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The latest stories from Inspiring Scotland and our partner charities.

£2 million investment in the creative arts continues to positively impact Scotland’s communities

£2 million investment in the creative arts continues to positively impact Scotland’s communities


The second year of the Scottish Government’s Creative Communities programme has now launched, seeing a total of £2 million invested in creative projects across Scotland. Since the programme began in 2020, it has supported 46 community-based charities working with communities where social or geographical circumstances make engaging with culture more challenging.

Film production workshops, a radio broadcast programme in prison communities and creative sessions for young people with profound learning disabilities are just some of the initiatives which have been supported  over the past year.

Culture Secretary Angus Robertson said:

“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in, develop and enjoy culture, and we know that doing so helps individuals and communities to thrive in Scotland.

“To help realise that vision, we have invested £2 million in Creative Communities to create accessible opportunities to get involved in culture and inspire community-led engagement across the country. I am delighted to see the programme entering its second year, and look forward to engaging with these projects.” 

As fund manager, Inspiring Scotland’s role is to support and guide the charities, helping them to grow and flourish by combining funding with targeted support.

Celia Tennant, CEO, Inspiring Scotland said: 

“Creative Communities continues to celebrate the power of culture and creativity in connecting and inspiring Scotland’s local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further essential funding from Scottish Government has enabled the programme to grow, offering yet more opportunities to provide a creative outlet in communities. The programme highlights the need for people and communities to connect together safely – in turn boosting wellbeing – through involvement in local cultural activity.

The communities selected to participate in this year’s programme extend across 18 local authority areas, and will support individuals and communities whose circumstances make engaging with culture more challenging including; women currently in prison, young people with profound learning disabilities and young people currently not in employment or education.”

Erica Judge, Performance Advisor for Creative Communities at Inspiring Scotland said:

“Creative Communities has supported people and communities to explore their creativity throughout the pandemic, bringing opportunities to engage with culture right across Scotland at a time when those opportunities were difficult to come by. This not only empowered communities to develop creative activities locally, to suit their needs and interests, but also provided new opportunities for people to engage and reduce feelings of isolation. Over 1,000 people were supported by The 37 charities we worked with in 2020.”

Three of the charities funded by Creative Communities detail below how working with Inspiring Scotland has helped them grow and develop their project, supporting the communities who need it most during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Glass Performance is an Award-winning theatre company and gives voices to unheard stories, told by everyday people. Their forthcoming programme “Women Talk” is aimed at female prisoners at HMYOI Polmont and will be broadcast throughout the prison.

Louise Allan, Company Manager, Glass Performance said:

“Support from Inspiring Scotland has allowed Glass Performance to expand our work with partners Barnardo’s and the Scottish Prison Service at this critical time and respond creatively to the needs of the community. Inspiring Scotland provided us with flexible one-to-one support for our funded project; training to support the development and growth of our organisation, and participation in a creative community that supports critical conversations and sharing of ideas.

This responsive and open approach has enabled us to deliver creative experiences for young men in HMP & YOI Polmont and develop a new project for women. The need for a creative project specifically for women was identified through our early evaluation, and support from Inspiring Scotland has allowed us to respond to this need. We are delighted to start a new project in the coming months that will support the creativity and wellbeing of women in this community”. 

GMAC Film is a Glasgow-based open access media centre that delivers a creative and artistic programme for all people, regardless of age, background or income to acquire the skills, knowledge, resources and confidence to realise their ambitions in the creative sector. Their Film Action! Project is an interactive programme for 16- to 25-year-olds at risk of offending or becoming not in education, employment or training.

Lisa Doherty, Youth Programme Manager, GMAC said: 

“Being part of the Creative Communities network has been an invaluable resource. With continued support, we were able to develop our idea into a solid and fundable project – which has just been awarded full project funding. We are extremely honoured and excited to be part of such an amazing and supportive funding network.”

Promoting a More Inclusive Society (PAMIS) supports people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. PAMIS is training three parent-carers in Angus to design, create and deliver multi-sensory stories to groups of pre-school and early years children with profound learning disabilities and complex needs.

Maureen Phillip, Inclusion Director, PAMIS said: 

“It was great knowing Inspiring Scotland were there when you needed them. They provide support that is flexible and friendly. It’s just great to have something like the Creative Communities programme, who you know will be there to share the achievements of the participants as they happen.”

Read the full list of successful charities.

A film detailing the amazing work communities have undertaken in the first year of the programme will premiere at the V&A Dundee on August 31.  The film, which features singing, dancing, painting and poetry from Skye to Glasgow to Dundee and beyond to highlight how powerful creative activity is in supporting people’s wellbeing, will be available on the creative communities website.

Connect and stay up to date with Creative Communities and Inspiring Scotland on Twitter @IScreativecomm and @InspiringSland


Inspiring Scotland is fund manager to the Creative Communities programme providing support to funded charities and working with the Scottish Government to achieve the ambition of the Culture Strategy for Scotland.

The programme was developed to deliver key aspects of the Culture Strategy for Scotland and is jointly funded by the Scottish Government through the Culture, Tourism and Major Events Directorate and the Justice Directorate.

The total investment in Creative Communities since launch in 2020 is £2.0m.  This includes £1.1m of funding in 2021, bringing the total number of organisations funded by the programme since launch to 46.

All projects have and will continue to comply with Scottish Government COVID-19 Guidelines.

Image credit: Resonate Together

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