It won’t be too long now until the Leader offices re-open for new projects. For this newsletter we have taken the opportunity to ask the Leader+ programme managers across Ayrshire, Dumfries & Galloway, South Lanarkshire and Scottish Borders for their views.
News from Chris Parkin in South Lanarkshire to follow in a future edition.
Any group thinking of putting up a project for Leader might like to see the Leader+ Good Practice Guide ‘Making a Difference in Rural Areas – 2005 2008’. The Guide was launched at the recent Leader Awards dinner in Dumfries. Many congratulations go to the winning projects, Champions of Culture category: Art in Public Places – Catstrand. Vibrant Communities category, Port William Youth Sports Centre. Reinvigorating the Local Economy category, Auchencairn Enterprise Centre. Interpretation, Access and Enjoyment of Rural Areas category, Galloway Kite Trail. Caring for the Environment category, Working Towards Best Practice. Jacky Wilson (pictured) was recognised as Exceptional Rural Ambassador for his work.
The Biosphere Consultation undertaken by SUP and East Ayrshire Woodlands in Galloway and Ayrshire is now complete, the report can be found on the Publications page of our website. Click here to view the report. A highlight of the study was a visit to the Cevenne Biosphere in France with people from both Galloway and Ayrshire. Sandra and Didier Lecuyer, whose son spent his work placement here last summer, generously hosted the visit. For the first time we made a record of the trip on DVD, the footage is still being edited but we look forward to making it accessible via our website before long. We hope you will enjoy it! The arts and crafts co-operative was one of the most successful projects we saw in the Cevenne, this is included in the footage, as are the participants views on what a Biosphere is about.
New collaborative action to restore more woodlands, heather and wetlands
During the Biodiversity on the Edge project it became clear there is a need to create (recreate) a larger area of quality habitat if birds such as black grouse are to thrive. It is considered that a collaborative approach to restoring and creating a large scale framework of semi-natural habitats is needed if we are to achieve functioning habitats on a big enough scale. Promoting collaboration is an objective of the new Rural Development Contract (RDC) scheme, and it is to be hoped that appropriate joint schemes will be forthcoming once the scheme is established. However, we feel even these will not be sufficient to deliver what is needed. Borders Forest Trust, Tweed Forum and the SUP have held initial discussions and are exploring the possibility of applying for EU LIFE funding – thanks to a small grant from SNH. To read more click here.
Battle against Squirrel Pox continues
Scotland is home to 75% of the surviving UK population of red squirrels and their continued survival is threatened by the arrival from England of pox-carrying grey squirrels. Despite our best efforts and those of the two SNH funded grey squirrel control officers, the Squirrelpox virus has now arrived in Scotland. To read more from Richard Wales, Red Squirrel Conservation Officer in the borders, click here.
Dumfries & Galloway Red Squirrel Update
As you may be aware Ann Marie has now left her post as Red Squirrel Conservation Officer for Dumfries and Galloway to go travelling to far-flung places. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Rhiannon Hatfield and I will be providing part-time, temporary admin cover for Red Alert South West Scotland until March next year. Since starting the post in October nineteen grey squirrel blood test results have been returned to me. Of these three were shown to be positive for squirrelpox antibodies in the Langholm and Canonbie areas. This brings the total for Dumfries & Galloway to 84 confirmed cases, 41.4% grey squirrels in the danger zone testing positive. Grey squirrel sightings have been increasing in the Dunscore, Auldgirth and Thornhill areas with some control taking place (although the bountiful harvest is hampering efforts). Fortunately there have been no further reports of outbreaks of pox in red squirrels since the initial one in May. However, anecdotal reports of ill red squirrels in Lockerbie continue to be received. I look forward to meeting some of you in the course of the work. Rhiannon Hatfield, Red Alert South West Scotland, Carlow House, Locharbriggs, Dumfries DG1 1QS. Tel: 01387 711804 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Squirrels Come To Ayrshire Schools
Young people are the future and the Ayrshire Red Squirrel Group have recognised this and produced a Red Squirrel and Woodlands Education pack to help Ayrshire youngsters know about our native red squirrel and take steps to ensure its survival.
To find out more click here.
To view the Ayrshire Red Squirrel Group Newsletter click here.
Dumfries & Galloway Economic Development Strategy
Visit the website where you can find the latest information on the strategy development progress and log your views. www.dgeconomicstrategy.com
New CVS Grouping. Four CVS in the Borders have combined under the new name of ‘The Bridge’ to provide a range of services under one umbrella. Click here to read more.
Sustainability of rural post offices.
If you are concerned about the closure of rural post offices you might want to complete the Sustainability of Post Offices questionnaire being circulated by Post Watch . (Postwatch Scotland was set up to protect and develop the interests of domestic and business consumers). Public consultation on post office closures will begin on 22.07.08 for the South of Scotland. For more information on Postwatch, including results of the Difficulty of Access study, visit www.postwatch.co.uk
Arts across D&G
The Catstrand is now up and running! The CatStrand, Dumfries and Galloway’s newest arts and community venue, opened recently with a ten-day celebration of music, film, theatre, comedy and community events. Developed by the Glenkens Community & Arts Trust the venue is already attracting a great deal of interest. To see the programme or make a booking visit www.catstrand.com For those further east, check out the new Buccleuch Centre in Langholm. Older by just a few months this new venue has a packed programme for December including The Rae Brothers, Phil Kay, Phantom and the Musicals, A Chrismous Tale and Panto Pandemonium. For the full programme visit www.buccleuchcentre.com
New Southern Upland Way website
Tabitha Mudaliar, Southern Uplands Way Promotion & Development Officer, has been in touch to let us know that the new SUW website will be launched on the 4th December. The new site is easy to use with interactive features and a ‘family fun’ section and is the result of several months work. To visit the new site click here www.southernuplandway.gov.uk
First Community Biodiversity Action Newsletter from Sulwath Connections
Ruth Paterson is now in place as Community Biodiversity Officer for Sulwath Connections, click here to see the first CBA Newsletter which profiles action in Rhonehouse village focussed around the historic Fair Green. For more information visit www.dgcommunity.net/sulwathconnections.
Looking for a last minute Christmas present produced in the Southern Uplands?
Take a look at the attached Spruce Newsletter for a range of Spruce related products. Click here.
The Cheviot Hills Heritage Project
A new, two-year project is beginning in the Cheviot Hills, aiming to research, interpret, and celebrate this fantastic landscape. Click here.
Red Squirrel Conservation Officers
Richard Wales (Scottish Borders) – email@example.com – 01750 23446
Shona Munro (Ayrshire Red Squirrel Group) – firstname.lastname@example.org 01292 520929