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Premier Location CEO’s Vision for Chamber Page 11

Mentoring Demand Soars Page 24/25

Love Loch Lomond Page 39

ISSUE 11 • MARCH 2011

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Contents From the Editor ............................ 4 Meet the Board .........................4-5 Glasgow 2014 ............................... 5 News in Brief...............................6-8 CEO’s Vision ................................ 11 Money Matters.............................12 Legal Matters................................13 Lomondgate Update....................15 The Business Beat........................16 Park Life Success..........................18 New Employment Rights...........18 Lawyer’s Mega Deal.....................21 Winter Weather............................21


Clydebank College Awards........22 Employers Needed.......................23 Mentor Demand Soars.........24-25


In my short time as your chief executive I have been asked on many occasions what my plans are to take the chamber forward. Whilst it remains early days, I have thoughts on the need for change. John Corcoran and the board of directors have provided an excellent platform to build upon – my sincerest thanks go to John and to all who have contributed. The Dunbartonshire business community, arguably now more than ever, needs a credible and vibrant chamber to help business sustainability and growth. Virtually every industry sector that I visit is under major pressure in areas such as the cost of raw materials, pricing, red tape and the lack of readily available funding from the banks. Whilst we expect the market to improve throughout 2011, it is highly unlikely that we will return to pre2008 trading conditions. Collectively, we must embrace the current situation and develop new methods of working smarter if we are to enjoy sustainable economic growth. The business community the length and breadth of Dunbartonshire is the chamber’s ultimate stakeholder – it is you that we are answerable to. Please let us know the range and level of support you need to help you and your business. Whilst every company is unique, there are common challenges facing all businesses – we need to address as many of these as possible if we are to achieve our respective objectives. A healthy and vibrant community needs a strong and sustainable local economy and we will do everything in our power to help deliver this.

Our aim is to fully understand the support that is currently available through various public and private sector initiatives. The chamber works in partnership with East and West Dunbartonshire’s economic development teams. It acts as a conduit between the public sector and the business community.

‘Snow’ White Wedding...............27 Top Retailer Award......................28 Chamber Xmas Lunch.................29 John Corcoran Retires.................29 PSYBT Start-Up.............................30 GO Group Partnership ...............32

We will achieve much more by working together than by working alone. The Chamber must present a united front – one which is consistent, with a clear and concise proposition for businesses to engage with, and profit from the available support.

Chamber Role Scrutinised.........32

We are working on the benefits package for chamber members. If you are already a member, we hope you will recognise its value and renew and, if you are not, that you will consider joining.

New and Renewing Members.........................................39

Finally may I take this opportunity on behalf of myself and my fellow directors to wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous spring. We are there for you all the way and if you need our help you only have to ask!

Schools............................................34 Tourism Round-Up.......................37 Benefits of Chamber Membership...................................38

Member-to-Member Offers/ Discounts/Services................ 40-41 Events Diary...................................42 Cover photo of the new Premier Inn, Dumbarton, at night by Harry Hall of Lochside Photography, courtesy of Strathleven Regeneration Company.

For advertising contact D-Tech: T: 01389 736000 E: For editorial contact editor: June Hyslop T: 07944 265126 E: Publisher: Mark Ferguson Distribution: D-Tech Distribution

Gordon Barraclough Chief Executive Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce

INCOMMERCE is published by D-Tech Graphic Design & Print Ltd., Unit 14, Birch Road, Broadmeadow Industrial Estate, Dumbarton G82 2RE. Telephone 01389 736000. Fax 01389 736002. E-mail: Edited by June Hyslop, Copywrite Editorial, Dumbarton. Telephone 07944 265126. E-mail: INCOMMERCE is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be printed nor copied wholly or in part without the written permission of the publishers. The proprietors of this magazine are publishers and not agents, or sub-agents of those who advertise therein. They cannot be held liable for any loss suffered as a result of information contained within this publication. The views expressed by authors of articles published in this magazine are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of or shared by the editor, the publisher or the directors, shareholders and/or employees of D-Tech Graphic Design & Print Ltd or Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce.


Meet the Board


DUNBARTONSHIRE Chamber of Commerce is committed to representing the views of its members, to lobbying at both local and national levels and to highlighting the key issues for business in Dunbartonshire.

DIRECTOR OF SIM PROPERTY GROUP. Where are you based? Whitecrook Business Centre in Clydebank.

There are 15 members of the board of directors and in this issue we profile Russell Sim and Iain Robertson.

How long have you worked there? I joined as managing director 13 years ago. We were based in Kirkintilloch then.

From the Editor IT’s likely you will receive your copy of this issue of InCommerce a little late as everything has been affected by the bad weather in late November/early December.

In this issue of InCommerce we look at how the winter weather affected some businesses. Retailers bore the brunt of it as many shoppers sat it out at home though some High Street businesses benefitted because people were unable to travel out of town. Online shopping was not the answer as deliveries were hit by weather related delays. Some big name web-based retailers even refused orders because they couldn’t guarantee to fulfil them in time for Christmas. However, it was business as usual for chamber member Sovereign Select Chauffeur Driven Cars. They pulled out all the stops to ensure a December wedding went without a hitch despite the ice and snow. Read about how, thanks to them, bride Sharon Logan got to the church on time on page 27. Of course the weather also meant that many were unable to get to their work. Lawyer Scott Doherty of McArthur Stanton advises employers on how they should deal with weather related absences in his Legal Matters column on page 13. Thankfully conditions improved enough for the sell-out chamber Christmas lunch at Cameron House Hotel to go ahead on December 21. This was John Corcoran’s final event as chief executive after four years in post. He received a presentation clock from chamber president Robert Wilson as well as the best wishes of everyone there. Read about it and about John’s years with the chamber on page 31. As you know, Gordon Barraclough took over as chief executive from John Corcoran on January 1. Find out what his vision is for the future of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce on page 11. It seems a bit late in the day now to say it, but I wish you all a very happy and successful new year in 2011.


Meet the Board

Then, of course, there was the extended festive break this year because Christmas and New Year’s days fell on Saturdays.

What, briefly, do you do? I manage all aspects of the business but, first and foremost, I am responsible to our shareholders for protecting the funds they have invested in our properties. That means keeping control of our finances, finding tenants for vacant properties, making sure that rent is paid and organising maintenance work or services that we are responsible for.

Photo by Murdoch Ferguson Photography.

What was your first job? My first full-time job after university was site civil engineer for a national construction firm, setting out accurate lines and levels for the foundations of an office building in Glasgow city centre. When and why did you join the Chamber of Commerce? We joined Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce in 2004. I can’t remember what specifically prompted us to join, but I expect John Corcoran was involved somehow. How long have you been on the board? I was asked to attend the August 2010 board meeting. There was no way out after that! What does being a board member involve? Attending monthly board meetings and as many events as we can. The chamber has embarked on a drive to increase membership and develop the services we offer. Directors have been asked to take on more responsibility and have agreed to make ourselves more available for members to contact us. What is your greatest achievement to date? Planning and implementing a project to completely restructure our company into the Sim Property Group over the past year without any major hitches ... so far! What do you do to relax? I coach mini rugby. I watch club rugby on Saturdays and Glasgow Warriors at Firhill on Friday nights. I enjoy a few days out each year with my sons watching Scotland play at Murrayfield. Although it’s 20 years since I played, I reckon there’s a game left in me.

IAIN ROBERTSON MANAGING DIRECTOR, JJR PRINT LTD. SNP COUNCILLOR FOR DUMBARTON. Where are you based? In a long established family-run printing company in Dumbarton.

Photo by Kieran Chambers Photography.

How long have you worked there? Since 1973.

What, briefly, do you do? Like all small businesses there isn’t much I don’t do! Key areas for me are sales, estimating and financial management. However it’s not unusual for me operate a printing press or do deliveries when push comes to shove. What was your first job? This was my first job! When and why did you join the Chamber of Commerce? Initially I joined Dumbarton Business Club. As its chair, I oversaw the amalgamation with Clydebank Business Club to form Lomond and Clyde Business Network which became West Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. This evolved into Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce so my involvement stretches back many years. I joined the chamber to network with other businesses and develop my own business. I have also represented and championed business interests with various levels of government and other public agencies through the chamber and in my role as a politician. How long have you been on the board? I have only recently rejoined the board after an absence of a number of years due to my political commitments. What does being a board member involve? Aside from participating in chamber activities, I am able to contribute to and influence the direction of the chamber for the benefit of members and their businesses. What is your greatest achievement to date? Becoming leader of West Dunbartonshire Council is my greatest achievement to date, although steering my company through many ups and downs over the past 30 years is up there too. Who would you most like to meet and why? Jack Nicklaus. As a junior golfer back in the 60’s, he was my sporting hero.There are many other golfing superstars but in my eyes none have surpassed his achievements. He is a great role model, dedicated to his sport and untainted by scandal - a real ambassador.

Dumbarton-based Aggreko is an inspiration to businesses looking for a share of Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games action, says journalist Mike Haggerty.

Photo by Stewart Cunningham, Stop Press Media.

Photo by TCB Photography.


Megawatt Olympic Deal for Aggreko JUST before Christmas, Aggreko announced it had won a £37 million contract to supply, from its Dumbarton base, temporary energy services for London 2012, for 39 venues in seven different locations – London, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow (Hampden Park for Olympic football), Manchester, Newcastle and Weymouth. The contract win follows Aggreko’s successes in delivering energy for the World Cup in South Africa and the Winter Olympics in Canada, as well as many other prestigious events over the years, including the Inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August 2010. Aggreko will provide about 220 megawatts of power to London 2012 – some 60 megawatts more than for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games – using generators. at each venue and more than 600 miles of cable and 3500 distribution panels. In addition to supporting the opening and closing ceremonies at the Olympic Stadium in London, Aggreko equipment will also be used to power field-of-play lighting and camera equipment, as well as the massive International Broadcasting Centre. Speaking about the contract, Rupert Soames, chief executive of Aggreko, said that it was enormously exciting to have the opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd. At the time of the Olympic announcement, the company declined to say whether it might end up powering the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because it was too far in the future to comment on. Any local company interested in following Aggreko’s example should check out the London Olympic Games website for businesses Commonwealth Games opportunities can be found at on the Glasgow 2014 website. Mike Haggerty is a member of the Scottish Government’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games and London Olympic Games Legacy Board.

What do you do to relax? Getting time to relax is a challenge, however, my grandchildren and my golden retriever, Murphy, certainly take my mind off things. Golf if I can manage.



Photo courtesy of Clydebank College.


NEW ROLE: Michael Yuille, chair of the Board of Governors, Clydebank College.

AN experienced finance director, Michael Yuille, has been appointed to chair the Board of Governors of Clydebank College. Michael was a board member and chair of the college audit committee from 2000 to 2004 and stepped down when he was appointed director of finance at the University of Liverpool. After more than 20 years in higher education as a director of finance, he recently retired and returned to the Glasgow area. Michael commented: “I’m glad to be back at Clydebank College. I was keen to be involved again. The college at Queens’ Quay is a wonderful facility with terrific amenities – the students are very lucky to have such a splendid learning environment. I am thrilled to be involved at this critical time to help continue to drive the strategic direction of the college.” Gordon Paterson, college principal and chief executive added: “The board was unanimous in its support for Michael’s appointment as chair and I welcome him to that position in what will be a challenging time for our college.”


DESPITE the recession Strathleven House in Dumbarton has recently secured three new tenants taking occupancy to 60 per cent.

J & W Hardie Ltd which is part of Tomatin Distilleries has also leased an office at Strathleven House for its sales and marketing functions.

Property manager Elizabeth Mackay puts this down flexible terms, a straightforward lease in plain English and reasonable rental rates.

Last but not least, Westend Records is an internet-based music sales business with its office back-up now being run from the historic building from 1 January.

“Also it is a serviced business centre,” she added, “so everything is included for tenants including reception and, of course, the building itself is such an asset.”

Strathleven House, a Grade A listed building, is owned by the Scottish Historic Buildings Trust. The Palladian mansion is set in mature grounds in the Vale of Leven Industrial Estate near Dumbarton. It has 21office suites and meeting room facilities. It also offers a postal tenancy service for home-based businesses.

Lomond Letting is a property rental agency which has been set up to meet the needs of both landlords and tenants by Dr Elizabeth Johnston, her son Craig Johnston and friend Renee Archard.

Elizabeth, who has more than 25 years experience in rental property, became increasingly dissatisfied with the service she encountered from various agents over the years and decided she could it better herself.


IF something sounds too good to be true then it probably is warns James Richardson of Killermont Investments. Modern communications have made it very easy for the unscrupulous to try to relieve people of their hard-earned cash or steal their personal or bank information for fraudulent purposes. This can be done via email or the telephone and will often be quite sophisticated. A caller may sound knowledgeable and convincing and make you an offer that you feel you can’t refuse. But stop and ask yourself some questions first – like who are they and how did they get your contact details, what are they selling and does it seem realistic, are they regulated – in fact are they legitimate at all?

Letters or emails from overseas advising of an unclaimed sum of money or prize draw win are unlikely to be genuine especially if they ask you to pay a fee upfront to release the funds. The Directgov website advises consumers to take their time when making decisions that involve parting with money, to get independent financial advice before making investments and to only do business with companies that they recognise or which have been recommended by someone trustworthy. It also advocates checking to see whether a company is genuine by looking them up on Companies House or Financial Services Authority websites – if they are they will be registered. If you lose money to a scammer it is highly unlikely you will ever see it again.

Photo by Malcolm Cochrane Photography for PSYBT. OUI DESIGNS: Anna Marion sets out her stall.

ANNA IN RUNNING FOR JOLOMO AWARD A YOUNG Bearsden jewellery designer has been shortlisted for a prestigious art award and £3000 cash prize.

Photo by Paul Zanre Photography.

Anna Marion of Oui Designs featured in the November issue of InCommerce and is one of seven finalists in the 2010 Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) Jolomo Awards. The winners should have been decided at a ceremony in Oban in early December but this was postponed because of bad weather and will now take place in the summer. This year’s awards have been extended to eligible arts and crafts businesses throughout Scotland and the prize money has been increased. Previously entries were restricted to young people living in North West Scotland and the Highlands and Islands. Successful artist John Lowrie Morrison, who is known as Jolomo, is behind the awards which reflect his desire to encourage the creative arts in Scotland.

Shopjackets Spruce-Up Dumbarton Town Centre

VACANT town centre properties are being given a ‘facelift’ thanks to a new initiative by West Dunbartonshire Council. Printed frontages known as ‘shopjackets’ are being used to improve the image of the town centre and encourage retailers into the area. The first at 119 High Street, next to the Burgh Bar, features a delicatessen, with another depicting a butcher’s shop at number 34.

FACELIFT: Dumbarton Deli anyone?

Photo courtesy of West Dunbartonshire Council.

The idea is to entice business people to set up shop in the town by showing property owners and tenants what can be achieved. However, it’s not just ‘window dressing’ as there is a whole supporting package of measures for both existing and new businesses underpinning the strong visual treatment including free property advice and help setting up. The concept was developed by Paul Murphy, a chartered surveyor and Neil Wilson, a chartered designer, of Shopjacket Limited which is based in Tyneside. It has received international acclaim and been used to help revitalise town

Anna (24) started her unique jewellery design and silversmith business in 2009 with funding and advice from PSYBT. She specialises in jewellery which incorporates photographs. Her most popular item is a miniature story book with 12 scaled down photographs. She is also establishing a growing reputation in Scottish fashion circles for her large silver catwalk body adornments and has recently designed millinery and headpieces. Congratulating the finalists John Lowrie Morrison said: “We have been delighted by the quality of applications which was extremely high. I have been a long term fan of PSYBT and am thrilled to be involved with them in this initiative. I hope that these awards will encourage a renewed passion for Scottish arts and crafts by showcasing the talent and creativity of Scotland’s young people.”

centres by several local authorities in England but this is its first time in Scotland. The company was invited to the area by Sheila Urquhart, secretary of Dumbarton East and Central Community Council, after she read an article about their successful use in Whitley Bay where they reduced the number of vacant units by 50 per cent. The move comes after decades of decline in the town centre with the demise of many independent stores, as more shoppers use retail parks, supermarkets or buy goods online. The council is using Town Centre Regeneration Funding from the Scottish Government to finance the project. Anyone interested in vacant town centre property should contact West Dunbartonshire Business Support Unit on 01389 737777 or email


WEDDING GOWNS: Lynsey Lumsden of Aimee Bridal.

Bridal Business Unveiled AT her fairytale wedding in 2006, chamber member Lynsey Lumsden received lots of compliments about how smoothly it had all gone.

She had just graduated from university with a degree in community education and was about to start her first ‘proper’ job so she put them to the back of her mind. Fast forward to 2009 following the birth of her two children, Jack and Aimee, when she remembered how much she had enjoyed the process and decided to do it for a living. She set up Suits You Wedding Planning in first floor premises at 161 High Street, Dumbarton. Working with brides, Lynsey soon realised that many found buying a wedding dress stressful with rushed appointments and pushy sales staff. This gave her the idea to branch out and become a designer dress stockist. Her new business – which she named Aimee Bridal after her daughter – launched with a reception at the end of January. Lynsey has already signed up for wedding events at Braehead, the Royal Concert Hall and SECC in Glasgow in February and at George Square in the city in March. “I offer designer dresses without the designer price tag in luxurious surroundings so people don’t need to go to Glasgow,” she explained. “I did look at other premises in Dumbarton and Alexandria but decided to stay where I was as it’s away from the noise, traffic and prying eyes.” Lynsey still runs her wedding planning business and offers clients of Aimee Bridal a discount if they decide to use her services.


Photo by Billy Byrne, The Tell Organisation.

Photo by TCB Photography.

news in brief… HAPPY BIRTHDAY: (Front row) Tell directors Roddy McVicar, Sheila Ramsay, Maureen McCann, Christine Doherty and business development executive, Angela Kershaw, with other members of the team.

Tell Celebrates 21st Birthday

THE Tell Organisation threw a party to celebrate 21 years in business at the end of November. Invited guests included Lord McFall of Alcluith, MSP Jackie Baillie and one of Tell’s founders, Mrs Betty Arbuthnott, formerly Betty McCrea, as well as representatives of many organisations which the Dumbarton-based company works with including Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. Welcoming everyone, business development executive Angela Kershaw said that Tell had grown and diversified significantly in that time and was now a major training provider in the area.

Child Internet Safety Pioneers CHILD safety online is a key issue and the iomart Group plc has just been awarded the UK’s first BSI Kitemark certificate for its cloudbased security service – Netintelligence. The new kitemark was developed by The British Standards Institution– one of the UK’s foremost certification companies – working with the Home Office, Ofcom, representatives from internet service providers and application developers. Congratulating Netintelligence on the award, UK Children and Families Minister Tim Loughton said, “The internet is a fantastic resource but it’s vital that the government, parents and businesses work together to make sure children and young people are kept safe online.” This is the latest accolade for the company which also recently announced the launch of a range of four hosting packages specially designed to support WebMatrix the latest all– inclusive web development tool from Microsoft. Through its acquisition of the Titan brand in a £4.2M cash purchase deal in November and by growing its own business, the group has ambitious aims to become the UK leader in the relatively new cloud computing market.

Cloud computing allows location independent remote access and has been described as faster, greener, smoother and less costly than in-house systems. The company, which was founded in 1998, has its Easyspace division office in the West of Scotland Science Park in Glasgow. Employing more than 150 people, Easyspace serves the UK market as well as mainland Europe, Australia, the USA and elsewhere. It is now the third largest domain registrant, managing in excess of 500,000, and is also one of the biggest web hosting companies in the country. The parent iomart Group is itself one of the UK’s leading providers of managed hosting and cloud computing services.

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What happens when something goes wrong and you find your business in the dark? Do you have the appropriate contingency and recovery plans in place? Chamber member Dark Silence is on hand to help clients avoid such situations with DSIS - the support arm of Dark Silence. DSIS was established to offer professional IT advice and support, allowing you go focus on running and growing your business. Established in 2008 and combining 30 years experience Dark Silence offers a wide range of IT solutions including contingency and recovery planning. This is an area often overlooked by many businesses which can be a costly mistake and make the difference between survival and failure. Miah Gregory of Dark Silence commented “At Dark Silence we can help you identify the risk factors and put in place plans to mitigate the impact, supported as required by technology.”

The current economic climate presents new challenges for many businesses. For many, resources have become stretched meaning they are having to react by working more effectively and efficiently than ever before.

To ensure that your business has the correct support structure in place Dark Silence are willing to shed some light on your IT set-up by offering members of Dunbartonshire Chamber a FREE audit which will provide a summary and brief recommendations to avoid your business from going dark!

For many businesses having the correct IT infrastructure in place is an essential element to ensure that they can continue to deliver a first class service to their clients and also to maintain productivity levels internally.

To claim your free audit simply e-mail placing the word “dark” in the subject line, or alternatively telephone 0141 4382032. Further details on the range of services offered by DSIS can also be found at

Photo by Business Doctors Scotland

NEW CEO’s VISION FOR CHAMBER Gordon Barraclough took the reins as chief executive of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce on 1 January 2011. He talks to InCommerce editor June Hyslop about his plans for its future.

DUNBARTONSHIRE Chamber of Commerce has to serve the needs of the business community if it is to survive and prosper says new chief executive Gordon Barraclough. It also has to find ways to encourage members to talk to one another and share experiences. The business doctor will redefine the role of directors by involving them more in the running of the chamber. He is also determined to put the chamber on a firmer financial footing by increasing membership and seeking corporate sponsors. Gordon has been appointed for an initial six months and has already made changes to the way chamber operates following a strategy day with directors and a meeting with members. One thing he says he will not be doing is tackling everything himself. His view is that, as a chief executive, his role is to empower and delegate. If people ask what is it exactly that Gordon does then he says he will have been successful. “My job is to get the right people on the bus, sitting in the right seats, doing the right things, headed in a common direction. Now, if I can achieve that and put the chamber on a solid financial footing, I’ll have done my job which makes me disposable from the point of view that everything will not be built around me. “I am one person and, given the fairly limited amount of resource, the only way to make an impact is by sharing responsibility, by identifying the key services to work on, then empowering the appropriate person to deliver what needs to be done. “This is a platform to build upon the work that has been done previously and to take it forward to the next level. “The response from the board has been marvellous in terms of an acknowledgement that radical change is needed and also in its desire to be involved in the chamber’s future.” He believes in measuring performance and says that directors will be providing regular updates on their areas of responsibility at monthly board meetings. Gordon has been perusing the constitution of the chamber in some detail and highlighting its purpose. “It is pretty significant and I think somewhere along the line some of it hasn’t been recognised. It’s a case of clarifying what’s there and summarising it. It should serve as a northern star keeping us on a certain heading.

Curriculum Vitae – Gordon Barraclough Since August 2009 Gordon Barraclough has operated the master franchise for Business Doctors Scotland – a consultancy firm providing high level strategic growth advice to stakeholders, shareholders and business owners in both the private and public sectors. In 2008 he worked with a large retailer in Northern Ireland to sort out poor trading performance and succession plans for an ageing owner. The previous six years he worked with a family owned switchgear manufacturer in the West Midlands to turn around a business which was making heavy trading losses. He became managing director with the task of rebuilding it ultimately achieving a trade sale to an Indian buyer. Previously he has been a business mentor with Scottish Enterprise and, for 13 years, in conjunction with three others, ran his own specialist IT systems resellers until the dotcom crash and the millennium bug created challenging trading conditions. He ran a controlled closure of the business avoiding any significant level of bad debt. In the late 1970’s and during the 1980’s he was a salesman and regional sales manager. Gordon has lectured at Strathclyde University Business School and was a main board director of the Entrepreneurial Exchange serving for two years as chairman of its annual Gleneagles conference.

“The job of a chief executive is to build the strongest team possible. It’s about involvement, empowerment and delegation, and responsibility – that’s team work.”


Money Matters Photo courtesy of Campbell Dallas LLP.

Directors’ Loan Accounts

Grow your business with a Business Mentor t Experience

TAX specialist Nicola McReynolds of Campbell Dallas LLP examines the benefits of directors’ loan accounts. A directors’ loan account can be an attractive option for those who take salary/dividend packages which incur income tax at higher rates as there are significant tax savings to be obtained. When a director or shareholder withdraws money from a limited company which is not salary or dividends and which is not the withdrawal of accumulated funds or funds paid in, he is deemed to receive a loan from the company. If the loan remains outstanding nine months after the year end, it will attract a tax charge (current rate 25 per cent). This tax is refundable when the loan is repaid by the director/shareholder. In addition, there is tax on the benefit of receiving a loan in excess of £5,000 from a company either free of interest or at a rate below that set by HM Revenue & Customs (currently four per cent). Say you take a loan of £10,000 from the company, that is a reportable benefit in kind for the P11D form which will be the loan multiplied by the interest rate – in this case £400. The company has to pay non-refundable Class 1A Employers’ National Insurance Contributions on the benefit at the current rate of 12.8 per cent by 19 July following the end of the tax year in which the benefit was incurred. The director/participator also pays non refundable income tax on the taxable benefit (£400 in the example), which should be included on their self assessment return. For a 40 per cent rate taxpayer therefore the tax due on the £400 benefit would be £160. This is a significant tax saving compared to £10,000 of remuneration being taxed at current income tax rates. For further information or advice contact Nicola McReynolds, a manager in the Campbell Dallas tax team on 0141 887 4141 or at Contact: Linda Perry Business Mentoring Executive 0141 847 5458 / 07525 323500

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Snow Creates Staffing Problems THE recent bad weather has created staffing problems for employers. Scott Docherty of McArthur Stanton has some useful advice.

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How do you deal with staff absences due to adverse weather conditions? Many are unsure of their legal obligations and, as more bad weather could be on the way, the following should help employers prepare for it. The basic rule is, if employees take time off work due to bad weather, employers are not obliged to pay them. However, as always, there are exceptions to the rule, and this should only be applied after careful consideration of all the circumstances. Employers should check the employment contract and policy handbook to see whether employees may have a right to be paid in certain circumstances. Even if there is nothing to support payment, the employer should consider whether a custom has developed in practice which may imply a right to payment, for example, where such payments have been made in the past.

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Also, employees have a right to reasonable time off to look after dependants. So, where schools have been closed because of the weather, parents may legitimately seek time off although this is unpaid. It is important to communicate in advance with employees about whether they will be paid for time off, whether they have the option of working from home, working overtime or of using holiday entitlement to make up for lost hours. If staff will be paid, they should be told whether this is a goodwill gesture rather than it setting a precedent. Employers should also consider how to investigate and discipline employees reasonably suspected of using the bad weather as an excuse for a day off. It is important to deal with weather related absences in a consistent manner and ensure that employees have a clear understanding in advance about their rights and obligations. McArthur Stanton McArthur Stanton has offices in Dumbarton and Helensburgh offering property and letting, private client services and services to businesses, including resolution of employment, debt recovery, contractual, licensing and health and safety issues. For more information call 01389 762266 or 01436 672212 or visit

McArthur Stanton












Photo by Strathleven Regeneration Company.

PREMIER INN: Open for business.

SCOTLAND could soon have its first Costa Coffee drive-thru at the £100 million Lomondgate project on the A82 at Dumbarton.

PREMIER LOCATION AND AN ECONOMIC BEACON Photo by Harry Hall, Lochside Photography for Strathleven Regeneration Company.

Walker Group and Strathleven Regeneration Company (SRC) have lodged a planning application with West Dunbartonshire Council to build a new 1,850 sq ft drive-thru which, if successful, should open for business this autumn. John Menzies, of retail and leisure letting agents, Cushman & Wakefield said: “You could not get a better location for a Costa Coffee than the Lomondgate site which is adjacent to the A82, the main link from Central Scotland with the West Highlands and one of the busiest trunk roads in Scotland.” Bruce Walker, managing director of Walker Group, which is jointly developing the Lomondgate site with SRC, added: “Costa Coffee is a terrific addition to the tenant mix, and will perfectly complement the proposed Tesco Express and petrol station planned for the roadside services area.” Developers are now being sought for the ‘business village’ site following West Dunbartonshire Council’s approval of the business park masterplan. Planning consents have been issued for a hub building housing a crèche/nursery, support retail and office space and for a landmark sculpture of a stag by renowned public artist, Andy Scott. Agents, Knight Frank, are promoting Lomondgate Business Park and are keen to hear from businesses who may be interested in small scale offices for sale or lease at the site.

AGGREKO: New factory takes shape.

Whitbread’s £4m+ development of a 60 bed Premier Inn hotel and the Malt & Myre pub/restaurant opened recently, creating 50 jobs and helping to establish Lomondgate Services as a National Park gateway.

Three housebuilders were vying to be first to start building new homes at the site but it was the Walker Group which let a contract for site preparation at the end of 2010 and which has now commenced development. Persimmon Homes acquired an 8.5 acre site in January and has planning permission for 119 new houses whilst Redrow Homes wants to build 94 homes on land adjacent to Dumbarton Golf Club. BBC Scotland already has studios at Lomondgate with more than 300 people employed in the making of the Scottish soap River City and a further 100 working on other recent productions such as The Deep and Garrow’s Law.

Photo by Strathleven Regeneration Company.

Aggreko’s £20m development of a new manufacturing plant and offices is taking shape, with the main building contract due for completion by July and operational fit-out by the end of the year.

Development partners, Strathleven Regeneration Company and Walker Group, believe that Lomondgate is one of the most vibrant regeneration sites in Scotland and a beacon for the Dunbartonshire economy. 15

Photo by Strathclyde Police.

The Business Beat


PUBWATCH PEOPLE: (L-R) Mark Tyson, chairman Helensburgh Pubwatch; Inspector Anne Hopper, Helensburgh; Iain McLean, chairman Dumbarton Pubwatch; Inspector Ian Wallace Dumbarton; Peter Clyde, West Dunbartonshire Council licensing standards officer and Licensing Sergeant George Stewart.

New Pubwatch Umbrella Group Formed A NEWLY created umbrella group is helping to make local licensed premises safer places to work and socialise in. Alexandria, Dumbarton and Helensburgh Pubwatch Schemes now have regular quarterly meetings, along with the police, to exchange ideas and updates on barred persons. They are also examining their information sharing protocols and discussing innovations such as improvements to CCTV coverage and other best practice. The group is working towards standardising its approach to bans issued, including looking at warning letters to troublesome customers across all three areas and at the severity and duration of any bans imposed. It’s hoped that this new forum will highlight some of the ways that pubs and clubs in the areas covered by the schemes can make the night time economy a safer place for everyone. Speaking about the formation of the new group Licensing Sergeant George Stewart said: “One of our top priorities is to tackle antisocial behaviour in and around the pubs and clubs in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute.

“The formation of this group provides the perfect opportunity for managers to come together and share the type of information that will help to prevent violence and disorder occurring within and around their premises. This will help make visits to licensed premises a safer experience for patrons and staff.” On behalf of the newly formed umbrella group, publican Mark Tyson added: “The three individual Pubwatch groups have had great success so far in tackling antisocial behaviour and violence in their own areas. “Now, with the advent of this newly expanded group, we hope to dissuade people who are barred from travelling to other areas to drink alcohol and potentially cause problems. As a group we are committed to sharing information with each other that will ensure a safe night time economy.”

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Park Life Success Leads to Stirling Launch .uk rklifesco


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Croftam .co The scotland sized guide to local businesses, events and attractions rklifehandy www.pacovers a wide area in and around Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park including Blanefield, Croftamie, Drymen and Strathblane and more.



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The magazines feature free event listings and helps promote coffee me by and other mornings, fairs, Keep charity e e phon th events in their areas. The business currently provides a complimentary full page advert to a charity in each edition of both magazines and hosts a Christmas fair or grand ball each year with the proceeds going to Strathcarron Hospice in Denny.

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er for advertis rea & e id u g ga hat’s on & surroundin your w s h ac e Tross ond, Th m o L h c Lo A NEW European directive could have a big impact on businesses using / Feband seasonal staff, according to Gerald McLaughlin, corporate temporary ch 2011 with chartered accountants CampbellyleDallas LLP.allander finance r Ma manager


MAGAZINE TEAM: Fiona Baverstock, events editor; Katrina Gardner, editor-in-chief and founder; Heather Munro, head of finance; Stephanie McLean, senior graphic designer.

New Rights for Temporary and Seasonal Staff

18 T E VE ,00 0 N

Photo by Murray Watt. scotland e f li k r a www.p

Appraise current pay scales to see if entry rates are suitable for temps; Manage the use of temporary staff and be aware costs may change after 12 weeks; Update employment agents of any changes to pay and benefits structure; Create responsibility and awareness of the need to provide information.

Businesses that use a significant amount of temporary workers may want to consider alternative models such as outsourcing or building their own temporary staff pools. One thing is certain – doing nothing is not an option – businesses will need to review their employment practices to reflect the new law.

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233 Dumbarton Road, Old Kilpatrick G60 5ND M: 07791 988191

Walter’s of Clydebank Walters of Clydebank Ltd is a family run business specializing in Promotional gifts, engraving and embroidery. The start of the year has been excellent for us after completing a large order placed by a major multi national company for their Recognition awards which were shipped to various desitnations worldwide. The order which was complex and detailed was completed in time but more importantly we were able to react quickly to our customers changing requirements. Our quick response times are due to the fact that our engraving is done in-house giving us total control and this was vitally important to our customer who was working to rigid deadlines. As a result of our customers continued confidence in both our service and professionalism the order then progressed into the supply of further products ie: t.shirts banners etc, which of course we were delighted to do. Our next goal for this year is to have a more prominent presence online and therefore we are investing in e-commerce marketing so look out for us on facebook, twitter and linkedin. Having said all that we always appreciate the word of mouth recommendations and how important they are.


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“Over several years Walter’s of Clydebank have continued to pull out all stops when it comes to customer service. No matter the size of the order they go out of their way to assist and meet the deadlines given. Having recently tried to procure an additional item in another town only emphasised the standard and quality of their shop and goods, the wide range of products and the first class service we receive from Walter’s.” Tel: 0141 952 1395

Christine Allan (Director) and John Rea Snooker Professional. Walters of Clydebank handing over the Scottish Professional Snooker Championship trophy which we supplied for this event taking place in Clydebank and resurrected by John Rea of Lucky Break.

Photo by TCB Photography.

Bearsden Lawyer’s Multi-Million Dollar Deal

LEGAL EAGLES: Stewart Rennie and Aileen McInnes.

LESS than a year after setting up his own business, lawyer Stewart Rennie sealed a multimillion dollar deal for the sale of a company which was quoted on the New York Stock Exchange.

Its scale is such that it is likely to be in the top 10 of all deals done by private companies in Scotland in 2010. It involved dealing with wellknown lawyers Jones Day in the US and Eversheds in the United Kingdom – two of the largest legal firms in the world. According to Stewart, it was a bit like LA Law involving transatlantic conference calls, time differences and a last minute courier dash to Edinburgh to ensure everything completed on time. It also had a ‘Local Hero’ moment when Stewart had a call from Houston while on holiday at the pier at Lower Largo watching a fisherman sell freshly caught live lobsters. Not bad going for the two-partner legal practice which he set up with his wife Aileen McInnes, also a solicitor, in Bearsden just a year ago with the aim of providing the high quality commercial and private client service usually found only in city centre firms.

Stewart was delighted: “Undoubtedly it was the highlight of our year. The deal completed on time and the client was very happy with the service. It is a great example of the resources and skills available locally as well as being a good news story in the current economic climate.” Stewart is used to high profile work as he was formerly a corporate partner at HBJ Gateley Wareing and at Boyds, solicitors in Glasgow. He is one of only 21 people accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as an insolvency specialist. He recently acted for the directors of Zoom Airlines in putting the company into administration and has authored a chapter UK Insolvency Client Strategies published by Aspatore Books. The firm’s first fee on start-up was for renewal of a sponsorship agreement between the golfer, Sandy Lyle and Macdonald Hotels which has worked well for both parties. When Sandy presented the Golf Tourism Scotland Gold Standard Awards 2010 he was name-checked in the Herald newspaper as an ‘ambassador’ for the hotel group resulting good publicity for the firm’s client. Aileen focuses on buying and selling property for clients and on protecting their interests with Powers of Attorney and tax efficient wills. She has extensive experience of the local property market in Bearsden and Milngavie and was formerly a senior associate with Wright, Johnston and Mackenzie in Glasgow.

WINTER WEATHER A MIXED BLESSING THE bad weather at the end of the year brought mixed fortunes for Dunbartonshire businesses. While some were adversely affected by the Arctic conditions others benefitted and received a welcome boost. Huntershill Village in Bishopbriggs was hard hit and had to close its coffee shop for two days. It also lost two weeks of haulage work because of poor road conditions. “The weather had a big impact,” said Angela Watson, office manager of the family business, “We lost a tenant because, in the two or three weeks before Christmas when the business would have been busiest, people were not out shopping. “It was so bad my dad hired a mini-digger to keep the car park clear.” The Regent Centre in Kirkintilloch saw less footfall when the weather was at its worst and once the snow cleared there ‘was the typical last minute rush’ according to Lorraine Barr, assistant manager.

“It was much the same as last year in the run up to Christmas week,” she added. Christine Allan of Walters of Clydebank reported a downturn although the festive period is not a peak time for the specialist retailer. “We were closed for a couple of days so that made life difficult.” Susan Frize, of Milngavie Bookshop, found that more people were shopping locally and says business only tailed off slightly in the last week before Christmas when conditions improved. Dumbarton pet shop owner, Robert Ryan also benefitted from the fact that people were unable to travel far to shop. “Wild bird food and seed was flying off the shelves – I could hardly keep up with demand.” Bearsden Ski Club was open for business. “We worked at keeping the drive clear but the logistics for people trying to get here caused problems,” reported general manager, Gordon Scott, adding that the club was busier than usual while schools were closed. 21

Photos courtesy of Clydebank College.


WINNING TEAM: Clydebank College lecturers Daljit Kaur and Terry McGeary; Pat Shearer, sports curriculum leader; Andrew McKay, West Dunbartonshire Council active schools manager; Pamela Armstrong, international manager and Linda Gillon, lecturer.

CLYDEBANK College topped off a successful year by adding to its already impressive list of awards at the close of 2010. At a ceremony at Dunblane Hydro, it scooped three prizes at Scotland’s College’s Annual Awards. Now in their 11th year, these are an opportunity to celebrate excellence within the sector and recognise the effort made by colleges to improve learner experience. Clydebank College was highly commended for the Learner Engagement Award. In its submission, Leonardo funding was used to send beauty therapy students to Italy for a two week work experience. In preparation, students took Italian lessons as they had never been to Italy and did not speak the language – five of them had never held a passport. Students kept an e-portfolio throughout which included text, images and blogs to provide evidence of achievement, encouraging them to engage and reflect on their learning and achievements. In addition, the college was commended both for the Award for Professional Learning and Enhancement and for the Student Award. Gordon Paterson, principal and chief executive said: “Yet again Clydebank College has been recognised for what we do and do well. To receive commendations for learner engagement, professional learning and enhancement, and also in the student award category, when there were over 100 submissions from some 30 plus colleges, is something of which we can be rightly proud.” The college also picked up a Silver Award for Student Newsletter/ Communications at the College Marketing Networks, FE First Awards in Birmingham. These are well established as the sector’s annual opportunity to celebrate marketing best practice and showcase the imaginative work that is going on in further education colleges right across the UK.


SILVER AWARD: Fiona Gribben, marketing manager with Nicky McDonald, administrator for business growth, both Clydebank College.

Fiona Gribben, marketing manager at Clydebank College commented: “These are national awards so we are ecstatic that our efforts have been recognised at this level. 2010 has been an exceptional year for Clydebank College and it’s a good feeling to finish on such a high. There were only three other Scottish Colleges shortlisted so it was quite an achievement.” Rachel Smith, director of corporate development at FE First Awards praised their entry which was a newsletter in the form of a 12 page graduation supplement distributed in local newspapers: “It fulfilled strategic priorities by communicating with a broad range of college stakeholders with a readership of 60,000. “It was an innovative approach as both the college benefited through a cost effective distribution and the newspaper increased sales through students purchasing it to see the list of graduates and award winners.”

Employers Needed to Get Britain Working

JOBCENTRE Plus has called on local businesses to help it tackle the unemployment crisis with its new Get Britain Working initiative. The simplified system replaces an array of existing employment schemes, pilots and projects with one new ‘Work Programme’ that it says is more capable of dealing with complex and overlapping barriers to securing employment. Lorna Gilmour, an account manager with Jobcentre Plus in Paisley explained: “We are developing a new back to work model that gives Jobcentre Plus managers and advisers the maximum flexibility to work with customers to give them the best available support. “Although the Work Programme provides a central core of support, on its own it is not enough. Government cannot do this alone. To get Britain working we also need to harness a wide range of talent, ideas and good practice and enlist the help of business, the voluntary sector and local deliverers of services. “Local ideas, energy and expertise will be gathered and used to ensure that the best support is delivered in the right way to help Jobcentre Plus customers get back to work, start volunteering, or start their own business as well as benefiting from training, mentoring and work experience.” The idea is to use the skills and know-how of people to respond to the social, political and economic challenges the country faces.

Three new options are now available: • Work Clubs to encourage people who are unemployed to exchange skills and share experiences; • Work Together to develop skills through volunteering; and • Work Experience to provide quality placements of two to eight weeks for motivated 18-21 year olds who have no skills and little or no work experience.

It should be noted that there is no restriction on the size or type of business that can offer Work Experience – what matters is the quality of the placement – and there are incentives. For example, there are no wage costs for employers and participants remain on any benefits they are claiming whilst on placement. Lorna is looking for employers to play a key role in helping to bring about this change by getting involved with work clubs, offering work placements and work experience as well as by acting as business mentors.

The Tell Organisation in Dumbarton and The Lennox Partnership in Clydebank are delivering work clubs in the West Dunbartonshire area. Lorna added: “We are also developing further options to encourage pre-employment training and self-employment as routes off benefits.” For more information or to get involved email or call 0141 800 2069 or 07920 783035. 23

Photo by Fiona Murray of p+p photography.


LAST year saw an increasing number of businesses use mentors. Demand for the service offered by Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce increased by 50 per cent on 2009 figures with numbers up from 100 to 150. Renfrewshire Chamber organises and runs the Business Mentoring Scotland programme in its own area as well as in East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh. Business Mentoring Scotland is a partnership between Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Chambers of Commerce. It is supported by European Funding and delivered by member chambers across Scotland. Running a business can be hard work. It can help to bounce ideas off someone or run things by them. Experienced mentors can provide support and help firms focus on and deal with issues which affect them. InCommerce editor June Hyslop finds out what mentoring is all about ...

Key Information • Free service • For 12 month period • Regular contact • Matched in terms of business background/possibly sector • No fault opt-out option and re-match Eligibility • In business for one year with plans to grow • Turnover £100K or plan to achieve that level • Not involved in the programme on a 1-2-1 level in last year • Can move into a 1-2-1 from a group Checklist • Be committed • Manage the relationship • Set the agenda • Keep appointments made • Give honest and timely feedback • Listen and reflect • Keep a diary to monitor progress To find out more contact Linda Perry, Business Mentoring Executive, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce at 24


NINA Graham may be relatively new to mentoring but she is already convinced of its business and personal benefits. “I cannot recommend this valuable free service highly enough, especially during a difficult economic period when funding for learning and development appears more difficult to attain, we must take all the help we can,” she said. “It has brought more clarity to my business and made me think more specifically about what I want and what I need to do to achieve my life and business goals. “I have a strategy now which will help me develop my business through identifying the things I need to do, when and how. “I was introduced to my first business mentor in June 2010, when I was commissioning a new website and business cards – he was a great sounding board for my ideas and for bringing focus to my marketing efforts. “He possessed excellent people skills and provided guidance on how to nurture business relationships and deal with difficult situations. “I also found it reassuring that he, like any business mentor, will respect confidentiality so I could discuss any issues which I felt would benefit from his expertise. “When my first business mentor was head-hunted for a job which involved a move south, I was offered another mentor and we have had two productive meetings. “My business has evolved since I began the programme so I am focusing on new areas – mainly a strategy for growth and opportunities for collaborative working. “A mentor also brings networking opportunities through the introductions he/she can make for you.” Nina set up her business, Your Office Expert, in July 2009. As an experienced former high level personal assistant and financial manager in a range of industries, she now offers freelance business and financial administration services to SMEs.

Photo by ADS Photography. MENTOR: David Scouller of the DPS Agency.

IT’S MUTUAL MARKETING and sales consultant David Scouller is currently working with four companies as a mentor. He is also delivering a group session over a three month period for Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce. Having worked a total of 28 years in sales management, marketing and business development with industry giants Philips and Canon, he decided to set up his own successful business in 2003 – the DPS Agency – working from home in Lenzie.

MENTORING has to be no holds barred for it to work according to Graeme Lang of Edgeview – a floor covering specialist. The managing director of the Dumbarton-based company he set up 12 years ago turned to mentoring to help him expand his business. “The good thing is they are not always involved in any aspect of what you do. They have an open mind, a different angle.” He explained that his meetings with mentor Richard Trew, whose business is electronics, were fairly informal. “We would have lunch or coffee so you felt you could let your guard down. It is great to get someone else’s view. “You get out of it what you want and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. In fact I was quite sad when it was over. They end up knowing everything about your business.

David, who is an active member of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, was invited to become a mentor in 2005 after giving a lecture to Business Gateway clients.

“We have been very lucky as, despite the recession, the business is still growing,” Graeme added. “We have a contract with Persimmon Homes – they are still building and are cash rich.

“When I was asked to carry out this role, I did some research and found it an interesting prospect – it’s worthwhile when you can pass your experience on to people who want to learn

“We have a lot of tenders out and are looking at a massive expansion this year.

“One of the most rewarding aspects is watching a business grow,” said David. “I adopt a policy of not accepting any businesses I know anything about as this allows me to undertake research on different markets which helps my own continuous professional development and stops me from delivering standard sales and marketing advice straight from the manuals.”

a two-way process

‘Challenging but hugely rewarding’ is how Douglas Hutchison describes being a business mentor.

Photo courtesy of Odgers Berndtson.


The successful publisher and former veterinary surgeon has been mentoring at managing director and chief executive level for about five years. “I meet some very interesting people and it is very much a two-way process,” he explained.

“It is about getting the right people in place. We employed an experienced quantity surveyor four months ago and he is getting us in doors that we wouldn’t normally get through.” Around 70 per cent of Edgeview’s work is commercial contract flooring. The company which is based in the Vale of Leven industrial estate now has nine staff.

“A lot of the time people are close to the business, close to their market – they will have gone through all the reasons for taking a particular decision and just need me to tell them they have done their homework. “A mentor is not there to run the business but to listen, to give confidence to them to make the right decisions and to make suggestions. “Often it’s about going back to first principles. Whatever the issue is I have either seen it before or have a network of people I know can help.”

“I have learned many things about other businesses, other sectors. You are privy to senior people and they have to be quite brave to be open about the challenges – corporate or personal – to someone who is a stranger.

Douglas is full of praise for the mentoring system: “From my point of view it has been hugely rewarding. I learn from those who are working in different spheres. I am continually motivated by the sheer passion for business, and for the people in business, which exists in the West of Scotland.”

“You need to quickly build a rapport and respect confidences. It can often be as simple as supporting someone through the decision making process. At that level it can be a lonely place.

He has a portfolio of non executive directorships – one of which is with executive search firm Odgers Berndtson. He and his family returned to Scotland in 2003 after 25 years away to settle in Kilcreggan near Helensburgh and, he jokes, to ensure his daughter received a Scottish education!

MENTOR: Douglas Hutchison of Odgers Berndtson.


Todays business world is highly competitive and ever more volatile and customers expect high standards of health, safety and corporate responsibility. Promoting health in the workplace will enable you to demonstrate that your organisation sets higher standards for staff health and well-being than your competitors, making it more likely people will choose to work with you and keep working with you. A Healthy Business can help you identify areas where positive changes can be made and support you to implement the changes.

At A Healthy Business, Hania Proudfoot heads up a team of specialist advisers with workplace health improvement knowledge and experience spanning over a 15 year period. An experienced change agent, Hania understands that change for whatever reason must be handled sensitively, particularly now during a recession and under the current economic climate. Operating throughout Scotland, our team of advisers are on hand to meet with you and discuss your needs and answer any workplace health and health and safety related questions. Our team of advisers are also available to meet with you at your workplace and carry out a staff health needs survey including recommendations and action planning support.


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WHITE WEDDING: Bride Sharon Logan, smiling despite the snow, with bridesmaid, daughter Natalie.

HAPPY COUPLE: Tying the knot – Sharon with groom Brian Casey. Photos by Martin Logan.

‘Snow’ White Challenge for Wedding Chauffeurs Getting to the church on time was more than a little tricky for Lennoxtown bride Sharon Logan writes June Hyslop. Heavy snow and ice in early December turned her driveway into a skating rink and left her mum Anne stranded in a car park. However chamber members Sovereign Select Chauffeur Driven Cars pulled out all the stops and even took the unusual step of sending two drivers so that help was on hand to cope with the severe conditions. The Kirkintilloch-based chauffeur drive company went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that Sharon’s wedding to Brian Casey went off without a hitch at St David’s Memorial Park Church in Kirkintilloch and even did some snow clearing outside the kirk themselves. “My driveway was like a skating rink,” Sharon explained, “The two drivers propped me up with one at either side to get me into the car. It was so slippery I could hardly stand and I wouldn’t have got out safely without their help.” Meanwhile groom Brian, who as a student minister had his first placement at the local church, had to rescue Sharon’s mum, Anne when her car got stuck in snow at the Turret Medical Centre. He and two of the wedding party dressed in their full kilt regalia helped get her and another driver moving by giving them a push.

And that wasn’t the end of the drama – for while the Lennoxtown couple were tying the knot in the Alexandra Street church, the drivers helped tackled a burst pipe which they noticed when they went to use the toilet. Sharon explained that she had always wanted a winter wedding and that she doesn’t mind cold weather. “It was a beautiful background – it was perfect even though it was freezing – the hotel was lovely with Christmas trees and decorations.” The couple held their reception at Strathblane Country House Hotel which had to use a mechanical digger to clear a path for the newlyweds and their guests. Surprisingly, everyone managed to attend including one of the groom’s friends who lives in Hamilton. “I was inordinately impressed with the service and sent a thank you to Sovereign,” Brian added, “I think they practically had to carry Sharon to the car.” Brian also thanked East Dunbartonshire Council for clearing the area immediately outside the church.

Robert Mackenzie of Sovereign Select Chauffeur Driven Cars explained that it was all part of the service which involved close planning and customer liaison: “We wanted to make sure the day went without a hitch and got there early in case there were any problems. “We had already dealt with extremely difficult road conditions on 30 November for a Bishopbriggs bride and everything went smoothly. “The drivers remained in regular contact with the bride reassuring her that her transport needs were being catered for as planned, whilst battling the elements to ensure her car was presented in pristine condition.” And what about a honeymoon for the happy couple? Well that’s been postponed until March because Christmas was Brian’s busy time. So they’ll be jetting off somewhere warm and sunny then? “Actually we’re going to Iceland,” Brian confessed, “Sharon has some friends from university there that we want to visit.”


Photo by Always Photography Limited, Bucks.

Mobility Scotland Wins Top Retailer Award

IN just three years Kirkintilloch-based Mobility Scotland Ltd has gone from business start-up to being crowned number one UK retailer in its sector. The specialist provider of bespoke mobility aids competed against industry giants to win the title of Retailer of the Year 2010 at a prestigious ceremony at the luxurious Tower Bridge hotel in London. Mobility Scotland took the top prize at the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) and Office of Fair Trading (OFT) annual award ceremony in December. It is a huge vote of confidence as the winner was decided on the basis of votes from customers, suppliers and distributor with the BHTA coordinating, managing and verifying the whole process over a six month period before inviting the nominees to London for the event. Operations manager Billy Finnie and sales manager John Dempsey received the award from television presenter and former newsreader Angela Rippon who noted that Mobility Scotland was one of the most respected suppliers of mobility products in the country.

Billy went on to thank the customers who voted for them, Liz McHard and her colleagues at the Fit for Growth Team at East Dunbartonshire Council, and John Allen of Business Gateway. The company, which operates from Campsie Road and from the Regent Centre in Kirkintilloch, was tipped for the top when it won the Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce/East Dunbartonshire Council Business of the Year Award in 2009.

Local Service Improves Accessibility IN a business where accessibility is paramount, Mobility Scotland is dropping its use of a pricey 0845 telephone number for a local geographically-based one.

“It was an amazing evening and a fantastic experience,” said Billy, “Albeit a touch tense as the nerves set in as we moved closer to the big announcement.

The company has also set up an in-house customer support service instead of using a virtual one and has created local employment in the process bringing the team up to seven.

“This makes me feel very proud of everyone involved with Mobility Scotland as our business objectives are based on making a positive difference and adding real value to our relationship with our customers through our people and our products.

Operations manager Billy Finnie explained: “It was costing our customers more to phone and the service was a touch fragmented from a business point of view. We wanted to improve the information being given out, speed up our enquiry response times and add value to the overall process.

“To be recognised for achieving this is a real credit to the team’s attitude, passion and commitment to the business.”


RETAILER OF THE YEAR: Television presenter Angela Rippon with (L-R) Phil Isherwood, BHTA chairman, John Dempsey and Billy Finnie of Mobility Scotland.

“We decided to bring it all in-house and dedicate a new, business knowledgeable assistant to our own local customer service line. This means we’ve got complete control now.”


The End of An Era by June Hyslop

THE annual Christmas lunch was also the last event for John Corcoran in the role of chief executive of the chamber. The sell out event was attended by around 80 members who enjoyed a delicious meal at Cameron House Hotel, CEO RETIRES: Chamber president Robert Wilson surprises John Loch Lomond with Corcoran. entertainment from singer Scarlet Hart, presents for everyone from Santa Claus and a fabulous raffle which raised £680 for the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust. After the meal, Robert Wilson, chamber president surprised John with a ‘This Is Your Life’ style presentation looking back over the years He unveiled photo collage posters showing the outgoing chief executive in his army days, as a young man, community activist and as a representative of the chamber. He presented John with a one off hand-made designer clock by Aberfoyle-based artist Rob Mulholland on behalf of the board of directors. Handing over the functional work of art, president Robert Wilson thanked John for his contribution to the chamber during his time at the helm and wished him well in future. A clearly delighted John said that it was time for him to focus on his own business St Andrew’s College Summer Schools which had moved to new premises in Glasgow and which was very fortunate to be expanding in these difficult times. He assured everyone that he would still be an active director and maintain close links with the chamber.

ALL CHANGE: New chief executive Gordon Barraclough with president Robert Wilson and John Corcoran.

JOHN Corcoran blasted governments of all parties for not doing enough for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as he stepped down as chief executive of the chamber. “As far as Scotland is concerned the SME culture is the main economic driver and I don’t think that successive governments have done very much to support it,” he said. The community activist turned businessman has a track record of standing up for what he calls ‘the little guy’ and he wasn’t going to let the fact he was retiring change that. In the early 1980’s John was the first chairman of Alexandria Tenants and Residents Association and was more recently at the forefront of the campaign to retain services at the Vale of Leven Hospital. He fought to keep doctors’ practices in the heart of Alexandria and was heavily involved in the area’s regeneration group. In 2003, his community efforts earned him title of Vale of Leven Citizen of the Year. He has also been an outspoken critic of supermarkets and is passionate about fighting for the future of Dumbarton and Alexandria town centres. His final event as chief executive was the annual Christmas lunch – more than a decade after he first became involved with what was then Allander Chamber of Commerce when he worked as director of commercial operations at St Andrew’s College in Bearsden. John was instrumental in establishing the Dunbartonshire chamber in 2003 when Allander, West Dunbartonshire and later Strathkelvin amalgamated. Since then he has tirelessly promoted the chamber initially as development officer and latterly as chief executive. He will remain a director and continue to have responsibility for events. “I have taken the chamber as far as I can and I needed to look at who could take the chamber to the next level – someone with the ambition and ability to go forward and gain sponsorship so that this chamber can progress. That person is Gordon Barraclough and I have every confidence that he can take it to where I think it should go.

FOND FAREWELL: Chamber directors (L-R) Gary Groves, Scott Macintosh, Janet Dawson, Derek McGaw, James Richardson, Joyce MacGinley and Iain Ross with (front row) Gordon Barraclough, John Corcoran and Robert Wilson.

“I have promised that I will not be looking over his shoulder – he is the boss now and I will do whatever he wants me to do.”

Photos by TCB Photography.



BUSINESS start-ups and young people are vitally important to Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce which is why the proceeds of the Christmas lunch raffle were donated to the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT). The draw raised a magnificent £680 which will go towards helping a young entrepreneur with their business. Sharita Padaruth, PSYBT, Dunbartonshire and Argyll Regional Manager, said: “I would like to thank everyone for their generous donations to PSYBT via the Christmas raffle. We are also very grateful to the businesses which provided the prizes. Your kind donations will make a difference to a young business – one like Supernova Invitations run by 25-year-old Natasha Zelen.”

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED... CREATIVE INVITATIONS: Natasha Zelen with some of her her handmade products.

Photo by Malcolm Cochrane Photography for PSYBT.

THE path to business success is not always smooth as Natasha Zelen found out when her dream of running a clothes shop fell apart. With backing from PSYBT she was setting up her own business when her parents lost their family home and Natasha found herself briefly homeless. Two years later she has dusted herself off and started again in a different business field – making handmade invitations and greetings cards. “I started getting myself back on my feet when I studied an arts course at college for a year,” she said. “Then I went to PSYBT again – without them I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing.”

“My first commission was from a friend, who asked me to send out invitations to the main guests for her wedding. These were individual scrolls, delivered in a box and tied with ribbon. “Some guests were sufficiently impressed to contact me, which led to more work.” Natasha, whose new business is called Supernova Invitations, spent most weekends in the run up to the festive season at craft fairs selling handmade Christmas cards. “It’s not full-time yet, but I am getting there and I am busier all the time,” she added.

“The trust’s financial support meant I could attend a wedding show at the SECC with samples of my work and also commission the building of a website, which is still ongoing.”

“I am hoping a lot of contacts made at the wedding show will bear fruit over the next 18 months. There is a long timeframe, as people meticulously plan their wedding well ahead of the event.”

“I take a basic invitation, which I have printed for me, and embellish it,” she explained.


CLYDE WATERFRONT A River of Opportunity!

The scale, pace and diversity of its regeneration has revitalised the Clyde, creating numerous opportunities for businesses and the public to invest, locate and live! Clyde Waterfront Strategic Partnership (www. facilitates and promotes the Clyde’s regeneration from Dumbarton, via Renfrew to Glasgow, with £3.5 billion spent or committed by the public & private sectors across 250+ projects, creating 18,000 new jobs, 8,500 new homes and 0.3m2 new commercial space to date. Clyde Waterfront’s 13 miles are sub divided into 6 key character areas, namely:Old Kilpatrick to Dumbarton – plans are being developed for West Dunbartonshire’s riverside communities including British Waterways’ Bowling Basin, Dumbarton Harbour / Town Centre and the £100m business / housing / retail development at Lomondgate, where BBC Scotland film “River City” and Aggreko are building a new manufacturing facility. Clydebank & Erskine – The 10,000 students attending the £37m Clydebank College and thousands of visitors surveying the area 150ft above Queen’s Quay from the refurbished Titan Crane, have transformed Clydebank’s waterfront. Whilst on the south bank, Erskine’s riverfront has considerable potential for future development. Renfrew Riverside & Scotstoun – Braehead, whose 100 stores and cafes attract over 20m customer visits annually, has become Scotland’s biggest shopping centre. Xscape boasting SNO!Zone, Skypark and Soccer Circus, has become a hugely popular leisure destination and nearby at Ferry Village, six developers are creating a range of 2,000 new homes next to Clyde View Park. Greater Govan & Glasgow Harbour – the award winning £1.2bn Glasgow Harbour development is set to expand further with new shops, restaurants and hotels planned

next to the £74m Riverside Museum which opens late Spring 2011. Opposite BAE’s shipyard employs thousands building six Type 45 destroyers and two 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy. Adjacent to the river, a £70m action plan for Govan will transform one of Glasgow’s oldest communities. Pacific Quay & SECC – The Creative Industries sector is thriving at Pacific Quay ( with BBC Scotland and STV firmly established in high tech broadcasting centres and another 50 creative SMEs now occupying new or refurbished space in Medius, The Hub and Film City Glasgow. Opposite a new 12,500 seat SECC National Arena will open in 2013, reinforcing the area as a world class entertainment and conference venue. Glasgow City Centre – Glasgow’s multi award winning International Financial Services District (IFSD) www. has attracted +£1bn of investment to date via global companies like AON, Aviva, Barclays, BNP Paribas, eSure, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, RBS, Santander and Tesco, creating 16,000 new jobs since 2001. New occupiers, new Grade A office openings, the Tradeston “Squiggly” bridge and exciting leisure plans for the riverside, all add fresh impetus. Education: - our innovative on line resource (www. offers teachers 200 free lesson plans linking 12 Clyde themes with 8 subjects as per Curriculum for Excellence and we reinforce this learning with “Classroom on the Clyde” school trips. Tourism: we have produced 150,000 Heritage Guides to attract tourists and locals to visit the river (www. and in 2010 we supported Clyde Cruises’ popular waterbus trial to compliment Seaforce’s powerboats and The Waverley Paddle Steamer. Clyde Waterfront is making the most of its skilled workforce, cost competitive location, excellent communications and new infrastructure to develop a vibrant and thriving waterfront location that appeals to global companies and local communities alike!


Clyde Waterfront, Atrium Court, 50 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6HQ 0141 229 5423 or

GO Get Trained

With Chamber Partners! A NEW training partnership with the GO Group offers major benefits to members of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce. Businesses which meet eligibility criteria may only have to pay half the cost of any open or bespoke training programmes as well as for its flagship business transformation course – The Business Map. Funding may be available from East or West Dunbartonshire Councils and, in some cases, from Skills Development Scotland. Note, however that any funding has to be in place before the course is booked. Depute director of learning and development with the Glasgow-based organisation, Liz Metin, outlined what was on offer at a working lunch in Cameron House Hotel in November. “We understand what you need to help your business improve and grow – we talk to businesses all the time. We have ourselves been in business for 27 years and offer short, sharp courses. “Most are a day, half a day or two days long as we know that’s the time businesses can give up for training. We are price competitive at £230 for a one-day course.” She added that it was crucial learning continued when staff returned to their work environment. “Afterwards it is important they get some support back in the workplace. Employers should talk to staff before they come on training, speak to them about what they learned and about what will help them both to do their job better and to put what they have learned into practice.” The focus is on business skills and IT training which includes a wide range of management and personal development options. Newer areas such as social media marketing strategies also feature. “These can be a very cost effective way to build business networks,” she added. Details of what is available can be found on the chamber and GO Group websites. The GO Group has accredited centre recognition from both the Institute of Leadership and Management and from the Chartered Management Institute.


Chamber Role Scrutinised at Strategy Day What is the role of a chamber of commerce and how can it best serve its members? These questions were up for debate at a strategy day for members facilitated by incoming chief executive Gordon Barraclough who also runs Business Doctors Scotland . In a wide ranging discussion, it was agreed that it should be about providing added value services to local businesses, that it should be professional, trusted, credible, honest and have integrity. Mr Barraclough said that the chamber will strive to increase its membership and work towards being a ‘best in class’ provider. He pointed out that it was very similar to any other business but with members and the business community as stakeholders instead of shareholders to serve. One of his priorities was to redefine the role of chamber directors, to have job descriptions and designated areas they would be responsible for implementing and accountable for. He acknowledged that this might mean some changes at board level to ensure the right people were in the right place. The first part of the session was billed as the ‘Antidote to Dragon’s Den’ and here the focus was firmly on continuous business improvement. Mr Barraclough urged members to work on their businesses and not just in them. He highlighted the need to identify core values and the core purpose of the business, to ask yourself where do you want to take it, who are your valued customers, how well do you know your competitors and your market? Businesses should also be able to identify what they are good at, where they have the edge and where they must improve. When they are unable to compete on cost they should look at developing a niche market or product to differentiate themselves. There should be a revenue generation plan in place and performance should be monitored in relation to all aspects of a business, he added.


A True Partnership Approach Hart Insurance Brokers have been working together with their clients since June 1965 and are a second generation business run by the Partners, Keith and Alistair Hart. The Brokerage relocated to Clydebank Business Park from Glasgow City Centre in 1992 and they support their UK wide, eclectic client bank, from their office within Erskine House. Due to the breadth of skills and experience of their staff, Hart provide their clients with a “one stop shop� for all matters relating to Insurance and Financial Services. They build relationships with all their clients by providing a broad spectrum of professional advice, ranging from Commercial Insurance Risk programmes through to Independent Financial Advice and extending to include Home (including High Net Worth) and Travel Insurance. As accredited Pension Transfer Specialists they are often consulted by Accountants and Solicitors to engage directly with their clients. “A dynamic professional service through a personal approach� has been Hart’s motto for many years and has resulted in them being retained by many major clients over an extended period, some even spanning the five decades since the creation of the business. Four years ago Hart entered into an alliance with Willis, the Global Broker, joining a select band of Independent Regional Insurance Brokers which allows Hart access to Willis buying power and importantly wider policy

coverage. A recent appointment by a new Commercial client resulted in Hart Insurance Brokers retaining cover with the existing Insurer. However, not only was a 25% reduction in premium rate achieved, but a broader basis of cover was secured. These benefits were achieved for the client as a direct result of Hart’s membership of the Willis Commercial Network, allied to their professionalism, knowledge and experience. As Chartered Insurance Brokers Keith and Alistair positively encourage the brokerage team to pursue professional examinations to ensure that a high level of professionalism is maintained throughout the organisation. IIP accreditation has been held since 1998. The client base ranges from UK Nationals to SME’s, professionals, firms and private individuals. The Partners ensure wherever possible that there is continuity of personnel administering clients’ affairs allowing relationships to develop and greater understanding of client needs to be established. In tough economic conditions, it is not only vital to source competitive insurance premiums, but perhaps more importantly to ensure that best value is being obtained through assessment and management of risk. It is often the case that when undertaking an initial review of a new client’s needs, risks are identified, which perhaps had not been considered previously or an alternative efficient method of covering the risk is established. This

can equally apply to the Independent Financial Advice reviews that are undertaken. Claims inevitably happen and Hart Insurance Brokers take pride in their proactive claims management at the time of a client’s need. The support and guidance recently provided to a client who had the misfortune to suffer a fire which ravaged his substantial country home, has led him to state that he would not ever contemplate using a brokerage other than Hart. Despite the growth of the internet and in many ways the commoditisation of some straightforward Insurance products, many discerning buyers still place their trust in a professional broker as they need the comfort of knowing that they are properly covered and that support is readily available to guide them through what can be a complex and stressful claim process. It is perhaps for this reason that the brokerage is experiencing an ever greater volume of business being transacted in what is widely regarded as the High Net Worth home insurance category. Unlike some of their competitors Hart can place business with most of the major providers in this particular market, such as Chubb, Hiscox, Aviva and Zurich. Hart Insurance Brokers are always receptive to new enquiries and to undertake an initial, no obligation, consultation. For more information and to view some testimonials please visit






Pupils Enter the Dragons’ Den

HILLHEAD ENTREPRENEURS: P6 pupils Sophie, Beth, Ben, Ryan and Rebecca with the Dragons – Charlie Innes, janitor; Adele Liddell, teacher and Jennifer McHugh, head teacher.

HILLHEAD Primary School pupils pitched their ideas to a Dragons’ Den style panel in December as part of their enterprise education. P6 pupils at the Kirkintilloch school set up and ran four businesses with each designing and creating model shoes for a specific market. They had to come up with names, advertise their wares, make financial judgements, select materials and decide how they were going to sell their products taking into account associated costs. The businesses also had to work out each day’s profit and loss based on hypothetical decisions they had made with lessons linked to Curriculum for Excellence outcomes in social studies, technology and in maths and numeracy. The businesses were called Moonlight, Billionaires, Dream Shoes and The Five Musketeers. While three ended up with an overall profit, The Five Musketeers made a loss of more than £400 as they spent too much on advertising! The brainchild of acting principal teacher Michelle Morris, the project was aimed at addressing the pupils’ lack knowledge and understanding of entrepreneurs and what they do. The class learned about and identified the skills entrepreneurs possess. One of the parents, Keith MacHattie, who runs his own business, visited the school to talk to the children. Michelle said that the project had a huge impact on the pupils learning: “They were all extremely motivated and developed their awareness and understanding of entrepreneurs. “They also developed their skills in money management, in setting up and running a business, and in leadership. “They are now more aware of the possibility of setting up their own businesses in the future – the world really is their oyster!”

CELEBRATING EMPLOYER ENGAGEMENT WORKING with employers has helped pupils in East Dunbartonshire to understand more about the world of work. At a ceremony in Bishopbriggs Academy, children and young people from primary, secondary and special schools explained that it had made learning more enjoyable and put it in a real life context for them. Education convener, Councillor Una Walker, who made presentations to 23 employers and to Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The contribution to the education of the young people is invaluable. We are very grateful for all the time, expertise and opportunities that all the businesses have given young people throughout our schools.” Employer engagement is one of the six themes of Determined to Succeed, the Scottish Government’s strategy for enterprise in education, and is an integral part of the new Curriculum for Excellence. A partnership agreement between East Dunbartonshire Council Education Department and the chamber of commerce makes all schools in the authority members and allows them access to its database of local businesses. Chamber president Robert Wilson encouraged schools to make use of this. He also complimented the children and young people on the high standard of their presentations.

PRESENTATIONS: (L-R) Gordon Smart, quality improvement officer; Provost Eric Gotts; Councillor Una Walker, convener, education and cultural services committee; Councillor Amanda Stewart; Tricia Wheeler, the Beatson Institute (centre front); Councillor Jim Gibbons; Scott Mackintosh, director, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce (DCoC); Margaret Pears, enterprise development officer; Robert Wilson, president, DCoC and Gordon Currie, head of education.

Photos by East Dunbartonshire Schools.

Bearsden School Award Triumph BUDDY Bear was the special guest at a glitzy Hollywood-style award ceremony at Baljaffray Primary School in Bearsden in January. The Very Important Bear starred in films made by pupils from P6 and P7 which premiered in front of an invited audience of parents and family members. There was a ‘champagne’ reception with pink lemonade and a famous quotes quiz based on films and well known actors. At the interval there was a chance to see a display of the children’s work, have a family photo taken with Buddy Bear and to order a DVD of the evening which was filmed by media students from Cardonald College. 34

There were awards for most romantic moment, best soundtrack, best action scene and best use of props/scenery with an extra award for best teamwork throughout the eight-week project. Local Bearsden and Milngavie businesses supported the event by donating raffle and quiz prizes. Head teacher Lynn Bale said she was delighted with the learning which took place: “It was Curriculum for Excellence at its best. The variety of experience, the cross curricular work, the opportunities for teamwork and cooperative learning were all outstanding. The actual night itself was a glittering success!” FILM STAR: Buddy Bear.


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25 Years for VWS This is the 25th year of trading for VWS Limited. Since 1986, when plain old Alex Ferguson became the manager of Manchester United and the average house price in Scotland was under £70,000, we have been providing security systems to business and domestic customers all over Scotland.

The technology we provide has come a long way since then. Every year another innovation in CCTV is revealed and its development in quality and reliability is staggering. Like most other electronic products though the relative cost involved has decreased. In 1986 you would have paid as much if not more for a CCTV system as you would now but with all the advancements of the last 25 years thrown in. Pity we can’t say the same about houses. Digital technology has allowed us to record CCTV footage without needing to change a tape, to see movement in areas of complete darkness and be notified of an incident by text, e-mail, video message as soon as it happens. You can have eyes in the back of your head!


Few businesses could afford a 24 hour, 365 day a year guard but with our state of the art alarm systems you get just that. As in CCTV the improvements in reliability mean your alarm is always on guard whenever you want. You can also receive alerts from your system by text, e-mail or via our partner monitoring station. We are NACOSS Gold accredited which will also fulfil any stipulations by your insurance provider. Many businesses are now seeing the benefit of securing their premises when they are there. An entry system allows you to control who comes and goes from your premises. This can be a simple audio link between you and an entry point. If you have high value stock and equipment you may want to consider a system that uses electronic keys issued to staff and visitors so you can control what areas they access. An enhancement we can offer to your security entry system is automated doors and gates. In buildings with public access it is expected that you comply with DDA regulations. Providing an automated entrance goes a long way to achieving compliance. In a retail environment it makes your premises more appealing to all customers. The doors, gates and barriers are available in many shapes and sizes. We can provide the one to suit your needs. All of the systems we offer are in their own right good security solutions. However our experience allows us to integrate each of these to provide an all round, peace of mind security for your staff, family and property VWS – 25 years of getting it right first time!


Photo by Harry Hall, Lochside Photography.

Love Loch Lomond Launch

NEW TOURIST STRATEGY: A good turnout for Love Loch Lomond despite severe weather.

A NEW industry-led group is urging tourism businesses to Love Loch Lomond and join in helping it promote the area’s world famous natural beauty At Love Loch Lomond’s (LLL) inaugural meeting on 30 November at Cameron House Hotel more than 80 businesses braved the severe ice and snow to attend. A further 50 which signed up were unable to make it because of the weather. The not-for-profit group merges two established local trade bodies – Lomond and Clyde Tourist Association and accommodation website provider – Stay at Loch Lomond. The idea is to maximise the business and marketing benefits of being associated with Loch Lomond and to reinvest any income generated in tourism-related projects and initiatives determined by the LLL board, explained chairman, Graeme Nesbitt, who is also general manager at Cameron House Hotel. “Successful visitor destinations don’t happen by accident and are often led by strong private sector groups based on effective collaboration and partnership working. “Competition throughout the world and more locally here in Scotland is hotting up with the emergence of well funded and dedicated local destination organisations. “There is an urgent need for us to come together as a strong and unified force to more strongly position our area in the global marketplace and to drive up the overall quality of the visitor experience. “We aim to do this with support from our public sector partners and in particular, Scottish Enterprise, local authorities, the National Park Authority and VisitScotland.” Membership is open to all tourist, visitor and related businesses within the Loch Lomond, West Dunbartonshire, Clyde sea lochs and Strathendrick areas. The aim is to involve members in promoting and developing the area as one of the world’s premier destinations leading to benefits for businesses, local people and visitors.

New Tourism Signpost Website

The group is dedicated to working collaboratively to capitalise on the area’s strong tourism potential by: •

Marketing and promoting the area as quality year-round destination through a new website and a range of other innovative and cost effective activities;

Enhancing the overall quality of the visitor experience through customer service and product development initiatives;

Representing the interests of tourism businesses by lobbying a range of local and national bodies on issues which impact on tourism infrastructure and future growth prospects of the area; and

Providing useful business networking opportunities to improve and grow tourism locally.

Over the next few months its main thrust will be to develop a new website for an April launch and to seek funding for a project manager for the organisation. Meantime more information can be found at the existing websites noted below. Feedback from the first meeting has been positive and 70 people have already joined LLL. It offers a range of member benefits in return for a joining fee starting at £95 a year and going up to £320 depending on turnover. Corporate and multiple business membership rates are also available on request. Members will feature on the website portal with photographs, get a share of visitor click throughs and be offered opportunities for additional website exposure through home page highlights and special/seasonal offers. There are also plans for marketing and PR campaigns relevant to specific tourism sectors, for involvement in surveys and customer feedback, as well as product knowledge and service initiative programmes.

A NEW online tourism signpost for West Dunbartonshire is set to go live in March. The valuable resource for local tourism and hospitality businesses is currently being developed by West Dunbartonshire Council and the area’s Tourism Partnership in conjunction with Clydebank-based marketing agency, Nomad Associates – a chamber member.

The website-based toolkit will benefit existing and new ventures by providing advice and guidance for businesses looking to grow and expand their operations. It will also signpost information on sector skills requirements, vacancies, local events and information sessions, grants and funding opportunities. 37

Benefits of Chamber Membership If you are already a member, you will know what a dynamic and forwardlooking organisation the chamber is and how hard it works to represent and promote businesses in Dunbartonshire. If you have not yet joined, the benefits of joining and being a member of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce can be summed up as follows:

■ ■ Networking opportunities to promote your business and make new contacts.

■ ■ Access to a full programme of free or subsidised business training and information events.

■ ■ Free copies of quarterly magazine ‘InCommerce’ and a discounted rate for advertising.

■ ■ Information about other business events and business support in Dunbartonshire through our partnerships with Scottish Enterprise, East and West Dunbartonshire Councils and Business Gateway.

■ ■ Business support and advice from the chamber development officer and other chamber directors.

■ ■ Access to additional benefits which currently include: ■ ■ Exclusive rates for AA membership; ■ ■ Free VAT and PAYE health checks; ■ ■ Discounted telecoms; ■ ■ The opportunity to take advantage of the members’ discount scheme or to offer your own discount to members;

■ ■ Access to our database of members; ■ ■ The chance to have an on-line presence via the Dunbartonshire Chamber website business listing. A graduated scale of membership fees makes the chamber accessible to everyone, from new starts to multi-nationals, and a policy of encouraging our schools to join has meant a lively connection to the employees and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. You do not have to be based in Dunbartonshire to join – only be interested in business in the area. Information on joining is on the website,

Photo by David Mitchell

by telephone on 0141 280 0272 or by filling in the form below.

If you would like someone to contact you to discuss joining, fill out the form below and send it to the address indicated. Name: Business name: Position in business: Address: Post Code Contact phone number: 38

Best time to call: Send to

Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, Strathleven House,

Vale of Leven Industrial Estate,

Dumbarton G82 3PD.

Telephone: 0141 280 0272 E-mail:

New and Renewing Members Company






3DotDash Ltd

Keith Underhill

Consultancy and risk management


07880 698558

Absolut Cupcakes

Margaret Darroch

Specialist baker


07792 737519

Alger Electrics & Alarms Ltd

Linda Palombo

Electrical/security products


01389 767129

All Dressed Up

Victoria Crighton

Chair cover hire and venue dressers


01389 604930

Ashworth Maps & Interpretation Ltd

Mick Ashworth

Maps, geographical information and landscape interpretation


0141 772 2570

Aspire Management Services

Gordon Mowat

Sustainable wealth growth


01436 821900

Chivas Brothers Ltd

Jennifer Brophy

Premium gin and whisky company


0141 531 2526

Clyde & Forth Press (Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter)

Lorna Scobie



0141 435 8821

Clyde Scaffolding Ltd

Scott Bisset

Scaffolding contractors


0141 776 2854

Clydebank College

Gordon Paterson

Further education


0141 951 7771/ 0141 951 7400

Clydebank re-built

Eleanor McAllister

Urban regeneration company


0141 951 3420

David Muir & Co

David Muir

Estate agents


01389 734366

DFD Advisory Services

David Douglas

Consultants in health and safety/air cargo security


01389 732476

Diamond Childcare Services Ltd

Maxine McCance

Childcare services


0141 951 4754

DPS Agency

David Scouller

Marketing consultant


0141 775 0909

Dunbritton Housing Association Ltd

Marie Clare Freke

Housing association


01389 761486

East Dunbartonshire Council

Crawford McGhie

Local authority


0141 578 8643

Experisys IT Limited

Neil Stevenson

Computer and related activities


0141 952 4963

Glenbrae Veterinary Clinic Ltd

Wendy McGrandles

Veterinary surgeons


0141 942 7070


Anthony MacKinnon

Health and safety consultancy


01389 721465

Highland Reserve Forces & Cadets' Assocociation

R.C.A. MacGregor MBE

Reserve forces


01382 631026

J C Roxburgh & Co Ltd

Stewart Roxburgh

Commercial insurance brokers and IFAs


0141 952 0371

J J R Print Ltd

David MacDonald

Printers and stationers


01389 763765

James Cargill Ltd

David McCowan

Mortgage broker/financial advisor

By Alexandria

01389 850606

JMA Business Consultants Ltd

John Allan

Business consultant


01389 764846


David Fulton

Government department


0141 847 4301

Lomond Accountancy

Martin Greener

Accountancy and business advisors


01436 831138

Lomond IT Services Ltd

Graeme Robertson

IT consultancy


07740 423713

McArthur Stanton

Scott Docherty



01389 762266

McEwen & Company

John Prior

Chartered accountants


0141 776 1258

McKay Roofing Ltd

Ian McKay

Roofing contractors


0141 776 5223

McLellan & Co

W McLellan

Chartered accountants


01389 710858

MEI Beauty

Nikki Wright

Beauty salon


01389 755155

Merlin Business Services Ltd

Bryan Swan

Accounting services


0844 855 2316

Paterson Holms

Scott Cowie



0141 942 8825

Portnellan Farm LLP

Freda Scott-Park

Organic dairy and beef farm and self-catering accommodation


01389 830487

Premier Facilities

Phil Simpson

Commercial and residential property cleaning and maintenance


0141 561 0561

Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust

Sharita Padaruth

Business services youth programme (charity)


0141 435 7560

Rennie McInnes LLP

Stewart Rennie



0141 562 9540

Ryans Pet Centre

Robert Ryan

Pet shop


01389 732552


Scottish Historic Buildings Trust

Elizabeth Mackay

Historic buildings trust


Sector 3 Audio Visual

Paul Ferri

Audio visual consultants


Sim Property Management Ltd

Russell Sim

Leasing of own properties (office & industrial)


0141 952 1444

St Andrew's College Summer Schools Ltd

John Corcoran

English language courses


0141 229 0963

The Beardmore Hotel & Conference Centre

Eileen Newman

Hotel and conference venue/spa and health club


0141 951 6000

The Lennox Partnership

Blyth Deans

Economic development


0141 951 1131

The TELL Organisation Ltd

Maurenn McCann

Training consultants


01389 726555

The Wealth Partnership

Derek Fish

Independent financial advisers


01786 476747

The Wright Taxi Company (Scotland) Ltd

Allan Wright

Taxi company


01389 721020

Walker Contract Interiors Ltd

Martin Walker

Contract furnishers


0141 776 0222

Weddings at Loch Lomond

Victoria Crighton

Wedding directory for Loch Lomond


01389 604930

West Dunbartonshire Council

Kai Karlsen

Local government (economic development)


01389 737504

Wilkie & Rider

William Wilkie

Retail jewellers and opthalmic opticians


01389 762112

Your Stress Management

Jessica Smyrl

On and off-site stress management services, Glasgow risk assessment, audit, courses and consultancy.

0141 954 4064

Information up-to-date to end of December 2010.





Member-to-Member Offers / Discounts / Services (Chamber members only)

This is a list of offers from chamber members to help other member businesses through these challenging times. Please help each other!


Company / Business

Offer / Discount / Service


3DotDash Ltd Consultancy and risk management Glasgow

Free initial consultation and 10 per cent discount on fees for health and safety consultation, training, risk assessments, employment law, business continuity planning and food hygiene.

Keith Underhill 07880 698558

Action Coach Business coaching Glasgow

Free business health check (worth £275) to identify business strengthening strategies. Second place free of charge when booking a place on our business planning day. Free first session at ProfitCLUB education and networking group.

Bill French 0141 274 2010/07753 864150

Aimee Bridal Wedding gowns, wedding planning and services Dumbarton

Ten per cent discount on all bridal gowns.

Lynsey Lumsden 01389 765105

All Dressed Up Chair cover hire and venue dressers Alexandria

Alexandria’s premier chair cover hire company offer a 10 per cent discount on hiring chair covers, sashes and centerpieces. Also for hire - table linen to suit all sizes and white linen napkins. See

Victoria Crighton 01389 604930/07828 012235

Aspire Management Services Sustainable wealth growth Rhu

Free business health check-up (normally charged at £400) and 15 per cent off all consulting, coaching and training services.

Gordon Mowat 01436 821900

Best Acts Entertainment agency Dumbarton

Ten per cent discount for entertainment bookings.

James Smart 01389 761741/07737 821378

BH Risk Assessment Fire and safety assessment and consultancy Kirkintilloch

Twenty per cent discount on services to members. See website: www.

William Hunter 0141 578 1697/07948 796448

Buchanan Castle Golf Club Golf club Drymen

Discounted green fee - £30, includes 15 minute swing and club check with club professional. Discounted entry fee (£300). Loyalty discount of £100 off subscriptions in years two and three. Academy membership - available to all members taking up golf.

Janet Dawson 01360 660307

Calbarrie Ltd Portable appliance testing and fire extinguishers Glasgow

Twenty per cent discount on portable appliance testing (PAT) and fire extinguisher supply and maintenance.

Roy McGregor 0141 561 1495

Can You Experience Co Ltd Outdoor activities provider Balloch

Ten per cent off guided canoe trips for groups of six or more. One free place for every 10 paying customers on any of our corporate events.

Janice Hawick 01389 756251/07740 650729

Clydebank Estate & Letting Agents Estate agents Clydebank

Free registration for house sales and letting saving £295 on sales and £195 on letting costs. See

Sharon Halliday 0141 952 9988

Contract Inspection Services Independent clerk of works Alexandria

Ten percent discount for members.

Mike Kelly 01389 751138/07757 053894

Cruise Loch Lomond Cruise operator Tarbet

One child travels free for families of two adults + two children on any scheduled cruise. £375 per hour charter reduced to £325 per hour for private functions, weddings or corporate functions (minimum three hour charter).

Stuart Cordner 01301 702356

David Muir & Co Estate agents Dumbarton

Free consultation and full market appraisal to house sellers. Ten per cent off estate agency fees.

David Muir 01389 734366/07921 070075

DFD Advisory Services Health and safety/aviation security consultants Dumbarton

Fifteen per cent discount on preparation of safety policy and procedures or security policy and procedures and advice on exports and imports logistics. Ten per cent discount on other health and safety services or security services.

David Douglas 01389 732476/07702 046 671

DM Direct Ltd Mailing house Clydebank

Ten per cent discount on mailing house services.

Catherine Smith 0141 952 5954

DPS Agency Marketing consultant Lenzie

Free one hour consultation - will result in a written report outlining proposals to grow your business.

David Scouller 0141 775 0909/07817 384705

Dumbarton Football Club Football club Dumbarton

Excellent discounted meeting room rates for chamber members. For more information telephone Bill Paterson on 01389 762569.

Bill Paterson 01389 762569

Easy Web Sites Ltd Website development Glasgow

Discounted packages and free online advice given to all chamber members.

Stephen Flynn 0141 533 1819

GO Group (Glasgow Opportunities) Business opportunities Glasgow

Series of pdf files on professional development, with the possibility of 50 per cent funding for educational courses.

Mark Houston 0141 572 8324/0845 602 1249

HAVM Health and safety consultancy Alexandria

A free health and safety audit on existing health and safety policies and procedures to all fellow members and a 10 per cent discount on all health and safety work carried out.

Anthony MacKinnon 01389 721465/07851 863299

James Cargill Ltd Mortgage broker/financial advisor Arden

Free confidential debt advice.

David McCowan 01389 850606/07833 751454

JJR Print Ltd Printers and stationers Dumbarton

Ten per cent off all services offered.

Stewart Byron 01389 763765

Killermont Investments Stockbroking and investments Glasgow

Free consultation on pensions and investments.

James Richardson 0141 946 3000

The Laundry Lady Laundry services Alexandria

Twenty per cent off all laundry services and 10 per cent off dry cleaning services, plus two for the price of one on duvet cleaning.

Karen Merrick 01389 721095

Long Bros Blinds Ltd Blindmakers Clydebank

Free survey, quotation and fitting on window blinds, shutters, awnings, external and internal security shutters. Three for the price of two on selected Venetian blinds while stocks last.

Martin Long 0141 941 1852

McKay Roofing Ltd Roofing contractors Kirkintilloch

Ten per cent discount for all chamber members.

Ian McKay 0141 776 5223

McGaw Consulting t/a Auditel Telecoms utilities consulting Milngavie

Free initial overheads health check.

Derek McGaw 0141 564 3080/07766 642863

Mobility Scotland Ltd Positive living products Glasgow

Ten per cent off all mobility equipment, which covers rise and recline chairs, adjustable beds, scooters and stairlifts - small daily living products are excluded. Offer is open to members and immediate family. Free advice and guidance available.

Billy Finnie 0141 775 0396

Nomad Associates Marketing services agency Clydebank

Minimum 15 per cent discount on most services.

Damon Scott 0141 951 7810

Park Life Magazine Magazine producer Croftamie

Fifteen per cent off advertising in Park Life or Stirling Life magazines. See www.

Katrina Gardner 01360 661317/07791 976910

Phoenix Intelligent Solutions Corporate intelligence/business protection Dumbarton

Ten per cent off normal quoted rates for corporate espionage protection.

Alex Gardner 01389 721111

Poppy Love Flowers, balloons and gifts Kirkintilloch

Ten per cent off all products for chamber members.

Tracey Dunn 0141 573 0077

R B Steel & Co Removals and storage Helensburgh

Free seven day moving crate hire with commercial removals. Free first four weeks document storage. Free no obligation home survey and moving advice. Special price for storage charges, domestic and commercial removals.

James Steel 01436 675444/07976 967878

Raising Standards Training consultancy Clydebank

Fifty per cent discount on all compliance training (health and safety, food safety). Discount on ‘Leading and Managing Change’ event. Low cost training and development to members.

Stuart Moffat 0141 589 2617/07960 810467

Ross Telecom Consultancy Telecoms consultancy Lenzie

Review of spend on telecoms to seek cost savings with implementation review. No savings = no fee.

Iain Ross 07971 087309

Scottish Historic Buildings Trust Historic buildings trust Dumbarton

Offices to let and conference rooms for hire at Strathleven House in Alexandria. Preferential rates given to chamber members on booking fees for the conference rooms.

Elizabeth Mackay 01389 750005

Sector 3 Audio Visual Audio visual consultants Bearsden

Equal amount of advisory time spent with chamber members willing to take part in research project - see InCommerce No 2.

Paul Ferri 07766 540972

Semtech Motors Motor engineers Kirkintilloch

Ten per cent off labour costs and MOTs for £35 only to chamber members.

Steve Meldrum 0141 776 1919

Serenity Scene Holistic therapies Dumbarton

Twenty per cent off standard price, or first treatment with second treatment half price, or three for the price of two on Indian head massage, Swedish body massage, facial massage, reiki and aromatherapy.

May Quigley 01389 734180/07888 681747

Sovereign Select Chauffeur driven cars and wedding car specialists Kirkintilloch

Top quality chauffeur-driven and wedding cars, airport transfers and family celebration transport. Special terms for account holders and chamber members. Wedding discounts and 10 per cent discount when two or more cars are booked.

Robert Mackenzie 0141 776 4341/07593 192854

The Wright Taxi Company (Scotland) Ltd Taxi company Alexandria

Ten per cent off fares over £20. Contract work at preferential rates. Areas covered include Alexandria, Dumbarton, Cardross and surroundings.

Allan Wright 01389 721020 Alexandria

ViKing Business Services Payroll, book-keeping and office admin Rhu, Helensburgh

Initial set-up fee waived. Payroll from only £15 per month. Bookkeeping, training and admin services at preferential hourly rates.

Jacqui King & Veronica McBrearty 01436 820272/07823 334556

Walters of Clydebank Trophy centre Clydebank

Ten per cent discount on all items priced on the website, plus other unlisted offers.

Christine Allan 0141 952 1395

Whispering Willows Holistic health and beauty therapies Dumbarton

Chamber members will receive a generous 50 per cent discount on our ‘Sunday Sanctuary’ and ‘Mellow Monday’ treatments, which are designed to relieve stress and promote relaxation and wellbeing. Ten per cent discount on any other day.

Alaine Welsh 01389 730700


Events Diary... FEBRUARY


Thursday 17 February 6pm

Thursday 21 April 6pm

3rd Thursday: Meeting Your Staff and Training Needs

3rd Thursday: The Power of the Web

World of Golf, Clydebank

World of Golf, Clydebank

£12/£15 non-members

£12/£15 non-members

Angela Kershaw of the Tell Organisation provides a valuable insight into the training and support available to a range of companies with differing needs. Don’t miss this opportunity to find out more about how you can meet your training or staff requirements often with funding available.

Online presence and communications are now seen as an essential part of businesses whether it’s as a resource for your existing customers, a cost-effective marketing channel or a way to attract new business. This event will lift the lid on website development and online marketing.

BUSINESS GATEWAY WORKSHOPS Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 March 6 - 9pm Business Planning It is essential to have a realistic, working business plan when you’re starting up a business. This two-part course will guide you through the process.

Tuesday 15 March 6 - 9pm

MARCH Tuesday 8 March 12pm Business Links Lunch: Making Connections


Financial Records Find out the best way to manage your business finances.

Wednesday 30 March 6 - 9pm

Tuesday 10 May

Marketing Your Business

Esporta, Milngavie

Business Links Lunch

Understand the basics of market research and marketing.

£12/£15 non-members

Thursday 19 May

A chance to meet with fellow business people, tell them about your business and hear about theirs. Everyone will have a couple of minutes to present within their own group. A great business development opportunity!

3rd Thursday

These Business Gateway (BG) courses are FREE and are held at the BG office in Clydebank.

Check chamber website for more details and venues.

To book any of the above or if you require further information please call BG on 0141 435 7560.

Thursday 17 March 6pm 3rd Thursday: Running a Healthy Business World of Golf, Clydebank £12/£15 non-members An expert from Campbell Dallas, accountants, will give the low-down on tax and taxation to ensure you have the essential knowledge you need to run a healthy business. Knowledge of this nature is particularly important for trading in difficult times.

OTHER EVENTS 15 March 9.45am – 4pm B2B Scotland 2011 SECC, Glasgow FREE Scotland’s FREE-to-attend business development event provides a unique networking and educational platform featuring workshops, seminars and exhibitions. Supported by Scottish Enterprise, HSBC and other leading business development organisations.

BOOKING FOR CHAMBER EVENTS Book online at or phone our events team on 0141 280 0272

Register at

If you want your event listed email: 42



‘ON TAP’ FOR JOHN DOHERTY PLUMBING JOHN Doherty Plumbing and Heating has an impressive track record of achievement in its field – one which it intends to continue to build with help from Fit for Growth.

But the owner/manager of this Old Kilpatrick family business, John Doherty, is not one for resting on his laurels. He is looking to grow and

develop the firm by seeking a bigger share of the public procurement market and is determined to overcome obstacles in doing so. “With the downturn in the construction market things have been more difficult,” he admitted. I realised we needed some help with procurement when we kept being beat at the pre-qualification questionnaire stage by bigger companies.” “It’s not that we can’t do the jobs – we can – we have everything in place for that but it’s the process that is difficult for firms like us. So I contacted Kai Karlsen at West Dunbartonshire Council and he put me in touch with John Allan, an expert adviser at the Fit for Growth Programme.

Fit for Growth is a part European funded discretionary programme which offers an enhanced package of free advisory services, grants and expert advice for new and existing businesses across Dunbartonshire. It is a partnership between Argyll & Bute and East and West Dunbartonshire Councils.

Under the programme, a FREE comprehensive Business Development Review was carried out resulting in a detailed growth action plan. Expert advice ranged from: � � �

Advising on various capital and other grants available from West Dunbartonshire Council to assist with the implementation of the Action Plan; Signposting to the Supplier Development Programme and the Scottish Construction Centre; Putting the firm in touch with an IT consultant so that it could enhance and develop its online presence.

“I helped the business develop an action plan which highlighted some key issues. We did some broad financial projections for the next 12 months to show how the various actions suggested would impact on the business,” explained Mr Allan. “Mr Doherty has a good business with scope for it to develop and grow. One of the things I suggested was that he re-visit some of his old contacts which he did and got some new contracts as a result.” The Fit for Growth Review also includes a follow-up visit in about four month’s time to assess progress and ascertain whether any further help is needed.

business gateway

To see how Fit for Growth can help your business contact Kai Karlsen, West Dunbartonshire/Helensburgh and Lomond 01389 737504, and Liz McHard, East Dunbartonshire Council 0141 578 8520,


Lomondgate Drive, Dumbarton Tel: 0871 527 9274 Terms and conditions. Great value meal deals – 2 main meals for £10 and 2 desserts for £2 are available on selected main meals and desserts and are subject to availability. These offers are available Monday – Friday 12pm – 6.30pm. Brewers Fayre reserves the right to withdraw these offers at any time and without prior notice and their decision is final.

rooms f




per nigh


Dumbarton Now open Book now at or call 0871 527 9274

Everything’s Premier emier but the Price

Advertised rates are room only inclusive of VAT. Bookings must be made online at least 21 days in advance of stay. Offer is available for stays until 02.05.11 at selected Premier Inns only and is subject to availability. Please check alternative dates if your selected date is not available. For a full list of participating hotels and available dates please visit Offer is valid for 1 night stays on Sunday nights, at selected airport hotels and at certain times of the year. At other times, a minimum 2 night stay must be taken. Please check online for more information. No cancellations, amendments or refunds can be made. A £2 processing fee will be applied if you pay for your Premier Offer by credit card; there is no charge for payments made with debit cards. Prices correct at time of going to print.

InCommerce Dunbartonshire - Issue 11  

The Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce Business Magazine