The winning, highly commended and commended projects for the My Place Awards 2020 were announced in an online ceremony on 8th October. The My Place Awards celebrate community-led built environment projects that have transformed their localities and are supported by the Scottish Government.
The winning project is Strontian Primary School.
Faced with the possibility of the village school becoming temporary modular units, parents and residents of Strontian worried that the future of the Highland village was on shaky ground. Working with the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust, they came up with a provocative idea: what if the community built a school and leased it to the Council? They set to work fundraising and tendering the construction, eventually choosing a design based on the footprint of four housing units. This gives the site flexibility to be converted to quality, affordable housing in the future. The new school has transformed the educational experience of the pupils by providing more space, facilitates, light and green space, and ensured the retention of young people in this remote village.
In undertaking this project, the Strontian community has demonstrated immeasurable courage, pioneered an innovative new route for community-led built environment projects and produced a beautiful building with flexibility for current and future uses.
The Awards highly commends Bridgend Farmhouse for excellence in volunteering.
Bridgend Farmhouse sits in South East Edinburgh at the crossroads of three large housing estates, an area that has experienced high unemployment and poverty which has left a legacy of poor health, lack of affordable facilities and isolation. The farmhouse had fallen into disrepair in the early 2000s until local residents recognised the site’s key location and came together to pitch the idea of a community hub. Today, the sustainably-renovated farmhouse has saved a piece of local history and revamped the site with timber charring, interior designs and perimeter walls completed by volunteers. The space now has a kitchen providing healthy meals; a host of different workshops for woodworking, arts and crafts and bike hire; and over 80 regular volunteers.
The Awards commends Falls of Shin Visitor Attraction for excellence in community involvement.
The Falls of Shin are known for being one of the best places in Scotland to view salmon leaping upstream. After the original visitor centre was destroyed by fire in 2013, the local area suffered with the loss of a leading local employer. Recognising the need for regeneration, Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust secured funding to rebuild on the site and consulted the community about the new design. The new visitor attraction was opened in 2017 and is built mainly in timber, connecting the building to the surrounding pine forests. The site also includes educational panels, a restaurant, woodland trails and play area and has hosted events from business breakfasts to family fun days.
Congratulations to the 2020 My Place Awards winning and commended projects, and thank you to all the entrants to the My Place Awards 2020! Read more about all of the entries and shortlisted projects.