Scottish businesses are being urged to back a £2m fundraising campaign to build a digital skills academy called the ‘Heroes Centre'.
If successful, the plan is expected to create at least 30 full time jobs, while giving people of all ages media and production skills useful in the digital workplace. Businesses will also be able to access facilities for web promotion and marketing.
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The digital complex is expected to be housed in a derelict Victorian warehouse, which will be converted. The warehouse, based in George Street, will have a cinema and a three-storey wall of fame to showcase memorabilia on ‘heroes’ who have come from the town.
Behind the project is charity Helensburgh Heroes. Director Phil Worms said: “We are absolutely delighted to have such high-profile ambassadors on board and with the Scottish government also keen to see this happen, what we need now is for Scottish businesses to get behind the idea by pledging their financial support so we can raise the £2m we need to turn the Heroes Centre into a reality.”
Scottish government minister and Glasgow MSP Humza Yousaf said the creative industries is a real growth sector in Scotland's economic strategy and contributes £2.7bn to its economy.
“The Scottish government is committed to developing the sector and welcomes initiatives that support the development of creative practitioners, and opportunities for improving digital skills. A skills academy in Helensburgh would give the next generation of Scots a creative environment to acquire new media skills and expertise,” Humza Yousaf said.
Businesses are being urged to support the campaign, which if successful will see the Heroes Centre built in Helensburgh, the birthplace of John Logie Baird, the founder of television.
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Actor Lex Shrapnel, star of BBC series Hunted has become an official ambassador for the campaign. Shrapnel’s grandmother, Deborah Kerr, was born in Helensburgh, later becoming a Hollywood star.
He said: “Helensburgh’s got an incredibly rich seam of TV and film history so I hope that by supporting this exciting venture, we can build something that not only does justice to its successes from the past but also inspires its creative talent of the future.
“There is no doubt that the television, film and the digital industries are moving ever closer together and it’s vital that we provide facilities such as the Heroes Centre to help equip people with the skills that will be needed for generations to come.”
Shrapnel, who starred in Captain America: The First Avenger, joins Helensburgh-born movie director Tom Vaughan as an ambassador. Vaughan showed his support for the campaign by becoming an ambassador earlier this year.
Polly Purvis, executive director of Scotland’s software, IT and creative technology industry body, ScotlandIS said she is in support of the campaign: “ScotlandIS welcomes The Heroes Centre - a really exciting development, offering Scotland’s young people the chance to learn the latest skills in video production.
“Video is the fastest growing element of social media and is increasingly being adopted in business and education for its high-impact communication capability.”