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.

  • Council’s response to the Ukrainian humanitarian crisis

    Friday, 23 September 2022 12:10

    Like the rest of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway has welcomed Ukrainian Guests via varying schemes as they seek refuge following the outbreak of war in their country. Since the outbreak of war in February it’s estimated that over 2 million people, mainly women and children, remain displaced from their home country.

    ‘Homes for Ukraine’ was launched by the UK Government in March, followed by the Scottish Government’s ‘Super Sponsor Scheme’. In July the Scottish Government announced that the Super Sponsor Scheme would be paused for three months. At this point 36,000 visas had been issued. It is currently expected that there will be around 660 Guests in Dumfries and Galloway.

    At its meeting on 31 March 2022, Dumfries and Galloway Council agreed that it would participate in the Ukrainian Resettlement Scheme, noting that, in line with the Syrian Refugees and Afghan Citizen Schemes, all costs would be fully funded through the Scheme. At the meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Full Council (29 Sept) Members will receive a report on the latest arrangements to provide ongoing support to guests arriving from the Ukraine.

    By the end of September 2022, Dumfries and Galloway will have 7 Welcome Hubs (short-term temporary accommodation for displaced people) across our region. A significant portion of this need is being met through hosting, but inevitably there is also a demand for social and private tenancies.

    To date, Council services have undertaken accommodation and safeguarding checks on around 250 offers of support from private hosts/sponsors. That these checks are now either all complete or in progress, is a significant achievement in a short space of time. In addition, the permission to allow children to travel without a parent but with a friend or responsible person with parental permission means that Social Work Services will be required to assess all such requests and monitor for the duration of the arrangement until the child attains the age of 18 years.

    Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Stephen Thompson said: “Due to the flexibility and commitment of staff, across our services and partnerships, we have been successful in responding to rapidly changing and increasing challenges. Our Council services, including Social Work and Education, and the partnership approach of the NHS and other agencies, should all be commended for their efforts. This is alongside the significant response from our D&G residents who have opened their homes to care for the people in need.”

    Deputy Convener, Linda Dorward said: “Due to the uncertainty of what will be necessary, it is prudent to make arrangements for the next 12 months, and this work is underway. We do not know what the future will bring, or when this terrible conflict will end, but I am reassured that help and support is in place where it is required, and Ukrainian Guests will be welcomed to our region with compassion and care when it is most needed.”

    ENDS

  • Child Poverty Report Tabled At Full Council Meeting

    Friday, 23 September 2022 11:36

    Dumfries and Galloway Council will host a meeting of Full Council on Thursday 29 September. At this meeting, the Local Child Poverty Action Report (LCPAR) will be discussed by Councillors.

    This will be the fourth such report prepared by the Council and local Health Board, since the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act, 2017 introduced an annual requirement for Local Authorities and Health Boards to jointly prepare a Local Child Poverty Action Report which notes progress and reflects on the work undertaken over the preceding year and sets out an action plan for the year ahead.

    A new Poverty and Inequalities Partnership has been developed with an Independent Chair, and a new Strategy to be delivered by the Partnership has been agreed for 2021-2026. Four sub-groups focused on delivering actions to achieve the partnership’s objectives have been established. These are:

    • Tackling severe poverty and destitution and building individual and community capacity to tackle poverty
    • Maximising income and reducing debt
    • Reducing financial pressure on people in poverty
    • Developing our approach to Child Poverty

    Co-Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Stephen Thompson commented:

    “The Report captures our continuing learning about the effects of the Covid-pandemic on children and families in our region, as well as early impacts from the increased costs of living. It presents a range of local and national data to illustrate not just the extent of child poverty, but also some of the positive impacts we’re having in tackling and mitigating against child poverty in D&G as a result of our work across the partnership.”

    The key achievements of 2021-2022 highlighted in the Report include:

    • A client gain of over £10 million through the support offered by our Financial Wellbeing Service
    • An increase of over 600 children registered to receive Free School Meals, which enables families to claim additional grants
    • Additional support was provided to vulnerable families coming to the attention of Social Work Services as a result of the pandemic
    • Free school uniforms and warm winter clothing continued to be provided to children and families in need.
    • Online period dignity project offered home delivery of free sanitary products to everyone across the region

    Co-Leader, Councillor Linda Dorward said:

    “This report not only highlights the great work of our Council, but also the crucial role played by other stakeholders regarding partnership working, which significantly adds to work already started. The Community Planning Partnership Board and the Health and Social Care Performance and Governance group will be invited to endorse the LCPAR at their next scheduled meetings, and I look forward to the report going before Scottish Ministers in due course.”

    The report can be viewed in full at Agenda for Dumfries and Galloway Council on Thursday, 29th September, 2022, 10.30 am - Dumfries and Galloway Council (moderngov.co.uk)

  • New rates for early learning and childcare providers agreed

    Thursday, 22 September 2022 15:29

    Nursery and childcare providers across the region are set to benefit from a new hourly rate for Early Learning and Childcare. At the meeting of Education and Learning committee earlier this week (20 September), Councillors approved an increase in the rate paid to providers.

    In Dumfries and Galloway, funding is provided to local authority and private providers for Early Learning and Childcare for three and four year olds and for eligible two year olds.

    This rate has been increased annually using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate from the previous November and the new rate is normally set for the period April 2022-March 2023. However, due to the increasing financial pressures on the sector because of the increase to the Real Living Wage, higher inflation, and increasing energy costs, it was agreed to backdate the increase to 1 January 2022.

    Council officers have met with providers to talk them through the proposed new rates for Early Learning and Childcare.

    At the committee meeting this week, Councillors approved a new increase in the rate from £5.53 to £5.71 for three and four year olds. The new rate for eligible two year olds is proposed at £6.73.

    In addition, a new rate for the provision of meals was also agreed, increasing from £1.77 to £3 per day.

    Councillor Richard Brodie, chair of the Education and Learning committee, said: “The increases in cost of living, food, energy and inflation are having an impact on the pre-school private sector so it is important that we recognise the impact of these costs and take action to support all our learning providers. This is essential if we are to provide the best start in life for all children, which is a priority for our Council. To meet our commitment to provide 1140 hours of early learning and childcare for our children, we need to ensure that our private and local authority providers are receiving appropriate rates of funding for the services they provide to local families and we must ensure that all employees receive proper remuneration for their important work.”

    Councillor George Jamieson, vice chair, said: “Our council is committed to providing flexible, high-quality early learning and childcare that is accessible, affordable, and integrated with school and out-of-school care. This will improve outcomes for children, especially the vulnerable or disadvantaged, and help to close the attainment gap. It is very important to the Council that that we understand the challenges that are facing our providers, through consultation and discussion, helping us respond to support them so that they continue to provide quality early learning and childcare for children.
  • Council Convener and Deputy Convener thank D&G residents for community response to death of The Queen

    Thursday, 22 September 2022 11:35

    In an open letter to people living and working in Dumfries and Galloway, Council Convener Cllr Stephen Thompson and Deputy Convener Cllr Linda Dorward today paid tribute to the “warmth and kindness” the region’s residents have shown in marking the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

    Dated Tuesday 20 September, the day after HM Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral, the letter reads:

    “Since the sad news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 9 September 2022 there have been a number of tributes paid to her in various ways right across Dumfries and Galloway.

    “Your Council has been proud to have helped with this, through flying flags, providing Books of Condolence, ourselves and Chairs and Vice Chairs of all our Committees laying wreaths; and we held a special meeting of Full Council on 13 September 2022 where a number of Councillors, and Members of the Youth Council, paid their respects.

    “The main focus, however, has been the community response and we want to thank you for all that you have done to show how much Queen Elizabeth has meant to the people in our region.

    “There have been many moving tributes on social media and in the Books of Condolence; many wonderful images and films being shared; many places have seen beautiful flowers laid; and there have been many other acts of remembrance like special services by faith groups, tree-planting, donations to Queen Elizabeth’s charities and screenings of the State Funeral.

    “All this is testament not only to the regard we have for our late Queen, but also to the warmth and kindness of our people, too.

    “We were also proud to support the Proclamation of the new Sovereign on Sunday 11 September 2022, along with our three Lord-Lieutenants, in Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Stranraer.

    “Sharing this moment of history with local people, Armed Forces representatives and local pipers made for memorable events and we are most grateful to all of you who attended. We look forward to a shared endeavour with King Charles III, particularly in supporting his long-held commitments to the environment, climate change and youth employment – all issues that are important to you and your Council.

    “So, thank you again for all you have done to remember Queen Elizabeth II and support King Charles III, it is very much appreciated by your Council.”

  • Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective

    Tuesday, 20 September 2022 14:19

    The first major exhibition about the graphic novelist and picture book maker Raymond Briggs is on tour across the UK and on display at Kirkcudbright Galleries from until the end of October.

    “[To be an illustrator] you have to be a mini actor. If the figure is to walk jauntily with its nose in the air, you have to imagine what that feels like. You have to be the person and observe the person, and do both these things at once."Raymond Briggs.

    With never-before-seen artwork, this exhibition delves into the work of the author-illustrator behind some of the UK’s most influential children’s books and graphic novels.

    Raymond Briggs (1934-2022) is best-known for silent picturebook The Snowman (1978). But over a 60-year career, Briggs created illustrated books on themes from family relationships and grief to social mobility and political satire.

    This exhibition includes work from Briggs’s pioneering titles, including The Snowman, Father Christmas (1973), Fungus the Bogeyman (1977) and autobiographical graphic novel Ethel and Ernest (1998). On show are his drawings, hand-lettered typography and page designs from his earliest commissions to his 2004 book The Puddleman.

    Co-curated by Nicolette Jones and Katie McCurrach, this exhibition features original illustrations courtesy of Raymond Briggs’s Archive and Penguin Random House. Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective is a touring exhibition from Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration.

    Kirkcudbright Galleries are so sorry to hear of the passing of Raymond Briggs this August. Find out more about his life and work in The Guardian and from Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Cllr Archie Dryburgh comments:

    “Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective is an exhibition which showcases the range of influential works produced by the artist. With much loved stories such as The Snowman (1978) and bestselling graphic novels for adults like Ethel & Ernest (1998), When the Wind Blows (1982), there is something for everyone in this fantastic exhibition. It’s great that the Galleries can provide a diverse range of exhibitions in their programme, so this can appeal to different audiences.”

    Vice Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee Cllr John Campbell has said:

    “Kirkcudbright Galleries are currently hosting Raymond Briggs: A Retrospective. This exhibition includes original artwork from iconic children’s picture books such as Fungus the Bogeyman (1977) and Father Christmas (1973). Briggs was able to capture a range of emotions and social commentary in his stories which would later become known as some of the UK’s most influential children’s books and graphic novels. It’s brilliant that we’re able to access this exhibition on our doorstep in Dumfries & Galloway and is a worthwhile visit.”

  • Councillors and Youth Council Members Pay Tribute at Special Meeting of Full Council Today

    Tuesday, 13 September 2022 15:07

    A special meeting of Full Council took place today (Tuesday 13 September) at Council HQ in Dumfries.

    Councillors gathered to reflect on the life and arrangements on the recent death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of His Majesty King Charles III.

    Members of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council Sophie Wilson, Riley True and Kenzie Miller also participated.

    Speaking at the meeting:

    Convener and Co-Leader Stephen Thompson said: “It has been a sombre privilege to be Convener over these days and to be part of this history-making period. I wrote in my contribution in the Book of Condolence that the late Queen has been ‘an exemplar of duty and diligence in fulfilling her role to so many people over so many years’. She has been a model for any civic leader to follow.

    “As His Majesty King Charles III is welcomed to the throne, we may see resonance with many of the issues that are important to our region and this Council – the importance of the countryside and the environment, concern about climate change, and a passion to provide practical support to help young people into employment. So, along with the new Monarch, we look forward to supporting a shared endeavour of caring for the people of Dumfries and Galloway for years to come.”

    Deputy Convener and Co-Leader Linda Dorward said: “From a personal perspective, losing Her Majesty is like losing a member of my own family; she has been there for my entire life. The Queen was born six years after my Mum. I believe that having lived through the years of Depression and World War Two, these women, from entirely different backgrounds, shared similar values shaped by these times…don’t moan, keep going, stay useful, we will overcome…values that we would do well to try to live by today.

    “For me as a newly Elected Member part of a speech Her Majesty gave in 1952 is as relevant today as it was then, when she said ‘many grave problems and difficulties confront us all, but with a new faith in the old and splendid beliefs given us by our forefathers, and the strength to venture beyond the safeties of the past, I know we shall be worthy of our duty.’”

    Speaking on behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council, Member Sophie Wilson said: “There is no denying that the royal family have had a significant impact on the opportunities available to young people in Dumfries and Galloway in a way that is often not seen. The Prince’s Trust and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award are initiatives that have had a positive impact throughout the region, supporting young people in employment, higher and further education and more generally to access opportunities that would not have been available to them otherwise.”

    Youth Council Member Riley True added: “On behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council we would like to express our deepest condolences to the royal family in light of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Looking forward, His Majesty King Charles II has a focus on climate change and environmental issues, and we are optimistic as we move into this next chapter that young people will continue to benefit from the existence and provision of these programmes and others like it within Dumfries and Galloway.”

    At Full Council, Elected Members also agreed to grant an additional day’s annual leave so that Dumfries and Galloway Council employees can observe the National Day of Mourning public holiday on Monday 19 September 2022, the date of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral.

    This includes Council teachers and support staff, and all Dumfries and Galloway Council schools and nurseries will close on Monday 19 September. Private nurseries and childminders will make their own arrangements and communicate directly with families.

    Essential Council services will continue to operate. A dedicated webpage will be set up on the Council’s website as soon as possible to detail how this will affect Council services on Monday 19 September. Please follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts for latest updates.

    In addition, it was agreed that the contributions read out at Full Council today by Elected Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be reflected in the Letter of Condolence sent to His Majesty King Charles III by the Convener and Deputy Convener after the State Funeral and National Day of Mourning.

    (Ends)

  • Special Full Council Meeting Called for Tomorrow (Tue 13 Sep)

    Monday, 12 September 2022 15:39

    A special meeting of Full Council has been called for Tuesday 13 September, at 10.30am, as Elected Members come together to reflect on the life and arrangements on the recent death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of His Majesty King Charles III.

    Members of the Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council will also participate.

    This coincides with the Council cancelling three Committee meetings for this week as a mark of respect.Planning Applications Committee on 13 September, Nithsdale Area Committee on 14 September and Finance, Procurement & Transformation Committee on 15 September have all been cancelled, and subsequent business moved to a future meeting, as the Council continues to mourn the loss of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

    The meeting will be held in Council HQ in Dumfries, with Councillors and Youth Councillors attending in person, and virtually.The meeting will be broadcast live, as with all our service committees, via www.dumgal.gov.uk/dgclive. Press and members of the public wishing to view the meeting can do so via the web link, live.

  • Wreath Laying and Proclamations of The New Sovereign at Stranraer, Kirkcudbright and Dumfries on Sunday 11 September

    Saturday, 10 September 2022 16:49

    Wreaths will be laid and there will be Proclamations of The New Sovereign at Stranraer, Kirkcudbright and Dumfries on Sunday 11 September at 12.45pm by the Chief Executive, Convener and Deputy Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council, with the participation of the three Lord-Lieutenants from across Dumfries and Galloway.

    Members of the public are invited to attend.

    At Stranraer, Aileen Brewis, Lord-Lieutenant for Wigtown, will join Council Convener and Co-Leader Councillor Stephen Thompson at the War Memorial at the Sheriff Court on Lewis Street.

    In Kirkcudbright, Lord-Lieutenant for The Stewartry of Kirkcudbright Matthew St Clair, The Lord Sinclair, will join Dumfries and Galloway Council Chief Executive Dr Dawn Roberts

    at the War Memorial on Castle Street.

    Finally, in Dumfries, Lord-Lieutenant of Dumfries Fiona Armstrong will be joined by Council Deputy Convener and Co-Leader Councillor Linda Dorward and Provost of Dumfries Councillor Tracey Little at the Maxwelltown War Memorial, at Rotchell Road/New Abbey Road.

    Flags will then be returned to half-mast on Council buildings across the region until after the funeral of Her Majesty The Queen, for which a date is still to be confirmed.

  • Death of Her Majesty The Queen

    Thursday, 08 September 2022 20:57

    It has been announced by Buckingham Palace that Her Majesty The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

    The Convener and Deputy Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Councillor Stephen Thompson and Councillor Linda Dorward, have expressed their deepest sympathies to The Royal Family:

    "On behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Council and all the communities across our region, we join the nation in mourning for Her Majesty The Queen. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to all members of The Royal Family and honour her long service and duty to her country as Queen."

    As a mark of respect, flags will fly at half-mast on all Council buildings and flagpoles as appropriate.

    Books of Condolencewill be available at Council facilities across the region. An online Book of Condolence is to be available on The Royal website atwww.Royal.gov.uk.

    In addition, floral tributes can be laid at War Memorials which have been designated asGardens of Remembrance.

    In line with national guidance, the Council will be closed on the National Day of Mourning, the day of Her Majesty's funeral; Citizenship Ceremonies will be postponed; and we will be cancelling or postponing all non-essential meetings of DGC business and events until after the funeral. Details will be available on the Council website and through social media.

    - ENDS –

  • Gracefield Welcomes New Exhibition

    Thursday, 08 September 2022 10:53

    Gracefield is delighted to be able to show the touring exhibition from the Hayward Gallery in London of the work of Claude Cahun. ‘Beneath This Mask’ features 42 exquisite black and white prints from this important French photographer on show in Gallery 2 until 1 October.

    Born in 1984, she began life as Lucy Schwob, before adopting the persona Claude Cahun in 1914 to explore ideas around identity and gender. In her 30s, she lived in Jersey during the war time occupation and was held on a death sentence for her work with the resistance. She did make it through and lived until 1954 and fortunately a collection of her negatives survived, preserving her creative body of work, a fascinating story, and taking the idea of the selfie back to its origins. If you have your camera or mobile phone you can do a bit of self-portraiture in the dress up photo booth within the exhibition hall and share them on Instagram.

    Also on display in the Café Gallery is a memorial exhibition of the work of local artist, Jane Howe (1951–December 2020). Janewas a talented artist, loving wife and mother, and very enthusiastic tennis player. She poured energy and dedication into everything; driven by a strong will to succeed, she always made the most of every opportunity and experience available.

    Jane died suddenly from Cancer in December 2020, a devastating shock for everyone who knew and loved her. Her absence has been greatly felt amongst not only her family but with those she collaborated and worked with locally. Jane left behind a great body of work, which will be available to view and purchase on the 17 September with proceeds being donated to Marie Curie. Although care from Marie Curie was offered, Jane sadly deteriorated too quickly to experience the wonderful services they provide, however she always commented on the vital importance of the charity and their work.

    The exhibition will be held in the cafe gallery at Gracefield from 23 August – 17 September, with a special invitation only event 5-8pm on the final Saturday evening.

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice Chair of Communities Committee added:

    “As with many people lost during Covid lockdowns, normal ritual and gatherings have been on hold, or not occurred and this show gives us all a chance to mark the passing of one from our artistic community and contribute to the ongoing fight against cancer.”

    Continuing in Gallery 1 is ‘Recipe for Miracle’. Kirsty Lorenz is a Fife-based artist who have shown her widely and had successful shows of her work at leading galleries including the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh. This brand-new body of work will debut at Gracefield and the artist says:

    “Many of these paintings have been inspired by old plant recipes and remedies, some quite unlikely sounding. The healing plant recipes give a conceptual frame to the artworks that touch on themes like spirituality, the natural world and health/wellbeing/mindfulness.”

    The title painting for the exhibition is ‘Recipe for a Miracle’, (acrylic on birch wood panel, 100x100cm), inspired by a 17th century panacea called ‘Aqua Mirablis’ said to restore vigour and refresh the spirit. It depicts all the ingredients: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, galangal, rosemary and thyme. Kirsty has a studio at Platform 2 at Ladybank Railway Station in Fife and has been painting plants and flowers since 2003. In this exhibition you can also see examples from ‘Votive Offerings’ (a series of paintings of flower posies made (and left) around Scotland and beyond and ‘The Flowering Sun’ and ‘Phases of the Moon in Bindweed’ series.

    Communities Committee Chair, Councillor Archie Dryburgh says:

    “These painting offer something very different and inspirational and Kirsty’s detailed technique in her painting is absolutely fascinating, a truly original talent.”

    The exhibitions are open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, admission free, at 28 Edinburgh Road Dumfries. For younger visitors, Gracefield Kids Clubs are £5.50 per child or £8 when you book 2 kids together, so bring a friend and enjoy a 2 hour session on a Saturdays during term time and Wednesday morning during school holidays. For more information on what’s on at Gracefield and all the Councils other arts and museums visit www.DGCulture.co.uk

  • Plans Afoot For National Fitness Day

    Thursday, 08 September 2022 10:43

    Our Council will throw open its doors on Wednesday 21 September to offer a wide range of free physical activities for everyone to try as part of National Fitness Day 2022 – which is set to be the UK’s most active day of the year.

    Under the theme of “Fitness Unites Us”, people can pledge to do 12 minutes of exercise at 12 noon; this can be anything from swimming, jogging or cycling to squats at your desk or dancing in the kitchen.

    Throughout the day we will be tracking people’s activity in our “All around the World” challenge where collectively we hope to bike, cycle, swim, dance or squat around the entire Earth. Free DGDoingMore water bottles will be given to anyone who shares their National Fitness Day photos on their social media using the hashtags #FitnessDay #FitnessUnitesUs #dgdoingmore.

    Communities Committee Chair, Archie Dryburgh said:

    “National Fitness Day is the UK’s most active day of the year – in 2021 more than 22 million people were inspired to be active on the day.

    We hope that this year’s campaign will continue to encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to come together to recognise the importance of prioritising being active for our mental wellbeing as well as physical health.

    Free activities will take place in our leisure facilities, parks, and in the workplace, as we try to encourage as many people as possible to try a new activity and take the first step, no matter how small, to living a more active life.”

    Communities Committee Vice Chair, John Campbell added:

    “The challenges posed by the cost-of-living increases and the pandemic mean many people are facing tough choices every day, but by uniting through fitness, we can find the mental strength to help us cope.

    Using the theme Fitness Unites Us, we want to demonstrate the inclusive power of physical activity in bringing people from all walks of life together, in every community across Dumfries and Galloway.”

    You can also get involved by posting photos or messages on social media in the build-up to National Fitness Day, using #FitnessDay #FitnessUnitesUs #dgdoingmore and sharing a message or picture showing how you stay active and why.
  • Autumn Youth Work Programme For Annandale & Eskdale

    Wednesday, 07 September 2022 16:36

    The autumn Youth Work Service programme has arrived for young people aged 12-25 in Annandale and Eskdale! Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service launch their free autumn programme, which will offer young people a wide range of free activities that will take place from Tuesday to Saturday’s every week until December.

    On the top floor of Market Hall in Annan, we have our groups in the Victoria Halls. Last term, Annan young people asked for a Lassies only sports group where we will do sports and learn about nutrition. Our Young chefs group continues for another term where young people get to learn how to cook nutritious meals on a budget and share this sit-down meal with the group and take goodies home to share! If you have an Additional Support Need or Disability, The Hub Club will be providing a youth led session depending on the needs of those involved.

    In Lockerbie and Annan, Champions Board where care experienced young people can come along and share their experience, learn new skills, and engage with the regional project Listen to US. After the success of a young parent’s group (12 – 25yrs), in Annan, Bright Stars has launched in Lockerbie, it is a safe space to bring yourself and toddlers for free food and activities and meeting other people.

    Health and wellbeing projects such as You Decide in Victoria Halls, Annan, and Lockerbie Town Hall, to discuss various issue-based topics and explore with young people each week; Creative Consciousness in Moffat Academy and Lockerbie Town Hall explore health and wellbeing through creative ways; Activism for 16 – 25yrs to explore your rights and views; Climate change project in Ecclefechan Town Hall and Canonbie Town Hall, explores climate change and how individuals can make small changes. The Youth Information Workers also support 1-1s in the community for anyone needing individual support.

    What is a drop in? Come along to any drop in to participate in any activity available e.g., challenge a youth worker to a game of pool, sports, jewellery making or arts and crafts, meet new people, engage in topics you want to know more about or just sit and enjoy the music! Drop ins available in Moffat Academy, Lochmaben Queen of the South Community Centre, Gretna Graitney Park, Ecclefechan Village Hall, Canonbie Public Hall, Victoria Halls Annan and Lockerbie Town Hall.

    Do you enjoy making games? Come along to the Gambling project where you can support peers to create a new board game to peer educate other young people about the dangers of gambling. Do you enjoy listening to podcasts? Maybe you want to be in one and discuss issues young people face? Come along to our digital podcast!

    Councillor Archie Dryburgh, chair of Communities committee said:

    “It is great to see the breadth of opportunities provided in this youth work programme, I am sure young people will really enjoy participating in activities and experiences that can have a big impact in local communities”.

    There is also plenty of activities for young people who want to come along to a session, chill out, have a chat and relax!

    Councillor John Campbell, vice chair of Communities committee said:

    “These new programmes from the youth work service look very good indeed, I know how much young people value the engagement with youth workers so I’m sure this can have a positive effect on their lives. We can’t underestimate the importance of these interactions around young people’s wellbeing”.

    Are you looking to complete a saltire award for volunteering, how would you like to be a young leader? This opportunity can be volunteering in groups and supporting other young people. We also have a young leader project who will planning our Halloween and Christmas events!

    If you would like more information on what is available, dates and times of activities, or the link to sign up to what is on offer, please visit our Facebook page “Youth Work DG”; our Instagram @youthworkdg; or our Twitter @YOUTHWORKDG.

  • New Youth Programme For Wigtownshire

    Wednesday, 07 September 2022 16:30

    After a busy summer holiday in Dumfries & Galloway, a new Youth Work programme that will run from now until December across Wigtownshire has been launched! The programme will offer young people aged 12 – 25 years a huge range of fun, free groups and activities, and will feature some old favourites as well as some new projects.

    Activities on offer will feature Youth Fridges where young people can access free food and refreshments and a safe space to catch up with friends; old favourites such as Junior and Senior Youth Groups and Drop Ins will still provide young people with the opportunity to access support from Youth Workers and plenty of activities to keep them busy; along with specific interest groups including Global Education, Sports, Music and Cooking. Several new groups will take place across Wigtownshire with the aim of improving young people’s mental health, building resilience and improving their confidence.

    Councillor Archie Dryburgh, chair of Communities committee said:

    “It is great to see the breadth of opportunities provided in this youth work programme, I am sure young people will really enjoy participating in activities and experiences that can have a big impact in local communities."

    If you are passionate about issues that affect young people, you can join your local Youth Committee in Wigtown or Stranraer and take part in training and volunteer in your community to make it a better place for young people. This term young people can get involved in an exciting new intergenerational group ‘The Together Project’, that will see generations coming together to learn and share skills together.

    Councillor John Campbell, vice chair of Communities committee said:

    “These new programmes from the youth work service look very good indeed, I know how much young people value the engagement with youth workers so I’m sure this can have a positive effect on their lives. We can’t underestimate the importance of these interactions around young people’s wellbeing."

    If you would like more information on what is available in Wigtownshire, check out our social media pages @YouthWorkDG or visit our website https://youthwork.dumgal.gov.uk/

    You can contact us with enquiries at youth.work@dumgal.gov.uk or call us on 01387 260243

  • Procurement Annual Report Tabled

    Monday, 05 September 2022 15:21

    Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee will meet on Tuesday 13 September and receive the 2021/22 Annual Report of the Procurement service.

    The report provides an overview of how procurement activity has been delivered during the last financial year and highlights the continued progress with the team’s performance. Significant achievements are highlighted within the report including improved levels of compliance within £196million worth of spend, with 87% of that spend being on contract, compared to 80% the previous financial year.

    The report also highlights the local spend made by the Council, with nearly 35% of the total spend being made with companies who have their head offices within our region. There’s also been increases in collaborative contract spending of 44%, against a target of 30%.

    Supporting good employment opportunities is also detailed within the report, with 87% of contracted suppliers paying the living wage, compared to the target of 70%. As well as the statistical information, the report shows that face to face training programmes have been developed, a Procurement Officer Group has been established and a Community Benefit Forum has also been created.

    Once agreed by members, the statutory document will be published on the Council website.

    Chair of the Committee, Cllr Carolyne Wilson commented ahead of the meeting on 13 September:

    “This report provides some fantastic statistical information to demonstrate how much our Council is improving with our procurement policies and procedures, as well as the day-to-day operational works. I am particularly pleased to read that nearly 9 in every 10 contracted suppliers are paying the living wage to their employees.”

    Vice Chair, Cllr Dougie Campbell followed on:

    “Building the local economy is a key priority for our Council and this report shows that we’re making strides in actively making this happen. Over a third of our spend is done here in Dumfries and Galloway, and this figure has improved again on last year’s. I’m really heartened by this and feel it shows our commitment to supporting local businesses.”

    A copy of the report can be seen on our website at Agenda for Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee on Tuesday, 13th September, 2022, 10.30 am - Dumfries and Galloway Council (moderngov.co.uk)

  • Council Inflation-Impact Report Set for FPT Committee

    Monday, 05 September 2022 09:59

    Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Finance, Procurement and Transformation (FPT) Committee will meet on Tuesday 13 September and receive a report on the impact of inflation on Council budgets this financial year.

    Councillors will be asked to note the “escalation of inflationary pressures” and agree to allocate funding to address a current-year budget shortfall caused by increased energy costs.

    The report – “The Impact of Inflationary Cost Increases on Council Budgets 2022/2023” ­­– details how much more the Council estimates it will spend on energy and fuel this financial year.

    According to the report, non-pay inflationary pressures will increase the cost of delivering Council services by £4.87 million in 2022/23, with rising energy costs the main contributor.

    The Council estimates its gas costs alone will jump by £1.669 million (a 162% increase on the previous financial year) with electricity up £1.077 million, a 23.2% increase on 2021/2022.

    Recognition of inflationary cost pressures has been a key part of the Council’s financial planning strategy so funds have already been set aside to allow for inflation and “unidentified budget pressures”.

    However, the report states “the increases in inflation levels in recent months have consistently exceeded economic forecasts” so the Council is now faced with a budget shortfall this financial year of £1.54 million.

    Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee Chair Carolyne Wilson said: “This report focusses on the direct financial impact of increased inflationary pressures on the Council itself. However, we know that the increased inflationary rates and rising prices for essential goods are impacting significantly on families, individuals and businesses across Dumfries and Galloway.

    “This is being felt disproportionately by the most vulnerable in our communities and this financial year we are directing a combined £3.2 million of additional resource to tackle poverty and support School Holiday Payments and Direct Cash Payments to the most vulnerable residents in our region.”

    At the Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee on 13 September, elected members will be asked to agree funding the shortfall from Council reserves in an effort to protect Council services.

    Projections of inflationary cost increases beyond the current financial year are being assessed as part of the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy, which will be reported to Full Council on Thursday 29 September.

    In addition, a report outlining measures the Council could take to reduce the amount of energy and fuel it uses and accelerate the shift to renewable energy sources will be brought to the next meeting of the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee on Tuesday 15 November.

    Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee Vice Chair Dougie Campbell said: “The inflation levels of recent months have been eye-watering and the projected increase in the energy price cap in October, January and April gives grave cause for concern.

    “Our Council has made sensible provision and this year we are able to meet the budget shortfall caused by these price rises. I look forward to seeing the report to Full Council at the end of this month when we will have a clearer picture of the medium- to long term effects on the level of service provision that our Council can afford.”

  • New Youth Programme For Stewartry

    Wednesday, 31 August 2022 12:00

    A new programme of youth work activities has been released for Stewartry area, focussing on groups based in Castle Douglas, Dalbeattie and Kirkcudbright.

    Featuring a wide range of targeted and universal provision, the groups aim to improve confidence and self-esteem of young people, encourage social and emotional development and address wellbeing issues including mental health.

    The programme includes universal drop-in sessions where young people can take part informal education activities as well as enjoy food and socialising with their peers in a safe and welcoming environment – these take place in Castle Douglas on Tuesday evenings, Kirkcudbright on Thursday evenings and Dalbeattie on Saturday evenings. Issue based groups return to town hall in Castle Douglas on Tuesday evenings, young people with additional support needs can attend the Peer Project on a Wednesday in Dalbeattie while gender based groupwork takes place in Kirkcudbright on Thursdays. Friday night football makes a return to Dalbeattie and Saturday nights in Kirkcudbright as well as new programmes such as junior youth groups and working in partnership with schools.

    Youth workers will continue to be out delivering detached street work which sees youth workers out in the street engaging with young people and all programmes are based around local need identified by participants, continuing some of the good work that has been taking place as well as introducing some new and innovative projects including one to one support for young people who may be struggling with some aspects of their life.

    Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Chair of Communities committee said:

    “It is great to see the breadth of opportunities provided in this youth work programme, I am sure young people will really enjoy participating in activities and experiences that can have a big impact in local communities”.

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice Chair of Communities committee said:

    “These new programmes from the youth work service look very good indeed, I know how much young people value the engagement with youth workers so I’m sure this can have a positive effect on their lives. We can’t underestimate the importance of these interactions around young people’s wellbeing”.

    For further information please go to https://youthwork.dumgal.gov.uk/ follow YouthworkDG on social media.

  • Welfare And Benefits Update Tabled

    Thursday, 25 August 2022 16:29

    Members sitting on the Council’s Communities Committee today (25 August) received and agreed a report that provided an update on the impact of the current financial situation.

    The report detailed that over five thousand benefit administration processes were currently outstanding. The Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee agreed extra resources around a year ago to deal with the additional workload.

    The team administer many different grants and benefits. Last year, £3.7million was paid to families for free school meals. As well as free school meals, clothing grants for primary and secondary school children were also administered, totalling nearly £350,000.

    The report also detailed statistics around the Scottish Welfare Fund. As of the end of June this year, 2,302 applications for a crisis grant have been received for the 2022/23 financial year. This funding is predominantly given to households to pay for food and household fuel and is often a real lifeline to those who are in need.

    The Welfare and Housing Options Team have prevented 134 households from progressing to evictions during this financial year. The team not only assist service users in sustaining their tenancies, but also help with addressing debt issues.

    Councillors also heard that a total of £7.9million has been credited to nearly 53,000 Council Tax accounts, by way of the cost of living payment. The scheme closed earlier this month and a report on the spend will be taken to The Scottish Government by the end of August.

    Chairman of the Communities Committee, Cllr Archie Dryburgh welcomed the report. He stated:

    “The fantastic work of this small and dedicated team is really brought to life in this update report. The facts and stats give a clear indication of now only the amount, but also the volume of financial assistance our Council is administering on a weekly basis.”

    Vice Chair, Councillor John Campbell commented:

    “I would like to place on record my thanks to the team for their continued work to helping the residents of our region who need it most. The team is very approachable and will help in whatever way they can, so if you need financial help, please get in touch. We’re here to help.”

    You can see the report in full by visiting our website - Agenda for Communities Committee on Thursday, 25th August, 2022, 10.30 am - Dumfries and Galloway Council (moderngov.co.uk)

  • New Exhibitions At Gracefield

    Tuesday, 23 August 2022 15:18

    A new exhibition at Gracefield Gallery 1 brings botanical beauty to the gallery – Kirsty Lorenz is a Fife-based artist who have shown her widely and had successful shows of her work at leading galleries including the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh. This brand-new body of work will debut at Gracefield and the artist said:

    “I’m excited to be presenting new paintings inspired by the use of plants in healing physical, emotional and spiritual ailments. Many of these paintings have been inspired by old plant recipes and remedies, some quite unlikely sounding. The healing plant recipes give a conceptual frame to the artworks that touch on themes like spirituality, the natural world and health/wellbeing/mindfulness.”

    Kirsty undertook research at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (Herbarium), The Royal College of Physicians Edinburgh, Kew Gardens Archive and Library, and The Linnean Society, London. Submersing herself in plant illustrations dating back to 1500’s, the older the botanical illustration the more stylised they become. They seemed to me to express more about the properties of the plants than more modern factual representations. This was a turning point for the artist, these old illustrations giving her permission to let go of reality whilst still using observation of the plants as a starting point.

    The title painting for the exhibition is ‘Recipe for a Miracle’, (acrylic on birch wood panel, 100x100cm), inspired by a 17th century panacea called ‘Aqua Mirablis’ said to restore vigour and refresh the spirit. It depicts all the ingredients: Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, galangal, rosemary and thyme. Kirsty has a studio at Platform 2 at Ladybank Railway Station in Fife and has been painting plants and flowers since 2003. In this exhibition you can also see examples from ‘Votive Offerings’ (a series of paintings of flower posies made (and left) around Scotland and beyond and ‘The Flowering Sun’ and ‘Phases of the Moon in Bindweed’ series.

    Communities Committee Chairman, Councillor Archie Dryburgh said:

    “These painting offer something very different and inspirational and Kirsty’s detailed technique in her painting is absolutely fascinating, a truly original talent.”

    Over in Gallery 2 Gracefield is delighted to be part of a national touring exhibition programme from the Hayward Gallery and Arts Council of England’s collection: Claude Cahun: Beneath this Mask

    Cahun (1894-1954) is best known for her original, enigmatic and playful photographic self-portraits. Decades ahead of its time, her work toyed with perceived gender roles and identity -concerns that are still as current and pertinent in today’s world as ever.

    Join us for free Gallery Talks: Saturday 27 August 1.30-2.30pm

    Kirsty Lorenz gives a guided talk around the exhibition discussing the inspiration research and techniques used to create her highly detailed botanical paintings and drawings.

    Saturday 3 September: 1.30-2.30pm Cahun: Exploring an Icon. Dumfries and Galloway artist Denise Zygadlo gives a guided talk on the exhibition and discusses how the work has informed her own art and how Cahun’s influence on the culture of her time and those that followed.

    Please book in advance where possible as numbers are limited. arts@dumgal.gov.uk or 01387 262084

    Also on display in our café gallery is an inspirational local artist’s work, a memorial exhibition of the work of local artist Jane Howe (1951–2020). Jane was a talented artist, loving wife and mother, and very enthusiastic tennis player. She poured energy and dedication into everything; driven by a strong will to succeed, she always made the most of every opportunity and experience available.

    Based in Haugh of Urr, she was well-known locally for her participation in most of the annual Spring Fling Open Studio weekends which provided her with a great motivation to showcase new pieces. In addition, she was an active member of Dumfries and Galloway Fine Art Society and the Yellow Door art collective. Always keen to encourage and inspire creativity in children, she was involved in the busy Life Drawing and Kids Club classes at Gracefield for many years. In 2017 she was one of nine local artists to contribute to ‘Beyond the Figure’ at the Dundas Street Gallery, Edinburgh; an exhibition which showed a range of work in different mediums, all celebrating the human figure. Having studied at Leith School of Art and The Edinburgh Drawing School, her particular interest was the human form, but she also ventured into landscape and seascape. Her work often featured a view from a door or window to cast light onto a scene, and always featured signs of human presence, with boats, gates or fences woven into her expressive composition. Jane died suddenly from Cancer in December 2020, a devastating shock for everyone who knew and loved her. Her absence has been greatly felt amongst not only her family but with those she collaborated and worked with locally.

    Jane left behind a great body of work, which will be available to view and purchase on 17 September with proceeds being donated to Marie Curie. Although care from Marie Curie was offered, Jane sadly deteriorated too quickly to experience the wonderful services they provide, however she always commented on the vital importance of the charity and their work. The exhibition will be held in the cafe gallery at Gracefield from 23 August – 17 September, with a special invitation only event 5-8pm on the final Saturday evening.

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice Chair of Communities Committee added:

    “As with many people lost during Covid lockdowns, normal ritual and gatherings have been on hold, or not occurred and this show gives us all a chance to mark the passing of one from our artistic community and contribute to the ongoing fight against cancer.”

    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

  • Providing a Jump Start for food and drink businesses.

    Tuesday, 23 August 2022 09:34

    Eat SW Scotland are delighted to launch a new programme for start-up food and drink businesses, in collaboration with Dumfries and Galloway Council. Thanks to a successful application to the Regional Food Fund, the programme will be run as a pilot to nurture aspiring food and drink business in Dumfries and Galloway.

    This free programme will cover all the topics needed to grow a successful food and drink business from food safety standards to brands to sales channels. Every participant will be given a chance to trial their products in a retail outlet or a farmers’ markets. The programme will consist of two half days of face-to-face training as well as one to one support. The programme will culminate in a dragon’s den style pitch where applicants will be given the opportunity to present their product to the panel to try. The panel will consist of a wholesaler, an independent business, a food producer and a representative from the hospitality industry to give feedback and advice. Everyone who successfully completes the programme will receive a £500 grant to spend on their business.

    Ruaridh Hesketh, Chair of Eat S W Scotland said: “The Jump Start program wants to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation within the food sector in the region. This is vitally important and allows the region to carry on its fantastic reputation as a leading food destination within Scotland.”

    Councillor Katie Hagmann Chair of the Economy and Resources Committee commented: “Food and Drink is an important sector for the economy of D&G. We welcome more food business starting up and growing in the region and Jump Start gives any food and drink entrepreneur the best opportunity to be successful.”

    Councillor Sean Marshall, Vice Chair of E&R Committee said “Dumfries and Galloway Council are pleased to support such an exciting programme. I look forward to seeing some new food and drink businesses beginning to develop and flourish.”

    Any start up food business, or even those thinking of starting a food business, should

    email marketing@eatswscotland.org to register your interest and a short application form will be sent out for you to complete.

  • Council looking after our countryside and environmental resources

    Tuesday, 23 August 2022 09:25

    The Council appreciates that the current biodiversity crisis is interlinked with the global Climate crisis. There has also been a general rise in appreciation across our Council and communities of the importance of the region’s Natural Capital and its links to the Dumfries and Galloway’s economic health, and the opportunities associated with this. The environment plays a vital role in people’s health and wellbeing and was demonstrated over the last two years with people’s ability to access safe local spaces for recreation a key consideration.

    In June 2019, Dumfries and Galloway Council declared a Climate Emergency and set out the Council’s ambitions under a 12 point plan, with the aim of achieving a net zero carbon status by 2025. The Declaration highlights the importance of Climate Change within our own region, whilst recognising the global implications, and promotes the role that the council is required to play, to coordinate, support and lead on regional activity, to reduce our carbon emissions and support a transition to a low and zero carbon economy.

    By recognising these links, our Council is reviewing a range of projects, which will be presented to Members of Economy and Resources Committee (E&R) on 1st September.

    The Nature Restoration Fund (NRF) constitutes £5million of capital funding to be spent in 2022-23 to support new, or to enhance existing, approaches to restoring biodiversity. The allocation of funds for Dumfries and Galloway Council in 2022-23, is £0.257 Million. A range of projects which are funded through the (NRF) have had their criteria reviewed by our Council’s Environment team. Amongst others, these include:

    • £67,000 for the Borderlands Marine Project
    • £45,000 for the South of Scotland Tree Planting Grant Scheme 2022/23
    • £41,750 for the Keir Wood Regeneration Project
    • £20,000 for the Wigtown Bay Local Nature Reserve
    • £7,500 for the Watercourse resilience & habitat improvement project

    In addition to the above, The Black Stank River Restoration in Stranraer, a partnership approach requested by SEPA, will create a new space for nature and people near to the town centre, providing space for informal recreation which will bring benefits for health and wellbeing, outdoor learning and carbon sequestration.

    Also, as part of the Borderlands Natural Capital Innovation Zone, a business case for the Solway Coast and Marine Project (SCAMP) has been submitted to both the UK and Scottish Governments. This scheme proposes to develop a programme to enable research and innovation for habitat restoration on the Solway, within the coast and marine environment. To create a focal point for research and innovation it is proposed to build a new marine research centre on Stranraer waterfront. The project will focus on key strategic interventions to boost the cost effectiveness of the restoration and expansion of key habitats and species (native oysters, sea grass and salt marsh) in support of economic, climate, biodiversity and recreation benefits. Although the building will be owned by the Council initially, for the duration of the project, it would then be passed to an independent charitable organisation to continue the work initiated through the Borderlands project. This project will be delivered in partnership with the Solway Firth Partnership.

    Chair of Economy and Resources, Katie Hagmann said: ““These are wonderful projects which will have far-reaching benefits. Not only will they help our local land. wildlife and Biodiversity but the projects will also enrich to lives of the people living nearby, improving health and wellbeing. It is not just the environmental effects; these programmes have added value by encouraging visitors to the area creating jobs and boosting the local economy.”

    Vice Chair, Sean Marshall said: “The Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration is a Council Priority, and therefore at the forefront of these projects and a host of projects across all Council Services. It’s essential that we continue to step up our actions significantly to meet our target. We aim to lead by example on climate and environment measures, and these projects are prime examples of the good work we are involved in.”

    ENDS