A BARRHEAD arts project set up to help young people into employment is in the running for a national award.

Creative Pathways has been recognised for its work to promote community regeneration after being named as one of three finalists in the Youth Employment category at this year’s SURF Awards.

Delivered in partnership with the Scottish Government, the awards aim to highlight how art can positively affect individuals and their communities.

Creative Pathways, which was launched in 2012, sees professional artists-in-residence work full-time with unemployed youngsters on large-scale art projects.

As well as learning creative skills in painting, photography and digital art, they are given one-to-one support with job-hunting, interviews and CV-writing.

The initiative has also encouraged those who get involved to reach out to others who live in the town to discover the issues which are important to them, before seeking to rectify these through art.

In the last year, Creative Pathways has carried out a landscaping revamp of a community garden in Neilston and produced two environmentally-friendly, large-scale murals at Barrhead’s Auchenback Resource Centre.

Since last summer, the project has worked with around 50 unemployed young people, 35 of whom have moved into employment, education or training.

Of those, 81 per cent have also received an SQA accreditation.

Creative Pathways is run as a partnership between Barrhead Housing Association (BHA) and the Impact Arts charity.

Claire Boyd, BHA chair, said: “This has been a successful project for local young people, with the aim of offering something different through the creative arts programme, and we are pleased that our joint work has been shortlisted for this nomination.

“We are pleased that Impact Arts has helped to deliver such a practical-based project to increase the skills of the young people and build their confidence to try something new and work as a team.”

The project is currently active, with a group of 15 young people working to redevelop a community garden near Robertson Street, in Barrhead.

Fiona Doring, director of Impact Arts, said: “It’s hugely gratifying to have been nominated for this award.

“The arts have such an important role in inspiring young people to reach their potential and the positive results of Creative Pathways over the past five years are testament to this.

“Beyond the figures, the individual stories of young people who have thrown themselves into the Creative Pathways process and made such progress are truly inspiring.

“It will be fantastic to spread these stories to a wider audience and give the participants the recognition they deserve.”

Creative Pathways is funded by BHA, the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund, the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future programme and Inspiring Scotland.

The SURF Award winners will be announced on December 7.