THE first stage in a project to bring Covid-19 memorials to Wee County communities is complete with an event marking the milestone last week.

Artists, partners and representatives gathered at Resonate Together's Carsebridge Cultural Campus to mark the end of Stage 1 in the Remembering Together Clackmannanshire project, run by Greenspace Scotland.

As previously reported, 10 budding young Wee County artists were selected to drive forward the project in a mentorship programme, going out to speak directly with people in communities.

On Tuesday, February 21, people gathered for a celebratory event with partners including the council, CTSI, NHS Forth Valley, Alloa First and more.

Also in attendance were MSP Alex Rowley and Provost Donald Balsillie.

Resonate Together has been driving forward the first stage of the project with recommendations to be submitted to a panel before the tender for the next stage goes out.

Angela Watt, founder and CEO at Resonate Together, spoke about the work with communities.

She told the Advertiser: “It's polarised.

“Some people are really angry and don't think Covid ever happened.

“Obviously, some have lost people and they are going through a state of grief and healing.

“It's a real mix – our process was to listen to everybody, try and see if there are patterns in what people wanted and what they didn't want.

“It seems that people want localised memorials rather than a single memorial – they don't just want a big sculpture somewhere; they want something that is meaningful, that is part of their community and is focussed on healing, bringing all together.”

The team truly sought to speak to everyone, including those who believe that Covid-19 is a conspiracy and are angry that the government is spending money on art.

One of the mentees in the project, Michelle Briggs, spoke eloquently about the subject at the event, something she highlighted during an earlier visit to parliament.

She said: “To begin with, I was quite angry at the thought of money being spent on an art work in response to Covid.

“My thoughts were, Covid hasn't finished yet, the money could be better spent and the pain and loss people went through, well, it was such a difficult time.

“However, knowing that Clackmannanshire had to do the project, I wanted to be involved to investigate the process.

“Along the way, talking with many people, listening to their repeated need for healing from this fragile time in our lives, it became evident that an arts activity would be very beneficial for our communities across the county."

Provost Donald Balsillie said it was a pleasure to attend and added: “I look forward to learning more from the Resonate team who are leading on this project on behalf of the Greenspace Scotland Clackmannanshire steering group.

“I also had the opportunity to tour the two buildings at Carsebridge and wish Resonate all the best in securing the funding and necessary agreements to turn the buildings into a cultural centre for Alloa.”