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“Time to Shine” Youth Arts Strategy

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 14th May 2014.

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Photo of Joan McAlpine Joan McAlpine Scottish National Party

I apologise if I missed that part of the cabinet secretary’s speech, and I welcome her intervention.

The Holywood Trust, which is a charitable trust that has a particular interest in young people in the arts in the south-west of Scotland, has played an important role over a long period. It is an another example of the collaboration that has been mentioned.

I will give an example of how just a small grant can make a difference. About 15 or 20 years ago, the Holywood Trust, which offers grants to individuals as well as large grants to organisations, gave an individual grant to a teenager from the Lochside housing scheme in Dumfries, which has its challenges. Because the teenager could not study drama at the Saturday classes that were available in the town, the trust gave him money to travel to a college in another part of the country. That young man went on to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland—or the RSAMD, as it was known then—and then had a very successful career all over Europe, including in London, Ireland and Spain. In his 30s, he came back to Dumfries, where he established the Electric Theatre, which I have already mentioned, and the Big Burns Supper festival. Both initiatives have exposed a whole new generation of young people from different backgrounds to involvement in the arts and have had a huge economic impact on the town. That is a really good illustration of how quite a small grant—