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Skoobmobile in the running for national library award


Renfrewshire’s mobile children’s library outreach service, the uniquely named Skoobmobile, featuring friendly book monsters known as the Skoobs, has been shortlisted for the prestigious CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award for best practice in UK library services.


Promoting reading and play combined for children age 0-12, the mobile library stocks a broad range of children’s books in a flexible space that houses a range of activities based around play, reading and physical and digital activity. The bus tours the community to open its doors to children and adults at schools, nurseries, community spaces and family events.

Over the school holidays, the mobile has been offering ‘Play In the Park’ sessions in parks and green spaces, encouraging families to get onboard to listen to a children’s story before completing an outdoor activity trail. Other activities include Bedtime Reading on board the Skoobmobile, Lego storytelling, The Summer Reading Challenge and Bookbug programmes; and tailored partnerships with local primary schools.

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The team looking after the service include Pauline Simpson, co-ordinator of Renfrewshire’s Children and Families mobile library service and Andrew Givan, Children and Families Development Co-ordinator. On–board staff are playworker Deborah Coulter and mobile library workers Jimi McGuigan and Laurence Doherty. In 2015, the bus won a Delegate’s Choice Award for the Best Mobile Library at the national conference of CILIP’s Public and Mobile Libraries Special Interest Group.

Skoobmobile’s primary aim is to improve children’s life chances by encouraging a lasting interest in reading, literacy, physical activity and learning; bringing the opportunities of the public library service directly to children and families where they are gathered in the community. The service targets schools more than a mile from a public library and nurseries and preschools more than 0.7 miles from a library; and works more intensively with schools in the Scottish Index Multiple Deprivation zones. From its launch in April 2015, to February 2016, there were 10,907 visits to the Skoobmobile by children and 1,859 visits by adults, lasting from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours. The service has visited 28 different primary schools, 21 pre-5 establishments and all schools for children with additional support needs, working with community groups, third sector organisations and health agencies.

Joyce McKellar, Chief Executive, Renfrewshire Leisure – “The Skoobmobile is playing a positive role in engaging with children and their families to encourage parents to read more with their children, and to enjoy playing and learning together.  The dedicated Skoobmobile team are committed to bringing a high quality service to schools, nurseries and community venues and are making a real difference to the lives of people in Renfrewshire”.

Councillor Jim Harte, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure“It is so important for our children to have access to a place where they can learn, have fun and develop. The Skoobmobile is great as it travels to places where children are less likely to have access to their local library service, and gives them the chance to explore new books and take part in some exciting activities.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board – “Encouraging children to read from an early age puts in place good habits for later in life. Reading is so important when it comes to language skills and creative development, and we think the Skoobmobile is a great way to get children excited about reading.”

Chair of Judges John Vincent – “The 2016 Libraries Change Lives shortlist is all about wellbeing, and showcases services targeted towards health as an extension of the library’s core functions around literacy, keeping people informed, and supporting social justice in our communities. These three different library services clearly show the need for non-clinical spaces and support and the increasing role libraries are playing as a channel for the public health message.”

The award is judged by CILIP’s Community, Diversity and Equality Group (CDEG). The winner will be announced on Thursday 29 Septemberand will receive a £4000 investment from CILIP. Over 24 years, the award has recognised a number of targeted initiatives around health and wellbeing, including bibliotherapy and services designed to support local populations dealing with dementia, autism, visual impairment, domestic abuse and mental health issues.

Ongoing initiatives recognised by the award include Bookstart, the Government-backed scheme first piloted by Birmingham Libraries which now reaches 3 million babies and their parents across the UK, and The City of Edinburgh’s HMP Edinburgh Library Partnership; an initiative that has transformed engagement among the prison population, tackling social exclusion and providing education and employment opportunities for a better transition to community life.

More details of the award and finalists can be found at:  cilip.org.uk/lcla or via the hashtag #LCLA2016

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Youngsters ready for Summer Reading Challenge

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YOUNGSTERS are being urged to head to their local library and read more books this summer.

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From left – Aimee Ford, Michael Taylor, Caitlin Rocks, Abby Brewster, Emma Sheerin and Susan Orr.

Renfrewshire Leisure has launched this year’s Tesco Bank Summer Reading Challenge and the more books children read, the more prizes they can win.

The Roald Dahl-themed Summer Reading Challenge is called the Big Friendly Read and during the school summer holidays youngsters can go to their local library, register for the challenge and start borrowing books.

If they read two books they’ll get a certificate and a free swim pass for any of the pools in Renfrewshire.
Four books read get them a certificate and a pair of novelty rainbow glasses and when a child reads six books they’ll be awarded a certificate, a medal and free use of a badminton court in a local sports centre.
There is also a prize for the primary school that has the biggest percentage of pupils who have read six books and they will get to see a performance from the Booster Cushion Theatre Company.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “We want to encourage more young people to read books and with kids have plenty of spare time on their hands over the summer holidays, there’s no better time for them to start.
“They can read any kind of book they like and there’s every chance that when they visit their local library they’ll meet new friends and share what they think about the books they’ve read.
“Last year, we had 2031 children take part in the Summer Reading Challenge and we’re hoping to get even more involved this year.”

Log on to the Renfrewshire Libraries website, or visit your local library for more information on the Summer Reading Challenge.

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High Street unit is preferred site for new Paisley library

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Paisley’s lending library could be moving to a new and improved home at the heart of the town’s High Street – bringing a vacant shop unit back into use.

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If councillors give approval next week and detailed surveys of the building are positive, plans to turn the former Internacionale store at 22 and 22a High Street into a modern library facility will move forward.

The five-floor unit was chosen as the preferred site after an assessment of all vacant properties in the town centre, having been judged as the one which would make the biggest positive impact on the town centre if brought back into use.

The plans are connected to the proposed £56.7m transformation of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around textiles. Only the lending library would move – the current heritage library will stay in the museum complex.

Last year councillors set aside £2.7m from existing resources for the proposed library move, and a consultation with library users in the new year showed users and other residents broadly in favour.

Although the current lending library is well-used – with around 130,000 visits a year – it has limited space to accommodate increasing demand for computer access.

Councillors on the Planning and Property Board will decide whether to give approval to conclude the purchase on 15 March. That deal will be conditional on detailed surveys of the property to determine how suitable it is to host a library facility.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “The regeneration of our town centres is a key priority for this council – and these plans would be another step in the right direction for Paisley High Street.

“We know the empty shops are a big talking point for residents – but people need to accept we just can’t turn the clock back 20 years to a time where the High Street was a thriving retail hub

“Of course, the council can’t buy every unit – but by focusing the money we do have on key anchor projects we bring people into the town, generating footfall for existing businesses and hopefully creating conditions where others can set up shop.

“In this case we want to create a 21st-century library, which will be more in tune with what library users need in an increasingly- digital world, while also offering increased space for educational activities.

“A few doors down the same street is the new publicly-accessible museum store set to open next year in the basement of Bargain Buys, while next door to that the Paisley 2021 bid team hub will open soon.

“All of these projects fit perfectly with the aims of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, which is now gathering pace, and is all about using our unique culture and heritage to transform the area’s future.”

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Library users give thumbs-up to town centre move plans

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Proposals to move Paisley’s lending library to a new home on the town’s High Street have been given a thumbs-up by users of the current facility.

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Council bosses are looking into moving the current lending library as part of a project running alongside the ambitious £56.7m masterplan to transform Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based on the town’s unique textile heritage.

The plans would see the lending library moved to a new modern facility elsewhere in the town centre – although the current heritage library would stay where it is.

Last year councillors agreed to set aside £2.7m from existing resources for the proposed library move, as well as to run a consultation with current library users and town centre visitors to see what they thought about the plans.

That took place in January and the results – which will go before members of the council’s Leadership Board on 17 February – show residents broadly in favour;
– of 346 current users surveyed , 85% said they would visit the new library, with only 4% saying they were unlikely;
– of 129 lapsed and non-users, 47% said they were likely to visit it in the new location;
– 43% of current users were in favour of the move, with 32% unsure;
– 54% of lapsed or non-users were in favour, with 25% unsure;

The reasons given for a positive reaction included accessibility, location and the perception more people would use it.

Although the current lending library is well-used – attracting around 130,000 visits a year – it has limited space to accommodate increasing demand for computer access.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Paisley lending library is a popular facility – but what people expect from their local library is changing as we move into an increasingly digital world.

“The current building isn’t ideal from that point of view – but the planned changes as part of the museum redevelopment offers us a chance to create a new modern library with space for children’s activities and increased digital provision, and we are pleased the survey shows library users recognise this.

“Our preference would be for that facility to be on the High Street – by bringing a vacant unit back into use we will helping create much-needed footfall for surrounding traders.

“Together with the publicly-accessible museum store set to open in the basement of the former Littlewoods by 2017 and the longer-term plans to transform the museum by 2021, we are helping bringing people into the street, which will in turn make it more attractive to retailers to set up shop there.

“As the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace, it is important we have cultural facilities which are fit for the 21st century – and should this library redevelopment go ahead, it would give us exactly that.”

When the Leadership Board meets on 17 February, councillors will be asked to approve the development of options for library relocation.

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Paisley discovers Burns manuscript is world’s only copy


It’s been in Paisley’s collection for two centuries…now a manuscript penned by Robert Burns himself has been confirmed as the world’s only surviving copy of a rare piece of the poet’s work.


The piece – ‘Sir, Yours this moment I unseal’ – dates from 1786 and is described by experts as one which ‘any major library in the world would be proud to have’.

It was donated to Paisley around 200 years ago, just as Burns relics were becoming valuable commodities, and has been in the town ever since.

But the true significance has only now become known – with a leading Burns expert confirming that not only is the script in the bard’s own handwriting, but it is the world’s only known surviving copy of the verse.

It will go on display in Paisley Museum this week – in time for the 257th anniversary of Burns’ birth on Monday, and at a time when Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 is gathering pace.

It was originally donated to Paisley by John Clarkson of local threadmakers McGavin and Clarkson, at a time when the town was a thriving global textile hub.

The short verse shows Burns accepting an invitation to a party or social event

Professor Gerard Carruthers, co-director of the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow w- authenticated the piece – said: “Although this is not one of Burns’ major works, it is a hugely important manuscript.

“It is one that any collector, town in Scotland, or major library in the world would be proud to possess.

“The text was used by 19th-century editors of Burns, but then disappeared from sight for reasons that are not all that clear.

“The text is an upbeat poetic squib dating from 1786 and Burns’ first flush of fame.

“In it he accepts an invitation to a social gathering, even though he says he is at this moment as drunk as ‘Bartie’ – which has been taken as a name for the devil.

“Another intriguing mystery remains, as we don’t know to whom the lines have been addressed.”

The item was initially held in the collection of the institutions which later formed the current Paisley Museum and Central Library and has been in secure storage in the town in recent decades.

In November last year, plans were revealed for a £56.7m revamp of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based on the town’s unique textile history as a flagship project connected to the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

At the same time, Renfrewshire Council has set aside £3.7m for a publicly-accessible museum store to open on the town’s High Street by 2017.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, added: “We already knew the town’s museum collection was of international significance, but this latest discovery shows we have another star item in our possession.

“As the town’s UK City of Culture bid moves closer, we will be looking to showcase the full scale of that collection to residents and visitors through the revamped museum and museum store.”

The full text of the poem reads –


Yours this moment I unseal,

And faith I’m gay and hearty!

To tell the truth and shame the deil,

I am as fou as Bartie:

But Foorsday, sir, my promise leal,

Expect me o’ your partie,

If on a beastie I can speel

Or hurl in a cartie.


Robert Burns


Monday Night, 10 o’clock

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Free books are in the bag for schoolkids

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YOUNGSTERS are being given the chance to turn over a new leaf after they were given free books to take home and read. Every Primary One pupil in Renfrewshire is to be presented by Renfrewshire Libraries with three books to celebrate Book Week Scotland.

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And yesterday the Skoobmobile children’s library bus visited St Charles Primary, in Paisley to hand out a Bookbug Family Bag of goodies to children there.

They were given three illustrated picture books that have ben shortlisted for a Scottish Children’s Book Award – Mouse’s First Night At Moonlight School, by Simon Puttock; Never Tickle A Tiger, by Pamela Butchart and Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar, by Emily MacKenzie.

The Bookbug Family Bags also contain an activity colouring book with coloured pencils; a whiteboard, pen and eraser and a book from Road Safety Scotland, called Ziggy and Maggie Start School.

The free books and Family Bags programme are produced by the Scottish Book Trust, in conjunction with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure – which now runs arts and cultural services as well as sports and leisure centres locally – said:

“This is a great way to encourage children at an early age to experience the joy of reading.

“The Bookbug Family Bag has everything you need for a fun way to start the youngsters learning how to write and count as well as read.

“We do everything we can to help children get the best start in life and learning to love books and reading does just that.”

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Toot, toot! The PlayTalkRead bus heads back to Renfrewshire

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The PlayTalkRead bus is back in Renfrewshire – giving local families the chance to get creative, sing songs and tell stories.

The big purple bus will call at Ferguslie Library before touring Renfrewshire for two weeks from Monday 23 November, making a total of 10 fun-filled stops.

play talk read

The PlayTalkRead bus travels up and down the country to show the positive impact of play. It introduces parents and carers to fun activities they can try at home with their child.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Convener, said: “Often the best play ideas are simple and don’t cost a penny. Interaction with children really helps build the child/parent bond while developing essential social skills and motivation that can make lifelong learning easier. Admission to the bus is free and there’s no need to book. Whenever and wherever parents and carers see the bus, they can hop on board with their children to discover a world of fun and engaging activities to do together.”

The PlayTalkRead bus offers parents and children the opportunity to join in with BookBug storytelling, rhymes and songs sessions with young passengers also receiving a free book or playcube to take home.

  1. PlayTalkRead bus timetable:
Date Venue Timings
23 Nov Ferguslie Park Library, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
24 Nov Gallowhill Community Centre 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
25 Nov Foxbar Community Centre, Amochire Road, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
26 Nov Tweedie Hall and Linwood Library, Linwood 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
27 Nov Houston Square, Johnstone 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
30 Nov Erskine Community Centre, Erskine 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
1 Dec Renfrew Leisure Centre 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
2 Dec County Square , Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
3 Dec Bishopton Community Library, Bishopton 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
4 Dec Glenburn Community Library, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm


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£56.7m Paisley museum proposals get green light


Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 today took a step forward as proposals including a £56.7m transformation of the town’s museum were given the green light.

The ambitious plans to turn the existing Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based on the town’s unique textile history are among a package of measures designed to put people at the heart of the bid.


Councillors on the Economy and Jobs Policy Board today approved a wide-ranging package of funding, including:

– £15m towards the museum revamp, with an application for a further £15m to be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund;

– a two-year sponsorship deal with St Mirren which will see the local football club change the name of their stadium to support the bid;

– £3.7m to fund the fit-out of a publicly-accessible museum store in a vacant unit on the town’s High Street;

– a £500,000 culture, heritage and event fund to support the local creative community and tap into the town’s cultural potential;

– another £2.7m earmarked from existing resources to support the potential development of a new library in the town centre;

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 was publicly launched last week with an event in Paisley Abbey, at which the new Paisley 2021 brand was unveiled.

The museum revamp is the flagship project of the council’s ambitious plans to transform Paisley’s future using culture and heritage, and is intended to be the catalyst for new town centre business to spring up around it.

The proposals would see an extension built into the hillside beside the building – and experts believe the project would triple visitor numbers to 150,000 per year, creating almost 250 jobs and generating £89m for the local economy.

The new museum store – due to open in 2017 in the basement of the former Littlewoods store on Paisley High Street – will make items not on display at the main museum available for the public to see, and will provide educational benefits.

And the culture, heritage and events fund will allow local people and groups to apply for grants to run events which contribute to the City of Culture bid.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “This is a hugely significant day for Paisley and Renfrewshire – the measures approved by councillors will take the ongoing rebirth of Paisley town centre to an entirely new level.

“Through careful management of our own resources, the council has been able to set aside funds which will go a long way towards transforming the town into a thriving destination for heritage and cultural tourism and business.

“Of course the museum project doesn’t depend on winning UK City of Culture 2021 – we will deliver on our regeneration plans if we win or not, albeit the title would turbocharge that process.

“One of the key aims of the bid is to build confidence and pride in everything Paisley has to offer – this town’s contribution to the world has been absolutely massive and I don’t want anybody to be shy in shouting about it.

“The fantastic reaction we have had to last week’s launch of the UK City of Culture 2021 bid from the local community and beyond shows people see that.

“And working in partnership with St Mirren we will be able to help spread that message to a massive audience throughout Scotland and the UK.

“The measures approved today – in particular the creative fund – means the people of Paisley now have the route through which they can make the bid their own and I want them to do that. Together, we can make this happen.”

For more information about Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, see the new website at www.paisley2021.co.uk

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Paisley gets behind 2021 culture bid


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Backing for Paisley to be UK City of Culture 2021 has poured in just hours after the town launched its bid in the historic surroundings of Paisley Abbey.

Performances from PACE Youth Theatre Company – who delivered a production specially commissioned for the bid launch – as well as the Grant McFarlane Band and the RockUs Community Choir, showed how culture is thriving in the town.


Broadcaster Shereen Nanjiani, who went to school in Paisley, introduced a group of bid ambassadors which included Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board; David Wallace, Executive Director of PACE Youth Theatre Company; Bob Davidson, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce; Sharon McAulay and Emma Richardson of the local STAR Project; and newly-appointed Bid Director Jean Cameron.

The identity for the Paisley 2021 bid was unveiled by a group of local school pupils who will be aged 21 in 2021.

Councillor Mark Macmillan said: “There is no single voice for Paisley, we are a community of voices, and that message was delivered loud and clear.

“We are not reinventing Paisley; the bid is utterly authentic. It’s about our historic buildings like the breathtaking Abbey, the famous and the historic cultural figures produced by the town and also the spirit forged on the hard work and enterprise of the women of the mills. Our Paisley 2021 brand encapsulates this, inspired by perhaps the most famous thing we gave the world – the Paisley Pattern.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_gallery ids=”27945,27946,27947,27948,27949,27950,27951,27952,27953,27954,27955,27956,27957,27958,27959,27960,27961,27962,27963,27964,27965,27966,27967,27968,27969,27970,27971,27972,27973,27974,27975,27976,27977,27978,27979,27980,27981,27982,27983,27984,27985,27986,27987,27988,27989,27990,27991,27992″ columns=”3″ indents=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]“Our ambitions are becoming a reality as we get set to put in motion a £56.7m planned investment aimed at placing Paisley Museum on the world stage. Now is the time to reach out to our communities across Paisley and Renfrewshire and build this bid.”

He added: “Paisley’s famous weaver poet Robert Tannahill said: ‘When hope persuades, and Fame inspires us, and pride with warm ambitions fires us. Let reason instant seize the bridle’.

“So we are counting on everyone here today to seize that bridle, be Paisley’s ambassadors and to play their part in unlocking Paisley’s potential.”

Backing for the campaign has been flooding in on social media with Twitter users from as far afield as Texas and Thailand following@Paisley2021 and sharing their support with #Paisley2021. A new website outlining the bid went live this morning atwww.paisley2021.co.uk.

Shereen Nanjiani said: “I am a proud Buddie! I am wearing the Paisley Pattern today, and am very proud of the town and its people.”

Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “I grew up in Ferguslie Park, on Tannahill Road, named after Paisley’s famous poet and my belief in the transformational power of culture was nurtured in this town. Now we need to take the message out to the people of Paisley and of Renfrewshire, and our partners further afield, and ultimately, it will be its people who will make it happen for Paisley.”

Sharon McAulay of the STAR Project, one of the bid ambassadors speaking at the event, said: “Paisley is an inspirational, culturally- rich town full of proud people who carry a strong sense of identity and community spirit through good times and tough. A successful bid for City of Culture 2021 will inspire and energise all of our communities.”

Bob Davidson, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help Paisley become the great place it deserves to be – great for all businesses, their employees and their customers. Having been part of Paisley for over 50 years, the chamber fully supports the Paisley 2021 bid and encourages businesses and organisations of all sizes and sectors to do the same.”

David Wallace of PACE Youth Theatre Company said: “Bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 is an opportunity to celebrate and to develop the already thriving cultural sector here in Paisley and Renfrewshire whilst creating new opportunities for potential national and international cultural partnerships.”

Further endorsements for the campaign were received from:

“The bid will celebrate the diversity of Renfrewshire’s communities and provide an opportunity to remind the rest of the world what Paisley has done, is doing – and will do next!”
Alan McNiven, Chief Executive of Engage Renfrewshire

“Paisley First completely supports the bid for City of Culture status. A successful bid will lead us to re-engage with our prime audience and help us to improve the overall quality of experience in the town centre”.
Sunil Varu, Paisley First

“We can use the process of bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 to leverage social change through cultural regeneration; inspire our artists, musicians and people to tell their stories and demonstrate the depth of cultural engagement we have in the communities we serve.”
Professor Gayle McPherson, Chair in Events and Cultural Policy at University of West of Scotland

“A successful bid from Paisley would highlight the fantastic industrial and commercial heritage that Paisley possesses, how this has contributed to the fabric and skyline of the town and how this business success lives on. Paisley was built on the back of the creative textiles industry and the legacy of this is clear to see in the town.”
Nick Shields, Scottish Enterprise

“Over the years Paisley has raised and taught men and women who have gone on to change the world. Today it remains one of Scotland’s great centres of education, where new generations of young people are equipped with the skills to help them shape the future.”
Audrey Cumberford, West College Scotland

“The announcement of the bid, and indeed the journey and the prize of Paisley City of Culture 2021, is the single most important step that has been made for Paisley. This will put Paisley on the world map where it rightly belongs and will no doubt create a great tourism, education and cultural centre for all to enjoy.”
Tom Stewart, Ashtree House Hotel, Paisley[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Paisley Photographs, all images in the gallery were taken for www.paisley.org.uk by Ian McDonald Photography.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Mark Macmillan 1

Paisley has put people at the heart of its bid for UK City of Culture 2021 as plans were unveiled today to place its museum on an international stage and support the local arts and cultural community through an innovative creative fund.

The Scottish textile town which changed the world, today unveiled plans for a £56.7m transformation of its flagship museum and also to create a £500,000 cultural pot for the local community.

Mark Macmillan 1

Paisley’s internationally-significant museum collections, and its one-time place at the heart of the global thread industry, have inspired the plans to turn the town’s museum into a national showcase of textile and design by 2021.

The museum is the flagship project of Renfrewshire’s long-term regeneration plans for the town. They include:

  • £56.7m plans to transform the museum.
  • a £3.7m world class museum store to support an internationally-significant museum and open up access to all of the museum collections for education and research in the heart of the town centre – a first for the UK.
  • £2.7m earmarked to support investment in developing Paisley’s lending library service.
  • a new £500,000 culture, heritage and event fund to tap into the town’s creative potential.

Visitor numbers to the museum could triple to hit 150,000 with almost 250 jobs created and up to £88m generated for the local economy as a result of the cultural and economic regeneration brought about by the museum transformation alone. They will support Renfrewshire Council’s wider economic, social and cultural regeneration strategy.

The plans were unveiled to coincide with a two-day event to officially launch Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

On Friday 13 November, bid ambassadors joined forces at Paisley’s 850-year old Abbey to issue a rallying call to Renfrewshire and beyond to support the bid.

The town will then host a massive public party on Saturday 14 November with an appeal to revellers to wear the world-famous Paisley Pattern for the Christmas lights switch-on event, topped off by a spectacular seven-minute Paisley-themed light show projected against the Abbey.

A social media campaign to back the bid using #Paisley2021 has started and a new website at www.paisley2021.co.uk goes live today to rally public support.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board said: “We’re putting people right at the heart of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture and our new £500,000 creative fund will help them develop and participate in high-quality cultural events supporting our ambitions.

“From the local arts and cultural community, to professional artists and individuals, the fund will help every part of Renfrewshire realise its creative potential between now and 2021.

“Paisley was once at the heart of the global textile industry and by connecting that heritage to the future through a new transformed museum, we aim to bring the world to Paisley.

“The museum will become the cultural, social and economic heart of the town. It will be transformed for tourists and local families alike, and be the base for extensive community outreach supporting weaving, natural history, science and nature.

“By forging links with national museums and international institutions, local art groups and academic partners, we want to put Paisley at the heart of the world’s cultural map.”

The proposals are due to be considered by the council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board next week.

He added: “The museum store will be a new anchor destination at the opposite end of the High Street from the museum to boost visitor footfall between the two.

“These plans have also brought the chance to re-imagine the library currently based in the museum complex. Library services are changing. Paisley Central Library serves more offline households than any other in the country from its public computers – so we’ll ask local people what they want from a modern facility in the heart of the town.

“Through a planned financial programme Renfrewshire Council has been able to proactively identify vital funds to deliver the regeneration of Paisley and has committed £22m to develop and promote Paisley as a destination town. The plans we announce today show where we intend to invest much of that resource.

“This is a major, long-term programme that will need wider support generated by a major fundraising effort.”

Bid ambassadors who joined Councillor Macmillan at Paisley Abbey on Friday 13 November have outlined why they believe Paisley should be UK City of Culture 2021.

David Wallace is Executive Director of PACE Youth Theatre – the largest of its kind in the UK with former pupils including Paolo Nutini and James McAvoy. He said: “Arts and culture play a huge role in achieving our social and economic goals through local regeneration, attracting tourists, developing talent, improving health and wellbeing and, just as importantly, changing the perception of a place and its community. Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is our vehicle for change and all Buddies are on board.”

Bob Davidson, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help Paisley become the great place it deserves to be – great for all businesses, their employees and their customers. Having been in Paisley for over 50 years, the Chamber fully supports the Paisley 2021 bid and encourages businesses and organisations of all sizes and sectors to do the same.”