Deputy leader nominated as ‘Young Councillor of the Year’ no longer feels quite so young

Scott HamiltonScott Hamilton
Scott Hamilton
'Mystery benefactor' nominates Galashiels councillor.

The deputy leader of Scottish Borders Council has expressed surprise after being short-listed for a national ‘Young Councillor of the Year Award’ – because he doesn’t feel quite so young any more.

Conservative Councillor Scott Hamilton, who has represented the Jedburgh & District ward for six years, will be up against five other nominees in the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) Cllr Awards at the City Chambers in Edinburgh on November 21.

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When Mr Hamilton was first elected in 2017 he was Scotland’s youngest councillor at the age of 21

Now at age 27 he’s not even the oldest councillor on Scottish Borders Council – that distinction goes to the Lib Dems Hannah Steel, who represents the Galashiels & District ward.

In addition to his role as deputy leader he is also the council’s executive member for Community & Business Development.

And with all his wealth of experience his nomination as ‘Young Councillor of the Year’ was somewhat unexpected – but still welcome.

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Scott said: “It does seem quite an odd thing to be referred to as young. There are times when it’s quite flattering to be called young but then there is also times when it is patronising, but regardless it’s about doing the job as well as you can.

“I’m not sure who nominated me but there’s obviously a mystery benefactor out there somewhere.”

In addition to his high-profile roles the award is also thought to recognise Mr Hamilton’s efforts to regenerate his own ward, particularly in resolving the future of a derelict and problematic building on the corner of town’s High Street and Exchange Street.

The site has now been cleared in preparation for a new contemporary structure to take its place.

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At next month’s awards ceremony, Mr Hamilton will be up against fellow young councillors in the category: Cllr James Dalgleish – Edinburgh Council, Cllr Dan Hutchison – Glasgow City Council, Cllr Kristopher Leask – Orkney Islands Council and Cllr Lana Reid-McConnell – Glasgow City Council.

The Cllr Awards judging panel is made up of senior councillors and leading stakeholders from across the sector. These are the only national awards to celebrate and showcase the work of individual councillors.

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive, LGIU Scotland, said: “In the face of unprecedented domestic and global challenges over the last year, councillors nationwide have once again exhibited unwavering dedication to serving their constituents.

“The short-list for the 2023 Cllr Awards represents some of the most devoted elected representatives in Scotland. As councils continue to deliver essential services like social care and housing amid a cost of living crisis, these awards are a hugely important way to champion what councillors do locally.”