Falkirk’s heritage will be in safe hands

Keeping Callendar house's five-star tourism status is one of the objectives of the plan
Keeping Callendar house's five-star tourism status is one of the objectives of the plan

Harnessing a passion for local history and instilling strong civic pride in Falkirk citizens are among the aims of a new improvement plan.

The three-year vision, which has been drawn up by Falkirk Community Trust, has been designed to improve tourism, encourage investment and promote personal well-being through a love of heritage.

An important part of the plan will be to build on and develop major Falkirk projects like the Helix and Antonine Wall and work with local groups and volunteers to get more projects off the ground.

The new plan - A Heritage Delivery Plan for Falkirk - is part of a series to deliver the Inspiring Active Lives Initiative. It hopes to balance big aspirations with a more modest budget, and respond to the way Falkirk and its residents have changed over the years while respecting its rich, industrial past.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s leisure spokesman said: “There is a huge amount of heritage in the Falkirk Council area, and in recent years there’s been a growing amount of interest in Roman heritage such as the Antonine Wall, so there’s great opportunities that can come from that.

“We’ve also seen more visitors come to the area, particularly with attractions like the Helix and the Kelpies, so we should also capitalise on that.

“But I think that we should never forget where we have came from.

“Falkirk has a rich industrial heritage and we can see that recognised in the new things that are happening.

“If you speak to Andy Scott, he’ll tell you that the Kelpies were inspired by the working horses around Falkirk and the horses that pulled the Irn Bru lorries.”

Although the plan will be delivered predominately by The Trust, the new vision focusses heavily on partnership working with organisations, the voluntary sector and third parties.

The formula has already delivered successes in enriching and educating the community on local heritage.

The Friends of Kinneil have been involved in developing all aspects of Kinneil Estate and Big Roman Week, while Grangemouth Heritage Trust have collected comprehensive photographs and artefacts for public view.

The report also praised the work of Greenhill and Bonnybridge Historical Society, Denny and Dunipace Heritage Society and Maddiston History Group.

Councillor Mahoney added: “Partnership working is so important.

“We have community groups that are really passionate about their heritage and we want to utilise that.

“In many ways, the voluntary sector can do as much as the public sector.”

Lesley O’Hare, culture and libraries manager with Falkirk Community Trust who presented the plan to Executive councillors last Tuesday, said: “This is a heritage plan for the whole area. There’s disparate groups working togeter and we want to make sure that nothing is being duplicated and obviously check if there are any gaps to fill.

“It is predicated on the fact that budgets are falling for all of us, but even the last plan had partnership working right at the heart of it.

“The wellbeing of the community and having pride in that community and its local heritage is tremendously empowering.”