What is an Alliance for Action?

Since 2013, SURF has been enhancing cross sector understanding and cooperation in place-based regeneration via its Alliance for Action initiative.

Working in five community focused collaborations, it provides practical support on agreed priorities and draws out shared learning outcomes, of interest to regeneration practitioners and policy-makers across Scotland.

Alliance for Action initiatives

Find out more about where we are working.

Alliance for Action Review Reports

SURF has undertaken a comprehensive review of the Rothesay Alliance for Action Site and produced the following outcomes report.

Shared Learning Reports

Land and Communities

SURF’s report on Land and Communities, that we delivered for the Scottish Land Commission.

SURF Alliance for Action 2017-18 Workplan

Sources of Learning Report

A report detailing all aspects of information gathering and tools used to gather and disseminate learning

Learning and Sharing Report

An in-depth November 2016 report sets out the practical learning benefits to cross sector participants and the wider community from SURF’s Alliance for Action active, cross-sector collaborations. It is available for download below.

SURF Alliance for Action Learning Events

In 2015 Two events were held in Govan in 2015 bringing together local projects from both Govan and East Kirkcaldy with National Alliance partners. The first event focused on Creative Community Participation and the second looked at Food in the Community and the role of food in local and national regeneration policy and practice.

In 2016 SURF held a Shared Learning Event in the Fairfield Shipyard Offices in Autumn of 2016 bringing together local projects from Govan, East Kirkcaldy and Rothesay with National Alliance partners. The event focused on Heritage and how it can be used as a method for community engagement.
In 2017 SURF held a learning event in the Kinning Park Complex on the topic of Mental Wellbeing and Regeneration.

In April 2018 SURF held a Shared Learning Event on Red Tape and Benefits in the Kinning Park Complex, looking at the impacts of income regulations on community participation and regeneration policy and practice.

Further information and learning from this event is presented in the report below:

Reports and infographics

SURF Alliance for Action Infographics June 2015

As part of its Alliance for Action linking and learning processes, SURF created two infographics to record and demonstrate the range of public, private and third sector Alliance for Action partnership connections at national and local level.

The first infographic illustrates 79 partner organisations’ investment (either financial investment or capacity building support, as indicated by the dotted and solid lines respectively) in the Govan and East Kirkcaldy case study sites, and/or on the SURF APPP. A second infographic presents information on the relationships these same partner organisations have with each other.

SURF Alliance for Action Interim Report 2013-2015

An Interim report highlighting the learning from the first 18 months of operation.

2014 Review of Scottish Government’s Regeneration Funds

SURF employed researcher Katey Tabner to work with SURF’s Alliance for Action partners and explore the adequacy, relevance and benefit of Scottish Government regeneration funding for small and medium organisations in the two Alliance for Action case study sites. This is available for download via the link below (PDF format).

SURF Alliance for Action Theory of Change Diagram

A diagram to illustrate the intended outcomes of the process and the method, connectors and barriers to achieving them.

2014 SURF APPP Briefing Paper

SURF produced a summary of the latest Alliance for Action developments for a September 2014 meeting of the SURF APPP. This is available for download via the link below (PDF format).

2014 ‘One Year On’ Progress Report

In April 2014, SURF produced an in-depth progress report for the interest of the SURF APPP. The report summarises key developments over the first year of the programme, and includes a research report on the accessibility and relevance of available Scottish Government regeneration funding streams for organisations and projects based in the two case study areas . Please click on the link below to download a copy (PDF format).

SURF Alliance for Action Films

Compilation April 2015

These filmed interviews – recorded in 2014 – set out an information baseline on the two case study areas of SURF’s Alliance for Action.

Short Film of filmed interviews from East Kirkcaldy in 2014

Recorded in 2014

Short Film of filmed interviews from Govan in 2015/16

Revisiting Govan one year on

Short Film of filmed interviews from East Kirkcaldy in 2015/16

Revisiting East Kirkcaldy one year on

Short Film on the theme of Community Empowerment

From interviews filmed in Govan and East Kirkcaldy in 2015/16

Short Film on the theme of Partnership

From interviews filmed in Govan and East Kirkcaldy in 2015/16


Building on ‘Reality, Resources, Resilience’

In its role as Scotland’s independent regeneration network, SURF delivered a progressive programme of interactive engagements, events and debates over 2011-12. This targeted activity series was supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the Scottish Government.

This participative study focused on two contrasting case study areas: the communities of Govan in Glasgow and Gallatown in Kirkcaldy. The objectives of the investigation were to:

  • examine the impact of the recession on disadvantaged people and communities;
  • highlight examples of ameliorative responses;
  • disseminate learning with the purpose of informing policy and practice in future community regeneration and anti-poverty efforts;
  • strengthen the exchange of knowledge and experience by facilitating increased dialogue across academic, policy and practice fields;
  • support cross-sector consideration of the options for more sustainable community regeneration policy and practice in the changed economic context.

The main themes and examples emerging from this programme were presented in a ‘Reality, Resources, Resilience’ report published by the JRF as a SURF-authored Programme Paper in January 2013.


Forming an Alliance for Action

Over the course of the above Reality, Resources, Resilience programme, SURF experienced a striking degree of enthusiasm for practical action from a wide range of local and national partners. This has encouraged the organisation to develop an ‘Alliance for Action’, focused on the same two case study areas of Govan and east Kirkcaldy.

The alliance is built on the individuals, networks and connections SURF identified and fostered in the course of the initial study. Its specific dual purpose is:

  • to further strengthen resilience and practical outcomes in the two communities;
  • to enhance wider policy and resource considerations for supporting community regeneration in the continuing recessionary context.

With support from the Scottish Government, Resilient Scotland Ltd and other partner organisations, SURF is taking responsibility for coordinated programme of activities and events over 2013-17 including:

  • Establishing, supporting and developing an interactive network linking partner organisations that have policies and resources dedicated to supporting community led regeneration;
  • Showcasing successful approaches and the availability of support for community led regeneration;
  • Convening a series of participative open forum events to raise awareness and debate learning from the work of the Alliance with colleagues across all sectors and geographies;
  • Organising accessible and productively programmed study visits to successful projects and participating organisations;
  • Facilitating a series of focused discussions of the policy implications, involving relevant key policy-makers, practitioners and academics;
  • Linking policy development debate with the practical experience of local initiatives and academic research capacities via a ‘SURF APPP’ (academic, policy & practitioner panel);
  • Broadening the accumulated learning and debate onto an international scale via cross border policy/practice exchanges.

Please sign up for SURF’s email newsletter to receive more information about the programme through regular updates, or contact SURF Chief Executive Andy Milne directly.

2013 Launch Events

The Alliance for Action was formally launched in two local events held in Govan and Kirkcaldy in spring 2013. These activities brought together local community group members with representatives of national agencies to discuss regeneration challenges and opportunities for each area.

An outcomes paper that recorded the main points of discussion at these local launch events is available for download at the link below (PDF format).