2014_02_05 City Chambers 2

A community shop in Muirhouse, a £68m housing project in Moredun and a digital rehabilitation service have reached the finals in a national awards scheme.

The City of Edinburgh Council is also in the running for Council of the Year, after the projects were shortlisted as finalists in the Association for Public Excellence (APSE) Local Government Service Awards. It is one of only three local authorities in Scotland, and 10 in the UK, to be shortlisted.

The three Edinburgh projects are the Muirhouse Community Shop, the Moredun/Hyvots Bank regeneration scheme, and the Smarter Rehab Project.

Shortlisted for Best Public/Voluntary Partnership Initiative, the shop is run by the Council and local voluntary groups and was the idea of Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse (TRIM). With support from the Council and Link Up, a local support organisation, the shop opened in May 2013 and has become a community hub.

The Smarter Rehab Project has reached the final in both the Best Health and Wellbeing Initiative and Best Information Technology and Communications Initiative categories, and is believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland.

Occupational therapists work with people who are recovering after a stroke, using digital technology such as smart phones and iPads to do ordinary activities, such as connecting with friends and shopping. The aim is to enable individuals to improve independence and quality of life, and to compensate for long-term impairment.

The Moredun/Hyvots Bank regeneration has been shortlisted for Best Housing and Regeneration Initiative. A ten year commitment to the area by the City of Edinburgh Council, Dunedin Canmore Housing and the community has seen a rundown area transformed into a desirable place in which residents have a sense of pride.

A total of £68m was spent replacing 200 sub-standard properties with 441 new houses, 371 refurbished homes and a community park by the Council and Dunedin Canmore Housing.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Nottingham tonight (Thursday September 11th).

Council Leader Councillor Andrew Burns said: “It’s a great achievement for Edinburgh to have so many finalists in this year’s APSE awards. Despite increasing pressure on budgets and resources, our frontline services continue to ensure that the city’s residents are well cared for and looked after.

“I would like to congratulate all staff across the Council for their hard work and dedication to providing excellent services for residents which have led to these nominations.”

Robert Pearson, who volunteers as the Community Shop manager, said: “I was surprised, shocked but exceptionally pleased to be nominated for a national award, it is fantastic.

“The shop has gone from strength to strength and there just seems to be no stopping it just now. The shop is run day to day by volunteers and it really wouldn’t’t be possible without them.

“When you ask people across the UK what they think of Muirhouse in Edinburgh, it would probably be a negative comment. There’s a lot of positive things happening and it’s important to get that out there.”