National regeneration award for local art group

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Findhorn Bay Arts SURF award – L to R Kresanna Aigner, Samantha Fraser, Aileen Campbell MSP

A local social enterprise was the winner of a national award announced last week.

This year’s winners of the prestigious 2018 ‘20th Anniversary’ SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration were announced on Thursday, 6 December, at a celebratory event held in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel by Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Communities, Aileen Campbell MSP. 

The SURF Awards are delivered each year by SURF, a regeneration forum with over 280 cross-sector member organisations across Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government. The purpose of the awards is to highlight, celebrate and share the achievements of initiatives that address physical, social and economic challenges in communities across Scotland. 

Forres based social enterprise, Findhorn Bay Arts, was the winning initiative in the Creative Regeneration category. The non-profit arts organisation delivers high quality regional arts activities that showcases local artists, improves pride of place, supports the economy,provides opportunities for young people, and attracts visitors to Forres and the surrounding areas.

The work of Findhorn Bay Arts was praised by the independent judging panel for being rooted in local communities whilst maintaining a global outlook.  Delivering creative learning and events across Moray since 2012,the work of Findhorn Bay Arts has included: 

  • producing three biennial Findhorn Bay Festivals each attracting over 13,000 attendances to the area;
  • holding five Culture Day Forres events showcasing local arts, culture, heritage and creativity;
  • creating a Cashback4Creativity project In the Mix delivering a creative programme for young people in Moray who are dealing with poverty, social isolation or unemployment;
  • delivering on the Forres Area Creative Place Awards programme;
  • leading the development of IGNITE: Moray Youth Arts Hub which has provided more than 3,000 young people across Moray with the opportunity to learn and develop new creative skills.

Kresanna Aigner,Creative Director, Findhorn Bay Arts said: “Awards like this recognise and acknowledge the contribution that arts and creativity make to galvanising and regenerating a community. This recognition is vital in helping us to continue what we do and to deliver positive and lasting impacts across Moray.

“Thank you to everyone involved in us receiving this award –from a grassroots level, to our team, our stakeholders and partners and, at the heart, all the artists we work with. This could not have been achieved without you.” 

The SURF Awards Judges said: “The panel were impressed by the broad impact Findhorn Bay Arts’ work was having on the region, including working collaboratively to increase opportunities for young people to participate in the arts, while also helping grow local tourism.”

Gary Cameron, Head of Place, Partnerships and Communities at Creative Scotland said: “The SURF Awards highlight the creativity of communities across Scotland, helping demonstrate the importance of arts and culture to our individual and collective wellbeing. Findhorn Bay Arts provides an outstanding example of an artist-led approach which involved, supported and excited communities across the region.”

Aileen Campbell MSP,Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Communities who announced the awards said: “I am delighted to be involved with the annual SURF Awards for the first time, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. The shortlisted applications are an inspiration and testament to what is possible when communities are empowered and proactive in shaping their own futures. The SURF Awards remain an outstanding platform for identifying and showcasing successful community regeneration across Scotland.”