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

 

GOVERNMENT MUST LISTEN TO FERRY FIRMS OVER LACK OF ACTION ON A75 AND A77, SAYS LOCAL MSP

The Scottish Government must listen to the calls for the upgrade of the A75 and A77 by ferry firms if they are serious about supporting the local economy, according South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour Transport Spokesperson Colin Smyth.

 

 

The comments come as Stena Line, P&O Ferries and Belfast Harbour this week launched an unprecedented attack on the interim findings of the South West Transport Study recently published by Transport Scotland. The firms claimed the proposals were “insufficient” and instead called for the A75 and A77 to be made dual carriageways to prevent the loss of business to England and Wales.

Colin Smyth said “This is an unprecedented intervention by the ferry firms and highlights the deep anger and betrayal they feel over the lack of investment on the A75 and A77 by the Scottish Government. When the then First Minister Alex Salmond opened the new Stena Ferry terminal at Cairnryan he talked about the three r’s- roads , rail and regeneration. But on all three it has been fail, fail, fail by the Government. If they are serious about supporting the local economy across Dumfries and Galloway they need to listen to major businesses and the community and commit to the upgrade of the A75 and A77. The Government have said they will spend £3bn on upgrading the A9 between Perth and Inverness.  How about committing to giving the south-west a fair share for once instead of leaving it as the forgotten part of Scotland?"

Dumfries and Galloway Council's Major Events Strategic Fund - Open For Applications

Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Events Strategic Fund is to open for applications from Monday 14 October until Friday 22 November 2019.

The Fund this year supported many highly successful festivals and events including Skiffeworlds - the World Championships in coastal rowing, the Oyster Festival, also based in Stranraer, the Galloway Hills Rally and the Newton Stewart and Minnigaff Traditional Music and Dance Festival.

 

Councillor Andy Ferguson, Chair of the Council’s Communities Committee said;

“Festivals and events play an important role in tourism, culture and sport and within Dumfries and Galloway we have excellent events organisations that help put our region on the national map. Council funding is a vital source of income for major events projects and the Council has a strong track record in supporting events that demonstrate longevity and value for the public pound.”

Councillor John Martin, Vice-Chair of the Communities Committee added;

“The Major Events Strategic Fund investment makes a significant contribution towards our target of generating more than £30m of net economic value for the Dumfries and Galloway economy during the four-year programme of the Major Festivals and Events Strategy 2018-2021. The creativity, skills and determination of events organisers in our region is renowned and I’m delighted that the Council can continue to support their work for the forthcoming future.”

Wendi Cuffe, the Project Manager for Skiffieworlds said;

“Thousands of visitors came along to compete and enjoy the camaraderie and competition of our coastal rowing world championships in Stranraer this July. The region does attract new visitors as a result of major events and the Stranraer Water Sports Association who organised Skiffieworlds found the Council to be a supportive partner of our work.”

Application forms for the Major Events Strategic Fund can be obtained by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by visiting the Council’s website at www.dumgal.gov.uk  

The Fund is only open to events projects that can demonstrate that they will attract more than 1000 unique visitors and operate with a budget in excess of £30,000 or more.

 

Battling the flu - as region's vaccination programme expands

A MAJOR push is underway to promote uptake of flu vaccinations in the region – with social care staff now included in the programme for the first time.

This year’s programme sees social care staff joining NHS staff in being provided with this year’s flu vaccine, which has now arrived in Dumfries and Galloway.

But those members of the public who are also eligible to receive the free vaccination are being urged to trust the facts, and to help protect not just themselves but also their loved one and their communities by taking up the opportunity.

Consultant in Public Health Medicine Dr Nigel Calvert notes that getting vaccinated isn’t just about protecting yourself; being immunised against strains of the flu helps stop it spreading, and means that our communities and loved ones are much less likely to be exposed to the dangers it can pose.

Dr Calvert said: “It’s important to remember that people aged 65 and over, and people who have long term conditions such as heart problems, diabetes and asthma how important it is to take up the offer of a flu vaccine themselves.


“Children are also, as usual, being offered the nasal vaccine once vaccinations have taken place in schools as a priority. The vaccines provide good cover against the types of influenza virus that are likely to be circulating so it is well worth getting immunised.”

The largest decline in uptake of the vaccine last year was amongst people with these conditions, yet they are at greater risk of the dangers of flu. And every year in Scotland, two thirds of people who end up in intensive care because of flu have a health condition.

The flu is so much worse than a bad cold: people with a health condition are 18 times more likely to die from flu than those without a health condition.

Dr Jim McMenamin leads the seasonal flu immunisation programme at Health Protection Scotland, and he said: “We can’t emphasise enough that the facts show the flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to help protect against flu and its complications.

“Getting the vaccine only takes a few minutes and helps to provide protection from flu for around a year. Contact your GP practice now, and get protected for winter.”

This year marks the start of change in responsibility for delivery of free flu vaccinations.

 

 

The new national GMS contract agreed by GPs means that responsibility for providing flu vaccinations is shifting from GP practices and their staff and instead being taken on by health and social care partnerships.

A Vaccination Transformation Programme has been established as part of the region’s Primary Care Transformation Programme.

A vaccination team has been recruited, and this year is working with nine GP practices in the region – set to expand to include all practices by 2021.

To find out more about flu vaccinations, and how to obtain your free vaccination, visit https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/immunisation/vaccines/flu-vaccine#further-information

‘Revolutionary’ revealed as speaker at health and social care event

AN EDUCATOR and author described as ‘a leading revolutionary’ by the Financial Times will be the keynote speaker at a free event in Dumfries at the end of the month.

Eddie Obeng has been announced as the speaker at Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership’s ‘Looking Back – Leaping Forward’ event on October 31, which will also include the Integration Joint Board Annual Review.

 

EddieObeng image supplied by Rod Edgar

An invitation is being extended to the public and all health and social care staff able to attend to come along to the event and hear the talk by the inspirational Mr Obeng.

Vicky Freeman is Head of Strategic Planning and Performance, and she said: “We’re really thrilled to have Eddie Obeng as our keynote speaker at ‘Looking Back – Leaping Forward’.

“Eddie truly is an inspirational speaker, and as someone so focused on innovation and planning for the future he couldn’t be a more appropriate choice for an event looking at the challenges which lie ahead for health and social care in Dumfries and Galloway.”

Mr Obeng is an organisational theorist, educator, and author, who serves as a professor at Henley Business School and Hult International Business School’s Ashridge Executive Education.

His learning material is designed to help address questions about delivering for the future, about organising talent and around ensuring results, and he has been described as ‘a leading revolutionary’ and ‘an agent provocateur’ by the Financial Times.

‘Looking Back – Leaping Forward’ will include a marketplace showcasing some of the innovations which it is hoped will support efforts to meet health and social care needs in coming years.

And views are being sought from patients, service users and staff throughout the day, including at afternoon workshops which will help inform the imminent creation of a new three-year strategic plan.

Members of the public will have the chance to contribute to the Integration Joint Board (IJB) Annual Review, which sees the organisation responsible for the strategic vision for the region’s health and social care scrutinised by the council, NHS and attendees.

Anyone who is keen to contribute but is unable to attend can do so by contributing a 60-second video of their thoughts on priorities, successes and failings, emailing it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The ‘Looking Back – Leaping Forward’ event takes place at The Cairndale Hotel from 10.30 am on October 31. Coffee, tea and lunch is provided. An afternoon session of workshops concludes at 4 pm.

Although a limited number of spaces will be provided on the day, attendees are invited to register in advance by emailing 01387 241346 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  – ideally before October 31.

Vicky Freeman said: “It’s going to be a really interesting day, and hopefully there’ll be some lively, creative discussion as we start to make plans for the immediate future of health and social care.

“Whether you’re a member of the public with an interest in health and social care or some views you want to get across, or you work in the field and have a clear insight into what needs to change - we’d very much welcome you to come along on October 31, to have lunch, hear Eddie speak and contribute to the future shape of health and social care in Dumfries and Galloway.”

PLAN FOR STRANRAER LORRY PARK HIGHLIGHTS CHAOS OF NO-DEAL BREXIT, SAYS LOCAL MSP SMYTH

The news that the Scottish Government could repurpose the old ferry port at Stranraer as an emergency car park for delayed lorries in the event of a no-deal Brexit, highlights just one of the examples of chaos that will be caused by the UK leaving the EU, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

 

 

The move was announced by Deputy First Minister John Swinney in the Scottish Parliament today (8 October) when he told MSPs that there were concerns about traffic flows with Northern Ireland if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Commenting on the news Colin Smyth said, “The very fact that the Scottish Government are having to look for space to stack delayed lorries highlights just one of the chaotic outcomes of a no-deal brexit. It’s clear that a no-deal brexit will cause major hold ups between Cairnryan and Northern Ireland and that will be bad news for business and the region’s economy. What is so frightening is the fact the UK Government seem determined to exit the EU without a deal, no matter how damaging that will be for jobs. Their latest proposals for a deal are deliberately designed to make a deal almost impossible, and proposals such as emergency car parks to stack lorries held up are no longer a nightmare scenario but a likely one”.

The proposal was set out Scottish government has set out in a paper of preparations for the impact of a no-deal departure published by the Scottish Government this week.

The full report can be viewed by CLICKING HERE