As we approach the end of another financial year, we are pleased to report that the Partnership is currently thriving. Thanks to one particular individual supporter, we will end the year with a small surplus. The SUP Board is almost at full strength but we will have a vacancy at the AGM in June, so if you are interested, please give us a call. The Board is still predominantly male so we are particularly keen to hear from women.
The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere project has been awarded core funding of £50k / yr split between three local authorities for the next 5 years. This is topped up on an annual basis by a further £20k from SNH and FCS and will enable the employment of part time officers and secretarial / financial support for the next five years with an aspiration to develop further project officer roles as funding allows. As part of the delivery of Biosphere SUP will be providing the coordinating role also on a part time basis. It’s great news as it allows continuity of the fantastic achievements the Biosphere team have made over the last three years.
Scotland’s first Wild Film Festival is about to take place in Dumfries, thanks to the efforts of the SUP team – see below for details.
One of the largest Community Broadband projects in Scotland has grown from our work with the communities around the Ettrick, and all being well, almost £2M of capital investment will be made in the next couple of years to deliver superfast broadband to communities that are too remote for the national roll-out. SUP has just been awarded £10950 from SBC to buy-in expert assistance. We are also the lead partner in a bid for Leader funding to take on a project manager to oversee the procurement and construction phase. The Langhope Rig Windfarm Fund has agreed to provide £20k of match funding for this.
Elsewhere, we are working with D&GC on the South West Coastal Path where an ambitious £1m funding package involving heritage lottery, coastal communities and other funders will we hope see the creation of one of Scotland Great Trails around the Rhins of Galloway. We are also working with Borders Forest Trust and others on a project to recognise the Talla-Hartfell Wildland Area.
We are working with the British Horse Society (Scotland) and Hawick Community Initiative on an equestrian tourismproject which will help develop the Borders as Scotlands Horse Country. A parallel project is seeking to make more of the amazing common ridings as tourist attractions.
The D&G Environmental Resource Centre (which we host) is now working in Ayrshire thanks to the Where’s Wildlife in Ayrshire project with Aisling Gribbin as our officer on the ground. We hope this will be the first step in our aspirations to expand the service that the records centre offers more permanently in to Ayrshire. In recognition of this the centre will be changing its name from D&GERC to the SWSERC (South West Scotland Environmental Records Centre) over the next few months.
We are frustrated that the Wild Seasons project is currently on hold due to the lack of any funding, but we hope to find a way of revitalising it soon. In the meantime, partners are managing to keep the website ticking-over and there are a good range of events taking place. The Eurorural project is largely completed – the holiday package developed with the National Trust for Scotland and Galloway Holidays is being marketed across Europe and we hope it attracts interest. We would like to find a way of developing further packages, especially in the Borders. It may be possible to do further work on this under the umbrella of the Galloway Glens project where we have a project that will go forward for consideration by HLF later this year.
Finally, SUP was invited to tender for the role of facilitator for the Dumfriesshire East Community Benefit Company, which will be receiving funds form the Ewes Hill wind farm. The communities there are keen to see the funds delivering strategic projects. We are delighted to report that we have now been awarded this work and we are currently helping to get the group constituted.
With only a few days left now before the inaugural Wild Film Festival that has been led by SUP we strongly urge you to have a look at the programme and to go along and support it.
There are over 50 events taking place over the course of three days including talks from TV Wildlife presenters such as Simon King and Iolo Williams. We have topical debate and discussion with David Balharry from Rewilding Scotland, a host of local wildlife experts sharing their knowledge of Southern Scotland and of course some of the best natural history and environment films made over the last couple of years.
In addition we also have the British Wildlife Photography Awards exhibition at Gracefield Arts centre which is the only location in Scotland where you’ll be able to view it and it features some of the UK’s most stunning wildlife photography taken in the last 12 months.
If the event is successful, there is a good chance it can be made into an annual event and this would really put the South of Scotland on the map of places associated with great wildlife.
INTERNATIONAL CERTIFIED INTERPRETIVE GUIDE COURSE
A Certified Interpretive Guide training course on 8-12 May, in the countryside around Mont Ventoux is looking for participants!
This professional training event is geared to natural and cultural heritage professionals, guides or others who have direct contact with the public to inform or present heritage features or sites to them.
DUMFRIES AND GALLOWAY SMALL COMMUNITIES HOUSING TRSUT (DGSCHT) – VACANCY
Dumfries and Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust (DGSCHT) is seeking to appoint a motivated and enthusiastic individual to the post of Project Officer for the Realising Affordable Rural Homes (RARH) project, which is funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council. Based in Thornhill, the Trust is a Registered Charity that works with rural communities in Dumfries and Galloway to identify and address local affordable housing needs as part of wider rural regeneration. The post will provide direct support to a number of ongoing and new community-led housing projects.
Preferably educated to degree level, the successful applicant will ideally have a knowledge of rural housing issues and/or experience in working with community groups and in community development and a strong track record in engagement across a broad range of stakeholders. Some experience of the planning, funding (including grant applications) and delivery of housing would also be beneficial to the post.
This full-time post (£25k pa) is initially for a 12 month period, with the possibility of being extended, subject to funding. For further details and an application pack, visit the website www.dgscht.co.uk or email Sheila Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For an informal discussion on the post, telephone Mike Staples, Chief Executive, on 01848 332516. Closing date for applications is Tuesday 28 March 2017 at 12 noon.