Diane Brown, Alloa First

Winner of the Scotland Loves Local Place Leader Award 2023

Alloa First manager Diane Brown was hailed as “an absolute power of strength” in her nomination.

It was praised which helped earn the Alloa First Business Improvement District (BID) manager with the Place Leader prize.

She was rewarded for her work after judges heard how she had supported more than 200 businesses and organisations over the past five years – including in their response and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns.

That has included through town centre improvement work, seizing online opportunities and being a driving force behind events.

Her nomination stated: “Diane has been an absolute power of strength and inspiration to local businesses and third sector organisations. 

“Nothing is too much for her and the town is a great place to shop and enjoy. She has shown incredible leadership and built relationships that will have a lasting legacy for Alloa and Clackmannanshire.”


Dr Michael Gray, Energise Galashiels Trust

Dr Michael Gray, as Chair of Energise Galashiels Trust (EGT) for almost 10 years until 1 August 2023, has played an exceptional role in driving the regeneration of the town centre. He has spearheaded the development and delivery of a strategic vision for the town, specifically the Vibrant Gala Plan incorporating the Tapestry Way Study.

Under Mike’s leadership, and due to him having developed strong relationships with key funding partners, EGT have secured more than £1m of funding into the town over the last 3-4 years. This has allowed EGT to support various community projects and events including the Galashiels Heartland of the Borders digital platforms to promote Galashiels to the world; support for the launch of the Heartland Market and the recent Tangled Fibre Festival which attracted almost 1,000 visitors over 2 days to the town. Several local businesses benefitted from property transformation grants which were administered by the Trust, as did community groups, such as Gala in Bloom who do such a great job with the town centre floral displays, and the Cycling without Age team. With clear, strategic vision Mike encouraged EGT to develop the Love Local campaign for  Galashiels (the 2020 Xmas video had an estimated 100,000 views), manage the Mi-Rewards programme and host the inaugural Galashiels Heartland Business Awards event in March 2023.

Although Mike has just stepped down as Chair of EGT in August this year, he will continue to support the Trust as a co-opted Trustee.

Ross Grant, Aberdeen Inspired

Ross, a project manager is the longest-serving member of staff at Aberdeen Inspired Business Improvement District.

His nomination stated: “His time in the role has had a significant, transformative and positive impact on Aberdeen city centre. 

“As a prelude to Nuart Aberdeen, Ross meticulously brought the now iconic “Painted Doors Aberdeen” concept to Aberdeen (from Funchal in Madeira) where more than 30 local artists were commissioned to produce door-sized murals to fire exits and seemingly abandoned doorways in the city centre.

“Using this as a catalyst, and with support from Aberdeen Inspired, Ross spearheaded a global first, securing an exclusive agreement with the globally renowned Nuart curator, Martyn Reed, to take the curated street art festival to Aberdeen.”

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