Five Scottish towns have been awarded money from the nation's arts funding body to arrange a series of cultural activities for residents and visitors.

The move follows their selection as the first group of official "Creative Places".

Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway, West Kilbride in North Ayrshire and St Andrews received funding packages worth a total of £300,000, while Creetown, also in Dumfries and Galloway, and Huntly in Aberdeenshire, received special awards of £40,000 each.

The £1 million scheme, which runs over three-years, funds towns and villages rather than arts companies or individual artists. The awards, announced in Edinburgh's Storytelling Centre yesterday, have been established by Creative Scotland to recognise efforts to "create a rich cultural life for their communities, as well as social and economic well being".

Andrew Dixon, the chief executive of Creative Scotland, urged other communities to apply for the next two years of awards, citing two areas in Glasgow – Pollokshields and Govan – who he encouraged to apply.

Nine out of 30 communities were short-listed for the awards, for which The Herald and Sunday Herald are media partners.