Time to promote Scotland’s most improved place

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We know how much a 14-year multimillion pound heritage-led regeneration programme has enhanced Campbeltown but now it’s time to share that with the rest of the world.

The town’s businesses are being urged to help promote Campbeltown as Scotland’s most improved place, a prestigious title it won at the 2020 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration.

It came after a combination of community-led regeneration and the £13 million Campbeltown Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) which began in 2007.

The regeneration projects include £60,000 of shopfront improvement grants awarded to 42 businesses and £3.2 million building repair grants awarded to 182 individuals.

Bringing many vacant flats and shops back into use, these works employed 60 local contractors and saw 10 new businesses opening, creating 51 new jobs in the area.

This has resulted in an increase in the number of people shopping locally because of the range of products and services now on offer.

Some of the town’s most iconic buildings and features were also extensively renovated, including the £2 million repair and conservation of Campbeltown Town Hall to bring it back under community ownership; the £3 million restoration of the Campbeltown Picture House; and the restoration of Campbeltown’s iconic 14th-century cross by specialist conservators.

There were also 40 training courses and community events delivered and attended by more than 2,000 people and a new Discover Campbeltown app was launched.

Now, having secured £1,200 funding from the Campbeltown Common Good Fund, Campbeltown Community Council has appointed a marketing officer to help promote Campbeltown following the SURF Award win.

An email sent to all shop-owners in the town centre and accommodation providers in Kintyre reads: ‘Together, we should play on the success of this award and strive to welcome more visitors to the area to support our local businesses, shops, attractions, accommodations, bars, cafés and restaurants.

‘After a year like no other, our local area needs as much support and promotion as possible, to inspire tourists to explore, stay and spend within Campbeltown.’

Businesses are being encouraged to display logos, stickers and posters celebrating the award win in shop window displays, social media accounts and email signatures and banners, as well as sharing news of the win and what Campbeltown has to offer with their customers.

As a result of the extensive improvements, pride of place in the community is at an all-time high and Campbeltown is now being referenced at national level as a leading example of place-based community regeneration.

As a result Campbeltown CARS officer James Lafferty has been invited to speak at a SURF Award shared learning workshop on July 22.

This free online event provides an opportunity for other communities across Scotland to explore successful approaches to regeneration, learning from Campbeltown’s inspiring success.