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Winners announced: The 2022 SURF Awards for best practice in community regeneration

The outcomes of the prestigious 2022 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration  were announced tonight (08/12/22) at a celebratory presentation event in Glasgow’s Voco Grand  Central Hotel. 

SURF were delighted to be joined by over 260 guests to celebrate the 24th annual SURF Award  programme. 

Representatives of the five category winning initiatives for 2022 were personally congratulated on  their inspiring work by the Scottish Government’s Minister for Public Finance, Planning and  Community Wealth, Tom Arthur MSP.  

The SURF Awards are delivered each year by SURF, a regeneration forum with over 300 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, which is particularly prevalent given the  impacts of the pandemic and current cost for living crisis. 

SURF’s panel of 20 independent judges are drawn from national regeneration bodies and community  groups. They carefully assessed all of the varied SURF Awards nominations in five thematic  categories, visiting 15 different shortlisted initiatives from Dumfries and Galloway to Shetland and  Skye, before selecting the following category winners

Housing and RegenerationTaighean a’ Chaiseil (Staffin, Skye). A £1.6million  regeneration project to address the housing, health and business needs of Staffin, delivering  six new family homes. 

Creative RegenerationAlchemy Film & Arts (Hawick, Scottish Borders). Alchemy provide  year-round access to cultural and creative learning opportunities and deliver Scotland’s  biggest experimental film festival. 

Community Led RegenerationBressay Development Ltd – Speldiburn (Bressay, Shetland). A  community led venture to repurpose a closed school and multi-court in order to retain  communal space and ensure community ownership of the facilities.

Supporting Youth Employability: The Larder (West Lothian). Working across West Lothian,  The Larder provide educational and work pathway support for young people unable to identify  their next step. 

Improving Scotland’s Places: Living Alloa (Clackmannanshire). In response to challenges, Clackmannanshire Council, the community, third sector and businesses have come together to  shift the dial on the social, economic and environmental issues facing the town centre. 

The five 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.  

The evening concluded with an after dinner speech from Storyteller, Facilitator and Writer Shona  Cowie, who delivered a successful show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival focussed on the past  and present story of the regeneration of Ayr High Street. 

Since 2003, the SURF Awards have been delivered by SURF in partnership with the Scottish  Government. SURF is also grateful 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. 


Brian MacDonald, Chair of SURF, said: The SURF Awards were established with the aim of  recognising the inspirational groups and organisations who enrich lives through community  regeneration initiatives.  

Past winners have emphasised that their recognition, through the Awards, has helped cement  achievements within their communities and has acted as a catalyst for regeneration efforts  elsewhere. It’s therefore important that we continue to recognise the significance of the SURF  Awards as a celebration of the efforts of communities throughout Scotland in challenging times. To  all of those shortlisted for the 2022 Awards, I offer you my congratulations and thank those involved  in community regeneration initiatives throughout Scotland. 

Euan Leitch, Chief Executive of SURF, said: “The nominees for SURF Awards this year are a rich list of  projects that have people and place at the heart of them. None of the projects exist in isolation but  are the successful result of collaborations within communities, often in the face of challenges. They  all exemplify the SURF approach to regeneration: holistic with the intended beneficiaries  meaningfully involved. In 2023, we look forward to sharing the learning, the pitfalls and the  workarounds, from each of these exemplary projects with communities across Scotland, as we seek  to understand how Scotland can make these successes easier to replicate.” 

Community Wealth Minister Tom Arthur said: “The SURF Awards share real stories based on  partnership, action and trust. These communities have pulled together the people, resources and  opportunities in their place to change their futures for the better. What they do is inspiring and they  continue to show us the difference we can make on the ground by working together to a common  purpose. 

The Place Based Investment Programme invests in communities making change happen in the places  they live: helping to regenerate their surroundings, revive their town centres, build wealth in their  community, and create places that enable us to live well locally. These projects continue to make a  real impact locally on their economy, the environment, and the needs and aspirations of their  communities.” 

Elaine Walls, from Supporting Youth Employability Award Sponsor Skills Development Scotland, said:  “The SURF Awards capture a refreshing, positive picture of exceptional work being done across  Scotland. Visiting the finalists is an inspiring, uplifting and sometimes even emotional experience.  Organisations right across the country have responded strongly to the pandemic, building and  retaining new and creative approaches. Every finalist has shone amongst a very strong field of  entries, showing the strength of community in this country. The judges congratulate all finalists and  winners and commend the outstanding contribution they make.”