Regional champion and highly commended accolades from Scotland Loves Local campaign highlight amazing dedication and efforts to help communities through Covid-19 pandemic

High Street Heroes in Shetland have been recognised for their remarkable work during the coronavirus crisis.

The tireless dedication of people to support those around them throughout the pandemic has been celebrated as part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign’s High Street Heroes Awards.

Scotland’s Communities Secretary, Aileen Campbell, has thanked all of those nominated for the work they have done.

In Shetland, the Regional Champion award goes to Emma Miller, project manager of Living Lerwick. A number of other people and businesses have been highly commended.

Emma’s nomination stated: “Emma has worked so hard to make our town centre a great place to shop. It’s pretty, it's clean and it's welcoming.

“Over coronavirus she has issued weekly emails to all businesses in Shetland on where to get help, grants and support and has also supported many businesses personally so that they could get back up and running.

“She always does her very best to help people and make our town centre a great place to visit. Emma has significantly improved engagement amongst members and has provided excellent support to BID businesses around Shetland during lockdown.”

Reacting to news of her award, Emma said: “I’m very honoured to be recognised as part of the High Street Heroes Awards – even to be nominated by those who felt I had done enough to make a positive difference is extremely gratifying. To win the regional champion title was unexpected and I’m just delighted.”

She added: “I’m very happy that I have been able to provide support and help to our member businesses, and the wider business community during these challenging times. The grateful feedback I’ve had has been really humbling. I’m so glad that I was in a position to be able to help when there were so many uncertainties and changing circumstances.”

As part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, the awards highlight the tremendous differences that local individuals and local businesses - as well as the safe support for them - has made to peoples’ lives throughout Covid-19. A roll of honour of all nominees has been published at www.lovelocal.scot.

Meanwhile, the Highly Commended award for Shetland goes to Edna Irvine of Smith and Robertson's.

Judges were told: “Edna has been very active as a local shop owner and an unpaid director of the Lerwick BID, Living Lerwick, in supporting the reopening of the high street (Commercial Street).

“She arranged for a grant of £5,000 from the Shetland Retailers Association to provide funding for 2m distancing stickers and hand sanitiser to be purchased and then helped to distribute them, not only in Lerwick but throughout Shetland, which has been a great help to the retail sector and has aided customer confidence.

“She is always willing to give up her time for free to help with projects to enhance the high street, e.g. we have a summer flower scheme but she has purchased bulbs and flowers herself for the planters to keep them attractive throughout the year and tends them herself.”

Scotland Loves Local is spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) with the support of the Scottish Government to help the country’s response to the pandemic by thinking local first for all shopping and service needs.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “I would like to thank these High Street Heroes for going the extra mile to help their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am pleased the Scottish Government has been able to support these awards through our funding for Scotland’s Towns Partnership. They typify the kind of community spirit that has supported people and improved lives.

“This has been a difficult year for all of us, and the only way we will get through is by sticking together, being kind, and offering help where it is needed. The fact that these awards received more than 1,200 nominations just shows how much people have appreciated those who have pulled together to help one another.”

STP’s Chief Officer, Phil Prentice, said: “The dedication with which people in Shetland have supported those around them during the pandemic has been remarkable. We’re delighted to shine a spotlight on the amazing difference that our High Street Heroes have made and thank them for all they have done.

“They are an inspiration - local people helping their communities and customers like never before. They highlight the vital part that high street businesses play in our lives and why we must support them to ensure they continue to be there for us.”

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