Groups who formed the heart of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 gathered at a special event to hear how the town’s bidding journey will continue.

The Paisley 2021: The Journey Continues event saw around 70 people gather in Paisley Town Hall to hear how the vision behind the bid will still be delivered.

A range of creative, cultural and business groups heard from speakers from various organisations who played a role in the bid about the positive impact it made – and the platform it created for the future.

The event was MC’d by Alan McNiven, chief executive of Engage Renfrewshire – who worked on the community engagement push which saw 36,000 people involved in the conversation around the bid.

Speakers including Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron, St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick, Alan Clark of the Creative Renfrewshire Network, and representatives of community groups the STAR Project and Stronger Women in Ferguslie Together gave their own reflections.

Looking to the future, some of the partners behind the bid – including Glasgow School of Art, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and West College Scotland – outlined plans to deliver on the aims and vision it contained.

And senior council and Renfrewshire Leisure staff talked about investment in Paisley’s cultural infrastructure and programming, and efforts to promote the area as a great place to live, work and invest, underpinned by the new paisley.is destination brand. That includes:

– a £100m-plus investment in town centre venues and infrastructure, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class facility, and revamps for Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre

– £5m for a programme of new events and festivals – including the Royal National Mod in 2022 – to add to the area’s existing and successful major events programme;

– a £500k investment in building the area’s cultural capacity by topping up the existing Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, and creating a new fund to help organisations grow;

– work to embed the opportunity to take part in cultural activity – and the benefits it brings – at the heart of all the area’s anti-poverty, education, health and well-being work;

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The Paisley 2021 bid has already changed the area for the better.

“It raised our profile and awareness of our unique story, and brought a sense of self-confidence back to the town, not to mention the more tangible benefits through the increase in visitor numbers and event attendees we’ve already seen.

“Today’s event was about bringing people together to celebrate all of that – but more importantly it was about looking to the future and making sure the groups who contributed to the bid know the journey can and will continue.

“The bid was only ever one part of a wider plan to harness the power of our internationally-significant heritage and cultural story to transform our future….and with exciting opportunities and major investment over the next few years, that is still in our hands to do.”

Alan McNiven, chief executive of Engage Renfrewshire, added: “The Paisley 2021 bid was a team effort that became a mass movement – so it was fitting we brought the team back together today.

“The bid formed new partnerships between people and groups, gave them a voice, and invited them to help shape a shared vision for our town.

“Today was about reminding ourselves of that vision and looking at how it can still be realised – and the people of Paisley have the power to do it.”

For more information on what Paisley has to offer, visit www.paisley.is