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Improvement Districts recognised at Scotland Loves Local Awards

A Business Improvement District manager hailed as “an absolute power of strength” to a town’s businesses has picked up a top national accolade for her work.

Alloa First’s Diane Brown was presented with the Place Leader prize at the Scotland Loves Local Awards, hosted by television presenter Sean Batty at V&A Dundee.

She was rewarded for her work after judges heard how she had supported more than 200 businesses and organisations over the past five years – including in their response and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns.

That has included through town centre improvement work, seizing online opportunities and being a driving force behind events.

Watch Diane Brown’s reaction to her Scotland Loves Local Place Leader Award win

Her nomination stated: “Diane has been an absolute power of strength and inspiration to local businesses and third sector organisations. 

“Nothing is too much for her and the town is a great place to shop and enjoy. She has shown incredible leadership and built relationships that will have a lasting legacy for Alloa and Clackmannanshire.”

Ross Grant, of Aberdeen Inspired, was a runner-up in the same category

The project manager is the longest-serving member of staff at the city BID.

His nomination stated: “His time in the role has had a significant, transformative and positive impact on Aberdeen city centre. 

Ross Grant of Aberdeen Inspired with host Sean Batty

“As a prelude to Nuart Aberdeen, Ross meticulously brought the now iconic “Painted Doors Aberdeen” concept to Aberdeen (from Funchal in Madeira) where more than 30 local artists were commissioned to produce door-sized murals to fire exits and seemingly abandoned doorways in the city centre.

“Using this as a catalyst, and with support from Aberdeen Inspired, Ross spearheaded a global first, securing an exclusive agreement with the globally renowned Nuart curator, Martyn Reed, to take the curated street art festival to Aberdeen.”

Elsewhere, other improvement districts were recognised for their work in different ways. – spearheaded by We Are Inverurie Business Improvement District – was runner-up in the Digital Communities category at the Scotland Loves Local Awards.

The initiative is designed to help local businesses break into online shopping – at the same time supporting the local high street.

The award nomination stated: “Lokali’s impact on the local area is evident through the promising vendor onboarding statistics.

“Out of 39 businesses fully approached, 22 were successfully onboarded with a localised product inventory of 6,000-plus items, attesting to the platform’s active engagement and resonance within the community.”

Lokali’s app

Organised by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) – the parent organisation of Scotland’s Improvement Districts – the awards reward the remarkable work taking place to improve communities, from tackling the climate emergency and encouraging enterprise to transforming streets and creating great places to live.

Sean Batty said: “The dedication and drive shown by all of our finalists to deliver for their community is simply amazing. The difference they make – day in, day out –  is incredible.

“Well done to all of the finalists. It was great spending time with them.”

STP Chair, Professor Leigh Sparks, added: “Everyone nominated for a Scotland Loves Local Award is playing their part in creating a better future for their community.

“We should be proud of them all, as we should of all the unsung heroes working every day across the country. Their vision, determination, entrepreneurship and creativity is exactly what we need to create a stronger Scotland with more sustainable places in which to live, work and visit.

“Thanks to all of our supporters and sponsors for making these awards possible.”For more information about the Scotland Loves Local Awards, go to

All of the Scotland Loves Local Awards finalists pictured with event host Sean Batty, centre