Groups in line to benefit from £83k culture fund boost

The latest set of groups hoping to benefit from a £1m fund aimed at boosting Paisley’s creative scene ahead of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid have been named.

Councillors will next week be asked to approve a £83,130 spend from Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, to allow 13 different cultural and charity groups to run various arts-related projects.

Groups in line to benefit from £83k culture fund boost

The CHE Fund was set up to help unlock Renfrewshire’s creative potential in the run-up to and during the Paisley 2021 bid, increase the number of people involved in cultural activity, and show the contribution culture can make to quality of life.

This will be the fourth round of funding since the CHE Fund was set up – and saw 35 applications and a total ask of more than £300,000 for the judges to sift through.

Projects recommended for approval include:

- £2,650 to fund a pop-up one-day African film festival in the town;

- £5,000 to host the launch of the 2017 Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival in Paisley this October, including an exclusive spoken-word event;

- £11,900 to St Matthew’s Church to run a competition to create and screen a series of silent movies as part of the above festival;

- £5,000 for Paisley Thread Mill Museum to run an outreach project and oral history programme to capture the memories of mill workers for future generations;

- £10,000 to Serious Events Ltd to fund a week-long residency in Paisley for musicians at which they will develop new work to be toured around the UK;

- £9,900 to Erskine Music and Media Studio – recent winners of the 2017 Young Scot Award for Enterprise – to produce an album of local unsigned bands.

There are also smaller grants to local groups for projects including creative writing workshops and traditional music lessons in the community.

The CHE Fund was created in early 2016, with the initial £500,000 investment doubled by Renfrewshire Council earlier this year.

Should the latest round of grants be rubber-stamped by members of the council’s Leadership Board when they meet on 20 June, it would mean a total of £469,961had been awarded to 65 projects so far.

Some of the projects supported to date include Paisley First’s gable-end art murals now appearing around the town, and teenage Kilbarchan animator Morgan Spence’s incredible Paisley 2021 Lego movie, seen by millions of people around the world.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board Iain Nicolson said: “We know Renfrewshire has a wealth of talent and creativity to call on – and this fund is aimed at helping create a platform for that, while also showing Renfrewshire’s ability to stage nationally-significant events.

“As with every CHE Fund round to date, the number of applications far exceeded the money available, and the judges had a tough job to whittle down some great applications and choose who would be funded.

“Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is part of a wider body of work to use the area’s outstanding culture and heritage to change its future.

“That includes economic benefits in terms of using our great heritage and events to bring people here and make Renfrewshire a key destination for tourism.

“But it also means huge community benefit by creating opportunities for people to get involved in things they may not normally have had the chance to do – and I am pleased to see projects on this list which offer that.”

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 was lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in April, and a decision over which places have made the shortlist is expected this summer.