Ambitious plans to establish Pollok Country Park as a tourist attraction in Glasgow’s South Side could help the city recover financially from the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was previously announced that the Burrell Collection, which is next to the park and has been closed for five years to undergo a £68 million transformation, would reopen in March next year as a local and international attraction.

And it is hoped that the reopening of the Burrell will help restart the city post coronavirus as Glasgow Life raises concerns about the ability to restore its venues to pre covid levels.


The Burrell Collection external construction.

The Burrell Collection external construction.


The steps towards reopening and recovery from the pandemic come as The Herald is leading a campaign calling for a greater funding deal for the city's cultural assets and attractions.

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A report was brought before Glasgow City Council’s scrutiny committee this week.

Dr Bridget McConnell, chief executive of Glasgow Life, said: “We don’t know how long it will take or if it will be possible to restore Glasgow Life facilities to pre covid levels.

“Glasgow Life surveyed Glasgow’s tourism industry in August to collect data on the scale of the skills and staffing shortages.

“Nearly all respondents – 96% reported a significant difference in staffing levels between 2019 and 2021. 

“Brexit, skill shortages, movement of staff to other sectors, the Covid-19 pandemic and fear of infection and a lack of students were cited as some of the possible reasons for this.”

The organisation has been working hard to restart the city. In September it was announced that the Burrell Collection would reopen and introduce a major international attraction..

Ms McConnell added: “The Burrell reopening  will be the most significant cultural event in Scotland if not the UK as well in 2022.

“The events reopening programme will establish the new Burrell in the minds of local, national and international audiences. It will also offer a platform to establish Pollok Park as a major local and tourist destination in the south of the city – strengthening the tourist offer there.

“During the last five years we have been engaging with local communities and school groups and what makes Glasgow particularly unique in its successful delivery of events is that linkage between communities and events."


Work in progress of the refurbishment of the Burrell collection in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow. Photograph by Colin Mearns.

Work in progress of the refurbishment of the Burrell collection in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow. Photograph by Colin Mearns.


Dr McConnell said that during 2018/19 Glasgow had a top five global sports event ranking out performing cities such as Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles which is remarkable considering the size of Glasgow.

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She added: "Over the next decade we will continue to attract regional, national and local events focussing on health of wellbeing, promoting voluntary participation in under-represented groups and enabling local communities to own and shape content and programming.”


The Burrell Collection Arabesque Carpet install complete.

The Burrell Collection Arabesque Carpet install complete.


It is hoped that this work will help Scotland and Glasgow recover from covid as well as reposition the country globally.

The Herald is running a campaign, A Fair Deal for Glasgow, calling for a new funding deal for the city's culture and leisure services.

Glasgow Life lost £38m in income last year due to the pandemic and predicted income for 2021/22 is around £6.4m, and while Glasgow City Council has reached an agreement for it to receive a guaranteed £100m a year for the next three or four years, Glasgow Life has only been able to open 90 of its 171 venues. Without further funds, it cannot open any further sites.

We are calling on both the Scottish and UK governments to agree a new funding deal.