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Community groups enjoy Spree festival thanks to tickets initiative

Local organisations from across Renfrewshire have enjoyed performances by some of the top names at this year’s Spree festival thanks to a community tickets scheme.

Foxbar Mens Shed meet Dougie MacLean inThe Speigletent at Paisley Spree 18.10.17

The Men’s Shed is among the local groups to benefit with a visit to watch singer songwriter Dougie MacLean’s gig at the Spiegeltent venue, where they also got to meet the man himself.

Dougie MacLean at Paisley Spree 2017 18.10.17

The group sees men of all ages meet weekly in a social setting at the Foxbar Youth Centre where they build bird houses, plant boxes and bird feeders, tend to community allotments and undertake guided walks all over Renfrewshire and beyond.

It was set up by Shelter Scotland’s Foundations First Project, funded by the STV Children’s Appeal and offers a personalised service to support families in Renfrewshire who are struggling to find, keep or improve their home.

Volunteer coordinator Janice MacNamara said: “Coming together at a gig like this makes such a difference to the men. It’s a social thing as some of them don’t have any family, so it’s another night out. Meeting Dougie too was just brilliant, we were chatting away about Paisley.

“Different men of all ages come to our group for different reasons – some come through bereavement because they’ve lost their partner and we also have men who maybe have mental health or addiction issues, though they are all free from drugs and alcohol when they come.

“No questions are asked about anybody, it’s about sharing skills and helping each other and it’s been great for all of them to get together in this way.”

Community group tickets also made available for this year’s Spree festival include 100 given out for Paolo Nutini’s sold out Homecoming gig at Paisley Abbey on Friday October 20 .

Sixty were given to local community groups through local charity Engage, with another 40 distributed to looked after children through Renfrewshire Council’s social work department.

Other groups who benefited across the festival include the Star Project, Paisley and Renfrew YMCAs, Street Stuff and Haven Recycling.

As the Spree continued this week, top comics Tom Urie and Janey Godley teamed up for a special night of music and laughter at the Burger & Keg Live Tent at Paisley Abbey.

Tom Urie at The Burger and Keg Tent at Paisley Spree 2017 18.10.17

Another raft of aspiring musicians including Anton and the Colts, Kieran Sinclair and Friends and Bobby Deans performed at the Danny Kyle Open Stage at the Spiegeltent, while the Spree For All fringe festival hosted live music at a string of venues across the town centre, including at the The Old Swan Inn.

Other upcoming highlights include the Brewband show at Paisley Town Hall on Friday, singer songwriter James Grant’s show at Paisley Abbey on Saturday and the RSNO takeover at Paisley Abbey on Tuesday, where talented Renfrewshire school children will perform with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The Spree allows us to take culture to every corner of Renfrewshire.

“The aim of the UK City Culture 2021 bid is to allow us to open the benefits of culture and the arts to all. The community groups tickets initiative at the Spree festival allows us to support local charities and communities in this way and give them to access cultural experiences they would otherwise be unable to.”

The Spree is taking place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters and more info can be found at burgerandkeg.co.uk.

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.

Tickets and info are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the box office on 0300 300 1210.

Details of the Spree for All can be found at its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SpreeForAllPaisley/