Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway (TSDG) has been awarded £143,600 to enhance social enterprises across the region.
The money is part of a £500,000 package from the South of Scotland Economic Partnership to regenerate the local economy.
The remaining money will see £320,000 go to Dark Sky Spirits to help establish a new distillery in Moffat and £39,500 to the Midsteeple Quarter project in Dumfries, which aims to refurbish underused and neglected High Street buildings as contemporary living, working and learning spaces.
TSDG’s project Seeding Social Enterprises will be an area-based approach to growing social enterprises in Dumfries and Galloway, which has significantly fewer social enterprises per capita than the Scottish Borders.
The project seeks to build capacity and share best practice to grow more successful community enterprises.
The funding will be used to hire four social enterprise specialists , who will work closely with social enterprises, pro-actively seeking out early stage ventures, providing advice and building their capacity, networks expertise and experience through tailored local training events.
Chief executive Norma Austin Hart said: “Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway welcomes this support for budding social and community enterprises in the region. We will use this funding to train and fund expert support for communities.
“We want communities to build on this help and grow their own solutions to the needs and opportunities in their area. We will be going out into every nook and cranny of Dumfries and Galloway with this expertise.”
Announcing the funding ahead of a visit to the Midsteeple project today, Business Minister Jamie Hepburn, said, working with SOSEP, the Scottish Government was making significant and targeted investments in the south of Scotland to help the region achieve its full economic potential.
“These three great projects will create new jobs, attract more visitors to the area, and make Dumfries and Galloway an even more attractive place to live,” he added.
“The work of SOSEP, the region’s new enterprise body, and the £85 million we are investing in the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, underline our commitment to continuing to deliver for the south of Scotland.”
These are the latest in about 30 projects across the region granted funding through SOSEP in order to tackle skills gaps, provide investment in community enterprises, support town centre regeneration and add to the region’s growing tourism offering.
SOSEP Chair Professor Russel Griggs said: “We need to be ambitious about our area to ensure we fulfil our potential and through the South of Scotland Economic Partnership we are able to invest in and develop those opportunities to make the south the thriving economy we know it can be.”
For the Midsteeple Quarter project, Dumfries High Street Ltd has been awarded £39,500 to employ a project officer to drive forward it’s the redevelopment project action plan.
Dark Sky Spirits receive £320,000 to assist with the costs of constructing and fitting-out a distillery and bonded warehouse in Moffat to reduce bottling and transportation costs and commence blending.
Each of the whiskies developed will be place-based such as The Moffat, The Doonhamer, and The Local Dram tag line.