January has almost passed and the days are already longer! Where did that Christmas break go?
2015 looks like being another challenging year. We are delighted that SNH have agreed to fund certain areas of our work over the coming months. Further development of Wild Seasons and its’ extension into the Scottish Borders will include delivery of the Borders Nature Festival as well as Wild Spring in D&G. We will also be able to do further work on the Southwest Scotland Coastal Trail, initially concentrating on the North Rhins. We are also committed to ongoing management of the Biosphere project, Peatland Action (in D&G) and the Dumfries & Galloway Environmental Resources Centre. The Biosphere has a new website – see www.gsabiosphere.org.uk where you can also see the latest newsletter.
Over the last few months we have been in discussion with a number of wind farm companies on how they can make their community benefit funds deliver more strategic benefits to South Scotland. We are hopeful that this may have positive results in due course.
There are a number of other projects in the pipeline, and awaiting news on funding. Inevitably in the current climate of cuts, securing funds is harder than ever. However, we are working with partners to see how we might work with them to make better use of shrinking budgets by delivering some projects jointly.
Our call for support from our members has been well-received and we would like to sincerely thank those who have subscribed or made donations to the partnership as a result of the recent call. We would of course welcome more, so if you would like to see the Southern Uplands Partnership continue to promote sustainable rural development, please consider showing your support by subscribing as a member. You can do this by clicking here.
Wild Spring and the Scottish Borders Nature Festivals.
Things are hotting-up in D&G ahead of Wild Spring 2015. See www.wildseasons.co.uk.
This year the SUP is co-ordinating the Borders Nature Festival which runs from May 15th to June 14th. Events will be promoted on the Wildseasons website so watch out for updates.
Other news items that may be of interest:
Land Reform consultation.
Having contributed to the recent Land Reform Review, we are pleased that the Scottish Government is now inviting comments on a range of proposals. We urge everyone to read and comment on the proposals. Responses have to be in by February 16th.
The consultation can be accessed at https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/land-reform-and-tenancy-unit/land-reform-scotland
Black Grouse Conservation. SNH have published a report on the Black grouse conservation in southern Scotland produced by GWCT.
The report makes extensive use of the data on black grouse numbers we have collected over recent years and calls for strategic approach to the future management of the species. It looks as if the new SRDP will support such action with collaborative projects attracting additional support
Scotland’s first Rural Parliament which took place in Oban in November 2014 closed with a call for action to achieve a more empowered, connected and sustainable rural Scotland. Delegates agreed also to ask the Scottish Government to commit to a national conversation on local democratic renewal as a first step towards radical reform of local government that will bring power much closer to communities.
More than 400 delegates attended over the three days of the Rural Parliament, and in the final session agreed by an overwhelming majority that the Rural Parliament should continue, with the next full session taking place in 2016. You can read more about the event and the next steps here http://www.scottishruralparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Newsletter-January-2014-plain-text.pdf
The SUP is keen to promote local discussion on the issues raised at the Rural Parliament and we propose to hold a number of events across the region over the coming months. More news of this next time.
The Social Enterprise Academy is running two learning programmes
in St Boswells, Scottish Borders, as part of their work with the Borders Third Sector Partnership.
Places are limited so if you would like to attend please register at your earliest opportunity.
1. Understanding Social Enterprise | 5 & 6 February | £12 per person
This programme will introduce the values and purpose of social enterprise so individuals can consider its potential within or for your organisation. This programme is designed for anyone living or working in the Scottish Borders who is interested in exploring the social enterprise model and its potential further.
2. Developing Your Social Enterprise | starting 19 & 20 February | £20 per person
This business planning programme designed for individuals and organisations planning to grow their social enterprise or income generating project into or within Scottish Borders.
See http://www.socialenterprise.academy/scot/whats-on or contact Gordon at the Social Enterprise Academy on 0131 243 2675.
“For Scotland With Love” Saturday 14th February – Castle Douglas Town Hall
Enjoy an evening of music & inspirational speakers as we celebrate Valentine’s Day with a message of hope. Whether you’re interested in foodbanks or community gardens, political debate or land reform, For Scotland with Love is for you.
Lesley Riddoch, Campaigner & journalist
Mike Small, Editor of Bella Caledonia & member of Common Weal
Ash Regan-Denham, Common Weal Lobbyist and Parliamentary Unit
The Razorbills; Nicola Black
£4 or zero for unwaged, from Sunrise Wholefoods in Castle Douglas or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Please let us know of events you think our members would be interested in.
With very best wishes
The SUP team.