At heart, this category champions the fundamental role that councils and their partners play in driving forward vibrant, prosperous local communities across Scotland. Recognising that solutions to challenges must be sustainable, the award champions projects that are helping create sustainable communities and sustainable development.
Winners have demonstrated their capacity to deliver clear social, environmental and economic outcomes. Their activity may relate to work being undertaken to improve or regenerate the local environment, aid economic recovery, manage resources or energy responsibly, or to foster and develop growth. Small-scale through to large-scale projects are included, but in all cases the winners have demonstrated good practice in terms of community engagement and partnership, how they are helping communities take control of their economic prosperity, and evidenced that their approach represents innovative or best in class performance.
West Lothian Council – Community Benefits in Procurement
West Lothian Council’s (WLC’s) aim was to create a Community Benefits in Procurement Procedure that would allow the council to maximise Community Benefits for all procurement tender contracts of £50,000 and above. WLC procures around £190m on supplies, services and works every year. Prior to this project the council had no process in place to incorporate Community Benefits into its procurement activities. WLC’s Community Benefits in Procurement Procedure has delivered a unique and practical approach to incorporating social, economic and environmental Community Benefits into procurement contracts at a threshold that, at the time of its creation, was unmatched by any other Local Authority in Scotland. WLC are now seen as one of the leading authorities on Community Benefits in Scotland. Via forums such as the Community Benefits in Procurement Champion Network and through organisations such as Ready For Business, the procedure continues to be promoted to other authorities throughout Scotland as an example of best practice.
Download the application: Community Benefits in Procurement
Dumfries and Galloway Council – Dock Park Regeneration Project
This project is about developing a strong and sustainable community built around the regeneration of a park in Dumfries. It was recognised at an early stage that if the Council was simply to improve the physical infrastructure and landscaping of Dock Park alone, the community may not necessarily opt to use the park, take ownership of it or ensure that it was looked after and maintained for future generations. For this reason bringing together of the surrounding community and businesses was recognised as vital to the process to; guide the redevelopment, influence the design and ensure public engagement to have community events and activities aimed at multiple age ranges.
Download the application: Dock Park Regeneration
Renfrewshire Council – Regeneration of the Gallowhill Multi Storey Flats
This innovative regeneration project was designed from the very beginning to go beyond the physical upgrade of the multi story blocks, to include new ways of delivering the services people wanted. Throughout the process a wide range of partner organisations have been involved and we have ensured that the community were involved at each step of the process. The project’s purpose was to regenerate the multi story blocks in the Gallowhill area of Paisley that through poor reputation led to low demand and high turnover of properties and posted substantial cost implications for the council, representing significant risk to the long term sustainability of the stock. The properties were in need of significant repair to ensure they met the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and remained a viable council asset.
Download the application: Gallowhill Regeneration
South Ayrshire Council – HEY – Housing Education 4 Youths
Ayr Housing Aid Centre is a charity organisation which provides advice and assistance to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. In 2012, in partnership with South Ayrshire Council Housing Policy and Strategy team, an innovative programme of Housing and Homelessness Education for Youths (HEY) was introduced in secondary schools across the Local Authority. The aim of the programme was to address the increasing numbers of homeless presentations from young people aged 16 – 25 by providing information to pupils on local housing options, the Homelessness service, and tenancy responsibilities in a creative and interactive way. The fundamental purpose of the project is to equip young people with the skills and knowledge necessary to maintain their own home effectively when the time comes, and to make informed choices about their future if they are considering leaving the family home. The project has been developed to reflect the crucial links between successful housing outcomes, positive educational attainment and employment opportunities for young people. It is based on the premise that intervening early to equip young people with the housing knowledge they need, will result in lower incidences of youth homelessness and better life chances.
Download the application: Housing Education 4 Youths
Renfrewshire Council – Invest in Renfrewshire – a partnership with the private sector to improve Renfrewshire’s economy and increase youth employment
Invest in Renfrewshire has the dual aim of promoting economic growth (growing local businesses and increasing employment opportunities) and reducing the Renfrewshire unemployment levels, particularly amongst young people. The programme is different, and delivers excellence in that it has the private sector as the key strategic and delivery partner at its centre. Over 700 companies in the area have signed up to a formal partnership to do their bit to support local employment and Renfrewshire Council provides considerable funding and support to grow local business. Local people are clearly benefitting and the efforts made by all parties are paying off with Renfrewshire having one of the highest drops in youth unemployment in Scotland
Download the application: Invest in Renfrewshire
Midlothian Council – The Lasswade Centre: at the heart of this Midlothian community
The Lasswade Centre in Bonnyrigg is the end product of an innovative pilot project involving Scottish Futures Trust and East Renfrewshire and Midlothian councils. By bringing the two councils together to jointly purchase two schools (Eastwood High and the Lasswade Centre), this groundbreaking initiative has established a best practice model that has not only saved more than £4 million, thanks to its partnership approach, but is also being adopted or replicated by other across Scotland councils. From the earliest stage, the focus of the Lasswade project has been on producing a building that exceeds the current and future needs of the local community. The project team fully consulted and engaged with local people on the design and facilities. Community engagement also extended to making sure as many employment and educational benefits were realised as possible, from giving jobs and contracts to local trades people to allowing senior pupils and staff to make key decisions about layouts and colours. Incorporating facilities including the school, library, gymnastics centre, 25m pool, crèche and community cinema under one roof, makes life easier for local customers and is helping bring people together. Memberships of its library and gym have soared compared with numbers using the facilities the centre replaced. Feedback from the community suggests that the hub approach has strengthened community ties. Meanwhile, its innovative design means the centre is one of the most energy efficient public buildings in Scotland, ready to serve the needs of the community for decades to come.
Download the application: Lasswade Centre
Argyll and Bute Council – Opening Doors on Empty Homes
Empty homes blight our communities and when effectively tackled have the potential to make an important contribution to meeting housing need; improving the outlook and sustainability of our neighbourhoods; and also provide a range of economic benefits to home owners and the Argyll and Bute area. This initiative, through collaborative working within the Council and, in partnership with local Registered Social Landlords has taken an innovative, approach to the implementation of an empty homes strategy and has achieved quantifiable benefits for communities, householders and people in housing need. This approach has enabled 530 properties to be brought back into use over the last year and generated additional revenue for wider community regeneration.
Download the application: Opening Doors on Empty Homes