The prestigious national 2021 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration were launched today (03/06/21) by the Scottish Government at an online event, in partnership with the Glasgow Canal Co-op and the ‘Year of Coasts and Waters’.  

The event, attended by over 60 guests, included presentations from the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership, which included the Canal Co-op and Scottish Canals, SURF Award Most Improved Place category Sponsor, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, a representative from the Scottish Government Year of Team, and concluded with input from the Scottish Government Regeneration Unit, who formally announced the Awards open for applications.

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 sponsored by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

The winners of the 2021 Awards will be announced by a leading Scottish Government Minister at a celebratory dinner event on the 9th December.

The timescale for the 2021 SURF Awards is as follows:

  • Thursday 3rd June – launch of Awards
  • Monday 6th September – close of application period
  • Sept – Shortlisting by 20 independent judges
  • Late Sept-Oct – Visits and assessment period by judges
  • Thursday 9th December – SURF Awards Presentation Dinner

Kate Wimpress, SURF Chair says;

“In these changing and challenging times it is critical to be able to celebrate and reflect on success together. I am very pleased that despite everything the SURF team, and the many communities with which we work across Scotland, have been dealing with in the last 16 months we have been able to continue the Awards and keep the spotlight on the incredible work happening across Scotland.”

SURF’s Chief Executive, Euan Leitch, says;

“Communities were at the heart of the response to the iniquities experienced in 2020 and we know that community collaboration must be central to working our way out of the consequences of the pandemic. The SURF Awards 2021 are an opportunity to celebrate and learn from the excellent work that continues across Scotland and I can’t wait to see the submissions”

 Phil Prentice, Chief Executive Officer, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, says;

 “Scotland’s Towns Partnership is proud to be working alongside SURF as sponsor of Scotland’s Most Improved Place Award 2021. Scotland’s holistic policy approach, based upon the Place Principle and Place Standard is seen as international best practice, underpinned by the ask of all relevant stakeholders across the public-private-social and community sectors to play a contributory role in a collective effort. As we emerge from Covid I expect to see some really innovative place based submissions, focused on climate, localism and community, which hopefully can provide inspiration nationally.”

 Anna Young, Project Manager at the Glasgow Canal Co-op, says;

“We are delighted to support the 2021 SURF Awards in this celebratory Scottish Government Year of Coasts and Waters. As part of the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership, the Canal Co-op works with many great organisations and community projects along the Forth & Clyde Canal focused on ensuring the North Glasgow canal area is a vibrant place for people to live, work and visit. The SURF Awards provide a fantastic opportunity to share these transformational community regeneration developments with others and we are thrilled to be involved.”

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