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3.2.2 Assessing community assets from the digital cultural asset mapping data

Community assets are comprised of schools, libraries, youth drop-in centres, town halls and community centres, not all of which are local authority managed. These assets are the focus for formal and informal education, meeting points for clubs and societies and also social hubs. They are multi-functional and often used at multiple points of the day, not just operated under one body. This trend towards multi-functional community hubs is exhibited elsewhere within the UK, for example as detailed in the research of Delrieu and Gibson on Tyneside (2017a), BOP Consulting on Shetland (2015) and Miles and Ebrey in Aberdeenshire (2017). Reflecting on academic studies which reference my study area is particularly interesting within the context of this digital cultural asset map research output. Matthews (2012) discusses how one area of Paisley, which is seen to be of significant socio- economic disadvantage, has a large number of assets due to the implementation of economic- based regeneration schemes which had resulted in the construction of a new primary school and investment in community services. This interplay of socio-economic and cultural issues is a micro-illustration of the differences in focus between economic-led regeneration and culture-based regeneration; cultural planning does not ignore the economic issues but aims to recognise and use the resources which are present whilst placing cultural activity at the heart of actions. Although the data from the SIMD (Scottish Government, 2016) shows socio- economic deprivation, Ferguslie and its vicinity are certainly not without cultural assets, infact four notable nodes provide a variety of activities, the Tannahill Community Centre, Ferguslie Park Learning Centre, St Mirren Football Ground and St. Ninian’s Parish Church. Activities provided within these three venues are not only related to their main purpose, for

example the Tannahill Centre hosts a library and pre-fives centre, as well as retail facilities including post office, shops and pharmacy. It is also the location for Housing Association offices. The retail facilities and Housing Offices may not be seen as cultural assets, however they will also form part of community facilities. An insight into community views on these facilities is given by an academic critique of regeneration within Ferguslie, highlighting that some locals thought other areas were upset that Ferguslie has new facilities, implying they do not need them, or any further investment (Matthews, 2012).

St. Ninian’s Parish Church holds religious services, and has facilities for room hire where exercise classes, the YMCA and a music group meet. Churches in this area of Paisley have a mutual support framework (Network Paisley), encouraging community support for church life, which hints at a sense of wider community power, as seen in Liverpool where churches were organising events themselves to bring parishioners and different sections of the community together, if unable to gain “official” funding to do so (Bullen, 2010). Three broadcasting related assets are located in Ferguslie, Paisley Amateur Radio Club (which has training facilities and operates a portable mast on the nearby Gleniffer Braes), St Mirren TV and St Mirren BuddieVision. IT access facilities are also provided at the library and West College Scotland (WCS) Learning Centre, and Communication, adult literacy and learning courses are also available at the WCS centre.

The St Mirren ground is a venue for sports and leisure activities (as well as the regular team football matches there are community sports for children under the “Street Stuff” programme and public pitches for hire). The local primary schools in this area highlight strong community links within their websites, for example:

“Classes are involved in finding out about their local community and have links with the Falcon Day Centre and St. Mirren football Club. Children are also given various opportunities to be involved in enterprise projects which include fundraising for the school and various charities” (Glencoats Primary School, 2018).

These aspects of the day to day life of the schools (which are community assets on the digital cultural asset map) are largely hidden without further research, which is why using the interactive features of GIS to provide internet links to relevant assets helps develop a greater

picture of an area, and why cultural asset mapping data should be viewed as a starting point in understanding the picture of a cultural landscape.