The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 24 March 2016

New mental health facility near completion

The finishing touches are being made to the new £46 million mental health and community facility at Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine.

Woodland View is due to open its doors to patients from the beginning of May. The building contractors, Balfour Beatty, and their sub-contractors are working hard to ensure the building is finished to the highest standard following a construction period of almost 20 months.

[Pictured: Artist impression of how Woodland View will look.] 

During this time Balfour Beatty committed to delivering a number of local employment and sub-contractor opportunities as part of their ‘community benefits’. Ayrshire people employed at the Irvine site account for 23 per cent of the workforce. 

Of the £46 million for the construction of the hospital, 72 per cent has been spent with businesses and sub-contractors which are within 30 miles of Ayrshire Central Hospital. 

John Scott, Project Director for Woodland View, commented: “Ensuring that the local community benefited from the Woodland View investment was absolutely integral to the project from the outset. 

“Together with Balfour Beatty, we were committed to ensuring that as many local people as possible were provided with employment opportunities at the site. Not only does this provide current employment, employees were also able to gain skills to enhance their future employment prospects.

“We were also clear that the majority of the £46 million was to be spent with local businesses. More than £33 million has been invested locally to ensure that businesses are supported by public sector spending which in turn benefits local people through continued employment and investment.” 

A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: “Balfour Beatty is committed to delivering sustainable benefits to the communities in which it operates. 

“We have worked closely with NHS Ayrshire & Arran and our sub-contractors to maximise the community benefits of the Woodland View project, through local employment and utilising local supply chain as well as several community engagement or benefit projects such as landscaping a local charity’s garden.”

One local business which has benefited from the major construction project in North Ayrshire is Kilmarnock-based Worksmart Interiors, which supplied the internal screens for the facility.

Woksmart Interiors is a Kilmarnock- based company which was first established in 2002 and has two satellite offices in Edinburgh and Manchester. They currently employ 33 direct office staff, with 15 based in the Kilmarnock headquarters. Worksmart was appointed to supply and install primed timber glazed screens at Woodland View. 

The screens will be used at each ward and in public areas. They have more than 500 pieces of glass installed into 140 individual screens that were made up of 23 different screen types. Worksmart Interiors is a specialist in this type of architectural glazing; therefore the complex systems erected are of the highest quality and workmanship. 

Stephen Neilson is Managing Director and owner of Worksmart Interiors. He said: “It has been a pleasure working with the team at Woodland View and supporting projects that benefit the community right on our doorstep.

“Worksmart has a strong history in the healthcare sector successfully completing projects at the Southern General, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Royal Victoria Maternity Unit in Belfast. We have always worked in the public sector and tend to be sub-contractor to the tier one contractors such as Balfour Beatty. 

“Working within the local community is extremely important to Worksmart as we believe in ‘Community Benefits’ and investing our skills so that we can give back. Direct labour was used throughout the Woodland View project as well as our mature modern apprentices. We always strive to use a local supply chain. 

“When local contracts are awarded to local business the result is fruitful and encourages growth. For example, while we were working right on our doorstep in Irvine, our satellite offices in Edinburgh and Manchester had projects running in Aberdeen and at the Gherkin in London allowing Worksmart to cover all market sectors throughout the length and breadth of the UK.” 

Woodland View is predominantly single storey, with only the Sanctuary Chaplaincy area, some outpatient clinics and meeting rooms on the first level. Woodland View is the first inpatient facility in Ayrshire which offers all patients their own private ensuite room. Each ward has its own external landscaped courtyard which will allow people to enjoy the outdoors.

People will enter the new facility through the main entrance which has a double height atrium. The seascape designed reception area will greet people as they first arrive in Woodland View. Visitors, patients and staff will be able to enjoy a range of delicious treats at the new Bramble cafe, and a new volunteer-run retail shop will offer a range of goods. There will also be other facilities in the main entrance such as an ATM cash machine, a baby changing facility and free public Wi-Fi throughout. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Hydro scheme could take Ayr ‘back to the future’ with green energy on tap

Plans to harness the power of the River Ayr have been unveiled by South Ayrshire Council. The local authority’s bidding to become one of the first in Scotland to benefit from a new national energy efficiency fund from the Scottish Government.

[Pictured: An artist’s impression of 
what the Hydro project might look like.]

Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) is designed to help local authorities to pilot new approaches to energy efficiency with community groups and businesses, helping to reduce costs and improving warmth in businesses and homes.

South Ayrshire Council has applied for SEEP funding to build a new £1 million hydro installation on the north bank of the River Ayr. The proposals would see two turbines built, generating 320 megawatt hours per year, enough to power 320,000 homes.

The plans were informed by a six month study conducted by the Energy Agency and Manpower Hydro Consulting, which were tasked with judging the feasibility of the project as well as providing financial estimates for development costs.

Mike Newall, Head of Neighbourhood Services, South Ayrshire Council, said, “We saw an opportunity to use the untapped power of the River Ayr to help provide cheaper energy for local businesses and are working hard to make them a reality.

“The plans are a great example of going back to the future to help meet our current needs. The site was home to a corn mill in the past, but for the last 60 years all the energy flowing past has remained completely untapped.

“If we secure funding for the new plant, we plan to sell energy direct to local businesses, while also making additional money by selling our surplus to the national grid.”

It’s thought the scheme would generate total revenue of £52,000 per year – £25,000 through the sale of electricity to local businesses, and a further £27,000 through sales to the national grid.

The application for SEEP funding also includes an additional £1.1 million which would pay for an energy efficiency programme for Ayrshire College, and additional work to improve external wall insulation for properties in Ayr Town Centre and Wallacetoun

A decision will be made on the application later this year.

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