The outcomes of the prestigious 2019 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration were announced last night (05/12/19) at a celebratory presentation event in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.

Representatives of the five category winning initiatives for 2019 were personally congratulated on their inspiring work by the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Communities, Aileen Campbell 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.

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 Inverness and Drumnadrochit, before selecting the following category winners:

  • Community Led Regeneration: Ochiltree Community Hub (East Ayrshire). The community aimed to save the community centre by taking it into community ownership and expanding its service provision.
  • Creative Regeneration: WHALE Arts (Wester Hailes, Edinburgh). The community led arts charity and social enterprise create the conditions for the community of Wester Hailes to work alongside artists and cultural practitioners to become agents for change.
  • Housing and Regeneration: Glenurquhart Care Project (Drumnadrochit, Highlands). Led by the GCP, the ambitious project developed suitable housing and facilities in Drumnadrochit that enables elderly people to remain in the community and be cared for locally.
  • Supporting Youth Employability: Achieving the Right Transferable Skills for Todays Job Market! (Dumfries and Galloway). Led by Dumfries and Galloway Council, the programme helps young people bridge the gap between education and employment, with a particular award focussing on careers in farming.
  • Scotland’s Most Improved Place: Calton Barras (Glasgow). Over the last ten years, Glasgow City Council, in consultation with local residents, traders and other stakeholders, have worked to respond to challenges of deprivation and poor urban connectivity and environment through a series of strategies and action plans.

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 SURF Awards Presentation Dinner was attended by 290 guests from a wide range of public, private, and third sector organisations. The evening concluded with an after dinner speech from renowned Actor and Director David Hayman, who spoke about his humanitarian organisation, Spirit Aid, which he founded to support children whose lives have been devastated by war, poverty, disease or lack of education and opportunity.

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.


Kate Wimpress, Chair of SURF: “The 21st year of the SURF Awards demonstrates ably, once again, the skill of communities from across Scotland to work together to address local need. Our panel of independent judges travelled the length and breadth of the country meeting with enthusiasm, integrity and innovation across location, scale and activity. Despite the many challenges facing our communities the SURF Awards show, when the right resources and support is in place, people can achieve remarkable things.”

Emma Scott, Information, Communications and Events Officer at SURF said: The SURF Awards are an excellent model for highlighting what is really working across Scotland. They showcase real projects striving to make a difference to the lives of the people who live in their communities. They are a vehicle for sharing best practice, and enabling projects to come together and learn from each other.

Aileen Campbell MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Communities: “These awards are a great platform for recognising and showcasing successful community regeneration. With each passing year the exceptional standard of applications and shortlisted projects is even higher. This year’s shortlist demonstrates what is possible when communities are empowered to work hard, meet challenges and develop projects to shape their own futures.”

Margaret McSporran, Strengthening Communities & Place at HIE: “In recognising the importance of community engagement in regeneration, it’s a humbling and inspiring experience to witness the range and depth of activity being undertaken by communities across Scotland; to improve their place, enhance quality of life and to build resilience.  The SURF Awards is a fantastic medium for promoting this work.”

Read More about all 15 shortlisted projects in the SURF Awards Publication 2019