It was a disappointment not to win the UK City of Culture 2021 title.

Paisley and Renfrewshire were in it to win and we had a fantastic bid put together by many different groups and partners from across all of Renfrewshire.

Best wishes to Coventry on winning the bid.

Going for the title has been a thoroughly positive experience, raising our profile to unprecedented levels, challenging perceptions of the area and generating an increased sense of pride in what all Renfrewshire towns and villages have to offer.

All this positive momentum has given us a boost to help Renfrewshire become even more of a destination for visitors.

To assist this, we have just launched the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan, endorsed by Visit Scotland and packed with a series of activities to attract an additional 590,000 day visitors to Renfrewshire by 2020.

We start from a position of strength, with 1.7million visits in 2016 – a sharp 25 per cent rise on the previous year.

Our events and festivals continue to draw big crowds, growing year on year, many people coming from outside Renfrewshire, bringing more than £1million into the local economy in 2017 alone.

I am excited about the opportunity to put on bigger and better events next year and, crucially, work with local communities in our villages and towns to ensure we showcase everything that Renfrewshire has to offer.

Our commitment to culture also continues through the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – our flagship cultural grants programme.

A total of 80 community projects from across Renfrewshire, such as Johnstone High School pupil Morgan Spence’s incredible Lego animation work, have received more than £630,000 so far.

Four new rounds of funding have been announced for 2018, with the first deadline set for February 12, so don’t delay in taking your creative idea to the next level.

Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was in Inchinnan last week to make a major announcement, confirming that Scotland’s national manufacturing institute will be established in Renfrewshire, next to Glasgow Airport.

Work to build the £65m institute will start next year and we are delighted to play our part in supporting its ambitious aims to make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing.

Renfrewshire was chosen as its home because of our well-connected location, our existing business activity and, of course, our great workforce.

We also offer a strong manufacturing base, with companies such as Rolls-Royce and Doosan Babcock being world renowned, and the institute will hopefully be the first of many more tenants to base themselves here, bringing thousands of jobs and opportunities to Renfrewshire.