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.


The Highland Council – Inverness Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) Survey
This project sought to discover the environmental quality of the SUDS ponds in Inverness using amphibian presence and diversity as the indicator. A major survey was undertaken to do this. Of the seven key objectives of this project, six have been delivered or are being delivered. The final objective; to deliver better SUDS for both people and wildlife in future developments in the Highlands, will only be able to be determined after the end of the project. A graduate placement, Marcia Rae, has been the key officer undertaking the project. The post is joint-funded by Highland Council and Scottish Natural Heritage for one year.  A conference to share the results of the survey has been organised and will take place on the 27th of November, with talks from internationally recognised SUDS experts. The conference will be the first of its kind in the Highlands, will be open to all interested parties and will share best practice to deliver better SUDS for people and wildlife on the ground. This project has achieved excellence due to the diligence and hard work of Marcia Rae and the partnership working with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and key Highland Council personnel. We have undertaken a survey that had never been done on this scale or to this level of detail before in Scotland, producing  advice that will be deliverable on the ground and lead to better SUDS ponds in the future and finally helping to deliver the Green Network that is a key component in the Highland-wide Development Plan.

Download the application: SUDS


North Ayrshire Council – Millport Field Centre
North Ayrshire Council (NAC) has led the response to the threatened closure of the Millport Marine Biological Station (MMBS) on the Isle of Cumbrae since early 2013. This was following the announcement by then owners, the University of London (UoL), that it would close in late 2013.  The Station is the largest private employer on the island, attracting thousands of academic visitors every year, and is subsequently crucial to the islands economy.  The centre is internationally renowned and regarded as a centre of excellence in marine biology education. It is also a focal point for NAC work to develop maritime and coastal assets for economic development.  NAC coordinated a response which secured the Field Studies Council (FSC) as the operator of the Station and secured significant levels of capital investment to enable the delivery of a sustainable business plan.  This has safeguarded employment, significantly increased the number of visitors to the island and alongside other interventions, helped to bring a new sense of confidence to the islands future.

Download the application: Millport Field Centre


North Ayrshire Council – Team North Ayrshire
In response to low levels of economic growth and lack of innovation in the jobs market, a new collaboration between the private and public sector was created  Team North Ayrshire. Its vision is to give businesses increased access to support and to stimulate economic growth in North Ayrshire.

At the heart of this collaboration is North Ayrshire Councils unique account-managed approach. It provides a single point of contact for businesses with growth potential to access a whole range of support from flexible funding to training and employability programmes from numerous providers.

By modernising and improving on traditional services, the Council has established a proactive business-led model showing significant impacts in access to support for business and in job creation.

Download the application:  Team North Ayrshire
Stirling Council – Solar PV & Self-Consumption Investment in Social Housing
Stirling Councils Housing Property Service is investing in solar photovoltaics (PV) across its social housing stock, with the 1000th installation to be completed on 30th October 2015 as part of a 9 year investment programme to install PV on around 3000 social properties. The installations all incorporate remote monitoring with the installation of dual element generation meters in order to remotely record both generation and self-consumption data. Installations will include solar switch devices to off-gas properties and other installations will trial battery storage.

Download the application: Solar PV Self-Consumption Investment in Social Housing


West Lothian Council- East of Scotland Investment Fund – the provision of legal advice to third parties 
The East of Scotland Investment Fund Limited (ESIF) is a consortium of 10 East of Scotland local authorities. ESIF helps start up, grow and sustain small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing loans of up to £100,000. West Lothian Council (WLC) became one of ESIFs founder members in 2010. WLCs legal department have facilitated the delivery of loans via the Council as an ESIF member from the outset.  As we now undertake all of the legal work on ESIF lending for 4 out of the 10 ESIF members and are regularly consulted on related legal matters by ESIF themselves, we are confident that the project is helping to deliver a consistent and reliable approach to the funding. The project has had a significant and positive impact on the creation and safeguarding of jobs in the areas concerned and has allowed borrowers not only to retain, but to develop and grow their business, (in some cases internationally) in what has been a very difficult economic climate. This has had the additional effect of attracting further business growth and investment to the borrower companies and the related Council areas.

Download the application: The provision of legal advice to third parties
West Lothian Council – Waste and Recycling Education Project
West Lothian Council Waste Services has developed a Waste and Recycling Education Project to achieve sustainable waste practices by engaging with schools and providing waste and recycling education. Free waste and recycling resources are available to all schools and Waste Officers have developed a dedicated webpage and email address to consult with and assist teachers and pupils to reduce waste and increase recycling.

Download the application: Waste and Recycling Education


City of Edinburgh Council – Growing Confidence Secondary Schools Programme
Schools start to teach children from a young age to look after their physical health but what about the importance of looking after their mental health? Given that mental health problems affect about one in ten young people and tend to peak in adolescence, this is an important area to address if we want to achieve better outcomes for our young people and build resilient communities. The Mental Health & Wellbeing Team created a package of support and training for secondary schools to better promote good mental health in the whole school community: staff, pupils and families. In just 2 years, 22 out of 25 secondary schools have now engaged with the Growing Confidence Programme and it has benefited over 1000 staff, pupils and families.

Download the application: Growing Confidence