Thistle back local charity for UK prize

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A Glasgow charity which helps people with disabilities and mental health issues achieve their artistic potential is hoping to paint a brighter future, with the help of Partick Thistle, after reaching the final of a UK-wide competition.

Project Ability is one of four charities or community groups to make it to the final of the Johnstone’s Trade Community Spirit competition. Based on Trongate in the centre of Glasgow, Project Ability is now hoping to come out on top in a public vote to win a redecoration makeover of its facility worth up to £10,000.

Well over 100 charities and community projects from across the UK submitted applications to the competition, run by the leading paint manufacturer Johnstone’s Trade. A judging panel selected the final shortlist of four based on criteria such as the impact the project has on the community and the urgency for redecoration.

Project Ability has served the community for more than 30 years and provides artistic support and learning opportunities to three groups – adults with learning disabilities, adults with experience of mental ill health and children with disabilities.

More than 300 people, aged from five to 80-plus, visit the centre each week to hone their skills in numerous visual arts disciplines including painting and drawing, ceramics, woodwork and printmaking with work displayed in their public gallery.

Elisabeth Gibson, artistic director of Project Ability, said: “We are very proud of our charity and to be shortlisted for the Johnstone’s Paint Community Spirit competition is fantastic for us. We all enjoy making a real difference to lives through art and our students of all ages get so much out of it.

“We are in relatively new premises but, with the volume of people coming through the doors each week, it is susceptible to wear and tear. It’s looking tired and drab but it’s a place that means so much to people that it would be a huge boost if we could benefit from the redecoration.”

Project’s Ability’s quest to win the Johnstone’s Trade Community Spirit has been picked by Partick Thistle Football Club. Thistle winger Declan McDaid attended Project Ability and said: “I would urge everyone to vote for Project Ability. It would be fantastic if a Glasgow project could win the Johnstone’s Trade Community Spirit and it would be of huge benefit to a charity which does so much great work in the city.”

Other shortlisted community projects come from Greenwich, Rotherham and Nottingham.

Richard Mazurkiewicz, marketing manager for Johnstone’s Trade, said: “We had a high number of fantastic entries and there were so many worthwhile projects that it made the shortlisting process extremely difficult.

“However, Project Ability and the three other projects in the final all do fantastic work and would all be very worthwhile winners. To win a redecoration makeover will make a huge difference to the winner and we are proud to be making a real impact.”

To vote for Project Ability, please visit before February 29.

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