Monday, 18 July 2016

Client News: Scotland's Towns Series with the Sunday Herald

Brightstar Scotland Client, Scotland's Towns Partnership are working in partnership with the Herald Scotland to showcase Scotland's towns via a second series of pull outs in the Sunday Herald.

Last weekend the series focused on Business Improvement Districts, Development Trusts and Community Ownership...

Friday, 17 June 2016

Brightstar Scotland delighted to have supported World Towns Leadership Summit and World Towns Agreement

Barrhead singled out as example of how to revitalise a community
Brian Donnelly, Senior News Reporter, Herald Scotland

Barrhead has been flagged up as a prime example of how to revitalise a community following its £100 million regeneration.

The East Renfrewshire town's long-term strategy rejuvenated and transformed the previously run down town centre.

It is now well-served with amenities, such as a new library and swimming pool complex, plus other services and improved retail opportunities making it a better place to live and do business, the first World Towns Leadership Summit in Edinburgh has heard.

Communities around Scotland are to be urged to get together to access millions of pounds of government cash to help spruce up high streets and cities and towns up and down the country.

Phil Prentice, chief officer at event host, the Scottish Towns Partnership (STP), said: “Many of our towns need investment to help breathe new life into the communities that still live there, but it’s not about throwing vast sums at them.

“Bringing public health organisations, business people as well the property sector to the table will start to unlock the perceived challenges we face.

“By starting to take on the easy parts, then the harder bits will start to fall into place. “

Meanwhile, a blueprint being drawn up in Edinburgh is expected to be adopted by the United Nations as a template for planning future cities and towns around the world.

The summit which began yesterday will witness the signing of the inaugural World Towns Agreement, a charter creating the draft for the regeneration of towns and urban centres across the globe.

It also heard that communities around Scotland are to be urged to get together to access millions of pounds of government cash to help spruce up high streets and cities and towns up and down the country.

Hundreds of specialists in social justice, town planning and architecture are here for two days to hear eminent speakers from South Africa, Denmark, Canada and the USA as well as Scotland at the event where Angela Constance, Scottish Secretary for Communities, Social Justice and Equalities called on communities to be bold when bidding to revamp their surroundings.

It is understood the UN Habitat programme is to adopt the agreement, laying down the “Scottish” charter in new and existing towns cities and also smaller communities.

Ms Constance said in her keynote speech: “This agreement is a vital step in encouraging all of us here today to response to our own challenges in our towns and urban neighbourhoods.

“My commitment to you today is that the Scottish Government will indeed fully consider all the principles that you set out in the agreement.

“We are a nation that continues to learn and adapt and that will help us become a fairer and stronger country.”

Professor Leigh Sparks, of Stirling University, chair of host the Scottish Towns Partnership, said better transport between towns, cities and villages in Scotland is essential and communities should make the most of their neighbours.

He told the summit: “One of our failures in the way we have looked at towns is we tend to look at them in isolation.

“We’ve got to stop looking at individual places and try to think to solve the problem in one place with all of this network connected.”

Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, from South Africa, and Professor Tina Saaby, Copenhagen’s City Architect, were joined by Michael Smith from the US, chairman of the International Downtown Association, and Michael Shuman, founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local living Economies as the summit’s key note speakers.

Mr Smith said: “These thought leaders will come together and create a charter, a roadmap for our work.

“This framework will support our work in towns and urban centres large and small.”

Friday, 10 June 2016

Scotland Welcomes the World - World Towns Leadership Summit 2016

Brightstar Scotland is delighted to be working with World Towns Leadership Summit 2016 partners to produce this world first Summit. 

The World Towns Leadership Summit E-Zine is out now! Check out this brief guide to the main features of the Summit for an insight to this unique global gathering of leaders in town and neighbourhood development.  

See inside for a special welcome from the organisers; profiles of our international speakers; an advance look at the two Study Tour locations; information about contributing to the World Towns Agreement, and much more.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Culture, History and Heritage: The value of the assets around us

20 April | Edinburgh STP's first Culture, History and Heritage Event took place on 20th April 2016 and aimed to showcase some of the supports available to town centre practitioners to use the assets around them to improve their place.

  • STP Chief Officer, Phil Prentice welcomed delegates and highlighted STP as the go-to body for Scotland's towns and encouraged delegates to use the resources available to them on the Towns Portal.
  • Chiara Ronchini, Historic Environment Scotland gave a general overview of the value of our towns' history and heritage along with some case study examples and film.
  • Alison Turnbull, Museums Galleries Scotland provided ideas around how the museums sector can play a pivotal role in our town centres.
  • HLF Funding is well recognised, Zoe Gamble explored opportunities for our delegates to apply for funding to support their heritage projects, specifically in town centres.
  • A lively presentation from Cultural Enterprise Office's Sandy Thomson who showed the span of creative industries and highlighted that creatives already are and will continue to play a key part of the improvement of a place. Particularly, their use of vacant space within town centres.
  • We were delighted to have Stephen Palmer, Interim Head of Place, Partnerships & Communities along to give some information on the Open Project Fund managed by Creative Scotland.
  • Frances O'Neill, Global Treasure Apps intrigued delegates with their digital app which can bring the culture, history and heritage of a place together in one online space. 
  • Queensferry Ambition BID's Vice Chair, Rev David Cameron inspired us all with his case study example of Queensferry's efforts to engage the local and wider community using the heritage and culture of the area, specifically through events and a strong marketing and communications strategy.

Upcoming Events: 

World Towns Leadership Summit | 15 + 16 June | Edinburgh

Join international town and urban leaders for a world first, taking place in Scotland in June 2016. Organised by ATCM, BIDs Scotland, IDA and Scotland’s Towns Partnership, the World Towns Leadership Summit will discuss the evolving nature of civic governance and the changing economic drivers for successful place-making.

Across the world, the State is shrinking. Urgent action is essential if we are to make our places better. What are the new alliances and approaches we need to develop to achieve a strong competitive economy combined with a fairer, more equal society? Book here.

Measuring Performance: Evidence to inform strategy | 20 October| Edinburgh

Learn more about Understanding Scottish Places Toolkit and the Place Standard Tool in this practical half day workshop. Experts will guide you to use and develop these tools for your own place and to build an evidence base to inform your towns strategy. Book here.

Scotsman: EDAS Makes the Case for Growing Scotland’s Global Links

Scotsman (28/04/2016) - The Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS) will today launch a publication setting out the case for strengthening Scotland’s trade links with the wider world.

Outlook, Culture and Scottish Internationalisation features a series of articles written by prominent figures from Scotland’s academic, business and public sector arenas, including former Aggreko International managing director Derek Shepherd and Scots lawyer David Scrimgeour.

EDAS chair Robert Pollock said: “Smaller nations, like Scotland, should celebrate the diversity, creativity and insights they bring to the global table. Our country has much to offer and we should share it in this dynamic and ever shrinking world.

“Scotland needs a national collaborative system that can harness our collective spirit, energy, resilience and resourcefulness. EDAS’ publication offers valuable insight and aims to act as a catalyst for greater internationalisation in the coming years.”

Today’s launch, hosted by the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cultural Relations, is backed by Scottish Development International (SDI), which is tasked with helping companies to grow their exports and attracting investment into Scotland.

It comes after the Scottish Government last month launched its new trade and investment strategy, a five-year plan that includes measures such as tripling the number of exporting advisers in Scotland and beefing up SDI’s high growth market unit to help firms expand in China, India and the Middle East.

Announcing the strategy, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Scotland continues to be the most attractive place in the UK outside London for inward investment and events such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup have put Scotland firmly on the map.

“With international exports increasing by 17 per cent in the past five years, the strategy builds on this success and aims to help more Scottish businesses sell more goods and services to more markets, while helping existing investors to develop and grow in Scotland.”

Friday, 13 May 2016

CSPP Chairs EU Debate with Lord Menzies Campbell & Former MP Tom Harris

The first of a series of major EU debates chaired by the CSPP was held in Edinburgh University last night, with a panel including former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Menzies Campbell and former Labour MP Tom Harris. Other panel members debating the UK’s membership of the European Union ahead of the 23 June referendum were Hans-Hartwig Blomeier (Head of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Great Britain Office), Dr Arianna Andreangeli (Lecturer in Competition Law at the University of Edinburgh), and Anthony Salamone (editor of European Futures and PhD Candidate in Politics at the University of Edinburgh).

Listen to the report on last night's debate on BBC Good Morning Scotland 13 May from 36:30. 

Following a welcome from the event chair, the CSPP’s Professor Richard Kerley, the representatives from each side offered an opening statement. Lord Campbell, who is president of the European Movement in Scotland, stated that he had “emotional and pragmatic reasons” for wishing the UK to remain in the EU. The emotional reason was the peace that had reigned in Europe since WW2. Pragmatic reasons included the number of Scottish and UK jobs linked to EU trade, and the benefits of political union between EU countries for security, buttressing democracies across the continent in nations which had previously lived under fascist or Soviet systems.

Tom Harris, who is director of Scottish Vote Leave, then offered his opening thoughts. He lamented that leave campaigners had been cast by some as irrational, stating that there were reasons both to stay and to leave the EU. However, Mr Harris argued that greater democracy, sovereignty and the right to trade on the UK’s own terms were all strong reasons for leaving. The former Labour MP also suggested that the Scottish parliament could enjoy greater powers if the UK voted to leave the EU.
Tom_Harris.jpg                   Edin_Law_Lecturer.jpg
           (Tom Harris)                                 (Dr Arianna Andreangeli)
The panel then answered questions submitted by audience members. These addressed:
  • the future of freedom of movement if the UK left the EU;
  • whether the prospective Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership with the US was a reason to leave the EU or not;
  • what the prospects for UK university research funding and EU student fees would be if the UK left the EU;
  • why Euroscepticism may be higher in the UK than in other EU countries;
  • what the possibilities for further EU reform were if the UK voted to remain;
  • the regional security implications of the UK leaving the EU;
  • the role young people could play in the referendum campaign and outcome;
  • and, whether sovereignty is still as important as in the past in a globalised world.
The wide ranging and considered debate concluded with panel members calling for all eligible voters with an opinion on the referendum to make their voice count on 23rd June, particularly younger people. Mr Harris stated that those who had an opinion should vote, or others would make the decision for them. Lord Campbell argued that young people had benefited from the EU through the opportunities it offers, and that older generations should consider this when voting.

The debate was organised by the European Movement in Scotland, with co-sponsors Edinburgh University European Union Society and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS). It was the first in a series of similar events taking place around the country, with the CSPP set to chair two further debates, in Dundee (25 May) and Edinburgh (31 May). Please see the CSPP events page for further information.