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 email@example.com 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.
Tuesday, 27 February 2024 15:40
Dumfries and Galloway Council met as a Full Council today (Tuesday 27 February) to agree its budget and set the council tax level for financial year 2024/25.
Elected members voted to freeze council tax for the financial year 2024/25 while protecting frontline services.
Due to a combination of a reduction in funding through the Local Government Finance Settlement plus inflationary and service cost-pressures, the council faces an estimated funding gap of £30 million over the next three years.
To meet the shortfall in the coming year, Dumfries and Galloway Council will draw upon £6.46M* of existing reserves in a bid to protect council services.
In addition, the council will implement a range of revenue-raising measures – from a 100% rise in council tax charges for second homes to increases on selected fees and charges relating to registrars, planning and building warrants and harbours.
Elected members also agreed to £6.48M of additional investment, including an extra £1.05M on improving the region’s roads, £1.49M for Children and Families Social Work and £1.83M of cost-of-living support.
In addition, the budget reflects the council’s commitment to the following expenditure on capital investment projects:
- An additional £11M to increase the Dumfries High School project budget to £56M to enable the project to progress to construction.
- An allocation of £7.6M to support the work required to remove RAAC (Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete) from all council buildings over the period 2024/25 to 2026/27.
- An allocation of £11.2M to enable a new Household Waste Recycling Centre and waste-bulking facility to be created to support the council’s agreed Waste Strategy and increase recycling rates.
- Increased investment in existing council assets – such as including roads, schools and vehicles – of £10M over the next 10 years in addition to the £23M allocated as part of the 2023/24 budget.
Dumfries and Galloway Council Convener, Councillor Malcolm Johnstone said: “Every year we are faced with tough decisions and this year’s no different.
“Uppermost in our mind is maintaining and improving the services we provide to the people of Dumfries and Galloway, and we are fortunate that this year through prudent financial management we are able to draw on non-recurring resources to protect vital services and increase investment in targeted areas.
“However, like all local authorities, in the medium-term we face mounting costs and reduced funding. For example, no additional resources have been received from the Scottish Government to support pay increases, non-pay inflation or service pressures in 2024/25.
“This is challenging, and we would also like to see a multi-year funding settlement, the absence of which presents significant challenges for service and financial planning for all public bodies including councils.
“This combined now with the threat of sanction or financial detriment for any Scottish local authority that doesn’t follow the Scottish Government’s council tax freeze is not helpful for councils like ours when it comes to charting a sustainable financial future.”
Councillors set the budget today for financial year 2024/25 only; the budget and council tax increases for 2025/26 and 2026/27 will be determined by Full Council in the lead up to the start of these financial years.
However, political groups are asked to present plans for the next three financial years. All groups’ plans for 2025/26 and 2026/27 rely on the council making significant savings and increasing council tax to meet ongoing financial pressures.
Under the Local Government [Scotland] Act 1973 and the Local Government Finance Act 1992, a local authority must set its council tax before mid-March in the preceding financial year. A council is required to set council tax based on an overall balanced budget for the financial year.
Based on a 0% increase, council tax bandings will be charged as shown below in Dumfries and Galloway for financial year 2024/25:
Council Tax Banding
Current Rate p/a (£)
You can see the Full Council meeting via our websitehttps://dumgal.gov.uk/article/21148/dgclive and you can view the meeting papers at https://dumfriesgalloway.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=137&MId=5982 including theapproved budget.
*Dumfries and Galloway Council’s budget in 2024/25 is £456.09M. Its total funding is £449.63M. To balance its budget, it will use £6.46M of reserves.
Monday, 26 February 2024 16:43
‘A touring exhibition organised by Maidstone Museum for Maidstone Borough Council’
Kirkcudbright Galleries is delighted to display an exhibition of watercolour paintings and sketches that illustrate the travels and influences of the landscape artist Albert Goodwin (1845-1932). The exhibition is on show until Sunday 17March; Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm, and Sundays: 11:30 – 4pm.
Albert Goodwin was born in Maidstone in Kent. During his lifetime he painted scenes that are both recognisable and of historical interest. As a member of the Royal Watercolour Society, Goodwin exhibited extensively, showing nearly 800 works. He was championed by Ruskin and trained with the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. His emotive Visionary Landscapes reflect the artistic influences of luminaries from Turner to Ford Madox Brown.
Albert was the seventh of nine children and, as a young boy, he became an apprentice draper in his town. It was around this time that his natural flair for drawing was recognised.
The young Albert was encouraged in his art and became a pupil of Arthur Hughes in 1855. In the early 1860s, Goodwin moved on to work in the studio of the Pre-Raphaelite founder Ford Maddox Brown. These artistic foundations put him into contact with the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Craft luminaries William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris and the eminent art critic John Ruskin, who was to become both friend and mentor.
Albert Goodwin travelled throughout his career, taking inspiration in Europe as well as the West Indies, India, Egypt, New Zealand and Australia. He also sporadically kept a diary for the last forty years of his life. Following his death aged 87 on 10April 1932, his family edited his diary notes and published them two years later. The diary brings to life his opinions and character and gives an insight into his working methods. Visitors can read extracts from his diary in this exhibition as they enjoy his artwork.
Speaking on ‘Albert Goodwin: Visionary Landscapes’, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, CouncillorIan Blake said:“This exhibition showcases the works of Albert Goodwin, a British landscape artist who specialized in watercolours. His work shows the influence of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and is a stunning exhibition, accompanied by personal anecdotes from his diary which allows for the audience to really immerse themselves in the workings of Goodwin."
Vice Chair of Communities Committee, CouncillorJackie McCamon has said:“It’s great to see the partnership between Maidstone Museum for Maidstone Borough Council and Kirkcudbright Galleries for Dumfries and Galloway Council working together on bringing this exhibition to Scotland, and to our region. The changing exhibition programme allows for increased tourism to the area as there is always something new for visitors to enjoy.”
Monday, 26 February 2024 16:31
‘A touring exhibition in partnership with Gracefield Arts Centre’
Exhibition Dates: 10 February – 2 June 2024
Andy Goldsworthy OBE (b.1956) is based near Thornhill and is an internationally renowned sculptor and photographer, best known for his site-specific work with natural materials such as ice, snow and stone.
Kirkcudbright Galleries is delighted to partner with the Gracefield Arts Centre Collection in bringing this exhibition to The Mitchell Gallery. Showcasing a selection of Goldsworthy's early photographic works including Winter Harvest, which was created as a large-scale book and is now framed for gallery display.
Andy Goldsworthy studied at Bradford College of Art and Preston Polytechnic. Most of his life has been spent in the North of England, either in Yorkshire or Cumbria, during which time he worked for a period as a gardener. In 1983 he moved to Langholm in the borders, and later settled in Dumfriesshire. This exhibition displays early photographs of his extraordinary sculptures in the natural world, using only materials which he finds around him. These refined, yet highly complex constructions are something that appeal to all ages.His connection to the natural landscapes and their elemental changes is a theme that runs throughout this exhibition:
“Working with nature means working on nature’s terms. I cannot stop the rain falling or a stream running. If I did, it would no longer be raining and the stream would dry up.
Movement, change, light, growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work.”
Speaking on ‘Andy Goldsworthy: Winter Harvest’, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee,CouncillorIan Blake said:“This exhibition provides a good opportunity to highlight the wonderful artworks that are held in the Dumfries and Galloway Council Arts and Museums Collection. Andy is an internationally renowned artist, residing in our beautiful rural area that gives us opportunities to consider and rethink how we view nature.”
Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon added:“Andy Goldsworthy is a well-loved and highly regarded contemporary artist, we are excited for the new opportunities this brings in terms of developing new audiences for Kirkcudbright Galleries. It’s fantastic that they can partner with The Gracefield Arts Centre Collection that showcases the calibre of contemporary works Gracefield presents."
The exhibition is on show until 2 June.Kirkcudbright Galleries' winter hours are currently: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 3:30pm, and Sundays: 11:30 – 3:30pm. From Monday 1April, Kirkcudbright Galleries moves into summer hours which, for the Mitchell Gallery, are Monday – Saturday: 10am – 4:30pm, and Sundays: 11:30-4:30pm.
Wednesday, 21 February 2024 14:28
Dumfries and Galloway Council held the fourth annual joint meeting with Dumfries and Galloway’s Youth Council on Wednesday 7February.
The meeting brought together elected members, youth councillors and members of the Scottish Youth Parliament from across every community in the region to develop actions that will improve opportunities for young people.
As part of the meeting, reports were presented on:
- children’s human rights in Dumfries and Galloway
- the development of a new five-year Youth Work Strategy for Dumfries and Galloway Council
- progress of the joint action plan from the previous meeting in November 2022
Following the joint meeting in November 2022, Dumfries and Galloway Council has implemented automatic enrolment for young people to receive their Under 22 free bus travel card through schools (with parent or guardian permission) and enhanced training for probationary teachers relevant to young people’s mental health and well-being. There has also been a commitment to delivering free swimming and skating sessions throughout the year at all council managed leisure facilities which is due to be implemented by summer 2024.
For this year's meeting, decision makers participated in workshops themed around the top five issues identified within the most recent 10,000 Voices research: smoking and vaping, diet and body image, bullying, mental health and, money, budgeting and the cost-of-living. Each group received an expert input followed by the discussion and agreement of actions relevant to young people in Dumfries and Galloway. The actions agreed are:
Diet & Body Image
- increased health and well-being inputs delivered in schools including through assemblies and the youth information workers to raise awareness and understanding of diet and body image and the supports available
- utilise packages and programmes available through organisations such as the Mental Health Foundation (Diet and Body Image Ambassador Programme) to deliver peer mentoring and education around diet and body image
Smoking and Vaping
- a blanket policy to ban vaping on all Council properties, facilities and grounds
- create an Anti-Vaping Champion peer education programme for young people to become advocates to reduce harms associated with vaping
- for Dumfries and Galloway Council to sign up to the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) SeeMe National Campaign
- further roll out and development of the Feeling Sh*t Survival Kit to ensure young people and their wider families have access to accurate information and support
Cost of Living
- an enhanced, more consistent approach to health and well-being curriculum inputs across all secondary schools (through PSE, PSHE, Guidance, Well-being, Enrichment – known as different things in different schools) that are more focussed on issues young people want or need to know more about including how to access benefits, the cost of going to higher or further education, how to budget etc
- the creation and development of a ‘How To’ handbook (online or physical) that could be used as a guide for young people and practitioners on life and how to access support and information.
- to conduct a review of bullying guidance with inputs from Police Scotland, young people, teaching and school staff. From this, a new approach to bullying will be developed looking both at the bullying ‘victim’ and the support available to them, as well as the bully themselves. The new approach aims to be restorative and reformative, addressing issues directly through group work programmes, 1-2-1 support and education in schools as opposed to expulsion or exclusion
- increased anti-bullying education inputs for young children, and increased focus on online learning modules such as RespectMe to assist adults and young people know more about bullying and how to address this
The ‘10,000 Voices’ consultation was first carried out in Dumfries and Galloway in 2018 as part of the Scottish Governments themed Year of Young People. It was the largest collection of young people’s voices with participants aged between 10 – 25 years old from across all ward areas in the region. In 2023, the research was repeated with 10,828 young people participating (51.7% of the youth population) and sought to gain the perceptions of young people of the communities within which they live and an insight into the issues that affect them most. The findings offer a breakdown based on young people's circumstance, age, regional and Ward level analysis on young people’s perspectives, enabling resources to be targeted according to local needs, and utilised the Place Standard Tool to gather information about young people's perceptions of the communities they live in. To view the report, click here.
Speaking of the meeting, Cllr Malcolm Johnstone, Convenor of Dumfries and Galloway Council, stated:“We are delighted with the outcome of the joint meeting this year and look forward to seeing the progress made against the actions agreed. At the start of the meeting we were able to acknowledge a number of young people’s achievements in recent months and we are overwhelmed with young talent in our region. In Dumfries and Galloway, we are committed to listening to and talking with our young people, and acting on these views where possible.”
Finlay Anderson, member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Galloway and West Dumfries and outgoing chairperson for Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council added: “The Joint Meeting is a milestone meeting for the new Youth Council who were elected in December 2023. This year Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council will turn five, and how young people can become involved in decision making has changed hugely over this time. I look forward to seeing the progress made over the coming year”.
The audio recording of the meeting has been uploaded to Dumfries and Galloway Council's YouTube channel and a minute of the meeting can be found on the council's website.
For more information about the Youth Council, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or search on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @YouthCouncilDG
Monday, 19 February 2024 15:42
Are you worried that an adult could be at risk of harm?
Throughout Dumfries and Galloway, there are some adults who are more at risk from harm, due to illness, trauma and physical or mental health conditions.
Tuesday 20 February is Adult Support and Protection Day, and Dumfries and Galloway’s Public Protection Committee is urging everyone to look out for signs of harm and report any concerns, ensuring those at risk can receive the help and support they need to live safely.
As well as physical, psychological, financial, or sexual harm, individuals can also be at risk through neglect or self-neglect. Additionally, adults may find themselves dependent on alcohol and/or other drugs and lose awareness of the situation they are living in - or the consequences of decisions they make.
Hamish McGhie, Independent Chair of the Public Protection Committee said: “Dumfries and Galloway Public Partnership are pleased to be supporting and promoting Adult Support and Protection Day.
“Harm can happen anywhere – in someone’s home, where they work, or in a public place – and is often caused by the people closest to them. It can even happen in places responsible for keeping someone safe, such as a care home, hospital or day centre.
“It’s important to speak up about any concerns you have, as the person may not be able to do so themselves.”
Brenda Walker, National Adult Support and Protection Coordinator for Scotland, said: “It can be difficult to know what to do when you’re worried about someone, and you might feel that you don’t want to interfere. However, reporting your concerns could really help to keep someone safe and turn their life around.
“The current cost-of-living crisis is making it even more difficult for those who are looking after others, or struggling to take care of themselves, so it’s more important right now than ever to keep your eyes open for signs of harm.
“Everyone has a role to play in keeping those in their communities safe, so I would encourage anyone who has seen something that worries them to please say something.”
If you’re worried that someone is at risk of harm or neglect from others – or harming or neglecting themselves – contact the Single Access Point on 030 33 33 3001.
Alternatively, you can contact the Police on 101, or call 999 if you believe the person is in immediate danger’.Ends
Friday, 09 February 2024 13:45
In September 2023 the UK Government launched its ‘Long-Term Plan for Towns’, supporting 55 UK towns including seven in Scotland as part of the Levelling-Up programme. Dumfries has been selected and will receive £20 million in endowment-style funding over 10 years from 2024/25. Detailed guidance was published in December 2023 on the process for establishing a Town Board to develop and deliver a Long-Term Plan for each town.
The Town Board is to be independently chaired and be formed to represent community interests, business perspectives and public organisations. The Long-Term Plan they will develop must include a 10-year vision, and an initial 3-year investment plan.
The UK Government sets out the following expectations and timescales in its guidance –
- As early as possible the Council to appoint a Chair for the Town Board, doing so in consultation with local MPs.
- The Council to work with the Chair to form the Town Board and for it to have its first meeting no later than 1 April 2024.
- The UK Government has asked that the Long-Term Plan for Dumfries be submitted by 1 August 2024, the practicalities of this are being discussed.
At its meeting of 30 January 2024, the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee agreed on a way forward to making this appointment. This includes the canvassing of wider community views in addition to the UK Government requirement to consult with MPs, prior to making a recommendation on this appointment to Full Council on the 27 February.
A community conversation both online and in-person will be held on Thursday 15th February to give information and take perspectives from the community. A variety of mechanisms will be available for submitting nominations for the position of Town Board Chair.
The Town Board chairperson -The chairperson should act as a champion for the town and provide leadership for the Town Board, ensuring it is community-led and embedded within the local area. They can be anyone who holds a prominent role such as:
- a local charitable organisation
- a philanthropist
- the head of a Further Education College
- a director for the NHS Board or Trust
- a director of a football club
The chairperson will work with the Council to appoint the Town Board.
The Town Board -The Board is responsible for developing the Long-Term Plan, working closely with local people.
The Board will comprise of:
- The local MPs with local MSPs at the invitation of the Council
- Two local councillors
- A senior police representative
Other membership is at the Chair’s discretion but might comprise:
- Community partners
- Local businesses and social enterprises
- Cultural, arts, heritage and sporting organisations
- Public agencies and anchor institutions
The local authority or alternative community group will provide a secretariat function.
The role of the Council
The primary role of the Council is as an enabler to the establishment of the Town Board and is thereafter the accountable body (to the UK Government) for funding and executing the Long-Term Plan.
The Council as accountable body requires to support the Chair and the Town Board with guidance and information in forming the Long-Term-Plan and thereafter in investment plan delivery. The UK Government will require ongoing monitoring of delivery within the legal requirements of public finance and governance and for the reporting of project progress and outcome realisation. It is not expected that the Town Board will be an implementing body therefore actions arising within the investment plan would require direct deliver or project sponsor support from the Council.
For more information go to:Community Conversation: UK Government Long Term Plan for Towns - Dumfries - Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)
Friday, 09 February 2024 09:59
is delighted to announce the fourth annual Dumfries and Galloway Public Protection Week, taking place from 12 to 16 February. Public Protection Week will be followed by Adult Support & Protection Day on 20 February.
Public Protection Week 2024 will be an opportunity for all key partner organisations in Dumfries and Galloway to connect with the community, share best practices and knowledge, and support each other to continually enhance services.
The events are varied, informative, and inclusive – suitable for staff teams and members of the public.
This year, there are 11 events with nine being online and two in-person in Dumfries. Organisations taking part include Police Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Recovery Together, Families Outside and NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
Our in-person events feature an opportunity to visit Summerhill Community Centre and find out about the projects and activities available there that help prevent and respond to risk in the local communities. The Trauma presentation at Mountainhall Treatment Centre reinforces the partnerships commitment to trauma informed practice locally.
Online events through the week include gambling related harm and how this can contribute to societal inequalities, commercial sexual exploitation – covering the reality of the sex industry and how services can respond. There is a session on the best practices of lived experience that showcases the vision of how local authorities and other community planning organisations can embed survivor voice into service design processes in a trauma informed way.
Hamish McGhie, Independent Chair of the Public Protection Committee said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to develop such an exciting program of events for our fourth Public Protection Week. It provides partners with the ideal opportunity to come together to consider and discuss a number of current themes.”
The full list of events and description can be accessed here: https://www.dgppp.org.uk/article/24123/Dumfries-and-Galloway-Public-Protection-Week-2024-Programme
Friday, 09 February 2024 09:22
Elected Members have agreed a £3.35M investment that will cut energy usage across Dumfries and Galloway Council’s non-school and school estate – and save more than £0.5M a year.
Following the investment and associated work, the Council will save £528,000 per year and reduce its carbon emissions by around 500 tonnes.
Yesterday’s (Thursday 8 February) decision follows the completion of Council-wide energy audits that identified spend-to-save measures centring on the introduction of LED lighting and associated controls.
The programme of work – set for completion in the next two years - will see retrofit-LED-lighting and associated controls fitted within 62 school and 68 non-school buildings.
Chair of the Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee, Cllr Ivor Hyslop said: “Our Council Plan calls on our Council to address the climate emergency and urgently respond to climate change and transition to a carbon-neutral region. This is just the sort of measure we are keen to introduce in this challenging economic climate – not only cutting our carbon emissions but also saving money in the medium- to long-term.”
Vice-Chair, Cllr Richard Marsh commented: “I’m delighted Elected Members on FPT committee have agreed to fund this programme of works. The Council has seen energy prices rise significantly over several years and work has been ongoing to identify opportunities to reduce energy usage. This is one of the measures stemming from that work that will support the delivery of agreed savings reflected within the Council’s Change and Savings programme.”
To read the full report agreed by Elected Members at FPT committee yesterday (Thursday 8 February) go to (item 12): Agenda for Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee on Thursday, 8th February, 2024, 10.30 am - Dumfries and Galloway Council (moderngov.co.uk)
Monday, 05 February 2024 10:06
Dumfries Museum has installed a new display of paintings by Anne McEntegart (1905–1984). A selection of Anne’s oil paintings of local scenes is now on display alongside a panel about her life and works.
Anne McEntegart’s association with Dumfries and Galloway dates to her childhood when her family would spend time at The Brae in Crocketford. Anne’s mother, Annie Eliza Patmore, also an enthusiastic artist, later lived in Castle Douglas.
“We are pleased that the museum is able to share these works by a talented local artist” commented Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council’s Communities Committee. “Her views of Dumfries and Galloway are beautiful and a reflection of Anne’s love of our region and the natural world.”
Anne had an interesting life – she travelled the world, lived through two world wars, loved poetry, animals, and art. She worked as an artist in advertising in London before her marriage (in 1934 to Squadron Leader Bernard McEntegart).
During World War Two, Anne McEntegart volunteered in the New Forest assisting with work on a dairy farm.Bernard McEntegart was injured during the conflict, and the family settled at Lanehead – a farm near Dunscore in 1945.Following the death of her husband in 1954 and the tragic death of her son, John (aged 22) the following year, Anne poured her energy into her art. Many of the works on display in Dumfries Museum are from this period.
“It is great to see a female artist being recognised this way and we are sure museum visitors will enjoy the new display” commented Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon. “There are paintings of lots of local scenes including the Solway, Kippford and Anne’s favourite spot at Loch Urr.”
This new display has been supported by Anne’s family and the museum is grateful to them for their contribution. Later in 2024, the museum will be borrowing some of Anne’s sculptures from her family and friends for display.
For more details on Anne McEntegart’s life and work see:
For details on how to visit Dumfries Museum:https://www.dgculture.co.uk/venue/dumfries-museum/
Thursday, 01 February 2024 14:45
Dumfries and Galloway Council is pleased to announce its application to become a Silver Member of the Zero Hours Justice Campaign, which aims to end the practice of zero-hours contracts across UK industries and foster a positive workplace culture.
The campaign is led by a coalition of individuals, representatives from the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and employers and aims to deliver a sustained campaign to highlight the risks of a unilateral imposition of zero-hours contracts and how this can impact workers and families in the UK.
At Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee on 30 January, members agreed to the Council’s application for accreditation to become a Silver Member of the Zero Hours Justice Scheme, demonstrating the Council’s commitment to ethical employment contracts and creating positive, sustainable, and regular employment opportunities for individuals.
The Zero Hours Justice Campaign provides free help and support for zero-hours workers who cannot access advice elsewhere. The Accreditation Scheme recognises employers who either do not use zero-hours contracts or implement them more ethically and responsibly.
The Council adheres to the highest standards of employment law, ensuring that our work environments are fair and empowering for all colleagues – over 85% of employment contracts are permanent, with 15% being fixed-term contracts, which illustrates the Council’s commitment to providing meaningful, sustainable, and regular employment for individuals.
The Council prides itself on being an ‘Employer of Choice’ and is committed to advancing the Fair Work First criteria, which includes the principle of not misusing zero-hours contracts. In this regard, the Council commits to the Zero Hours Justice campaign silver accreditation alongside a comprehensive policy framework around casual and supply arrangements.
Applying for silver accreditation with the Zero Hours Justice Campaign reinforces the Council’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice,’ promoting and demonstrating good employment policies and practices.
Councillor Ian Carruthers, Chair of the Economy and Resources Committee, said, “We are proud to support the Zero Hours Justice Campaign. As an employer, our Council firmly believes in providing ethical employment contracts that create sustainable employment opportunities across our region.”
Councillor David Inglis, Vice Chair, said, “Our pursuit of Silver Membership with the Zero Hours Justice Campaign demonstrates our Council’s dedication to advancing Fair Work practices and promoting good employment policies. We believe obtaining this accreditation would further reinforce Dumfries and Galloway Council’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice’ and enable us to attract and retain the best people to work with our Council.”
Wednesday, 31 January 2024 10:43
Members of the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee (E&R) received an update on the 30th January on the Council’s progress of delivery on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPG). These updates are timed to coincide with the six-monthly reports which are required to be submitted to the UK Government.
The Programme Panel has so far met 6 times and has approved 12 projects within the region with a total value of £2,994,628.96.
In the Local Business priority, as agreed at E&R in June 2023 a Climate Resilience Fund has been established and publicised to local businesses. £288,000 was allocated to this project which is now live. In addition, the capacity building for social enterprises has been through the procurement process with a contract value of £48,000. A Local Business Partnership has been established for distribution of the remaining funding.
A Programme Panel was set up in compliance with the actions outlined in the UKSPF report to this Committee on 8 June 2023. The Programme Panel has met 6 times and has approved 12 projects with a total value of £2,994,628.96.
The Community and Place priority funding has been considered by the Place Planning Partnership. The Programme Panel has received four proposals with a total value of £1,213,200. This includes Revenue support for development of place plans for Borderlands towns.
The People and Skills priority funding has been considered by the Local Employability Partnership. The Programme Panel has received six proposals with a total value of £1,445,429. These include supporting work-based skills and personal development through volunteering; addressing health related work issues and barriers to work; the provision of entrepreneurial training and seed funding; and provision of employability support to individuals in the region on a 121 basis.
Chair of Economy and Resources, Councillor Ian Carruthers said: “Through investing in our region’s businesses this funding supports a diversified and growing local economy that benefits all. SMEs are supported to start and helped to grow, and investment in the region benefits both communities and the local economy. I am please to see the progress and good work that this funding is aiding.”
Vice Chair, Councillor David Inglis said: “The UKSPF is designed to empower and explore how best to tackle local challenges– whether through building skills, supporting local businesses, supporting communities and places, or providing employment support. Our Council see this fund as a way to build communities where people want to live, work and visit. It is helping to diversify and grow our local economy to benefit all.”
Wednesday, 31 January 2024 10:38
The Scottish Government has invited nominations for areas to be designated as a new national park from communities and community groups. Members of the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee (30 Jan) have agreed to support in principle, the proposed nomination being developed by the Galloway National Park Association (the Association) for a National Park in Galloway.
The Scottish Government has stated its commitment to the designation of at least one new National Park during the lifetime of the current Scottish Parliament. It is nearly 20 years since Scotland’s first two National Parks were created. Before more are designated, Scottish Ministers are reviewing the role of new national parks and their role in addressing the crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. The Scottish Government’s draft biodiversity strategy sets out their ambition for Scotland to be Nature Positive by 2030, and to have restored and regenerated biodiversity across the country by 2045. New national parks are expected to play a significant role in supporting this ambition.
The Galloway National Park Association formed in 2016 to promote a new national park focused on the benefits of park status. Our Council was approached by the Association in 2018 and committee agreed to re-affirm the Council’s support to the principle of establishing a Galloway National Park. The Association has continued to campaign and have been developing their submission seeking designation of such.
The Association recognise that matters related to the legislative framework for a new national park are not yet determined by Scottish Government and appreciate that with the Council agreeing to support the nomination, that this is in principle only.
The Association have contacted all three local authorities in the area that could be included in the new national park: Dumfries and Galloway Council and South and East Ayrshire Councils. The Association has asked that each local authority consider their support for the nomination being submitted, ahead of the deadline of 29 February 2024, to enable them to reflect the current position in their nomination submission.
Chair of Economy and Resources, Councillor Ian Carruthers said: “Galloway is a spectacular part of our region with landscape ranging from hills to sea, which we share with visitors who get to experience the beauty of our area for themselves. Having been described as ‘Scotland in miniature’ our Council recognises that there is a lot of interest and support for a formally designated Galloway National Park. I am pleased that we have agreed to support the next steps and look forward to seeing the outcome.”
Vice Chair, Councillor David Inglis said: “Dumfries and Galloway is such a beautiful part of the country and having part of this area designated as a National Park would create many benefits, including helping us address climate change, which is included in our Council Priorities. There is also the cultural heritage, with evidence of many phases of human history in our area. Anything which can promote tourism and boost our local economy is welcomed, and a National Park would go a long way to achieving this.”
Wednesday, 31 January 2024 09:45
Dumfries and Galloway Council’s three-year funding gap has risen to £30M due to the Local Government Finance Settlement, plus inflationary and service cost pressures.
The Council’s Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee will receive an update next week (Thursday February 8) on theCouncil’s budget position and financial projections for the next three years.
Committee members will hear how the Council will need to make estimated total savings of £30.08M over the next three financial years – 2024/25 to 2026/27.
The rise is due to the impact of the Local Government Finance Settlement announced on 21 December 2023 – including the Scottish Government’s proposed Council Tax freeze in financial year 2024/25 – as well as the cost of implementing nationally negotiated pay awards and non-pay increases such as inflation.
The report goes on to state that the funding gap will need to be addressed at Full Council on Tuesday 27 February, where Elected Members will agree the Council’s budget for financial year 2024/25.
A range of revenue-raising and savings options are outlined including increased council tax on second homes, council tax increases and changes to services.
Committee Chair, Councillor Ivor Hyslop, said: “Our Council made some tough decisions at last year’s Council budget in late February and this year will be no different.
“In the short-term, we are in a better position than most and through prudent financial management are able to draw on non-recurring resources to protect vital services.
“However, like all local authorities, in the medium-term we face mounting costs and reduced funding.”
Committee Vice-Chair, Councillor Richard Marsh, said: “The ongoing lack of a multi-year funding settlement continues to present significant challenges for service and financial planning for all public bodies including councils.
“The actual funding received by Local Government in the latest settlement reflects a cash-funding reduction of £62.7M, with our Council’s share of this reduction estimated at £3.1M. And no additional resources have been received to support pay increases, non-pay inflation or service pressures.
“Our reputation as a council for ‘sound financial management’ was this month highlighted by the Accounts Commission and we will continue to take a prudent approach to what is a challenging fiscal backdrop.”
Friday, 26 January 2024 10:11
Kerbside collections to recycle household batteriesare to be introduced for people across Dumfries and Galloway.
At its meeting on 6 February, members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee will consider a report that includes details of the proposals following the announcement that Dumfries and Galloway Council has been successful in securing £70,000 of funding from Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund to implement a kerbside battery recycling service.
The new kerbside service will involve all types of household batteries – including the ones from toys, laptops, mobile phones, watches and hearing aids – being separated from regular waste.
Chair of the council’s Communities Committee, Ian Blake, said: “Implementing a kerbside collection of household batteries will increase our recycling rates of valuable materials while also reducing the risk of fires within in our refuse collection vehicles and waste processing facilities.”
Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Jackie McCamon, added: “We have seen the householders of Dumfries and Galloway embrace the kerbside recycling service, with recycling rates increasing from 30.1% in 2020 to 45.1% in 2022. I am confident that our residents will engage equally as well with this new service that will be starting in April of this year.”
The Scottish Governments Circular Economy Minister, Lorna Slater, said: “Recycling has a huge role to play in Scotland’s response to the climate crisis. Since launching in 2021, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have benefitted from projects supported through our £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund – one of the biggest investments in a generation to modernise recycling in Scotland.
“I am delighted that this latest round of funding will make it easier for many more households across Scotland to recycle their waste, boosting local recycling rates.”Each household across the region will receive more information in the spring, detailing how the scheme will work and when to start presenting batteries for recycling.
For more information on the council’s waste collection service, visit: www.dumgal.gov.uk/wasterecycling
Friday, 19 January 2024 11:39
Heritage Service volunteer, Jennifer Roberts, has been indexing a collection of miscellaneous archives dated 1790–1799. Jennifer noticed that there was mention of Mr John Lewars, an excise man in Dumfries in 1792, in a statement relating to an incident following a night of drinking. Mr Lewars, still drunk in the morning, had threatened two women. Accompanying him, and preventing him from causing any harm, was Mr Burns…Robert Burns – and Mr Lewars was Burns’ superior.
An exciseman was employed by the government in what today would be HM Customs and Excise to ensure that people paid their taxes, particularly where related to alcohol. It was not a "trade" that was admired by the common people, and it would be fair to say that excisemen at this time were somewhat unpopular. This incident, uncovered in the indexing of these archives, is mentioned in “A Biography of Robert Burns” by James MacKay.
Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, said: “This is a fantastic example of the richness of our Heritage Service’s archive collection. The archive is an amazing source of local history. I would encourage all those interested in our local history to find out more about the Heritage Service based at the Ewart Library.”
Vice Chair, Councillor Jackie McCamon added: “Even 228 years after his death, the life of Robert Burns continues to intrigue. This is a prime example of what can be discovered within the archive collection.”
The work undertaken by volunteers in the Heritage Service makes its collections more accessible and continue to list and highlight many of the wonderful events, people and heritage of our region.
Volunteers play a crucial role in the Heritage Service – and there are many opportunities for those with an interest in their local area by listing archives, scanning photographs and working though the old newspapers.
If you’d like to view the archives or find out more about the volunteering roles, please contact:email@example.com
Friday, 22 December 2023 13:08The Brow Well Bridge is once again open to traffic following the completion of the replacement bridge in November. The bridge, which is situated near Ruthwell close to the site of Brow Well – a landmark of reputed healing powers and associated with Robert Burns, was originally built around the early 19th century.
The 200-year-old bridge was regularly subjected to both the effects of the tide and rapid surface water run-off causing it’s eventual collapse on the west side in September 2019. A temporary bridge, supplied by Retro Bridge Ltd, was installed in November 2019 allowing the B725 road to be reopened. Due to the historic nature of this site, there then followed an extensive period of investigation, consultation, design, procurement and approvals – resulting in the work starting on the replacement bridge in May of this year.
The new bridge has been sympathetically designed and reconstructed using parts of the original structure. The design incorporates the original arch form that spreads the load to the foundations in the same way the 19th century arch would have done. The stone clad exterior has been created using original stone recovered upstream of the bridge, together with local reclaimed stone. The fundamental difference between the 1800s Brow Well bridge and the 2023 Brow Well bridge is their foundations. While the original bridge was built on a timber and stone foundation, the new bridge has been built on top of 18 reinforced concrete piles. This modern slant on bridge structure should help make sure that the new bridge will be overlooking the historic, healing Brow Well landmark for at least another 200 years.
Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Communities Committee said: "The previous damage to this bridge highlights the risks to our infrastructure from coastal and flooding impacts that the council manage to keep the roads network open. We were fortunate in this situation to be able to install a temporary structure while we progressed a robust design and construction process to provide a replacement bridge that will be in use for a long time to come."
Vice Chair of committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: "This project is a great example of the work undertaken through the Roads Service and Engineering Design in its programme of inspections and repairs to bridges across our road network, with a commitment to protecting and enhancing the heritage of the region."
Tuesday, 19 December 2023 11:30
The Great Britain Men’s Under 20s Ice Hockey team came within minutes of winning the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Gold Medal at the Group II Division A World Championship, held at the Ice Bowl last week.
Big crowds flocked to the Ice Bowl to cheer on the national team, with the council putting in place very reasonable ticket prices to attract existing and new fans to the sport.Ice Hockey UK report that the World Championship secured more than 100,000 viewers over the week of the event to their streaming service.
With less than seven minutes left of their final fixture against Korea, played on Sunday the 17 December, Britain were winning 3-2 and heading for the Gold Medal and promotion. They lost two devasting late goals, and Korea instead leapfrogged the home nation to secure the tournament. It was a bitter disappointment for Great Britain who played exceptionally well all week.
The council estimate that this World Championship will have generated more than £250,000 to the regional economy. The income to local business and accommodation providers comes from the teams and officials expenditure in local hotels, the money spent in the local economy from hundreds of supporters who descended on Dumfries and the services such as coach hires and catering needed to deliver the event.
Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council’s Communities Committee said: “The Ice Bowl hosted a well-managed, sporting and exciting International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. The council’s skilled, knowledgeable and good humoured staff have helped sports and economic development for the area and created a very good impression of Dumfries for the many participants and spectators of this tournament.”
Andy French, the General Secretary of Ice Hockey UK, who managed the World Championship in partnership with the council and the International Ice Hockey Federation said: “Ice Hockey UK are really pleased with how well things have gone in Dumfries since the Korean team arrived in the town on Monday 4 December. I’d like to thank all of the officials, volunteers and the staff of Dumfries and Galloway Council for their contribution to a fantastic Ice Hockey World Championship.”
Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice Chair of the Communities Committee said: “Dumfries Ice Bowl continues to be an important sporting and economic hub for Dumfries and the wider region. It has proved time and again that it is a reliable venue for ice hockey, ice-dancing and curling tournaments and the council’s Events Strategy 2023–2027 is clearly helping to attract and sustain many international quality events for Dumfries and Galloway.”
Tuesday, 19 December 2023 10:07Dumfries and Galloway Council's Poverty and Inequalities Team ran seven Free Warm Winter Clothes Events throughout November and December, bringing in over 300 people and giving away over 1200 items of warm winter clothes.
A number of partner organisations attended the events including The Lemon Aid Project, Fire Scotland, Home Energy Scotland and Wheatley Homes to provide additional advice and support to those who need help this winter.
Events were held in Stranraer, Newton Stewart, Castle Douglas, Annan, Lockerbie and Sanquhar and for the second year in a row we opened a pop-up shop in Dumfries High Street which also coincided with the Christmas Light Switch On, when the town was at its busiest.
At each of the events, there was a huge volume of clothes to give away with no qualifying criteria.Items of clothes included: coats and jackets, jumpers and cardigans, hats, gloves, scarves, kids clothing and trousers. Each event also saw free period products available to collect.
There were 100 tins of Heinz soup at each event, which were given away for free to those who wanted them, in an attempt to give everyone a warm meal that evening and to add to their cupboards for any additional meals which would make a difference over the cold winter months ahead.
Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee commented: “These events demonstrate our Council’s on-going commitment to tackling poverty and inequalities throughout our region. Our staff helped a significant number of families and young people to choose as many items as they wished from the huge number of new and pre-loved warm clothes.”
Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of Communities Committee added: “We know that there is a huge rise in the number of people struggling at this time in our communities, and these events have significantly helped families and individuals who are struggling with rising costs. Provision of pre-loved and new warm winter clothes will help them through the cold winter months ahead.”
For more information on where you can get help and advice on a number of topics including help with money and benefits, household bills, finding work, health and wellbeing, as well as support for families, young people, the elderly and disabled please visit our websitethat details the support at local, national, and UK level:https://costofliving.dumgal.gov.uk
Dumfries and Galloway Council appoints new Service Director Social Work Services (Chief Social Work Officer)
Friday, 15 December 2023 16:05
Following a comprehensive recruitment process, Dumfries and Galloway Council has appointed Stephen Morgan as its new Service Director Social Work Services (Chief Social Work Officer).
Stephen Morgan has extensive local government leadership- and senior-management experience, having worked in local government for over 26 years.
Mr Morgan is a qualified social worker and has been responsible for the leadership and management of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Children and Families Service since February 2018; in recent months he has been fulfilling the role of Interim Chief Social Work Officer.
Stephen will take up his new post on 1 April 2024, and will continue as Interim Chief Social Work Officer until then.
Stephen Morgan said: “I am delighted to accept this position. Having already worked within Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Social Work Services I know from experience what a dedicated and professional team I have inherited, and I look forward to continuing to build on the good work, serving the people in our region and making a positive difference to those in need.”
Dumfries and Galloway Council Convener, Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, said: “On behalf of Elected Members and staff we are pleased to appoint Stephen Morgan to this new role of Service Director Social Work Services (Chief Social Work Officer). Stephen brings to the role a wealth of experience and a passion for both social work services and the delivery of high-quality services to citizens and communities within Dumfries and Galloway.
“This is an important role within the Council senior leadership team. I am confident that Stephen will contribute successfully to the achievement of the ambitions of our Council and offer empowerment and support to teams across Social Work Services to help them flourish and continue to make a difference to the lives of our citizens.”
Thursday, 14 December 2023 14:39
The Ryan Centre Pool will reopen on Saturday 16 December after extensive capital works to the plant areas and changing village. To allow the upgrading works, all pool activities moved temporarily to Stranraer Academy at the start of May. The plant equipment has been widely upgraded with a full replacement of the main boiler system, with extensive upgrades to much of the other plant infrastructure. The addition of a UV filter system to improve water quality will also reduce the amount of chemicals needed to run the pool, making it a more environmentally friendly way to operate.
The changing area has been completely refurbished. The replacement of the underfloor heating and flooring in the main changing village should offer a warmer changing area for customers. The showers, cubicles and lockers have all been upgraded as has the toilet areas, which will positively impact the experience of all our customers and visitors. The spa area of the health suite has also been refurbished with the area surrounding the bath being renewed.
The reopening coincides with the 30-year anniversary of the pool opening in December 1993. To mark this impressive landmark, the facility has organised a weeklong series of water-based activities ranging from baby session, adult water safety sessions, aquafit, and splashdown for to aged 8 – 11. With the anniversary, four members of staff also achieve 30 years of service in the facility. Peter Ferries, David Sprott, Marny McCormick and Beverley Mercer were all members of the original lifeguarding team at the facility.
Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “I am delighted that the Ryan Centre has benefitted from this extensive refurbishment programme. It has been a well-used and well-loved facility in the community for the last 30 years, and this investment will secure this resource for years to come.”
Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of Communities Committee said: “I am pleased with the investment in this facility in Stranraer. Further to that, thirty years serving the community is quite an achievement and I would like to offer my thanks and congratulations to the staff who have been there from the start. The dedication that has been shown is really appreciated by the council, your colleagues, and those who use the facility.”
For more details on the events, contact the Ryan Centre: 01776 703535 or email firstname.lastname@example.org