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Chivas Brothers mobalises Paisley volunteers for global day of action

Scotch whisky and premium gin producer Chivas Brothers is set to mark National Volunteers Week 2017 by ramping up its efforts to support community projects nationwide. The activity will form part of the seventh edition of Responsib’ALL Day, a global day of action hosted annually by its parent company, Pernod Ricard.

Chivas Brothers’ 1,600 employees will join forces to help support and develop their local communities with dedicated projects across the UK including restoring a children’s play area through to revamping shared spaces for vulnerable children and adults. The events will take place near Chivas Brothers’ sites in London and Scotland on Thursday 1st June.

Dozens of volunteers from Chivas Brothers site in Paisley will join forces with employees from Dumbarton to support Quarriers Village, one of Scotland’s largest social care charities for vulnerable children, adults and their families. The teams will be tasked with improving facilities by decorating communal spaces, developing a sensory garden for residents and building a brick BBQ.

The team in Paisley will also partner with a local food bank, where they will be encouraged to donate food items for those most in need.

Elaine Watt, who works as a CNC Team Lead at Chivas Brothers’ Paisley site, said: “We’re really proud to be volunteering with Quarriers Village. The charity does so much to support vulnerable children and adults and the more we can do to improve their surroundings the better. I hope that the gardening and decorating work creates a fun space for residents to enjoy. I’m really glad Chivas Brothers hosts Responsib’ALL Day as it gives us the opportunity to make a real difference in our community.”

Alice Harper, Quarriers Chief Executive, added: “We are delighted that Chivas Brothers has chosen to support Quarriers with this year’s Responsib’All Day.  Volunteers play such a big part in the work we do at Quarriers: their hard work and dedication is invaluable in helping the people we support to get more out of life and reach their true potential. It is really commendable that the staff at Chivas Brothers volunteer with charities on such a large scale every year, and it’s a fantastic way to start Volunteers’ Week.  We would like to say a very big thank you to everyone involved.”

Throughout the year, Chivas Brothers offers a volunteering programme and provides funding to encourage positive change across areas local to its sites. Employees are able to take part in a range of different community projects including Chivas Spirit of Support – a staff inspired volunteering programme – and the company’s Doubling Up scheme, where the firm will match up to £500 in fundraising per employee. On top of that, employees can vote for a Charity of the Year which is subsequently supported through fundraising initiatives.

Investing in and developing local communities is just one of Chivas Brothers business priorities along with, promoting responsible drinking, protecting the planet and empowering its people.

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Culture can boost your mental health says Linwood Youth Voice

Young people from Linwood have made their voices heard on the power of culture to boost mental health with a magnificent showcase of film and performance.

Focusing on how drama and culture can increase confidence, self-esteem and self-belief, the show – How Amdram changed our lives, held in Paisley Town Hall – let young people share their own experiences in four films and a specially written play.

members of Linwood Youth Voice, LADDS and CLASS Acts at the dress rehearsal on Tuesday 23 May 2017

Nathan McCuaig, aged 17 and chair of Linwood Youth Voice, said: “Drama is a fantastic way to boost your confidence and come out of your shell as a young person. It is important that every young person has the opportunity to get involved in drama and creative expression in their local community. It has helped us create our own voice here in Linwood and it has inspired many of us to look at getting involved in creative industries as a career.

“Performing in front of our friends and family has been nerve-wracking, but it was great to show them what we have achieved in the last few years and that their support is helping us to achieve our creative goals now and also in the future.”

Member of Linwood Youth Voice, Emma Boyle, aged 16, said: “Everything in the event was made by young people and our passion for drama is about bringing it to more young people in the area. In Linwood, we have two amazing drama groups – CLASS Acts and LADDS – and it has been a brilliant experience to work together and tell our story to the world and that being involved in dance, drama and performance has changed our lives.”

CLASS Acts (for eight to 11 year olds) and LADDS – Linwood Area of Dance Drama and Song for secondary-school-aged pupils – are run by Renfrewshire Council’s youth services team.

Leader at CLASS Acts, Kirsten Walker, aged 16, said: “Being involved in CLASS Acts as a leader is an amazing opportunity. The drama groups started in Linwood for young people in the area and I’ve seen first-hand how it can help young people feel confident and build a community where everyone feels welcome. Through drama, we have learnt to project our voices and work together.”

Jordan Stewart, aged 15 and Leader at CLASS Acts and LADDS, added: “Most of Linwood Youth Voice are involved in both CLASS Acts and LADDS. We’ve learned to write scripts for performances, to work with props and think outside the box. We’ve learned to be creative and work together to show off what we have achieved.”

Members of Linwood Youth Voice are on a mission to prove that cultural activities should be accessible in all communities and that it doesn’t need to be expensive.

Casia Wilson, aged 16, said: “We made everything for the show ourselves. We’ve been painting and using materials donated to us and we’ve been given space in Linwood High School to organise the evening. The support from Paisley 2021,  Renfrewshire Council’s youth services team, and Linwood High School helped us to make it all possible.”

Nathan added: “What we have built up in Linwood, through the support of youth services and Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events fund is a movement around drama. Young people have come together through their shared interest in drama and have shown the community what it can do for us.”

The project received funding from Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events Fund, designed to boost the area’s creative capacity as part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Jean Cameron, Paisley 2021 Bid Director, said: “We know culture has the power to make people’s lives better and it is fantastic that Linwood Youth Voice have shown what it can do for young people.”

For more information on creative youth work activities in Renfrewshire, contact youth@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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Bill revealed for three-day arts fest taking over Paisley town centre

The programme has been revealed for a three-day arts festival set to take over Paisley town centre this summer, inspired by the town’s globally-significant heritage of weaving and radical politics.

musician Johnny Barr, ceramic artist Karen Hanvidge, poet Shaun Moore and Linda Morrison, of Paisley’s Sma’ Shot Cottages

The town’s annual Sma’ Shot Day celebration – one of the world’s oldest workers festivals – is this year joined by a wraparound cultural programme called Weave, as part of the push towards Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Weave – on Friday 30 June, Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July – is billed as a signature event in Scotland’s Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology 2017.

The event will reconnect the town’s weaving heritage and global connections via a programme boasting almost 40 shows across six venues and two outdoor live zones in Paisley’s historic town centre.

Programme highlights include:

– Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, the Scottish/English/Indian ensemble touring their new album Neuk Wight Dehli All-Stars;

– the premiere of Iranian textile artist Paria Goodarzi’s new show Mass Movement, influenced by her personal journey as a refugee rebuilding her life in Scotland;

– unveiling two new poems written by author and journalist Kirstin Innes and award-winning novelist, playwright and performer Alan Bissett at the Sma’ Shot Poetry Slam

– an outdoor family ceilidh, mass drum-off, and two live music stages – main stage in Abbey Close, hosted by DJs, and an outdoor stage at Paisley Arts Centre, hosted by Celtic Music radio;

– live music zones at Paisley Arts Centre and Shuttle Street on Saturday, 12noon to 10pm with Paisley Music Guild, Renfrewshire Trad, Create Renfrewshire, LNP and Brick Lane,  and in The Cave, Shuttle Street on Sunday, 1 – 10pm;

– a poetry slam, storytelling sessions, and a series of talks, tours, workshops and demonstrations from local artists and designers, including traditional Paisley shawl weaving;

The event will also include all the traditional Sma’ Shot Day elements on the Saturday, including a parade through the town led by performance experts Walk the Plank, historic re-enactments by local youth theatre group PACE, and a pyrotechnic Burning of the Cork show outside Paisley Abbey.

The full bill can be viewed at www.paisley2021.co.uk.  Some of the acts featuring on the bill – musician Johnny Barr, ceramic artist Karen Hanvidge and poet Shaun Moore – joined Linda Morrison, of Paisley’s Sma’ Shot Cottages, which recreates an 18th century weavers’ home and will be open over the event weekend.

Annique Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating culture through a range of exciting experiences and events in celebration of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

“Scotland’s history & heritage is defined by our traditions, both past & present – all of which will be at the very heart of Weave’s vibrant and varied weekend programme of activity. From workshops to live music, storytelling to artist and designer showcases, Weave will welcome both locals and visitors alike to celebrate and engage with Paisley’s rich and colourful historical roots.”

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “Sma’ Shot Day is an established favourite in the town’s events calendar – but with Weave this year making it a weekend-long event, it will be bigger and better.

“Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 aims to allow the creative talent for which the town is famed to exhibit their exemplary work in this cultural programme alongside established artists.

“So it is great to see the bill for Weave mixing a strong international strand with a showcase of the best musical and artistic performers from the area.”

Sma’ Shot Day marks the victory of Paisley’s weavers in an industrial dispute over payment for the Sma’ (small) Shot thread, which was unseen but held the famous Paisley-patterned cashmere shawls together.

A long fight and political battle ensued which the weavers eventually won and saw the traditional first-weekend-in-July holiday renamed Sma’ Shot Day.

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How Writing Regularly Can Change Your Life

 

You love writing, expressing your words on paper or seeing them lined up on the screen. You do this because you have a blog or simply because you keep a journal that nobody sees. Unfortunately, your busy life or simply the lack of inspiration prevent you from writing regularly. Have you ever wondered if the writing that you do has other effects than just helping you remember things or expressing your ideas?

Benefits of writing regularly

Helps you remember

Writing a short note or several paragraphs each day will help you collect your thoughts and remember important events throughout the week. It will be effortless for you to recall important details much faster. This is especially useful when you are traveling and want to remember everything from your journey.

Keeps you in check

Each one of us falls into a rut at some point in our lives. At such a moment, feelings of unhappiness, dissatisfaction or lack of fulfillment would surface. You can effectively use writing to manage those feelings. Write about how you feel and tag your note with the respective feeling. If you continue to consistently feel a certain mood, you can reference back to the aspects of the week that have to lead to the rut and find ways to fix it.

Helps communicate in real life

If you write regularly, in time, your writing will develop a tone and specific characteristics. It will also seem more put together and elegant. You will choose words that you do not use daily, and these will slowly sneak their way into your conversations.

Gives you a rewarding feeling

Do you know that feeling you have after you come from the gym? You feel accomplished and proud of yourself. This is how you would feel when you finish a short entry or a post. You feel that you have managed to finish something and that it was worth the effort.

Keeps you sharp with age

When you write you perform a thinking exercise, and just like physical exercise, it keeps you in shape as the years pass. It’s also similar to friendships which keep you happy and healthy through their ties to dialogue and social interaction.  Writing keeps you thinking regularly and prevents mental rust.  Even writing poems, if this is what makes you happy.

Manage your mind tabs

Exactly like a browser, your mind can have many tabs opened, becoming a madhouse of distraction. This usually happens when you try to deal with too many thoughts at the same time. Writing will get those ideas out of your head, by giving them a form on the paper or the desktop. This will prevent you from crashing your browser.

How can you start writing?

Baby steps

You can start keeping a journal and write as little as you want. You can even write an article for an online company offering writing service. Even a short note would be enough. You can also start a blog on something that you are passionate about. You will write with excitement, and you will also find other people with the same passions as you.

Technology is your friend

Although the pen and paper give it a more personal touch, it would be better to find a way and stock everything that you want somewhere where is safe and will never be lost. There are many apps, such as Day One, that you can use to store everything you write in the cloud and sync as many devices as you want. So even if you lose you tablet or phone, the information is still there for you to access. But if you’d lost your journal, this could be a reason for you to keep writing for a while.

Link writing to another habit

You can write after you check your email, or after you have breakfast or maybe after you take the kids to school. No matter what you choose make sure that it becomes a habit. It’s easier to remember to write if it comes after a well-engrained habit.

Use writing as a tool and habit to improve not only your productivity, but your life in general. Writing will help your memory, make you happier, help you communicate better and make you proud for managing to achieve a habit that it’s quite hard to crack.

 

 

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Pros and Cons of call center outsourcing for small business

paisley-abbey-logos

Most business owners have a lot of different departments that they need to deal with. Due to the growing popularity of small companies trying to outsource their customer support, more and more call center outsourcing companies are making their entry into the market.  In case they get a chance to outsource some of the work, it not only helps them to feel relieved about those responsibilities but at the same time, it also is more cost effective for them. One of the most common things that small businesses do is call center outsourcing.

There are many different pros and cons of outsourcing call center work. Here is a comprehensive list of a few.

PROS

Constant support

Call center outsourcing vendors will provide you with the best facilities that helps you to stay connected to your customers at all times. It is very important to have a good support cell in your office. When you are unable to have one in your own premises, you can take the help of a good call center company, to aid you with the process. With their services you will get constant support for your customers.

Cost effective

One of the most important questions you need to ask while opting for such services is how much do companies save outsourcing call center. By knowing the call center outsourcing costs you will be able to understand whether it is easier and more cost effective to have your own support system or get another company to do it for you.

Monitoring of activities

Having an outsourced system ensures that the proper monitoring of activities is done at all times. You will not have to worry about looking into the different points that are being monitored by the call center. This helps you to concentrate on the other vital matters of a business.

CONS

Security issues

When you are hiring the services of a call center, you are automatically giving them an insight as to how your company functions. With the help of the company though you will get the communication support, you will also have to reveal some of your secrets to them. So this is a bit of a security lapse.

Communication gap

Since you are not directly talking to the customers, there is a chance that you might miss out on some important information. Chances of miscommunication are very high when you are outsourcing your whole support system. Many times it is seen that the customer complaints are not being able to be looked into as you are unaware of it.

If you are a small business call center outsourcing company, you are bound to get a lot of customers if you can provide high quality services. As a small business owner, you need to ensure the call center outsourcing cost comparison of the plan is in order to understand whether it would be a good option for you. You can go ahead and read the latest call center outsourcing trends in order to get the best benefits out of it.

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Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union’s Super Summer Special is back by popular demand!

Looking to book a holiday in the sun?

For a limited time, Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union is offering members a super summer special. The loan is available to new and existing members (new members capped at £1,500) and must be repaid over 12 months. The loan is available from 1st June 2017 until the 31st of August 2017. If you aren’t a member of RWCU then pop in and see us or give us a call on 0141 889 7442. You can also join online via our website www.rwcu.co.uk

T&Cs: 

Total loan amounts cannot exceed £5,000. There must be no arrears on your account. All loans will be credit checked. Standing order must be in place before applying for the loan. Final approval will be made by the RWCU credit committee. Saving contribution must be made when repaying the loan. For further T&Cs ask staff for more information.

 

 

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YMCA Makerspace will boost young people’s digital skills

The YMCA in Paisley has received a £30k funding boost to create a hub for young people to build their creative digital skills and get ready for the job market.

Bob, one of our volunteers, helping out the next generation of coders!

Once suitable premises are found they will be designated as a makerspace – a collaborative work space where people can create, invent and learn using digital technology. Participants will be able to learn about everything from robotics and coding to app development and video game design.

Year of the Dad event at St Ninnian’s Church Hall

The Children in Need funding will help provide young people with access to software/hardware, training, certification and workshops direct from Microsoft, SQA Digital, Google, Apple, Raspberry Pie Academy and Coder Dojo Scotland.

Year of the Dad event at St Ninnian’s Church Hall

The aim of the programme is to inspire young people to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and improve their digital skills to help them find work.

By participating in the sessions young people will be able to take their ideas from inception to implementation, producing a physical product at the end of the course.

The funding is a boost for Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 – which aims to use creative industry and digital technology to help people out of poverty and drive up life chances.

YMCA Paisley is an active member of the Renfrewshire Digital Participation group that helped shape Renfrewshire Council’s Digital Strategy of which digital participation and increasing digital skills is at the core.

Darran Gillan, Youth and Programme Development Manager at Paisley YMCA, said: “Young people living in Renfrewshire are experiencing high levels of digital literacy issues that act as a barrier to employment and education opportunities in later life, particularly a lack of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) opportunities for young people who are ready to leave secondary education for the world of work.

“The great thing about being a makerspace is that it can help young people build digital skills that will make them more employable and will also dispel the myth that you have to be good at maths and sciences to be good at technology.

“Through previous projects we have seen young people create their own coding clubs and virtual reality videos to address things like cyber bullying and learn how to promote their creations. I look forward to seeing the creations the young people in our makerspace sessions will produce.”

The sessions will start in July and will take place on Thursday and Friday evenings from 5pm-7pm for 8-11 year-olds and 7pm-9pm for 12 – 18 year-olds.

For more information on the makerspace sessions please visit www.paisleyymca.org.

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Fundraisers get in the swing of things for mental health awareness

Fundraisers are teed up to take part in a charity golf tournament this weekend which aims to raise money towards suicide prevention.

Rosemary Mullan, Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron and Stephen Torrance on the bridge at the 18th hole

After the success of previous years of the event- which has seen more than £5000 raised for Choose Life and the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) group- Elderslie residents Stephen Torrance and Andy Payne have once again come together to honour the memory of Stephen’s brother Vincent.

Rosemary Mullan, Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron and Stephen Torrance at Elderslie Golf Club

The Vinny Torrance Invitational will see 100 players- playing in teams of four- take part in a Texas Scramble competition- with prizes for 1st and 2nd as well as six feature holes.

The Vinny Torrance Invitational Trophy

Elderslie Golf Club will host the event and have helped keep costs down by subsiding green fees for the tournament which has helped ensure a capacity attendance.

Following the golf, there will be a raffle and an auction to raise funds for the charity as well as a social evening in the clubhouse.

Kindly donated by Under Armour, the auction has six hospitality tickets to the Wales v Scotland match at the 2018 6 Nations Championships to be won.

Worth an incredible £5000, the current highest bid sits at £1500 and bids are encouraged to ensure the most money is raised as possible for the SOBS group.

To make a bid contact Stephen on- 07881 581 241.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This is a terrific event as it allows the issue of suicide and depression to be raised and encourages people to discuss it with their peers.

“The SOBS group provides a great outlet for those who have been bereaved and the money raised will allow the SOBS group to continue to provide help to those who need it in Renfrewshire.

“Stephen should be proud of arranging such a fantastic event which is a fitting tribute to his brother’s memory.”

In 2009, Vinny took his own life at the age of 27 after suffering from depression.

Stephen added: “”Vincent battled with depression for a number of years but hid it from friends and family.

“Like so many young men, he felt if he spoke about his illnes then this was him showing a ‘weakness’.

“We want to raise awareness that depression and suicidal thoughts are not a weakness and that there is help out there.”

The SOBS support group meets on the last Wednesday of every month at The Wynd Centre, Paisley from 7pm-8:30pm.

Rosemary Mullan, Choose Life Co-ordinator, said: “Without fundraisers and volunteers such as Stephen, the SOBS group would not be able to make the connections we do with those who may be suffering from suicidal thoughts.

“An event such as this is fantastic as it brings forward the issue of mental health to a demographic which can be most at risk and can hopefully allow anyone to seek help who may need it.”

The national helpline Breathing Space can be reached on 0800 83 85 87, and the number for The Samaritans is 116 123.

Recovery Across Mental Health (RAMH) First Crisis can be contacted on 0141 848 9090.

For more information on suicide prevention, call 0141 849 2200, or email  rosemary.mullan@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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KINLOCHARD GATHERING FOR PAISLEY CONTACT THE ELDERLY GROUP

A tea party group for older people in Paisley who live alone enjoyed a day out in Kinlochard with 60 other guests and volunteers of Contact the Elderly.

Kinlochard Village Hall hosted the event and the groups entertained by harpist Katherine Harrison, singer Donnie MacLeod, piper Murray O’May and accordionist Raymond Chalmers.

The annual event is a rare chance for so many groups to get together and share stories over cups of tea, sandwiches and cake.

Caroline McGinlay, Support Officer at Contact the Elderly, said:

“The annual outing to Kinlochard is one of the highlights in our groups’ calendars. It is always such a fantastic day out to a beautiful part of the country. As well as the afternoon itself, our guests and volunteers enjoy the chance to travel to Kinlochard.

“Our thanks go once again to the fantastic volunteer team at the Kinlochard Village Hall.”

Contact the Elderly organises free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for older people who live alone. There are more than 120 groups in Scotland offering a vital lifeline of friendship to almost 900 people. The parties ordinarily take place in volunteer hosts’ homes, with guests being accompanied by their volunteer drivers.

To find out more about becoming a guest or volunteer of Contact the Elderly, please contact Caroline on please contact Caroline McGinlay on caroline.mcginlay@contact-the-elderly.org.uk or 0141 812 1555.  Contact the Elderly can email or post a leaflet if someone would like to share it with an older person who would benefit.

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Gavin Newlands reaffirms commitment to WASPI women

Gavin Newlands, SNP Candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has pledged his continued support to help those women affected by the UK Government’s changes to their State Pension.

Since 2015, Mr Newlands has been supporting the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners who have been affected by UK Government changes to their State Pension.

John Major’s 1995 government passed a State Pensions Act that saw both men and women’s state pension age rise to 65 by 2020, while the Coalition Government’s 2011 Act brought forward the changes to 2018 and raised the state pension age to 66 by October 2020.

These changes, that saw the state pension equalised for both men and women, had a particular impact on women born in the 1950s as many of them have had their state pension age increased twice, the second time with little warning.

About 2.6 million women across the UK have been affected by the changes to the State Pension. In Renfrewshire, according to the independent House of Commons Library, around 8,130 women are directly affected by the 2011 Pensions Act alone.

Gavin Newlands, SNP Candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“At every step of the way I have supported the 2.6 million women – including over 8,000 in Renfrewshire – who have been affected by the changes that the UK Government made to their State Pension.

“It’s vitally important that we continue to put pressure on the Tory UK Government to ensure that we achieve the best outcome for these women, many of whom have worked hard for decades without taking a penny out of the system.

“If re-elected, I will continue to take the fight to the Tories to ensure that they finally start to the voices of all the WASPI women.  They should correct their mistakes, honour their commitment to the WASPI women and provide relief and dignity in retirement for the millions of women who have been affected.