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Celebrate Paisley’s buildings by contributing to the town’s Story Map

Photography fans are being encouraged to share their favourite snaps of Paisley’s unique architecture for a Story Map that tells the story of the town through its rich built heritage.

The Story Map will capture a visual record of historic properties within Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area. Pupils and community groups are being asked to share their photos, memories and comments on buildings in the town they either have links with or simply admire and have a chance to have them added to the Story Map. The map will also share knowledge about local heritage.

The Story Map will go on to be used as a public online resource where people can view and continue to contribute to the story capturing the town’s built environment as time goes on.

Local primary school pupils and community groups will attend the Story Map launch on Friday 16 March in the UWS atrium, and bring along a digital copy of their image and a comment to accompany it in order to contribute to the map.

The event will also launch a new photography competition which will first be trialled with the groups who attend on the day.

Two winners will be announced (under 16 year-olds and over 16 year-olds) at the event and the winning photographs will be printed on banners displayed around Paisley Town Centre promoting the TH.CARS2 project. Following the event the competition will then be opened up to the general public to enter. All details about the competition can be found on the TH.CARS2 website.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Cllr Iain Nicolson, said: “Paisley is home to some beautiful buildings and boasts the second highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland and it’s great to celebrate this.

“People living in and around Paisley are uniquely able to see our most iconic buildings in a new way as well as highlight some of our hidden gems. By contributing to the Story Map people can share their own stories of why these stunning buildings matter to the town.”

This forms a key part of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2 (TH.CARS2) which is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council and will deliver grant opportunities to property owners in a defined area of the town centre for high quality building repairs and shopfront improvements.

To find out more about the TH.CARS2 project please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2 or to find out more about the Story Map please visit:www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THcars2StoryMap.

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Sports and leisure centres re-open on Saturday

ALL sports and leisure facilities run by Renfrewshire Leisure will re-open tomorrow. (Saturday, March 3)
The facilities, which had been closed because of the recent severe weather, includes sports centres, swimming pools, libraries, Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre, community centres and town halls.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Thankfully, it appears we have seen the worst of the extreme weather and we are now able to re-open our facilities.

“We’d like to thank our customers for their patience while we made adjustments to our services during this exceptional bad weather.

“But I would urge people to please continue to take care when travelling over the next few days.
”Customers can keep up to date on their fitness classes and other events by logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com or by calling the sports and leisure facilities on 0300 300 0250 and all cultural venues on 0300 300 1210.

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Severe weather keeps sports and leisure facilities closed

Due to the ongoing severe weather, all sports and leisure facilities along with libraries, Paisley Museum, community centres and town halls operated by Renfrewshire Leisure will remain closed on Friday, March 2.

As the weather warning is expected to be downgraded by the Met Office, a decision on whether events taking place at Paisley Town Hall and Paisley Arts Centre on Friday night should go ahead is to be taken during the day, on Friday.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “We’d like to thank our staff and our customers for their patience and understanding during this unusually severe weather.

“Indications are that our facilities should re-open on Saturday, March 3. However I would ask that customers check our social media channels to confirm facilities opening again.”

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Have a stag do at Paisley Museum, says Provost

Provost Lorraine Cameron is urging everyone to go on a stag do – but it’s nothing to do with celebrating getting married.

St Marys PS see Monarch of the Glen on display at Paisley Art Galleries

Renfrewshire’s Provost recently paid a visit to Paisley Museum to see the iconic Scottish painting, Monarch of the Glen, by Sir Edwin Landseer, which is on display there for people to see for free until March 11.

And she’s encouraging people to go along and see the painting of the majestic red deer stag on a mist-covered Highland hilltop for themselves.

Youngsters from St Mary’s Primary, Paisley were also at the Museum to see the painting as part of their project about Paisley and Provost Cameron joined the youngsters in marveling at the famous image.
The Monarch of the Glen was painted in 1851 and has been used in modern times as an advertising tool on everything from beermats, biscuit tins to bottles of whisky.

The painting is an iconic image associated with Scotland and Paisley is only one of four venues in the country chosen by the National Galleries of Scotland for it to go on show.

Provost Cameron said: “I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to see the iconic Monarch of the Glen painting in Renfrewshire and it was great to see local schoolchildren also visiting, who will hopefully be inspired by the stunning piece.

“It’s only fitting that Paisley, being so rich in culture, should host this fantastic painting and I would encourage everyone to ensure they visit the Museum to see the eye-catching piece of artwork while it is here.”

The painting was bought for the nation for £4 million from drinks giant Diageo last year, after a four-month fundraising campaign supported by the National Lottery, Art Fund, the Scottish Government, private trusts and public donations. Diageo had agreed to sell the famous painting for half the market value.

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Plans to build on Paisley 2021 legacy to go before councillors

Plans to use the momentum of Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid to help drive a long-term cultural, social and economic transformation of the area are to go before councillors next week.

Renfrewshire Council and its partners have been planning how the town’s bid journey will continue, by building on the positive platform the bid created, and the widespread community support that drove Paisley’s campaign.

Paisley was the only Scottish place and first-ever town to make the shortlist for the prestigious competition, run by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Feedback from DCMS says Paisley was viewed as ‘a very strong contender’ and the decision to shortlist the bid was ‘an easy one’, while praising the town’s passion and commitment to using culture to tackle social problems, and describing the Paisley bid’s community engagement as ‘exemplary’.

The Paisley 2021 Partnership Board – set up to oversee the bid and bringing together business, cultural, educational, community, health and political representatives – has already confirmed it will continue and will deliver and drive a legacy plan, with some partners intending to maintain their original financial pledges.

That detailed legacy plan will be finalised by the Partnership Board in March – but a report outlining the key points of the local authority’s contribution towards the plan is now going before the council’s Leadership Board

It will continue the ambition to achieve the bid’s original long-term aims to significantly grow Paisley’s creative economy, transform its reputation, see the town recognised for its cultural excellence, lift communities out of poverty, and turn Paisley town centre into a vibrant destination.

And the council will continue to lead on delivering the following:

– the planned £100m-plus investment in venues and infrastructure, including the project under way to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class visitor destination, major internal revamps to transform Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre, upgrading the sporting facilities at St James Playing Fields and creating new space for outdoor events and festivals, a new library on the High Street, and improvements to the town centre streetscape and road system;

– a new Paisley destination brand and website will also be unveiled in the next few weeks to build on the national and international profile created by the bid and promote the area as an attractive place to visit, live and invest;

– an enhanced cultural events and festivals programme over the next four years to deliver the best of what was planned for 2021, attract visitors to Paisley, and strengthen the local cultural sector;

Plans will also be developed to grow the area’s creative economy through a new apprenticeship programme, support for creative businesses and a new volunteer strategy.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We must do everything to build on the impact of bidding for UK City of Culture and the momentum it created.

“The campaign took the town’s profile to new levels – with hundreds of millions of people around the world getting the chance to see or hear something positive about Paisley – transformed our reputation, raised awareness of our unique story, and brought self-confidence back to the town.

“It also generated a town-wide discussion about Paisley’s future – with more than 36,000 people engaging with the bid by the time the final submission was made, and new partnerships and relationships developed locally and nationally which will continue to work in Paisley’s interest.

“And it also firmly established the idea that Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage assets can be used to transform its future – and not just in an economic sense, but also through social impact, by harnessing the power of culture to boost health and well-being, and help people out of poverty.

“We may not have won the title – but the important point is we are still going to deliver our vision and many of the aspirations that informed our bid.

“The report going to the leadership board offers an initial outline of those next steps, and as chair of the Paisley Partnership Board I look forward to revealing the detailed action plan with our partners.

“With major investment in our cultural venues, a new destination brand and website set to launch, an enhanced events and festivals programme in the years ahead, and new funding to support local artists and help the local cultural sector grow, there is lots ahead to be excited by.”

The council’s leadership board will meet on Wednesday 21 February.

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Book a fun time in your local library

LEISURE boss Joyce McKellar wants to put the fun into going to local community libraries.
The chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure says she aims to dispel the myth that libraries are dull and staff are continually telling people: “Shhh…keep quiet.”

Joyce was speaking after two libraries in Paisley – Foxbar and Glenburn – re-opened after a £65,000 refurbishment, which is part of a Renfrewshire Council £3 million capital investment in community facilities.

She said: “We’re creating libraries that are much more than just a place where you borrow books and then head out again.

“We’ve made libraries a brighter, vibrant, fun and exciting environment to come to and enjoy yourself.
“Renfrewshire is one if the few places in Scotland investing in our community libraries making them more modern and inviting.”

“It’s all about enjoying your local library as they provide something for everyone. We’ve created dedicated areas for people to have more privacy when they’re using our computers and other IT equipment and areas designed specifically for young people.”

The recent upgrade programme to the Foxbar and Glenburn libraries, which are operated by Renfrewshire Leisure, was delivered by the local authority.

The layout at Glenburn library has been reconfigured to create an improved space for children and young people as well as adult users.

The reception area has been renewed along with furniture, shelving and stands being replaced.  New seating areas have been created to allow library users to read or study in comfort within the new space.

At Foxbar Library, the layout has also been reconfigured with a complete fit-out of a new reception area, furniture, shelving and stands.

And new modern digital learning suites have been created at both Foxbar and Glenburn.
Joyce added: “Our libraries strive to inspire imagination, learning, creativity and social interaction.
“They offer a wide range of activities, including group sessions and individual IT support.

“These upgrades will enhance the services we are able to provide, including enclosed digital learning suites, which allow us to support training and activities such as Code Clubs, as well as a flexible study space for users.”

Renfrewshire Libraries sees around 800,000 users per year, with 32,000 children and adults attending Bookbug sessions and 138,000 individual digital support sessions.

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Iconic Monarch of the Glen painting taken to school for pupils to see

ONE of Scotland’s most iconic paintings has been taken to a primary school so youngsters could get a close-up view of the artwork.

Shortly before The Monarch of the Glen (c.1851) by Sir Edwin Landseer went on display at Paisley Museum, Primary Six and Seven pupils at Arkleston Primary, in Renfrew got a sneak preview of the painting and spoke about it with staff from the National Galleries of Scotland.

The painting was brought to the school in a large van, which parked in the playground. Local police officers and other security staff were on hand to look after the valuable piece of art.

The painting was bought for the nation for £4 million from drinks giant Diageo last year, after a four-month fundraising campaign supported by the National Lottery, Art Fund, the Scottish Government, private trusts and public donations. Diageo had agreed to sell the famous painting for half the market value.

The painting is an iconic image associated with Scotland and Paisley is only one of four venues in the country chosen by the National Galleries of Scotland for it to go on show. People can view The Monarch of the Glen for free at Paisley Museum from until March 11.

Carolyn Crawford, head teacher at Arkleston Primary said: “We were lucky enough to be part of a very unique experience, when The Monarch of the Glen came to visit us.

“It was an honour and an experience I’m sure the children and adults will not forget.

“Pupils were impressed with the painting and even a little overwhelmed by the stature of the stag and this prompted some great discussion.

“We emphasise the importance of being creative at Arkleston and it’s one of the character strengths that we teach our children.

“Being creative allows you to see things differently, a skill which we hope all our children will put to good use in their lives.”

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, who operates Paisley Museum, said: “It was a great idea to take the painting to a local school so pupils could see such an iconic painting close up and then discus what it means to them.

“Now everyone can see the Monarch of the Glen, at Paisley Museum and it’s a great coup for Paisley to have been chosen as one of four places in Scotland to display the impressive painting.”

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Buddies asked for views on town’s heritage-led regeneration


People from across Renfrewshire will have the chance to comment on key documents for Paisley’s rich built heritage at upcoming public consultation events.


Through these events and an online survey people will be able to review two documents – Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area Draft Character Appraisal and the Draft Management Plan – which set out the town centre’s unique selling points and distinguishing assets.

Exhibitions will take place at the Lagoon Leisure Centre from Monday 22 – Sunday 28 January and at Paisley Central Library from Tuesday 30 – Friday 2 February where members of the public will have the chance to view the exhibition and the consultation documents and feedback their comments.

Members of the project team will be available to answer questions from the public at the following consultation sessions:

Lagoon Leisure Centre

  • Tuesday 23 January – 12pm – 3pm
  • Thursday 25 January – 4pm – 7pm

Paisley Central Library

  • Tuesday 30 January – 12pm – 3pm
  • Thursday 1 February – 4pm – 7pm

Those who are unable to attend the exhibitions or public consultation events can access the same information and provide comment through the online survey which can be accessed via www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ZTLVVSV.

Renfrewshire Council leader, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “These consultation events give the public a chance to find out more about how we deliver heritage-led regeneration in the town with a view to bringing a range of social, environmental and economic benefits to the town and wider Renfrewshire area.

“This is a chance for the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire to help shape how we continue to safeguard the stunning architecture and heritage of our town for future generations.”

To find out more please visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2.

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Make a date with history at new museum store

PEOPLE can make a date with history at the town’s new treasure trove of interesting artefacts. Dates and booking arrangements have been announced for free guided tours of the new £3.7 million Paisley: The Secret Collection.

The new facility, in a former retail unit in Paisley’s High Street, is the first publicly accessible museum store on a High Street in the UK and will house thousands of items from Renfrewshire’s collections in a purpose-built storage unit.

The opening comes as the town is only days way from finding out if it has won the UK City of Culture 2021 accolade. Public tours of Paisley: The Secret Collection are being held on Wednesday and Thursday, January 24 and 25 and every Wednesday during February, between 2pm and 3pm. School tours are also available on these dates at 10am.

All visits have to be booked in advance by emailing tours@renfrewshireleisure.com  logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/thesecretcollection or by phoning 0141 618 5129 <tel:0141%20618%205129>  between 10am and 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday. The facility is being run by Renfrewshire Leisure, whose chief executive, Joyce McKellar said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to explore their heritage by seeing items that they probably never knew existed.

We’ve already got one guided tour fully-booked, so people should contact us as soon as possible to make sure of their place.

“There are thousands of items of hidden treasure for people to see and we expect there will be a huge amount of interest. “Paisley: The Secret Collection is part of a wider push to transform Paisley’s future by using its internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets to turn it into a key destination for visitors and events.”

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Delight as Paisley Museum secures £4.9m National Lottery funding boost


Ambitious plans to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and textile story are in line for a £4.9m National Lottery grant.


Renfrewshire Council this year set aside £24.1m towards the proposed £42m revamp – and the news the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have now earmarked funding is a massive boost allowing the project to move forward.

The museum plans are taking place as part of a wider drive to transform Paisley’s future through investment in heritage and culture, which includes a bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, due to be submitted to the UK Government on Friday.

They aim to reconnect the globally-recognised Paisley Pattern with the town that gave it its name, while creating a tourist attraction of national importance, driving footfall into the town centre.

The revamped museum – operated by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd – is forecast to attract 125,000 visits a year – almost four times current numbers – and create a £72m economic boost over 30 years.

It is also expected to support 138 jobs during the construction phase, and the equivalent of 42 new permanent jobs after that through increased visitor spend.

The plans are for an extension to the current Victorian-era building housing a cafe and shop, improvements to all four museum buildings including the Coats Observatory, changes to physical access, and an internal redesign which will double the number of objects on public display.

The museum plans are part of a wider investment in Paisley’s cultural infrastructure already under way with a publicly-accessible museum store to open later this year in a vacant basement on the town’s High Street, and a new learning and cultural hub to be built close by.

Council bosses have already had positive discussions with a number of other funders about meeting the rest of the cost. Today’s news means staff recruitment can start and the appointment of architects and exhibition design teams can take place next year.

The £4.9m funding will be confirmed once a successful stage two application is lodged with HLF. The new museum is expected to open in 2022, but it is planned the project will play a part in any UK City of Culture 2021 year.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “This is a wonderful piece of news from HLF and couldn’t have come at a better time, with our bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 being lodged this week.

“The museum plans are central to our wider vision to transform the town’s future by harnessing the power of Paisley’s internationally-significant heritage and cultural story.

“We know the town centre has its challenges but the way people shop has changed forever – so we have to create new life and new footfall by finding new ways to bring people into the town.

“Paisley can do that by making the most of the unique selling point that is our heritage and textile story – and the museum revamp, along with the museum store due to open this year and the new library will drive new footfall to our high street.

“The town has some amazing items in its collection – but the current building needs revamped in order to get them out on display and to fully tell the story of how this town was once at the centre of a global industry.

“These projects are all part of a wider vision with the UK City of Culture bid at its heart – should we be announced at the winner of that title in December it will take the work we are doing to a totally new level.”

Seona Reid, deputy chair of HLF and chair of the Scotland Committee, said: “I know how much this project means to Paisley and its people. It’s vital to the great strides that are being made in revitalising the town, using its history and industrial heritage as the building blocks.

“I am delighted that thanks to players of the National Lottery, we are able to give our initial support to a project which will transform the museum and give Paisley’s internationally-important textiles and other collections the prominence they deserve.”

Paisley is the only Scottish place on the UK City of Culture shortlist and is joined by Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea, with the winner to be announced in December.

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