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£100k boost for creative groups as part of Paisley 2021 legacy

Renfrewshire's cultural scene is in line for a £100k cash boost - including a two-day music festival and films about Paisley's history of radical politics.

Councillors will this week be asked to approve the latest round of grants from the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund - created to support Paisley's bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and which has continued as part of a wider plan to use culture and heritage to transform the area's future.

The fund aims to create more chances for people to get involved in cultural activity, help young people develop, boost the local economy, raise Renfrewshire's profile, and show how creativity can boost education, social inclusion and quality of life.

The current round of funding is the seventh - and 12 projects have been recommended for approval with a suggested spend of £100,240, from a total funding ask of £172,736. Highlights include:
- £19,500 to InMotion Theatre Co to work with women's groups and the wider community of Ferguslie Park to develop a play tackling negative images of the area;
- £8,750 for the Scottish Alternative Music Awards Takeover 2019 - a two-day music festival at various local venues featuring contemporary and up-and-coming artists;
- £8,300 to Magic Torch Comics to tell the story of the 1820 Radical War - when Paisley was at the centre of a nationwide workers rebellion - through a graphic novel and community workshops; 
- £9,950 to artist Lil Brookes for a historical project called The Matron, The Parish and the Pauper Girls, to rediscover the forgotten stories of the female inmates of the Abbey Poorhouse;

Other projects include a specially-commissioned performance of Puccini's La Boheme by Paisley Opera, a film about the forgotten Paisley to Barrhead railway, and a biography of Paisley-born trade unionist and Communist MP Willie Gallacher

Since 2016, the CHE Fund has supported 88 projects, with a total of £715,000 spent - and the fund was topped up earlier this year with the aim of running until 2021.

Successful completed projects to date include teenage animator Morgan Spence's Lego stop-motion animation about Paisley - now seen by millions - and local dance group Right2Dance bringing Sir Matthew Bourne's Re:Bourne company here for a week-long residency.

The CHE fund is part of a wider cultural regeneration plan for Paisley which also includes a £100m investment in town centre venues, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town's unique heritage and collections.

The next few years will also see new events and festivals added to the area's existing major events programme, investment to grow the creative economy, and work to embed the benefits of culture at the heart of the area's anti-poverty, education, health and well-being work.

The council's Leadership Board will vote on whether to approve the latest round of grants when they meet on Wednesday.

Councillor Iain Nicolson - chair of the Leadership Board - said: "The CHE Fund is a key part of the area's 2021 bid legacy plan and central to the work we are doing to harness the power of culture to change the area - and people's lives - for the better.

"We know involvement in culture has a positive impact of education, health and well-being, and over the past two years the CHE Fund has given thousands of local people the chance to do things they couldn't otherwise have done.

"The latest round of recommended grants will build on that - while shining a spotlight on some of the area's fascinating untold stories, further raising our profile as a destination, and encouraging people to visit."

For more information on what's happening in Paisley, visit www.paisley.is