People of south have their say in SOSE engagement summary

People of south have their say in SOSE engagement summary

People from across the south of Scotland have had their say on the future of the region, as SOSE has published its first engagement summary report.

The summary is a vital document that will help shape our first-ever Action Plan.

Due to be launched in early 2023, the Action Plan will set out the priorities for the economic and community development agency over the next five years.

Close to 750 people had their say on what they see as the opportunities and challenges for the south’s economy, including businesses, social enterprises, community groups and members of the public.

In addition, we spoke with over 100 people from seldom heard groups, such as young people with additional support needs and armed forces veterans.

Read our engagement summary

The engagement summary was presented to the Scottish Parliament in October 2022 and is available to read here.

An easy read version of the summary will also shortly be made available.

When did the engagement take place and why?

Engagement took place between November 2021 and March 2022, through 25 public consultation events and a series of additional sessions for businesses and seldom heard groups. 

The engagement also aimed to raise awareness of SOSE as a new public body and gather feedback about SOSE’s focus and performance to date.

What we heard

Common views heard included a need to:

  • Improve infrastructure, including housing, transport and digital as well as small business premises in rural areas
  • Retain young people in the region to learn, work and live
  • Establish equality champions
  • Work closely with partners and communities
  • Simplify, better promote and more effectively signpost support which is available
  • Realise the big economic opportunities facing the South of Scotland
  • Continue to engage

What we intend to do

In response, we identified a number of actions that they will take, in many instances in collaboration with partners, including:

  • Advocating for better infrastructure
  • Connecting communities and interests
  • Leading the way in a number of critical areas including Net Zero, Fair Work and Community Wealth Building
  • Raising ambitions
  • Strengthening the youth voice
  • Driving up standards of inclusion
  • Raising SOSE’s profile

Professor Russel Griggs, our Chair

“This engagement summary is a really important piece of work, which will influence our first-ever Action Plan.

“It includes voices from across the south of Scotland, from various sectors and groups, whose views were all equally important.

“One of SOSE’s main tasks since its formation has been to listen, and we will continue to do so in the coming year and beyond.

“I must thank everyone who took the time to have their say, with their views certain to be reflected in our Action Plan when it is launched next year.”

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive

“Our engagement tour was a significant commitment from SOSE, as we visited small and large communities right across the South, from Stranraer to Eyemouth.

“However, it was a commitment we had to make, in order to ensure the people of the south could tell us directly what they thought our priorities should be for the coming years.

“It was accompanied by sessions through which we reached over 100 seldom heard voices, which was crucial if we are to be an organisation which delivers for all.

“All of these views will allow us to create an Action Plan which focusses on the areas where we can really make a difference.

“Thank you to everyone who engaged with us, as well as Sleeping Giants and Southern Upland Partnership who helped organise and deliver these events.”