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Paisley 2021 bid backed by all local party leaders

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has received a show of cross-party support – having been backed by all five party leaders on Renfrewshire Council.

The final bid document is due to be submitted to the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the month – and elected members are set to consider it when the council meets on September 28.

Paisley was this summer named as the only Scottish bidder on the shortlist for the 2021 competition, alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage offer to make it a key visitor destination within Scotland, and transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area.

And support crosses party lines – with council leader Iain Nicolson (SNP), Labour’s Eddie Devine, James MacLaren of the Conservatives, Lib Dem Eileen McCartin and independent Andy Doig all gathering outside Paisley Abbey to give their backing, joined by children from Williamsburgh Primary.

The bid has already enjoyed public support from national political figures including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish Secretary David Mundell and outgoing Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.

Councillor Nicolson – who also chairs the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board said: “The potential benefits of a successful bid are absolutely massive – for example, the activity before, during and after our planned UK City of Culture year is predicted to create 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period.

“When dealing with something of that scale it is important we as elected members put our party differences aside and do all we can to make it happen – so I am delighted to be joined by my fellow councillors today to show our collective support for the bid.”

Councillor Devine said: “Over the past two years, the Paisley 2021 bid has energised people throughout the town and given them a reason to believe in Paisley again – Buddies have driven the campaign to date and they deserve this title and all the benefits it will bring them.”

Councillor MacLaren added: “We have already seen from previous winners Derry-Londonderry and Hull how winning this title can boost local business and drive investment in infrastructure and industry. I am happy to get behind anything which could do the same for Paisley and Renfrewshire.”

Councillor McCartin said: “Paisley was once the centre of the world’s textile industry and the legacy of that is still around us in wonderful buildings such as our town hall and Sma’ Shot Cottages. That story should be told to as many people as possible and I back anything which will help do that.”

And Councillor Doig added: “Renfrewshire has some great heritage attractions and huge potential as a visitor destination – and a successful Paisley 2021 bid will bring huge numbers of people to the area, giving all our towns and villages a chance to benefit.”

The winner of the competition is due to be announced in December. For more info, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

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21st edition of Provost’s Community Awards launches in Renfrewshire

Local heroes across Renfrewshire are to be recognised as the Provost’s Community Awards open once again for nominations.

The awards are into their third decade and aim to give civic recognition to those who work or live in Renfrewshire, and are making a difference to their community.

Nominations can be made in six categories this year, an increase from five in previous years.

A new Arts and Culture award has been created which will seek out the hidden, or not so hidden, gems who light up Renfrewshire’s cultural scene.

Five other awards, Community Group, Community Volunteer, Sporting Achievement, Carers’ Award and Employer of the Year, give the opportunity for local people to give recognition to their colleagues, friends and family for the work they do in their community.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This will be my first Community Awards in my role as Provost and I can’t wait to see the nominations coming in.

“Our area is full of inspiring community members who deserve to be recognised for the difference they make to the lives of those around them.

“There are a number of different categories to nominate in so don’t miss your chance and nominate the people or groups who you think deserve to win a Community Award.”

The Community Group award is sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre and celebrates the organisations in Renfrewshire that have a positive effect on their communities.

Sponsored by Glasgow Airport, the Community Volunteer award recognises those who give their time and effort for nothing more than the knowledge that they are making a difference to their community.

Perennial award sponsor Acre Industrial will present the Sporting Achievement award to the person, team or group who have represented Renfrewshire to a high standard this year in the sporting arena.

Former Renfrewshire Provost Nancy Allison, who has been a part of each of the Community Awards since its inception, donates the Carers Award which recognises anyone who cares for a relative, friend or neighbour.

This year, Employer of the Year is sponsored by UNISON and encourages nominations for employers who have provided a positive working environment and have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their staff.

Anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire can be nominated for an award.

Further information can be found on www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provostawards

Printed nomination forms are available at Council offices and facilities.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 1 December.

The winners in each category will be invited to a special ceremony which will be held in March 2017

For further enquiries contact: provostawards@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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From New York to New Street for PACE panto star

ACTOR Chris Alexander is swapping New York for New Street, in Paisley to take the role of the Dame in this year’s PACE panto, Snowhite.

Scots-born Chris performed in New York as part of Ramesh Meyyappan’s production of Butterfly, which was part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival, at the 59E59 Theatre, in Manhattan, last year.

And earlier this year, Chris was back in the USA with the same production – an adaptation of Madame Butterfly – staged in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

But the Paisley Arts Centre, in New Street will be Chris’s stage from November 25 until December 30 when he stars in the Snowhite panto.

Also appearing in the panto, written and directed by Ross Stenhouse are professional actors Chloe Lupton, as Snowhite; Dani Heron, as the Evil Queen; Danny Holmes, as The Prince and Nathan Byrne, taking the comic lead.

And of course, there will also be 100 local youngsters who are members of PACE, taking part in the hilarious adaptation of the traditional panto.

Tickets only recently went on sale and already more than half the seats have been snapped up.
The show is produced by PACE panto stalwart, Alan Orr who also takes on the role of musical director.
Alan said: “Everyone at PACE is working their socks off to make this the biggest and best panto we’ve ever done.

“We’ll be performing a magical, fun-filled family show with laughter every step of the way and loads of audience participation.

“Our Dame, Chris Alexander is a very experienced actor and is a really funny guy. He’s got natural comic timing and has experience performing in panto many times before.”

Tickets, priced from £9.50p are available from the Arts Centre Box Office, by logging on towww.boxoffice.renfrewshire.gov.uk or by calling 0300 300 1210.

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Buddies encouraged to have their say at Scottish Government Culture Conversations

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

People throughout Renfrewshire are being encouraged to get involved in shaping Scotland’s new culture strategy at a public event taking place in Paisley.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Following sessions held in July in Dundee and Inverness, Paisley’s University of the West of Scotland, will host the first of three new events on Tuesday 19 September 1-3pm which will be attended by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

The fact that the event is taking place in Paisley is particularly apt given that the town is the only Scottish location in the running for UK City of Culture 2021.

The engagement event is a crucial part of helping the Scottish Government capture the views and voices of the public to help shape its culture strategy for Scotland.

The strategy aims to show how important culture is to Scotland’s future and its role in enabling everyone to have the opportunity to take part in or contribute to cultural life in Scotland.

Provost Lorraine Cameron, who will address the event on the day, said: “We are thrilled to be the host of the first in this series of events to help shape the Scottish Government’s culture strategy.

“The ambitions of the Government’s strategy are closely tied with those set out in Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021. The bid aims to support the long term development of culture to transform the town’s future and ensure everyone has the same opportunities to take part in creative activities.”

The engagement event supporting the development of a Culture Strategy for Scotland is being held in partnership with Renfrewshire Council in Brough Hall at Paisley Campus, University of the West of Scotland, on Tuesday 19 September 1-3pm.

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Work starts on archaeological dig to explore a mysterious site near Paisley Abbey

Work has started to unearth a mysterious site next to the grounds of Paisley Abbey as part of an archaeological dig.

Paisley Abbey archaeological dig 18.9.17

The Paisley “Wee Dig 2017” is taking place from 18 to 23 September 2017. This project will investigate a previously unexplored part of the Abbey Drain site excavated to shed light on what lies beneath alongside a programme of events to allow people to get involved. This ties in with ambitions set out in the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The project has been funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Stories, Stones and Bones programme as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Paisley’s iconic 12th century Abbey is an outstanding architectural gem in the town and was also the cradle of the Royal House of Stewart as a number of the Stewarts were buried within its walls. It is also believed that Robert II, the first Stewart king of Scotland and the grandson of Robert the Bruce, was born within the walls of Paisley’s Abbey. The Abbey also has a fascinating underground history – the magnificent medieval Abbey Walkway.

The “Wee Dig 2017” will expand what is already known about Paisley’s monastic past as well as inspiring some budding archaeologists of the future.

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “The ‘Wee Dig 2017’ celebrates our town’s unique history and heritage and is a great way for the public to learn more about Paisley’s past and learn new skills in the process.

“This project ties in ties in with the main themes of our Paisley Town Centre Action Plan 2016 – 2026 which aims to regenerate the town centre and create jobs and also highlights how we are delivering on these plans by making the most of our assets to attract more people and businesses into the town.”

Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is a key partner in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and it’s our ambition that people of all ages will have the chance to discover something new about the heritage they care about.

“We’re delighted that, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, the wee Dig will be opening the door to fun, learning and everlasting memories for many people as we celebrate this special year.”

Over the course of the week a series of interactive workshops are taking place with local school children, community groups and members of the public. These sessions will involve experiencing the dig itself, learning about various archaeological techniques and looking at artefacts from previous digs.  A film on the Paisley Abbey Walkway will be featured to allow visitors to see what is under the area of the dig site.

The dig and supporting activities will be led by archaeologist firm GUARD Archaeology Limited who will manage the project on the ground, lead the workshops and be on hand to answer questions about what is uncovered.

GUARD Archaeologist, Bob Will, said: “The drain is an amazing architectural structure. It’s so well built and very detailed – it’s a very interesting structure to investigate.

“Working with volunteers from the Renfrewshire Local History Forum, community groups and members of the public who will visit the site this week we will unearth the site and see what we can find.”

The public is encouraged to come along, get involved and to share their experiences of this archaeology event, taking place during archaeology month, on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WeeDig2017.

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Latest groups in line to benefit from £171,000 Paisley 2021 funding boost revealed


A fund designed to support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has named projects set to share a £171,000 funding boost – including a musical about the town’s historic Bungalow Bar, an opera inspired by the town’s witch trials, and a festival in Ferguslie Park.


Renfrewshire Council created a Culture, Heritage and Events Fund two years ago to boost the capacity of the local creative scene and create more chances for people to get involved in cultural activity in the run-up to the 2021 bid being lodged.

The initial £500,000 investment was doubled to £1m earlier this year – with 65 projects having already been funded through the £462,000 committed to date.

The five rounds of CHE Fund have seen a total of 242 applications from across Scotland, with a total funding ask of almost £3m.

And members of the council’s leadership board will next week (Wednesday) be asked to approve the list of 15 projects recommended to be funded in the latest round. Highlights include:

– £10,000 to local music charity Loud n Proud for a musical allowing various local youth groups telling the incredible story of the original Bungalow Bar – which hosted many of the biggest names in music;
– £10,000 to Paisley Opera to create a special performance in Paisley Abbey inspired by the town’s famous witch trials – the last mass hanging for witchcraft in Western Europe;
– £20,000 to the New Tannahill Centre for a multi-artform festival in Ferguslie Park featuring local groups such as Paisley YMCA, the Sunshine Recovery Cafe and Quarriers;
– £22,333, to part-fund a ground-breaking collaboration with respected playwright Nicola McCartney to showcase the creativity of Renfrewshire young people who grew up in care, as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People;
– £12,660 to local group Right2Dance to bring a nationally-renowned dance company to town to work with young people during free workshops;
– £9,999 to youth group Create Paisley to produce 26 music videos, giving young people experience in broadcasting and film-making.

The recommendations were made by a specially-convened panel from the Paisley 2021 bid team and based on criteria including the CHE Fund objectives, value for money, public benefit and legacy opportunities.

Paisley was confirmed earlier this year as the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture competition – with the winner due to be announced by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the year.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is part of a wider push to harness the power of creativity and of our unique heritage story to transform the future of the whole area, and the CHE Fund is one of the key building blocks within that.

“Once again, the applications show the strength and diversity of the local creative scene, and it was a tough job for the panel to whittle that down to the 15 projects they have asked councillors to approve.

“One of the reasons the council created the CHE Fund is we know involvement in cultural activity is good for people’s lives, and we want to make it easier for more people to enjoy those benefits.

“So it is good to see suggested projects based around some of our hard-to-reach and marginalised groups, as well as others offering free access to music, dance and film production to young people.

“At the same time, the CHE Fund is strengthening the case for Paisley become the next UK City of Culture – by bringing expertise from across Scotland here to work with and develop our homegrown talent, and proving we have what it takes to stage top-class programming.”

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

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Proposals reveal options for Paisley major sports facility

New options for a major sports facility in Paisley will be presented to elected members next week.

Renfrewshire Council officers were asked to provide alternative proposals for sports facilities in the area to the next Leadership Board on Tuesday 19 September.

Paisley host the British Pipe Band Championships 2017. featuring more than 140 bands and 4,000 of the world’s best pipers and drummers
This is one the most prestigious events in the world piping calendar and a showcase of Paisley’s ability to stage major events attracting an audience in the tens of thousands. The event will also take place during the period when Paisley aims to be shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition.
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.

The proposals would provide Paisley and Renfrewshire with a modern fit-for-purpose multi-sports ground with a number of outdoor sports facilities.

It would also be able to host major outdoor events that supports Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley host the British Pipe Band Championships 2017. featuring more than 140 bands and 4,000 of the world’s best pipers and drummers
This is one the most prestigious events in the world piping calendar and a showcase of Paisley’s ability to stage major events attracting an audience in the tens of thousands. The event will also take place during the period when Paisley aims to be shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition.
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.

The proposals include options for the site, including road access, car parking, pitches, cycle tracks, indoor facilities and hard-standing areas.

Councillors will also be updated on the consultation that took place with residents on housing in the Tannahill area. They are asked for their approval to conduct a detailed review of options to inform future investment in new build and refurbished property.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It is important we get this decision right for the people of Ferguslie and for Renfrewshire as a whole. Officers were asked to seek alternative options for the development of sport facilities at St James Park that would support an outdoor space for hosting large scale events and members of the Leadership Board will be looking at these next week.

“We’ve already seen St James Park used for large scale events, such as the British Pipe Band Championships, and these proposals will help elected members look at what will support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and what supports the people living in the local area.”

Paisley will submit its final bid to the UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of September.

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Paisley’s National Festival and one of the biggest events in Scotland’s cultural calendar, The Spree is back for its sixth consecutive year with some of the biggest names in Scottish music, comedy and entertainment, including a sold-out homecoming show from Paolo Nutini.

The twelve-day extravaganza will see dozens of events take place throughout Paisley between 13th and 24th October and tickets are available now via www.thespree.co.uk.

The Spree is taking place as part of the push towards Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and is helping cement Paisley’s place as a key destination on Scotland’s events map.

This year’s line-up includes a spectacular show from Frightened Rabbit, who are collaborating with The Royal Scottish National Orchestra for a once in a lifetime performance in the stunning surrounding of Paisley Abbey. Frightened Rabbit frontman, Scott Hutchison commented “This will be the last show of our current campaign and we’re excited it’s going to be such a special one to end on. Playing with the RSNO will be an absolute privilege and we can’t wait to hear it as much as everyone else. Having seen previous performances by The Twilight Sad and Idlewild, I’m sure it’s going to be a special night. See you round the organ for a heart-warming rendition of Keep Yourself Warm!”

Trad heavyweights, Breabach are joined by some of the country’s finest, world class musicians; Kris Drever and Talisk; as multi-award-winning Irish artist Sharon Shannon, will take to the stage with finalists from this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk awards, Fara.

This year’s festival will be kicking off with a twist, opening with a celebration of twin festival, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) one of India’s most prestigious festivals; the musical collaboration will weave together the two cultures featuring traditional music from India and Scotland in celebration of friendship and connections.

Other acts on the bill include Dougie McLean, Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, the Pictish Trail, Emma Pollock and RM Hubbert, and a very special show where James Grant explores Paisley’s Untold Story.

The Spree is renowned for hosting some of the biggest names in Scottish comedy and this year is no exception, teaming up with the Gilded Balloon to showcase some of the hottest names in comedy which are set to have the audience in stiches from start to finish.

The festival also includes theatre, film and spoken word, with a full programme of kids events, with much of the action taking place in a specially-erected Spiegeltent in the town centre.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “The Spree festival is now firmly established on Scotland’s festival calendar and we are very excited by this year’s line-up, with almost 60 shows in various venues and a wide range of art forms – from music and dance to theatre and poetry, and plenty for the kids during the October holidays.

“This year’s festival is extra special because it is taking place so close to the final decision over whether Paisley will be named the UK City of Culture 2021.

“As well as showcasing Paisley’s unique venues and ability to host major events with big Scottish and international names, we are delighted The Spree offers a platform for some of Paisley’s fantastic home-grown talent too.”

The Spree is taking place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters, who will be programming additional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent during the festival, with details to be revealed soon.

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.


Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted to be once again supporting The Spree through our National Programme, and I have no doubt this year’s festival will capture the imagination of visitors with some hugely exciting Scottish and international acts on the bill. Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and The Spree is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Paisley’s cultural offering, especially in support of the UK City of Culture 2021 bid.


Tickets and info are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the Box Office on

0300 300 1210.

For more information, contact Wire:

Laura Craik | laura@wearewire.co | 0141 648 9610 | 07817 765 888

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Scottish politicians unite around Paisley 2021

Paisley 2021

Scotland’s Westminster politicians have come together to back Paisley’s bid to be named the UK City of Culture in 2021.

Paisley 2021

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, brought together politicians from all political parties to highlight the cross-party support for Paisley securing the title of the UK’s City of Culture.


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


“Paisley’s bid to be named as the UK City of Culture is now Scotland’s bid and all of the country’s Westminster-based politicians are right behind the campaign to bring this title to Paisley.


“It’s not often that all of Scotland’s main political parties will agree on an issue, but the Paisley 2021 community-led campaign is a special cause that has united us.


“There isn’t a town in the UK that has had a bigger cultural impact on the world than Paisley. The Paisley pattern is famous the world over and the town’s famous performance heritage includes modern day music and acting stars like Paulo Nutini, Gerard Butler and David Tennant.


“Paisley is a town not without its challenges but we’re ready to help seize this opportunity to transform our town for the better, helping to improve the lives of all our citizens. Paisley’s case to be named the UK’s City of Culture is as strong as it gets, and I am delighted that all Scots politicians are united in backing Paisley’s bid to be named as the UK’s City of Culture.”


Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “As the only Scottish place to make the shortlist, Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is now very much Scotland’s bid.


“If Paisley wins the title we will host a year-long programme of world-class cultural events, with the best part of a million visitors expected over the year – and there is a recognition the economic, social and cultural benefits of that would be felt throughout Scotland.


“We are thrilled Gavin Newlands was able to pull together such a great show of cross-party political support from MPs – one of the wonderful things about the bid is the way it has brought people together, and we thank everybody for their backing.”

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Gavin Newlands MP welcomes nuisance call action plan

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed a £50,000 fund announced by the SNP Scottish Government to install call-blocking technology for those most at risk from nuisance calls.

The fund is one element of a national Nuisance Calls Action Plan, launched to raise awareness and empower people to protect themselves from scam callers.


The plan will also develop a strategy for tackling scams in general, update the Business Pledge with a commitment to support vulnerable customers and develop best practice for organisations involved with the Scottish Government schemes to adhere to.


Gavin Newlands MP said:


“The SNP Government’s Action Plan contains a range of measures to raise awareness of nuisance calls, making it easier for people to identify them and take action to protect themselves. This Scottish Government fund that allows call-blocking technology to be installed  for those most at risk is one such measure.


“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to tackle the problem of nuisance calls but unfortunately, the power to regulate in this area lies with the UK Government. My SNP colleague Patricia Gibson MP, who has campaigned in Westminster on stopping nuisance calls, has written to the Secretary of State for Culture to call for them to make good their promises to act and add ‘belt and braces’ by allowing people to automatically opt out of unwanted calls.


“The UK Government previously agreed to legislate to make directors personally responsible for their company’s actions, should it be involved in making nuisance calls. For too long, fines or sanctions have been easily avoided by companies dissolving and resurfacing using a new moniker. The UK Government agreed that company directors would be held to account and could face personal fines of up to £500,000, should it be proven that their company acted unlawfully.


“Sadly, The Tory Government has reneged on these promises and kicked them into the long grass. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are still plagued by nuisance calls every day. Such calls often target the elderly and the vulnerable and have the potential to be very harmful.”


Alex Neill, Which? Managing Director of Home Products and Services, added:


“Scots continue to receive more nuisance calls than the rest of the UK, and the SNP Government’s Action Plan will deliver positive changes to ensure people are no longer bombarded by these unwelcome calls, while we await action from the UK Government.


“Which? has long campaigned against this everyday menace that can intimidate and discourage people from answering their phones. We’re delighted to help people tackle these unwanted calls.”


Members of the public can pledge to support the Which? Nuisance calls campaign at: https://campaigns.which.co.uk/nuisance-calls-scotland/