Hello. I’m delighted to have joined Third Sector Dumfries and Galloway at such an important time for our sector and for our region. Much has changed over the past few years as we face the post-pandemic challenges that we haven’t yet addressed, on top of already difficult pressures for our children, families, and communities.
I’m fully aware of the challenging environment and the big issues facing us. They are replicated, in the main, across Scotland: forecasted population changes that will see fewer people living in our region; rising inequalities; continued pressures on household and organisation costs; an ever-increasing stretch to secure funding; hard to access services; falling numbers of people volunteering; and more demands placed on charities and community groups. The list is never exhaustive.
Despite a somewhat gloomy medium-term outlook, I am optimistic about how we can embrace the strength of our sector to have the best possible impact on the wellbeing of our communities and explore the wider opportunities for our region.
I’ve already connected with a number of third sector organisations, read stories of impact, and seen the effect that small, enabling grants can have to local projects. I am committed to developing further our already good relationships in the formal regional partnerships; Community Planning, Children’s Services, Local Employability Partnership, Economic Development, Poverty and Inequalities, Community Learning and Development, to name just a few. These are opportunities for our sector to not only have a strong presence, but to contribute to the priorities for Dumfries and Galloway and to show the value of a strong third sector.
As the Third Sector Interface (TSI) for our region, despite facing all of the same difficulties and pressures, we have much more we want to do.
We want to further strengthen our local presence to make sure we’re on hand to provide support and can better understand local needs. We want to invest in development programmes to help build knowledge and skills, whilst attracting more funds where we can invest in capacity building and local projects. We want to improve our ability to fully represent our sector (charities, community and voluntary groups, social enterprises and those who connect with us) through more thematic forums, improved data/insights, and impact reporting. This also means building a more detailed picture of our sector’s reach across Dumfries and Galloway.
Over the coming months you will hear more from us, with opportunities for your input into our longer-term plans. In the meantime, as you may have read in the announcement for my appointment, I intend to get straight to work on the matters of fair funding, equal partnership, and valuing community-led development.
Please share your thoughts and ideas, including where you can help, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For help and support, call us on 0300 303 8558 or contact us using the online form here www.tsdg.org.uk/contact/