Eden Project: Big Virtual Lunch

The Big Lunch, the annual thanksgiving  for neighbours and communities, will be going ahead this year on the original date of 6-7th June - this year as a Big Virtual Lunch.

Since 2009 The Big Lunch has been a 'thanksgiving' moment for neighbours - a time where we celebrate communities and get to know one another a little better. This year we’re holding a Big Virtual Lunch, encouraging people to connect with neighbours safely, whether that’s over the phone, over the fence, or online. The Big Lunch can bring people together, build resilience and connection at a time when we really need it.  We hope you'll join us this year as we bring a unique Big Lunch to communities across Scotland!

Ways you can get involved in the Big Lunch 

With many opportunities for face to face friendships and connections being lost, lots of people are feeling isolated. Holding a Big Virtual Lunch is a great way to keep connections alive and make sure people feel part of a community! You can hold a Big Virtual Lunch online or offline - there are lots of ideas and inspiration in our Digital Big Lunch Pack.

You can also help by spreading the word - encourage people in your area to hold their own Big Lunch and connect to the people around them!  Whether on your doorstep, online or over the phone, there are plenty of ways to get involved.


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Scotland’s Towns Partnership Annual Towns Tea Party (with AGM)

Get your tea and cakes (or G & T) at the ready! Our annual Towns Tea Party is coming to your very small screen.

Guest Speaker, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell MSP

Following a welcome and AGM business with Scotland’s Towns Partnership Chair, Professor Leigh Sparks, we will be delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell MSP.  Sharing a Strategic Update on Towns and Improvements Districts, Ms Campbell will be joined by STP Chief Officer, Phil Prentice.

Tune in for key announcements related to Scotland's towns and improvement districts at a crucial moment for our places and wider society.

If you wish to attend the Towns Tea Party, please RSVP below.


Agenda (Online Event)


5.00 pm         Event Chair, Peter Duncan, Director, Message Matters

AGM Business

5.10 pm         STP Chair, Professor Leigh Sparks, Professor of Retail Studies and Deputy Principal (Education and Students) of the University of Stirling.

Strategic Update

5.20 pm        Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government

5.30 pm        Phil Prentice, Chief Officer, Scotland’s Towns Partnership and National Director, Scotland’s Improvement Districts

5.40 pm        Q & A

5.50 pm        Closing Remarks from Professor Leigh Sparks (Close 6pm)

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Transferable lessons for place-based regeneration: SURF Awards Shared Learning Workshop

This free half-day SURF Awards workshop event in St Luke’s, Glasgow on 9th July provides an opportunity to explore successful current approaches towards regenerating Scotland’s places with two winning projects from the ‘Most Improved Place’ and ‘Community Led Regeneration’ categories highlighted in the 2019 SURF Awards process.

SURF and the Scottish Government work together to identify and highlight excellence and innovation in initiatives that address social and economic challenges in disadvantaged communities through the annual SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration.

Workshop guests will firstly hear from project a representative in the ‘Most Improved Place’ category winner Glasgow’s Calton Barras. Located between Glasgow city centre and the city’s east end, the Calton Barras area has suffered from a range of problems including deprivation, inadequate urban connectivity and poor environment quality. Over the last ten years, Glasgow City Council, in consultation with local residents, traders and other stakeholders, have worked to respond to these challenges through a series of strategies and action plans, re-establishing Calton Barras as a successful and attractive place.

This will be followed by the ‘Community Led Regeneration’ winner Ochiltree Community Hub. Ochiltree is a small rural village in East Ayrshire with a population of around 1000. In 2014 a dedicated community group was formed, in response to council plans to close the community centre and library, to establish a new multipurpose, community-owned facility. The existing facilities were demolished in 2016, and the land was purchased by the community. The new hub was designed and constructed from January 2018, and opened in July 2019.

Following an open discussion session with the projects attendees will hear from a Scottish Government representative who will give an overview of current priorities regarding place-based regeneration. This will be followed by short presentations from Scotland’s Towns Partnership on the role they provide in helping to regenerate Scotland’s towns and Highlands and Islands Enterprise on their current focus on place-based regeneration. The floor will then be open for wider discussion on national policy.

The SURF Awards ‘Most Improved Place’ judging panel team – comprising representatives of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Historic Environment Scotland, Architecture & Design Scotland and the Scottish Government – were extremely impressed that the unique character of the place has been retained alongside major physical and economic changes. The SURF Awards ‘Community Led Regeneration’ judging panel team – comprising representatives of The National Lottery Community Fund, SCVO, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and CoCreate – could see that they have maximised the skills and resource available to establish a hub that’s revived a previously declining environment.

This workshop will be delivered with support from Scotland’s Towns Partnership, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Architecture & Design Scotland.


10:00am   Welcome and Coffee

10:30am   Introduction: Andy Milne, Chief Executive, SURF

10:40am   Presentation, Calton Barras: Michael Ward, Glasgow City Council

10:55am   Presentation, Ochiltree Community Hub: Alex Baird, Ochiltree Community Hub

11:10am   Open Discussion, Questions and Comments with representatives from the projects

11:30pm   Presentation, The Place Principle: David Cowan, Scottish Government

11:40pm   Presentation, Scotland’s Towns Partnership: Phil Prentice, STP/SID’s

11:50pm   Presentation, Highlands and Islands Enterprise: TBC, HIE

12.00pm   Open Discussion on National Policy

12:30pm   Summary, Thanks and What’s Next: Andy Milne and Emma Scott, Information, Communications & Events Officer, SURF

12:40pm   Networking Lunch


Please visit the SURF event page here to book. Any queries please contact Emma Scott, emma@surf.scot

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DTAS Annual Conference and AGM

Owing to the current circimstances presented by Covid-19, the DTA Scotland Board has taken the decision to postpone the DTAS Annual Conference & AGM which was due to be held in Cumbernauld on the 6th/7th September until 8th/9th November - please put this new date in your diary and if the conditions of social distancing allow at that time, we would hope to see you there.

DTA Scotland Annual Conference & AGM
Sunday 8th and Monday 9th of Novebmer 2020
Westerwood Hotel, Cumbernauld

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Sponsored By Supporting Scotland's Towns