The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

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


Dumfries Larder selected to be part of Small Biz 100

An independent speciality and fine food shop in Dumfries has been selected as one of 100 trail-blazing small businesses in the official count-down to Small Business Saturday, which takes place across the UK on 7 December 2019.

The Dumfries Larder is one of this year's 'Small Biz 100', a selection of small businesses drawn from every corner of the UK that reflect the vibrancy of the UK's 5.6 million small businesses. In the 100 days running up to Small Business Saturday, the campaign will spotlight each of the Small Biz 100, as part of its mission to celebrate small business success and encourage the nation to 'shop local' and support British small businesses.




This year's Small Biz 100 features a range of unique independent businesses each contributing to their communities and offering something different, including The Dumfries Larder, opened in May 2018, by Louise Matheson.

The Dumfries Larder joins hundreds of previous Small Biz 100 businesses, which have been announced by the iconic campaign since its UK launch in 2013.

Day one of the Small Biz 100 count-down kicks off with The Butchers Social, from Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, with The Dumfries Larder being placed in the spotlight on 3 December 2019, where it will be celebrating by offering a free Dumfries & Galloway / Small Biz 100 themed goody bag to the first 50 customers who make a purchase on the day.

Founder of The Dumfries Larder, Louise Matheson, said:

"I am absolutely thrilled that our shop, which specialises in cheeses, and also stocks a range of personally-selected artisan foods and drinks, has been chosen as one of this year's Small Biz 100, following in the footsteps of other fantastic businesses from the region who were Small Biz 100 winners in previous years. I have been so encouraged by the support of local people and visitors to Dumfries who shop with us, and the customer base we have built over the last 15 months; being chosen as a representative for this trailblazing campaign is just more amazing icing on the cake. We are really looking forward to Small Business Saturday on 7 December and to The Dumfries Larder's special day of celebrating, and being celebrated, earlier in that same week, on Tuesday 3 December."

Director of Small Business Saturday, Michelle Ovens MBE said:

"Each year this campaign has grown in support from government, business and communities alike, and so we can't wait to begin the annual 100-day countdown to Small Business Saturday with the launch of the Small Biz 100 2019.

"Small Business Saturday's increasing popularity means it was harder than ever to choose just 100 of this country's incredible 5.6 million small businesses to showcase, but we believe those we have chosen are true representatives of the diverse, creative and inspiring heroes at the heart of our communities."

In its seventh year, Small Business Saturday is the UK's most successful small business campaign, which last year saw an estimated £812 million spent in small businesses across the UK on the day, according to research commissioned by founder and principal supporter American Express.

This was up from the £748 million spent on Small Business Saturday in 2017, with 59% of people aware of the day saying they spent more than usual.

The #SmallBizSatUK campaign trended in the UK top 5 on Twitter on the day, reaching over 100 million people globally.

The Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Mayor of London were among those publicly supporting the campaign, alongside more than 90% of local councils.

Small Business Saturday also benefits from the backing of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, Indeed and Dell. The campaign is also supported by Amazon,, Square and Xero.

Small Business Saturday 2019 is open to all businesses to participate in and will commence its regional bus tour roadshow across the UK during the autumn, to drum up further support.

Kilt Walk Pops Up in Dumfries

The Kiltwalk is “popping up” in Dumfries on Saturday 9 November with a new, and more compact, edition of the Kiltwalk. Enjoy a 6 mile walk with your family and friends starting in one of Dumfries’ most beautiful parkland areas, Dock Park, then travel through Dumfries town centre before returning to the finish at Dock Park. Ideal for all the family, the Pop-Up Kiltwalk is a great day out and helps raise vital funds for your chosen charity.  


What is a Pop-Up Kiltwalk? 

The Pop-Up is a smaller Kiltwalk event that travels to different areas in Scotland, especially those that haven’t yet had their own Kiltwalk event and gives them a bit of the Kiltwalk magic! Not only will it be a fun day out, the event allows everyone to raise vital funds for local causes in the area. And best of all, your Kiltwalk fundraising gets a massive 40% boost from Sir Tom Hunter and The Hunter Foundation. 


The Route

The Pop Up Kiltwalk is making its debut in Dumfries on November 9 and is a 6 mile loop around the town with a Pit Stop at the half way point. Setting off at 11AM from Dock Park and finishing at the same location, the Pop-Up Kiltwalk is a chance for the people of Dumfries to find out what makes the Kiltwalk so special.



Business Breakfast

Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP David Mundell was guest speaker at an early morning gathering of business people at Smiths Hotel, Gretna Green on Friday.

The former Scottish Secretary gave an insight into current developments at Westminster as well as a wide range of other issues facing businesses and residents in his diverse and geographically large constituency.



Mr Mundell, who also took part in a Q. and A. session, praised the work of business breakfast organisers, Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce and its members.  He was thanked as guest speaker by Chamber president Kenny Bowie and service manager Lee Medd.


A57I0039.jpgLee Medd with David Mundell MP

DGHP Tenants Being Urged to Use Their Vote

Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP) tenants are being urged to use their vote from this Friday (October 18) in a ballot to decide on partnership plans with Wheatley Group. The independent ballot will see tenants decide if DGHP will form a partnership with Wheatley Group and DGHP’s Chairman, Bill Robertson, has urged tenants to vote in favour of it. He said the partnership would bring millions of pounds worth of additional investment with a host of benefits to our tenants, the local economy and the local construction industry.

Bill, who is also a tenant of DGHP, said: “I firmly believe this is a fantastic opportunity for our tenants. It is hugely important to us that this proposed partnership offers something for every tenant – in all of our towns and villages across Dumfries and Galloway.

“The benefits of the partnership speak for themselves, for example – keeping rents affordable through smaller annual increases, more investment and a new approach to delivering repairs.”

However, Bill highlighted that the partnership will only go ahead if tenants vote in the ballot – which is open from October 18 and closes on November 18.

Mary Muir, Chair of the independent Dumfries and Galloway Federation of Tenants and Residents, said: “We would really encourage tenants to use their vote from Friday – as a tenant you have a voice, so please have your say.

“From the discussions DGHP have had with tenants, we know that replacement doors and windows is a priority. These, along with other improvements to their homes, will happen sooner if the partnership goes ahead. We are particularly excited about the introduction of a free handyman service for older tenants and those with disabilities.”

There are several ways tenants can vote, making it quick and easy to make sure they have their say. Tenants will receive their independent ballot paper and letter in the post and there are details on how they can vote either by post, online or via telephone or text.

DGHP staff will also be happy to speak to tenants to explain the methods of voting. In addition, there will be videos on our website and social media clearly showing the different ways to vote.

Bill added: “I would encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote – it’s very important. The ballot is completely confidential and we won’t know how you have voted – but please make sure you use your vote. And if anyone has any concerns or questions they can contact DGHP on freephone 0800 011 3447, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or contact us through social media.”

 Lesley Baird, Chief Executive of Tenant Participation Advisory Service (Scotland) said: “Part of our role as tenant advisor is to independently assess the partnership proposals. We have examined the proposals from Wheatley and in our view they are robust and achievable and, from our analysis, they are financially robust. It is our view that the proposals offer a good deal for DGHP tenants.”

TPAS is available to offer free independent and impartial advice for tenants by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Freephone 0800 049 5761.

In summary, some of the benefits of the proposal include –

  • Lower rents than planned with increases capped at 2% a year for the next three years – creating significant savings for our tenants
  • Creating an in-house repairs workforce where local operatives will be employed directly by DGHP (rather than contractors)
  • Creation of 500 new jobs and apprenticeships
  • Enable DGHP to accelerate investment plans for things like e.g. windows, kitchens and external rendering and also provide additional investment to address issues with e.g. fencing, kerb appeal and improve communal areas
  • 1000 new homes for older people and families across the region over five years
  • Handyman service free for older and disabled tenants
  • comprehensively upgrade DGHP’s technology systems, enabling staff to provide even better, more efficient services;
  • providing a 24/7 customer contact telephone service.

Bill added: “We’ve spoken to the majority of our tenants and they’ve been very positive about this – however, now is the time to make a difference and place your vote. This is the approval stage that is required for DGHP to become part of Wheatley Group.”




Scottish Conservatives Name Jack as Candidate for Dumfries & Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway MP Alister Jack has been reselected as Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for the constituency at the next General Election.

Mr Jack, who also serves in the UK Cabinet as Secretary of State for Scotland, was chosen by members of the party's local branch at a special meeting in Dumfries.

He said afterwards: "It has been a great privilege to serve as MP for my home area at Westminster and I feel honoured that the local party members have again put their trust in me.

"Throughout my time as MP I've strived to be a strong advocate for our area and actively taken up issues on behalf of constituents, no matter what their political allegiance.

"I look forward to standing on my record during what has been a difficult period in national and international politics and, if re-elected, I will continue to put Dumfries and Galloway first in everything I do."

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 5,643 majority.

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


Alister Jack SOS