The outcomes of the 2016 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration were announced on Tuesday night at a celebratory presentation event in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.
Representatives of the four category winning initiatives for 2016 were personally congratulated on their inspiring work by the Scottish Government’s Housing and Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart MSP.
The SURF Awards are delivered each year by SURF, a regeneration forum with 250 cross-sector member organisations across Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government. The purpose is to highlight, celebrate and share the achievements of initiatives that address physical, social and economic challenges in communities across Scotland.
SURF’s panel of 18 independent judges are drawn from national regeneration bodies and community groups. They carefully assessed all of the varied SURF Awards nominations in four thematic categories, visiting 13 different shortlisted initiatives from Dumfries to the north of Shetland, before selecting the following category winners:
Creative Regeneration: The Stove Network (Dumfries). A collective of artists that manage a wide range of regeneration activities in Dumfries, raising more than £0.5m in funding to deliver many impressive projects, including a new three-storey town centre arts facility.
Youth Employability: Street League (nationwide). A combined sport and employability programme that uses football and dance fitness sessions as ‘hooks’ to engage out-of-work young people and help them progress into employment, education and training.
Community Led Regeneration: Tomintoul & Glenlivet Regeneration Project (Moray). An umbrella of projects established by local community groups that have contributed to the Cairngorms area’s remarkable economic recovery, with increased tourism and employment.
Scotland’s Most Improved Town: Lochgelly (Fife). Named ‘Britain’s worst place to live’ in 2004, the former mining town has been transformed by a series of ambitious and collaborative initiatives in recent years, enhancing its physical appearance, pride of place, and reputation.
The four winning projects all demonstrate the value of a long-term approach to regeneration, with dedicated partners working strategically and inclusively to develop comprehensive plans and deliver real and sustainable benefits for all.
Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the nation’s go-to body for towns, supports the competition’s ‘Most Improved Town’ category. Phil Prentice, SURF Awards judge and Chief Officer of Scotland’s Town Partnership, said: “We believe in making the most of positive action in our towns and communities. The SURF Awards highlights those who have excelled.”
Kevin Stewart MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Local Government, meanwhile stated: “The SURF Awards demonstrate how effective communities are when empowered to deliver the priorities that matter to them most. I am impressed with the diversity of this year’s projects and the impact on people’s lives.”
In congratulating the winners, SURF Chair Pippa Coutts said the real value of the SURF Awards is in highlighting the hard work and dedication invested by people and organisations every day across Scotland to address deep-rooted challenges such as high youth unemployment, poor health and deteriorating buildings in many of our towns and neighbourhoods.
The SURF Awards Presentation Dinner was attended by 250 guests from a wide range of public, private, and third sector organisations. Since 2003, the SURF Awards have been delivered by SURF in partnership with the Scottish Government. In a press release, SURF also gave its thanks for additional support provided by Architecture + Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Skills Development Scotland towards the delivery of thematic categories.