Funding to support economic recovery – £2.1 million for South of Scotland projects.

Tourism, business, community and agricultural projects across Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders have been awarded more than £2.1 million to support economic development across the region.

In total, 28 projects will benefit from Scottish Government funding through the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP), supporting the region’s economic recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and helping to generate future job opportunities.

The projects announced today are the penultimate batch of projects approved for Scottish Government support through the partnership. Further support will be announced later this year.

Projects from Dumfries and Galloway include:

Crichton Central (£833,127) to redevelop an existing building (Criffel View) on the Crichton Campus in Dumfries to create a business incubation facility – the first of its kind in Dumfries – for small and micro businesses.

Better Lives Partnership (£275,000) to increase its Bridge2Employment programme, which helps young people with autistic spectrum disorder to access supported learning opportunities and progress into work or further study.

Eardley Transport Hub (£200,000) creating a modern transport and logistics hub in Ecclefechan.

Boyd Group (£65,000) to assist business expansion at Cargenbridge Industrial Estate, Dumfries.

Glenkens (£64,079) to create an interactive multi-media hub where young people, community groups and visitors can explore the area’s heritage, enhanced by digital technology; and help establish a range of business services that will generate income and sustain project activities going forward.

Bubble Flo (£36,708) support to enable this entrepreneurial early stage business to manufacture a prototype of a child friendly physiotherapy medical device for the treatment of chronic lung conditions.

Castle Douglas Community Centre (£23,599) to develop a computing and sound production facility, expanding the provision of IT skills and employability programmes for young people and the self-employed.

Feasibility Study – Wigtown Festival Company (£20,000) looking at the potential to deliver a greater range of activities and events throughout the year to boost income from tourists and local community groups.

Feasibility Study – Sanquhar Post Office (£20,000) the study will explore the tourism potential of the property as well as assessing the possibility of out buildings being used as business accommodation.

Feasibility Study – Regional Food Chain (£20,000) to consider the creation of a centralised hub in Castle Douglas, supporting all aspects of food and drink innovation to enable micro businesses to compete for new markets.

Feasibility Study – Littleton Farm AD Plant (£20,000) to consider the creation of an on-farm industrial estate (“agri-park”), powered by a commercial scale anaerobic digestion plant, converting farm waste into energy.

Feasibility Study – Castle Douglas Strategic Community Development Plan (£17,200) to look at how the community organisation can consolidate and enhance its activities to ensure future financial sustainability.

Feasibility Study – Equestrian Tourism (£10,000) to investigate how to replicate the “Ride Scottish Borders” project in Dumfries & Galloway and form a riding route around some of the well-known “Big Houses” of the Borders.

Feasibility Study – Dormont Estate Business and Social Hub (£4,000) to assess the potential to develop facilities at the estate that will benefit the local community and enable local businesses to expand.

Minister for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon said: “The Scottish Government is committed to developing the South of Scotland’s economy to its full potential. Now more than ever it is vital that we support people and businesses as we recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, restart our economy and continue to invest in the future of our local communities.

“These investments will create jobs, support businesses, develop skills, boost tourism and contribute to town centre regeneration. Many of the projects will help key industries in the region which have been hit hard by the pandemic as they work to recover and grow. Others will develop local supply chains, skills and employment opportunities to help drive local and regional economies forward.

“As we safely move out of lockdown it is vital that we work together and look to the future to restore and renew our economy. The projects announced today take a helpful step in that direction.”

Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) Professor Russel Griggs OBE said: “This milestone investment comes at a vital time to support our communities and businesses as they look to the future, as we move through the phases of the Route Map loosening lockdown restrictions.

“Our predecessor SOSEP worked extensively with a wide range of people and organisations to support their journey from application to approval. We have been able to support a diverse range of projects, each a response to the particular circumstances and opportunities of the South of Scotland, each ambitious for the future.

“Today’s announcement confirms our commitment to continue to work with communities and businesses across the South of Scotland to support them in their aspirations. As we recover from the impacts of COVID-19, ensuring we remain a region of opportunity.”

Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust Gwilym Gibbons said: “Crichton Central was always in our plans for 2020, but it has become increasingly important to the South of Scotland as we transition into our new coronavirus world.

“On behalf of The Crichton Trust, I would like to thank the Scottish Government and SOSE for acknowledging the potential of Crichton Central and for their substantial financial contribution to help make this development possible.“