Glasgow Film Office is a £240m success

FOR a tiny HQ with a miniscule staff the Glasgow Film Office is producing some remarkable results.

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The organisation, which is funded by the city council, has a staff of two and a budget of only £160,000 a year. But since it was set up in 1997, it has brought in about £240million to the city's economy.

Thanks to the efforts of Film Office staff, some of the biggest stars from Tinseltown on the other side of the Pond have travelled to Glasgow to shoot their latest epics.

Three years ago, Brad Pitt was here - along with dozens of cast and crew, hundreds of extras, a media frenzy and any number of zombies - shooting World War Z.

The makers of Cloud Atlas, starring Halle Berry, also opted to film in Glasgow and the city now features in scenes in Under the Skin, the latest movie featuring Scarlett Johansson.

Last year alone, film, broadcast and other productions brought in almost £20m.

But there is more than just a financial advantage to Glasgow featuring in high-profile movies with Hollywood stars.

Research suggests 20% of visitors to Scotland say that seeing the country on film or television was important in their decision to come here on holiday.

Last year, the Film Office received 343 enquiries about locations, which resulted in 231 productions being shot in the city. That's a stunning achievement for an organisation with two staff and virtually no money.

At the other end of the council scale, Glasgow Life has about 3000 staff and an annual budget of £100m.

But it, too, has cause for celebration, with the number using its services having soared in recent years.

Figures show visitors to city libraries, museums, arts venues, sports clubs and community facilities are all ahead of target.

The council arm's length organisation had been hoping to achieve 16million visits by the end of this month, but by December it was ahead of target by 4%.

The majority of people are happy with the wide range of services provided by Glasgow Life.

But the same cannot now be said for the social work department, which has decided to introduce charges for older people who attend day care centres in the city.

At the moment the service is free, but from next month every person who visits a day centre will have to fill out a form giving details of their financial situation.

Those who can afford to pay will be charged a maximum of £15 a day. Those who can't afford to pay will be able to attend free and those in the middle will be charged a sliding rate.

Letters informing people of the change will start landing on doormats today but one thing is certain - there are likely to be a lot of angry people out there.

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment

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