Category Archives: Community News

Business Loans Scotland Money Available

Business Loans Scotland (BLS), a consortium of Scotland’s local authorities, provides loan
finance up to £100,000 to new and growing, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)
across Scotland. The Fund benefits from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
financial support increasing the monies available to lend to eligible businesses.

They support the following types of legally formed and trading business:  Limited Companies;  Partnerships including Limited Liability Partnerships  (LLP’s) with 4 or more partners;
Partnerships including Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP’s) with 3 or fewer partners (loans over £25,000 only);   Sole Traders (loans over £25,000 only);  Businesses which may operate as a Social Enterprise or Co-operative.   BLS‘s primary focus is on businesses engaged in the Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) categories, and funds may be used for working capital, purchase of plant and equipment, and purchase of business property.

Details of eligible and ineligible application candidates and business sectors are available on their website,  www.BLS.Scot. Loans are not currently available to businesses in the following local authority areas:  Angus,  East Lothian, Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetland.   Please use the “contacts”  section of the BLS  website to identify your local contact and discuss support available in your area.

Business Loans Scotland offers gap funding up to a maximum of £100k to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) within our geographic area of operation where public sector funding (including Business Loans Scotland’s contribution), would not exceed 50% of the total funding package.

Business Loans Scotland offers Business Loans on the following terms:
• Interest typically fixed at 6% (a higher rate may be applied
for new start businesses with little or no security).
• Loan term of up to 5 years.
• Security will be taken where appropriate/relevant.

As well as loans, BLS  wants businesses to benefit from all the expertise, advice, training and support that we can offer through our local business advice provision. The business adviser allocated when you submit an enquiry to us will discuss your requirements and offer support and assistance where relevant. This support is available throughout the period of the loan and
can continue beyond this time where it is deemed beneficial to do so.

What to do next?
1. Register online at www.bls.scot using the ‘Enquire Now’ tab.
2. Once eligibility is confirmed you can apply using the Online Loan Application system (OLA). All of the information that we need including supporting documentation and financial information is uploaded in OLA.
3. Once approved, loan documentation will be issued. This sets out the terms of the Loan and any pre conditions that have to be met before the loan can be made.
4. Fulfil the preconditions and accept the loan agreement.

If an application is unsuccessful then all of the business and personal information provided will be deleted from our system.  On average, and assuming we receive all the relevant information, a decision can  be made in around 6 weeks. Throughout this process a Local Authority adviser
will be your main contact and will be able to guide you through each step.

Please refer to: www.bls.scot for Local Authorities  contact details.

Fund Manager & Registered Address:
Business Loans Scotland
London Road Centre.  London Road
Kilmarnock KA3 7BU
t: 01563 554851
info@bls.scot

Company Registration Number:
SC500710

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Sepsis Kills 4000 Scots Yearly–KNOW the Symptoms, Get Treated IMMEDIATELY

The Scottish Government has undertaken a campaign to alert and inform people about “sepsis” and how deadly it can be if not identified and treated quickly.  Yearly, some 20,000 Scots fall ill with it,  4000–or six per day–die from it, and untold more are left with permanent, even life-changing after-effects (chronic pain, amputations, kidney damage, memory loss, more).

You can’t mess with sepsis!  You need to get treatment IMMEDIATELY as every hour delayed increases the risk of serious complications and even death.

Also known as “septicemia” and “blood poisoning,”  sepsis occurs when bacteria enters the blood stream and the body reacts with a violent immune response as the body attacks its’ own organs. Bacteria enters the blood stream via a cut, insect bite, abrasion, catheter line, tooth extraction/infected teeth, unclean surgical wound, or kidney/urinary tract infection, among any number of ways.  Children, the elderly, recovering surgical patients, those with weakened immune systems, and those in high-bacteria environments (i.e. hospitals) are most susceptible, but ANYBODY can be affected at any time.

Symptoms can mimic other illnesses and conditions–all life threatening on their own–such as the flu, blood clots in the lung (“pulmonary embolisms”), heart attacks, strokes or even diabetes as similar symptoms run across these particular conditions. Use your instincts that this is serious — keep asking questions and getting tested until you are SURE you are not being mis-diagnosed or what you’re feeling is not being mis-identified.

If you’re showing more than one of the symptoms, get immediate medical attention as you could be in a medical emergency. Call NHS 24 on 111 and ask, “is this sepsis?”  If these symptoms occur very suddenly and/or  progress very rapidly, call 999, and save your, or someone else’s, life.  

Early signs of sepsis include shortness of breath, very high/very low temperatures, increased heart beating and palpitations, weakness, chills/shivering, slurred speech, severe muscle pain, diarrhoea, nausea and pale skin (especially in the face) can quickly advance to the more dangerous signs of the sepsis:  confusion/”foggy” thinking, clammy/blotchy or bruised-like skin,  shock, becoming unconscious, and little or no urine output.

Early, fast diagnosis and treatment using antibiotics can stop the advance of the sepsis.   The life you save could be your own!!

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Going Potty Over Potholes? £1.2 BILLION Pothole Backlog

Scotland is not sitting on a pot of gold, but a pot of potholes, with an estimated repair cost of £1.2 billion to fix them all.

A website –-www.FixMyStreet.com–can be used to report potholes and other roadway maintenance issues such as broken street lights; monitor repairs, and see how responsive local councils are to roadwork needing to be done.  Currently, there are close to 14,000 open cases, with 7200 fixed/closed cases across the 31 council areas.  Worst affected?  Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Renfrewshire.

According to a report from the Scottish Government by the Road Maintenance Strategic Action Group, money to make these repairs has dropped 26% over the past five years as increased traffic and fierce weather have affected the state of Scotland’s roads, resulting in Scottish roads that were “significantly” worse than in England, and even some smaller routes deemed “unacceptable.”

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland stated that the budget for the maintenance of roadways has increased about £65 million, to £433m, for 2018/19. An Audit Scotland report cited 87% of trunk roads are in “acceptable” condition, and since 2007, over £8.2 billion has been invested in motorways and the trunk road network.   Under consideration is the creation of one agency to handle the maintenance and repair of Scotland’s roads, bringing together the 31 councils with Transport Scotland to come up with a cohesive repair and maintenance strategy.

An alternative “take” on the situation was offered by Luke Bosdet of the AA,  who said that “councils are taking in millions and millions of pounds every year via parking charges and fines….it’s now time to spend these huge amounts of money on filling potholes.”

 

 

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Digital Workshops, Super-Fast Broadband, to East Neukers

Computers running at a slow speed, and digital-unfamiliar folks can improve their technology situation by using several websites which will “bring them up to speed….”

Digital Scotland is partnering with Business Gateway to offer two workshops in Dundee, aimed primarily at internet businesses. One workshop helps with improving a business’s  paid advertising effectiveness and digital marketing strategy (Wed., Feb. 28, 9:30-12:30).  The other workshop on data analytics helps you monitor/track/analyse  user activity on a business website, then use this information to improve the effectiveness of that website (Fri., March 16, 9:30-12:30).  Prior-registration is required, and booking/further information can be obtained by calling Business Gateway (01382-843016) or visiting dundee@bgateway.com, or www.bgateway.com/events.

Broadband availability and speeds can be checked by visiting the Digital Scotland site (www.scotlandsuperfast.com) to see if your area has been upgraded to fibre optic cabling. By plugging in a landline phone number, or your postal code, you will then learn if superfast broadband is available to you, and what the exchange is that you’re connected to.  You can then upgrade by contacting your internet service provider, or even switching to another ISP.  Faster downloads equals better service and possibly less expensive computer use charges–not bad!!

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Battle of May Island Continues to be Remembered

The Battle of May Island continues to resonate with and be remembered by those who respect naval personnel and the sea.  In addition to the annual memorial service held in the summertime at the Anstruther harbourfront as part of the harbour festival, a service was held last week to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this submarine tragedy.

Rev. Arthur Christie performed this, his last church service, as he has now retired from the St. Ayles, Kilrenny and Cellardyke churches.  The Battle of May Island was not so much a battle between combatants as it was a tragedy for the 104 men who lost their lives in the Forth, not far from the East Neuk coast.

On the night of January 31, 1918, some 40 Royal Navy vessels left the port of Rosyth, heading towards Orkney,  to participate in Operation E.C.1, an undercover military exercise. A combination of battleships, destroyers, cruisers and submarines departed under a cover of thick fog, but a submarine had to take evasive action to avoid an incoming minesweeper.  Subsequent collisions followed, with two submarines sinking, four others suffering serious damage, and a cruiser, the HMS Fearless, also being damaged.  All of this took place within a window of about 90 minutes.  Men were thrown into the water, and other ships in the flotilla sailed through the floundering men, not realising they were in the icy waters of the Forth.

The lives of 104 men were lost that night, desperately needed warships were damaged and needing time-consuming repairs, and the accident was covered up, possibly for reasons of morale, while any court-martials  were kept quiet.

The name, “Battle of May Island” is sadly inaccurate as the only “battle” that night was by the sailors fighting to survive the disastrous series of events. Thankfully, they are still remembered.

(With thanks to Jonathan Watson, The Courier)

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St.Monans Road Closure Feb.19-Mar.18

CORRECTED & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:      Fife Council has made an order closing a stretch of road to vehicular traffic from the A917/ B942 junction leaving Pittenweem  and heading toward  Elm Grove, St. Monans.

This closure will begin at 7:30am on Feb. 19, until 5pm on March 18.  Should work be completed earlier than the expected March 18 date, the road closure will end. The road will be open every weekend from 17.00hrs Fridays  to  07.30hrs Mondays.

The alternative route for through traffic will be via the B942 and A917.
Access for emergency service vehicles, residents and  pedestrians will be maintained.

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Anstruther Makes TripAdvisor Top Ten List

Anstruther came in sixth on the list of top ten locations to take a holiday rental to celebrate the New Year with family and friends.   TripAdvisor Rentals named Edinburgh as the top spot for Hogmanay, with local areas St. Andrews (five) and Elie (nine) also making the list with Anstruther.  Other Scottish locations making the list were Inverness, Aviemore, Glasgow, North Berwick, Fort William, and Rothesay.

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Building the East Neuk’s Tourism Business

The East Neuk Local Tourism Association (ENLTA) is shaping up its 2018 year to be an active one of meetings, activities and membership outreach.

The ENLTA, a subsidiary of the Fife Tourism Partnership, has research showing East Neuk visitor rates have increased  year-on-year.  It would like to help and support tourism businesses take advantage of, and build on, travel, holiday  and economic changes which could increasingly benefit businesses in the East Neuk area.

Opportunities for increasing the number of visitors to the area have never been better, especially with  “staycations”  a popular alternative to  airport/airline unreliability, and weak pound/currency  conversion rates making  overseas travel expensive.

Among other activities planned, the group wants to meet with and “pick the brains” of visitor-facing businesses to better understand what visitors want to see/do, and what improvements can be made to better serve these visitors .  By reviewing feedback from these businesses the ENLTA hopes a picture will emerge of how best it can provide support and assistance.

The ENLTA will be holding its popular annual Spring meeting on Tuesday, March 27 (more details forthcoming) which will enable guests to meet, network, enjoy a presentation from a guest speaker, and learn how interaction with the ENLTA can be a resource for them.

A new Facebook page is up and running @east neuk local tourism association, kingdom of fife, ready for the addition of news, information,  visitor input, and business information exchanges.

The popular ENLTA publication – the East Neuk Visitor Guide – will be available at selected sites and online at www.fifetourismpartnership.org/associations/east-neuk.

For more information, please email  ansteractivities@aol.com.

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