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Bumper summer newsletter

Bumper summer newsletterWe hope you have been having a great summer and had time to go to some of the events and activities being held across the Southern Uplands. You can still be part of the Scottish Borders Walking Festival, ‘In the Footsteps of the Reivers’ events run from 5th – 13th September. There are walks to suit everyone, and a great range of supporting events with a Homecoming Scotland theme. To find out more visit www.borderswalking.com.

As usual we aim to bring you news and events from across the rural south. Please remember to email us with information on projects or activities you would like included in next e-news by 14th November.

In this issue...

AGM 2009
New members join the SUP Board
New Project - Small Scale Hydro Schemes - Borders mapping
New Project – Nith Estuary Nature Based Tourism Collaboration
New Post – Uplands Advisor, Scottish Borders Upland Habitat Enhancement Project
Calling Border communities wanting help with renewables!
New Faces - SUPs Lindean Mill office welcomes Martin and Fraser
Red Squirrels Return To Hawick
Progressing the SW Scotland Biosphere
… and in another Biosphere, not so far away
'All-new' Savour the Flavours awarded LEADER funding
Savour the Flavours consumer insight events
Expressions of interest invited – housing needs surveys, D&G
Salmon homecoming - 26-27 September, Philiphaugh Estate, Selkirk
Community Energy Conference - 26-27 August, Stirling
(SHoCk) Secret History of Cumnock – from Geoff Crolley
Single Farm Payment Inquiry
WANTED: 50 VOLUNTEERS TO GO 50/50
John Taylor
Local chair for new Scottish Wild Harvests Association
The Rural Action Research Programme Briefing Series – Land and Communities
New resource – The Handbook for Community Animators
Personal Carbon Allowances study
Interesting Reads
Gift Ideas
Events



AGM 2009
This year SUP went east and held its AGM at Heart of Hawick. In the Convenors absence the meeting was hosted by Adair Anderson. Having led the meeting through the formal elements of the AGM and the Directors Report, Mr Anderson chaired a lively discussion and members questions session which covered topics from walking festivals to biodiversity.

The meeting was rounded off with an inspiring illustrated talk by Lindsay Wood about the development of Heart of Hawick. The complex comprises Tower Mill, a cinema, theatre and exhibition space, The Heritage Hub, housing archives and historical research and the Borders Textile Townhouse, focussing on the people, processes and products of the textile industry. Well worth a visit, see www.heartofhawick.co.uk for details.

New members join the SUP Board
The AGM also marked the arrival of two new members to the SUP Board, Mrs Maggie Gordon and Mr William Renwick whose profiles are shown below.

William I Renwick 'Having spent all my life in the Southern Uplands and currently being Chairman of Selkirk NFU and Vice President of the Blackface Sheep Breeders Association and a past Chairman of the local hall and School Board as well as being involved with the Black Grouse project and working with the Tweed Foundation on the Douglas burn, I would hope to have a broad range of practical and local knowledge. Living and working in this area I know it is vital we find and support sustainable businesses so that schools, hotels and indeed communities can prosper and don't just disappear.'

Maggie Gordon 'I farm a small upland organic farm with Galloway cattle and Blackie sheep where I try to marry a low input system with high environmental benefit. Seeing at first hand how our native breeds can contribute to our biodiversity while providing a quality food, has drawn me into looking at how local farmers throughout the region can add value to their produce. I have concerns about how this region can ride the current economic storm given the challenges it faces in terms of rural transportation, the loss of communication links, climate change and falling employment prospects. I am a member of the LEADER Local Action Group.'

Councillor Eileen Logan who has represented South Lanarkshire Council on the Board in recent years retired from the Board at the AGM. We would like to thank her for her input to the Partnership, which has been very much appreciated.

Richard WilliamsonThe Partnership is delighted to welcome back to the board Mr Richard Williamson (pictured right) of Buccleuch Estates who has been co-opted. Richard, who is Director of Communications & Brand Strategy, joined the Buccleuch Group in 1986 to manage visitor attractions and now heads up corporate communications and marketing for the Buccleuch Group. Richard is a professional member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

New Project - Small Scale Hydro Schemes - Borders mapping
If you have a private/farm/business/community hydro scheme in operation, planned or being considered in the Borders please contact Martin Schork at Southern Uplands Partnership on 01750 725157. Small scale hydro schemes are being mapped across the Borders as part of an attempt to identify opportunities for (and barriers to) such developments and sources of support (both financial and advisory) in the hope that additional schemes may be stimulated.

New Project – Nith Estuary Nature Based Tourism Collaboration
SUP has been encouraging the concept of 'clustering' (collaboration) for a number of years. Early in 2009 a study was commissioned by SUP, with Scottish Natural Heritage funding, to look at the potential for a nature tourism cluster in and around the Nith Estuary NSA. The study, produce by Vyv Wood Gee, confirmed that the area has a huge amount to offer those who enjoy the outdoors. Positives including proximity to tourist routes, excellent visitor centers, great historic buildings, access to Mabie Forest and 7Stanes and a good range of businesses interested in collaborative marketing. Over and above this there is fantastic wildlife and bird watching, breathtaking scenery history, culture and much more. The aim of the project is to increase visitor numbers outside the peak season and to encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more locally. The Nith Estuary is a pilot 'cluster' project for us and it is anticipated that other locations will be interested to follow progress over the next few years.

The main block to collaborative working is that there is often no one with time to help organise things at the start. Now, with Leader and SNH funding, SUP will be able to recruit a part time officer to help with this for two years. Recruitment will take place in September and we hope to have the post filled in the autumn. (Job details will be on the SUP website in due course). A full report on this really exciting pilot project in our next newsletter.

New Post – Uplands Advisor,
Scottish Borders Upland Habitat Enhancement Project

The SUP has been awarded funding from SNH, LEADER and the RSPB to take on an Uplands Advisor to cover the Borders for 2 years.

The aim of the post is to promote the development of a network of upland habitats that will address the current declines in a range of upland species, especially the black grouse, and improve the links between designated upland sites such as SSSIs. The post will liaise closely with the Wetland Habitat Officer employed by Tweed Forum and with Borders Forest Trust who are developing woodland habitats.

The post holder will offer advice to land managers and their agents to apply best practice in upland management and to encourage applications to appropriate funding schemes. They will seek to implement the series of management plans that were produced by Tom Adamson covering the key black grouse lek areas of the Central Borders and they will work to raise awareness of the importance of well-managed uplands for conservation as well as carbon and water management. Opportunities to develop nature-based tourism initiatives based on high quality habitats will also be sought. The status of black grouse and other priority species within the project area will be monitored by surveying known sites and efforts will be made to engage volunteers in this work. Recruitment will take place in September, information will be available from the SUP website.

Calling Border communities wanting help with renewables! Does your rural community need help with renewable energy plans? The Southern Uplands Partnership is building a register of demand for assistance in the Borders – to add your community to the register please email us before the end of August at wallace.fraser2@googlemail.com


New Faces - SUPs Lindean Mill office welcomes Martin and Fraser
This summer SUP is hosting to two new faces working on renewable energy projects. Fraser Wallace is working with the Scottish Borders sustainable energy association to engage groups on local authority support for community renewable energy projects. From Germany we welcome Martin Schork, who is spending the summer at Lindean while learning more about Scotland's use of alternative energy forms, sources and supply, the country and the language. Martin is also mapping Borders small scale hydro schemes.

Click here to read more about Fraser, Martin and their work.

Red Squirrels Return To Hawick
Red squirrels have returned to Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Guests at the Mansefield House Hotel have been seeing red squirrels again for the first time in 20 years. Residents in nearby areas have also noticed the return of red squirrels.
The Red Squirrels in South Scotland project's (RSSS) grey squirrel control officers have been conducting intensive daily control in the grounds of the hotel and surrounding area for about 2 years now and are starting to move closer to the centre of Hawick itself. The return of red squirrels is a wonderful event, a real shot in the arm for us as it shows just how quickly red squirrels can make a come-back if the pressure from grey squirrels is reduced. It is our hope that with enough support from the residents of Hawick and surrounding land owners we will once again see red squirrels in the parks and gardens of the town within a year. Click here to read more. For more red squirrel news visit www.red-squirrels.org.uk

Progressing the SW Scotland Bioshpere
The proposed redesignation of the Biosphere in SW Scotland is poised at a crucial stage. Over the last few years, local partners, including Dumfries & Galloway Council, South and East Ayrshire Councils and Scottish  Natural Heritage have commissioned a number of consultations and reports and these have indicated that the biosphere idea has community backing and would generate significant new economic activity. This has in turn won local political support for the idea. Click here to read more.

… and in another Biosphere, not so far away
Since arranging a trip for community and agency representatives from the Biosphere here to the Cevenne Biosphere we have been interested in projects developed in that part of France. One great idea is the Stevenson Trail, celebrating the journey on foot by Robert Louis Stevenson with his donkey, Modestine. His journal entitled 'Travels with a donkey in the Cevennes ' was published in 1879, several years before his best known works: 'Treasure Island' and 'The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde'. The route retraces his itinerary, which has become the Stevenson Trail (GR 70). This way-marked public footpath offers walkers the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the Scottish adventurer who was so in love with France. Donkey hire is available! To find out more, click here www.chemin-stevenson.org

'All-new' Savour the Flavours awarded LEADER funding
Savour the Flavours has been awarded LEADER funding for a new two year project. Savour the Flavours of Dumfries & Galloway is an industry led project which supports food and drink producers, and raises awareness of and encourages use of quality Dumfries & Galloway produce. Businesses that produce local food and drink, farmers, hospitality, catering, retail, tourism businesses – anyone with an involvement in food and drink in Dumfries & Galloway - are invited to add their contact details to the Savour the Flavours database. To make sure you receive information on opportunities add your name to the StF database at www.savourtheflavours.co.uk or contact Lorna Young on lorna@indigowords.co.uk phone 01387 263886. Click here to read more.

Savour the Flavours consumer insight events
Savour the Flavours has been invited to organise workshops by SAC where participants can get hold of free, product specific consumer insight data. The workshops (8th October at Cream o' Galloway, Nr Gatehouse of Fleet and 14th October at Scottish Enterprise, Solway House, Dumfries) will provide an opportunity to find out more about consumers and markets in order to inform the development of products and marketing activities. A complimentary report will also be produced for participants following the workshop, focused on products of importance to their own business. The type of information provided can be of considerable value to small and large businesses alike, regardless of whether they are supplying supermarkets. Click here to read more.

Expressions of interest invited – housing needs surveys, D&G
Dumfries & Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust has been awarded grant funding by LEADER for a project entitled 'Affordable Rural Homes to Rebuild Communities'. This project involves carrying out Housing Needs Surveys in 18 small rural communities across Dumfries & Galloway over the next two years. Once the surveys have been completed Action Plans will be developed in co-operation with the local community to set out how the provision of affordable homes can be brought about.
Expressions of interest from Community Councils are invited from small rural communities across the region. In the first instance please contact the Trust on 01556-612331, by e-mail to mail@dgscht.co.uk or in writing to 77 High Street, Dalbeattie DG5 4HA

Salmon homecomingSalmon homecoming - 26-27 September, Philiphaugh Estate, Selkirk
Come and celebrate a different sort of 'homecoming', the salmon coming home to spawn.   View salmon on underwater cameras, take part in events, enjoy demonstrations and tours plus delicious fishy foods.   Also a chance to visit the restored Victorian walled garden and Waterwheel café.  Philiphaugh also hosts free guided walks in the grounds at 1.00pm each Wednesday.   To find out more visit www.salmonviewingcentre.com

Community Energy Conference - 26-27 August, Stirling
Scotland's first national energy conference for communities will take place at the Stirling University later this month. Around 150 delegates are expected to attend the Community Energy Conference on 26th and 27th August 2009, including representatives from local community groups who want to benefit from their own renewable energy installations - from rural network website.

The first day of the conference is funded by, and will be focused on, the Communities And Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) from the Scottish Government. CARES replaced the previous Scottish Community and Householder Renewables Initiative (SCHRI) in April this year, boosting the maximum grant levels by 50 percent.

Marion O'Hara, company secretary with the national charity Community Energy Scotland which runs CARES said, "This event is about inviting folk to come and hear what other communities are currently doing. There are now greater opportunities for more communities to get involved thanks to the Scottish Government's CARES initiative."

Some conference places are still available for community groups. Check the Community Energy Scotland website or call 01349 860 122. All accommodation is provided free for community organisations over the two days and there will also be help with travel costs.

(SHoCk) Secret History of Cumnock – from Geoff Crolley
There is so much history hidden away in the shadowed glens of Scotland but fragments are slowly coming to light. Glen Afton in Ayrshire seems to have more than most, with records of so many icons listed? William Wallace, Edward I and Edward II, Patrick Dunbar, Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, Robert Burns, the heroes and anti-heroes of Scotland. The reason for the glen's popularity? Glen Afton lead to Glen Ken and the south and it was perfect for evasive manoeuvres.

My question: could New Cumnock have been an important market town into the 16th century? If so, what happened and could it try again 500 years later, the quincentenary of its honour? To read more click here.

Single Farm Payment Inquiry
The detailed remit of the inquiry into the Single Farm Payment (SFP) was announced in June by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead. The inquiry will seek to ensure farm support in Scotland, in particular the Single Farm Payment, is delivering support where it is needed. The inquiry was announced as part of a wider package of measures to support agriculture and the rural economy. The Inquiry will produce a report by Easter 2010 and an interim report by December 2009. Click here for full Scottish Government release http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2009/06/25094144

WANTED: 50 VOLUNTEERS TO GO 50/50
Are you concerned about how far your food has travelled? Do you wonder what impact the food you eat is having on the environment you live in?
The TweedGreen food group is looking for 50 volunteers to take part in a local food challenge this October and invite you to take part.

For the month of October, 50 people from the Tweeddale area will challenge themselves to eat only food produced within a 50-mile radius of home. The challenge will cumulate with activities and awareness raising at the Peebles food festival. The food group will provide help and advice and, in case you're wondering how you'll do without your morning coffee, or hot chilli, we'll invite all challengers to pick 3 "exceptions" for that month which they'll continue to eat. Join in and find out what is produced locally and how easy or difficult eating locally really is. Email Rachael_millson@yahoo.co.uk or call Rachael on 07828 530 564 to find out more information or to register your interest.

John Taylor
We are sad to report the death of Mr John Taylor of Castle Douglas on 13th July. Mr Taylor was well known locally as an advocate on many issues including transport, access rights and especially cycling, both on and off road. He was also a long standing and involved member of the Partnership. To read an obituary by Phil Howard, published in the Galloway News, 23rd July, click here to read more.

Local chair for new Scottish Wild Harvests AssociationScottish Wild Harvests Association - courtesy of Dan Gates
The Scottish Wild Harvests Association was launched at the Big Tent festival, Falkland in July. This new Association will celebrate the bounty to be gleaned from the countryside and help Scottish businesses who make a living from wild resources. Scotland's wild harvests have plenty to offer the adventurous and discerning diner, but it's not just about food. The Scottish Wild Harvest Association has been formed for businesses making herbal remedies, hedgerow baskets, and more. The Association is chaired by Castle Douglas based Jools Cox who is also coordinating the Orchard and Wild Harvest project in Dumfries & Galloway.

Click here for more information.

The Rural Action Research Programme Briefing Series – Land and Communities
The Carnegie Trust UK publish a very useful series of briefing papers, the most recent being 'Land and Communities' and including information on SUP's Communities on the Edge (COTE) project. It's great to see the findings from this very successful project are circulating widely. To view this, and the rest of the series of briefing notes, visit http://rural.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/publications

New resource – The Handbook for Community Animators
This new handbook – available on the SUP website - tracks the journey of the Communities on the Edge (COTE) project and hopes to present itself as a useful tool for those in similar 'animator' roles in their own communities. The handbook serves to shed light on a host of situations and experiences which Community Animators can find themselves in. – click here to access the handbook. (opens as a PDF)

Personal Carbon Allowances study
Tom van Rooyen is a student studying for an MSc in Carbon Management at the Crichton Campus in Dumfries. As part of his research into Personal Carbon Allowances and their potential impact in rural areas he has produced the following survey. It would be a great help to Tom if you could fill in this questionnaire and send it to anyone that you think may be interested. Respondents must live in Dumfries and Galloway and only one reply can be submitted per household. The information gathered will be for Tom's research will remain anonymous, it will be seen only by Tom and his academic supervisors. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=H3GSinLBBn0jxlTWZmKeUw_3d_3d

Interesting Reads
Tourism Intelligence Scotland newsletter – click here (opens as a PDF)
Food & Health Alliance newsletter – click here (opens as a PDF)
Sulwath Community Biodiversity Action newsletter – click here (opens as a PDF)
Soil Association Scotland progress report for our Climate Change Programme – click here (opens as a PDF)

Gift Ideas
Give a fruit tree. Your tree will be planted in Dumfries and Galloway in the autumn - ideal for a birthday, anniversary, memorial or just as a gift.
You will be helping local biodiversity, will compensate for some of the carbon you have used, will provide local, seasonal food. How good is that!

To find out more about the Orchard Project click here (opens as a PDF)
To find out how donate a tree click here (opens as a PDF)

Events
Scotland's Mental Health First Aid, September-October dates – click here (opens as a PDF)
Development Trust Association National Conference, 13-15 September – click here
Free Social Enterprise seminar, 16 September – click here
Global Peace Concert, 18 September – click here (opens as a PDF)
Nithsdale CVS Information Day, 24 September – click here (opens as a PDF)

 

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