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Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.

 

Cabinet role takes MP to the heart of Government

NEWLY promoted Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack plans to maintain his strong focus on his constituency despite gaining a UK Cabinet role. 

 

Alister Jack SOS

 

He believes his appointment as Secretary of State to Scotland by Prime Minister Boris Johnston will provide opportunities to raise issues affecting his constituency at the heart of Government. 

Since his appointment last week, Mr Jack, 56, has attended Cabinet and been getting to know his civil servants in London and Edinburgh.

He also accompanied the Prime Minister on some of his visits in Scotland on Monday where they met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Conservatives' leader Ruth Davidson.

Reflecting on his appointment, Mr Jack stated he planned to build on the hard work carried out by his friend and neighbouring Dumfriesshire Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell in representing Scotland's interests at UK level.

He said: "In everything I do, I always remain aware of the huge honour and privilege it was to be elected as Dumfries and Galloway MP and that will remain with me going forward.

"I am very clear about my and the Government's priorities -- to delver Brexit on the best possible terms for Scotland and the rest of the UK, to defend the Union and to help grow our economy.

"We can, and will, leave the EU on October 31. We will be able to do things in a way that works for the country, forging trade deals around the world, opening up new opportunities for Scottish business, taking back control of our fishing waters and delivering fair funding for our farmers.

"The Prime Minister wants us to leave with a new deal. I want us to leave with a new deal. Mr Johnson has been clear that he will work flat out to achieve a deal. 

"But we need to accept the EU has said it is unwilling to negotiate. I hope they change their mind but we must prepare for No Deal. We should not be afraid of a No Deal Brexit and I don't accept the scaremongering around it, if we are fully prepared for that outcome."

Mr Jack, who has a farming and international business background, won the Dumfries and Galloway seat from the SNP in the June, 2017 General Election with a substantial 5,643 majority.

A native of Kirkcudbrightshire, he is married with three grown-up children and lives near Dumfries.

Mr Jack this week stressed he had no illusions about the challenges ahead but aimed to bring a clear Scottish perspective to Cabinet and elsewhere as the Government strived to deliver the genuine opportunities a well-managed Brexit offered.

He added: "At the heart of my role will be ensuring the advantages of the Union are fully understood whilst engaging with colleagues at Holyrood to help Scotland develop and flourish within a strong United Kingdom."

 

Award Winning Music and Drama Tours the Region as Part of Arts Live

Following the success of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival’s 40th Anniversary Programme, the organisation has announced the new season of shows for Arts Live.

 

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Ken Gouge, Chair of Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, said;

We’re delighted to be able to bring a great range of shows and quality theatre to the region as part of our Arts Live Winter Programme, 

“We've got music, theatre, drama, horror and so much more - we truly have something for everyone, and we're delighted to be able to bring the amazing, multi-awards winning Robyn Stapleton home to Stranraer”.

Foot stomping music, thought-provoking theatre and some creepy crawlie Halloween shows are all included in the Autumn/Winter Arts Live programme which begins this August until the end of March 2020, in venues regionwide.

Music lovers are in for a treat as The Purple Felts headline at Stranraer’s RNLI Park Fest (Friday 16 August), Old Blind Dogs perform an energetic mix of songs and tunes at Locharthur (Saturday 31 August), the popular Moishe’s Bagel split to deliver a weekend of performances, workshops and talks (11 & 12 October) then there’s the introduction of the new Galloway Roots Country Music Festival (18-20 October) in Stranraer. 

Newtongrange Silver Band join Scots/Gaelic singer Josie Duncan who is accompanied by her father Andrew Duncan of the BBC SSO, with guest musicians at Carsphairn (Saturday 16 November) and there’s sensational singing from one of Scotland’s best and Dumfries & Galloway native, Robyn Stapleton in Stranraer (20 December).

Challenging ideas about autism, politics, millennials, immigration the environment and isolation are some of the topics covered in award-winning and critically acclaimed touring theatre shows coming to the region as part of Arts Live. My Name is Irrelevant and Myth of a Singular Moment by Tortoise in a Nutshell comes to Port Logan (4 September), Fallen Fruit by Two Destination Language (4 & 5 October) in Wigtown and Sanquhar ,My Friend Selma by Terra Incognita (11 October) in Sanquhar, The Man Who Planted Trees by Puppet State Theatre plays at the CatStrand (16 October) and a double bill, DUPed and Come out from among them, by Ambergris (26 & 27 February) in both Dumfries and Lochans.

Spine-tingling tales through atmospheric performances will thrill audiences and include one of the most well-known horror characters in The Monster and Mary Shelley by Occasion Theatre at Dumfries' Theatre Royal (23 October) while the Bunbury Banter Theatre Company meet at Assembly Close in Dumfries for Beneath the Dust (30 Oct – 2 Nov) with some eerie surprises in store.

The Hippodrome Silent Film Festival will screen Rob Roy (1922) a rarely screened biopic of one of Scotland’s best-known outlaws, shot entirely on location in Stirling and the Trossachs and accompanied by a live score composed by David Allison, at Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre (6 November).

 

The full Arts Live Autumn Winter programme can be found on www.dgartslive.org.uk

Joan McAlpine Highlights Scottish Government Help for Border Cars Workers

Joan McAlpine, SNP MSP for South Scotland has spoken of her regret at the closure of Border Cars after 35 former employees attended a Scottish Government led event in Dumfries to offer help.

 

Joan McAlpine MSP

 

The support event, which was organised by the Scottish Government’s initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), took place in Dumfries on Wednesday 17th July at the Best Western Station Hotel on Lovers Walk.

People who are facing redundancy in the wake of the company going into administration were able to hear about the help and support which is available to them through PACE and other sources. Similar events have since been held in Stranraer and Ayr.

Those who attended the event in Dumfries were a mixture of people including some whose contracts had already been terminated, some people who were still working for the company, and others who had handed in their notices having secured alternative employment.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) leads on the delivery of PACE support in conjunction with a number of key partners including the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Speaking about the closure and the support available to those affected, Joan McAlpine MSP said:

“The closure of Border Cars is very regrettable indeed and is a blow to several communities.

“My sympathies are with the workers who are affected by redundancy or job insecurity, and their families.

“I was pleased, however, to see the government respond so promptly with these PACE events, which are designed to support workers move forward.  I would encourage anyone who is facing difficulty or insecurity as a result of this closure to get in touch with Skills Development Scotland on 0800 917 8000 or by popping into their office on the High St. in Dumfries.”

Help Shape Our Cultural Strategy

Dumfries and Galloway Council has launched a major consultation exercise on the future of cultural development in the region.

The Council, together with several project partners including DG Unlimited, the advocacy organisation for the arts sector across the region, is encouraging individuals and community organisations to participate in the exercise. The consultation is linked to the research and preparation of a new Cultural Strategy for Dumfries and Galloway.

 

day of dance promo

 

The Strategy, which will be published in the Spring of 2020, is likely to propose that the region can become renowned internationally for the quality of our cultural assets and creativity, and that culture is an important contributor to individual and community wellbeing.

Councillor Andy Ferguson, Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee said,

“There is a wealth of creative talent and cultural heritage in our region and the new Cultural Strategy will seek to highlight what a fantastic place Dumfries and Galloway is for the arts. It will also help unlock the potential for culture to make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Councillor John Martin, Vice Chair of Communities Committee said;

“As a council we are dedicated to making sure that people can have their say as we develop our services and strategies. There are many opportunities coming up for people to tell us what their priorities and aspirations are for culture in Dumfries and Galloway”.

Cathy Agnew, Chair of DGU, the independent charity which champions the region’s arts, said;

“Artists and cultural organisations across Dumfries and  Galloway have a really important contribution to make to the Cultural Strategy and to the quality of life in our region. Together with the Council we have put together a programme of opportunities where people can have their say in helping to shape the new Cultural Strategy. We have so many strengths to build on, and this new strategy is a great chance for us to showcase the diversity, range and vibrancy of cultural activity taking place throughout our region’.

The consultation programme lasts until 8 September 2019 and includes;

Survey Monkey Questionnaire - for people working in the region’s cultural sector, including volunteers.
Focus Groups - for industry professionals and interested members of the public, bookable online.
Run Your Own Focus Group - download the resource pack to help you run a session with your group or organisation.
Facebook - take part in our quick and easy polls and send us your pictures/comments.  https://www.facebook.com/DGCulturalStrategy

Full details can be found at
https://www.dgunlimited.com/dg-cultural-strategy.html

CX Project: conditional funding awarded by UK Government and Scottish Government; first key milestone achieved

Chapelcross has come a long way since the nuclear power plant first opened in 1959 on a site previously used by the Air Ministry (now the MOD) as RAF Annan, a training base for mainly Polish Hurricane pilots during the second World War.

60 years later and a lot has changed. Generation of electricity was stopped in 2004 followed by ongoing decommissioning of the site with the site currently expected to enter into care and maintenance in 2025. The first visible signs of change was when the Cooling towers were demolished in 2007, the 200+ hectare site is now gearing up to be a prime location for investment.

 

CX Project Co-ordination Group

On Friday 19th July 2019 Members of the Chapelcross Joint Co-ordination Group, which is Chaired by David Mundell MP and includes Members and Officers from Dumfries and Galloway Council, and representatives from Scottish Enterprise and Magnox, held one of its regular progress meeting on Site which was followed by a tour of the potential development area on Site.

The CX Project was pleased to receive endorsement of our CX Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) from the UK Government and Scottish Government in June.  This aims to create a 21st Century employment site at this strategic location which will deliver some 2000 high quality jobs. 

The CX SOBC was issued as one of the ten initiatives which make up the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal. Following the conditional award and signing of Heads of Terms on 1st July 2019 funding of £7.8m from UK Government matched with £7.5m from Scottish Government money which include funding for Site enabling works and site infrastructure servicing. The next key milestone is the development of the SOBC is the approval of a Programme Mandate which will be presented to Council Members in the coming months.

Archie Dryburgh, Chair of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee said:  “Today’s meeting of the Joint Co-ordination Group and Site tour has been invaluable to Members to further understand the decommissioning process and reiterate the scale of the Site’s assets and the areas which will be available for future development. This is a key site within Dumfries and Galloway and is of national significance. “

With the welcome funding through the Borderlands Inclusive growth Deal the CX Project will be able to attract substantial new inward investment. This will be transformational for the economic growth of our region. We would welcome enquiries from interested companies and investors. There is no other site of equivalent scale or with similar qualities in terms of infrastructure in the area and opportunities should be taken early on to secure future potential“