The competition for UK City of Culture 2021 may be over, but Paisley and Renfrewshire is still striving ahead with plans to transform its future using its remarkable cultural heritage and be a top visitor destination in Scotland.
Throughout the bid journey the town and surrounding area, supported by friends around the globe, championed the ambition that Paisley could transform its reputation, grow its creative economy and take its place as a centre of cultural excellence. Undeterred and through the bid legacy we are pushing ahead with achieving this vision – one that was developed through conversations with more than 34,000 local people.
An additional £7 million investment has been committed to deliver events, cultural programming, and grow Renfrewshire’s creative economy over the next four years.
Around 20 new events and projects will be developed covering new festivals and collaborations with national and international artists and national organisations, and a cultural programme delivered with, by and in local communities across the region.
The activity is underpinned by a £100 million capital investment in Paisley Museum, cultural venues and outdoor spaces, and will help to drive the economic, social and cultural step changes which were the foundation of the bid; growing a new dimension to the local economy; being recognised for cultural excellence; transforming the town’s image; lifting communities out of poverty and making the town centres vibrant cultural hubs.
We believe this shows that here in Renfrewshire, we are committed to supporting the creative sector by prioritising arts development and building cultural capacity at a time when the potential of culture and creativity to make a difference elsewhere is under pressure. Our investment in growing our cultural and creative sector includes £500,000 to top-up our existing Culture, Heritage and Events Fund and the new Organisational Development Fund which will grow and provide stability for independents over the next three years. And we will expand and grow the network of local groups and organisations delivering events of scale in Renfrewshire resulting in new, authentic and original programme content.
Major strides have already been made to continue to keep Paisley and Renfrewshire on the map as a visitor destination with the launch of a dedicated destination brand – Paisley.is –with everything you need to know about visiting and making Paisley and Renfrewshire home.
Having a distinctive identity through Paisley.is will only continue to elevate the profile of the area, drive marketing activity and support all Renfrewshire attraction and accommodation providers to attract more people to visit.
We know that events drive visitors. Through the legacy funding and the brand we will continue to deliver great events and build on our track record of bidding for and winning events such as The British Pipe Band Championships, The Scottish Album of the Year Awards and the Royal National Mod, and will deliver an additional £5.5 million to the economy by 2022.
Our visitor plan will drive these ambitions further and support tourism business growth in the area – growing employment in tourism related industries to 7,150 and increasing visitor spend in Renfrewshire by £31m.
This all shows that we are still listening to the 34,000 voices that shaped Paisley’s bid, and how the ambition, passion and commitment to make Paisley and Renfrewshire a cultural and creative hub is very much alive and well.
Source : The Herald