A COUNCILLOR has scooped a community champion award.

Depute council leader Elena Whitham lifted the prize for going above and beyond in supporting the Irvine Valley community and wider area.

The mum was one of seven politicians to win at the LGiU councillor awards ceremony in Edinburgh last week.

Describing the achievement as an “honour”, the SNP politician said “community is at the heart” of why she sought election.

She said: “To be recognised in this way means a great deal as a lot of the work councillors undertake is often overlooked and having a light shone on it brings it to the fore.”

Councillor Whitham’s triumph was down to her being “a caring and principled leader” according to a statement from award hosts LGiU.

She was also praised for using her personal experience, such as being homeless to understand and help those on the margins of society.

Her role as COSLA spokesperson for community wellbeing has led her to influence national policy and impact the vulnerable.

Councillor Whitham added: “I believe that the devolution of power into the hands of our communitiesis enriching Scotland and tapping into a huge array of talent and energy.

“Folk care passionately about where they live and it is my role to support them in their endeavours by helping to create empowering policy and fostering a culture that puts people at the heart of everything we do.”

Jonathan Carr-West, LGiU chief executive, said: “I would like to extend my most sincere congratulations to Councillor Whitham and thank her for her commitment to local government.

“We look forward to hearing more about her continued accomplishments in the future.”