THE founder of an Ardrossan charity is in the running for a top prize at an awards ceremony set up to recognise the contribution of former service personnel who have gone into business.

Alan Bell, who runs the Scottish Centre for Personal Safety at the Barony St John Centre in Princes Street, is among the finalists for the 'Inspiration of the Year' prize at the Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards.

The former Royal Military Police officer has been acclaimed for his outstanding work in developing personal safety courses for people with learning disabilities and autism. 

The winners will be revealed at a ceremony in Glasgow on March 14, hosted by TV presenter Sally Magnusson.

Alan said: "I am hugely honoured to have my work in devising Personal Safety courses for vulnerable people recognised by my military peers.

"Our work with people who have learning disabilities over the last year has been particularly rewarding, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team of volunteer instructors for all their dedication and support over the last year.

"We could not achieve what we do without them."

A spokesperson for the Ex-Forces in Business Awards said: "Having served with the Royal Military Police, Alan has taken his regiment’s motto ‘Exemplo Ducemus’ – ‘By Example, We Lead’ – and carried this standard forward into his civilian life and business.

"He turned a part-time hobby of teaching personal safety and self defence skills learned during his military career into a full-time charity, The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety, now based at the Barony St John Centre in Ardrossan.

"Over the years, as Alan has developed courses for people with sensory impairment, people with dwarfism and for female victims of violence, his charity has won multiple national awards for excellence.

"It is Alan’s development of a course for people with learning disabilities that has saw him reach the final of the Ex-Forces in Business Awards 2024 in the category of 'Inspiration of the Year’ – exemplifying his regiment’s motto."

The awards are aimed at showcasing the diverse talents of the armed forces community to employers.

In recent years the awards have recognised the business achievements of more than 1,500 veterans and reservists while also raising more than £300,000 for charity partner SSAFA.

The finalists were whittled down from more than 300 nominations.

This year’s winners will be revealed in a gala ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow’s Grand Ballroom.

Lt Cdr Susie Hamilton, Scottish Veterans Commissioner, said: "People who serve in the armed forces gain world-class skills and values which are highly transferable into every sector. Yet while the business case in hiring veterans is strong, it’s not always well understood.

“I applaud the work of the Ex-Forces in Business Awards in demonstrating this business case in the best way possible, by showcasing the business achievements of this tremendous talent pool as well as the 'forces friendly companies across Scotland which actively seek to employ from the armed forces community.

"I send my warmest congratulations to the finalists of this year's awards, which once again display the sheer breadth of talent in this community.

"They are all fantastic role models for service leavers and represent on an exceptional level the value that veterans are able to bring to Scottish employers and the wider economy in their post-military careers. "