A NEWLY released report has highlighted how the Scottish Borders helped contribute to the success of Year of Stories 2022.

Collated by VisitScotland, the evaluation report which features independent research and partner feedback, shows the Themed Year delivered significant benefits to Scotland and its communities.

Highlights included a total of 354 funded and partner events across all 32 local authority areas including eight events in the Scottish Borders.

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Across the Scottish Borders a total of four funded and four partner events took place to celebrate the Year of Stories 2022.

Among them was Borders Book Festival who delivered a special Year of Stories programme strand featuring 28 events dedicated to celebrating the wealth and diversity of Scotland’s stories. High profile guests included Sir Jackie Stewart and actor Jack Lowden.

A brand new event in 2022 was Of Scotland’s Soils and Soul developed by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Held across four Botanic Garden sites including Dawyck, the event offered visitors four bespoke trails showcasing stories of and about Scotland that related to the land, plants and nature.

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Events in the Scottish Borders included: A Yarn Worth Spinning (Live Borders) and Celebrating Scottish Stories of Nature at Summer Solstice (Peebles CAN).

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Destination Development Director said: “Themed Years provide an opportunity for collaboration and partnership across tourism, events and wider sectors, using Scotland’s strengths to attract domestic and international visitors and grow the visitor economy.

“The findings of this evaluation show that the Year of Stories really engaged communities right across the South of Scotland. While the year may have ended, the story is far from over. Our hope is that businesses and events continue sharing their stories and visitors continue to be inspired by the places, people and cultures associated with them.”

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Culture Minister Christina McKelvie said: “I am delighted that Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 has had such a positive and lasting impact in so many communities across Scotland.

“As a result of partnership working, the fantastic range of events on offer inspired people to create and share their own incredible stories, traditions and journeys.

“The high level of engagement with this themed year will leave a lasting legacy as we continue to tell each other stories about who we are and where we live.”

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland said: “The Year of Stories Community Stories Fund created a powerful opportunity to support a wide range of people to take part in the themed year and we are proud to have delivered this in partnership with VisitScotland, with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government. The fund supported creativity with new and old stories brought to life allowing locals and visitors to experience a wide diversity of voices.

“The evaluation clearly demonstrates the positive impact participation had on the groups who held events and the communities across the country who came together to enjoy them. To know that this year’s programme increased awareness of and appreciation for Scotland’s stories and has inspired future visits is a remarkable achievement by all those involved.”

Caroline Clark, The National Lottery Heritage Fund Director for Scotland, said: “The impact of Year of Stories was writ large across Scotland last year. People throughout the country really got behind it, a fact confirmed by this report.

"The diversity of stories and how they were shared was a particular feature of the Year of Stories due to the Community Stories Programme, which was supported through funding from National Lottery players. It really engaged with the imagination of individuals, communities and groups, allowing them to share their stories, their way - stories of Scotland's people, places and cultures.”

The Themed Years model provides a shared platform for many organisations to come together and multiply their impact by working together, inspired by the same theme and utilising common branding and tools. Scoping for options and approaches for a possible 2025 Themed Year is now underway with more details to be released towards the end of 2023.