Our 2023 Awards Winners

The COSLA Excellence Awards are all about sharing projects that are changing lives, and helping others build on their successes.

Find out more about last year's winners by navigating the labels below or watch our YouTube playlist featuring all 15 of our fantastic finalists from last year's awards.

  • The winner is...Argyll and Bute Council - Delivering School Meals by Drone!

    A group of people smiling, collecting an award on stage.

    As part of its approach to deliver sustainable services across a wide, remote and rural area, making full use of modern technology, Argyll and Bute Council has partnered with Skyports to successfully pilot using drones to deliver school meals from Oban Airport to Lochnell Primary School.

    On the basis of this success, planning permission has been granted to establish a permanent Oban Drone Facility to enable commercial deliveries. The work has also secured £250K from the Regulator's Pioneer Fund in recognition of this progressive and ground breaking work.

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.

  • The winner is...Upstreaming Prevention of Youth Homelessness - West Lothian Council!

    A group of people smiling, collecting an award on stage.

    In 2020/21 The RRTP Prevention of Youth Homelessness Working Group (PYHWG) was established to learn from international research, listen to young peoples voices and develop and streamline targeted, joined up interventions to prevent and better respond to youth homelessness.   The group is led by Homeless Services and includes Education, Third Sector, Social Policy and Anti-Poverty services.

    The group have successfully designed and implemented a range of new interventions and closed the gap between existing service provisions to increase the portfolio of youth prevention approaches.

    The new programmes include:

    • Young Persons Emergency Prevention Service (YEP)
    • Youth Housing Options Service (YHOO)
    • Education Programme & Enhanced Risk Matrix
    • Upstream Early Intervention Model
      Existing programmes include:
    • Nightstop temporary, safe accomodation for young people experiencing homelessness
    • Housing First for Young People
    • Housing Support for Young People

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.

  • The winner is...‘I Am Me’ Alcohol and Substance Awareness Education Resource - Renfrewshire Council

    A group of people smiling, collecting an award on stage.

    This exciting programme was developed by Renfrewshire children and young people for Renfrewshire children and young people. It has delivered a relevant and interactive digital programme to support effective delivery of a vital element of the health and wellbeing curriculum - alcohol and substance use.

    The programme provides excellent age and stage-appropriate resources for use from Early Years to 5th year secondary school. It responds to local community and national need, addressing the recommendations of the national Personal and Social Education (PSE) review, Renfrewshire’s PSE review and Renfrewshire’s Alcohol and Drugs Commission. Key to its success has been the excellent level of meaningful consultation with a wide range of key partners including Police Scotland.

    The voices and views of children and young people, and those with lived experience of substance use and addiction, are threaded throughout the programme in a meaningful way.  We are confident that when embedded across all of Renfrewshire’s education establishments, it will improve the knowledge and confidence of teachers to deliver alcohol and substance use education which in turn will lead to increased confidence and awareness of children and young people to be able to make informed choices related to alcohol and substance use.

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.

  • The winner is...Winner: Historic Links to Slavery – Inverclyde Council

    A group of people smiling, collecting an award on stage.

    Inverclyde is on a journey to address the role that the transatlantic slave trade has played in its maritime, industrial and cultural history, recognising that the social and economic development of the Inverclyde towns of Greenock and Port Glasgow rested on colonial tropical produce, which was a key driver in population growth in the 18th century.  This trade however was highly dependent on African slave labourers.

    Following the murder of George Floyd in 2020 a commitment was given by Inverclyde Council to investigate the area’s history and address the legacy of slavery.  A collaborative initiative, explored the most effective way of recognising the legacy of slavery in Inverclyde’s heritage. The result is a Reparation Plan that acknowledges that the past cannot be changed but gives appropriate recognition as to the ways in which Inverclyde’s cultural and economic life has been shaped.

    Looking ahead, funding to support further research is being pursued, including information about slavery-linked activities associated with prominent local historical figures being included within interpretation within the Watt Institution. The ‘decolonisation’ of the Watt Institution’s collection will also contribute to the wider decolonisation movement within arts and museums across Scotland.

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.

  • The winner is... Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project

    A group of people smiling, collecting an award on stage.

    Orkney Islands Council is committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions as part of its contribution towards tackling the climate emergency. In response to this commitment, Orkney Islands Council is seeking to develop ‘Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project’. The project proposes to develop three wind farms in Orkney – the island of Faray, Quanterness in St Ola and Wee Fea in Hoy. Each wind farm will contain six wind turbines and produce 28.8MW per site.

    The developments have also enabled the Council to make a meaningful contribution to the Needs Case for a new 220MW transmission cable linking Orkney to mainland Scotland, thereby substantially supporting the vital renewable energy industry in Orkney as well as helping to contribute to the UK’s net zero ambitions. In March 2023, Ofgem announced a ‘minded-to’ decision to approve the application which will allow the interconnector to be installed. It is anticipated that the decision will confirm approval of the Final Needs Case which is expected to be announced in June 2023.

    The interconnector between Orkney and Scottish Mainland has been identified as a ‘National Development’ under the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) and will help deliver a just transition to a net zero economy.

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.

  • The winner is... Healthier Homes Project -  Stirling Council!

    A group of people smiling, collecting an award on stage.

    Stirling Council have been a part of an innovative development programme which looks at how the Internet of Things (IoT) can be utilised in relation to improving the health of homes and people. Our project has aligned itself to a broad range of national agendas such as Housing to 2040, the National Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Framework for Scotland, and Energy Efficiency standards for social housing.

    It also reflects our desire to shift to a more proactive, preventative approach to service delivery, an ongoing commitment to tackle fuel poverty and a strong desire to ensure the tenant voice is clearly heard. Stirling Council is at the forefront of a transformative approach to asset management and the health and wellbeing of our tenants in our homes.

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.

  • The winner is... Libraries for Wellbeing - Falkirk Council!

    A photograph of people smiling while collecting an award on stage.

    The Libraries for Wellbeing initiative was launched to tackle social isolation, promote mental health, and make these concerns a shared responsibility among all library staff. The initiative received an initial funding of £40,000 from the Scottish Government Covid Recovery Fund.

    We employed three main strategies to achieve the project’s goals.

    1.Library staff were given extensive mental health awareness and bibliotherapy (the use of books as a therapy) training to equip them in supporting people facing mental health challenges.
    2.Words for Wellbeing reading and discussion groups were established in our eight libraries, offering a safe and supportive space for people to engage in conversations about books, poetry, and their emotions.
    3.Outreach sessions were undertaken to strengthen connections with communities and partner organisations. These sessions aimed to promote libraries as inclusive and welcoming spaces for individuals seeking support and guidance and promote the Words for Wellbeing groups.

    The initiative achieved remarkable success, surpassing all performance targets within its project term. It has also had a significant positive impact on staff, customers, and community partners. By embedding understanding, acceptance, and an active invitation to all, Libraries for Wellbeing has made a substantial difference in supporting people’s mental health and wellbeing.

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.

  • The winner is... Zetland Park Project - Falkirk Council!

    A group of people smiling, collecting an award on stage.

    The Zetland Park Project in Grangemouth is an exemplar of community driven, local authority enabled, place making focussed park regeneration. It has delivered above and beyond its original proposals and achieved its main objective: to rejuvenate Portonian (collective noun for Grangemouth People) pride.

    The project assembled an alliance of partners and funders and delivered a £2.53m park regeneration project including capital works such as:

    *War memorial and cast-iron fountain renovation
    *Transformation of a derelict boating pond into a wildlife pond;
    *New performance stage and events space;
    *Fully inclusive heritage-themed play area;
    *Climate-resilient ornamental rain garden; and
    *Floodlit pump track

    The project also delivered a £130k parallel activity programme including oral histories and interpretive research, delivery of an annual science festival, events days, townscape appraisal programme along with flag design, sports, photographic, cycling/bike, and performing arts projects.

    To achieve this at any time is a commendable success, to achieve this entirely throughout Covid and multiple national lockdowns, price increases and supply issues is remarkable. At a time of global change and re-evaluation, this project has reaffirmed that heritage projects make a massive difference to people’s wellbeing and lives as well as their quality of place.

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.

  • The winners are... Building Skills Together Refugee Integration Project - Dundee City Council, Fife Council, Clackmannanshire Council and WEA Scotland!

    A group of people smiling, collecting an award on stage.

    Building Skills Together was a New Scots Refugee Integration Delivery project led by Dundee City Council, in partnership with Fife and Clackmannanshire Councils and WEA Scotland, which aimed to help skilled refugees gain the certification they need to work in the construction industry.

    The project aimed to address the barriers that skilled refugees arriving in Scotland face in accessing careers in construction, enhance their employability and enable them to move from benefits into meaningful employment. The project team produced two high-quality training courses and have demystified the process around construction industry certification for those working with New Scots.

    This initiative offered best value with seven pilot projects carried out in Dundee, Fife, Clackmannanshire and online to test out the materials with 50 skilled refugees from Syria, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, Turkey and Yemen. 41 people gained Health and Safety certification and 8 people were able to gain CSCS Green Operative Cards enabling them to work on UK building sites.

    The resources developed are now available free of charge to those working with New Scots and other adult learners to help them certify their skills to work in the UK construction industry and promote their wider integration.

    Watch a video about this award-winning project here.