Hello everyone

Claire and I attended the first Borderlands conference on 18 June in Easterbrook Hall at the Crichton. It was the main consultation event for the Borderlands Partnership before it submits its bid to national government for region deal funding.  

The Partnership is led by five local authorities across the Scottish/English border: Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Cumbria County Council, Carlisle City Council and Northumberland County Council. The bid is invited as part of national government’s strategy for regional investment. The figure being bid for was not confirmed but it is likely to be hundreds of millions of pounds over at least a seven year period. In other words a major opportunity for this area.

There are eight themes to the bid:

  • Digital
  • Energy
  • Destination Borderlands
  • Rural Productivity
  • Business Growth
  • Transport
  • Skills
  • Place

The introduction to the conference, led by Keith Brown MSP and Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, covered an analysis of the region’s strengths and weaknesses. The focus moved to workshops based on each of the eight themes. Between us, Claire and I attended those for Digital, Transport, Place and Business Growth. It was important that the Third Sector voice was heard during the workshops because the official note-takers recorded all contributions. Claire and I emphasised the importance of involving community and third sector organisations in the management and delivery of the Borderlands programme, reminding the groups that the third sector makes a major contribution not only to jobs and services but also to quality of life and innovation.

From the discussions and Q&A sessions there were common threads of inclusivity, avoiding off-the-shelf solutions and recognising that works for city deals will not necessarily work in rural areas

The bid will be submitted by September so time is tight for the interim organisation to pull it together. If it is successful the bid will be central to the work of the new South Of Scotland Enterprise Agency when it is established in 2019.

Here is a link to the Borderlands website http://www.borderlandsgrowth.com

Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway will be making every effort to contribute to and participate in the Borderlands initiative on behalf of the third sector.

Please let me know if you have any queries.

Best wishes

Norma Austin Hart
Chief Executive
Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway
tel 07713 643430