Galloway Glens Scheme selected by OECD as a case study in ‘Innovation’

The Galloway Glens Scheme has been selected as a case study to illustrate innovative approaches to economic development and enterprising communities.

Last week, a group of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) international delegates were travelling across the region to see projects and meet a range of organisations.

South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) is a participant in a national team working with others to better understand innovation in Scotland’s rural economy and communities.

The Galloway Glens Scheme has been selected as one of only four case studies across the whole of Scotland.

Based in the Ken/Dee Valley, the Scheme is primarily funded by a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is supporting a range of projects that connect people to their heritage, contribute to the local economy and support sustainable communities. More than 75% of expenditure to date has been with Dumfries and Galloway based businesses.

The delegates met a range of scheme partners and organisations, including representatives from SOSE. This included community groups working in the Ken/Dee Valley and local businesses from further afield including Jas P Wilson in Dalbeattie.

The delegates’ report will be considered at a national and international level, trying to consider what challenges and opportunities exist in rural Galloway regarding innovation and economic activity. The delegation visit was led by SOSE.

Garry Legg, Head of Strategy Planning & Partnerships at SOSE, said: “We know we need to support more of our businesses and communities to innovative – to find new and better ways of doing things – if we are to realise the vision for a fairer, greener and flourishing South of Scotland.  Involvement in this project will help us to do this by enhancing our understanding of what drives innovation in rural areas as well as what some of the barriers are. It will enable us to learn from other rural areas across the world and as has been the case through this visit, showcase – on a global stage – some of the brilliant innovation already happening in the South of Scotland, which we can build on.”

McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team leader, accompanied the delegates on their visit. McNabb added: “It is obviously flattering that the Galloway Glens Scheme has been chosen as a case study to be considered on a national and international stage. We are an initiative of the Council’s Environment Team and there are a number of things we have done which would be classed as ‘innovative’, including our efforts to draw together public, private and community sectors, giving the best results from what we try to do.

“The main benefit from a Scheme like ours will be the projects we undertake and what we leave behind, but it can’t be overlooked that through our delivery phase so far, we have worked with more than 190 D&G based businesses – pointing to an immediate local economic benefit. Many thanks to everyone we met along the way and particular thanks to our friends at SOSE for facilitating it.”

Picture: The OECD delegation meets Jamie Ribbens, of Galloway Fisheries Trust