Renfrewshire’s major events programme has created a £1.25m boost for the local economy so far in 2018 as the ongoing work to use the area’s cultural and heritage story to transform its future continues to deliver results.
More than 70,000 people have come to the area from across Scotland and beyond to attend big days with April’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival, May’s British Pipe Band Championships and Sma’ Shot/Weave festival in July, each attracting five-figure crowds.
Those three events alone created more than £850,000 of local spend plus almost £400,000 of spend by visitors to the area – boosting the coffers of local businesses.
This year also saw Scottish Opera bring a unique outdoor production of Pagliacci to a specially-erected tent in Seedhill Playing Fields for five sold-out nights in July, which also attracted a five-figure crowd and Scotland-wide profile.
The figures are listed in a report going before the council’s leadership board next week updating members on progress with the wide-ranging Paisley 2021 legacy plan.
The council and its partners have agreed to use the resources set aside during the town’s UK City of Culture bid to host the title had Paisley won on projects which will deliver on its vision and aims, and create long-term economic, social and cultural benefits for the whole area.
Other key strands of the legacy plan referred to in the report include:
– the push to promote the area as a visitor destination continues through the area’s new destination brand and website www.paisley.is, which has already smashed its first-year target for views;
– a new arts and culture in health steering group led by the NHS is now up and running, and has secured funding to expand its pioneering community connectors programme allowing GPs to ‘prescribe’ creative activities to patients suffering from social isolation;
– work to build the area’s creative business sector, which has already – thanks to the work of the council’s business incubator InCube – seen a sharp rise in the numbers of creative businesses seeking funding and support in the past few years;
Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley’s UK City of Culture bid did a huge amount to lift the town’s profile, reputation and self-confidence, but it was only ever one part of a major plan designed to use culture and heritage to make us a destination and drive new footfall.
“We said that journey would continue – and the numbers attending major events in the area are one of many ways we can now demonstrate that. To have £1m pumped into the local economy so far this year will have had major benefits for traders throughout Renfrewshire.
“We’ve also a new fund designed to build capacity among local creative groups as well as investment to transform key outdoor spaces and transport links as part of the £100m investment in Paisley town centre over the next few years.”
The next events taking place in the area are The Spree festival, which sees nine days of music comedy and more at various venues in Paisley from 12 to 20 October, and the Paisley Halloween Festival on 26 and 27 October.