With weeks of lockdown stretching ahead it’s the ideal time for young people to exercise their imaginations by entering Dumfries and Galloway’s own children’s writing competition.
Organised by the Wigtown Festival Company in partnership with DG Unlimited and the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust National Centre for Children's Literature it’s an enjoyable way to celebrate what’s best about on of Scotland’s most beautiful rural regions.
There are three categories, with children aged 5-7 being asked to write a poem about that much-loved mascot of Dumfries & Galloway, the Beltie cow. To make it more fun the poem has to be acrostic – starting each line of the poem with the letters B E L T I E.
Next up is the category for 8-11s, with children being invited to write a journal entry of up to 300 words from a farmer’s daily diary. It’s a chance to think about all the things that go on during a day on one of the area’s multitude of farms with all their animals, crops and machinery.
And finally, we have a 500 word short story competition for those aged 12-18. For this we are asking entrants to come up with their farmyard adventure – it can be based on a real experience or completely fictional.
Anne Barclay, Wigtown Festival Company Operational Director, said: “We want to celebrate the farms and agricultural community of Dumfries and Galloway, they contribute so much to our lives and landscapes.
“And even though young people can’t get out and about much at the moment, this creative writing competition is a way to let their imaginations roam free and enjoy all sorts of adventures, among lots of different people and animals.
“We are very lucky to have the children’s author Vivian French as the judge for the competition – and she’s really looking forward to reading all those poems, diary entries and short stories.”
Vivian lives in Edinburgh and is the author of more than 300 books for children and young people. Her titles include: The Tiara Club; Tales from the Five Kingdoms; The Adventures of Alfie Onion; Billy Hippo; and Lottie Luna.
She loves Dumfries & Galloway making regular school visits and attending the Wigtown Book Festival.
Entries for the Children's Creative Writing Competition 2020 are open to children and young people living in Dumfries and Galloway (that’s anyone with a DG postcode) and must be submitted by 5pm on Sunday 26 April.
The winning entries from each category, including two runners up, will be displayed at Wigtown Book Festival (25 September to 4 October).
The winning child from each category will receive: family entry to Moat Brae (for up to five people), a family day pass to Big Wig at Wigtown Book Festival, and an age-appropriate signed book from Vivian.
Creative Scotland has launched three funding programmes designed to provide further support to sustain the country’s creative community during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Millions of self-employed individuals will receive direct cash grants though a ground-breaking UK-wide scheme to help them during the coronavirus outbreak, the Chancellor announced today.
In the latest step to protect individuals and businesses, Rishi Sunak has set out plans that will see the self-employed receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months. . . . .
Read more here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-gives-support-to-millions-of-self-employed-individuals
The Third Sector Resilience Fund will support organisations across the third sector in Scotland who are at risk of closure due to a sharp decrease in income or that are unable to deliver their services directly as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. The aim of the fund is to help these organisations to stabilise and manage cash-flows over this difficult period.
The Fund offers grants of £5,000-£100,000. In addition there are a further £5m available in fully flexible, 0% interest loans starting at £50,000. More information available on our Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub https://scvo.org/…/for-organis…/third-sector-resilience-fund
Do you know a charity, voluntary organisation or social enterprise that may benefit from this fund? Please share this post! #COVID19 #TSRF #Coronavirus
Over the last couple of days the help and support for business has become a little clearer, albeit we await a lot more information.
The application form for the Business Support Grant has now been published on the Dumfries and Galloway Council website;
I have had lot of questions about the payroll support scheme announced on Friday. Here is a few of the key points of the scheme;
All UK employers can access the scheme (e.g. limited companies, sole traders, LLPs, charities etc).
• The scheme is designed to help employers retain those employees who would be otherwise “laid off”, by which we understand to mean made redundant or put on a period of “lay off” (an employment law term meaning a temporary period when employees are required to take unpaid leave because of a downturn in work).
• Employees will have to be designated by their employers as “furloughed” and notified of this designation.
• It would seem that the Furlough Leave has to be agreed between employer and employee. In other words, the employee cannot simply choose to be furloughed and the employer cannot furlough an employee without their agreement.
• However, if employers ask employees to agree to Furlough Leave, if faced with the choice of being furloughed (and receiving 80% of pay up to a specified cap) or being laid off without pay or made redundant, employees are likely to choose the furlough option.
• The vast majority of contracts of employment will not contain the right of employers to put employees on Furlough Leave. Therefore, employers wanting to make use of the scheme will have to obtain employee consent to vary their contracts of employment to allow the Furlough Leave.
• Whilst on Furlough Leave, employees can be paid 80% or 100% of salary. The Government will reimburse the employer 80% of salary up to £2,500 per month for each employee.
• The employer can choose to make up the remaining 20% of salary themselves. If they decide not to do this or are not in a position to do this, they should make it clear that the employee also consents to a deduction to their salary of 20%.
• In order to participate in the scheme, the employer should submit information to HMRC about the employees in question and details of their earnings via a new online Portal (still to be set up).
• HMRC will reimburse 80% of employment costs (thought to include employer pension contributions and employer national insurance contributions) up to £2,500 per employee per month.
• To qualify the employee must not carry out any work for the employer for the furlough period.
• This could cause some employee relations issues if some employees are not working and are receiving 80% of salary and others are having to work as normal. This will require careful and sensitive management by the employer.
• The scheme could also be open to abuse by unscrupulous employers claiming that staff are furloughed when they are, in fact, still working.
• The scheme will run for three months from 1 March 2020 but the Government has said it will be extended if necessary.
Business rate and water bills reliefs
Business Interruption Loan Scheme
We now have some more detail about this scheme, at;
The Spring Fling Open studios weekend is being postponed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
The board and staff of Upland CIC, which organises the event, hope the event can be rescheduled for later in the year.
In light of government advice other Upland projects and exhibitions are also being put on hold.
Amy Marletta, Creative Director for Upland, said: “It is a difficult decision to have to make, but the health and wellbeing of our visitors, artists, craft makers, partners and staff has to be the absolute priority.
“Spring Fling is a fantastic event so we will be monitoring the situation closely and very much hope that it can be reorganised for later this year.”
A total of 87 artists and makers from all across Dumfries & Galloway had been selected to take part in this year’s Spring Fling, which was due to take place from 23-25 May.
Upland is currently looking at other ways to support and promote the work of artists and makers in the region.
DG Unlimited the membership organisation that provides a voice for the region’s creative sector held their AGM at CatStrand on Thursday 28 November. Members heard about exciting plans for Creatives Unlimited a year-long programme of support, training, mentoring and networking events for creative practitioners.
DG Unlimited are proud to continue our sponsorship of the "Culture Champion" Award at the Dumfries & Galloway Life Magazine Awards. Pictured is Cathy Agnew, our Chair, presenting this year's winner, Nathon Jones, with his award at the glittering event held on Thursday 7th November at Easterbrook Hall.
DGU is pleased to extend an invitation to attend our first Circuit event. The evening is to be the first in a series of planned quarterly social events that will travel across the region bringing creative people together to network, eat and chat. There will be regular guest speaker slots to hear from some of the region’s leading creative practitioners and each event will have a different theme relevant to the creative community.
The event is being held at The Market Inn, Castle Douglas on Thursday 5th September at 6.30pm and the theme for our first Circuit is "Health and Wellbeing in Creative Practice". We are delighted to be welcoming award-winning local photographer Kim Ayres as our first guest speaker.
* IT'S ALL ABOUT YOU *
In the sharing spirit of The Circuit, we would like to showcase the wealth of talent in the region in a "PechaKucha" style presentation with a difference, in that you will only have 60 seconds to show us some slides and give us a snapshot of your creativity! We have availability for 10 slots, so please do let Lynn know at email@example.com if you fancy taking part or have any questions.
There will be light refreshments in the form of soup and sandwiches and a bar will be available - all that's missing is you! The event is FREE, but tickets are limited to 25 attendees, so please be quick and reserve your place now.