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2021 thank you event to look ahead to Paisley’s bright future

Plans to secure a exciting future for Paisley will be laid out at a celebration event aimed at highlighting the benefits of bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 and how the town plans to continue to harness the power of culture to transform its fortunes.

The ‘Our Journey Continues’ event, which will take place on Thursday 29 March at Paisley Town Hall from 12.00 – 1.30pm, will examine the key benefits of the town’s bid including helping to raise the town’s profile, raising ambitions for the area, developing a deeper understanding of the excellent work taking place in the community.

The town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 changed the town for the better, and the momentum it generated will continue and this will be discussed in more detail at the event.

In addition to celebrating the work which has already taken place it will also reveal more about the future opportunities. This includes investing in cultural venues and outdoor spaces such as Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre and St James Playing Fields, developing the creative economy and enhancing our cultural events and festivals programme and continuing to build on the support from the community. This investment demonstrates how Renfrewshire continues to buck the trend in terms of cultural investment.

Furthermore it will show that the council and its place partners are still committed to achieving the step changes outlined in the bid – to grow a new dimension to the economy, transform the town’s image, lift Paisley’s communities out of poverty, be recognised for cultural excellence and transform the town into a vibrant cultural centre.

The event will see partners and local community groups come together to find out more about future plans and members of the public are encouraged to come along to learn what will happen next for the town.

Chair of the Paisley Partnership Board, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “The Our Journey Continues event is not only a celebration of the excellent work which has already taken place through the bidding process but is a great opportunity for us all to look ahead to the exciting plans for the future.”

This event precedes the Future Forward: Culture in Renfrewshire collaborative discussion which will ask attendees what directions culture in Renfrewshire should take, and what successes people would like to build on.  The event will be held in Paisley Town Hall from 2-4pm.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Head of Cultural Services, Morag Macpherson, said: “The thank you event is a great introduction to the Culture in Renfrewshire discussion which will allow everyone to have their say on what the priorities for culture in Renfrewshire should be in the years to come.

“I’m sure the plans unveiled through Our Journey Continues, and the ideas and ambitions which people come along with, will create a really rich inspirational mix. We will discuss how we best focus our aspirations and collectively create a really exciting cultural environment over the next few years.”

There will also be another Future Forward session on Tues 17 April 6-8pm, places can be booked here.

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Paisley Museum receives £4m Scottish Government funding boost

Plans to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class destination showcasing the town’s globally-significant textile heritage and unique collections have been awarded £4m by the Scottish Government.

The funding was confirmed today by Scottish Government Minister Kevin Stewart on a visit to the museum to announce a £26 million investment in projects across Scotland.

The boost for the town comes just days after the launch of a new destination brand and website at paisley.is designed to sell Paisley and Renfrewshire as a great place to visit, live and invest.

The revamped museum is expected to bring 125,000 visits a year and build on the town’s fast-growing reputation as a key destination within Scotland.

The £42m project is central to a planned £100m-plus investment in Paisley town centre venues and infrastructure and part of a wider plan to transform the area’s future using Paisley’s cultural and heritage assets and build on the legacy of the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are delighted the Scottish Government has confirmed this contribution towards the £42m project to transform Paisley Museum

“Between now and 2022 we will work with the local community to create a world-class destination showcasing Paisley’s outstanding art, science and natural history collections, and globally-significant textile heritage.

“The news has come at a great time – coming as we launch Paisley Is…a new destination brand and website dedicated to selling the area as a great place to visit, live and invest.

“Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 raised awareness of our unique story to a worldwide audience, and the museum project is central to a wider set of plans to build on that momentum and make the town one of Scotland’s key visitor destinations.”

Paisley Museum – operated by Renfrewshire Leisure – is due to close this year and reopen in 2022.

The project will see 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.

It is expected the new building will quadruple current visitor numbers, create a £72m economic boost, and support 138 jobs during the construction phase – and the equivalent of 42 new permanent jobs after that through increased visitor spend.

The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street.

Paisley Museum is one 24 projects to benefit from funding announced today through the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), which supports projects that engage and involve local communities in disadvantaged areas, tackle inequality and support inclusive growth.

The joint Scottish Government and COSLA investment will help to support or create more than 1,400 jobs, refurbish or bring back into use 23 local buildings, support over 300 businesses and community enterprises as well as more than 84 community facilities and services.

Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart said: “I’m really pleased that 24 fantastic, locally-driven projects will benefit from this major injection of funding.

“Spanning the length and breadth of the country, they will help regenerate local areas, stimulate inclusive growth and create new jobs.

“The focus of the projects range from tackling social isolation, mitigating welfare cuts, providing training opportunities, creating business space and increasing tourism – to name but a few.

“They are an excellent example of how national and local government are working together on shared priorities that benefit local communities.”

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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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Shortlist revealed for fans to pick Saints legends for Love Street names

St Mirren fans can now cast their votes on which club legends they want to name a street after when new housing is built on the site of the club’s old Love Street ground.

Earlier this month Renfrewshire Council launched the #SaintsStreets competition, inviting fans to submit suggestions for St-Mirren-related street names – and there was an incredible response, with more than 1,000 submissions made.

Those have now been sorted through and a final shortlist chosen – meaning fans have until the weekend to make the final call on which names will be honoured.

The £17million Love Street housing project is being delivered by Sanctuary Scotland in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government – with work to start soon on 132 new affordable homes.

There are five streets to be named on the site – two have already been named North Bank and Cairter’s Corner after well-known sections of the old ground they sit on the locations of.

The expert panel which picked the shortlist was Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board; Pat Cahill, director of Sanctuary Scotland; St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott; celebrity Saints fan and broadcaster Chick Young, and the club’s fan-elected director David Nicol, of the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association, which part-owns the club.

They picked the following 15 names, from which the five most popular will be chosen during the final vote. Fans have until 4.45pm on Saturday 3 March to cast their votes via www.surveymonkey.com/r/SaintsStreets

– Abercromby Avenue (cult-hero midfielder Billy Abercromby came through the youth ranks and won the 1987 Scottish Cup);

– Bryceland Avenue (the late Tommy Bryceland won the 1959 Scottish Cup and had two spells at the club);

– Copland Lane (Paisley-born defender Jackie Copland had two spells at the club and later became the club’s general manager);

– Fitzpatrick Way (current club chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick is a club legend, winning the 1987 Scottish Cup and enjoying two spells as manager);

– Gemmell Gardens (forward Tommy Gemmell spent his whole career at St Mirren and was part of the 1959 Scottish Cup winning team);

– McCrae Crescent (David McCrae is St Mirren’s all-time record goalscorer, with 222 goals from 1923 to 1934);

– McGarry Terrace  (local lad Steven McGarry helped the club he supports to the 2000 First Division title, while his late father Tam was a well-known supporter);

– McWhirter Street (Johnstone-born defender Norrie McWhirter dedicated his whole 15-year career to the buddies);

– Money Street (one-club goalkeeper Campbell Money spent 15 years at the club and was part of the 1987 Scottish Cup Final winning team)

– Saints Street (affectionate name for all St Mirren supporters);

– Somner Street (Dougie Somner played for St Mirren from 1979-1983 and scored plenty goals, including the Saints first ever UEFA Cup goal);

– Telfer Street (stalwart defender Willie Telfer played for St Mirren from 1943 to 1957);

– Torfason Terrace (Icelandic international Guðmundur Torfason was a cult hero at the club, top scorer in each of his three seasons from 1989-1992);

– Van Zanten View (David van Zanten enjoyed two spells at St Mirren, helping the side to the 2006 First Division title and the 2013 League Cup);

– Yardley Avenue (striker Mark Yardley scored crucial goals en route to the 2000 First Division title and is warmly remembered for his eight-year spell);

There were a number of suggestions the panel couldn’t consider due to Royal Mail requirements intended to stop clashes with existing streets in the area.

That ruled out a number of notable past players and managers, including Jim Clunie, James ‘Daddy’ Dunlop, Sir Alex Ferguson, David Lapsley, Hugh Murray, Alex Smith, Steven Thompson and John Cockles Wilson.

They were also unable to name streets after numbers – with key dates such as 1959 and 1987 having been put forward – or after St Mirren itself.

Sanctuary Scotland will also name the children’s play area at the new housing development after Paisley Panda.

Councillor McGurk said: “We are pleased to be working with Sanctuary to bring the Love Street site back into use – with the new housing making a big contribution towards the council’s target of 200 high-quality affordable homes being built in Renfrewshire each year.

“Given how much the Love Street site means to so many people, we wanted to be able to let St Mirren fans decide how best their club’s history should be reflected within it.

“The panel had a tough task to whittle the names down but after some very lively discussion we arrived at a shortlist which spans the generations and different eras of the club’s history.”

The development will provide 103 houses for social rent. A further 29 houses are available for affordable sale through the New Supply Shared Equity scheme.

Sanctuary is also building homes for social rent in Station Road, Renfrew and at the former Co-op site in Wellmeadow Street, Paisley.

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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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Memories of Auld Paisley Wed 28th Feb Paisley Museum 7-8.30

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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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Paisley opens new £3.7m museum store in first for UK High Street

Paisley opens new £3.7m museum store in first for UK High Street

UK City of Culture 2021 contender Paisley is unveiling a treasure trove of museum items – as a new £3.7m facility believed to be a first for a UK High Street prepares to open its doors.

Pupils from St Marys Primary School in Maxwelton ,Paisley visit Paisley :The Secret Collection a new Museum Resource Archive based on the High Street.
Pictured Councillor Lisa Marie Hughes and Pupils round an Original Rare Scale Model of Paisley Town Hall
Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital
All images © Gibson Digital 2017. Free first use only for editorial in connection with the commissioning client’s press-released story. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission


Paisley: The Secret Collection will house tens of thousands of items from Renfrewshire’s collections in a purpose-built publicly-accessible storage unit in a former retail property, aimed at bringing new footfall into the town centre.

Paisley will find out in early December whether it will be crowned the first Scottish place – and first ever town – to win the prestigious title, awarded every four years by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The bid is taking place as 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.

And councillors and bid bosses believe by using its unique past to inject new life into the town centre, Paisley can serve as an example to struggling towns everywhere.

Paisley’s place as the one-time home of the global thread industry helped it build a massive museum collection – with many of the items donated by the mill-owning Coats and Clarks families.

The collection includes some of Paisley’s world-famous textiles, plus a mix of ceramics, world cultures, social history, art and sculpture, natural history and local archives – with many of those items unseen by the general public in decades or longer.

While other areas have public-accessible museum stores, it is believed Paisley’s is the first on a High Street.

A dedicated decant team are due to complete the first phase of a major project to populate the store by the end of the year.

Phase two will see thousands more items moved from the town’s main museum – itself initially gifted to the town by the Coats family in 1871 – before it undergoes a £42m revamp to become a world-class destination with the town’s textile heritage at its heart.

The facility will be operated by Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd and was funded by Renfrewshire Council as part of a wider push to revitalise the town centre.

Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes visited the facility this week and said: “It’s called Paisley: The Secret Collection for a reason because it will house some amazing items the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire will never have known were in their midst.

“The timing of the opening is fitting, with a decision due on the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid very soon – the bid aims to tell Paisley’s untold story and show why we matter to Scotland, the UK and the world, and this facility helps showcase why that is.

“The museum store is also key to the council’s wider plan to revitalise Paisley’s town centre by using our unique selling points to attract visitors and give people new reasons to come into the town.

“The wider retail environment has changed forever and Paisley has been affected by the same issues as towns everywhere – as shoppers move online or to out-of-town centres.

“But in Paisley we believe that by finding innovative ways like this to bring new footfall into the town, surrounding traders will get a boost, and new ones can set up.

“With Heritage Lottery Fund support confirmed for the new £42m museum, a new £5m Paisley Library to be built in another vacant High Street unit and a confirmed £46m council investment in venues including Paisley Town Hall ahead of 2021, Paisley is investing in culture and heritage as a route to transform our situation.

“In doing so we hope to the show the two-thirds of the UK which doesn’t live in a city that towns matter and that others can use what sets them apart to change their future, just as we hope to.

“The store will also be a really valuable educational resource which will allow the next generation of local school pupils to learn about the world and their town’s role in it.”

The facility is at 9 High Street – in a basement underneath the Bargain Buys store historically occupied by a Littlewoods store – and accessible through a specially-built shopfront entrance.

A number of school groups will be among the first to see inside the store, with pupils from St Mary’s Primary getting a sneak peek this week.

General public will only be able to view the store by appointment – but bookings are now being taken from public tours and research facilities from January 2018 onwards via www.renfrewshireleisure.com/thesecretcollection

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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