Recent Press Releases

We publish all of our press releases from the last 12 months here so you can keep up to date.
Please email pressenquiry@dumgal.gov.uk if you'd like further details on any of our press releases.
If you want to speak to a communications officer, you can find their office-hours telephone numbers and what areas of the council they cover at www.dumgal.gov.uk/pressenquiry.

  • SQA Exam Results 2022

    Tuesday, 09 August 2022 09:36

    For the first time since 2019, young people from across Dumfries and Galloway were able to sit SQA exams in April and May in conditions that were more similar to pre-pandemic approaches than in 2020 and 2021.

    In the 2022 exam diet, young people sat exams in the same way as pre-pandemic but were able to benefit from advice and guidance about course content and assessment approaches from SQA that took account of the impact of the pandemic on learning and teaching throughout session 21-22. As a result of exam conditions being changed significantly in the 2019 and 2020 exam diets, outcomes form these years are an unreliable comparison. As such, the best comparator for this most recent data is that of 2019.

    Results for 2022 show an encouraging picture with almost all measures for S4,5 and 6 correlating closely to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. This would suggest that the commitment and dedication of education professionals and partners along with a sustained focus on recovery and meeting the needs of all learners over the course of the pandemic has had a positive impact on outcomes. This is despite the ongoing significant challenges around COVID related absence and the capacity to sustain service and continuity of provision faced by all of our secondary schools last session.

    The percentage of young people who were presented for National 5 exams showed an overall pass rate of 93%, the same as in 2019, and the measure of those achieving an A-C pass was up by 1% from 2019 levels at 82%.

    At National 3 and National 4 levels, pass rates were 91% and 81% respectively. This shows similar levels at National 3 to pre-pandemic levels with a slight dip at National 4 presentation.

    In S5, the percentage of young people achieving at least 1 Higher was 54%. The percentage achieving 3 or more Highers was 34% and 5 or more was 13%. This was broadly in line with levels achieved in 2019. This data shows a small overall dip from the longer-term pre-pandemic trend and shows that there is still some recovery work to be done to return to pre-pandemic improvement trends for these measures.

    At S6, the percentage of young people achieving at least 1 Higher was 67%, 3 or more Highers was 46% and 5 or more was 31%. This is again a very positive result with almost all measures broadly in line or slightly better than pre-pandemic levels.

    Young people in S6 achieving 1 or more passes at Advanced Higher level was up by around 1% from pre-pandemic levels at 22%. This positive picture might indicate that these older young people were able to adapt successfully to the challenges of the pandemic and were able to combine learning and support in school along with self-directed study and increased digital support and provision to help them achieve success.

    Overall, the results this session are very encouraging and show that mitigations and responses to the challenges due to the pandemic have had a positive impact. There is still work to do to get back to our pre-pandemic longer-term trends of incremental improvement across all measures. However, we are in a better place to continue this journey than perhaps might have been anticipated given the scale of disruption to learning and teaching, and the challenges around sustaining front line services experienced by our schools over session 2020-22.

    Chair of Education and Learning committee, Richard Brodie, said “One of our council’s priorities is ‘Providing the best start in life for all our children’. It is extremely encouraging to see results back in line with the most recently competitive data we have - from 2019. That was the last time that our young people were in exam halls. Given that all our young people had their education interrupted as a result of the pandemic and had to adapt to new ways of learning, I am delighted that these results are consistent with those from the last time our young people sat exams. I am optimistic that our schools will be able to build on these positive results as they continue to deliver our recovery agenda as we continue to Get it Right for Every Child in the forthcoming academic year.”

    Vice Chair of Education and Learning committee, George Jamieson, said “I am really pleased with these results. Despite the significant challenges, young people showed huge determination to be able to overcome the challenges they faced during the previous two years of education so that they could sit exams.

    “These results evidence the positive learning environment that we provide in Dumfries and Galloway. The young people, parents, carers and staff are to be congratulated, particularly this year in which they have faced and overcome unprecedented challenges when returning to classroom learning. However, there is still a lot of work to be done but I have confidence that our teachers and school staff will be able to provide the support that all our young people need to continue their positive, individual learning journeys.”

    The Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Results Helpline is available from 8am on results day, Tuesday 9thAugust. SDS Advisers can tell our young people about Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships, jobs, volunteering or staying on at school.

  • Summer Activities

    Wednesday, 13 July 2022 14:29

    SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ACROSS D&G

    Young people in Dumfries & Galloway will have the chance to take part in a wide range of free activities over the Summer Holidays taking place in local communities across our region.

    Activities are available from Saturday 2nd July until Sunday 21st August and are specifically aimed at children and young people aged 5-14 years old who are within the priority groups. The activities on offer will give young people the opportunity to meet with their friends, make new friends, and to take part in fun and free activities and new opportunities. This provision throughout the duration of the school summer holidays will provide support to children and young people who may otherwise struggle to access experiences during the holidays, giving them the opportunity to play, socialise and get to know organisations within their local community.

    There are activities for all ages, and all interests including sports sessions, arts sessions, free leisure facility access, Summer Camps, workshops on different topics, day trips and creative and performing arts sessions and much more.

    Dumfries and Galloway Council has awarded funding to local Third sector organisations and private childcare providers from across our region to give children and young people a Summer to remember.


    Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Chair of Communities Committee said: “There is something for everyone as part of this fantastic summer programme of activities that are on offer. All activities are entirely free to attend, and this further emphasises our Council’s commitment to tackling and alleviating child poverty across our region. I would encourage all young people who are aged 5-14 to make the most of this opportunity and to try something new this Summer.”

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice-Chair of Communities Committee said of the Summer Programme Fund: “The young people who were involved in the Summer Programme Fund through the co-production group have done an excellent job in ensuring that the activities on offer across Dumfries and Galloway have been designed by young people, for young people, through effective co-design and that they are spread the length and breadth of the region. The group also helped to set the fund’s priorities and sat on the independent scoring panel, ensuring that the activities will make a positive difference to young people in communities across Dumfries and Galloway.”

    Elli Wadsworth, Chairperson of Dumfries & Galloway Youth Council said: “We received an extremely high number of applications for this funding, and it was a difficult job in making sure that the right activities were made available to young people. This is a great programme of activities, and we cannot wait to see young people across Dumfries and Galloway having an amazing Summer with their friends. Make sure you visit the Youth Enquiry Service website for full details of what is on near you, and how you can sign up.”

    To see all that is on offer, and how to sign up for an activity, visit https://youthenquiryservice.org/whats-on


    Summer Programme Fund: Activities

    AREA

    PROVIDER

    ACTIVITY

    REGIONAL

    Youth Work Service

    Summer Camps & Youth Cafes / 12 – 18 years

    REGIONAL

    Children & Families Social Work

    Family Days Out to regional/national attractions

    REGIONAL

    Arts & Museums

    Themed Art & Craft Days: stained glass, ceramics etc. / 13 – 17 years

    REGIONAL

    Disability Sport

    Various Sports sessions, trip to Loch Ken, Family Fun Day / 8 – 18 years

    REGIONAL

    Leisure Facilities

    Paid memberships for young people in priority groups / 5 – 18 years

    REGIONAL

    Lifelong Learning

    Family Activity Packs & sessions in parks / P1-P7

    REGIONAL

    DG Youth Council

    Residential on youth leadership and activism programme / 11 -18 years

    REGIONAL

    Parents Inclusion Network

    Live the Adventure, Barcaple outdoor activities / 5 – 14 years

    REGIONAL

    Let’s Get Sporty

    Summer Sports sessions / 5 – 14 years

    A&E

    RH Youth Organisation

    Activity Day Lockerbie / 5 – 14 years

    A&E

    A&E Youth Group

    Themed Workshops & Activity Days / 11 – 14 years

    A&E

    Sports Driving Unlimited

    Carriage Driving with Ponies / 5 – 14 years

    A&E

    St. Andrews Church Moffat

    Wiston Lodge Residential

    A&E

    Wise Owls Nursery

    Outdoor Activities and Learning

    A&E

    Creation Mill

    Textile Workshops / 5 – 14 years

    MID & UPPER NITHSDALE

    Mid & Upper Nithsdale Youth Forum

    Fun Days; Young Parents Days; Family Fun Day; Workshops & Activities / 11 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    Queen of the South

    Football Camps & Family Fun Day / 5 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    The Attic Youth Group

    Themed Workshops & Family Fun Event / 11 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    Heathhall Community Centre

    Arts & Crafts Workshops, Family Ceilidh Night / 5 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    YMCA Dumfries

    Day Trips, Art Sessions, Workshops, Forest Walks / 10 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    Include Us

    Creative Outdoor Activities, Plantasia

    NITHSDALE

    Lochside Community Association

    Fun Day, Film Day, Art Activities, Themed Clubs

    NITHSDALE

    Dumfries Cricket Club

    Themed Cricket Sessions: Disability Cricket, Females Cricket, Kids Cricket / 5 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    Summerhill Community Centre

    Activity Days, Environmental Awareness, Day Trips, Glamping / 5 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    Theatre Royal Guild of Players

    Drama sessions, Costume, Make-up, Set design, Workshops / 7 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    Youth Enquiry Service

    Issue based workshops for low level mental health support / 11 -14 years

    STEWARTRY

    Johnston Nursery

    Outdoor Learning @ Barrhill Woods Outdoor Classroom / 5 – 9 years

    STEWARTRY

    Homegrown Childminding

    Day Trips within the region, Experience Days / 5 – 14 years

    STEWARTRY

    Kirkcudbright Dark Space Planetarium

    Planetarium sessions with ceramic painting; Planetarium sessions with cosmic storytelling; Planetarium sessions with

    craft workshops / 5 – 14 years

    STEWARTRY

    Local Initiatives in New Galloway

    Galloway Activity Centre, film-making, Loch Ken Ranger workshops / 7 – 14 years

    STEWARTRY

    Stewartry Youth Work Steering Group

    Foot Golf; Inflatable Theme Park; 3 R's Horse Rescue Centre; Breakfast Sessions; Mabie Forest / 11 – 14 years

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    Stranraer Community Events Group

    Food provision for Day in the Park and Football Tournament / 5 – 14 years

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    Stranraer Youth Café

    Fun Days; Workshops; Issue based work; Experience Days / 11 – 14 years

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    YMCA Stranraer

    Swimming, Cinema, Sports Activities / P1 – P7

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    Newton Stewart Initiative

    Sports Day, Outdoor Cinema, Picnic in the Park / 7 – 14 years

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    Wigtown Bay Coastal Rowing Club

    Sports Sessions, Cooking & Baking, Arts & Crafts / P1 – S1

  • Annual Canvass Of Electors

    Friday, 08 July 2022 11:41

    The Electoral Registration Officer is required by law to carry out a household canvass each year to find out who is eligible to vote at every address in Dumfries and Galloway. This year the canvass starts the week of 11 July 2022, when the Electoral Registration Officer will issue to emails to those households for which he holds an email address.

    Hard copy communications will be issued in late July into early August over a 4-week period.

    When households receive their canvass communication it is essential that residents check the details to ensure they are correct and advise us of any changes as soon as possible.

    Where we hold an email address for a household, we will email the canvass communication in order to minimise postage costs. If we do not have an email address, a paper form will be sent.

    All emails require a response, however, some paper forms do not so please follow the instructions given.

    If you receive a paper form which indicates that you do need to respond please do so promptly as we are required by law to send reminder letters and follow up with telephone calls or household visits to non-responders.

    If you would prefer to vote by post in future elections, please request a postal vote when responding to the form or email we send you. A postal vote application form will then be sent to you and all you need to do is complete and sign it and return it to us. You can then vote from home in future.

  • Summer Camps Are Back

    Friday, 08 July 2022 11:13

    Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service has announced the return of the Amazing Summer Camps for 2022!

    Last year, scores of teenagers from across Dumfries and Galloway took part in the action-packed camps held near Beattock. With funding received from the Summer of Play initiative, the camps are making a comeback and are set to be as popular as ever!

    The camp activities are organised by young people, and a member of the co-design team said “we are really excited to be able to work on the amazing summer camps again this year, we have lots of fun activities planned and everyone who signs up will receive their own camp goody bag that includes a t-shirt, hoody, water bottle and lots of other wee surprises”

    Alongside the amazing summer camps, the Youth Work Team will be out and about in communities across the region, providing Youth Cafes in local youth centres, town halls and parks. The Youth Cafes will offer free food and activities for young people aged 11 to 25 years, including sports, arts and crafts, music, games and much more.

    The Youth Enquiry Service team will be available throughout the summer, providing support and advice to young people through the Blether Live Chat, more information can be found on their website - youthenquiryservice.org. Youth People can also drop into the Youth Enquiry Service building at DG One in Dumfries, between 12noon and 4pm, Monday to Friday for free food, company and activities.

    Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said:

    “I am delighted to see such a wide range of youth work being offered across the region for young people this summer. It is our Council’s commitment to provide the best start in life for all our children, and continue to tackle poverty and inequalities, and opportunities such as this helps us to deliver our priorities.

    Also this Summer, the ‘Youth Work Roadshows’ will make a return, offering free activities for families and young people in local parks and town centres. Keep your eyes peeled for the roadshow dates coming to a town or village near you.

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice Chair of the Communities Committee said:

    “The Roadshow will tour Dumfries and Galloway throughout the summer and will see children and young people getting involved in crafts, sports, games and youth work activities delivered by the Youth Work Service, Lifelong Learning, NHS, Active Schools, Employability and a range of local community organisations. This summer is set to be an amazing experience for our region’s children and young people.”

    For more information on any of the activities on offer this summer, visit www.youthenquiryservice.org/whats-on

  • New Exhibitions At Gracefield

    Friday, 08 July 2022 10:56

    Two new linked exhibitions open in July at Gracefield in Dumfries, in Gallery 1 it’s the Dumfries & Galloway Fine Arts Society Annual Exhibition. Originally set up in 1922, Dumfries & Galloway’s largest practising art group presents a fascinating selection of over 60 its members’ work, which this year celebrates it centenary year and 97 years of their annual exhibition. With over 180 works from painting and drawing to craft and sculpture, there is always something to catch the eye and as most are available to buy, it’s the ideal exhibition to start or enhance your original art collection with prices to suit all pockets.

    In this celebration year, the Society has had members shows at Ottersburn Gallery in April, the current annual at Gracefield in Dumfries and then in November, a special one-off show at Kirkcudbright Galleries in the town where the society was established by leading artist of the day, including Jessie M King, Charles Oppenheimer and Chris Fergusson.

    Communities Committee Chair, Councillor Archie Dryburgh said:

    “It’s a wonderful display again this year and gives a really good feel for the artwork being made around the region from artist with many different interests: form landscape to portraiture, still life and abstract – there’s a very strong contemporary look and the Society show be very proud of its membership’s work and many congratulations on the centenary.”

    Across the Gracefield car park in gallery 2 is ‘Centennial: Art from the Gracefield Collection’. This special selection of over 60 works has been made by Lachlan Goudie,a Scottish artist, writer and BBC broadcaster,who has curated key artists from the last century from the Gracefield permanent collection. From the Scottish Colourists, through the post-war period of modern art to the present day it’s a fascinating story reflecting the styles and movements in art over the last century. The Gracefield Collection also has its origins in the 1920s with the establishment of the Dumfriesshire Educational Trust art collection, which then found a permanent home at Gracefield when it opened to the public in 1951. Since then, the DET and Dumfries and Galloway Council have added to the publicly owned paintings, drawing, prints, photographs, and sculpture amounting to over 700 artworks.

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice Chair of Communities Committee added:

    “It’s great to see our collection on view in the summer holiday season, with some hidden gems brought to light by inviting a guest curator. It’s a walk through 100 years of art from Scotland and beyond, with something for everyone to enjoy.”

    The exhibitions are open Tuesday-Saturday 10am to 5pm, admission free, at 28 Edinburgh Road Dumfries – follow the yellow AA signage! For more information on what’s on at Gracefield and all the Councils other arts and museums visit www.DGCulture.co.uk

  • Statement from Co-Leaders on Dumfries to Edinburgh Bus Service

    Monday, 04 July 2022 17:09

    Speaking about the possible cessation of the 101/102 service from Dumfries to Edinburgh, Co-Leaders of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Cllr Stephen Thomson and Cllr Linda Dorward issued the following statement:

    “We understand that there are concerns about the future of the current 101/102 service from Dumfries to Edinburgh. We share these concerns but want to reassure local people that Dumfries and Galloway Council and SWestrans are proactively trying to find solutions.

    “Currently, SWestrans, SPT and Scottish Borders Council fund the 101 / 102 service. Following a procurement exercise, the proposed 86% increase in costs to continue the service as per the current timetable from August 2022 are unacceptable and far outweigh the available funding. This means that the current service would end on 14 August when the contract ends.

    “We are committed to doing all we can to find a solution so that this doesn’t happen.

    “We recognise how important it is for our local communities and for our economy to have this service running from our region to the national capital. That is why SWestrans remains fully committed to providing the current funding of some £105k each year for this service.

    “We want a collective solution between all the partners to be found. We are pleased that SPT has brought all the current funding partners and some new local authorities (Midlothian and the City of Edinburgh) together to discuss this important transport route and what we can do in partnership to address this situation. A further meeting will be taking place on Friday.

    “Ahead of that meeting, we will be writing to all the organisations who are attending on Friday to ask them to look at their current funding arrangements and whether new sources of funding can be identified.

    “We have a shared responsibility to provide services to local people that they can depend upon. We will work with our partners to try and find a solution so that we may continue to provide the 101/102 service.”

  • Chairmen praise school achievements

    Wednesday, 29 June 2022 17:07

    As the school year draws to a close, the new Chair and Vice Chair of the Education and Learning committee, sent the following message in relation to our schools:

    Chair of the committee, Richard Brodie, said “As the school holiday approaches, I want to pay recognition to the hard work of our pupils, staff and parents this term. This has been a very challenging school year following the pandemic so I want to celebrate all that has been achieved by our schools. I have been the Chair of our Education and Learning committee for a few weeks and already I have had some insight into the huge number of services and responsibilities that our schools deliver every day. Our schools play such an important role within our communities and following two difficult years, it has been very encouraging to see our pupils engaging in learning and thriving. We will continue to prioritise wellbeing and being inclusive in our approaches to get it right for every child.

    “We know that the pandemic and its consequences are far from over and that the cost of living crisis layers yet more challenge on our communities. We will look to tackle these issues together next year and we will continue to advocate for children and families.

    “I would like to say thank you to our parents and carers for all they have done to support their child’s learning this year. Our schools and centres are grateful for all they have done in supporting their work.”

    Vice Chair of the Education and Learning committee, George Jamieson, said “As the holiday approaches I want to thank all the staff in our schools for the commitment they have given over the past year, in extremely challenging times. Together we support over 20,000 children and young people. While each of our 115 schools and ELC settings are unique in their people and their pressures, our strength of community is replicated across Dumfries and Galloway.

    “We're very proud of our young people in Dumfries and Galloway and what they achieve. Pupils across our schools and early years partners have now celebrated end of year successes in many areas, sharing their learning with parents, and preparing to move onto the next stage. As we move into the final afternoon of the session, with our pupils looking forward to the end of term, I wish them a great summer holiday and offer thanks to families and our staff for their support and hard work. I'd particularly like to thank school staff who are retiring and who have given so much.”
  • Celebrating our region’s foster carers

    Friday, 24 June 2022 15:50

    A celebration acknowledging the vital work of our foster carers do for young people in our region was held earlier this week. Foster carers from across Dumfries and Galloway came together for the first time as a whole group following the pandemic. The event arranged by Dumfries and Galloway Council was to thank foster carers and celebrate all the wonderful care they provide to children and young people.

    A presentation during the event also recognised some of our amazing carers who have recently retired as well as carers who have fostered for more than 25 years.

    Different speakers attended the event including the Interim Chief Exec of the council, Derek Crichton and Sara Smith from the fostering network. The event was also an opportunity for staff from social work to hear from foster carers, listen to their views and ideas on potential improvements on working together.

    Chair of the Social Work committee, Andy Ferguson, said “It was good to see so many of our foster carers come together. The last two years have been challenging but we’ve seen compassion and selflessness from our foster carers. They have opened their doors to children and given them a safe place during the Covid-19 pandemic when the rest of the country were struggling to even see their own families. These foster carers helped children to stay safe, in caring communities and create warm and nurturing relationships. This in turn helps to build stability and confidence in these young people.

    This was an important day. It provided us with an opportunity to thank foster carers and celebrate all the wonderful care they have provided to children in foster care throughout the national pandemic. They’ve had to become teachers, entertainers, counsellors as well as carers for children. They’ve had to adapt to using new technology and many have found creative ways to ensure that children’s needs are met. Our foster carers have done so admirably and continued to put young people first. They are a credit to our region.”

    Vice Chair or social work, Ian Howie, said “it was a pleasure to be able to hand out these awards today. They are a testament to the hard work and dedication shown by our foster carers every day. Fostering has had to adapt to the strange circumstances we all found ourselves in and our foster carers really stepped up to provide outstanding care and support for children and families who needed them. Today provided us with the opportunity to say a big thank you and convey our appreciation for everything they’ve done.”

    *** ENDS ****

  • Council proposes 3 bids to Levelling Up Fund to regenerate our region.

    Thursday, 23 June 2022 10:55

    At the meeting of Full Council (28 June) Elected Members will receive a report on round two of the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund. Members will be asked to approve the submission of three bids for capital investment in local infrastructure and to prioritise regeneration and growth in local places. Economic recovery Funding of £800 million is allocated for devolved nations which will support investment projects with up to £20 million of funding.

    Priority will be given to investment in regeneration and growth, in places in need and areas of low productivity and connectivity. The first round of the Fund focused on three specific themes –investment in local infrastructure and local transport schemes; regeneration and town centre investment; and cultural investment. The second phase of the LUF continues to focus on these investment themes.

    Dumfries and Galloway can submit up to three bids – one for a transport bid within our region; one other bid for projects situated within the UK Parliament constituency of Dumfries and Galloway; and one within the Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency – working with the other local authorities whose authority boundary is within this – that being South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Borders Council.

    Providing Members agree, Dumfries and Galloway will make the following bids:

    Transport Bid
    The proposed transport bid for Dumfries and Galloway Council includes three interlinking and distinct projects. The strategic focus for the bid is on ‘sustainable connectivity’ across the region, combining different elements to provide a ‘metro style’ access offer in our rural region.

    The aim is to address: · Need for increased use of sustainable resource/power; · Access to ‘green’ energy and therefore future transportation for all; · Improve quality of vehicles by accelerating their supply; · Create hubs that work effectively to help regenerate centres providing better amenity for both residents and tourists.

    Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure and Travel Hubs

    The ‘rollout’ of the EV Hub model currently being delivered in Annan to five other locations across the region (Stranraer, Whithorn, Newton Stewart, Gatehouse of Fleet and Sanquhar) with other mini Hub(s) in Mid/Upper Nithsdale to create a network of ‘Hubs’ where charging is available for all EVs. The project will be led by Dumfries and Galloway Council with an estimated cost of £1.2 million per Hub.

    Public Transport

    The purchase of 16 low-floor electric buses ranging from 16 to 31 passenger seats and provision of improved bus stop infrastructure at 100 stops along core routes linking into the EV Travel Hubs. The EV buses average at £250k each and their provision will convert nearly a quarter of the public sector owned fleet from diesel to EV for a £4 million investment. Bus stop improvements are estimated at £2 million.

    Cycle Routes

    Provision of improved cycle and walking route facilities, centred on the deliverable elements of the new coast to coast cycle route between Portpatrick in the west of D&G and Eyemouth on the east coast of the Scottish Borders and on links to the Hubs. The D&G section of the new route includes construction of the fully designed path scheme from Penpont to Thornhill. These interventions, costed at £2 million, will be delivered in partnership with VisitScotland, Sustrans and South of Scotland enterprise (SOSE).

    Dumfries and Galloway Constituency Bid

    This proposed bid also includes three interlinking and distinct projects with a focus on developing outdoor activities, building on the boom in staycations and the increased desire for outdoor activity that occurred because of the pandemic. The bid seeks to do this in a way that also supports town centre regeneration through re using vacant or derelict buildings, providing new focal points to attract visitors.

    Dalbeattie Rocks and Wheels

    A new facility in Dalbeattie through reuse of the vacant former primary school site to create a unique base for road cycling, mountain biking, orienteering, cross country running, climbing and water sports, including the provision of visitor accommodation. This is being developed and delivered by the Dalbeattie Community Initiative, who have been supported by the Council’s Economic Development Capital Programme. The LUF bid for this is £5.4 million. £600,000 will, in the first instance, be underwritten by the Place Based Investment Fund to enable an approved application to be submitted. All efforts will be made to minimise this amount by actively engaging with other external funders.

    Stranraer Water Sports Centre

    Developed and delivered by Stranraer Water Sports Association, this project will create an inclusive water sports hub adjacent to the marina in Stranraer and which will include a number of public facilities. It will also provide a base for water sports events, building on the success of the World Skiffie Championships, providing a competitive position from which to bid for future water sports events. Together with the marina expansion project, developed through Borderlands, this will significantly contribute to the strategic aim of repositioning Stranraer as a marine leisure destination. The bid for LUF for this project is £4.6 million, with 10% already match funded through an agreed grant from D&G Council.

    George Hotel Stranraer

    This project aim is to create an anchor attraction within Stranraer town centre through the regeneration of the former hotel site, complimenting ongoing investment in the neighbouring Stranraer Museum and the previous investment in the nearby Millennium Centre, improving the town centre for visitors. A mixed use community arts, culture and activity centre is being developed. The estimated project costs for the Council owned site are £8.7 million. Whilst the Council will facilitate the initial construction, the longer-term plan is to develop options for community based management of the centre.

    Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale Constituency Bid

    The bid development for this opportunity have been prepared in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Borders Council and will make the case for investment of up to £20 million on three projects, one to be led by each of the local authorities, and in partnership with other local and regional organisations.

    Proposal for Dumfries and Galloway: Annan Harbour Regeneration Project.

    Focussed around Annan Harbour, this includes the refurbishment of a B listed former warehouse (Collett’s Building) into a hub. This includes a workshop for heritage boat craft skills; a café; meeting/community space; bunkhouse accommodation and harbourside landscape improvements, including the construction of a new footbridge. This should create a new focal point for water sports and activities. The project led by the Annan Harbour Trust, who have identified total project development costs of £9.6 million and are seeking £7.5 million from LUF.

    Co-Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Stephen Thompson said: “These are extremely worthwhile projects across the whole of our region and, providing members agree, should go a long way to regenerate our region and boost our local economy. Along with the increased footfall that the new attractions will provide some of the bids have added value, such as the transport bid which seeks to improve connectivity whist accelerating our drive to be a Net Zero carbon emission region, addressing our Council priority to ‘Urgently respond to climate change and transition to a carbon neutral region.’ “

    Co-Leader, Linda Dorward said: “These are high quality bids which, if successful, would address a number of priority projects across Dumfries and Galloway and also help to address the negative economic impacts of the COVID pandemic. With investment, and by working with a range of appropriate partners and initiatives, we can reinvigorate the local economy and deliver long-lasting positive impacts. I look forward to seeing a positive outcome that this funding would make and enjoying the benefits of these fantastic projects in our local communities.”

    ENDS

  • CAPITAL INVESTMENT STRATEGY 2021/22

    Tuesday, 21 June 2022 17:08

    Members of the Council’s Finance, Procurement and Transformation (FPT) committee has today (21 June) received a report on the financial progress of the capital programme for the current financial year.

    Key recommendations are:

    • Note the overall Capital programme outturn position for 2021/22 is £23.646 Million spend against a budget of £33.0 Million, which reflects the utilisation of 72% of the agreed funding.
    • Note that net Capital Receipts of £0.514 Million were generated in 2021/22.
    • Note the development fund costs incurred.
    • AGREE that, given the extent to which funding is already committed and also to recognise the impact of inflationary pressures on the costs of projects, the £9.647 Million funding remaining available at the end of 2021/22 is carried forward within the respective projects/asset classes to support.

    The 2021/22 final outturn position shows spend of £23.646 Million against a budget of £33.047 Million, representing 72% utilisation. This outturn position reflects a particularly challenging year for the Council with Lead Officers highlighting difficulties in terms of supply chain issues and resourcing of projects (both internal and external).

    The impact of Covid 19 restrictions and the subsequent supply chain issues has contributed significantly to delays in the delivery of capital projects over the past 2 financial years. Feedback from the Lead Officers/Project Leads has indicated that the vast majority of the slippage incurred in 2021/22 is fully committed but projects have not been able to be progressed as timeously as initially anticipated due to this. In addition, inflationary pressures are having an increasingly significant impact on the cost of capital projects. A review is currently underway to determine inflationary pressures, resourcing challenges and supply chain issues.

    For all recent priority projects added to the Capital Investment Strategy an Optimism Bias allowance has been added to estimated project costs. This allowance is designed to protect against inflation and any unexpected issues that arise as the project progresses. However, the adequacy of these allowances is now being further reviewed given the current inflationary pressures and project delays.

    Given the extent to which the funding being carried forward is already committed to agreed projects, and also to recognise the impact of inflationary pressures on the cost of these projects, it is recommended that Members agree to the carry forward of the unused funding of £9.647 Million against the relevant Priority Projects and Asset Classes to support the progression of projects over the upcoming period.

    Chair of FPT Committee, Carolyne Wilson said: “In a difficult financial climate and amidst ongoing budget cuts the Council continues to invest in a wide range of projects across the region.With investment in priority projects, which includes some large infrastructure projects across the region, we are very positive on the impact the Capital Investment Strategy has on Dumfries and Galloway and our approach to working with communities to deliver capital investment has proven to work.“

    Vice Chair, Dougie Campbell said: “The COVID pandemic has affected us all in different ways, and it has had an impact on our Council budgets. But through shrewd investment we are committed to investing in our region to grow our local economy and support our communities though our Capital investments in roads, schools and local parks and reshaping and revitalising our towns.”

  • Council Adapts To Financially Challenging Times

    Tuesday, 21 June 2022 17:03

    Members of the Council’s Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee have received a report today (21 June) which states that the ongoing impact of Covid-19 restrictions and the related response and recovery measures has remained a key area of focus for financial monitoring throughout the financial year, alongside the ongoing overview of non-Covid-19 related issues, such as inflationary pressures.

    Committee Members will be asked to:

    • note that all Services have maintained spending within agreed budget levels.
    • note that Unallocated General Fund Balances as at 31 March 2022 have been increased to £8.1 Million, equating to 2% of the annual planned expenditure, in line with the agreed corporate policy and budget principles agreed by Full Council.
    • note that there are currently unallocated resources of £11.671 Million available within Reserves and that the utilisation of these resources will be subject to further Member consideration as part of the development of the Medium Term Financial Strategy and Council Plan;
    • note the amounts held by the Council in a number of funds for specific projects and commitments, including those associated with the COVID 19 response.
    • agree that a review is undertaken of amounts held within Committed Reserves and Service Reserves with a view to releasing amounts for further Member consideration.


    Despite the recent COVID-19 pandemic and the pressures this caused on Council budgets and services, all Services have maintained spending within their agreed budgeted levels at the end of the financial year.

    Where services have underspent against their agreed budget levels, the Council’s Budget Flexibility Scheme makes provision for these underspent amounts to be transferred to Service Reserves, within agreed parameters and with member approval.

    As anticipated, and previously reported, the financial implications of COVID-19 in 2021/22 were materially lower than those incurred in 2020/21 and were primarily associated with the loss of budgeted income, particularly within Leisure & Sport.

    Previous reports have highlighted a potential increase in energy costs based on increased ventilation requirements, primarily within the schools estate. However, energy costs have been contained within agreed budget levels as the Council’s total energy consumption levels for 2021/22 remained lower than pre-pandemic levels, with the increased consumption levels within Schools being wholly offset through a decrease in consumption across the non-school’s estate. The forward purchasing of energy at a national level has protected the Council from increased energy unit prices in 2021/22, although these increases will impact on energy costs going forward. A detailed review of estimated energy consumption levels for 2022/23, and the financial impact of increased Energy unit prices, is currently being carried out.

    Chair of Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee, Carolyne Wilson said: “Our Council faces exceptional challenges, including further reductions in Scottish Government support. The pandemic has added to our already existing financial challenges, but though prudent measures we will face the ongoing inflationary pressures and manage our revenue accordingly.”

    Vice Chair, Dougie Campbell said: “The cost of living crisis is hitting us all hard, and our Council will need to adapt and save in order to meet our future financial challenges. Services may need to alter, work practices may change, but citizens can rest assured that we will make best use of the funding available to us and be practical and shrewd in our financial planning.”

  • Probationers set to start in Dumfries and Galloway

    Tuesday, 21 June 2022 14:20

    Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education and Learning Directorate has welcomed its new cohort of probationer teachers as they begin their induction training prior to the start of the new term.

    70 new teachers have joined Education and Learning Directorate this week.

    A key part of the trainee induction scheme is a 2-day induction with input from Education and Learning officers and the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). Following the initial days, the new teachers will have an induction programme throughout the year including training days and several twilight sessions.

    Chair of the Education and Learning committee, Richard Brodie, said: “We are ready to support our new probationers wholeheartedly and we look forward to welcoming them to Dumfries and Galloway Council. Like many of our children and young people, our new probationers have had to learn online as part of their training, so they will understand the challenges that our young people are currently facing and be able to support them. We wish them all the best for rewarding careers that will have a positive impact on thousands of young people in the coming years.”

    Councillor George Jamieson, Vice Chair of the Education and Learning committee said: “Providing the best start in life for all our children is a priority of our Council. Recruiting a high number of probationer teachers, is a clear sign that we mean what we say. This is a significant step for education in Dumfries and Galloway. At a time where education is striving to return to a sense of normality, it’s wonderful to welcome these new teachers into our region. Investing in the future, supporting and indeed learning from recent graduates, as they join us fresh from their studies, is hugely significant in a progressive education system. "

  • Armed Forces Day 2022

    Thursday, 16 June 2022 11:29

    Arrangements for Armed Forces Day 2022

    Armed Forces Day Flag raising events will take place across our region to show appreciation for the work of the Armed Forces as follows:

    Armed Forces Flag Raising – Monday, 20 June 2022

    Time

    Location

    10.00am

    Midsteeple, Dumfries – Councillor Tracey Little, Provost of Dumfries will make a short address and Her Majesty’s Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Dumfries John Henderson will say the vote of thanks

    11.00am

    Market Hill, Castle Douglas

    11.00am

    Town Hall, Moffat

    11.00am

    Castle Square, Stranraer

    11.00am

    Colliston Park, Dalbeattie

    11.00am

    Tolbooth, Sanquhar

    Flags will also be raised on Annan and Langholm Town Halls. Flags will be flown until Monday, 27 June 2022

    These events are being held as part of the annual Armed Forces Day national campaign to provide everyone with the opportunity to show their support for the men and women of the Armed Forces, past and present, including serving troops, their families, Reservists, Veterans and Cadets.

    Armed Forces Day Parade – Saturday, 25 June 2022

    An Armed Forces Day Parade will take place from 11.40am until 12.30pm on Saturday, 25 June 2022 in Dumfries Town Centre. The Parade will be led by members of Dumfries Town and Pipe Bands, followed by representatives of our retired and serving Armed Forces personnel and by members of our local Cadet Units. Financial support has been granted for the event by Dumfries and Galloway Council.

    Councillor Archie Dryburgh MBE will be the Master of Ceremonies; the Council’s Civic Head Stephen Thompson will make an address; the President of Legion Scotland, Major William Turner will be in attendance; and Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries Ms Fiona Armstrong inspect the front rank of the Royal British Legion Scotland representatives.

    Councillor Stephen Thompson, Civic Head, Dumfries and Galloway Council, said

    “Armed Forces Day is our opportunity to show our appreciation for those that have served and who continue to serve in our Armed Forces. In Dumfries and Galloway our Armed Forces are very well supported by people from across the length and breadth of the region and I invite you all to join us on the day to thank them. Our Council has a proud record of supporting our Armed Forces and it is my privilege and honour to participate in this event’.

    Councillor Linda Dorwood, Deputy Civic Head, Dumfries and Galloway Council, said

    “This year’s Armed Forces Day is particularly significant since it falls in the same year as the 40th Anniversary of the Falklands War. It’s important to us that Dumfries and Galloway Veterans and Ex-Service personnel who fought in that conflict will be taking part so that people across the region can show their appreciation for the efforts of our Armed Forces in this conflict; and also show our respect for all those residents, past and present, who put their lives on the line for their country.”

    ENDS

  • Youth Beatz: food donation

    Thursday, 16 June 2022 11:29

    Food Donation Project Returns for Youth Beatz 2022!

    Youth Beatz Festival will take place at Parkfarm Showfield, Dumfries on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June 2022!

    The event, co-designed with young people, is Scotland’s Largest Free Music Festival but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Community and volunteering are at the core of the Youth Beatz ethos and the event is focussed on providing a free activities, opportunities and experiences for children, young people and their families at no cost.

    In 2019, following on from discussions around the ever-increasing demand for foodbanks across Dumfries and Galloway, the youth steering group established the Food Donation Project which asked all ticket holders who were in a position to donate, to bring along an item of foodstuff for donation when they entered the event. The project was a success with over 48,200 individual items donated over the course of the weekend with the donations divided between 3 food providers.

    For 2022, in light of the increasing cost of living, the youth steering group feel the need for this project to return is greater than ever. All ticketholders for 2022, are invited to bring along one food item that they can deposit in the Food Donation Drop Box at the entrance on the festival days if they are able to do so. Donation is not a condition of entry.

    We have recently been working alongside Food Providing Organisations from across the region and are delighted to have 6 providers on board for this year’s event from every locality in Dumfries and Galloway. Volunteers from 3 providers will be on hand each day at the gate to collect and sort donations.

    Paul Smith, from The Fed Up Café, Stranraer said “YouthBeatz is a great example of how Dumfries and Galloway Council and a group of local charities can come together to work in partnership with the local community to receive donations of food that then benefit people within our community whom are greatly affected by poverty. The food, so generously donated by young people, is then used by the groups to produce food parcels and hot meals that can assist in the alleviation of food poverty across Dumfries & Galloway.

    We are proud to be working with Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Youth Work, Poverty and Inequalities Teams and other Food Bank groups for a second time since 2019 and we very much hope this is a permanent fixture at Youthbeatz”.

    The organisations involved in the Food Donation Project 2022 are:

    • Kate’s Kitchen
    • Lochside Community Association
    • The Fed Up Café
    • Rhins Basics Banks
    • Summerhill Community Association
    • Stepping Stones, Castle Douglas

    Any donation would be greatly appreciated however it is asked that donations are items such as tinned meat, vegetables and fruit, biscuits, cereals, pasta and rice, baby products inc. formula and toiletries. Items that are perishable or have a shelf life of days or weeks are not able to be accepted i.e. frozen items, milk, cheese, yoghurts, eggs, bread, or fresh meat or vegetables.

    Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Archie Dryburgh said “The Food Donation Project returning will enable many food providers across our region to get more packages to families in their local communities. More than ever before we are seeing increased use of food banks due to the rising cost of living crisis and this initiative will have a direct impact on children, young people and adults most in need”.

    This was echoed by Councillor John Campbell, Vice-Chair of Communities Committee who said “The current cost of living crisis is putting more pressure on individuals and families than ever before and this project will support Third Sector Organisations to provide for our communities in need. I am grateful to the young people who have been involved in the planning phases who have made the decision to bring this worthwhile and impactful project back for a second year”.

    If you would like more information about what is on for this year’s Youth Beatz Festival, please ensure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and check out our website www.youthbeatz.co.uk

  • Youth Beatz: Luminarium

    Thursday, 16 June 2022 11:29

    Enter a world of wonder at Youth Beatz 2022!

    Youth Beatz is welcoming the Arboria II Luminarium to the festival site this year on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June!

    Since 1992, Architects of Air’s luminaria have enchanted over 3 million visitors in more than 40 countries around the world- the Arboria II has been to Madrid, Sydney, Barcelona, Los Angeles and now it is coming to Dumfries for the first time Visitors have the chance to explore the sculpture, experiencing the beauty of light and colour as they move through a dazzling maze of domes, columns and branches of the Luminarium. The Luminarium is half the size of a Rugby Pitch and will immerse people in a different place whilst at Youth Beatz.

    The Arboria II is inspired by the beauty of natural geometry and by Islamic architecture, featuring winding passages of small domes inspired by repetitious forms found in the bazaars of Iran. The luminosity of light and colour inside is created purely by the light shining through the exhibition. Architects of Air originally grew out of a theatre project for people with learning disabilities and the Luminarium is fully accessible and embracing all ages, all abilities, cultures and communities.

    The 40+ meter exhibition is truly unique experience for festival go-ers at this year’s event who will have the chance to be immersed in a world of light and colour.

    The Arboria II Luminarium will be open to Youth Beatz ticket holders between 12pm – 6pm on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th June. With those under the age of 16 required to be accompanied by an adult (1 adult for every 4 children and young people). There is no cost for entry to the Luminarium. Please note individuals must leave their shoes and belongings at the reception area whilst going through the experience.

    To get a glimpse into world of luminaria, please visit: http://www.architects-of-air.com/

    A spokesperson on behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Council said “I have no doubt the Luminarium will be a highlight for those attending Youth Beatz Festival, the scale of exhibition will ensure the Arboria II is an unmissable aspect of the event. Architects of Air are world renowned and their commitment and passion for making culture and art an inclusive sensory experience and we are delighted to be welcoming their exhibition at Youth Beatz 2022”.

    If you would like more information, please contact us on youthbeatz.info@dumgal.gov.uk or call 01387 260243.

  • Early Intervention success

    Thursday, 16 June 2022 11:28

    The Council’s Social Work Services Committee [10.06.22] will consider a report updating members on the progress of the Transformation Change Agenda: Early and Effective Intervention Family Support.

    The Committee will be asked to note the progress and achievements of the Family Support Service.

    In July 2020, the Council agreed support for investment in early and effective intervention to fulfil the costs needed to deliver transformation change, enabling work towards cost avoidance.

    An investment of £1.185m was agreed, representing £535,000 a year for 3 years, to support early and effective intervention family support work along with an investment of £70,000 a year for 3 years to increase the commissioned service with Third Sector providers.

    The Family Support Team was formed in November 2020 to lead and deliver on the Early and Effective Intervention. The team has subsequently supported 129 families, involving 226 children.

    Work continues throughout the region, including collaborating with the Children’s and Families Social Work Services Area Teams, partners, and third sector organisations, including NHS Drugs and Alcohol Service.

    Reasons for referral include neglect, poor home conditions, poverty, physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, poor parental mental health, drug/alcohol misuse, parenting capacity, help needed with routines and boundaries, and managing challenging behaviour. In addition, some children have been referred because of poor school attendance, children`s mental health, and isolation. The team also works with some families from pre-birth, supporting with early parenting.

    Key successes include children remaining in their families and communities, and a reduction in children needing a statutory social work involvement.

    Working with more families on a voluntary basis means that social work intervention can come to an end earlier in a planned timescale when family safety and support plans have been achieved.

    Councillor Andy Ferguson, chair of the Social Work Services committee, said: “I’m pleased that our commitment to a policy of early intervention in family support is making a substantial difference and improving the outcomes for some of our most vulnerable young people.”

    Councillor Iain Howie, vice chair, said: “The evidence shows that our early intervention approach is significantly improving the life chances for vulnerable families and young people throughout the region.”

  • Youth Beatz: Fringe

    Thursday, 16 June 2022 11:28

    The Youth Beatz Fringe Festival is taking place across Dumfries and Galloway from Friday 17th June – Thursday 23rd June. With lots of new additions to the programme as well as family fun days there is certain to be something for all young people.

    From Silent Discos to ‘Schools Out Fun Days’, a Pool Party and much more, there is a FREE fun and engaging programme being delivered in local communities across all 4 areas of Dumfries and Galloway.

    The Fringe kicks off in Victoria Halls in Annan on Friday 17th June (7pm-9pm) with Beatz Challenge Disco, young people can dance the night away as well as enduring challenges such as Pole Joisting and Sumo Wrestling.

    At the same time (7pm-9pm) in Hillview Leisure Centre in Kelloholm, the 1st ‘Silent Beatz’ of the programme takes place. Enjoy a silent disco, inflatables and much more. This event will also head to McMillan Hall, Newton Stewart on Wednesday 21st June (6pm-9pm)

    Saturday 18th June, the Fringe will move to Colliston Park in Dalbeattie holding a Family Fun Day, from 1pm-3.30pm and then moving to Stranraer for a Beach Themed Party at Agnew Park Pavilion at 6pm-8pm.

    Sunday 19th June, King Edward Park in Lockerbie will be the venue for a Family Fun Day taking place from 1pm-3.30pm and in the evening the fringe will go back to the original home of Youth Beatz - Dock Park, Dumfries (6pm-8pm) for a ‘Mini Fringe’ with assorted activities.

    Monday 20th June, Will see the 1st ever ‘Schools Out’ Fun Day taking place at Wallacehall Academy and then on Thursday 23rd June at Moffat Academy. These fun days are for pupils within the 2 schools and there will be lots of fun and exciting activities taking place. Hopefully these will be a success and can be rolled out to other schools in D&G in future Youth Beatz Fringes.

    Also on Monday 20th June, another 1st for the Youth Beatz Fringe is ‘Beatz Pool Party’. This will take place in Castle Douglas Swimming Pool 7.30pm-8.30pm and is for 12-17year olds. Booking is essential for this event and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Please watch our social media platforms on how to book.

    Tuesday 21st June, takes the Fringe to Goldie Park in Sandside, NW Dumfries with ‘Silent Beatz in the Park’ A new location for the fringe and here we will host an outdoor Silent disco and other activities including outdoor laser tag.

    Finishing off the week on Thursday 23rd June, hosted in the festival site at Park Farm, Dumfries is the regional #We Care Festival 2022. This event is a fun filled day for Care Experienced Young People from all across Dumfries and Galloway and booking is required. For more information, please contact: championsboard@dumgal.gov.uk

    All events are FREE to attend.

    With the exception of the ‘Beatz Pool Party’ and the ‘#We Care Festival 2022’ which require booking there are no requirements to book, just turn up and enjoy.

    Councillor Archie Dryburgh Chair of Communities Committee said “The Youth Beatz Fringe has a fantastic range of opportunities and activities for young people all over Dumfries and Galloway to get involved in. It is fantastic to see such a great range of activities offering young people an action-packed programme to get involved in within their local communities.

    This is all thanks to our excellent award-winning staff and volunteers.

    Councillor John Campbell Vice Chair of Communities Committee said “It is great to see the Youth Beatz Fringe take events and activities to young people across the region. It looks to be a very varied and full programme with something for everyone to enjoy” A great start to the Youth Beatz Festival.

    Elli Wadsworth, Ward Youth Councillor for Mid Galloway and Wigtown West and Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council Chairperson said “Youth Beatz Festival is so much more than the main event weekend and it’s excellent to see such a broad range of events being delivered across Dumfries and Galloway as part of the Fringe this year, at no cost for young people!”

  • Scotland's Youth Team of the Year Praised

    Wednesday, 15 June 2022 10:54

    Stranraer’s Millennium FC u13s Girls team was awarded the Youth Team of the Year accolade at the recent MG Alba Scottish Women’s Football Awards 2022.

    The showpiece Awards event took place at Glasgow Hilton, where coaches, players and parents were present.

    Winning the award was quite an achievement in the face of stiff competition from Glasgow City Development u15s, Rangers FC u16s, and Rangers FC u19s.

    The judges commented:

    “Despite significant geographical challenges, Millennium FC has provided opportunities to local girls not only to participate but also to win. They exemplify the best aspects of the grassroots game.”

    Participating in the Southwest regional area, which covers Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire, Millennium initially played 12 games, winning 11 of them. Teams were then allocated 1 of 3 leagues, with Millennium entering the top-seeded league, which included Hamilton Academical, Kilmarnock, and Queen of the South.

    The plan was for Millennium, which has no senior team, to learn and develop its players. However, a first game win against pre-season favourites Hamilton boosted confidence and the team never looked back. The team went on to win all its league fixtures, except for one draw, and clinch the league title as top scorers. The team also reached the quarter-final stage of the League Cup, losing the match in a penalty shootout.

    The team of 15 girls from Stranraer and 1 from Newton Stewart travelled more than 1,500 miles to fulfil its fixtures. A spokesperson said:

    “As a grassroots club, we set out managing expectations and hoping that our girls would learn and develop as players. However, our girls showed their commitment and dedication and exceeded our expectations. They’re just a brilliant bunch of girls who have shown dedication, determination, and a drive to succeed. They’ve been real ambassadors for the club and area. Now, the younger girls and boys at the club are looking at what they’ve done and want to emulate them. The girls have shown that if you put the work in, listen to your coaches, and strive to learn and improve, that the unexpected and unlikely is possible.”

    Dumfries and Galloway Council co-leaders, Cllr Stephen Thompson and Cllr Linda Dorward said of the achievement:

    “This national recognition is absolutely fantastic for all the players, coaches and volunteers associated with the club. It takes a phenomenal level of dedication from all concerned to perform at the top level and compete against some of the best clubs in Scottish football. It just goes to show that team work, talent and skill can allow you to go toe to toe with some of the most well-resourced football clubs in Scotland. We’re immensely proud of Millennium FC and wish them all the best for the future.”
  • Council procurement – Come along and meet the buyer.

    Wednesday, 15 June 2022 09:58

    Dumfries and Galloway Council’s vision is to create opportunity for all, support ambition, promote prosperity and establish Dumfries and Galloway as the best place to live, work and learn. Hand in hand with this vision is the need to spend our public funds wisely and boost our local economy whilst doing so.

    One way that our Council does this is through our Procurement Strategy, which has just been refreshed and will be presented to Members of Finance, Procurement and Transformation committee (FPT) on 21st June.

    We are particularly keen to work with local suppliers, where possible. With this in mind, our Council’s Procurement team, in conjunction with other services and local partners, is holding ‘Meet the Buyer’ events in Dumfries and Stranraer to provide local providers and contractors with an opportunity to meet the teams, discuss what services are needed, and promote their own businesses.

    The events will include exhibitions from local organisations including, Loreburn Housing Association, DGHP/Wheatley Group, NHS Dumfries, and Galloway. Representatives will also be in attendance from SDP, Scotland Excel, Business Gateway and the South of Scotland Enterprise.

    These events are a chance for businesses to meet, network and find out more about the different contracting opportunities. These take place in Dumfries on Wednesday 22 June at The Bridge from 10am-2pm and in Stranraer on Friday 1 July at The Ryan Centre from 10am-2pm.


    The f
    ull agenda can be viewed on the registration links.

    Register to attend the event(s) at: Dumfries and Galloway Meet the Buyer Roadshow | All events and training listings | Supplier Development Programme (sdpscotland.co.uk) (Dumfries) and Dumfries and Galloway Meet the Buyer Roadshow | All events and training listings | Supplier Development Programme (sdpscotland.co.uk) (Stranraer).

    Chair of the Council’s FPT Committee, Carolyne Wilson said: “This will be a very worthwhile event and I would encourage local suppliers to come along and meet our Council teams. I think it’s often easier to do business with someone if you have already made contact with them and met them face-to-face. This is also an opportunity to find out about exactly which services our council requires. I know you will be made very welcome.

    Vice Chair, Dougie Campbell said: “We are very keen to work with local businesses and suppliers to ensure the best services, but also to provide the greatest opportunities for our local business economy. We are aware that the procurement process isn’t always the easiest thing to navigate, but by meeting our officers at these events you can be assured that there is always someone there to help if needed.”

    ENDS

  • Providing affordable housing across D&G

    Wednesday, 08 June 2022 16:13

    A Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) sets out a Local Authority’s strategic investment objectives for affordable housing and Gypsy/Traveller accommodation. A five year programme which is updated regularly, it is the key document or identifying proposed projects needing funding. The Council, as the strategic housing authority, uses the plan to inform Scottish Government investment.

    Members of Economy and resources Committee (14 June) will receive a report on the latest progress of this successful Plan and be asked to agree to the inclusion of a new project in the SHIP. Cunninghame Housing Association (CHA) have requested that the Council includes the building of 58 social rented homes, with a mix of houses, bungalows and 2 wheelchair accessible properties, at Port Road, Dalbeattie.

    As we all experience the current cost of living crisis, the development of high quality, affordable, energy efficient dwellings aimed at tackling a range of socio-economic challenges is extremely important. The provision of secure homes that have a positive effect on the lives of people living in our region is crucial, particularly for young families, those living on low incomes, the homeless or those with specialist housing needs. Rent affordability plays a vital role in tackling poverty with high housing costs being one of the biggest problems.

    The economic benefit of delivering new affordable housing has the additional benefit of enabling construction workers to gain secure employment or training opportunities in the building sector. In addition to new housing, a number of SHIP developments aim to bring brownfield sites back into use, regenerate empty buildings and contribute to the sustainability of town centres and the look of the environment. One of our Council’s 5 priorities is to ‘Urgently respond to climate change and transition to a carbon neutral region’. Finding a productive use for derelict sites can help to address climate change by limiting urban sprawl, avoiding the loss of green space, and reducing the need for travel. Building affordable homes within walking distance of local services also enables people to live better, healthier lives and supports the Council’s net zero carbon ambitions.

    In 2021 the Scottish Government wrote to all Local Authorities advising them of their aim to conclude the delivery of their previous 50,000 affordable homes target during the course of 2021-22. The SG intends to work with the housing sector to deliver a further 110,000 affordable homes over the 10 years up to 2032. At least 70% of those homes will be for social rent, helping to tackle child poverty and homelessness, and 10% will be in rural locations. As well as this ambition to increase the supply of affordable homes, they will take action to ensure those homes help to create strong and vibrant places and are of high quality.

    To allow D&G Council to plan the delivery of housing supply for 2021/22 to 2025/26, a total RPA of £106.148m was allocated from the Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) to the region. This is increased by development partners own finance, and further investment, meaning that successful delivery of the SHIP will enable investment of a significantly greater sum than the Scottish Government initial allocation.

    The Scottish Government has highlighted that our Council has a clear focus on delivery of affordable housing and that we have identified key partners to help identify and provide more specialist housing such as larger properties, wheelchair and zero carbon properties.

    Chair of Economy and Resources Committee, Katie Hagmann said: The SHIP is an important factor in our work to address many of our Council’s current priorities. In addition to supporting the Council’s Net zero ambitions it also helps to ‘Build the local economy’, ‘Provide the best start in life for all our children’ and helps to ‘Protect our most vulnerable people’. There are clear links between good quality housing and improved health, and a portion of the new housing will be designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities, so no one is left out. The SHIP also helps to form strong partnerships with our local housing associations, and I am pleased to see this plan go from strength to strength, year on year.”

    Vice Chair, Sean Marshall said: “It’s a positive sign that housing associations are asking for new developments to be included in the SHIP. Providing Members agree to progress the new sites, this will not only help bring much needed housing to the area but will also represent a huge boost to the construction industry and the local economy. The regeneration of some parts of our region are dependent on attracting new businesses: these new businesses will bring new jobs and people into our communities so we must invest and plan ahead in order to accommodate them.”

    Ends