The prestigious national 2019 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration were launched today (6/06/19) by the Scottish Government, at an event held at the Yoker Community Campus, in partnership with the 2018 Youth Employability Award Winners, DRC Youth Project and WorkingRite, and SURF Award category sponsor Skills Development Scotland.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Eva Bolander, spoke about the importance of regeneration initiatives in Glasgow before officially opening the DRC’s new Youth Training and Learning Centre at the Yoker Campus. The new centre will provide new office, training and workshop space for the DRC’s very busy project, which aims to deliver targeted work to three specific groups, who will form a ‘Focus Initiative’. The three strand approach includes; Strand 1 – the intervention service to work with local secondary schools, Strand 2 – health and fitness and employability support to young people who don’t engage with other services, including the DRC’s generic youth clubs, and Strand 3 – the girl’s group activities.  The centre will provide a facility that has an open door policy where young people can drop in without an appointment and seek help in a confidential and comfortable manner, with the capacity and space to start working with the YP straight away if required.

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.

This year’s five thematic categories include; Supporting Youth Employability sponsored by Skills Development Scotland, Creative Regeneration sponsored by Creative Scotland, Community Led Regeneration sponsored by Highlands and Island Enterprise, Scotland’s Most Improved Place sponsored by Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Architecture & Design Scotland and finally Housing and Regeneration which celebrates successful links between housing development and wider regeneration outcomes .

The winners of the 2019 Awards will be announced by a leading Scottish Government Minister at a celebratory dinner in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel on the 5th December.

The timescale for the 2019 SURF Awards is as follows:

  • Thursday 6th June – launch of Awards
  • Monday 2nd September – close of application period
  • Sept-Oct – Shortlisting by 20 independent judges
  • Late Sept-Nov – Visits and assessment period by judges
  • Thursday 5th December – SURF Awards Dinner (Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow)

This year SURF will again be holding a Caption Competition for the main Awards Image featuring the bumblebee and fly resting on a thistle.  The best and funniest caption will win a free place at the SURF Awards Celebratory Dinner.

Aileen Campbell MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Communities, says;

“As we celebrate the 21st year of the SURF Awards, they remain a vital platform for recognising successful community regeneration.  Last year’s awards showcased terrific examples of empowered and ambitious communities across Scotland delivering lasting improvements through community-led projects. I encourage as many projects as possible to submit an entry for this year’s awards”

SURF’s Chief Executive, Andy Milne, says;

“With an ever greater focus on the role of place based regeneration projects, the SURF Awards don’t just highlight the best, they share learning and make the links between local challenges and assets, and national policy and resources.”

Eva Bolander, Lord Provost, Glasgow City Council, says;

“The city is delighted to support the 2019 SURF Awards. We all know, well-planned and executed regeneration projects are transformative. They drive positive social, economic and physical change. They’re also a celebration of the value partnership working and collaboration can bring. It’s exciting to launch these awards and I look forward to finding out about this year’s entries”

Michelle Gibson, Skills Development Scotland, says;

 “The SURF Awards allow Skills Development Scotland to recognise the invaluable work that organisations do to support young people to overcome barriers and help them in their journey towards training or employment.  We are able to identify innovative and new ways of working and promote this best practice.  The SURF award for Youth Employability Overcoming Barriers is a corner stone in this work.” 

Arthur McNeaney, Project Manager at the DRC Youth Project, says;

“The SURF awards have been massive for us as an organisation as the recognition of all our hard work not only reminded us that we were on the right path with what we were trying to achieve but also strengthened our applications for further investment. Since being nominated and coming runners up in the 17-18 awards and then going on to win the same category in the following year with our partners Workingrite, we really feel that we have been elevated as an organisation on not only a local level but on a national level as well. With this recognition and success of our programmes we were inspired to upscale our services and are proud to say that we will have Aileen Campbell opening our new training and learning space in June this year. We would like to thank Emma, Andy and all at SURF for their continued support and we look forward to working with you over the coming year. Thank you.”

Scott Christie, National Operations Manager, WorkingRite says;

“The SURF awards provide fantastic a platform for organisations and projects to share new and innovative ways in which they meet the needs of the communities they work in.  To be recognised at a national level is both humbling, and at the same time, vital in order to sustain these important services.  To be a winner of a SURF award is a prestigious accolade among voluntary sector organisations, and WorkingRite were honoured, alongside our partners, DRC Youth Project to pick up an award.  The forward momentum and confidence that a SURF award win gives you is hard to describe.  We can say now, with confidence, that the impact on our profile and wider perception within the sector has been significant.  

The award night itself is a wonderful way in which to share the successes of the communities we work in, but also to celebrate the successes across the country and appreciate the amazing regeneration work being done in new and exciting ways by a massive variety of organisations. Thank you!  We are delighted and proud to be a member of the SURF family!

 For further information on the SURF Awards and to download application materials please visit  or contact Emma Scott on emma@surf-old.local