Conservative leader visits Galloway

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson and councillor Finlay Carson with Duncan McConchie at the top of the Zip line
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson and councillor Finlay Carson with Duncan McConchie at the top of the Zip line

A web developer, a food supply company, a community initiative and a top tourist attraction were the hosts as Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson paid an official visit to Dumfries and Galloway last week

sdThe Glasgow MSP was accompanied by Councillor Finlay Carson on visits to Castle Douglas web development agency, SuperControl, Kirkcudbright food supplier, Castle MacLellan and Laggan Outdoor on Friday, January 16.

SuperControl founders, Robert and Melinda Kennedy started a web development agency, SuperWebs Ltd, in 1999. The company specialises in ecommerce websites and problem solving databases and applications. SuperWebs has developed and continues to manage and host more than 200 websites for 130 businesses around the world.

An online booking system was essential for the Kennedys when they took over Orroland Holiday Cottages. Their hard-earned profits were being swallowed up in agency commission. They found plenty of online booking software, but none suited to self-catering accommodation. So they built their own, which won the prestigious Winners of the Web award in 2001.

Other owners got interested and SuperWebs developed websites for them incorporating custom booking systems adapted from the online booking software they’d built.

When they joined the ASSC (Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers) committee, the Kennedys found widespread frustration about the lack of such a system. They carried out a survey on what self-catering businesses wanted - the results informed the development of SuperControl which they launched in 2007.

Over the last 30 years Castle MacLellan has grown from a small operation producing several tubs of pâté a day in the back of a small delicatessen, to a major national force supplying supermarkets the length and breadth of the country.

By 1997 the long term investment plan to increase capacity accelerated when Kavli Ltd acquired the business in 1997. Castle MacLellan became a member of the Kavli Group.

Kavli was started by Olav Kavli in Norway in 1893, when at the age of 21 he realised his dream and started a business buying and selling cheeses. He eventually worked with his son, Knut where they expanded the Kavli business and began to open factories in their key export markets. The Kavli Group now has commercial operations in the UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark and it’s owned by the Kavli Trust.

Kirkcudbright-based Castle MacLellan Foods is to open a new £5 million factory extension in the new year.The expansion of its facilities will see it add to its current 85-strong workforce.

The investment was announced in July, which is being put in place to allow the business to “capitalise on strong growth prospects for its premium products throughout the UK”.

Outdoor centre, part of a farm diversification, with one of Europes longest zipwires! Owner Duncan moved back to the area in 2007 to set-up Laggan Outdoor having worked in Television and Corporate Communications in Leeds for 9 years. Duncan now manages the day to day running of Laggan.

In 2002 a group of local people came together to examine options for providing affordable housing and regeneration projects in the Creetown area. Subsequently, in 2004 the Creetown Initiative was set up to address a range of local needs. In 2006 the initiative accessed funds to employ a full time project worker to take forward its regeneration plans. Since 2006 we have created 3 full-time posts, and 7 part-time or occasional posts and in 2009 became a social enterprise/development trust/community anchor..

Creetown Initiative Ltd currently has a core team of trained personnel with expertise in project implementation and management, as well as funding, community consultation, business planning, auditing and accountancy skills.