Guest blog: Bridgewater are proud to be our 2021st engagement

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture is not just focused on Paisley Town Centre but also the surrounding areas in Renfrewshire.  Therefore we were thrilled to visit Bridgewater Housing Association in Erskine and officially announce them as a Paisley 2021 ambassador organisation.

Bridgewater is a social enterprise that provides housing services at an affordable price to people on low incomes. As a membership organisation, each member receives one share in the association which allows them to participate in the running of the organisation. 

Bridgewater Housing Association was our 2021st engagement since launching the bid process.  Therefore we took this opportunity to announce Ian Mclean, the Chief executive as our ‘Paisley 2021 king’. We spoke to him about what Paisley bidding to be UK City of Culture means for local organisations like Bridgewater.

 In what ways does Paisley bidding to be UK City of culture benefit your organisation?

Although we work in and our customers live in Erskine, you can’t help getting caught up in the Paisley 2021 bid for UK City of Culture.  Some people we have spoken to have said “no before time”.  Although Bridgewater Housing Association’s main aim is to provide, build and maintain good quality housing and that’s all about “bricks and mortar” actually we see our business is about people and making life easier for people, changing their lives for the better and helping where we can to make Erskine a nice place to live and bring up children.  The City of Culture Bid helps spark the imagination, taps into previously untapped skills of people living in Renfrewshire, accessing financial support for people and projects and reminding people of what a great place Renfrew, Paisley, Erskine and the other towns and villages is to live in.

Why do you think Paisley has what it takes to be UK City of Culture? (From your experience as an organisation)

Big business usually says that their biggest asset is their people.  The Paisley bid’s biggest asset is also the people who live and work in Renfrew and who are supporting the bid.  From celebrities who have grown up in Renfrew to committed community activists and Third Sector and Charity Board Members to members of the public.  Everyone has something to contribute and everyone who can is doing their bit.  On top of that, Renfrew and Paisley in particular has a rich cultural, musical, architectural and social heritage which isn’t matched by any of the other bids and which should put it in pole position.  Erskine too has a rich past and we hope to capitalise on this during 2017.

How do you plan to use your new role as a Paisley 2021 Ambassador organisation?

Bridgewater is very proud to have been chosen to be a 2021 Ambassador organisation.  We hope to promote and support the bid in every way that we can both in small ways, like making sure that everyone who communicates with us knows about the bid and that we are supporting it, to joining in, in the bigger events organised by the Council and others and playing our bit to boost the bid.  You can see a not altogether flattering image of the Association’s Chief Executive and Chair in the 2021 photo booth.  The booth is in the Associations Reception and we would encourage people to take the opportunity to get their own photo taken so that we can publish them in our next newsletter

For more information on all of the great things Bridgewater Housing Association click here.