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May 032018
 May 3, 2018

The case to set aside £250,000 of funding from the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) to help mitigate any job losses from Pinneys, was made to Scottish Government Minister Paul Wheelhouse last night (Wednesday 2 May)


Annandale South Councillor and Chair of the Annan Regeneration Steering Group, Sean Marshall, urged the Minister at a meeting in Annan Town Hall arranged to update stakeholders on the work of a Scottish Government and Council Action Group, to sanction the request for funding. Councillor Marshall believes the funds should be to used to establish an action team based in premises on Annan High Street to work to secure jobs in the Annan area.


The request came as a result of a motion from Sean Marshall at Monday’s meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council. The request will initially go before members of the Economic Partnership at their meeting next week, although the final decision on how the partnership spends its £10m budget has to be made by Scottish Government Ministers.


Sean Marshall said, “My message to the Minister was very clear. We need a dedicated team in place in Annan urgently to look at ways in which new jobs can be created, either by expanding existing businesses or bringing new ones to the area. There is a lot of work going on behind the scenes to explore options for the future of the Pinneys site itself. However, the clock is ticking, so the work I proposed needs to start urgently and that team needs to be in place sooner rather than later”. 


The case for the £250,000 to be released will also be made by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth when he meets SOSEP’s Chairman Professor Russel Griggs tomorrow (Friday 4 May). Meanwhile Councillor Marshall, along with South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth, Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh and Annandale North Councillor Adam Wilson met with representatives of Unite the Union earlier in the week at Pinneys and the message from the workforce was clear- we need action not just words.


Commenting on the discussions with the workforce representatives MSP Colin Smyth said “The workforce want to see real action, not just meetings and it was good to hear their backing for the move to secure funding and that’s why I’ll press the case with the new Economic Partnership. The 45-day consultation is proceeding at a pace and it is literally just a couple of weeks before Young’s will make their final decision on the future of the Pinneys site. Whilst everyone is working hard to try to convince Young’s to change their mind, the workforce representatives are realistic about the likelihood of this. They have also seen the various reports about potential buyers and the fact that even if a buyer is found, the number of jobs that could be retained may well be very significantly less than the current number. That makes the need to try to bring additional jobs into the area even more urgent.”


May 032018
 May 3, 2018

A MAJOR project which will transform routes to cancer treatment for people in Dumfries and Galloway will begin this month.

Macmillan Cancer Support and NHS Dumfries and Galloway have developed a new partnership to complete an extensive review of cancer services and patient pathway and palliative care provision.

Macmillan is investing £220,000 to facilitate an engagement programme with local cancer patients and their families. In addition to this, Macmillan will also provide £120,000 for local service teams to implement improvement initiatives within health and social care service deliveries.

The programme will allow Macmillan and NHS to complete a comprehensive analysis into existing cancer service delivery. This will include comprehensive evidence-based review through local engagement with cancer patients and their families. The results will potentially shape changes to cancer services and pathways for patients in the area.

When results are known, Macmillan will work with NHS Dumfries and Galloway to support and possibly fund the implementation of the improvement plans.

NHS Chief Operating Officer Julie White, who is also Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership Chief Officer, said: “This project has the potential to significantly alter the way people with cancer in this region go on to receive treatment, and so we are delighted to be working together with Macmillan.”

Cancer services in Dumfries and Galloway are currently aligned with the East of Scotland Cancer Network (SCAN).

This means that people requiring specialist cancer treatment outwith the region often go on to receive top quality care at the likes of the highly regarded Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.

Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership Medical Director Dr Kenneth Donaldson said: “We are satisfied that the treatment and care being provided to people from Dumfries and Galloway is of an extremely high level and quality. We are achieving the national cancer waiting time targets, and seeing good outcomes from treatments.

“However, this project provides an opportunity to study the needs of the population in Dumfries and Galloway, to map existing services, and to determine which cancer care and treatment options outwith the region can deliver the very best outcomes at the least inconvenience to the patient.

“Whether this means retaining those services in Edinburgh or transferring some to Glasgow where some treatments already take place will fall under the remit of this project.

“But we also expect that the work undertaken through this 23 month programme will deliver some early results, informing and potentially altering approaches while this work is carried out.

“In addition, the Band 6 post provided by the Macmillan funding will be focusing on understanding palliative care needs and resources in Dumfries and Galloway in order to provide long term sustainable good outcomes in palliative, end of life and bereavement supports and services in the region.

“And throughout all of this, it will be vital that patients and carers play a major role in informing the work and helping to shape any resulting approaches.  To this end, we will be looking to engage with communities.”

Recruitment is set to begin shortly for a project manager, palliative care lead and support worker to undertake the work, thanks to the funding being provided by Macmillan Cancer Support.

Macmillan’s Partnership Manager Nisreen Badiozzaman added: “We are delighted to provide much needed funding to allow this extensive review of cancer services and the patient pathway to be completed. 

“Our £340,000 funding will facilitate an engagement programme with local people who have been through the cancer pathway.

“This means local cancer patients and their families will be able to share their experiences and knowledge to help us shape the future pathways and services. It will also provide local service teams with funding to implement some initial improvement initiatives within health and social care services.

“When results of the review are collated, Macmillan will work with NHS Dumfries and Galloway to support and possibly fund the implementation of the improvement plans.

“The increase in people being diagnosed with cancer coupled with the complexity of advancing treatments means Scotland’s cancer care system is facing unprecedented challenges.

“A diagnosis of cancer can affect every aspect of life, bringing emotional, financial, practical and physical problems that can last long after treatment ends. That’s why Macmillan is using its financial investments and influence to create a better system. One where everyone with cancer gets access to the best clinical care possible, alongside all the emotional, practical and financial support they need from the moment of diagnosis onwards.

“Our significant contribution of £340,000 is thanks to the continued support of people locally who work so hard to raise funds. We simply couldn’t do it without them and we are extremely grateful.”


Apr 182018
 April 18, 2018
Colin Smyth

South of Scotland MSP, Colin Smyth brought the proposed closure of the Pinneys factory in Annan, to the Scottish Parliament yesterday. He’s now planning to meet the Chief Executive of Youngs Seafood tomorrow in an effort to find a way forward to avoid the loss of more than 450 jobs in the Annan area.

Listen to Mark Smith’s interview with Colin, which first aired during Drivetime earlier today:

Apr 062018
 April 6, 2018

MSP Joan McAlpine has said she is encouraged by a very positive meeting with Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse about the future of Pinneys.

The meeting in Dumfries – which included council leadership, enterprise agencies and elected members – focussed squarely on saving jobs and retaining the production of natural salmon in Annan rather than letting it go to Grimbsy.

The Scottish Government are also looking for other contracts that could be fulfilled on the site.

The meeting comes on the back of this week’s shock proposal by Young’s Seafood to close the Pinneys plant in Annan – with 450 jobs put at risk.

The Business Minister said he would leave no stone unturned in his efforts to secure jobs in Annan.

Ms McAlpine also spoke by telephone to senior management at Young’s following the conclusion of talks with the Minister where she emphasised the need to keep jobs in Annan.

Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:

“The Business Minister has been working round the clock since the announcement by Young’s earlier this week.

“I am pleased he came Dumfries today and that we had such a constructive meeting – it is clear that all parties are focussed on saving as many jobs as possible

“It was also reassuring that Seafood Scotland were in the room, and that an action group has been set up to work on this.

“The Scottish Government is looking to see what other contracts could possibly be fulfilled on the Pinneys site – even if the natural salmon production is retained, there will still be a lot of unoccupied space when the deli production stops.”

As well as Ms McAlpine and Mr Wheelhouse the meeting was attended by council leader Elaine Murray (Lab) and deputy leader Rob Davidson ( SNP)  MSPs  Emma Harper ( SNP)  and Colin Smyth (Lab) local councillors Henry McLelland, (SNP) Sean Marshall (Lab) Archie Dryburgh (Lab) and Richard Brodie (Lib Dem).

Officials from the Scottish Government’s Food & Drink industry attended as did Council Chief Executive Gavin Stevenson.

A meeting was held with representatives of Scottish Enterprise and the new South of Scotland Development agency earlier in the day.

Earlier in the week Ms McAlpine wrote to the Young’s Chief Executive outlining ten questions she wanted answered.

Following the meeting, Ms McAlpine had a telephone call with Young’s Human Resources Director, Dominic Kerrigan.

Commenting after the call, she said:

“Mr  Kerrigan assured me they were working constructively to find a solution that secures jobs.

“I am particularly pleased that they are looking at all workers who will be affected – including agency workers – and would make sure everyone was treated fairly.

“I made the point that the workforce in Annan had served the company loyally for years and they deserve to be treated with respect and fairness.

“I urged Mr Kerrigan to retain the natural salmon jobs in Annan and he confirmed that he was in talks with the Scottish Government about this but said there were a number of challenges that needed to be overcome.”

Apr 032018
 April 3, 2018

South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said:

“This is absolutely devastating news for Annan and really is the last thing the town needs.  I am shocked and angered by the complete lack of loyalty shown by Young’s Seafood to the local area, particularly given the fact that many of the local workforce have been employed on site for decades.

“This will be an incredibly difficult time for the many people who will be coming to terms with the news. I stand ready to help in any way I can, and I urge people affected to get in touch with me.

“I have already been in touch with Scottish Ministers asking what help they can offer. The new South Scotland Enterprise Partnership will play a key role in securing urgent additional investment in the Annan area in attempt to make up for such a huge loss.”

Annandale South Councillor Henry McLelland said:

“This is terrible news for the town. Pinneys is by far our biggest employer. At this moment my immediate thoughts are with the workforce who have to try and find a way to come to terms with and absorb this devastating news.

“Pinneys has been a prime employer in the town for many years and losing it will be a major blow to our local economy. More than ever we need to see speedy efforts; the parts the new South Scotland Enterprise Partnership and Borderlands Initiatives will play are enormous.

“It is particularly galling that Young’s Seafood make this closure announcement on the same day they have been awarded a major contract from Marks and Spencer.

“With a workforce of ten percent of Annan’s working population there is a desperate need for both the Scottish and UK Governments to find a solution in what is already a fragile local economy.  In the last few weeks there have been job losses at Johnson Matthey.  The Chapelcross site employs much less personnel now as it goes through the decommissioning process.  The MOD at Eastriggs is moth-balled.

“It’s not that long ago a proposal to move the prawn processing to Thailand from Annan was thwarted.  It is possible that Young’s Seafood could be persuaded to change their minds. I note Bill Showalter, the chief executive officer of Young’s Seafood, comments: “Today’s proposals to close our Young’s Pinneys site does not reflect on the committed and skilled teams at Young’s Pinneys – they are a credit to our company and if these proposals do go ahead we will work hard to maintain the employment of all colleagues throughout this transition.” We will hold them to that.”

17/02/12…picture Paul Chappells…pictured is new columnist Joan McAlpine.

Apr 032018
 April 3, 2018
Commenting on the news that Young’s Seafood plan to begin consultation on the closure of their Pinneys of Scotland site, one of the UK’s largest processors of Scottish salmon with the potential loss of 450 jobs in Annan 
South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Colin Smyth said,
“This is absolutely devastating news for the Pinneys workforce and their families and my thoughts are with them. There are whole families employed at Pinneys which has served the town as a major employer for decades and this closure will be an utter tragedy for so many people in our area. A closure of this scale in such a small community will send shockwaves right across the whole, already fragile, local economy. It is also a massive blow to the Scottish food and drinks industry to lose such a long standing processor in Scotland. It’s just a few years since £3m was invested at the site and production from elsewhere was moved to Annan. It shows just how precarious the position was for Pinneys and the extent to which peoples very livelihoods are held at the whim of big business owners. The fact that the company plan to recruit 200 new jobs in the north of England while axing hundreds of jobs in Annan shows a real lack of loyalty to a workforce who have served the company for many years”.

“Given the enormous impact of this closure on the area, the Scottish and UK Governments need to go beyond simply putting in place the usual PACE* response. Annan has never fully recovered from the rundown of Chapelcross and now faces the double whammy of losing its only other big private employer”.
“I have written to the First Minister urging the Scottish Government to make available significant urgent additional investment for the new South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership to focus on the Annan area to support growth in existing businesses and to attract new ones to the area in the hope we can at least partly mitigate this loss”.
*PACE refers to:

Annandale South Labour Councillor and Chairman of Annan Regeneration Steering Group Sean Marshall said,
“The loss of potentially 450 local positions at Pinneys is a devastating blow for the people and economy of Annan and the surrounding area. But as the largest private employer in Dumfries and Galloway, it is also a huge blow to the whole region’s already weak economy. It is vital that Dumfries and Galloway Council along with both UK and Scottish Governments intervene and work together quickly and effectively to mitigate the loss of jobs and the effect this closure will have on the local economy. ”
Apr 032018
 April 3, 2018
Young’s Seafood Limited is today announcing the signing of 3 significant contracts with M&S. These new contracts will see Young’s Seafood supply M&S with chilled and frozen coated fish, natural salmon and white fish from 2018 to 2023.
Young’s Seafood is also announcing that it has chosen to exit Deli and Meals production from its Pinneys site in Annan, as this production is no longer financially sustainable. Following a review of its UK operations, the Company proposes to move the remaining natural salmon production undertaken at the Pinneys site to Young’s existing natural salmon facility at its Humberstone Road site in Grimsby. This proposal continues the Company’s ‘One Young’s’ strategy in seeking to focus investments on centres of excellence to ensure Young’s is best positioned for future growth in the context of exceptionally challenging market conditions. As a result of these proposals, Young’s Seafood is proposing to close its Young’s Pinneys site in Annan.
Young’s Seafood will now commence a formal consultation with staff and their representatives at its Young’s Pinneys site as soon as practicable following the election of employee representatives to discuss and consider options. During the coming months, the Company will work closely with employee representatives and other appropriate organisations to ensure that we have a meaningful consultation before any decisions are made and that colleagues at Young’s Pinneys have all the information and support they need.
The proposed site closure would potentially result in the loss of 450 roles from the Young’s Pinneys site before the end of 2018.
Should these proposals be implemented, the Company will need to recruit 200 new roles in Grimsby, in addition to recruiting up to 50 roles at its Scampi factory in Annan to support growth. If these proposals go ahead, employees at Young’s Pinneys will be provided with information regarding these new roles and will be given preference over new recruitment.
Bill Showalter CEO of Young’s Seafood said:
“The decision by M&S to partner with Young’s to supply its chilled and frozen coated fish, white fish and natural salmon underlines our continued position as the UK’s leading seafood supplier. Together with M&S, we will aim to inspire people to love fish now and for generations to come.
“Today’s proposals to close our Young’s Pinneys site does not reflect on the committed and skilled teams at Young’s Pinneys – they are a credit to our Company and if these proposals do go ahead we will work hard to maintain the employment of all colleagues throughout this transition. We have a long history of seafood production in Annan and whatever the outcome of the consultation we will continue to be a part of the community, given our other factory site within the town.”
Mar 232018
 March 23, 2018

IMPACT Wrestling announced today a return to the U.K. as part of Britain’s biggest wrestling convention – Wrestling MediaCon 2018 – on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester.

The show marks IMPACT Wrestling’s first live event in the U.K. in more than two years, coming as part of a huge convention with some of the biggest names in professional wrestling and media coming together for a weekend of non-stop wrestling action and interactive fun.

“IMPACT Wrestling has always maintained a strong dedicated fan base in the U.K.,” said Ed Nordholm, president of IMPACT Wrestling. “We are excited to be working closely with Trident Vision Media founder Alex Shane to bring an action-packed show to Manchester and we look forward to a phenomenal weekend of activities featuring IMPACT Wrestling’s biggest stars and some of the most passionate professional wrestling fans in the world.”

A subsidiary of Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions LLC, IMPACT Wrestling’s return to the U.K. will feature top stars such as IMPACT World Champion Austin Aries, Alberto El Patron, Johnny Impact, Eli Drake, Moose, Sami Callihan, Eddie Edwards and Matt Sydal. Matchups will be revealed in the coming months and all participants are subject to change.

Wrestling MediaCon 2018 will feature a full weekend of live wrestling shows, meet and greets with the stars, panel interviews and fan Q&As, signings, merchandise including hundreds of rare items, and much more. A host of special attractions will include the first-ever Wrestling Media Hall of Fame awards and a Screening Arena where fans can relax and watch hours of televised wrestling footage on the big screen. Everything takes place in three arenas over two days under one roof.

Tickets for IMPACT Wrestling’s live event on Sept. 9 will go on sale next month and can be purchased as standalone tickets or along with a Wrestling MediaCon ticket. Wrestling MediaCon attendees must purchase a separate ticket for the IMPACT show unless they are a Platinum VIP ticket holder.

Tickets for Wrestling MediaCon 2018 are available at Prices start at £22.50 for a standard one-day ticket. Two-day tickets, gold packages and Platinum VIP packages are also available.

For more information, visit

Jan 172018
 January 17, 2018

A COMBINATION of long-term staff sickness and other staff now falling ill is having a temporary impact on the maternity service in the west of the region.

An overriding concern for patient safety has prompted moves to place the on-call service on hold until staffing recovers from short-term seasonal illness.

A very small number of expectant mothers will be affected, and after discussions these mothers have expressed their satisfaction with alternative arrangements to give birth in Dumfries.

A spokesperson for NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “We always aim to accommodate a mother’s desire about where they give birth, but this has to be balanced with being able to ensure we can provide the full care and support that might be required. Our midwives are not immune from the same seasonal illnesses which are affecting the whole of Scotland. As much as the midwives want to fulfil their roles, they understand better than most the importance of protecting new mothers and their babies from the cold and flu.”

Recruitment is already underway in order to cover the long-term absence due to sickness. Other maternity services in the west of the region continue as normal, and as staff recover from short-term illness it is expected that the on-call service will resume shortly.