The work of the Friends of Kinneil has been highlighted in the Scottish Parliament at Ministers’ question time.
The remarks followed a question from Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie about the development of facilities for the Antonine Wall since it was awarded world heritage site status in 2008. The Minister noted that some recent progress had been made, with a website launched in October, a full-time co-ordinator appointed in December, an interpretation plan now complete, and an access plan to be delivered in March.
Cathy said: “The developments are belated but welcome. I know that the partnership, which involves five local authorities, heritage bodies, museums and local community groups such as the Friends of Kinneil, has been working hard to promote the wall, but they are hampered by lack of funding. Mostly this is having to be found out of existing budgets which are already under a lot of pressure.”
In her supplementary to the Minister, Cathy thanked the Friends of Kinneil for its work on promoting the world heritage site, and asked for more information about timescales and what the Scottish Government is doing to support and promote tourism and education with regard to the site.
The Minister replied that she too recognised and supported the work of the Friends of Kinneil, and that “this is as much about the involvement of voluntary groups as it is about the work of statutory agencies” with the Government seeing its responsibility as “co-ordinating the different local authorities and agencies”.
Cathy said: “I’m glad the Minister values the work of community groups such as the Friends of Kinneil, but I suspect that the community groups would like to see that expressed through more financial support. The Scottish Government could make more of the opportunities presented by the Antonine Wall and other nearby heritage sites, such as the local connection with James Watt, whose 275th anniversary is also being promoted by the Friends of Kinneil.”