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Planning for region’s recovery

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By Fiona Reid

A ‘COMMUNITY conversation’ is to take place in Dumfries and Galloway to garner views on the covid recovery.

Council officials are keen to hear how communities, charities and businesses want to see the area moving forward from the pandemic.

They have earmarked £415,000 for a detailed engagement programme, which will be rolled out ward by ward.

It will focus on the established recovery themes of schools and learning; economy and business; inequality and vulnerability; local communities and social recovery; and climate recovery.

Senior figures will lead the efforts to get the region back on its feet and in a report on the matter for councillors, chief officer Richard Grieveson said: “What became clear from our research is that recovery should focus on understanding what individuals, communities and business need to cope with the impacts of a disaster. What is also clear is that recovery is a long term challenge/need and a 10–15 year timeframe is not unreasonable.

“In the aftermath of a traumatic event, successful recovery doesn’t just happen, it requires sustained focus and hard work.”

He highlighted community leadership as ‘critical’ to the region’s social and economy recovery from covid.

And he promised a proactive approach to ensure Dumfries and Galloway is positioned at the forefront of the national recovery, adding: “We will do this by developing a full understanding around national and local research, including local engagement, about the impact and implications of the covid pandemic and EU Exit in our region.”

Mr Grieveson said the local authority’s Response, Renew and Recovery Team, together with Senior Local Resilience Partnership colleagues, have started to consider the wider aspects of recovery.

He added: “The most successful examples of recovery put a conscious focus on collaboration across agencies, organisations and services. While collaboration and community planning might be well developed concepts, do they work well in D&G for everyone and are they sustainable? To facilitate long term sustainable recovery, we

need to go beyond joining up services and consider how greater community and partnership resilience can be built.

“We know from experience in D&G that that when a disaster hits, emergency plans are quickly enacted, and command-and-control structures mobilised. But how to manage recovery isn’t always so clear. How do individuals and communities recover from catastrophic events? How do we know what support is needed, which groups should be prioritised and how should efforts be co-ordinated and managed?

“While covid can feel like an entirely unique event, there are parallels with other disasters such as the Christchurch earthquakes, Hurricane Katrina and in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Furthermore, our own experiences in regard to Foot and Mouth are also entirely relevant.”


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