SUP Newsletter – Summer 2011

We hope this newsletter finds you well as what has been a decent, if not vintage summer slowly begins to show signs of autumn.

Our various works continue.  We have projects coming to an end and new ones starting.  Our AGM saw long standing members moving on and new ones joining us in our on-going efforts to make sure that southern Scotland is able to make the best of its undoubted assets.

In this edition:

Nith Estuary Nature Based Tourism
UNESCO Biosphere
Revitalising the Yarrow and Ettrick Valleys
For Your Diary

SUP Annual General Meeting
Our Annual General Meeting was held on 29th June at the Buccleuch Arms, Moffat and saw changes to our board.

Mairi.Telford-Jammeh, Simon Thorp and Joan Mitchell left us after many years of committed support.  It is always sad to see committed people leave but they all leave behind a very positive legacy at SUP and we wish them sincere best wishes for their futures.

Sadness at losing such sterling supporters is tempered by the announcement of two new board members.  Vyv Wood-Gee and John Thomson have both been brought onto the board.  Both have a wealth of experience and knowledge our ‘patch’ and we look forward to working with them both over the coming years.  Indeed, John has been thrown in at the deep end and has agreed to become Convenor.  We shall let them make more ‘complete’ introductions to you all in our next edition.

Minutes of the meeting will be available on our website.

The formal business was followed by a tour of the excellent Moffat CAN project, conducted by our board member Chris Balance.  It was genuinely motivating to see what’s been achieved and what a difference it is making to the community, well worth a visit (by prior arrangement of course!).  More information can be found at:

Nith Estuary Nature Based Tourism
Work on this project is nearing completion.  It has been an interesting project to be involved in and we have learned much.
The project has achieved specific outputs as well as acting as the catalyst for a wider initiative within Dumfries and Galloway and, more recently, within the Scottish Borders.

Specific outputs:

Wild Seasons: a seasonal presentation of events and activities that will showcase the very best that Dumfries and Galloway has to offer.  It kicks off with Wild Autumn this October so look out for the promotional literature and take a look at the web site (see below).

Guiding service: a group of individuals with detailed knowledge of Dumfries and Galloway have been brought together and are offering their services to the public through a guiding service.  Each guide is a self employed individual with experience in leading groups and a wildlife / nature based background.  Members include photographers and artists as well as individuals with knowledge of specific aspects the area.

A leaflet to promote the individual guides as a joint service is in the process of production and is planned for launch in the Autumn and the service will be ‘showcased’ on the web site (see below).

Web site: the Wild Southern Scotland web site will be up and running shortly and will include information on many aspects of nature based tourism in the area.

Caerlaverock Estate: a new trail that will run from the National Nature Reserve at Castle Corner along the merse land to the WWT Caerlaverock facility is due to be launched during the Autumn.  An accompanying leaflet is in production.

Wider influences:

After a presentation to the Scottish Borders Area Tourism Partnership earlier in the summer SUP recently held an event in St Boswells aimed at interested partners for a potential project that will use some of SUPs learning and experience to a new group of interested businesses and agencies.

SUP thank both the LEADER programme and Scottish Natural Heritage for their support of this work that has been instrumental in the on-going development of southern Scotland’s superb natural resource as an economic asset.

Further information on any of the above from Project Officer John Sellers on 01671 401003

UNESCO Biosphere
New opportunities for communities and businesses in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve

The Biosphere team of Nic Coombey and Ed Forrest recently worked along side a range of other agencies to bring together local communities, businesses and public agencies in New Cumnock, East Ayrshire to discuss and identify the challenges and opportunities that UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation could bring to in 2012.

Galloway and South Ayrshire is a candidate for a UNESCO Biosphere because of its unique combination of special landscapes and wildlife areas, rich cultural heritage and communities that care about their environment and culture and want to develop it sustainably. Its geographic spread is significant, stretching from Ayr and Cumnock in the north to Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas in the south.

If awarded UNESCO Biosphere status, the positive impact for communities could be significant. Therefore, over the next two years Nic and Ed, will be working with communities, landowners, businesses, and educational establishments within the Biosphere to support projects which will bring lasting benefits to the area.

The New Cumnock discussion day signalled the commencement of a series of consultation and discussion events and was a joint initiative between the University of Glasgow and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere team. The day was led by Dr Matt Davies of Glasgow University and Professor Roger Croft, chairman of the Biosphere Partnership board.

Participants were asked to help identify the key challenges facing the designated biosphere area and to suggest where new research would fill knowledge gaps so that business development and future conservation projects could be fruitfully supported.

A wide range of speakers participated, including Julia Whitaker of Ailsa Horizons, Girvan who highlighted the issues facing communities in Ayrshire such as high levels of unemployment and low paid or part time jobs. She also touched on the opportunities that can be realised through the Community Benefits Windfarm Fund which has made over £0.5M available for projects tackling local issues in Carrick.

Geoff Crolley from New Cumnock started his presentation with a rendition of Robbie Burns’ ‘Sweet Afton’. He highlighted cultural tourism in the area and the opportunity for New Cumnock to act as a gateway to the biosphere reserve. He stressed the need for local communities to get involved in the biosphere and to use this opportunity to tackle local issues.

Other speakers included representatives from the Scottish Agricultural College, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland, RSPB and Ayrshire Joint Planning Unit who between them highlighted climate change and a declining agricultural population. They also discussed the potential economic value of the region’s natural and cultural heritage if a joined up approach linking communities, businesses and organisations is used to manage and promote them in a sustainable way.

Howard Wilkinson of Ayrshire Food Network outlined the opportunities for the promotion and branding of local produce linked to an internationally recognised designation such as the Biosphere Reserve. He stressed the need for the branding to be linked to ‘quality’ and to take account of regional specialities. He cited Afton Glen Meats who supply all of the schools in East Ayrshire as a prime example of a successful partnership between a local producer, supplying a local demand in a local market.

Following a series of workshops focussing individually on the Economic, Conservation, Community and Land Use issues in the region the day concluded with a summing up by Roger Croft who stressed the importance of a coordinated approach that focused on involving communities alongside the public and private sector.

A forthcoming report of the day and further details on the project including a small grant programme for communities, businesses and organisations developing projects within the biosphere reserve area are available on:

Nic and Ed at the Galloway Country Fair
Nick and Ed at the Galloway Country Fair

The Biosphere team attended Galloway Country Fair over the weekend of the 20th and 21st of August. They spent their time explaining to members of the public what opportunities UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status could bring to the region and explaining how people could get involved. Whilst not the star attraction of the fair they did generate some stimulating discussions and received only encouragement for their endeavours.

The Building Opportunity in the Biosphere project is a is a partnership being part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway LEADER 2007-2013 Programmes, Dumfries and Galloway Council, East Ayrshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, Scottish Natural Heritage, Forestry Commission Scotland and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. It is hosted and managed on a day to day basis by the Southern Upland Partnership. If you are based within the Biosphere area and would like Ed or Nic to come and talk to your group then please contact them on or

More information can be found at: and

Revitalising the Yarrow and Ettrick Valleys
SUPs Project Officer, Julie Nock, has undertaken a widespread community consultation to identify assets, skills, demands and wishes of the residents in both valleys and is busy compiling and analysing the results.

It is planned that this will become the basis for on-going consultation and the drafting of an action plan for continued sustainable living and working in both valleys.

Julie can be contacted at:

Estate Office

Tel: 01750 23760 /

Other News and Information

Southern Scotland and the Communications Divide
SUP is increasingly concerned about the way in which the UKs somewhat laissez faire approach to the ‘digital revolution’ is in danger of seeing rural areas, certainly those perceived as remote from economic centres, losing out, especially as places to come and do business or invest in.

Our concerns is born out by a growing body of evidence (most latterly work done by the BBC. See: and we are considering how we might respond.

As ever, ideas, concerns and information would be welcome, contact Pip Tabor at

Land Use Planning
Using the undoubted expertise of our board members, and through our relationships with a variety of relevant agencies and bodies including the University of Glasgow, we are looking to debate and develop approaches to land use planning. This is the way in which we can take a strategic view at the ‘mega’ level, above most existing strategies, to decide what we want for our landscapes (and the businesses and communities that are an integral part of them) and how we will need to coordinate the myriad of strategic influences to make a jointly held view a reality.

This was one of SUPs founding tenets and one that we are excited to be engaging with again; watch this space.

For more information please contact Pip Tabor at


Carbon Accounting (ICARB) workshop

The Crichton Carbon Centre is hosting two upcoming stakeholder workshops on carbon accounting – one focused on SMEs (September), and one on the tourism sector (October).

The events are part of the Initiative for Carbon Accounting (ICARB) workshop series.  ICARB is a group of academics, politicians and consultants working to create a common Rule Book for Carbon Accounting.  The Rule Book will provide a relevant, complete, transparent, consistent and accurate methodology and accompanying best practice guidance for all sectors of the Scottish economy.

We’re keen to get input from all stakeholders to ensure the event is successful in making a real contribution to the issue.  More information can be found at the following links:


10-11 SEPTEMBER 2011


Lusi Alderslowe & Claudia French, Instructors

Course fee:  £60, concessions for unwaged.
Includes light lunch on both days.
Plus £5 for a delicious vegetarian supper after the course on Saturday.
Local accommodation information available

Only a few places left! 
For more information and to enrol, phone 01387 373308, or write

By the end of the weekend, students will

  • Understand more about permaculture
  • Be able to name and describe some principles
  • Be able to name each ethic and give some simple examples
  • Understand the value of principles as a guide to designing
  • Have practiced some observation techniques
  • Understand design process and tools and how to apply them
  • Have seen examples of permaculture in action
  • Know what steps they can take after the course
  • Have done a short permaculture design

A free Local and Sustainable Food Networking Day for Ayrshire 
AM Brown Institute, Catrine, East Ayrshire
Hosted by Catrine Community Trust in partnership with Nourish Scotland

9th September 10am-4pm
(as part of Scottish Food and Drink fortnight)

Workshops on 
• Community growing projects – getting started.
• Increasing uptake of local food in low income communities.
• Local food procurement – opportunities for government and producers.

A tour of Catrine including the community fish hatchery, community renewable energy project, community garden and new cafe premises.

A delicious two course networking lunch provided by East Ayrshire Council, using local Ayrshire produce, accompanied by cookery demonstrations and talks.

To register for the event please go to or email

Places are limited so please book early!

This event will be of interest to Government representatives, community groups, NHS workers, food producers, food retailers and interested members of the public

Funded by Awards for All and the Climate Challenge Fund

The Holywood Trust Conference for Anyone Working with Young People


“During and since participation on the Rural Leadership Programme I have implemented a new business structure to enable growth from a small company to a medium sized company. We are developing additional services and employing more people to assist us with this”. Quote from a past Rural Leader

Are you an ambitious farmer or rural business manager involved in running or working in a small to medium sized rural business in Scotland and looking to develop your leadership skills and grow your business? If so, Scottish Enterprise’s Rural Leadership Programme may be right for you. For some participants it has acted as a catalyst to take their business to the next level, for others it has been a life or career changing experience.
Spread over 12 days with participation from late October 2011 to March 2012, the programme represents a fantastic opportunity for anyone working in the rural sector to develop the leadership skills, network of contacts and rural and political knowledge that can enhance their business and the role they play in the wider rural community.
Already the programme is making a difference. There is clear evidence that the experience participants have gained by being on the programme is changing the way businesses are being led and managed with a clear demonstration of a focus on strategy, staff motivation and collaborative working towards clear and shared objectives. This in time will lead to more effective, efficient, competitive and sustainable rural businesses across Scotland.
The programme is primarily intended for those running or involved in small to medium sized rural businesses however applications will be considered from individuals who work in the wider rural economy who wish to develop their leadership skills and make a greater contribution to Scotland’s rural economy.

The Rural Leadership Programme aims to equip future rural leaders with the necessary leadership skills to help rural businesses lead the way to success through increased confidence, widening boundaries, building industry and parliamentary trust, providing an awareness of rural economic and broader issues and introducing individuals to the wider rural leadership network.
The programme will equip group members with:
The confidence to take the lead
An understanding of the role of key institutions in the rural economy
A high level of communication and interpersonal skills
An ability to think globally and act locally
An awareness of the important economic and social issues
The confidence to make decisions and negotiate desired outcomes
An understanding of the political scene and political decision making process at all levels
An ability to efficiently get things done
The ability to identify innovative solutions to challengesIn turn Scottish Enterprise believes this will lead to Scottish rural business leaders creating growth in rural Scotland through strong leadership, team working, networking, influencing and ultimately by being ambitious.

The many and diverse interests in Scotland’s rural economy and the current economic environment make successful and effective leadership more important than ever. Rural Leadership programmes have been run successfully in many countries and work on the premise that investment in enthusiastic and ambitious individuals produces a lasting legacy in their business, sector and community for the rest of their lives.
To date over 200 rural leaders have completed the unique Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme and SAC are delivering the 2011/12 programme on behalf of Scottish Enterprise. We are now looking for a total of 45 applicants across the Scottish Enterprise area who will be formed into 3 groups around:
North East and East Scotland.
West Central and South West Scotland.
East Central and South East Scotland.

Whether you join the programme as someone who does not feel they have “leadership capability” or join with extensive business experience and directorships, the result is the same. You will gain in confidence and use your experience to realise your potential. You will also gain a wide network of contacts and learn how to engage effectively with other organisations.
Participants have come from a diverse mix of rural occupations including farmers, those involved in tourism and the food and drink sectors as well as vets, auctioneers, estate managers, the processing sector, the supply trade and other rural businesses. The most important criterion is a desire to improve and grow your own business and/or the performance of the rural sector.

Come along and find out more… 
SAC will be running a series of informal information evenings for those who are interested in finding out more about the Rural Leadership Programme and hearing from past participants about their experience of their Leadership journey. The evening events will take place on the following dates:

North East Scotland – Thursday 18 August 2011 (contact Alistair Laing, SAC Facilitator on 07979 245909)
West Scotland – Thursday 25 August 2011 (contact Douglas Bell, SAC Facilitator on 07803 222376)
East Scotland – Tuesday 30 August 2011 (contact Iain Riddell, SAC Facilitator on 07884 118208)

If you are unable to attend the meeting in your area you are welcome to join one of the other evening meetings. Alternatively if none of the dates are suitable (and we appreciate this is a busy period for many businesses) please contact one of the SAC Facilitators listed above for an informal discussion about the Rural Leadership Programme.

Scottish Natural Heritage Events for September 2011Scottish Natural Heritage
Sharing Good Practice

Scottish Natural Heritage have a range of events that are specifically designed to assist in the sharing of good practice for, and between the wide range of individuals and agencies connected with the management and development of rural areas.

The full range of events can be found at:

Septembers Events are:

Taking stock and moving forward in Strategic Environmental Assessment
Sharing Good Practice event

Share Good Practice in SEA and discuss the effectiveness of the SEA process, reflecting on recently published research.

This will be the first opportunity to take stock of what has been happening in the field of SEA in Scotland, based on sound research evidence. It will explore the findings of the research and recommend ways of addressing areas of concern. It will provide the opportunity to explore the solutions proposed and move forward to a more efficient SEA process.

start date: 15-SEP-2011 time:10:00
end date: 15-SEP-2011 time:16:00

Venue information :
Battleby Conference Centre
Battleby Redgorton PERTH PH1 3EW Tel: 01738 458551
Grid Ref : NO086291
X: 308612 Y: 729152

Directions: By Coach/Bus: Alight at Luncarty. 10 min walk to location. Stagecoach website By Rail: Perth Station is the nearest station. Scotrail website

Price: Free

Event Contact details: For any queries, please contact the Sharing Good Practice Team on 01738 458555 or email us at

Extreme weather events on managed sites
Sharing Good Practice event

By sharing research and the experience of SNH and local authorities, learn how to start assessing organisational vulnerabilities to extreme weather events, with a focus on managed sites. Discuss how to use this information as an awareness raising tool and explore how your organisation could plan and manage better for the future, in preparing for a changing climate.

start date: 20-SEP-2011 time:10:00
end date: 20-SEP-2011 time:16:00

Venue information :
Battleby Conference Centre
Battleby Redgorton PERTH PH1 3EW Tel: 01738 458551
Grid Ref : NO086291
X: 308612 Y: 729152

Directions: By Coach/Bus: Alight at Luncarty. 10 min walk to location. Stagecoach website By Rail: Perth Station is the nearest station. Scotrail website

Price: Standard Price: £65, Student/Senior Citizen/Volunteer: £32.5

Event Contact details: For any queries, please contact the Sharing Good Practice Team on 01738 458555 or email us at

Sustainable grazing management on species-rich grasslands
Sharing Good Practice event

More than half of lowland grassland SSSIs were in unfavourable condition in 2010. What do we mean by unfavourable condition and how do we achieve favourable condition? This event will discuss the management of species-rich grasslands, whether on SSSIs or in the wider countryside. It will look at stock types, grazing regimes, cutting and, importantly, the profitability of management for biodiversity.

start date: 28-SEP-2011 time:10:00
end date: 28-SEP-2011 time:16:00

Venue information :
East Linton Community Hall –
EH40 3BX
73 High Street East Linton
Grid Ref: NT591774
X: 359111 Y: 677415

Directions: Please see below for link to map

Price: Free

Event Contact details: For any queries, please contact the Sharing Good Practice Team on 01738 458555 or email us at

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