Greystone Rovers gets windfall from Climate Challenge Fund

South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine has congratulated a Dumfries sports charity on securing a grant from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund.

The Greystone Rovers Foundation has received £139,453 in the latest round of awards, aimed at helping community-led organisations tackle climate change by running projects that reduce local carbon emissions.
The charity, which is based at the David Keswick Athletic Centre in the town, plans to run projects which use sports and athletics to teach best practice, change behaviour and help reduce waste. They hope that 20 tonnes of CO2 will be reduced each year by increasing car-pooling, walking and cycling and other forms of shared transport. A further 8 tonnes of CO2 will be saved through plastic recycling schemes.
The funding will also enable the group to set up a bulk washing and natural air-drying scheme for playing and training kits, reducing emissions in over 100 households.
Ms McAlpine has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament congratulating Greystone Rovers.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I’m delighted that Greystone Rovers has secured this grant, with young people across the town and beyond set to benefit from the funding. This news means not only an increase in sporting activities available to kids in their leisure time but will lead to a reduction in carbon emissions at the same time.
“Recycling is a big part of reducing carbon emissions and this funding will also enable Greystone Rovers to establish a sports clothing and equipment exchange which will reduce clothing and footwear going to landfill by 142.12kg per year. It will also have the advantage of saving parents money and could mean the difference between taking part or missing out for some kids.
“The news that grant will support a full time Project Coordinator and two part time project workers is also very welcome. The south of Scotland has missed out on this funding in the past so it’s great to hear that Greystone Rovers have been the first project to succeed with their application.” 

Image of Joan McAlpine MSP with Graeme Muir, Manager and Alisa Templeton, Project Worker, Greystone Rovers

The Scottish Government’s created the Climate Challenge Fund in 2008 to encourage communities across Scotland to take action on climate change and so help our transition to more sustainable, low-carbon lifestyles. 

The fund has supported projects involving energy efficiency improvements to community owned buildings, home energy efficiency advice, lower carbon travel options, community growing initiatives and schemes to tackle waste. 
The Climate Challenge Fund is managed by Keep Scotland Beautiful on behalf of the Scottish Government.
Greystone Rovers Motion
That the Scottish Parliament congratulates Greystone Rovers AFC in their success in securing an award of £139,453 in the latest round of Climate Challenge Fund grants which distributed £3.3m to projects across Scotland; notes that the funding will be used for sports and athletic projects for young people in Dumfries and Galloway; believes that this will benefit the health and wellbeing of young people across the region as well as reducing CO2 emissions; notes that Climate Challenge Fund grants are funded by the Scottish Government and are distributed by Keep Scotland Beautiful; notes that this is the first grant from the fund to be awarded to a project in the south of Scotland.


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A cancer patient from Brydekirk has reached out to MSP Joan McAlpine to ask for help promoting Bowel Cancer Awareness Month this April and to encourage others to undertake their regular screening tests.

Mrs Myra Little was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the end of January after sending off a routine screening sample in the post. She received a letter back right away telling her that cancer cells had been detected. Within seven days she’d had a colonoscopy, a week later a scan and a week after that had undergone surgery to remove the tumour.

“I’d heard stories about waiting times for treatment so was afraid when I first got the diagnosis,” says Mrs Little. “But the service I’ve had has been incredible and I was so relieved when the tumour was fully removed within just 21 days. I’m so grateful for everything the NHS has done for me and I can’t thank them enough. We’re so lucky to have such hard working, dedicated people in the NHS who care for us so well. I still have to undergo a course of chemotherapy to stop the cancer returning but I’m confident going forward that I’ll receive the best care possible.”

Mrs Little wanted to take advantage of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month to encourage others take part in the screening process. “The bowel screening kit is such a brilliant initiative, everyone should complete it so that no cases go undiagnosed. If I hadn’t sent off mine it might have been too late by the time I found out.”

SNP MSP Joan McAlpine agrees. Commenting, she says,

“I’m delighted that Mrs Little has had such a positive experience with our local NHS, and that her treatment has been so prompt and successful. It’s great that she’s now speaking up to encourage others to carry out their tests and send them back.

“Like Mrs Little, many people with bowel cancer show no symptoms. That’s why it’s really important to undergo regular screening. The test kits are posted out to everyone on a regular basis once you reach 50. It’s been simplified so it’s really quick and easy to carry out at home yourself.

“I’d encourage everyone to send back their sample as soon as possible after they arrive through the post. It’s a free service, it’s really effective it could save your life.”

Image of Joan McAlpine MSP and Myra Little attached

Bowel Cancer Awareness Month is an initiative promoted by the charity Bowel Cancer UK, it takes place throughout April.

More information on is available at


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Joan McAlpine MSP has raised concerns about the impact of a no deal Brexit on the dairy sector in Dumfries and Galloway after expert trade negotiators told her that incoming tariffs on dairy products would be scrapped if an agreement could not be reached.

The shocking revelations were made to the MSP during a meeting of the parliamentary committee she convenes. The UK government made the decision to drop incoming tariffs in the event of “no deal” without apparent consultation with the industry – tariffs will still apply to Scottish farmers and producers exporting to the EU.
Currently, EU Most Favoured Nation Dairy Tariffs are on average 72.3% for dairy products. In the event of a no deal scenario the UK Government is proposing to drop that to 0% but with no guarantee the EU will reciprocate.
Dmitry Grozoubinski a Former Australian WTO trade negotiator told the Culture Tourism Europe and External Affairs Committee that the decision to drop some tariffs unilaterally, in order to avoid shortages, had come as a surprise and suggested that the UK government had not considered the effect on communities reliant on the jobs provided by the industry.
“It is entirely possible that, without adequate consultation and feed-in, dairy was not deliberately ignored but just never rose up as an issue. “
Joan said after the committee meeting:
“It is deeply concerning that there appears to have been so little consultation by the UK Government. In the event of a no deal Brexit all sectors and nations of the UK will be massively impacted but if, as appears to be the case, the tariffs set by the UK government ignore entire sectors of the economy then this could be even worse than we feared.
“Not only is this deeply concerning as we face the imminent threat of a no deal but it is also deeply worrying for the future. We need to have systems in place that allow all companies, sectors, and the governments of the devolved administration to contribute towards developing trade policy. That is the only way we can develop a trading policy that will work for all sectors of our economy. By unilaterally scrapping the tariffs in advance, the UK government weakens its negotiating position when it tries to make deals in future – it’s already given everything away!
“This just emphasise that a no deal Brexit will be disastrous for the dairy sector in the south of Scotland. We need to see both the Conservative and Labour party take the only concrete action possible to remove this threat and support the revocation of article 50.”
EU Most Favoured Nation Dairy Tariffs are on average 72.3% and the UK Government is proposing to drop that to 0%. Source:
What should we make of the UK’s ‘No Deal’ tariffs? By Dr Michael Gasiorek is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Sussex and Julia Magntorn Garrett is a Research Officer in Economics at the University of Sussex. Both are fellows of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. L. Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory (14 March 2019).
The full exchange in committee can be found here:

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South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that tenant farmers, David and Alison Telfer from Canonbie, have won their fight against eviction from their farm at Cleuchfoot, near Canonbie.


Ms McAlpine has been campaigning on behalf of the couple and has raised their plight in parliament, the media and with the Scottish Land Commission.


Now a deal has been brokered between the commission’s tenant farming representative and the new owners of the land which the Telfers tenant.


The couple had been told to leave by the Duke of Buccleuch when he put the land up for sale as part of the Evertown Estate last year. They’d previously been under the impression that they could remain until their retirement in a few years’ time. An incredible 89,000 people had signed a petition asking the Duke to reconsider and accusing him of removing tenants to secure lucrative forestry grants.


But now the new owner, James Jones of James Jones & Sons Ltd, the timber manufacturers in Lockerbie, has agreed to let the Telfers remain at the farm until their original retirement date. 


Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,


“I’m delighted to hear that the Telfers have won their fight to remain at Cleuchfoot. They’ve been at the farm for over 20 years and had expected remain there for the rest of their working lives. It was a shock for them to be told they’d have to move away and start over again with just a few years to go until they retired.


“The new owners, James Jones & Sons Ltd deserve credit for extending the Telfer’s lease. They were under no legal obligation to keep them on but I believe they have made the right moral decision.


“I know, too, that Bob McIntosh, the Tenant Farming Commissioner at The Scottish Land Commission has been working with both the Telfers and the new owners to find an amicable solution. I’d like to thank Bob for all his hard work on this case, it shows the commission, which was set up as part of the SNP’s land reform programme, is really making a difference in rural Scotland. I’m delighted that their intervention has led to such a positive outcome.”


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McAlpine welcomes expansion of free personal care

South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine, has welcomed news that Frank’s Law – free personal care for those under 65 for those who require it – is to be introduced on Monday. Until now free personal care packages have only been available to those aged over 65. But from the 1st of April it will be expanded so that anyone who requires it can receive it, whatever their age.

‘Frank’s Law’ is named after the former Dundee United footballer Frank Kopel. Frank was diagnosed with dementia at the age of 59 and sadly died six years later in 2014, just 19 days after becoming eligible for free care.
The expansion means that anyone who is assessed by their local authority as requiring personal care will receive it free of charge, regardless of their age, condition, capital or income.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I’m delighted with the announcement that Frank’s Law will finally be delivered. Currently people under 65 who have degenerative conditions like dementia and Parkinson’s have to pay for personal care if they need help with dressing, getting in and out of bed, mobility or support at mealtimes.
“Now the Scottish Government has made £30 million available to local authorities to ensure that they’ll receive that care for free. This means thousands of people across Scotland receive the support that they are entitled to without being impacted financially.
“Care packages will be available through local authorities. Anyone in Dumfries and Galloway who thinks they may be eligible for support should contact the Council on 030 33 33 3001”

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MSP Joan McAlpine has praised the interim board of the south of Scotland enterprise agency for their progress in developing a company that will be tailored to the specific needs of the region.

The SNP MSP was speaking during a debate on the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill in the Scottish Parliament this week. Although the new agency has not been formally established, an interim company has been set up which will become permanent once the bill has been passed into law.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,
“I’ve been pushing for a new enterprise agency for the region since I was elected in 2011 so I’m delighted at the progress being made by the parliament to get it up and running as soon as possible. And I can’t praise interim board highly enough for their commitment to deliver an agency that will prioritise bespoke solutions, tailored to the needs of companies across the region but with a strong focus on community development.
“The interim board is made up of professionals from industry, agriculture, forestry, tourism, local government, housing and education so they have a broad understanding of the needs of our rural communities as well as those of businesses and industry. They know that the economy of south Scotland has a greater reliance on small and medium enterprises primarily in the agriculture,  tourism and food and drink sectors.
I’m delighted they’ve taken this approach, it’s vital for our region that our development agency understands the needs of our communities as well as businesses, so I hope the board structure of the new agency, when established, will follow the same model.
“The Scottish Government has already pledged to fund our new company at the same level as Highlands and Islands Enterprise which is great news for the region. This is another example of the Scottish Government doing great things for the south of Scotland, along with their £85million pledge for the Borderlands deal, the new #VisitSouthScotland campaign and their £1.7m investment in 120 jobs at the Pinneys site in Annan.”
More information on the South of Scotland Enterprise Bill can be found here:

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Jobs boost at Pinneys site is great news for the region, says Joan McAlpine MSP

South Scotland MSP, Joan McAlpine has welcomed news that 120 jobs will be created at the former Pinney’s factory in Annan after the Scottish Government found a buyer for the site.


The purchase, by food processing company, Atlantis-Pak, is being made possible thanks to a £1.7 million investment from the Scottish Government.  The company plans to create an initial 120 food processing posts but has indicated there is potential for more.


Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,


“I’m absolutely delighted by today’s announcement, it’s a fantastic boost for the people of Annan who were left reeling last year when Youngs closed their Pinneys factory. There was hardly a family in the town that wasn’t affected by the loss and I was as dismayed as they were when it emerged that Youngs would be creating hundreds of new jobs just weeks later at their factory in Grimsby.


“The news is especially welcome as the region experienced a spate of job losses last year on top of the Pinneys closure. This included Edinburgh Woollen Mill, who moved its head office and 190 jobs from Langholm to Carlisle, and Arla, who transferred 14 cheese packaging jobs from its factory in Lockerbie to Oswestry in Shropshire. 


“Today’s announcement is another great example of the Scottish Government supporting jobs and delivering for the people of Dumfries and Galloway. The investment follows news of a dedicated new enterprise agency for the region, a major new tourism campaign, #seesouthscotland and a pledge of £85 million towards the Borderlands project.  Meanwhile the UK Government and David Mundell are spending their time trying to deliver a disasterous brexit deal that will only harm the economy of the region.


The company will benefit from £1.7 million of Regional Selective Assistance funding, provided by Scottish Enterprise to create or protect jobs in Scotland


Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grants

What you need to know and how to apply for an RSA grant from Scottish Enterprise. RSA grants help fund investmen…


Atlantis-Pak specialise in adding value to seafood and poultry products, primarily focused on coatings and breadcrumbs, particularly panko breadcrumbs. They have supply contracts across Europe and the UK, with their largest contracts being with Brakes (food service business) where they supply over 50 product lines into the UK, and are a large supplier of fillet-of-fish products to McDonald’s across Eastern Europe. 

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McAlpine appeals to council to create fund from Crown Estate Profits

South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has appealed to Dumfries and Galloway Council to use profits from Crown Estate coastal assets to create a local fund for the region. The Crown Estate assets are set to be devolved to the local authority and a fund could support communities around the Dumfries and Galloway coast.


The SNP was speaking during a visit to Nith Inshore Rescue, a volunteer-run lifeboat service that operates out of Glencaple. The independent charity provides front line search-and-rescue services covering upper north-east Solway, inland rivers and lochs. The unpaid crew are on call 24 hours a day.


Volunteers say they need over £30,000 a year to keep the vital service running and Ms McAlpine believes profits from local Crown Estate assets should be made available to help them.


The SNP MSP has written to the Chief Executive of Dumfries and Galloway Council to ask what their plans are for managing the assets and allocation of profits.


Commenting, Ms McAlpine says,


“Nith Inshore Rescue, along with the other independent lifeboats along the Solway, provide a vital service to fishermen and tourists, not to mention the dozens of flood victims that they’ve helped along our waterways over the years. We’re so fortunate in the region to have such dedicated teams of volunteers, out in all weathers, risking their lives in hazardous conditions to search for people in danger. I can’t think of a better destination for the funding.”


“With management of Crown Estate assets and related income set to be devolved from the Scottish Government to local authorities, I’m appealing to Dumfries and Galloway Council to set aside the cash and put it towards groups that benefit our coastal communities.


“When the Scottish Government proposed devolving the Crown Estate from Westminster control, opposition parties wanted the coastal assets devolved even further, down to local authority level. It’s now up to councils to prove that they’re on the side of local coastal communities by using the Crown Estate proceeds to support them.”


Attached, image of Joan McAlpine MSP with Robbie Cowan (1,2,3) and with Robbie Cowan & Gwilym Gibbons (4) of Nith Inshore Rescue team


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McAlpine praises rise in staff numbers for NHS Dumfries & Galloway

SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine has praised hard working staff at NHS Dumfries and Galloway after the latest statistics showed increased staffing levels across Scotland – helping give patients the best possible care.


The region is benefitting from an increase in the numbers of staff working for NHS Dumfries and Galloway – part of a Scotland-wide increase that has seen the NHS workforce reach record levels in 2018.


NHS Dumfries and Galloway had its full-time equivalent staff levels increase from 3537 t3670 – a rise of 3.8%.


Thanks to the SNP’s 2019/20 budget, NHS Dumfries and Galloway is set to receive an extra £10m in spending power – a 3.5% increase on last year’s spending.  


Commenting, SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine says:


“Staff are the lifeblood of our NHS here in Dumfries and Galloway  and it is welcome news there are record numbers working in our hospitals and surgeries across Scotland.


“NHS Dumfries and Galloway will now benefit from having even more dedicated and highly skilled staff in our hospitals and surgeries – ensuring people in our region receive the world-class care that they have come to expect from our NHS.


“Of course we understand there are particular challenges in all rural areas recruiting some specialisms, and the board is working hard on recruitment. However these figures show real progress is being made.


“As a cherished public service the SNP will continue to ensure our health service is properly funded and fit for the future.”

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MSP Joan McAlpine has spoken in favour of Scottish Government initiatives which improve the lives of women ahead of a debate for International Women’s day on Friday.

The SNP MSP used the opportunity to highlight how the Scottish Government is leading the way by promoting initiatives and providing funding which helps women participate in education, the workforce and sporting events. Ms McAlpine was speaking ahead of the debate, entitled “Balance for Better,” which will take place in the Scottish Parliament.
Commenting Ms McAlpine says,
“The recent Scottish Government budget announced plans to almost double the paid-for provision of childcare to 1,140 hours from August 2020 for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds, as well as committing £500 million to support the expansion of early learning services and facilities across Scotland. This funding will enable thousands of women return to work after having kids as well as moving from part time to full time work.
“Carers, who are primarily women, will also see an increase in the Carer’s Allowance Supplement to £552. This is an extra payment for people in Scotland and is over and above the grants that are available to carers in the rest of the UK.
“In terms of education, the Scottish Government has launched a programme aimed at encouraging more girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. This initiative is set to be rolled out in early learning centres and schools across Scotland and it’s hoped the initiative will encourage more girls to pursue careers in this area. 
“Women and girls will also benefit from an additional £300,000 worth of funding from Scottish Government for projects that encourage them to participate in sport. There are still barriers that prevent women and girls from participating in Sport and this funding will help address that.
“There is still much to be done to challenge inequality both in society and the workplace. However, the Scottish Government initiatives have been making a difference to how girls consider their learning and career pathways and additional funding will enable more women to enter or remain in the workforce.”
International Women’s Day takes place worldwide on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights. It was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

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