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S3 pupils asked to help shape Paisley 2021 bid


School pupils from across Renfrewshire were asked to help shape Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 ambitions by submitting their own ideas for the bid.


The Higher Expectations Event hosted by the University of the West of Scotland saw 120 S3 pupils split into five-person teams and asked to discuss what ‘culture’ means to them.

They were also challenged to produce an idea to be included in the Paisley 2021 bid programme and which involves local pupils.

Five prizes of £250 were awarded to the teams from Trinity High, Paisley Grammar, Castlehead, St Andrew’s Academy and Park Mains.

The Park Mains team of Kyle Burns, Callum Munro, Elise Roxburgh, Maya Little and Hannah Stirling were declared the overall winners for their idea to help brighten up Paisley High Street by placing a series of murals on shopfronts.

Each of the five sponsors provided a judge for the panel – Steven Thomson (Paisley 2021 bid team), Bob Grant (Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce), Bob Davidson (Developing the Young Workforce West), Gordon Hunt (UWS) and Vicky Gemmell (Skills Development Scotland).

Renfrewshire Council’s education convener, Councillor Jacqueline Henry, said: “We were delighted to work with UWS and other local organisations for this event.

“The Paisley 2021 bid ultimately aims to create a better future for Renfrewshire and the young people of the area are the ones who that will impact on most – so it is only right they be asked what they want to see from Paisley’s bid.

“One of the key things we want to put across is that culture is for everybody, and we want our young people to know the benefits it brings are theirs to enjoy if they want them.”

This event was part of a wider initiative run by UWS to engage S3 pupils who show academic potential to help them maximise their talent and consider higher education as an option later in life.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said: “As proud and proactive supporters of the Paisley 2021 bid, we were delighted to run another event on our Paisley campus to promote the town for the UK City of Culture 2021 title.

“The University regularly works with schools to help raise aspirations and awareness of future possibilities.

“We are actively involved in the Children’s University and recently launched our Wee University which provides the opportunity for early years staff and students to work with local nursery aged children.”

More information on the 2021 bid can be found at paisley2021.co.uk and on the university at uws.ac.uk

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Paisley 2021 boosted by culture fund and music tuition investment

Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 ambitions are being boosted by two six-figure investments on cultural projects today agreed in Renfrewshire Council’s budget for 2017/8.

Councillor Macmillan with music students at St Catherine’s PS in Paisley.

A special budget meeting today saw councillors agree to pump an extra £500,000 into Renfrewshire’s existing Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – which aims to unlock the area’s creative potential ahead of the Paisley 2021 bid being submitted.

And homegrown talent will be further nurtured by £150,000 to remove all music tuition fees for every Renfrewshire school pupil for the next year.

The CHE Fund was set up in 2015 to build capacity among the local creative scene with an initial half-million-pound investment – meaning the money announced today doubles the total available through the fund over its lifetime to £1m.

To date, just under £350,000 of that has been allocated to 46 different projects across a wide range of art forms, with the latest tranche of awards confirmed earlier this week.

Completed highlights include teenage Kilbarchan film-maker Morgan Spence’s incredible Paisley-themed animation featuring Lego versions of famous Buddies including Paolo Nutini, Gerard Butler and David Tennant, now seen by an audience of millions around the globe.

The budget meeting also saw councillors agree Renfrewshire households will have no additional increases to council tax, aside from the nationwide rise already imposed by the Scottish Government for homes in bands E to H.

Residents will also see no increase in housing rents, adult social care charges and fees for leisure facilities.

Other headline investments include £6.7m for road maintenance (a record for a single year), £1.5m for anti-poverty initiatives and a £1m investment in community facilities.

A budget shortfall will see an overall reduction in spending of £16m, achieved through back-office and efficiency savings, with front-line services protected.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Growing cost pressures and increasing demands for services made this a very difficult budget to balance.

“But we’ve listened to what our communities told us and worked hard not to pass on the pressure of continued cuts to Renfrewshire households, many of whom are increasingly struggling to provide the basics for their families.

“Investment in cultural projects was one of our priorities because the economic and social benefits unleashed by a successful Paisley 2021 bid could utterly transform the outlook for Renfrewshire.

“To win the title, the area needs to demonstrate a thriving creative scene and proven ability to stage top-class programming – and the projects funded by the CHE Fund to date are already doing so.

“But the level of demand and quality of application so far has outstripped our expectations – this extra investment means Renfrewshire will continue to be open for business when it comes to attracting cultural entrepeneurship.

“Involvement in culture pays dividends in terms of people’s self-confidence and well-being, and by unlocking the potential of our young people – and making it easier for them to learn musical instruments in school is a great way to do that.

“We believe this and the other investments in the area’s infrastructure create a platform on which a healthier and more prosperous Renfrewshire can be built in future.”

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is taking place as part of a wider push to use the area’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.

The bid is due to be lodged by the end of April and more information is available at www.paisley2021.co.uk

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Local businesses show support for Paisley 2021 bid through Culture Bus tour

Businesses across Renfrewshire showed their support for Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 after a visit from the state of the art Culture Bus.

The Culture Bus outside City Gate Construction

The Paisley 2021 bid took to the road yesterday to visit a number of local business organisations, hotels and fitness centres in the area and gain their support.

The Culture Bus, designed by young people from Renfrewshire’s award-winning Street Stuff youth initiative, was taking its third tour of Renfrewshire to raise awareness of the UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

Sixty City Gate Construction vans will feature the Paisley 2021 branding

Representatives from Street Stuff, the STAR project, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, CREATE Paisley and the Paisley 2021 team jumped on the Culture Bus for a full day of exciting events.

After beginning its journey at Engage Renfrewshire, the bus stopped off at a number of organisations including Prolife Fitness Centre, Origins Gym, City Gate Construction, Glynhill Hotel and Spa, The Experience, Boston Networks, Campbell Dallas, The Normandy Hotel and The Gleddoch Hotel.

The Culture Bus also stopped by Origins Gym

The Culture Bus initiative is part of Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid and took its first tour of Renfrewshire in October 2016.

To date, almost 200 local businesses and organisations have formally backed the Paisley 2021 bid and they have urged others to show their support.

Construction business City Gate Construction has thrown its weight behind the campaign by ensuring its fleet of sixty vans feature the Paisley 2021 branding.

Leo Reilly, Managing Director of CGC, said: “As a Paisley business we are proud of our town and proud of Renfrewshire.

“This is a campaign which must be won because of the benefits it will bring to tens of thousands of people. The economic impact of winning is huge and we will be doing everything we can to make that happen.”

Fran Porter, Project Executive at Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was great to get out on the Culture Bus to businesses all across Renfrewshire and generate awareness of Paisley’s bid for UK city of Culture 2021.

“Gaining support from local businesses such as City Gate Construction, Boston Networks The Experience and Glynhill Hotel and Spa shows the extent of our fantastic business community and can only help boost Paisley’s quest to become UK City of Culture 2021.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board said: “We are delighted to see so many local businesses and organisations come forward and show their support for Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

“For the bid to be a success, we need to be able to show the judges we have support from throughout the local community, and our businesses are a vital part of that.

“The Paisley 2021 website displays the logos of every one of the nearly-200 businesses which have formally backed us so far, and we want as many others doing the same as possible.”

The Culture Bus was designed by young people following a consultation led by Paisley 2021 and Street Stuff staff.

The Street Stuff initiative is run by a partnership including Renfrewshire Council, St Mirren FC, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue and has helped see a fall in youth disorder locally by 75% since 2009.

Find out how you can back Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 by visiting http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/partners/

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£111k boost for local groups as part of Paisley 2021 bid


Groups connected to Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 are in line to share a six-figure boost from a fund designed to boost the area’s creative scene.


Councillors will this week be asked to approve a £111,299 spend from Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, to allow 12 different cultural and charity groups to run a variety of arts-related projects.

The CHE Fund was set up to help unlock Renfrewshire’s creative potential in the run-up to and during the Paisley 2021 bid.

This will be the third round of funding since the CHE Fund was set up – and saw 44 applications and a total ask of more than £700,000 for the judges to sift through.

The 12 projects recommended for approval include:
– £25,000 to Reaching Older Adults in Renfrewshire (ROAR) to use virtual reality and other digital technology to help older people have new cultural experiences;
– £15,000 for the Paisley First Business Improvement District to fund a project to produce six murals in partnership with local artists and community groups;
– £14,364 to the Historical Adventures group to help bring Renfrewshire’s deaf community together and involve them in arts projects.

Other shortlisted projects include an international tango festival for Paisley, a bi-annual poetry journal, a series of plays on the history of Renfrewshire, and money to help set up a local Scottish-Polish club.

A number of additional projects have been shortlisted but judges did not have all the information they needed to make a final decision on them – so councilors are being asked to give officers the power to approve up to another £45,000 of grants before the board meets again.

Members of the council’s leadership board will be asked to approve that request, as well as approve the other grant awards, when they meet on Wednesday 15 February.

The council set aside £500,000 for the CHE Fund back in 2015, and should the latest 12 applications be approved, £345,401 will have been spent to date.

That would also mean 46 projects will have been supported from a total of 152 applications – and a total funding ask of almost £2m.

Projects funded to date include teenage Kilbarchan animator Morgan Spence’s incredible Paisley 2021 Lego movie, released earlier month and now been seen by millions of people around the world.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board Mark Macmillan said: “Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 will bring massive economic and social benefits to the whole area.

“But if it is to succeed we need to show a thriving local creative scene and a proven ability to stage cultural projects.

“The CHE Fund is key to that – we know there is a huge depth of creativity and talent here in Renfrewshire and the fund is intended to help people show that off.

“The response from the public has been phenomenal and the level of ask has far outstripped the funding available.

“That has given the judges a tough task, as they have had to pick between a really high quality of application in each of the three rounds to date.

“We are pleased the latest shortlist includes a range of projects to help some of the less-heard voices locally – such as older adults, the deaf community and women who have experienced mental health difficulties.

“One of the key aims of Paisley’s bid is to harness the power of culture to make people’s lives better and this latest round of funding will help do that.”

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is due to be lodged in April, with organisers at the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport to announce the shortlist over the summer.

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Paisley 2021 car steals the show on epic Monte trip

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 was on show in the millionaire’s playground of Monte-Carlo – thanks to a local man who drove there as part of the city’s famous historic car rally.

Jim and Neville on the start ramp at Paisley Abbey with Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall

Jim Meggat and his Paisley 2021-branded Chrysler Sunbeam undertook the grueling trek to the principality – where the rally is based – over an epic nine-day test of endurance and skill.

His was the first car over the ramp when the rally’s only UK start leg took place outside Paisley Abbey in front of a crowd of thousands on January 25.

He was joined by his friend and navigator Neville Breach for the 5,000-mile round trip, with the pair acting as a support car to rally competitors Ranald White and Karsten Brown in their Rover 2000.

And as Jim explained, the colourful car caught the attention of competitors from across Europe as he helped spread the word about Paisley’s UK City of Culture ambitions.

He said: “The Paisley car attracted a lot of interest – loads of the other competitors wanted to know what it was all about.

“We were posting updates on our progress online and we reached thousands on Facebook, from all over the UK.

“And we also managed to get some of the Paisley 2021 banners out in the parc ferme in Monte-Carlo itself – we spoke nicely to the security guards next to the ramp and got some up there!”

Jim is now safely back home and catching up on some sleep after tackling a harsh road regime to hit the tough times set down by rally organisers.

the Paisley 2021 car high up in the snowy Alps

As he explained: “The first two days through the UK are relatively easy. But then on day three from Calais it is continuous – we went for 42 hours without sleep from Calais to Monte Carlo.

“While some crews will have rotated, I was driving and Nev was navigating the whole way.

“On the way down a lot of the driving is through villages, so it isn’t high-speed stuff and it is of course all within speed limits.

“By the time we arrived I was quite dehydrated as we had run out of fluids – there isn’t a lot of room in the car and limited places to stop and pick stuff up.”

some of the other competitors with a Paisley 2021 banner

But their efforts were rewarded as Ranald and Karsten battled the odds to finish a highly respectable 169th place in the rally – the best of the UK starters by some distance.

Jim explained: “The rally starts properly on Day 5 with a series of 14 stages around the Alps. These run almost continuously for three and a half days, and on two of the stages run at night the roads are closed to public.

“There are a lot of torturous twisting roads and hairpin bends and it got pretty tricky as the road conditions were patchy – one minute all is fine and the next it is a sheet of ice.

“A lot of cars retired this year, on all stages. But Ranald and Karsten had a really good result as they were the highest placed of all entries starting from Paisley.

“While a lot of the competitors had full service back-up they only had us – and what was even more impressive was they did most of it on the same unstudded tyres they left Paisley on.”

The Monte Carlo Classic Rally was taking place in Paisley for the fourth time this year, as part of the push towards UK City of Culture status.

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

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University PhD researcher aims to put Paisley on the cultural map

Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 aims to put the area on the map – and that’s exactly what one University of West of Scotland (UWS) student intends to do.

Alison McAndlish, University of West of Scotland PhD Researcher

Alison McCandlish, 38, who is a PhD student in Cultural Heritage at UWS, is developing a cultural map of Renfrewshire which forms part of the bid campaign.

And she hopes to use the map to showcase the wide range of cultural assets and ‘what is happening where’ across Paisley and Renfrewshire as a whole.

Alison working on the Renfrewshire Cultural Map

Alison said: “The reason behind the map is to show the diversity of things that are happening in Renfrewshire because there are huge amounts of music activity, arts activity, theatre and broadcast activities but they’re not mapped at the moment.

“The idea is to get people involved in inputting information as well so that it is a community-based map, showing what they do.

“What we want to do is get as many things as possible on the map, such as the cultural heritage activities that are going on around Renfrewshire. That includes things such as pubs, sports and leisure activities, people with exhibitions and cafes that have got events on.

“It’s not just about official tourist attractions or organised venues, but places that wouldn’t be that obvious without further research. It’s a place for people to showcase their activity.”

A building, venue or even an organisation which does cultural things is considered a ‘cultural asset’ and can be plotted on Alison’s interactive map.

The locations are represented visually by coloured dots and can fall into nine categories of cultural activity. These are:

  • Community
  • History, heritage and architecture
  • Sports, leisure and open spaces
  • Film, broadcast and digital activities
  • Music
  • Literature and spoken word
  • Visual arts
  • Theatre and dance
  • Fashion, design and applied arts

Alison said: “Before I created the map, there wasn’t a visual way of seeing what’s happening across Renfrewshire. There’s a lot of information but it’s all in different places so the idea is that the map shows up the concentration of things that are happening across activities.”

Professor Gayle McPherson of the University’s School of Media, Culture and Society, who is Alison’s PhD supervisor, said: “This cultural map of Renfrewshire, which Alison has created as part of her PhD, helps showcase the wide range of cultural activities happening across Renfrewshire.

“This map highlights the cultural vibrancy of the area and it is great that it will form part of the Paisley 2021 bid.”

Alison is encouraging other cultural assets and members of the public to add information to the Renfrewshire Cultural Map to increase awareness on their projects and activity.

She said: “There is a lot of information online, but this is one way to get all of it in one place and there are lots of different categories and activities. For example, if someone wants to see what visual arts things are on, then it’s there on the map.  There’s also a section on sports and it’d be great to populate the section with all the local clubs with what’s happening around the area.”

You can see the Renfrewshire Cultural Map and find out how you can add your location to it at http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/news/welcome-to-the-renfrewshire-cultural-map/

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Gerard Butler backs Paisley 2021 bid

Paisley’s ambitions to be UK City of Culture 2021 have received another big boost – after Hollywood star Gerard Butler backed the bid.

Lego Gerard in the video and one of Morgan Spence helping launch the video this week

The Paisley-born actor spoke of his pride at being recreated in Lego during an animated film made by teenage Kilbarchan filmmaker Morgan Spence in support of the Paisley 2021 bid.

Taking to his Twitter and Facebook accounts to back the bid, Gerard said: “Honoured to make the cut, especially in Lego form. Paisley 2021, you have my support!”

Gerard grew up in Paisley and attended St Mirin’s and St Margaret’s High School before progressing to University of Glasgow School of Law and then on to Hollywood stardom with his roles in hit films 300, PS I Love You and Olympus Has Fallen.

Morgan’s video was unveiled at an event at St Charles Primary School on Wednesday and has become a social media sensation, now seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Political broadcaster Andrew Neil was one of the big names featured in Lego form and showed the clip on his Daily Politics BBC show yesterday.

And Morgan’s video was also a hit with STV weatherman Sean Batty, who also starred and described it as ‘absolutely incredible’, adding ‘I’ve just messaged Morgan to say how wonderful it is…I love it!’.

Other famous Buddies recreated in Lego included Paolo Nutini, Gerry Rafferty, John Byrne, David Tennant, and 80s singer Kelly-Marie, while the video also gives nods to iconic Paisley buildings – and even St Mirren’s 1959 Scottish Cup win.

You can see Morgan animation’s on the Paisley 2021 YouTube channel here https://youtu.be/JUJ3Q859GqQ

Morgan’s video was funded through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events fund, designed to help build up the local creative scene before the bid is lodged with judges at the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport this April.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Paisley 2021 partnership board chair Mark Macmillan added: “Morgan’s video is a wonderful showcase of the town – and the reaction to it online this week has been incredible.

“As well as being a hit with the huge numbers of people to watch it so far, it’s also caught the attention of the celebrities who feature in it.

“We are delighted Gerard Butler has added his name to the list of famous Buddies who have publicly backed the bid – to have his endorsement just shows the extent to which the world is taking notice of Paisley and what is has to offer.”

For more info on Paisley 2021, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk

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We Are The Voice Art Programme & Free Visual Arts Drop In

We Are The Voice by Create Paisley, is a project designed to showcase young people’s visions and dreams of what Paisley could be like in 2021.

We’re looking for 21 young artists (ages 12-21) to create artwork representing their dreams and visions for Paisley2021.Whether you’re a poet, a musician, an artist, filmmaker or you love to paint, this is for you!

 Working alongside the Paisley 2021 bid team, Create will offer support for successful applicants to create an artwork expressing their ideas. We can offer access to cameras, computers with Adobe and design software, art supplies, trained art professionals or just a guiding hand.

Successful applicants will have their work displayed in a June exhibition in Paisley (and an online gallery) and will be promoted throughout the project by Create Paisley.

Getting involved is really easy: You can drop us an email to maria@createpaisley.org.uk OR pop in to CREATE (22 Lawn Street, PA1 1HF) every Thursday from 4pm to 6pm for our weekly arts drop in Couch & Canvas.

Join us, be creative and express your voice for Paisley 2021!

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Teenage Lego movie whizz unveils film for Paisley’s City of Culture bid

A teenager from Kilbarchan has created a fabulous stop-motion animation film about the nearby town of Paisley, Scotland in trademark Lego bricks style.

The three-minute film, which was launched today (1 February) at St. Charles’ Primary School in Paisley features the town’s most striking buildings while Paisley “buddies” are depicted in their most famous roles – from David Tennant as Dr. Who and the artist and playwright, John Byrne, in his studio, to pop megastar Paolo Nutini performing at ‘T in the Park’. There’s even homage to kitsch 70s Paisley pop queen, Kelly-Marie.

Following his creation of ‘Brick Flicks’- a series of stop-motion animation films using Lego of famous movie scenes – 17 year-old Morgan Spence has been fêted by America’s Jimmy Kimmel and commissioned by a Birmingham man to create a unique marriage proposal (screened before the main feature in his local cinema).

Morgan received funding for this new film from Paisley’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, which is designed to enhance the town’s cultural richness and diversity as part of its bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Bid Partnership Board, Mark Macmillan, said: “The wealth of young, creative talent in Renfrewshire is an extremely important part of our bid to become UK City of Culture 2021, and we are delighted to have Morgan in our midst.

“His film is a wonderful, affectionate tribute to Paisley, which we hope will ignite further debate about the town and its future.”

Morgan Spence said, “Renfrewshire Council has supported my films for several years, involving me in Lego exhibitions back in 2013 and 2014. So it was a privilege for me to be able to promote the town in this way.

“My parents and grandparents went to school and worked in Paisley and I’m delighted to have been able to play a small part in enhancing the town’s bid to become UK City of Culture.”

As part of his funding, Morgan is also delivering digital filmmaking and animation workshops in 10 Renfrewshire schools – one of which was today’s session at St Charles’. Meanwhile he is studying for a clutch of qualifications at Johnstone High School in a bid to secure a place at university to study multimedia journalism.

Lynne Hollywood, Acting Head Teacher at Johnstone High, said: “Morgan is in his sixth year at Johnstone High School and we are incredibly proud of him. At just 17, he manages to balance his academic studies alongside his duties as Depute Head Boy, whilst also making stop-motion animation films through his own production company.

“Morgan has a genuine commitment to his local community and his film for the 2021 bid is a great example of how our talented, local young people can back the bid.”

Morgan’s film about Paisley, which took four months to make, is at (insert link to movie on Paisley 2021 YouTube channel).

For further information on Morgan Spence, visit www.morgspennyproductions.co.uk

For more information on Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture visit www.paisley2021.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @Paisley 2021 or on Facebook /Paisley2021

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MSP Derek: Paisley deserves to win 2021 title

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has had some more high-level backing – after local MSP Derek Mackay threw his weight behind the town’s ambitions.

In the latest show of cross-party support for the bid, Renfrewshire North and West MSP Derek says the town deserves the title and believes the Paisley 2021 campaign has ‘captured the imagination’ of people across the area.

Derek – also the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution – was speaking during a series of videos now available on the Paisley 2021 YouTube channels.

He said: “I am very positive about Paisley and always have been – it’s the town I was born in. I think Paisley is very deserving to win UK City of Culture 2021– it has the passion, the pride and the people.

“The events that are taking place are wonderful and they’ve grown over a number of years – there is a sense of that cultural renaissance making a difference.

“The bid has captured the imagination of many people right across the county – and indeed across the country eyes are on Paisley and Renfrewshire.

“It’s a fantastic, positive, energised campaign which is all about people, and people should be involved in whatever way they can.

“Be part of it and enjoy it as well because the bid is about being positive about Paisley and it’s great fun too.”

Paisley’s bid is due to be lodged at the end of April with the competition organisers, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – and the town will find out if it has made the shortlist in the summer.

The bid has already received cross-party political backing at well-attended parliamentary receptions at both Westminster and Holyrood.

Over the next few months, bid leaders will be pushing ahead with plans to generate as much local-level support for the campaign as possible.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council Leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, added: “From the start we said this bid would be by the people of Paisley for the people of Paisley.

“Over the past year, thousands of local people have taken part in conversations around the bid to help shape it, and we recently saw the 2021st person ‘push the button’ on our website to support for the campaign.

“A successful bid could help transform Renfrewshire’s fortunes – but for that to happen we need even more of you to help show the judges that Paisley wants the title, needs the title, and can deliver it.

“You can find out more about how you can get involved at paisley2021.co.uk.”