The first groups in the frame to benefit from a £500k culture fund have been named – after applications totaling an incredible £1m worth of funding were lodged.


The first groups in the frame to benefit from a £500k culture fund have been named – after applications totaling an incredible £1m worth of funding were lodged.

The Renfrewshire Culture, Heritage and Events Fund is key to Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, aimed at unlocking the area’s creative potential by helping the cultural community run its own events and projects in the run-up to the bid.

And bid bosses were deluged with applications for the first round of grants – receiving 72 requests for funding, totaling £994,829.

Renfrewshire Council last year set aside £500,000 for the fund – but that is intended to last five years, with three funding rounds each year.

That left the panel with a tough task to sort through the applications – before eventually agreeing to recommend 12 awards totaling £62,634.

The council’s Leadership Board will be asked to approve those awards when it meets later this month.

The nominated groups and individuals range from grassroots to professional, and cover a wide range of sectors – including music, dance, theatre, art and Gaelic culture. Those set to benefit include school pupils and disabled people.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “We were overwhelmed by the volume and quality of the applications received – it was just incredible.

“The applications were a wonderful showcase of the scale, quality and ambition of the cultural scene in and around Renfrewshire. There were some inspirational ideas and a real enthusiasm for the bid.

“On the other hand it gave us a problem – even though the council has made a massive financial commitment, demand far exceeds the money available and we will never be able to fund every good idea.

“Ultimately we had to select projects which best met the criteria at this stage in the process and which we thought would make the biggest positive impact on the bid.

“So while some people will be disappointed not to be funded, we may be able to help in future.

“We noticed a lot of similar themes in the applications and will host an event before the next round of funding in August to discuss how we can help people form new creative partnerships which may lead to more projects coming to life in future.”

The assessment panel also identified a longlist of additional projects which scored highly and which could strengthen Paisley’s UK City of Culture bid, but where more information would be needed before a final decision could be made.

The council’s Leadership Board will also next week be asked to delegate the authority for an additional £65,000 worth of awards to be made from that longlist, to be announced in April.

The twelve applications which have been recommended for approval so far are as follows:
– Right2Dance (£13,946) – to run a new free weekly dance class;
– Al Seed (£9,990) – to produce a solo work of visual theatre which ties in with Paisley Halloween Festival;
– Feis Phaislig (£8,837) – for a year-round programme of music tuition for young people;
– Renfrewshire Disability Art Forum (£6,000) – a number of projects using creativity to improve health and wellbeing;
– PACE Theatre Company (two awards of £4,750 and £3,060) – for Paisley 2021 drama workshops in schools, and free street theatre workshops for young people;
– West College Scotland (£4,052) – to create and commercialise Paisley artwork
– Morgan Spence (£3,200) – to create animation workshops for schools and an animated Paisley Lego film;
– Bushes Primary (£3,000) – to create permanent communuty artwork;
– Hobigoblin (£2,689) – to create a space for learning new crafts and skills in Paisley;
– Dates-n-Mates (£2,160) – to take members of group for learning-disabled adults on a drama course and produce a pantomime
– Lisa Kowalski Music (£950) – to work with other musicians to produce an EP

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is due to be lodged in spring 2017. For more information, visit