THIS year's Doors Open Days is planning to be the most open yet... as organisers aim to include people from as many varied backgrounds as possible.

Tonight will see First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launch the programme for what is the 30th year of the annual event.

The special anniversary celebration will be held in Govanhill Baths as a statement of intent for an inclusive Doors Open Days.

Dr Susan O'Connor, Director of the Scottish Civic Trust, said: "As an organisation we see that the people who take part in heritage events are from a certain socio-economic background, already familiar with the buildings in question and are above a certain age.

“We want to be getting people making decisions about their build environment and the people who are making those decisions are not always reflective of the local community as a whole.

“In Govanhill there are 53 languages spoken so it is an extremely diverse area with a population of around 15,000 to 20,000 people.

“The vast majority of those people may not have had a heritage experience so we wanted to provide them with that opportunity and on their own doorstep."

Over the weekends from August 31 to September 29 hundreds of buildings will open their doors to allow people a sneak peek inside.

Many of these will be across Glasgow, including Govanhill Baths, which is a regular participant in the festival celebrating heritage and the built environment.

This year, however, the Calder Street venue has been filled with flowers thanks to florists from Floraboration.

Organisers say: "From snapdragons in the stalls to sunflowers in the skylights... [it will be] a mind-blowing floral takeover of one of Glasgow’s best-loved spaces.

Tickets for the Baths open days have sold out... but in order to make sure local people can benefit, anyone living in the G42 7 and G42 8 postcodes can skip the queue and be guaranteed entry.

Govanhill Baths will be open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this week from 8am until 8pm.


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Susan said: "There are signs in the local community in Urdu, Roma, Punjabi and Polish and that’s so important because we want everyone to know that Scottish heritage is their heritage too and it’s for them to take decisions about.

"We want to open the door to that conversation about why heritage groups aren’t reaching a more diverse audience, aren’t reaching those hard to reach groups.

"We wanted to bring the event to the community.

"It’s all very well and very lovely to have your event in a castle but not everyone is able to travel to these places – we have to go to the places where the people are.

"And the Baths was perfect for that. It is an amazing building, and a fantastic statement for the community, that it is getting this big, splendid facility.

"It’s really important."

This year, to assist with accessiblity, there will be a map of virtual tours of places and spaces around Scotland - Digital Doors Open.

With the Centre for Archaeology, Technology and Cultural Heritage (CATCH) at St Andrews University, Doors Open Day has worked with communities to digitise buildings throughout the country.

Volunteers have taken photographs of the interiors of different buildings, which will then be stitched together to create 360-degree virtual tours.

In Glasgow, tours of Glasgow City Chambers will be in Farsi, Urdu, Arabic, Polish and Gaelic to ensure local communities are able to full engage with the tours.

Susan added: "A high number of people in Glasgow take part in Doors Open Day.

"We are really careful in the language we use such as buildings, history and their stories because these are words without barriers - they are common words that make it easier for people to understand what we're trying to get across.

"We're also keen to open up buildings in local communities and make it easier for people to come and see things that are on their own doorsteps."


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Doors Open Days is Scotland’s largest free festival that celebrates heritage and the built environment, offering free access to over a thousand venues across the country throughout September, every year.

Its purpose is to enable everyone to enjoy built and cultural heritage by accessing places, spaces, and activities not usually open to them.

It is coordinated nationally by the Scottish Civic Trust and is part of European Heritage Days alongside Scottish Archaeology Month, coordinated by Archaeology Scotland.

The event is largely dependent on volunteers with Susan saying it is "not very well supported by local authorities."

Last year across 30 local authority areas some 6300 volunteers gave 29,000 volunteer hours.

Glasgow's Doors Open Days are September 16 to 22.