A free half-day SURF Awards workshop event in the Portal Townhouse in Irvine on 31 May provides an opportunity to explore successful current approaches towards regenerating Scotland’s places with two winning projects from both the ‘Most Improved Place’ and ‘Housing’ categories highlighted in the 2017 SURF Awards process.
SURF and the Scottish Government work together to identify and highlight excellence and innovation in initiatives that address social and economic challenges in disadvantaged communities through the annual SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration.
Workshop guests will firstly hear from project a representative in the ‘Most Improved Place’ category winner Irvine. The Irvine Vision is an effort by North Ayrshire Council, in partnership with the local community, to take a strategic approach to the town’s economic and physical development. Originally approved in December 2015, the plan has delivered large scale investment in the town centre and a number of other areas. These developments have been guided by local planning partnerships and are based on extensive consultation with the local community.
This will be followed by input from the ‘Housing’ winner Ulva Ferry Housing Project. In 2010, the geographically isolated island community and its economically fragile, ageing population was in danger of losing its primary school as a result of long-term population decline strongly influenced by the lack of affordable housing options for young people. A successful local campaign to keep Ulva School open provided a genesis for the Ulva Ferry Housing Project, the need for which was identified in extensive community consultations in 2013 and 2015. In 2017, two three-bedroom homes were built enabling two new families, each with three children, to move to the area. This has secured a future for the local school which, with the lack of any other local facilities, acts as a hub for the wider community.
Following an open discussion session with the projects attendees will hear from Scottish Government representatives who will give an overview of current priorities regarding place based regeneration. This will be followed by a short presentations from Scotland’s Towns Partnership on the role they provide in helping to regenerate Scotland’s towns and Highlands and Islands Enterprise on their current focus on place based regeneration. The floor will then be open for wider discussion on national policy.