Major events have the potential to enhance the reputation of cities and communities internationally, as well being a driver in supporting mental wellbeing, according to a new report.

It is just one of the findings of a report commissioned by VisitScotland and the Event Industry Advisory Group (EIAG) to help to understand and examine how events continue to contribute to Scotland’s wellbeing.

The Contribution of Events to Scotland’s Wellbeing report was delivered by Wavehill Social and Economic Research, and led by Dr Bridget McConnell, CBE and Chief Executive of Glasgow Life, which delivers culture and leisure services, as part of her role with the EIAG Health and Wellbeing Economy group.

Read more: Glasgow needs an emergency funding deal to lift it out of crisis, say campaigners

The report also highlighted the social aspect of events is recognised as a key driver for supporting mental wellbeing. It added cultural events can play an important role in helping people to cope with stress. Events also have the potential to directly address issues related to social isolation and loneliness, which are both key influencers on individual wellbeing.

The Herald: Culture can be key to recovery and wellbeingCulture can be key to recovery and wellbeing

In 2018/19 alone, cultural and sporting events held in Glasgow generated an estimated Gross Value Added (GVA) of more than £46m for the city and nearly £35m for Scotland.

However, as a result of the pandemic arms-length council organisation Glasgow Life lost £38million with venues closed and events cancelled. And while it has been able to reopen more than 90 of its 171 venues, without further funds no more venues can reopen.

Read more: Anas Sarwar calls for Scottish Parliament to act on Glasgow funding fight

It is why The Herald has been leading A Fair Deal for Glasgow campaign calling for a new funding deal for the city's cultural offering. And today campaign group Glasgow Against Closures is holding a rally to highlight the ongoing threat to venues.

The Herald: The Herald has been leading A Fair Deal for Glasgow campaignThe Herald has been leading A Fair Deal for Glasgow campaign

Dr McConnell said: "Our much-loved Celtic Connections festival regularly sees visitors from across the world flock to Glasgow, allowing us to show our city at its best. Because of Covid we were forced to deliver a wholly digital event this year, with audiences from more than 60 countries participating virtually.

"While it proved to be a real success, with thousands of viewers expressing their joy that we were still able to make it happen, it also reiterated how important physical events are in terms of supporting our mental health and fostering social connection, with many more viewers commenting on just how much they missed attending the live shows with friends and loved ones."

Among the reports findings it said one factor that can play an important role in the Covid-19 recovery is culture. It said the association between cultural activities and wellbeing is well-established and that cultural activities provide opportunities for social engagement, enjoyment, learning, capacity building, civic pride, social solidarity and cohesion.

The report said providing greater opportunity to access cultural activities will help to safeguard the wellbeing of people and communities, enabling them to cope better in times of stress including during the Covid-19 recovery.

It added that investment in culture and leisure has the potential to stimulate local economic growth and reduce the financial burden on services, for example through improved educational outcomes, reductions in crime and anti-social behaviour and better physical or mental health

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, at VisitScotland welcomed the report saying: "The findings from this research and the recommendations on how to develop the evidence base for measuring the contribution of events to the nation’s health and wellbeing, will form an important part of our work going forward including building it in to our National Events Strategy, Scotland the Perfect Stage."

Jenny Gilruth MSP, Culture Minister, said promoting a Wellbeing Economy was a top priority for the Scottish Government.

Ms Gilruth said: "As this report has highlighted, the diverse range of events that take place throughout the country bring social and economic benefits to our communities. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and this research underlines the important role they have to play as we recover and rebuild following Covid-19."