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.

Among the projects to receive funding are:

  • a programme to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Sir Walter Scott’s birth, stimulating tourism across the area
  • a programme to help young people with autistic spectrum disorder build their skills and find job opportunities
  • a project to develop livestock holding facilities enabling farmers to collaborate to reduce transportation costs
  • a new business incubator to support small and micro businesses

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 Abbotsford Trust Giles Ingram said:

“We are delighted to receive this grant which will support us to develop our 250th anniversary programme to celebrate the birth of Sir Walter Scott in 2021, as well as developing our community engagement programme so that people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can join in the celebrations.

“As with most tourism businesses, the global pandemic has provided us with real challenges, but we are delighted to have begun a phased reopening of Abbotsford in accordance with all Government advice and guidelines.

“Our project aims to capitalise on an anniversary which is already attracting international interest to attract more visitors to the south of Scotland, and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors to planned events, but only when it is safe to do so.” 

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.“


The South of Scotland Economic Partnership was established to ensure the region benefitted from a fresh approach to economic development whilst the South of Scotland Enterprise agency was being established. The Partnership operated from 1 January 2018 to 31 March 2020 and supported 58 economic development projects in total across the region on a broad range of themes. 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.  

Full list of projects and grants:

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.   

Abbotsford: Scott 250 (£220,000) support to develop the 250th anniversary programme to celebrate the birth of Sir Walter Scott and help deliver Abbotsford’s community engagement programme. The project aims to capitalise on heritage tourism to attract more visitors to the South of Scotland when it is safe to do so and to provide young people with volunteering and employment opportunities, building vital skills to support future careers. 

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

Supply Chain Peebles Energy (£65,000) to  establish a business support network that will enable local construction businesses to become more adaptable, develop new skills/accreditation and expand their local operations.

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.   

Livestock Holding Facilities (£59,600) to establish a livestock holding facility that will allow a range of local farmers to house their beasts, prior to transportation and processing. Aims to encourage co-operation to reduce costs.

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.   

Town of 1000 Trails (£28,916) to develop an interactive digital hub to promote Hawick and the surrounding area as the “go to” destination for walking, cycling, running and horse riding.  

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 – Haining Trust Improvement Work (£20,000) to consider the creation of a visitor centre (at the site of where William Wallace was crowned Guardian of Scotland) and camping facilities.   

Feasibility Study – Gunsgreen House Trust - Bellany Centre (£20,000) to consider the potential to develop a visitor centre in Eyemouth to enhance the visitor experience, providing meeting, learning and exhibition space.

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 – Thirlestane Castle (£20,000) to consider the regeneration of dilapidated stables into a creative centre for businesses, including workshops, retail space and office space, and a café in the courtyard.

Feasibility Study – Farm Innovation Cows & Co (£20,000) consideration of a waste to energy power plant in a quarry environment to reduce energy costs for farmers and generate innovative business diversification activities.

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 – Alternative Land Use (£20,000) analysis of whether it is possible to grow a range of alternative crops including energy, pharmaceutical, forestry and industrial crops, as well as field scale vegetables and salad crops, in the South, which is currently dominated by traditional farming and forestry.

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 – Border Union Agricultural Society (£20,000) to consider the development of the Border Union’s Springwood Park into a new “weather-proof” Border Events Centre and capture new income streams.

Feasibility Study – Winkston Hill Farm (£20,000) to consider the creation of an on-farm education and activity centre to educate teachers and parents about farming, whilst providing unique experiences to children.  Not a standard farm park, but a “real life” taste of a working farm over the working year. 

Feasibility Study – Paxton House (£18,000) to maximise visitor opportunities within the garden and grounds, and explore the potential development of lettable accommodation with the house and the grounds.

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 - Ruberslaw Community Path Network (£11,500) to explore the potential to develop a community managed walking and cycling pathway to attract more visitors to the area as part of the active tourism offer.

Feasibility Study – Innerleithen Tourism (£10,000) a study to identify visitor services required in the Innerleithen area and maximise the appeal of the area’s active tourism offer (cycling, walking, outdoor sports).

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.


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