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Big business for small firms in D&G

A scheme set up to help small and medium businesses in Dumfries and Galloway isproving a big international success.

Access Six helps companies to compete in foreign markets. They do everything from giving advice on the demand for Scottish products abroad, to sharing contacts across the world.

Fiona McIlwraith went to two businesses in the region to find out more.

Small businesses find international success

Chris Harrison owns Waulkmill Cider near Langholm. He started the business in 2010, and now sells cider vinegars and perry as well. He's been trying to grow the company and now, with the help of Access Six, exports to Germany.

Access Six is a project run by Scotland Run and Drink. Small business who sign up are given a mentor to help them develop their company and look at exporting to foreign markets.

Chris Harrison now exports his product in Germany Credit: ITV Border

Chris said:** **"Any help that a small business can get, especially at the moment, is worth taking. If you can get on board with an organisation like this, people can assist you with making contacts, helping you with the paperwork and the red tape. It's an absolute wealth."

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Export advice for new routes to market

Small and medium businesses (SME's) across south west Scotland are eligible to apply for a new programme that will help them export their products.

Access Six is an initiative funded by the European Regional Development Fund that provides training and mentorship for food and drink SME's in the border regions in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Amanda Brown, from Scotland Food & Drink, explains what the programme is about.

South West Scotland receive nearly £40 million YEI share

MSP Jim Hume welcomes a £38.6 million investment for a new youth programme in South West Scotland.

It is one of five areas in the UK to receive a share of money from the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI).

"We know that long spells of unemployment at the start of a young persons' career can be damaging for years down the line. This new investment will make a real difference to young people in the south of Scotland and give them the best possible start to their working life.

"With UK spending being matched by EU investment this new initiative is another reason why Liberal Democrats are working to keep Scotland in Britain and Britain in Europe."

– Jim Hume MSP, South Scotland

The scheme provides funding to help young people aged 15-24 find work.

The total £170 million of UK government funding for the YEI will be matched by an equal amount from the European Social Fund and also by project partners, bringing the total funding to nearly £490 million.

Help at hand with new pilot health check service

If you are unfortunate enough to be living with a chronic disease you will know that one of the most important things is having your health and your condition monitored on a regular basis.

However, getting to your GP surgery or hospital can be difficult, especially if you live in a rural area.

Now though, help could be on the way for some people in South West Scotland.

A pilot project to help people with lung disease carry out their own checks has been launched.

It is called the Annan Remote Monitoring test, and Lori Carnochan went to find out more.

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Full Report: Record-breaking guest at Wigtown Show

It is just over four months since the worst snow storms in living memory hit parts of Southern Scotland causing devastation for local farmers.

Some of those same farmers say they are making a recovery, and today they attended one of the area's biggest agricultural shows.

And along with the usual sheep and cows, this year's special guest at the Wigtown Show was none other than a record-breaking duck, as Matthew Taylor reports.

Watch his full report below.

"Big Dave" the duck is Wigtown Show's prizegiver

"Big Dave" the duck is at the Wigtown Agricultural Show in South West Scotland today to help with the prize giving.

As the most expensive duck in the country, having sold for a whopping £1500 last year, he has been making quite an impression at the show.

Here he is with his owner Graham Hicks:

Big Dave is making quite an impression at the show Credit: ITV News

Wigtown Agricultural Show to receive very special guest

A black & white Magpie Muscovy duck is due to take pride of place at the Wigtown Agricultural Show in South West Scotland today.

'Big Dave' the Drake became a celebrity when he was sold last year for a record sum for a duck of £1500.

Last year's Wigtown Show went ahead despite the poor weather Credit: ITV News

The annual show is the oldest in the region and first started in 1813.

It has only ever been cancelled for two world wars and the foot and mouth outbreak.

Organisers refused to cancel the show last year despite the very wet weather.

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