Paisley makes the shortlist for UK City of Culture alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea Paisley makes the shortlist for UK City of Culture alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea
Paisley has been shortlisted in the next stage for the title of UK City of Culture 2021 and is the only Scottish town or... Paisley makes the shortlist for UK City of Culture alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea

Paisley has been shortlisted in the next stage for the title of UK City of Culture 2021 and is the only Scottish town or city in Scotland to make the shortlist.

Renfrewshire News would like to say a massive well done to everyone behind the bid, keep up the good work, half way there!

We will face Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea, it started off with 11 towns and cities bidding for the title but tonight it was whittled down to five.

The other Scottish contender, Perth was unsuccessful and didn’t make the shortlist.

The winner will be announced in December.

Initial bids were lodged in April – the five selected are due to submit more detailed second-stage bids by the end of September, with the winner announced at the end of the year.

Paisley is bidding for the title as part of a wider push to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural story as the home of the globally-recognised Paisley Pattern to transform its future.

It is estimated Paisley’s 2021 year could bring a £172m economic boost and create the equivalent of 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period.

Current UK City of Culture hosts Hull has seen £1 billion of investment since winning the title in 2013, with the city attracting 1.4m visitors in just the first three months of its year in the spotlight.

And the shortlist news has been hailed by the team behind Paisley’s bid as a massive thumbs-up for the town and its ambitions.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson – chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board – said: “For the judges to have shortlisted us is a major endorsement of our ambitions for Paisley and Renfrewshire – and we are in it to win it.

“I know local people will be absolutely thrilled at this news – we want to thank every one of them as they are the ones whose incredible contribution made it happen.

“They turned the bid into a mass movement, with more than 30,000 people joining the conversation – a number equivalent to almost half the town’s population.

“Winning the UK City of Culture 2021 title would be a major boost to our wider plans.

“Aside from hosting some of the world’s best performers and bringing more than a million people to Paisley in 2021, it would over the long term create thousands of new jobs, and allow us to attract massive investment and build a new town centre economy with tourism and creativity at its heart.

“We wish the best of luck to the other places which join us on the shortlist, and send our best wishes to those which didn’t make it through.”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “This is a wonderful piece of news. A huge number of people worked so hard to get us to this stage and we want to thank every one of them…from Paisley Buddies to our friends across Scotland, the UK and further afield.

“There’s never been a Scottish winner and we would be thrilled to be the first – we are now Scotland’s bid and would love to see the whole country get behind us.

Jean Cameron and Gavin Brogan of Diageo with speical Paisley 2021 bottles

“The work to date has already been really positive for Paisley – it taken awareness of our internationally-significant story to a new level and changed perceptions of the town.

“It has also brought a new sense of self-confidence to residents and shown them how the power of culture can be harnessed to change people’s lives for the better.

“Our £1m Culture, Heritage and Events Fund has boosted our local cultural scene and linked local groups with some of Scotland’s best creative talent – building a foundation for our 2021 year.

“The initial bid was the product of a wide range of local groups – community and cultural organisations, schools and young people, businesses and the council – all working together on a shared vision to change the area’s future.

“Paisley will build on that over the next few months as we look to further convince the judges that the town wants the title, needs the title, and will deliver a year of world-class culture in 2021.”

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed the news, he said: “I am delighted to hear that Paisley has been short-listed for UK City of Culture in 2021 and I would like to thank the judges and DCMS, not only for recognising the cultural contribution that Paisley has made and continues to make, but for agreeing with us that Paisley’s potential is enormous.

“This has become a real grassroots campaign since the bid launched in November 2015, with support for Paisley growing each and every day as evidenced by over 30,000 people joining the campaign. I am thrilled we are through to the second stage and I am asking everyone to get behind Paisley’s bid and bring the UK City of Culture title to Scotland in 2021 – believe in Paisley, believe in yourselves.”

Gavin Newlands backs Paisley 2021 bid

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has congratulated Paisley on being shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2021.

Mr Mackay said: “This is wonderful news not just for Paisley, but for the whole of Renfrewshire.

“The bid so far has captured the imagination of local people– and indeed across the country eyes are on Paisley and Renfrewshire. It’s been a fantastic, positive, energised campaign which is all about people, and great credit must go to everyone involved, particularly bid director Jean Cameron.

“Paisley deserved to be shortlisted. Now to win!”

Mhairi Black, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South tweeted: “Brilliant news! Well done to everyone at @Paisley2021 for all their hard work. Let’s all get behind them! Well deserved.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of West of Scotland said: “”I’m delighted to add my congratulations from University of the West of Scotland on the announcement of Paisley as one of the 5 finalists shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2021.

“UWS has been heavily involved in supporting the bid and UWS colleagues and students have contributed to a diverse range of innovative projects and initiatives to help drive the bid. We look forward to the next stage in the process and wish the Paisley 2021 team every success!”

The UK government’s department for digital, culture, media and sport will announce the winner at the end of the year.

Paolo Nutini backs Paisley 2021 bid

Paisley 2021 banner on Paisley High Street

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board Iain Nicolson, Paisley 2021 project director Jean Cameron and young people from PACE Theatre Company celebrate the news of Paisleys shortlisting for UK City of Culture 2021