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Affordable housing celebrated by prestigious SURF awards

Helmsdale & District Development Trust (HDDT) has claimed a prestigious SURF Award for Best Practice in Community Regeneration

30-12-2015 | Helmsdale & District Development Trust (HDDT) has claimed a prestigious SURF Award for Best Practice in Community Regeneration for providing an innovative solution to address physical, social and economic problems in communities across Scotland.

The Helmsdale Affordable Housing Project in Sutherland, is a community group which successfully created four new family homes in an economically fragile and remote Highland village to help address depopulation and decline.

At the SURF Awards presentation held at Glasgow’s Radison Blu Hotel in December, the award was handed to HDDT by Alex Neil MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Communities and Pensioners’ Rights and Pippa Coutts, Chair of SURF.

Helmsdale & District Development Trust, said : "This prestigious award is recognition for all of the hard work by the community and their tenacity over the years. The homes are 100% owned by and for the community, operating a special lettings policy. We were delighted to be nominated at the outset, and even more delighted to accept this award on behalf of the community."

The project was supported by Triodos Bank, which only finances loan customers creating social, environmental or cultural added value. The project was the first community led development trust to develop affordable housing in the local village for more than 35 years.

Graeme Galloway, Relationship Manager at Triodos Bank said : "Triodos is delighted to have provided loan finance to Helmsdale & District Development Trust to allow the development of much needed affordable housing within the local area, and this award is greatly deserved for everyone who has been involved. This project included the support of many organisations and our loan was coupled with grants, enterprise funds and public money. Triodos Bank is always interested in working with small community groups to assist with housing projects, particularly where there is a proven need for modern, affordable housing in the locality."

SURF is Scotland's independent regeneration network. Its overall objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of residents in Scotland’s disadvantaged communities.

Pippa Coutts, Chair of SURF said: "The physical, social and economic impacts demonstrated by the projects showcased in the 2015 SURF Awards are remarkable. From high-density urban neighbourhoods to small towns and rural islands, SURF is delighted to recognise and celebrate such inspiring work across the country. We urge everyone involved in the regeneration of Scotland’s communities to take encouragement from their innovative approaches and outstanding achievements."

HDDT celebrated the opening of the homes in April 2015 with Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare, on hand to reveal a commemorative plaque.

The aim of HDDT is to establish a regular income for the community through developing commercially successful projects to become self sustaining and benefit the local community. Plans for a local petrol station, wind turbine and harbour upgrade are already underway in Helmsdale.


Notes for editors:
For more information please call Chris Yong or Will Ferguson 0117 980 9584 / 9770 or e-mail

Christopher.yong@triodos.co.uk william.ferguson@triodos.co.uk

About Triodos Bank

Triodos Bank only finances loan customers creating social, environmental or cultural added value - ranging from large ethical loan customers to smaller, innovative organisations meeting local needs. Key sectors include organic food and farming, renewable energy, social housing and fair trade. Transparency is a core value: customers are informed about the bank's lending and can target their savings to particular areas of investment. A range of personal savings accounts is offered and full banking services are available for businesses and charities.

About Helmsdale & District Development Trust

Helmsdale & District Development Trust (HDDT) began life some four years ago as a group of local residents united by the ambition to reverse the trend of decline which has been steadily eating away at the resources of this area over the past decades.
As a result of an extensive preliminary consultation carried out among the community, certain priorities were identified, and in order that these might be addressed effectively, the group proceeded to become a legally constituted development trust with charitable status, in 2012.

The business of the Trust is now managed by an elected board of 8 directors, including a Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer, all of whom are local residents, and give of their time to the Trust on a voluntary basis.

The day-to-day business of running the office, located in Helmsdale Community Centre, is in the hands of our Local Development Officer (LDO) Paul Harrington, whose post, currently funded by Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE), is essential for realisation of our projects, as most of the directors are in full-time employment.

About SURF


is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to improve policy and practice in community regeneration in Scotland. It runs an annual activities programme to share knowledge and experience between its 280 member organisations. In addition to the SURF Awards, SURF organises conferences, seminars, research, policy recommendation reports, study visits, and policy manifestos. For more details, please visit:


What are the SURF Awards?

Each year, SURF and the Scottish Government team up to deliver the SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration. The SURF Awards offer an opportunity for regeneration projects of all sizes to demonstrate value to funders and partners, support team building and develop a national profile. For more on the SURF Awards, including information on previous annual processes, please visit: www.scotregen.co.uk/surf-awards

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