New awards initiative from the Scotland Loves Local campaign will champion the businesspeople who are helping their communities recover from the pandemic

HEROES of Scotland’s high streets are being honoured with special awards to reward their dedication and determination to help those around them during the coronavirus crisis.

The High Street Heroes Awards will recognise the remarkable efforts of those who have gone above and beyond to support their communities at a time where their help has never been needed more.

They are being organised as part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, which is encouraging shoppers across the country to think local first and back businesses in their own town centre before travelling further afield or turning to online retail giants.

Spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership, with the support of the Scottish Government, the campaign is part of the nation’s financial fightback from the disruption caused by coronavirus –encouraging everyone to act in line with all public safety guidelines.

Nominations for the High Street Heroes Awards are open until 5pm on Friday, September 11.

Hundreds of nominations have been received from across the country so far, but organisers are keen to see more so that the spotlight can be shone on those who have made a real difference in what were once unimaginable circumstances.
Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “There has been a fantastic response to the High Street Heroes Awards, as there has to the entire Scotland Loves Local campaign.

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“The nominations we have received so far stand testament to the amazing difference that the actions of individuals, businesses and other organisations have made to those around them. 

“The stories of kindness, compassion and determination are a real credit to the nation and testament to the many ways in which the people who are part of our town centres help their communities, making them better places in which to live and work.”

Everyone nominated will receive recognition from the Scotland Loves Local campaign. A selection of nominees chosen from across the country will also receive a special Scotland Loves Local prize.

A critical part of the campaign is highlighting the fact that it’s the people behind the businesses which make our town centres special - not simply the buildings and shop units which are found on them. Mr Prentice added: “For all that civic-minded citizens, business owners and local organisations in our town centres have done for us, now it’s time for us to do something for them.

“These are people who are at the heart of our communities. They are proud of where they live and work. Some have been part of their local high street for generations and have, time and again, gone above and beyond to be there for their friends and customers - never more so than in recent months.

“Despite the challenges that they have faced in their own lives and businesses, an amazing number have been at the heart of community responses, easing issues faced by their neighbours, whether that be through making deliveries or even the simple act of regular phone calls to make sure that vulnerable people are well. 

“Many have also contributed to ensuring our town centres are clean, safe and welcoming places to visit as lockdown restrictions have eased.

“The High Street Heroes Awards are a chance to thank them for all that they have done and continue to do.”

As part of Scotland Loves Local, business owners are being recognised for these efforts by encouraging the public to turn to them first, whether it be for groceries, other supplies, safely meeting up with friends in a cafe, enjoying a meal in a restaurant or drink in a pub.

Businesses across the country have been working with Business Improvement Districts, Local Authorities and others to put in place arrangements which mean people can shop locally, but safely. These arrangements include the use of screens, distance markers and signage, the provision of hand sanitiser instore and capacity limits.

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'Time to appreciate local heroes' says Aileen Campbell MSP

SCOTLAND’S Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell, is supporting the call for the nation to honour its High Street Heroes.

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She is urging people across the country to nominate those who have gone above and beyond to help those around them during the Pandemic.

Ms Campbell, who is also the MSP for Clydesdale, said: “When the coronavirus lockdown was introduced it reshaped various aspects of our lives – how we worked, shopped and interacted with one another all changed overnight. 

“As travel was limited to prevent the spread of the virus the true value of localism was brought into sharp focus - it’s important now that we recognise the efforts made by those individuals, groups and local businesses who went to extraordinary lengths to support our communities during a period of great uncertainty for many.

“Now is your chance to show how much they are appreciated by nominating those who made a difference in the heart of our communities when it mattered most.”

  • You can join the social media buzz on the campaign by following the hashtags #ScotlandLovesLocal and #HighStreetHeroes