£11m EU boost to lure tourists west

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KELVINGROVE Museum and Art Gallery was yesterday announced as one of the main beneficiaries of an £11 million European funding package aimed at promoting visitor attractions in the west of Scotland.

Announcing details of the cash injection during a visit to the museum, Allan Wilson, the deputy enterprise and lifelong learning minister, said the award - to be shared among 50 projects - would help to create or safeguard up to 4,500 jobs across the region.

Mr Wilson said the 180,000 award to the museum would help Glasgow City Council to promote it on the international stage when it opens its doors again in July, following a 27 million, three-year refurbishment.

"I am delighted to announce a further injection of European funding for a wide range of projects, bringing significant benefits to local communities across the west of Scotland," Mr Wilson said.

He added: "Kelvingrove museum is one of Scotland's greatest cultural and educational treasures and has become internationally famous with thousands of visitors from both home and abroad."

The award follows a previous European funding grant of 2.5 million towards the costs of the renovation.

Mr Wilson went on: "This latest award will help the city council promote the reopening internationally, and support a range of initiatives, including targeted events for community leaders.

"This will enhance the museum's status as a prime tourist attraction, bringing a major rise in the number of visitors to the city and securing the cultural benefits of Kelvingrove for generations to come."

Before closing for renovation, the museum, regarded at having one of the finest civic collections in Europe, including Salvador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross, attracted more than a million visitors annually.

Other projects given funding include the Greater Pollok Development Company, which will receive 69,579. This will be used to help up to 400 local people acquire skills and find jobs at the new Pollok Retail Park.

The 300 million redevelopment of Pollok town centre will provide up to 5,000 jobs over the next ten years.

James Watt College, which has four bases - two at Greenock and others in North Ayrshire and Largs - has been awarded 113,183 for its vocational training project targeted at the tourismsector.

The college will offer vocational skills to 60 unemployed people and link in with employment opportunities in tourism throughout the region.