Collaboration Across the South of Scotland ‘Extraordinarily Important’

Ahead of the National Economic Forum at Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries on Wednesday 16 May, where the future South of Scotland Enterprise Agency will be discussed, the chairman of the interim body, the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, reflects on the ongoing engagement events taking place across the region.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the South of Scotland Enterprise Agency, with responses shaping its development and influencing what the standalone agency will do. Feedback from the events is being fed into that consultation process.

Prof Russel Griggs said: “We are now just over halfway through our journey around the south of Scotland and we’ve had, from all 16 meetings to date, really positive feedback on the desire from the south of Scotland to have an economic development agency which works for people, businesses and communities, almost without dissent.
“We’ve now seen over 300 people and had a wide variety of conversations, covering businesses, communities, young people, digital connectivity, tourism, roads, wind farms, and land usage and management to name but a few.
“By the end of this journey to engage with people across the south of Scotland we will have travelled 3,600 miles, which shows how big a piece of geography we’ve got to represent.
“I am pleased with the positivity so far, and pleased to hear that many of the conversations have gone on in the hours and days after the engagement events. There is a great desire for the agency. The south wants to lead on it and create it itself and that has been shown in the remarkably high number of consultations the Scottish Government has received from people to date. This will be an agency for the south, by the south, of the south and in the south.
“We’re learning something new at every event, and while of course our diverse communities across the south are proud of their individual identity, it is clear that they are facing many similar issues.
“In that respect it is important that people, communities and businesses across the south of Scotland talk to one another and work together. It is extraordinarily important to have that collaboration in developing the new enterprise agency and going forward that these conversations continue.
“Through such combined effort we can drive and develop the local economy and raise the voice of the south of Scotland, and the latter will continue as people here and further afield speak positively about this region.
“We’ve agreed that we’re going to create a ‘Voice of the South’ online space to continue to bring people together to share their views and ideas and continue the conversation going forward. We also plan to go back on the road again next year, returning to answer the many very good questions that we’ve been unable to answer at this early stage.”

There is still time for local businesses, community groups, organisations and members of the public to have their say, with the engagement events running until 7 June:

Scottish Borders

22-May 7pm Village Hall, Newcastleton
23-May 7.30pm Abbey Row Centre, Kelso
31-May 7pm Mansfield House Hotel, Hawick
04-Jun 7pm Memorial Hall, Innerleithen
07-Jun 7pm Tweed Room, Ettrick Riverside, Selkirk


Dumfries & Galloway

16-May 7pm Creebridge House Hotel, Newton Stewart
21-May 7pm Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet
25-May 8.30am Buccleuch Centre, Langholm
28-May 7pm Arden House Hotel, Kirkcudbright
30-May 7pm Gordon Memorial Hall, Castle Douglas
05-Jun 7pm Lesser Victoria Hall, Annan


As well as bringing together key partners to boost the economic performance of the south of the country, the Scottish Government has provided a significant investment package worth £10 million to assist the partnership.


The membership of South of Scotland Economic Partnership is made up of a wealth of business experience across sectors, sizes and locations relevant to the south of Scotland, as well as representatives from education, the third sector and the public sector

Latest Articles