Response 401444850

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What we want for the South of Scotland

1. Do you agree with our ambition outlined?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Don't know

2. What would you like to see for the South of Scotland?

What would you like to see for the South of Scotland?
In addition to the areas identified above, I would like to see the development of a single tourism strategy for South East Scotland and a website along the lines of this one which promotes the South West of Scotland: https://www.visitsouthwestscotland.com/

I don't think the identity of 'The Scottish Borders' reaches much beyond our own boundaries and I think clear branding and marketing for 'South East Scotland' as a tourist destination would do much to improve visitor numbers to the area.

We have so many groups with overlapping aims who don't appear to be working together - Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership, Midlothian and Scottish Borders Tourism Group, Tweed Valley Forum, Visit Kelso (the marketing arm of the local Chamber of Commerce) and a new post to promote Eyemouth. A co-ordinated approach and a single pot of money could do so much more than these separate entities.

Ambitions for the new South of Scotland Enterprise

3. What are your ambitions for the future economic success of the South of Scotland?

What are your ambitions for the future economic success of
In addition to the above, I would like to see the development of tourism strategies for South East Scotland and Sout West Scotland.

The economic context of the South of Scotland

4. What are the strengths you would like to see the Agency build on?

What are the strengths you would like to see the Agency
Off-shore renewable energy.

Extension of the Borders Railway to Carlisle.

Continuation of the support of Business Gateway in promoting the importance of small businesses utilising social media to market their businesses - and their courses on financial management, etc.

More development of economic and tourism links with Scandinavian countries.

5. What are the economic challenges you would like to see the Agency address?

What are the economic challenges you would like to see the
Funding for physical connectivity - road resurfacing/getting rid of potholes.

Empty shops in town centres.

SMART targets for tourism growth.

Potential Activities for the South of Scotland Enterprise

6. What currently works well in the South of Scotland?

What currently works well in the South of Scotland?
Borders Business Gateway has been supportive of our small business and the businesses of many of our clients. I would like to see their support and training courses continue.

7. What would you add or take away from the potential activities that the Agency could carry out across the three areas:

a) drive forward the economy?
The rollout of Superfast Broadband. The slow rural broadband we have (near Kelso) greatly affects our productivity as a digital media consultancy.

b) sustain communities?
I honestly don't know what the answer is to tackling empty shops, beyond free/low cost lets, or enabling properties to be turned into homes, but empty shops do detract from the look of local towns, which may have a knock-on effect to tourism.
c) capitalise on people and resources?
Because we're in a rural community, physical networking can be difficult to achieve, particularly in an evening, but not a lot happens here in terms of digital networking.

When I was in Yorkshire, I co-founded the social media phenomenon #Yorkshirehour - the first local business networking hour on Twitter. It has since been much replicated. I would be delighted to work with you to set up a #SouthScotlandHour and the associated training and networking events to support it. http://yorkshirehour.weebly.com/ My contact email is angie@aspinallink.co.uk.

8. What would you prioritise as the key areas of activity for the Agency?

What would you prioritise as the key areas of activity for the
Superfast Broadband.
Transport links.
Tourism strategy.
Improving digital skills of small business owners.
Digital networking.

9. What specific things could the Agency do to help you, your business, your sector or your community?

What specific things could the Agency do to help you, your
Superfast Broadband.
Tourism strategy and identity for Southern Scotland or South East Scotland.

Effective boundaries

10. What could the Agency do outwith its boundaries working with other local authorities or with agencies like Highlands and Islands Enterprise to support specific projects which benefit the South of Scotland and with national agencies?

What could the Agency do outwith its boundaries working
Learn from best practice elsewhere in terms of tourism development and marketing (E.g. Skye).

Location of the new Agency

11. Which option, either from the list above or your own suggestion, do you think offers the best way to ensure the Agency is accessible to all across the South of Scotland?

Which option, either from the list above or your own
As someone with years of experience as a home-based worker, I would say:

the Agency could have minimal physical presence with its services delivered digitally across the area.

Why spend lots of resources on a physical location?

The use of freelancers and consultants should be considered as an alternative to hiring lots of staff to be based in an office somewhere.

For meetings and events, the Agency could use existing accessible public sector facilities.

If offices are needed, I think it would make sense for them to be located where activity will take place.

12. Which criteria should be used in reaching a decision about the location of the Agency?

Which criteria should be used in reaching a decision about
Cost-benefit analysis. How much would each option cost and what would be the benefits/risks?

13. If you were to use the services of this Agency, what factors are important to you in terms of reaching it?

you were to use the services of this Agency, what factors are important to you in terms of reaching it?
Having a decent Broadband speed both where I am and where the team is so we could Skype.

14. What sort of people should be on the Board of the Agency and what sorts of skills and expertise should they have?

What sort of people should be on the Board of the Agency
Not just the 'same old same old' people who are used to networking together at functions.

People with experience of multi-sectoral working and experience of achieving goals.

Strategic thinkers.

People with relevant experience from other geographical locations.

People who are willing and able to tackle the 'aye been' attitude, which still seems prevalent in the Borders.

Women.

Young people.

People with access issues.

Other issues

15. We know that young people are less likely to stay in or move to the South of Scotland than they are other parts of the country. Do you have any comments on things the Agency could do to meet the interests of children and young people?

We know that young people are less likely to stay in or move
I'm no longer young, so my initial reaction would be, "Ask them".

My thoughts:

Employment opportunities which have career progression.

Better public transport links from rural areas to towns and then onto Edinburgh.

16. In delivering opportunity and growth in the South of Scotland, how can the Agency:

In delivering opportunity and growth in the South of Scotland, how can the Agency:
Delivery of equality training.

Provide opportunities for people to come together to work to common goals.

17. Do you have any other comments on how the Agency might address specific needs?

Do you have any other comments on how the Agency might
The needs of people (like me) with severe to profound hearing loss are often overlooked in terms of 'access'. I would recommend engaging Ideas for Ears (a Stirling based not-for profit organisation) in looking at how to find accessible venues and how to run accessible events.

18. We want to make sure that the Agency works effectively with a wide range of key stakeholders/partner agencies to ensure that inclusive growth also enables positive social and environmental outcomes. Do you have any comments on how this should work in practice?

We want to make sure that the Agency works effectively with a
If you hold events in physical venues, please ensure the venues have good acoustics, working fixed hearing loops, and PA systems. Offer speech to text support (live subtitling on a large screen).

Set up a hashtag and have someone live tweeting the event so those that can't attend can still participate.

Webcasts - but only any good after superfast Broadband is available.

19. Do you have any other thoughts on powers that the Agency will need?

Do you have any other thoughts on powers that the Agency
Can't think of any.

20. Is there anything else you wish to say about the operation of the Agency?

Is there anything else you wish to say about the operation of
I am excited that this is happening. I have lived here for two years and I think this is just what we need. I do think the two areas are quite distinct though - Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders.

For tourism purposes, I would love to see the promotion of 'South East Scotland' as opposed to using the term 'The Scottish Borders', on the basis that potential tourists would immediately know where the former is, but not the latter.

I love living here but know more could be done to bring people to the area to live, work and holiday.

I would be happy to be involved if my skills could be of use to you.

I wish the Agency every success.

About you

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