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The Latest news from Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce -

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

 

Final Chance To Be Part OF Galloway Country Fair

Organisers have issued a call out to local businesses and suppliers to be part of Galloway Country Fair by taking a trade stand to showcase their produce to more than 15,000 visitors to Dumfriesshire this August.

 

GCF supplied Image Hayley Blackwood

 

Visitors to Drumlanrig Castle & Country Estate on 17 and 18 August can browse hundreds of stalls from homeware, gifts and textiles to food and drink and the best of countryside clothing and sporting equipment.

There are just a handful of pitches remaining, and organisers are proud to support and offer a platform for local businesses such as Galloway Fudge, The Little Bakery and Border Candles.

The Fair will also welcome traders from further afield including British clothing company Joules, which makes its debut to Galloway Country Fair this August alongside retailers Midland Clothing and Hats off Oxford. 

Anna Fergusson, Drumlanrig Castle and Country Estate Manager, said: “We’re proud to provide a platform for businesses of all sizes, and to offer our visitors the very best selection of unique stalls to browse. We already have a host of fantastic traders signed up and, with our Craft Marquee now at full capacity, there are only a handful of pitches left.

“We urge any traders considering taking one of our final pitches to act fast in order to be part of a fantastic weekend featuring some of the best businesses from Dumfriesshire and beyond.” 

To see the full list of exhibitors, visit www.gallowaycountryfair.co.uk/traders or to secure one of the remaining trader spots, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

A Dram fit for a King

A new blended whisky from the homeland of Robert the Bruce has been crowned the official dram of Netflix’s epic take on the life of the Scottish legend.

 

Outlaw King, named after the film, has been created by Annandale Distillery in Dumfries & Galloway to celebrate the 14th century monarch, the 7th Lord of Annandale who grew up in the region and became one of Scotland’s greatest historical figures.

The new blend will be unveiled at an exclusive one-off event at Annandale Distillery on Saturday 10 August.

The special open day will be attended by Outlaw King stars James Cosmo and Tony Curran, director David Mackenzie and producer Gillian Berrie, and co-producers Danny McGrath and Brian Coffey.

Open to the public, the event will begin with a Q&A with cast and crew at 2pm. The afternoon will also include food, film props and costumes, and entertainment from members of Clanranald Trust for Scotland, who feature heavily in the film.

A free screening of Outlaw King will be held at Lonsdale Cinema in Annan at 11am, prior to the start of the open day. To book tickets visit www.annancinema.co.uk

The distillery reopened in 2014 following an extensive restoration project to bring whisky production back to Dumfries & Galloway after almost 100 years.

The Outlaw King whisky features premium Single Malt and Grain Scotch whiskies, including Annandale’s peaty, smoky Single Malt, Man O’Sword.

Outlaw King was released globally on Netflix, which has 130 million paid memberships in more than 190 countries, on 9 November. Shot entirely in Scotland (according to the borders of 1320) it is the largest production to be made in the country to date.

The film charts the story of Robert the Bruce (played by Chris Pine), from defeated nobleman in 1304 to victorious King of Scots at the Battle of Loudoun Hill in 1307.

Paula Ward, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “The launch of this new whisky brings together two of Scotland’s biggest industries. Film tourism is booming in Scotland, with Netflix’s Outlaw King one of the most recent films to feature the country on-screen. Whisky tourism also plays an important role in the visitor experience, particularly for our international visitors, with one in five visiting a distillery as part of their trip and many more sampling it in our bars and restaurants.

“We’re delighted to support this event in Dumfries & Galloway which brings the region’s connections to Robert the Bruce and our national drink to the fore.”

 

David Thomson, co-owner of Annandale Distillery, said: “Annandale Distillery is located at the very heart of Bruce’s lands in Annan. It is therefore only fitting that our Man O’Sword peated Single Malt should be at the very heart of Outlaw King Blended Scotch Whisky, giving it an edge that’s as keen as the blade of Bruce’s great sword.”

 

Gillian Berrie, Producer, Sigma Films said: “I cannot express how happy we are that the spirit of all our efforts are forever captured in this divine liquid gold, made with the best water in the world, from the heart and home of Robert the Bruce.”

For more on Robert the Bruce and to see VisitScotland’s Outlaw King map go to: https://www.visitscotland.com/robert-the-bruce/

Outlaw King Blended Scotch is available to purchase now from Annandale Distillery online or onsite shop. For more information on Annandale Distillery, visit: https://annandaledistillery.com/collections/outlaw-king/products/outlaw-king

Exam results show ongoing positive trend in D&G

The results of SQA [Scottish Qualifications Authority] exams were delivered to pupils on Tuesday, August 6th 2019.

3,253 young people at Dumfries and Galloway schools sat national qualifications in a wide range of subjects and levels.

The overall results, from National 3 to Advanced Higher, show an ongoing positive trend over a 5-year period.

Achievement in the senior phase is now looked at over a 3-year period [S4 to S6] with achievement at point of exit being a key performance indicator.

Councillor Jeff Leaver, chair of the Education and Learning committee, said: “This year’s results present a positive picture of increased attainment for our school leavers. 31% of young people across our region are leaving S6 with 5 or more qualifications at SCQF level 6 [Higher]; 46% with 3 or more; and 65% with 1 or more. This, along with an increasing range of pathways to progress offered by the Broad General Education, provides opportunities for young people to undertake different ways to learn and achieve qualifications, demonstrates the positive learning environment in our schools.”

Councillor Ros Surtees, vice chair, said: “Education improves life chances for children, opens doors, enables young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, and effective contributors to our society. We are determined to improve standards in education and close the attainment gap. These results show that we are making progress in Dumfries and Galloway. Well done to our pupils, parents/carers, and school staff for their work and commitment to achieve these results.”

MSP WELCOMES LOCAL RURAL CRIME PARTNERSHIP AS RURAL CRIME INCREASES

South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the establishment of a new Dumfries and Galloway partnership aimed at tackling Rural Crime, which was launched at the Dumfries and Lockerbie Agricultural Show on Saturday 3rd August.

 

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The launch of the partnership comes as the Rural Crime Report 2019 published by NFU Mutual shows that the cost of rural crime in Scotland has increased by 62%.

According to the report the cost of rural crime in 2018 across Scotland amounted to £1.6million, up from £1million in 2017.

The new D&G Partnership Against Rural Crime will bring together partners including the National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), Dumfries and Galloway Council, Police Scotland, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Scottish Land and Estates to help tackle the increase in rural crime experienced locally.

Colin Smyth said, “Rural areas like Dumfries and Galloway are often viewed as easy targets by criminals hoping to literally move in the dark, hoping that the rurality will make it easier to rob individuals and businesses. The figures in the Crime Report show that rural crime is on the rise in Scotland which is why it essential that action is taken. I therefore welcome the launch of the Dumfries and Galloway Partnership Against Rural Crime which brings together agencies to step up prevention methods and to share intelligence to catch those criminals who plague our rural communities.”

SCOTTISH BUSINESS CONFIDENCE DIPS

Bank of Scotland’s Business Barometer for July 2019 shows:

  • Overall confidence for firms in Scotland fell 17 points in the past month to zero per cent
  • Firms’ confidence in their own business prospects was six per cent, compared with 32 per cent in June

Business confidence in Scotland fell 17 points during July to zero per cent, according to the latest Business Barometer from Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking.

Companies in Scotland reported lower confidence in their business prospects, which fell 26 points to six per cent. When taken together with their views on the economy overall, this gave an overall confidence of zero per cent.

Across the UK, overall confidence was steady in July at 13 per cent, in line with the average this year, but below the long term average of 24 per cent. Trading prospects for the year ahead fell by 3 points to 19 per cent, but economic optimism rose 1 point to 6 per cent. Employment expectations rose by 1 point to 12 per cent, when looking at the UK as a whole. 

The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.

Fraser Sime, regional director at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, said: “Current political and economic uncertainties are clearly at the forefront of Scottish businesses’ minds.

“Whatever lies ahead for businesses, we are by their side to support their growth ambitions.

“We’ve pledged to lend up to £1.6 billion to support Scottish firms this year, which we hope will allow them to hire more people, set their sights on expansion, and ultimately succeed.”

Across Scotland, a net balance of 25 per cent of businesses said they felt that the UK’s exit from the European Union was having a negative impact on their expectations for business activity, down four points on a month ago.

Elsewhere in the UK

Businesses in the South West were the most confident, at 29 per cent, ahead of the East Midlands (26 per cent) and West Midlands (19 per cent).

Those in Scotland were the least confident, with an overall confidence of zero per cent, 13 points below the national average. Confidence also fell significantly in the North West, down 17 points to 3 per cent. Yorkshire & the Humber (up 1 point to 6 per cent) and the South East (down 10 points to 4 per cent) made up the bottom four.

Sector snapshot

Manufacturing was the most upbeat sector, with overall confidence rising nine points to 19 per cent and overtaking retail, which fell five points to 17 per cent. Overall confidence among services businesses was unchanged at 12 per cent, but construction dropped 11 points to six, the sector’s lowest reading in more than 18 months.

Paul Gordon, Managing Director for SME and Mid Corporates, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The UK manufacturing sector may have been boosted by the truce in the trade war between China and the USA, which hopefully marks an upturn for this sector and could paint a more optimistic outlook for coming months but broader political uncertainty is expected to weigh on the outlook.

“The fact that business confidence has been boosted in the South West and East Midlands with confidence up 21 points and 18 points respectively could be a sign of an upturn, but we will need to wait and see what the coming months bring. It is certainly a continued indication of the UK’s business resilience.”

 

Hann-Ju Ho, Senior Economist, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “It is promising to see national confidence levels continuing to beat the dip seen in February despite business confidence remaining below the long-term average and overall business confidence remaining unchanged this month.

“Coupled with this, employment expectations still remain largely unchanged from last month, with only one-third of firms planning to increase their staff levels, compared with more than 40 per cent of firms last year, suggesting cautious business behaviour in the current economic environment.”