The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Town centre regeneration - Ayr Your Views!

Local people are set to have their say on exciting Council proposals that will help transform Ayr town centre for many years to come.


The Council want the public to have their say on ideas which include high-quality and attractive public spaces, a new town centre leisure facility, new housing adjacent to the High Street, and dedicated event and community areas.

The Council is holding two consultation events in Ayr Town Hall on Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 November between 2:00pm and 7:30pm.

The proposals on show will complement the consultation work which has taken place so far and people will be able to discuss their views with Council Officers and have their say.

Councillor Brian McGinley, Economy and Culture Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council, said: "We have some exciting ideas which will help boost the local economy and put Ayr and South Ayrshire on the map. Improving social, cultural and economic activities is key to this ambition.

“We need to know if we are moving in the right direction, which is why these ideas need to be discussed with the local community.

“If we all work together then we will have the right projects in place which will not only bring more people into Ayr town centre, but will give them a reason to stay and come back time and time again.”

As well as the consultation events, a short survey can be completed at south-ayrshire.gov.uk/ayr-your-views 

The deadline to complete the online survey is Friday 14 December at 5:00pm 

Information gathered from the consultation events and the online survey will be used to inform the decision-making process. The intention would be to hold further consultation events in the future providing more detail on agreed projects including designs, costs and timescales.

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


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Ayr voted one of six best racecourses by ROA for fourth year in a row

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse has been voted as one of the top six large racecourses in the country for racehorse owners for the fourth year in a row.


The accolade comes from the Racehorse Owners Association, the body that has represented racehorse owners for more than 70 years.

Joining Scotland’s premier track in the top six large racecourses to receive the ROA Gold Standard Award for 2018 are Ascot, Cheltenham, Chester, Haydock Park and York.

Ayr has now been awarded the Gold Standard every year since the inception of the new Award format in 2015.

ROA representatives visited every track in Britain at least once to assess all aspects of the raceday experience for owners. In addition, feedback was provided by hundreds of ROA members following their racecourse visits.

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “On behalf of the team at Ayr Racecourse I am both proud and delighted we have retained the ROA Gold Standard and remain one of only six large racecourses to be awarded given the accolade.

“To be given the Gold Standard for the fourth successive year is particularly pleasing, and reflects all the hard work and dedication and attention to detail we pride ourselves on reflecting the importance in which we hold racehorse owners.

“We are continually monitoring our raceday experience so we can continue to deliver the best experience possible for owners.”

Racecourses are divided into two categories – large and small – with their classification decided by a range of factors, including the quality of racing and attendance figures. The six tracks in each category that were considered to provide owners with the best raceday experience will hold the Award for the next 12 months.

One racecourse from each section will be named as their respective category’s ‘Racecourse of the Year’ at the annual ROA Horseracing Awards to be held in London on Thursday 6 December.

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.


Sunday, 28 October 2018

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors and Christie Financial Planning jointly sponsor annual Ayr Art Exhibition in aid of Save the Children

Leading Ayrshire legal firm Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors has teamed up with Glasgow-based Christie Financial Planning to become joint sponsors of the annual Ayr Art Exhibition 2018.

The 25th Ayrshire Art Exhibition in aid of Save The Children opened again this year on Sunday 15 October after a preview day for invited guests on Saturday 14 October. The exhibition is held in the Maclaurin Galleries in the grounds of beautiful Rozelle House on the road out of Ayr to Alloway and will continue until 11 November.


Some 250 artists are exhibiting one or two of their paintings, and the ensemble makes for one of Scotland’s most attractive art exhibitions, with works of art for sale at over such a wide range of prices that there is always something to suit anyone’s pocket.

For a second year there are also Cameo Cards for sale. These unframed postcard-sized paintings proved very popular last year, and the entire proceeds go to support aid to children in Scotland. Very many of the artists donate these works entirely for charity, and devote many hours to create an extraordinary range of images that sell at a flat price of £50 each and, unlike the framed paintings on the wall, buyers can take these cards away with them. There are small frames to fit at only £10 each.

The exhibition runs for four weeks, and will be constantly attended by friendly and helpful members of the local Save The Children Committee who look after visitors and process sales.

A spokesperson for Save the Children said: “The exhibition has continued to grow every year and we’re excited to be celebrating our 25th anniversary.

“It’s become a really popular event and people travel from all over the country to attend and buy original art at an affordable price.

“We’re extremely grateful to the artists who have been so generous by donating pieces from their collections over the years.

“We would also like to thank The Maclaurin Galleries for their continued support and assistance, without which the exhibition would not be the successful event it is today.”

The money raised from the exhibition goes towards helping vulnerable children around the world as well as in Scotland and across the UK.

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors' Managing Partner, Norman Geddes commented: “We are delighted to take this opportunity to support such a worthy cause as Save the Children, and to be involved in such a memorable and enjoyable event.”

Christie Financial Planning Ltd’s Director Paul Christie commented: “I cannot think of a more worthwhile charity to support. Save the Children Ayr and District Branch have an outstanding record of raising funds and everyone in our team is thrilled to assist them with their fundraising efforts. I am confident that the 2018 exhibition will be an outstanding success.”

The Save the Children Ayr Art Exhibition
The Maclaurin Galleries, Rozelle Park, Monument Road, Ayr.
Dates: 15 October – 11 November 2018
Time: Mon – Sat 10:00am – 4:30pm Sun 12:00pm – 4:30pm
Admission: Free

Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Monday, 15 October 2018

Warm welcome for soldiers back to Ayr

Around 400 soldiers from 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, also known as 2 SCOTS, took to the streets of Ayr for a parade to mark their homecoming.


Many of the solders are local, so people were out in force to welcome them home after a six-month tour of Iraq, South Sudan and Cyprus.

The pipes and drums were accompanied by loud applause and cheering from an appreciative public as the troops marched through the heart of Ayr led by Corporal Cruachan IV – the Regimental Mascot. The Shetland pony was unruffled by the crowds as he led the way to the town hall for a special ceremony.

It’s been a long but rewarding six months for 2 SCOTS as they took part in operations to provide peace and stability in some of the most dangerous parts of the  world.

In Iraq the soldiers were based in the Kurdistan region providing training to local security forces. Working just outside Baghdad, soldiers from the battalion also linked up with an Australian and Spanish-led coalition to help stabilise the region.

Overseas tours ensure the soldiers from 2 SCOTS gain valuable experience and, at the Town Hall, Lieutenant Toomey, Corporal Morrison, Fusilier Brady, Fusilier Gillespie and Fusilier McGuffie all received Operational Service Medals for their distinguished service in Iraq.

The soldiers also took the opportunity to add hundreds of crochet and knitted poppies to a remembrance banner in the town hall. The poppies have been made by members of the public to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and the banner will feature at Remembrance Day events. 

Major General Euan Loudon CBE also accepted a cheque for £34,000 on behalf of former soldier Corporal Ronnie ‘Annie’ Oakley who unfortunately passed away recently. It was Annie’s wish that the money be left to the Royal Highland Fusilier (RHF) Museum in Glasgow.

Helen Moonie, South Ayrshire Provost said: “I would like to thank the people of South Ayrshire for welcoming the soldiers’ home. I know how much it means to those that took part in the parade to see and hear people young and old cheering them on, it’s something that will stay with the men and women of 2 SCOTS for many years to come.

“It was a particularly poignant moment to see serving soldiers attach crochet and knitted poppies to the First World War memorial banner in the town hall and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed so far.”

Lieutenant Colonel D C Close, Commanding Officer 2 SCOTS said: “After 6 months of performing operations 2 SCOTS are back to say thank you to our communities, to our recruiting areas, to our families and friends who have supported us throughout the last year.

“It is a joy to be in amongst our Scottish community who play a major role in supporting us and have done for many years.”

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


Thursday, 27 September 2018

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle NEXT MEETING

The next business breakfast networking meeting of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle will take place at 8am on Friday 2 November at the new Ayr Academy.

Our hosts are South Ayrshire Council.

As well as the usual excellent opportunity to network with other leading Ayrshire business people, the meeting will also provide a forum to hear from councillors and officials and discuss with them such topical issues as the Station Hotel and the regeneration of Ayr town centre. And of course to see round the new Ayr Academy.


Tea, coffee and rolls will be provided.

In order to facilitate seating and catering arrangements, please e-mail murdochmacdonald@hotmail.com to advise how many from your company will be attending, plus the number of any guests you may care to invite.

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


Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Regeneration of Ayr continues as Ayr Renaissance is wound down

The Administration of South Ayrshire Council has taken the decision to disband Ayr Renaissance.

Staff from the organisation had previously transferred to the Council, and the Ayr Renaissance Board will now be discontinued.

Projects being delivered by Ayr Renaissance will be picked up by the Council, and will continue to support the ongoing regeneration of Ayr Town Centre.


Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Douglas Campbell (pictured above) said: “I would like to thank the Board of Ayr Renaissance for all their hard work and dedication. Since 2009 they have worked alongside the Council, making a big difference to the establishment of an exciting vision for the Ayr.

“We are now at the stage where we can set aside the funds for projects to continue the regeneration of the Town Centre, and we want to know what the wider public think in advance of setting the Council budget in March of next year.

“We’re committed to making the most of the local economy, and having welcoming towns and villages are a big part of that ambition. Town centres which are lived in are much more attractive places to be, so we are looking at changing planning regulations to allow empty shops and businesses to become residential properties.

“Bringing people back into the heart of Ayr Town Centre is vital. and we know that large numbers of people use our swimming pools. The Citadel is nearing the end of its useful life, and we believe there is an opportunity to increase footfall if a new swimming pool were built in the Town Centre.

“We need a new plan for the riverside, as the Council is no longer building an office block. We have taken the decision to disperse staff into buildings we currently own, most of which are in Ayr. In our new plan we propose a small housing development on the riverside following the clearance of land previously earmarked for new Council offices. Our preferred option is to retain much of the land as a public square with prominent views of the Town Hall and the High St.

“The High St could also benefit from new public spaces, and we would also look at making the Fish Cross and the square beside the former Clydesdale Bank much more attractive places to be.

“We are also looking at making more of our streets, are the bus stops in the right places? Should there be more or less street furniture?

“We cannot ignore Burns Statue Square and the need to improve the access to the top of the town. Our intention is to demolish Burns House by 2020, and, should there be a new cinema in the centre of the town, the current cinema may close and this could be the start of a new street design. We are also concerned about the future of the Station Hotel and any new developments at the railway. We keenly await proposals from the owners about the future intentions once the Station Hotel is made safe.

“There is lots going on and it’s an exciting time to be involved in the regeneration of Ayr, but we want more engagement from the public over the coming months, so everyone is involved in building a lasting legacy for Ayr Town Centre.”

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


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Airshow wows the crowds with record numbers attending the two-day event

With 60,000 people descending on Ayr's Low Green on Saturday and 45,000 on Sunday this was the best attended airshow yet, with thousands more estimated to have enjoyed the displays along the South Ayrshire coastline and beyond.


Highlights for this year included intricate formation flying from the Red Arrows, which closed both days. Other memorable displays came from the thunderous Typhoons, the Catalina flying boat, the Swiss Classic Formation of 1940s transport, the Global Stars aerobatic team, and a jaw dropping aerobatic display from Lauren Wilson's Pitts Special biplane.

The family event also included a funfair with a giant Ferris Wheel ride; the STEM future technology Pavilion (sponsored by Spirit AeroSystems and UTC Aerospace Systems) promoting careers to young people; vintage vehicles, world food, stalls, and an RAF 100 concert at Ayr Town Hall featuring the Swing Cats and a 20 piece big band.


Councillor Brian McGinley, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism & Leisure said the event had been a resounding success, "We're proud to have hosted the Scottish International Airshow for the fifth time, with tens of thousands of people enjoying South Ayrshire at its best, with a fantastic weekend of amazing aerial displays and lots to do for families.

"The airshow has enjoyed unprecedented support thanks to record-breaking Council investment for 2018 and 2020, and it's great to see the event continue to grow from strength-to-strength against the backdrop of a spectacular coastline.


"With £5 million generated for the local economy last year, we expect similar benefits this year with retailers, restaurants and other businesses reaping the rewards of increased visitor numbers and tourism spend."

The Airshow was also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland's Events Directorate.

"Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland's Director of Events, said: "Scotland is the perfect stage for events and EventScotland is proud to have supported this year's Scottish International Airshow through our Beacon Fund Programme.

"It's great to see record crowds headed out to enjoy the thrills of the air displays alongside the entertainment and exhibitions on the ground over the two days, making for a great weekend out for all the family."


Doug Maclean, a Director of the Scottish International Airshow, added: "We enjoyed a fantastic airshow over the whole weekend, with people turning out in numbers to see our exciting programme.

"The fact that we attracted the Swiss Airforce and the Swiss Classic Formation this year shows the growing appeal of the event across Europe.

"We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to build on our success to date."

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


Saturday, 8 September 2018

Johnny Murtagh could go for Ayr Gold Cup glory

By: Iain Ferguson

FORMER jockey turned trainer Johnny Murtagh is hoping to make history by training the first Irish-based horse of the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup.


His three year-old colt Urban Beat (pictured nearest the camera) was highly impressive when winning the John Sisk & Son New Stand Handicap at the Curragh last Saturday, and has been installed as 10-1 clear favourite with sponsors William Hill.

After only seeing a racecourse once as a two year-old, Urban Beat was reintroduced at Navan in April, winning his maiden impressively before taking a Premier Handicap at the Curragh a month later by three and a half lengths.

Last Saturday’s win brought his tally to three from four and, providing the ground doesn’t quicken up, he could line up for Scotland’s riches race – the £200,000 William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse.

Another horse to catch the eye recently was Global Applause who, having his first run for Robert Cowell, came from behind to win the 188Bet Extra Place Races Handicap at Sandown on Saturday. His odds have been slashed from 33s to as low as 14s.

Growl, trained by Richard Fahey, who was second in the race in 2016 to Brando, is available at 12s and has been running consistently this season while Gunmetal, winner of the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon last month, is on 14-1

There is a total of £720,000 in prize-money on offer at the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup Festival which runs from Thursday 20 September – Saturday 22 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.


Sunday, 2 September 2018

£4.8 million for R&D in Prestwick

Supporting growth in aerospace technology.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed £4.8 million funding for Spirit AeroSytems new open access Aerospace Innovation Centre at its manufacturing site in Prestwick.

Innovation within the new centre will focus on the development of the next generation of aircraft. It will also help develop the technology for composite materials and automated assembly used in the industry.

The investment will create 40 high-value jobs and leverage significant capital investment in infrastructure and equipment. Over the next decade, the facility will further enable growth for industry-leading aerospace technologies and innovations and has the potential to create more manufacturing jobs.

The First Minister confirmed the funding as she visited the company’s manufacturing site.   

She said: "Just before last year’s Programme for Government I visited Spirit AeroSystems to set out our ambition for Scotland to develop, design and manufacture the technologies and products of the future, backed by an extra £45 million for business research and development over the next three years. 

" Research and development drives innovation and economic growth so it's great to be back here to see that additional support helping not just Spirit, but also companies across Scotland develop new products.

“Today’s announcement underlines the importance of Prestwick as an aviation hub and as a key piece of Scotland’s industrial infrastructure, supporting jobs, investment and opportunity.”

Scott McLarty, VP UK & Malaysia, Spirit AeroSystems, said: "The centre will operate on an open access basis creating an environment that fosters supply chain and academic collaborations. Spirit is actively seeking technology partners in this centre that will strengthen the ability for Scotland's aerospace industry and wider supply chain to secure work on the next generation of aircraft."

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise, said: “The creation of the open access Aerospace Innovation Centre at Prestwick will help cement Scotland's position as a global centre of aerospace excellence. 

"It is a truly transformational project that takes full advantage of the world-wide growth in aircraft manufacturing, has the potential to create a number of jobs in the South Ayrshire region and beyond, and enhances Scotland’s international reputation for nurturing and promoting innovation.”

Background

The First Minister announced £2.1 million funding for Spirit AeroSystems last year.

The new grant will provide Spirit AeroSystems with state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) facilities and will also give access to other companies undertaking their own R&D, either independently or in collaboration with Spirit.

The Aerospace Innovation Centre will complement other recent investments or commitments in engineering and manufacture in Scotland. These include the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS), Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, Advanced Forming Research Centre including the recently announced phase 2, FutureForge.

Posted by the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Saturday, 1 September 2018

Flaming Spear joint-favourite for William Hill Ayr Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

Flaming Spear, trained by Dean Ivory, is now co ante post joint-favourite at 12-1 for this month’s William Hill Ayr Gold Cup after landing a valuable Goodwood handicap last Saturday.


The six year-old (pictured above) won impressively by over seven furlongs at the Sussex track, but it is two years since the gelding last raced over six furlongs, and that was in the 2016 running of the Gold Cup which was won by Brando.

His co-favourites for the Ayr race are Willie Haggas’s Mankib and the Irish trained three year-old Urban Beat.

Top weight is the Brian Meehan trained Bacchus due to carry 9st 10lb while Irish trained Ardhoomey, a  16-1 chance, is on 9st 9lb along with Mark Johnston’s Cardsharp.

Gunmetal, winner of the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon earlier in the month is on 14s and has been allocated 9st 4lb while Roger Varian’s Laugh A Minute, second in a Group 3 at Deauville on Sunday, is also on 14s with the sponsor.

Richard Fahey’s Growl who finished second in the race to Brando in 2016 and carries the colours of Dr Marwan Koukash is 16-1.

Latest betting from William Hill is 12-1 Flaming Spear, Mankib, Urban Beat;  14-1 Culturati, Glenamoy Lad, Growl, Gunmetal, Laugh A Minute;  16-1 Aces, Ardhoomey, Rapid Applause, Bambino Lola, Flying Pursuit, Rapid Applause.

For more information of the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup visit the microsite www.ayrgoldcup.co.uk

further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Ayr rail services a priority for cross-partner task force

Returning full rail passenger services to Ayrshire as quickly and safely as possible is the key priority for a new task force established and chaired by Transport Scotland.


Services operating between Glasgow and Ayr have had reduced capacity since Tuesday, with no services operating beyond Ayr to Maybole, Girvan and Stranraer. This is due to the extension of an exclusion zone around a dangerous building at Ayr train station at the former Station Hotel.

Partners on the task force include the ScotRail Alliance, South Ayrshire Council, Historic Environment Scotland, as well as the Scottish Government Planning and Architecture and Local Government divisions. Other departments will be called on as and where required.

South Ayrshire Council will continue to lead the process to address the public safety issues and remove the extended exclusion zone as soon as it's safe to do so, enabling rail services to be restored. The task force will ensure all parts of the Scottish Government work together, along with ScotRail and Network Rail, to support the council in delivering this urgent priority

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland's director of rail and chair of the task force said: "It is imperative we are focused not only on ensuring full rail services can be safely restored at Ayr, but also that any long-term resolution plan identified contributes to the economic prosperity of the town centre and the communities south of Ayr currently without a train service.

"This means we need to explore all the available options for dealing with the Station Hotel property which, in its current state, presents a significant safety risk not only to the railway line but also the immediate vicinity.

"Only by working in close partnership with the relevant agencies and the local community can we reach an effective solution for everyone concerned - particularly those passengers, the local community and businesses directly affected."

Eileen Howat, South Ayrshire Council Chief Executive, added: "We very much welcome the input and support from the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland to reduce the dangers presented by the Station Hotel building which we're actively working to address in line with our statutory obligations to keep people safe and to consider the longer-term options for the property.

"Our immediate priority continues to be doing what needs to be done to allow us to scale back the extended exclusion zone and for normal rail services to resume, which is what we all want. My thanks to all those affected for their co-operation during this current disruption, which has only been necessary to protect public safety."

Alex Hynes, ScotRail Alliance Managing Director, said: "Ayr station remains open for business and we are doing everything we can to get people to where they need to be. We are working closely with South Ayrshire Council, Transport Scotland and other partners to resolve this matter."

The task force's immediate focus identifying options to reduce the risk to public safety posed by the building and allow the return of full rail services. A number of options are being explored and the public can be assured more information will be made available before any final decision is made.

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


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The HALO Scotland announces partnership with CGI that’s out of this world

CGI, a leading global IT services provider, and the HALO Scotland this week announces an innovative partnership that will create further employment opportunities at the Kilmarnock urban regeneration initiative.

The agreement will see the HALO and CGI work collaboratively to develop technologies that will provide young people and current workforces with the skills in cyber, digital, space technology, health and finance needed to excel in tomorrow’s world.

One of CGI’s key areas of expertise is in the space industry, and Steve Smart, Vice President of CGI in Scotland, will lead this element of the partnership. Steve has played a key role in CGI’s UK Space, Defence and National & Cyber Security business, where he worked directly with the European Space Agency (ESA). He also led the formation of CGI’s cyber security business, supporting clients in both the public and private sectors.




[Pictured: Steve Smart, Vice President of CGI in Scotland, and Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO Urban Regeneration Company.]

The innovative partnership between CGI and The HALO is designed to:

·         * Enhance the HALO’s employability initiatives for young people in Ayrshire by harnessing CGI’s technical expertise to focus on cyber and digital skills, supporting the proposed spaceport at Glasgow Prestwick Airport.

·      * Utilise CGI’s business know-how to support innovative start-up, step-up and scale-up entrepreneurial businesses, particularly those that specialise in cyber and digital technologies.

·         * See the HALO and CGI establish and develop research and practical learning partnerships with education facilities such as Glasgow Caledonian University and Ayrshire College with a particular focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

·         *  Engage CGI with Ayrshire College to create a Children’s Innovation Centre/Nursery of the Future, and work with students to further develop the concept which will be based at the HALO.

·         * Develop technologies to support Digital Health and Social Care at a commercial, local and national level.

The HALO Kilmarnock is an imaginative, innovative and inspirational regeneration initiative located on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire. It is being shaped as a multi-faceted brown-field regeneration that will create a unique urban park with a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter.

Marie Macklin CBE, Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO Urban Regeneration Company, said: “CGI is a massive global IT provider, and I am thrilled to see this industry leader become the latest partner of the HALO’s urban regeneration initiative.

“I am thrilled that CGI, with its extensive experience in the IT and space industry is joining us as part of the HALO project. The HALO will work collaboratively with CGI to support the Glasgow Prestwick Airport spaceport project as the UK, Scotland and, of course, Ayrshire takes significant strides in the space industry.

“CGI will also support the HALO’s continued vision of providing our young people with the cyber, digital and also space skills that will be needed to make an impact in tomorrow’s world.”

Steve Smart, Vice President of CGI Scotland, said: “Regeneration of this nature, with the opportunities it brings for development and training in our industry, is hugely exciting and adds further to our commitment to Scotland. We very much look forward to collaborating with the team over the coming years and bringing our expertise to such an innovative project.”

Posted by the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.



Monday, 6 August 2018

Swiss Classic Formation adds to Scottish International Airshow excitement

Adding to the record success last year, when tens of thousands of people flocked to Ayr for the Scottish International Airshow, the organisers have announced yet another international first.

"Through our excellent contacts in the Edinburgh Swiss Consulate we have already announced the Swiss Airforce F18 fighter jet making a dramatic appearance at Ayr seafront on September 1st and 2nd" said co-director Doug Maclean.


"Now we are adding the four glorious aeroplanes of the Swiss Classic Formation. This is a wonderful private collection of 1940s transport aircraft. The DC3 and three Beech 18 aircraft are possibly the most beautifully kept vintage aeroplanes in Europe. They are visiting Scotland for the first time and have chosen The Scottish International Airshow to fly their unique display."

"We built Scotland's biggest Airshow to an international attraction in just 4 years" said Danny Anderson, Airshow co-director. "We have started to see our hard work pay off and the whole of Scotland is benefiting from the huge excitement that the Airshow brings." He continued - "We could not run the Airshow without our major sponsors like South Ayrshire Council, Spirit AeroSystems and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland's Events Directorate."

"It is through EventScotland's ongoing support through their Beacon Fund Programme that we've been able to bring the fabulous Swiss collection to Scotland," said Doug.

The purpose of EventScotland's Beacon Events Programme is to support uniquely Scottish events outside Glasgow and Edinburgh, which generate tourism benefits, contribute significantly to the Scotland the Perfect Stage impact areas and act as examples of best practice. 

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland's Director of Events, said: "We're delighted to be supporting of the Scottish International Airshow to continue to bring the best aircraft from around the world to the Ayr seafront. The addition of the Swiss collection further enhances the already impressive line-up aircraft attending this September.

"Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the thrills of the air displays, alongside the entertainment and exhibitions, including the STEM Pavilion, will ensure a great weekend out for all the family."

Councillor Brian McGinley, South Ayrshire Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, said: "With our record-breaking Council investment in the Scottish International Airshow for 2018 and 2020, it's great to see the event continue to grow from strength to strength with this latest addition to the flying programme.

"I've no doubt the Swiss Classic Formation will be a further draw in bringing people from across the world to South Ayrshire and help showcase all that we have to offer our visitors as a major tourist destination.

"We look forward to welcoming the planes, the pilots, and the tens of thousands of people who will, I'm sure, have a weekend to remember. Start planning your visit now."

The Scottish International Airshow takes place at Ayr seafront on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd September. 18 flying displays will take place and The Red Arrows will be the finale on both days. There is a huge ground exhibition, funfair, simulator, classic vehicle exhibitions and Future Zone technology chalet. For more information visit www.tsia.scot

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


Thursday, 2 August 2018

Godolphin stable grabs main prize at Ayr Racecourse

By Iain Ferguson

THE famous blue silks of the mighty Godolphin operation were carried to victory in the feature race at Ayr Racecourse on Monday when Dubai Horizon was an impressive winner of the Western House Handicap over 1m 2f under Irvine born jockey David Allan.


The Saeed bin Suroor trained four year-old (pictured above) was having only his sixth racecourse appearance but shed his maiden tag at odds of 3-1 and came home three and three quarter lengths in front of Mooltazem.

His rider commented afterwards: “I was impressed with Dubai Horizon today, and he quickly put the race to bed. He does have a bit of a high head carriage, but I let him do his own thing and it wasn’t a problem.”

There was a double on the day for leading trainer Richard Fahey with 7-4 chance Roderick winning the opening novice stakes after coming off the pace and Militia, 8-1, powering to victory in the Parkdean Resorts Handicap. Both horses were ridden by Tony Hamilton.

Hawick based trainer Alistair Whillans was on the scoresheet with Royal Shaheen, 9-1, who won the Sandylands Holiday Park Handicap over a mile with something to spare after a first class ride from Graham Lee.

The longest race of the afternoon the Sundrum Castle Handicap over 2m 1f was won by Question Of Faith, trained by Martin Todhunter and ridden by Callum Rodriguez.

Ayr’s next racing action comes on Tuesday evening with the Ayrshire Cancer Support Racenight.

The first race, a novice auction stakes, is due off at 5.40pm and this 6f sprint for two year olds looks likely to be another highly contested race of its type at the track.

The biggest field of the night is almost certain to be in the Volunteer At Ayrshire Cancer Support Handicap over 5f at 6.45pm. The Scottish stables of Linda Perratt, Jim Goldie, Keith Dalgleish, Iain Jardine and Mike Smith could all have runners in this.

The feature race of the night is the Fundraising Ideas At ayrshirecs.org Handicap at 7.50pm over 7f 50y and the final contest at 8.50pm is the Ayrshire Cancer Support Here To Help handicap over 1m 2f.

Ayrshire Cancer Support is the charity partner of Ayr Racecourse and all entry money raised on the night goes to the charity.

It is hoped a big crowd will turn up. Gates open at 3.40pm.

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.


Thursday, 26 July 2018

Spectacular new conservatory at Malin Court affords guests stunning views of Arran and the Firth of Clyde

A giant 120 sq. metre conservatory, with stunning views of the Firth of Clyde and the island of Arran, has been opened last week at Malin Court, the long-established hotel and nursing home which sits adjacent to Turnberry Golf course on the panoramic south Ayrshire coast.



The biggest conservatory manufactured to date by leading Scottish home improvement business CR Smith, the new structure is designed to enhance Malin Court’s appeal as a destination venue for both hotel guests and visitors.

Officially opened by John Dalrymple Hamilton, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Ayrshire and Arran, who has long family connections with Malin Court, the new structure is to be called The Boyd Lounge, after Boyd Tunnock CBE, the current chairman of Malin Court and a great supporter over many years.


[Pictured: John Dalrymple Hamilton, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of 
Ayrshire & Arran, with Boyd Tunnock CBE, chairman of Malin Court.]

Malin Court general manager Joan Dunlop said: “It is the perfect place to enjoy morning coffee or afternoon tea. We also think the new conservatory creates a magnificent space for weddings, anniversary parties and all kinds of functions.”

Kevin Eadie of CR Smith said: “The conservatory at Malin Court is the largest structure we have built to date. Its high energy efficient windows and solar central glass roof were designed and built specifically to accommodate Malin Court’s wonderful location on the edge of the Firth of Clyde. Its aluminium frame is specially-designed to support the expansive glass structure in all weathers.”

Malin Court is a hotel and care home which sits adjacent to Turnberry Golf Course and next to the picturesque village of Maidens. It has 18 ensuite bedrooms, a self-catering cottage and an AA Rosette-awarded restaurant. It is also a unique care home, providing nursing, residential and respite care for approximately 30 residents.


Posted by the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Monday, 9 July 2018

Three Ayrshire Councils agree new joined-up economic approach

The three Ayrshire Councils have agreed to join forces to boost the local economy after exciting proposals were rubber-stamped this week.

The ambitious and groundbreaking Ayrshire Regional Economic Partnership will see the three local authorities combine resources and expertise when it is established in April 2019.


[Pictured left to right: South Ayrshire Councillors Alec Clark,
 Douglas Campbell (Leader), Brian McGinley (Depute Leader) and Brian Connolly.]

Elected members from North, South and East Ayrshire approved this new approach at meetings of their full Council this week.

The ambitious and groundbreaking Ayrshire Economic Partnership will provide strong regional leadership aimed at putting Ayrshire on the map. It will provide a determined and consistent voice ensuring that Ayrshire is lead in national debates and provide a powerful body to state the case for investment at a Scottish and UK level.

Key stakeholders including the national economic agencies will join the three Ayrshire Councils, businesses and the third sector to develop a unified vision for the area aimed at setting a bold approach to transforming the economy. Staff from the Councils and the other key partners will work together in a joint partnership to create new and innovative ways of working and bring fresh expertise and resources to the area.

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “We are delighted to be supporting this new approach.

“The Ayrshire economy has lagged behind for far too long now. It is unacceptable, and we hope the Regional Partnership will enable us to move Ayrshire forward.

“We have worked really closely with our colleagues in East and South Ayrshire over a number of years now. All the work on the Ayrshire Growth Deal has cemented relations and put us in a strong position to hit the ground running with the Partnership.

“This is the economic vehicle which can drive our economy forward.”

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said “It’s in the interests of the whole of Ayrshire to get right behind these proposals. For too long we have lagged behind other regions with similar demographics in terms of being able to attract jobs and investment to our areas.

“Ayrshire is a sleeping giant in economic terms – but in order to awaken our full potential we need to change our approach. Doing more of the same will only generate the more of the same, but we have the potential to achieve so much more and our Regional Partnership proposals give us a real opportunity to readdress the balance.

“Our individual Economic Development services are performing well, but this imaginative plan to merge all of our business facing services across Ayrshire would give us a stronger voice in shaping economic strategies, greater level of influence nationally to draw investment and resources from a wider range of partners and the best possible support for businesses who want to grow, invest and create jobs here.”

Councillor Brian McGinley, Depute Leader of South Ayrshire Council and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, said: “We’re committed to making the most of our local economy to ensure it is strong, successful, robust and supports jobs, growth, investment and regeneration that really deliver for our people and communities.

“The new Ayrshire Regional Partnership will help us achieve this for all of Ayrshire and will provide a solid framework for working with national agencies and making better use of resources to deliver the maximum impact for our area and really add value to what we do.

“It will also be an important vehicle as we continue to progress our ambitions for the Ayrshire Growth Deal and build on the positive input from the Scottish Government and the UK Government – seen most recently in the Prime Minister’s comments in Parliament this week regarding the importance of the Growth Deal.

“Working with our partners in East and North Ayrshire, we want to make the most of the terrific potential we have here in Ayrshire, and the new Partnership will help us do just that.”

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


Friday, 22 June 2018

Another big winner for trainer Mike Smith at Ayr Racecourse

By: Iain Ferguson

MIKE Smith, who trains just 10 miles from Ayr Racecourse, produced a 28-1 surprise winner at his local track last week when Glasses Up won the Ayrshire Cancer Support “Confined” Novice Stakes over one mile two furlongs.


Having only his second run, the three year old, formerly trained in Ireland by Joseph O'Brien, showed a turn of foot to collar Home Before Dusk and win by a neck in the hands of Paddy Mathers.

A delighted Mike said: “He ran here two weeks ago, but we didn’t really know if he would win this. He only cost me £2,000, and he’s a good horse who we should have some fun with.”

It was a double on the day for jockey Mathers who rode Society Queen to win the opening six furlong novice auction stakes at long odds-on of 1-4 for trainer Richard Fahey.

Another double winning jockey was Harrison Shaw, who was successful on Perfect Words, 7-1, for trainer Marjorie Fife in the aurshirecs.org Handicap, and followed up on Economic Crisis, a 12-1 chance for Alan Berry in the Volunteer To Help Ayrshire Cancer Support Handicap.

The feature race of the afternoon, The Ayrshire Cancer Support James Bond Ball was won rather cosily by 9-2 joint favourite Alemaratalyoum for Dumfriesshire based trainer Iain Jardine and jockey Jamie Gormley.

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.


Thursday, 14 June 2018

Have your say on the future of Ayr town centre

Ayr Renaissance and South Ayrshire Council are staging two public exhibitions to let people have their say on ways to transform Ayr town centre.


The exhibitions running in Ayr Town Hall on Monday 18 June and Wednesday 20 June from 3:30pm – 7:30pm will explore ways to make the most of Ayr’s streets, squares and open spaces, transforming them for the benefit of locals and visitors.

Urban design experts, led by Ironside Farrar, will be on hand to discuss ideas and capture feedback particularly in relation to improving Burns Statue Square and finding a use for the empty site called Affleck’s Block behind the town hall.


How can Burns Statue Square (pictured above) be turned into an iconic gateway leading to the heart of the town? What can be done to make use of derelict sites such as Affleck’s Block?

The exhibitions are a chance for people to comment on possible solutions and introduce their own ideas too.  The main themes to be explored during the exhibitions will be accessibility, movement and activity and other ways to make the most of Ayr town centre.

Information gathered during the exhibitions will be used to develop a public realm strategy for Ayr town centre with a view to securing funding for possible projects.

Councillor Brian McGinley, Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure Portfolio Holder for the Council said: “The exhibition in Ayr Town Hall is an opportunity for people to comment on concepts and designs which will transform Ayr’s public spaces.

“This is very much a partnership approach, so we want to hear from people interested in putting their mark on the continued regeneration of Ayr town centre.”

James Knox Chair of Ayr Renaissance said: “Our role is to develop a vision and a masterplan for these key locations. It’s vital that the people of Ayr get involved at this early stage of the process so that their thoughts and ideas can become part of the solution to the regeneration of Ayr town centre. I urge everyone who loves Ayr to make it to the exhibitions.”

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


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Ayr Racecourse and Western House come out top

By: Iain Ferguson

AYR Racecourse and Western House Hotel have been voted the best in Scotland.


They beat off strong competition to win two prestigious honours at the third 2018 Scottish Hospitality Awards held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow.

The Racecourse won Sports Venue of the Year while Western House was crowned Hotel of the Year after first winning the regional category for the south west.

The finalists in the Sports Venue included Hampden Park, Celtic Park, Ibrox Park, Hamilton Racecourse and Murrayfield Stadium.

The aim of the awards is to acknowledge the success of local professionals and establishments from restaurants and hotels to festivals and venues. The winners are chosen by members of the general public and reflect the high standard and customer service of the Scottish hospitality industry.

Ayr Racecourse and Western House Hotel managing director David Brown commented: “It is a huge honour to receive these two prestigious awards.

“When you consider the very many fine hotels there are throughout Scotland, for Western House to win overall Hotel of the Year is an outstanding achievement and a credit to the staff.

“The honour of being voted Sports Venue of the Year is a major coup for the Racecourse team given the incredibly high standard of the major sporting venues there are in Scotland. We are proud that both the Racecourse and Western House have been recognised in this way.”

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.


Thursday, 31 May 2018

Ayr accountancy firm Sinclair Scott joins Campbell Dallas

Ayr-based Sinclair Scott, a long-established independent accountancy firm stretching back more than 100 years, has joined Campbell Dallas.


[Pictured L-R: Chris Horne, Managing Partner at Campbell Dallas; 
Andrew Sinclair and Stephen Wilkie, Partners at Sinclair Scott.]

The deal will see all 20 staff and 2 Partners transfer to Campbell Dallas, and add around £1.3m of fee income per annum. Campbell Dallas acquired Kilmarnock-based White & Co in October 2016, and is now one of the largest full-service accountancy firms in Ayrshire with a staff and Partner complement of 38.

The deal with Sinclair Scott is Campbell Dallas’ first following the merger with Baldwins in October 2017, when the firm announced plans to drive growth in Scotland by a combination of acquisitions and organic expansion.

Sinclair Scott provides a broad range of accountancy, advisory, tax and compliance services to a mix of owner managed businesses, community enterprises, entrepreneurs, and private individuals. The firm has a strong client base in the charities, rural, farming and healthcare sectors.

Chris Horne, managing partner of Campbell Dallas said the acquisition was an exciting move for both firms: “Sinclair Scott is a highly respected local firm with a long history of advising businesses and private clients, and we are delighted to welcome them to Campbell Dallas. The deal provides us with further scale and reach to expand our client base throughout Ayrshire and the South West of Scotland, as well as building on our sectoral expertise within the medical, dental and rural sectors. It also provides our staff access to rewarding career opportunities across our growing business.

Andrew Sinclair, Partner at Sinclair Scott added: “Joining Campbell Dallas presents an exciting opportunity for our clients as we can now offer a full range of advisory services together with access to specialist technical knowledge in areas such as international tax, VAT, corporate finance, banking and re-structuring. The move will also enable significant investment in IT, providing clients with access to the latest online portals and platforms that comply with HMRC’s focus on ‘Making Tax Digital’. It will remain ‘business as usual’ for our clients, many of whom have been with Sinclair Scott for several decades, but we can now offer them access to the resources of one of Scotland’s most ambitious accountancy firms.”

Campbell Dallas is one of Scotland’s largest local accountancy firms, with over 300 partners and staff working from offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, and Kilmarnock. Services cover audit and assurance, business and banking advisory, tax compliance and consulting, VAT, business recovery, insolvency and corporate finance. Industry expertise includes Family Businesses, Rural, Healthcare, Food and Drink, Brewing and Distilling, Construction and Professional Services. In October 2017 Campbell Dallas became part of the CogitalGroup, an international business services group through a merger with Baldwins, which included Springfords in Edinburgh.

Sinclair Scott is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

HALO Scotland partners with Onecom to connect Kilmarnock development to the world

The HALO Scotland Kilmarnock urban regeneration project has teamed up with Onecom, the UK’s leading independent provider of business-to-business telecommunications, in a partnership that will ensure the HALO development is among the most connected in the country when it opens its doors in 2020.


As part of the innovative agreement, Onecom, one of the fastest growing telecoms companies in the UK, will use its Belfast office to establish its Scottish operational and sales hub within The HALO’s Enterprise & Innovation Centre.

The HALO Scotland Kilmarnock is one of four HALO developments planned for the UK. Onecom’s office in Belfast, which is a proposed city for a future HALO, will play a key role in delivering the telecoms to all of these developments, managing all future HALO projects and servicing the needs of all tenants on a national scale.

In addition, Onecom will:

Encourage and enable everyone within The HALO development to access the latest telecommunication technologies, empowering entrepreneurs to realise their full potential

Provide leading-edge products, services and support to ensure that The HALO has state of the art telecommunications and broadband connectivity

* Provide business and domestic telecommunications services to companies and homes located within The HALO

Partner with East Ayrshire schools, Ayrshire College, University of West of Scotland and other educational establishments to enhance the employability of young people by providing specialist technical input to student learning and practical skills development.


[Pictured: Marie Macklin, Founder and Executive Chair of the 
HALO Group, and Paul Lawther, Head of Onecom Northern Ireland.]

Marie Macklin, Founder and Executive Chair of The HALO Group, said: “Onecom has demonstrated amazing enthusiasm and energy in their approach to this partnership, and I am confident that with them on board The HALO Scotland will be the most connected development in the country.  Onecom is the leading innovative telecommunications company in Northern Ireland and their support has been crucial in also establishing a base in Belfast for HALO. This partnership demonstrates the benefits of our multi-site approach to developing The HALO concept.”

Gary Deans, Enterprise Director for The HALO Scotland, said: “Telecommunications has never been more important than it is in the 21st century. and the sector is developing rapidly, at the centre of the fourth industrial revolution, the digital revolution. I am confident that through this partnership with Onecom we can ensure that The HALO and everyone located within the development have access to the latest telecommunications products and services.”

Darren Ridge, Chief Executive Officer of Onecom said: “To describe The HALO Scotland as ‘exciting’ is very much an understatement. Regeneration projects such as these are bold, brave and very necessary in these straitened times; Onecom is proud and privileged to contribute both its technology knowhow and business expertise.”


[Pictured: Marie Macklin, Founder and Executive Chair of the 
HALO Group, and Paul Lawther, Head of Onecom Northern Ireland.]

The HALO Kilmarnock is an inspired and imaginative brown-field regeneration initiative located on the site of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire. It is being shaped as a multi-faceted development that will create a unique urban park with dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, and leisure opportunities and lifestyle quarter. The development will also include a light manufacturing facility and private rental accommodation for key workers.

The development is one of four HALO projects planned for the UK that are being seen as catalysts for urban regeneration. The next HALO project is proposed for Belfast, with Wales and the North West of England to follow. It is envisaged that The HALO Scotland will connect through road and rail infrastructure directly to the Northern Powerhouse, creating economic benefits across the wider area.

The HALO Scotland will:

Contribute £120m of GDP to the Scottish economy annually

Create 1,400+ direct jobs

Support 630 construction jobs.
Posted by the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.