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 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

  • 2024 Exam Diet Set To Start

    Monday, 22 April 2024 10:52

    Learners across our secondary schools will begin their exams next week as the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exam diet begins today (Monday 22 April.)

    Young people from S3 to S6 will sit examinations in a variety of subjects across the next few weeks, in the classroom, the computer suite, the exam hall, the PE block, the art class and the science laboratories to name a few. The national exam timetable sets out what subjects and levels will betested on what day, giving learners a clear picture of when their first, and indeed when their last exam, will be and is available at

    Speaking ahead of the start of the exam diet, Councillor Richard Brodie, who is Chair of the Council’s Education and Learning Committee said:

    “I would like to wish all learners in all of our schools across the region the very best with your exams and I am confident that all your hard work will be rewarded. Over the next few weeks, it will be a very stressful and important time for young people, and I’m sure that each and every pupil will do their best. It’s often an anxious wait to get the exams kicked off, but as of now, the exam diet is underway. No matter what the subject, no matter what the level, give it your all and do not put too much pressure on yourself on the outcome.”

    Vice Chair of Education and Learning Committee, Councillor Maureen Johnstone commented on the support available for learners:

    “We know what results day will be on the 6th of August this year, and for many if not all, this will seem like a lifetime to wait for the results of this year’s exams. I would urge all learners to use the support networks that are available if they’re struggling during or after their exams. There’s some excellent resources available on the SQA website as well as help and advice from our own teaching staff within our schools. Good luck to everyone sitting exams this year.”

  • Creative Legacies

    Friday, 19 April 2024 14:53

    An exhibition celebrating the art of William Hanna Clarke (1882–1924) and his great niece Alison Kinnaird MBE, internationally renowned glass artist.

    William Hanna Clarke was a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, a stalwart of the Kirkcudbright Artists’ Colony and a prolific and successful artist despite his early death. His great niece Alison Kinnaird M.B.E has carried on the gift of artistic talent and has become an internationally celebrated glass engraver as well as a talented musician. Creative Legacies, on show now in Gallery Two at Kirkcudbright Galleries, celebrates this talented family with a unique exhibition of their combined works.

    Clarke was born in Glasgow to Alexander Clarke, a Northern Ireland émigré, and Margaret Cooper, the daughter of a Kirkintilloch Chemist. As with many artists, William was encouraged to qualify for a profession beyond his already burgeoning passion for art, and with his mothers’ encouragement he trained as a dentist, qualifying in 1904.

    However, he did not let this ‘sensible’ career stop him from his first love and in 1909 he was accepted into the Glasgow School of Art, which was then under the influential directorship of Fra Newbery. Juggling the two careers for a few years, Clarke worked in London until two successful submissions to the Royal Glasgow Institute of Arts in 1911 and 1912 persuaded him that he could follow his heart. He and his wife, Betty, moved back to Scotland and by 1915 they had joined the thriving Artists’ Community in Kirkcudbright.

    William Hanna Clarke showed that the: “idyllic sense of colour, sunlight and the pastoral life surrounding farm steadings and the intimate woodlands captivate him most.”

    Clarke was able to earn a good living as an artist and in 1924 began building a new house for his family in Kirkcudbright, but he was tragically killed in an accident before he could truly enjoy his success. Despite only 12 years as a professional artist Clarke has left an impressive body of work. His deftness with colour, subtle use of figures and clear love of landscape are a testament to his skill, which offers us a glimpse of what could have been. The publication of William Hanna Clarke: A Kirkcudbright Artist by Christine Wimbush in 2019 has helped to create a lasting record of one of the notable Kirkcudbright artists of the early 20th century.

    Alison Kinnaird has an international reputation as a visual artist and musician. She works primarily from her home and studio, a converted church near Edinburgh, Scotland.

    One of the world’s leading glass artists and engravers, with work in public, royal and private collections throughout Europe, America and the Far East, Alison’s glass ranges from small intimate pieces to largescale architectural installations which incorporate light and colour. A recipient of many awards and winner of many competitions, her creative contribution was recognised in 1997, when she was presented with an M.B.E for services to art and music.

    Alison is also one of the foremost exponents of Scottish harp music, playing both gut and wire-strung Scottish harps. She was the first player to make a recording of Scottish harp music and co-wrote (with Keith Sanger) ‘The Tree of Strings’, a history of the harp in Scotland, as well as producing many other recordings and printed collections of music. She is much in demand at home and abroad as a performer, lecturer, and teacher in both her fields.

    Speaking on ‘Creative Legacies’, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, commented: “This exhibition provides a harmony between the family ties of William Hanna Clarke and Alison Kinnaird M.B.E, but also a contrast in the mediums both artists have worked from. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to bring such unique and remarkable sculptures by one of the world’s leading glass engravers to Dumfries andGalloway.”

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee,Councillor Jackie McCamon said: “Showcasing the importance of William Hanna Clarke in the centennial year since his passing, alongside glasswork by Alison Kinnaird M.B.E, Creative Legacies is an exhibition that is both thought provoking and inspiring. The range of exhibitions that Kirkcudbright Galleries can display continues to promote tourism to the region.”

    The exhibition is on show until Sunday 16 June. Free entry to this exhibition, but donations are welcome. Kirkcudbright Galleries are now in Summer Hours that are Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm, and Sundays: 11:30 – 5pm. The last entry to major exhibitions at 4:45pm.
  • Southern Upland Way celebrates 40 years with an exhibition on the history of the path.

    Tuesday, 16 April 2024 10:42

    The Southern Upland Way, Scotland’s Coast to Coast path, was officially opened on 27 April 1984. Since then, thousands of people have walked, or more recently cycled, the 214 miles from Portpatrick on the west coast of the Rhinns of Galloway to Cockburnspath on the east coast of the Scottish Borders.

    To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Southern Upland Way Ranger Service has created an exhibition about the history of the path.

    Councillor Ian Carruthers, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Councils Economy and Resources committee said:

    “The Southern Upland Way was Southern Scotland’s first long distance footpath and the first official coast to coast path in Britain. It takes people through some of the best of the region’s coastline, hills, forests and valleys and is a great way to experience the wild scenery of Dumfries and Galloway. This new exhibition is a perfect way to celebrate 40 years of this spectacular path.”

    Councillor David Inglis, Vice Chair of Economy and Resources committee committee added:

    “Over the last 40 years, the Southern Upland Way has brought millions of pounds of tourism to the area, helping local businesses. I am excited that Dumfries and Galloway Council is investing in the future of the route and new plans to improve and promote the path should allow thousands more people to enjoy this unique and special trail.”

    The exhibition will be launched at a special event on 27 April 2024 at the Hive at Glentrool. The event will run from 2pm to 4pm with a talk about the history and future of the Southern Upland Way at 3pm.

    Following the launch event, the exhibition will be on display at the Glentrool Hive for two weeks, before moving to the Newton Stewart Walking Festival on 10 May.

    It will then move across the region throughout the rest of the year. Please check Southern Upland Way - Dumfries & Galloway Council ( for details of locations and dates.

  • Amazing Summer Fund Launches

    Wednesday, 10 April 2024 09:03

    Dumfries and Galloway Council is delighted to announce that £80,000 of funding will be available for local third sector organisations in Dumfries and Galloway to give children and young people a summer to remember. Following on from the successes of the Amazing Summer fund over the last three years, we are once again seeking local third sector organisations who will deliver free activities for vulnerable children and young people aged 5–16 for the duration of the Summer Holidays, allowing them opportunities to socialise and meet with and make new friends.

    This funding is to provide children and young people, aged 5–16 activities over the summer holiday period. The programmes should enhance equity by widening opportunities for children from low-income families to play, socialise, get active and access a range of activities that broaden their experiences, supplement their learning and deliver positive outcomes. Activities and programmes will integrate food provision wherever possible and be focussed on children and young people within our priority groups. We are looking to see a range of different activities and experiences for young people of all ages from communities across Dumfries and Galloway.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “By providing young people across our region with the opportunity to take part in a programme of exciting summer opportunities, it will encourage them to broaden their horizons, and build their confidence whilst having fun with their friends. The activities delivered by third sector organisations will be co-produced with local children and young people to ensure that they get the activities that they enjoy, and they will also be key part of the decision-making panel through members of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council.”

    Third sector organisations from across Dumfries and Galloway can apply for this funding for amounts of £500 up to £5000.

    Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, said of the fund: “This funding opportunity for our third sector partners continues our commitment as a local authority to ensuring that we create lifelong learning opportunities that allow children and young people to develop their skills and contribute to their communities. This funding is available for all third sector groups, and we want to support as many groups as possible to help make this an amazing summer for children and young people across Dumfries and Galloway.”
    Applications are open now and the closing date for submission of organisations completed applications is 12 noon on Wednesday 8 May.

    Ailsa McDairmant, Chairperson of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council said: “The Youth Council is really pleased to be working alongside the council to deliver an amazing summer programme of activities for young people across our region. It is an exciting opportunity for members of the Youth Council to collaborate with our partners for the benefit of children and young people. It is important to us to ensure that the funding goes towards opportunities that will make the most difference to young people across the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway.”

    Applications forms and guidance notes can be downloaded from 9am on Wednesday 10 April by visiting

    If you have any questions on the application process or would like any advice and guidance, please call 01387 260243 or e-mail

  • Youth Beatz Seeks Volunteers

    Tuesday, 09 April 2024 12:46

    Youth Beatz Festival is back for 2024 and sign-ups have now opened for young people and adults to register their interest in volunteering at this year’s event.

    This opportunity is specifically for people who want to support the delivery of the event over the Youth Beatz festival, including our region-wide Fringe programme that will see free events delivered across every Ward area throughout Dumfries and Galloway – and the main event days.

    Volunteering roles during the main event days range from photographers to stage support, welfare to customer service, content creators to donation points collectors and more. There are also opportunities for those who would prefer to volunteer behind the scenes in the week leading up to and following the main event with a call out including people who want to give their time to physically transform the site from field to festival.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, said: “In 2023 we were incredibly grateful to have over 9,300 hours of volunteering from both young people and adults. If you are thinking of signing up for Youth Beatz 2024, I would encourage you to do so. There are plenty of opportunities to suit all interests, whether this is in customer service or stage management. If you have some spare time or would like to get some volunteer experience, we’d be delighted to hear from you.”

    This is the perfect opportunity for people interested in:
    Gaining experience working in live events industry.
    Building their skills and working as part of a motivated team to deliver an award-winning experience for young people.
    Sharing their expertise and experience.
    Getting more involved in their community.

    Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, said: “Our council is very grateful to those who choose to volunteer their time to this fantastic event that brings so much to our region. We are also delighted that we will once again be welcoming back young volunteers from across Scotland who will be participating in their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Residential through the festival.”

    Sign-up is now open until 31May:

    People can also call 01387 260243 for further information.


  • U3A Art Appreciation Group Collection Choice

    Monday, 08 April 2024 12:34

    A new exhibition opens in Gallery 1 on Saturday 13 April at Gracefield Arts Centre, featuring an eclectic mix featuring works from the Gracefield permanent art collection. The U3A Art Appreciation group spent time in the stores and online selecting and researching their top four artworks. The show is displayed with personal response to each work from the 12 group members.

    The project began back in 2023 when Dawn Henderby, Art Officer, based at Gracefield invited members of the Art Appreciation Group, to consider curating our own art exhibition, with selected paintings from this marvellous collection. Margaret Smith, who co-ordinates the group said: “As no one in the group had any experience in such a task, it certainly was a challenge. It has been such a privilege, as we have been allowed, with Dawns supervision, to see all the items held in storage. To accompany the selected artists/paintings, we have had to prepare information about the artist and paintings, along with reasons for our choice.”

    Councillor Ian Blake added: “It’s great to see work from our own collection and the group has selected some fantastic old favourites alongside some rarely seen items.”

    Join the group on Saturday 13 April at 2pm to chat with members about their choices. It is a free event with teas and coffee served. Please pre-book if you can by calling01387 262084or email

    Over in Gracefield Gallery 2 is Eduardo Paolozzi: General Dynamic F.U.N.

    This touring exhibition from the Hayward, with added Gracefield Art Collection pieces, showcases the talents of the Edinburgh-born artist in the centenary year of his birth. Galleries across the country will be celebrating his life and work as one of the UK’s leading pop artists, and Gracefield is delighted to show his work here in Dumfries, running until 11 May.

    Created between 1965 and 1970, Paolozzi’s canny alchemy is vividly apparent in General Dynamic F.U.N. For Paolozzi, the modern age, exposed as ephemera, is a necessarily fragmented collision of visual stimulus and influence, and his work is a 'health warning for an uncreative and thriftless society.'

    Councillor Jackie McCamon said: “It’s great to be part of the celebrations of this remarkable artist – don’t miss the chance to see his work in our local gallery.”

    If you are in Edinburgh, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern 2) has an amazing recreation of Paolozzi studio, and some of his remarkable sculpture including his 6m high Vulcan in the café.

    Admission to Gracefield exhibitions is always free, open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm. The U3A exhibition continues to 4 May, and the Paolozzi until the 11 May.

    The café at Gracefield is now open again asa Usual Place Enterprise.The Studio Caféoffers teas, coffees, light lunches, and home baking.


  • New Local Outcomes Improvement Plan Approved for Dumfries and Galloway

    Thursday, 04 April 2024 13:07

    The Dumfries and Galloway Community Planning Partnership recently approved a new Local Outcomes Improvement Plan for Dumfries and Galloway with a refreshed vision and new supporting outcomes that unite partners and our communities in helping to help tackle inequalities and build a thriving economy over the next 10 years. Our new vision is:

    “To work in partnership to ensure a confident, ambitious, healthy and fairer Dumfries and Galloway for everyone who lives andworks here.”

    Some of our key focuses will be continuing to mitigate the negative impacts on our most vulnerable linked to the Cost of Living; supporting positive mental health and wellbeing; addressing skills and recruitment gaps and maximising employability.

    Partners have also committed to concentrating our joint resources around “place” which will include tackling issues around local health inequalities; child poverty; digital exclusion; community transport; and climate.

    The plan, which is required through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, is available to view through our Community Planning website and is accompanied by five new localised data profiles which have been produced in conjunction with Public Health Scotland.

    The Co-Chairs of the Community Planning Partnership, Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Gail MacGregor and Chair of the NHS Board, Nick Morris, commented, “We are delighted that Community Planning Partners have endorsed our new Local Outcomes Improvement Plan, which sets out our priorities and ambitions over the next ten years. This will bring our collective partnership working closer together than ever before, making best use of our combined resources and tackling some of the key issues facing our communities to help make a real difference.”


  • Youth Beatz 2024 – Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Residential Opportunity

    Thursday, 04 April 2024 12:54

    Youth Beatz Festival is once again delighted to invite young people to Park Farm Showfield in Dumfries to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold Residential. The residential is aimed at young people aged 16+ who are currently going through their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

    The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a youth awards programme that helps and enables young people to discover new interests and talents, encouraging them to develop essential skills for life through volunteering and activity-based programmes.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee Councillor Ian Blake said: “The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award provides young people with fantastic opportunities to learn new skills, broaden their horizons, and to take part in valuable volunteering opportunities. We are excited to be welcoming young people from Dumfries and Galloway and from across Scotland to take part in this great residential delivered in partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Scotland.”

    Participants are invited from across Dumfries and Galloway and the rest of Scotland to undertake their gold residential section at Scotland’s largest free youth music festival. Young people will work alongside the Youth Work Team to work on-site at Youth Beatz 2024, helping to build, deliver and take down the event, and providing vital support in the delivery of the festival.

    Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee Councillor Jackie McCamon said: “Providing young people with opportunities such as the Youth Beatz Duke of Edinburgh residential is very important to our council. We are grateful to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and thank them for their ongoing partnership enabling us to create lifelong learning opportunities that allow young people to develop their skills, gain new experiences and to become active citizens.”

    The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential will run from Tuesday 25 June to Tuesday 2 July. The residential is free for young people residing in Dumfries and Galloway, and £100 for those who live out with Dumfries and Galloway (cost includes all meals and accommodation).

    If you are interested in taking part in the Youth Beatz Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential, please complete an application form by Friday 3 May. To register, please visit and click on “Duke of Edinburgh’s Award”.


  • Dumfries and Galloway Council Announces More Than £270,000 of Festivals and Events Funding

    Tuesday, 02 April 2024 16:25

    Dumfries and Galloway Council has announced £270,000 of funding for more than 35 festivals and events across Dumfries and Galloway.

    Dumfries and Galloway has become a renowned events destination and the council is committed to supporting events organisers take forward their projects. The funding is believed to be the most any rural council in Scotland is committing to developing their events sector this year. The funding was awarded at the Communities Committee of the local authority this week.

    The £270,000 of funding will support major events in 2024 such as the Wigtown Book Festival, the Stranraer Oyster Festival, Spring Fling, the Arts Festival and many other superb initiatives. There are high hopes within the council that another World Championship Ice Hockey tournament can be attracted back to Dumfries soon, and that the Gralloch Gravel Cycling World Cup that is being held for the second time in Gatehouse this May 18, can become the most important annual gravel cycling race in Europe.

    The Wild Goose Festival in October and Music at the Multiverse in September, both of which have grown sustainably in recent years and developed their profiles, have seen an increase in their grant awards.

    Twenty four grant awards are being made to applicant organisations to the council’s Regional Events Growth Fund, a new Fund set up to support festivals and events with the potential to grow and attract visitors from across Dumfries and Galloway. The council is delighted with the response to this new Fund and believes it is helping to lay down the foundations for dozens of successful festivals and events in the region for years to come.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee said, “The Council is making a significant investment in our region’s festivals and events due to their contribution to the community, cultural and sporting life of our region. Across Dumfries and Galloway there are superb events that are working closely with businesses and tourism agencies to bring in thousands of visitors to our region and delighting local people with their programmes. The council’s Events Strategy 2023-2027 is being fully delivered and creating tangible results for the regional economy.”

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice Chair of the Communities Committee said, “There will be something for everyone in the festivals funding we are providing this year. Whether you love getting out to our forests to see the Scottish Rally live or live for ice hockey, if you love seeing authors you admire at the Wigtown Book Festival or enjoy the buzz and cookery demonstrations of the Oyster Festival, the council’s events grants will sustain and develop events that our population and visitors support in great numbers.”


  • Council Agrees New Net Zero Targets

    Thursday, 28 March 2024 13:19

    Dumfries and Galloway councillors agreed today (Thursday 28 March) to establish two new net zero targets – one for the council and one for the Dumfries and Galloway region.

    Councillors agreed the recommendations in a report discussed at Full Council today that Dumfries and Galloway Council becomes a carbon neutral organisation by 2033.

    And it was agreed that Dumfries and Galloway Council will support the region to achieve net zero status on or before 2040, with a move to become a carbon negative region by 2045.

    The new commitment replaces the previous target agreed by the council in 2019 for the region to achieve net zero carbon emissions status by 2025.

    Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, said: “Our original target was, rightly, aspirational. We always knew it was ambitious, but we wouldn’t have achieved our great results to date if we hadn’t set ourselves a goal.

    “We have reduced our carbon emissions by 51% between 2018 to 2023, which is an astounding outcome. By reducing our own emissions, we are in a better position to lead by example, encouraging other organisations to set and achieve strong climate change goals.

    “By setting these new still-ambitious but realistic targets we will be able to deliver on the principles set out in our Council Plan – to address the climate emergency we declared in 2019 and protect our natural capital.”

    Scotland has a legally binding, national target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030; 90% by 2040; and 100% by 2045 (from a 1990 baseline).

    Most councils throughout Scotland have set a net zero target for the council’s own emissions but there are significant differences in the targets they have set.

    An inquiry by the Scottish Parliament Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee (NZET), reported that some councils anticipate serious difficulties in meeting these targets due to the significant regional emissions, grid capacity and connection issues, which are outwith councils’ control.

    Dumfries and Galloway Council carbon emissions represent fewer than 1% of the total region-wide emissions.


  • HRH The Princess Royal Visit Marks Anniversary of Lockerbie Air Disaster

    Tuesday, 26 March 2024 14:50

    Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited Lockerbie on Monday 25 March to mark the 35th Anniversary of the Lockerbie Air Disaster and to visit the recently refurbished Dryfesdale Lodge Visitor Centre.

    Those receiving The Princess Royal at Dryfesdale Lodge included the Depute Convener and Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Councillor Gail Macgregor, and the Chief Executive, Dawn Roberts.

    Accompanied by the Lord-Lieutenant of Dumfries, Fiona Armstrong, HRH The Princess Royal’s visit to Dryfesdale Lodge Visitor Centre and cemetery provided the opportunity to meet with Dryfesdale Lodge trustees who have been involved in the refurbishment of the facility and to speak with Tundergarth trustees, local residents and guests of their experiences of the air disaster – and their acts of remembrance since.

    After having the opportunity to view the Pan Am 103 exhibition and displays at the lodge, HRH Princess Royal unveiled a plaque to commemorate the visit and signed the visitors’ book. Her Royal Highness and the other guests made their way to the Garden of Remembrance and Memorial Wall where Ms Armstrong said a few words about the Lockerbie Air Disaster before inviting HRH to lay a wreath to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Lockerbie Air Disaster.

    As part of the days programme, Her Royal Highness also visited MacRebur Limited in Lockerbie to meet staff and learn about their innovative approaches that help address financial and environmental challenges facing the roads industry. She also officially opened Browns Food Group's new food processing facilities in Kelloholm in her capacity as President of the Scotch Chef's Club.

    The Convener and Depute Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Malcolm Johnstone, and the council’s Director of Communities, Derek Crichton, were in attendance at the new processing facility.

    Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “We are delighted to have hosted Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal in our region this week.

    We have a long and proud tradition with members of The Royal Family. In addition to paying her respects at the Lockerbie Air Disaster Memorial, The Princess Royal also had the opportunity to experience two excellent examples of entrepreneurial businesses, and see what a varied and wonderful region we have.

    It has been an honour for our region to give her a warm welcome and demonstrate the hospitality and community spirit that we are rightly proud of.”

  • International Volunteer Exchange Trip Presentation

    Wednesday, 20 March 2024 16:55

    On Thursday 29 February, 10 young people from Annandale and Eskdale presented their experience and cultural learnings to peers, family, educators and funders from a previous exchange trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong October 2023.

    The group was formed early 2023 where they participated in Global Education workshops weekly as well as fundraising up to four times a week to raise the funds for the trip. The group then went to Taiwan for seven days where they volunteered in local community centres and primary schools, and were interviewed on the radio. Not only did the group learn about Taiwanese culture, but the group also presented a cultural presentation about Scotland to five different groups, led on sports, taught ceilidh dancing and sang Scottish anthems.

    During the time in Hong Kong, the group visited the Keswick Foundations projects where they experienced an escape room about gambling harms and visited a museum about the social housing crisis, followed up with meeting members of the community and hearing their stories. The young people aim to empower other young people to speak about other cultures, challenging opinions and meeting new people.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said: “Youth work is such a diverse profession and I believe this just shows the variety of provision and opportunities that is on offer within this region. The young people should be proud of the hard work they endured not only whilst volunteering but whilst still in Scotland at the workshops and fundraising. Well done to all involved.”

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: “Hearing about the voluntary participation undertaken by this group has been heart-warming. Seeing the video of their experience you can see the change of group dynamics; happiness pours from it. Congratulations to all involved, what an incredible experience to participate in.”

    If you would like more information on what activities are available through the council’s Youth Work Service, visit social media and look for “Youth Work DG.”

  • New Exhibitions and Easter Activities at Gracefield

    Wednesday, 20 March 2024 16:12

    Gracefield Gallery 2, hosts a new exhibition – Eduardo Paolozzi: General Dynamic F.U.N.– from 23 March to 11 May.

    This touring exhibition from the Hayward, with added Gracefield Art Collection pieces, showcases the talents of the Edinburgh-born artist in the centenary year of his birth. Galleries across the country will be celebrating his life and work as one of the UK’s leading pop artists, and Gracefield is delighted to show his work here in Dumfries, opening on Saturday 23 March.

    Created between 1965 and 1970, Paolozzi’s canny alchemy is vividly apparent in General Dynamic F.U.N. The series illustrates how the self-styled ‘wizard in Toytown’ employed the technologies of mass-reproduction to gorge on its idols – the household names and familiar faces of consumer advertising, high fashion and Hollywood in the 1960s.

    A compulsive collector and jumbler of icons, Paolozzi (b.1924-d.2001) is equally revered for his mechanistic sculptures and his kaleidoscopic print projects. He transformed the mundane, the derelict and the mass-produced into images that zap with electric eclecticism and impress with their graphic complexity. The artist's friend and sometime collaborator, J.G. Ballard, described General Dynamic F.U.N. as a "unique guidebook to the electric garden of our minds."

    For Paolozzi, the modern age, exposed as ephemera, is a necessarily fragmented collision of visual stimulus and influence, and his work is a 'health warning for an uncreative and thriftless society.'

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of the council's Communities Committee comments: “It’s great to be part of the celebrations of this remarkable artist – don’t miss the chance to see his work in our local gallery.”

    Continuing until 6 April over in Gracefield Gallery 1 ConvergeDiverge: a joint retrospective by Gordon Cockburn and Ronald Rae, follows the path of two Ayrshire artists who met in the 1970’s and became lifelong friends. Exhibition curator Dr Robert De Mey describes “The artists’ transcendent achievement is an ability to use gesture, line and form to shortcut emotional expression. They worked closely together in the 1970’s (‘converge’), and the exhibition then follows the subsequent development of each artist (‘diverge’).”

    Ronnie Rae, b.1946, continues his working practice, sadly Gordon Cockburn (b.1944) died in July 2022 and did not see the exhibition completed, but his family and friends have helped to coordinate the loans of works for the show which launched at Rozelle House in Ayr in November last year, shows at Gracefield until 6 April and then travels to the Baird Institute in New Cumnock for May.

    You can join us for a free gallery talk on Saturday 6 April at 2pm. Exhibition curator Dr Robert De Mey and artist Ronnie Rae will give a short talk on the inspiration behind the exhibition and the work. Please pre-book by calling 01387 262084or email

    Easter School Holidays

    For all budding artists, Gracefield’s kids club runs every Saturday for ages 5 to 12 years, and a once-a-month session for the teenagers and baby and toddlers (cost from £3.50 to 5.50 per session). Give Gracefield a ring or visit to be added to the arts and museums mailing list to be kept up to date with what’s going on pinged direct to you phone or email.

    This Easter school holiday we’ll have some fun Wednesday and Saturday workshop and art days, plus the usual free Easter egg hunt in the grounds on Good Friday and Easter Saturday – find the letters and you could win a creme egg, enter the prize draw for a cholate bunny.

    This year’s drop-in workshop has a nature focus. With nestbuildingand making clay birds eggs to fill them up, you can come for an hour or so for a pre-book a slot, or just drop in between 10.30 and 2.30pm on 29 and 30 March. Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, said: “The Easter egg hunt is always fun and a great free activity to keep kids busy this school holiday”.

    Admission to Gracefield exhibitions is always free, open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm.

  • New Initiative for Robert Burns Visitors

    Wednesday, 20 March 2024 14:32

    There will be opportunities to step inside the Robert Burns mausoleum throughout the summer in a new initiative by Dumfries and Galloway Council museums. From April to September, museum attendants from Burns House in Dumfries will be at the mausoleum in St Michael’s kirkyard at 11.15am and 2.15pm from Mondays to Saturdays to let visitors visit the interior of this memorial.

    Though Burns was a famous poet and songwriter, he was buried in a simple grave in St Michael’s churchyard in 1796, which visitors struggled to find. The Bard’s close friend John Syme organised a committee to build a mausoleum that they felt would be more fitting for Burns’ legacy. Friends and admirers of his work gave donations to fund this grand building where Burns was reburied in 1815. The white structure with its green copper dome now stands out clearly among the many elaborate sandstone memorials in the churchyard.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council's Communities Committee, said: “Schools and tour groups are often shown into the mausoleum by the museums team, but we’re very pleased to be able to offer these regular opportunities for more people to step inside this memorial where they can experience more of Dumfries’ rich heritage connected to Burns.”

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee,Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: “There are lots of fascinating stories around Burns’ funeral, the mausoleum and the wider churchyard. The museum team is passionate about this history and are looking forward to sharing this with more visitors throughout the summer.”

    The outside of the mausoleum can be viewed at any time and there is an information panel telling its story. Robert Burns House where the poet spent the last years of his life and where he died is just a short walk away. The house has displays of original manuscripts and artefacts that belonged to Burns. The house and mausoleum are both free to visit.

  • Annan Museum Reopens for the Season

    Wednesday, 20 March 2024 14:25

    Annan Museum is re-opening for the summer season from 23 March, with a special new display running until 17 August. The exhibition, ‘Medieval Annandale,’ explores some of the stories of people who lived at this southern edge of Scotland from the 8th to 15th century. Visitors can discover tales of ancient crosses, battles, castles, saints, and kings, along with the everyday lives of people in Annandale.The exhibition also tells the story of Robert the Bruce, Lord of Annandale and King of Scots in his 750th anniversary year.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Communities Committee, said: “The exhibition brings together many fascinating artefacts from across the region, several of which have never been on display before. There are carved stone crosses, bronze cooking pots, ceramics from Lochmaben Castle and many more objects which shed light on life in the area in medieval times.”

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, ViceChair of Communities Committeeadded: “We’re very pleased that the museum has been able to work with lots of local groups to put the exhibition together. The photographs created by members of Annan Camera Club with community volunteers in medieval costume are particularly striking and help us to relate to people in the past.”

    There are lots of interactive elements in the exhibition, with costume to try on, artefacts to handle and medieval games to play. Visitors can also make a brass rubbing to take away or follow an activity trail around the museum. The museum will be running free craft activities for families every Tuesday in the school holidays.

    Entry to the museum is free of charge. Annan Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm.

  • Partnership Working Makes a Difference to Anti-Social Behaviour

    Tuesday, 19 March 2024 13:10

    A partnership between Dumfries and Galloway Council and Police Scotland, V Division, will lead to a developed understanding of the issues caused by anti-social behaviour (ASB), and the significant and adverse impact it has on our communities in Dumfries and Galloway.

    Information raised by members of the public, and shared through their local councillors was shared with council officers and used to review the current structure around the Anti-Social Behaviour Strategy that is overseen by the Anti-Social Behaviour Strategic Group. This review resulted in proposals to revise the structure and renew membership of the strategic group. The proposals were in December 2023, and will ensure a more responsive and flexible partnership approach to the work through the Anti-Social Behaviour Strategic Group.

    Achievements so far include:

    • The method of addressing concerns relating to individuals has changed, moving away from monthly meetings involving a set group of professionals to a small group of people working directly with the individual, meeting as and when required.
    • A group being formed to gather and scrutinise data and intelligence around anti-social behaviour in our region to ensure there is an accurate understanding of what the issues are, their extent and where they are happening.
    • The information scrutinised and analysed will be reported back to the ASB Strategic Group to ensure robust consideration and mobilisation of resources to where the need is greatest. This group will now also include appropriate social work and education representation.

    In addition to changes to the ASB Strategic Group, the GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) Leadership Group is considering how earlier intervention, effective links and engagement with communities can be included in the new GIRFEC Plan.

    Youth Engagement (Police) Officers continue to work in our secondary schools with their focus on young people within school and their communities.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Social Work Committee, Councillor Pauline Drysdale, said: “Anti-social behaviours within schools and communities have been rising significantly in recent years due to a several factors. This proactive and newly developed approach by all involved will ensure that these issues are now more effectively addressed and resolved. I’d like to thank all agencies and officers involved.”

    Vice chair of Social Work Committee,Councillor Chrissie Hill,added: “This new revised way of working collaboratively is fantastic to see, following concerns raised from constituents across our region. In working closely with officers to highlight these concerns, we are now moving forward proactively. A tremendous amount of work has been put into this multi-agency partnership to ensure that a more responsive approach is embedded to address anti-social behaviours.”


  • Dumfries and Galloway Finalists in the Scottish Veterans Awards 2024

    Thursday, 14 March 2024 13:56

    Dumfries and Galloway has been successful having finalists in six categories at this year’s Scottish Veterans Awards, demonstrating the significant activity and high calibre of people involved in our region.

    The nominations are:
    Role Model of the Year – Archie Dryburgh MBE
    Health and Wellbeing Award – The Veterans Garden Dumfries
    Employer of The Year – Dumfries and Galloway Council
    Volunteer of The Year – Mark Harper, The Veterans Garden Dumfries and Maurice Kennedy, The Veterans Garden Dumfries
    Lifetime Achievement – Archie Dryburgh MBE
    Veterans Group of The Year – The Veterans Garden Dumfries

    Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Archie Dryburgh, MBE, said: “I am absolutely delighted with this result, it’s way beyond our expectations! To have achieved national recognition in so many different areas of work with veterans is remarkable and I am immensely proud to be part of it.”

    Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council, added: “I have had the privilege of meeting and working with all the nominees, so I know first hand how much work they put in to supporting veterans across our region. Their leadership and commitment to improving the quality of life for current and past Armed Forces personnel is unwavering and it is wonderful to see that acknowledgement in this way.”

    Gail Macgregor, Depute Convener and Leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “Our council has a long history of recruiting and supporting veterans and Armed Forces personnel so it is good to see that recognised by our success. There’s tough competition but to have made it this far, and be the only local authority finalist, says something special is happening in this council.”

    Mark Harper of The Veterans Garden Dumfries added: “I too am overwhelmed by this success. It’s just brilliant, and rightful recognition of the hard work that all the veterans do here at the garden, day in day out, to support each other.”

  • ‘Coastodians’ set to champion Solway Coast future via ambitious Solway Coast and Marine Project

    Thursday, 14 March 2024 09:54

    Ecosystem restoration, citizen science, access improvements and a region-wide coastal path are some of the recommendations that have emerged from a report into potential natural capital investment along the Solway coast. The encouragement of a community-based environmental activist network – Coastodians – has also been highlighted as a way of embedding community involvement into any future developments.

    The report was commissioned by the Solway Coast and Marine Project (SCAMP), an ambitious 15-year project led by Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Solway Firth Partnership, to explore how communities could benefit from a healthy and thriving coastal and marine environment.

    Almost a thousand people from across Dumfries and Galloway fed into the engagement, and the story of the project and the people involved in it is now being told in a 15 minute film titled "Coastodians - Charting the Future of the Solway Coast". The film has been made by local ecological filmmaker, John Wallace who has a very deep relationship with nature and the people who work along the coast. The film includes fascinating footage of the varied coastline of Dumfries and Galloway, and it will premiere at the launch event of the SCAMP project report on Monday 25th March at 6.30pm at the University of Glasgow’s Crichton Campus in Dumfries.

    Local consultant, Barbara Chalmers, who led the community engagement said:

    “The main finding was that the future of our coastline matters very deeply to the people of this region. People want to be involved in nature restoration, and people want to be able to access nature-based experiences more easily.

    “There is a big opportunity to entwine the ecosystem restoration plans of SCAMP with the hopes and ambitions of our communities. With so many communities across Dumfries and Galloway developing Place Plans, now is the perfect time to integrate local community development with nature-based approaches.

    “The idea behind the Coastodians recommendation is about creating a practical way in which that enthusiasm, expertise and passion can be harnessed to support ecosystem restoration and climate change mitigation. It’s about connecting people to each other, as well as to nature. So much of what needs to be done to safeguard habitats along our coastline is mapping and monitoring, which makes a citizen science approach a no brainer, empowering local people within coastal communities to get involved in safeguarding the future of their coastal ecosystems.”

    The engagement was funded through the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS) to explore how private sector investment could help fund the restoration of coastal and marine habitats, such as seagrass, saltmarsh, coastal woodlands and native oyster beds.

    Councillor Ian Carruthers, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee said: “Although this is just the first stage, I am delighted to see the progress on this extremely worthwhile and exciting project already. Local communities have really engaged with the work and are making their views heard and I hope this continues. As I’ve said in the past, Dumfries and Galloway has a huge coastline, and we are very fortunate in this. With people living and working along the 200 mile stretch and the ever-present effects of climate change and erosion, we need to address issues now and future proof our coastal and marine habitats for future generations.”

    Councillor David Inglis, Vice-Chair of Economy and Resources Committee went on to say: “This is an ambitious project and I would encourage all those with a passion for our Solway coast to get in touch and volunteer to be a ‘Coastodian’. This may apply to those who just enjoy our walks and beaches, or it may be those who are intrinsically connected through their line of work; we need input from all angles. To secure private sector investment in the future we must demonstrate need, and local people are best placed to identify that need and build on it with their community aspirations. I look forward to seeing how this project develops.”

    Representatives from communities who took part in the first engagement are being invited to continue to explore nature-based development. The SCAMP project is organising a group visit to Arran to research a marine restoration project, and small grants for community-led nature activities have also been provided, with grants going to community groups right along the Solway coast, from Powfoot to Port William.

    Members of the public who are interested in attending the screening of Coastodians on Monday 25th March can register to view it in person or online at Eventbrite.

    For more information about the Solway Coast and Marine Project, follow it on Facebook for project updates, related opportunities and nature-based news. The report will be available to read after the launch event on 25th March.


  • Empowering Tomorrow’s Leaders: Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Women’s Celebration and Conference

    Tuesday, 12 March 2024 16:20

    Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Women’s Network hosted their inaugural conference and celebration evening focussed on empowering young women and girls – part of last weekend’s programme of events to mark International Women’s Day.

    The conference, held in the North West Castle in Stranraer, brought together over 140 young women and girls, community leaders, educators, and advocates for a day of inspiration, education and strategic planning, where they later discussed an exciting new strategy aimed at creating a fairer and safer region for young people.

    Throughout the conference, attendees had the opportunity to participate in workshops, panel discussion and networking sessions focussed on topics such as healthy relationships, self-care, leadership and mental health and wellbeing. Guest speakers, including Dumfries and Galloway’s Chief Executive – Dawn Roberts, praised the young women for stepping forward, speaking out and shaping a brighter future for themselves and their peers.

    The highlight of the weekend, was the unveiling of an exciting and ambitious three-year strategy for young women and girls’ empowerment, developed by young people in our region. The innovative strategy represents a comprehensive approach to addressing the unique challenges faced by young women and girls today, while harnessing their potential to drive positive change across our communities. It encompasses a wide range of projects and initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality, leadership and better access to opportunities in sport and the arts.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council’s Communities Committee said: “I would like to congratulate the Young Women’s Network for their outstanding work in producing their new strategy and I look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on our communities over the next three years. I would urge everyone who can to get involved in this project, no matter your background, identity or interests – your voice matters for gender equality and helping to create a future where every young woman and girl has the opportunity to thrive, succeed and be treated with dignity and respect.”

    Dumfries and Galloway’s delegates were joined by young women from Blackpool, Newport in Wales and Northern Ireland for the weekend, as part of a four-nations effort to highlight the importance of work with young women and girls, and the crucial role it plays in shaping their future opportunities, independence and overall well-being.

    The Young Women’s Network, who are supported by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service, will work collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to implement the strategy and monitor it’s impact on the lives of young women and girls in our region.

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice-Chair of Communities Committee said: “I had the honour of spending the day in the company of these amazing young women and can wholeheartedly say that their passion, knowledge and commitment is truly inspiring. I stand with them in their mission to create a safer, fairer and equal world where we can unlock the full potential of young women and girls.”

    Alongside releasing their new plans, Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Women’s Network has put out a call to action, asking for individuals, businesses and organisations to come forward to pledge their support.

    There are many ways you can get involved:

    Partner – If you can contribute to the action plan, whether that is by raising awareness of something you are already doing, or something you will commit to do – they want to hear from you.

    Volunteer – Do you have spare time and energy to give to the project? Whether it is a few hours per week or month, or you are able to assist occasionally at events, there are many different ways you can get involved, get in touch to find out more.

    Campaigner – Stand beside Dumfries and Galloway’s Young Women’s Network and speak out on things that matter, help us to promote the project’s goals, raise awareness and attract attention to the cause.

    To pledge your support or for more information, get in touch at:

  • Council proposals for investment in our local community projects.

    Tuesday, 12 March 2024 11:59

    Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee (E&R) will be asked to agree to award Carsphairn Community Woodland Trust a capital grant of £131,960 from the Place Based Investment Programme 2023/24, to enable construction of the Carsphairn Community Woodland Rural Skills Training Centre. Carsphairn Community Woodland Ltd (CCW) is a charitable company which was registered in 2018 as a specific vehicle for managing the community asset transfer and ongoing management of Muirdrochwood Forest from Forestry and Land Scotland with assistance from the Scottish Land Fund.

    CCW’s core mission includes the creation of forestry related employment and training opportunities and to create opportunities for smaller contractors who are better suited to the scale of the community forest that it manages. The construction of the Carsphairn Rural Skills Centre will enable CCW to offer a skills development programme that will provide a pathway for local young people into employment in the forestry sector.

    At the meeting of E&R in January 2023, Members agreed to award £9,456 from the Community Led Economic Regeneration Framework to support CCW to bring forward proposals for a further phase of this project. These proposals have now matured in the form of detailed designs and a pre-tender cost plan for the construction of a Rural Skills Training Centre at the site.

    Members of the committee will also be asked to agree to provide project development support to the Annan and District Day Centre Business Expansion Project, including a capital grant of up to £47,050, through the Community Led Economic Regeneration Framework, to assist early pipeline project development work.

    Annan and District Day Centre (ADDC) is a registered charity nearing completion of its acquisition of the former library site at Charles Street in Annan, currently owned by this Council and approved to be disposed of through the Community Asset Transfer process. The acquisition of the site by ADDC is the first stage of its project to grow its offer of health and wellbeing services for local adults, grow its role as a local social enterprise, and contribute to the regeneration of Annan town centre. This should create 19.5FTE new jobs for the town, as well as developing a wider range of volunteering opportunities that it can offer, reduce health deprivations, promote social cohesion and reduce social isolation.

    Councillor Ian Carruthers, Chair of Economy and Resources Committee said: “I am very pleased to hear of the plans from Annan and District Day Centre for the old library site in Annan. This project has the potential to be part of a larger strategic approach to Annan Town Centre that will focus on the repurposing of vacant and underused sites to bring about a more diversified and intensified range of uses for local assets.

    It is vital that we work in partnership with communities and businesses and utilise surplus buildings to develop plans for the future revitalisation of our High Streets and neighbourhood centres. This will help to diversify their role as social and economic assets for our region’s towns and neighbourhoods and this is a great project which I hope members will agree to help fund.”

    Vice Chair, Councillor David Inglis said: “Our region has a shortage of training provision for rural skills and the forestry industry. A recent assessment identified a requirement for 1,700 workers in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry in our region between 2026 and 2033, to account for industry growth and replacement of existing staff. Providing Members agree, the CCW investment will assist the local community in Carsphairn to address some of the economic pressures that are causing outward migration of its young people, helping them to live locally and to flourish.”


    To read the report in full go to: COMMITTEE REPORT TEMPLATE & GUIDANCE (