charities, heritage

More House guests at Kinneil thanks to Facebook

VISITORS to historic Kinneil House in Bo’ness in central Scotland, soared in 2011, according to the charity The Friends of Kinneil.

The group said 2025 people toured inside the mansion in the past year, compared to 1622 visitors in 2010 – an increase of nearly 25 per cent.

The charity said strong media support and extra campaigning through social networks like Twitter and Facebook helped boost attendance.** It is now planning a further series of free open days for 2012. Details will be available soon at

Maria Ford, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “The numbers relate to visitors seeing inside Kinneil House during the five free open afternoons we run in conjunction with Historic Scotland – and visitors to the building during a history tour of the estate in the summer. For six afternoons, these are impressive figures.

“Of course many more people tour the grounds of the House, and visit the surrounding Kinneil Estate, throughout the year. It’s a fantastic place to visit at any time.”

Local volunteers work with staff from Historic Scotland to provide free access to the building during special open days. The mansion includes some of the best renaissance wall paintings in Scotland, and was recently used to inspire the restoration of the Palace at Stirling Castle.The House was closed to regular visitors in the 1980s, ironically due to poor visitor numbers. Since 2006, The Friends of Kinneil has been working with Historic Scotland to provide better access.

Kinneil House dates back to the 15th century and was remodelled during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was home to the powerful Dukes of Hamilton and was built close to the line of the Roman Antonine Wall.The wider Kinneil Estate boasts the remains of a cottage used by inventor James Watt, the ruins of a medieval church and the remnants of a Roman fortlet.

Mrs Ford added: “The growing interest in Kinneil House and its wider estate also shows through the numbers of visits to our website: … In 2010, we had 12190 ‘views’. That grew to 17,508 in 2011 – and there’s still a few days of the year to go. That’s an increase of more than 43 per cent.

“Again sites like Facebook – and people sharing information about us on social networks – drove traffic to our website. And the support of our friends in the traditional media has also been brilliant. It’s great to have so many people interested in what’s happening at Kinneil. We hope the trend continues in 2012.”

She continued: “We’ll re-start our open days at Kinneil House in the spring. However, the surrounding parkland is open throughout the year, as is the lovely Kinneil Museum, which boasts an audio-visual show and hands-on exhibits. The museum is normally open from Monday to Saturday afternoons through the year (with a closure for the New Year holidays). Admission is free.”

For more information visit – or “like” the charity at its Facebook page to get regular updates.

** The PR Store provides pro-bono support for the charity, both via traditional media and online.

charities, construction, Ogilvie

Ogilvie helps charity in £10 million expansion plan

OGILVIE Construction is playing its part in a £10 million project to help a charity expand its activities in rural Stirlingshire.

Camphill Blair Drummond runs a “warm and welcoming” facility, providing homes and meaningful daily activities for people with learning disabilities. The charity’s operations are centred around a large Victorian house, surrounded by woodland, overlooking the famous Blair Drummond Safari Park.

Thirty years after it was set up, the charity is now embarking on ambitious plans to revitalise the site.

Ogilvie Construction has won a contract to carry out part of the work – constructing a new activity workshop, together with associated external works.

The contract for this piece of work is around £600,000. However, the charity’s overall regeneration plans are estimated to cost just under £10 million.

Jason Glass, the director of operations at Camphill Blair Drummond, said: “We currently have 32 residents to whom Camphill is their home and ‘work’, and 12 day students. We’ve based around a large Victorian mansion surrounded by woodland. It’s a great setting. However, the listed mansion house does have limitations. We’ve therefore embarked on a six year plan to realise the potential of the site.”

Phil McEwan, the managing director of Ogilvie Construction, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Camphill Blair Drummond.

“We started on the new workshop, in the grounds of the house, this autumn and expect to finish on site early in 2012. The new building uses untreated timber cladding to help it fit into its woodland setting. We’re also installing a ground source heat pump to reduce the carbon footprint of the building and will carry out drainage and other associated works on site. It’s a fantastic, sustainable project.

“Camphill’s plans are very ambitious, and we wish them every success with their development at Blair Drummond. It’s a great charity helping people in the community.”


Adrian Mahoney, PR Consultant for Ogilvie Construction
Tel: 01506 823714 or 07967 150560.
Email: or

charities, construction, Ogilvie, Uncategorized

Fun day raises £3000

FAMILIES had a fun day out at Stirling-based Ogilvie Group’s first summer fete. They also raised around £3000 for charity.

See pictures here

The area around Ogilvie’s headquarters at Pirhall Business Park was turned into a fairground on Saturday. Staff and families enjoyed everything from a sports arena, a bucking bronco and (more sedate) pony rides, to a bouncy castle and lots of great things to eat, including marshmallows dipped into a very popular chocolate fountain.

There were also bungee trampolines, magic shows, and an expert armed with all types of animals . . . from little rabbits to scarier snakes and a tarantula spider. Keeping things moving was a guest DJ.

Although some activities were free, others attracted a small charge – in turn raising much-needed charity cash.

Group chief executive Duncan Ogilvie said: “The fete was a great success. We estimate around 250 people attended, raising a huge amount of money for charity. We thank all our staff and their families for their support. The weather was great and hopefully everyone had a fantastic day out.”

The final fundraising tally for the event totalled £2,955.75. The final charity recipients have still to be decided.

Ogilvie Group has grown in recent years from its core activities of construction and housebuilding to also cover vehicle fleet management, IT
and communications and commercial property development. To find out more visit


** Adrian Mahoney, PR Consultant for Ogilvie Group
Tel: 01506 823714 or 07967 150560; or

charities, heritage

Search for views on historic parklands

A CHARITY is launching a new project to find out what local residents think of Kinneil Estate and Kinneil Foreshore.

The Friends of Kinneil hopes the work will also generate greater awareness of the facilities and attractions at both sites – and even attract new money into future projects.

The group is targeting the Deanfield area of Bo’ness – close to the park areas – for door-to-door surveys. There will also be drop in sessions at local venues.

It’s now recruiting a paid project worker to help carry out the community consultation process.

For more information, please visit

Maria Ford, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “Deanfield borders the Foreshore area and is close to Kinneil Estate. We want to know more about how local residents use the spaces, and if they make use of all the facilities. For instance they may not know about the free, regular events on offer – such as health walks and open days. We’d also like to hear about any improvements they’d like to see.

“The Estate and Foreshore are well used spaces and I’m sure people will have lots to say.”

She added: “The charity – since its launch in 2006 – has campaigned for improvements to the Kinneil area, and have won a lot of successes. But we’re constantly talking to people to define future priorities and to respond to local people. Hopefully this research project will help.”

Funding for the project has been secured through the Growing Communities Fund, a small grants programme aimed at helping local groups and people in regeneration areas to become more involved in their communities. The fund also helps residents influence local services and improve their local areas.

The fund is managed locally by CVS Falkirk and District – using cash from the Scottish Government’s Fairer Scotland Fund. Local CVS chief executive Kenny Murphy said: “We’ve worked with The Friends of Kinneil since the group was established and have seen the organisation grow from a small campaign group into a hard-working charity, trying to deliver real results for local people in the Bo’ness area. The charity already runs well supported open days at Kinneil House and other activities to promote the Kinneil area. But we know they want to do more.

“Consultation activities like this can help groups build up a clear picture of local needs and help support future funding bids to make improvements. The project may also attract more volunteers to help The Friends of Kinneil. We hope the people of Deanfield will support the consultation process and get involved in some way.”

charities, construction, leisure, Ogilvie, public sector

Time Capsule revamp is a splash hit

Fun at the Time Capsule, CoatbridgeONE of Scotland’s leading leisure centres has been
officially re-opened after the first phase of a £6
million revamp.

The Time Capsule in Coatbridge has had extensive renovation work over the past year.

It now boasts a unique new attraction: Europe’s only indoor “Tornado Tantrum” slide. The thrilling 30 second slide, which was imported from Canada, can be enjoyed by up to four people at once.

Phil McEwan, the managing director of Ogilvie Construction – the main contractor on site – said: “It’s great to see the Time Capsule operational again and being a huge hit with families. This major refurbishment project breathed new life into the complex, making one of Scotland’s most popular leisure centres even more popular than ever.

“The project, which was completed just before Christmas, made major enhancements to the leisure facilities on offer – and also upgraded the plant and structures behind the scenes. Here at Ogilvie, we drew on our considerable experience in the leisure sector to deliver the enhancements on time and on budget and were delighted to be a part of this prestigious project.

“We wish North Lanarkshire Council, the Trust operating the centre, and the staff and customers at The Time Capsule every success for the future.”

The centre – one of the busiest leisure pools in Scotland – was re-opened by Tom Curley, the Provost of North Lanarkshire Council (which owns the building) on January 14.

Provost Curley said: “The Time Capsule looks fantastic and it’s great credit to everyone who worked hard to make it happen. It has a proud past and can look forward to an exciting future thanks to the improvements that have been made. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved for making it such a success and look forward to seeing the centre continue to develop and the plans for the ice-rink coming to fruition.”

The new centre has proved to be a hit with the public, boasting over 40,000 visits since the first phase of works were completed in December 2010. This represents an increase of 130 per cent on the same period last year.

In addition to the Tornado Tantrum ride, there’s also Splashdown Island, an interactive play area. It features Scotland’s “largest tipping bucket”, which takes seven minutes to fill before unleashing up to two tons of water on swimmers below.

Councillor Jim Logue, who chairs the Time Capsule Trust, said the Time Capsule attracts people from all over the UK.

He said: “We’ve set an ambitions target one million visitors this year, so naturally we’re delighted that so many people have visited in the opening weeks. Local people have been enjoying the new facilities too, and we’ve noticed many people with young families using it during the day.

“It’s important to remember that this is just phase one of the improvements. We’ll soon be starting work on the refurbishment of the ice rink and have plans to include a health suite.”


ABOVE: Phil McEwan (first left) of Ogilvie Construction at the Time Capsule launch event. Pictures courtesy of North Lanarkshire Council.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact

For Ogilvie Construction:
– Adrian Mahoney, PR Consultant for Ogilvie Construction
Tel: 01506 823714 or 07967 150560; email:

For North Lanarkshire Council:
– Colin Fraser, Media and Communications Officer, North Lanarkshire Council
Tel: 01698 302054; email:
– Sam Clarke, Media and Public Affairs Manager, North Lanarkshire Council
Tel: 01698 302527; email:

charities, social media

Become a ‘Friend’ of the Friends

A CHARITY has tapped into the world’s biggest social networking site to keep in contact with local people.

The Friends of Kinneil – which promotes historic Kinneil Estate in Bo’ness – now has a dedicated section on Facebook, allowing local people to easily follow its activities.

Just visit and “like” the group.

The park is part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site and includes a Roman fortlet, a cottage used by the inventor James Watt, as well as the remains of a medieval church and the impressive Kinneil House and Museum.

Maria Ford, the chair of The Friends of Kinneil, said: “Our main website – at – has had more than 38,000 views since it was re-launched in 2007. But we want to make it easier for people to stay in touch, particularly non-members who ask us regularly for information on open days at Kinneil Estate.

“Facebook helps us easily do that. Simply go to and ‘like’ us – to become a ‘Friend’ of the Friends!”

Facebook – launched in 2004 – now has more than 500 million active users. The web company says that half of these people log onto the site in any given day, with an average user having 130 friends.
Facebook devotees include everyone from stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger to media organisations like The Journal and Gazette.

Maria said: “A key part of the charity’s work has been to promote the estate and encourage more people to visit the park. Using different websites and social media has been crucial to that strategy.

“So you’ll find Kinneil pictures on photo-sharing sites like Picasa and Flickr. You’ll find our videos on YouTube and – and you’ll even find audio excerpts of a tour round Kinneil on the podcasting site, Audioboo. We also post links to our stories on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Links to all these sites can be found on the homepage of our main website.

“We think Facebook will be a useful addition to this portfolio, particularly as it encourages interaction with users and extra chances for people to hear about our work – and easily share it with their network on Friends.”

To find out more visit, – or go directly to


The Friends of Kinneil is a registered charity Charity Registration Number : SC038368

Visit us online at:
Email us:

charities, heritage

Remembering James Watt

ONE of Scotland’s greatest sons is being remembered this week – exactly 275 years after he was born.

The inventor James Watt was born in Greenock on January 19, 1736.

He went on to develop and improve the steam engine – the workhorse which powered the Industrial Revolution.

On Friday (Jan 21), the charity The Friends of Kinneil in Bo’ness – where Watt worked on early steam prototypes – will celebrate the inventor’s legacy with a “James Watt Supper”, an alternative to the traditional Burns Supper.

Maria Ford, the chair of The Friends, said: “Probably very few of us have a copy of Rabbie Burns’ Complete Works in our homes – but nearly everyone will have lightbulbs measured in Watts.

“It says a lot about Watt’s legacy that a unit of power was named after him. This amazing man deserves credit for his work – and in the week of his birthday we intend to do just that.”

The Friends promote the historic Kinneil Estate in Bo’ness – dominated by the imposing Kinneil House.

Watt was invited there by a local industrialist Dr. John Roebuck, who wanted him to improve the way water was pumped out of local mines. A cottage workshop – still standing in the estate – was constructed for Watt to use. The inventor worked at Kinneil for two spells in 1769 and 1770.

Sadly, the doctor – one of the founders of the famous Carron Iron Works in Falkirk – went bankrupt in 1773 and had to sell his share in Watt’s patent to one of his creditors, a Matthew Boulton of Birmingham.

And so a new partnership was born.

Watt moved to England and the improved steam engine – further developed with the help of Matthew Boutlon – revolutionised the use of steam power in Britain’s mills and factories.

Mrs Ford said: “Had John Roebuck not hit money problems, history could have been very different. But we’re still proud of the important part Kinneil played in the story of James Watt.

“On Friday, we’ll toast his life and works – and hear some immortal memories from a local historian, Ian Scott. Some of our members will also make their own contributions as we remember how James Watt changed the world.”

The Friends have organised typical 18th century music for private party – organised for charity members and invited guests in a local church hall.

The bill of fare will feature a modern take on Salamagundi, a popular dish of the time, followed by “Steam pudding” – the obvious choice for dessert.

A hot toddy will also be in offer to help toast the man behind the improved steam engine.

The charity has updated its website to give people more information on James Watt and his links with Bo’ness. Visit


Make the world a better place this holiday season

THE PR Store’s pal Andy Green is encouraging everyone to take part in the five days of Twixtmas – and do good deeds between Christmas and New Year.

Andy says: “Imagine if most people did five things during Twixtmas to make the world a better place. Would it be great if you did some small thing to help make this happen?”

Read the full story below …


A campaign to encourage binge doing – to make the world a better place using the five days of Twixtmas – between the Christmas and New Year Holidays is being launched.

The not-for-profit campaign is aiming to encourage everyone to make the most of the opportunity to take small practical actions to make the world better in some way.

The five days of Twixtmas campaign between the Christmas and New Year holidays – December 27th to 31st is often the time of the year where people complain of being bored and not having anything to do.

Instead of binge shopping, or binge drinking, the campaign is trying to encourage binge doing and overcome the problem of ‘time poverty’ – where people perceive they do not have enough time to do things for themselves or others

The campaign web site offers practical advice and inspiration to encourage everyone to make the most of this under-used opportunity. The site also provides a free facility for sending a Twixtmas e greeting card, and you can also download a Twixtmas pledge form.

The ideas was originally conceived by social enterprise the Flexible Thinking Forum, as a simple way of creating social good by thinking differently about the period between the two public holidays of Christmas and New Year, and make use of untapped resource, energy, and opportunities.

To help people get the most of period the campaign has themed each of the five days with a focus;
Day 1 is about spoiling yourself and thinking more positively about you.
Day 2 is do something for someone else, ideally a stranger – help a neighbour or good cause
Day 3 is help a friend
Day 4 is doing something for the planet
Day 5 is do something for your future

The campaign is ideal to engage with people individually to do something, or for voluntary, charity or community groups who can either do something new or re-do an existing activity during Twixtmas.

Further details about Twixtmas can be found at

“Imagine if most people did five things during Twixtmas to make the world a better place. Would it be great if you did some small thing to help make this happen?” said Andy Green of the Flexible Thinking Forum.


For further details please contact Andy Green on behalf of Twixtmas on 07815 884 525 or e mail

charities, construction, leisure, Ogilvie, public sector, Uncategorized

New £9 million leisure centre to open its doors

A NEW £9 million leisure complex in Lanark is set to open its doors.

The facility – called “South Lanarkshire Lifestyles – Lanark” has been built by Ogilvie Construction for South Lanarkshire Council. It will be operated and maintained by the authority’s leisure partner, South Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd.

The new centre, close to the town’s railway station, will host a drop-in week for local people from January 11. It will become fully operational on January 18.

The stunning new centre includes:

• a 25 metre swimming pool, with floating floor and health suite area
– including a sauna and steam room;
• a hydrotherapy pool with mechanical hoist for easy access;
• a “changing village” with disabled facilities;
• a community café area, serving Starbucks coffee and tasty snacks;
• a spacious modern dance studio with sound system, sprung floor and
mirrored walls; and
• a 30 station brand new fitness gym, with equipment suitable for
users with mobility problems;

The facility has also been linked into the neighbouring Harry Smith Centre, which provides facilities for people with physical and learning disabilities.

Councillor Gerry Convery, who chairs the Council’s community resources committee and South Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd., said: “This is a fantastic facility for the people of Lanark and beyond.

“The variety of leisure services provided in the Lifestyle centre reflect the commitment the Council and South Lanarkshire Leisure Ltd., have made to providing high quality facilities.”

Phil McEwan, the managing director of Ogilvie Construction, said: “Work started on site in Spring 2008 – and we’re delighted with the finished result. It’s a stunning complex which I’m sure will be a big hit with local people.

“Ogilvie has a strong track record in this sector, and we’re pleased to have delivered the complex on time and on budget for our client.”

The complex received funding support of £560,000 from sportscotland with the remainder being funded by the Council.

South Lanarkshire Lifestyles – Lanark opens to the public for a preview week from Monday, January 11, 2010, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Anyone interested in a tour or induction should call 01555 666800 or 01555 666820 from January 5.

More information is available online at

Ogilvie Construction, part of the Ogilvie Group, is one of the leading building firms in Scotland. The privately-owned business has its head office in Stirling, employs more than 400 people and has an annual turnover of around £100 million. It works throughout Scotland and the North of England.

Find out more at

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact

– Adrian Mahoney, PR Consultant for Ogilvie Construction
Tel: 01506 823714 or 07967 150560; email:

– Sue Bowman, Business Development Director, Ogilvie Construction
Tel: 01786 812273;

charities, construction, Ogilvie, public sector

Building firm scores with pupils

A BIG-hearted building firm has given new football strips to a West Lothian School.

Ogilvie Construction carried out the second phase of the £1.8 million revamp of Bankton Primary School in Livingston.

The firm was so impressed with the school and its pupils – who wrote 300 thank you letters to company bosses – they decided to provide new soccer kit for the youngsters.

Managing director Phil McEwan handed over the new strips at a presentation on Monday.

He said: “The school’s looking great and we were really touched to get thank you letters from pupils. We thought it would be nice to donate football strips to the school. The children have a fantastic looking school – and now they have brand new kit to play in as well.”

Ogilvie carried out major reconstruction and maintenance works at the school, including converting smaller, open-place class spaces into larger, more regular-sized classrooms. A new kitchen, windows, ceilings and IT works were also carried out.

Said Mr McEwan: “Most of the work in phase two was carried out in the summer holidays and we managed halve the expected project time to minimise the inconvenience to pupils and teachers.”

The second phase was delivered by Ogilvie for client West Lothian Council at a cost of nearly £650,000. The earlier phase extended the school, providing a new gym and assembly hall.

Bankton head teacher Marlyn Taylor said: “On behalf of the school I’d like to thank Ogilivie Contruction for this generous donation. We are delighted with the work Ogilvie did at the school, carrying out a good job without any disruption.”

Ogilvie Construction, part of the Ogilvie Group, is one of the leading building firms in Scotland. The privately-owned business has its head office in Stirling, employs more than 400 people and has an annual turnover of around £100 million. It works throughout Scotland and the North of England. Find out more at

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact
– Adrian Mahoney, PR Consultant for Ogilvie Construction
Tel: 01506 823714 or 07967 150560
– Sue Bowman, Business Development Director, Ogilvie Construction
Tel: 01786 812273