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.

  • Dumfries and Galloway Coronation Champions Announced

    Friday, 05 May 2023 14:10

    Dumfries and Galloway volunteers are among the Coronation Champions announced in the run-up to the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort.

    They include Stephen Carruthers who helped to get a new half million pound performing arts centre up and running for Dalbeattie. Stephen is a tireless youth leader, supporting young people with mental health issues. He has been called an inspiration to those he helps.

    Lord Sinclair, Lord-Lieutenant of The Stewartry said, “The Coronation Champion celebrates those volunteers who have made a huge impact within their communities. I am delighted that Stephen has been recognised as one of our regions’ Coronation Champions for his commitment and for his outstanding contribution to the arts, and for being instrumental in making this happen”.

    Matthew Rolfe from the Summerhill Community Centre in Dumfries has also been recognised. Matthew never stops in his efforts to keep the place operating – maintaining the building, organising events, cooking, running the website – and even grass cutting for neighbours.

    Laura Howieson from Dumfries has been selected for setting up the Dumfries and Galloway Eco Warriors. She has been praised for organising teams of volunteers to do beach cleans and keep the coastline tidy. Laura has also helped rescue seals washed up on the shore.

    Fiona Armstrong, Lord-Lieutenant of Dumfries said, “I am thrilled to hear that Laura and Matthew have been honoured in this way. What a wonderful addition they are to our communities!”

    The Coronation Champions Awards are organised by the Royal Voluntary Service and celebrate extraordinary volunteers who have been contributing to their communities. The project has the backing of the Queen. Thousands of people aged from 14 to 103 from all over the UK – and supporting a range of causes – were nominated and from these, 500 volunteers were chosen.

    Councillor Malcolm Johnstone, Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council said, “It is terrific to have three Dumfries and Galloway volunteers receiving this accolade for all their hard work and dedication. Well done, Stephen, Matthew and Laura”.

    Councillor Gail MacGregor, Depute Convener of Dumfries and Galloway Council added, “I am delighted that Stephen, Laura and Matthew have been recognised for the incredible work they do within our communities and for the region. These individuals are worthy Coronation Champions and encapsulate all the wonderful work willing volunteers do, across Dumfries and Galloway”.

    ENDS

  • Youth Beatz Festival Returns for 2023

    Friday, 05 May 2023 12:23

    Youth Beatz Festival is once again back for 2023, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Youth Beatz festival is a 9 day festival with events taking place across every Ward area of Dumfries and Galloway as part of the Fringe Festival, cumulating in the two main days on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2July at Park Farm Dumfries.

    The main event days will be attended by 20,000 people per day and will kickstart the summer holidays for young people in the best way possible. The festival will continue to deliver a wide range of fun activities, musical performances from local and emerging young talent, and will welcome the following headline acts:

    Headliners on Saturday 1July

    Joel Corry – Multi-BRIT Award nominated, London based DJ/producer, Joel’s platinum selling breakthrough single ‘Sorry’ spent 10 weeks in the UK Top 10 in 2019, breaking records along the way. He has since followed it up with further platinum hit singles ‘Lonely’ and the double-platinum ‘Head & Heart’ featuring MNEK, which scored Joel his first UK number one, spending six weeks at the top spot. Altogether, Joel Corry has so far amassed seven UK Top 20 singles in a little over three years.

    Joel Corry said: “I can’t wait to get on the stage and get the party started at Youth Beatz this year, I’ve heard all about it and can’t wait to see you all.”

    HRVY With over 1 billion combined streams and a social media following of over 10 million, HRVY has not just proved himself across the internet and at streaming, but also globally to cement his status as the UK’s answer to Shawn Mendes.A string of hit singles, including ‘Me Because of You’, ‘Nevermind’ and ‘Personal’ mean HRVY is the ideal act for Youth Beatz 2023.

    B*Witched - Made up of twin sisters Edele and Keavy, Lindsay and Sinéad, B*Witched ruled the charts between 1997 and 2002. The Irish group are known for their hits, including 'C'estlaVie', 'Rollercoaster', 'To You I Belong' and 'Blame It on the Weatherman'. B*Witched are back with new music in 2023 and are celebrating 25 years since they first formed.

    Support acts on Saturday 1 July include local and national talent – Connor Fyfe, Torrs, and Alexander Romance.

    Headliners onSunday 2July

    Ella Henderson Ella burst onto the scene 10 years ago with a number one debut ‘Ghost’ and album ‘Chapter One’ Ella Henderson has since ascended to a multi-platinum selling, two-time BRIT Award nominee, with over a billion streams to her name – all by the age of 26. A hit songwriter and powerhouse vocalist, Ella has collaborated with superstar DJs including Sigma and Kygo, and currently features on smash hits from David Guetta. Ella looks to set to soundtrack Summer 2023.

    Ella Henderson said: “I know all about the crowds in Scotland and can’t wait to bring my show to Youth Beatz to celebrate Summer in style! See you all in July!”

    Callum Beattie The Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter has progressed to where he is now: a singer-songwriter with a punchy, rousing, emotive and gloriously catchy debut album that scored a number one in The Official Scottish Albums Chart. After residing in London and Berlin for a few years, Callum has decided to move back to Scotland, and is one of Scotland’s most talented musicians.

    Vengaboys – Vengaboys are Europe’s number one party act, with platinum hits ‘We Like to Party’, ‘Up & Down’, ‘Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom’ and many many more hit party songs, Vengaboys will start any party and get everyone moving!

    Supporting the headline acts on Sunday on the Main Stage are Rianne Downey, Here at Last, Ben Walker and Kate Kyle, completing a fantastic line up for the two-day festival.

    As well as featuring well-known UK headliners, Youth Beatz Festival is proud to have local performers taking their place on the Main Stage programme for this year’s event, with a wide range of acts from across Dumfries and Galloway. Across the weekend we will see Alexander Romance from St John’s Town of Dalry, Torrs from Castle Douglas, and Kate Kyle from Dumfries, amongst other fantastic local young musicians.

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “Our Council is proud to continue our support for this vibrant community event that has been running for over 13 years and we once again look forward to welcoming young people from across Dumfries and Galloway and the rest of Scotland through the gates on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd July. As part of our three-year budget we have confirmed our commitment to funding Youth Beatz as the festival provides young people from across the area with a fantastic and festival experience here in their local community, as well as valuable experiences through volunteering opportunities such as performing in immersive youth led drama production The Toon and participation in the annual Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award residential.

    The Toon will continue to expand for 2023, with the hard-hitting interactive drama gearing up for another year as one of the festival’s biggest features. The immersive drama production is designed and delivered by local young people from across Dumfries and Galloway and provides festival attendees with accurate and relevant information and advice when dealing with issues that commonly affect their lives. The issues displayed in the production are chosen by the young people, and include – knife crime, poverty, bullying, domestic violence and sectarianism to name a few.

    The Youth Work Area will also be back for this year’s festival and will contain some old favourites such as creative arts and crafts activities, a youth information zone, chill out areas and the opportunity to win meet and greet tickets to see your favourite headliners!

    As well as the Main Stage, Youth Beatz 2023 will have an additional two stages. The Second Stage will be dedicated to up-and-coming singers and musicians from across our region. The Second Stage is being programmed in partnership with Dumfries Music Collective (DMC). DMC is a platform for the music industry in Dumfries and Galloway, and they run a programme of music education and events throughout the year. DMC aims to educate a wide range of audiences, and to encourage them to understand, celebrate, participate in and be supportive of the local contemporary music community. The work of DMC ties in with the ethos of Youth Beatz Festival, and we are delighted to have them on board for 2023.

    The Third Stage will provide entertainment from dance groups coming from the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway to perform at Youth Beatz 2023, including dance groups, cheerleading squads and solo performers from Stranraer, Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Lockerbie.

    Festival organisers are working with partners to ensure that Youth Beatz 2023 is as inclusive and accessible as possible, with a working group recently established in order to ensure that the festival is fully accessible and equipped to cater to the needs of everyone who wishes to attend. If you are interested in the work of this group, or feel that you may have a contribution, please use the contact details below to get in touch.

    The main Youth Beatz days will end a seven-day Fringe Festival which will see a number of fun community-based events taking place across every Ward area, providing towns and villages the length and breadth of Dumfries and Galloway with events for young people. The events will be developed and delivered in partnership with schools and various other community groups and organisations and will provide a series of fun activities and experiences.

    Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon said: “Youth Beatz is more than just a music festival. It inspires young people to take a more active role in their community, instilling a sense of civic pride and activism and allowing young people to feel a sense of ownership. The range of activities that are available on the event days and during the Fringe Festival support our young people to try new things, broaden their horizons and fulfil their potential which supports them in their future careers.”

    The award-winning event is managed through a partnership led by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Youth Work Service, in conjunction with the Oasis Events Team. Formed in 2010, the Oasis Events Team have undergone a great deal of training and events experience and now work in close partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council to co-design large scale events, such as Youth Beatz.

    In February this year, the new Regional Events Group was established, with groups taking place in Moffat and Newton Stewart to ensure that young people from both sides of our region can help to shape this year’s festival by helping to design certain elements and ensure that the festival is meeting the needs and wants of young people from across Dumfries and Galloway.

    Makenna Harris, young volunteer from the Regional Events Group, who has been involved in the co-design of the event said: “We are really happy that Youth Beatz is back for 2023 and can’t wait to deliver this fantastic opportunity for young people from across our region and the rest of Scotland. Developing and delivering Youth Beatz is a fantastic experience and we are looking forward to once again working with partners to ensure that the voices of young people from across the region are heard, and that this event reflects the needs and wants of young people from across Dumfries and Galloway.”

    Youth Beatz 2023 is a free festival and tickets are available now from the official Youth Beatz website – www.youthbeatz.co.uk

    ENDS

  • Foster Care Fortnight

    Friday, 05 May 2023 12:00

    Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Fostering and Adoption Team is celebrating Foster Care Fortnight between the 15 and 28 May.

    Foster care is at the heart of our communities, enabling children and young people to stay in their local community, close to everything that is familiar to them. This Foster Care Fortnight the Fostering and Adoption Team want to celebrate all the fostering community does to ensure children and young people are cared for and supported to thrive.

    The Fostering and Adoption Team are hosting a number of drop-in sessions throughout Foster Care Fortnight, where members of the public can speak to staff and carers to find out what support is provided by the team, what being a carer involves, and also what the benefits of being a carer are.

    Across Scotland, there is a need for 500 additional families to support children and young people, and this need is mirrored locally. The Fostering and Adoption Team are working hard to provide support to our region’s children and young people to keep them in their own communities, and not be placed with a foster carer outside of Dumfries and Galloway. To do this, the team are currently recruiting carers across the region. There is a need for short-break carers, interim carers and long-term carers for children and young people of all ages, as well as sibling groups and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.

    Short-break carers support children and young people at weekends and holidays – either regularly or as one-offs. This is often part of a plan to help children remain with their families or with fulltime foster carers. Interim carers support those in their care for up to two years. Long-term carers provide a permanent loving home for children for the rest of their childhood.

    If you’d like to find out more, come to one of the drop-ins:

    • Tuesday 23 May at DGOne, Dumfries. 4 to 6pm.
    • Wednesday 24 May at Castle Douglas Community Centre. 4 to 6pm.
    • Thursday 25 May at Hub 75, Stranraer 4 to 6pm.

    More information about venues and dates will be posted on the Team’s Facebook page. Search – D&G Fostering and Adoption.

    Councillor Pauline Drysdale, Chair of the Social Work Committee said: “The Fostering and Adoption team play a vital role in supporting children and young people in our region, and to those who care for them. There is a robust information, enrolment and training programme in place for those wishing to be a foster carer, and I’d encourage anyone interested to come to one of the drop-ins, speak to staff and others in the foster carer community to see if it’s for you.”

    Vice Chair of the Social Work Committee, Councillor Chrissie Hill added: “Carers come from all kinds of backgrounds – ethnic, religious, cultural and language. It doesn't matter if you are single, living with a partner, married or a same sex couple. If you are patient, kind, fun and enjoys a challenge, then caring could be for you.”

    You can contact the Fostering and Adoption team on 01387 260 068 or email fosteringandadoption@dumgal.gov.uk where experienced staff will be pleased to answer your questions and provide support and advice about taking the next step.

    You can read more information at: https://fostering.dumgal.gov.uk


    ENDS

  • Stranraer Museum Repairs

    Thursday, 04 May 2023 13:47

    Work at Stranraer Museum has been progressing well with key tasks taking place such as the careful removal of paint and cement render from the stonework and opening-up the roof and interior walls. Buildings of the Museum’s nature and age are challenging and introduce unknowns to planned traditional construction. As the project is progressing it is becoming apparent Stranraer Museum has its own challenges and unknowns which could only be identified once work was underway and full scaffolding in place.

    Comprehensive examination has highlighted some additional work required and the project design team have been working tirelessly alongside the contractor to mitigate challenges and identify the best solutions to assist with delivery of the project. Modern design solutions which protect the character of the building while ensuring it meets 21st Century standards are being implemented. This intricate work is being delivered by a specialist team that includes architects, structural engineers and stonemasons working to the highest standard in historic building conservation. The result will ensure the building can continue to contribute to the quality of Stranraer town centre well into the future and is painstaking and detailed in its nature.

    With the information now available, the work programme has been revised and will be completed by the end of August 2023. This will require the continued closure of Church Street to vehicle traffic given the scaffolding and site compound arrangements required to protect the workforce and the public while work is in progress.

    Councillor Ian Carruthers, Chair of the Council’s Economy and Resources Committee said, “The Council is grateful for the continued understanding of the local community while these essential repairs to Stranraer Museum are carried out. This work demonstrates our commitment to investment in Stranraer town centre as part of our economic development strategy for the area. The nature of historic buildings makes their repair particularly demanding however these places contribute enormously to the unique character of our towns and are an important part of our local heritage.”

    Councillor David Inglis, Vice Chair of the Council’s E&R Committee added, “Key historic attractions like Stranraer Museum play a vital part in bringing visitors to the town which in turn supports our local economy. The Museum complements other tourism initiatives developing in the area such as watersports’ activities and provides an important educational service for the local community The Museum building has fulfilled many civic functions in its 247 year history and the current work will ensure it remains an asset to local people well into the future. The understanding of the local community while this work is undertaken is greatly appreciated.”

    The Museum repair work is being enabled by funding from Historic Environment Scotland as part of Stranraer Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) project along with funding from Dumfries and Galloway Council.

  • Dumfries and Galloway Council Design Awards for 2023 - Launch 2nd May 2023

    Tuesday, 02 May 2023 14:21

    Our Council is delighted to announce the launch of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Design Awards for 2023. This year’s awards are for development or building works completed between 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2023.

    Dumfries and Galloway Design Awards first took place in 2016 and again in 2019. The awards set out to recognise, celebrate and promote design that provides new, restored and/or adapted buildings and places which have been conceived and developed sensitively, in a manner that will help the region meet its environmental goals.

    Development slowed down in the last few years due to lockdown restrictions, so the 2023 Design Awards cover a 4-year period, for projects completed between the 1st April 2019 and 31st March 2023. The Awards are organised by the Council’s Local Development Plan Team.

    The shortlisted projects will be considered by three prestigious judges, who are independent of the Council, who will select which projects they consider deserve recognition.

    There are no pre-decided categories because we have recognised that some of the entries in previous design awards could not be neatly assigned to a single category. Entrants should describe their project, referring to the criteria in the Judging Considerations and the judges will decide which entry should receive an Award or a Commendation.

    There is no entry fee. Applications should be submitted by 5.00pm on 15th June 2023. For full terms and conditions go to: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/26629/Dumfries-and-Galloway-Council-Design-Awards-2023

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Directorate, Councillor Ian Carruthers said: “I am pleased to see these awards returning as they have proved extremely popular in the past. This is an opportunity to present the best design and architecture that our region has to offer. It is about our skilled local builders and craftspeople, showcasing innovative and traditional skills. It’s also about home owners being proud to show what they’ve done with their own buildings. I very much look forward to seeing the entries.”

    Vice Chair, Councillor David Inglis said: “It’s great news that this is returning. The Dumfries and Galloway Council Design Awards aim to recognise, promote, and celebrate examples of exceptional design quality within both the urban and rural parts of our region. It’s not just for completed ‘showcase’ new-builds. In the past we have had extensions, historic restorations, fantastic eco-friendly houses and adaptations to residential and non-residential buildings, which has generated a lot of positive interest in our region’s architecture.”

  • Council Agrees Investment in Inclusive Play Parks

    Tuesday, 25 April 2023 13:15

    Councillors at Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee met on 4 April and received an update in relation to the Scottish Government’s Play Park Renewal Fund. Elected members agreed to allocate £1.250m from the Scottish Government’s Play Park Renewal Fund across Dumfries and Galloway during the next three financial years from 2023/24 to 2025/26. This will mean an additional ten inclusive play parks will be established. The initial five locations will be Whithorn, Gatehouse of Fleet, Dalbeattie, Sanquhar and Canonbie. The final five locations for inclusive parks through this fund will be agreed through engagement with members of the public and community groups.

    Castle Douglas is the final project of the current seven inclusive play parks that have been installed since 2018. The project at Castle Douglas has been achieved in partnership between the Dumfries and Galloway Council and CDDF (Castle Douglas Development Forum), who have raised funds independently to add to the council allocation of £125k.This is a significant achievement, and work continues to raise funds for and to install a changing places toilet next to the new park.

    The other six inclusive play parks completed so far are:

    • Stair Park, Stranraer
    • Catherine Street, Dumfries
    • Kirkland Drive, Kelloholm
    • McJerrow Park, Lockerbie
    • Weyroc Park, Annan
    • Douglas Park, Newton Stewart

    The Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee, Councillor Ian Blake said: “I am delighted that Inclusive Play Park at Carlingwark Loch in Castle Douglas is expected to be completed by the end of June in time for the school holidays. The play park is one of seven high quality facilities that have been designed and are being installed throughout the region and will be a terrific asset and addition to this already beautiful area. We are delighted to have agreed the funding of £1.250m for ten more inclusive play parks to be installed in more communities across the region”.

    Working with communities and partners, Dumfries and Galloway Council has been successfully improving play park facilities across the region. The importance of play and healthy lifestyles is very high, and so the opportunity to establish a further ten inclusive play parks reaffirms the commitment and ambition to this work. Principal partners, such as the CDDF, are vital to ensure the projects move forward in their communities, and it is hoped that partnerships such as this will develop around the new inclusive play parks.

    Vice Chair of Communities Committee, Councillor Jackie McCamon added: “It is built into the ethos of Dumfries and Galloway Council to work collaboratively with communities and individuals to make a greater difference to the towns, villages and communities across our region. We know that by working together and providing support to communities, we can enhance the development of these inclusive play parks to best suit the needs of the local area and those who will benefit from this investment”.

  • Exam Diet Underway

    Monday, 24 April 2023 18:30

    Learners across our secondary schools will begin their exams next week as the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exam diet begins today (Monday 24 April.)

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

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

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

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

    “We know what results day will be on the 8th of August this year, and for many if not all, this will seem like a lifetime to wait for the results of this year’s exams. I would urge our young, inspiring learners to use the support networks that are available if they’re struggling during or after their exams. There’s some excellent resources available on the SQA website (Learner support for National Qualifications in 2022-23 - SQA) as well as help and advice from our own teaching staff within our schools.”

  • Langholm Academy Inspection Success

    Monday, 24 April 2023 11:43

    In January 2023, a team of inspectors from Education Scotland visited Langholm Academy to find out how well young people are learning and achieving. Inspectors evaluated Langholm Academy’s learning, teaching and assessment as ‘Good‘, and raising attainment and achievement as ‘Good’.

    In a letter to parents, Education Scotland recognised the following strengths of the school:

    • There are positive relationships between staff and young people, creating a warm,

      supportive and calm learning environment across the school community. This is

      underpinned by the recently reviewed school vision, values and aims.

    • School staff's commitment to improve the education provision across the school. This

      includes systems to improve learning and teaching and monitor young people’s

      progress in learning.

    • There are positive improvements in literacy and numeracy levels in the Broad General

    Education and in the Senior phase resulting in greater success for young people.

    Inspectors reported that senior leaders, middle leaders and school staff should continue with their plans to improve learning, teaching and assessment. These should take account of the views of

    young people and make sure they experience the right level of challenge in their learning. Staff should, as planned, work with young people, parents and key partners to increase levels of ambition and aspiration for young people in Langholm Academy. This includes a focus on higher quality passes in national qualifications and access to a broader curriculum.

    Colin Cox, Chairperson, Langholm Academy Parent Council stated:

    "This is a fantastic result that shows how lucky we are to have such a good school in Langholm. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff and the students, and to the partnership with parents, which all contributes to making Langholm Academy a nurturing and thriving learning community."

    Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Education and Learning Committee, Cllr Richard Brodie commented:

    “The Inspectors’ Report is very positive. Young people are nurtured in a welcoming environment and the teachers go the extra mile to support them to achieve high standards in literacy and numeracy, whilst providing a good balanced curriculum. I am confident that staff will continue to show ambition for their pupils and ensure they have access to a high standard of education. Well done.”

    Vice Chair of Education and Learning Committee, Cllr Maureen Johnstone said:

    “It is so refreshing to read such a positive report being given to Langholm Academy, it demonstrates a good working relationship in progress between Staff, Students, Parents and Key Partners, all with shared aspirations, they should all be very proud of what they have achieved.”

    Lauren McLean-Gill, Headteacher said:

    "I am delighted that Education Scotland has acknowledged the hard work and commitment of my staff, who consistently strive to provide the best possible experiences for our young people. The inspection team reported that our young people feel well supported and are clear about their progress and targets. Pupils know what their next steps in their learning are and feel confident their teachers know them well as learners. Education Scotland have validated the hard work and approach we take to getting the best for our pupils and we continue to be excited about our improvement journey.”

    The report can be viewed in full from 25 April at https://education.gov.scot/education-scotland/inspection-reports/reports-page/?id=3341