DR CHRIS MILES, PARTNERSHIP CONVENER
I took on the role of Convenor at the Annual General Meeting in October 2019, having joined the Board in 2017. I took over the role from Andy McNab and I want to pay tribute to his contribution to SUP’s story given his untimely death earlier this year. Andy joined the SUP Board in June 2013, taking over from John Thomson as Convenor in October 2017. He continued until he had to step down at the end of his sixth year on the Board at the AGM in October 2019, which coincided with him becoming ill. Andy was a great supporter of the Southern Uplands Partnership and Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and willingly
shared his wealth of experience as an environmental consultant. I don’t think he missed more than one Board meeting in his time with us. We miss his gentle good humour and wisdom.
I have had a long association with SUP, having been present at the birth and able to follow its journey through the various twists and turns when I was with Scottish Natural Heritage. Now being a Trustee I can appreciate more clearly the challenges of running an NGO constantly in search of funds. These are needed to sustain the pursuit of its objectives. Seeing the dedication that working for such an organisation with such goals brings out of staff and volunteers is also inspirational.
It has continued to be busy this year with the ongoing challenges that are described in the report. My first period as Convenor has coincided with significant events for our work, including the Covid-19 Pandemic and the arrival of the South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE). The one may be relatively short lived in impact, we shall see, the other is now here for the duration to help the economic and social sustainability of the south of Scotland. In response to this, and the pressing needs of Climate and Biodiversity challenges across southern Scotland, we are preparing a new Strategy to ensure SUP is able to engage with the new opportunities. Our aim will be to secure the environmental improvements required to give the Southern Uplands and its communities the sustainable social and economic futures they need.