The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

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


New Business Wants To Help Business Owners Develop and Grow

A New Dawn is the name of the brand new business which is looking to Support Business Owners, Executives and Individuals who are looking to develop their businesses and themselves to Live the Life they wish to Live.




June Watters; Owner of A New Dawn, was born and lives in Dumfries and Galloway with her husband and son. June is a  multi-talented individual with a wide range of  business experience having worked nationally and internationally as a senior executive both in the private and public sectors.  She combines her passion of supporting  individuals and teams ‘to be the best they can be’ with her experience and expertise of transforming and managing complex businesses and her excellent interpersonal skills to inspire and encourage others achieve their business and personal goals.

June worked for Marks and Spencer plc as a senior manager both in the UK and Europe she led business transformation through the use of improvement science, operating at Board level and led broad reaching organisational transformational projects thriving on achieving targets and making things happen. Responsible for the development of new operational, financial and staffing strategies to support sustainable growth.  She drove the integration of Finance and Buying teams within the multi-million pound business improving stock management and profitability through introducing the  co-location and cross functional communication between teams. Leading and facilitating workshops enabling leaders to develop shared objectives and action plans.

An Area Manager for New Look Retailer Ltd June was responsible for the organisational development of retail outlets across the south of England where she maximised sales and profit through the effective delivery of the New Look brand to customers.  She developed managers and staff to focus on their customer through analysis of sales, product mix and improvement of visual merchanting standards which drove a substantial increase in sales.

An expert in building capacity and capability in improvement science across NHS Scotland she ensured delivery of high quality patient focussed services.  Known as an outstanding leader with drive and vision.  Holding an unconditional positive regard for others she is naturally collaborative in  her style and known for being warm, open, realistic and optimistic in her approach.

June inspires and encourages business leaders, individuals and teams to create the conditions for change enabling them to achieve both business and personal goals. A strategic thinker and a financial planner with an ability to quickly build relationships she is politically astute and able to make difficult decisions whilst delivering operationally challenging targets.  She is logical and precise in her thinking using evidence to persuade and influence others when discussing the achievement of financial budgets and targets. Using different approaches depending on the situation e.g. business and workforce development, reduction in funding or business planning.

A New Dawn provides bespoke programmes to support Business Owners, Leaders and Executives to develop their businesses to achieve both business and individual ambitions.

(A)  Business Coaching A New Dawn will support business owners in discovering their business potential and support them to achieve and implement their plans to move the business from where it is currently to where they want it to be.

A New Dawn will:

•    Work in partnership with you to clarify the vision of where you want your business to be and your desired timescales

•    Support you to develop a business plan to take your business from where the business is now to where you want the business to be

•    Support you to consider your current life and reflect on how you wish to live your life as part of your business ambitions

•    Support you to implement and monitor the changes required to achieve your business and personal goals

(B) Executive Coaching A New Dawn will support Executives, Business owners and Business leaders to successfully achieve their desired goals through the development of themselves and their teams.  Assisting them to develop their leadership and management styles enabling them to perform, learn and stay healthy and balanced  in their life and career.

A New Dawn will:

•    Work in partnership with you to clarify and focus on what you wish to achieve in your career such as: improve your self confidence, strike a better work/life balance, consider and plan for new career opportunities, become a more effective leader

•    Support you to consider your current life and reflect on how you wish to live the life you wish to live and guide you to make, meet and exceed personal and professional goals.

•    Support you to rediscover your beliefs, strengths and abilities

•    Support you to increase your confidence to develop a plan for your future

•    Support you to implement your plan

(C) Transformational Life Coaching  A New Dawn will support individuals to see their life from a different perspective giving them the confidence to move forward providing an objective, empowering environment to enable them to explore their dreams and aspirations without direction or judgement.

A New Dawn will:

•    Work in partnership with you to gently encourage you to explore how to make positive changes in your life based on your aspirations.

•    Support and guide you to make , meet and exceed personal and professional goals.

•    Support you to rediscover your beliefs, strengths and abilities

•    Support you to consider your current life and reflect on how you wish to live the life you wish to live

•    Support you to increase your confidence to develop a plan for your future

•    Support you to implement your plan

For further information on A New Dawn and how June can support you and your business please contact her on 07393284894 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


South Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy Spokesperson Colin Smyth has urged the newly appointed “interim” Chief Executive of the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency to give an early commitment to ensuring the new Agency will be locally accountable.

The comments come after the Scottish Government announced today (9 January 2020) that Nick Halfhide, currently Director of Sustainable Growth at Scottish Natural Heritage in Inverness, will take up the post of Interim Chief Executive of the new Enterprise Agency from 3 February. The move follows the failure of the Scottish Government to appoint a permanent Chief Executive for the Agency following an open recruitment process last year.



South Scotland Labour MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy Spokesperson Colin Smyth said,

“ I wish Mr Halfhide well in his interim post. I know there is concern locally over the failure of the Scottish Government to appoint a permanent Chief Executive last year and the fact we face the bizarre situation of an interim boss setting up a new team and structure and making the appointments to the Agency they want, but  then a new person coming into the post inheriting someone else decisions with little room to shape the team they want. However, given that Mr Halfide is a handpicked appointment by the Government in Edinburgh rather than appointed locally, it is important that he gives an early commitment to the new agency being accountable to the South of Scotland. We need local solutions to the local problems facing our economy so that means having a new agency rooted firmly in the South of Scotland. One way to help achieve that is to ensure the new board has a breadth of experience and skills from across the region when those appointments are made. I would therefore encourage people who can make a real difference to apply to the board before the deadline which is fast approaching.”

Interim CEO of South of Scotland Enterprise Appointed

Nick Halfhide, director of sustainable growth at Scottish Natural Heritage, has been appointed interim chief executive of South of Scotland Enterprise, the new agency regenerating the economy of the South of Scotland.

Nick Halfhide image from LinkedIN

Mr Halfhide will take on the role from 3 February until a permanent appointment is made.

Fergus Ewing, rural economy secretary, said: “Today’s announcement marks an important step in our commitment to delivering the new enterprise agency for the south of Scotland.

“With his understanding of Scotland’s rural economy as well as his organisational and leadership experience, Nick Halfhide brings the right mixture of skills to the role of interim chief executive. Nick will help to ensure SOSE is effective from the outset and able to deliver on our ambitions for the future of the south of Scotland.”

Mr Halfhide added: “I am delighted for this opportunity to serve the people and businesses of Dumfries and Galloway, and the Borders. I am determined to build a new development agency that listens and responds to what the communities in the South of Scotland need.”

Russell Griggs, South of Scotland Enterprise chair, commented: “I want to welcome Nick to this key leadership role as we continue to progress our ambitious aims for the South of Scotland. With a strong track record in building teams and engaging with communities, Nick has the skill and knowledge we need now to turn the new agency into reality.

“I look forward to working with Nick to build a capable and responsive organisation, providing the support that businesses and communities across the south of Scotland so richly deserve.”

What is Burns Worth?

South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine will be speaking at the launch of a major new report into the economic value of Robert Burns to Scotland which will be taking place on Saturday.


The report, titled ‘Robert Burns and the Scottish Economy: A New Model of Wealth, Worth and Potential' has been put together by a research team at the University of Glasgow led by Prof Murray Pittock. It looks into how the worldwide appeal of Burns is already supporting Scottish business and jobs as well as examining the future potential to boost the tourism, hotel and restaurant industries across south west Scotland and beyond.

The report was funded by the Scottish Government and it’s believed to be the first to look into the economic benefits of Burns to the Scottish economy in such detail.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,

“I’m looking forward to finding out what this new report is saying about the current global value of the Robert Burns brand. In 2018 I led a debate at Holyrood on the economic value of Burns and spoke about earlier research that had estimated Burns had generated £157million for Scottish economy back in 2003. That figure will be much higher now.

"Scotland is already a world-leader in cultural tourism, attracting more heritage visitors than anywhere else in the UK outside London. This new report will give us a greater understanding of our cultural economy which will then enable us to maximise returns for the tourism sector and the jobs that depend on it.  It is particularly important to the South of Scotland, in particular Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway, where Burns lived and worked. "

The launch will be taking place on Saturday at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway as part of the annual conference of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies.


South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth has called on rail bosses from Transpennine Express to come to Lockerbie to listen to commuters concerns – dismissing proposals by the rail firm to give season ticket holders a small rebate as a “gimmick”.


The comments come as recent figures reveal that Lockerbie Station remains the WORST station in Scotland for performance as a result of the failing Transpennine Express service- and one of the worst in the whole of the UK with a ranking of 2,619 out of 2,623, according to

Their analysis showed that most services from Lockerbie are still more likely to be cancelled than run on time. Of the 3030 services from the station in the last twelve weeks, only 10% ran to schedule and 14% were cancelled altogether.

Despite the poor performance, hard-pressed rail passengers using Transpennine Express services from Lockerbie railway station were hit by a 37% hike in price from 2 January for a peak day return to Edinburgh- when fares rose from £20 to £27.50. Even the off-peak day return from Lockerbie to the capital, which isn’t available until the 12.25 pm train to Edinburgh following the companies decision to axe the 10.32 am service, will rise by 5% to £21 for a day return.

However, Transpennine Express have said that the only new compensation from the failing franchise will go to the small number of local passengers who buy a season ticket when the company announced on Monday that that customers who held a season ticket between 1 October and 31 December 2019 "will be eligible for a 3% rebate"- just enough to cancel out the fare increase they faced on 2 January when the cost of an annual season ticket between Lockerbie and Edinburgh rose to a massive £4400 per annum. It comes on the back of the recent revelation that the Chief Executive of Transpennine Express, Leo Goodwin, had received a 44% pay rise, taking his salary up to £331,000 per year.

Colin Smyth said, “There is still little sign of hard-pressed passengers using Lockerbie station receiving a service that is fit for purpose from failing Transpennine Express as cancellations and delays continue. It’s also important to remember that poor service is not new from this company when it comes to Lockerbie, added to recently by the shameful decision to axe the 10.32 am service to Edinburgh with passengers now facing a four hour wait for the next train if the 8.35 am train is cancelled”.

“The proposal for a small rebate for season ticket users in response to the shocking level of service is nothing more than a gimmick and small crumbs for the handful of people who have an annual pass who pay thousands of pounds a year to the company. It also gives nothing to the vast majority of passengers who either can’t afford a season ticket or for whom it isn’t cost effective because they may not need to travel everyday but have had to face rail fare rises of 37%. They are not receiving any new compensation for being let down so badly by the rail firm yet the company's Chief Executive is rewarded for failure with a pay rise worth more than the annual salary of most of people using Transpennine Express trains ”.

“In the absence of any action from the UK Government who awarded this franchise but who aren’t doing enough to hold the rail company to account, it is time rail bosses from Transpennine Express came to Lockerbie and listened to the concerns commuters have. I have issued an invitation to them and all the key transport stakeholders to come to Lockerbie for a rail summit to thrash out the issue of poor performance, high fares, insufficient parking and poor bus links and I fully expect the company to take up the offer and be held to account.”