Edinburgh-based Beeline PR specialises in:

Public Relations | Crisis and Reputation Management | Brand Building

We can:

create maximum impact through strategic communications

raise the awareness of your brand or organisation

support your business objectives

identify and communicate with target audiences

provide white-label services for other creative agencies

 

About Beeline PR

Debbie Byers

CIPR

Debbie was Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in Scotland 2009/10 and also scooped the CIPR Award for Best PR Consultant under the age of 30 in Scotland in 1998.

Debbie Byers, Director

Debbie Byers established Beeline PR in September 2011.  The independent agency works with corporate clients and consumer brands as well as other creative agencies looking for strategic PR and business development support.  Services include brand building, media relations, business-to-business marketing support, crisis communications and reputation management, stakeholder and political engagement and social media strategy.

Each client is provided with a strategic tailored approach to both its campaign planning and the dedicated team selected to implement the activity.  Beeline PR is affiliated to a number of organisations and consultants to create positive working relationships for the benefit of the client.   

With more than two decades of experience, Debbie worked for leading PR consultancies in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow before establishing Beeline PR.

She is a business degree graduate and the past Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in Scotland representing its 750-strong membership from the private, public and charitable sectors.

Debbie has fostered a broad experience across consumer, business-to-business and corporate campaigns as well as issue-led media relations working across all sectors from financial and professional services to food and drink. 

 


Jim Byers, Director

Jim Byers, Director

Jim brings more than 20 years’ experience in journalism, communications and marketing to Beeline PR.

His career began in journalism, first as a feature writer in Edinburgh and later as an editor in London. During the first dot-com boom, he was content editor of a pioneering music website in London.

In Glasgow, Jim broadened his skills at a content and communications agency in Glasgow, where he managed print and digital projects for various clients, including The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s award-winning Unfiltered magazine.

On his return to Edinburgh, Jim moved into PR with specialist drinks marketing agency, Steely Fox. As associate director, he worked on variety of projects over several years ranging from brand creation and strategy, to experiential events, content creation and traditional PR.

A lifelong music fan, Jim also runs Edinburgh Music Lovers (EML). His mission with EML is to help make Edinburgh a music city.


Carol Graham, Financial Controller

Carol Graham, Financial Controller

Carol enjoyed an almost 20-year career with the global technology company, IBM, where the focus was on finding the right solutions for customers to build smarter businesses.
 
She was awarded the prestigious 'Best of IBM' award in 2017 for her achievements and contributions, a global recognition award for the top contributors to IBM’s business.

Carol is experienced in all business operations, from financial modelling and forecasting to negotiating and delivering.


Colin Hutchison, Consultant on Tiso Group

Colin Hutchison, Consultant

Before he could barely walk, Colin was on family trips that explored the beaches and remoter parts of Scotland's highlands and islands. A few decades later, the Edinburgh-based PR and writer has more than 15 years' experience, including within the sport and adventure tourism sectors.

A keen alpine skier, kayaker, mountain-biker, climber and hiker, he has written extensively about Scotland and the great outdoors for the national and specialist media.  A former outdoor adventure columnist for the Sunday Herald, he has also co-authored / contributed to several international travel guidebooks about Scotland, including Footprint, Rough Guide Highlands & Islands and Frommer's Best Walking Trips in Scotland. 

Making Colin the perfect candidate to support Beeline PR on the PR account for Scotland's leading outdoor adventure clothing and equipment retailer, Tiso - as well as the charitable initiatives it supports including, The Polar Academy.


Heidi Cordner
Heidi Cordner, Social Media Manager

Heidi Cordner creates engaging content for the social media platforms of Beeline PR's clients.  She spent many years promoting adventure tourism in-house at VisitScotland and also worked for Scotland's leading outdoor adventure retail specialist and Beeline PR client, Tiso.
 
A recent graduate of Digital Mums, Heidi is the creator of Helensburgh Living, which promotes the best places to eat and drink, events and festivals to showcase the towns incredible houses, gardens and people.  Heidi also manages the social media for her popular family business, Cruise Loch Lomond .

Alison Melton
Alison Melton, Consultant
Alison has over 20 years’ experience working in PR, marketing and the media. She started her career with STV as journalist and presenter contributing to GMTV, ITN and Scotland Today. 

As a PR consultant, Alison has a strong consumer focus and a great nose for news. She has worked with private, public and third sector clients developing and implementing PR, marketing, and communications strategies for many of the UK’s leading brands and companies.

How we can help

As a small PR business with a carefully managed portfolio of clients, Beeline PR can offer senior level support and commitment at all times.  In addition to working with our own clients, we provide a white-label service to other PR consultancies and creative agencies that need support driving busy projects or assistance with securing new business.

Current clients

Click on the client logo to find out more

Recent News from Beeline PR

22 October 2020

EXPERIENCED INDUSTRY TRIO LAUNCH RIVER ROCK TO WELCOME MORE PEOPLE INTO THE WORLD OF SINGLE MALT

Backed by 70 years’ experience in the industry, three friends from Fife unveil River Rock and their mission to make whisky more welcoming

Three ex-Edrington directors with more than 70 years’ combined experience shaping some of Scotland’s finest single malt brands have come together to launch a new choice in whisky – River Rock .

River Rock single malt Scotch whisky is the brainchild of Mark Geary, Laura Anderson and Bill Farrar, who have worked on leading single malt whisky brands including The Macallan, Highland Park and The Glenrothes.

Their mission is to make whisky more welcoming. With its distinctively tactile glass bottles, which are made from coloured glass that normally goes to waste, and a sweeter, smooth taste, River Rock is designed to give people a new more accessible choice when it comes to single malt whisky.

Inspired by a passion for the outdoors and a commitment to protect the environment, River Rock is aiming to follow its own path rather than conform to tradition as it launches a first limited edition batch of 100 bottles.

To put its whisky on the radar of people beyond traditional whisky circles, River Rock is partnering with a group of like-minded small Scottish brands for its launch; ethical adventure company, VIPRE Anti-phishing removed a known bad URL from your email message. It was deleted or quarantined and replaced with this message.; sustainable clothing company, Meander; small-batch coffee roastery, Common Coffee; and bike-fitting studio and café space, Bramblers.

With interest expected to be high, the 100 prototype bottles of River Rock Batch #1 (£35) will be available on the River Rock website via a ballot. From 23 October, anyone interested in buying a bottle can pre-order one on the River Rock website at https://riverrockwhisky.org/shop1/ with those successful notified by 14 November if they are successful. Customers of River Rock’s partners will have the opportunity to win a bottle through social media competitions, while each partner will also be given an exclusive allocation of bottles for their customers in the ballot.

In addition, the remainder of available bottles will be sold through the prestigious retailer, Berry Brothers & Rudd, at their Pall Mall shop and website during early November.

Anyone who misses out on a bottle from Batch #1 will be given priority to buy a bottle from Batch #2, which is due to be released in early December.

As part of their commitment to the environment, the River Rock team has also formed a partnership with The John Muir Trust. For every one bottle of River Rock sold they will plant one tree on Schiehallion, Scotland.

A sweeter, smoother, more welcoming whisky

When it comes to premium whisky, British consumers drink more American brands than Scotch, preferring the sweeter flavour profile and more relaxed and accessible attitude. Knowing that the traditional look and strong taste of Scotch single malts can be off-putting for many, the founders of River Rock have created a sweeter, smooth Scotch single malt and designed a distinctively ‘wonky’ bottle, which celebrates individuality rather than conforming to tradition.

The team spent three years finding the perfect single malt which met their criteria of being gentle and welcoming on the nose with a smooth, sweet taste and a hint of spicy oak on the finish.

The flavour profile and taste comes from the whisky being taken from higher up the copper still during distillation than other single malts and from the spirit being matured in ex-Bourbon barrels.  The resulting whisky is smooth and doesn’t have the aggressive aroma or aftertaste that can be off-putting to some; it’s deliberately designed to appeal as much to gin and bourbon drinkers as single malt connoisseurs, and to be enjoyed straight up or with a mixer. 

The team knew that they wanted the bottle to be as unique and effortless as the whisky. Inspired by the powerful, yet effortless flow of a river, the bottle features smooth ridges running up and down its sides. Towards its base, the bottle has a distinctive groove running around its middle, making the bottle feel as good as it looks and providing a more rewarding pouring experience.

As part of their commitment to waste reduction, the asymmetrical bottle is made using the coloured glass created when glass makers change glass colour. The bottles in future batches will come in a range of shades of colour from blue, black, green or clear, making each one unique.

The bottle is 100% recyclable, and the brand also offers a refill service.

Effortless to enjoy

The three founders of River Rock share a love of single malt and are driven by a determination to make it accessible to more people.  They also share a passion for the outdoors, beautiful design and leaving the planet fitter for future generations.

Mark Geary said: “We all love single malt whisky, but we’ve seen how its idiosyncrasies and traditions can put a lot of people off. Too often, single malt can be hard work for someone new to it – it can taste too harsh and the image can be too elitist.

“River Rock is the antithesis of all that. We want single malt whisky to be enjoyed and not endured. The bottle we’ve created is designed to be eye-catching and feel good to hold, while the single malt is effortless to enjoy.

“At the same time, we want to use our experience and energy to make a positive contribution to the world. Laura, Bill and I all share an appreciation for the great outdoors and understand how fortunate we are to live in such a great place.

“We want to do our bit to leave the planet in a better place for future generations and that’s why we use batches of different-coloured glass that usually goes to waste and our bottles are 100% recyclable. It’s also why we’ve teamed up with The John Muir Trust to plant a tree in Scotland for every bottle we sell.”

https://riverrockwhisky.org/
Instagram @riverrocksinglemalt
Facebook @riverrocksinglemaltwhisky

Notes to Editors

JOHN MUIR TRUST
The John Muir Trust is a conservation charity based in Pitlochry dedicated to the experience, protection and repair of wild places around Scotland and the UK
https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/

6 October 2020

WALKER TURNS TO FRANCE, SPAIN AND THE USA FOR THE GLENALLACHIE’S NEW VIRGIN OAK FINISH RANGE

The limited edition range features three 12-year-old single malts finished in virgin oak casks sourced from France, Spain and the USA

Building on a remarkable run of award wins, The GlenAllachie Distillery is launching The GlenAllachie Virgin Oak Series, a new limited edition range of Speyside single malt whiskies which have been finished in specially selected casks of different oak species from specific regions around the world.

Released in October, on the back of winning a 50th award in three years, The GlenAllachie Virgin Oak Series consists of three limited edition 12 year-old single malt whiskies; the 12-year-old French Virgin Oak Finish, the 12-year-old Spanish Virgin Oak Finish, and the 12-year-old Chinquapin Virgin Oak Finish.

Each whisky in the Virgin Oak series is first matured in American Oak (Quercus Alba) ex-Bourbon barrels. To add a delicate and distinctive twist to the taste, the whisky then undergoes additional maturation for approximately 18 months in specially selected virgin oak casks. Each whisky is non chill filtered, natural colour, bottled at 48%, and limited to around 1,100 cases of each.

The subtle flavour differences in the Virgin Oak series are led by a variety of influences: the oak species, the local terroir and the period of natural air drying, along with the toasting, charring and coopering of the casks. Each of these reacts uniquely with the GlenAllachie spirit, adding texture, depth and variety.

In September, the Speyside distillery picked up its 50th award in just three years, with a Double Gold at this year’sInternational Spirits Challenge for The GlenAllachie Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky 18-year-old.

The new Virgin Oak Series showcases the expert cask sourcing and renowned wood management skills of The GlenAllachie’s Master Distiller Billy Walker who hand-picked each cask type. 

The 12-year-old Spanish Virgin Oak (RRP £59.99), is finished in hogsheads made of Spanish oak (Quercus Robur) sourced from the Cantabrian Mountains in Northern Spain which have a cooler climate and greater humidity than the rest of Spain. 

Before being filled, the wood is air dried for around 18 months, opening up the oak for the GlenAllachie spirit to extract its flavours. This process produces a whisky with waves of heather honey, treacle, coconut and orange zest.

For the 12-year-old French Virgin Oak Finish (RRP £59.99), Walker sourced hogsheads made of French Oak (Quercus Robur) from the Haute-Garonne region close to the Pyrenees. The fine-grained, consistent wood is air dried for 15 months before hosting the GlenAllachie spirit. The result is a rich bronze malt with a subtle, sweet and earthy taste.

For the 12-year-old Chinquapin Virgin Oak Finish (RRSP £59.99), Walker selected casks from the Northern Ozark region in Missouri. Chinquapin is a sub species of Quercus Alba and delivers spicy flavours and aromas. Air dried for almost four years, then toasted to medium level, the casks create complex, zesty flavours with notes of heather honey, barley sugar, toasted biscuit and orange zest, followed by cinnamon, rosehips and liquorice.

Commenting on the new range, Walker said: “With this new range, I wanted to explore and showcase the different range of flavours that can be created with different types of virgin oak. Lots of people have matured or finished whisky in virgin oak before, but I wanted to take things further and explore what happens when you use different derivatives of virgin oak – for example with different terroir, different drying periods and different toasting and charring levels.

“There’s an understanding that good whisky matured in good wood makes something special. But I wanted to put good whisky in spectacular types of wood, wood with real history and unique characteristics. I’m constantly looking for interesting types of wood and with this range we found three exceptional examples from France, Spain and the USA that have helped create three very different and special whiskies.

“With the French virgin oak for example, the wood is very finely grained and rich, which creates a lovely sweet, earthy flavour with silky tannins. The pores of the Spanish virgin oak are less tight and it’s been naturally air dried for a slightly longer period which imparts more flavour, with the distinctive spicy, treacly notes.

“The Chinquapin Virgin Oak Finish is significantly different. The wood has been dried for a much longer period which creates really interesting flavours of liquorice and even hints of rosehips.”

Further information on the distillery and company can be found at www.theglenallachie.com

Facebook - @TheGlenAllachie
Twitter - @TheGlenAllachie
Instagram - @theglenallachie_


TASTING NOTES
12yo French Virgin Oak

Colour

Rich Bronze.

Nose

Waves of honey, toffee, mocha, orange zest and nutmeg.

Taste

Heather honey, toffee and butterscotch, with layers of mocha, cinnamon, grapefruit, and a hint of earthy tannins.

12yo Spanish Virgin Oak

Colour

Rich Bronze.

Nose

Waves of honey, coconut and treacle, followed by orange zest and cinnamon.

Taste 

Layers of heather honey, treacle, coconut and orange zest, fused with mocha, nutmeg and cinnamon.

 

12yo Chinquapin Virgin Oak

Colour

Rich Bronze Sunrise.

Nose

Waves of heather honey, butterscotch and orange zest, fused with nutmeg and liquorice.

Taste

Layers of heather honey, barley sugar, toasted biscuit and orange zest, followed by cinnamon, rosehips and liquorice.

29 September 2020

Entrepreneurial East Lothian mum lands listing with Aldi across the UK

An entrepreneurial curry-loving mum of three from Gullane in East Lothian in Scotland has secured a UK-wide listing with Aldi for her Spice Pots brand.

Spice Pots, a range of dry spice blends designed to make cooking curry easier, will hit the shelves of 1,050 Aldi stores across the UK and Ireland from Sunday 4 October.
 
The Spice Pots collection going on sale at Aldi features four curry powder blends: Korma (mild), Bhuna (medium), Tandoori (medium) and Goan (hot).  Each blend of spices, which come in 40g (RRP £1.49) pots providing eight servings, is 100% natural and vegan-friendly.
 
The nationwide Aldi listing is the latest step in a journey which began with a trip to India in the 90s and came to life a decade later in the kitchen of an isolated house on the West Coast of Scotland.
 
Founder and managing director Melanie Auld first fell in love with spices and curry in 1993 while working and travelling in India. Back in the UK, making authentic Indian curries from scratch - by roasting whole spices, grinding them and then adding other whole spices to create perfectly balanced dishes - became a passion.
 
Fast forward to the late 2000s and Auld was living off the beaten track in Arrochar where she had three sons in three years. Without time to shop for and cook all the different spices from scratch, Auld began to make her own spice blends. Before long, she started sharing the blends and recipes with friends.
 
In 2014, the former events manager Auld took the plunge and turned her DIY spice blends into a business. Initially, Auld blended, packaged and distributed Spice Pots from home, while selling at farmers markets and small local outlets.
 
After moving to Gullane in East Lothian, she outsourced production and gradually grew the business to the point where Spice Pots is on sale in over 400 stockists across Scotland and England and Ireland.  In 2017, she secured her first international listings in Germany and is also a best-selling product on Amazon marketplace.
 
In January, Aldi stocked Spice Pots in their 92 Scottish stores for the first time, with sales so successful that the curry powders will now be available across Aldi’s UK network of stores.
 
Spice Pots founder, Melanie Auld said: “This is a huge milestone moment for me and for Spice Pots. When I started blending spices in my kitchen, it was just a shortcut for me to be able to cook tasty and healthy curries for my family, while I was so busy with my three young sons.
 
“I didn’t start with a grand plan, but it gradually grew from word of mouth among friends and me spending lots of days selling at farmers markets and getting listings with small stockists around the country. 
 
“As it’s become more popular, I could see its potential, so my ambition has grown and I set my sights on selling in larger volumes and this listing with Aldi is a dream turned into a reality.”
 
Lucy Husband, Market Development and Business Engagement Director at Scotland Food & Drink, added: “Spice Pots is a fantastic business with the Goan Blend picking up a Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Award in 2018, so we’re delighted to see Aldi bringing this award-winning product to more consumers.
 
“Scotland Food & Drink work closely with our retail and foodservice partners to cultivate opportunities for Scottish suppliers so it’s really exciting to see Spice Pots secure this new partnership with Aldi after first being introduced at our Meet the Buyer event at the Royal Highland Show in 2018. 
 
“We’re seeing a growing appetite to support local producers, so it’s the perfect time for Scottish suppliers to take advantage and we’ll keep putting support in place to make it happen."
 
www.spicepots.com
https://www.facebook.com/spicepots
https://www.instagram.com/spice_pots/
https://twitter.com/spicepots
 
NOTES TO EDITORS:
  • Goan Ingredients: coriander, cumin, chilli, fennel, cloves, turmeric, black pepper, fenugreek, cinnamon, cardamom
  • Korma Ingredients: coriander, cumin, turmeric, chilli, cinnamon, fenugreek, cloves, black pepper, cardamom
  • Bhuna Ingredients: coriander, cumin, fenugreek, mustard seeds, fennel and chilli
  • Tandoori Masala Ingredients: coriander, cumin, chilli, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, fenugreek, cardamom, ginger powder, garlic powder

18 August 2020

Crisp supports sustainability, Scottish farming and craft brewers in Scotland with new £2m packaging

New facility in Alloa shortens the supply chain from farmers to craft brewers and promotes provenance of barley grown, malted and bagged in Scotland

Crisp Malt is increasing its support of Scottish farmers and Scottish craft brewers with the opening of a new £2m packaging line in Alloa that provides more access to Scottish barley that is grown, malted and packaged in Scotland.
 
The new fully automated line can bag malt in relatively small quantities, perfect for Crisp’s growing customer base of smaller Scottish craft brewers, as well as larger amounts.
 
Craft brewers of all sizes across the country will now have greater access to barley that has been grown, malted and bagged in Scotland - rather than buying their malt from England, or using Scottish malt that has been bagged in England and then trucked back to Scotland.
 
Crisp’s Alloa maltings currently produces 28,000 tonnes of malt for brewers and distillers across Scotland. The new packaging facility has four 60-tonne silos capable of packaging up to 7,000 tonnes a year. It packages whole or crushed malt into 25kg bags, and whole malt in 500kg and 1 tonne bags, for a range of customers from small independent craft brewers to large national companies.
 
Crisp’s investment in infrastructure in Scotland, which comes as the company celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, supports two key issues around sustainability and supply chain identified in the recent Scotland Food & Drink Partnership strategic report on the brewing sector (Brewing Up A Storm, December 2018).
 
The report set a goal for the Scottish brewing sector to reduce its environmental footprint, and also highlighted a lack of local product in the supply chain.
 
Despite significant amounts of barley being grown and malted in Scotland, none of the main maltsters have bagged their products in the country. Truckloads of grain have been sent southwards for bagging, only to be returned back over the border, for Scottish brewers. Until now, with the opening of Crisp’s new bagging line.
 
Crisp’s new facility means that HGV miles will be reduced by up to 35,000 miles a year*. This helps to make significant reductions in carbon footprint as well as supporting breweries with their aims around local sourcing.
 
As well as supplying the Scottish brewing industry, the new facility will see Crisp expand its export activities to support the growing craft beer movement worldwide, with Scottish malt being distributed around the world to markets such as the US, Japan and Scandinavia.
 
Hilary Jones, chair of Scotland Food & Drink’s Brewing Industry Leadership Group, said: “We really welcome this response to one of our recommendations for unblocking barriers to growth for brewers in Scotland. The craft sector in particular has been crying out for Scottish-sourced small batches of malt, in bags rather than through bulk delivery. This is great news.”
 
The new facility furthers Crisp’s local sourcing policy and its commitment to supporting Scottish farming. Around 90% of the barley for its Alloa maltings is sourced from Scottish farms within a 50-mile radius of the site.
 
John Hutcheson, who grows barley less than 20 miles from the site at Leckerstone Farm, Dunfermline, has been supplying Crisp for five years. He said: “From a farmer’s point of view, we’re pleased to work with a company like Crisp which is committed to developing a lasting relationship and shortening the supply chain.
 
“It’s good to know that our barley stays in Scotland and through Crisp there is a direct connection with a Scottish brewery. Provenance has become so important for consumers and brands and having this focus on a local supply chain allows provenance to be tracked from the field right through to the beer.
 
“For farmers, this preserves the identity of the barley and it becomes not just part of the brewing process, but part of the story of the beer itself.”
 
The resurgent brewing industry in Scotland, which now sees more than 130 breweries spread across the mainland and islands of Scotland, is being driven by strong demand from the craft sector. Crisp’s new facility at Alloa will provide a flexible service for their growing customer base of smaller brewers in particular – for example, allowing them to come and collect smaller orders, something that larger maltsters don’t offer, with appropriate COVID-19 health and safety measures in place.           
 
Crisp has been supplying malt to Cold Town Beer in Edinburgh since 2018. Ed Evans, the head brewer at Cold Town Beer, said: “This is an exciting development because it means we can source Scottish malt locally, cut down on carbon footprint and it also allows us to proudly tell our consumers exactly where the malt in their beer comes from.”
 
Colin Johnston, Craft Brewing & Distilling Sales Manager at Crisp, said: “I’m exceptionally proud that we are able to support Scottish farmers in this way by maintaining the provenance of their crop right through to a pint produced in a craft brewery in Scotland. Not only this, but by packaging it in Scotland we are cutting a substantial number of road miles and subsequently reducing our carbon impact.”
 
Watch a video about the new facility here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpdrGlkSY0E
 
* Based on the 800-mile round trip from Alloa to Norfolk where malt has previously been packaged and driven to Scotland.
 
Brewing industry facts
  • Worth around £500m in turnover to the Scottish economy
  • More than 130 breweries across mainland Scotland and islands
For more information about Crisp Malt:

17 August 2020

CELEBRATE WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY WITH HICKORY@HOME EVENTS

Following the success of its limited edition at-home meal service during lockdown, award-winning caterers Hickory has launched a new gourmet home events delivery service, designed exclusively for smal

Hickory’s innovative ‘handmade from scratch’ sharing dishes, previously only served at Scotland’s grandest castles and luxury private venues, are now available for small private events in the home.  Starting at just £33pp inclusive of nibbles, sharing mezze, tapas-style dishes and desert plus half a bottle of wine, a delivery from Hickory@Home Events is ideal for a family birthday, belated graduation celebration, intimate garden wedding or staycation treat.

Adam Davies, Director of catering at events’ company Hickory, commented: “Cooking for small groups can be stressful. Our Hickory@Home Events delivery service allows the host to become the guest too, enjoying a relaxing gourmet experience without the hours of preparation in the kitchen.

“We’ve sourced the finest of seasonal ingredients, created freshly-made delicious sharing-style dishes that are huge on flavour and gorgeous to look at. It’s everything you need for a lovely summer occasion with family or friends.”

Hickory Head Chef Gillan has devised two menus to choose from - a Scottish-inspired or Mediterranean-inspired. The menus include the perfect nibbles to start, a selection of sharing mezze and tapas-style dishes plus desserts - all beautifully designed, neatly packaged and hand delivered. All that’s left to do is simply unwrap the gourmet delivery and lay out on the table or warm up, using the cooking instructions provided. Dietary requirements are also catered for with clear labelling to avoid contamination.

Newlywed Rebecca Avraam from Edinburgh used Hickory@Home Events delivery service for her recent wedding.

She explained: “We had to change our wedding plans because of COVID but the day worked out so much more special than we could have imagined. Being a smaller ceremony in my parent’s house made it even more special and the food really brought everyone together. The organisation and attention to detail with each dish was flawless. We’ll definitely be ordering again for our next family event!”

The Hickory@Home Events package includes homemade bread and dips and/or nibbles; a selection of hot and cold small dishes for sharing, including vegetarian options; dessert and treats; and a bottle of specially chosen wine (1/2 bottle of wine per person). A completely vegetarian or vegan package can be ordered on request.

Hickory@Home Events delivery service is available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in Edinburgh and East Lothian within postcode areas: EH1-22, EH31-35, EH39-40. Bespoke arrangements out with these areas or delivery days are available upon request.

For more information visit www.hickoryfood.co.uk or to book Hickory@Home Events visit www.hickoryfood.co.uk/home-events/

Notes to Editors
Hickory is an Edinburgh-based award-winning venue and event management and catering company. Specialising in corporate events and weddings, they exclusively manage Eskmills Venue, Cairns Farm Estate and Oxenfoord Castle; other venues they often work with include the Assembly Rooms and Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, Broomhall House and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute.  They also cater for large scale events such as the Scottish Open; Royal Highland Show and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

29 July 2020

WITH A SURGE IN ONLINE EVENTS, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER AGENCY EXPANDS ROSTER WITH FORMER CIA INTELLIGEN

Following a surge in online events, motivational speaker agency Speaker Buzz has expanded its roster of hand-picked speakers with the appointment of Rupal Patel, a former CIA intelligence officer and

From war zones to boardrooms, New York-born and London-based Rupal Patel has often been the only woman in ultra-high-octane, Alpha-male environments.  After a thrilling career at the CIA, she moved to London and started her first business venture almost 10 years ago.

Using the spy-craft techniques learned at the CIA and her experiences as an entrepreneur, Patel talks about identity-driven leadership. Her insights help new and seasoned leaders, especially female entrepreneurs, delve deep into their identity so they can leverage their unique strengths, uncover any blind spots, and become better, more effective, and more fulfilled in the process. 

Patel’s ‘top-secret’ lessons are invaluable for founders and leaders who want off-the-beaten-path insights into starting, scaling, and super-charging their businesses around a core ‘mission’ purpose, and she will leave audiences armed with the espionage ‘tradecraft’ needed to lead better and live better. 

Edinburgh-based Speaker Buzz now represents 30 speakers across the UK and also in Dubai, who all have a mission to make a positive change in society and a difference to the world.  Its roster of speakers address the challenges faced in modern life – from mental health and wellbeing, to diversity and inclusion and the environment.

With events and conferences cancelled at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has pivoted to offer online motivational talks and has seen a surge in interest from clients around the world.

Debbie Byers, founder of Speaker Buzz, said: “Rupal Patel has a fascinating and prestigious background working with the CIA and also as an experienced entrepreneur. We are excited to represent her as an inspirational speaker and believe she can create some serious impact with the audiences she engages with as she is passionate about inspiring leaders to be more purposeful in their goals.

“We have been working hard to adapt to the significant changes created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic but have experienced a growing demand from international organisations wanting to motivate and inspire their employees and clients online.  Now is the time to focus on the mental and emotional welfare of the global workforce and we are proud of the speakers we represent that focus so much on the challenges we all face in the current climate.”  

Speaking on her appointment, Rupal Patel said:  "I'm thrilled to be working with the Speaker Buzz team. We are naturally aligned in our "Inspiration with Impact" philosophy, and I'm looking forward to delivering my tough-love, inner "badass"- unleashing talks to more audiences of leaders and founders around the world."

Speaker Buzz represents speakers including TV personality and mental health campaigner Gail Porter, mountaineer and explorer Mollie Hughes who earlier this year became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole and former Scotland rugby captain John Barclay, who all help inspire individuals and organisations to make positive changes and a difference to the world.

www.speakerbuzz.co.uk

23 July 2020

ESKMILLS GARDEN BAR LAUNCHES IN EAST LOTHIAN

Eskmills Venue outside Edinburgh creates festival-inspired pop-up Garden Bar for summer

Eskmills Venue, an award-winning wedding destination just outside Edinburgh, has launched an exclusive Garden Bar in its private courtyard and landscaped gardens.
 
Offering a safe, festival-inspired experience in the heart of Musselburgh, the sprawling Eskmills Garden Bar pop-up can accommodate up to 150 customers at one time whilst adhering to social distance regulations. As well as two metres plus distanced tables and a marquee, there is a full bar offering a wide range of drinks alongside a gourmet bar food menu, with table service throughout. Tables can be pre-booked here whilst food and drink orders can be placed and payments made using the Hopt app to minimise contact.
 
Adam Davies, Director of Hickory, the award-winning catering and events’ company who operate Eskmills Venue, commented on the launch: “Eskmills Venue is normally a busy wedding venue during the summer but with these celebrations on hold, we decided to open up our beautiful gardens to the public and create Eskmills Garden Bar for everyone to enjoy.
 
“Our pop-up bar is family-friendly and dog-friendly, making it the ideal destination to relax and unwind after a walk. We’ve even got a marquee on site for shelter, should the weather turn. Sadly, there’s no music or entertainment in line with Scottish Government regulations, however the festival-vibe prevails.”
 
He added: “The safety of our customers and staff is of the upmost importance and we’re strictly adhering to all health and safety requirements to ensure peace of mind. Our staff will be wearing masks and hand sanitisers are available for customers. There will be regular cleaning of the toilets throughout the day with a deep clean every night.”
 
Eskmills Garden Bar offers a wide range of draught and bottled beers as well as ciders, spirits, wines and cocktails. Food is made fresh to order by award-winning caterers Hickory, with dishes including gourmet burgers (£6.50), hot dogs (£6), salad pots (from £3.50), sandwiches (£5.50) and snacks / sides (from £1.50). There is also a £5 kids menu available too.
 
Renowned catering and events’ company Hickory owns and manages Eskmills Venue, a converted riverside mill building in Musselburgh.
 
For more information visit www.eskmillsvenue.com/gardenbar/ or for bookings visit www.resdiary.com/restaurant/eskmillsvenuegardenbar
 
Notes to Editors
 
Hickory is an Edinburgh-based award-winning venue and event management and catering company. Specialising in corporate events and weddings, they exclusively manage Eskmills Venue, Cairns Farm Estate and Oxenfoord Castle; other venues they often work with include the Assembly Rooms and Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, Broomhall House and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute.  They also cater for large scale events such as the Scottish Open; Royal Highland Show and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
 

23 July 2020

116 BOTTLES OF WHISKY FOR 116 DAYS OF PUB LOCKDOWN

The GlenAllachie Distillery is donating 116 bottles of its 12-year-old single malt to 116 independent pubs across the UK

Following the reopening of pubs across Scotland on the 15th July after 116 days in lockdown, The GlenAllachie Distillers Company Ltd is donating 116 bottles of its 12-year-old single malt whisky to the UK independent pub sector – that’s one bottle of whisky to 116 different pubs.

The award-winning Speyside distillery, which is independently owned, is giving away the 116 bottles of whisky to support independent pubs across the UK that have endured months without income and now face new challenges with restricted capacities and extensive health and safety procedures in place.

To obtain one of the 116 free bottles of The GlenAllachie 12 year old, independent pub owners across the UK can apply via https://theglenallachie.com/glenallachie116/, with 116 independent pubs selected to receive a bottle on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline for entries is Monday 31st August.

The successful independent pubs will be sent their bottle and then invited to win a bottle of The GlenAllachie 15-year-old single malt by sharing a photo of a customer enjoying a dram of The GlenAllachie 12-year-old across any of their social media channels using the hashtag #GlenAllachie116 and tagging The GlenAllachie (@TheGlenAllachie on Facebook and Twitter,
@theglenallachie_ on Instagram).

Independent pubs that send in a picture of someone enjoying a dram of GlenAllachie will be entered into a prize draw with one winner selected and sent a bottle of The GlenAllachie 15-year-old single malt.

David Keir, Sales & Marketing Director at The GlenAllachie, said: “It’s been a long lockdown for many of our friends and partners in the independent pub sector across the UK. The final outlets in Scotland were only granted permission to open from July 15th – that’s 116 days of lockdown with not a penny of income.
 
“To help celebrate the fact that these pubs are now reopen, The GlenAllachie is going to donate 116 bottles of our 12 year old to the independent pub sector. Our friends may have reopened but it is with restricted capacity, reduced hours, extensive and expensive operating procedures in place and low footfall on the high street. It is a long road ahead for them and we want to do something to help.”
 
The GlenAllachie Distillers Co Limited was formed in 2017 when Billy Walker and business partners Graham Stevenson and Trisha Savage took over the The GlenAllachie Distillery in Aberlour, Speyside and two blended whisky brands; White Heather and MacNair’s.

100% Scottish owned and managed, The GlenAllachie Distillers Co is one of the few remaining truly independent Scotch whisky companies. 

The GlenAllachie offers a multi-award winning core range of Speyside single malts, as well as a Wood Finish range, a selection of limited edition single cask whiskies and MacNair’s Lum Reek Blended Malt Scotch Whisky.

In September 2019, The GlenAllachie Distillery was voted Scottish Distillery of the Year at the inaugural Scottish Whisky Awards.

In 2020, other awards have followed including the prestigious Icons of Whisky Master Distiller/Blender of the Year Award. MacNair’s Lum Reek Blended Malt Scotch Whisky won the World’s Best Blended Malt at the World Whiskies Awards, while The GlenAllachie 10 Year Old Cask Strength Batch 3 won the World’s Best Scotch Speyside Single Malt. 

[ends]

Further information on the distillery and company can be found at www.theglenallachie.com

Facebook - @TheGlenAllachie
Twitter - @TheGlenAllachie
Instagram - @theglenallachie_
 

21 July 2020

HNH SECURES £2.7M GROWTH CAPITAL INVESTMENT FOR QUORUM CYBER

HNH’s Scottish team uses its expertise to support Edinburgh cyber security company

Despite challenging economic conditions, boutique corporate finance specialists HNH have helped Quorum Cyber Security Limited secure growth capital investment to scale its business internationally.
 
Led by HNH director Neal Allen, the Scottish arm of the Belfast-based multi-disciplinary financial advisory firm secured the £2.7m investment from Maven Capital Partners through its VCTs, alongside the Scottish Investment Bank, which will allow the Edinburgh-headquartered cyber security and data confidence services company to scale up.
 
In a sign of the resilience of the Scottish tech sector and the appetite for investment in ambitious Scottish businesses, the growth capital deal was instigated by Quorum Cyber’s managing director Federico Charosky, who has a 40% stake in the business.
 
With a turnover of £2.7m and a team of 25 operating from Edinburgh, Quorum Cyber provides a professional and managed security services for UK and international clients including a fully managed detect and response capability via the company’s Microsoft Azure Sentinel Security Operations Centre (SOC). Charosky will use the growth capital to further scale the business, investing in sales and marketing resource, as well as product innovation to ensure clients can confidentially operate within an increasingly hostile cybersecurity environment.
 
Allen and the HNH team, which specialises in advising SMEs and entrepreneurs on M&A and growth capital activity, spent several months working with Quorum Cyber to secure the most appropriate investment solution. Having identified several potential investors among its extensive network, HNH secured the investment from Maven Capital, one of the UK’s most active private equity houses.
 
Allen, director – deal advisory at HNH, said: “While Covid-19 and Brexit have created a challenging financial climate, this growth capital investment demonstrates that there is appetite for growth and investment in Scottish business. It was very encouraging that there was a lot of interest among Scottish based private equity/venture capital funds and we’re delighted to have facilitated this for Quorum Cyber. The team at Maven Capital Partners led by David Millroy were very receptive from the start and we know that Maven is the right home for this business as it continues to grow its client base around the world.”
 
Charosky said: “Working with HNH and Maven to create the deal has been a fantastic experience. This deal will enable Quorum Cyber to continue growing in a sustainable way, ensuring we continue to exceed customer expectations, while protecting the amazing culture we’ve created.”
 
Millroy, a partner at Maven Capital Partners, said: “We are delighted to be leading the investment in Quorum Cyber and look forward to being part of its growth in the years to come.  The senior team have already created a strong business and there is significant opportunity to scale operations globally, with further expansion already underway in the Middle East, Australia, South Korea, and North America.”
 
The Edinburgh office of HNH opened in April 2019. In March this year, HNH’s Edinburgh team secured a £30 million asset-based lending package for The GlenAllachie Distillers Co from Clydesdale Bank. Other clients have been drawn from food and drink, manufacturing, building products, business services and transport sectors.
 
Advisers to Quorum Cyber Security:
  • Corporate Finance: HNH Group
  • Legal: MBM Commercial
  • Tax: Chiene + Tait LLP
Further information
 
HNH is an independent boutique advisory business specialising in merger & acquisition and fundraising advice to privately and private equity owned companies, from offices in Edinburgh and Belfast.
 
http://hnhgroup.co.uk/

21 July 2020

STORY CONTRACTING LAUNCHES VIRTUAL SUMMER SCHOOL FOR YOUNG ADULTS

As part of Story Contracting’s commitment to invest in the next generation, the business has launched a one of a kind, virtual work experience programme for young adults across the UK.

Every year Story Contracting welcomes young people into the business, providing them with opportunities to see first-hand STEM subjects brought to life, develop their employability skills and reach their full potential.
 
This year, to ensure no students lose the opportunity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Story has adapted its work experience programme to provide pupils with a week-long virtual business masterclass.
The ‘One of Ten Story Summer School’ will give ten young adults, aged 15-18-years-old, the chance to join the business throughout August 2020.

The students will spend the week virtually working with various departments across the business, as well as having the opportunity to visit one of Story’s critical projects. At the end of the experience, the Story Ten will each receive a £50 amazon voucher.
 
The programme is open to young people across Story Contracting’s operational areas in Scotland, Yorkshire, Birmingham, Chorley and Cumbria.
 
Jason Butterworth, CEO of Story Contracting, said: “During the pandemic a lot of work experience and placement opportunities for young adults have sadly been suspended across the country.
 
“At Story Contracting, we want to make sure our investment in the next generation can continue even during these most challenging of times, so we have created this new concept to allow our work experience programme to safely go ahead.”
 
Jason added: “We look forward to virtually welcoming the winning 10 candidates next month for what will be a very unique experience in their education and personal development.”
 
Applications are open now and close on Monday 27 July. Visit www.storycontracting.com/StorySummerSchool to find out more.
 
About Story Contracting Ltd
 
Story Contracting was established in 1987 by Fred Story. It remains privately-owned and has won many awards for its high standards of work and excellent safety record. The company, with its ‘do it right’ motto, has over 700 members of staff across four divisions - Rail, Construction, Plant and Story Scotland. It also has its own specialist training facility at its head office in Carlisle.
 
Our regional offices are located at:
  • Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh
  • George Square, Glasgow
  • Blantyre, South Lanarkshire
  • Chorley, Lancashire
  • Normanton, West Yorkshire
  • Birmingham
  • York

For more information about Story Contracting and to read some of our success stories, go to www.storycontracting.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
 
 

20 July 2020

SCOTTY BRAND ADDS SCOTTISH CHERRIES TO ITS RANGE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Listing secured in Asda stores across Scotland

Scotty Brand has added Scottish cherries to its seasonal berries range for the first time and has secured a listing with Asda, which will see the fruit stocked in Asda stores across Scotland.
 
Already renowned for its seasonal Scottish strawberries and raspberries, Scotty Brand has added cherries to its range following a rise in homegrown production and good growing conditions. 
 
More than 25,000 packs of Scottish cherries have been grown for Scotty Brand by Peter Marshall & Co at West Jordanstone Farm and Muirton Farm, close to Alyth, Perthshire.  The lusciously sweet juicy cherries, which are ideal for snacking, adding to desserts and cakes, will be on sale in 56 of Asda’s Scottish stores.
 
The home-grown cherry season has enjoyed a purple patch this year thanks to a warm spring. In June, the trade body Love Fresh Cherries reported the UK could expect a strong British cherry season harvest, following a similarly successful crop in 2019.
 
The Scotty Brand Scottish cherries are grown on the Marshall’s family farm, which is run by Rowan and Jennifer. The farm has been in the family for four generations and the fertile lands of Perthshire combined with the long summer days in Scotland are perfect for growing cherries and mean that the Scottish growing season is later than the English Season and fills a gap in the cherry growing world market.
 
Peter Marshall & Co, which uses industry-leading fruit farming methods and cutting-edge technology, is one of the longest established commercial cherry growers in Scotland and has been growing cherries since 2012.
Michael Jarvis, head of marketing at Scotty Brand, said: “Scottish cherries are renowned for being large, juicy and very tasty and we’re delighted to add them to our range for the first time and roll them out across Asda stores in Scotland.”

Rowan Marshall said: “Many people don’t think of cherries being grown in Scotland, but we started growing them in Scotland eight years ago. It’s a real rising star of Scottish fruit growing as the season is perfectly timed to compliment the global market. The slightly colder climate in Scotland means Scottish cherries are ready from late July, slightly later than the English season which usually finishes in August, and before other global cherry markets start to produce in great volumes.”
 
Heather Turnbull, Asda’s Regional Buying Manager, Scotland added: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with Scotty Brand as we stock Scottish cherries for the first time.
Our commitment to supporting local producers has never been more important and we’re proud to offer customers a quality Scottish product – like the Scotty Brand cherries – to enjoy in season.”
 
Scotty Brand cherries come in 200g punnets and are available in selected Asda stores now. 
 
www.scottybrand.com
 
Notes to Editors:
  • Scotty Brand was first launched in 1948 by Albert Bartlett. Albert’s values of hard work and honest endeavour live on in the family company today, as it continues to bring you the best tasting produce, fresh from Scotland.
  • Scotty Brand offers the finest seasonal produce such as potatoes, Ayrshire new potatoes and seasonal berries; and other products including prepared vegetables, fresh soup, delicious sausage rolls, succulent smoked salmon, chilled coleslaws and potato salad.
  • It also has a frozen range including Chippy Chips made from Scottish potatoes and frozen peas grown in Angus, Fife and Perthshire, along with prepared mashed potatoes in the chilled section.
  • Scotty Brand stockists include ASDA, Co-op, Lidl, Morrison’s, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose.

6 July 2020

TISO GEARS UP FOR THE BOOM IN STAYCATIONS AND OUTDOORS ACTIVITIES

Scotland’s leading outdoor adventure retail specialist, Tiso, is anticipating a growth in sales as its stores reopened across Scotland this weekend as people seek to escape the indoors and get outdoor

Tiso has reopened its Open Experience stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, Perth and Aviemore, in addition to its online shop, to cater for the need and demand for staycation holidays in Scotland and beyond this year.
 
The retailer has almost doubled the size of its range of camping equipment and water sports ranges to meet the growing demand for staycation tourism and active sports including Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP) and kayaking.
 
Tiso’s Outdoor Experience stores have been adapted to allow for the best customer and staff care during the COVID-19 pandemic, by limiting the number of people in the store, distancing markers and hand sanitation.  The vast size of Tiso’s Outdoor Experience retail format provides ample opportunity for distancing and a more enjoyable sales experience.
 
Chris Tiso, CEO of Tiso Group, explained: “We understand that people will be desperate to escape the indoors in order to get outdoors, now that the Scottish Government travel and accommodation restrictions have been eased.  With the restrictions lifting, we expect to see a surge in people enjoying staycations and wanting to get back out and explore Scotland.
 
“Tiso is a business that is deeply invested in Scotland and we listen to our customers.  We believe we have Scotland’s most exciting range of camping equipment.  It’s our biggest and best yet, from wild camping tents for £50 to 8-person family camping tents from £200.  The outdoors has never been as accessible and affordable.
 
“There has been significant increase in the demand for water sports activities, which provides a beautiful way to experience Scotland and great exercise.  Our team are very active and experienced and can provide the best kit and safety equipment advice.
 
“A lot has changed in the last few months but what hasn’t been is our commitment to quality.  Our brands, our range, our retail environment and most of all our customer service.”
 
The cafes within the Aviemore, Perth and Inverness stores are all open for business offering a take-away service.  Dogs remain welcome but should now be kept on a lead at all times.
 
Different stores opening hours may vary so customers are recommended to visit Tiso’s website for more details www.tiso.com/shops.

4 June 2020

SCOTTY BRAND INCREASES PRODUCTION AS IT SECURES UK-WIDE DISTRIBUTION FOR STRAWBERRIES

Scotty Brand strawberries now available across the UK in 200 Asda stores

The Scottish food producer, Scotty Brand, is increasing the amount of strawberries grown this year, after securing a UK contract with ASDA. Over 200 tonnes of delicious berries grown in Perthshire will be available to buy throughout 200 UK stores with the supermarket chain.

Michael Jarvis, head of marketing at Scotty Brand, said: “Scottish berries are a big hit both north and south of the border, so this year we are delighted that our Scotty Brand strawberries will be listed throughout the UK in ASDA stores.”

Scotty Brand strawberries are grown and packed by Bruce Farms, based in Perthshire, which is renowned for its berries.  This is their 25th year of growing the crop. The light, fertile soil, long summer days and mild nights provide the perfect conditions for growing sweet, juicy berries. Great varieties, longer ripening and accurate watering ensures a delicious and fruitful crop that has secured the UK contract.  The temperate conditions in Scotland mean that the fruit ripens at a slightly slower rate than many others and is therefore sweeter and juicier.

Geoff Bruce, the director of Bruce Farms, said: “The climate this year has been perfect for growing berries. Strawberries take about 75 days to ripen in Scotland compared to about 60 days in England and about 45 days in Spain. This is all down to the Scottish weather and climate. The longer the ripening – the better the flavour.

“Bruce Farms and Scotty Brand have been following to the clear guidelines implemented since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and we are fortunate to have such a vast amount of open space to adhere to the necessary social distancing requirements during the picking and packaging process.”

Scotty Brand strawberries can be in stores within 24 hours, as an on-site packing hall means the fruit is picked, packed, and distributed quickly. Customers should then remember to store them in a fridge, so they keep fresh but serve at room temperature to enjoy the full flavour.

Scotty Brand strawberries come in 300g punnets and will be available throughout the UK in 200 Asda stores from Sunday 7th June.  Scotty Brand raspberries will follow towards the end of June.

www.scottybrand.com

Notes to Editors:
  • Scotty Brand was first launched in 1948 by Albert Bartlett. Albert’s values of hard work and honest endeavour live on in the family company today, as it continues to bring you the best tasting produce, fresh from Scotland.
  • Scotty Brand offers the finest seasonal produce such as potatoes, Ayrshire new potatoes and seasonal berries; and other products including prepared vegetables, fresh soup, delicious sausage rolls, succulent smoked salmon, chilled coleslaws and potato salad.
  • Scotty Brand stockists include ASDA, Co-op, Lidl, Morrison’s, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose.

1 June 2020

NEW COVID-19 SUPPORT PACK LAUNCHED TO HELP LEARNERS AND BUSINESSES ADAPT TO RETURN TO WORK

With almost 350,000 learners accessing its first suite of free online learning resources, Emerald Works launches COVID-19 Support Pack 2.0

COVID pack

Following the hugely successful launch of its free COVID-19 Support Pack of online resources and the gradual lifting of lockdown, learning solutions specialist Emerald Works has released a COVID-19 Support Pack 2.0 from its Mind Tools platform.
 
The first pack, which helped people learn and develop their skills while working from home for the first time in the early phase of lockdown, went live on 25 March. It's since had nearly 335,000 unique page views.
 
The follow-up COVID-19 Support Pack 2.0 focuses on supporting individuals returning to the workplace as well as those left working from home, and their managers and leaders.
 
It features a range of free online learning resources on topics including self-care and mental health, and leading and managing a team. There is also a range of support for stakeholders, customers and suppliers, that looks at topics such as rebuilding finances from scratch, and making wise, possibly radical, decisions.
 
Other themes are around having difficult conversations, recognising and managing the shifts in team dynamics, knowing when and how to offer mutual support, and moving into a phase of personal growth and learning.
 
About a third of the resources were previously only accessible to paying clients, but all of the resources have been made available for free to support individuals and organisations in these difficult times.
 
John Yates, CEO of Emerald Works, said: “The first COVID-19 Support Pack was released to help people adapt to working from home and it was very well received. With the gradual lifting of lockdown across the world, ways of working are changing again; business leaders now need support with planning and achieving a mass return from home to the workplace, while supporting those who may need or choose to remain at home.
 
“At all levels, everyone is tired and feeling a range of strong emotions. The COVID-19 Support Pack 2.0 and its unique collection of tried and tested tools will help people to feel more confident, more heard, and more open - and able to step back, think about strategy and make good decisions. And through them, we can support their organisations, too.”
 
Keira Hodge, Marketing Director at Emerald Works, added: “We know that business leaders are looking for more support around planning the new business normal.  Whether that’s a return to the workplace, or remaining at home, we know there are both practical and emotional factors at play. Many people are feeling tired, de-motivated, and fearful; which is driving emotional behaviours, bad decision-making and poor conversations. These are issues for both employers and employees.
 
“With all these factors in mind, we have developed a second COVID-19 content suite to lead on self-care and mental health, including anger management, as well as having difficult conversations, how to manage new team dynamics and when to offer support as a leader. Overall, this pack should help both individuals and teams to support one another better, look beyond themselves and move their strategy on.”
The COVID-19 Support Pack 2.0 of online learning solutions is drawn from the Mind Tools library of almost 2,500 resources which are divided into 12 skill areas such as leadership, creativity, strategy and project management. The resources are accessed by more than 24 million people each year.
 
In addition to the COVID-19 Support Pack, Emerald Works also uses its Minds Tools platform to provides and create customised online learning solutions for companies such as Booking.com, Heineken and AstraZeneca.
 
Emerald Works was launched in January when it brought together three established international learning organisations - GoodPractice, Towards Maturity and Mind Tools – to form one global company.
 
Emerald Works, which has offices in Edinburgh, London, Horsham, the US and Australia, works with global brands such as Virgin Money, Standard Life Aberdeen, Rolls-Royce, Edrington and AstraZeneca among its growing client base. With a focus on the USA, UK and Australia, the company now serves more than 2.5 million learners and learning professionals each month, based in 180 countries worldwide.
 
The Covid-19 Support Pack 2.0 is available here:
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/covid-19_support_pack.htm
 
About Emerald Works
At Emerald Works, we’re committed to helping individuals and organisations around the
world realise their full potential by using evidence-led learning solutions that work. We work together to build learning cultures that empower people to bring about real change for real impact.

About the Emerald Group
Emerald is a global learning organisation, based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, with a presence in 180 countries worldwide. Founded in 1967, with roots in scholarly publishing and bringing research to life, Emerald’s core purpose for over 50 years has been to champion fresh thinkers and help them make a difference so that little by little those in academia or in practice can unite to bring positive change in the real world. www.emeraldgroup.com
 
For more information, visit: www.emeraldworks.com
 

28 May 2020

Social Enterprise Academy and Emerald Works partner to support social change leaders during COVID-19

This new partnership gives Social Enterprise Academy learners free access to Emerald Works’ award-winning Mind Tools digital toolkit to help them put learning into practice.

  • During the COVID-19 response and recovery period, third sector intermediary groups and their members across Scotland will also have access to the toolkit
  • Both organisations have a shared purpose to provide learning opportunities that bring about real change for individuals, organisations and communities to achieve social impact
A new partnership has been announced between Emerald Works, part of the Emerald Group, and the Social Enterprise Academy to help social change leaders develop the key skills they need to thrive in a post-COVID world.
 

Through this three-year partnership, Social Enterprise Academy learners will have free access to Emerald Works’ award-winning Mind Tools digital toolkit of over 2000 curated resources covering topics in leadership and strategy, managing people and teams, and personal effectiveness. These how-to guides, self-assessments, videos, articles, and top tips will also be integrated with the Academy’s new online learning platform, to help them put their learning into practice alongside their online or in-the-room Academy learning programme.
 
During the COVID-19 response and recovery period, third sector intermediary groups and their members across Scotland will also have free access to the toolkit.
 
This partnership will bring great value to the social economy, as both organisations have a shared goal to improving leadership practice amongst its learners and clients to achieve real impact.
 
Emerald Works launched in January 2020, bringing together three learning organisations – GoodPractice, Towards Maturity and Mind Tools - to form one exciting company helping individuals and organisations around the world realise their full potential by using evidence-led learning solutions that work.
 
Emerald Works CEO, John Yates, said of the partnership:
 
“We've admired the Social Enterprise Academy's work for a long time and we're delighted that our Mind Tools solution can be made available through them to support the third sector at this time. It's a fantastic partnership that can deliver real impact.”
 
Social Enterprise Academy Chief Executive, Neil McLean, said:
 
“Throughout the COVID-19 response period, we need to be building windmills as well as shelters. That’s exactly what we’re doing through this partnership with Emerald Works - ensuring that social changemakers have access to quality learning and development that will help them develop the skills they need for this new reality.
 
By taking time to develop crucial skills like adaptability, creativity and resilience, we’re making sure that third sector organisations in Scotland can not only weather this storm, but future crises that come their way.”
 
To find out how you and your organisation can access this learning offer, please get in touch with our team at scotland@socialenterprise.academy
 
Notes to Editors:
 
Emerald Works
  • Emerald Works helps people realise their full potential with evidence-led learning solutions that work.  The teams bring expertise from three learning organizations – GoodPractice, Towards Maturity and Mind Tools.
  • The three organisations have come together to form an exciting new company in Emerald Works. The organisation is committed to creating learning cultures that empower people to bring about real change for real impact.
  • Emerald Works cares about improving learning in organisations, driving progress in the learning industry and supporting the learning community to spark meaningful change. Emerald Works solutions are primarily driven through the provision of high quality blended learning objects.
  • For further information please visit https://emeraldworks.com/
 
Social Enterprise Academy
  • The Social Enterprise Academy delivers transformational learning and development programmes for people and organisations working for social change.
  • As a social enterprise, it supports people to develop themselves, their teams and their organisations to create sustainable businesses and have greater social impact
  • Since starting in Scotland in 2004, the Social Enterprise Academy has replicated internationally and now has 14 hubs in development around the world; Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Malawi, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Rwanda, Scotland, South Africa, Wales and Zambia
  • For further information please visit www.socialenterprise.academy

21 May 2020

ALPINE BIKES CLICKS INTO GEAR WITH DONATIONS AND DISCOUNTS FOR NHS

With the UK Government encouraging more cycling during the gradual lifting of lockdown and the Scottish Government lifting its once-a-day exercise limit, Alpine Bikes, Scotland’s largest independent c

The retailer, part of Edinburgh headquartered Tiso Group, that includes Tiso and Blues Ski is also offering NHS staff and Blue Light Card (BLC) holders 15% off all cycling clothing and accessories until further notice.
 
Tiso Group recently reactivated its online retail sales operations (for Alpine Bikes, Tiso and Blues Ski) and reopened its Alpine Bikes outlets in Edinburgh (Hamilton Place, Stockbridge), Aberdeen (Holburn Street, Mannofield) and Inverness (Henderson Road, Longman Estate). 
 
The physical stores are operating in accordance with government legislation on social distancing, with only two customers permitted entry at any one time.
 
The news comes following recent comments by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps who said that: "Whilst it's crucial that we stay at home, when the country does get back to work we need to ask those people to carry on cycling or walking and for them to be joined by many others as well."
 
At the end of April, the Scottish Government announced that it will invest £10m in a new infrastructure programme that includes pop-up cycling routes or temporary improvements to existing routes.
 
Alpine Bikes and the online sales operation have already noted a significant demand for hardtail mountain bikes and for clothing accessories like buffs which can be worn over the mouth and nose.
 
Chris Tiso, CEO of Tiso Group is pleased that despite the continuing lockdown restrictions, Alpine Bikes and online operations can once again support the needs of a loyal customer base and provide a means to raise funds for NHS Charities. He commented: “These are challenging times for everyone but it’s terrific to see people of all ages enjoying cycling as part of their permitted daily exercise.  We also anticipate that there will be an increase in number of commuter cyclists when people do eventually return to work. 
 
“I’m very pleased that we are now able to reactivate our online sales operations across Tiso, Blue Ski and Alpine Bikes and to reopen our Alpine Bikes stores.  This ensures our loyal customer base can receive expert advice for their cycling needs and when purchasing adult and kid’s bikes, help in our drive to raise much needed funds for NHS Charities Together.

“I’m also very proud that we are able to play our part in recognising the amazing work of NHS Scotland staff and the emergency services by offering Blue Light Card holders, including NHS, social care and emergency service workers 15% off cycle clothing and accessories.
 
“Of course, I do hope it won’t be too long before we can all once again venture out and explore Scotland’s wild places. However, until restrictions are lifted, I would urge our fantastic customers to follow the official advice to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
 
In addition to offering bike servicing by experienced bike mechanics, Alpine Bikes stores stock a range of high-quality mountain, road and E-bikes from leading brands like Trek, Whyte and Specialized. Its clothing and accessories range includes from renowned names like Fox, Endura, Altura and Garmin.  Stores are open from 10am-4pm.

www.tiso.com
 

21 May 2020

HAPPY COUPLE OF NHS NURSES PLANNING THEIR BIG DAY AFTER WINNING WEDDING

Nurses Sarah Hunter and Greg Turner have won a wedding worth around £12,000 at Eskmills Venue just outside Edinburgh

A competition for NHS Scotland frontline clinical workers to win an all-inclusive wedding worth around £12,000 at Eskmills Venue near Edinburgh has been won by a couple who are both hospital staff nurses at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE).
 
Sarah Hunter, a nurse who cares for premature babies in the Neonatal Unit, and Greg Turner, a nurse caring for very poorly patients in the Acute Medical Unit, are now looking forward to getting married at the award-winning wedding venue on Friday 12 February 2021.
 
The competition, which attracted almost 200 entrants was set up by award-winning caterers Hickory, the company that manages Eskmills Venue and a portfolio of venues, was open to NHS Scotland hospital-based health practitioners and those involved in helping treat COVID-19 patients.
 
Sarah and Greg, who live together in Leith and have been together for nine years, haven’t been able to spend much time together recently as they often work opposite shifts at the RIE.
 
Like all NHS Scotland frontline clinical workers, Sarah and Greg have put themselves in harm’s way to help others. They have been exposed to COVID-19 while going into work each day and, with reduced visiting, they have also felt the impact of providing increased emotional support to patients and families.
 
Sarah and Greg’s prize is worth around £12,000. The wedding includes exclusive use of Eskmills Venue, a converted riverside mill building in Musselburgh, for 80-day guests and an additional 40 evening guests. Drinks, canapes, a 3-course wedding meal are included, alongside photography and videography from Tony Marsh Photography, classic wedding car from Edinburgh Classic Wedding Cars, a wedding dress from Christina Rae, a bagpiper from GD Bagpiping, kilt hire from 8 Yards, stationery from 2Flux Stationery Studio, flowers from Liberty Blooms, and a 3-tier wedding cake from Truly Scrumptious.
 
Sarah, who qualified as a nurse in 2015, and Greg who qualified in 2018 after several years as a support worker, met at Sarah’s mum’s wedding. They got engaged in March last year during a trip to Venice to celebrate Sarah’s 26th birthday. They began viewing wedding venues at the start of the year and are now looking forward to creating a rustic, laidback-style wedding, with lots of flowers and fairy lights.
 
Sarah said: “Working during the COVID-19 pandemic has been very tough, so finding out we’ve been lucky enough to win this prize is amazing and has really lifted our spirits. As well as the challenges at work, it’s affected us personally. We’ve been passing ships in the night due to our shift patterns and we have both been missing our friends and family too. Greg’s brother recently became a Dad for the first time and we haven’t been able to meet our new nephew, Theo, which has been sad.”
 
“Our friends and family are a huge part of our lives so knowing that we have this to look forward to and can all be together on our big day at such a great venue gives us something to look forward to.”

Stephanie Stubbs, Deputy Managing Director of Hickory, said: “Sarah and Greg are great examples of the amazing NHS frontline staff who are doing such incredible and selfless work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
“We’re so pleased for them and we’re looking forward to working with them to make plans for their big day at Eskmills Venue.”
 
All those who entered the competition will be invited to a complementary party at Eskmills Venue later in the year, for an evening of food, drink and fun, once the lockdown restrictions have been lifted and guidance on social distancing provided.
 
eskmillsvenue.com   
 
Notes for Editors
Hickory is an Edinburgh-based award-winning venue and event management and catering company. Specialising in corporate events and weddings, they exclusively manage Eskmills Venue, Cairns Farm Estate and Oxenfoord Castle; other venues they often work with include the Assembly Rooms and Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, Broomhall House and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute.  They also cater for large scale events such as the Scottish Open; Royal Highland Show and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
 

18 May 2020

EMERALD GROUP ANNOUNCES THE APPOINTMENT OF JOHN YATES AS EMERALD WORKS CEO

Richard Bevan, Emerald Group CEO, has today announced that John Yates will be joining the Emerald Group Board as CEO of Emerald Works, following the planned retirement of Peter Casebow from his positi

Yates joins the learning business at an exciting time, with the company having just launched the Emerald Works brand in January this year.

This move saw three established international learning organisations - Good Practice, Towards Maturity and MindTools - come together to form one global company.  Its unique combination of learning expertise and resources unlock the potential of millions of learners around the world and continue to make advancements in the organisation’s mission to provide learning resources that people can use to make a real impact.
 
Emerald Works, which has offices in Edinburgh, London, Horsham, the US and Australia, works with global brands such as Virgin Money, Standard Life Aberdeen, Rolls-Royce, Edrington and AstraZeneca among its growing client base. With a focus on the USA, UK and Australia, the company now serves more than 2.5 million learners and learning professionals each month, based in 180 countries worldwide.

John joins from the City & Guilds Group, where he was Managing Director of their Corporate Learning businesses, Kineo (specializing in digital learning) and The Oxford Group (experts in leadership and management development). Prior to this he held leadership roles in BPP Learning Media, Cengage, Oxford University Press and Pearson Education, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board and the wider business.

?Speaking of his appointment Yates said, “I'm delighted to be joining Emerald Group so soon after the launch of Emerald Works. More now than ever, this is a time when leaders and managers need rapid, remote access to trusted, practical online toolkits that are grounded in learning sciences research and solid workplace evidence. Over the past few years I've been a customer, partner and admirer of all Emerald Works' products and services, and I strongly believe that together these offer customers a unique opportunity to resolve their current challenges. Starting a new role like this during lockdown will provide me with a really useful insight into the challenges and opportunities inherent in the transfer and application of remote learning.”

Peter Casebow, who is leaving the business after two decades of leadership, said, “I couldn't be more delighted to be handing over to John, whose vision, experience and style are ideally suited to taking Emerald Works forward. After 20 years building the business it's great to leave it in such good hands and I wish John and the whole team every success.”

Richard Bevan, Emerald Group CEO, spoke of the new appointment saying, “This year has been an exciting time for Emerald Works, and I’m looking forward to seeing how John will lead, inspire and take the business forward. There has never been a more critical time to ensure we are working together with our customers and stakeholders, whether in an academic, public or corporate setting, to equip them with the evidence and tools to make smart choices that have a real impact. At the same time, I would also like to thank Peter for his hard work, dedication and passion that he has brought to not only our business, but the industry throughout his career.”
 
John joins Patrick Jocelyn, who was recently appointed to the Board at the start of March this year as CRO (Chief Revenue Officer) for the B2B business at Emerald Works. Patrick joined from TES Global (digital education). He has significant sales and marketing experience in Software as Service (SaaS) based businesses.
 
About Emerald Works

At Emerald Works, we’re committed to helping individuals and organisations around the
world realise their full potential by using evidence-led learning solutions that work. We work together to build learning cultures that empower people to bring about real change for real impact.
 
About the Emerald Group
 
Emerald is a global learning organisation, based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, with a global presence in 130 countries worldwide. While its roots are in publishing, and bringing research to life, the Group’s corporate learning division provides learners with the insight and tools they need to overcome challenges, improve performance and excel in the workplace. Founded in 1967, Emerald’s core purpose for over 50 years has been to champion fresh thinkers and help them make a difference so that little by little those in academia or in practice can unite to bring positive change in the real world. www.emeraldgroup.com

15 April 2020

VENUE PROPOSES FREE WEDDING AS A THANK YOU TO NHS WORKERS

Eskmills Venue outside Edinburgh offers NHS workers the chance to win an all-inclusive wedding

Eskmills Venue, an award-winning wedding venue just outside Edinburgh, has teamed up with its suppliers to offer NHS Scotland frontline clinical workers the chance to win an all-inclusive wedding, worth around £12,000.
 
The competition to win the wedding, which will take place on Friday 12 February 2021, has been set up as a way of giving something back to the nurses, care assistants, doctors and other health practitioners currently risking their lives on a daily basis as they help and treat COVID-19 patients. It has been launched by award-winning caterers Hickory, the company that manages Eskmills Venue and a portfolio of venues.
 
The prize offers the winning couple exclusive use of Eskmills Venue, a converted riverside mill building in Musselburgh, for 80-day guests and an additional 40 evening guests. The prize includes drinks, canapes, a 3-course wedding meal, a live band and a photographer.
 
Also included is photography and videography from Tony Marsh Photography, classic wedding car from Edinburgh Classic Wedding Cars, a wedding dress from Christina Rae, a bagpiper from GD Bagpiping, kilt hire from 8 Yards, stationery from 2Flux Stationery Studio, flowers from Liberty Blooms and a 3-tier wedding cake from Truly Scrumptious
 
Any NHS Scotland hospital-based health practitioners planning to get married are invited to enter the prize draw at https://eskmillsvenue.com/nhs-win-a-wedding/.  It’s an easy online form and entrants just need to provide contact details and a photo of their NHS staff ID. The wedding winner will be announced on Thursday 14 May.
 
Stephanie Stubbs, deputy managing director of Hickory, said: “We want to honour the amazing NHS frontline teams who are so committed all year round and particularly at the moment. 
 
“We think they deserve something to look forward to, and so we came up with the idea of offering a free wedding at one of our flagship venues complete with all the trimmings. 
 
“We approached our brilliant suppliers and together we have organised everything from flowers and a band, to kilts and stationery to give one NHS Scotland worker their dream wedding day without them having to lift a finger – it’s the least we can do to say thank you!”

 
Notes to Editors
 
Hickory is an Edinburgh-based award-winning venue and event management and catering company. Specialising in corporate events and weddings, they exclusively manage Eskmills Venue, Cairns Farm Estate and Oxenfoord Castle; other venues they often work with include the Assembly Rooms and Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, Broomhall House and Mount Stuart on the Isle of Bute.  They also cater for large scale events such as the Scottish Open; Royal Highland Show and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
 

2 April 2020

COVID-19 SUPPORT PACK LAUNCHED BY LEARNING SOLUTIONS PROVIDER VIEWED 90,000 TIMES WITHIN DAYS

The free suite of articles and videos provided by Emerald Works helps people cope with the switch to working from home

With so many people around the world working from home for the first time due to the spread of coronavirus, learning solutions specialist Emerald Works has launched a free COVID-19 Support Pack, which includes a suite of online resources. The pack has proved an immediate success, with more than 90,000 views within days of its launch.
 
The COVID-19 Support Pack, which is available on Emerald Works’ Mind Tools platform, offers more than 20 articles and videos on topical subjects such as working from home, running virtual meetings, mental health and decision-making under pressure. The most popular articles accessed to date are around the topics of staying focused while working from home and problem-solving.
 
Other topics covered in the Support Pack are working in a virtual team, managing emotion in a team, keeping calm in a crisis and mindfulness in the workplace.
 
Under current UK government guidance, everyone is required to work from home unless it is impossible to do so, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
 
While some companies have previously introduced a culture of flexible working, many people have never worked from home, leading to new challenges and additional stress in already worrying times.
 
The National Office of Statistics reported that in 2019 around 1.7 million people were working mainly from home – with the evolving coronavirus outbreak, that number is rising dramatically.
 
With so many people working from home, Emerald Works is also seeing a significant surge in interest in people accessing the resources from Minds Tools. Figures from client sites show an increase in engagement and number of users to the Emerald Works Mind Tools toolkit – with a 33% increase in traffic week on week a 43% increase in traffic compared with the previous month.
 
The package of online learning solutions is drawn from the Mind Tools library of almost 2,500 resources which are divided into 12 skill areas such as leadership, creativity, strategy and project management. The resources are accessed by more than 24 million people each year.
 
In addition to the COVID-19 Support Pack, Emerald Works also uses its Minds Tools platform to provides and create customised online learning solutions for companies such as Tata Steel. 
 
Louise Burge, Lead Projects Advisor at Tata Steel, said: “The Working From Home and Living Well custom pages created by MindTools during COVID-19 have enabled us to provide practical resources quickly to people on a range of relevant topics such as virtual meetings, managing remote teams and working from home. This gave people some much needed practical support during this challenging time.”
 
Peter Casebow, CEO of Emerald Works, said: “Our mission has always been to make a difference to people’s lives and give them the solutions they need to work smarter, overcome challenges, better their wellbeing and enrich their careers. With COVID-19 forcing so many people to work from home for the first time and disrupting normal ways of working, the challenges have never been greater and people need support more than ever.”
 
Emerald Works was launched in January when it brought together three established international learning organisations - GoodPractice, Towards Maturity and Mind Tools – to form one global company.
 
Emerald Works, which has offices in Edinburgh, London, Horsham, the US and Australia, works with global brands such as Virgin Money, Standard Life Aberdeen, Rolls-Royce, Edrington and AstraZeneca among its growing client base. With a focus on the USA, UK and Australia, the company now serves more than 2.5 million learners and learning professionals each month, based in 180 countries worldwide. 
 
The Covid-19 Support Pack is available here:
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/covid-19_support_pack.htm
 
Staying focused while you’re working from home:
https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/working-from-home.htm
 
About Emerald Works 
At Emerald Works, we’re committed to helping individuals and organisations around the
world realise their full potential by using evidence-led learning solutions that work. We work together to build learning cultures that empower people to bring about real change for real impact. www.emeraldworks.com

About the Emerald Group
Emerald is a global learning organisation, based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, with a presence in 180 countries worldwide. Founded in 1967, with roots in scholarly publishing and bringing research to life, Emerald’s core purpose for over 50 years has been to champion fresh thinkers and help them make a difference so that little by little those in academia or in practice can unite to bring positive change in the real world.
www.emeraldgroup.com

27 March 2020

GOOD NEWS FOR THE GLENALLACHIE TO LIFT THE SPIRITS

Master Distiller Billy Walker wins prestigious global Master Blender / Distiller of the Year award as The GlenAllachie Distillery continues to earn plaudits

With good news in short supply, spirits have been lifted at The GlenAllachie Distillers Co. with news of a haul of award wins for The GlenAllachie Distillery and Master Distiller Billy Walker just days before his 75th birthday.
 
Walker has won the prestigious Icons of Whisky Global Master Blender / Distiller of the Year award and the World Whiskies Awards World’s Best Blended Malt for its MacNair’s Lum Reek 21 year old at the Whisky Magazine Awards. The GlenAllachie 10 year old Cask Strength Batch 3 also won Best Scotch Speyside Single Malt 12 year old and under. The Whisky Magazine Awards were announced on social media following the cancellation of this year’s event.
 
In addition, The GlenAllachie also collected a remarkable hat-trick of Double Gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The prestigious Double Gold medals were awarded to its 12, 15 and 25 year-old single malts, while its MacNair's Lum Reek Blended Malt Scotch 12 year old also won a Gold medal.
 
In September 2019, The GlenAllachie was voted Scottish Distillery of the Year at the inaugural Scottish Whisky Awards. The growing collection of awards come just two years since Walker acquired the distillery.
 
Walker, who turns 75 on Sunday 29th March and is approaching his 50th year in the whisky industry, said: “With the world facing an extremely challenging time due to the Coronavirus outbreak, it’s nice to be able to share a little bit of good news. Like everyone else here in the UK, I’m working from home and getting used to a new way of life, so this news brings a brief respite in these troubling times.
 
“We’re very much a family at The GlenAllachie so, I’d like to take this opportunity to dedicate these awards to the team as a thank you for all their hard work. I’d also like to send my best to the extended family of The GlenAllachie fans and the wider whisky community around the world – stay safe and stay strong everyone.”
 
Having started his production and blending career at Hiram Walker in 1971, Walker developed his skills and reputation during spells as Master Blender at Inverhouse Distilleries and Burn Stewart Company in the 70s and 80s.
 
In the 2000’s, Walker moved into ownership, acquiring BenRiach Distillery, followed by GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries between 2004 and 2016. In 2017, he purchased The GlenAllachie Distillery, forming The GlenAllachie Distillers Co Limited alongside business partners Graham Stevenson and Trisha Savage.
 
The GlenAllachie has a number of new products in the pipeline, including a new batch of Wood Finishes, with release dates to be confirmed in due course. In May, its Visitor Centre will also reach its 1st anniversary.
 
Further information on the distillery and company can be found at www.theglenallachie.com
 
Facebook - @TheGlenAllachie
Twitter - @TheGlenAllachie
Instagram - @theglenallachie_
MacNair’s Facebook - @macnairs
 

12 March 2020

STORM DAMAGE IN LEITH IS WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE AS STORY TEAM HELP WITH RIVER CLEAN-UP

Charlotte Neary (Water of Leith Conservation Trust), Michael Brown (blue fleece), Graham Smith and Kirsty Browne (high vis)

As part of its commitment to the communities in which it works, a team from Story Scotland has helped clean up a stretch of the Water of Leith and launched ‘Story Community Days’ to give its staff more opportunity to volunteer.
 
Story’s team recently spent several weeks refurbishing a bridge on Anderson Place for the City of Edinburgh Council. During the project, which included strengthening and painting the bridge, the work site and area around the bridge was affected by the flooding during Storm Ciara.
 
Story’s team volunteered to join forces with the Water of Leith Conservation Trust and representatives from the council to carry out a river clean-up on Wednesday (11 March).
 
The clean-up included using a boat and wading into the river around Anderson Bridge to gather litter from inaccessible places, scraping path edges to improve the width of the walkway, removing buddleia from the dock walls, and donating and planting bedding plants.
 
During the clean-up the team found a message in a bottle. The message, in a milk bottle from Mossgiel Farm organic dairy in Ayshire, contained a passage from The Legends of King Arthur Through the Ages.
 
In addition to the clean-up, Story has recently introduced ‘Story Community Days’ to give its staff the opportunity to volunteer. The company, which employs more than 700 people across the UK, is encouraging its employees to take time out to volunteer in projects that directly assist community groups, charities and events in ways that provide more significant benefits than monetary donations.
 
John MacArthur, Managing Director, Story Scotland, said: “The storm caused the river around the bridge to flood, which not only affected our worksite but also created a lot of damage in the area. Our team was keen to be a good neighbour and it was great to team up with Water of Leith Trust and the council to clean things up and do our bit for the community.”
 
“We support ‘Story Community Days’ which provides our staff with the opportunity to volunteer to dedicate their time to local projects. We believe strongly in helping to improve and contribute to the communities in and around our operating areas and we feel this policy will be beneficial both to the individuals and also the communities in which we work.”
 
Charlotte, Community and Volunteers Officer at the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, who led the group, added: "The river is a valuable resource for both people and wildlife in Edinburgh.  The Leith end of the water course suffers from a build-up of litter as it is at the mouth of the river and everything from the whole river can get washed downstream, particularly during storms.   
 
We are very grateful to work with staff from Story to clean-up this stretch of river and for the donation of plants native to freshwater riverbanks in this part of Scotland from Granton Hub. These plants have been placed in the beds beside the walkway upstream of Anderson Place with a hope to increase plant biodiversity to encourage pollinators".”
 
Story, founded in Carlisle in 1987, has offices in Blantyre, central Glasgow and Edinburgh, and employs over 230 people across Scotland. The family-owned company is now targeting another 300 employees to fulfil a series of impressive contract wins across the UK, including up to 60 graduates, trainees and apprentices in Scotland across the next five years.
 
Notes to Editor
 
Story Contracting was established in 1987 by Fred Story. It remains family-owned and has won many awards for its high standards of work and excellent safety record. The company, with its ‘do it right’ motto, has over 700 members of staff across four divisions - Rail, Construction, Plant and Story Scotland. It also has its own specialist training facility at its head office in Carlisle.
 
Our regional offices are located at:
 
Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh
Blantyre, Glasgow
George Square, Glasgow
Chorley, Lancashire
Normanton, West Yorkshire
Birmingham
York

11 March 2020

HNH SECURES A £30M LENDING PACKAGE TO SUPPORT THE GLENALLACHIE’S GLOBAL GROWTH

HNH’s new Scottish team play pivotal role in securing asset-based debt facility for award-winning Speyside Scotch whisky company

The new Scottish arm of Belfast-based boutique corporate finance specialists HNH is building on its strong start with the news that it has helped The GlenAllachie Distillers Co. Limited secure a £30m asset-based lending package from Clydesdale Bank Plc. 
 
The award-winning whisky company appointed Bruce Walker, a Director of HNH’s Edinburgh team, to lead the refinancing exercise. The Scottish office of HNH was established last year to advise SMEs and family-owned firms during mergers & acquisitions, debt and transaction services.
 
HNH advised GlenAllachie on securing an inventory only asset-based debt facility on a committed basis for a four-year period on significantly improved terms.  Clydesdale Bank Plc was selected to provide the facility on a bilateral basis following a competitive tendering process, which was developed and manged by HNH. 
 
GlenAllachie, winners of the Distillery of the Year Award at The Scottish Whisky Awards, will use the facility to fund working capital and capital expenditure as it continues to develop its brand around the world. 
 
The GlenAllachie distillery, which is located near Aberlour in the heart of the world-renowned Speyside region, and a significant volume of mature whisky was bought from Chivas by Billy Walker and his team in 2017.
 
The business has quickly earned a reputation as a producer of premium single malt whisky. Its award-winning current products include GlenAllachie’s core range of aged single malts and the richly peated blended malt, MacNair’s Lum Reek.  The White Heather brand is also owned by GlenAllachie, and will be relaunched in May of this year.
 
Billy Walker, the Managing Director of GlenAllachie, said: “This new debt facility will enable us to continue our journey at the pace we want and further develop GlenAllachie as a premium single malt brand around the world.”
 
HNH’s Walker said: “This deal is a great result for GlenAllachie, and the outcome of a competitive process led locally by the HNH team. We were delighted to work with such a high-quality asset with an outstanding management team with a crystal clear strategic vision. It was also good to work again with Clydesdale Bank Plc who were able to deliver a compelling proposal based on their clear understanding of the sector and strong existing relationship with the GlenAllachie team. Appetite for the credit was strong reflecting the strength of both the business and the whisky market more widely.”
 
Alan Gilchrist, the Finance Director of GlenAllachie, said: “HNH’s clear understanding of the debt markets, ABL product and current lender appetite was key in securing our new facilities in the required timeframe.  We were very pleased with the way Bruce and Fiona King of HNH managed the process and left us to continue running the business. The input we received from HNH was invaluable in securing our deal. Asset-based lending is ideal for us as it provides highly flexible funds secured against our appreciating whisky stocks.”
 
“Clydesdale Bank Plc demonstrated an assured and mature approach to the deal process. They maintained momentum to ensure delivery to timetable and a deep knowledge of the Scotch whisky sector to create a straightforward solution from a clear requirement.”
 
David Hunter, Director – Asset Based Lending with Clydesdale Bank Plc, Glasgow said: “We are looking forward to working with the management team at GlenAllachie and are delighted to be able support them through such an exciting stage of their business.”
 
Legal advice to GlenAllachie was provided by Peter Kelly of Brodies and the inventory valuation exercise was provided by Christian Humphreys of Sanderson Weatherall. Euan Cluness of Addleshaw Goddard LLP provided legal advice to Clydesdale Bank Plc.
 
HNH’s Edinburgh team, which includes Neal Allen, Harry Linklater and Henry Jones has already completed an advisory role for foodservice firm R&W Scott. Other clients have been drawn from food and drink, manufacturing, building products, business services and transport sectors.
 
Further information
 
HNH is an independent boutique advisory business specialising in merger & acquisition and fundraising advice to privately and private equity owned companies, from offices in Edinburgh and Belfast.
http://hnhgroup.co.uk/
 

5 March 2020

FILM FEST ON THE FORTH SET TO MAKE A SPLASH AS THE PROGRAMME IS UNVEILED

Russell Aitken, MD of Port Edgar Marina (left) with Dougie Cameron, COO of the Centre for Moving Image.

The programme for Film Fest on the Forth, Edinburgh International Film Festival’s weekend of free outdoor screenings at Port Edgar Marina on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 June 2020, has been unveiled – and it includes everything from aquatic-themed family favourites, short film projects by local school pupils, archival gems and a range of classic Scottish movies, and exciting blockbusters.

Film Fest on the Forth willrun at the Marina, which is located on the banks of the Firth of Forth overlooking the three iconic bridges, from 10.00am to 11.30pm each day.

Film Fest on the Forth is a key part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 where Scotland will celebrate its coasts and waters with a year-long programme of events and activities, shining a spotlight on these vital elements of the landscape.

The fantastic line-up will offer something for all audiences from family classics including The BFG, featuring landscapes inspired by the Isle of Skye, Finding Nemo, Brave and The Little Mermaid, New Zealand gemWhale Rider, much-loved Scottish classics, set on the coasts of Scotland, Whisky Galore!, Local Hero, Ring of Bright Water, The Illusionist and Dear Frankie, alongside main evening screenings of aquatic blockbusters The Abyss and Jaws, which sees its 45th anniversary this year.

In addition, there will be screenings of special archive material highlighting Scotland’s amazing coasts and waters, a short film made by Bankton Primary School pupils celebrating the new Queensferry Crossing, an EIFF Youth short film project made by Preston Lodge High School pupils inspired by the local coastline, and some very special screenings of much-loved Scottish travelogue, Weir’s Way. The programme will also include a special presentation of Sound from the Edge of the World, a rich collage of archival footage of the landscapes, traditions and rhythms of the Orkney islands accompanied by an experimental score, created by students at the University of Edinburgh inspired by EIFF’s 2020 retrospective: The Big Score – a celebration of musical innovation in cinema.

The full detailed programme will be published in April.  

Film Fest on the Forthscreenings will be staged in an outdoor area which can accommodate up to 1,000 film fans.  You can get to Port Edgar Marina by train, bus, car, foot and boat. If you’re driving there is a £5 car parking charge which will be donated to one of Port Edgar Marina’s charity partners, RNLI – the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.  If you’re coming by boat contact the marina office by phone or VHF before arrival to be allocated a berth.

Food and drink will be available from Marina tenants Scott’s restaurant and Down the Hatch as well as additional food and drink vendors coming in especially for the weekend, including EIFF partners Johnnie Walker, Innis & Gunn, and Poco Prosecco.

Guests at Film Fest on the Forth will be able to come and go as they please throughout the weekend, with other attractions to enjoy on site such as activities on the water from Port Edgar Watersports and shopping at the Marina’s store, Beacon.

Russell Aitken, Managing Director of Port Edgar Marina said: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with EIFF in hosting this special open-air screening as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts & Waters 2020.  It’s an incredible initiative to be involved with and we look forward to welcoming families from across Scotland to showcase the stunning location of the marina.”

Rod White, Director of Programming at EIFF said: “It’s a great pleasure to present an amazing programme of films that we believe will bring audiences together in celebrating Scotland’s magnificent coasts and waters. From well-loved classics to slightly lesser known treasures and rarely seen footage of Scotland, each one of these films is a joy to behold, and to see them on a big screen by the water with the three iconic bridges in the background will be a very special experience indeed. And all for free! We are delighted to be working with our friends at Port Edgar Marina to bring our special event to South Queensferry, and look forward to seeing everyone in June.”

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Film Fest on the Forth as part of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. Scotland offers the perfect stage for audiences to enjoy unique experiences and this special cinematic event will showcase classic films in a memorable outdoor setting.”

The Film Fest on the Forth Facebook Event Page is here.

The 74th edition of EIFF runs from 17 – 28 June 2020.
The full programme will be announced on 27 May 2020.
For more information on the 2020 Festival visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk

EDITOR NOTES

About Edinburgh International Film Festival:
Established in 1947, Edinburgh International Film Festival is renowned around the world for discovering and promoting the very best in international cinema - and for heralding and debating changes in global filmmaking. Intimate in its scale, ambitious in its scope, and fuelled by pure passion for cinema in all its manifestations, EIFF seeks to spotlight the most exciting and innovative new film talent, in a setting steeped in history. Notable films premiered in recent years have included: Bait, The Souvenir, Cold War, Calibre, God’s Own Country, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Amy, Inside Out, 45 Years, A Most Wanted Man, Cold in July, The Imposter, Brave, Tabu, The Hurt Locker, Moon, Fish Tank, Let the Right One In, Man on Wire, Control, Knocked Up, Ratatouille, Little Miss Sunshine and Billy Elliot.

EIFF is supported by Screen Scotland, the PLACE Programme (a partnership between the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals), the BFI (awarding funds from the National Lottery), the Scottish Government through the Festivals Expo Fund, the City of Edinburgh Council, and EventScotland.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival Limited is a company registered in Scotland No: SC132453. It is a subsidiary of the Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) which is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status with Scottish Charity No. SC006793. The Centre for the Moving Image (CMI) was established in 2010 with a mission to be at the forefront of the development of a vibrant and successful film and moving image industry and culture across Scotland and beyond. The CMI currently comprises EIFF, Filmhouse in Edinburgh and the Belmont Filmhouse in Aberdeen.

EventScotland
EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events. By developing an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events EventScotland is helping to raise Scotland’s international profile and boost the economy by attracting more visitors. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit www.EventScotland.org. Follow EventScotland on Twitter @EventScotNews.

EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation which markets Scotland as a tourism destination across the world, gives support to the tourism industry and brings sustainable tourism growth to Scotland. For more information about VisitScotland see www.visitscotland.org or for consumer information on Scotland as a visitor destination see www.visitscotland.com.

Year of Coasts and Waters 2020
Film Fest on the Forth is supported by the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 events fund, managed by EventScotland.

Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased throughout 2020 and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors. 

The year, led by VisitScotland will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors. 

A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky. 

Join the conversation using #YCW2020

Following an industry consultation, the Themed Years will now take place every second year to enable more time for planning and collaboration. 2022 will celebrate the Year of Scotland’s Stories.

19 February 2020

PORTER TO HELP RAISE FURTHER AWARENESS OF MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH WORK AS MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER

Gail Porter joins Speaker Buzz and will use her experiences to help organisations

Having recently shared her struggles with mental health and overcoming a range of challenges in a BBC documentary, Gail Porter has joined motivational speaker agency, Speaker Buzz.

In ‘Being Gail Porter’, Edinburgh-born and London-based Porter shared the ups and downs of her career and life and in particular her experiences of mental health illness, which included being sectioned. 

Driven by widespread praise for her honesty and a determination to contribute to awareness of mental health, Porter will use her experiences to help others through her work as a motivational speaker with the Edinburgh-based agency. Speaker Buzz represents hand-picked motivational speakers who focus on topical issues such as mental health, wellbeing, the environment and climate change.

Through her own experiences and her work with the likes of Mind, Samaritans and Bipolar Scotland, and previous speaking engagements for organisations such as Diageo, Porter has become a passionate and recognised mental health campaigner.

With mental health rising up the agenda in the media, the corporate world and society in general, Porter is determined to use her experiences and voice to help others and push the conversation forwards.

While enjoying a successful career as a television presenter and personality, which included spells working on Top of The Pops, The Big Breakfast and Live & Kicking, and model, Porter suffered from self-doubt, anxiety, depression and anorexia. 

Having seen her naked image projected onto the Houses of Parliament without her consent, she later went on to experience post-natal depression, alopecia, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, divorce and homelessness.

Porter said: “I’ve reached a stage in my life and career where I’m in a good place, and I want to use the experiences I’ve been through to help others. So many people have helped me and I’d like to give that support to others. 

“If I can go into an organisation and share my story in a way that helps anyone listening or helps the company create a healthy working environment and culture, then that’s great. I know from my own experiences and from talking to others that we’re all facing increasing pressures and personal challenges, so I think it’s crucial we become more open about issues such as mental health and emotional wellbeing.”

In her motivational talks, Porter will share her story to help individuals and organisations better understand the mental health issues which are increasingly prevalent in today’s world and workplace, and to how to support those experiencing problems.

Having overcome a series of personal challenges, she will discuss topics such as overcoming adversity, resilience, confidence, supporting women in society and creating a culture of kindness. 

Debbie Byers, founder of Speaker Buzz, added: “With our Edinburgh connection, I’ve followed Gail’s life and career over the years. I thought she was incredibly brave to share her experiences in the BBC documentary, and I know she can be a huge help and inspiration to others. We both share a determination to improve wellbeing and make a difference to the world so I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”

In addition to her work as a motivational speaker, Porter is an ambassador for several charities, including SSPCA and Shelter Scotland, and is working on a new autobiographical book, the follow-up to 2007’s Laid Bare.

Speaker Buzz represents speakers including Mollie Hughes, who recently became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole and former Scotland rugby captain John Barclay, who help inspire individuals and organisations to make positive changes and a difference to the world.

www.speakerbuzz.co.uk/gail-porter.html

28 January 2020

LAUNCH OF EMERALD WORKS BRINGS TOGETHER THE COMBINED EXPERTISE OF THREE LEARNING ORGANISATIONS

GoodPractice, Towards Maturity and MindTools come together as one company, Emerald Works

Three established international learning organisations are coming together to form Emerald Works, one global company that will use its unique combination of learning expertise and resources to unlock the potential of millions of learners around the world.
 
Launching today (28 January), Emerald Works brings together the award-winning learning solutions and insights of GoodPractice, Towards Maturity and Mind Tools to offer a combined 60 years of learning experience.
 
The three renowned companies were acquired by the Emerald Group in 2015, 2017 and 2019 respectively. As a global provider of research and learning resources with an annual turnover of £65 million, Emerald has now established itself with a strong and unique position in both the academic research and corporate learning and development markets. 
 
Emerald Works, which has offices in Edinburgh, London, Horsham, the US and Australia, works with global brands such as Virgin Money, Standard Life Aberdeen, Rolls-Royce, Edrington and AstraZeneca among its growing client base. With a focus on the USA, UK and Australia, the company now serves more than 2.5 million learners and learning professionals each month, based in 180 countries worldwide. 
 
The integration will see Emerald Works invest in its core award-winning learning and development solutions; the Mind Tools learning toolkit, which boasts more than 2,000 online resources; evidence-based off-the-shelf and customisable e-learning solutions; and the Lean learning management system. 
 
In addition, Emerald Works will also extend the international reach of its industry-wide Learning Health Check, an independent research programme for L&D leaders to benchmark their strategies against other high-performing learning organisations.
 
Peter Casebow, CEO of Emerald Works, said: “This is a tremendously exciting day for Emerald Works as we bring together the heritage and expertise of these three respected brands to form one combined company. 
 
“Together, we share a passion and mission to change lives through learning, and our combined expertise, resources and evidence-led approach will help more people and organisations around the world to reach their potential.
 
“As we launch Emerald Works and look to enhance our solutions, one important thing will remain unchanged – our customers will continue to receive the same excellent solutions and high levels of service they have come to expect from us.”
 
Richard Bevan, CEO of Emerald Group and Chairman of Emerald Works, said: “It’s a truly significant moment for the business as we develop the Emerald name into the corporate learning space. The Group mission since our foundation in 1967 has been to provide research and learning resources that people can use to make a difference and, in bringing the expertise of these businesses closer together, we’re now positioned to extend the value of what we do to more learners worldwide.”  
 
Alan Brown, L&D Consultant at Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “It’s great to see these companies coming together under the new banner of Emerald Works. Towards Maturity is recognised as a leader in its field, gathering data and insights, and this has supported our own thinking and direction. GoodPractice and Mind Tools have also played their part, so to bring everything into one place can only be a good thing. We see this as a good thing for the continued development of our people.”
 
Sean Brown, Colleague Digital Experience Manager at Virgin Money, said: “This is great news, I can only see the positives of what this combined expertise will bring to us.  Having a brilliant learning experience for our colleagues is paramount to our learning strategy and I look forward to us shaping a prosperous future together.”
 
About Emerald Works 
At Emerald Works, we’re committed to helping individuals and organisations around the
world realise their full potential by using evidence-led learning solutions that work. We work together to build learning cultures that empower people to bring about real change for real impact.

About the Emerald Group
Emerald is a global learning organisation, based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, with a presence in 180 countries worldwide. Founded in 1967, with roots in scholarly publishing and bringing research to life, Emerald’s core purpose for over 50 years has been to champion fresh thinkers and help them make a difference so that little by little those in academia or in practice can unite to bring positive change in the real world.
www.emeraldgroup.com
 
For more information, visit: www.emeraldworks.com
@Emerald_Works Twitter

14 January 2020

SCOTTISH SPEAKER AGENCY SIGNS UP WORLD-RENOWNED WOMEN’S RIGHTS ACTIVIST & NIKE AMBASSADOR, MANAL ROSTOM

Edinburgh-based Speaker Buzz will now represent the Egyptian athlete and women's rights campaigner who famously became the face of Nike's sports hijab

Scottish speaker agency Speaker Buzz is off to a flying start in 2020 with the news it has taken on its biggest client to date – the world-renowned athlete, Nike Running Ambassador and women’s rights activist Manal Rostom.
 
The Dubai-based Egyptian athlete rose to prominence after founding the Surviving Hijab Facebook group and went on to collaborate with Nike to create the Pro Hijab, a performance hijab. In 2019, Rostom featured as the face of Nike’s global ‘Dream Crazier’ campaign – as featured here
 
Rostom, who also undertakes major challenges such as mountaineering and marathon running, now uses her voice as a speaker to raise awareness of the hijab and of women’s rights on the global stage.
 
Edinburgh-based Speaker Buzz exclusively represents a growing roster of handpicked motivational speakers who focus on inspiring individuals and organisations to make positive changes and a difference to the world. 
 
Rostom’s work with Nike and as a campaigner followed her success founding Surviving Hijab, the renowned women-only Facebook Group which helps defy stereotypes and empower women who wish to wear the hijab as a sign of faith.
 
Launched in 2014, the group now has more than 720,000 members.  Rostom was invited to give a speech at Facebook’s headquarters in California to share the story of her success. After the talk, Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, said: “Manal, you are such an inspirational force! Thank you for sharing your story. It's voices like yours that help bring our mission of building community to life in a meaningful and memorable way.”
 
In her talks, Rostom shares her story and inspires individuals and organisations to make changes that break down barriers, encourage inclusivity, change perceptions and spread tolerance. 
 
Among her many goals, she is currently bidding to become the first Egyptian to finish the world’s six major marathons and the world’s seven highest summits by 2021.
 
Rostom, who lives in Dubai and previously spent several years working in the pharmaceutical industry, said: “I met Debbie [Byers, Speaker Buzz founder] at the WACL Gather event in Edinburgh’s Signet Library last year and instantly felt a connection. I’m impressed by her aims and ambitions with Speaker Buzz and very excited about working together. We both want to make a difference to the world through our work and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”
 
Debbie Byers, Speaker Buzz’s founder, added: “Meeting Manal and hearing her speak was a great moment for me personally. She’s a remarkable woman with a story and voice that is listened to around the world. Speaker Buzz is built on the idea of speakers who want to make a difference to the world and inspire others to do the same and Manal embodies that. I’m very proud to be representing her as Speaker Buzz grows to working not only in Scotland and the UK but around the world.” 
 
Speaker Buzz’s other speakers include Mollie Hughes, who on Friday 10 January became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole.  Mollie is already the youngest woman in the world to climb Mount Everest from both sides.
 
Further information 
 
https://www.speakerbuzz.co.uk/manal-rostom.html 

10 January 2020

HUGHES SKIES INTO THE HISTORY BOOKS AFTER COMPLETING WORLD RECORD SOLO SOUTH POLE EXPEDITION

Mollie Hughes becomes the youngest woman in the world to ski solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole

After 58 days and 650 hours of skiing alone in whiteouts, storm-force winds and temperatures hitting minus 45C, Mollie Hughes has reached the Geographic South Pole – achieving her second world record by becoming the youngest woman in the world to ski solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 29-year-old adventurer and motivational speaker, who was born in Devon and lives in Edinburgh, started her world record attempt at 1.40pm (Chilean time / 4.40pm UK time) on Wednesday 13 November. Departing from Hercules Inlet in Western Antarctica, she skied eastwards for 702 miles and arrived at the South Pole at 8.50am (Chilean time / 11.50am UK time) on Friday 10 January. 

Having initially hoped to reach the South Pole by New Year’s Day, her quest was almost derailed by severe weather in the first two weeks, with Hughes facing headwinds of more than 55knots, temperatures of minus 45C and a whiteout for eight days in a row. 

But despite this initial setback, and the physical and mental challenge of skiing alone over steep hills and deep snow, Hughes battled on. During the expedition, she pulled a sled weighing 105kg, the equivalent of the average international rugby player*, and skied alone for between 10 and 12 hours a day.

To sustain her energy levels, Hughes consumed around 4,500kcal per day, more than twice the average daily amount for a woman, with favourites including Snickers bars and freeze-dried spaghetti bolognese, which she consumed on Christmas Day. Despite this, she lost around 15kg during her expedition.

She takes the world record from previous holder, Vilborg Gissuradottir from Iceland, who completed the challenge in 2013 when she was 32. The feat means Hughes now holds two world records; in 2017, aged 26, she became the world’s youngest person to climb both the north and south sides of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.

Hughes is now recuperating at a camp at the South Pole before flying on to Punta Arenas in southern Chile. After a few days’ rest there, she is expected to arrive back into her hometown of Edinburgh on 22 January.

On her return to the UK, Hughes will carry out a series of speaking engagements, using her 
story and experiences to inspire others to achieve their goals. Her first talk will be given exclusively to Cancer Research UK, the charity that Hughes raises funds for, in Glasgow on 30 January.  

Hughes said: “It’s a surreal feeling, I can’t quite believe I’ve done it. I knew it would be hard but this has been an exceptionally tough experience, especially in the first two weeks when I was struggling through the whiteout for over a week and incredibly strong winds. That really tested my resilience, especially as I was all alone, but I managed to get through it and carry on.

“I feel really fortunate not to have experienced any major disasters knowing what can happen in these challenging conditions.  I am also so thankful that my GORE-TEX kit did such an outstanding job protecting me.  All of my kit remains intact which is quite unusual after almost 60 days.

“Christmas Day away from my girlfriend and family was hard too, as was my Spotify needing rebooted after 30 days which obviously wasn’t possible! Now I’m looking forward to my first shower and proper food in almost two months, before I head home to see everyone and share my story.”

Hughes funded her expedition by raising £75,000 from sponsors and crowdfunding, including Kae Tinto, an ambassador for Cancer Research UK. She has also received support from the global brand Gore, makers of GORE-TEX technology who provided her with specialist kit, and Dunfermline-based boiler and heating business ATAG.

Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “A huge congratulations to Mollie for this phenomenal achievement. It’s difficult to imagine the challenges she’s faced, but she’s done it. We’ve been in awe of the determination and resilience she’s shown.

“I’d also like to thank Mollie for using the trek as an opportunity to raise vital funds to beat cancer, a disease that affects so many. We receive no government funding, and it’s thanks to people like Mollie that we’re able to continue to fund world leading research. We hope others will feel inspired by Mollie’s effort and support our lifesaving work.”

Chris Blackwood, spokesperson from GORE-TEX, said: “Congratulations to Mollie for undertaking such an ambitious expedition. We have been following her journey very closely and we are proud Mollie was one of the first people to test the new GORE-TEX PRO technology. We’re delighted that the technology in her gear played a part in ensuring she was protected from the unpredictable and harsh conditions, and that Gore could play a part in supporting her incredible efforts to reach the South Pole.”
 
Trevor Jones, Managing Director ATAG Heating Technology UK Ltd, said: "We’re so proud to have supported Mollie. We’ve been hugely impressed by Mollie’s focus, ambition and sheer determination to succeed. Mollie’s feat shows us that with determination, self-organisation and a great support network anything in life is possible – we never doubted for a moment that she would make it and we can’t wait to see what she sets her mind to next!”

To book tickets to Mollie’s first speaking event on behalf of Cancer Research UK visit the dedicated Eventbrite page here.  Readers can also text to donate MOLLIE10 or MOLLIE20 to 70180 to donate £10 or £20.

*source https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/oct/24/england-new-zealand-weight-rugby-world-cup-semi-final
 
Notes to Editors
  • Mollie will be in Chile between 14-20 January (weather/travel dependent).  Skype interviews will be available on Thursday 16 January.  Expedition photography and footage will also be available during this time.  Please contact debbie@beelinepr.com with specific requests.
  • Footage from Mollie’s 2017 Mount Everest expedition is available here
  • Mollie will return to her hometown of Edinburgh on Wednesday 22 January and media will be invited to attend her homecoming at Edinburgh Airport.
  • Mollie’s social channels can be followed here:

9 January 2020

WINDOW SUPPLY COMPANY TO EXPAND AFTER RECEIVING INVESTMENT FROM BGF

  • Window manufacturer and supplier receives £2m investment from BGF
  • Company will use the investment to fund accelerated growth plans, including a new manufacturing facility and trade counters across the Central Belt of Scotland

Livingston-based Window Supply Company (WSC), which manufactures and distributes high quality window products, has secured a £2m equity investment from BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses.

WSC manufactures PVCu and aluminium windows, doors and conservatories from its manufacturing facility in Livingston, supplying builders, joiners and window installation companies across Scotland through its network of 5 trade counters based in Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Livingston.

WSC’s current team of 40 is led by chief executive Duncan Murray, alongside operations director Martin Linden and executive director Ron Hepburn, all of whom have extensive experience in the industry. Murray, Hepburn & Linden founded the business in March 2019.

The company will use the investment received from BGF to support its plans to scale the business on the back of significant customer demand. WSC is aiming to grow its manufacturing capacity three-fold over the next five years, as well as more than trebling its number of trade counters. There will also be significant investment in people, with staff numbers expected to more than treble over the next three years to 125.

Duncan Murray, CEO of Window Supply Company, said: “Our trade counter model and the high standards we demand when it comes to quality and service have combined to help us gain strong market traction in a short space of time. There has been an increasing market shift towards trade as the primary route to market for windows, doors and conservatories and the response we have received from customers has given us the confidence to embark on this ambitious expansion plan.”

Ron Hepburn, executive director of WSC added: “From a standing start less than a year ago, the business has achieved strong revenues and we are forecasting that demand will almost double within the next 18 months. We believe there is significant opportunity to replicate our business model in other geographies. To deliver on this growth potential the business needed investment and we are delighted to have secured this funding from the team at BGF.”

Patrick Graham, Head of Central Scotland & Northern Ireland at BGF, said: “WSC is a relatively young company but its founders and management team have vast amounts of experience and an established track record of growing businesses in this sector. We know from working with them previously that Duncan, Ron and Martin have a clear focus on providing high quality in both their products and their customer service and we are excited by the prospects for the future growth of the company. 

“The team has set ambitious but achievable growth plans to replicate its model across a broader geography and we are delighted to be providing the funding and support to execute them.”

As part of BGF’s investment Maurice McBride will join the company as non-executive chair. McBride is a seasoned non-executive director who has worked with numerous growth companies across the UK, including Premier Hytemp and Parklands Group, an Aberdeen business also backed by BGF. McBride will work closely with the team and will bring his expertise, guidance and knowledge to support management’s growth plan.

BGF provides patient capital to businesses with revenues typically between £5m and £100m in exchange for a minority, non-controlling stake. It initially invests between £1m and £10m and can provide additional funding to support further growth.

BGF has provided more than £250m of patient capital to Scottish businesses over the past 8 years.  Its current portfolio companies in Scotland include M Squared Lasers, Walker Precision and Keenan Recycling. 

About BGF:
  • BGF was set up in 2011 and has invested more than £2bn in over 300 companies, making it the most active investor in the UK. 
  • BGF is a minority, non-controlling equity partner with a patient outlook on investments, based on shared long-term goals with the management teams it backs.
  • BGF invests in growing businesses in the UK and Ireland through its network of 14 offices.  
  • In 2018, Canada launched its equivalent – the Canadian Business Growth Fund – and in 2019, Australia did the same, both based on BGF’s funding model.
www.bgf.co.uk
@BGFinvestments

30 December 2019

2019 YIELDS A BUMPER CROP OF RESULTS FOR SCOTTY BRAND

The family-run food producer toasts a successful year thanks to booming berry sales and flourishing frozen chips

With Hogmanay on the horizon, Scotty Brand is toasting a bumper crop of results in 2019 on the back of its best-ever year for berries and the continued success of its frozen Chippy Chips.
 
The family-run company, which first put down roots in Coatbridge in 1948, is now the number 11 Scottish food and non-alcoholic drink brand in Scotland* with a brand retail value of £11m.
 
Within the context of the UK**, Scotty’s fresh soup is ranked number 9, driven by 15% growth this year, while its frozen potatoes are number 10, with 19% growth in 2019.
In both of these categories, Scotty Brand is only sold in Scotland, showing its strong position north of the border.
 
This year’s success has grown from a number of factors including a UK-wide trial of its berries in Asda, which saw sales of more than 200 tonnes – the equivalent of 16 double decker buses.
 
Scotty, which works with Scottish farmers to source and supply locally grown fresh produce, also enjoyed ongoing success with its frozen Chippy Chips – the only frozen chips made exclusively with Scottish potatoes and an irregular cut to replicate the Scottish chip shop texture and taste.  Thanks to the chips, frozen now accounts for almost 10% of Scotty’s turnover.
 
Other products in its range to harvest good results include its chilled mash, which is produced by Scotty’s potato partners, Albert Bartlett and now comes in two varieties – Original, and Cheddar Mash.
Richard Allison, general manager of Scotty Brand, commented: “Thanks to the success of our berries and frozen chips, it’s been another excellent year for Scotty Brand. We’re also very proud that our frozen potatoes and fresh soup are ranked in the top 10 in the UK. 
 
“I’d like to say thank you and Happy New Year to our family of Scottish farmers who grow all this amazing produce.”
 
For more on Scotty, visit www.scottybrand.com 
 
*The 2019 Kantar Scottish Brands Footprint
** Nielsen 2019 top products
 
Notes to Editors: 
  • Scotty Brand was first launched in 1948 by Albert Bartlett. Albert’s values of hard work and honest endeavour live on in the family company today, as it continues to bring you the best tasting produce, fresh from Scotland.
  • Scotty Brand offers the finest seasonal produce such as potatoes, Ayrshire new potatoes and seasonal berries; and other products including prepared vegetables, fresh soup, delicious sausage rolls, succulent smoked salmon, chilled coleslaws and potato salad.
  • Scotty Brand stockists include Asda, Morrison’s, Tesco, Co-op, Waitrose, Aldi, Spar and Lidl.

19 December 2019

Former Scotland Rugby Captain Barclay tackles new challenge as a motivational speaker

While he continues to play for Edinburgh Rugby, John Barclay is joining Speaker Buzz to inspire others to fulfil their potential

With 76 international caps and three World Cups under his belt, former Scotland rugby captain John Barclay is renowned for inspiring teams on the big stage – and now he is set to pass on his leadership experience in a new environment as a motivational speaker.
 
Barclay, who continues to play for Edinburgh having retired from international rugby earlier this month, has joined the roster of Speaker Buzz. 
 
The Edinburgh and London-based agency represents a new generation of motivational speakers whose talks inspire individuals and organisations to make changes that help them fulfil their potential and make a difference to the world.
 
In his new role, Barclay will speak to audiences from all walks of life and share what he has learned away from the pitch, with a focus on topics such as transforming toxic team cultures, the challenge of implementing change, the importance of strong leadership, self-belief, and overcoming adversity. 
 
A natural leader who put his body on the line for club and country during an illustrious rugby career, Barclay will use his experience of the highs and lows of professional rugby to inspire others to achieve their goals.
 
He will draw in particular on his experiences away from the pitch of helping to implement change, positive cultures, values, standards and leadership to help individuals and teams deliver stronger performances and fulfil their potential.
 
As a speaker, Barclay will also share the learnings from his experiences of playing for Scotland including how he handled challenges such as being thrown into the deep end of the Scotland squad a month after his 18th birthday; making his debut against New Zealand, the world’s toughest team; being left out of the Scotland squad for two years; and coming back from injury to captain his country on the highest stage.
 
The 33-year-old father of three said: “Playing rugby is hugely demanding physically, but as my career has progressed I’ve learned a huge amount about how success is shaped by what happens away from the pitch. 
 
“My experience in the rugby world has showed me the critical importance of establishing strong leadership, values and a positive team culture that allows people to work more effectively together.
 
“I’ve seen first-hand how changing team culture and implementing new standards can have a massive positive impact on performance and results. While I continue to play for Edinburgh, I’m looking forward to this new chapter in my career and sharing my experiences to inspire other people and organisations to fulfil their potential.”
 
Debbie Byers, founder of Speaker Buzz, said: “John is known in the rugby world as a brave, intelligent and respected leader and I’m very excited and proud to have him join the Speaker Buzz team. I know his inspiring story and his experiences will have a huge positive impact on those who hear his talks.”
 
Speaker Buzz’s growing roster includes adventurer Mollie Hughes, who is currently bidding to become the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole; plastic pollution campaigner and world-record stand-up paddle-boarder Cal Major; and Jonty Evans, the Olympic horse rider who has battled back from a fall which left him in a coma and with a life-threating brain injury.
 
www.speakerbuzz.co.uk

9 December 2019

Exciting retail site available at thriving Port Edgar Marina as Shapes set sail into retirement 

Large warehouse space to let at vibrant Marina by the Three Bridges

A prime retail site is available at the thriving Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh, following the news that current tenant Shapes is to close its showroom following the retirement of its owner.
 
The unit, which is available from March 2020 through retail and leisure property specialists Culverwell, is a 6,000sq ft retail warehouse positioned next to marina shop Beacon, Scott’s restaurant and Scotland’s largest watersports centre, Port Edgar Watersports.

Home to the Shapes furniture showroom since November 2017, current owner Ali Black has decided to retire in February 2020, opening up an opportunity for a new tenant to take over. The premises is an open plan space which can be sub-divided to create two units and has the space to install a mezzanine floor.

For prospective tenants, it offers a blank canvas which has the potential to be used for a variety of purposes, which could include retail, or  perhaps even brewing or distilling to capitalise on the booming Scottish drinks sector.

The marina, which was established in 1978 by the former Lothian Regional Council, has been transformed into a thriving destination since being taken over in 2014 by Port Edgar Holdings Ltd, which is run by husband-and-wife team Russell and Cara Aitken.

Located on the Firth of Forth between the iconic Road and Rail Bridges and the new Queensferry Crossing, Port Edgar Marina is now a vibrant year-round destination for boat owners, sailing enthusiasts and watersports activities. The addition of Scott’s Restaurant last year and the makeover of chandlery and shop Beacon has increased visitor numbers further. 

In November, the Edinburgh International Film Festival announced that it will present ‘Film Fest on the Forth’ at the marina next year. Taking place on 6 and 7 June, the event will feature a weekend of free open-air outdoor screenings in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters

In May, the marina also hosts its annual Open Weekend, which attracts more than 10,000 visitors from across central Scotland.

James Godfrey, a partner at Culverwell, said: “Port Edgar Marina has been transformed into a thriving destination in recent years, not just for sailing and watersports, but for shopping, eating and drinking. We are targeting complimentary users and with such an iconic location by the Three Bridges, free parking and high visitor numbers, this is a site with huge potential.”
  
Russell Aitken, managing director of Port Edgar, said: “We’ve enjoyed having Shapes at the Marina and we wish Ali well in his retirement. While we’re sad to see them go we’re looking forward to seeing who recognises this opportunity and takes over the space.”

Please contact James Godfrey at Culverwell for further information on 0131 226 6611 or visit www.culverwell.co.uk

21 November 2019

Walker Group announces board level appointments

Walker Group, which provides high precision components to the defence, aerospace and space markets, announces two new additions to its board with the appointment of Amanda Robertson as Commercial Director and Paul Carnie as Finance Director.

With a career that began in defence and aerospace and went on to include various manufacturing sectors including papermaking and electronics, Amanda Robertson comes to Walker from US-owned Stoneridge Electronics where she spent 17 years, most recently as managing director for the Aftermarket Division. During this time Amanda was responsible for six European facilities, including leading an acquisition of its German distributor. Amanda holds an MBA from Abertay University and was recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year for the Courier Business Awards 2017 for her achievement in evolving Stoneridge Aftermarket from pure manufacturing to a more profitable product and software services organisation. 
 
Paul Carnie joined Walker Group on 30 September from V.Group, where he was Programme Director ERP, Marine Services Division; and previously, Director of Finance Operations, Marine Services Division.  Paul spent two years with Babcock as Finance and Commercial Director, Energy and Marine Technology Division, and has also held roles with Weir Group working internationally on Finance Director assignments in Canada, the US and Spain in the service and manufacturing sectors. Paul is CIMA qualified which was obtained during his 15 spell at ScottishPower. 
 
Both Amanda and Paul will be based at Walker Group’s Glasgow site, and will work across all business sectors and sites.
 
“The board is very pleased to welcome Amanda and Paul to Walker Group, where their talent and vision are already making them integral to the business,” Chris Melrose, Chairman, Walker Group, said. “This has been a year of big changes for Walker Group and these appointments come at a strategically important point for the business as we continue to strengthen our position in our traditional markets and expand into new areas internationally. 
 
“With our new Basildon manufacturing facility now nearly complete and the support of BGF providing us the stability we need to look ahead, 2020 is set to be a big year for Walker Group.”
 
 
Caption: Amanda Robertson and Paul Carnie have recently joined Walker as Commercial and Finance Director respectively.
 
About Walker Group
 
Walker Group companies provide advanced high-precision manufacturing services from centres of excellence located in Scotland, England and Poland. The advanced precision engineering business provides high quality, high precision components to the telecoms, defence, aerospace and space markets.  It operates from a head office in Glasgow and has facilities in Basildon and Poland. It has extensive in-house manufacturing capabilities including highly sophisticated multi-axis machining, wet processing (i.e. NADCAP accredited electroplating and painting) and comprehensive Mechanical-Electro-Optical assembly/testing facilities, within clean room environments. It also carries out bespoke design & build projects.
 
Established in 1979, Walker is privately owned and currently employs more than 300 staff across its three sites.
 
www.walkerprecision.com

21 November 2019

New Blantyre base for Story Scotland as the civil engineering company continues to grow

Scottish division of Story Contracting opens new head office to accommodate growing team and pipeline of projects

Following a period of significant growth in operations and workforce in Scotland, civil engineering and plant supply company Story Contracting has opened a new Scottish head office in Blantyre.

The family-owned company, founded in Carlisle in 1987, already has offices in central Glasgow and Edinburgh, and employs over 230 people across Scotland. Its new head office facility in Blantyre will accommodate the award-winning infrastructure company’s expanding team, allowing it to deliver major projects across the country. 

The newly renovated 2,150sqm office is purpose-designed to bring together the rail, civils and plant divisions of the business. It includes training rooms, open-plan working areas and a 1,000sqm workshop facility to provide machinery and equipment across work sites in the region.

Story Contracting delivers award-winning infrastructure projects for Scotland’s Railway to the benefit of the travelling public, with the aim of putting passengers first. Its civil engineering and infrastructure business is delivering the Network Rail CP6 IP-SNE Framework contract of renewal and enhancement projects in Scotland worth £135 million over the next five years.

Story Contracting’s Plant division are one of only four suppliers in the UK to earn the Gold Award on Network Rail’s Route to Gold and have maintained this for two consecutive years.

Earlier this year, Story also completed the £23 million refurbishment of Edinburgh Waverley, where Platforms 5 and 6 were extended into the heart of Scotland’s second busiest station on behalf of Network Rail. 

The infrastructure, and the new rolling stock it will enable, will help to transform travel on the East Coast main line and has been funded by the Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP). 

John MacArthur, Managing Director, Story Scotland, said: “I’m delighted with how my Story Scotland team has grown from its humble beginnings of just six employees in 2014 to where we are today.

“With our growing team and pipeline of projects, the time is right to open a new head office facility in Blantyre. This is an exciting time to be a part of Story Scotland with our expanding footprint and growing bank of work in the rail and civils sectors across the country.”

Story’s growing stature in civils infrastructure and its collaborative approach to problem-solving has seen it win major UK contracts worth up to £200m in recent months. 

The company grew by 57% in Scotland in 2019. The family-owned company is now targeting another 300 employees to fulfil a series of impressive contract wins across the UK, including up to 60 graduates, trainees and apprentices in Scotland across the next five years.

Notes to Editor
Story Contracting was established in 1987 by Fred Story. It remains family-owned and has won many awards for its high standards of work and excellent safety record. The company, with its ‘do it right’ motto, has over 700 members of staff across four divisions - Rail, Construction, Plant and Story Scotland. It also has its own specialist training facility at its head office in Carlisle. 

Our regional offices are located at: 

•    Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh 
•    Blantyre, Glasgow
•    George Square, Glasgow 
•    Chorley, Lancashire
•    Normanton, West Yorkshire
•    Birmingham
•    York

For more information about Story Contracting and to read some of our success stories, go to www.storycontracting.com. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

12 November 2019

Family-run Scottish silversmiths look to the future with new collection and retail presence

Hayward & Stott mark anniversary with new Thistle Collection and a first-ever retail presence in partnership with Stewart Christie & Co 

Family-run Scottish silversmiths Hayward & Stott is celebrating its 20th anniversary by extending further into the design of bespoke contemporary silverware as they launch The Thistle Collection and a new collaboration with Stewart Christie & Co.

The Thistle Collection, which will be unveiled at Stewart Christie & Co’s shop in Edinburgh’s New Town on Thursday 14 November, features around 15 Sterling Silver pieces, ranging from stylish whisky and drinks accessories to modern interpretations of Highland dress items.

In a first for the company, some of Hayward & Stott’s collection will be displayed and sold in a retail environment, with the collection of Highland dress items available at bespoke tailors, Stewart Christie & Co. The full Thistle Collection is available through Hayward & Stott’s online shop. In another change, the company is dropping its previous ‘Scottish Silver’ suffix, with the company now officially trading as Hayward & Stott Ltd Silversmiths.

Designed by award-winning silversmith Hamish Dobbie, a Glasgow School of Art graduate, the collection reflects Hayward & Scott’s expertise and passion for creating bespoke Sterling Silver pieces that bring together traditional Scottish elements, such as the iconic thistle, with stylish modern design.

The jewel in the crown of the collection is the stunning Sterling Silver Thistle Glasses Set (£2,390). The set includes silver goblets for red and white wine, a silver water tumbler and a silver stem tot for whisky or liqueurs – all are made from hand chased sterling silver and feature 24ct gold-plated interiors.

The collection also features a range of bespoke sporrans, with Sterling Silver Cantles, starting from £1,266, which will be available through Stewart Christie & Co, along with smaller beautifully crafted traditional pieces such as cufflinks, brooches and belt buckles, along with bottle stoppers, decanter labels and a cocktail stirrer. 

New chapter for Hayward & Stott

The launch of The Thistle Collection and the partnership with Stewart Christie & Co marks an exciting new chapter for the father-and-son team behind the business, Charlie and Edwin Stott. 

Charlie began Hayward & Stott in 1999 with his close friend Jeremy Hayward.  The company initially sold Scottish provincial antiques but, after Jeremy’s death in 2002, Charlie steered Hayward & Stott towards producing Sterling Silver gifts, tableware and sporting accessories. 

Moving into corporate services, Hayward & Stott has established a reputation in the last 15 years as the go-to specialists in the design and manufacture of premium branded silver and metalware embellishments for the drinks industry.

Since Edwin joined the family business in 2017, the company based in Penicuik near Edinburgh has moved further into the design of bespoke luxury silverware and developing its own bespoke collections – culminating in the launch of the Thistle Collection.

Charlie Stott said: “With 20 years under our belt, Edwin is taking the Hayward & Stott company forward with his creative vision. This new Thistle Collection captures everything we are about today by combining our heritage and Scottish roots with elegant modern design. In line with our forward-thinking approach, we will also now be trading as Hayward & Stott Silversmiths, and retiring our previous ‘Scottish Silver’ suffix.

“We’re delighted to be joining forces with our friends at Stewart Christie & Co to launch and display the collection. This is the first time some of silverware has been displayed in a retail environment and what better place for it to sit than alongside their exceptional bespoke tailoring.” 

Vixy Rae, the co-owner and creative director of Stewart Christie & Co, said: “We’re thrilled to be teaming up Hayward & Stott to launch and display their beautiful new Thistle Collection. We both share a passion for the finer things in life but also connecting the past with the future by combining traditional elements with contemporary design. Not only that, we’re both determined to make sure that luxury items like silverware and bespoke tailoring can and should be part of everyday life.”

Further information:
https://www.haywardandstott.com/
Twitter: @hayward_stott
Instagram: @HaywardandStott
Facebook: HaywardandStott

https://www.stewartchristie.com 
Twitter: @SCBespoke
Instagram: @stewartchristie_co
Facebook: stewartchristie.co
 

4 November 2019

Everest record breaker Mollie Hughes sets off for most ambitious challenge yet -  skiing solo and unsupported to the South Pole

Edinburgh-based and Devon-born adventurer and motivational speaker Mollie Hughes has left the UK to embark on her bid to become the youngest woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.    

Flying first into Punta Arenas airport in the Patagonia region of southern Chile, Hughes will then cross the Drake Passage and on to her departure site at Hercules Inlet in Western Antarctica. Skiing eastwards, she will aim to hit the ice on Thursday 14 November and reach the Geographic South Pole by New Year’s Day.

To achieve her goal, Hughes (29), who is the world’s youngest person to climb both the north and south sides of Mount Everest, must haul her 90kg sled for 702 miles into a bone-chilling headwind in temperatures of minus 50C. Along the way, she will have to negotiate obstacles like crevasse fields and 6ft high wind formed waves of snow. 

And she must tackle this immense physical and mental challenge in some of the world’s most unforgiving terrain alone and unsupported. Her only companion will be the wind, endless snowfields and a selection of audio books and music.

When successful, Mollie will be the youngest woman by four years to achieve the feat.  The current record for a woman is held by the Swede, Johanna Davidson, who was 33 years-old when she completed the same route solo and unsupported. To date, only six women and 17 men have ever completed this route on skis, alone and without resupply.

In 2017, aged 26, Mollie became the world’s youngest person to have successfully climbed both the north and south sides of Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak.

Mollie, who raised £75,000 for her expedition through generous sponsors including Kae Tinto, an ambassador for Cancer Research UK.  She has also received support from the global brand Gore, makers of GORE-TEX technology who have provided her with specialist kit and Dunfermline-based boiler and heating business ATAG who responded to Mollie’s crowdfunder campaign.

On departing the UK, Mollie said: “I’ve been planning and training for this expedition for more than a year and while I know it’s going to the hardest challenge I’ve ever faced, I’m excited to get to Antarctica and get started. 

“I’m doing this for many reasons; not just to challenge myself, but to inspire others, especially women, to explore what can be achieved when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. 
“I’m also using this expedition to help raise funds and awareness for causes that are close to my heart. Cancer affects almost every family including my own so I’m keen to do everything I can to support vital research to develop better treatments for cancer.”
Trudy Stammer, head of Volunteer Fundraising at Cancer Research UK, said: “I’d like to wish Mollie good luck from all at Cancer Research UK as she sets off on this phenomenal adventure.

“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Mollie personally and hearing her speak about her adventures, and we’re in awe of her determination. We are so grateful Mollie is using the trek to the South Pole as a valuable opportunity to raise awareness and funds to beat cancer, a disease that affects so many.

“We hope people will be inspired by Mollie’s endeavours and donate. The money raised will help Cancer Research UK funded scientists find better and kinder treatments. Ultimately, it’ll help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”

Chris Blackwood from the marketing team at Gore said: “Mollie will be one of the first people to test our new GORE-TEX Pro technology and is wearing bespoke GORE-TEX Pro jacket and trousers from Mountain Equipment during her solo ski expedition to the South Pole. 

“The new GORE-TEX Pro fabric used in Mollie’s jacket and trousers is the most breathable version that we’ve produced to date and won’t be available to the general public until later next year. It is designed for extreme and extended use and so is ideal for the unpredictable and harsh conditions that she will be facing, as well as the extreme endurance activity required to propel her to the Pole.”

Hughes, who secured worldwide publicity following her world-record breaking feat on Mount Everest and works as a motivational speaker, will return to the UK in early January when she plans to conduct inspirational speaking engagements about her expedition. 
 
 
To donate, visit https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/unite/molliesouthpoletrek/#MollieCRUKSouthPoleTrek

To book Mollie for a speaking event on her return, visit https://www.speakerbuzz.co.uk/mollie-hughes.html

4 November 2019

Bigger team and bigger office for Blackford as flying start continues

New insurance broker announces further expansion as it takes on two more team members and larger office space

Just six months after launching, and four months after establishing a presence in Edinburgh to accommodate an expanding portfolio, insurance brokers Blackford has announced further growth, with new team members and a bigger office in the capital.

In the latest phase of its expansion, the new firm, which was set up in April by Tom Aldridge, has taken on two new recruits at its Glasgow headquarters to help resource its growing client portfolio. 

Fiona Walker, formerly with TL Dallas, has been appointed as Head of Broking & Operations, while Doug Prentice, formerly at Marsh Commercial, joins as a Client Director. Together, they bring more than 65 years’ experience to the Blackford team. 

As part of growth plans, Blackford aims to recruit an additional 14 people over the next three years.

In addition, only a few months after opening its Edinburgh office, Blackford is taking on a bigger space within One Lochrin Square at Fountainbridge to accommodate its expanding team. 

The company opened an office in the capital in June, having acquired a commercial customer book from TL Dallas with a collective premium value of more than £3 million.
At the same time, Blackford took on a commercial broker team comprising Stephen Randall, Monika Hübsch, Alan Grant and Laura Scougall to manage the new portfolio of around 100 clients.

Aldridge, the founder and managing director at Blackford Group, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Fiona and Doug to the growing Blackford family. Not only are they hugely knowledgeable, experienced and respected in the industry, they are wonderful people who share our focus on personal service and values of friendliness, care, honesty, and discretion.

“We’ve enjoyed a flying start since launching and these latest appointments are in line with our business plan to help resource our growing client portfolio in Scotland. It’s only been a few months since we opened our Edinburgh office, but we’re already moving into a new space which is 50% larger because we plan to take on more people over the coming months as our portfolio continues to grow.”

Aldridge founded Blackford having been a regional director at Central Insurance Services for more than five years as well as holding national management positions at both Aon and Marsh. The company - which specialises in business risks - is backed by one of the UK’s leading independent brokers, James Hallam, and private investors.

24 October 2019

A year after leaving hospital, Olympic rider Jonty Evans joins speaker agency to share his inspiring story

Evans joins Speaker Buzz a year to the day since being discharged from hospital following a fall which left him in a coma for several weeks

Edinburgh and London-based speaker agency Speaker Buzz has added Olympic eventer Jonty Evans to its growing roster - exactly a year to the day since he was discharged from hospital after suffering a serious brain injury in a fall and being in a coma for several weeks.

Evans, who competed for Ireland at the 2016 Rio Olympics, fell from his horse Art at the Tattersalls International Horse Trials in County Meath, Ireland in June 2018. Doctors told his family to prepare for the worst, but Evans regained consciousness and had to learn to talk and walk during a long and intensive rehabilitation programme.
 
Gloucestershire-based Evans cites a positive mindset as a major factor in his recovery from his life-changing experience. Having joined Speaker Buzz, he will now share his remarkable story of resilience and determination with audiences through his work as an inspirational speaker.

Speaker Buzz, which launched last year, is a new kind of speaker agency which focuses on mental health and wellbeing and topics such as creativity and the environment. It represents more than 20 speakers who are passionate about making a difference in society and inspiring others to achieve their goals.

Evans’s story is one of utter resilience and determination to fight back from a potentially life-ending injury. The rider, who won a top ten place for Ireland at the Rio Olympics as well as a clutch of other international and national eventing medals, refused to give up on his dream of riding competitively. Astonishingly, he took part in the British Eventing Horse Trials in Berkshire in August – riding his beloved horse Art with whom he had suffered his accident just 14 months earlier. 

On joining Speaker Buzz, Evans said: “Since my fall, my life has changed in many ways. I had to learn how to walk and talk all over again like a toddler. I’ve also had to accept that life is going to look different. 

“I believe my positive mindset and that of those around me has helped me hugely in facing these many challenges during my recovery. Speaker Buzz is dedicated to inspiring others to overcome challenges and achieve their goals and that is an ethos I understand and respect. I am looking forward to telling my story and helping to inspire others.”

Debbie Byers, founder and director of Speaker Buzz, said: “Having chatted with Jonty and watched some of his inspiring talks, I’m absolutely delighted he is joining our roster of speakers. His story is remarkable and I know he can inspire others.”

Read more about Jonty Evans here - www.speakerbuzz.co.uk/jonty-evans.html 

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