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



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.”

New Smart Energy GB adviser for Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service

Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service (D&G CAS) has appointed Mirin Benzie as the Smart Energy GB Adviser. Mirin joins the team who make a real and empowering difference to people’s lives in Dumfries and Galloway. Mirin will drive the Smart Energy GB project which will inform and advice people of the SMART Meter rollout for 2020.

Phil Stewart, Chief Executive of Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service said, “I am pleased to confirm the appointment of Mirin as the Smart Energy GB Adviser. She brings with her a wealth of experience at DAGCAS as both a volunteer and member of staff. She has previously been involved in delivering a similar project. This will enable Mirin to identify the benefits of being able to monitor household energy spend as well as ability to minimise costs and offer support for our wider service.”



Mirin, the new Smart Energy GB Adviser at D&G CAS, said “The work carried out by the staff and volunteers at Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice is very inspiring. They give free, confidential and impartial advice and they really make a difference to the people within our community. Everyone has a right to a choice so I hope to inform and advise everyone of the SMART meter rollout to ensure they feel confident and comfortable when considering SMART meters as a potential option. If anyone has any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Celebration of Thirty Years at Stranraer Held

Dumfries and Galloway College has held a celebration of thirty years of learning and teaching in Stranraer.

Students, staff, and special guests gathered at the college’s campus for the socially distanced event to mark the occasion.


It was a special day for one member of college staff, Lorna Matthews, who has been with the campus since it opened its doors three decades ago.

The event was held in the college’s STEM centre and saw cake made by local bakers served to attendees.

College Principal, Joanna Campbell, and local MSP, Emma Harper, were also at the event which was also being streamed to staff online.

The online streaming was made possible using the college’s new VScene technology, which was installed as part of a recent revamp of the college’s technology at both its Stranraer and Dumfries locations.

Dumfries and Galloway College is proud of the contribution it has made to the Stranraer area over the past three decades and remains committed to helping the region build and grow in the future. 

Principal Joanna Campbell said:“It was a pleasure to join my colleagues and our guests as we celebrate three great decades of Dumfries and Galloway College in Stranraer.

“Over the years, we’ve seen thousands of people come through the doors at our Stranraer campus and all of them have become part of our college community.

“Stranraer is a great place to live, work, and study and I’m proud that our campus has made such a great contribution to the town.”

South of Scotland Colleges Team Up to Boost Economic Recovery

Two Scottish colleges are teaming up to deliver a package of educational courses aimed at helping the region recover from the impact of COVID-19.

Borders College and Dumfries and Galloway College have announced a range of courses that they will deliver together to help people to upskill, reskill, and get back to work.

The suite of courses will also focus on tackling and addressing the issue of youth unemployment in the region.

The South of Scotland Economic Recovery Promotion will engage specifically with business, mature learners, those who have been made redundant, and individuals who want to return to education after a taking a break.

Courses will be delivered both online and in person, and will cover digital, construction, food and drink, agriculture, health and social care, and early years education to give learners an extensive range of options to choose from.

Scotland’s colleges have been at the forefront of making sure the nation had the resources, skills and vision it needed to make it through lockdown period.

Now, further education institutions, led by the two south of Scotland colleges, will play a key role in boosting the economies of their own regions and of Scotland as a whole, with courses being offered from Stranraer to Eyemouth.

The new range of learning opportunities will be launched at the end of September and will have a range of flexible study options and funding methods to ensure that participants gain the maximum benefit from this economic recovery programme.


DGCollege Joanna-Campbell
Dumfries and Galloway College Principal Joanna Campbell said:


“I am delighted to welcome the announcement of this programme that we intend to deliver by working with our valued and trusted partners at Borders College.


“Scotland’s colleges have performed in an exemplary way during the lockdown period, and now we’re uniquely placed to strap a rocket to the Scottish economy and help it blast off towards recovery.”


Commenting on the joint initiative, Angela Cox, Borders College Principal, went on to say:


“We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Dumfries and Galloway in providing a range of flexible training solutions, which will support the economic recovery across the south of Scotland.


“Both colleges are well placed to respond to the needs of our local communities, and we will continue to work together to provide innovative learning solutions.”



Emma Harper, South Scotland MSP, has urged people in Dumfries & Galloway to download the new free ‘Protect Scotland’ app - to help slow the spread of Coronavirus and support the easing of lockdown restrictions. 

The app can be downloaded onto phones and will let users know if they have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.  

The app will automatically alert users if someone reports that they’ve tested positive for Covid-19 and that they have been in close contact recently.

No personal identifiable information will be entered on the app and the Scottish Government has assured that it will not monitor the location of individuals as the app uses Bluetooth technology, and not GPS, to identify contacts.

Since launching last night, the app has already been downloaded more than 250,000 times. 



Ms Harper said:

“The Scottish Government has now launched the ‘Protect Scotland’ proximity tracing app, to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus and complement the person-to-person approach of Test and Protect.

“The app - which takes less than a minute to download - will allow us to alert people at risk far more quickly, so that we can all take steps to reduce the risk of infecting others. 

“Scotland’s official contact tracing app will help us all to protect ourselves, our family, our friends and our community by enabling faster contact tracing.

“The more people who have the app, the more it can help to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

“That’s why I’m urging people in Dumfries & Galloway to download this free app, and let’s all protect Scotland.”