HOW DO you unite a community as diverse as Glasgow’s south side?

Talk to the hardworking team behind one of the city’s most exciting and inspiring festivals and the answer seems blindingly obvious.

The power of arts, music and culture to bring people together is undisputed but nowhere in the city has it been harnessed to such fantastic effect than at the Southside Fringe.

“This community is amazingly creative, full of raw talent and energy, and people feel accepted here,” says founder and organiser Corinna Currie.

“There are challenges, of course, like every part of the city, but I’m really proud of the way the festival has helped to bring people together across the southside.”

Bringing people together through community initiatives and clever thinking is what our Streets Ahead campaign is all about.

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The Southside Fringe is a 16-day celebration in May in venues, businesses and locations across the south of Glasgow.

This year, more than 150 events are expected to take place in 50 venues, with art, drama, cabaret, comedy, music, literature, spoken word, health, lifestyle and food and drink all on the menu.

Entirely self-funded, community led and volunteer-run, it is a brilliant event which, says Corinna, is about putting the area on the map.

“When it comes to a lot of the citywide marketing, the south side is neglected,” she says. “Together with other local organisations like the Glad Café, Govanhill Baths, Southside Film Festival and more, we are managing to raise awareness of this part of Glasgow.”

She jokes: “And we have been so successful, we have even been blamed for putting up property prices….”

In fact, the impact of the Fringe on this part of the city is significant. Commended twice in Westminster and winner of a clutch of awards, the festival enters its seventh year acclaimed by everyone from politicians to locals keen to support it.

“Around 400 people are involved in delivering events; audiences reach thousands – we’re delighted with the impact it has had,” says Corinna, who has given up her job as a community development consultant to run the festival full time.

“This year, thanks to a bridging loan, we’ve been able to take on Meg Curran as Marketing and Development Manager - she has volunteered with us since 2014 and we’re delighted she’s our first full time employee.

“We are moving in to Shawlands Shopping Centre and plans are afoot for developing that as a buzzing community and creative base all year round and we have also been given funding by the Govanhill Community Development Trust to look at integration and getting young people more involved.”

She smiles: “Busy times, on a whole range of issues. But it’s true – this part of Glasgow does have integration issues because the population is so mixed, and the Fringe tries to provide a levelling platform.

“We are non-political, non-religious, non-partisan – we just want to celebrate diversity, our culture, our heritage and the huge array of talent that exists in the southside of Glasgow.”

The festival, which runs from May 10 to 26, is currently looking for creatives keen to get involved. To find out more, visit its Get Go event on February 14 in their new base in Shawlands Shopping Centre. Deadline for registering to take part is March 1.

The Southside Fringe is also running a photography competition, Show Us Your Southside, which is looking for original photos of the area – anything from the Citizens Theatre to trees in Pollok Park. The closing date for entries is February 24. To find out visit the website