Plans to cement Paisley’s place as a key visitor destination within Scotland have been given a £250,000 cash boost by the National Lottery.
The money follows a successful application by Renfrewshire Council and will be used to help local cultural and heritage groups work together to showcase the town’s unique story to potential visitors.
It’s part of a £2.4m investment announced today through the National Lottery’s Great Places scheme, to be shared between nine projects across Scotland.
The Great Places scheme aims to allow communities to use their unique heritage to shape their futures, and tackle wider issues such as poverty, employment, health and education.
Paisley’s project will bring local people and organisations together to build new partnerships and capacity within the local cultural and heritage sector to improve the visitor experience.
The funding will also support the development of digital skills to promote Paisley and Renfrewshire’s cultural and heritage story to existing and new audiences.
The project will start later this year and run until 2020, and a partnership of public sector, business, community and voluntary groups will be pulled together to run it.
It will support the new destination brand and website for the town – due to be revealed in February.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are delighted with this news and thank all at the Heritage Lottery Fund for their support.
“Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 did a huge amount to raise our profile as a destination and make people aware of what the town has to offer, as part of a wider plan to use the power of our unique culture and heritage to transform the area’s future
“That helped us manage a big increase in the numbers of visitors to Renfrewshire attractions over the past few years – 1.7m in 2016, up 25%.
“We want to grow that further, by showing off what sets us apart to bring new footfall to the town, and building on Paisley’s growing reputation as a key venue within Scotland for events and culture.
“This money will help groups across Renfrewshire who have a stake in that to work together, equip them to promote the town and themselves, and be ready to welcome visitors when they arrive.”
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “You can’t imagine Paisley without its pattern or Dunfermline without its abbey.
“Heritage and culture gives a place a unique identity and makes it special for the people that live there.
“This scheme will show how building on those roots can have a hugely positive impact on local economies in terms of health, employment and education, as well as well as instilling community cohesion and pride.
“Thanks to players of the National Lottery, we are enabling a step-change in thinking, encouraging local leaders to come together and recognise that heritage is a driving force for change.”