Tricia Fox, entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Volpa, shares her thoughts on female entrepreneurship

“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s as good a time as any to reflect. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 16 years. It wasn’t a career path I was encouraged to follow but, like many marketing and PR professionals before me, I sort of fell into running my own business. Most people I knew warned me not to. It was risky, they said. I had given up my job as a management consultant and found myself with free time pitching my writing skills to a former colleague, who subsequently hired me to do their PR as a freelancer. It was the beginning of a venture into self-employment, which then snowballed into the start-up of a limited company, the growth of an agency and here I am today.

“I came up through the ranks of running a business in the early noughties when women’s entrepreneurship was firmly on the rise. Events encouraging women to start their own business were as commonplace as fish and chip shops on a British High Street. I embraced it all. When you start a business your learning curve is steep, almost perpendicular. You are constantly learning on the job with the most wide-ranging responsibilities. From taking out the bins to setting the strategy, no stone of your company should be left unturned by you. You never know what’s lurking under stones.

“Movements like International Women’s Day and grassroot movements of women’s business clubs have all contributed to my career in scaling a business. But surely blokes run businesses too? Isn’t it sexist to have women only clubs?

“I’m all for equality. I believe in rewarding based on merit. But the truth of the matter is that the world behaves differently to women entrepreneurs. My husband runs his own business too. Unlike me, I can honestly say that he’s never been asked by his bank how much his wife earns when he’s arranging an overdraft because, you know, things might not work out… In his case they didn’t even ask him if he had a wife. Similarly there’s a whole load of business opportunities I’ve not been able to access because I’m not the least bit interested in golf/football/fishing/rugby and other male dominated sports. Now we’re bigger I can send my staff on these but, as a start up, I was unable to participate because I lacked the ability to play the game. Everyday sexism pervades our landscape but with female entrepreneurship on the rise, the tide is changing. If it takes a bit of female focused activity to turn the tables, then that’s ok by me.

“So for those who are swithering on the verge of entrepreneurship, whether you are male or female, take the jump. Do it. But if you’re a woman, be sure to know the ins and outs of your husband’s finances before you open your business bank account. Just in case.”

Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Leckie and his wife Fiona, who is in charge of interior design at the flagship hotel, Crieff Hydro in Perthshire, are heading to this year’s ScotHot to share their tips and experiences on being a couple working together in the hospitality industry.


The Leckie’s will participate in a gameshow-style panel at the trade event on March 13 at the SEC in Glasgow, which showcases the food, drink, hospitality and tourism industry in Scotland.


Stephen and Fiona met at Crieff Hydro in 1981 when Stephen, fifth-generation owner of the resort, taught Fiona how to water-ski. They married in 1990 and had their reception at Crieff Hydro.


This high-profile couple, who are parents of four, aren’t the only pairing to work together at the resort. Crieff Hydro currently has four other couples working there, who met on the job.


A spokesperson for Crieff Hydro said:

“Currently we have four couples working here who have met at Crieff Hydro, one of whom recently welcomed their first baby. Who knows why romance is in the air here? It might be something to do with our idyllic Highland setting. Or it could be simply that we’re a major employer in the area, with 600 staff, so there’s more of a chance of meeting your mate.”


One of the couples who fell in love while working at Crieff Hydro is getting ready to tie the knot right where they first met. Laura Tye and Angus Anderson are due to get married at Crieff Hydro this month.


Laura, who works in the resort sales team, and Angus – a sous chef in the hotel’s Meikle restaurant – felt an ‘instant spark’ when they were introduced in the resort’s popular staff bar ‘The Social’.


Laura said:

“There is a real sense of community across the whole team. There are plenty of opportunities to socialise, meet people with different backgrounds, and learn about other cultures. I’ve made tons of friends here, and meeting my life partner is the icing on the cake!”


For more information visit www.crieffhydrofamily.com

Highland Perthshire’s spectacular autumnal sound and lighting event, The Enchanted Forest, has been featured in the latest edition of the award-winning travel guide, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide.

The guide is updated annually, with the latest edition for Scotland becoming available to the public in February. This is the event’s first time featuring in the guide under their “A Year in Scotland” spread, taking pride of place in the October spot. The image of the event featured in the publication was taken by local councillor and professional photographer, Angus Forbes.

The guide also highlights some of Scotland leading events including Hogmanay, The Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival. Fellow Perthshire event, the Perth Festival of the Arts, also gets a mention in DK’s round up for things to do in Scotland in May.

Ian Sim, Trustee of The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, said:

“I’m so pleased to see The Enchanted Forest take pride of place in what is a leading series of guidebooks for visitors to Scotland. We have increasing numbers of international visitors attending the event every year and this will only serve to extend the reach of The Enchanted Forest to new visitors for years to come.”

The DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Scotland is available from all leading bookshops. For more information on The Enchanted Forest, please visit: www.enchantedforest.org.uk

Two Dundee youths have been given valuable work experience – and a peek into life in a busy care home – as part of a drive to increase apprenticeship opportunities.


Balhousie St Ronans, part of the award-winning Balhousie Care Group, currently has two teenagers on work experience placements in its kitchen, where Head Chef Daniel Inglis has been sharing his expertise.


James Davidson, 15, is on work experience from St John’s RC High School in Dundee while Matthew Craig, 15, a student at Dundee’s Morgan Academy, is doing a placement as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award.


James did so well during a week of work experience at the care home that his school agreed to him continuing to spend a day a week there. Chef Daniel knew Matthew’s mother and that he was having difficulty gaining kitchen experience for his DoE award, because of his age. Balhousie St Ronans agreed to take him on.


Daniel is known for matching a busy work schedule with extra-curricular mentoring to young people. He said: “I come in here in my own time to mentor them and when I’m working I’ll stay late to teach. I don’t teach people for credit or thanks, I do it because I love passing on what other chefs have taught me over the years. In catering there is no better feeling. I couldn’t be prouder of both young lads.”


Apprenticeships play an important role in Balhousie Care Group’s corporate agenda. And as the Perth-based firm celebrates Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019, running all of this week, it revealed that it has been involved in more than 120 apprenticeships in the last two years.


Balhousie St Ronans care home manager Denise McCorkindale said:


“Our care homes are as much a part of the community as they are homes for our residents. That’s why it’s important to us to invite in school and college pupils to soak up the experience of working in a care home and providing the services we do. Daniel is to be commended for his hard work in mentoring, and the whole care home team for taking James and Matthew under their wing.”


Claire Docherty, Head of Operations at Balhousie Care Group, said:


“We see it as our duty as an employer to provide opportunities for our local youth. Apprenticeships and work-based learning play an increasingly important role for our youth and our workforce and we’re proud to be involved with them.”


To find out more about Balhousie Care Group visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

The Real Mary King’s Close is celebrating the beginning of Scottish Tourism Month with an Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Business Award and record-breaking visitor numbers.


The five-star social history tour on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile beat off tough competition to take home the Service Excellence Award – a first for the attraction and the Chamber, which only created the category this year.


The Service Excellence Award is given to businesses which show high customer satisfaction rates and a first-class customer experience. With a 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor, The Real Mary King’s Close has a state-of-the-art website, free audio guides in ten languages, and a team recruited for their passion for history and enthusiasm for tourism.
The award comes at the end of a record-breaking year for The Real Mary King’s Close, which has grown from 60,000 annual visitors 16 years ago, to a record 256,000 visitors this year. Working with an on-site researcher and a professor at Edinburgh University, the popular attraction delivers experiences filled with history and tailored to meet different visitors’ needs.


The award was presented last Thursday evening at what was the Chamber’s largest business awards ceremony yet.


Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Liz McAreavey, said:


“We recognised that service excellence is a key deliverable for our membership, and with so many great examples happening across Edinburgh, this year seemed like an ideal time to start showcasing the businesses striving to create excellence in everything they do. The Real Mary King’s Close is a deserving first winner of this award, and showed exemplary performance across customer engagement, service, and experiences. Well done to the whole team.”


Juliana Delaney, CEO of Continuum Attractions, which operates The Real Mary King’s Close, said:


“We’re delighted to have been recognised by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce for our first-class customer service, and what better way to kick off Scottish Tourism Month than this with accolade. It’s a huge vote of support for the whole team at The Real Mary King’s Close. They are at the heart of our organisation, which is why we are committed to training and development. We’re incredibly proud of our service and are excited about what is ahead this next year.”


For more information, visit www.realmarykingsclose.com

Dundee Heritage Trust, which runs the award-winning visitor attractions Discovery Point and Verdant Works, has appointed Deirdre Robertson as its Chief Executive Officer.

Formerly Chief Operating Officer and Advisor for Tate and board member of Dundee Contemporary Arts, Deirdre brings voluntary, non-executive and senior executive experience in UK charities, arts and education, including the museum and galleries sector. She is currently Chair of the Exhibiting Societies of Scottish Artists and Trustee of West Ward Works and has previously served on the Coastal Community Fund, Big Lottery Scotland Committee, the board of Craft Scotland and  project teams overseeing major capital projects at Napier University’s Grade C listed Craiglockhart campus, the Grade A listed Marischal College of Aberdeen, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and Tate St Ives. A native of Dundee, graduate of Dundee University Law School and postgraduate of Duncan and Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Deirdre is delighted to now be back full time in the city for which she has maintained a constant passion. 

Deirdre said: “It’s a hugely exciting time to be working in cultural tourism in Dundee, particularly in two such well loved attractions.  Verdant Works and Discovery Point are real Scottish gems – consistently rated number one and two on Trip Advisor – all credit to their superb staff, volunteers and committed board. There is still a huge job to do though, particularly on fundraising and sponsorship, against a backdrop of remarkably low external funding. I feel genuinely privileged to now be part of the Dundee Heritage Trust team that is tirelessly developing these amazing attractions to ensure their long term benefit for both the city and Scotland. I am looking forward to working together with partners – old and new – to help lever us from what I think may best be described as a tipping point, to maximise the significant wider opportunities cultural tourism can bring.”

Andy Lothian, Chairman of Dundee Heritage Trust said: 

“Deirdre’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer is central to Dundee Heritage Trust’s role in our City and Scotland. She brings extraordinary experience of the charity and museum sectors, outstanding leadership qualities and a passion for Dundee that is inspiring. We’re delighted that Deirdre will be leading the wonderful team at Dundee Heritage Trust.”

Deirdre begins her role this month (March).

For more information visit www.dundeeheritagetrust.co.uk

As Marie Curie’s biggest annual fundraising campaign, the Great Daffodil Appeal launches today (March 1), organisers of Etape Caledonia, the UK’s original closed-roads sportive, are urging riders not to miss out on the opportunity to sign up for charity places with Team Marie Curie, the event’s official charity partner.

Charity places are still available for the Limelight Sports event which takes place on Sunday, May 19, 2019, in Highland Perthshire. By cycling for Team Marie Curie, participants will be enabling Marie Curie Nurses to continue to provide essential care to people living with a terminal illness, and vital emotional support to their loved ones.

Team Marie Curie charity places start at £24.99 for a 40-mile place (£150 minimum sponsorship); for an 85-mile place there’s a £59.99 registration fee (£350 minimum sponsorship). The 85-mile Gold Bond option includes a range of premium benefits with a £59.99 registration fee (£650 minimum sponsorship).

The successful partnership, which is now in its 11th year, has seen Marie Curie receive £1.6million from the event and organisers hope 2019’s Etape Caledonia will raise a further £80,000 for the charity.

With under three months until the event, organisers Limelight Sports are looking forward to seeing many charity riders out on the roads around Highland Perthshire raising money for an important cause. Craig Dews, CEO at Limelight Sports, said: “As Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal launches this month, we are urging riders not to miss out on the opportunity to support this hugely worthwhile cause by registering for a charity place and raising much needed funds. The work that this charity does is inspiring and we hope their efforts will motivate people to get on their bike in Highland Perthshire on May 19th at Etape Caledonia.”

Helen Stevens, Marie Curie Senior Project Manager for Etape Caledonia, said: “As the official charity partner for Etape Caledonia, we hope cyclists from across the UK will be inspired to get pedalling for team Marie Curie and raise vital funds for families living with terminal illness.”

Helen added: “Launching today, this year’s Great Daffodil Appeal offers people the opportunity to donate and wear a daffodil this month to support Marie Curie. Everyone deserves the care and support they need at the end of their life. Behind every daffodil there’s a story and, by wearing a daffodil, people can show their support.”

The Etape Caledonia was the UK’s first and original closed-roads event when it was launched in 2007. Limelight is encouraging past participants to get back in the saddle on May 19 to pedal Perthshire on an 85-mile and 40-mile closed-roads circuit that takes in some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes.

Participants wishing to register for Etape Caledonia and raise money for Marie Curie should visit www.etapecaledonia.co.uk

With just one month to go until April 1, a tax expert from leading Chartered Accountancy and Tax Advisory firm, Douglas Home & Company, is urging businesses who haven’t yet ‘gone digital’ to do so before the choice is taken away.


From April 1, 2019, Making Tax Digital (MTD), a government driven vision for a digital tax system, is going ‘live’ and all VAT registered businesses with a turnover greater than £85,000 will no longer be able to submit their VAT Return through the Government Gateway.


As many businesses in the UK are still using paper-based accounting systems, Sheryl Macaulay, a Chartered Accountant and tax specialist, is urging businesses to “take the leap to digital accounting software before being caught out.”


Sheryl explained:


“For a long time, this change in the way businesses and individuals manage their taxes has seemed in the distant future, but MTD is now less than six months away and, if you haven’t already ‘gone digital’, now’s the time to start the transition. Once April 1, 2019 arrives, paper-based records will not be accepted by the government and the days of the VAT Return will be gone.”


The government has introduced MTD to make it easier for businesses and individuals to deal with their taxes, so in the long run, the initiative should make processes smoother as long as they have the correct software. Sheryl said:


“Businesses need to ensure they have the compatible software for the new digital tax system. Some companies might think they have the correct accounting software, but it may need to be upgraded. I’d recommend speaking with us to review your circumstances.


“As with all new systems, it takes a bit of time to get used to the changes, but MTD should enable businesses to work even more effectively. For example, the accounting software will enable businesses to have more financial reporting capabilities at the touch of button.”


For advice on the arrival of Making Tax Digital and the options available, or to find out more about Douglas Home & Company visit http://www.douglashomeandco.co.uk

LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat – the 24hr world of Social Media means communication is just a click away at any time of the day. With so many networks available, it’s easier than ever to connect.

When an active online presence is an essential part of running your business, however, it can be hard to switch off, maintain some boundaries and manage client expectations.

There’s an understanding that networks such as LinkedIn are used to gain new business contacts. Set up a professional profile on here, and you accept that you may get a message out of the blue from a stranger, relating to your work. That’s the whole point of a ‘business’ network.

Personal space

However, when anyone with your mobile number can also find your profile on more personal networks, it’s also possible for clients to ‘slide into your DMs’ and contact you to discuss work here too.

A friend was recently taken aback when a client used Facebook Messenger to contact her directly. While she uses the app to chat with friends, clearly the client has no issue with using this network for their business. In this instance, however, the recipient felt the unexpected message had invaded her personal space.

Many of us feel we ought to accept friend requests from colleagues and clients on our personal Facebook profile. While there will be some people who are happy sharing every part of their private life, at some point most of us have been tagged in photos we’d rather clients didn’t see!

So how do we avoid these blurred lines?

Set some boundaries

Privacy settings can give some control, but when in doubt, it’s best to keep work and play separate. It’s why we help many of our clients set up business pages and manage their professional presence on social media for them.

If you don’t want clients connecting with you on your private social networks to discuss work outside business hours, it’s also wise to set out your preferred methods of contact and hours you are available at the very start of your working relationship.

Keep it professional

If you’ve already received a request from a client, a Twitter connection or someone you met at networking on a profile that you want to keep private, what is the best way to set out those boundaries without causing offence?

Don’t just ignore a request. If they are truly interested in connecting, you can do it in other places. If you have a profile on a business network site, such as LinkedIn or Workplace, you can send a request to connect there instead, saying: “This is where I stay in touch with work associates. I look forward to working with you!”

You don’t need to explain further or make excuses for not accepting them on your personal profile. We all have a life outside the office and deserve to be able to have a bit of private space when we are off the clock. A space where no-one is judging pictures from our last night out… except maybe our parents.

If you’re struggling to find a balance between having a personal life and managing your social media content, why not give our Digital Team a call on 01738 658187

A host of Scottish venues have been shortlisted as some of Scotland’s most responsible licensed premises in the prestigious Best Bar None National Awards.

The annual awards celebrate the nation’s bars, nightclubs and licensed premises who go the extra mile to promote responsible drinking and customer safety.

The finalists are:

Inverness – Platform 8, Gellions, The Auctioneers, Johnny Foxes & The Den, Chieftain Hotel, Revolution

Fife – Golden Acorn and Pinkertons

Stirling – Stirling University Union, Molly Malones, FUBAR

Glasgow – The Croft, McNabbs, Driftwood Bar, The Blythswood Hotel, Cathouse, The Garage, University of Strathclyde Union, Deoch an Dorus

Edinburgh – Black Rose Tavern

Hamilton – Hemingways, Carrigans

West Lothian – The Black Bull Inn, Glenmavis Tavern/Smiths

Cumbernauld – The Carrick Stone

Falkirk – Sportsters, High Spirits

Aberdeen – Soul Bar

East Ayrshire – Rock Diner, Aces Nightclub, WG13, Brass and Granite

East Lothian – Dunmuir Hotel, Queen Margaret Students’ Union

Borders – Queenshead Hotel

Dumfries – The Townhead Hotel

Airdrie and Coatbridge – Frequency, Eagle Inn

Best Bar None, which runs the popular national accreditation scheme of the same name, said it had received the highest calibre of entries yet for the awards. Finalists will attend a glittering ceremony on March 28th in Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro.

Robert Hogg, Best Bar None National Coordinator, now operating in 58 towns and cities across Scotland, said:

“The extremely high calibre of entries to our 2019 Best Bar None Awards proves that Scotland’s licensed trade is playing a leading role in promoting safe, responsible drinking and customer safety. The judges had a tough time narrowing down to these finalists. We can’t wait to see who takes home the prizes next month and wish all our finalists the best of luck.”

There are 10 categories: Pub, Independent Pub, Bar, Independent Bar, Hotel Bar, Nightclub, Specialist Entertainment Venue, Heart of the Community, Newcomer and Innovation in Social Responsibility. There is also a National Champion award.

Robin Tombs, CEO and Co-Founder of Yoti, said:

“We’re delighted to sponsor this year’s Best Bar None Awards, which celebrates those who go above and beyond to promote responsible drinking and give customers a safe night out. Personal safety is something we’re committed to – Yoti gives individuals a secure way to prove their age on nights out, without having to carry around valuable ID documents, which can be easily lost or stolen.

“We’re also working with Jägermeister to help promote responsible alcohol sales, and last year we partnered with the Improvement Service to help deliver digital services to Scottish citizens. Supporting this fantastic event is a great start to our work in Scotland, and to recognise those venues going the extra mile to encourage customer safety.”

Brett Crabtree, Head of Business Development at alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: 

“The finalists have all shown great commitment to making their venues safe and welcoming places that encourage responsible drinking, and where vulnerable customers are supported.  Bars and clubs across Scotland are implementing a wide range of schemes supporting innovation in social responsibility, and are investing in training to ensure their teams are equipped to promote a positive atmosphere in their venues, helping customers and their communities.”

The Best Bar None scheme’s vision is to have a scheme in every Local Authority Area in Scotland over the next three years. Currently it has a presence in 19 authorities.

For more information on Best Bar None and information on how to enter the awards through a local BBN coordinator visit www.bbnscotland.co.uk. For media information contact Gillian Drummond at 01738 700138 or 07490 259009.

A Scottish-based specialist in Chinese marketing is teaming up with one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions to make it more appealing and accessible to the ever-increasing numbers of tourists from the world’s second biggest economy.

Zudu, the first Scottish company to focus on digital strategies for breaking into the lucrative Chinese sector, is working closely with Dundee Heritage Trust who manage Discovery Point, the award-winning visitor experience which tells the story of Captain Scott’s RRS Discovery. DHT also runs Verdant Works, a jute mill turned social history and textile museum also in Dundee.

Situated on the shoreline next to the stunning new Kengo Kuma-designed V&A Dundee, Discovery Point is aiming to pique the interest not only of Chinese visitors to the UK but also the UK-based Chinese population. Zudu has created a unique digital marketing initiative for Discovery Point which can also help other Scottish and UK visitor attractions, hotels and restaurants to harness the power of Chinese digital platforms in the UK.

Zudu Managing Director James Buchan explained: “The Chinese digital landscape is completely different to that of the UK. More than half the population – up to 900 million people – use WeChat, the most popular social app in the country. “They don’t use Google, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and they don’t switch to these platforms when they visit countries in the West where their use is widespread. “They regard WeChat as the ‘app for everything’. It contains functionality such as chat, news, games, video calling, ecommerce, shopping and an electronic payment service. If business people in the UK want to interact with Chinese customers, they will have to do it through WeChat.”

Mark Munsie, Operations Director for Dundee Heritage Trust, said: “Dundee Heritage Trust and Discovery Point attracts major numbers of overseas tourists each year, as well as locals, so we are always looking at ways to enhance the visitor experience. WeChat is more than just social media, it is a way of life for the Chinese. They expect a simplicity of transaction and the team at Zudu has extensive experience in how to make the Chinese visitor experience smooth and user friendly.  We hope that, after this work has been carried out, Chinese visitors will find Discovery Point even more appealing.”

Following an onsite and digital audit of Discovery Point, Zudu is conducting a comprehensive marketing strategy aimed at increasing digital presence, promoting the venue, and improving the customer experience of Chinese visitors to the important Scottish attraction. One of the primary outputs is a Discovery Point WeChat public platform which can be used as a marketing tool and an interactive digital tour guide for Chinese visitors.

The digital tour guide can be easily accessed through the simple scanning of a QR code, something that has revolutionised shopping and many other transactions in China. The guide allows visitors to access translated information throughout the exhibition. It will also be used in the hospitality facilities where, with a quick scan of a QR code, the Chinese visitor will be taken directly to a translated menu.

Mr Buchan said: “The digital tour guide is just the first phase. We will use Key Opinion Leaders based in the UK to tap into the UK-based Chinese population to market the attraction through articles and event promotion.” Zudu is working with attractions, hotels, restaurants and tour operators across Scotland to help them tap into the Chinese visitor market.

Scone Palace, one of Scotland’s favourite visitor attractions, has invited dogs and their owners to an exclusive summer event where four-legged friends will get the royal treatment.

Paws at the Palace, organised in partnership with Dog Friendly Perthshire, will feature doggy fun and games, parades of different breeds, agility classes and some paw-some demonstrations. The all-day event on Sunday 30th June will also include food stalls (for humans and dogs), cool-down areas, and a host of stall holders selling doggy gear and gifts.

The event is a celebration of Scone Palace’s recognition as one of the most pet-friendly places to visit in the world. Not only is it a perfect place for a dog walk, but the Palace’s Old Kitchen is open to dogs during the winter months.

Last summer Scone Palace was named in the top seven of the U.K.’s most pet-friendly places and outranked several other famous Scottish locations, making it the animal lovers’ favourite in Scotland. TrustedHousesitters, the world’s largest house and pet sitting company, asked its users to vote for the best places in the world to take pets. Scone Palace won the accolade for its spectacular location and dog-friendly attitude.

The organisers are expecting hundreds of attendees at Paws at the Palace. Heather McArthur, Events Manager at Scone Palace, said:

“It’s clear from the amount of four-legged visitors we get to Scone Palace, and from the success of Dog Friendly Perthshire, that we’re in a region that loves its dogs. That’s why we wanted to dedicate a whole day to dogs and their owners. It’s a chance for pets and their owners to mingle and take part in some fun activities in our beautiful grounds, but also and learn a thing or two as well.”

Katie McCandless Thomas, who launched Dog Friendly Perthshire last year, will be attending along with her Lhasa Apso, Baxter, who fronts her campaign. She said:

“I launched Dog Friendly Perthshire due to popular demand and it now has more than 7000 followers on social media. I’m confident that Perthshire will become the dog-friendly capital of Scotland, and Paws at the Palace is another step towards that happening. We’ve already had interest from tons of dog owners. It’s safe to say that Paws at the Palace will be an unmissable event.”

Visitors to the event will be charged admission to the Palace grounds. Tickets are available at https://scone-palace.co.uk/whats-on/paws-palace

Anyone interested in having a stall at Paws at the Palace or sponsoring one of its events should email Heather McArthur on heather@scone-palace.co.uk

More information on Scone Palace is at www.scone-palace.co.uk

Companies are having to step up to the plate with equality and diversity initiatives as a result of a changing social climate, says employment expert Miller Hendry.

Thanks to the effects of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, employers are taking on board shifting attitudes around diversity and equality, says the Tayside-based legal firm.

Legislative changes will continue to demand a shift in both process and culture for employers, according to Alan Matthew, partner at Miller Hendry and an expert in employment law.

Last year saw the introduction of gender pay gap reporting, requiring all private sector organisations with more than 250 employees to publish details of their gender pay gap for both basic pay and bonuses.

Meantime, the Government is moving to require reporting for both executive level and ethnic pay gaps. Both of these will require data capture in good time to meet future reporting requirements, says Miller Hendry.

The requirements on executive pay gap reporting will come first, with rules now in force requiring UK quoted companies with more than 250 employees to set out the ratio of the CEO’s pay and benefits compared with that of other employees.  This applies to financial years commencing on or after 1 January 2019, with the first reporting due in 2020.

Employers will also be required to produce mandatory ethnic pay gap reporting. Alan said:

“This is likely to pose many challenges for data collection, depending on the final requirements which are established. While it’s expected to be confined to organisations with over 250 employees, in line with other pay gap reporting, there have been calls to include smaller organisations of 50+ employees.”

An industry consultation has explored which employers should be involved, the ethnicity pay data to be reported and what supporting information employers may be asked to provide, such as an action plan to tackle any identified bias.  But whatever the final requirements, they are expected to be challenging to implement.

Alan said: “The consultation has looked at the challenges of collecting, analysing and reporting ethnicity pay information if it is to be meaningful. One of the problems is that there is no legal obligation for employers to collect information on ethnicity and even where they try to do so, an individual can choose not to disclose their ethnic group.” 

The Government is also exploring the possibility of a new law requiring employers with more than 250 employees to publish details of their family-friendly policies. This would mean organisations having to explain how they are supporting parents and other carers in the workforce.

One such policy is for bereaved parents.  The new Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act will give all employed parents the right to take two weeks off work if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Alan said: “While the new right is not expected to come into force until April 2020, employers will need to start preparing now, and may wish to consider introducing their own bereavement leave policy, if they don’t already have one, particularly with the focus on demonstrating good practice that we are seeing.”

He added: “We are seeing a significant shift in attitudes across the sectors.  Certainly, for employers in the UK, there are increasingly tough requirements to act responsibly and inclusively. 

For further advice on this or any other legal issues, visit www.millerhendry.co.uk

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Balhousie Care Group
has created a dedicated team to manage its dementia services, as part of its
commitment to be the best in dementia care.

The 25-strong care home
group has promoted Yvonne Manson, who heads up its dementia services
group-wide, to Operations Dementia Manager. An award-winning expert in
dementia, Yvonne was formerly dementia nurse consultant. Balhousie Care has
also created two dementia facilitator posts which are filled by Cheryl Davies,
previously manager of Balhousie Stormont Lodge in Blairgowrie, and Emma
Roberts, a long-time
care home nurse who
was involved in opening a care home unit specifically for people with dementia.

Balhousie Care’s first
meeting of dementia ambassadors – dedicated individuals in each care home who
ensure that the group’s best practices in dementia are filtered through to all
care home staff – took place in January. Topics for discussion were cognitive
stimulation therapy, which provides meaningful activities to help with memory
and mental functioning, and Namaste Care, which provides multi-sensory therapy,
music and massage for people with advanced dementia.

Yvonne, winner in 2018
of a RCNi Leadership Award and National Care Award for leadership for her
dementia work, said:

“Cheryl Davies
supported activities coordinators and wellbeing coordinators with psychosocial
interventions before becoming manager of our Stormont Lodge care home. She
comes with a wealth of knowledge but is also aware of the day to day pressures
and demands in the running of a care home. Her skills will add a huge amount to
the new dementia services team. We appointed Emma a few months ago and she has
already started an MSc in gerontology and dementia, a three-year commitment.
These two appointments mean we are able to offer more services and support to
our dementia ambassadors which has already started with the launch of our
yearlong enhanced dementia program.”

The news follows
Balhousie Care’s announcement last month that two of its care homes, Balhousie
Rumbling Bridge in Kinross and Balhousie North Grove in Perth, are achieving
record levels of dementia care. The homes achieved the group’s best scores yet
in dementia care thanks to its activities and staff communication. Part of
Balhousie Care Group’s delivery of excellent dementia services is to
continuously monitor or ‘map’ residents’ experiences and score staff and homes
accordingly.

To find out more about
Balhousie Care Group visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

Renowned Perth construction company Algo has been announced as sponsor of The Estates Challenge held at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair at Scone Parklands in Perthshire over the weekend of July 5-7.

Reigning champions Scone Estate will defend their title as teams drawn from sporting estates around Scotland battle it out for The Algo Estates Challenge Trophy on Saturday, June 6.

Competitors will showcase their field sports skills in three sporting disciplines: fishing, clays and gundogs, and organisers are busy sending out invitations for the Estates Challenge.

Hugo Straker, Chairman of the GWCT Scottish Game Fair, said: “We are delighted to welcome Algo on board as The Estates Challenge sponsor. Without this generous support we wouldn’t be able to host and grow this highly successful and popular competition which showcases the top talent in key field sports activities across Scotland’s sporting estates.”

Murray Alexander, Managing Director, Algo, said: “We take pride in sponsoring such a prestigious event, that is close to us, both in the area that we do business and where many of our employees reside. The sponsorship of the challenge at the 2019 Game Fair, ties in wonderfully with our recent published Community Benefit plan for 2019, where we pledged to encourage more young people into rural, agricultural and construction sectors and we hope our presence at the Game Fair and indeed the sponsorship of the event will show that there is far more to rural careers than the male, muddy and manual perception that used to be attached.”

The GWCT Scottish Game Fair, which is organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), in association with NFU Mutual, returns to stunning Scone Parklands in Perthshire over the weekend of July 5-7.

With all proceeds going to fund GWCT’s charitable work in Scotland, the 2019 event will once again feature an impressive line-up of retailers and exhibitors, competitions and a revamped main ring programme. Plus, there will be a plethora of country sports activities, expert coaching, demonstrations and competitions to appeal to all ages and abilities from fishing and clays to gundogs and hill ponies.

The always popular Cookery Theatre and food hall returns alongside competitions such as the new Junior Macnab Challenge which launched with enormous popularity in 2018, giving youngsters a chance to try their hand at country sports skills, completely free of charge.

Tickets are on sale now via the website www.scottishfair.com

 

A Carnoustie care home has been described as “supportive” and “wonderful” in a Care Inspectorate report that awarded it high ratings for its care.

Balhousie Brookfield, part of the Balhousie Care Group, has secured two Grade 5 ratings from the Care Inspectorate after the official body made a surprise visit late last year.

Balhousie Brookfield care home was awarded a ‘Very Good’ rating of Grade 5 for how well the home ‘supports people’s wellbeing’ and how well ‘care and support’ is planned. The Care Inspectorate found that staff demonstrated a “very good understanding of people’s specific individual needs” and “supported people with respect and kindness.”

Describing Brookfield as having a “homely atmosphere” where they saw “much enjoyment and laughter”, the Care Inspectorate highlighted the residential care home’s commitment to planning the care and support provided to is residents. This was carried out through a series of audits designed to manage the performance of the service including systems to ensure staff training requirements were met, residents’ finances were managed effectively and ensuring the safety of all stakeholders.

Residents and relatives described staff as “wonderful” and the home manager, Sarah-Jane Patterson, as “very supportive” in the Care Inspectorate’s report. Sarah-Jane and the team at Brookfield are delighted with the new ratings. Sarah-Jane said:

“Our latest Gradings from the Care Inspectorate is a reflection of the exceptional work of our team here at Balhousie Brookfield and it is hugely well deserved. Our focus on personalised care for each of our residents and providing a comfortable and safe environment is of the most importance to us and we are proud for this to have been acknowledged so positively by the Care Inspectorate.”

Claire Docherty, Head of Operations at Balhousie Care Group, added:

“The work Sarah-Jane and the team at Balhousie Brookfield have carried out to achieve two Grade 5 ratings is fantastic. Providing personalised care in a safe and welcoming environment is at the heart of what we do and Brookfield have demonstrated their commitment to this and, as a result have been recognised by the Care Inspectorate.”

These Care Inspectorate ratings follow a highly successful period for Balhousie Care Group, which is one of the leading providers of care for the elderly with 25 care homes across North East Scotland. Balhousie Wheatlands care home, based in Bonnybridge, gained ‘excellent’ Grade 6 ratings from the Care Inspectorate for its “sensitive, patient and caring staff” for the second year in a row last November.

The organisation, which employs 1300 people, has received several awards in 2018 alone including a RCNi 2018 Leadership Award for Yvonne Manson, dementia nurse consultant, for her innovative work in dementia practices.

To find out more about Balhousie Care Group visit www.balhousiecare.co.uk

Scone Palace, one of Scotland’s favourite visitor attractions, is showcasing its spectacular display of snowdrops as part of the annual Scottish Snowdrop Festival.

Often celebrated as one of the first signs that Spring is on its way, the Snowdrop Festival is a chance for Scone Palace and its talented gardening team to celebrate the emergence of the delicate flowers and invite visitors to take a stroll around the gardens. A Celebration of Snowdrops is taking place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10.00am – 4.00pm from February 1 – March 10, 2019, with free entry for all visitors.

Over 60 venues across Scotland participate in the annual festival, when gardening enthusiasts get the chance to explore gardens and woodlands with an abundance of snowdrops.

Head Gardener and BBC Beechgrove Garden presenter Brian Cunningham is, along with his green-fingered team, looking forward to welcoming the public to enjoy the freshly bloomed little white flowers. Brian said:

“The snowdrop is a wonderfully resilient plant which is able to withstand unforgiving winter conditions and is instantly recognisable and spectacular at this time of year. With over 500 varieties that we know of, the one we are most used to seeing in our gardens is the common snowdrop. However, if you look closely there are a few other varieties growing around the grounds which have bred naturally in the wild.”

Once finished exploring the grounds, visitors can warm up in the Old Servants’ Hall Coffee Shop with a hot chocolate and a delicious ‘Scone @ Scone’. Visitors with dogs can also bring their canine companion in to the Palace for rest and refreshments in the pet-friendly Old Kitchen Coffee Shop.

Scone Palace’s Food Shop will also be open where visitors can browse an array of culinary produce, from the Palace’s tantalising range of preserves to delicious homemade shortbread.

Scone Palace grounds and gardens are open to the public with free entry from 10.00am-4.00pm every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the winter months.

More information on Scone Palace is at www.scone-palace.co.uk

The David Livingstone Trust has thanked generous supporters after a crowdfunder raised a whopping £1,141 in just under two months to buy a rare ‘magic lantern’ slide.

The artefact – which shows the legendary Scottish explorer and missionary preaching the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac in Africa – will go on display in the Trust’s new museum which is currently under construction as part of the much-anticipated Birthplace Project in Blantyre, Lanarkshire.

The crowdfunder was the brainchild of interns Lucy Brayson from Wishaw and Charlotte Roberts from Dennistoun, who joined the David Livingstone Birthplace Project team last year as part of the MGS Skills for Success programme which looks to address the lack of accessible entry routes into museum jobs for non-university graduates.

Natalie Milor, Curator, David Livingstone Trust, said:

“On behalf of the Trust I’d like to thank the 24 generous individuals who donated to the crowdfunder for their support. The lantern slide – which is currently in private ownership – will provide much needed visual weight to the new museum’s narrative where both the controversial and celebrated activities of missionary work will be explored.

“Displayed alongside Livingstone’s magic lantern, a 21st Century audience will see how 19th Century cutting-edge technology was used by missionaries – with varying degrees of success – to spread Christianity.”

Magic lanterns were the Victorian equivalent of a modern slideshow presentation. Slides would be hand-painted and lanterns could be high-tech enough to layer and move multiple slides to give the effect of a moving image. Missionaries would use these lanterns, along with slides depicting scenes from the bible, to preach.

Natalie added: “This slide will make a great addition to the new museum and our team is very excited about this new addition.”

The David Livingstone Centre and its 11-hectare grounds are in the process of being transformed into a world-class visitor attraction as part of the £6.1 million Birthplace Project. The Station Road site in Blantyre includes the iconic Shuttle Row mill-workers’ tenement where David Livingstone was born and raised.

The project – which is expected to be complete by 2020 – will include the renewal of the historic buildings, a newly interpreted exhibition which will showcase artefacts from the Trust’s collection of 3000 objects, and an upgrade of visitor facilities such as the café and shop.

The Birthplace Project is jointly funded by The National Lottery through The Heritage Lottery Fund (£4.1m), the Scottish Government (£1.3m) and Historic Environment Scotland (£575,000). The main contractor is Clark Contracts Ltd.

To find out more about the Birthplace Project, go to the website www.david-livingstone-trust.org

 

Muddled Millennials heading down to the GWCT Scottish Game Fair this summer could be in for a very BIG surprise!

For among all the fabulous countryside pursuits showcased at Scotland’s biggest country fair … bagging a HAGGIS isn’t one of the many attractions.

Visitors will definitely be able to enjoy all things country and the countryside while checking out the amazing shopping opportunities and cooking demonstrations BUT sightings of Scotland’s mythical wee beastie will be in extremely short supply.

This will no doubt disappoint Britain’s Millennials, many of whom astonishingly still believe that the legendary dish served at Burns’ Night celebrations is a REAL creature.

A recent survey commissioned by the GWCT Scottish Game Fair has revealed that a whopping 13% of Millennials believe that it’s actually legal to hunt the haggis in Scotland, although the figure falls substantially in other age groups with only 8% of 35 to 44-year-olds and 3% of over 55s thinking that it’s a living, breathing animal.

Sarah Ballantyne, GWCT Head of Events (Scotland), said: “Visitors of all ages are welcome at the Scottish Game Fair and while we can’t promise you’ll bag a haggis, we can promise a fantastic day out for all the family.

“On a more serious note this survey suggests that there’s still plenty of people out there who don’t really understand where their food comes from, and the Scottish Game Fair is a great opportunity to learn more about food, game and game cookery, farming and the countryside.”

As Scotland gears up to celebrate Burns’ Night tonight (Friday, January 25), the survey threw up some other interesting discoveries. When the statistics were broken down by gender it emerged that more men (6.60%) than women (5.83%) thought haggis were real.

However, and perhaps unsurprisingly, only 2% of Scots surveyed believed you could bag a haggis, although the figure was much higher in the rest of the British Isles with a whopping 9% of Londoners and 10% of people in Northern Ireland thinking that haggis hunting is a real sport.

The North East (9.52%) and South East (9.49%) scored highly as believers, whereas the survey revealed that folk in East Anglia (2.27%), East Midlands (2.90%), and Yorkshire & Humber (2.50%) were considerably less gullible.

The GWCT Scottish Game Fair, which is organised by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT), in association with NFU Mutual, returns to stunning Scone Parklands in Perthshire over the weekend of July 5-7.

With all proceeds going to fund GWCT’s chartable work in Scotland, the 2019 event will once again feature an impressive line-up of retailers and exhibitors, competitions and a revamped main ring programme. Plus, there will be a plethora of country sports activities, expert coaching, demonstrations and competitions to appeal to all ages and abilities from fishing and clays to gundogs and hill ponies.

The always popular Cookery Theatre and food hall returns alongside competitions such as the new Junior Macnab Challenge which launched with enormous popularity in 2018, giving youngsters a chance to try their hand at country sports skills, completely free of charge.

Tickets are on sale now via the website www.scottishfair.com

 

Cyclists are being urged to get in gear and sign up for this year’s Etape Caledonia before the last few spaces sell out. There are now under 100 slots left in the 40-mile race category and organisers, Limelight Sports, are warning potential participants to register now to avoid disappointment.

Once these general entry places are sold out there are still charity places available starting from just £24.99 and the event’s official charity partner, Marie Curie, is encouraging riders to fundraise and join their team. Funds raised by participants will help provide free nursing care and support for people living with terminal illness in their own homes or in one of the charity’s hospices.

The event is the UK’s first and original closed road sportive and has attracted over 40,000 cyclists to the Highland Perthshire area since its launch in 2007. With two distances, an 85-mile circuit and the shorter 40-mile route option, the event is accessible to a range of cycling ability levels as well as offering cyclists the opportunity to take in some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes.

Limelight are encouraging past participants as well as those new to the event to get back in the saddle for the sportive on May 19, 2019 and sign up sooner rather than later.

Craig Dews, CEO at Limelight Sports, said: “Etape Caledonia is proving yet again that it is one of the most exciting closed road sportives in the UK with spaces filling up quickly for the event. I would like to urge anyone interested in participating to saddle up and register soon. In particular, we are encouraging riders who have completed the route before to return and enjoy the event once again. Don’t miss out!”

For a place on the 40-mile circuit, slots cost £45 and £79.99 for a place on the 85-mile route. To register for Etape Caledonia 2019 visit www.etapecaledonia.co.uk