Scotland’s High Street Heroes have been honoured for the remarkable ways in which they have helped their communities during the coronavirus crisis, including several of Scotland’s improvement districts.
A convenience store which opened around the clock, a group which supplied hundreds of key workers with bicycles, a community fruit and veg social enterprise and a shopkeeper who became the “go to” man locally are among those celebrated with High Street Heroes Awards.
Regional champions have been recognised in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas – alongside others highly commended – after more than 1,200 nominations, covering hundreds of people, were made as part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign.
Many of Scotland’s improvement districts were nominated by members of the public for their support for local businesses during the coronavirus crisis. Members of the Business Improvement Districts for Kirkwall, Lerwick and Stirling all won Regional Champion Awards for their local authority areas. Highly commended BIDs were those for Inverurie, Alloa, Falkirk and Lanark.
Scotland’s Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell today praised each and every one of them for their efforts, saying: “I would like to thank these High Street Heroes for going the extra mile to help their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am pleased the Scottish Government has been able to support these awards through our funding for Scotland’s Towns Partnership. They typify the kind of community spirit that has supported people and improved lives.
“This has been a difficult year for all of us, and the only way we will get through is by sticking together, being kind, and offering help where it is needed. The fact that these awards received more than 1,200 nominations just shows how much people have appreciated those who have pulled together to help one another.”
The awards highlight the tremendous difference that local people and businesses – along with the safe support of them – have made to peoples’ lives throughout Covid-19. A roll of honour of all nominees has been published at https://lovelocal.scot/high-street-heroes/.
Among the regional champions was convenience store Brownlie’s of Biggar, awarded the honour in South Lanarkshire.
For three-and-a-half months, owners Donna and Bruce Morgan led their team as they opened 24/7 to both meet the intense demand for home deliveries, but also to ensure they were there for key workers.
Customers said: “No-one could have done more during Covid to keep the community going – safely and with great thoughtfulness. They’ve made sure that no-one has gone without. Brownlie’s has been a complete lifeline.”
On their award, Donna thanked those who put them forward and said: “That people have taken the time to nominate us is pretty amazing. Our staff have been exceptional. They have all really stepped up – and the community has been so supportive.”
In Dumfries and Galloway, Colin Wilson was awarded the regional champion title after judges heard how he ran Castle Douglas Post Office single-handedly for 13 weeks.
His nomination stated: Many have praised Colin for his dedication to the public, declaring that without him their business might not have survived. His dedication to the community and customers was outstanding.”
Colin, who has run his town centre business for 26 years, said: “To be able to keep families in touch with each other with cards and gifts through the post during the pandemic was really satisfying and allowing businesses to continue to trade with online orders through the postal system means our high street continues to prosper with no shop closures.”
Roots of Linwood – a not-for-profit community organisation that sells and delivers fruit, vegetables and other essentials – has been named regional champion for Renfrewshire in recognition of its team’s tireless work.
One of its many nominations stated: “Roots have been a godsend throughout the pandemic. The staff should be very proud of themselves and the contribution they made to cheer up/feed the community.”
In Edinburgh, the regional champion’s award went to mechanics at The Bike Station whoprovided free recycled bikes – plus a helmet, lock and lights – to more than 200 key workers. The business’ outlet in Perth made a similar contribution.
Tariq Chishti, of Netherlee Post and News, was regional champion in East Renfrewshire as judges were told: “In lockdown he became the go-to person. For older members of the community, his food deliveries were lifesavers and his social media presence brought the community together.”
Scotland Loves Local is spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) with the support of the Scottish Government to help the country’s response to the pandemic by urging people to think local first for all their shopping and service needs.
STP’s Chief Officer, Phil Prentice, said: “The dedication with which people across Scotland have supported those around them during the pandemic has been remarkable. We’re delighted to shine a spotlight on the amazing difference that our High Street Heroes have made and thank them for all they have done.
“They are an inspiration – local people helping their communities and customers like never before. They highlight the vital part that high street businesses play in our lives and why we must support them to ensure they continue to be there for us.”
Image: Some of the team from Roots of Linwood
For more information about High Street Heroes, visit: https://lovelocal.scot/high-street-heroes/
The full Roll of Honour list of Scotland’s High Street Heroes can be accessed here.
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