A marvellous mural trail credited with injecting colour and pride into Paisley has seen the community crowned for its creativity.
The work led by Paisley First Business Improvement District has taken the Creative Town prize at the Scotland Loves Local Awards.
It was announced during an online celebration broadcast hosted by STV’s Paisley-raised weatherman Sean Batty and filmed in Kilbarchan.
Judges heard how the Paisley First Mural Trail – created using local artists – had boosted the look and feel of the town, with one creation involving a competition to find a local child to feature. Another was supported by the NHS to raise awareness about mental health.
Interviewed as part of the celebration, Natalie McShane, of Paisley First Business Improvement District, said: “Paisley has always been rich in culture with lots of talented Buddies in the music and art worlds.
“The murals help people around the town centre to re-engage with their history and take pride in their heritage.
“They encourage young people to engage with their heritage and be curious not just about Paisley’s past, but engage more with Paisley’s present and hopefully inspire them for Paisley’s future.
“There are more listed buildings in Paisley than anywhere else in Scotland outside of Edinburgh. It’s great to be able to pay tribute to these wonderful buildings. There are some real hidden gems in Paisley town centre.”
The Creative Town Award was sponsored by Creative Scotland.
Renfrewshire Council, meanwhile, was runner-up in the Town Centre Living category, sponsored by ThreeSixty Architecture.
Judges heard that, through its Vision for Paisley, the council has made town centre living a vital part of regeneration, bringing together housing, business and leisure groups, with The Abbey Quarter development central to this.
Organised by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), the Scotland Loves Local Awards recognised and rewarded remarkable work taking place to transform communities and make them better places to live.
They also highlight the vital need for people to think, choose and spend local to help businesses in their community survive the impact of Covid-19.
The online awards celebration was filmed on location in Kilbarchan, with staff and customers of local cafe Bobbins featuring, as well as Kilbarchan Performing Arts Centre.
Sean Batty said: “What an honour it has been to host the inaugural Scotland Loves Local awards and celebrate some truly inspirational local heroes. Congratulations to all those shortlisted and our fantastic winners, who each make Scotland a brilliant place to live and work in and are true assets to their communities.”
Professor Leigh Sparks, Chair of STP, added: “You cannot fail but to be both humbled and energised by the fantastic work that all of our nominees are doing to create a fairer, stronger, more sustainable future where local life is the heartbeat of Scotland.
“They go above and beyond, day in, day out to help create communities which we will all be the better for and deserve this rich recognition. My congratulations go to all of our finalists.”
For more information about the awards and the wider Scotland Loves Local campaign, go to www.lovelocal.scot and follow #ScotlandLovesLocal on social media.
Photo: Sean Batty, SLL Awards