The Galloway Glens Scheme is a five-year initiative which is supporting a range of 35 projects up and down the Ken/Dee valley in the Stewartry, all of which seek to ‘connect people to their heritage’, boosting the local economy and supporting sustainable communities.
September 2020 marks the halfway point of the delivery phase and is an opportunity to celebrate activities to date and plans for the remainder of the Scheme.
Primarily funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with support from a range of partners including Dumfries & Galloway Council’s Environment Team, the Scheme will oversee more than £5 million in expenditure.
Highlights from the first half of the scheme include:
- Establishing an office in Castle Douglas and recruiting a team of staff
- 10 FTE jobs created as of Summer 2020
- More than £1.9million spent so far, with more than 75% with Dumfries & Galloway based businesses
- Volunteer work undertaken worth more than £145,000
A whole range of projects have been delivered or are underway. The following are by no means the ‘highlights’ but illustrate the work undertaken:
- 8 new or refurbished buildings, including the Kirkcudbright Squirrel Hide/Education Shelter, Dark Skies Visitor Centre and Tolbooth, Balmaclellan Smiddy, refurbished Otter Pool site and Crossmichael Heritage Centre.
- 15 miles of improved footpath, with two bridges, including the reinstatement of the historic Glenkens Pilgrim’s route
- More than 100 public events held with more than 4,000 people in attendance, providing education and engagement on the amazing local heritage, focussed on groups from school age through to retired.
- A range of outdoor education activities for local school-age children
- A Covid-19 response which includes online events so far attended by more than 2,200 people.
- Assisted community resilience through support to initiatives such as the new Loch Ken Trust and the Castle Douglas Journal.
- 1394 hectares of Galloway landscape under active management – through projects including Black Grouse & Greenland White Fronted Goose habitat creation, and projects on the Blackwater of Dee and Threave Estate.
As the scheme reaches its halfway point, McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team Leader, said:
“We have now been on the scene for two and a half years, with a number of notable highlights to point to, and many more in coming months and years.
Our primary funder is the National Lottery Heritage Fund, with a generous award of £2.7million. This is derived from lottery players around the country – to whom we are very grateful – and we aim to spend as much of this funding locally as possible.
While the primary benefit of the scheme will be through what the projects deliver, to see that more than 75% of expenditure to date has been held within the region is an important point. In these rather odd times, the local economic benefit only increases in importance as a measure of success. Behind the headline statistics, there are some excellent stories of the scheme delivering some genuine benefits to the people, businesses and partners involved in the Scheme.
Through all work done to date, the Galloway Glens Scheme has sought to work with a variety of partners – from voluntary local organisations to national public bodies. The increased assets and capacity of our partners will form the key plank of our legacy, after we have gone in March 2023.
While not being blind to the challenges we currently face, we aim to approach the next two and a half years with energy and enthusiasm about the benefit that this funding can deliver for the valley. Our thanks go to everyone involved in the scheme, including staff and the Partnership Board, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and key supporters such as the UNESCO Biosphere and the Council’s Environment Team. I am excited by the prospect of the next two and a half years of work.”
Ted Leeming, Chairman of the Galloway Glens Scheme’s Partnership Board, added:
“We are so grateful to everyone for their support. The Partnership Board aims to make sure the Scheme delivers the maximum possible benefit to the area over the coming two and a half years.”
For full details on the projects supported through the scheme, please visit the website: www.gallowayglens.org or follow social media channels.