25th Anniversary SURF Awards launched

A group of people sat on a table with a presentation screen during the 25th Anniversary SURF Awards launch event.
Published: 09/06/2023

The prestigious national 2023 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration was launched today (08/06/23) by the Scottish Government at a special event marking 25 years of the SURF Awards in the Pearce Institute in Govan.

The event, attended by 50 guests, included presentations from longstanding SURF Award Sponsor Creative Scotland, a Q&A session with previous SURF Award Winners; WorkingRite, DRC Youth Project, Glasgow City Council, RIG Arts, Move On and The Tannahill Centre; and Awards partner the Scottish Government Regeneration Unit, who formally announced the Awards open for applications.

SURF Awards launch attendees standing and talking during the event.

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; Removing Barriers to Employability sponsored by the Institute of Employability Professionals, Creative Regeneration sponsored by Creative Scotland, Community Led Regeneration sponsored by Highlands and Island Enterprise, Improving Scotland’s Places sponsored by Scotland’s Towns Partnership and Architecture and Design Scotland and finally an award for Housing and Regeneration sponsored by the Scottish Procurement Alliance.

The winners of the 2023 Awards will be announced by a leading Scottish Government Minister at a celebratory dinner event on the 7th December.

The timescale for the 2023 SURF Awards is as follows:

  • Thursday 8th June - launch of Awards

  • Monday 4th September - close of application period

  • Sept - Shortlisting by 15 independent judges

  • Late Sept-Oct - Visits and assessment period by judges

  • Thursday 7th December – SURF Awards Presentation Dinner

Minister for Local Government Empowerment and Planning Joe Fitzpatrick said:

“For 25 years the SURF awards have recognised the best examples of place-based, community-led regeneration across Scotland by showcasing inspiring projects. I am pleased that the Scottish Government continues its longstanding support for the awards which are a vital platform for sharing knowledge and experience of what works in community regeneration.

“The SURF awards recognise projects undertaken by communities and local partners which help to tackle inequalities, deliver an inclusive wellbeing economy and improve the resilience of communities. I’m looking forward to learning more about the projects nominated for this year’s awards and to announcing the winners later in the year.”

Diane Gray, SURF Vice-Chair said:

“SURF is really delighted to once again launch the SURF Awards for the 25th year running, offering a fantastic opportunity to share and celebrate work to support communities across Scotland. The SURF Awards recognise what can be achieved when people come together to make a difference, and showcase some of the best work that is currently happening. I hope in this anniversary year lots of people will take the opportunity to share their work with others, and step forward for the recognition it deserves.”

Brian MacDonald, SURF Chair said:

“The 25th Anniversary of any significant event is a milestone in itself. For SURF, the most significant factor is that for 25 years we have been privileged to see the best of regeneration across all of Scotland, not just the winners but in the endeavours of all who have participated. It has been both an honour and a privilege to have been involved.”

Emma Scott, Events, Information and Communication Manager at SURF said:

"For 25 years the SURF Awards have been showcasing best practice examples of what communities can achieve when they come together and work collaboratively towards a collective goal. Whether that be taking on a community asset, providing training opportunities, working with artists to nurture creative ambition or enhancing community infrastructure, including better housing provision, each project has excelled at understanding and meeting community need. SURF looks forward to seeing this year’s applications and hearing more about the remarkable work happening in communities across the country. "

Karen Dick, Head of Place, Partnerships & Communities, Creative Scotland and SURF Award Sponsor said:

“From Findhorn Bay Arts in Moray, to Alchemy Film & Arts in the Scottish Borders, artists and arts organisations are key to the creative regeneration of cities, towns and villages across Scotland.

“In its 25th year, the SURF Awards continue to recognise the hard work taking place in, and by, communities in ever more challenging circumstances.

“Creative Scotland is delighted to support the SURF Award for Best Practice in Creative Regeneration, and to continue our longstanding partnership with SURF highlighting the importance of the creative and cultural sector in supporting sustainable communities.”

For further information on the SURF Awards and to download application materials please visit their website or contact Emma Scott on emma@surf.scot

All images credited to SURF

A logo with the words SURF 25 AWARDS 2023, with a star underneath the number 25.