Crewel Chicks Stitching group portrait for the Great Tapestry of Scotland project. Photographed with the panel of James Hutton at Siccar Point in Berwickshire, Scotland

pictures by Alex Hewitt

Search for a director at major new tourist site

The hunt is on for someone to run a major new tourist attraction which will house The Great Tapestry of Scotland.

Applications are being sought for the centre director of the nationally-significant attraction set to be housed in a purpose-built setting for the first time in Galashiels.

Charity Live Borders is offering a career-defining role to a talented manager with the skills and experience to operate this major addition to the tourism sector in the Scottish Borders.

Created by renowned writer Alexander McCall Smith, historian Alistair Moffat and artist Andrew Crummy, the Great Tapestry of Scotland tells the country’s story through 160 panels, making one of the largest tapestries in the world.

The new building which will house the Tapestry has been designed by one of Scotland’s leading architectural practices, Page / Park, while the adjacent former Post Office will be re-purposed to bring the B listed building back into use. There will also be retail, café, educational and temporary exhibition space, as well as an ongoing events and exhibitions programme.

The visitor attraction is seen as a catalyst for the regeneration of Galashiels, which has a proud textile heritage, and the wider Scottish Borders, providing significant economic, social and educational benefits when it opens in 2020.

Experts predict that the centre – within walking distance of the Borders Railway – will attract over 50,000 people to Galashiels each year once opened, as well as create 16 jobs.

Almost £900,000 of extra spending per year is predicted for the local economy, providing 12,000 extra visits to complementary attractions, supporting a further 17 jobs.

The new attraction will be managed by Live Borders, a charity employing over 250+ people across the cultural, sports and leisure sectors, and welcoming well over a million people to its sites per year. They operate many of the cultural and heritage highlights in the Scottish Borders, such as Heart of Hawick, Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre, Mary Queen of Scots Visitor Centre and Jedburgh Castle and Jail.

Crewel Chicks Stitching group portrait for the Great Tapestry of Scotland project. They are pictured with the panel of James Hutton at Siccar Point in Berwickshire (Photo: Alex Hewitt)

Jane Hogg, commercial director for charity Live Borders, said: ‘The Great Tapestry of Scotland is a phenomenal achievement and this new visitor experience will celebrate the creative talents of the army of 1000 stitchers, the story of Scotland, and its people; it is a triumph of creativity, skill, community and patience.

‘The centre director role for this new visitor attraction, which is planned to open in spring 2020, is a brilliant opportunity for someone with leisure, cultural or hospitality sector experience to open one of Scotland’s newest and most eagerly anticipated tourism destinations. This role will play a key part in delivering the target of bringing the 50,000+ visitors we want to attract to Galashiels, as well working in collaboration with the wider community; we want everyone to be proud of this landmark project.

‘Live Borders is a relatively new charity but we have a great vision to make everyone living in, working in and visiting the Borders healthier, happier and stronger. We are committed to creating a sustainable charity which means we need someone who can combine commercial common-sense with an understanding of what it means to be community-focused. Every penny our visitors spend with us is reinvested into supporting active, creative and healthy communities in the Scottish Borders.’

Scottish Borders Council is currently engaging with contractors on the building of the visitor centre, with construction scheduled to begin in spring 2019.