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Scottish Conservative Leader backs Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021

Scottish Conservative Leader, Ruth Davidson MSP, visited Paisley on Friday to meet the town’s bid team for UK City of Culture 2021 and some of the young people engaging with cultural programmes in the area.

Scottish Conservative Leader backs Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021

Ruth Davidson, who has already voiced her support for the town’s bid, met with members of the Paisley 2021 team in the town’s iconic grade A-listed Russell Institute.

During her visit she also met with a group of young people participating in spoken word creative workshops which are being delivered as part of a collaboration between Create Paisley – a group which offers regular arts workshops, youth forums and mentoring in the town and the Roundhouse in London. The charity that works with over 3,000 young people every year providing access to and professional development within the arts through music, media and performing arts programmes.

The aim of the workshops is to work with a range of groups from 7-11 year olds and pensioners to women’s groups and youth clubs, to express their thoughts, feelings, concerns and wishes through spoken word. Ruth Davidson was treated to a sneak preview of work from young people who participated in the workshops; Lindsay Webster, Sophie Paterson and Sarah Van Rensburg, ahead of their performance at Blend Coffee Shop in Paisley later that evening.

Ruth Davidson, said: “Paisley already boasts a number of fantastic cultural assets and winning UK City of Culture would take that to the next level.

“I was enormously impressed by the bid team and the young people I met from Create Paisley and Roundhouse.

“We know from past experience that host cities stand to gain considerably from winning the title and it’s clear – with the final announcement now on the horizon – that Paisley is ready and raring to go.

“All of Scotland is behind the bid and I would be delighted to see Paisley named UK City of Culture for 2021.”

Paisley is bidding for the prestigious UK City of Culture 2021 title as part of a wider push to transform the town’s future using the power of its internationally-significant heritage and cultural story.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “It was great to welcome Ruth Davidson MSP to the town to give her more information on the latest plans for Paisley 2021.

 “Paisley’s bid has seen fantastic levels of support from across the political spectrum and it’s excellent to see this continue as we get closer to the UK City of Culture 2021 announcement.

“It was a particular highlight to be able to give her a preview of the great cultural collaborations that are taking place in the town with UK companies like Roundhouse which help demonstrate our creative ambitions in practice and show how we are using culture to help improve and transform futures.”

The Scottish Conservative Leader was also presented with a personalised ‘take away poem’ written by a Roundhouse poet.

Since Paisley made the shortlist in July, the bid has been publicly supported by political figures including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, and Deputy Speaker of the House, Eleanor Laing MP, as well as major agencies including Visit Scotland, Creative Scotland, Glasgow Life and Glasgow Airport.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport judges visited Paisley last month and a final decision on the winning bid is expected in December.