New partnership to support South of Scotland economy through COVID-19

Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council and the new South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) are to work together to support the region’s economy to respond to the impact of COVID-19.

New partnership to support South of Scotland economy through COVID-19

Working collectively as Team South of Scotland (Team SOS), the organisations will implement a range of actions that best supports the unique needs of the area.

The Team SOS approach builds upon the existing strengths of both councils and the newly established SOSE with officials and members from all three organisations meeting regularly to develop a shared understanding and plans that will provide the support where there are gaps from existing support available.

The team have been meeting virtually and sharing vital data and intelligence to better understand the current impacts of the pandemic across a range of sectors. This analysis is allowing potential gaps to be identified in order to implement some targeted actions to best support businesses and communities.

This will include undertaking some more detailed evaluation of all communities in a ‘place-based’ approach to provide dedicated support for businesses and organisations in each area.  The team are also creating a virtual Team South of Scotland through ‘pooling’ staff from across the organisations to maximise resources and intelligence.

Both councils continue to process the business support grants and are collectively focusing efforts on making sure organisations find the right support and ensure feedback is fed through to the Scottish Government as and when required.

Depute leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council, Rob Davidson, said: “This is, without doubt, the most effective way of ensuring the right support can be put in place for our businesses and communities across the South of Scotland, through making use of collective resources, intelligence and planning.

“We are already working hard getting much needed Government grant support out to our local businesses to ensure that our businesses receive the help needed during this crisis. Partnership working between both councils, SOSE and other local bodies will help develop a robust recovery plan, looking beyond the immediate emergency.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “At this critical time, it is vital that we pull together to deliver what is best for our communities, businesses and enterprises, now and in the future. Given the enormous scale of the challenge, working as one team is the most effective way to help businesses survive, to make their way through the challenges, get back on their feet wherever possible and to ensure the right support is available across the region.”

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, chair of SOSE, added: “We have been clear from the start of SOSE that we are committed to supporting both councils to add to the recovery and to support this response in a way that best serves the needs of communities and businesses across the region.

“We are having very productive discussions with the councils and continue to work with them to develop plans around where we can potentially add to support and resources during this extremely difficult time. This partnership builds upon the work that took place over the last two years with the two councils and the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) which paved the way for SOSE and this will continue post this crisis.

“Our board have been meeting virtually every week to gather useful insight in order to contribute to the Team South of Scotland intelligence and action plan and the board are keen to ensure we develop plans that support the councils and our communities in the most effective way.”

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