Amaze Me - Retrospective

Amaze Me LEADER 2018 (5th – 12th August 2018)

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This fun-packed week long romp, around some of the best that Dumfries and Galloway has to offer, happened back in August this year. 2018 was the Scottish Government’s Year of the Young Person in Scotland. To coincide with this, Amaze Me LEADER came to our region. The project, delivered by Sleeping Giants (Dumfries), brought together 60 young people, aged 18-30, from across Dumfries and Galloway (D&G), Finland, Scotland and other LEADER supported countries of Europe.


Their programme began here, at the Allanton World Peace Sanctuary, and we were honoured to host them for the first half of their tour. We held a World Peace Flag Ceremony within our Peace Pole Henge – a fitting symbol of the coming together of the many nations represented by the young people involved. They ended their first day relaxing around a bonfire with chat and music.


See their day at Allanton on YouTube

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Other activities included: beach cleaning (with Coastwise), bowling and tennis (Lochmaben Community Trust), ceilidh dancing (Eskdalemuir Hub), dragon boat racing and swimming (Galloway Activity Centre), Iron Age building techniques (The Whithorn Trust), star gazing (with Stargazing Scotland) all culminating in the Nith Raid event (The Stove Network and Hidden Histories of D&G) and late night ceilidh on the riverside (with Grant Dinwoodie, Alix Apples and Whirlijig Band).


This itinerary, drew on the strengths and variety of attractions in Dumfries and Galloway, including:  Buittle Castle, Crawick Multiverse, Galloway Forest & Dark Sky Parks, Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre, WWT Caerlaverock and Wigtown Book Town, amongst many others.


The European Union’s LEADER funding programme supports rural communities across the European Union, and has provided funding for over 200 projects across Dumfries and Galloway, including many at the places visited. We would like to offer our Infinite Gratitude to the European Union for funding environment, culture and social equity projects.


May Peace be in Europe.


There was also a serious intent to Amaze Me LEADER, and their penultimate day was a ‘Think-Tank’, which explored ideas on the economic development, social and environmental sustainability of rural communities. Talks were given by Nicola Hill (D&G LEADER), Skye Sarahs, Rebecca McQuaker and Hannah Birse (Year of Young People in Scotland), Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister of Scotland), and Bruce Adamson (Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland), amongst others. However, the emphasis was on giving the young people an opportunity to have their say, sharing ideas and issues at breakout groups and with questions put to the panel of speakers.


"The future of our rural communities lies in the hands of our young people. Through Amaze Me LEADER we hope to provide a platform for young people from across the region and beyond to share their thoughts and aspirations".

- Nicola Hill, Dumfries and Galloway LEADER


Young person from D&G: “I never knew that our region had so much to offer!”


See the highlights from each day on YouTube

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We would like to thank the Amaze Me Team for all their ideas and hard work to enable this wonderful exerience.



May Peace Prevail on Earth


All photographs courtesy of Sleeping Giants.

Liz Mackley