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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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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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TALENT OF TOMORROW TO RECEIVE £5,000 CHIVAS BROTHERS’ BURSARY FOR SECOND YEAR

Chivas Brothers began the search for bright, enthusiastic and dedicated applicants for its popular bursary scheme in partnership with the Scottish International Educational Trust (SIET). The initiative, which launched to great acclaim for the first time last year, offers financial support to ambitious employees or their family members, helping them to realise their aspirations and take their talents to the next level, whether through further education or vocational training.

 

This sought-after bursary scheme sees Chivas Brothers team up with SIET, a body which provides talented men and women with grants to complete further education studies. The partnership provides employees and direct family members with the opportunity to secure funding of up to £5,000 a year over three years.

Last year, the bursary, which is open to the 1,600 employees of Chivas Brothers, contributed towards the studies of an aeronautical engineer, a budding actress and a Classics student studying at Cambridge University. Employees throughout the country at 32 sites in Orkney, Speyside, Central Scotland, Ayrshire, London and Plymouth are now being encouraged to apply and further their personal and professional goals.

Mia Forbes, one of the three recipients of last year’s bursary said: “The bursary has been invaluable, it has relieved the stress surrounding my financial situation at university and allowed me to be more focused on my education. People underestimate the cost of books and other resources, but without the bursary it would have been a struggle. Chivas Brothers helped me to pursue my dream degree, easing the pressure of financial costs, something I will always be thankful for.”

Adam Donnelly, who is studying to become an engineer in aeronautics said: “It’s safe to say, I don’t know what I would have done without the bursary. It enabled me to travel to college, something which was a high expense in my plans for further education. For anyone wanting to further their learning, I cannot urge you enough to apply, it’s an invaluable opportunity and the business’s support just eases that pressure of the financial demands.”

Jennie Norrish, Global Communications Director at Chivas Brothers said: “When we launched the Chivas Brothers Bursary last year, we were overwhelmed by the response and the high calibre of those who applied for it. Last year’s recipients have really benefited from the funding provided and we can’t wait to see the aspirations of this year’s applicants. An entrepreneurial mind-set is something that we champion at Chivas Brothers and so to be able to support that with not only our employees but their families too, is something we are truly proud of as a business.”

Michael Ewart, Director of SIET, said: “This bursary is such a worthwhile initiative and we are delighted to be working with Chivas Brothers again this year. The scheme shows the business’s dedication and commitment to its employees, opening up opportunities for them that might never have been possible otherwise.”

To apply, employees can visit the company’s digital hub for its staff where an application form will be available. Applicants will be required to showcase why they should be selected via three sections on personal details, education and work experience. Here there will also be a variety of information about the beneficiaries from 2016.

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Trinity High School’s upcoming production of The Sound of Music

The show will take place in Trinity High School, Glebe Street, Renfrew PA4 8TP from 19th June 2017 – 22nd June 2017 (7pm).
Tickets for the show can be ordered and collected by contacting the school office on 0141 886 6121.  Family tickets (two adults and two children) cost £12; adult tickets are £5; child and concession tickets cost £3.

Here’s the publicity blurb if required:

“This summer, the staff and pupils at Trinity High School are proud to present their production of the Rodger and Hammerstein’s much loved musical smash hit, The Sound of Music.  The production is the fruit of ten months of hard work and labour, with daily after-school rehearsals becoming the norm for those involved.  The result is a finely choreographed and highly entertaining revival of the Broadway musical hit.

All involved are eagerly awaiting the chance finally to take to the stage and put on the show.  For the many Sixth Year students involved, it marks a fitting and deserved conclusion to their time at the school.

The show will be produced by Miss Catriona Duggan, English Teacher and producer of the school’s highly successful and much lauded rendition in 2013 of West Side Story.  Miss Duggan’s own playscript Things Change also featured in the Progressive Playwright Award finals at Tron Theatre in September last year.”

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Gavin Newlands joins The Great Get Together in honour of Jo Cox

Gavin Newlands, SNP Candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, took some time out from campaigning to take part in the Jo Cox Foundation’s ‘The Great Get Together’.

Gavin Newlands, Councillor Jim Paterson with volunteers from Our Place, Our Families

Mr Newlands and Councillor Jim Paterson visited Our Place, Our Families in Renfrew to learn more about their work to bring communities together, including taking part in cookery classes.

Jo Cox MP was tragically murdered last year and The Great Get Together is a community event that was held throughout the UK on the weekend of the 16-18 June to mark the anniversary of Jo’s death.

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

“I can’t quite believe that it’s been a year since Jo Cox was tragically murdered in her constituency as she carried out her parliamentary duties. Jo was a committed parliamentarian who strived to bring communities together.

“The Great Get Together is a fantastic initiative which has been set-up in honour of Jo’s commitment to bring communities together.

“I was delighted to visit ‘Our Place, Our Families’ to learn more about their recent work to support the local community. ‘Our Place, Our Families’ do fantastic work to support families and individuals – their work epitomises the positive legacy of Jo Cox.

“We can all get caught up in the heat and pressure of an election campaign. The legacy of Jo Cox reminds us all that we all have more in common that what divides us.”

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MAJOR SUCCESS FOR JOHNSTONE BANDS

The two Johnstone pipe bands made the short trip to Paisley at the weekend to take part in the British Pipe Band Championships at the St James Playing Fields.  The two World Championship winning bands were competing for the first time in a major championship at their new promoted grades of 1 and 4a.

Grade 4a band with their 3rd place trophy. Pictures by John Shaw.

The Grade 4a band carried on from their successful season last year with third place from a field of seventeen in the final, a fine result given the step up in class of the opposition.

The Grade 1 band also had a fine result coming tenth of sixteen in their final, beating some well established Grade 1 bands in the process.

some of the Grade 1 drummers warming up prior to their competition.

Pipe Major Keith Bowes Jr commented, “I was delighted that the Johnstone grade 4 and grade 1 bands performed well at the first major competition of the year.  With both bands being newly promoted it was great to see them do so well, as it is never easy to make an impact as you move up the grades. There is always lots to improve on, but as long as the standard of the performances continue to improve then I can’t ask for much more.  I was also delighted to see many of our Renfrewshire learners came for a listen and join in with the bands to play during the march past, I hope they will have been inspired for what they can achieve in the future.”

The Johnstone Bands’ next competitions are Shotts Highland Games on the on the 3rd June followed quickly by the UK Championships in Belfast on the 10th June.

Johnstone Pipe Band are currently on the lookout for sponsorship to help enable them expand and progress the band and their educational activities, for further information please contact the band on 07751 500520.  Details on the band’s learner setup can also be found by calling the same number.