Scotland's Year of Stories 2022: Telling the Story of the Community Stories Programme
Delivered as a partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS), with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and Scottish Government, the Community Stories Programme supported 180 organisations and community groups to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.
The Community Stories Programme was developed to provide an opportunity for community groups and organisations to deliver small-scale events as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories.
Alongside a full evaluation report of the Year of Stories 2022, VisitScotland also commissioned, on behalf of the partners, the evaluation of the Community Stories Programme. Undertaken by Wavehill: Social and Economic Research, the evaluation was based on independent research and feedback from the grantees.
- Over 400 organisations applied for funding through the Community Stories Programme, and 180 projects were funded and delivered. This resulted in the delivery of over 1,000 events and activities that added to the overall programme of Scotland’s Year of Stories.
- The programme provided more than 5,000 artist opportunities, and over 900,000 audience/participant attendances were recorded.
- Together these figures demonstrate the strong appetite among community groups and organisations to participate in the Themed Year, and highlight how a community events fund such as the Community Stories Programme extended the reach of the Themed Year as a whole.
- This was possible because of the considerable investment in the programme, which was extended throughout the delivery of the project to respond to the high level of interest.
- The programme has contributed substantially to the overall diversity of Scotland’s Year of Stories. The programme elevated the stories of specific communities and groups, including Scotland’s LGBTQIA+ communities, refugees, and disabled people – to name just a few. In addition to this, the scale of the programme extended beyond the ‘Open Events Programme’, providing opportunities for communities all the way across Scotland to get involved in the Themed Year.
- Key highlights of the Community Stories Programme included bringing communities together, providing opportunities to share community stories beyond the immediate community and showcasing the talents of under-represented groups.
The programme brought about a range of benefits for grantees and communities.
- Enabled them to expand the reach of their activities and engage with new audiences.
- Raised the profile of their organisations.
- Supported them to strengthen existing partnerships and develop new collaborations.
- Opened up new areas of work.
MGS and VisitScotland delivered a wrap-around programme of support for participants. Grantees were given opportunities to get the most out of their involvement through a series of webinars which offered advice on topics including marketing, reaching audiences, and Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
The wrap-around programme saw a good level of engagement from grantees:
- There were 294 live attendances at webinars, and a further 355 video views.
- Seventy-six per cent of organisations listed their events on the VisitScotland website.
- More than a quarter of grantees shared information relating to their event on the ICH website.
- Feedback on the wrap-around provision was positive, with 94% of survey respondents rating the webinars they attended as good or excellent.
- Dedicated Community Stories marketing and media activity provided significant added profile for supported events and activities. One hundred and fifty-nine items of Community Stories media coverage reached people almost 4.3 million times, and the marketing campaign reached people over 2.3 million times.
- The focus on ICH within the programme was also felt to have added strong benefits. The focus on ‘stories’ was felt to provide a more accessible route for exploring ICH, which helped to boost awareness of ICH among grantees and wider partners.