Trailblazing work to boost business in East Ayrshire following the pandemic has been recognised by a top awards body.

On Thursday [November 25] East Ayrshire Council and Kilmarnock Business Association were announced as recipients of a Judges’ Special prize at the Scotland Loves Local Awards. It was in recognition of the wide-ranging impact of the gift card after its launch to help fuel the local recovery from the first lockdown last year.

It was announced by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) Chief Officer Phil Prentice during the online celebration event, hosted by STV’s Sean Batty.

And it comes as the new Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards are being rolled out across the country - supported by the Scottish Government - giving shoppers another way in which they can choose local and support businesses in their community.

Mr Prentice said: “We would not have been able to get where we are with that without the support of pathfinders such as East Ayrshire Council and Kilmarnock Business Association.

“They have demonstrated what a positive impact local gift cards can have in their area - encouraging people to support local businesses of all kinds, to realise all that they have in their community and critically, locking money into the local economy and protecting jobs.

“The innovative use of the gift card in East Ayrshire is an inspirational example which other regions can follow. Local gift cards will help secure the future of many businesses.”