The next phase of the economic regeneration of Galashiels has received a huge boost as South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) confirm £300,000 worth of funding.
The region’s economic and community development agency have pledged to award Energise Galashiels Trust with the grant this year, while Scottish Borders Council has also committed to provide additional funding to support the Trust’s upcoming Vibrant Gala plan.
The SOSE funding will support a series of activities including the creation of two new posts, being advertised this week, and the development of a Tapestry Way through the town, to complement the opening of the much-anticipated Great Tapestry of Scotland – the £7million visitor attraction due to open in the town later in 2021.
Experts predict that the Great Tapestry of Scotland, which is within walking distance of the Borders Railway, will attract over 50,000 visitors to Galashiels each year once opened, as well as creating 16 FTE jobs. Nearly £900,000 of extra spending per year is predicted for the local economy, yielding 12,000 extra visits to complementary attractions in the area, supporting a further 17 FTE jobs.
SOSE’s substantial funding commitment and the support from SBC will assist Energise Galashiels Trust in implementing its three-year strategy to improve the appearance and vibrancy of Galashiels town centre and capitalise upon the increasingly attractive visitor offering the Great Tapestry of Scotland and Borders Railway will provide for the town.
The strategy will focus on fostering a more enterprising approach in the local community and will seek to encourage, progress and develop ambitious local projects which are underpinned by sustainable revenue. This connects into the wider regeneration of Galashiels, and opportunities through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal’s Place programme.
One of the key activities is the recruitment of two new roles – Vibrant Gala Project Management Support and Community Projects and Events Support – with applications now welcome via https://www.energisegalashiels.co.uk/vacancies/
Although each role is different in scope and responsibility, both roles require an experienced, creative and commercially focused person to help the Trust deliver its ambitious Vibrant Gala Plan.
The Trust also plans to develop further a Tapestry Way proposal, which is intended to improve the visual impact of Douglas Bridge and Channel Street – the main walkway from the Borders Railway to the Tapestry centre.
The funding will also enable visual community-led improvements including murals, sculptures, banners and an art trail as well as assisting the marketing and digital offering of the town.
This initiative aims to expand the scope and delivery of the Gala – Heartland of the Borders campaign, as well as other initiatives which will help to put the town and its businesses on the digital map.
This includes further development of the website, a shop local campaign and potentially a customer loyalty card, as well as providing digital training for small business owners.
SOSE Chair, Professor Russel Griggs OBE, said:
“The Great Tapestry of Scotland will be a catalyst for the successful regeneration of Galashiels, and will bring a wide variety of educational, economic and community benefits to the town and beyond.
“SOSE is therefore delighted to be working with Energise Galashiels Trust and Scottish Borders Council to help the town capitalise on the new visitor attraction.
“SOSE’s funding will support the Trust’s wider aspirations too, which will prove to be invaluable not only to the economic regeneration of Galashiels, but also to the town’s recovery after the pandemic.”
Councillor Mark Rowley, SBC’s Executive Member for Economic Regeneration and Finance, said:
“The Council has worked alongside Energise Galashiels Trust, Galashiels Community Council, SOSE and other local groups for some time around the regeneration of Galashiels town centre, and the quality of the projects and proposals that have been developed has been tremendous.
“The Great Tapestry of Scotland is a huge investment in Galashiels, and having seen the quality of the attraction, I’m certain it will be a major draw and significant asset for both Galashiels and the wider region.
“It is important that we continue to drive regeneration forward so I’m delighted we are able, alongside our partners at SOSE, to continue to support Energise Galashiels Trust’s ambition plans.
“These will deliver a range of benefits to the community, to local businesses and for visitors to the town and alongside the opening of the newest visitor attraction in the south of Scotland will provide a real catalyst for positive change in the town.”
Mike Gray, Chair of Energise Galashiels Trust added:
“We are delighted that SOSE and SBC are continuing their support for the range of regeneration initiatives that Energise Galashiels Trust plans to deliver in future years.
“In recent weeks we have begun to see the positive results of projects that we have been working on over the last year including murals in Channel Street, funding support for the Floral Gala initiative led by the Community Council and investment in our Galashiels Heartland of the Borders website.
“This new support will allow our volunteers to do even more and continue our efforts to make a difference and contribute to creating a Vibrant Galashiels.”