Welcome to the Spring 2014 SUP Newsletter.

Welcome to the Spring edition of the SUP Newsletter, I’m sure that after the wet winter we’ve all endured you like ourselves will be hoping for a drier spring.

To coincide with that drier weather we seem to have plenty going on in SUP…

We’ve gone high tech in SUP and you are now able to renew your membership, make a donation or become a patron online by clicking here Every little bit helps us to continue what we hope you’d agree is vitally important work in the South of Scotland.

If you have a project that you need help managing then please consider using the SUP, we have an excellent track record in developing, managing and implementing projects. We are especially keen to hear from communities who may be needing help with project ideas. The fees we receive help us to do the work no one else will pay for on raising rural policy issues that affect all our rural communities in the South of Scotland.

Nature Based Tourism
The current funding on the Leader / SNH Wild Seasons project came to an end in December 2013, having made some great advances during the nine months it ran. Of particular note was the development of the inaugural Wild Autumn Festival that ran for three weeks over the Autumn half term period and the launch of an interactive Marketing Guide at a Nature Based Tourism summit run jointly with Destination D&G in February. The marketing guide can be accessed by clicking here

Plans are now being scoped out to put together a new funding bid for Wild Seasons that as well as continuing the developments in D&G will also take the lessons learnt into the Borders and work up a complimentary initiative so that we can promote Wild Seasons across southern Scotland.

To begin to stimulate discussions around the nature based tourism opportunities in the Borders SUP and SNH are hosting a Fam Trip, that is designed to introduce local businesses to the NBT opportunities in the Borders.

Experience the natural and cultural wonders of the Tweed Valley Friday 28 March 2014

Scottish Natural Heritage and SUP invites tourism business owners and their staff to a memorable day out where you’ll get to experience some of the area’s best nature-based tourism destinations. Meet and network with fellow tourism providers, and get a first look at the new Scottish Borders Explore for a Day leaflet.

As we drive through the scenic Tweed Valley an exciting programme awaits you, including guided tours of Glenkinnon Burn Woodland, Traquair House and Brewery, Wild Watch Centre at Glentress, and an exhilarating zip slide ride at Go Ape.

Along the way we’ll treat you to refreshments and a fantastic lunch made entirely from local produce.

09:00 Meet & Greet, Tea & Coffee at Scottish Natural Heritage Office, Galashiels.
09:30 Depart for Glenkinnon Burn and a tour of the Biodiversity Trail with a Forestry Commission Ranger.
10:30 Depart for Traquair House.
11:00 Enjoy refreshments at the 1745 Cottage Restaurant or in the walled garden, weather permitting, before taking a private tour of the grounds and brewery.
12:15 Scenic drive to Peebles and lunch made from local produce at the Sunflower Restaurant.
13:45 Depart for Glentress Forest in the Tweed Valley Forest Park.
14:00 Tour the Wild Watch Centre with a Forestry Commission Guide and enjoy refreshments made from local produce.
15:15 Depart for Go Ape and an exhilarating zip slide ride over the Tweed Valley.
17:30 Return to Scottish Natural Heritage Office, Galashiels.

FREE event: transport during the day, refreshments, lunch and all trips included; please come prepared for all weathers – To book a place contact go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/familiarisation-trip-in-the-tweed-valley-tickets-10034620821

Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere

As reported in the last SUP newsletter a partnership of Scottish Natural Heritage, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Forestry Commission Scotland, South Ayrshire an East Ayrshire Councils have managed to secure funding for three project officers over the next three years. So far we have appointed the Community and Learning Officer who will be Nic Coombey, a familiar face to many as he worked with us on the Biosphere two years ago. The Natural Heritage officer will be Stephanie Miles who joins us from the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology in Edinburgh. We hope to appoint the Business Development officer in the next week or so.

Once the team formally start with us in April, we’ll ensure they introduce themselves and give out contact details so that you know how to get in touch.

South West Coast Path

With funding from SNH and DGC we appointed Vyv Wood-Gee to survey and negotiate a route for the SW Coast path between Kirkcudbright and Gatehouse and Portpatrick and Mull of Galloway. Having survived driving rain, gale force winds and marauding cattle she is finalising the route details which will be presented at a number of public events in Galloway during April and May. The events will be designed to look for opportunities to enable local businesses to benefit and develop new services associated with coastal access. They’ll also include an element on the Eurotour Heritage Project that SUP have been participating in over the last few months.

Peatland ActionOther Developments in the Uplands

Once again this spring the SUP is commissioning a survey of known Black Grouse leks in the Borders. If you have any sightings of this species, we are always pleased to receive them. SUP is also working with Tweed Forum, the Crichton Carbon Centre and SNH to restore peatlands as carbon stores. More news on this next time.


We are still working on two events for later this year. One will look at the vital role of biological and environmental information in supporting local decision making and the need for local expertise in collating and interpreting data. The D&GERC has been doing an excellent job, and we want to see its’ role broadened and strengthened in the coming years. This event is now likely to take place in August / September.

The second event will look at the thorny issue of “sustainable communities” The need for affordable housing and low-carbon homes; for rural broadband; for local transport and attraction of younger people, are all inter-linked and we hope to bring key people together to help identify new ways forward.

D&G Woodfuel Forum 
Steve Luker Associates Ltd have been commissioned to:

  1. Identify woodfuel suppliers operating within D&G
  2. Assess woodfuel demand within D&G
  3. Review potential future developments within D&G, with regards to both supply and demand.

Using this information the study will then list barriers to the development of the woodfuel sector in D&G and suggest ways to overcome them, via a published report by April 2014.

This should be of wider benefit to the wood fuel sector and hopefully raise the profile of woodfuel suppliers. Specifically he would be grateful if you could email him if you are a wood fuel supplier (or have plans in that area) and provide him with information about the products and services you offer.  If you have any concerns over commercially confidential information please highlight that in your reply.

If you have any other information that you feel is useful please do let him know.

Finally in order to properly reflect your views there will be a wood fuel suppliers workshop on March 25th at the Cairndale Hotel in Dumfries, between 6pm and 7.30pm. Soup and Sandwiches will be provided. It is hoped that if you are a wood fuel supplier operating in D&G you will find the time to attend the workshop. The workshop will present the draft study findings and seek your opinions and ideas prior to publication in April.

In order to finalise our plans for the workshop I would please advise if you are able to attend. A formal agenda will be circulated in due course once numbers are known.

Steve Luker Associates Ltd.
Tel: 0141 639 2222 Mob: 07970 522160 Email: steveluker@me.com Web: www.stevelukerassociatesltd.co.uk

Agri Tourism Monitor Farms
Scottish Enterprise piloted the first livestock Monitor Farm in 2003 and 10 years later are expanding the concept to support 2 new agri-tourism Monitor Farms. The project has received 75% grant funding by the Scottish Government through the SRDP Skills Development Scheme.  The monitor farm concept is well known and brings dynamic farmers together to share best practice, look at enterprise costings and become more resilient in the face of many and varied pressures.’

SE has just recently appointed a facilitator who will establish and deliver these projects for the benefit of rural tourism providers, particularly for farm businesses who have diversified into tourism.

Scottish Enterprise would now welcome nominations for potential agri-tourism Monitor Farms.

As recently quoted by a farmer and tourism business owner, ‘Scotland needs projects like this if we’re to reach the goal set in the Tourism Strategy to increase revenue from tourism by £1bn by the end of the decade. Entrepreneurial Scottish farmers can play a big part in improving the offering to tourists while boosting the rural economy.  I’d encourage farmers in the two areas to put forward names of potential monitor farms.’

An Agri-tourism Monitor Farm is an 18-month commitment for the farmer and family of an agri-tourism business. Support is provided by the facilitator appointed by SE and a management group of fellow entrepreneurs.  The monitor farmer allows the facilitator to study the financial and performance figures of the tourism business and find out what the long-term aims of the business are. Some of this information is then shared and discussed at Monitor Farm meetings, held every couple of months and the feedback from the attendees will help drive the monitor farm business forward. The facilitator encourages sharing of best practice, innovation and collaboration between attendees to ensure that the project has an impact on a wide range of agri-tourism businesses.

For more information contact Project Supervisor, Peter Beattie on 0774 536 7337 or momentum.consulting@aol.co.uk

‘Sustainability and Making’
Forthcoming lecture at the Solway Centre, in partnership with the University of Glasgow, Dumfries’s senior seminar series:

In this lecture Emilia Ferraro discusses ideas in relation to what mode of humanity the sustainability project requires. Specifically, she is interested in the role that (creative) making and craft play not only in personal wellbeing, but more widely in “what it means to be human”. The question that leads her reflexion is: What specific contributions do “practice” and “making” bring to the new way of thinking and living that sustainability requires?

Dr Emilia Ferraro is Director of the Undergraduate Programme of Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews, lecturing in Anthropology and Sustainable Development. Her 2004 book Reciprocity, Gift and Debt explored forms and relationships of Exchange in the Andes. Current research interests include Cosmologies of sustainable development and indigenous peoples, as well as Sustainability, Making, and Well Being. In 2009 the Designing Environment for Life aimed to critically rethink the concept of the environment and sustainability, and to question fundamental notions of creativity and led onto work within the ‘Conserving Ecologies: Craft and Biodiversity’ Symposium http://www.craftscotland.org/craft-news/news-article.html?conserving-ecologies-symposium&document_id=193. Dr Ferraro is currently exploring the value of everyday “making” for people’s wellbeing, a project that began with her period as Andrew Glasgow writer in residence at Penland School of Crafts, North Carolina


The lecture will take place in room 232 of the Rutherford-McCowan Building, on Wednesday 5th March, starting at 3 pm.  Attendance is free, but if you are planning to attend please rsvp to Katie.nairn@glasgow.ac.uk for catering purposes (tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided). Katie Nairn can also provide information about finding the campus, if you need this, at the above address.

Come and Plant Some Trees

Would you like to make a difference to your local environment and have great fun at the same time. If you do join the Borders Forest Trust on Saturday 5th April from 10am to 3pm and join the Volunteer Party helping to plant native trees at Corehead Farm, Moffat.

For more information go to www.bordersforesttrust.org/news-events/

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