Scotland’s community circus soars to new heights with flying trapeze rig

CCP students performing at Paisley Halloween

COMMUNITY Circus Paisley has achieved a significant milestone by becoming home to Scotland’s sole full-scale flying trapeze equipment. This unique addition, funded by a loan of £85,000 from responsible finance provider Social Investment Scotland (SIS), not only brings a thrilling experience to local performers and hobbyists but also establishes a distinctive revenue stream for the Community Interest Company.

The flying trapeze, one of only two in the UK, enhances the circus’s reputation, attracting performers from diverse locations. Beyond catering to professionals, Community Circus Paisley actively engages with the local Ferguslie community, offering youth activities, outreach programs, and classes attended by over 100 children and adults weekly.

Established in 2021, the circus school aims to provide access to training space, specialist equipment, and tools for self-empowerment and expression. Co-founded by a former Cirque du Soleil trainee, the school has transformed a former church building into a comprehensive circus experience venue, featuring aerials, silks, ropes, hoops, and wall-running facilities.

In addition to its entertainment offerings, the circus collaborates with care home residents and conducts classes in Gaelic. To encourage residents to explore new hobbies, the circus partnered with Glasgow University to study the benefits of risk-taking, revealing positive outcomes from various exercises conducted at the circus.

Shirley Alexander, Director of Finance at the circus, emphasised the commitment to community impact, stating, “We started the circus with the goal to give back to the area and make a difference, as well as put the circus community of Scotland on the map. We see a lot of heart here in Paisley, so we are looking to play up to what’s strong, not what’s wrong.”

She highlighted the significance of providing the best facilities for performers and enthusiasts to excel in their pursuits, underlining how the new flying trapeze rig aligns with this mission.

Chris Jamieson, Head of Investment at SIS, noted the circus’s role as a creative hub and community focal point. The flying trapeze installation is expected not only to offer unique training opportunities but also to contribute to the organisation’s financial sustainability, supporting local impact and outreach programs.

Community Circus Paisley continues to nurture talent while giving back to the people of Paisley through diverse initiatives. The addition of the flying trapeze rig is set to elevate the circus’s status in the region and provide an adrenaline-fueled experience for performers and community members alike.

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