The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 25 February 2016

NHS Ayrshire & Arran leading the way to a tobacco-free generation

NHS Ayrshire & Arran is the first area NHS board in Scotland to endorse Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation. 

The Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation is a new initiative from health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Scotland in response to the Scottish Government’s goal of creating a tobacco-free generation of Scots by 2034.

[Pictured: Chief executive John Burns signs on the dotted line to declare NHS Ayrshire & Arran as the first NHS territorial Board to sign up to Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco-free Generation with Dr Carol Davidson, Director of Public Health.]

The Charter has six key principles that encourage organisations to examine how they can best contribute to the tobacco-free goal. NHS Ayrshire & Arran is joining a list of national organisations which have already backed the Charter including Children 1st, British Lung Foundation, British Heart Foundation, Aberlour Childcare Trust, and the Scottish Cot Death Trust. 

NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s endorsement of the Charter is the latest in a series of actions taken to help reduce the harm caused by tobacco. In March 2015, all NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s grounds went smoke-free, and they have also supported other public and private sector organisations in Ayrshire and Arran to move to smoke free grounds.  

Currently, patients who smoke and have to stay in hospital are visited by a Fresh Air-shire advisor. These specially trained advisors are able to assist patients in managing their smoking while they are in hospital. This may involve being prescribed Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) for abstinence while in the hospital, or being given further NRT, advice and support to stop smoking after the patient is discharged from hospital. 

Fresh Air-shire, NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s smoking cessation team, also provide support for people in local communities. Regular drop-in clinics are held throughout Ayrshire, making it easier for people to get help and support to quit. A telephone support helpline is also available. 

ASH Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “Scotland has a vision of making smoking unfashionable, with fewer than 5% of the population still smoking by 2034. It’s a compelling vision and one worth striving for. If we all work on this, the children who are just going into nursery school now can be the first generation to grow up free from the harm caused by tobacco. ASH Scotland welcomes NHS Ayrshire & Arran in joining us in our work towards a generation free from tobacco.” 

NHS Ayrshire & Arran chief executive John Burns said: “We fully support the key Charter principles which aim to create a tobacco-free generation of Scots by 2034.  

“Our Fresh Air-shire team work in nurseries, schools, further education, workplaces, GP practices, prisons, hospitals and community venues to offer support and advice in relation to all aspects of tobacco control, that is, prevention, cessation and protection.  

“But we realise there is still a lot to do and we now intend to bring more people on board with the idea of a smoke-free generation in Scotland by 2034 by advancing Charter principles through our leadership of the Pan-Ayrshire Tobacco Control Strategy Steering Group.”  

To talk about any aspect of smoking including help to stop, the effects of second-hand smoke or information about e-cigarettes, call free on 0800 783 9132, or email  
Further information on Scotland’s Charter for a Tobacco Free Generation can be found at 
Every day in Scotland, 40 young people become new smokers, which equates to 15,000 young people each year. 

Evidence shows that the younger a person starts to smoke, the more likely they are to continue smoking into adulthood, the more heavily they are likely to smoke as an adult and the more likely they are to fall ill and die early as a result of smoking. 

Preventing or delaying children from taking up smoking has been shown to reduce the burden of disease in later life and make it more likely that they will not smoke. 

One in three (34 per cent) adults in the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland smoke cigarettes. 

Almost half of adults who are permanently sick or disabled (48 per cent) or unemployed and seeking work (46 per cent) are current smokers. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Ayr wins Racecourse of the Year award

By: Iain Ferguson 

AYR Racecourse has been named Racecourse of the Year 2015 for Scotland and the North by members of the Racegoers Club. 

The vote across the 5,000 strong membership of the Club saw Ayr take the honour in the category for 11th time in 12 years. 

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown (pictured above) said: “It is a great honour to win this award and be voted top racecourse in Scotland and the North by members of the Racegoers Club. This is voted for by the racing regular racegoers so that makes it all the more pleasing. We are all delighted.” 

This is the latest accolade for the racecourse which in recent months was awarded VisitScotland’s Five Star Visitor Attraction Award in recognition of its outstanding standards, was one of only six racecourses to be awarded the Racehorse Owners Association Gold Standard in the large racecourses category and also won a coveted first prize at the prestigious 2015 National Racecourse Catering Awards. 

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.

Construction underway at the new Ayr Academy

Construction work at the new Ayr Academy Learning Campus is now officially underway. The £25 million project, funded by South Ayrshire Council through the Scottish Government's Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme, is set to open in August 2017.

[Pictured: Minister for Learning, Science & Scotland's Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan, joins with elected members and officials from South Ayrshire Council alongside pupils from the current Ayr Academy.]

The project will be delivered by hub South West, set up in conjunction with the Scottish Future’s Trust and other partner organisations, to deliver major public sector building projects. Building works will be undertaken by Kier Construction.

The new Ayr Academy, which will have capacity for up to 1,000 pupils at Ayr’s Craigie Estate, also incorporates sports and community facilities including sports pitches, a multi-use hall, two gyms and a dance studio.

Minister for Learning, Science & Scotland's Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan, visited the site on Tuesday February 23 to mark the start of the construction process. He said the project was among the best in the country. “I’m pleased to see work moving ahead on a project that will provide the local community with a first-class facility.

“Today marks an exciting milestone for the new Ayr Academy and I’m delighted the Scottish Government could provide around £18 million towards the project.

“The benefits of the campus aren’t just confined to education, with the project also supporting the local construction sector, creating fresh job opportunities and providing fantastic new facilities for the whole community to enjoy.”

[Pictured: Cheers all round as work starts at the new Ayr Academy.]

Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning, said: “It’s great to see work getting underway to realise this fantastic new campus, a project that will transform the quality of education for a generation of pupils.

“In the next eighteen months people will see real progress as the project starts to take shape, and at the same time we’ll be working closely with pupils so that they know exactly what to expect when they get here.

“Meanwhile a focus on partnership will see closer ties between the school, Ayrshire College and the University of the West of Scotland, a factor that will strengthen the education sector and provide more opportunities for young people.”

[Pictured: Pupils at the current Ayr Academy 
catch a glimpse of their new school.]

Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction's Scotland & north-east England business said: “Education is one of the areas we specialise in and we have a proven track record in delivering similar projects in the sector; Kier Construction builds and refurbishes more than 200,000sq m of accommodation each year, which provides an average of 25,000 school places.

“The delivery of this project will require around 200 people working on site at its peak, which means it’s an important scheme for South Ayrshire’s economy, creating valuable employment and training opportunities in our local supply chain.

“It’s an exciting milestone to be breaking ground on the project and we look forward to working closely with our partners to deliver the new school in the months ahead.”

Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of delivery partner hub South West added: “We enjoy a close working relationship with South Ayrshire Council, with the new campus being our sixth joint project.

“Our model helps deliver projects like Ayr Academy over relatively short periods, something that highlights the versatility of using the hub approach for public sector contracts.

“With a potential £500m construction pipeline in the next five years, we aim to continually improve our project's delivery model, seeking to reduce cost and lead-times.”

Professor Malcolm Foley, Vice-Principal & Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement), and Dean of the School of Business & Enterprise at University of the West of Scotland, said, “UWS is proud to be at the heart of education, culture, and business development in Ayrshire.

“The new Learning Campus is a hugely important development for education in the region and will result in even greater partnership working between South Ayrshire Council, Ayrshire College and the University.”

The Ayr Academy Learning Campus will be constructed on a Design, Build, Finance and Maintain (DBFM) basis. This takes account of both the construction of the new school and facilities, as well as a 25-year maintenance contract, which has been awarded to FES Ltd for maintenance of the building fabric, external and built internal environment. All other facilities management, including cleaning, catering and janitorial services will remain with South Ayrshire Council.

The Council will fund the revenue cost of the facilities management contract as well as lifecycle operation costs – for example, the replacement of boilers, windows, roofs etc.

The DBFM model for the Ayr Academy project – as well as 11 other projects across Scotland being constructed on the same basis – was revised by the Scottish Futures Trust to take account of ESA10 (European System of Accounts 2010), which determine how national governments report overall levels of debt in the national accounts.

Ayr Academy is the first of these projects to reach financial close since the Deputy First Minister confirmed the revised model and advised the projects could proceed on 26 November 2015.

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

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle to meet at County Buildings in Ayr

The next business breakfast networking meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle will be held at 9am on Friday 4 March in the Maybole Room at the County Buildings in Ayr.

Mr Pan will outline how Ayrshire businesses can set about starting to do business with China, or increase business if they have already started.

Before commencement of the meeting proper, there will be time for informal networking while light refreshments are served from 9am.

This is an Open Meeting, so as well as members and guests, all interested Ayrshire business people are cordially invited to attend.

Murdoch MacDonald
Managing Director
The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 22 February 2016

Renowned artist Peter Howson returns to Ayrshire

Celebrated artist Peter Howson has returned to South Ayrshire with an exhibition called ‘Babylon’ which features inspirational new works of art.

The evocative artist from Prestwick held his first exhibition at the Maclaurin Art Gallery, Rozelle back in 1982 and returns to the gallery which set him on his path to international acclaim.

This fantastic new exhibition is taking place as part of Arts at Rozelle which is a partnership between South Ayrshire Council and the Maclaurin Trust.

Peter Howson’s work has become instantly recognisable and gives his own unique take on life, reflecting moments of great difficulty but also of great achievement.

Ever mindful of his roots, Peter became Patron of the Maclaurin in 2014 and continues to support the gallery. His exhibitions always attract great attention and are among the gallery’s most successful events and this exhibition is destined to be just as popular.

Councillor Bill Grant, Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “I am delighted that this amazing exhibition is showing at the Maclaurin Art Gallery, Rozelle. Peter uses his painting to help deal with life’s challenges and his talent enables him to capture the human spirit as nobody else can.

“Exhibitions of this calibre have to be seen to be believed and I would encourage everyone to make the time to visit the exhibition, you will not be disappointed and you may feel that one visit is not enough to absorb Peter’s work.”

Peter Howson commented: “I am delighted to be back at the Maclaurin Art Gallery with my new exhibition. The people of South Ayrshire have always been very enthusiastic about my work and having been brought up in the area, I consider this to be my ‘home’ gallery.”

John Walker from the Maclaurin Trust said: “We are delighted to welcome Peter Howson our Patron to The Maclaurin Art Gallery for ‘Babylon’ a major exhibition. As one of the leading artists in Scotland today his work is commendable and is worth seeing as well as acquiring.”

Over the years, Peter has used his artwork to help raise awareness of mental health issues and in 2014 he raised funds for Scottish Autism by walking from Aberdeen to Ayr, drawing as he went.  These works, all in aid of the charity, were exhibited and sold at the Maclaurin. 

The landmark exhibition which runs until 6 March 2016 is another opportunity to pick up one of his masterpieces with prices starting at £200 for sketches.

Visit for more information.

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

Bernardelli wins feature race at Dawn Homes Bishopbriggs Raceday

By: Iain Ferguson

NICKY Richards sent one runner to Ayr last week and won the feature race on Tuesday - the Dawn Homes Perceton Handicap Chase - with Bernardelli ridden by Craig Nichol.

Sent off at odds of 7/2, Bernardelli (pictured above) went clear two fences from home and beat Plus Jamais by three lengths.

The Penrith based trainer said: “We tried him in blinkers for the first time and they certainly worked. He jumped well.”

Kinneston trainer Nick Alexander continued his fine run of form saddling Bertalus (9/2) to win the Dawn Homes Part Exchange Handicap Hurdle in the hands of his daughter Lucy while Alistair Whillans sent W Six Times (8/1), ridden by Kieron Edgar, from his Hawick yard to win the conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle.

There was a strong contingent of Irish runners and their trip over the sea paid off when Stuart Crawford, who trains near Larne, landed the two-mile maiden hurdle with the 11/8 favourite Danielle’s Journey, the mount of Andrew Lynch.

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.

GSK Irvine expansion creates 55 new jobs

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today announced £1.5 million funding for pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline towards the extension of their plant in Irvine, creating 55 new jobs.

The company will receive a Scottish Enterprise Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant to extend their Potassium Clavulanate (Clav) Plant, which produces penicillin.

The Irvine facility has been expanded to meet the growing demand from the developing world and emerging markets for antibiotics and forms part of the company’s total investment of more than £200 million between their sites in Irvine and Montrose since 2013.

Speaking at the official opening of the new facility in Irvine, the First Minister said: “GSK is a global leader in the development of medicines and a great example of a highly innovative company that is benefiting from what Scotland has to offer as an attractive location of choice for global life sciences companies.

“Their further investment in Scotland is testament to our thriving life sciences industry and its position as a key growth sector for the Scottish economy. Their continued commitment across their sites in Scotland is proof of the skill and value of the Scottish workforce.

“Last week I launched, A Manufacturing Future for Scotland – an action plan outlining our commitment to delivering new initiatives that stimulate innovation, improve productivity and increase investment in the Scottish manufacturing sector in order that it can better compete globally.

“Scotland has a long established reputation for innovation and research capability and a highly diverse manufacturing sector.

“We are committed to working with industry and with higher and further education institutions to see this develop further.”

GSK CEO Sir Andrew Witty said: “We’re delighted to be opening a new facility in Scotland, where we have a long-standing commitment to manufacturing, which will continue in the near and distant future. The impact of this new facility will be felt here and abroad, with more antibiotics produced for people in countries where this sort of medicine is desperately needed.”

Adrian Gillespie, Scottish Enterprise Managing Director of Operations said: “Today marks a significant milestone for GSK and Scotland’s life sciences sector. Since 2009 we’ve worked intensively with the company helping deliver its ambitious growth plans.

“This latest support of £1.5 million RSA funding helped secure the company’s investment in Scotland and the creation of 55 new jobs. GSK is an important contributor to the Scottish economy and together we will continue to support its growth ambition in Scotland.”