Wednesday, 28 February 2018 11:25

Cromlix House Hotel has 5 stars

A hotel owned by tennis legend Sir Andy Murray has been awarded the top possible rating following an inspection by national tourism organisation VisitScotland.

Cromlix House Hotel, a Victorian mansion just three miles from Sir Andy’s home town of Dunblane, became one of only two Five Star Gold Country House hotels in the country. READ MORE: Andy Murray agrees to share luxury mansion with bats The two-time Wimbledon champion purchased the hotel in 2013 after it had ran into financial difficulties and reopened it as a 15-bedroom luxury hotel after extensive refurbishment.


Wednesday, 28 February 2018 11:06

New Chef at Old Churches House

Tillicoultry chef takes the reins at Dunblane restaura
A CHEF from Tillicoultry is hoping to take his career to the next level after accepting a senior role at a Dunblane restaurant. Ross McMillan, 27, has taken the reins as head chef at the brasserie and restaurant located in Old Churches House just across from the town's historic cathedral. He enjoyed success early in his career when, whilst working at the Stirlingshire management Centre back in 2009, he won the Compass Young Chef of the Year title, seeing competition off from all over the UK.


Stirling Council is delighted to announce a fund of £130,000 open now to community groups to deliver activities that will improve their community - DEADLINE for applications is 16 March 2018

Update 8 March 2018 : We wish to clarify that there will be two separate presentation/voting events at which the funding is allocated based on the decisions of the local people attending the events, one rural and one urban.  Therefore if you are a group or organisation that works in both rural and urban areas and wish to apply for funding, if the work you intend in your application will happen in both rural and urban areas then you should complete two application forms, and be prepared to have someone in attendance at each event to present the idea.  Then the local people from the rural areas will vote on what they would like to see funded in their area, and similarly for the urban areas. You can apply for a maximum of £10,000 in each area. We hope this now makes the process clearer but if you have any questions please contact Jean Cowie 01786 233143 or Pam Campbell 01786 233141.

Download more details + registration form

Stirling Council, as part of our locality planning processes, has been successful in securing £65,000 to distribute to community groups, from the Scottish Government’s community choices fund. We have matched the grant, creating a fund of £130,000 for community groups, to enable them to deliver activities throughout Stirlingshire.

The Your Place, Your Priorities initiative allows the local community to decide which projects are needed and should be funded in their area.

Any local community, voluntary or non-profit groups can apply to this fund – even informal groups. Funding of £500 to £10,000 is available to put each idea into action. Informal groups should seek the support of a formal group which is willing to hold the grant award in its bank account and manage payments as the project is delivered. All activities will have to happen in areas of Stirling and benefit local people.

To apply for the funding you must return the attached form before midday on Friday 16th March 2018, and be prepared to present your idea at an event on Saturday 24th March.  Two presentation and voting events will take place on Saturday 24th March 2018, one in Stirling High School and one in Callander Primary School. Applicants will present their projects and local community members in attendance will vote on all the applications presented. Decisions will be made on the day.

We have provided a link to a short video the Church and Society Council produced as part of its Speak Out initiative Doing Politics Differently, explaining Participatory Budgeting

If you need information or assistance with the application, please contact:Jean Cowie, Funding Officer, telephone 01786 233143: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Pam Campbell, Senior Community Link Officer, 01786 233141: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 From the Stirling Observer 21 February 2018

Moving to one of Europe's most famous clubs would undoubtedly be a daunting prospect for many a footballer. However Dunblane's Fiona Brown has taken no time in settling in to life at Sweden's FC Rosengard - relishing the prospect of sharing a changing room and training pitch with an array of top class athletes.

The 22-year-old moved to the Malmo club, who have won ten league titles, towards the end of last year after impressing in her debut season in Sweden's top flight for Eskilstunda United DFF. She made her club debut in a cup tie earlier this month before netting a treble in her most recent outing, a cup tie against lower league Qviding FIF, as her side ran out 16-0 victors at the weekend. And she spoke to the Observer about her delight at earning a move to Rosengard - who have recently seen top players move on to clubs such as Chelsea and Barcelona. She said: "I got the call last year and I just wanted to grab the opportunity with both hands. They are such a massive club who have achieved so many things. I couldn't say no.

"I had a great time last year [at Eskilstunda United DFF] but I'm now training with players who have won World Cups and Olympic medals. The professionalism is a big thing. I'd also say the vision of the coach is a big thing for me and it really suits my game. He encourages us to attack, find pockets of space and allows us to play with a bit of flair, and that should help me." She added: "We lost some of our top attacking players last year. Some of our players have moved on to other big clubs, but we still have a lot of top players here."

Fiona explained that her new team have high hopes for the upcoming Swedish season - of which the national cup competition is already underway and league season starts in April. She said: "We want to win the league 100 per cent, and the cup. I've experienced competing for titles before, when I was in Scotland, and it's always really exciting to start the season with that aim. "It's an extremely competitive league over here and the standard is really high. Everyone can beat each other on their day, so it's going to be a good challenge." FC Rosengard also have pedigree in the Champions League having been a regular fixture in the latter stages of the competition.

Fiona started her career at Celtic before moving on to Glasgow City in 2014 where she remained for two years before heading abroad. The attacker, who studied at the University of Stirling, is also already a seasoned Scotland international with more than 20 caps to her name. She starred for her country at last summer's European Championships, where the Scots missed out on group qualification by a single goal. The team won respect for bouncing back from a crushing defeat to England to inflict a giant killing on Spain. And Fiona says things are going well under new head coach Shelley Kerr - former University of Stirling football coach. She said: "Things are all really positive with Scotland just now. Shelley Kerr has come in and put her stamp on things. We've won both qualifiers and come away with six points, so we have to be pleased with that. "It's always an honour for me to pull on the Scotland shirt. As young footballer that's the thing you always dream about. "It's nice to catch up with everyone too. We're actually going away to La Manga on Monday for some training and preparation

STUDENTS from Dunblane High School have beaten off competition from schools and colleges across West Scotland to be crowned winner of the Subway brand’s Design a Sub competition. The challenge, which was launched in Scotland last year, asked budding entrepreneurs from schools and colleges across Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute, Dunbarton, Falkirk, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Stirling to come up with their own design and marketing campaign for a brand new 6-inch Sub or flatbread.

The team from Dunblane came up with a Sub called The Chicken Spicer, and alongside five other teams that were shortlisted, they pitched their marketing and advertising campaign to a panel of Subway experts on Tuesday, February 6 at the SEC in Glasgow. The winning team consists of Taylor Downs, Maddie Duncan, Miranda Ferguson, Lucy McGowan, Olivia Scott and Jasmine Wild who are all studying business at Dunblane High School. The winning design, which consists of Italian white bread, plain chicken strips, lettuce, peppers, jalapenos and hot chilli sauce, will be brought to life in over 100 stores across West Scotland in April and the team has also bagged themselves £1,000 of Amazon vouchers.

Taylor Downs, a student from the winning team, said: “We’ve really enjoyed the competition, from start to finish. "It was great to put the business skills we have been learning into practice with a brand that we all know and love. "It’s been a brilliant learning experience; pitching in front of the panel from the Subway brand was really nerve wracking, but such great preparation for the future. "Winning the competition is just the icing on the cake.”
Subway brand entrepreneur, Shahid Sadiq, said: “The team from Dunblane High School really impressed us with both their Sub design and campaign ideas.

"This is the first year that we have run the Design a Sub competition in Scotland and we had an outstanding response, with some brilliant creative designs and marketing proposals submitted by students from across the region, demonstrating that the entrepreneurial spirit is well and truly alive in West Scotland. “Selecting our overall winner was a tough decision, but the team from Dunblane High School clearly understood the brief, did their homework and put together an impressive presentation for the judging panel. "Congratulations to them, and indeed all our finalists; we look forward to seeing their winning design on sale in stores across West Scotland in April. “As a franchise business, the Subway brand is run by entrepreneurs who live and work locally in their communities and we are committed to fostering and developing the business skills and employability of young people. "The students who entered the Design a Sub competition demonstrate excellent creative and business skills and it was a privilege to be involved.”

Louise Burton, from Dunblane High School, added: “Our students thoroughly enjoyed getting to grips with the Design a Sub competition. "It offered them a fantastic opportunity to put the business and marketing skills they have been learning in the classroom into practice in a real-life business environment. "What’s more, they have been able to develop important life and employability skills, such as research, communication, presentation and team work, which will hopefully stand them in good stead in the future.” The Design a Sub competition has been running in England for many years, but this is the first time the challenge has been open to schools and colleges in West Scotland.


Young people in Dunblane are being given a boost to get into work with the help of almost £40,000 of lottery funding.

From the Stirling Observer 14 February 2018

Discover Dunblane BID, the group representing over 90 businesses in and around the town, has been awarded £39,000 for the next two years from the Big Lottery Young Start Fund. The grant will be used to launch a new programme supporting young people locally to make the transition from education to employment. The package includes provision for a support worker and a project base.

The new programme Skills 4 Life, a name chosen by high school pupils, will take over from the 'Education for Life and Work’ pilot project which ran for two years led by Discover Dunblane BID in partnership with Dunblane High School and Stirling Council. More than 5O young people from the school have already gained work experience with businesses and developed new skills in preparation for life after school. In several cases, businesses were so pleased with their placement experience the young people were offered paid employment.

During the two-year pilot, the project discussed with the community the disadvantage carried by a minority of the town's young people who do not have access to additional educational support away from school. The Discover Dunblane-led team is tackling the issue head on and say the affluence within the area "masks a poverty of ambition and inclusion". They say the award from the Big Lottery will help the pilot project move into a bigger, broader and community-based initiative.

The Skills4Life programme will create a new community base in the town, which will be young person led and open to all those taking part. The base will be the centre of operations of a new enterprise company run by the young people and, it is hoped, an avenue of employment will be created with local businesses.

Discover Dunblane BID will recruit an employability engagement facilitator to support the young people in identifying opportunities and developing a wider network of opportunities outside Dunblane. The base will also host workshops as well as training and networking events.

The project is designed for 16 year-olds intending to leave school and a smaller number of 17-19 year olds. Around 100 young people are expected to participate in the two years of the project. Discover Dunblane chair Tom Casey said: "This award from the Big Lottery provides an essential resource to make a real difference in preparing our young people for life after school. Dunblane businesses recognise this responsibility and the central role they play in supporting our rural community. We strongly believe that the project will offer a blueprint for other communities. "Clackmannanshire and Dunblane MSP, Keith Brown, said: "This is a fantastic community-based partnership initiative which will expand the opportunity for local young people to develop practical skills and work experience.”



Article from Stirling Observer 14 February 2018

Slaughterhouse staff, some with up to 40 years' service, were last week shown the door after their company collapsed

Liquidators turned up at DS (Slaughterhouse) Ltd, Dunblane, on Tuesday, February 6, and told the company's 11 employees that their employment was terminated with immediate effect. The devastated staff, mostly slaughterhouse operatives, were ordered to collect their personal belongings and leave the Stirling Road premises. One staff member said the employees were in shock and claimed that there had been no inkling of the impending liquidation. DS (Slaughterhouse) was incorporated in March, 1977 and had been run by the Stevenson family for many years. They provided slaughterhouse services for butchers across the Stirling area and as far away as Oban, but the Dunblane facility was operating only three days a week recently.

On November 24 last year at Stirling Sheriff Court, a petition was lodged by the Advocate General for Scotland, on behalf of HM Revenue and Customs, asking that the company be wound up by the Court and a liquidator appointed. Maureen Leslie, director of financial recovery, restructuring and debt advisory company MLM Solutions, which has offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh, was appointed interim liquidator on January 26 and it was members of staff from MLM who went to the premises last Tuesday. An MLM spokesman said: "We quickly determined that there was no option but to close the facility and all staff were made redundant on that date. "We would like to thank the staff at DS (Slaughterhouse) for their help in bringing operations to an orderly closure. All outstanding deliveries will be honoured."

The staff member, who asked not to be named, said: "We had no idea whatsoever that this was going to happen. "Two people appeared and took us into a corridor and told us to collect our personal belongings and leave. They said the company had gone into liquidation and we would not get paid, as we usually did, on Friday. "Later we got a letter from the liquidators saying that we could apply for statutory redundancy money from the Government but there would be nothing from the company." He added: "People should have been made aware that the company was going to close. Had we been pre-warned then we could have looked out for other jobs or made other arrangements."

Alasdair Beaton, owner of Alexander Gray butchers. Upper Craigs, Stirling, who had done business DS (Slaughterhouse) since its inception, expressed regret at the closure of the facility. He said: "The loss of the slaughterhouse run by the Stevenson family for over 40 years will be felt by the farming and retail butchers over a wide area as a most efficient and professional service was much appreciated by all its users."

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9th February 2018 from The Scottish Farmer
Family-run abattoir closes in Dunblane
Zoe Wilson Print and online journalist

DUNBLANE'S only abattoir is to cease slaughter after being in the business for 40 years. Duncan Stevenson Ltd, which employs 12 members of staff, was said to have closed its doors, with its final intake taking place on Tuesday, February 6. Although no official reason was given for its closure, it was claimed that throughput at the outfit had been decreasing annually, but that the set-up was exploring all options available, and that it hoped the closure would only be for the short-term.

Auctioneer at Caledonian Marts, Stirling, Alastair Logan, said that he was informed of the closure on Tuesday evening, and that it would be missed by farmers all over Scotland.
"It's a real shame that the abattoir has been closed, as it's a great wee family-run business, and it's been there for years," said Mr Logan.  "I haven't heard all that much about it, other than a phone call I received on Tuesday evening to inform me that it would be closing, and that no more livestock was to be sent there."  Mr Logan also added that throughput at the site had been declining each year, but that business was consistent, with farmers taking small numbers of livestock there on a regular basis, calling it a "tractor and trailer job".  He continued: "Farmers went to that site from all over Scotland, from Kinross to Oban, and as far north as Perth and Aberfeldy. It'll be sorely missed."

NFU Scotland livestock policy manager, John Armour, said: “With the closure of Orkney abattoir a few weeks ago, a further abattoir shutting its gates shows how fragile local abattoir provision is.  “From a cattle and sheep perspective, there will be a loss of private slaughter capacity in central Scotland because of this development, but we are led to believe that capacity in other central belt abattoirs should be able to cope with any additional throughput required for butchers and other private customers.  “We will continue to monitor the situation and keep livestock producers who previously supplied Dunblane aware of any developments.”  NFU Scotland’s animal health and welfare policy manager, Penny Middleton, commented that the industry must consider alternative options on the future of local abattoirs: “The closure of the Dunblane abattoir is bad news for the contract kill sector.  "Coming on the back of Orkney closing, we are running desperately short of options for producers looking to self-market their own product, without incurring significant additional costs.  "We are in danger of stifling innovation amongst producers and local food initiatives looking to add value to their products. These abattoirs provide a key service but tend not to meet the criteria needed to obtain funding through options such as the food processing grants.  "We need to reconsider the value these facilities provide to the local community, and look at ways we can support them going forwards.”

An innovative new Care Village is being built in the grounds of Stirling Community Hospital.

Community groups and members of the public are invited to explore how the indoor public spaces and green space at the care village could be used as a community resource.

The public were asked to come along and have a say at the Education Centre at Stirling Community Hospital on the 8th February between 12.30pm and 4pm.

More information on the Care Village can be found here.

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