Two social enterprises from Dumfries and Galloway have been named as winners at the Scotland Loves Local Awards.
The Furniture Project in Stranraer took the Climate and Net Zero Award for its work to tackle poverty by reusing and recycling across Wigtownshire.
The Guild Dumfries, meanwhile, was victorious in the Enterprising Communities category, recognising its work to champion creativity and commitment to helping breathe new life into the High Street.
In a third success, South of Scotland Community Housing was a runner-up in the Town Centre Living section for its redevelopment of Wigtown’s former Bank of Scotland site.
Organised by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), the Scotland Loves Local Awards recognise and reward remarkable work taking place to improve communities.
Judges were impressed by The Furniture Project’s commitment to social justice across Wigtownshire – backing the local response to the climate crisis by encouraging everyone to think more sustainably, particularly in providing affordable homeware options.
Its Community Reuse Shop receives and collects donations of household and office goods from the community for reuse and recycling throughout the district.
In the last year alone it has diverted 197 tonnes away from landfill – saving 117,221 kilograms of carbon emissions. The project has an agreement with Dumfries and Galloway Council to provide reuse services in Wigtownshire.
Donna McKeand, Programme Manager at The Furniture Project, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be winners. We’re super-proud.”
Judges in the enterprise category heard how The Guild Dumfries has created “a new and vibrant retail space, selling high quality, original local products”.
On top of its well-established monthly makers market, The Guild has opened its shop Flourish in a prominent formerly disused building on Dumfries High Street, renting space from Midsteeple Quarter as part of an ambitious town centre regeneration project.
Flourish has seen tremendous success in its first 12 months, selling products from more than 50 small creative businesses, mainly from Dumfries and Galloway. Above the ground floor retail space is a workshop and meetings space, where a vibrant programme of activities – from art classes for children and adults to knitting and upcycling skills sessions – take place.
Leah Halliday, one of the directors at The Guild Dumfries, said: “We’re absolutely delighted. This is great news for us.
“We’re looking forward to more projects and more ideas. We celebrate the first birthday of Flourish next week, so this is a lovely end to the first year of one of our main projects.”
Award winners were announced as part of the Scotland’s Towns Conference, which took place at CentreStage in Kilmarnock on Wednesday (November 16th), in partnership with East Ayrshire Council.
STP Chairman, Professor Leigh Sparks, said: “The dedication of people to deliver for their community never fails to amaze us.
“And, whether through responding to the climate emergency, improving our streetscape, creating new homes or urging people to choose local, our finalists and award winners stand testament to the innovation and determination which will create better town centres as part of a stronger, more sustainable Scotland. Their communities should be very proud of them.
“Well done to our finalists, all of those nominated and thank you to our sponsors.”
STP is the organisation spearheading the Scotland Loves Local campaign, supported by the Scottish Government.
For more information about the awards and the wider Scotland Loves Local campaign, go to www.lovelocal.scot and follow #ScotlandLovesLocal on social media.
Main picture: The Guild Dumfries directors Diane Laws, left, and Leah Halliday at the Scotland Loves Local Awards.