anne landed the New Website at ayr-racecourse.co.uk Handicap at odds of 11/1 with Fergal Lynch riding.

There was a dead heat in the opening race on the first day of the meeting when Ancient Astronaut, trained by John Quinn and ridden by Phillip Makin, shared the spoils with Ferryover from the Kevin Ryan yard with Shane Gray on board.

Thursday’s feature race, the Tennent’s Lager Handicap over a mile went to the David O’Meara trained Fort Bastion (5/2) ridden by Sam James, a three and three quarter length winner from 33/1 shot Pintura, trained by Alsitair Whillans.

Hawick-based Whillans didn’t leave the track empty handed however, having earlier landed the Famous Grouse Handicap with Vicky Valentine (10/1) ridden by PJ McDonald.

Middleham-based Scottish trainer Mark Johnston won the opening Guinness Golden Ale British Stallion Studs Maiden Stakes on Thursday with 1/3 favourite Rogues’ Gallery, ridden by Paul Mulrennan while the final race of the two day meeting the Caledonia Best Handicap went to Royal Duchess (7/2) trained by Lucy Normile and the mount of Samantha Bell.

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.