Everyone should be very proud that Paisley has been shortlisted!

Everyone in Paisley should be very proud today as news that the town has been shortlisted in the UK City of Culture competition for 2021 was announced.

For the judges to shortlist Paisley is a major endorsement of our ambition to transform perceptions of the town and the fortunes of the whole area.

Everyone should be very proud that Paisley has been shortlisted!

I know people in Paisley and Renfrewshire will be absolutely thrilled at this news – we want to thank every one of them as they are the ones whose incredible contribution made it happen.

They turned the bid into a mass movement, with more than 30,000 people joining the conversation, and showed the judges how much Paisley wants this title.

A huge number of people worked so hard to get us to this stage and I want to thank each and every one of them – our residents, our partners and our incredibly talented creative community.

What they have achieved for Paisley has been incredibly positive – it has taken awareness of our internationally-significant story to a new level and changed how people perceive the town.

We have also found a new sense of self-confidence and discovered for ourselves how culture can be harnessed to change people’s lives for the better.

The town’s local cultural scene has been boosted through our £1 million Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, which has created links with some of Scotland’s best creative talent and has built a solid foundation for our 2021 year.

The initial bid is a shared vision of a wide-range of local groups – our cultural and community organisations, businesses and the Council, all working together to change the area’s future.

Over the next few months, we will build on that as we look to further convince the judges that Paisley wants and needs the title and will deliver a year of world-class culture.

Winning the UK City of Culture 2021 title would be a major boost to that wider ambition – aside from hosting some of the world’s best performers and bringing more than a million people to Paisley in 2021, it would over the long term create thousands of new jobs, and allow us to attract massive investment and build a new town centre economy with tourism and creativity at its heart.

We wish the best of luck to the other places that join us on the shortlist, and send our best wishes to the places that didn’t make it through.