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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Moray Residents Recognised at Scotland Loves Local Awards

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A national awards ceremony has honoured Moray residents for improving their communities.

The roll of honour at  Scotland Loves Local Awards on 28 November 2023 included a Buckie resident who was crowned Scotland’s High Street Hero; a Moray Council Development Project Officer who scooped the Judges’ Special Award; and a local media company owner, who took top digital prize.

The ceremony at the V&A Dundee honoured those who were tackling the climate emergency, encouraging enterprise, transforming streets, and creating great places to live.

Gordon McDonald from the Buckie Action Group was honoured for dedicating more than 40 years to his hometown.

The former Buckie ward councillor, described by one nominator as “a true hero of Buckie” who “fights for equality for those from all walks of life”, was awarded for recognising the struggles that many were facing due to the rising cost of living in early 2022.

He led on identifying an empty High Street building which could be used as a warm bank and social hub for those in need, sourcing tradespeople and volunteers to transform the site, from which people can now access support, advice, food and fuel vouchers, emergency food or simple company.

The Hub now operates six days a week, with Gordon supporting all the volunteers involved.

Gordon collected his Scotland Loves Local High Street Hero Award from Buckie Area Forum colleague, Kevin McKay, alongside Moray Council Community Support Officer, Tracey Rae.

Kirsty Shand, Development Project Officer at Moray Council, received her award for her work promoting the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card.

She spearheaded the Moray version of the card, called the Moray Gift Card, across the region to encourage people to spend locally.

It can be purchased online or collected in local businesses and can be spent in over 270 businesses.

A total of 1,702 gifts cards valuing £111,293.00 have been purchased since Kirsty took on her role in August 2022.

She said the council’s Economic Growth and Regeneration Team, including its Business Gateway portal, which provides local business advice and guidance, were a major support.

The Digital award was won by the Forres Local community website, which comes under Moray resident Marc Hindley’s Moray Media community interest company banner.

It covers the IV36 postcode, which includes Forres, Forres, Findhorn, Kinloss, Rafford, Dunphail & Conicavel, Brodie and Dyke & Kintessack.

Kathleen Robertson, Moray Council leader, said:

“We’re grateful to our Moray award winners for their vision, determination, entrepreneurship and creativity.

“Those are the character strengths needed to help make Moray become a more sustainable place in which to live, work and visit.”

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