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Tourism Chief hails fantastic community facility

Press release   •   Feb 15, 2018 09:19 GMT

Councillor Ellen Forson, Councillor Les Sharp, VisitScotland Chief Executive, Malcolm Roughead, and VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, Liz Buchanan in front of the Speirs Centre. Photographer Fraser Band

An historic building at the heart of Alloa’s community was praised by VisitScotland’s Chief Executive as it committed to ensuring Clackmannanshire’s visitors have the ultimate holiday experience.

The Speirs Centre, which has a Grade A listing from Historic Environment Scotland, has gone from strength to strength since it re-opened and has now added to its offering by joining an impressive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs), committed to providing visitors with local information, much to the delight of national tourism Chief, Malcolm Roughead.

The state of the art facility, which includes a library, registrars, local history information and a range of exhibits, was originally built in 1897 as a public baths and gymnasium, but had fallen into a state of disrepair and structural decay. Clackmannanshire Council appointed hub East Central Scotland to transform the building into a civic centerpiece for Alloa, accommodating a whole host of cultural and community-based activities.

Opened in October 2014, the new centre features a new front-of-house building while still retaining most of the original structure and features, including the landmark chimney stack. Also offering a Healthy Living Centre, a number of digital resources and a social area, it has become an integral part of the community, bringing together locals and visitors alike.

Having offered an information point and free Wi-Fi since its launch, the move to join the national tourism orgnaisation’s innovative information programme seemed like a natural progression for the Speirs Centre. The new official accreditation will add value to the service it offers and make it easier than ever before for visitors to connect with businesses and make the most of their time in Clackmannanshire.

Visiting the Speirs Centre, along with VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director, Liz Buchanan, Malcolm was impressed with the diverse and cutting edge facilities on offer and sees them as an excellent addition to the VIP network, which now boasts almost 1,700 industry partners across Scotland.

Launched in May 2016, the VIP programme ties in with the national tourism organisation’s global Spirit of Scotland campaign and harnesses the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of partners across the country to help visitors receive the warmest of welcomes and make the most of their trip to Scotland.

Councillor Les Sharp, Clackmannanshire Council Leader, said: “Everyone at the Speirs Centre is delighted to be part of the VIP programme. Providing information for locals and visitors has always been a key focus and, along with VisitScotland, we are confident we can help visitors make the most of their time in Alloa and the rest of Clackmannanshire.”

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive said: “The Speirs Centre is an outstanding venue offering a range of activities and facilities for visitors and locals alike. They are a key element of Clackmannanshire’s tourism product and now, as members of the VIP programme, they can help promote the area and ensure visitors get the best experience possible in Scotland’s Wee County.

“The VIP programme celebrates and supports tourism providers as they act as local ambassadors and help provide information, assistance and advice on all there is to see and do here. This follows a growing trend among consumers to use online resources to plan their trips and we now have partners throughout the country providing high quality information and advice to visitors with whom they interact.”

The programme forms part of VisitScotland’s focus on information which also includes a global online community to allow Scots and those who love Scotland to bring alive the streets, characters and landscapes of our country.

The scheme is open to all Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups, local authority-operated library services and social enterprises. VisitScotland provides the partner sites with official signage and collateral, promotional material and information resources to make sure visitors receive an excellent standard of information about the area and the rest of Scotland. For more information, visit

To find out more about the Speirs Centre go to

To find out more about the VisitScotland online community, visit:


Notes to Editors

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
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2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People 2018 will be the next of the Scottish Government’s series of themed years, following the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.
  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • oParticipation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • oEducation – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • oHealth and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • oEquality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • oEnterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • oCulture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.