The Southern Uplands Partnership

Initially established in 2000 as a Strategic Rural Partnership, the Southern Uplands Partnership (SUP) is a charity and for nearly 20 years it has been working to develop new approaches to land use across the Southern Uplands. With a core staff of just three, the partnership currently employs 11 project staff (soon to be 12) who deliver specific projects, ranging from the UNESCO Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, developing equestrian tourism, engaging the public in biological recording and reinforcing the magnificent golden eagle population. Each project has been developed in partnership with a range of stakeholders and each has separate funding. SUP now has considerable experience of project development, funding and delivery.

Over the years SUP has worked on a wide range of issues, from community capacity, access, local food, renewable energy, nature-based and rural tourism, festivals, walking and rural broadband. We are especially interested in looking at natural and cultural assets and exploring how they can be sensitively used to support new enterprises.

SUP also works with others to raise the profile of Southern Scotland and it has played a key role in lobbying for the new South of Scotland Enterprise and helping to shape its remit. Our breadth of experience and our local knowledge are valued by our partners and we are regularly consulted on rural issues across the south of Scotland.

Each year, SUP brings significant funding to the region, money that is largely spent in the local economy and which thus helps sustain local jobs. We secure funding from a range of sources including the EU, National and Scottish Government, partners, charitable trusts, the lottery and from individuals and local businesses.  In the year 2018 to 2019, our turnover exceeded £0.5million.

SUP also works with a wide range of other local organisations and communities, sharing experience and putting people in touch with each other.

At the forthcoming AGM in October, we will be proposing some changes to the way we work. We are planning to establish a wholly-owned trading company that will be VAT registered, allowing us to undertake contract work to support the costs of the charity. We are also proposing to enlarge the Board from a maximum of 12 to a maximum of 15.

The SUP is keen to attract members, both individual (free) and group (modest annual subscription) and we are also looking for new potential Directors. The Partnership Board plays a vital role in helping to guide our work and setting our priorities. You can find out more about our work at