Partners in Place

Three Virtual Sessions

SURF’s 2021 SURF Annual Conference will  be a series of three 90 minute sessions on Tuesday 24thWednesday 25th and Thursday 26th August. They will be conducted via the Zoom conferencing platform.

Numbers for these events are limited. I have included the programme for each event below, along with a link to Zoom to book a place on each event. I will note that you are not required to have a Zoom account to attend.

As places are limited I would kindly ask that if you book and can no longer attend that you let me know and I will reallocate your place.

Once booked you will receive a link to join the event. Please note that these are individual links, and can therefore not be shared with colleagues. They would have to book on separately.

If you have any queries or have issues with using/booking on Zoom please do not hesitate to get in touch with 

Session One – Tuesday August 24th 11 -12.35pm – Post-Covid Recovery


11.00am  Welcome and Setting the Scene – Kate Wimpress, Chair & Euan Leitch, CEO, SURF

11.10am  The Covid Community Context – Helen Wray, Foundation Scotland

11.20am  Developing Partnerships During a Pandemic– Terry Paterson, Larkhall Community Partnership

11.30am  Question and Answer Session

11.35am  Priorities for Building Back? – Voting Session

11.45am  The National Policy Perspective – Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Public Finance, Planning & Community Wealth (replaced by Iain Murray of the SG Regeneration Unit)

12.00pm  Building back from Covid – Panel Session;

  • Tom Arthur MSP – Minister for Public Finance, Planning & Community Wealth (replaced by Iain Murray of the SG Regeneration Unit)
  • Kate Wimpress – North Edinburgh Arts/Convener of the Citizens’ Assembly of Scotland 2019-20
  • Anna Fowlie – SCVO / Social Renewal Advisory Board
  • Lisa Maclean, Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) / Social Renewal Advisory Board

12.30pm  Summing up and What’s Next? – Euan Leitch and Emma Scott, SURF

12.35pm  Close

Conference Materials

Conference Programme – Session 1

Speaker Biographies.docx

Attendance List

Awards Leaflet

Polling Questions

Chat Notes


SURF Slides (Emma)

Foundation Scotland

Larkhall Community Network


A full recording of the session can be viewed on the SURF YouTube Channel HERE

Session Two – Wednesday August 25th 11 -12.30pm – Place-based Regeneration


11.00am  Welcome and Setting the Scene – Euan Leitch, CEO, SURF

11.05am  A Dunoon for the Future – Ann Campbell, Dunoon Area Alliance and Tom Warren, Dunoon CDT

11.15am  Partners in Place – Representatives from the Place-based Programme Learning Exchange Group, who collaborated on the Working Better Together in Place report

  • Gordon McLean – Corra Foundation
  • Andrew Magowan – Inspiring Scotland
  • David Allan – Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC)
  • Derek Rankine – SURF
  • Neil Ritch – The National Lottery Community Fund

11.35am  Question and Answer Section

11.55am  Funding After Covid – Panel Session;

  • Elaine Wilson – Corra Foundation
  • Karen Dick – Creative Scotland
  • Amy Eastwood – Historic Environment Scotland
  • Caroline Clark – National Lottery Heritage Fund Scotland
  • Stewart Macgregor – Robertson Trust
  • Neil Ritch – The National Lottery Community Fund Scotland

12.25pam  Summing up and What’s Next? – Euan Leitch and Emma Scott, SURF

12.30pm  Close

Conference Materials

Conference Programme – Session 2

Speaker Biographies

Attendance List

Awards Leaflet

Chat Notes


SURF Slides (Emma)

Dunoon Area Alliance


A full recording of the session can be viewed on the SURF YouTube Channel HERE

Session Three- Thursday August 24th 11 -12.30am – Climate Change


11.00am  Welcome and Setting the Scene –  Euan Leitch, CEO, SURF

11.10am  Voices in the Climate Discussion – Fraser Stewart, University of Strathclyde

11.20am  Tackling Climate in the Community – Aneaka Kellay, Carbon Co-op

11.35am  Question and Answer Session

11.45am  COP26: Inverclyde Climate Beacon – Sally Clough, Belleville Community Garden

11.55am  Priorities for addressing a Climate Emergency? – Voting Session and Open Discussion

12.10pm  Including Community Culture – Jo Gilbert, Spoken Word Performer and Poet

12.20pm  Summary and What’s Next? – Euan Leitch and Emma Scott, SURF

12.25pm  Closing Remarks – Kate Wimpress, Chair, SURF

12.30pm  Close


Conference Programme – Session 3

Speaker Biographies

Attendance List

Awards Leaflet

Polling Questions

Chat Notes


SURF Slides (Emma)

Carbon Co-op

SURF Conference – Gaitherin


A full recording of the session can be viewed on the SURF YouTube Channel HERE

Previous Years

2020 SURF Annual Conference

Three Virtual Sessions

The SURF Annual Conference was originally intended to be a full day event in the CoSLA Conference Centre on the 27th August. Given the uncertainty around Covid-19 restrictions and whether or not a physical gathering would be able to go ahead, we have re-purposed this year’s Conference.

SURF’s 2020 SURF Annual Conference will now be a series of three weekly, sequential 90 minute morning sessions on Thursday August 27th (the originally promoted date), Thursday September 3rd and Thursday September 10th. They will be conducted via the Zoom conferencing platform.

Numbers for these events are limited. I have included the programme for each event below, along with a link to Zoom to book a place on each event. I will note that you are not required to have a Zoom account to attend.

As places are limited I would kindly ask that if you book and can no longer attend that you let me know and I will reallocate your place.

Once booked you will receive a link to join the event. Please note that these are individual links that can only be streamed on one device, and can therefore not be shared with colleagues. They would have to book on separately.

If you have any queries or have issues with using/booking on Zoom please do not hesitate to get in touch with 

Session one – Thursday August 27th 10 -11.30am – A Sustainable Climate and Economy


10am  Welcome and Introduction – SURF Chair Kate Wimpress

10.10  SURF’s input to Covid Recovery plans – Andy Mine, SURF

10.15  Outlining SURF’s 2021 Manifesto process and how attendees can contribute – Andy Milne & Christopher Murray, SURF

10.20  Overarching challenge of climate change and necessary shifts in economic priorities and processes – Katherine Trebeck, WEALL

10.35  Q&A followed by Open Debate and Voting – Chaired by Andy Milne

11.25  Summary of main conclusions and What Next – Andy Milne and Emma Scott, SURF

11.30 Thanks and close

Conference Materials

2020 SURF Annual Conference Welcome Note

Attendance List Session 1

Conference Programme – Session 1

Speaker Biographies

Chat Discussion Notes

Poll Questions


SURF Slides

Christopher Murray (SURF)

Katherine Trebeck (WEALL)


A full recording of the session can be viewed on the SURF YouTube Channel HERE

Session two – Thurs Sept 3rd 10 -11.30am – Land and Transport in a Climate Emergency


10am  Welcome and Introduction – Andy Milne, SURF

10.05  Why Land and Transport are key aspects of the SURF 2021 manifesto – Derek Rankine, SURF

10.10 Land Use & Ownership in relation to climate change and post-Covid economic & social wellbeing recovery – Shona Glenn, Scottish Land Commission 

10.20  Transport planning & investment in relation to climate change and post- Covid economic & social wellbeing recovery – Heather Cowan, Transport Scotland 

10.30  Practitioner Response responding to the land and transport policy priorities and aspirations – Nick Skelton, Stantec

10.40  Q&A followed by Open Debate and Voting – Chaired by Andy Milne

11.20  Summary of main conclusions and What Next – Andy Milne and Emma Scott, SURF

11.30 Thanks and close

Conference Materials

2020 SURF Annual Conference Welcome Note

Attendance List Session 2

Conference Programme – Session 2

Speaker Biographies

Chat Discussion Notes

Poll Questions


SURF Slides



A full recording of the session can be viewed on the SURF YouTube Channel HERE

Session three- Thurs Sept 10th 10 -11.30am – Post Covid lessons for building back better


10am  Welcome and Introductions – Andy Milne, SURF

10.05  Summarising SURF Covid response key learning points – Elaine Cooper, SURF

10.15  SG policy and investment plans post-Covid – Aileen Campbell MSP, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government

10.30  Q&A followed by Open Debate and Voting – Chaired by Andy Milne

11.20  Summary of main conclusions and What Next – Andy Milne and Emma Scott, SURF

11.30 Thanks and close


2020 SURF Annual Conference Welcome Note

Attendance List Session 3

Conference Programme – Session 3

Speaker Biographies

Chat Discussion Notes

Polling Questions


SURF Slides



A full recording of the session can be viewed on the SURF YouTube Channel HERE


Place-based Inclusive Growth; SURF Annual Conference

Thursday 29 August, COSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh

What do we mean by Inclusive Growth? Can it really regenerate poor and disconnected places and communities? Where is it already happening and what is transferrable to differing place and contexts?

Over recent years, SURF conferences and its wider work has helped to shift national and local policy towards the complex realities of place, poverty, partners, processes and resources.

Major national, regional and local agencies, across all sectors, are altering strategic focus towards better connecting their priorities and resources, with varied local circumstances and opportunities.

At this year’s SURF Annual Conference, leading politicians, academics and practitioners from community, private and public organisations, will help us explore the connections between challenges and assets, policy and resources, infrastructure and aspirations.

Award winning projects and progressive agencies will fill an ‘Inclusive Places and Projects Marketplace’ of experience and resources.

We will even have an award winning comedian to have us all leaving with a smile, while helping us keep it real.


9.30am                 Registration and networking with tea/coffee and music by Fèis Phàislig

10.00am               Welcome and Setting the Scene Kate Wimpress, Chair & Andy Milne, CEO, SURF

10.20am               What are we talking about? – Russell Gunson, Director, IPPR Scotland

10.40am               Prioritising PlaceSteve Dunlop, Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise

11.00am               Coffee, pastries and chat; with music by Fèis Phàislig

11.20am               Inclusive Reality – Martin Avila, Development Director, Kinning Park Complex

11.40am               Growing Consensus? – Electronic Voting Session

12.00pm              Place, Policy and Practice – Panel Session; Russell Gunson, Steve Dunlop, Martin Avila and David Cowan (Scottish Government)

12.30pm               Lunch with exhibitors at our Inclusive Places and Projects Marketplace.

1.30pm                 The National Policy Perspective – Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Communities

1.50pm                 Partners in Place – Panel Session; Aileen Campbell MSP, Geraldine Campbell (SCRIG), Fraser Carlin (Renfrewshire Council), Karen Orr (RIG Arts), Nick Skelton (Peter Brett)

2.30pm                 Including Community Culture Janey Godley, Comedian

2.45pm                 Summary and What’s Next?Andy Milne, Derek Rankine and Emma Scott, SURF

2.55pm                 Thanks and close of conferenceKate Wimpress, Chair, SURF

3pm                       Sharing Success – tea/coffee and networking in an Inclusive Places and Projects Marketplace

Conference Materials


2019 SURF Annual Conference Welcome and Context

Speaker Bios

Conference Programme

Marketplace Paper 2019

Attendance List

Slides and Voting Statistics

SURF Slides

SURF Presentation- Russell Gunson

SURF Presentation – Martin Avila

Electronic Voting Results Slides

2018 SURF Annual Conference


 Date and Venue

  • CoSLA Conference Centre, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh
  • Thursday 23rd August 2018, 9.30am until 4pm


SURF and its members are longstanding advocates, and active supporters, of Community Led Regeneration. Since the Scottish Government’s 2011 post economic crash National Regeneration Statement, communities ‘doing it for themselves’ has been the shared ideal of most practitioners, policy makers and academics.

A range of ‘capacity building’ and ’empowerment’ measures, are targeted at encouraging more communities to ‘take back control’ at their local level, for their own purposes and in their own way.

Through its annual Awards process and its wider activities and networks, SURF promotes the most successful examples and then widely shares the learning from their experiences. That learning has highlighted the limits, as well as the advantages, of the community led model. It has also confirmed bureaucratic and resource barriers for harder pressed communities trying to use that ideal approach.

The reality is that while genuinely community led regeneration is an inspiring sight, it is still a fairly rare one. In terms of scale, even some of the best examples still only have a limited impact on the bigger economic and social challenges that often have their roots outside the community. Too many have to spend too much time and effort just trying to survive.

Many leading practitioners are becoming increasingly concerned that unrealistic expectations, and insufficient support, is being invested in what is a still a relatively small, fragile and disparate model of regeneration. They argue that there are much bigger players and resources that could do more to help by delivering more targeted and effective regeneration support in what is an increasingly challenging climate for poorer communities.


SURF agrees. Its aspiration is to help better connect all of the different regeneration assets, processes and resources that are essential for addressing poverty and inequality and developing more inclusive economies; nationally and locally.

As part of its progressive work programme to that end, the 2018 SURF Annual Conference will promote the real experience of authentic community led regeneration examples. At the same time, it will explore where these successes sit in the wider policy and practice landscape and what needs to change to make genuine community led regeneration a more connected and impactful reality.

This FREE to attend short day conference programme, is designed to be informative, participative and enjoyable for everyone interested in more successful community regeneration across Scotland


9.30am              Registration and networking with tea/coffee and music by Fèis Phàislig.

10.00am            Welcome Jamie Ballantine, Vice Chair, SURF

10.10am             People, Places and Policy – SURF’s Andy Milne, and Elaine Cooper

10.30am             Shared prioritiesAileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Scottish Government

10.50am             Making it Real – Reeni Kennedy Boyle, Chair, Bute Island Alliance

11.15am              Coffee, chat, pastries and music by Fèis Phàislig

11.45am              Regeneration and Inequality – Gerry McCartney, Head of Public Health Observatory, NHS Health Scotland

12pm                   Reality Check– Electronic Voting Session

12.10pm             Policy, Priorities and Practice – Panel Session – Gerry McCartney, Reeni Kennedy Boyle, David Cowan (Scottish Government), Jim Gray (Former Glasgow CC) and Robin McAlpine (Common Weal)

12.45pm             Lunch with exhibitors at our Community Regeneration Marketplace

1.30pm               Whose Regeneration? – Darren McGarvey, Author of Poverty Safari

1.50pm               Partners in Regeneration – Panel Session – with Darren McGarvey, David Cowan (Scottish Government), Elaine Cooper (SURF) Hazel Cross (Fife Council) and Martin Cawley (Big Lottery Fund)

2.20pm             Community Culture James Robertson, author and poet.

2.40pm              Summary and What Next?Andy Milne, Chief Executive, SURF

2.50pm              Thanks and close of conferenceJamie Ballantine, Vice Chair, SURF

3pm                    Sharing Success – tea/coffee and networking in a Community Regeneration Marketplace

Conference Materials


2018 SURF Annual Conf Welcome and Context

Attendance List

Speaker Bios


Realities of Community Regeneration

Marketplace Paper

Slides and Voting Statistics

Full set of SURF Conference Slides

Voting Results

25th Anniversary SURF Annual Conference

Who pays? Who benefits?

 Date and Venue

  • CoSLA Conference Centre, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh
  • Thursday 31st August 2017, 9.30am until 3.30pm

Key Themes

From Urban Aid to the Community Aspirations fund; via SIPs and the Fairer Scotland Fund, the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Urban Regeneration Companies and SPRUCE; SURF has kept working hard to support better and more cooperative regeneration policy and practice. In May this year, after 25 years of sharing experience and ideas, SURF paused to ask; ‘Does regeneration work?’ at a debate session held in Glasgow.

SURF will be further exploring the outcomes of this session and asking in a Phythonesque fashion ‘What has regeneration ever done for us?’ at this special 25th Anniversary conference.

What has changed? What’s been gained and what’s been lost? Have our collective efforts and investments so far been enough to overcome the forces of degeneration? Most importantly, what does our collective experience so far tell us about how we should address future challenges and opportunities?

Context Paper

We have compiled a short paper which lays out some of the background and thought process behind this year’s conference. Raising some key questions we hope will be addressed on the day.

SURF Conference Context Paper

Regneration Policy Paper

Background policy paper for the group discussion session

1992-2017 in Regeneration Policy


  • 9:30am   Registration, tea/coffee, music and networking
  • 10:00am Welcome to the 25th Anniversary SURF Conference – SURF Chair Kate Wimpress
  • 10:10am Regeneration – What has changed and what has not?
  • 10:30am Regenerating Connections: a SURF perspective – Andy Milne, Chief Executive, SURF
  • 10:45am Does Regeneration Work? Revisiting the debate. Q&A session with an invited Policy and Practice Panel with Ian Manson (Clyde Gateway) and Prof. Douglas Robertson – hosted by SURF Chair, Kate Wimpress
  • 11:15am  Coffee Break – Tea/Coffee, music and networking
  • 11:45am Group Discussions ranking 12 regeneration models– What has worked historically and why? What lessons can we use to help meet future challenges? Supported by 5 Regeneration Experts and Facilitators
  • 12:45pm Lunch
  • 1:30pm   Choose Regeneration? Film clip
  • 1:40pm   What works now? – Analysis and discussion of group discussion outcomes
  • 1:50pm   Musical Tables– Groups make a 1 minute pitch for recruits to a preferred model
  • 2.30pm  Panel plenary discussion – Models, resources, challenges and opportunities
    • Danny Boyle – BEMIS
    • Fraser Kelly – Social Enterprise Scotland
    • David Cowan – Scottish Government
    • David  Melhuish – Scottish Property Federation
    • Martin Tytler – Bute Island Alliance
    • Hazel Cross – Fife Council
  • 3:15pm   Summary and What Next? – Andy Milne, Chief Executive, SURF
  • 3:30pm Thanks and close of conference – SURF’s Kate Wimpress
  • 3:30pm Close of event – tea/coffee and networking

Outcomes Materials

Attendance List

SURF conf 2017 Welcome and Outline


Voting Statistics

Graph Data for Voting on Funds

Event Report

Findings from the Annual Conference fed into an article by Derek Rankine, which was published in the Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal

SURF – Exploring 25 Years in Scottish Regeneration Policy – Jan 2018

The 2016 SURF Annual Conference

Govan Waterfront Contrast

Local Poverty, National Wealth: Resourcing Regeneration 2016-21

Background and Key Themes

Like other parts of the UK, Scotland is a rich nation with too many poor people and places. Tackling poverty and inequality, while supporting inclusive economic growth, are the twin priorities for delivering regeneration over the 2016-21 Scottish Parliament term.

Scottish Government Housing Minister Kevin Stewart was among key conference speakers

Scottish Government Housing Minister Kevin Stewart was among the key conference speakers

SURF’s 2016 Annual Conference, held on 1 September in Edinburgh, brought more than 120 participants together to explore the key question: How can we better connect challenges, resources, structures, policies and assets to help us achieve our widely shared aims for a better, fairer Scotland?

The conference featured the following sub-topics:

  • Resource and strategy options
  • Government policy, community delivery
  • Learning from SURF’s Alliance for Action collaborations
  • Rebalancing local poverty and national wealth


Morning session: Still Trickling Down?

  • 9:15am Registration, coffee and networking
  • 10:00am Welcome and Introduction – SURF Chair Pippa Coutts
  • 10:10am 2016-21: Big Challenges, New Ideas – Robin McAlpine, Director of the Common Weal.
  • 10:30am Community Reality and Resources – Sandra Marshall, Edinburgh Muirhouse Resident & Kate Wimpress, North Edinburgh Arts
  • 10:45am Building a Fairer Scotland – Kevin Stewart MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Local Government and Housing
  • 11:00am Questions and Comments for the Minister, Robin McAlpine, Sandra Marshall and Kate Wimpress
  • 11:20am Coffee and Pastries featuring SURF Award Winners and Resilient Scotland Community Enterprise Investees with Token Gestures Coin Game

Delegates were asked to indicate regeneration investment priorities in a token game

Delegates were asked to indicate regeneration investment priorities in a token game

Early afternoon session: Show Us The Money: Resourcing Regeneration

  • 11:40am Funding Panel: Introduced by SURF Chair Pippa Coutts with colleagues from the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland; Heritage Lottery Fund (Scotland); Highlands & Islands EnterpriseResilient Scotland; and the Scottish Government.
  • 12:15pm Questions and Debate: Funding Regeneration 2016-21
  • 12:35pm Poverty, Our Hidden Shame: Short Film and Introduction by Plantation Productions Create Crew
  • 12:45pm Lunch and Funding Café exhibition with representatives from 20+ regeneration funding providers, from Amber Infrastructure to Youthlink Scotland.

Late afternoon session: Making the Connections

  • 1:30pm People, Policies, Partners and Places: Practical progress and learning from SURF’s Alliance for Action collaborations. Featuring Andy Milne, SURF Chief Executive, on Govan; Dr Elaine Cooper, SURF Practice & Learning Manager, on East Kirkcaldy; and Paul Duffy, Rothesay Alliance for Action Facilitator for SURF, on Rothesay, in addition to local partners.
  • 2:30pm Local Poverty, National Wealth – Panel Debate with Fiona Duncan, Chief Executive, Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland and Robin McAlpine, Director of Common Weal.
  • 3:15pm Thanks and What’s Next – SURF’s Pippa Coutts
  • 3:30pm Close and coffee.

Outcomes Materials

Please click on the links below to access some materials from this event:

Speaker and Panel Member Biographies

Funding Cafe Participants

2016 SURF Annual Conference Delegates List

Short Film – Poverty: Our Hidden Shame

SURF 2016 Manifesto for Community Regeneration

The 2015 SURF Annual Conference

Manifesto Image (head only) (cropped)

Planning Ahead for Community Regeneration

Background and Key Theme

Over 120 cross-sector guests participated in SURF’s 2015 Annual Conference, which was held in the CoSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh, on Tuesday 25 August. The event was a key consultation activity in the development of SURF’s 2016 manifesto for community regeneration.

Tablets of Stone: sticker voting at SURF's Annual Conference

Tablets of Stone: sticker voting at SURF’s Annual Conference

A draft of the manifesto was shared with delegates in advance of the one-day event. The interactive format was designed to enable delegates’ participation in the manifesto development process, including through electronic voting on existing policy recommendations, open discussion with a panel of guest experts, and a forum for suggesting and debating new ideas. The conference provided a valuable learning and networking opportunity for anyone concerned with the regeneration of Scotland’s disadvantaged communities.

The key theme was the overarching 2016 SURF manifesto objective of improving individual and community wellbeing, and the interlinked sub-topics:

  1. Addressing Poverty & Inequality;
  2. Supporting Successful Places;
  3. Creating a Fairer Scotland by 2030 – as per the national conversation led by the Scottish Government.


The programme features participants from the Galgael social regeneration project

The programme featured participants from the Galgael social regeneration project

9:00am Registration, coffee and networking

9:50am Welcome – SURF Chair Pippa Coutts

10:00am Introduction and Overview – SURF Chief Executive Andy Milne

10:15am The Creating a Fairer Scotland Conversation – Scottish Government Minister for Housing and Welfare Margaret Burgess MSP

10:30am Addressing Inequality Practically – Sir Tony Atkinson, Author of ‘Inequality: What Can Be Done?’ (2015)

10:50am Questions and Comments for the Minister & Professor Atkinson

11:10am Social Justice at the Sharp End – Galgael Chair Mike McCarron with Project Participants

'Inequality' author & Oxford University economist Anthony Atkinson is a keynote speaker

‘Inequality’ author & Oxford University economist Tony Atkinson was a keynote speaker

11:25am Coffee, Pastries and ‘Stone Tablet’ Policy Sticker Voting

11:45am SURF’s 2016 Manifesto: Key Policy Recommendations – Andy Milne

12:05pm Electronic Voting and Open Discussion

12:45pm Lunch and Further Sticker Voting

1:30pm Funny Ideas: Political Comedy from Vladimir McTavish

1.45pm Policy Recommendations from Guest Experts (with Electronic Voting):

  • Labour Market: Stephen Boyd, Assistant Secretary, Scottish Trades Union Congress
  • Wellbeing: Wendy Hearty, Public Health Adviser, NHS Health Scotland
  • Place: Diarmaid Lawlor, Head of Urbanism, Architecture + Design Scotland
  • Creative Community Participation: Kate Wimpress, Founder & Project Manager of SURF Award winning ‘North Edinburgh Grows’ initiative

2:45pm Reflections, Omissions and Connections

3:15pm Thanks and What’s Next – SURF’s Pippa Coutts

3:30pm Close and coffee

Outcomes Materials

Please click on the links below to download some materials from this event, including the results of electronic voting sessions in which guests had the opportunity to rank the 18 policy recommendations from the 2nd draft of SURF’s 2016 manifesto on a sliding scale between ‘Terrible idea’ and ‘Brilliant idea’:

Conference guests voted on draft policy recommendations

Conference guests voted on draft policy recommendations

SURF 2016 Manifesto – Second Draft (the version presented at the Annual Conference)

Electronic Voting Results (visual)

Electronic Voting Results (data)

2015 SURF Annual Conference Delegates List

Biographies of Speakers & Panelists

Alignments Between ‘Inequality’ by Tony Atkinson and SURF’s 2016 Manifesto (a briefing paper by SURF’s Caitlin Rollison)

Health Inequalities in Scotland: Eight Action Points (SURF magazine feature by panelist Wendy Hearty)

SURF’s special 2014 Annual Conference was a follow up to SURF’s ‘one year to go’ Regeneration and the Referendum debate event of 18/09/13.

Key ThemesVisual Theme (small)

The purpose was to explore:

  1. Challenges for regeneration in the context of potential constitutional change.
  2. Opportunities for new thinking in addressing poverty and inequality.
  3. Four priority topics identified and explored by the SURF network:
  • Degenerative Dynamics – What can be done to tackle the sometimes corrosive effects of corporate power on political systems with regard to local community interests?
  • Land Ownership and Use – What rural successes and lessons in community land ownership are transferrable to urban Scotland – and how?
  • Participative Democracy – Can Scotland achieve the much more local, participative and accountable decision-making that is taken for granted in many other small European countries?
  • Taxing questions – What are the options for a more progressive tax system in support of social and economic regeneration?

Interactive Discussion Groups

Following lunch attendees were able to move between and input into four Interactive Discussion groups led by 4 experts- Prof Greg Lloyd (University of Ulster), David Cameron (Community Land Scotland), Dr. Oliver Escobar (Academy of Government) and Robin McAlpine (Common Weal).  Please click on the titles below for summary notes from each session.  The notes are a summary of the discussion and do not include a full transcript.

SURF Annual Conference 2014 Degeneration Group Discussion Notes – Prof. Greg Lloyd, University of Ulster

SURF Annual Conference Land Discussion Group Notes – David Cameron, Community Land Scotland

SURF Annual Conference Participative Democracy Discussion Notes– Dr. Oliver Escobar, Academy of Government

SURF Annual Conference 2014 Tax Discussion Group Notes– Robin McAlpine, Common Weal

Electronic Voting

On the day our attendees took part in several sessions of Electronic Voting answering questions such as “If Scotland was a comic character, which of these would it be?”  We have a breakdown of all of the results which you can view by clicking on the link below.

Electronic Voting-Results

Other Materials

Delegates List

Conference Programme

Speaker Biographies

Blog by David Cameron on Land Ownership

Blog by Prof Greg Lloyd on Degenerative Dynamics

External Links

Lost Generation – Film clip used in Katherine Trebeck, Oxfam, presentation

The Scottish Doughnut – Oxfam

Humankind Index – Oxfam

Common Weal – Robin McAlpine

Aye Right? How No? – Edinburgh Fringe Show with comedians Keir McAllister and Vladimir McTavish

2013: Creative Regeneration

SURF’s Annual Conference for 2013 focused on the role of creative approaches in community regeneration. The event also presented an opportunity for SURF to nationally launch its Alliance for Action programme.


“It turns out that most neurons grow independently of each other and form synapses where they happen to bump into other cells, rather than being guided by chemical signals to find particular targets. This random process produces a more robust and adaptable brain.”

Science: Contours of the Mind, Financial Times, 23 Feb 2013

The financial crash of 2008 accelerated us into the already looming demographic crisis for public services. Pre-existing levels of poverty and inequality exacerbated the degenerative impacts of the resultant recession and the poorest of Scotland’s communities are bearing the increasing burden of ‘austerity’ cuts.

For its 2013 Annual Conference, held on 5 July in Edinburgh’s CoSLA Conference Centre, SURF took the opportunity to bring together senior policy makers such as Sir Peter Housden (Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government) and Cllr David O’Neill (President of CoSLA) with community activists, artists and officials in a genuinely creative event.

Like synapses in the brain, creative regeneration processes form in unplanned, unpredictable ways. In an innovative participative programme that featured group art sessions, over 100 participants gathered to examine what more can done to use greater creativity in potentially squaring the circle of resources, demands and change in collective efforts to deliver real and lasting regeneration.

Keynote Presentations

Please click on the titles below to download presentation slides used by some of the key conference speakers (in chronological order). In keeping with the conference theme, the presentations were mainly image-based. A forthcoming summary report will offer further elaboration, and the SURF staff team would be happy to offer immediate clarification on the speakers’ respective topics.

Creating an Alliance for Action – Andy Milne, Chief Executive, SURF

Culture First: Regeneration in Dundee – Stewart Murdoch, Director, Leisure & Culture Dundee

Creativity in Town Centres – Malcolm Fraser, Leading Scottish Architect & Chair of External Advisory Group in the Scottish Government’s National Review of Town Centres

Culture, Creativity and Resilience – Lia Ghilardi, International Cultural Planning Expert and Founder & Director, Noema Institute

By Leaves We Live: Artist-Planner Collaborations – Petra Biberbach, Chief Executive, Planning Aid for Scotland

Policy Foundations for Creative Approaches – Sir Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary, Scottish Government

National Goals & Local Action – Cllr David O’Neill, President, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA)

Other Materials.

Delegates List

Conference Programme

Keynote Speaker Biographies

External Links

Some of the creative works featured at the conference are available online:

Creative Places – a short film showcasing the winners of the 2012 Creative Scotland awards process

Glasgow 1974 – a photo series by Hugh Hood

Govan Fair 2013 – a short film by Plantation Productions available on Vimeo

Govan Fair 1952 – documentary footage available at the Scottish Screen Archive

RIAS Awards 2013 – images of award winning Scottish architecture projects

Reality, Resources, Resilience: Regeneration in a Recession
Surgeon’s Hall, Edinburgh


This conference brought together over 130 policy makers, academics, regeneration practitioners and community volunteers from SURF’s diverse and extensive networks across Scotland to discuss the future for community regeneration.

The content of the event was based on a programme of collaborative work that SURF developed in cooperation with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation with support for the Scottish Government.

The varied and interactive programme was designed to help share experience and transfer knowledge across different sectors and borders, and in particular to:

  • Debate perceptions of ‘reality’ in changing times and the shared challenges for regeneration
  • Explore resources at hand and how we can link up with those that are less obvious
  • Promote resilience for both sustaining and evolving regeneration efforts

Conference Report

Download the full 2012 Conference Report.

Keynote Presentations

Dr Gerry McCartney, Head of Public Health Observatory Division in NHS Health Scotland, on ‘Healthy Economics?’

Meg Peterson, Arts Project Manager, Cultural Planner, Educator and Visual Artist, Cultural Planner, Educator and Visual Artist, on ‘International Perspectives: Art and Culture in Chicago’ – and please click here for the second set of slides. NB these two PDF documents are 9 and 10 megabytes respectively.

Andy Milne, Chief Executive of SURF, on ‘Community Reality’

Resources Panel

Please click on the links below to download presentation slides used by representatives of the following funding organisations, who provided an overview of their regeneration investment streams.

Electronic Voting Results

Download the electronic voting results.

Delegates List

Download the delegates list.


Download the conference programme.

Key Speaker Biographies

Please click here for speaker biographies, including Alex Neil MSP, Dr Gerry McCartney, Meg Peterson, Andy Milne, guest chair Andrew Lyon (International Futures Forum) and ‘community reality’ participants Karen McGregor (Gallatown & East Sinclairtown Tenants and Residents Association) and Gehan Macleod (Galgael).

Supporting Resilient Communities
Roxburghe Hotel, Edinburgh
Delivered with support from NHS Health Scotland

The previous SURF Annual Conference highlighted the collapse of the property-based model of delivering community regeneration, and the need for more creative approaches.

The public sector cuts that followed since increased the pressures on already vulnerable communities. The challenges for community regeneration policy and practice are considerable.

The purpose of this event was to improve cross-sector understanding and cooperation in supporting more resilient communities at a point of great change.

Over 130 participants, including community representatives, regeneration practitioners, policy-makers and academics from across the country and beyond, attended the event to share experience and transfer knowledge on promoting resilience in adversity.

Conference Report

Please click here to download the full 2011 Conference Report highlighting all of the main learning outcomes that emerged from the event.

Keynote Presentations

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, on ‘Community Resilience and Poverty’

Andy Milne, Chief Executive of SURF, on ‘National Priorities’

George Dodds, Director of Programme Design and Delivery, NHS Health Scotland, NHS Health Scotland

Denys Candy, international creative regeneration practitioner, on ‘A Transatlantic View’

John Cassidy, community volunteer, on ‘Resilience and Community Participation’

Andrew Lyon, Converger of the International Futures Forum, in his opening introduction

Discussion Groups

Please click here to download a note of the key points from the six themed and facilitiated discussion groups. The topics were:

  • Active Communities & Resilient Legal Structures
  • Health, Value & Property Procurement
  • Housing, Health and Regeneration
  • Human Rights
  • Place, Culture & Resilience
  • Valuing Wellbeing

Electronic Voting Results

Please click here to download the results from the conference voting sessions

Delegates List

Please click here for a copy of the event delegate list

Key Speaker Biographies

Please click here for background details on the key speakers

Sustaining and Reinventing Community Regeneration

In a time of economic inactivity, dramatic reductions in public spending, and rising levels of unemployment and poverty, the 2010 SURF Annual Conference looked squarely at the challenges ahead. The focus of the two-day event was on linking people, projects and practice across the SURF network to examine the real opportunities for supporting more sustainable community regeneration in a time of major change.

In cooperation with the Public Policy Network of the University of Edinburgh, the first day of the conference linked Scotland’s extensive regeneration oriented academic resources with the practical challenges at hand for practitioners and policy-makers. The guest chair was Prof. Greg Lloyd, Head of School of the Built Environment at the University of Ulster.

The second day focused on cooperation in policy and practice. Key speakers, debates, presentations and panel sessions linked the policy process to the realities of delivering positive change in Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities. In doing so, the assets and resources that are at hand to support and sustain regeneration were showcased. The guest chair for day two was Jim McCormick, Scotland Adviser for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Full Conference Report

Please click here to download the full 2010 Conference Report. Speaker presentation slides and other materials are available for download below.

Keynote Presentations

The Role of Research in a Flourishing Scotland by Dominic Munro, Director of Communities Analytical Services Division in the Scottish Government.

An International Perspective by Professor Duncan Maclennan, international housing and regeneration expert and Director of the Centre for Housing Research in the University of St. Andrews.

National Priorities – Local Delivery by Kath Beveridge, Head of Community Planning and Regeneration in Aberdeen City Council.

A Shared Enterprise by Jim McFarlane, Managing Director of Operations in Scottish Enterprise.

National Government Support’ by Mike Foulis, Director of the Housing and Regeneration Directorate in the Scottish Government.

Constructive Debates

Please click here for a ‘constructive debates’ paper, which contains ten short articles from leading regeneration experts in the policy areas of housing, poverty, public services, master-planning and community assets.

Delegates List

Please click here for a delegates list for both days of the conference.

Health, Wellbeing and Regeneration in a Cold Climate
The West Park Centre, Dundee

In recent years, SURF has been working to promote the links between the regeneration and health agendas in Scotland, and at our 2008 Annual Conference, it was asserted that, “health and wellbeing is the point of regeneration, not just a factor in it.”

With that in mind, and with a view to supporting ongoing national and local government efforts to support a ‘flourishing’ Scotland, despite a difficult economic climate, SURF adopted the linkages between health, wellbeing and regeneration as the main focus of our 2009 Annual Conference.

The purpose of this event, attended by 120 guests in Dundee, was to explore options for linking health and regeneration agendas in promoting wellbeing.  The one-day event featured expert keynote speakers, a wide range of topical discussion groups, and lots of interactive activity.

SURF is very grateful to all speakers, discussion group facilitators and participants for their input. A full conference report, keynote presentation slides and related materials are available for download below:

Conference Report

Download the 2009 Conference Report.

Keynote Presentations (all in PDF format)

Discussion Group Feedback

Please click to read the discussion group feedback from the six policy discussion groups, which were:

  • Health, Sport and Regeneration. Guest speaker: Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of sportscotland.
  • Healthy Places. Guest speaker: Deryck Irving, Partnership and Enabling Manager, Greenspace Scotland.
  • Healthy Outcomes and the Role of Local Authorities. Further background materiel on healthy outcomes provided by guest speaker Stewart Murdoch, Director of Leisure and Communities, Dundee City Council.
  • Local Links. Guest speaker: John Quinn, General Manager, Craigmillar URC.
  • Healthy Democracy – Beyond Community Engagement. Guest speaker: Fraser Patrick, Associate Lecturer, University of Dundee.
  • Early Intervention. Guest speaker: Tom Woods, special adviser on early intervention at the Capital City Partnership.

Electronic Voting

View the electronic voting from the morning session.

Further Reading

Please click here for a list of some relevant and recent reports for further reading.

Delegates List

Download guest list

“Plus ca change…”
1992-2022: A Generation of Regeneration
“Be the change”
The West Park Centre, Dundee

The Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum was established in 1992. A lot has changed since then, and a lot has stayed the same. To celebrate our 15th Anniversary, this special Annual Conference presented an excellent opportunity to learn from the past in order to help us see how we can meet the challenges of the next 15 years.

150 SURF members and regeneration stakeholders attended the Conference, which included:

  • presentations from four keynote speakers
  • policy discussion groups with a panel of experts
  • and other interactive elements including plenary debates and delegates’ electronic voting sessions.

You can download the full 2008 Annual Conference Report in PDF format. Further materials are available for download below.

Keynote Speakers

Delegates’ Voting Session

Download Voting Results

Policy Discussion Groups

Download group policy proposals from all discussion groups

Gainful Employment

Carol Young, Scottish Low Pay Unit

Laurie Russell, The Wise Group

Matthew Crighton, Capital City Partnership

Mike O’Donnell, Scottish Government

Chair: David Coulter, Scottish Enterprise

Download Gainful Employment Background Paper

Healthy Futures

Della Thomas, Health Scotland

Geoff Huggins, Scottish Government

Janet Muir, Community Health Exchange

Allyson McCollam, SDC for Mental Health

Chair: Anne Clarke, NHS Ayrshire & Arran

Download Healthy Futures background paper

Skills and Learning

Maggi Allan, formerly of Curriculum for Excellence

Phil Denning, HM Inspectorate of Education

Sandy Campbell, Working Rite

Jonathan Sher, Children in Scotland

Chair: Paul Ballantyne, Scottish Centre for Regeneration

Download Skills and Learning background paper

Empowered Communities

Stephen Maxwell, SCVO

Pauline Gallacher, Neilston Community Trust

Wilma Dunca, Dundee Community Regeneration Fund

Angus Hardie, DTA Scotland

Chair: Colin Armstrong, Housing Consultant

Download Empowered Communities background paper

Delegates List

Download guest list

SURF did not hold an Annual Conference in 2007.

Regeneration – The Right Stuff (Do we have it? And would we recognise it anyway?) –
West Park Centre, Dundee

The general topic of our 2006 conference, held in Dundee, was: do we have the right policies, mechanisms and organisations in place, and linked up, to deliver successful community based regeneration in Scotland?

SURF is particularly grateful for the generous additional support we received from The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Communities Scotland. This enabled us to ensure that a substantial number of community representatives could be involved in the conference at no cost.  We also appreciate the time that the community representatives themselves took to participate in the event and contribute to the lively debate there.


Around this theme, we provided the opportunity for a broad range of discussion within the following context:

  • The Scottish Executive’s revised regeneration statement
  • Community Planning is being developed across Scotland as the Executive’s main policy for tackling poverty and regenerating some of the most disadvantaged communities
  • With the end of Social Inclusion Partnerships, what is the future for local community leadership and empowerment as distinct from community consultation and engagement?
  • Have we the right structures for optimising the trade off between social and economic regeneration?
  • Renewed interest in the role of cities in neighbourhood and regional regeneration
  • Continuing discussions regarding the level of political and practical support for social enterprise and community asset building.
  • What new links can be built between Culture and Regeneration?
  • To what extent is employment the best answer to the main impacts of poverty?
  • Neighbourhood regeneration; is it being ‘mainstreamed’ or ‘sidelined’ within wider strategies?

Contributors included Malcolm Chisholm MSP, Minister for Communities and Dermot Finch, Director of IPPR’s Centre for Cities. In addition to listening to speakers, delegates were able to take advantage of interactive elements within the conference, including a series of chaired panel discussions and the use of an electronic voting system.

The voting results make for interesting reading and are available here:

Voting on pre-set questions

Voting on questions submitted by audience

A full annual Conference 2006 report is also available.

Presentation slides from a selection of speakers can be downloaded below (click on the presenter’s name for access):

  1. “Successful Regeneration in C21st Scotland – what will it take? A personal view” – Professor Stuart Gulliver of Glasgow University
  2. “People and Leadership in Cities” – Dermot Finch (Director) & Chris Urwin (Economist), IPPR’s Centre for Cities
  3. “Community Support. Supporting community capacity to be involved and to lead” – David Tyler, Director, Community Matters
  4. “Keeping the Community in Community Regeneration” – Archie Thomson, community activist
  5. “Innovation or Institutional clutter?” – Professor Professor Greg Lloyd of Dundee University’s Geddes Institute
  6. “The Same but Different: Delivering regeneration on both sides of the border” – Helen Forsyth, Regeneration Director of Places for People: Part OnePart Two & Part Three (Unfortunately Helen was unable to attend the conference and this presentation was not given on the day)

List of Delegates attending the conference.

SURF did not hold an Annual Conference in 2005.

Leadership and Community Planning
West Park Centre, Dundee

The 2004 Annual Conference united two key current themes in regeneration; Leadership and Community Planning. This built upon the outcomes of the ‘Leadership in Regeneration’ seminar held earlier in the year, and the ongoing work undertaken in supporting the development of the nation network for Community Planning Partnerships.

Speakers included Zoe Van Zwanenberg of the Scottish Leadership Foundation, speaking on broad leadership contexts; Jack Davies, Chief Executive of the South Kilburn New Deal for Communities Project, on leadership in the practical regeneration context; Richard Scothorne of Rocket Science, providing a summary of the key points from the morning session and their relevance to current challenges; and Mary Mulligan Deputy Minister for Communities, on the leading role of the Scottish Executive.

SURF did not hold an Annual Conference in 2003.

2020 Visions: The Future for Communities
St Andrews in the Square, Glasgow

This conference asked a number of visionary thinkers to set out their views on how our communities will work and feel in 2020. They outlined their views on what changes will have taken place and put forward their ideas on the implications that these have for decision making now. Questions to considered included: what types of organisation and people could develop communities? What could the places we live and work in be like? How could changes in society and culture affect the way in which communities work? What could be the implications of advances in technology? What could be the economic factors we need to be aware of? So, where do we go now? Speakers included Lord Richard Best, Director, Joseph Rowntree Foundation; Tom Bentley, Director, Demos; Heather Koronka, Director of Regeneration, Communities Scotland; Jim McCormick, Research Director, Scottish Council Foundation; Gregor Rae, Chair and Co-Founder, Business Lab; and Julian Dobson, Editor, New Start magazine.
Ewan Mearns’ Powerpoint Presentation

Jim McCormick’s Powerpoint Presentation

Tom Bentley’s Powerpoint Presentation

Regeneration and Inclusion: Learning from Seven Countries
James Watt Centre II, Edinburgh

SURF’s 3rd Annual Conference was held on 2 November in Edinburgh examining the theme of “Regeneration and Inclusion: Learning from 7 Countries”. The conference attempted to look at how these issues were being dealt with across the UK and the rest of the world focusing on the 3 ‘Ps’ of regeneration: people, places and partnership. Given this, speakers included Lulu Gwagwa, Chief Executive of Independent Development Trust in South Africa; Ted Wysocki, Chief Executive of Chicago Association of Neighbourhood Development Organisations, USA; Lynne Cunningham, Chief Executive of Southeast Chicago Development Company, USA; Lykke Leonardsen, Co-ordinator, Kongens Enghave Kvaerterloft, Denmark; Jon Bright, Head of Programmes, Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, DTLR, England; Norma Barry, Head of Communities Directorate, National Assembly of Wales; Eddie Hayes, Department of Social Development, Northern Irish Assembly; Jackie Baillie MSP, Minister for Social Justice, Scottish Executive; and Bob Millar, Chief Executive, Communities Scotland.

Ted Wysocki’s Presentation

Norma Barry’s PowerPoint presentation

Linda MacDonald’s Powerpoint Presentation

Jon Bright’s Powerpoint Presentation

Eddie Hayes’ PowerPoint presentation

Joined-Up Regeneration
The Burrell Museum, Glasgow

This conference examined the current arrangements involved in taking a co-ordinated approach regeneration in the hope that in pointing out examples of excellence as well as problems would help further improve practice over the coming years. It looked at several aspects of ‘joined upness’ including joint working between sectors, agencies, geographical areas, political administrations and disciplines. Featuring keynote presentation from the Minister for Social Justice, Jackie Baillie MSP and other presentations from Keith Whitefield of Wester Hailes Representative Council; Andrew Lyon, Acting Chief of Forward Scotland, Niall McGilp, Director, Competitive Place, Scottish Enterprise; Clive Dutton, Head of Regeneration in Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council; and Michael Chapman of Heriot Watt University/ Edinburgh School of Art.

Clive Dutton’s Powerpoint (596kb)

Craig McLaren’s PowerPoint (43kb)

Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh

Featuring keynote presentation from Jackie Baillie MSP, Deputy Minister for Communities and other presentations from Michael Burns of the Castlemilk Economic Development Agency; Baillie Stephen Purcell of Glasgow City Council; Professor Michael Carley of Heriot Watt University; Kevin Murray of EDAW Ltd; James McCormick of the Scottish Council Foundation; Graeme Pearson of Strathclyde Police; John Low of Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Margaret Curran MSP, Convenor of the Scottish Parliament Committee on Social Inclusion, Housing and the Voluntary Sector.


Creative Scotland
Glasgow City Council
Historic Environment Scotland
Museums Galleries Scotland
Scottish Enterprise
Scottish Government
Scottish Had
Skills Development Scotland
Wheatley Group