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Paisley 2021 gets 2021st backer at music festival

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 just passed another magical milestone – after 2021 people signed up to back it online.

Scott Lever and Nyree Marsh pushing the button to back the bid

The bid website at paisley2021.co.uk has had an option for residents to ‘push the button’ to register their support since the start of November.

And University of the West of Scotland music student Scott Lever – one of the team who organised the uni’s Scottish Music Festival, taking place today – was the man who helped tip the total over the line.

The first ever music festival at the university saw a number of performances in the Atrium and Brough Hall throughout the day.

The festival was headlined by local band Lemonhaze, who recently won a nationwide competition to open for Paolo Nutini before a crowd of tens of thousands at Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay street party.

And Scott and fellow events management student Nyree Marsh, both from Greenock, were delighted to add their names to the thousands who have already backed the bid online,

Scott said: “We fully support the Paisley 2021 bid and it’s a real honour for me to be the 2021st backer.

“Paisley has so much going on, with the Monte Carlo Rally next week and the Scottish Album of the Year coming back, plus there’s so many good bands.

“The music festival came about when we were asked to put an event on with some bands in the Atrium as part of our course – word got out and it started to grow and we added in guest speakers and people from the Scottish music industry.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board, added: “For Paisley 2021 to reach 2021 online backers in less than three months just shows the depth of support here in the town.

“That number can be added to the almost 10,000 who have already taken part in conversations around the bid online or at one of our events.

“From the start we said the bid would be led by the people of Paisley for the people of Paisley, and that has been the case.

“So it was fitting the 2021st backer was Scott – someone who is doing great work to help showcase the great musical talent we have in the town.

“But the drive for support doesn’t stop here – for us to have a chance of winning we need people to help us show the judges at DCMS that the people of Paisley want the bid and can make it happen.

“You can push the button at paisley2021.co.uk now – let’s see how many we can get to show their support by the time the bid is lodged in April.”

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Piazza shows support for bid with Paisley 2021 signage

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture will be seen by five million rail passengers this year – after bosses at the town’s Piazza shopping centre unveiled a giant Paisley 2021 sign.

The branding has just been installed on the side of the centre’s recently-revamped multi-story car park, which faces on to the platform at Paisley Gilmour Street station.

And it means passengers at the station – Scotland’s fourth-busiest – won’t be able to miss the giant advert for Paisley’s ambitions.

Maureen Hill and Cllr Macmillan on the platform at Paisley Gilmour Street, looking on to the sign

Councillor Mark Macmillan – chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board – said: “We looked at various sites in the town and identified the Piazza car park as one being seen by huge numbers of people.

“A big part of the bid is about raising awareness of Paisley and changing perceptions of the town among potential visitors.

“This means the millions of passengers a year travelling between Glasgow, the airport, Ayrshire and Inverclyde will be aware of what is happening here.

“A successful bid will bring massive economic benefits to Paisley town centre and huge numbers of visitors spending their money with local businesses.

“When the bid goes in it will be crucial we can show the judges at DCMS there is support from throughout the local community.

“To date more than 100 local businesses have shown their support and I would like thank The Piazza for getting involved in this way.”

The Piazza multi-storey car park has a capacity of 336 spaces and recently had a £1.3m revamp, which saw external and internal improvements.

That included extra disabled and parent/child bays, work on the lighting and surfaces, repainting the outside of the building, and new lifts and CCTV.

Piazza manager Maureen Hill added: “We made a major investment in the new car park because we have confidence in what lies ahead for Paisley town centre.

“If Paisley was to be named UK City of Culture 2021 it would be a massive boost to ourselves and other town centre businesses in terms of footfall.

“We are delighted to show our support for the bid to the many millions who pass through the station each year.”

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Paisley ready to bid as UK City of Culture competition launches

The team behind Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture say the town will be ready to host the 2021title – after the UK Government today fired the starting gun on the competition.

Paisley Town Hall lit up in support of the bid

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport today formally launched the 2021 competition, with bids due in for 28 April, and the winner to be announced at the end of the year.

The guidelines were announced by Minister for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock MP during a visit to Hull, the current holders of the title, which runs every four years.

Paisley’s unique assets include the globally-recognised Paisley Pattern, Scotland’s second-highest concentration of listed buildings, and an internationally significant museum collection, including the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls.

The town also offers a thriving contemporary cultural scene, a highly-regarded university, international airport, and PACE, one of the UK’s largest youth theatre groups.

Paisley officially launched its intention to bid in November 2015 and the year since has seen an outpouring of support from the local community and beyond, including:

– more than 8,000 local people taking part in conversations around the bid;

– messages of support from homegrown cultural icons such as singer Paolo Nutini and playwright John Byrne;

– backing from more than 100 businesses, including Glasgow Airport, intu Braehead and the University of the West of Scotland;

– 70 million opportunities to see or hear something positive about Paisley, helping change perceptions and the tone of conversation about the town;

– cross-party political support, with an event at Westminster and one of the best –attended parliamentary receptions in the history of the Scottish Parliament;

Councillor Mark Macmillan, chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board and Renfrewshire Council Leader, said: “We would like to thank DCMS for giving us the chance to bid for this title – we hope to use it to transform the area’s fortunes, bringing massive economic benefits and a lasting social and cultural legacy.

“The first week of Hull’s UK City of Culture year saw 342,000 visitors to the city – that is scale of boost this title could bring.

“Paisley’s name was once carried across the world thanks to the Pattern and its status as the one-time home of the global thread industry – for its size, the town’s contribution to the world has been massive.

“This bid will retell Paisley’s unique story to the world, while showing the judges Paisley wants the title, needs the title and can deliver it.”

Jean Cameron, Paisley 2021 Bid Director, added: “Over the past year we have had wonderful backing from the people of Paisley – and our thriving creative community has been at the heart of that.

“In that time we have seen a new sense of confidence and awareness of everything Paisley has to offer – and we will distil that into a bid which shows DCMS how we plan to harness the power of culture to make people’s lives better.

“We would also like to wish all the best to all the other cities who will be joining us on the bidding journey.”

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “Securing UK City of Culture status would have a hugely positive effect on Paisley and everyone at Glasgow Airport is fully behind the bid.

“As well as providing a nationwide platform to showcase the town’s rich cultural heritage, it would also create a legacy of enduring civic pride for the people of Paisley.

“There’s no doubt a successful bid would play a significant role in boosting inbound tourism, so having an international airport serving more than nine million passengers just minutes from the town centre can only be to Paisley’s advantage.

“We hope our continued support can help play a part and wish the bid team good luck.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland (UWS), said: “UWS is extremely proud to be one of the key partners of Paisley 2021.

“The university has already contributed to a number of initiatives related to the bid including an innovative digital art exhibition at Paisley Museum, which was commissioned by UWS in support of the bid.

“University staff are also playing an integral part in bid planning and delivery. We are excited about being part of the process and continuing to work with our partners to showcase Paisley.”

David Wallace, managing director of PACE theatre company and chair of the Creative Renfrewshire Network said, “The past year has been phenomenal in terms of taking pride in and perceptions of Paisley to a new level.

“The young people in the company now talk excitedly about their town and the competition launch brings their dream of a creative future one step closer.”

Although Paisley is not a city, the competition is open to large towns and urban areas, so as Scotland’s largest town, Paisley is equipped to apply and win.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“The firing gun has now been fired and the race to be named UK City of Culture in 2021 can now truly begin.

“The team behind Paisley’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021 have been working hard for the past year, showcasing everything that our town has to offer and detailing the transformational impact that would come from Paisley being awarded this prestigious title.

“I know from my work promoting the town in Westminster that there is a lot of interest in Paisley, and I will continue to do everything in my power to help Paisley being awarded the title of UK City of Culture 2021.”

For more information about Paisley’s bid, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

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PAISLEY BECOMES THE NEWEST TOWN TO FLY THE PURPLE FLAG

Paisley First is celebrating today after learning it achieved the prestigious Purple Flag status for its evening and night-time economy (ENTE).  Purple Flag is a town and city centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 17:00 and 05:00.

The Purple flag application was developed over the last twelve months by Paisley First, with partners; Paisley Pubwatch, Renfrewshire Council, Central Scotland Police, Renfrewshire Cabs, Scotrail, Paisley and West Community Council and the Paisley Street Pastors.

Areas awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local residents.

Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to over 65 towns and cities in the UK and Ireland. Purple Flag accredited areas have all reported a consistent increase in footfall and a decrease in crime within the ENTE. The Purple Flag programme is managed by the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which works in partnership with key stakeholder groups backed by the government, police and businesses, as well as UK sponsors, Diageo Great Britain.

Paisley First Chairman, Ian Henderson stated, “Winning the Purple Flag is another project milestone for Paisley First and our partners, and it is a great credit to the team who have driven the project to completion.  Paisley is the third town in Scotland to achieve this accreditation, joining the latest towns, Aberdeen and Dunfermline.  Towns and cities that have been awarded Purple Flag status have reported increased sales and additional evening events and activities.  Paisley First are currently planning more events and projects for the year ahead and we will present these to our members at our open meeting on the 16th February, 2017 at the UWS.”

Councillor Eddie Devine, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “We are delighted the town is now only one of the few places in Scotland to be awarded Purple Flag status.  A number of council staff worked closely with Paisley First and other partners on the application and it is great to see that hard work paying off”.

“This award shows Paisley town centre has been judged as surpassing standards of excellence in managing the evening and night time economy, and offers an entertaining, diverse, safe and enjoyable night out.

“The work going on around the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is geared towards selling Paisley as a destination and bringing in visitors to spend their money with local businesses.

“For potential visitors to know the town centre has been given an official seal of approval by expert assessors  is a great boost to that work – and with the bid due to be lodged in the next few months, this accolade couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Shanaaz Carroll, CEO of the ATCM said:  “There are now over 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who are proudly flying the Purple Flag after working hard to gain accreditation. The award is not just about safety, but also the vibrancy and diversity of the evening and night-time offer — this can only be achieved by people working together and across the country, we are seeing some amazing examples of this type of partnership working.”

Paisley officially receives the Purple Flag new accreditation on the 8th February, 2017, along with Dublin One, Leeds, Limerick, Maynooth, Reading, Wexford and a further seven towns; Dunfermline, Leicester Square, Newcastle under Lyme, Preston, Salisbury, Sheffield and Southend who have had their Full Renewal status renewed.

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St Mirren V Morton

St Mirren welcome Greenock Morton to the Paisley 2021 Stadium tomorrow for the final game of 2016 as we look to end the year on a high.

Saints come into this game unbeaten in their last three home games and are aiming to make it four when our Renfrewshire rivals come to town.

The team will look to the first game of 2016 for inspiration after Lawrence Shankland’s first half header got St Mirren’s year off to a flying start securing a 1-0 win over our Renfrewshire rivals at Cappielow on January 2.

Tickets are on sale at smfctickets.co.uk and will be on sale at the ticket office from 10am right until kick-off.

The Club are offering fans who buy an adult ticket for the 31st December game against Morton a discount on their ticket for the first home game of 2017 when St Mirren face Queen of the South on 7th January at The Paisley 2021 Stadium.

If you have already purchased an adult ticket for the Morton game then hold on to your ticket stub after the match as it will let you buy an adult ticket for £15 for the upcoming match against Queen of the South.

Alternatively, you can purchase tickets for both matches at the same time and it will only cost £35.  Also, any Season Ticket holder who attends the Morton game also has the opportunity to purchase a ticket for a friend for the Queen of the South game for £15.

Please note that this offer needs to be purchased at the St Mirren Ticket Office in person or over the phone, there is no online option. This offer is only available until 2:00pm on Friday 6th January.

Your support is greatly appreciated and it truly makes a difference to the players when the supporters are in top voice.

So come along tomorrow and make some noise as we look to end 2016 in style.

Come on Ye Saints!

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Paisley bands take over Scotland’s new year!

Paisley will be bringing in Scotland’s new year – with not one but three local acts taking the stage at the world-famous Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party.

The town’s very own music megastar, Paolo Nutini, will headline both the Night Afore Concert on 30 December and Concert in The Gardens on 31 December, with a local act – the hotly-tipped The Vegan Leather – supporting on both nights.

 

And Paisley indie-rockers Lemonhaze will open the showcase Concert in the Gardens after winning a nationwide competition to land a prized slot on the bill.

The contest saw a shortlist of eight bands chosen from more than 400 entries by judges including festival headliner Paolo, with more than 10,000 votes cast by the public.

And the Paisley connection to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay doesn’t stop there – with the festival bill including a special show paying tribute to work of the town’s 19th-century weaver-poet Robert Tannahill.

Acclaimed singer-songwriters Eddi Reader and James Grant will be joined by the Tannahill Weavers and Tannahill Singers for a show based on the work of ‘Scotland’s secret bard’, as part of Scot:Lands which takes place in various venues around the Old Town on 1 January.

The show is arriving in Edinburgh after making a sold-out debut at Paisley’s Spree festival in October.

Gianluca Bernacchi of The Vegan Leather said: “This will be the biggest gig we have done so far – we are all really excited for it, and to be playing with Paolo.

“We were growing up in Paisley when he first broke through and he is someone we really look up to, so it’s really cool to be on the same bill as him.

“My family are actually from the same town in Italy as his family, so we have met a few times through our parents.

“Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is one of the biggest parties in the world and to have so many Paisley acts performing speaks volumes about what is going on in the town.”

Jean Cameron, Project Director of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, said: “Scotland boasts one of the most iconic new year celebrations in the world with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – and to have three Paisley acts at the heart of that just shows the strength of the wonderful creative scene we have in the town.

“The Vegan Leather and Lemonhaze are two of our best up-and-coming acts, so it is great to see them share a stage with our best-known musical performer.

“It’s also great to see the work of Paisley’s Robert Tannahill being brought to life as part of the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival.

“This helps showcase the depth of Paisley’s historic and contemporary creative offer – and with the bid to be lodged in 2017 it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

The Vegan Leather and Lemonhaze have both already played to crowds of thousands during major events in Paisley town centre – with the former on the bill for the town’s Christmas Lights Switch-on and Paisley 2021 bid anniversary last month.

That event featured a video message from Paolo outlining in his own words how he saw the bid benefitting his home town

He said at the time: “Paisley has this real air of bohemia and is full of artists and free-thinkers, and for me it’s got to embrace that and not try to change that.

“I see the romance in the town – I see the real beauty in it.”

Also appearing for the Concert in the Gardens are 90s icons the Lightning Seeds, with 75,000 revellers expected to descend on Edinburgh for 31st December, 150,000 for the full three-day Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme. Full details of all the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events and tickets still available can be found at www.edinburghshogmanay.com

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Street Stuff set for festive fun

Renfrewshire’s award-winning Street Stuff programme will entertain hundreds of young people this Christmas as a special activity camp takes place.

St Mirren Manager Jack Ross

St Mirren Manager Jack Ross

Football, dance, table tennis, photography and gaming are just some of the activities on offer from Monday 26 December to Tuesday 3 January at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

St Mirren legend Tony Fitzpatrick will be showcasing the second book in his Babakoochi Bear series on Wednesday 28 December- as part of a festive party featuring a DJ and talent show which will see 150 young people have a Christmas meal in the St Mirren hospitality suite..

Youngsters in attendance will receive a free meal as part of each session of the programme ensuring they learn the importance of exercise and healthy eating.

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(L-R) St Mirren players Kyle Magennis, John Sutton and Kyle McAllister

The programme is being supported by the Paisley 2021 Bid Team to introduce cultural activities to young people taking part including the brand new culture bus which features DJ decks and other musical equipment.

Activities are free to attend and places will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

The full list of activities on the Christmas programme can be found at: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/streetstuff

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “Our Street Stuff programme is helping to engage with young people and is making a noticeable difference in our communities.

“Thousands of our young people are taking part in free interactive activity sessions which is keeping them safe, fit, happy and healthy.

“There are a fantastic range of activities on across the festive period and I would encourage everyone to sign up to take part.”

Street Stuff began in 2009 as a partnership between Renfrewshire Council, St Mirren FC, Engage Renfrewshire, Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

It aims to work with young people on the streets and since its inception; reported incidents of youth disorder and antisocial behaviour in Renfrewshire have dropped by 75 per cent.

To sign up for any of the sessions contact: Stephen Gallacher via stephen.gallagher@stmirren.com or Emma Phelan via emma.phelan@stmirren.com.

Further information on Street Stuff and an up-to-date Renfrewshire-wide programme of activities can be found at: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/streetstuff

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Paisley goes to Holyrood!

Artists, poets, actors and musicians from Paisley will join with representatives from the public, private and third sectors at the Scottish Parliament tonight to show their support for Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

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The fabulous PACE players doing their bit again – left to right Angus Taylor, Ruth Main, Carla McPherson and Daniel Meehan.

George Adam MSP for Paisley and Neil Bibby, MSP West Scotland, are sponsoring a reception for Paisley 2021, which has attracted attendance by Creative Scotland, the National Theatre of Scotland, VisitScotland, Skills Development Scotland, YoungScot and the British Council, to name but a few.

Paisley-born, renowned artist and script-writer, John Byrne, is also expected to attend, having recently said he supports the bid wholeheartedly. And MSPs of all parties will be invited to show their support in person and via social media.

paisley2021_46

The event marks a critical point in Paisley’s journey towards submitting its bid for the title, run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), next spring, and celebrates phenomenal support for the endeavour garnered over the past year.

Jean Cameron, Project Director for Paisley 2021, said, “In 12 short months, we have seen the tide of opinion turn towards a position where people now really believe we can do it, and that belief in itself has had an enormously positive effect on our communities.

“A vivid pattern is emerging – a bit like the famous Pattern itself – with passionate people all pulling together to create an incredible showcase that draws inspiration locally, but also thinks globally looking to partners across Scotland to help us throw the country’s doors open to colourful, dynamic, marvellous, friendly exploration!”                 

In the past year:

  • 8,000 people have been part of “the conversation”, participating in consultations across the eight different themes around which Paisley will construct its bid, including visual art, music, literature and fashion.
  • 74 local businesses have backed the bid, 16 of which have taken on the role of principal partner using their influence to amplify the bid team’s appeal that Paisley’s cultural assets can be used to transform the lives of local people, and the experience of visitors to Scotland’s largest town.
  • The bid has achieved cross-party support, with Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, recently recording a message of support, and MPs for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and Paisley and Renfrewshire North, respectively, Mhairi Black and Gavin Newlands, hosting a reception at Westminster in September.
  • Paisley 2021 marketing and communications have generated 70 million opportunities to see or hear something positive about Paisley and the town’s bid for the City of Culture accolade.

Paisley also has the largest following on social media of any of the known contenders including Perth, Coventry, Hereford, Sunderland and Stoke-on-Trent.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Bid Partnership Board, Mark Macmillan, added, “These past 12 months have taken us on an incredible journey, rediscovering assets that have for too long been overshadowed and engaging with local communities on an unprecedented scale. Tonight we are moving things up a gear and we are very grateful to George and Neil for affording us the opportunity.”

George Adam MSP, said, “It is an honour as Paisley’s MSP to host this event showcasing what Paisley has to offer and presenting the powerful case for Paisley to be the UK City of Culture in 2021.

“The interest that has been generated will mean this is one of the best attended events the parliament has ever seen. Indeed, the numbers are so high because so many of the talented individuals from in and around the town are attending.

“I’m sure this will go a long way in presenting Paisley’s bid to the world.”
Neil Bibby MSP, said, “I’m proud to co-host this important event in support of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture. Local people already know that we have an incredibly strong case to be the 2021 host, but it was fantastic to showcase the town’s Untold Story in the Scottish Parliament to MSPs, the Scottish Government and key stakeholders. It is very encouraging to see that more and more people are backing the bid.”

Meanwhile, Paisley’s events calendar is steadily growing in strength and popularity. On Saturday, December 3, it secured the Scots Trad Music Awards 2017 to add to the British Pipe Band Championships and Scottish Album of the Year Awards, which will both be returning in 2017. The town is also bidding to host The Royal National Mòd again in 2021.

A full list of next year’s events is at http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/news/major-events-programme-in-2017/

For more information on Paisley’s story go to www.paisley2021.co.uk You can support the bid by pressing the red button on the site, liking /Paisley 2021 on Facebook, or following @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

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Paisley to host Scots Trad Music Awards in 2017

The Scots Trad Music Awards are to be held in Paisley in December 2017 for the first time.

The news was announced by event founder Simon Thoumire at this year’s Gala Concert and Awards Ceremony in Caird Hall, Dundee on Saturday, December 3.

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The BBC MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards are considered a major highlight in the traditional music calendar. The aim of the annual awards is to highlight Scotland’s wonderful traditional music in all its forms and to create a high profile opportunity that will shine a light on talent as well as the industry in general.

From its inception in 2003, the awards have steadily grown in popularity and prestige attracting television coverage by BBC ALBA in 2007 and major sponsorship from MG ALBA in 2008. This year’s awards will be broadcast to the world (via bbc.co.uk/alba) and it is hoped this will afford Scotland’s largest town an opportunity to share news of its bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 with a global audience.  

The is also further evidence that Paisley is capable of hosting high profile music events – it hosted both the British Pipe Band Championships and the Scottish Album of the Year Awards this year, with both returning in 2017.  

It is also proof of Paisley’s burgeoning music scene. Renfrewshire’s talents have featured heavily in the BBC MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards in recent years with The Scott Wood Band nominated for ‘Folk Band of the Year’ in 2014 while Johnstone Pipe Band are in contention for ‘Pipe Band of the Year’ this year (see separate release for results).

Simon Thoumire said, “Hands Up for Trad are really delighted that the 2017 Scots Trad Music Awards will be hosted by Paisley, currently bidding for the UK City of Culture title in 2021, home of The Spree, and the birth place of some of Scotland’s finest musical talent. We’re really looking forward to working with Renfrewshire Council to make the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2017 the best yet“.

Welcoming the Trad Awards announcement, Renfrewshire Council leader, Mark Macmillan, said, “We are delighted to be hosting the Trad Awards in 2017 and look forward to welcoming fans from all over the world. Paisley’s music scene is thriving, offering formal concerts and more impromptu gigs in local cafes, bars and restaurants, as organisers grow in confidence. Add several major music events in 2017 and the reasons to visit have grown enormously.”                      

For more information on the Scots Trad Music Awards visit: https://projects.handsupfortrad.scot/scotstradmusicawards/

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Scottish Labour leader backs Paisley 2021 bid

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has publicly backed Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, in the latest show of cross-party political support for the town’s ambitions.

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Photos courtesy of Hannah Thomson for Paisley.org.uk

 

The Scottish Labour leader gave her backing during a visit to Paisley Museum where she met young people involved in an award winning creative youth project being funded by the bid.

The bid has received cross-party support, with local politicians hosting events in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

The growing support follows on from recent high-profile backers of the campaign, with musician Paolo Nutini and artist John Byrne – who both hail from the town – having done so in recent weeks.

While visiting the town, she was met by Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, Paisley 2021 Bid Manager Stuart McMillan and by participants in Project Z – which will see young people from the town’s Ferguslie Park area trained to write and create their own graphic novels.

 

The project was part-funded by the area’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, a £500,000 five-year scheme which aims to boost the capacity of the local creative scene during the Paisley 2021 bid.

It also received funding from Renfrewshire Council’s ground-breaking Tackling Poverty Programme, which covers a wide range of projects aimed at taking on long-term deprivation issues in the area.

The Paisley 2021 bid aims to use the town’s outstanding collection of heritage and cultural assets to improve the area’s prospects and transform its future.

Kezia’s visit to Paisley Museum comes in the week a fundraising strategy was unveiled for a £49m redevelopment of the Victorian-era building which aims to turn it into a visitor experience of international quality, telling the inspirational stories of Paisley, its heritage and its pattern.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:

“I am delighted to back Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture in 2021. A successful bid can support the work Renfrewshire Council is already doing to transform Paisley and would leave a legacy that could improve the lives of people in the town.

“Culture can change the lives of young people living in poverty. Supporting people to develop new skills means they can grow their confidence and compete for the jobs of the future. I had the privilege of meeting with some very talented and engaging young people. All they need is the right support to have a fair chance in life. Paisley’s bid for City of Culture 2021 can be part of that.

“The Glasgow City Deal also provides an opportunity to regenerate Renfrewshire. The UK and Scottish governments should deliver the necessary funding as soon as possible, so people in Renfrewshire can start to feel the benefit of this investment.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan said:

“It was great to welcome Kezia to Paisley today and talk her through the ambitious and hugely exciting vision we have for the town over the years ahead.

“It was also good to meet some of the young people taking part in one of our innovative tackling poverty projects – ultimately the Paisley 2021 bid is about the power of culture to change people’s lives for the better.

“Paisley Museum was a fitting venue for the visit given its status as the anchor project in our plans – the proposed revamp is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year into the town centre, creating a boost to the local economy and attracting new jobs.

“Running alongside the major infrastructure improvements being delivered through the Glasgow City Region City Deal – including our plans for a tram-train link between Glasgow Airport and Paisley Gilmour Street Station – major opportunities lie ahead for Renfrewshire and we want to ensure the future for local communities is a bright one.”

Hayden Chivers, aged 18, and a member of Project Z, said:

“This project is a fantastic opportunity that helps improve our life skills and prepare us for the world of work. We’ve been meeting weekly in the local library in Ferguslie Park and we do activities such as creative writing, drama and visual art.

“The project has really benefited many of us and helped us by encouraging us to either stay on at school or go to college, some of us have part-time jobs or volunteer for other organisations. I’m proud to be from Paisley and delighted to be able to show others how great it is to live in this town.”

The team was successful in its application to the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund as part of Paisley’s City of Culture bid and will involve them working on a social history project based on the punk movement in Paisley and other subcultures popular in the town and the legacy left today. The end product will be an exhibition of film, photography and a graphic novel.

For more information, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk