IT WAS good to see so much interest in a South of Scotland Enterprise Agency at the Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries on Monday evening.
The Scottish Parliament's rural economy and connectivity committee was seeking views from local businesses, organisations and individuals as the Bill to create the new body progresses through Holyrood.
I'm pleased that awareness is growing nationally about the unique nature of the region's economy and challenges faced.
Encouraging business growth, infrastructure improvements and creating an enterprise environment which allows more of our young people to study and work locally must be key objectives.
I was concerned that the initial £10m budget would not make a big difference.
However, I'm encouraged by assurances that the agency will eventually be funded in a similar way to the long-established and better resourced Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
BUSY START TO THE NEW YEAR
IT'S BEEN a good beginning to 2019 with plenty of opportunity for me to get out and about in the constituency.
Among my highlights was watching Queen of the South begin their centenary year with a fantastic victory at Palmerston beating Ross County 4-0.
It was also good to catch up with the team at the charity Sports Driving Unlimited at Cleuchheads, near Lockerbie.
They provide therapeutic and enjoyable pony driving to people of all ages, who may be disadvantaged through health, disability or in other ways.
Meanwhile, I was delighted to accept an invitation to attend the St. Michael's Burns Club Burns Supper in the Cairndale Hotel, Dumfries. A good time was had by all!
ON THE POLICE BEAT
I WAS pleased to learn during a briefing I attended with senior officers at Police HQ in Dumfries that a new recruitment drive is planned in the region.
This is good news for our communities and also for local people seeking a worthwhile and fulfilling career.
I'm also delighted the successful Police Scotland Youth Volunteers scheme, which has proved so successful in Stranraer, is now being extended to Dumfries.
POLITICIANS OF FUTURE
IT WAS good host a visit to the Scottish Parliament by children and staff from Tundergarth and Hightae Schools. The youngsters were enthusiastic to learn more about how the Scottish dimension of our democracy works