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

 

MSP says Annan Athletic show value of putting football fans first

South of Scotland SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the news that local team Annan Athletic FC offer the most affordable ticket prices anywhere in The Scottish Professional Football League.

The League Two outfit has emerged as the best value for money according to a new BBC study.

With match day tickets available for £10, League Two teams Annan Athletic and Elgin City came joint first for fans on a budget - nowhere can you watch men's football cheaper in the top four leagues in England and Scotland.

But Annan Athletic has the best priced season ticket at £120, working out at just £6.66 a game.

Commenting, South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said:

“I strongly support any moves that make the beautiful game more accessible to supporters. 

“It is great to see the continued efforts of our local teams to put their fans first and involve more people in sport.

“Annan Athletic recently benefitted from Scottish Government funding to allow them to continue the excellent work they do encouraging people across our community to get more active.

“We are lucky to have such fantastic community-orientated clubs.”

Ms McAlpine has previously called on football fans in Dumfriesshire to make their voices heard in how the game is run by responding to a Scottish Government consultation on supporter involvement in clubs.

Ms McAlpine said:

“Football teams have an important role to play in our communities – and vice versa. 

“More affordable ticket prices go a long way towards getting new fans involved.”

The BBC Sport's Price of Football study gathered data from 227 clubs in 13 leagues across the UK to find prices on match tickets, away tickets, season tickets, replica shirts, refreshments and programmes.

 

Full results of the BBC survey are available here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/14_10_15_price_of_football.pdf

Details of the Scottish Government consultation on Supporter Involvement in Scottish Football Clubs can be found here: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/09/8222

Dumfries and Galloway ‘grass roots spirit’ hailed

People in Dumfries and Galloway will have their voices heard in a national discussion about how to make Scotland a fairer and more equal country.

The autumn phase of the Fairer Scotland discussion rolls into Dumfries on October 20 with an event at Easterbrook Hall, Bankend Road from 1.30pm to 5pm.

More than 1,500 people took part in a summer of Fairer Scotland public events, with social media platforms attracting over 12,000 visitors.

Following the nationwide discussions, an action plan will be published in the new year that reflects the views provided by the people of Scotland.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil, said: “This summer, travelling up and down the country, I have seen at first hand the grass roots spirit come alive in towns and cities, like Dumfries.

“It is mobilising people to attend Fairer Scotland events and tell us what needs to change to make people’s lives better. Countless others have submitted their views online.

“Next week a Fairer Scotland event will take place in Dumfries so that more people in Dumfries and Galloway are able to set out their vision of a fairer Scotland.

“All these views will help inform future Scottish Government’s policies designed to tackle inequality and put in place measures to create a better country for all.”

David Coulter, CEO, Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway said: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity to have a direct influence over the policy and direction of Scotland in the course of the next fifteen years.

“The people of Dumfries and Galloway  are passionate about ensuring their voice is heard and having a role in decisions that impact on their lives.

“We have a vibrant third sector in Dumfries and Galloway, one of the most exciting and dynamic in Scotland in our opinion, and one that makes a lasting contribution to the wellbeing of the people and communities of Dumfries and Galloway.

“As such, we are particularly interested that a wide range of people have a chance to input into important Government policy.”

New Projects for Youth Engagement

Young people in the region are to being invited to participate in two new projects being rolled out across Dumfries.

The first, the Red Door Project, is a new project developed at the Oasis Youth Centre to offer young people aged 16+ a safe space to access support on a range of topics including jobs, benefits, housing, training and employment. They will also be able to gain access to community laundrette facilities and a supply of fresh fruit and veg.  The Project runs Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and is ran by experienced youth work staff.  In this instance agencies will be able to refer young people to this service or young people can just turn up.

This project started running in April 2015 in response to the high demand for support that youth workers where seeing within the Oasis Youth Centre from young people who needed support, or just someone to talk to about the issues they were facing in the daily lives. The service is already having a positive impact on young people and around 12 young people per week are receiving some form of support from The Red Door Project.

A key part is the offering of crisis support which runs within the Red Door Project and is offered on Monday mornings from 10-1pm.  This is about offering more intense 1-2-1 support for young people. It could be more about accompanying them to the Jobcentre or to appointments, and making referrals where appropriate.

Councillor Tom McAughtrie, Chair of the Community and Customer Services Committee recently paid a visit to the Oasis Youth Centre to learn more about the new projects. He said: “It is reassuring to hear of the excellent work being carried out in our region. This project is about providing better support the most vulnerable young people in our community. Through this venture we are addressing our priority of ensuring early intervention, in particular to keep our region's most vulnerable children safe.

The second of the projects which are being introduced is the Youth Engagement Project - North West Dumfries.  This project is forging close links with other community groups and services which are working in the area and is designed to enhance the work which other youth services are carrying out, being careful not to duplicate other services. This service has seen youth workers out on the streets engaging with young people in sunshine and rain. The project has engaged with over 400 young people since May 2015 and is being funded by a grant from Nithsdale Area Committee.

The purpose of the Youth Engagement Project is to work alongside young people who may not previously have had access to local youth services for one reason or another.

This type of youth work means that the youth engagement workers connect with young people in the space where they are; for example, on pavements, in streets or on park benches.  This can be seen as providing informal and positive engagement with young people away from the ’normal’, centre based, provision, which many young people, for various reasons, may not chose to attend or may only do so at specific times. The youth engagement workers are using a detached youth work model: this is not a project which attempts to get young people off the streets, unless that is what they wish, neither is it one that promotes any one particular centre or agency. 

Over time, the youth engagement workers will attempt to establish relationships with young people and their communities. Where appropriate, they may develop informal educational projects that address young people’s needs.

The youth engagement workers are out on a Tuesday and Thursday in Lochside from 7.30pm-10pm, on a Wednesday  in  Lincluden from 7.30pm-10pm and on a Friday in Sandside/Summerville from 7.30pm-10pm. The staff are also using Lochside Library as a base, so they have an area within the local community. The project will initially run for 1 year and the impact will be measured after that period.

Councillor McAughtrie said: “This is a very worthwhile project which will allow the Council to engage with young people who may not take part in other consultations, particularly around areas of work such as Dumfries Learning Town and our Anti-Poverty Work. Through this project, and others of its kind, we will endeavour to raise ambition and attainment, in particular to address inequalities which will, in turn help to tackle the causes and effects of inequality and poverty.”

“During Challenge Poverty Week, and into the future, we are keen to involve people of all ages in our work. Challenging poverty, and the issues surrounding it, from an early age, helps to address the future for young people in our area, hopefully ensuring a more positive outcome”. 

Better Customer Services for Moffat

Dumfries and Galloway Council is improving our services to the public by bringing together the Customer Service Centre, Library and Registration office in Moffat.

In order to enable us to do this we require to complete some substantial improvement works to refurbish the existing library facility and allow it to become fit for purpose.

Moffat Library will therefore be closed from 26 October until 1 February 2016.  A new integrated facility will re-open on 2 February 2016.

The public toilets at Moffat Town Hall will be closed from Monday 2 November – Sunday 22 November in order to enable refurbishment works.  The station park public toilet will be available for use throughout the duration of the public toilet improvement works.

A mobile library will be on the High Street from Friday 30 October 2015 to Friday 29 January 2016 (except for 13, 20 and 27 November).  This will be available every Monday and Friday between 10am and 4pm.

In order to continue to provide all services to the community of Moffat a small temporary Library and IT suite will be set up in Customer Service Centre in the Town Hall.  

Moffat Customer Service Centre and Registration Services will continue as normal during this work. 

From Tuesday 3 November, the following services will be available at Moffat Town Hall, High Street, Moffat

   

  • Library services

   

  • Customer services

   

  • Registration services

Chair of the Council’s Community and Customer Services Committee, Councillor Tom McAughtrie, said,
"We will be creating a facility at the existing library premises which will be fit for purpose and will have access to a wide range of information and services under one roof.
It is hoped to have the new facilities open in February next year.  In the meantime it is great to see that a temporary provision has been put in place to ensure that the local community continue to receive a library service.”
Tp find out more information please telephone 01683 220536. 

Skills for Work, Work for a Better Future.

During Challenge Poverty Week (17–23 October), and for as long as is needed, Dumfries and Galloway Council will continue to address the need to get people in the region into employment, raising their skillset, and addressing Anti-Poverty issues resulting from low income employment.

The Council’s Community Learning and Development (CLD) team in Nithsdale is working in partnership with the Employability and Skills Service to support unemployed and underemployed individuals and have established work clubs at two centres in the region: the North West Resource Centre and Kirkconnel Resource Base.

The Work Club initiative came originally from Job Centre Plus. A range of organisations were contacted in late 2010 and invited to set up Work Clubs in line with their ethos and capacity. Within Nithsdale, CLD already offer a number of services that meet the Work Club criteria – help with CV’s and application forms, interview skills, public internet access for job hunting, assistance with the electronic application process and providing volunteering opportunities.  Work Clubs are a less structured more informal equivalent to the old style “Job Club”.
Work Clubs can come in all shapes and sizes, but they essentially provide unemployed people with a place to meet, exchange skills, share experiences, find opportunities, make contacts and get support to help them in their return to work. No two Work Clubs will be the same as they reflect local requirements. 

Each Work Club operates in a distinct way according to the needs of the community it supports.The support delivered at the centres provides people with training and practical help, which in turn increases their computer skills, enabling them to look for employment and apply for jobs online. Through the process of job searching over the internet, people’s computer skills are increased, providing extra abilities to add to their CV’s. By providing people with new skills they are empowered and feel more in control of their own future, achieving a new level of self-confidence through learning new abilities and aptitudes, which will hopefully enable them to find better employment than perhaps was previously possible.

Since their set up in 2011, an average of 6-8 individuals per week have accessed the service. Work Clubs provide a valuable resource for the many job seekers who do not have internet access at home or lack skills and confidence to be able to fully utilise IT.  A number of individuals have been encouraged to join courses offered by CLD such as First Steps in Digital Literacies to specifically improve their IT skills.  

In addition to ensuring that jobseekers are able to carry out vacancy searches successfully this also meets one of the requirements of the job centre, ensuring that those hunting for jobs meet their weekly quota of job searches and applications. This in turn prevents them from being subjected to benefits sanctions and has the added bonus of the free public access at the centres being well utilised. The team onsite are able to support individuals on request and all staff are familiar with the new Universal Job Match requirements and are able to guide beginners through the process.

Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader, Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council is fully committed to improving the level of skill within our communities and workforce. It is part of our remit to raise ambition and attainment to address inequalities within our region. By providing people with the skills they require to find sustainable employment we are helping to ensure a better future for people and their families by providing the best employment opportunities possible. Anecdotally a number of job seekers have returned to the service and advised us they have found employment and it is great to hear that work clubs are taking on a community spirit. Pooling local knowledge and resources is a great way to help people into work.”

“Through increased employability, we are assisting people out of poverty and enabling them have a better quality of life. With better employment opportunities and a higher skilled workforce within the region we will increase the chances for people to find suitable and better paid jobs in order to increase their self-esteem and support their families.”   

There are work clubs at:

North West Resource Centre
College Drive
Lincluden
Dumfries
DG2 0BX
Every  Thursday  10am – 12 noon

Kirkconnel Resource Base
37A Main Street
Kirkconnel
DG4 6NB 
Every Wednesday 1:30pm – 3:30pm