Icons of Whisky Scotland PR Agency of the Year 2020

 

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. 

In June 2018, Debbie also launched a purpose-lead motivational speaker agency, Speaker Buzz.  It is on a mission to inspire change by representing speakers with an authentic story to tell that can address today’s challenges from mental health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion to social impact.

She is the former Chair and Trustee of the Scottish children’s charity, The Polar Academy and board member of Cancer Research UK’s Business Beats Cancer Edinburgh Dinner.  


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.


Julie Dunn
Julie Dunn, Social Media Manager
Julie combines 15 years of brand marketing experience and experience in strategic social media management to create engaging content for the social platforms of Beeline PR’s clients.  

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.


John Hatfield
John Hatfield, Associate and Media Training Consultant 

John supports Beeline PR with copy writing for white papers, reports and in-depth comment pieces on behalf of our clients.  He is a former equities analyst, journalist, columnist and editor on national newspapers including the FT and Scotsman.  Also, the former head of media relations at ScottishPower. 
 
John also offers media training for our clients.  He is highly experienced in this area having trained a wide range of blue-chip clients including one in ten FTSE100, global professional services firms and public bodies, some of which are listed. 

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.

Peter Ranscombe

Peter Ranscombe, Consultant 

Peter spent nine years as a journalist with The Scotsman newspaper, including three years writing for and helping to edit the professional pages - such as Science & Environment, Education & Learning, and Law & Legal Affairs - and six years on the business desk, writing about life science companies, technology firms and university spin-outs. His articles have also appeared in the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Herald, the Sunday Post and the Sunday Times.

As the editor of BQ Scotland and a commissioned corporate copywriter, Peter writes across a broad range of subjects from entrepreneurs, investment finance, renewable energy, technology and law.  

Peter holds a Bachelor of Science degree with honours in physics from the University of St Andrews and a master's degree in journalism studies, awarded jointly by Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Strathclyde.

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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.

Recent News from Beeline PR

10 June 2021

SCOTTY BRAND CELEBRATES THE LAUNCH OF THE AYRSHIRE POTATO AND STRAWBERRY SEASON AS SURVEY REVEALS MORE SCOTS EATING LOCALLY GROWN FOODS

60% of Scottish Shoppers want locally grown fruit and vegetables available on the shelves | Over 10% increase in Scots buying locally grown vegetables since the start of the pandemic

Scotty Brand, provider of premium seasonal Scottish produce, is excited to launch and celebrate the start of both the new Ayrshire potato and Scottish Strawberry season, as research shows that 6 in 10[1] Scottish shoppers believe it is important to have local vegetables available when grocery shopping.

With more people cooking more meals at home over the past year, the survey also reveals that there has been an increase in the number of Scottish shoppers buying local vegetables (+12%) since the start of the pandemic.

Commenting on the start of the new season, Michael Jarvis, head of marketing for Scotty Brand, said: “June is an exciting time in the Scotty calendar with our Ayrshires and strawberries hitting the shelves this weekend. Scotty Brand Ayrshire potatoes are the first and finest new potatoes grown in Scotland. In fact, Ayrshires are regarded as among the best in the world which is why they were granted PGI[2] status in 2019. 

“We never really shout about the Scottish weather, but the temperate conditions in Scotland allow our fruit to ripen at a slightly slower rate which results in our strawberries tasting sweeter and juicier.”

“As more people continue to cook more meals at home here at Scotty Brand we welcome that shoppers are supporting the Scottish food industry by buying Scottish products when they can.”

Lucy Husband, Market Development and Business Engagement Director at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “It has been difficult, but an equally important, year for fruit and vegetable producers in Scotland, with more and more consumers choosing to buy locally. We've seen a significant increase in the number of shoppers who are putting high importance on buying local produce. As well as recognising the quality and seasonality of produce available, consumers are considering the environmental impacts and sustainability when they buy fruit and vegetables. 

“All of this, coupled with the desire to eat seasonally and support local producers, we hope, will continue to make the case strong for buying local in the future.”

Location Location Location!

The first yield of Ayrshire potatoes heralds the start of the new potato season. And it’s the Ayrshire location that provides the ideal growing conditions. This is mainly due to Ayrshire’s light sandy soil and sheltered beaches which benefit from the warming waters of the Gulf Stream, allowing farmers in Ayrshire to be able to plant their crop a few weeks earlier.

And Scotty Brand strawberries also benefit from their location. Grown and packed by Bruce Farms, based in Perthshire, the light, fertile soil, long summer days and mild nights provide the best conditions for growing sweet, juicy berries.

Scotty Brand strawberries come in 300g punnets and will be available throughout Scotland in Asda stores.  Scotty Brand Ayrshire potatoes are widely available in selected Asda, Co-Op, Lidl, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose stores in Scotland.

To find out more about Scotty Brand please visit 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, Morrison’s, Tesco, Co-op, Waitrose, Aldi, Spar and Lidl.

[1] Source: The Knowledge Bank, Buying Local in Lockdown (March 2021)

[2] Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is a status awarded by the European Commission that protects and promotes named regional food products that have a reputation or noted characteristics specific to that area.

7 June 2021

Green Tourism helps businesses meet demand for environmentally friendly venues with launch of Green Meetings Standard

EICC becomes the first venue to gain the new Green Meetings Standard certification

Green Tourism, the world’s leading sustainable certification programme, is giving event venues the tools that they need for a sustainable recovery from the pandemic with the launch today of its Green Meetings Standard.

Hotels, conference centres, and other venues for meetings and events can apply for the accreditation to measure their performance against three pillars of caring for people, places, and our planet.

Independent assessors will examine criteria, which are aligned to the United Nations Sustainability Goals, ranging from energy, water, and waste through to catering, procurement, and travel, as well as awareness, communication, and community involvement.

The Green Meetings Standard has been designed in response to requests from the industry to help venues prove they are taking their environmental responsibilities seriously, especially in the run-up to the United Nations’ COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow in November.

The Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) has become the first venue to achieve the Green Meetings seal of approval.

The new initiative builds on Green Tourism’s existing meetings and event venues criteria, which was developed in 2001.

Those criteria have been used to help more than 700 venues achieve accreditation, including Central Hall Westminster, the EICC, Manchester International Conference Centre, Olympia London, and the QE2 Centre.

Green Tourism was founded in 1997 and has grown to include more than 2,500 members spread across 22 countries.

The Edinburgh-based organisation has carried out more than 15,000 assessments for its widely-recognised gold, silver, and bronze awards.

Andrea Nicholas, Chief Executive of Green Tourism, said: “Our new Green Meetings standard gives meetings and event venues the tools they need for sustainable growth as they recover from the pandemic.

“These new standards have been created in response to demand from the industry, with more and more event organisers wanting reassurance that the venues they pick meet the highest international environmental standards.

“This new brand is built on the back of our 25 years of experience, and incorporates examples of best practice from businesses throughout the world.

“As well as assessment, the scheme also gives support to venues so that they can improve their performance continuously and demonstrate the ways in which they are meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“It was inspiring to see and hear so many examples during World Environment Day on Saturday of how venues are caring for the planet, and we’re proud to be playing our part too with the launch of our new Green Meetings standard.”

Green Tourism worked with the EICC to develop its original criteria for conference centres back in 2001, and the venue became the first to achieve the organisation’s accreditation.

Aaron McKeen, Sustainability Champion at the EICC, said: “Caring for the environment and our people is one of our core values at the conference centre. 
“Event organisers are asking more and more questions about the environmental credentials of our facilities and our services and so it’s essential that we can demonstrate that we take sustainability very seriously, and support them in their ambitions to host more sustainable meetings. 
“The independent assessments that are carried out as part of the accreditation is one of the key attractions of Green Tourism’s work because it gives the EICC the external validation of the work we do day in, day out to be a responsible business working towards net zero in the years ahead. 

“Holding the Green Tourism Gold Award has always been a source of pride for the EICC and by becoming the first venue in the UK to meet the Green Meetings standard is testament to our commitments in this area.”

Rory Archibald, Head of Associations & Sectors at VisitScotland Business Events, added: “Hosting conferences, meetings, and other business events is an essential part of Scotland’s economy and drive for positive social transformation, and so the introduction of the Green Meetings standard will be a great boost to the business event industry.

“This tool will help venues to win more business and cement their relationships with existing clients by demonstrating their environmental credentials.

“Winning and retaining events creates not only a significant contribution to the economy, they attract world leaders to meet face to face where global challenges can be addressed and solutions found. They are an active driver for economic and social transformation in our communities. The Green Meetings Standard allows the industry to take a leading role in tackling climate change that others can look to ensure we are putting people and planet first.” 

The Green Meetings brand will be launched today during an online event chaired by Andrea Nicholas, Chief Executive of Green Tourism, and with speakers including: Scott Maclean, Managing Director of Green Tourism; Aaron McKeen, Sustainability Champion at the EICC; Rory Archibald, Head of Associations, Sectors & Marketing at VisitScotland Business Events; and Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at the Glasgow Convention Bureau.

Further information: https://green-tourism.com/green-meetings

Notes to editors

Green Tourism promotes greener ways for tourism businesses and organisations to operate, by offering our members advice on:

  • Reducing energy use
  • Saving water
  • Efficient & eco-friendly waste disposal
  • Ethical buying
  • Staying local & seasonal
  • Minimising food miles
  • Promoting biodiversity
  • Adopting a smart, sustainable outlook from top to bottom

7 June 2021

Dentons expects buoyant growth in vegan food market following sale of Bute Island Foods

Lawyers in Edinburgh and Glasgow advised on the sale to Canadian player Saputo

Dentons predicts a surge in activity in the vegan and plant-based food market after the law firm’s Scottish offices advised Bute Island Foods on their sale to Canadian dairy company, Saputo.

Bute Island Foods, which employs around 180 staff, makes vegan cheese alternative Sheese, as well as own-brand products, while Saputo owns labels including Cathedral City, Country Life, and Utterly Butterly.

Saputo paid a total of C$187 million (£109 million) to buy both Bute Island Foods and a factory owned by Wisconsin Specialty Protein in Reedsburg.

The new owner has pledged more than C$5 million (around £3 million) over five years to support community initiatives on the island as part of its wider commitment to invest 1% of its pre-tax profits each year in community programmes and organisations.

Bute Island Foods was advised by: Lorna McCaa, a tax partner in Dentons’ Glasgow office; Adam Knowles, a corporate senior associate in the firm’s Edinburgh office; and Brian Moore, a corporate partner who is also based in Edinburgh.

The deal marks the first major transaction in the vegan market for Dentons’ Scottish team, building on its vast experience in the wider food and drink sector.

Data from Kantar showed the plant-based dairy category has doubled in size over the past five years and is now worth just under £600 million.

A total of 15,206 products carried The Vegan Society’s trademark in 2020, up from 14,262 in 2019, with Sheese among the labels carrying the certification.

McCaa said: “We expect to see much more activity in the plant-based and vegan sector in the months ahead.

“There’s huge demand out there for high-quality, authentic products like Sheese, which is shown by the number of brands asking Bute Island Foods to make own-label products.

“It’s fantastic for a Scottish company with the heritage and provenance of Bute Island Foods to attract the attention of an international player like Saputo.

“Appearing on the radar of a global entity is down to the quality of the products being made by the company and the efficient way in which the team runs its business.

“We’re looking forward to supporting other businesses like Bute Island Foods on the next steps in their growth journey.”

Bute Island Foods commented: “This was the first time that we’d been involved in a corporate transaction on this scale and so it was great to have support from Dentons’ team in Scotland.

“They guided us through this unknown territory with comfort and ease and were always on hand to advise us.

“Becoming part of Saputo will help us to bring Sheese and our other products to a much wider audience.

“As we approach our 35th anniversary, we’re excited to be taking this next step on our journey and we thank Dentons for helping us spread our wings.”

The sale of Bute Island Foods to Saputo is the latest in a long line of food and drink deals involving Dentons’ Scottish offices.

The firm has advised on deals including Robert Wiseman Dairies’ takeover by Müller, and the sale of First Milk’s hard cheese business to Adams Foods and its sports nutrition business to Protein Partners.

In the whisky industry, Dentons has advised Edrington on the sale of its Cutty Sark whisky brand to La Martiniquaise-Bardinet and the sale of its Glenturret distillery to Art & Terroir, as well as Edrington’s purchase of the Glenrothes Speyside single malt Scotch whisky from wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros & Rudd.

Dentons was also involved in the equity raises which funded the construction of the Lindores distillery in Fife and the Ncn'ean distillery on the Morvern peninsula.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world's largest law firm, connecting talent to the world's challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons' legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons' polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic. www.dentons.com

25 May 2021

Dentons launches recruitment drive as Home Grown marketing campaign begins

The law firm is marking the 150th anniversary of its Scottish arm

Edinburgh, (Tuesday 25 May) - DENTONS is putting home-grown talent at the heart of a marketing campaign designed by MadeBrave as the law firm celebrates its Scottish operations’ 150th anniversary.

Lawyers and support staff from across the firm are starring in a range of short films as well as print and digital advertising, which goes live today.

The “Home Grown” campaign celebrates the firm’s talented staff in Scotland and shares inspiring stories from their work and their wider lives.

Using a combination of images, words, and music, the short films demonstrate both the practice’s links to its homeland and its international outlook.

The accompanying recruitment drive will fill opportunities arising across the firm, from graduate traineeships through to senior roles.

The firm’s experience stretches across all sectors, from whisky through to wind farms.

The law firm traces its roots in Scotland back to 1871, when David Maclay, David Murray, and John Spens founded their eponymous practice in Glasgow.

The firm was the first in Scotland created specifically to practise commercial law.

It also employed the UK’s first female lawyer: Madge Easton Anderson joined the firm as an apprentice in 1917, at the same time as starting her law degree at the University of Glasgow, and was allowed to become a lawyer following a Court of Session judgement in 1920.

The business became part of Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, in 2017.

Claire Armstrong, Dentons Scotland’s Managing Partner, said: “We are so proud of our people and our strong roots in Scotland that it felt really natural to put them at the heart of our ‘Home Grown’ campaign.

“Since our merger in 2017, our talented lawyers have driven deals around the corner and around the world.

“They’ve used their expertise to serve both clients at home and partner with colleagues in our other offices to share their talents further afield.

“This exciting growth means we’re launching a recruitment drive for lawyers and support staff who want to be part of a company that’s anchored in Scotland’s business community.”

Andrew Dobbie, Founder and Chief Executive of MadeBrave, added: “It’s been inspiring to get to know the team at Dentons Scotland and hear their stories.

“This is a legal practice with firm Scottish roots and connections that wrap around the world.

“Our ‘Home Grown’ campaign captures that link between being at the heart of Scottish life while also having the reach to open doors for clients in other countries.

“Law firms can come across as dull and stuffy but Dentons Scotland is the exact opposite – bright people doing skilled work that is helping Scottish businesses to grow and thrive.”

About Dentons

Dentons is the world's largest law firm, connecting talent to the world's challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons' legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons' polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic. www.dentons.com

20 May 2021

WAR VETERANS ON THE WATER AS WETWHEELS DISABILITY CHARITY VISITS SCOTLAND IN FUNDRAISING DRIVE

Wetwheels seafaring disability charity makes its first visit to Scotland

A 102 year-old former Royal Navy WW2 gunner and an Army veteran were among people with a disability who sailed aboard a specially built, fully accessible Wetwheels powerboat, when the Wetwheels seafaring disability charity made its first visit to Scotland.

Harry Hogg of Corstorphine, Edinburgh who joined the Royal Navy in 1938 and served for the duration of WW2, proudly wore his medals when he was accompanied aboard the Wetwheels Yorkshire 9-metre long powerboat by Royal Scots veteran, Frank McLeod (64) from Prestonpans.

Keen local sailor Peter Finlayson (25) from South Queensferry, who has cerebral palsy, also came onboard Wetwheels with his father Calum.

It’s part of a fundraising drive by Wetwheels, a ground-breaking seafaring charity founded in 2011 by disabled yachtsman, Geoff Holt MBE, that gives disabled people of all ages and impairments the chance to access the water. Wetwheels, of which HRH The Princess Royal is Patron, aims to establish its first permanent base north of the border at Port Edgar Marina on the Firth of Forth in the Spring of 2022.  

Both Harry and Frank have sight loss and are supported by the charity, Sight Scotland Veterans. It’s one of many disability organisations that will benefit once Wetwheels has raised the £250,000 needed to establish an operator base at Port Edgar Marina with the necessary manpower and equipment.  Wetwheels subsequently hopes to also run a west coast operation at Largs on the Firth of Clyde.

Geoff Holt, who was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984 and who in 2007 became the first disabled person to sail single-handed around Great Britain, explained: “Disabled people like Harry and Frank face many obstacles to an active lifestyle and particularly in experiencing the sense of freedom and independence you only get on the water. Yet the physical and mental benefits of being on the sea are immense so I am really excited to be at Port Edgar Marina to raise awareness of our Wetwheels charity and to showcase the amazing work we do.

“Wetwheels is unique. There is no other boating organisation for disabled people in the UK doing what Wetwheels does. That’s a very big claim, but as a wheelchair-using yachtsman and adventurer myself, I speak from experience. Our own research tells us that more than 80% of Wetwheels’ participants have never previously been on the open water. For an island nation, that’s a shocking statistic we are determined to change. 

“After a decade of successful growth in England we now aim to successfully raise £250,000 to establish our first operation at the fantastic Port Edgar Marina in Scotland, where Wetwheels can continue its mission to positively impact on the health and wellbeing of young and old participants for many years to come.”

At Port Edgar Marina, representatives of disability groups including Sight Scotland Veterans, potential donors and members of the press will have the opportunity to experience a twin 325HP engined Wetwheels powerboat that’s designed to allow active participation on the water in a safe, stimulating and rewarding way.  With full barrier-free access, up to ten participants, including three wheelchair users, can board and steer the vessel and learn seamanship, alongside their peers, friends, and families.

Clair Bryan, Director of Services, Sight Scotland Veterans, added: “It’s fantastic that veterans supported by Sight Scotland Veterans have been given the opportunity to have this experience with the Wetwheels Foundation while they have been stationed at Port Edgar this week. Sight Scotland Veterans very much supports and identifies with the Wetwheels Foundation’s mission to create accessible and inclusive experiences for disabled people.

“Sight Scotland Veterans is dedicated to supporting veterans with sight loss across Scotland to not only adapt to life with sight loss, but to live well with sight loss and continue to enjoy new experiences in the community. We would very much welcome a Wetwheels boat being permanently based in Scotland. I am sure other veterans with sight loss we support would relish the opportunity to take a boat trip with the Wetwheels Foundation in the future.”     

By visiting Port Edgar Marina, Wetwheels hopes the public and private donors will be inspired to help raise the further 75% of funding still required to ensure Port Edgar Watersports CIC can successfully operate the first Wetwheels Scotland vessel on behalf of the Wetwheels Foundation. 

Wetwheels already has six vessels in operation throughout England, including in Portsmouth, Falmouth, Jersey and Whitby. The charity has a vision for at least 12,000 people, including over 1,000 in Scotland to annually experience one of its seafaring experiences.

https://wetwheelsfoundation.org

Notes to the editor

Wetwheels
Each of the Wetwheels Operators is a social enterprise, registered as a community interest company (CIC), or the local equivalent (as in Jersey). Operators have the support of the Wetwheels Foundation, a registered charity.  Wetwheels is currently applying for OSCR registration.

Wetwheels annual report records that in 2019, more than 6,500 people of all ages participated in a Wetwheels experience. One third were disabled people with profound and complex, often life-limiting, disabilities. No one was excluded from participating.

The range of disabilities of those accessing Wetwheels included, but was not limited to: wheelchair users, people living with dementia, people affected by stroke, people with sensory impairment, behavioural disabilities including autism, people with mobility impairments, people with acquired brain injuries and those living with dementia.

Sight Scotland Veterans (formerly known as Scottish War Blinded)

Harry Hogg (102, of Corstorphine, Edinburgh, is a Royal Navy World War Two veteran who joined up as a gunner in 1938 and served until the end of the war.  Harry has sight loss due to age-related macular degeneration – an eye condition which impacts central vision and over time can make things like identifying faces and everyday tasks very difficult. Harry has been supported by Sight Scotland Veterans for 10 years.

Frank McLeod (64, of Prestonpans, East Lothian) served with the Army in the Royal Scots from 1972 to 1980. In 2014 Frank had an accident which left him with permanent brain damage. He now uses a wheelchair. He has no sight in his right eye and has lost a significant amount of sight in his left eye. Frank will be attending Port Edgar Marina with his wife, Elaine.

Sight Scotland Veterans provides free support to ex-servicemen and women affected by sight loss in Scotland to help them regain confidence, restore their independence and make new connections. 

Established in 1915, today the charity gives support to all veterans with sight loss, including National Service veterans, no matter if they lost their sight during or after service. The majority of veterans we support have lost their sight through age, conditions such as macular degeneration, and reasons unrelated to their service. 

Our outreach and rehabilitation support offering covers all local authority areas in Scotland. The charity also runs two activity hubs for veterans with sight loss: the Linburn Centre in Wilkieston, West Lothian, and the Hawkhead Centre in Paisley, Renfrewshire.

Call 0800 035 6409 to refer a veteran with sight loss for support or email hello@sightscotlandveterans.org.uk

Sight Scotland Veterans is the sister charity of Sight Scotland, Scotland’s biggest sight loss charity. For more information visit sightscotlandveterans.org.uk

19 May 2021

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR FAST-GROWING EDINBURGH DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION SPECIALISTS

ClearSky Logic expands and rebrands as demand for its technology support services surges in the wake of COVID

With an 80% increase in income in the last year, Edinburgh-based ClearSky Logic has grown its team, appointed a new Board member, created a new leadership structure and rebranded.

ClearSky, which was founded in 2018, has grown significantly by helping companies develop digital tools and tailored technology solutions to survive and thrive during the pandemic.

With a new brand and website highlighting its positioning as ‘digital transformation’ specialists, the company has grown its team from seven to 24 full-time employees to handle the demand for its services, which include managing one-off digital transformation projects, and providing dedicated outsourced tech teams for established businesses.

In addition, the company, which is on course to turn over £2.1 million in the year ahead, has appointed a new Board member and created a new leadership and senior management structure.

This sees tech entrepreneur and business advisor Tino Nombro joining the Board to support ClearSky Logic’s growth while co-founders Darren Auld and Phil Telfer focus on specific areas; Auld as CEO concentrating on growth strategy while Telfer as CTO taking the reins on the technical direction. A new Senior Management Team has also been created, with Adam Steen now Head of Operations and Jane Fiddes leading Marketing and Account Management.

ClearSky Logic’s growth has been driven by their ability to understand the issues businesses are having and to deliver effective digital solutions. With more and more companies pivoting their business models during the coronavirus lockdowns, the agency has created bespoke software to help its clients automate their processes, including through mobile apps and self-service features for customers.

The company – which lists Together Energy, Mitsubishi and Ittria among its clients – has expanded from its roots serving the energy sector to cover a wide range of industries.  ClearSky Logic also won a £100,000 Innovate UK grant in November 2020 to create My Booking Hub a new platform that will help SMEs generate revenue during and beyond COVID.

ClearSky Logic has recognised that businesses are hampered in their digital transformation by the time and cost of getting the right team in place. It offers an agile, flexible outsourced tech team, that allows an immediate focus on the digital transformation project to get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Auld, co-founder and CEO of ClearSky Logic, said: “When Covid first hit, it sent a shock across all businesses including ours and our clients. But we adopted a positive mindset and looked at Covid as being a chance to do what we do best, which is help businesses transform their digital services.

“It’s been a challenging period for everyone but we’re proud of the work we’ve done to support other businesses, as well as seeing our own business grow remarkably in a relatively short space of time.”

Co-founder and CTO Telfer added: “We believe that businesses shouldn’t be held back by technology. The pandemic has placed a huge emphasis on the importance of having effective online systems and platforms in place and we’ve been able to help businesses transform their digital offering and make that transition quickly.

“Our agency model allows us to become our clients’ trusted tech partner – it’s like having your own tech department, but without the need to go around recruiting all the different experts you need.”

One business that has already benefited from ClearSky Logic’s expertise is Fresh Car Valeting. A cumbersome manual booking system had put the brakes on the car cleaning company’s growth, but ClearSky Logic created a bespoke system that processes bookings automatically, which has resulted in a dramatic acceleration in sales. In December, the company processed 121 automated bookings, compared to almost 1500 in April.

Instead of filling in a form on the website that then had to be processed by back office staff to find a suitable time for a valet, customers can now choose a time, day, and location online and receive booking confirmation and appointment reminders. Customers can also see their bookings online and manage their details, increasing the chances of repeat bookings.

The project was such a success that there is now a long-term partnership in place, with ClearSky Logic developing a full technology roadmap for Fresh Car Valeting to help it expand its business further across the whole of the UK. 

https://www.clearskylogic.com

13 May 2021

AHOY THERE! WETWHEELS DISABILITY CHARITY SETS SAIL FOR SCOTLAND IN FUNDRAISING DRIVE

A ground-breaking seafaring charity that gives disabled people of all ages and impairments the chance to access the water is sailing to Scotland next week as it steps up its fundraising drive to establish its first permanent base north of the border in the Spring of 2022.

A ground-breaking seafaring charity that gives disabled people of all ages and impairments the chance to access the water is sailing to Scotland next week as it steps up its fundraising drive to establish its first permanent base north of the border in the Spring of 2022.  

Wetwheels, founded by disabled yachtsman Geoff Holt MBE in 2011 and of which HRH The Princess Royal is Patron, will moor one of its specially built, fully accessible powerboats at Port Edgar Marina on the Firth of Forth between 20-23 May.

The charity is using its visit as part of a wider fundraising drive help raise £250,000 to establish an operator base at Port Edgar Marina with the necessary manpower and equipment and subsequently hopes to also run a west coast operation at Largs on the Firth of Clyde. 

Invited disability groups, potential donors and members of the press will have the opportunity at Port Edgar Marina to experience Wetwheels Yorkshire, one of the 9 metre boats powered by twin 325HP engines that is designed to maximise active participation on the water in a safe, stimulating and rewarding way.  With full barrier-free access, up to ten participants, including three wheelchair users, can board and steer the vessel and learn seamanship, alongside their peers, friends, and families.

By sailing to Scotland, the charity hopes the public and private donors will be inspired to help raise the further 75% of funding still required to ensure Port Edgar Watersports can successfully operate the first Wetwheels Scotland vessel on behalf of the Wetwheels Foundation. The charity, that already has six vessels in operation throughout England, including in Portsmouth, Falmouth, Jersey and Whitby has a vision for at least 12,000 people, including over 1,000 in Scotland to annually experience one of its seafaring experiences.

Holt, who was paralysed in a swimming accident in 1984 and who in 2007 became the first disabled person to sail single-handed around Great Britain, explained: “Disabled people face many obstacles to an active lifestyle and particularly in experiencing the sense of freedom and independence you only get on the water. Yet the physical and mental benefits of being on the sea are immense so I am really excited to be coming up to Port Edgar Marina in Scotland to raise awareness of our Wetwheels and showcase the amazing work we do.

"Wetwheels is unique. There is no other boating organisation for disabled people in the UK doing what Wetwheels does. That’s a very big claim, but as a wheelchair-using yachtsman and adventurer myself, I speak from experience. Our own research tells us that more than 80% of Wetwheels’ participants have never previously been on the open water. For an island nation, that’s a shocking statistic we are determined to change. 

"After a decade of successful growth in England we now aim to successfully raise £250,000 to establish our first operation at the fantastic Port Edgar Marina in Scotland, where Wetwheels can continue its mission to positively impact on the health and wellbeing of participants for many years to come."

https://wetwheelsfoundation.org

Notes to the editor

Each of the Wetwheels Operators is a social enterprise, registered as a community interest company (CIC), or the local equivalent (as in Jersey). Operators have the support of the Wetwheels Foundation, a registered charity.  Wetwheels is currently applying for OSCR registration.

Wetwheels annual report records that in 2019, more than 6,500 people of all ages participated in a Wetwheels experience. One third were disabled people with profound and complex, often life-limiting, disabilities. No one was excluded from participating.

The range of disabilities of those accessing Wetwheels included, but was not limited to: wheelchair users, people living with dementia, people affected by stroke, people with sensory impairment, behavioural disabilities including autism, people with mobility impairments, people with acquired brain injuries and those living with dementia.

11 May 2021

RECORD BREAKING EXPLORER MOLLIE HUGHES EMBRACES NATURAL ADVENTURE WITH DIRECTOR APPOINTMENT OF OCEAN VERTICAL

Record breaking adventurer Mollie Hughes (30), who last year became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole, has been appointed as a director of Ocean Vertical.

Record breaking adventurer Mollie Hughes (30), who last year became the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole, has been appointed as a director of Ocean Vertical, a Scottish adventure company that embraces sustainable sea, coastal and mountaineering experiences.

The announcement comes during Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May) and at a time of growing awareness of the mental and physical health benefits participants can gain from water-based activities – commonly referred to as ‘Blue Health’.

East Lothian-based Ocean Vertical was founded in 2018 by professional instructor Stevie Boyle and former international architect, Adrian Boot. Their small team of highly qualified instructors specialise in immersing individuals and small groups in wilderness experiences like coasteering, surfing, paddle-boarding, climbing and mountaineering.

The ethical adventure business also offers summer and winter mountaineering experiences in Glen Coe and the Western Highlands of Scotland.  An experienced mountaineer, Hughes climbing successes include summitting Mount Everest from the south side aged just 21 and returning to summit from the north side aged 26 – achieving the world record by becoming the youngest women in the world to do so.

Joining as a director of Ocean Vertical is a natural fit for Hughes. The Devon-born, Edinburgh-based adventurer, marketer and motivational speaker, commented: “I’m very excited to be invited to be part of the team at Ocean Vertical, an organisation that shares my passion for enjoying adventures on rugged coastlines and mountains, with a keen sense of the need to protect our fragile natural world. 

“I was raised in Devon where swimming and surfing nurtured my passion for the sea and where my dad is a kayaking instructor. While in recent years, the mountains have been my focus, I’ve always had an affinity with the sea. Like Stevie and Adrian, I love the sense of freedom, mental and physical challenge and simple joy that comes from being immersed in the wilds.”

Mollie added: “As part of the Ocean Vertical team, I really look forward to bringing my own outlook on the outdoors and skill-set in planning and communications to the business. In particular, I’m sure there will be the opportunity to help encourage many more women to share in wilderness experiences, for I know its power in nurturing greater self-confidence and improved physical and mental wellbeing.”

Adrian Boot, co-founder of Ocean Vertical added: “Mollie is an inspirational young woman with a phenomenal track record of achievements in the world of exploration. It’s fantastic to have her on board to help run and shape the Ocean Vertical business.  Her skills and personal outlook on the benefits of sustainable adventure will be a tremendous asset to the team as we commit to sustainably grow and attract more customers to experience the joy of immersion in Scotland’s coasts and mountains.”   

www.oceanvertical.com

Notes to the editor

Ocean Vertical
Stevie Boyle has a 20+ year career in adventure and Adrian Boot is a former international architect with strong corporate / business skills. Together with a small, highly skilled team of instructors and guides, they offer decades of experience in water and mountain based activities.

As part of its commitment to protect the natural world, Ocean Vertical contributes a percentage of its profits to environmental causes. Placing the wild and natural environment of Scotland at its core, the business aims to minimise its impact on the planet. Operating a leave no trace policy, it aims to use the most ethical and sustainable equipment possible to support its coastal and mountain adventures.

Mollie Hughes

On 10 January 2020, Mollie (aged 29) reached the South Pole becoming the youngest woman in the world to ski solo from the coast of Antarctica to the Geographic South Pole.

In 2020 Mollie Hughes was also elected President of Scouts Scotland, the first woman to hold the position.

In May 2017 (aged 26) Mollie became the youngest woman in the world – and the first English woman – to successfully summit from both the north and south sides of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest.

As a director of Ocean Vertical, Mollie will bring to the team almost a decade of experience in marketing and social media garnered while working with Tiso Group, the outdoor adventure retail specialist. 

10 May 2021

GROWING FOCUS ON WELLBEING AT WORK & INTERNATIONAL SUCCESS SEES SPEAKER BUZZ TAKE ON NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Experienced entrepreneur and business advisor Tino Nombro to steer the growth of thriving purpose-led speaker agency

With growing demand driven by companies looking to support employee wellbeing and a rise in international clients, Edinburgh-based purpose-led speaker agency Speaker Buzz has appointed a non-executive director and expanded its roster.

Business advisor and entrepreneur Tino Nombro, who founded and sold digital marketing company Ambergreen and advises a number of other companies, will help Speaker Buzz founder Debbie Byers manage the agency’s growth. Nombro will also help Byers develop the synergies with her other business, Beeline PR, the communications consultancy she operates with husband Jim Byers.

Through online talks, bespoke content and tailored programmes of support, Speaker Buzz and its handpicked international speakers help companies address the topics and challenges that are high on the agenda today such as such as mental health, workplace wellbeing, diversity, inclusion, social impact and the environment.

Nombro, who is a board member of the Homeless World Cup Foundation, shares Speaker Buzz’s ethos of inspiring positive change and will help Speaker Buzz develop its proposition to include long-term partnerships with clients, in addition to one-off motivational talks.

The growth stems from more companies, brands and organisations looking for new ways to enhance wellbeing at work and create healthy, positive working cultures that stimulate productivity and improve staff retention in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news comes on the back of recent speaker engagements in the UK, plus South African, France, Dubai and the United States for clients including Coca-Cola, Edrington, Gleneagles, Allen & Overy, Ekimetrics and Standard Life.

Commenting on the advisory role at Speaker Buzz, Nombro said: “With its purpose-led mission to inspire positive change in people’s lives and society, Speaker Buzz is well placed to help employers as they seek to support their people in these challenging times. It’s never been more important for employers to manage and discuss topics such as mental health, wellbeing at work and diversity, and Speaker Buzz can provide that support.

“Debbie has done a great job in establishing the business and steering it through the transition to online events. I can see significant opportunity for growth in the UK and internationally, and I’m really looking forward to working with the team at Speaker Buzz as they continue to develop the business further.”

With online events becoming the norm and allowing companies to connect remote teams, Speaker Buzz has expanded its roster to meet demand. Recent additions to its now more than 40-strong roster include social entrepreneur Mel Young MBE, LGBTQ+ and Transgender campaigner Nour Shaker Fayad, renowned mountaineer Kenton Cool, and world record-breaking solo Atlantic rower Jasmine Harrison.

Speaker Buzz founder Byers added: “The last few months have been incredibly exciting with more events all over the world and new speakers coming on board. It feels like we’re just scratching the surface of what we could achieve and with Tino’s experience and help we’re ready to take the next steps.”

6 May 2021

Scottish Partner named as head of Dentons’ 150-strong corporate law division

Brian Moore will lead a team across the UK and Ireland

Edinburgh, (6 May) - Edinburgh-based Partner Brian Moore has been named as Divisional Leader for Corporate at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, covering the practice’s operations across the UK and Ireland.

Mr Moore will lead a team of 150 lawyers, including 50 in Scotland, which will handle disciplines including competition, corporate, and tax and will take on a larger remit with a broader management role.

His appointment is part of a wider restructuring within the UKIME region, which has been led by Abu Dhabi-based Paul Jarvis, who became UKIME Chief Executive on 1 May.

Dentons in Scotland has advised on a raft of recent corporate deals, including: the restructuring and sale of Bonmarché, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, and Ponden Home; the restructuring of clothing retailer Quiz's bricks and mortar business; and the investment in leading online specialist sports retailer Sigma Sports by Primary Capital Partners.

The firm was also the lead legal advisor on the establishment of the £2 billion Scottish National Investment Bank.

Mr Moore said: “The corporate deals market is hot – both in Scotland and across the wider UK.

“We’re looking at a strong calendar opening up in front of us, with a busy pipeline of activity over the coming months.

“The pandemic has created lots of opportunities for companies that have the financial firepower to do deals – either through their own reserves or through access to capital – and there are plenty of owners willing to sell their businesses to the right buyer and on the right terms.

“We’re finding that companies are very acquisitive and opportunistic at the moment – they’re ready to take advantage of the corporate deals market having really opened up.”

Mr Moore’s appointment follows Claire Armstrong taking up the newly created role of Scotland Managing Partner in February.

Ms Armstrong’s promotion completed an all-female leadership team in Scotland, with Alison Bryce serving as Office Head for Glasgow and Kirsti Olson working as Office Head for Edinburgh.

Mr Moore added: “My appointment demonstrates that Dentons is focused on the skills and the talents of our people and not on their location.

“That’s also emphasised by Paul Jarvis, our new UKIME Chief Executive, being based in the Middle East.

“Many of my colleagues in the corporate division are dual-qualified and work with clients that operate in multiple jurisdictions – we allocate work according to client requirements and relationships and the team's skills and capabilities, and not any arbitrary factor, like where their desks are located.”

Other appointments made as part of Mr Jarvis’s restructuring include Deepa Deb as Divisional Leader for Real Estate, and Alastair Young as Divisional Leader for the Middle East.

Recent recruits include Darran Stevenson as Chief Finance Officer and Victoria White as General Counsel.

Dentons’ UKIME executive committee is now 36% female, as is 50% of its board.

About Dentons

Dentons is the world's largest law firm, connecting talent to the world's challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons' legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons' polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic. www.dentons.com

4 May 2021

Dentons will focus on diversity and recruitment at its latest Black Lives Matter online seminar

High-profile guests will join the law firm’s experts at the open event

Glasgow, (Tuesday 4 May) - How to turn the anger unleashed by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement into tangible change in the workplace will be the focus of an online seminar being hosted on 6 May by Dentons, the world’s largest law firm.

The virtual gathering – which is open to everyone – will discuss topics including how to avoid unconscious bias, how to attract diverse talent, and how to implement practical support and sponsorship.

Speakers at the seminar will include Colleen Amos, Co-founder and Chief Executive of The Amos Bursary, which supports young British men of African and Caribbean descent.

She will be joined by Ama Ocansey, UK Head of Diversity & Inclusion at investment bank BNP Paribas, and Puneet Tahim, Alumni Relations & Lateral Hiring Manager at Rare Recruitment.

Glasgow-based Alison Weatherhead, Head of Dentons’ People, Reward & Mobility practice in Scotland, will host the seminar alongside fellow Partner Purvis Ghani, and Virginia Allen, Head of People, Reward & Mobility UK at Dentons.

Ms Weatherhead said: “I can’t wait to learn from our experienced and knowledgeable panellists as we explore how to get recruitment right within the BLM context.

“This online gathering is part of a series of BLM events, as we maintain momentum in this important area.

“It’s crucial that we all put what we’ve learned over the past year into action by avoiding unconscious bias and making sure we recruit colleagues from a diverse range of backgrounds.

“Importantly, we want questions and comments from our audience too, so anyone who has a burning question or a piece of insight or experience to share should sign up for the event.”

The Law Society of Scotland’s most recent Profile of the Profession study, which was published in 2018, revealed that 96% of the 2,700 lawyers and accredited paralegals who took part in the survey described themselves as white.

Within the remaining 4%, 1.7% described themselves as Asian, lagging behind the 2.7% among Scotland’s population as a whole.

Following the report, the Law Society of Scotland outlined 28 recommendations to address equality and diversity issues within the profession, including an aim to increase the number of people from black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds working as lawyers and accredited paralegals.

In February, the Law Society of Scotland launched a Racial Inclusion Group, with Tatora Mukushi – a solicitor with housing charity Shelter Scotland – appointed as convener.

As part of its 2016-2030 Race Equality Framework, the Scottish Government has implemented a range of measures to help increase minority ethnic representation in the workplace, including working with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to establish an equality action plan for apprenticeships.

The Scottish Government also set up the Workplace Equality Fund in 2018 to address inequalities faced by minority ethnic people, women, disabled people, and older workers.

Projects that received funding during 2020-21 included CEMVO Enterprises’ Ethnic Minority Workforce Development Project, the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council’s Equality Performance Observed in the Workplace (E-POW) scheme, and the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s DIveIN programme.

Book your place at the seminar now at https://www.dentons.com/en/whats-different-about-dentons/connecting-you-to-talented-lawyers-around-the-globe/events/2021/may/6/black-lives-matter-getting-recruitment-right

2018 Profile of the Profession: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/media/361498/lss-pop-report-final-december-2018.pdf

Law Society of Scotland response: https://www.lawscot.org.uk/media/361502/pop-response-final.pdf (Chapter 5)

About Dentons

Dentons is the world's largest law firm, connecting talent to the world's challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons' legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons' polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic. www.dentons.com

22 April 2021

EDINBURGH CASTLE HOSTS WORLD PREMIERE OF SPECTACULAR STUNT BY SCIENTIST & MAGICIAN KEVIN QUANTUM

Thousands around the world expected to gather online on 29th April to watch internationally acclaimed performer attempt daring stunt at the iconic Scottish landmark

A week today, at 1pm on Thursday 29th April, scientist and magician Kevin Quantum will celebrate the journey out of COVID-19 adversity by staging the world premiere of a spectacular demonstration of courage, optimism and harmony at Edinburgh Castle.

Broadcast worldwide on YouTube, the premiere of Flaming Cannonballs at Edinburgh Castle will show Quantum relying on science, self-belief and hope as he attempts to walk blindfolded through nine flaming cannonballs swinging from a huge pendulum on the ramparts of the capital’s iconic landmark.

If his scientific studies of the pendula’s patterns and calculation of the precise magical moment the cannonballs harmoniously align, Quantum will emerge unscathed from his daring stunt at precisely the moment Edinburgh’s famous One o’Clock Gun is fired.

In the run-up to his fearsome feat, Quantum has released a trailer which can be viewed here.

Internationally acclaimed magician Quantum, also known as Kevin McMahon, lives in Edinburgh and his last performance was as a semi-finalist on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. He has gained exclusive access to Edinburgh Castle to stage his dramatic performance in the shadow of Mons Meg, the famous Medieval Bombard and one of the largest cannons in the world. His stunt will mark the moment the country begins to open up after life in lockdown and people celebrating the chance to reconnect with friends and experience the joy of live performance.

While anyone within a two-mile radius of Edinburgh Castle will be able to hear The One o’Clock gun go off, Quantum is inviting people across the city, Scotland, the UK and around world to connect with the performance and each other by watching the premiere on YouTube.

Edinburgh Castle, which reopens to the public on Friday 30th April, has been chosen because the One o’Clock Gun once connected the city to Leith Docks where ships’ captains would set their maritime clocks by the gun. The soundwave travels at around 760 miles per hour, the speed of sound which was studied by Austrian physicist Ernst Mach.

Mach also created the Harmonic Pendulum; a beautiful, hypnotic visualisation of harmony. For his performance, Quantum has created his own industrial-sized version of Mach’s pendulum. The 12ft-high steel structure features a gauntlet of nine swinging, flaming cannonballs each weighing 15 kilogrammes.

Quantum explained: “It’s been an incredibly tough 12 months for everyone but with lockdown restrictions easing, there’s a new sense of hope and optimism on the horizon. We’ve got science to thank for creating a vaccine for COVID-19 and helping us overcome what appeared to be almost impossible odds. As a scientist and magician, I want to celebrate this important moment in time with my own special twist and share a sense of hope with people not just in Edinburgh but around the world.”

“I’m going to attempt to walk through these flaming cannonballs by relying on science as well as my own sense of hope and belief in harmony to get me though. If I emerge safely from this dangerous gauntlet, the One o’Clock gun firing will signal my moment of triumph over adversity, but also signal everyone’s emergence from the challenges of the last year.”

Emma Bowie, Events Manager from Historic Environment Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle team said: “We are delighted to host such a wonderful spectacle at the Castle with Kevin and his team performing a spectacular stunt and world premiere set to be enjoyed by many thousands as it goes out live on YouTube. Just don’t try this at home – or The Castle for that matter. Simply tune in and enjoy the work of a world-renowned illusionist as he brings his magic to one of Scotland’s most iconic sites.”

Quantum originally studied Physics but his life took a new turn into the world of magic after he appeared in Channel 4 programme, Faking It, in 2005. In the show, which was watched by around seven million people, he convinced a panel of judges, including Paul Daniels, into believing he was a professional magician after just four weeks of training.

After later being trained in Las Vegas by the world-renowned magicians, Penn and Teller, Quantum went onto to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2006. In 2010, he founded The Edinburgh International Magic Festival, also known as MagicFest, and has worked extensively in Edinburgh and around the world.

In addition to reaching the semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2020, Quantum also reached the final of Italy’s Got Talent, and his YouTube videos have been viewed millions of times. Earlier this year, he educated children about gravity on BBC Bitesize during home schooling lockdown.

Flaming Cannonballs at Edinburgh Castle is a Kevin Quantum event conceived and produced by The Derring-Do Partnership and filmed by Edinburgh video specialists Heehaw. It will be broadcast on Kevin Quantum’s YouTube channel.

About Kevin Quantum
Among his achievements, Kevin was, in 2013, the first magician to appear on stage at the legendary Globe Theatre in London. In 2012, he achieved The Guinness World Record for the Biggest Ever Magic Lesson at MagicFest in Edinburgh with over 1500 people gathered together to learn a magic trick. He has performed all over the world alongside peers such as Derren Brown, for celebrities such as Richard Branson and brands such as O2 and Mini Cooper.
http://quantummagician.com/

About Edinburgh Castle and the One o’Clock Gun
Edinburgh Castle, which reopens to the public on 30th April, is one of the most renowned historic sites in Western Europe. The One o’Clock Gun is fired daily (except on Sundays, Good Friday and Christmas Day) from the Mills Mount Battery by District Gunner, Dave Beveridge.
https://www.edinburghcastle.scot/

21 April 2021

FARMING FAMILY TRANSFORMS FORMER SHEEP SHED INTO STUNNING CONTEMPORARY EVENT VENUE

Cairns Farm Estate near Edinburgh will now host weddings and events alongside its day-to-day life as a working sheep farm

Following a £1.9m investment and a 24-month build project, a former sheep shed on a working family farm just outside Edinburgh has been transformed into a contemporary luxury wedding and event venue with overnight accommodation. The new venue, Cairns Farm Estate, sits on the shores of Harperrig reservoir within the Pentland Hills Regional Park.

The new venue is the result of an idea that first hatched several years ago and was subsequently developed through a partnership between the Hamilton family and award-winning luxury venue management and event catering company Hickory.

With Covid-19 restrictions on travel and events easing, Cairns Farm Estate is set to host its first wedding on 22nd May and already has a diary full of bookings stretching into 2022. Many of these were made before the main conversion of the sheep shed had started, based on the venue’s stunning location and design plans.

The 1,200-acre country estate and hill farm is located near Kirknewton and around eight miles from Edinburgh. The estate has been in the Hamilton family since 1869.  With their three children on-board, the family teamed up with Hickory to diversify their estate and create a new chapter in its history.

Caroline and Graham Hamilton have led the project with their children taking on individual roles to match their own skills; Joanna as an interior designer, younger son Bobby assisting with finance and funding, and Alistair as project manager and joiner.

Working with Chris Duncan of Mill Architects, local contractors and craftspeople, the Hamiltons developed a modern multi-use wedding and event venue that reflects its agricultural roots and sits naturally in the stunning rural location.

The main venue is built around sheds that were once home to cattle over the winter and sheep during lambing season. Now it is a stylish and modern contemporary space which can hold up to 180 guests and includes a Ceremony Room, main function room, bar, breakout areas, and state-of-the-art kitchens.

Throughout the building, there are references to its agricultural heritage and a strong ethos of sustainability through the repurposing of materials found on the estate or sourced locally. For example, the building is clad in Scots Pine, planted by Graham’s great grandfather, the building timber comes from trees felled on site as part of an ongoing woodland management programme, while the striking entrance has been formed around an old grain silo sourced from a local farm.

Inside, wedding couples will enter the Ceremony Room through horse stalls up-cycled from the farm’s stables while a feature wall, has been hand built re-using stones from the drystone dykes in the old building. In the function room, the bar, tables and wooden furnishings have been hand crafted from Sycamore and Scots Pine, harvested on the estate, by a team of carpenters led by Alistair.

Cairns Farm Estate also features a range of luxurious on-site accommodation which can sleep up to 24 guests. This includes Cairns Farmhouse, a 19th-century country house that sits on the edge of Harperrig Reservoir, which has been fully renovated to sleep 10; a honeymoon hideaway, The Keep; and six brand new en-suite luxury cabins sleeping a total of 12.

All the events and catering at Cairns Farm Estate will be managed exclusively by Hickory. The Edinburgh-based company has a growing reputation in Scotland for exceling across a range of services including catering, wedding planning, event management and venue management.

Alongside its exclusive responsibility for Cairns Farm Estate and Eskmills Venue in Musselburgh, Hickory works with a portfolio of more than 30 unique venues around Scotland, including the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, Mount Stuart on the Isle on Bute, Newhall House in Midlothian and Gilmerton House in East Lothian.

In addition to weddings, Cairns Farm Estate will host a range of events such as private parties, corporate away days and charity events. It will also operate as a destination for self-catering short breaks.

Commenting on the launch of the venue, Caroline Hamilton said: “This has been an incredible journey for our family; from having the initial idea, to teaming up with Hickory in 2017 then battling on through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s almost hard to believe that we will soon to be hosting our first wedding in May.

“It’s been a real labour of love, with each member of the family adding their unique skill and personality throughout the planning and the build. We’ve also worked with friends and local crafts men and women, so there’s been a real sense of community and care that’s gone into the project.

“The idea was driven by the modernisation of our agricultural industry and the need for diversification to create a secure future for the family and the estate. It was crucial that the venue would reflect its roots as a sheep shed and sit naturally in the environment and so it maintains the beauty and integrity of the land and landscape. When I look at the finished venue now, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved and can’t wait to share it with our guests.”

Brian Galbraith, managing director of Hickory, added: “Cairns Farm Estate is absolutely spectacular. With its stunning setting, on-site accommodation and its amazing conversion from a country barn into a stylish and flexible modern event space, it’s already attracting huge interest for weddings and events. It’s been a pleasure to team up with the Hamilton family and be part of the journey. With the first wedding just around the corner, and many more booked in, we can’t wait to get started.”

https://www.cairnsfarmestate.co.uk/

https://hickoryfood.co.uk/

31 March 2021

Dentons wins Scotland IP Transactions Firm of the Year for the second year in a row at the Managing IP Awards 2021

Glasgow, March 2021 - Dentons has won Scotland IP Transactions Firm of the Year at the Managing IP Awards 2021.

It is the second year that Dentons has won this award, having won in the same category in 2020.

The Managing IP Awards took place virtually on 30 March 2021, run by Managing Intellectual Property magazine, and recognise firms, individuals and companies who have worked on the most innovative and challenging IP work over the past year.

Alison Bryce, Glasgow-based partner in Dentons' UK Technology, Media and Telecoms team, said, "We're incredibly proud that our IP team continues to be recognised for the high quality of work we are doing. Scotland continues to attract  entrepreneurs, investors and businesses from around the world. We are one of the few teams in Scotland who have a large global network, with an IP practice group that spans over 70 countries, coupled with Scottish expertise."

Dentons advises on the commercialisation and other exploitation of all types of IP rights, with a focus on IP licensing, and IP portfolio acquisitions and sales, as well as collaborations. The practice covers all areas of IP, including franchising, IT/outsourcing, media and telecoms, and the team advises clients across a broad range of sectors, including food and drink, high tech manufacturing, technology and software, branding, life sciences, FMCG, media, fashion and oil and gas.

45 Dentons lawyers were recently recognised in World Trademark Review's 2021 WTR 1000 ranking for the world's leading trademark professionals, including partners Alison Bryce and Ross Nicol in Scotland.

About Dentons
Dentons is the world's largest law firm, connecting talent to the world's challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons' legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons' polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic. www.dentons.com

29 March 2021

SCOTTY BRAND TAKES £1M BITE OF CHIP MARKET WITH WAITROSE DEAL

Waitrose is the latest retailer to stock the popular frozen chips

Sales of Scotty Brand’s Chippy Chips are poised to break through the £1m mark this year for the first time after the popular label signed a deal with Waitrose.
 
The frozen chips went on sale this week at all six of Waitrose’s Scottish branches, adding to existing listings at Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and Tesco.
 
The chunky irregular-cut chips in sunflower oil, which are made with homegrown potatoes sourced from Scotty’s network of growers throughout Scotland, are sold in 1.5kg bags. With around 363,000 packs expected to be sold this year, that equates to 545 tonnes – the equivalent of 218 tractors* or more than 60,000 Scottish terriers**.
 
Chippy Chips were the first frozen chips to be produced from only homegrown Scottish potatoes when they made their debut at the Co-op in October 2016. 
 
They have continued to grow in popularity and are taking an increasingly large share of Scotland’s £54.7m frozen chip market.
 
Previous Scotty Brand listings at Waitrose have included potatoes and soup mixes.
 
Scotty Brand’s Commercial Director, Richard Allison, said: “We’ve been blown away by the popularity of our Chippy Chips.
 
“It looks like our customers have been raiding their freezers during lockdown for some well-deserved comfort food.
 
“The growing popularity of Chippy Chips has led to us securing this exciting listing with Waitrose, and we are looking forward to more customers discovering our homegrown Scottish chips.”
 
Scotty Brand’s latest Chippy Chips listing with Waitrose is the latest in a string of deals for the patriotic food label.
 
Last July, Scotty Brand added cherries to its range with a contract to supply Asda’s Scottish stores.
 
A month earlier, the company’s strawberries went UK-wide through a deal covering 200 of Asda’s shops.
 
Since September 2019, Scotty Brand has cut the amount of plastic used for its packaging by 27,000kg, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to the environment.
 
www.scottybrand.com
 
*based on an average weight of 2,500kg per tractor (https://tractoraddict.com/average-weight-kg-of-a-farm-tractor-30-examples/)
 
**based on an average weight of 9kg per dog (https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/breed-standards/terrier/scottish-terrier/)
 
Notes to Editors:
 
  • Scotty Brand was 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.
  • Scotty Brand stockists include ASDA, Co-op, Lidl, Morrison’s, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose.

29 March 2021

LEADING TRAVEL & TOURISM EXPERT APPOINTED TO HELP THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND BECOME A WORLD-CLASS VISITOR DESTINATION

SSDA announces new Chief Executive and marketing platform to put the South of Scotland on the tourist map

A leading travel and tourism expert who directed successful destination management initiatives in the Middle East has returned home to Scotland to lead the South of Scotland’s plans to become a world-class destination and support the region’s economic recovery from the impact of Covid-19.

Ross McAuley, a Scot with more than 20 years international commercial, entrepreneurial and marketing experience, has been appointed as the first Chief Executive of The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA), the body which now brings together Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders as one destination.

McAuley will drive forward the SSDA’s ambitious destination development plans, which include increasing tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and creating 6,500 new jobs, while enabling the region’s tourism and hospitality industry to recover and flourish in the wake of Covid-19.

The new appointment comes as the SDDA also unveils the next phase of Scotland Starts Here, its destination marketing campaign and information hub which is built around a website and app that promotes the very best of the South of Scotland’s local businesses, products and experiences to visitors.

McAuley has a strong track record in destination management and tourism having previously led ground-breaking global tourism initiatives in the Middle East including nine years at luxury hospitality brand Jumeirah Group, followed by building a successful global travel and tourism consultancy business.

Commenting on today’s announcement, McAuley said: “The South is the hidden gem of Scotland, overlooked in the past as a destination but with a proud history, stunning landscape, great people and enormous potential to engage and inspire. By bringing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders together, we’re creating a new destination with the scale to bring tourism spend to local communities, and that really excites me.

“Clearly, the impact of Covid-19 has been felt far and wide through local businesses and communities while at the same time completely disrupting the travel market. However, I believe that tourism will bounce back strongly - I can’t wait to join the team and help develop a sustainable tourism strategy in a way that leads to opportunities for both businesses and communities as well as attracting investment. Scotland Starts Here is our first step on that journey taking the South of Scotland to new audiences.”

David Ibbotson, Chair of SSDA, said: “This is an exciting time for the South of Scotland. The South has always been the poor relation to other regions in terms of awareness and visitor numbers, but now we can’t wait to show Scotland and the world the magical region we have on our doorstep!”

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead said:We’re delighted to welcome Ross Macauley as the inaugural CEO of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance. His appointment comes at an important time for tourism in the South of Scotland, as the industry faces the difficult challenge of recovering from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After a year of job losses and business closures, it will take time, significant investment, funding support and strong leadership to rebuild this vital part of Scotland’s economy. With the right support and partnership working between agencies and industry tourism and events can lead the economic recovery and boost inward investment where it is needed most.

“There has been a renewed commitment to the south of Scotland in the past three years and the South of Scotland Destination Alliance now has the opportunity to build on this activity with the launch of the new-look Scotland Starts Here campaign and promote the wealth of experiences on offer across the region.

“Tourism is a force for good and if managed responsibly, sustains communities in every corner of Scotland, creating jobs, tackling depopulation and improving the wellbeing of everyone who experiences it.

“We look forward to working together with Ross and the SSDA to support the recovery of this vital part of Scotland’s economy.”

Notes to Editors
Established in May 2020, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is the industry-led Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the South of Scotland, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.  With a focus on place-making, people, digital capability and sustainability, the ambition of SSDA is to make the South of Scotland a top tourism destination, offer a world-class visitor experience, increase tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and create 6,500 new jobs.

SSDA is supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council and also received initial funding from the former South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership.

www.SSDAlliance.com
www.facebook.com/SSDAlliance/
www.twitter.com/sscotdalliance

24 March 2021

BILLY WALKER RETURNS TO HIS BLENDING ROOTS AS GLENALLACHIE UNVEILS FIRST BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY

The iconic whisky distiller reverts to his career origins in blending to recreate White Heather as a premium aged small batch blend

With more than 50 prestigious awards in three years, and a Master Distiller with almost 50 years’ experience at the helm, The GlenAllachie Distillers Company is renowned for its exceptional single and blended malt whiskies, and now launches its first-ever Blended Scotch Whisky: the limited release White Heather 21-year-old.

With only 2,000 bottles available worldwide, and a particularly high single malt content, White Heather 21-year-old (UK RRSP £120) is a premium small batch blend, expertly crafted by industry icon, Billy Walker.

White Heather sees Walker call upon his first forays into the industry as a blender whilst taking inspiration from a whisky brand which was discontinued in the 1980s as the industry consolidated. White Heather was acquired by The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, led by Walker, in 2017, along with The GlenAllachie Distillery and MacNair’s Lum Reek Blended Malt brand.

Walker has put his own unique spin on White Heather, elevating the favour profile with skilful wood management and a watchful eye on the maturation process.

To create this rare and luxurious small batch blend, Walker first sourced some of the finest single malt and grain whiskies from the Highlands, Islay and Speyside. The whiskies spent 18 years maturing in a combination of first fill American barrels, sherry butts and second-fill barrels and hogsheads.

In the GlenAllachie Distillery lab, Walker expertly crafted a unique recipe with an unusually high single malt content, including vintage GlenAllachie. The blend was then laid down for an additional maturation period, highlighting Walker’s acclaimed wood management skills; spending three years in a carefully selected mix of Pedro Ximénez puncheons, Oloroso puncheons and Appalachian Virgin Oak casks to let the flavours marry together and take on additional layers of depth and complexity from the wood.

The resulting whisky, which is presented at 48% ABV with no added colouring or chill-filtration, perfectly balances gentle peat from the Islay contribution, archetypal Speyside fruity notes, the heather honeyed sweetness of the Highlands, and a rich and rounded foundation from the grain components.

Commenting on the landmark release, Walker said: “This whisky is particularly close to my heart. Creating this blend took me back almost 50 years to when I started my career at Hiram Walker. It was there I started to learn the art of blending and the specialist skills required to select whiskies that when interfaced with each other ultimately amplified the overall flavour experience.

“With White Heather, I poured everything I’ve learned on my whisky journey into crafting a truly memorable small batch aged blend that sits proudly alongside even the very best single malts. I wanted to honour the original blend whilst recreating it in a much more premium form with exceptional wood.  It’s a fine balance bringing together the character of such different whiskies and cask types, but I’m incredibly proud to now unveil the end result.”

White Heather is being unveiled in the same week that The GlenAllachie’s Master Distiller Billy Walker is inducted into Whisky Magazine’s prestigious Hall of Fame. In 2022, Walker will celebrate a remarkable 50 years in the whisky industry.

White Heather 21-year-old is available from specialist retailers globally, with a UK RRSP of £120.

Further information on the brand can be found at www.WhiteHeatherWhisky.com

Instagram - @WhiteHeatherWhisky


TASTING NOTES
White Heather 21-year-old – 2,000 bottles, 48% ABV

  • Colour: Natural Gold-Bronze.
  • Nose: Beautifully soft background with heather honey, butterscotch, peat reek and hints of tannins.
  • Taste: Rich notes of heather honey, butterscotch, orange peel, and soft tannins, with a wonderful presence of peat and smoke.

For more information on The GlenAllachie Distillers Company, please go to theglenallachie.com

8 March 2021

LEADERSHIP TRIO COMPLETE MANAGEMENT BUYOUT AT CONTRACT SCOTLAND

Directors John-Paul Toner, Julie Fleming and Alan Shave will now lead the Stirling-based recruitment consultancy while founder Colin Woodward takes up an advisory role

Three long-standing employees of Contract Scotland, the technical and professional recruitment consultancy, have completed a management buyout from its founder, Colin Woodward.  Directors John-Paul Toner, Julie Fleming and Alan Shave will now lead the business while Woodward takes up an advisory role.
 
The trio all started with the Stirling-based business as trainees and between them share almost 50 years’ experience at the company which was founded by Woodward in 1990. Together, the leadership team will focus on continuing to build sustainable growth and creating career opportunities for its workforce.
 
With 25 employees and a current turnover of £14m, the company recruits for positions from senior management to business support roles, placing people in permanent and temporary jobs for leading national and independent clients across Scotland.
 
The management buyout ensures continuity and secures a strong future for the business, leaving it well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise as it emerges from the pandemic.
 
The deal sees Toner, who has been with the company for 18 years, become the majority shareholder, with both Fleming and Shave taking up Directorships and acquiring notable shareholdings.
 
Toner said: “Colin has built a successful and respected company over the last 30 years which has redefined recruitment. Succession planning has always been high on the agenda and having developed my own career here and been part of the company’s journey, I’m excited and enormously proud to be part of the leadership team shaping its future.
 
“Together with Julie and Alan, our ambition is to build on the legacy Colin has created, and retain the values and ethics that the business was founded on that are an integral part of our culture.”
 
Woodward added: “I’m delighted to be able to hand over the ownership of the business to the individuals that currently run it and have been doing so for the past couple of years, through some of the most turbulent times in our 30-year history.
 
“There are many exciting challenges and opportunities ahead, which John-Paul, Julie and Alan have the capability and experience to navigate. On a personal level, I’m pleased to be handing over to three members of staff who all joined the business as trainees and have progressed through the business on merit.”
 
https://www.contractscotland.co.uk

24 February 2021

PHYSICIST AND OLYMPIC CHAMPION REALISE THEIR VISION FOR SAFER CYCLING AS REVOLUTIONARY REAR VIEW GLASSES GO ON SALE

Featuring ground-breaking lens technology, HindSight Edge rear view glasses are now available to buy following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign in 2020

With a global cycling boom developing during the Covid-19 pandemic and the safety of cyclists high on the agenda, a range of revolutionary rear view cycling glasses is now going on worldwide sale following a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign in 2020.

HindSight Edge rear view cycling glasses feature unique two-part angled lenses with scientifically designed semi-transparent mirrors. The patent-pending lens technology has been integrated into stylish sunglasses to allows cyclists to see forwards and backwards with a simple shift of focus rather than having to turn their heads.

Invented by physicist Alex Macdonald, developed with Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Callum Skinner and designed by award-winning optical engineer Bob Henderson, the glasses are now on public sale [https://hindsight.store/] after a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than £100,000 from more than 600 backers in 38 countries.

The HindSight Edge range features three stylish sunglasses-style models suitable for daytime use; the HindSight Edge Sport model, which is available at a special discounted pre-order price of £174.99 (full price £199.99) while stocks last; the HindSight Edge Hemp (£209.99); and the HindSight Edge Hemp Core (£219.99).

Making cyclists safer

With a British Cycling State of Cycling report in 2019 finding that almost nine in ten (87%) cyclists are ‘close passed’ by vehicles at least once a week, HindSight glasses are designed to help make commuter cyclists safer. They are also intended to help professional cyclists and other athletes, such as runners and rowers, gain a performance edge by allowing them to see competitors without losing crucial seconds by looking back over their shoulders.

HindSight co-founder & CEO, physicist and keen cyclist Macdonald, came up with the idea for the glasses after experiencing dangerous close-passing incidents on the roads. Having explored the available options for rear vision such as rear-view radars and mirrors that can be mounted on helmets or handlebars, he decided to create a more stylish and functional solution which didn’t require any set up, maintenance or batteries.

Developing the idea with close friend Skinner, who won gold and silver at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the idea of HindSight was born.

Having been told by 11 lens manufacturers that that their proposed lens design was ‘impossible’, the Edinburgh-based team worked with Henderson, a former European Inventor Of The Year, to create their unique two-part angled lens with semi-transparent mirrors. The team created a mathematical model based on cyclists, looking at head rotation rates, metrics such as average interpupillary distance and optimal range of eye movement, using the widely recognised Gullstrand model of the human eye.

Commenting on the pre-order launch of HindSight rear view glasses, Macdonald said: “As a regular cyclist, I was aware that knowing what was coming behind me would allow me to make smarter decisions, but I had no way to do it. HindSight glasses are designed to ensure the preservation of forward-facing vision, while adding the capacity to look behind. When riders currently choose to look behind them, they have no option but to choose two completely eliminate their ability to look forward; this leaves them cycling blind, at speed, with no ability to even react to changes in the road ahead. Hindsight glasses allow peripheral vision to be maintained in the forward direction while checking behind, giving effectively the best of both worlds.”

“Given the huge growth in cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe that cycling safety is paramount. HindSight glasses can help new and seasoned cyclists alike to be safer by being more aware of the road around them be safer. We also want to help encourage people to continue cycling post-pandemic rather than reverting to their previous forms of transport to create a more active population and healthier environment with decreased CO2 emissions.”

Skinner added: “As a passionate cyclist, I’m acutely aware of the importance of road safety. I’m also struck by the potential of HindSight glasses to help professional cyclists reach their peak performance. Managing aerodynamic profile is essential for any elite cyclist, and, by turning back to look over your shoulder, you can easily lose efficiencies in your speed and performance. I believe HindSight glasses provide the answer to this and will change the norm as we know it.”

HindSight’s innovative glasses have already won a series of entrepreneurial development awards in 2020 including the Scottish Edge Award, the Scottish Enterprise Unlocking Ambition program, and the Allia Business Impact Accelerator fellowship. Earlier this year, HindSight was accepted into the Royal Academy of Engineering's Enterprise Fellowship and Macdonald has become RAEng 1851 Royal Commission Enterprise Fellow.

For further information
https://hindsight.store/

About HindSight
HindSight, founded by physicist Alex Macdonald and Olympic Champion cyclist Callum Skinner is a revolutionary start-up company aiming to change the way the world cycles. As passionate cyclists, Alex and Callum set about finding a solution for rear vision with the aim to make the world of cycling safer for everyone. After partnering with an award-winning optical system engineer and creating a mathematical model based on cyclists’ real-world experiences, HindSight developed its patent-pending award winning rear-view lens technology, providing rear vision without sacrificing forward sight.

11 February 2021

NEW HOME SWEET HOME FOR COCO CHOCOLATIER AT PORT EDGAR MARINA

The premium chocolate maker is set to open a new production facility and visitor centre in 2021 at the South Queensferry marina

The small batch premium chocolate maker COCO Chocolatier is expanding its operations by creating a new manufacturing facility and visitor centre at the thriving Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
 
COCO Chocolatier, which brings together chocolate and art, is moving from its current base in Portobello to take over a 10,000sq ft retail warehouse next to marina shop Beacon, Scott’s restaurant and Scotland’s largest watersports centre, Port Edgar Watersports.
 
The warehouse, which was previously occupied by antiques retailer Shapes, is currently being fitted out to house production and office facilities and is expected to be completed by Spring 2021. A visitor centre tourist attraction is also being created to offer guided tours, tastings and an event space. It is expected to open in Summer 2021. 
 
First established in 2004, and taken over by Calum Haggerty in 2013, COCO Chocolatier sources its chocolate ethically ‘at origin’ from Colombia – in doing so, ensuring that more wealth stays in the local economy. The team visits Colombia each year to meet the cacao farmers and visit the production factory to make sure the chocolate is being sourced and produced responsibly.
 
Back in Edinburgh, the chocolate is worked into a variety of products including its collection of distinctively designed bars, which come in a range of flavours such as rhubarb & ginger, cold brew coffee and gin & tonic, and drinking chocolate. COCO Chocolatier’s distinctive contemporary packaging is the result of collaborations with artists from Scotland and around the world.
 
Commenting on the move and the growth of COCO Chocolatier, director Calum Haggerty said: “We’ve been steadily growing for the past seven years and we have now reached a point where we have outgrown our current facilities in Portobello. We have been searching for a new home for the past year, and we were thrilled to find Port Edgar Marina.
 
“We chose Port Edgar because it's already a popular destination, and has useful transport links. But also, we fell in love with the beautiful views and the community spirit of our soon to be neighbouring businesses. The first times we visited the location we all got a very positive feeling and realised this was a place where we could soon feel at home.
 
“We are determined to create the perfect visitor experience of our chocolate factory, which is why we decided to do significant work to the buildings we are taking over. This is a huge project for us, and we all feel very passionate about it. We can't wait to move there in 2021".
 
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.
 
Russell Aitken, managing director of Port Edgar, said: “We’re delighted to welcome COCO Chocolatier to the Port Edgar family. Their plans for the chocolate factory and the visitor centre look very exciting and we can’t wait for their doors to open later in the year.”
 
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 and the makeover of chandlery and shop Beacon has increased visitor numbers further.
 
The marina hosts an annual Open Weekend, which attracts more than 10,000 visitors from across central Scotland – although 2020’s event was understandably postponed during the pandemic.
 
https://cocochocolatier.com/
https://www.portedgar.co.uk/
 

14 January 2021

CURRY ON THE MENU AS SPICE POTS ADDED TO THE WW SHOP

Curry is on the menu for thousands of members on the WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined) programme following the news that the sought-after Spice Pots brand has been added to the WW shop product range.

Curry is on the menu for thousands of members on the WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined) programme following the news that the sought-after Spice Pots brand has been added to the WW shop product range.

Following an initial order which sold out within days, Spice Pots, a range of dry spice blends designed to make healthy and quick curries, is now be available permanently on the WW shop.

Members of WW, the world’s leading commercial weight management program, will be able to buy various Spice Pots products including the Curry Night Kit and the Vegan Curry Kit. Each gift pack kit, which cost £14.95, will include a bespoke curry recipe booklet that displays SmartPoint* values on each recipe to help members stay on track with their weight loss and wellness journey and is exclusively available on the WW shop.

In addition to the kits, WW will also sell the following individual Spice Pots blends: Korma, Bhuna, Goan, Tandoori Masala and Sweet. Each blend of spices, which come in 40g pots providing eight servings, costs £3.95 and is 100% natural and vegan-friendly.

WW coaches have also been staging special cook-along sessions featuring the Spice Pots range.

Spice Pots, which was founded by an entrepreneurial mum-of-three from East Lothian, Scotland, is a small brand gaining a big reputation.

Founder and managing director Melanie Auld first fell in love with spices and curry in the 90s 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.

In 2014, 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.

Gradually she has grown 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.

At the start of last year, Aldi stocked Spice Pots in their 92 Scottish stores for the first time, with sales so successful that the curry powders were listed as a special buy product across Aldi’s UK network of stores in celebration of National Curry Week during October.

Commenting on the WW news, Spice Pots founder, Melanie Auld said: “Spice Pots is all about helping people make quick, and most importantly, healthy curries at home, so teaming up with WW is a perfect partnership.  Our curry kits, blends and special recipes will help spice up everyone’s cooking in the current cold weather and hopefully inspire WW’s followers to cook up some new delicious and nutritious curries.”

Brenda McNulty, Head of Commercial at WW UK, added: “With WW’s healthy and liveable programme, everything is on the menu and so we are excited to offer this new range of Spice Pots on the WW Shop. We know that members are always looking for simple, delicious recipes that fit in with their own weight loss and wellness goals and Spice Pots offer exactly that.”

www.spicepots.com
https://www.facebook.com/spicepots
https://www.instagram.com/spice_pots/
https://twitter.com/spicepots

NOTES TO EDITORS:

About Spice Pots

  • 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
  • Sweet: Coriander, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, caraway, cloves, nutmeg, all spice

About WW International, Inc.

WW – Weight Watchers reimagined – is a global wellness company powered by the world's leading commercial weight management program. We inspire millions of people to adopt healthy habits for real life. Through our engaging tech-enabled experience and face-to-face group workshops, members follow our liveable and sustainable program of healthy eating, physical activity, and a helpful mindset. Leveraging more than five decades of experience in building inspired communities and our deep expertise in behavioural science, we aim to democratize wellness and to deliver wellness for all. To learn more about the WW approach to healthy living, please visit ww.com. For more information about our global business, visit our corporate website at corporate.ww.com

30 December 2020

FROM POTATOES & SCOTTISH PRODUCE TO PROTECTING THE PLANET – SCOTTY BRAND SAVES 27 TONNES OF PLASTIC

Introduction of thinner bags and removal of plastic trays sees Scotty Brand reduce its use of plastic

Its passion for potatoes and Scottish produce is renowned, but Scotty Brand is also passionate about protecting the planet – as shown by the news that it has saved almost 27 tonnes of plastic in the last year.
 
Since the beginning of September 2019, the champion of seasonal Scottish food has introduced a raft of plastic-saving measures across its range to help protect the environment. These include introducing thinner, recyclable plastic on its 2kg potato bags, Baby Potato bags and Chippy Chip packs and removing trays inside its Baking Potato packs.
 
In total, these steps have seen Scotty Brand save 26,890kg of plastic – the equivalent of 2,293 of its iconic Scotty dog or around 17 cars*.
 
The plastic savings are part of a wider initiative to protect the environment with parent company Albert Bartlett also introducing reduced thickness, recyclable bags in a move which has seen a saving of 92 tonnes of plastic across the business. 
 
The Airdrie-based business, which works with producers around Scotland, currently places prominent recycling messaging on the front of its bags and packs. It also offers guidance on its site showing which parts of its packaging can be widely recycled – such as the plastic berries punnets, and soup pots and lids, as well as the parts of its packaging for which it is working to find a recycling solution.
 
Michael Jarvis, Head of Marketing at Scotty Brand, said: “We source the best seasonal Scottish produce from our family of farmers around Scotland and we want to do our bit to make sure the earth and environment where they grow their produce are as healthy as possible. We have been taking steps over the last year to introduce thinner plastic bags and remove plastic trays and we’re proud to say we’ve saved almost 27 tonnes of plastic.
 
“We’re continuing to look at other ways to use more recyclable materials and do as much as we can to help protect the planet and minimise food waste – in itself a substantial contributor to greenhouse gases.  We give our wholehearted support to campaigns such as the WRAP’s (Waste and Resources Action Programme) “Wasting Food:  it’s out of date.”

David Moon, Head of Business Collaboration at WRAP, said: “Scotty Brand’s parent company Albert Bartlett is an active member of Courtauld 2025, and is focussed on food waste prevention. Reducing plastic packaging should never be at the expense of protecting the food it contains, and it’s great to see the company reduce its plastic footprint while avoiding unnecessary food waste.”
 
*Based on the average car weighing around 1500kg.  Savings calculated from 1/9/19 to 30/9/20.
 
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.
  • Scotty Brand stockists include ASDA, Co-op, Lidl, Morrison’s, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose. 

2 December 2020

VIRTUAL ADVENT CALENDAR LAUNCHED TO SUPPORT INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES ACROSS THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND

New initiative created as part of South Scotland Destination Alliance’s ‘Scotland Starts Here’ campaign

Businesses across the South of Scotland are being showcased and supported over the festive season thanks to the launch of a virtual advent calendar that offers consumers the chance to buy unique gifts from local producers, activity providers and tourism providers.

Created by Scotland Starts Here, a campaign to showcase and support local businesses in the South of Scotland, the Christmas Starts Now, Christmas Starts Here virtual advent calendar is now live on the Scotland Starts Here website.

Behind each of the 24 calendar windows is a unique and exclusive experience or gift only available in the South of Scotland – and only available from the website.

At the click of the mouse, shoppers from around the UK can shop safely from the comfort of their own home while supporting local businesses across the South of Scotland. With the region in Tier 2 of Covid restrictions, locals can also visit their local independent businesses and buy gifts in person or simply access these exclusive offers on the calendar online.

The range of gifts available include food and drink experiences, sport and outdoor activities, and unique overnight breaks. The gifts will only be available to purchase from now until 24 December 2020, with limited availability on each item.

Christmas gifting highlights include a luxury two-night stay for two at the magnificent 16th century Thirlestane Castle, Lauder; a five-star getaway to the award-winning Nithbank Country Estate in Dumfries and Galloway; and even the opportunity to adopt an alpaca from Beirhope Alpacas in the Scottish Borders.

The Scotland Starts Here website will also feature a series of Festive blogs with themes such as a South of Scotland gift guide, local festive events and tips on how to get into the Christmas spirit.

 

“We want to create a more meaningful Christmas shopping experience by showcasing what independent businesses in the South of Scotland have to offer. The aim is to drive awareness of the breadth, depth and quality of producers, as well as activity and tourism providers across the South.”

She added: “We hope to inspire people locally and across the UK to spend their money and support some of these amazing business owners this Christmas, treating friends and loved ones to truly unique experiences, gifts and treasures. And if you are out of location and can’t visit now, we can’t wait to welcome you soon. But for those in the South, the time is now to support and experience the South over the festive season.”

For more information visit scotlandstartshere.com/christmas

Notes to Editors

The Scotland Starts Here campaign is part of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance’s (SSDA) new tourism drive for the region. It showcases to visitors that it is in the South that Scotland’s identity and soul were born - not only from a location perspective, but also as an area that has shaped the nation’s history and culture for centuries.  Any tourism business in the South of Scotland interested in getting involved with SSDA should get in touch via www.SSDAlliance.com.

23 November 2020

FROM MEDITATION TO MINDFULNESS, JOE WICKS MBE REVEALS HOW HE HAS MANAGED HIS MENTAL HEALTH WHILE WORKING DURING HIS BUSIEST YEAR YET

Speaking this morning at This Can Happen conference, the Body Coach shared his own experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic to help organisations improve workplace wellbeing

Speaking this morning at an online conference dedicated to workplace mental health, Joe Wicks MBE has revealed how he has used meditation, mindfulness and exercise to help with feeling disconnected during the COVID-19 pandemic – and how he has been helping his own growing team.

During a talk to delegates from around the world for the This Can Happen event, Wicks shared tips on how he manages his own mental health during an exceptionally busy year which saw him host daily PE classes for the nation and stage a 24-hour workout for Children In Need.

His tips for those struggling with mental health while working from home and disconnected from colleagues included establishing a positive daily morning routine, including cold showers, 10-15 minutes of meditation and exercising before starting work.

He also shared how he has created a healthier work-life balance by focusing on being more present around his own family and spending less time worrying about chasing success.

Speaking about his own struggles with mental health during the pandemic, he said: “When the second lockdown was announced, I felt confused, upset and disconnected from my family and friends. I think that feeling of being disconnected is universal.

“I’ve used the time to recognise that I’m not happier when I’m buying stuff, I’m happier when I’m with my family and friends. Things like going to the park and being outside, these are the moments that are meaningful. Rather than look at the negatives of what’s going in and what I’m missing, I’ve been focusing more on the moment and things like that my family are healthy.

“We’re used to chasing success, promotion and economic growth. But in doing that we can neglect our family and our health. The pandemic has made me realise that we can still be successful, but we don’t have to spend so much time commuting to work, we can work from home and be with family more.”

Speaking about how he helps his own growing team, Wicks said: “It’s hard to see myself as this big boss, I see myself more like David Brent really, but I do really value my team and their mental health. We’ve had loads of catch-ups, and done lots of little thigs like quizzes on Zoom and I’ve had cocktails sent to everyone. I’m also looking at sending everyone some training equipment so they can work out at home while they can’t go to the gym.”

The 3-day This Can Happen conference continues exploring a variety of themes around workplace wellbeing such as: mental health at boardroom level; recognising trauma in the workplace; and overcoming loneliness and social isolation at work.

The keynote speakers at This Can Happen in previous years have included HRH The Duke Of Cambridge, singer Melanie Brown and presenter and author Nadiya Hussain.

The event features more than 40 sessions across the 3 days, all dedicated to exploring common issues and solutions to the increasingly important topic of workplace mental health.

Alongside Joe Wicks and Tony Adams, the speakers include mental health experts and representatives from around 250 companies who will discuss mental health strategies and solutions. Companies participating include Deloitte, Sky, Unilever, Expedia Group, TSB, GSK, and Twitter.

Zoe Sinclair, Co-founder of This Can Happen, said: “With the pandemic changing the way we work, workplace mental health is an increasingly important issue for both employers and employees. Joe Wicks has helped inspire people around the world to stay physically active during lockdown and he speaks passionately and from personal experience about his own mental health challenges. It’s incredibly exciting to have him kickstarting our conference this year as we go online and take the discussion about mental health at work around the world.”

Sources
* Covid-19 and the nation's mental health: October 2020 The Centre For Mental Health
** YouGov survey of more than 3,600 employees commissioned by Business in the Community and Bupa UK

18 November 2020

FROM PHYSICAL HEALTH TO MENTAL HEALTH – JOE WICKS TO HEADLINE ONLINE EVENT DEDICATED TO WORKPLACE WELLBEING

The Body Coach will share his experiences of mental health to help employers and employees at the global This Can Happen conference

He’s best known for improving people’s physical health, but Joe Wicks is the headline guest speaker at November’s This Can Happen, a 3-day online conference dedicated to workplace mental health.

Wicks, who was recently made an MBE, will open the online event on Monday 23 November with a special interview. The conference takes place in the wake of recent reports that 20% of adults across the UK will need support for mental health issues in the coming months and years*, and four in 10 staff saying they have experienced poor mental health related to work in the past year**.

Joining more than 90 speakers including Tony Adams MBE at This Can Happen, Wicks will discuss what it was like growing up with a father who was addicted to drugs as well as the highs and lows of his remarkable rise to fame.

In addition, he will discuss struggles with body image and how physical activity has helped his wellbeing, along with common issues such as dealing with lockdown life, remote working, work-life balance and the need for a digital detox in our always-on world.

The keynote speakers at This Can Happen in previous years have included HRH The Duke Of Cambridge, singer Melanie Brown and presenter and author Nadiya Hussain.

Due to the Covid pandemic, This Can Happen has for the first time moved to an online format. Now in its third year, the move online will see the conference expand into an international conference, attended by more than 1,600 delegates across Europe, North America and Asia.

The event features more than 40 sessions across the 3 days, all dedicated to exploring common issues and solutions to the increasingly important topic of workplace mental health.

The sessions will address themes such as mental health at boardroom level, supporting employee mental health, resilience, balancing the relationship between digital technology and mental health, and topics such as fertility and LGBT+ in relation to mental health at work.

Alongside Joe Wicks and Tony Adams, the speakers include mental health experts and representatives from around 250 companies who will discuss mental health strategies and solutions. Companies participating include Deloitte, Sky, Unilever, Expedia Group, TSB, GSK, and Twitter.

Joe Wicks said: “Life is hard for everyone at the moment and that’s especially the case when it comes to work. People face so many challenges with working from home and being disconnected from their colleagues, plus all the uncertainty. I’ve struggled with things myself so I’m delighted to be able to share my experiences and ideas at this event so I can help others cope with what’s going on.”

Zoe Sinclair, Co-founder of This Can Happen, said: “With the pandemic changing the way we work, workplace mental health is an increasingly important issue for both employers and employees. Joe Wicks has helped inspire people around the world to stay physically active during lockdown and he speaks passionately and from personal experience about his own mental health challenges. It’s incredibly exciting to have him kickstarting our conference this year as we go online and take the discussion about mental health at work around the world.”

Sources

* Covid-19 and the nation's mental health: October 2020 The Centre For Mental Health
** YouGov survey of more than 3,600 employees commissioned by Business in the Community and Bupa UK

Online media passes are available to watch Joe Wicks speaking live between 10am and 11am on Monday 23 November.  To register your interest please contact Debbie Byers from Beeline PR on debbie@beelinepr.com

9 November 2020

SCOTTY BRAND COOKS UP ‘MASH ART’ COMPETITION TO ADD FUN TO FAMILY MEALS AT HOME

Acclaimed sculptor produces potato heads of political leaders to inspire budding mash artists

You’ve heard of Mr and Mrs potato head toys – well, Scotty Brand and Scottish sculptor Natasha Phoenix have cooked up the real thing with comical ‘mash art’ creations of political leaders Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson.

The faces of the leaders, sculpted from Scotty Brand potatoes, have been created to launch Scotty Brand’s mash art competition, which aims to make family meals fun at a time when there are restrictions on seeing other people and eating out.

Throughout November, Scotty Brand is encouraging people of all ages to produce their own fun artistic creations on their plates with mash as the main ingredient. Budding mash artists will be encouraged to share their creations across their social channels using the hashtag #Scottymashart and the best creation will be awarded a £50 voucher for art supplies.  There is also an online competition to win £200 worth of art supplies up for grabs at www.scottybrand.com/mash-art.  The closing date for entries is 30 November.

To inspire budding mash artists, Scotty Brand commissioned Scottish sculptor Natasha Phoenix to create potato heads of Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson. The former teacher, who is based in East Lothian, sells her work around the world and currently has work on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Natasha also teamed up with her 9-year-old twin girls, Hope and Talia Phoenix-Hill, who created mash creations of Minnie the Minx from the Beano and a very cute little cat.

Michael Jarvis, head of marketing at Scotty Brand, said: “This has been a challenging year for everyone and now families are more restricted than ever in terms of going out and seeing people, so they will be eating at home more. With our mash art competition, we want to add some fun into family mealtimes and entertain the young and old during such a difficult time.”

Artist, Natasha Phoenix added: “I usually sculpt my work in clay or metal, so it was great fun to get creative with mashed potato. It was great to get the kids involved too and they loved it. Anything that brings families together like this and helps put smiles on people’s faces during these tough times is very welcome. I hope other families have as much fun as we did and enter the competition.”

Scotty Brand sources its potatoes straight from farms across Scotland and they are available in supermarkets across the country including ASDA, Co-op, Lidl, Morrison’s, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose.

#Scottymashart

www.scottybrand.com
https://www.facebook.com/scottybrandltd/
https://twitter.com/scotty__brand
https://www.instagram.com/scotty__brand/

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.

28 October 2020

SOCIAL BITE CO-FOUNDER FLIES THE NEST TO START A NEW MISSION AS A MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER AND COACH

Alice Thompson joins Speaker Buzz and will share her experiences to inspire organisations and the next generation of change-makers.

The co-founder and former director of the award-winning social enterprise, Social Bite, is embarking on a new mission as a motivational speaker. Alice Thompson, who left Social Bite earlier this month, has joined Edinburgh-based motivational speaker agency Speaker Buzz to help inspire organisations and individuals to make meaningful and lasting change.
 
Speaker Buzz represents a new generation of motivational speakers who focus on topical issues such as mental health, wellbeing, resilience, diversity and the environment. Through her work as a motivational speaker, Thompson will share her experiences of co-founding Social Bite and tackling homelessness to help inspire others to achieve their goals.
 
In addition to her work as a speaker, Thompson has set up her own consultancy offering affordable coaching and mentoring support to start-ups and people in business with strong ethics.
 
As part of her new venture, Thompson is offering her services, for free for a minimum of two years, to an entrepreneur or small team who has a business idea that actively tackles climate change, through reducing carbon emissions, creating clean energy or increasing biodiversity.  Thompson said:  "We are living in a climate emergency, and I feel it is the least I can do to help empower someone with a business idea that could make a real difference to this planet."
 
Thompson began her career in business aged 19, having rebelled against the normal routes to success by dropping out of university in exchange for a practical education. Having gained hands-on experience in events and marketing, she went on to co-found Social Bite along with Josh Littlejohn in 2012.
 
In her 20s, Thompson went on to manage a team of more than 100 people and helped grow Social Bite to become Scotland’s most exciting nationwide social enterprise, while creating meaningful and lasting change to the Scottish homelessness system.
 
In addition to running nationwide fundraising programmes and largescale events, Thompson attracted A-list visitors to support the Social Bite cause, including HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio.
 
With a mission to end homelessness in Scotland, Social Bite has led to pioneering new housing policies in partnership with the Scottish Government and funding such work to the tune of £4 million.  
 
During her career with Social Bite, Thompson spoke at more than 100 business events throughout the UK. 
 
Thompson said: “Social Bite was an incredible journey for me but it’s time for a new challenge. With its mission to make a difference in the world, Speaker Buzz is a perfect fit for me. As a motivational speaker, I’ll be sharing everything I’ve learned along the way, from the highs and the lows, to help inspire others to achieve their goals and make a difference.”
 
Debbie Byers, founder of Speaker Buzz, added: “We are proud to represent Alice having followed her personal story and incredible achievements with Social Bite for a number of years. So many organisations will gain from her insights and knowledge of the purposeful business she co-created and the positive impact Social Bite generated around the world to address the issues around homelessness.”
 
Thompson’s other achievements include receiving Honorary Doctorate degrees from Glasgow University, Queen Margaret University and also Heriot-Watt University in 2021, becoming a member of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls, receiving an ITV Pride of Britain Award in 2019 and being awarded the Livingstone Medal from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, a prestigious award also held by the likes of Sir David Attenborough, Neil Armstrong and Annie Lennox OBE.
 
Other speakers on the Speaker Buzz roster include TV personality and mental health campaigner Gail Porter; the youngest woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole, Mollie Hughes; former Scotland rugby captain John Barclay and Dubai-based women’s rights activist Manal Rostom.
 
www.speakerbuzz.co.uk/alice-thompson.html
 
Details of how to apply for Thompson’s free business support for a climate change business idea are available on www.alice-thompson.com
 

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 intelligence officer and serial entrepreneur

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.

Job Vacancy

We are hiring an experienced Senior Account Manager:

4 days a week £30-33k (pro-rata) depending on experience

 

We're Hiring!

Do you want to be an integral part of a small but dynamic communications consultancy?

Edinburgh-based Beeline PR is 10 years old and run by award-winning consultants, Debbie and Jim Byers.

We work with some incredible corporate and consumer clients from the world’s largest law firm to world record-breaking adventurers.

We’re looking for an experienced and ambitious senior account manager with a versatile skillset to play a central role in our company.

The ideal candidate will be confident, resourceful and proactive in their approach to working with clients and managing projects across a mainly corporate client portfolio, but also contributing to consumer campaigns.

Strong understanding of the media and social media landscape, excellent media contacts, a track record of gaining coverage for clients and very high quality writing skills are a must.

Beeline PR’s growth is organic. We seldom competitively pitch for business; however our new colleague must be competent at building PR strategies and impactful campaigns for existing and new clients.

The founders of Beeline PR also operate the purpose-led motivational speaker agency, Speaker Buzz. We are on a mission to inspire change in society by addressing important topics from mental health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion, social impact, leadership and the environment.

We believe the pandemic has allowed many of us to reconsider our work/life balance, so this role is 4 days per week to allow for that. There will be flexibility on it being part office-based (1 Lochrin Square, Fountainbridge) and part home-based until COVID restrictions ease.

Please submit your CV accompanied with a short video explaining more about you and why you would be a great addition to the Beeline PR team to Debbie Byers on debbie@beelinepr.com by Friday 25 June.

No recruitment agencies please

Contact Beeline PR

Find out how Beeline PR can help your business:

1 Lochrin Square, 92 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA

0131 357 4383 / 07990 570 220 debbie@beelinepr.com