The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

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


Supplying Quality Staff - When You Need Them.

DGChamber member, Driver Hire Dumfries has been sourcing staff – both temporary and permanent – for over 20 years. It’s part of Driver Hire’s 100+ nationwide office network, which covers the whole of the UK – including twelve offices in Scotland.



Whilst the Driver Hire brand has made its name principally as a supplier of staff to the road transport & logistics industry, Driver Hire Dumfries has gone down a slightly different route, as its office manager, Christine Proudfoot, explains.

“To meet the non-driving recruitment needs of our many clients, Driver Hire launched a sister brand, dh Recruitment. Our main focus here at Dumfries is all about providing cover for a wide range of office roles including admin and reception. We also do a lot warehouse operative as well as process workers for the local food industry and general labourers.”

Christine was recently joined by a new member of staff, Dawn Prisic. Dawn previously worked in mental health management. However she has worked with Christine in the past and says, “we make a great team and work together really well”.

Whatever your recruitment needs, you can contact Christine and Dawn 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 01387 248318

Regeneration Capital Grants Fund progress

Members of the Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee at their meeting on 14 May will hear a report on the progress of the Regeneration Capital Grants Fund (RCGF).

The RCGF is a Scottish Government fund which is open to applications from Scottish local authorities. Delivered in partnership with COSLA, the fund supports locally developed regeneration projects that involve local communities, helping to support and create jobs and build sustainable communities.

Applications to the fund are made on an annual basis and this Council is eligible to apply on behalf of communities who are seeking grants for projects in our region.

Applications are not restricted to geography, size or type of project, but must focus on:

  • areas which suffer from high levels of deprivation and disadvantage
  • demonstrating clear community involvement
  • delivering large scale transformational change with strong outcomes
  • encouraging additional investment and address market failure

It is for the organisations which apply to demonstrate that their project fits with the aims and objectives of the fund and can demonstrate clear regeneration results.

There were 5 applications submitted to stage 1 in June 2018, four of which progressed to stage 2 in October.  One of them, Johnstone School – Activity and Resource Center, were successful with an award for the full amount requested. The Council received positive feedback from the Scottish Government on two of the applications – The Oven, Midsteeple and Kelloholm STEM skills and Innovation Centre – and encouraged the Council to reapply during 2019/20.

There are a number of projects, led by third parties, which may be the subject of the next round of stage one applications:

  • The Oven (Midsteeple Quarter)
  • Rosefield Mills (Dumfries Historic Buildings Trust)
  • Veterans Garden project (Crichton Trust)
  • Whithorn Pilgrim Route (All Roads Lead to Whithorn Charitable Trust)
  • Glentrool Community Enterprise Hub (Glentrool and Bargennan Community Trust)

In addition, the Council’s Kelloholm STEM Skills and Innovation Centre project is being developed through close collaboration with Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Development Trust, Brown Brothers Food Group, Dumfries and Galloway college and Scottish Enterprise. This could also be the subject of a Stage 1 application.



Chair of EEI Committee, Archie Dryburgh said: “This is a great opportunity for local community regeneration projects. We aim to support a wide range of groups, but there are also various alternative funders who may be able to support projects where RCGF is unsuitable. In this case our Economic Development Officers may be able to assist to identify a more appropriate funding route.”

Vice Chair Andrew Wood commented: “It’s great to hear of these successful projects within our area and of the encouragement we have received from the Scottish Government to reapply to the 2020/21 round of funding.”

Castle Douglas to close Stage One of 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain

Scotland will host the opening stage of the 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain on Saturday 7 September with Stage One of Britain’s national Tour beginning in George Square in Glasgow and finishing in Dumfries and Galloway.


The stage will be jointly hosted by EventScotland, Glasgow Life and Dumfries and Galloway Council.  The announcement comes following the announcement this Spring that Scotland was confirmed as the host venue for the inaugural UCI World Cycling Championships in 2023.

This year’s race will begin on a Saturday for the first time since 2010, allowing the Glasgow Grand Depart to form part of an exciting weekend of cycling as the 20th anniversary edition of the Pedal for Scotland charity event departs from the city on the Sunday morning.  The 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain will run over eight stages from Saturday 7 to Saturday 14 September.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Events play a vital role in our visitor economy and the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is part of an exciting calendar of cycling events, taking place across Scotland this summer. With more than 2,000 miles of the National Cycle Network covering the country, the event provides the perfect stage to showcase this to an international audience of cycling enthusiasts.


“As a long-term partner, EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of the Tour of Britain in 2019. The successful hosting of this annual event has helped establish Scotland as a world leading sports destination, which, was key in securing the inaugural 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.”

British Cycling Chief Executive, Julie Harrington, added: “This announcement is a further feather in the cap for Scotland, which has consistently proved itself to be a fantastic host for some of cycling’s biggest events in recent years. The newly-formed Women’s Tour of Scotland, the forthcoming UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Glasgow and, of course, the 2023 world championships all demonstrate the standing with in which Scotland is held in the cycling world.


“We share with all of our event partners a determination that these events should not only showcase the very best of cycling at elite level, but provide necessary inspiration for people across Scotland and Great Britain to get out on their bikes. We look forward to what I’m sure will be a wonderful opening stage, the legacy of which will be felt long after the Tour departs.” 

This will mark the sixth occasion that Glasgow has hosted the modern edition of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, with the race visiting for the first time since 2016.  On that occasion Andre Greipel won the opening stage from Glasgow to Castle Douglas.

Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “When the Tour of Britain Grand Depart was last hosted by Glasgow in 2016, thousands of people lined the city streets to see elite riders and teams in action as they set off on the first stage of the competition. I’m sure this year will be no different.


“Glasgow has a proud sporting history – and was recently announced as one of the top five sporting cities in the world. I can’t think of a better place to begin such an iconic race than the world-renowned George Square in the heart of our city.


“The Tour of Britain presents cycling fans with an unparalleled opportunity to see their favourite teams and riders take to the roads through their very own city, and I know the people of Glasgow are very excited to see this event in just a few months!”

Dumfries and Galloway also most recently welcome the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in 2016, but has been a regular fixture on the route of Britain’s most prestigious cycle race, having hosted stages on nine previous occasions, with winners including Mark Cavendish, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Elia Viviani.

Councillor Adam Wilson, the Council’s Events Champion said, “Cycling fans in our corner of Scotland will be thrilled with the news that the Tour of Britain is to return to Dumfries and Galloway.  The Tour is  a much loved event here, and we are proud of our long association with the UK’s most significant cycling event. To host Stage One is a great privilege that we are delighted to accept and will work to ensure is a great success.”

Craig Burn, Chief Executive of Scottish Cycling, said: “At Scottish Cycling we are thrilled to be welcoming the Tour of Britain back to Scotland for the 2019 edition of the race. We know that major events are key in inspiring more people to ride bikes in Scotland, therefore securing and staging elite racing is fundamental to achieving our ambition of developing a nation of cyclists. They are also a great way of bringing cycling clubs, schools and communities together, and we look forward to hearing the Scottish cheer on the day!”

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said, “We are delighted to be returning to Scotland and look forward once again to a warm welcome for the opening stage of this country’s biggest professional bike race.


“Both Glasgow and Dumfries & Galloway have hosted some fantastic and memorable stages of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, and I am confident that this September will be no different.”

Further details of the Scottish stage, including the finish location for Stage One in Dumfries and Galloway, will be announced on Wednesday 29 May at the national launch of the 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain.

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep. 

Rural areas should be at forefront of new technology

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has called for rural areas to be at the forefront of the latest advancements in technology.



The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP was speaking in a Scottish Parliament debate, centred around the roll-out of fibre broadband across the country.

Mr Carson used his speech to argue that the roll-out of new technology, including 5G, should always be rolled out in remote and rural areas as a priority, due to the savings that can be made.

His speech also highlighted the work being done by Loreburn Housing Association, to help facilitate healthy ageing. The Advanced Risk Modelling for Early Detection (ARMED) technology used helps to achieve early detection, to detect the risk of falls and enable faster support.

While the debate was largely consensual, Mr Carson called on Connectivity Minister to outline when an announcement will be made on the contractor being unveiled for the R100 programme, having failed to receive an answer to a Parliamentary Question submitted in March.

Mr Wheelhouse again failed to give a definitive answer in his speech, only committing to announcing a contract award later in 2019 for the scheme, first announced by the SNP Government in December 2017.

Commenting Finlay Carson MSP said: “Delivering better connectivity is absolutely vital for future economic growth, and nowhere is that more prevalent than in our rural communities.

“As we continue to develop technology, we must ensure that the most remote and rural areas are targeted first, so we do not create an even greater digital divide.

“The SNP Government have continually talked up their R100 scheme, but it is extremely disappointing that despite sustained pressure, the Minister still cannot give me a precise date as to when the contractor will be announced for the project, considering it was announced towards the end of 2017.

“We have a lot of innovative technological schemes across Dumfries and Galloway, including the excellent ARMED technology at Loreburn Housing, which has had some wonderful results.

“As the shadow spokesperson on the Digital Economy, I will be continuing to push for improvements in our connectivity to ensure that all our communities can reap the benefits in the coming years, through the required investment in the R100 scheme.


South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has urged business in the DG12 area to engage with the newly established Annan Solutions Team to help develop an Economic Action Plan for the area.



The Annan Solutions Team formally opened their doors at the Annan Business Park last month following a successful bid for funding to the South of Scotland Economic Partnership from Dumfries and Galloway Council. The Solutions Team were formed with the aim of helping to build the economy of Annan and the wider DG12 area following the closure of Pinneys in August 2018.

On a visit to the Annan Solutions Team offices, Colin Smyth MSP learned of some of the early work that has been carried out since the offices opened only a month ago. Colin Smyth also learned of the early plans in place to start a community consultation that will feed into an Economic Action Plan.

Colin Smyth said, “The Annan Solutions Team who have hit the ground running in a bid to support local businesses to help grow the economy of Annan and the wider DG12 area. From engaging and supporting existing businesses who may grow in the future, proving advice to businesses looking to expand into the area and supporting the new owners of the Pinneys site with recruitment, the Solutions Team are already making a real difference.

In recovering from the loss of Pinneys the Solutions Team will play a huge role in helping those seeking for a jobs and supporting local businesses to succeed and grow.

Shortly after the closure of Pinneys was announced I called for an Economic Action Plan to be created to attract public sector investment targeted at growing the economy and creating jobs. I am very pleased to hear that the Solutions Team are starting to work on a community consultation to give local people a say in that Economic Action Plan. Both the UK and Scottish Government’s should be ready to fund that Action Plan to ensure we protect and grow the economy and the number of jobs locally. In the meantime I would urge local businesses and others to enage in the process and ensure this is plan that will make a real long term difference to the local economy”