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Fountain Gardens

A project to build a labyrinth designed to improve wellbeing and mental health in a Paisley park has received support from Renfrewshire Council’s Community Empowerment Fund.

The STAR Project has been awarded £20,000 from the fund to build the labyrinth in Fountains Gardens. A community asset transfer for the site is currently underway.

Fountain Gardens

It follows the group’s successful Labyrinth of Light project earlier this year, which highlighted the benefits walking labyrinths can have on mental health and wellbeing. The group will carry out a piece of research as part of the new labyrinth project which aims to provide further evidence that creativity can help reduce mental health symptoms.

The funding will allow building work on the labyrinth, which is being designed by artist Jim Buchanan, to begin.

The group hopes the new art installation, which is being created in partnership with Create Paisley, Recovery Across Mental Health (RAMH) and Engage Renfrewshire, will open to the public in the autumn.

Sharon McAuley, Project Manager at The STAR Project, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. For us, this project is about using creativity to improve wellbeing and involving the community in creating a beautiful piece of public art that will become an asset.

“We’ve never created anything this permanent or huge before. Walking the labyrinth will promote health and people being in green spaces, tap into our heritage and history, and improve community wellbeing.

“It will leave an ongoing legacy. I think people who take part in the labyrinth will feel better able to overcome their barriers and realise more of their potential, it will build resilience and wellbeing and increase the sense of pride and belonging in the community.”

The final labyrinth design will incorporate the Paisley Pattern and wildflowers as well as stones that have been painted and decorated by the local community.

A number of groups have already expressed an interest in using the labyrinth for activities and Sharon hopes it will also attract tourists to Paisley.

She added: “I think this project will be really exciting. The labyrinth will improve an area that’s not used hugely because of where it is in Fountain Gardens and will encourage visitors.

“There is a worldwide labyrinth locator and people do travel all over the world to visit them so I think it will bring in more visitors to Paisley.”

The £1.5million Community Empowerment Fund was set up in 2018 and provides grants to community groups that want to take over ownership and the running of a publicly owned building or piece of land in their local area through Community Asset Transfer. It is currently in its sixth round of funding, with applications to the seventh round of the fund closing on Tuesday 3 September 2019.

Councillor Marie McGurk, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing & Planning Policy Board, said: “This is a fantastic project that will have lasting benefits for the people of Renfrewshire.

“We launched this fund in 2018 because we wanted to work with community groups and empower them to transform their local areas. This project is a great example of what can be done when a group works with local people to find a creative approach to address an issue like mental health which is becoming more prevalent in today’s society.”

STAR Project was not the only group to receive money in the latest round of the Community Empowerment Fund. Paisley Opera also received £6,700 to develop a business plan to create a community hub and rehearsal space in the East End of Paisley, while the 18th Paisley & District (Coats) Scout Group and Foxbar Community Garden & Environmental Projects Group were each awarded £10,000 to carry out feasibility studies into new community facilities in Foxbar.

To find out how to apply to the Community Empowerment Fund, visit http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/CommunityEmpowermentFund. If you want to find out more about the fund or you have an idea you would like to discuss before applying, contact Kellie Miller, Community Empowerment Lead, on 0141 618 3920.

For more information about mental health services in Renfrewshire, visit http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/article/2473/Mental-health.