Our ambition to transform Paisley and Renfrewshire continues - NOT SHORLISTED

The UK Government announced today the places shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition and while Paisley has just missed out on making it to the final stage of the competition, our ambitions to transform the fortunes of Paisley and Renfrewshire will continue and there are many reasons to feel positive.

I would like to congratulate the places which made the shortlist and wish them all the very best for next stage of the competition.

I would also like to thank people in Paisley, from across Renfrewshire and from further afield, for their incredible contribution.

We’re positive about Paisley’s future - the bid was only ever one part of a wider vision to transform the area’s fortunes using heritage and culture.

Our vision of a new town centre economy based around heritage and culture has already seen progress – through investment in venues and cultural infrastructure, and reinventing our internationally-significant textile heritage for the 21st century – demonstrating our ambitions are already becoming reality.

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 – we have taken awareness of our internationally-significant story to a new level and changed how people perceive the town.

Across Renfrewshire we had unprecedented engagement, with more than 30,000 people joining in the conversation around it.

Culture is powerful and we have seen first-hand how culture can be harnessed to change people’s lives for the better and drive regeneration.

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 that work will continue.

We know other cities who have been unsuccessful in the UK City of Culture competition have continued to transform their fortunes using creative industry – Dundee being a good example – and Paisley will learn from that.

Bidding has been incredibly positive for Paisley, taking awareness of why Paisley matters to Scotland, the UK and the world to new levels – with international media coverage and more than 100 million opportunities to see or hear something positive about the town.

That creates a bigger stage than we’ve ever had to use our unique story to turn Paisley into a thriving visitor destination, and attract investment we couldn’t have accessed before.