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

Paisley 2021

Plans to build a lasting legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 are taking a major step forward – with a £500,000 investment to develop the area’s creative sector being revealed.

The town’s bid for the title was part of a wider plan to transform the fortunes of Paisley and Renfrewshire by harnessing the power of the area’s globally-significant cultural and heritage story.

The partners behind the bid are now working on a detailed legacy plan to make sure Paisley’s journey continues and deliver on the vision of the bid over the next decade.

One of the key strands of that is in growing the area’s independent cultural sector – and the half-million-pound investment unveiled today by Renfrewshire Council – using money set aside to fund the 2021 year had the town won the title – aims to do that. It comes in two parts:

– £360,000 for a new Organisational Development Fund to grow the independent creative sector locally over the next three years.

By giving existing groups certainty over budgets it is hoped they could expand to a level where they could apply for and get national funding and become sustainable at that level. Detailed criteria and application process have yet to be developed, but the fund is due to run from 2019 until 2022.

– a £140,000 top-up for the existing Culture Heritage and Events Fund, allowing it to run until 2021. The fund ran alongside the bid with the aims of increasing cultural participation, showcasing the town’s story, and allowing local talent to work with organisations of national stature.

It has supported more than 80 projects to date with highlights including teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Lego animation about the town, local dance group Right2Dance bringing Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company here for a week-long residency, and local music charity Loud ‘n’ Proud’s Bungalow Bar musical on how a small Paisley venue hosted the biggest names in the UK punk scene

The funding announcement comes within days of the launch of a new destination brand and website – Paisley is – designed to promote the area as a great place to live, invest and visit.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure – whose Cultural Services team will administer both funds – said: “The Paisley 2021 bid has already changed Paisley for the better – it raised our profile, made people aware of our untold story, and brought a sense of self-confidence back to a town which needed that boost.

“And it’s important people know that journey will continue. It may not be the turbocharged journey we would have had if we’d won – but the bid focused the area behind a very clear vision for the area’s future, which we will still deliver on.

“That vision was to grow a new dimension to the local economy through creative industry, ensure the area is recognised for its cultural excellence, transform Paisley’s image, lift communities out of poverty, and make our town centres vibrant destinations.

“Over the next few years we and our partners will deliver all of the above – and the investment announced today feeds into those aims.

“By helping the local creative sector grow through this funding, we equip them to stage more events, festivals and projects which showcase what the area has to offer and bring people here, with all the benefits that brings to the local economy.

“At the same time, we know culture has a positive impact on well-being and life chances – which is why we are putting that at the heart of everything we do from now on.

“By helping local groups create more opportunities for people to access those benefits it supports the wider work across the area around health and education and to tackle poverty.

“The investment in cultural capacity is just one of several parts of the 2021 legacy – we already have a confirmed £100m+ investment in town centre venues and infrastructure, have just announced £5m of additional budget to grow our major events and festivals programme, and have more support on the way to develop the area as a hub for creative industry.

“All those benefits that will be felt throughout all of Renfrewshire – not just Paisley – and with the new Paisley Is… brand signposting to all the events and local culture which makes us a great destination there’s loads going on to feel excited by.”

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

Plans to secure a exciting future for Paisley will be laid out at a celebration event aimed at highlighting the benefits of bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 and how the town plans to continue to harness the power of culture to transform its fortunes.

The ‘Our Journey Continues’ event, which will take place on Thursday 29 March at Paisley Town Hall from 12.00 – 1.30pm, will examine the key benefits of the town’s bid including helping to raise the town’s profile, raising ambitions for the area, developing a deeper understanding of the excellent work taking place in the community.

The town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 changed the town for the better, and the momentum it generated will continue and this will be discussed in more detail at the event.

In addition to celebrating the work which has already taken place it will also reveal more about the future opportunities. This includes investing in cultural venues and outdoor spaces such as Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre and St James Playing Fields, developing the creative economy and enhancing our cultural events and festivals programme and continuing to build on the support from the community. This investment demonstrates how Renfrewshire continues to buck the trend in terms of cultural investment.

Furthermore it will show that the council and its place partners are still committed to achieving the step changes outlined in the bid – to grow a new dimension to the economy, transform the town’s image, lift Paisley’s communities out of poverty, be recognised for cultural excellence and transform the town into a vibrant cultural centre.

The event will see partners and local community groups come together to find out more about future plans and members of the public are encouraged to come along to learn what will happen next for the town.

Chair of the Paisley Partnership Board, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “The Our Journey Continues event is not only a celebration of the excellent work which has already taken place through the bidding process but is a great opportunity for us all to look ahead to the exciting plans for the future.”

This event precedes the Future Forward: Culture in Renfrewshire collaborative discussion which will ask attendees what directions culture in Renfrewshire should take, and what successes people would like to build on.  The event will be held in Paisley Town Hall from 2-4pm.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Head of Cultural Services, Morag Macpherson, said: “The thank you event is a great introduction to the Culture in Renfrewshire discussion which will allow everyone to have their say on what the priorities for culture in Renfrewshire should be in the years to come.

“I’m sure the plans unveiled through Our Journey Continues, and the ideas and ambitions which people come along with, will create a really rich inspirational mix. We will discuss how we best focus our aspirations and collectively create a really exciting cultural environment over the next few years.”

There will also be another Future Forward session on Tues 17 April 6-8pm, places can be booked here.

A pilot project is using Virtual Reality to hook up older and isolated members of the community to cultural experiences they would otherwise be unable to access.

Pensioner Ruth Clunie, aged 98 tries out new virtual reality for the housebound 14.12.17

Thanks to support from Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Heritage and Events (CHE) Fund, housebound and elderly members of Paisley-based Roar Connections for Life, are having their horizons opened up by the technology.

The fund was set up in 2015 as a way of getting people involved in culture and unlocking Renfrewshire’s creative potential as part of Paisley’s bid to win the UK City of Culture 2021 title.

It continues as a key legacy now that the competition is over, with applications from local groups invited for further rounds of funding.

Pensioner Ruth Clunie, aged 98 tries out new virtual reality for the housebound 14.12.17

The ‘VR Over the Doorstep’ project is being tested in the community by people befriended by the charity, which provides preventative, health and wellbeing services for older people.

Film maker and Virtual Reality Artist Simon Bishopp, said: “The idea is to involve isolated and mobility impaired elderly people in the Renfrewshire community to allow them to engage with cultural events and activities that they can’t physically travel to.

“We will visit them with Virtual Reality headsets so they’ll be able to see and interact with things that have happened in the area.

“At the moment we’re going through the testing phase and are making the apps which allows them to travel around virtual spaces – so they can visit physical spaces that we’ve filmed and then engage with things there simply by looking at them.”

The users will be able to go to places like Paisley Museum and by simply by looking at the virtual exhibits, the objects will become larger and closer to them and rotate. Even online UK Casinos.

A narrator will take them through the museum and they will be able to move from one room to the next to create an immersive experience that feels like they’re actually there.”

The six months pilot scheme also aims to offer live stream events like theatre productions.

Virtual Reality can also be used to take the housebound and elderly members to significant places from their past that they wouldn’t normally be able to revisit.

Simon added: “We can take them to spaces that they wouldn’t easily be able to access, like the Coats Observatory in Paisley.

“We also intend to do some live streaming and hope to do that from the new High Street Museum store in Paisley, the Secret Collection, which is full of wonderful exhibits.

“So we will create content on multiple apps and then take that out to see what people think of it. I hope it will give them a sense of mobility and of being able to engage with the community and leaving behind the isolation they can feel.

“We’ve taken a film at the RSPB in Lochwinnoch and the members really enjoyed being able to see what was going outside of where they spend their days and being outside, hearing the sounds and seeing the birds.

“For us that’s a very every day thing, but for them it’s very special.”

Roar has 15 clubs and projects in a range of venues running throughout the week in Renfrewshire.

Roar’s Manager Nicola Hanssen said: “This is a very exciting project. Research has identified that two fifths of all older people say the television is their main company. As this is a very passive activity it doesn’t give people the cognitive stimulation or interactivity that contains health benefits. Our VR Over the Doorstep project will engage people in a new and more meaningful way, which will enrich their lives and their minds.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The UK City of Culture bid about bringing people together and opening up new experiences for people which is what this project does. That doesn’t stop just because we didn’t win the title and we will continue to open up the benefits of culture for all.”

For more information on the CHE Fund, which is still receiving funding applications for cultural events and projects, go towww.paisley2021.co.uk

Renfrewshire school children are being asked to design a winning flag to wave off drivers taking part in one of the world’s most iconic races.

Paisley is the only British starting point of the 2018 Monte Carlo Rally, with 25 cars setting off for the 1500-mile trip to the South of France next month.

A competition has been launched for local pupils to design a flag to send the competitors in the historic event on their way.

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron will select the winner, who will also get to keep the flag after the event on January 31st.

Almost 100 cars in total are expected to leave the start ramp outside Paisley Abbey at 6pm, in three separate categories.

Next year’s event also has crews from Scotland, England, Wales, as well as Europe and the USA.

Provost Cameron said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for school children to get their creative thinking caps on and put their own stamp on a world class event.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the amazing designs I know our talented pupils will come up with and can’t wait to wave the drivers off at the start line.”

Entries can be submitted at schools and local libraries with a closing date of January 15th. The competition is exclusive to primary school children and please remember to include your name, age, school and contact information with your entry.

Next year’s event, which sees Paisley as the sole British starting point for the fifth time, will feature the popular Monte Carlo Heritage Runs and the competitors will be sent off in style from Paisley in a party atmosphere with lights, music and fireworks.

The event will also have lots of motor-themed activities such as a giant scalextric, racing arcade games and free children’s workshops in Paisley Town Hall from 4pm.

Douglas Anderson, the rally’s UK co-ordinator and the man responsible for bringing the Monte Carlo Rally back to Scotland in 2011, said: “We are delighted that the youngsters of the community can get involved in the rally in this way and the winning design will be seen all over Europe.

“It’s wonderful to be returning to Paisley for the fifth year and we are looking forward to a huge turn out on January 31st.”

The Historique class is being run for the 21st year and is restricted to car models which competed in the Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980. It will run over eight days on open public roads with the cars and crews having undertaken a series of fourteen demanding test stages in the mountains of southern France.

The Classique event is for older cars from as early as 1911 to 1969 and follows the same route to Monte Carlo but does not include any test stages, the goal simply being to finish after checking in at a series of control points on the way, including Dumfries in the south of Scotland, Barnby Moor in Nottinghamshire and Banbury in Oxfordshire.

For more information please go to www.paisley2021.co.uk

Paisley singer-songwriter Lisa Kowalski has unveiled her very first music video – inspired by the positivity of her hometown.

“Hearts of Gold” recounts the 17-year-old’s experiences of busking on Paisley High Street since the age of 14 and the wave of support she has received from local people.

The video sees the up-and-coming singer joined by a crowd of fellow Buddies – including St Mirren Football Club mascot, the Paisley Panda, and youngsters from PACE Youth Theatre – as they dance along Paisley High Street and around some of the town’s iconic landmarks.

Lisa was awarded funding from Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events (CHE) Fund towards her debut EP “Free Spirits” and the filming of a music video for her single “Hearts of Gold”.

The CHE fund aims to raise cultural ambition, enhance participation and unlock creative potential in Renfrewshire.

It is one of the key legacies of Paisley’s 2021 bid for UK City of Culture and has so far supported 80 projects to the tune of more than £630,000.

Paisley was the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition alongside Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea and Coventry, which took the title.

Lisa’s video was filmed by local youth arts organisation Create Paisley, which has worked closely with Lisa in recent years through a number of song-writing programmes and events.

After unveiling her first music video, Lisa Kowalski said: “I’ve received so much support in Paisley since starting my music career and it only felt fair to give something back to show how grateful I am.

“It was so much fun to film and I was so happy that a lot of people turned up to take part. I absolutely love the way it turned out!

“I really think this video captures the amazing community and talent this town has to offer and the happiness that Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid has caused. Although we missed out on the title, we’ve still come really far and achieved so much in this journey and I believe that this town and the people in it will only continue to excel.”

The release marks the end of a successful year for the young musician after she reached the final six of Salute Music UK’s Top 100 competition in October.

Lisa’s original song “I Do” was selected by a panel of music industry judges to be one of 100 songs from over 2000 entries in the competition.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Convenor of the Leadership Board, Councillor Iain Nicholson said: “Lisa’s video really captures the pride of Paisley and the positive journey around the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid – and it’s great to see another fantastic project benefiting from Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

“The CHE Fund has already supported amazing talent in the area, such as filmmaker Morgan Spence’s spectacular Lego animation about Paisley, a collaboration between local group right2dance and the internationally renowned Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company and much more.

“This funding is an important part of the legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and will continue to shine a spotlight on local talent across Renfrewshire.”

Applications for the next round of Renfrewshire’s CHE Fund should be submitted by February 12th 2018.

You can watch Lisa Kowalski’s video for “Hearts of Gold” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F19NLO8NsPs&feature=youtu.be

The legacy of Paisley’s 2021 bid for UK City of Culture continues with public applications invited from community projects for funding from Renfrewshire Council’s flagship cultural grants programme.

The Culture, Heritage and Events (CHE) Fund is available for organisations looking to stage a cultural event.

One of the key legacies of the town’s bid, it has so far supported 80 projects to the tune of more than £630,000.

Paisley was the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition alongside Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea and Coventry, which took the title.

The CHE fund aims to raise cultural ambition, enhance participation and unlock creative potential in Renfrewshire.

Application deadlines have just been approved by Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board for the next four rounds of funding.

New applications for 2018/19 will be considered at three levels, from £1,000 and under, from £1,000 to £10,000 and over £10,000.

The first round should be submitted by February 12th 2018, with a decision by 24 April.

A further three rounds will follow, on May 10th, October 10th and December 10th.

The initial fund amount of £500,000 was doubled to £1 million in February this year, with the first five rounds of funding attracting a total of 242 applications from businesses, communities and cultural organisations across Renfrewshire and Scotland.

There have been total funding requests of around £3 million.

Voluntary or community organisations, schools, colleges and universities, independent artists and makers, artist’s collectives, cultural organisations and networks and business, including creative industries, can all apply.

Projects to have received funding so far include teenage animator  Morgan Spence’s Lego video about Paisley and a collaboration between local group Right2Dance and the internationally renowned  Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company .

The projects should contribute to regeneration and can show imaginative use of the townscape or buildings and enhance the annual cultural calendar.

Strengthening cultural capacity –and showcasing the talent of Renfrewshire are among the other objectives.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Convenor of the Leadership Board, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “The UK City of Culture contest may have come to a close but the CHE Fund continues as one of the key legacies of Paisley’s bid.

“Renfrewshire has a great creative scene and the 2021 bid shone a spotlight on that and let people see what was out there, and the CHE Fund will keep allowing that to happen.”

The fund can support a range of activities, such as training and cultural learning opportunities, new and one-off events or enhancements to existing festivals and bodies of work.

For more information on the CHE Fund, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk.

New figures show visitors to Renfrewshire rose by 25% in 2016 – with the news hailed as proof Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid boosted the town.

Paisley missed out on the cultural title last week after a two-year campaign – but the stats, contained within a new masterplan aimed at turning the area into one of Scotland’s key tourist destinations – show the positive impact the bid had.

The sharp rise – with 1.7m visitors last year – means Renfrewshire increased its visitors at a faster rate than other areas with the Glasgow region.

The new Renfrewshire Visitor Plan aims to build on that, setting a series of actions aimed at bringing an extra 590,000 day visitors to Renfrewshire by 2020.

The report – rubber-stamped by members of Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board – includes the following key achievements:

– a new destination brand and website will be launched in early 2018, having been developed in consultation with local people and leaders across Renfrewshire;

– Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 campaign took awareness of what the area has to offer to new levels – with a media reach of 277 million people, including visits by foreign journalists;

– more than 1.1m people attended events or festivals in Renfrewshire over the past five years, with numbers growing by 25% and 23% in 2016 and 2017. This year saw a third of attendees from outwith Renfrewshire, a 93% satisfaction rate, and £1.3m pumped into the local economy;

– new partnerships have been developed with regional and national agencies and detailed work has taken place to better understand the area’s target market;

And key actions listed to help take the area’s visitor economy forward over the next three years include:

– expanding the area’s events programme, with Renfrewshire already due to host the British Pipe Band Championships each year until 2021, and the Royal National Mod in 2021 or 2022, growing existing events such as the Halloween festival and The Spree, and bidding for new events;

– targeting Renfrewshire’s unique cultural and heritage assets to potential visitors, and working with partners to make sure Renfrewshire’s offer is included in national campaigns;

– supporting a growth in new accommodation, working with transport agencies to make it easier to get here and get around, and working with partners to share data, knowledge and training;

Councillor Iain Nicolson, chair of Renfrewshire Council Leadership Board said: “Our disappointment at missing out on the UK City of Culture 2021 title was eased by the knowledge the area is in a stronger position for having bid.

“The new Renfrewshire Visitor Plan shows work to build a new visitor economy is already well under way and gives a clear plan for how the public and private sectors can work together to build on that.

“There’s no question Paisley and Renfrewshire have had their challenges in recent years – but we can address that by promoting the things that set us apart to bring new footfall into our town centres.

“The Paisley 2021 bid was part of a wider plan to do that – the area’s profile has perhaps never been better or higher and awareness of our unique cultural and heritage assets has moved to new levels.

“The area was once the centre of a global industry and the legacy of that is still around us in our buildings and museum collections – while the outlying areas of Renfrewshire offer a wide range of historical gems and great outdoor days out.

“For Renfrewshire to have already recorded a 25% increase in both visitors and event attendees in 2016 shows the extent to which the bid has already delivered results.

“That work was always going to continue regardless of the outcome of the 2021 bid – we now have a great platform on which to build.”

Paisley’s work has also been endorsed the head of Scotland’s tourism authority, with Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland adding: “While it is disappointing Paisley has not been named the 2021 UK City of Culture there is still much to be positive about.

“The bid has transformed Paisley’s reputation, and now Scotland, the UK and the world are all becoming more aware of its fantastic cultural offering.

“2017 saw the town host world-class events like The Spree and Weave Festival, while we can look forward to The Royal National Mòd and the British Pipe Band Championships next year.

“I’d like to say a massive well done to everyone involved for their hard work and dedication to showcase the town’s wonderful cultural offering.

“This is just the beginning of Paisley’s transformation and I look forward to the town’s continued development and all the wonderful events and activities that will come with it.”

Nicola Sturgeon has said she believes Paisley’s UK City of Cuture  bid will lead to ’ lasting benefit’ for the town.

Paisley Abbey and Town Hall Lit in anticipation of the City of Culture 2021 result. 7.12.17

The First Minister has led an outpouring of good wishes for the town with the close of the competition.

Paisley was the sole Scottish place on the shortlist which included Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea and Coventry, who took the title, announced live on BBC’s The One Show in front of a live TV audience of millions.

The contest saw Paisley involve 34,000 residents in the bid across a two year journey to change the town’s future for the better using the town’s unique culture and heritage story.
The First Minister said: “Everyone involved in the Paisley bid, from bid director Jean Cameron to the many people who have been involved
formally and informally over the last two years, can be rightly proud of their efforts.
“To gather the support of businesses, cultural and community groups, and secure the involvement of more than 30,000 people is a tremendous achievement.
“Although they will naturally be disappointed at the result, I believe the bid will lead to lasting benefits for Paisley, in terms of its profile and cultural life, and that is what we should focus on today.”
Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson also sent her best wishes to the town and praised the bid.
She said: “Everyone involved should feel a great deal of pride in the way they put forward such a positive case. It show Paisley is a place on the up.”
She added that the bid means the town will continue to be a ‘magnet for jobs and investment.
A wealth of other political and community voices also sent supportive message to the town.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop  tweeted: “Paisley2021 and all Buddies have made us all proud of
Paisley- you have unleashed a cultural and  creative energy which will propel you on.”
Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell said: “Massive commiserations to Paisley 2021 but you’ve achieved so much during the bid and it will be a springboard for the future. You are a credit to Scotland.”
The University of Glasgow added its voice on social media to tweet: “So disappointed for neighbours Paisley 2021 missing out on being named UK City of Culture2021 – congratulations to Coventry 2021.”
Artist Matt Baker said: “Thank you Paisley 2021 you have held a mirror up to all that is brilliant about Scottish culture and utterly redefined the way the country now sees you.”
Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard tweeted: “Huge commiserations to all the Buddies and the Paisley 2021 team who worked so hard to be crowned City of Culture 2021.
“The passion and inspiration shown by all involved has been fantastic and you should all be proud.”
The Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Ros Kerslake, said: “There has been an incredible level of support and passion from across communities – a testament to how special the town is and how excited people are for its future.
“Heritage is of course a key part of what makes Paisley unique and we look forward to continuing to invest money raised by National Lottery players into projects across the town.”
Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The outcome is of course disappointing but we are still in a great position compared to where we were two years ago. Our public and private sector partnerships are far stronger and there’s so much goodwill and momentum created by the bidding process.  This is a great opportunity to capitalise on that enthusiasm and renewed confidence for the good of the visitor economy and tourism, as well as the town centre economy.
“The key thing is to maximise that opportunity and take advantage of where we’re at now through the bidding process.”
Sharon McAulay from the Paisley-based STAR Project said: “What an amazing journey we’ve had! Yes we’re gutted we didn’t win but we’re also proud of what we’ve achieved over the past two years. Paisley’s journey is far from over. We’ll continue to be brilliant, creative, and full of potential and our plans to transform our town will also continue. Paisley has great things ahead and my belief in what we can achieve together remains steadfast and true. “

Responding to news that Paisley has been unsuccessful in our bid to be crowned UK City of Culture 2021, Labour MSP Neil Bibby said:

 

“The announcement is obviously bitterly disappointing for Paisley, and in particular for all the Bid team staff and community groups who put their hearts and souls into the Paisley 2021 project.

“While the final result might hurt, we should hold our heads up high and be very proud with how far our town made it in this contest. And every Paisley buddy can share that pride.

“I would like to congratulate Coventry on winning the award. Being a UK wide contest meant we were up against very strong competition from across Britain and getting to final five shortlist is still a huge achievement that we should not lose sight of.

“Despite just missing out, Paisley is still a winner. The Paisley 2021 bid has helped put our town back on the map once again. Paisley Buddies and organisations have also made many friends and links with other towns and cities across the UK.

“I believe we owe all those who have shaped the bid and helped take us this far a huge amount of thanks. At this time, it is important to recognise that there wouldn’t have been a bid at all without the vision and leadership of former Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, Bid Director Jean Cameron and all the Paisley 2021 staff and volunteers. It has also been fantastic to see thousands of Buddies get behind the bid over the past two years.

“It is now vital moving forward that we utilise the momentum and buzz the project has helped create. I hope and anticipate that Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government will still progress the ambitious plans that were part of the bid irrespective of the result. I look forward to working with them and local people to leave a lasting legacy from Paisley’s bid.”

Renfrewshire Council Labour Group Leader, Councillor Eddie Devine added:

“Despite this disappointing result, there are still a huge number of positives we can take from the Paisley 2021 bid. Our efforts to be crowned UK City of Culture 2021 not only united the whole of Paisley, but secured support up and down the country.

“Paisley was up against some fierce competition, but without the shared effort, and shared vision for our town, we would not have come as far as we have.

“It’s vital that we don’t accept this as the end of Paisley’s cultural journey, but merely the beginning. We can continue to celebrate our industrial heritage, our stunning architecture, and our talented Paisley buddies with pride, while also striving for the transformative change that our town needs.”