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.

  • 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

  • Ukrainian Independence Day - 24th August

    Monday, 22 August 2022 16:20

    Wednesday 24 August marks Ukrainian Independence Day, normally celebrated with national food, costume and dancing.

    It will however very different this year, and so local partners in the Dumfries and Galloway Community Planning Partnership are showing their support in a number of different ways.

    Ukrainian flags will be flown on civic buildings in Annan, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Stranraer and the Council Offices will be lit blue and yellow.

    Messages will be shared on social media, and we are suggesting that local citizens and Guests could make their own blue and yellow Ukrainian flag and perhaps display it in their windows to show their support.

    Local hotels, private hosts/sponsors and Guests are all planning to make Ukrainian dishes. The new Ukrainian café at the Crichton will also be open for anyone to come and enjoy their menu of British and Ukrainian dishes.

    Co-Chairs of the Community Planning Partnership Board which leads the region’s response commented:

    Councillor Stephen Thompson said: “The response from local people and the Scottish Government has been amazing and demonstrates the compassion that our country has for people facing a humanitarian crisis. Over 250 private hosts and sponsors in our region have offered accommodation, and we know that guests who have already arrived here have experienced a warm welcome and are enjoying Dumfries and Galloway with all it has to offer.”

    Councillor Lind Dorward commented: “We are expecting to have over 600 Ukrainian Guests living in this area for some time – from Stranraer to Langholm and Kirkconnel to Gretna – we have been extremely impressed by their determination to seek employment, improve their English, integrate and positively impact on our communities. We look forward to their ongoing positive contribution to our schools, businesses and communities, which promotes this regions commitment to inclusiveness and will assist our economy to thrive .”

    Nick Morris, Chair of NHS D&G and Vice-Chair of the Community Planning Partnership added: “Over 20 partners have all come together to make the Guests feel welcome and support the private hosts/sponsors. Different agencies have brought their professional skills into play and a whole team of volunteers are ensuring that the arrival of the Guests and their health and wellbeing is as good as it can be, despite difficult circumstances. Partnership working at its very best! “

    ENDS

  • Proposing a South West Euro Gateway

    Monday, 22 August 2022 14:37

    Members of Economy and Resources Committee (E&R) (1 Sept) will receive an update on the Economic / Cluster Zone for the SouthWest Euro Gateway.

    The ports of Cairnryan are of significant strategic importance to both Scotland and Great Britain as the largest roll on roll off freight volume in Scotland and the 6th largest in the United Kingdom. The Irish Trade Corridor and the proximity to the EU Customs zone are the ports unique selling point. The unique selling points of the Cairnryan ports led to the creation of the initial bid name of “SouthWest Euro Gateway”

    It was previously agreed at E&R in June to write to Scottish Government (SG), to advise that the Council and partners would not be submitting a bid but wished to consider future opportunities for the west of the region such as Economic Zone or similar status. A response was received from the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, agreeing to open dialogue between the Council and SG on potential development opportunities.

    The benefits and support for the development of Economic / Cluster zones have yet to be established, however through the development of a Green Freeport bid the South West Euro Gateway identified a number economic levers which would benefit establishing the Green and Renewables sector in the West of the region, including tax and other financial incentives.

    Both the UK and Scottish Government have operated Enterprise Areas. The current benefits within Enterprise Areas are:

    • Non-Domestic Rates Relief (NDRR)

    Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA)

    Streamlined Planning Process

    Skills and training support provided by Skills Development Scotland

    Our Council believes that the South of Scotland has been neglected when considering previous Enterprise Areas, and there are currently none in the region, although there are 18 across Scotland as a whole.

    The next steps will be to meet with SG representatives with the aim of identifying and working with partners involved in the South West Euro Gateway to develop a business case for a Cluster development in the West of region. This would include establishing the benefits and incentives that would be on offer to support the region attracting businesses and investment into a Cluster zone.

    Chair of Economy and Resources Committee, Katie Hagmann said: “Despite the Council withdrawing from the original Green Freeport bid at Cairnryan earlier in the year, due to the actions of P&O Ferries, we are still committed to doing all that we can to help the area and local families and workers. We recognise that the ports and area around Cairnryan still have huge untapped resources, and we will pursue all avenues open to us to utilise that potential and promote the unique selling points of the surrounding area.

    Vice Chair Sean Marshall said: “The Council sees an Economic / Cluster zone in the vicinity of Cairnryan and Stranraer as vital to the future economic prosperity of that area. We are committed to promoting regeneration and job creation through inclusive and sustainable growth, with the ports providing an established hub for global trade and investment. There are fantastic opportunities here, leading on to the wider benefits of the region as a whole.”

    Ends

  • Proposals for the former George Hotel, Stranraer

    Monday, 22 August 2022 14:31

    Our Council previously identified the condition of the former George Hotel was as a priority project within our reshaping Stranraer and the West programme, as it was considered two be a major local landmark which was at severe risk of further deterioration, undermining efforts to support the economic resilience and regeneration of Stranraer town centre.

    Members of the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee (E&R) (1st Sept) will receive a report on progress to date on the building. As well as an update on key activities undertaken to date in connection with this work, the report provides Members with details of next steps and key milestones associated with the project’s ongoing development.

    Following consultation with the local community, Members of E&R previously agreed that the preferred approach to bring forward redevelopment ideas for the former George Hotel would be to work with local stakeholders to prepare project proposals for a community, arts, culture and activity centre on the site. With this approach in mind, it was Members agreed to allocate £152,740 to enable project development activities for the George Hotel to be conducted, including £61,740 for a capital grant to be offered to Stranraer Development Trust for part of this work.

    In addition, at Dumfries and Galloway Full Council in June 2022, Members agreed a proposed bid for UK Government Levelling Up Fund for Dumfries and Galloway Constituency. Within the bid is a request for funding for the redevelopment of the former George Hotel.

    A feasibility study has been carried out using feedback provided by stakeholders and a technical review of the site has been conducted, including its physical, historical, and planning context as well as the project’s potential to contribute to the wider investment plans for Stranraer. In addition, survey was conducted by Stranraer

    Community Council which provided a snapshot of public opinion at the start of the project.

    Chair of Economy and Resources committee, Katie Hagmann said: “I am pleased to see that this project is progressing and moving forward. Consultation work has been undertaken together with the local community and stakeholders. We have gathered local views on the future of the site, to develop community capacity and to ensure that any proposals tie into the wider regeneration of Stranraer with a sustainable, long-term use for this well-known building in the town centre.”

    Vice Chair, Sean Marshall said: “This report is good news. The Council is providing significant investment, not only in The George Hotel, but through the regeneration of Stranraer as a whole. Working with community groups and residents is crucial and we will ensure that this funding is targeted to where local people feel it is needed most and the retention of the landmark building will be ensured for future generations as an inclusive hub.”

    ENDS

  • Transport Asset Class In Top Gear

    Monday, 22 August 2022 10:45

    Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee will meet on Thursday 25 August and receive a report on the investment being made across the Council in relation to transport assets.

    Councillors will be asked to agree the budget allocation and receive an update on the planned purchased to enhance the transport fleet across the local authority. With everything from school buses to gritters and lawn mowers to tractors to consider, the transport fleet is a complex one.

    The report details that four fully electric buses have been ordered, replacing vehicles that are over a decade old. The buses will be spread across the region, and will be based at Langholm, Dumfries, Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart, with the associated charging infrastructure being installed in the next couple of months. External funding of more than £600k was secured to allow the purchase of the buses.

    A tractor has also been purchased to assist with the maintenance of our many large green spaces we look after across Dumfries and Galloway. Having the tractor will reduce the number of ‘sit on’ machinery, so will produce efficiencies within the service in relation to resource and fuel. Sticking with outdoor spaces, two ‘stand on’ mowers have been purchased, to replace pedestrianised mowers, and 17 battery strimmer’s have been ordered to replace their petrol equivalents.

    Communities Committee Chairman, Cllr Archie Dryburgh commented:

    “This comprehensive report gives a true flavour of just how diverse and complex our transport fleet is. I’m very pleased to read that we’re beginning to move away from fuel-based vehicles and tools and are embracing the electrical technology. Not only is the cost of fuel a real issue, but we all know the environmental issues is causes.”

    As well as vehicles, the report gives an update on the electric vehicle charging infrastructure within the region. Over the past two years over one million pounds has been invested in charging point infrastructure in D&G, largely due to external funding support. The Council will be increasing provision in towns across the region such as Moffat, New Galloway, Dalbeattie and many more as we begin to see more and more electric vehicles on the road.

    Communities Committee Vice Chairman, Cllr John Campbell welcomed the move. He said:

    “I’m really pleased that electric vehicle charging provision across the region is increasing. As a Council, we’re committed to a cleaner, greener region and these points allow travel within and out with the region using electric vehicles. It’s important we provide the infrastructure to support the move to electric and this report demonstrates how we’re going about that.”

    To see the report in full, go to Agenda for Communities Committee on Thursday, 25th August, 2022, 10.30 am - Dumfries and Galloway Council (moderngov.co.uk)

  • Inclusive Play Area Update

    Monday, 22 August 2022 10:40

    Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee will meet on Thursday 25 August, where Members will receive a report on the progress of inclusive play areas across the region. Over recent months, there has been excellent progress made on the development of play areas in Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas.

    Five inclusive play projects have already been completed in the region, at Stranraer, Dumfries, Kelloholm, Lockerbie and Annan. These play areas were developed and designed with extensive community and partnership involvement, and Castle Douglas and Newton Stewart are no different. This model of delivery has proved successful on other sites and Newton Stewart is well on its way to being completed. The area opened for use at the end of June and requires some work around accessible benches and a changing places toilet to be fully functioning and this work is set to take place in the near future, with an official opening to follow in due course.

    Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Chair of the Communities Committee said ahead of the meeting:

    “Inclusive play areas are a cast iron example of what our Council is all about. Providing accessible, affordable and safe playing spaces for children across the region. We have contributed £125,000 on the Newton Stewart site and through some excellent partnership working with the Newton Stewart Initiative, we’re well on our way to having the play area finished.”

    Further east in Castle Douglas, work with our principal partners the Castle Douglas Development forum continues at pace. A public engagement was held last month in Carlingwark Park, where the designs were shared with the community. Following on from this, a final specification of play equipment is taking place, with a view to tendering for the equipment taking place by the end of October this year.

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

    “Good progress is being made with the inclusive play area plans in Castle Douglas. Our Council is contributing £125,000 to the play area, which is a real statement about how important we feel this play area is for the town of Castle Douglas. I look forward to receiving a follow up report on the progress being made later in the year.”

    You can view the report in full ahead of the meeting at Agenda for Communities Committee on Thursday, 25th August, 2022, 10.30 am - Dumfries and Galloway Council (moderngov.co.uk)
  • New domestic abuse service launches in Dumfries and Galloway

    Thursday, 18 August 2022 16:55

    A new domestic abuse advocacy service is to be launched in Dumfries and Galloway and will be recruiting workers across a number of key posts.

    The ASSIST service, based within Glasgow City Council, currently operates in several local authority areas in the west of Scotland and are delighted to have secured Scottish Government funding to help victims in Dumfries and Galloway.

    Since 2004, ASSIST has offered information, support and advice to victims and witnesses following a report to the police of domestic abuse.

    Specialist workers build trusting relationships to help assess risk, safety plan and navigate an often confusing and complex court system.

    They also offer tailored support to children who are cited as witnesses, making sure families can safely come through a difficult and stressful experience with as much information and reassurance as possible.

    The service welcomes referrals from any source and works with men, women and children, recognising that domestic abuse can affect anyone.

    Advocates also work closely with other professionals in the community to make sure victims have all the support they need to safely move on with their lives.

    ASSIST currently receives around 5,000 referrals a year, signifying the high demand for a proactive, sensitive service, consisting of workers who are knowledgeable and experienced in the field of gender-based violence.

    The new team, based in Dumfries city centre, will consist of five workers who will receive intensive training before taking referrals.

    The knowledge and experience of the new staff will be invaluable in shaping the service to meet the needs of the community it will serve, and ASSIST hopes to recruit locally wherever possible.

    The posts will include advocacy workers, a children’s worker and admin support.

    Hamish McGhie, Dumfries & Galloway's Independent Chair PPC, said: "I am delighted that ASSIST is going to extend their area of work to Dumfries and Galloway. Advocacy provided by ASSIST to victims of domestic abuse is recognised as being of a very high standard and we welcome this opportunity to offer additional support to victims of domestic abuse within the justice system. ASSIST is in the process of recruiting staff to establish this service in Dumfries and Galloway with a view to providing the service early in 2023."

    Councillor Christina Cannon, Glasgow’s convener for education, communities and equalities, said: “It’s hard to overstate how difficult it can be for victims to cope alone with the threat of violence and abuse.

    “As well as the physical damage, abuse can take a huge emotional toll on victims and their children.

    “Add to this a complex criminal justice system and the pressure of maintaining their safety and that of their children and it can be an overwhelming ordeal.

    “ASSIST provides emotional and practical support which can help people reduce the risk of further abuse, recover and regain control of their lives.

    “Testimony from service users demonstrates how much they value the support they receive, and I’m absolutely delighted that the service will soon be able to help even more people with this expansion into Dumfries and Galloway.”

    Details of the job vacancies can be found on MyJobScotland under Glasgow City Council.

    More information about the ASSIST service can be found here:https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=23782

  • Period Dignity Poverty Project in Dumfries & Galloway

    Tuesday, 16 August 2022 15:59

    Dumfries and Galloway Council has reaffirmed its commitment to end period poverty. This week, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free, but our council has been ahead of the curve, making products free from 2018.

    The Scottish Government’s Period Dignity Poverty Act came into force on 15th August 2022.

    Dumfries and Galloway Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland which offered free Period Poverty Products in all Primary and Secondary Schools from 2018 onwards. Following the announcement of the Scottish Government allocating funding on an annual basis to support the provision of these products, additional supplies of free poverty products continued to be expanded with all Education and Youth Work Centres receiving supplies to be allocated on a free non-stigma basis.

    Our council completed an in-depth consultation with young people to ensure that the insight on how we could best fit the needs of those being supported were completed.

    The model of free products being available in all toilet cubicles and toilets has removed any stigma which would otherwise have been attached to the request for products which is the case in other regions of Scotland.

    Dumfries and Galloway Council, together with the Scottish Government, greatly expanded their Period Poverty support during the Covid 19 Pandemic to ensure that we could continue to support those most in need. A new Online Period Dignity Poverty Project was developed which was specifically designed to ensure that that no one suffers in anyway through not having enough income to purchase these essential products. This new Project was developed during 2020 and provides a monthly delivery to the home address of anyone requiring support. This Project continues to be available to anyone who menstruates, regardless of age, that lives in Dumfries and Galloway and anyone can order sanitary products of their choice to help them at this very challenging time.

    Over the last few months, this Project has moved to a co-production model and the delivery of the free Period Products is now completed in partnership by Dumfries and Galloway Council with 10 community groups and organisations located throughout the region. Our new Period Dignity Partnership Project ensures that each of these support organisations are able to offer additional help and advice to the families and individuals who are being supported at this time of increasing need and in turn are increasing their sustainability by completing their deliveries every month.

    Councillor Archie Dryburgh, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee stated “The continuation and further enhancement of our Period Dignity Partnership Project within Dumfries and Galloway highlights our continued commitment shown by our Council to tackle all forms of poverty and inequalities throughout our Region.

    We have been one of the Local Authorities within Scotland who have been leading on this support prior to the original grant funding by the Scottish Government and are proud to say that we have continued to deliver and enhance the support provided since 2018. We realise that the current Cost of Living Crisis is impacting on so many families and this Project is providing support with no stigma straight to the home addresses of those most in need”.

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee stated “Within our Region, we have delivered and developed Period Dignity Projects which have been specifically designed through consultation with young people and families to ensure that the support which we provide is designed for those most in need. Our new Partnership Model will also increase the dedicated support to all of the families and individuals who are receiving these items every month as it ensures that local organisations have the opportunity to highlight additional poverty and inequalities projects which can be accessed within the local area.

    There has never been a greater need for help to families and individual who are struggling at this time and this Project ensures that these essential supplies are provided with the highest level on dignity, straight to the home address of those in need on an ongoing basis”.

    For more information on this Project, please log onto the following link which will take you to our Support DG webpage where you can place your order for these free products. You can also amend your order at anytime too:

    SupportDG - Dumfries and Galloway Council - Access to free sanitary products - Period Dignity Project (dumgal.gov.uk)

  • Uniform Events Tie In With School Restarting

    Tuesday, 16 August 2022 14:49

    Dumfries & Galloway Council have delivered four Free Back to School Uniform Events throughout our region during August. We’ve supported 475 family members with over 2,500 items of new and pre-loved uniform items redistributed. Free Haircuts from local Hairdressers at each event also offered the chance to save on the costs before all of our children and young people head back to school next week. All of these events were supported by our Dumfries & Galloway Youth Work Services Team on each day.

    In additional to our free events, we have also helped to develop seven permanent School Uniform Banks in all of the following locations which are open all year round for the Donation & Collection of School Uniforms:

    • Reuse Recycle, Enterprise House, Fountain Way, Stranraer, DG9 7UD
    • Newton Stewart Initiative Community Shop, Dashwood Square, Newton Stewart, DG8 6HQ
    • Dalbeattie Community Inititiave, 71 High Street, Dalbeattie, DG5 4HA
    • Castle Douglas Community Town Shop, 188 King Street, Castle Douglas, DG7 1DB
    • Action for Children, Kirkfield, Greystone Avenue, Kelloholm, DG4 6RB
    • Poverty & Inequalities Team Free Uniform Store, Loreburn Hall, Newall Terrace, Dumfries, DG1 1LN
    • Newstart Recycle, Provost Mill, North Queensberry Street, Annan, DG12 5BL

    People can call in at any time to collect and donate items. These services will especially help throughout the school year as the normal wear and tear of everyday use.

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

    “These events represent our Council’s on-going commitment to tackling poverty and inequalities in all of its forms throughout our Region. Our staff have been ready and willing to help families and young people to choose as many items as they wished from the huge number of items donated which are all ready for collection. We also want to say a huge thank you to all of the professional Hairdressers who have very kindly giving up their time to attend our events to give all of the children and young people the chance to get a new haircut before they head back to school.”

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee noted:

    “Everyone has been very welcome to attend our events with additional items of uniform and other items available to all at this very challenging time. Our friendly and helpful staff were able to give additional specialist advice too and all families who dropped in were supported from the minute they arrived. These events were a great success, and we hope to replicate this again in the future. Further events will also be held later this year to help with Warm Winter Clothes for the fast-approaching colder months.”

    For more information on the Donation and Collection Points, please contact Wendy Jesson, Poverty and Inequalities Development Officer by phone on 0788 094 2909 or by e-mail on Wendy.Jesson@dumgal.gov.uk.

    More information is also available on our Dumfries and Galloway Council Website on School Clothing Grants - Dumfries and Galloway Council (dumgal.gov.uk)

  • SQA Exam Results 2022

    Tuesday, 09 August 2022 09:36

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Summer Activities

    Wednesday, 13 July 2022 14:29

    SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE ACROSS D&G

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


    Summer Programme Fund: Activities

    AREA

    PROVIDER

    ACTIVITY

    REGIONAL

    Youth Work Service

    Summer Camps & Youth Cafes / 12 – 18 years

    REGIONAL

    Children & Families Social Work

    Family Days Out to regional/national attractions

    REGIONAL

    Arts & Museums

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

    REGIONAL

    Disability Sport

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

    REGIONAL

    Leisure Facilities

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

    REGIONAL

    Lifelong Learning

    Family Activity Packs & sessions in parks / P1-P7

    REGIONAL

    DG Youth Council

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

    REGIONAL

    Parents Inclusion Network

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

    REGIONAL

    Let’s Get Sporty

    Summer Sports sessions / 5 – 14 years

    A&E

    RH Youth Organisation

    Activity Day Lockerbie / 5 – 14 years

    A&E

    A&E Youth Group

    Themed Workshops & Activity Days / 11 – 14 years

    A&E

    Sports Driving Unlimited

    Carriage Driving with Ponies / 5 – 14 years

    A&E

    St. Andrews Church Moffat

    Wiston Lodge Residential

    A&E

    Wise Owls Nursery

    Outdoor Activities and Learning

    A&E

    Creation Mill

    Textile Workshops / 5 – 14 years

    MID & UPPER NITHSDALE

    Mid & Upper Nithsdale Youth Forum

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

    NITHSDALE

    Queen of the South

    Football Camps & Family Fun Day / 5 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    The Attic Youth Group

    Themed Workshops & Family Fun Event / 11 – 14 years

    NITHSDALE

    Heathhall Community Centre

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

    NITHSDALE

    YMCA Dumfries

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

    NITHSDALE

    Include Us

    Creative Outdoor Activities, Plantasia

    NITHSDALE

    Lochside Community Association

    Fun Day, Film Day, Art Activities, Themed Clubs

    NITHSDALE

    Dumfries Cricket Club

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

    NITHSDALE

    Summerhill Community Centre

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

    NITHSDALE

    Theatre Royal Guild of Players

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

    NITHSDALE

    Youth Enquiry Service

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

    STEWARTRY

    Johnston Nursery

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

    STEWARTRY

    Homegrown Childminding

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

    STEWARTRY

    Kirkcudbright Dark Space Planetarium

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

    craft workshops / 5 – 14 years

    STEWARTRY

    Local Initiatives in New Galloway

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

    STEWARTRY

    Stewartry Youth Work Steering Group

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

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    Stranraer Community Events Group

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

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    Stranraer Youth Café

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

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    YMCA Stranraer

    Swimming, Cinema, Sports Activities / P1 – P7

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    Newton Stewart Initiative

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

    WIGTOWNSHIRE

    Wigtown Bay Coastal Rowing Club

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

  • Annual Canvass Of Electors

    Friday, 08 July 2022 11:41

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Summer Camps Are Back

    Friday, 08 July 2022 11:13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • New Exhibitions At Gracefield

    Friday, 08 July 2022 10:56

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

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

    Communities Committee Chair, Councillor Archie Dryburgh said:

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

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

    Councillor John Campbell, Vice Chair of Communities Committee added:

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

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

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

    Monday, 04 July 2022 17:09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Chairmen praise school achievements

    Wednesday, 29 June 2022 17:07

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Friday, 24 June 2022 15:50

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

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

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

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

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

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

    *** ENDS ****