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Keep up to date with the latest news and stories from across Dumfries & Galloway.


New survey highlights food insecurity in Dumfries and Galloway

New research from Citizens Advice Scotland has found that over a third of people who responded to their survey in Dumfries and Galloway say they are worried about food running out before having money to buy more, and they are struggling to afford balanced and healthy meals.

The Bringing Food to the Table report from Citizens Advice Scotland is based on survey responses from 2,651 people across Scotland, with more than 250 responses from the Dumfries and Galloway area. People filled in an online survey or a paper version in their local Citizens Advice Bureau, in September and October this year.


Almost a third of respondents, 29% would like to buy fresh fish but can’t afford to, while 17% said they would like to buy fresh fruit but can’t afford to. The report also found that 60% survey respondents in Dumfries and Galloway rely on small supermarkets or a local corner shop for their grocery shopping. 38% of respondents in the area were in some form of employment (full-time, part-time or self-employment).

Sue Irving, Chief Executive of D&G CAS said:

“This study shows that a number of people living in Dumfries and Galloway are struggling to afford to buy food, and in 2018 this is simply unacceptable. For some people going hungry is the norm – that’s just not right.

“I am shocked at some of the figures this piece of work has uncovered. There is an assumption that people in Scotland, especially those in work, would have access to food and be able to afford it, but this research shows that this is not the case. Food insecurity is a huge issue for our clients and this survey illuminates that.”

CAS Chief Executive Derek Mitchell added:

“Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland have seen a 202% rise in demand for advice on food and foodbanks in the last five years. That’s an enormous rise and points to a real crisis in terms of the money in people’s pockets not going far enough.

“Since this is one of the first specific pieces of research that highlights the fact that people in employment are struggling to afford food, CAS will be using the findings as a first step to understanding this complex issue.”

The Bringing Food to the Table report is available here:


ScotRail reminds customers of timetable change

ScotRail’s new timetable started on Sunday 9 December and the train operator is asking customers to take a minute to check their journey for any changes.

The timetable improvements will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and more services for customers.

Customers can check train times at and on the ScotRail app. Timetables can also be downloaded from the ScotRail website.

The introduction of high-speed trains and brand-new Hitachi class 385 electric trains, as well as major infrastructure improvements like the electrification of the Stirling-Dunblane-Alloa route, enable the delivery of the enhanced timetable.

Some of the key changes include:

  • An increase of more than 100 services, providing more than 2,400 weekday passenger trains. The additional services being provided include:
  • New half hourly Edinburgh to Glasgow service (via Cumbernauld and Falkirk Grahamston) using brand-new Hitachi class 385 trains.
  • Extended Edinburgh to Arbroath services, providing close to an hourly local service for Broughty Ferry, Monifieth, and Carnoustie.
  • New service between Aberdeen and Montrose, providing an hourly service at Laurencekirk, Stonehaven, and Portlethen
  • Nine additional services between Inverness and Elgin, giving close to an hourly all-day service for Nairn, Forres and Elgin.
  • More than 65,000 extra seats, now delivering more than 605,000 seats each weekday on passenger trains. Routes benefiting from more seats include:
  • Aberdeen to Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • Inverness to Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • Glasgow Queen Street to Alloa and Dunblane
  • Edinburgh to Dunblane
  • Edinburgh to North Berwick
  • Glasgow Central to Neilston
  • Airdrie to Balloch
  • We are providing almost 100,000 more seats each weekday than at the start of the franchise

Full details of all changes can be found on the ScotRail website

Further timetable improvements will be delivered in May and December 2019.


ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Alex Hynes said:


“The improvements we are making to our timetable from Sunday mean some trains may depart a few minutes earlier or later than they presently do. Commuters in particular should check before Monday morning comes around.

“This is just the first phase of the work we are doing to deliver for our customers over the next year.

“The investment ScotRail and Network Rail is making to electrify more lines and introduce new and upgraded trains means we will deliver faster journeys, more seats, and more services for our customers.”


We're Hiring - DYW Programme Director

Developing the Young Workforce in Dumfries and Galloway (DYW)

Executive Team: Job Outline

Post Title: DYW Programme Director

Contract: Runs until 2021

Salary: £50,000 FTE plus pension contribution.

Hours 25 Hours Per Week


This post is an exciting opportunity to head up and lead the project team which will deliver against the Scottish Government’s initiative to Develop the Young Workforce in Dumfries and Galloway (DYW).

The job is a real opportunity to make a positive difference to the future prospects of young people in Dumfries and Galloway.

For employment purposes this post will be contracted to Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce who have been appointed to provide this service on behalf of the DYW Board.

Reporting to: The Chair & the Regional DYW Board for performance purposes and to the Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce Board (on administration & personnel matters).

Location: Dumfries

Hillhead House, The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries DG1 4UQ.

Programme Director’s main purpose will be to lead on the development of activities to support the DYW agenda and to manage and co-ordinate a small team of 3 staff (detailed Job Outline below).

Applicants should have a broad understanding of the aims and objectives of DYW and be able to demonstrate experience of leading and managing people to successful outcomes.

Given the recognised challenges, the Board is looking for a high performing individual who will be able to create and maintain strategic partnerships and operate effectively in both the business and education sectors.

The successful applicant will be persuasive, resolute and energetic and will have a first class opportunity to influence this important aspect of the Scottish Government’s agenda for youth employment in Scotland in one of the county’s key economic locations.

The successful applicant will also act as an ambassador for Dumfries and Galloway Chamber of Commerce whilst in the role.


All applicants should submit a CV and letter explaining their interest for the role. 

Job Outline

Principal Role –

• To provide leadership on the implementation of the employer agreement work stream of the national “Developing the Young Workforce” strategy in Dumfries and Galloway

• To be responsible for the establishment of a range of strategic approaches that will deliver the Regional Board’s aspirations to enhance education and industry links that achieve agreed outcome targets.

• To lead and manage partnership activity that proactively contributes to improved employment and career opportunities for young people in the region.

• To be responsible for the leadership management of the delivery team and delivery of KPI’s.

Key Tasks –.

• To establish a strategy for longer term sustainability that identifies and secures future resources and support.

• To establish an effective and appropriate geographic and sector based infrastructure that effectively engages businesses, schools and colleges in a way that contributes to the achievement of agreed objectives and related targets.

• To directly engage with senior business representatives, political leaders and key public sector partner agency management to generate full support and contributions that maximise opportunities for achieving desired outcomes whilst minimising potential duplication or overlap of resources.

• To monitor and report progress on agreed KPI’s to the Regional DYW Board, and to the Scottish Government and National DYW Group as required.

• To lead and co-ordinate the executive team ensuring effective implementation of Board priorities and its agreed delivery strategy and action plan.

• To lead and co-ordinate the executive team ensuring effective implementation of Board priorities and its agreed delivery strategy and action plan.

• To manage the funding allocation developing an agreed budget and reporting on expenditure on a regular basis.

• To undertake any relevant duties as required by the Regional DYW Board.

To adhere to the policies on health and safety, equal opportunities and ensure compliance with all other relevant policies.




Closing Date: Friday December 21st 2018

Interviews Held: Week Commencing January 7th 2019





South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth was out visiting local businesses across the South of Scotland on Saturday (1 December) to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday was launched in the UK in 2013. It falls on the busiest shopping day each year, the first Saturday of December and is designed to encourage customers to spend their money in independent, local businesses.

Colin Smyth MSP visited a number of local businesses to urge people to shop locally this Christmas- and all year round.

Colin Smyth said, “Small Business Saturday is a really good opportunity to showcase the fantastic array of small businesses we have locally. There are tens of thousands of businesses across south Scotland and almost 90% employ ten or fewer people, so it’s clear that small businesses are at the very heart of the local economy. It’s no exaggeration to say that when small businesses do well in our local economy does well. That’s why it is so important to support small businesses in this difficult economic climate, not least with the the impact of Brexit looming over all businesses.”

“Pound for pound shopping at small and local businesses is significantly better for our local economy than shopping online. It is better for jobs, our High Streets and helps retain as many shops as possible in our towns and villages. I would urge everyone across our region to shop locally not just this Christmas – but all year round- whenever they can and support our local businesses.”


D&G aims for starters, mains and just desserts

Dumfries and Galloway Council has agreed to the region’s first Food and Drink Strategy.

The Council's Economy, Environment and Infrastructure [EEI] committee agreed to the pioneering strategy being the recognised approach to supporting the region's food sector at it's meeting on Friday 23 November 2018.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is the first local authority in Scotland to develop a strategic approach to food and drink industry development that aligns with Scotland’s national Ambition 2030 goal. The strategy identifies food and drink as Dumfries and Galloway’s most important economic sector and seeks to double the value of the industry to £2.5 billion over the next 12 years.

Councillor Archie Dryburgh, chair of the EEI committee, said: “Earlier this year, our Council committed to developing an ambitious sector strategy to unlock the potential of our local businesses. The strategy recognises the important role food and drink plays in our region’s economy, combining an ambitious leadership vision with an empowered and enabled industry.

“While our Council has taken the lead in developing this strategy, we recognise that the industry needs inclusive and collaborative support, with partnership working between public, private and community sectors to jointly grow volume, value, resilience, and sustainability.

“This strategy shows that our Council means business. I'm delighted that members agreed with this ambitious and forward thinking approach, and I look forward to seeing our region’s food and drink sector go from strength to strength.”

Councillor Andrew Wood, vice chair, said: “Dumfries and Galloway is one of Scotland’s most important food producing regions, so supporting our food and drink sector is an important part of securing a strong economic future for our region.

“Our new strategy already had widespread support from local businesses and local and national organisations operating in the sector. Food and drink is the engine of our region’s economy and by working together we can make it even stronger. Doubling the value of the industry by 2030 is ambitious, but it is achievable and the time to do it is now.”

Food and drink is Dumfries and Galloway’s largest, fastest growing and most valuable economic sector, worth £1.2 billion to the region’s economy employing 9,075 people. It is of increasing importance to Dumfries and Galloway, comprising a quarter of private sector economic activity, up from a fifth just five years earlier.

The regional strategy aligns with the national food and drink strategy Ambition 2030, which aims to double the value of Scotland’s industry over the next 12 years. Spanning the full supply chain from field and sea to plate, the sector includes primary production, such as agriculture and fishing, through to small food producers, large scale food manufacturers and processors, farmers’ markets and food festivals, distributors, restaurants, cafes, visitor attractions, speciality retailers, and a growing number of distilleries.

The finalised strategy, covering 2019 to  2022, will be published in early 2019. Local businesses are invited to comment on the draft strategy:

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