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 Regeneration: Taighean 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 Regeneration: Alchemy 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 Regeneration: Bressay 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.”