South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has praised the efforts of Kirkcudbright business owners, Audrey and Andrew Kelly, who have been welcoming visitors from far and wide, following lockdown, to their pub and guest house – the Garret.  


Ms Harper also heard from Audrey about the great work of Coronavirus Community Help Kirkcudbright and has consequently raised a motion in the Scottish Parliament to congratulate the volunteer group.

The group was created at the start of the pandemic by a few local organisers, including Audrey, and has successfully recruited 85 local volunteers to help support the most vulnerable in the community.

The parliamentary motion mentions the breadth of volunteering duties which included shopping, dog walking, phone calls and the picking up of vital prescriptions, over the several weeks of lockdown when many vulnerable people were shielding.

 Commenting, Ms Harper said:

 “I’m so impressed with how businesses in Kirkcudbright and the surrounding area have adapted to meet the challenge we all faced when the coronavirus pandemic hit - and the great sense of community spirit which is so evident in the area. I was delighted to visit a range of businesses and also spent time talking to the Harbour Master, Will Jones, as the harbour here plays such a vital role to local livelihoods and trade.

“I have been raising many of the issues brought to me by constituents living in the Kirkcudbright area in the Scottish Parliament, including the challenges affecting the hospitality trade, the weddings industry, agriculture and inshore fisheries so it’s been good to get to meet the people and hear about their businesses face to face and find out how they’re progressing.

“I understand some businesses are looking to extend their traditional visitor and tourism season and I know there are still many frustrations as, unfortunately, things aren’t how they were before COVID-19 hit. But hearing from local businesses, it is obvious how they have worked so hard to open safely, following the guidelines and regulations and are coping well and welcoming both locals and visitors to enjoy the best they have to offer in this beautiful part of the world.

“I especially want to thank Audrey and all of the volunteers for their tireless work for the local community and have raised a motion in parliament to that extent.”