Glasgow & West Scotland

John Logie Baird inspires Helensburgh Heroes' media bid

Derelict warehouse in Helensburgh
Image caption The plans would see a derelict warehouse converted into a cutting edge digital centre

A £2m fundraising campaign has been launched to establish a digital media academy in the hometown of television pioneer John Logie Baird.

Backers of the Heroes Centre in Helensburgh believe it will help a new generation of Scots learn new media and production skills.

They plan to base the academy in a converted Victorian warehouse in the town's George Street.

The building will also house a cinema, diner and a Helensburgh "wall of fame".

The three storey wall of fame showcasing memorabilia from inspirational men and women who have come from the town.

Helensburgh Heroes - the charity behind the proposals - said the academy would operate throughout the year, providing a fully-functioning digital education facility, which would nurture content creators of all ages and equip them with the new media skills required for online broadcast and video.

'Dramatic decline'

Initial planning permission has been granted and the project team has now been tasked with raising the £2m needed to deliver the centre.

The Heroes Centre is the brainchild of Phil Worms, an IT industry veteran of 25 years and a director of Helensburgh Heroes.

He said Scotland needed to encourage more people to learn skills that are relevant to working in an online world.

Mr Worms added: "As the convergence of internet and TV technologies gathers pace it is widely recognised that we need a new generation of digital content creators, and yet a major issue facing Scotland is the dramatic decline in the numbers of young people taking IT related subjects in further education.

"We are absolutely delighted to have such high profile ambassadors on board and with the Scottish government also keen to see this happen, what we need now is for Scottish businesses to get behind the idea by pledging their financial support so we can raise the two million pounds we need to turn the Heroes Centre into a reality."

The plans have been backed by Helensburgh-born film director Tom Vaughan and actor Lex Shrapnel, who starred in the recent BBC television series Hunted and whose grandmother - the Hollywood actress Deborah Kerr - came from the town.

The project has also been welcomed by the Scottish government, with Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf saying it would give "the next generation of Scots a creative environment to acquire new media skills and expertise."

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