Recent Press Releases

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

  • Council Seeks Silver Accreditation with Zero Hours Justice Campaign

    Thursday, 01 February 2024 14:45

    Dumfries and Galloway Council is pleased to announce its application to become a Silver Member of the Zero Hours Justice Campaign, which aims to end the practice of zero-hours contracts across UK industries and foster a positive workplace culture.

    The campaign is led by a coalition of individuals, representatives from the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and employers and aims to deliver a sustained campaign to highlight the risks of a unilateral imposition of zero-hours contracts and how this can impact workers and families in the UK.

    At Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee on 30 January, members agreed to the Council’s application for accreditation to become a Silver Member of the Zero Hours Justice Scheme, demonstrating the Council’s commitment to ethical employment contracts and creating positive, sustainable, and regular employment opportunities for individuals.

    The Zero Hours Justice Campaign provides free help and support for zero-hours workers who cannot access advice elsewhere. The Accreditation Scheme recognises employers who either do not use zero-hours contracts or implement them more ethically and responsibly.

    The Council adheres to the highest standards of employment law, ensuring that our work environments are fair and empowering for all colleagues – over 85% of employment contracts are permanent, with 15% being fixed-term contracts, which illustrates the Council’s commitment to providing meaningful, sustainable, and regular employment for individuals.

    The Council prides itself on being an ‘Employer of Choice’ and is committed to advancing the Fair Work First criteria, which includes the principle of not misusing zero-hours contracts. In this regard, the Council commits to the Zero Hours Justice campaign silver accreditation alongside a comprehensive policy framework around casual and supply arrangements.

    Applying for silver accreditation with the Zero Hours Justice Campaign reinforces the Council’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice,’ promoting and demonstrating good employment policies and practices.

    Councillor Ian Carruthers, Chair of the Economy and Resources Committee, said, “We are proud to support the Zero Hours Justice Campaign. As an employer, our Council firmly believes in providing ethical employment contracts that create sustainable employment opportunities across our region.”

    Councillor David Inglis, Vice Chair, said, “Our pursuit of Silver Membership with the Zero Hours Justice Campaign demonstrates our Council’s dedication to advancing Fair Work practices and promoting good employment policies. We believe obtaining this accreditation would further reinforce Dumfries and Galloway Council’s position as an ‘Employer of Choice’ and enable us to attract and retain the best people to work with our Council.”

    ENDS



  • Council directs UK Shared Prosperity Fund investments to local projects.

    Wednesday, 31 January 2024 10:43

    Members of the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee (E&R) received an update on the 30th January on the Council’s progress of delivery on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPG). These updates are timed to coincide with the six-monthly reports which are required to be submitted to the UK Government.

    The Programme Panel has so far met 6 times and has approved 12 projects within the region with a total value of £2,994,628.96.

    In the Local Business priority, as agreed at E&R in June 2023 a Climate Resilience Fund has been established and publicised to local businesses. £288,000 was allocated to this project which is now live. In addition, the capacity building for social enterprises has been through the procurement process with a contract value of £48,000. A Local Business Partnership has been established for distribution of the remaining funding.

    A Programme Panel was set up in compliance with the actions outlined in the UKSPF report to this Committee on 8 June 2023. The Programme Panel has met 6 times and has approved 12 projects with a total value of £2,994,628.96.

    The Community and Place priority funding has been considered by the Place Planning Partnership. The Programme Panel has received four proposals with a total value of £1,213,200. This includes Revenue support for development of place plans for Borderlands towns.

    The People and Skills priority funding has been considered by the Local Employability Partnership. The Programme Panel has received six proposals with a total value of £1,445,429. These include supporting work-based skills and personal development through volunteering; addressing health related work issues and barriers to work; the provision of entrepreneurial training and seed funding; and provision of employability support to individuals in the region on a 121 basis.

    Chair of Economy and Resources, Councillor Ian Carruthers said: “Through investing in our region’s businesses this funding supports a diversified and growing local economy that benefits all. SMEs are supported to start and helped to grow, and investment in the region benefits both communities and the local economy. I am please to see the progress and good work that this funding is aiding.”

    Vice Chair, Councillor David Inglis said: “The UKSPF is designed to empower and explore how best to tackle local challenges– whether through building skills, supporting local businesses, supporting communities and places, or providing employment support. Our Council see this fund as a way to build communities where people want to live, work and visit. It is helping to diversify and grow our local economy to benefit all.”

    ENDS

  • Council agrees to Support in principle, nomination of a new National Park in Galloway.

    Wednesday, 31 January 2024 10:38

    The Scottish Government has invited nominations for areas to be designated as a new national park from communities and community groups. Members of the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee (30 Jan) have agreed to support in principle, the proposed nomination being developed by the Galloway National Park Association (the Association) for a National Park in Galloway.

    The Scottish Government has stated its commitment to the designation of at least one new National Park during the lifetime of the current Scottish Parliament. It is nearly 20 years since Scotland’s first two National Parks were created. Before more are designated, Scottish Ministers are reviewing the role of new national parks and their role in addressing the crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. The Scottish Government’s draft biodiversity strategy sets out their ambition for Scotland to be Nature Positive by 2030, and to have restored and regenerated biodiversity across the country by 2045. New national parks are expected to play a significant role in supporting this ambition.

    The Galloway National Park Association formed in 2016 to promote a new national park focused on the benefits of park status. Our Council was approached by the Association in 2018 and committee agreed to re-affirm the Council’s support to the principle of establishing a Galloway National Park. The Association has continued to campaign and have been developing their submission seeking designation of such.

    The Association recognise that matters related to the legislative framework for a new national park are not yet determined by Scottish Government and appreciate that with the Council agreeing to support the nomination, that this is in principle only.

    The Association have contacted all three local authorities in the area that could be included in the new national park: Dumfries and Galloway Council and South and East Ayrshire Councils. The Association has asked that each local authority consider their support for the nomination being submitted, ahead of the deadline of 29 February 2024, to enable them to reflect the current position in their nomination submission.

    Chair of Economy and Resources, Councillor Ian Carruthers said: “Galloway is a spectacular part of our region with landscape ranging from hills to sea, which we share with visitors who get to experience the beauty of our area for themselves. Having been described as ‘Scotland in miniature’ our Council recognises that there is a lot of interest and support for a formally designated Galloway National Park. I am pleased that we have agreed to support the next steps and look forward to seeing the outcome.”

    Vice Chair, Councillor David Inglis said: “Dumfries and Galloway is such a beautiful part of the country and having part of this area designated as a National Park would create many benefits, including helping us address climate change, which is included in our Council Priorities. There is also the cultural heritage, with evidence of many phases of human history in our area. Anything which can promote tourism and boost our local economy is welcomed, and a National Park would go a long way to achieving this.”

    ENDS

  • Committee Set to Receive Latest Budget Position Update as Three-Year Funding Gap Increases

    Wednesday, 31 January 2024 09:45

    Dumfries and Galloway Council’s three-year funding gap has risen to £30M due to the Local Government Finance Settlement, plus inflationary and service cost pressures.

    The Council’s Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee will receive an update next week (Thursday February 8) on theCouncil’s budget position and financial projections for the next three years.

    Committee members will hear how the Council will need to make estimated total savings of £30.08M over the next three financial years – 2024/25 to 2026/27.

    The rise is due to the impact of the Local Government Finance Settlement announced on 21 December 2023 – including the Scottish Government’s proposed Council Tax freeze in financial year 2024/25 – as well as the cost of implementing nationally negotiated pay awards and non-pay increases such as inflation.

    The report goes on to state that the funding gap will need to be addressed at Full Council on Tuesday 27 February, where Elected Members will agree the Council’s budget for financial year 2024/25.

    A range of revenue-raising and savings options are outlined including increased council tax on second homes, council tax increases and changes to services.

    Committee Chair, Councillor Ivor Hyslop, said: “Our Council made some tough decisions at last year’s Council budget in late February and this year will be no different.

    “In the short-term, we are in a better position than most and through prudent financial management are able to draw on non-recurring resources to protect vital services.

    “However, like all local authorities, in the medium-term we face mounting costs and reduced funding.”

    Committee Vice-Chair, Councillor Richard Marsh, said: “The ongoing lack of a multi-year funding settlement continues to present significant challenges for service and financial planning for all public bodies including councils.

    “The actual funding received by Local Government in the latest settlement reflects a cash-funding reduction of £62.7M, with our Council’s share of this reduction estimated at £3.1M. And no additional resources have been received to support pay increases, non-pay inflation or service pressures.

    “Our reputation as a council for ‘sound financial management’ was this month highlighted by the Accounts Commission and we will continue to take a prudent approach to what is a challenging fiscal backdrop.”

    To read the full report go to: Agenda for Finance, Procurement and Transformation Committee on Thursday, 8th February, 2024, 10.30 am - Dumfries and Galloway Council (moderngov.co.uk)

    (Ends)

  • Kerbside Battery Collection Plans Announced

    Friday, 26 January 2024 10:11

    Kerbside collections to recycle household batteriesare to be introduced for people across Dumfries and Galloway.

    At its meeting on 6 February, members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee will consider a report that includes details of the proposals following the announcement that Dumfries and Galloway Council has been successful in securing £70,000 of funding from Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund to implement a kerbside battery recycling service.

    The new kerbside service will involve all types of household batteries – including the ones from toys, laptops, mobile phones, watches and hearing aids – being separated from regular waste.

    Chair of the council’s Communities Committee, Ian Blake, said: “Implementing a kerbside collection of household batteries will increase our recycling rates of valuable materials while also reducing the risk of fires within in our refuse collection vehicles and waste processing facilities.”

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Jackie McCamon, added: “We have seen the householders of Dumfries and Galloway embrace the kerbside recycling service, with recycling rates increasing from 30.1% in 2020 to 45.1% in 2022. I am confident that our residents will engage equally as well with this new service that will be starting in April of this year.”

    The Scottish Governments Circular Economy Minister, Lorna Slater, said: “Recycling has a huge role to play in Scotland’s response to the climate crisis. Since launching in 2021, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have benefitted from projects supported through our £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund – one of the biggest investments in a generation to modernise recycling in Scotland.

    “I am delighted that this latest round of funding will make it easier for many more households across Scotland to recycle their waste, boosting local recycling rates.”

    Each household across the region will receive more information in the spring, detailing how the scheme will work and when to start presenting batteries for recycling.

    For more information on the council’s waste collection service, visit: www.dumgal.gov.uk/wasterecycling
  • Heritage Service Volunteer Finds Burns Connection

    Friday, 19 January 2024 11:39

    Heritage Service volunteer, Jennifer Roberts, has been indexing a collection of miscellaneous archives dated 1790–1799. Jennifer noticed that there was mention of Mr John Lewars, an excise man in Dumfries in 1792, in a statement relating to an incident following a night of drinking. Mr Lewars, still drunk in the morning, had threatened two women. Accompanying him, and preventing him from causing any harm, was Mr Burns…Robert Burns – and Mr Lewars was Burns’ superior.

    An exciseman was employed by the government in what today would be HM Customs and Excise to ensure that people paid their taxes, particularly where related to alcohol. It was not a "trade" that was admired by the common people, and it would be fair to say that excisemen at this time were somewhat unpopular. This incident, uncovered in the indexing of these archives, is mentioned in “A Biography of Robert Burns” by James MacKay.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake, said: “This is a fantastic example of the richness of our Heritage Service’s archive collection. The archive is an amazing source of local history. I would encourage all those interested in our local history to find out more about the Heritage Service based at the Ewart Library.”

    Vice Chair, Councillor Jackie McCamon added: “Even 228 years after his death, the life of Robert Burns continues to intrigue. This is a prime example of what can be discovered within the archive collection.”

    The work undertaken by volunteers in the Heritage Service makes its collections more accessible and continue to list and highlight many of the wonderful events, people and heritage of our region.

    Volunteers play a crucial role in the Heritage Service – and there are many opportunities for those with an interest in their local area by listing archives, scanning photographs and working though the old newspapers.

    If you’d like to view the archives or find out more about the volunteering roles, please contact:

    heritage@dumgal.gov.uk
  • New Brow Well Bridge Completed

    Friday, 22 December 2023 13:08

    The Brow Well Bridge is once again open to traffic following the completion of the replacement bridge in November. The bridge, which is situated near Ruthwell close to the site of Brow Well – a landmark of reputed healing powers and associated with Robert Burns, was originally built around the early 19th century.

    The 200-year-old bridge was regularly subjected to both the effects of the tide and rapid surface water run-off causing it’s eventual collapse on the west side in September 2019. A temporary bridge, supplied by Retro Bridge Ltd, was installed in November 2019 allowing the B725 road to be reopened. Due to the historic nature of this site, there then followed an extensive period of investigation, consultation, design, procurement and approvals – resulting in the work starting on the replacement bridge in May of this year.

    The new bridge has been sympathetically designed and reconstructed using parts of the original structure. The design incorporates the original arch form that spreads the load to the foundations in the same way the 19th century arch would have done. The stone clad exterior has been created using original stone recovered upstream of the bridge, together with local reclaimed stone. The fundamental difference between the 1800s Brow Well bridge and the 2023 Brow Well bridge is their foundations. While the original bridge was built on a timber and stone foundation, the new bridge has been built on top of 18 reinforced concrete piles. This modern slant on bridge structure should help make sure that the new bridge will be overlooking the historic, healing Brow Well landmark for at least another 200 years.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Communities Committee said: "The previous damage to this bridge highlights the risks to our infrastructure from coastal and flooding impacts that the council manage to keep the roads network open. We were fortunate in this situation to be able to install a temporary structure while we progressed a robust design and construction process to provide a replacement bridge that will be in use for a long time to come."

    Vice Chair of committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon, added: "This project is a great example of the work undertaken through the Roads Service and Engineering Design in its programme of inspections and repairs to bridges across our road network, with a commitment to protecting and enhancing the heritage of the region."


    ENDS
  • World Championship Ice Hockey Boosts Local Economy

    Tuesday, 19 December 2023 11:30

    The Great Britain Men’s Under 20s Ice Hockey team came within minutes of winning the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Gold Medal at the Group II Division A World Championship, held at the Ice Bowl last week.

    Big crowds flocked to the Ice Bowl to cheer on the national team, with the council putting in place very reasonable ticket prices to attract existing and new fans to the sport.Ice Hockey UK report that the World Championship secured more than 100,000 viewers over the week of the event to their streaming service.

    With less than seven minutes left of their final fixture against Korea, played on Sunday the 17 December, Britain were winning 3-2 and heading for the Gold Medal and promotion. They lost two devasting late goals, and Korea instead leapfrogged the home nation to secure the tournament. It was a bitter disappointment for Great Britain who played exceptionally well all week.

    The council estimate that this World Championship will have generated more than £250,000 to the regional economy. The income to local business and accommodation providers comes from the teams and officials expenditure in local hotels, the money spent in the local economy from hundreds of supporters who descended on Dumfries and the services such as coach hires and catering needed to deliver the event.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the council’s Communities Committee said: “The Ice Bowl hosted a well-managed, sporting and exciting International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship. The council’s skilled, knowledgeable and good humoured staff have helped sports and economic development for the area and created a very good impression of Dumfries for the many participants and spectators of this tournament.”

    Andy French, the General Secretary of Ice Hockey UK, who managed the World Championship in partnership with the council and the International Ice Hockey Federation said: “Ice Hockey UK are really pleased with how well things have gone in Dumfries since the Korean team arrived in the town on Monday 4 December. I’d like to thank all of the officials, volunteers and the staff of Dumfries and Galloway Council for their contribution to a fantastic Ice Hockey World Championship.”

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice Chair of the Communities Committee said: “Dumfries Ice Bowl continues to be an important sporting and economic hub for Dumfries and the wider region. It has proved time and again that it is a reliable venue for ice hockey, ice-dancing and curling tournaments and the council’s Events Strategy 20232027 is clearly helping to attract and sustain many international quality events for Dumfries and Galloway.”


    ENDS

  • Free Warm Winter Clothes Events 2023

    Tuesday, 19 December 2023 10:07

    Dumfries and Galloway Council's Poverty and Inequalities Team ran seven Free Warm Winter Clothes Events throughout November and December, bringing in over 300 people and giving away over 1200 items of warm winter clothes.

    A number of partner organisations attended the events including The Lemon Aid Project, Fire Scotland, Home Energy Scotland and Wheatley Homes to provide additional advice and support to those who need help this winter.

    Events were held in Stranraer, Newton Stewart, Castle Douglas, Annan, Lockerbie and Sanquhar and for the second year in a row we opened a pop-up shop in Dumfries High Street which also coincided with the Christmas Light Switch On, when the town was at its busiest.

    At each of the events, there was a huge volume of clothes to give away with no qualifying criteria.Items of clothes included: coats and jackets, jumpers and cardigans, hats, gloves, scarves, kids clothing and trousers. Each event also saw free period products available to collect.

    There were 100 tins of Heinz soup at each event, which were given away for free to those who wanted them, in an attempt to give everyone a warm meal that evening and to add to their cupboards for any additional meals which would make a difference over the cold winter months ahead.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee commented: “These events demonstrate our Council’s on-going commitment to tackling poverty and inequalities throughout our region. Our staff helped a significant number of families and young people to choose as many items as they wished from the huge number of new and pre-loved warm clothes.”

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of Communities Committee added: “We know that there is a huge rise in the number of people struggling at this time in our communities, and these events have significantly helped families and individuals who are struggling with rising costs. Provision of pre-loved and new warm winter clothes will help them through the cold winter months ahead.”

    For more information on where you can get help and advice on a number of topics including help with money and benefits, household bills, finding work, health and wellbeing, as well as support for families, young people, the elderly and disabled please visit our website­that details the support at local, national, and UK level:https://costofliving.dumgal.gov.uk

    ENDS

  • Dumfries and Galloway Council appoints new Service Director Social Work Services (Chief Social Work Officer)

    Friday, 15 December 2023 16:05

    Following a comprehensive recruitment process, Dumfries and Galloway Council has appointed Stephen Morgan as its new Service Director Social Work Services (Chief Social Work Officer).

    Stephen Morgan has extensive local government leadership- and senior-management experience, having worked in local government for over 26 years.

    Mr Morgan is a qualified social worker and has been responsible for the leadership and management of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Children and Families Service since February 2018; in recent months he has been fulfilling the role of Interim Chief Social Work Officer.

    Stephen will take up his new post on 1 April 2024, and will continue as Interim Chief Social Work Officer until then.

    Stephen Morgan said: “I am delighted to accept this position. Having already worked within Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Social Work Services I know from experience what a dedicated and professional team I have inherited, and I look forward to continuing to build on the good work, serving the people in our region and making a positive difference to those in need.”

    Dumfries and Galloway Council Convener, Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, said: “On behalf of Elected Members and staff we are pleased to appoint Stephen Morgan to this new role of Service Director Social Work Services (Chief Social Work Officer). Stephen brings to the role a wealth of experience and a passion for both social work services and the delivery of high-quality services to citizens and communities within Dumfries and Galloway.

    “This is an important role within the Council senior leadership team. I am confident that Stephen will contribute successfully to the achievement of the ambitions of our Council and offer empowerment and support to teams across Social Work Services to help them flourish and continue to make a difference to the lives of our citizens.”

    (Ends)

  • Thirty Years of the Ryan Centre – Reopening Following Refurb

    Thursday, 14 December 2023 14:39

    The Ryan Centre Pool will reopen on Saturday 16 December after extensive capital works to the plant areas and changing village. To allow the upgrading works, all pool activities moved temporarily to Stranraer Academy at the start of May. The plant equipment has been widely upgraded with a full replacement of the main boiler system, with extensive upgrades to much of the other plant infrastructure. The addition of a UV filter system to improve water quality will also reduce the amount of chemicals needed to run the pool, making it a more environmentally friendly way to operate.

    The changing area has been completely refurbished. The replacement of the underfloor heating and flooring in the main changing village should offer a warmer changing area for customers. The showers, cubicles and lockers have all been upgraded as has the toilet areas, which will positively impact the experience of all our customers and visitors. The spa area of the health suite has also been refurbished with the area surrounding the bath being renewed.

    The reopening coincides with the 30-year anniversary of the pool opening in December 1993. To mark this impressive landmark, the facility has organised a weeklong series of water-based activities ranging from baby session, adult water safety sessions, aquafit, and splashdown for to aged 8 – 11. With the anniversary, four members of staff also achieve 30 years of service in the facility. Peter Ferries, David Sprott, Marny McCormick and Beverley Mercer were all members of the original lifeguarding team at the facility.

    Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “I am delighted that the Ryan Centre has benefitted from this extensive refurbishment programme. It has been a well-used and well-loved facility in the community for the last 30 years, and this investment will secure this resource for years to come.”

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of Communities Committee said: “I am pleased with the investment in this facility in Stranraer. Further to that, thirty years serving the community is quite an achievement and I would like to offer my thanks and congratulations to the staff who have been there from the start. The dedication that has been shown is really appreciated by the council, your colleagues, and those who use the facility.”

    For more details on the events, contact the Ryan Centre: 01776 703535 or email ryan.centre@dumgal.gov.uk

  • Armed Forces Champion Annual Report

    Tuesday, 12 December 2023 15:57

    Dumfries and Galloway Council will receive the Dumfries and Galloway Council Armed Forces Champion Annual Report at its meeting on 14 December. The report provides elected members with an overview of the activities undertaken by the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Archie Dryburgh MBE, from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

    In another active year for the council’s Armed Forces Champion, a highlight was the parade and ceremony held in June 2022 to mark the 100th Anniversary since the unveiling of the Maxwelltown War Memorial.

    Armed Forces Week was marked by flag raising and lowering ceremonies held in Annan, Dumfries, Castle Douglas, Sanquhar and Stranraer. An Armed Forces Day Parade took place in Dumfries Town Centre on Saturday 25 June 2022, led by representatives of our retired and serving Armed Forces personnel and by members of our local Cadet Units.

    The fiftieth anniversary of the Lord Dowding Memorial Service was marked on Sunday 4 September 2022, where the programme included a wreath laying by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Armed Forces Champion, and a fly-past by a Spitfire and Hurricane of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight RAF Coningsby.

    In November 2022, Armistice and Remembrance activities took place across the region. A Festival of Remembrance was held in the Crichton Church, Dumfries, on Saturday 4 November 2022 where the Armed Forces Champion was Master of Ceremonies. Wreath laying ceremonies took place at War Memorials and in Faith venues across Dumfries and Galloway, giving the opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of all those who have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. Ukrainian Guests from the Welcome Hubs in Stranraer, Castle Douglas and Dumfries also laid wreaths for their armed forces.

    In addition to these events and activities, the Armed Forces Champion acts as a contact point for individuals and groups of Armed Forces personnel and veterans seeking support and information including access to health services, housing and Benefits. The position acts as liaison with Legion Scotland nationally and at a local level, Poppy Scotland, our three Lord Lieutenants, Community Councils, Faith Groups as well as other partner organisations and community groups.

    The Armed Forces Champion also attends meetings of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on the Armed Forces and Veterans Community, and local authority Armed Forces Champions from across Scotland.

    Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, Convenor of Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “Our council is committed to supporting our Armed Forces personnel, veterans, and Armed Forces community. I am delighted that this report reflects the volume of work undertaken and the difference it makes to those in the Armed Forces community.”

    Councillor Gail Macgregor, Depute Convenor, added: “There is a wealth of activity celebrated in this report. I am delighted to see the volume of ongoing and future activities that are outlined, with funding committed over the next four years from a dedicated budget.”

    The annual report of the Council’s Armed Forces Champion can be seen at:https://dumfriesgalloway.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=137&MId=5806



    ENDS

  • Under 20s Men’s World Championship Ice Hockey Featuring Great Britain Begins in Dumfries

    Monday, 11 December 2023 15:58

    World Championship Ice Hockey takes place throughout this week, 11–17 December, at the Ice Bowl in Dumfries.

    The Great Britain Men’s Under 20s will play their World Championship Division II Group A fixtures at the venue, against tournament top seeds Korea and the national Under 20s teams of China, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Spain. Many of the sports brightest young talents will be on show, battling to win promotion for their countries to a higher classification next year.

    The Great Britain team will play all but one of their matches at 8pm during the tournament, to enable ice hockey fans to turn out in force to support the home nation, with a mouth-watering final tie scheduled against Korea at 4.30pm on Sunday 17 December. Tickets are priced to be as affordable as possible. The Great Britain team will be coached by Martin Grubb, who also coaches local favourites, the Solway Sharks.

    Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee said: “A really exciting week of high quality ice hockey is in store. Do come along and cheer on Great Britain and all nations taking part. Young players have come to Dumfries from all over the world to compete, and there will be a great atmosphere at the matches – especially the Great Britain games.”

    Andy French, the General Secretary of Ice Hockey UK – who are managing the World Championship in partnership with the Council and the International Ice Hockey Federation – said:, “Ice Hockey UK are delighted to continue our partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council and the staff of the Ice Bowl to bring our Under 20s national team to South West Scotland. Ice Hockey development is very strong and highly regarded in this part of the country and it is terrific to bring this exciting, world ranking tournament to Dumfries again, ten years after Great Britain Under 20s played here and the Stanley Cup was put on show in the town.”

    Councillor Jackie McCamon, the Vice Chair of the Communities Committee said: “This international tournament will create a financial boost for our area, with past World Championships securing a minimum economic windfall of at least £200,000 to the regional economy. This is a superb return for the council’s funding of £25,000 for the event. It will also inspire more people to enjoy this wonderful fast-moving sport.”

    Tickets are available at the Ice Bowl before each match and can also be purchased in advance by visiting:https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/dumfries-ice-bowl

    ENDS

  • Dumfries and Galloway’s Youth Elections Results Announced

    Monday, 11 December 2023 10:07

    From 22 November to 2 December, young people aged 12–25 have been out in their thousands voting for their next local, regional and national representatives.

    This is the third term of Dumfries and Galloway’s Regional Youth Council with young people committing their time to volunteer as youth representatives over the next two years. There are 35 positions on the Youth Council including:

    • Four Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs), with two elected to each Scottish Parliamentary Constituency.
    • Twenty-Four Ward Youth Councillors, with two elected to represent each of the twelve Ward areas in the region.
    • Seven Nominated Youth Councillors, with one person elected to represent each nominated or ‘seldom heard’ group including:
      • Young Parents.
      • Young Carers.
      • Care Experienced Young People.
      • Ethnic Minority Youth.
      • Gypsy/Traveller Youth.
      • LGBT Youth.
      • Young People with Additional Support Needs and Disabilities.

    Young people from across our region campaigned to be elected throughout October and November before the vote began. Over 3,600 young people had their say as polling stations were set up across secondary schools, library facilities and youth centres and groups. Third sector organisations including the Young Carers Project and LGBT Youth Scotland also supported the voting for nominated youth councillors through their groups.

    Speaking about the elections, outgoing Chairperson of Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council and Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament for Galloway and West Dumfries, Finlay Anderson said: “The youth elections have provided an opportunity for young people to take part in the democratic process across Dumfries and Galloway. I would like to wish the new cohort of young people elected to the Youth Council and Scottish Youth Parliament every success over the next two years, and to continue building on the good work undertaken by Youth Council Members over the last two terms since 2019.

    This was echoed by Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, who said: “I am delighted to have seen the youth elections for this year unfold, with 3,659 young people turning out to have their say at local polling places. I would like to say thank you to the outgoing Youth Council, who have contributed thousands of hours towards championing young people’s rights and giving their time to their local communities. Congratulations to all new elects who have been successful in their election efforts, and commiserations to those who have not had the outcome they wanted.”

    The following young people have been elected to represent Dumfries and Galloway in the Scottish Youth Parliament. Each Scottish Parliamentary Constituency has two Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) who are elected to represent the voices of young people aged 12–25 on a national level.

    • Caitlyn Walton, Dumfriesshire Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
    • Skye Allan, Dumfriesshire Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
    • Louise Church, Galloway & West Dumfries Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
    • Daniel Upson, Galloway & West Dumfries Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

    The following young people have been duly elected as Ward Youth Councillors with each of the regions 12 ward areas having two representatives elected. Ward Youth Councillors are responsible for engaging with, and representing young people who live, work and study in their local community.

    • Zuzanna Kowalska, Stranraer and the Rhins.
    • Adrian Dargie, Stranraer and the Rhins.
    • Jasper Williams, Mid Galloway and Wigtown West.
    • Max Heughan, Mid Galloway and Wigtown West.
    • Stewart Walker, Dee and Glenkens.
    • Mariena Kirk, Dee and Glenkens.
    • Cormac Fraiel, Castle Douglas and Crocketford.
    • Morven Callander, Castle Douglas and Crocketford.
    • Arrow Whelan, Abbey.
    • Beth Wright Hall, Abbey.
    • Stevie Allison, North West Dumfries.
    • Ryan McLaughlan, North West Dumfries.
    • Riley True, Lochar.
    • Dayle Smith, Lochar.
    • Joel Goldsworthy, Mid and Upper Nithsdale.
    • Maisie Brown, Mid and Upper Nithsdale.
    • Ava Nosratzadeh, Nith.
    • Lucy Waugh, Nith.
    • Ailsa McDairmant, Annandale South.
    • Lydia-Elizabeth Shaw, Annandale South.
    • Konnal Allen, Annandale North.
    • Naomi Scott, Annandale North.
    • Riley Brannan, Annandale East and Eskdale.

    The final grouping of young people have been elected as Nominated Youth Councillors. Nominated Youth Councillors have a regional role and are responsible for representing the voices of young people who are seldom heard in decision making:

    • Jade Kirkpatrick, Additional Support Needs and Disabilities Youth Councillor.
    • Keirra Murphy, Care Experienced Youth Councillor.
    • Thomas Paine, LGBT Youth Councillor.
    • Megan Adams, Young Carer Youth Councillor.

    For more information about Dumfries and Galloway Youth Council, please:

    ENDS

  • Council Christmas Card Design – School Competition

    Friday, 08 December 2023 11:51

    This year’s Dumfries and Galloway Council Christmas Card has been designed by Hannah Harvey, who is in primary 7 at Dunscore Primary School. Under the watchful eye of partnership headteacher John Carter, the children of Dunscore and Moniaive Primary’s got involved in designing the Christmas Card for this year.

    Judging was carried out last week by Council Leader Gail Macgregor, who paid a visit to both schools, cast her eye over the cards and chatted to the budding young artists about their designs. Gail praised the efforts and imagination of all the entries. She said:

    “I’d like to congratulate all the children who submitted entries. We felt it was important for the card to come from our community, and that’s exactly what’s happened. The variations of designs really caught my eye and it’s clear that the children of Dunscore and Moniaive Primary’s certainly have a keen eye for art and design. There could only be one winner though, and well done to Hannah. The finalised card looks fantastic and that’s due to your wonderful design.”

    The card has been designed digital-only this year to save paper and waste, as part of our Council’s commitment to cut carbon emissions.

    On behalf of the Council, have a wonderful festive period and all the best for 2024.

  • Heritage Exhibition and Design Award for Stranraer Harbourmaster's Building

    Wednesday, 06 December 2023 12:12

    The old Harbourmaster's office at Stranraer was extensively repaired and extended as part of the Stranraer Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS), and the Gateway to Galloway facility operated by Stranraer Development Trust has become well-established in the new part of the building.


    However, the small size of the original building presented a challenge in considering how it could best be used for the future. Originally the Harbourmaster's office for the adjacent public weighbridge, the building was constructed with a bequest from John Simpson in 1938. A well-known local businessman, John Simpson, is believed to have had a love of clocks, which would explain the prominent clocktower memorial.


    To bring the old building back into use, a heritage exhibition has recently been developed with valuable input from members of Stranraer and District Local History Trust, John Ross and Stranraer Development Trust, alongside input from the Council.


    The exhibition includes information about the history of the waterfront, from the development of the west and east piers through the ferry service years to the current changing waterfront use.


    Visitors can find out about the history of the building and the Loch Ryan oyster fishery, and a listening station has been installed where people can hear recollections from local people about how the building and waterfront have been used over the years. Further oral histories can be collected and added to change the audio content over time, capturing stories of the waterfront past and present, which both local people and visitors can enjoy.


    Designing the extension necessary for the practical use of the old building needed careful consideration. The sensitive redevelopment work carried out has recently been recognised with a Commendation in the Dumfries and Galloway Design Awards. The Awards celebrate restoration and adaption of buildings in a way that helps the region meet its economic and environmental goals. The Council's Local Development team organises the Design Awards with an independent panel of architectural specialists judging the entrants. The judges appreciated how the new extension echoed the style of the original building while allowing the clocktower to remain the dominant feature as well as the complementary effect of the external landscaping.


    Councillor Ian Carruthers, Chair of the Council's Economy and Resources Committee, said, "Investment in Stranraer's historic buildings ensures the high quality of Stranraer's built environment is maintained for the benefit of the local community, businesses and visitors to the town. Establishing this heritage exhibition will allow the old Harbourmaster's building to re-open to the public and celebrate the many facets of Stranraer waterfront past and present."


    Councillor David Inglis, Vice Chair of the Council's E&R Committee, added, "Unusual buildings like the Harbourmaster's make an important contribution to the unique character of our town centres and are part of our cultural heritage. The Design Award for the redevelopment of this building highlights the careful work undertaken to create a complementary extension while ensuring the clocktower remains a local landmark long into the future."


    The Harbourmaster's heritage exhibition is now open to the public during the opening hours of the adjacent Gateway to Galloway facility. Work at the building has been enabled by funding from Historic Environment Scotland, the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Stranraer and District Local History Trust and Dumfries and Galloway Council.


    ENDS

  • Solway Coast and Marine Project Small Grants for Exploring your relationship with the Coast and Marine Environment

    Tuesday, 05 December 2023 15:44

    What would your Community like to do for your Coastal and Marine Environment? For Nature? For Wellbeing? For Wildlife? For Underwater Marine Life?, for the future?

    SCAMP (Solway Coast and Marine Project) is offering grants of up to £1000 to communities to explore the future of their relationship with the Coast and Marine Environment and to explore further develop nature based solutions to help support the aspects of the coastal and marine ecology, and wildlife there.

    Have you got a project linked to the Coast and Marine Environment? This could be a wildlife survey, a “Go and See” trip, or you might want to do some further research into saltmarsh restoration or the improvement of habitats for marine life or migratory birds or some coastal habitat creation - then this grant might be for you.

    The grants are open to constituted coastal community and environmental organisations, from Gretna around the Rhins of Galloway. If you are interested in applying, please contact Education and Community Engagement Officer, Jan Hogarth: jan.hogarth@dumgal.gov.uk The deadline for expressions of interest by email or phone is Wednesday 10th January.

    The grants aim to help communities take their ideas for improving the region’s marine ecosystems further through surveys, projects or Go and See trips. Its part of the Solway Coast and Marine Project (SCAMP), an ambitious 15-year project led by Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Solway Firth Partnership.

    The SCAMP community grants are being funded through the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS) and will support the work about how private sector investment might be secured to fund the restoration of coastal and marine habitats, such as seagrass, saltmarsh, coastal woodlands and native oyster beds.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee, Councillor Ian Carruthers said: “Dumfries and Galloway has over 200 miles of coastline and our coastal communities are best placed to utilise these grants and identify projects can make a real difference. I encourage groups to get in touch and see what’s on offer.”

    Vice Chair of Economy and Resources Committee, Councillor David Inglis said: “We are very fortunate to live in a region which has such beautiful coastlines, but we need to do all we can to restore and protect them and make them sustainable for the future. Please get in touch if you have an idea but are in need of the funding to bring it to fruition.”

    Ends

  • Development of the Regional Parking Strategy

    Monday, 04 December 2023 15:14

    Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee are receiving a report on Tuesday 5 December, outlining progress on the development of the Regional Parking Strategy.

    Dumfries and Galloway Council has committed to the development of a new Regional Parking Strategy to address current issues and challenges the council is facing with parking control, management and enforcement. The development of the new strategy includes consideration of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement and the potential introduction of future parking charges at council car parks and for on-street parking.

    A summary of the feedback and the emerging themes received through the public consultation – carried out between September and November – will be considered for inclusion in the Regional Parking by councillors.

    Councillors have been asked to agree to receive a draft Regional Parking Strategy report at its February meeting with options for decriminalised parking enforcement and parking charges. All political parties will then be asked to consider these options as part of their budget setting proposals, to be presented at Full Council in February. Following the decision at Full Council, the strategy will be brought back to Communities Committee in April to agree implementation.

    The Chair of the council’s Communities Committee, Ian Blake said: “I am grateful to everyone who took the time to contribute to our consultation for the new Regional Parking Strategy – whether online or at one of our Community Conversations. I am pleased that we have received such comprehensive feedback for staff from the Roads Network Strategy team to include in the options presented for the consideration of all councillors.”

    Jackie McCamon, Vice Chair of Communities committee, said: “I am delighted with the progress to date on the development of the new parking strategy. The options presented give us great scope to ensure the correct approach is taken for parking in Dumfries and Galloway that meet our needs as a local authority, but also those of the residents, businesses, and visitors of our region.”

    The reports can be read in full at: https://dumfriesgalloway.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=148&MId=5798

    ENDS

  • Actively Travelling in Dumfries

    Friday, 01 December 2023 17:04

    The improvements to the junctions at New Abbey Road, Pleasance Avenue and Park Road, which link the west of Dumfries to the town centre, have become a well-used route for Active Travel– making it easier and safer for everyone to walk, wheel and cycle in the area.

    On 27 and 29 November, representatives from the local community, including walking and cycling groups and pupils from Troqueer Primary School, celebrated the delivery of new and upgraded active travel infrastructure in Dumfries.

    The Dumfries and Galloway Council-led project was made possible by over £800,000 of funding from the Scottish Government through Sustrans Scotland’s Places for Everyone programme, with match funding from the Council, SWestrans and NHS Dumfries and Galloway.

    Since construction completed in June this year, the area has become a regular route for active travel. The Council’s Active Communities team organise weekly walks along the new footway to aid with health and wellbeing. I Bike Schools and Communities Officers can now use the route as part of their work to promote walking, wheeling and cycling to pupils, parents, and the wider community.

    The Dumfries Power Walks group has also taken advantage of the improved infrastructure, and often use the path during their Monday morning 5km walks.

    The addition of this route to the active travel network shows the potential for more walking, wheeling, and cycling in the area, and contributes to the delivery of the Council’s Active Travel Strategy 2 (ATS2).

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “The completed works have significantly improved the transport links in this part of Dumfries and with partners involvement we have demonstrated that a collaborative approach achieves numerous benefits to road users and the local community. Supporting Power Walks and the I Bike Programmes are ways to show people and communities there are other ways to get around and have more people actively travelling. This is a vital step forward in supporting the delivery of the ATS2 and shows the Council’s commitment to investing in sustainable and active travel.”

    Vice Chair of Communities committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon continued: “This project delivers many firsts for Dumfries and Galloway including a new segregated shared use path that meets current national standards, and parallel cycling and walking crossings. Encouraging active travel from early ages and engaging with communities in physical activity, just as Sustrans I Bike and Power Walks are doing, will help to promote and drive change to make essential daily journeys accessible – empowering people to live healthier lifestyles, addressing the climate emergency and tackling inequalities. Dumfries and Galloway Council is sending a clear message that it values the well-being of its residents and prioritises their safety and convenience.”

    Chiquita Elvin, Head of Programme for Places for Everyone at Sustrans, said: “We’re very pleased to see work finish on the improvements to New Abbey Road, Pleasance Avenue and Park Road, and to celebrate this with the local community.

    “The new route has created a high-quality shared-use path for walking, wheeling and cycling, and improved connectivity between the hospital and town centre.

    “This is an important achievement for Dumfries, and we hope that coupled with behaviour change initiatives like Sustrans Scotland’s I Bike programme, will enable many more people in the area to leave the car at home for their short, everyday journeys”.
  • National Success For Oor Sheelagh

    Wednesday, 29 November 2023 08:48

    One of our recently retired members of staff has scooped a prestigious national award.

    Sheelagh Rusby, who has nearly four decades of experience in education and learning roles ranging from home economics teacher to quality improvement officer received the Gold winner Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2023 Pearson National Teaching Awards, considered the 'Oscars' of the teaching profession, held in London last weekend.

    Sheelagh was nominated and selected as the gold award winner amongst thousands of nominees based on her inspirational teaching, contributions to her school and community, and influence among colleagues, as assessed by judges.

    Sheelagh dedicated her working life to education before she retired this year. She started her career as a home economics teacher in the Western Isles, where she was instrumental in developing the subject’s curriculum. Throughout her career, she developed home economic qualifications that were delivered through four different Scottish exam systems, published a book chapter and contributed to the Scottish Educational Research Association Conference twice. Sheelagh championed community schools, enterprising schools, rural skills, and developed the young workforce before these terms became part of the more recent educational ‘lingo’. Here at Dumfries and Galloway Council, she created the “Savour the Flavour” programme which brought chefs into schools to deliver masterclasses. Within a year, six chefs were teaching practical cookery and hospitality skills to young people across the council. Her most recent role was supporting the education system through Local Authority and Regional Improvement Collaboratives.

    The awards celebrate the transformative impact of education, shining a spotlight on the pivotal roles of teachers, support staff, colleges, schools and early years educators.

    Chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education & Learning Committee, Cllr Richard Brodie said:

    “This is an amazing achievement, to be considered the best in the UK is something Sheelagh should be immensely proud of. Sheelagh was a dedicated, hard-working and extremely valued member of our teaching profession for a long time here in D&G and oversaw many changes in the way the school day and examinations are delivered. I wish Sheelagh all the best for her retirement, it is richly deserved.”

    Vice Chair, Cllr Maureen Johnstone echoed Richard’s comments. She said:

    “Sheelagh is an inspiration to everyone she worked with. In our original application for the award, we made a short film for Sheelagh, and the way her former pupils and colleagues speak about Sheelagh, in such high esteem is a key guide as to how well thought of she is within education and learning circles. This is rightful recognition of an outstanding career.

    You can see the original film we put together as part of the application pack at https://youtu.be/hBBUQZcOei4