22 May 2024
  • 22 May 2024

Future Paisley: creating culture for change

on 9 April 2024 0

At a time of exciting transition for the region, Future Paisley are positioning themselves at the forefront of innovation and growth

You might not have heard of Future Paisley, but it’s likely you’ve come across an event, community project or service that’s been supported by it.

The partnership programme, led by Renfrewshire Council, has touched people’s lives throughout Renfrewshire in a myriad of ways from health and social care to education and events. At its core, Future Paisley looks to use culture and creativity to help make positive social and economic changes and improve people’s lives through access to culture and the arts.

One of its key purposes is to build up and empower local cultural organisations and groups, who are best placed to know what their communities need, by opening access to funding opportunities. 

Since 2016, Renfrewshire’s creative sector has benefitted from more than £2.5million of investment from cultural funds like The Culture Heritage and Events Fund (CHEF) and Cultural Organisations Development Fund (CODF). 

Future Paisley

Sculpture House community event

This has resulted in 200 artists and organisations delivering 362 projects and cultural activities in Renfrewshire, including PACE’S Enchanted Forest, ReMode’s Whether the Weather sustainable upcycling fashion workshops and Paisley Opera’s smash hit MacBeth production among others. 

Over time, Future Paisley has also supported community engagement activity as part of Renfrewshire’s major events programme. Last year’s Paisley Halloween Festival received funding to deliver community group workshops with PACE Theatre Group. The young performers delivered a haunting live performance as part of the Halloween trail zone, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven.

Future Paisley

Castlehead/Glasgow School of Art Creativity Week 2023

It also funds OneRen’s Paisley Book Festival schools’ engagement programme, which has delivered a series of author visits to more than 1,700 primary, secondary and ASN school pupils in Renfrewshire to promote reading and creative writing. 

Speaking on the pivotal role it plays within the infrastructure, lead Cultural Officer for Future Paisley at Renfrewshire Council, Katie Nicoll, declared that “Future Paisley takes a holistic approach to building the cultural and creative sector in Renfrewshire.”

Future Paisley

PACE Halloween rehearsals

“When it comes to embedding arts and culture in council services and the local community, a key part of the successful delivery of the programme has, and continues to be, the importance of partnership working, which has delivered significant positive impacts on the community and Renfrewshire’s cultural landscape.”

The creation of Scotland’s first ‘School of Creativity’ through Castlehead High School’s partnership with Glasgow School of Art has significantly impacted attainment with 100% of students taking Art and Design courses at a National 5 or Higher level receiving a passing mark. It also resulted in the development of five new courses and a record enrolment in Art and Design. 

Paisley Opera performing Macbeth at Paisley Town Hall October 2023

The trio of artists behind The Sculpture House Collective in Ferguslie Park, which aims to widen access to the arts, reached around 2,000 people in its first year, including children, young people, young carers, people with disabilities and individuals struggling with long-term ill health. 

Embedding culture into council services and creating models for best practice is another focus of the programme. Future Paisley supported the recruitment of a team member within Renfrewshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership, dedicated to working as a link between the third sector and arts organisations to help address conditions like anxiety, addiction and isolation through cultural activities such as creative writing, graffiti art and sewing.

To date, Future Paisley has created 250,000 opportunities for people in Renfrewshire to attend cultural events or participate in creative workshops.

For more information on the Future Paisley initiative, please visit the website.

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