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Choir from current UK City of Culture host city put on show of support for Paisley 2021

A choir from current UK City of Culture hosts Hull visited Paisley for a special performance to show support for the town’s 2021 bid.

Almost 70 members of Hull’s All For One Choir wowed passers-by with a rousing performance on the town’s High Street.

2017 City of Culture All For One Choir visited Paisley hopefuls on Saturday 23rd September.
They serenaded the locals with an impromptu performance before taking in some Paisley culture

The choir – which features volunteers from Hull’s successful bid for UK City of Culture 2017 – stopped by the town to entertain the crowds following their performance at Glasgow’s City Halls with the Glasgow Philharmonia.

Hull have seen £1 billion of investment since winning the title in 2013, with the city attracting 1.4m visitors in just the first three months of its year in the spotlight.

Paisley was this summer named as the only Scottish location, and only town, on the shortlist for the title of UK City of Culture 2021, alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique heritage and cultural story to transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area, with the final bid document due to be submitted to the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the month.

Hull’s All For One Choir was founded by musical director Helen Garnett, who reached the live semi-finals of television show Britain’s Got Talent 2016 as part of The Garnett Family.

Helen said: “Our choir has performed in locations such as Florence, Dublin and even the Netherlands and it’s lovely to come to Scotland this year.

“I used to live in Bridge of Weir, so I have a soft spot for Paisley and was very aware of the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. As we were in Glasgow for a show the night before we couldn’t pass on the opportunity to come to Paisley and put on a performance.

“We’re passionate about singing and want to share that with everyone. Coming from Hull – the current UK City of Culture – we wanted to make some ties with Paisley and show our support for the bid.”

“Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “We are delighted to welcome the Hull All For One Choir for a spectacular public performance right in the heart of Paisley town centre.

“Having supported a number of events for Hull’s UK City of Culture year, it is fantastic news that the choir is throwing its support behind Paisley’s bid. This is a great boost as we make our final preparations to submit the town’s final bid for UK City of Culture 2021.”

“Performances like this showcase just what a City of Culture looks like and, should Paisley win, we could have events like this every weekend.”

The winner of the UK City of Culture 2021 bid will be announced in December.

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Spectacular programme revealed for Paisley’s winter events season

The spectacular programme has been revealed for this year’s winter events season in Paisley – with Northern Irish rockers Ash set to headline the town’s annual Christmas Lights Switch On.

Paisley’s winter events programme will begin with the two-day Halloween Festival on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October. The special 80’s themed Paisley Fireworks Spectacular will take place on the Saturday 4 November with the ever-popular Christmas Lights Switch On taking place two weeks later on Saturday 18 November.

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Winter events excitement will extend across Renfrewshire with live music and free family entertainment taking place at Christmas Lights Switch Ons in Renfrew on Saturday 25 November and Johnstone on Saturday 2 December. The annual MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards comes to Paisley for the first time ever and will be held at Paisley Town Hall on Saturday 2 December.

Programme highlights include:

  • the spooktacular Halloween Parade through Paisley town centre with a stunning fire monster on a Paisley Chariot, New Orleans style street band Mr Wilson’s Second Liners Band, the Spark! Drummers and much more.

 

  • a spectacular Fire Garden and Fire Stage at Bridge Street with soundscapes, projections and illuminations to make for a real extravaganza of sight and sound in Abbey Close.

 

  • a night of music, haunted performers and spooky goings-on with a Halloween Ball at Paisley Town Hall and Friday Fright Night at Paisley Museum, organised by Renfrewshire Leisure.

 

  • an 80s themed Silent Disco in Paisley Town Hall during the afternoon and broadcast from Clyde One DJs in the evening ahead of the Paisley Fireworks Spectacular at Abbey Close.

 

  • The famous Reindeer Parade starting and finishing on Paisley High Street before Santa opens his grotto outside the Paisley Centre.

 

  • a Live Stage with performance by music headliners Ash before Paisley’s festive season is officially marked with the annual Christmas Lights Switch On.

The winter season is part of a wider programme of events in Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

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

The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique heritage and cultural story to transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area, with the final bid document due to be submitted to the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the month.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The Halloween Festival, Fireworks Spectacular and Christmas Lights Switch On are established favourites in the town’s events calendar – and this year Paisley’s winter events programme is even bigger and better than ever.

“One of the key aims of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is to showcase the town’s proven track record in hosting a diverse range of major cultural activities and the winter events programme highlights just that.”

Tim Wheeler, frontman of Ash, said: “We’re really looking forward to playing Paisley for the switching on of the Christmas lights this year. Hopefully our tunes will get the elves dancing and the Christmas spirit flowing.”

Santa Claus, who visited the town for the launch of Paisley’s winter events programme, is looking forward to the Christmas Lights Switch On and said: “It will be a happy, wonderful occasion. Paisley’s real strength is its great people and I know they’ll turn out to see me and enjoy the night.”

Gerry Lyons, DJ for the 80s themed Silent Disco and family fun at the Fireworks Spectacular, said: “The eighties was a great decade for music and I’ll be playing everything from classic pop like Wham through to power ballads and iconic tunes like Michael Jackson’s thriller. The silent disco will see people in the room listen to different music through head phones, so they’re dancing to different tunes and it’s great fun.”

Find out more information at www.paisley2021.co.uk.

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Major town centre investment to be considered by councillors

town hall spring

A major package of capital investment in Paisley town centre is set to be considered by Renfrewshire councillors when they meet next week.

Plans being put forward propose a package of investment totalling £45.7million in refurbishment and upgrades to Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre, a new venue at the former Galbraith’s site on Back Sneddon Street in the town; improvements to Paisley town centre as well as an upgrade to St James Playing field.

town hall spring

Paisley Town Hall

The plans are part of the town’s final bid for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition, which is also being considered by councillors next week, with a decision on the winner expected by the end of the year.

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.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The whole of Renfrewshire has such a rich heritage and world class local talent and this investment will bring significant benefit to communities right across the region.

“Culture and heritage can play such a transformational role in supporting our local economy and improving the opportunities and wellbeing for our communities, investing in improvements to our existing venues and our town centre environment, we can make a real change in the fortunes of the area.

“Winning the title will boost the local economy by £175million, create more than 4,700 local jobs in the area, boost our tourism industry and improve the profile of the area, showing investors how much Renfrewshire has to offer.”

The plans include:

£22million for Paisley Town Hall – to increase performance attendances and attract high quality events to improve the visitor experience and improve the physical infrastructure of the building to secure its long term future

£2.5 million for Paisley Arts Centre – to upgrade electrical works, improve toilet provision, provide changing accommodation for performers, new seating, improved staging, redecoration and improved access arrangements

£10million improvements to Paisley town centre – include improved access into the town centre, pedestrian and cycling routes, public transport, local traffic improvements and investment in the physical appearance of the town centre

£3.5million to transform the former Galbraith’s building on Back Sneddon Street to provide a venue for performance and visual art events.

£7.7million redevelopment of facilities at St James playing field including an upgrade to grass pitches, a new pavilion and café, and an area to accommodate large scale events; and an upgrade to the existing Ferguslie Park Sports Centre.

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Ambitious plans unveiled to reshape Renfrewshire

Renfrew Town Hall taken by Natalie Murie

Plans to create a thriving Renfrewshire are set to be considered by councillors next week.

Thriving Places, Connected Communities is the new Council Plan being presented next week, which sets out the local authority’s vision and strategic objectives for Renfrewshire over the next five years.

Renfrew Town Hall taken by Natalie Murie

Renfrewshire has a population of 176,000 people and has a proud cultural heritage, including Scotland’s second highest concentration of listed buildings.

The area generates more than one-third of Scotland’s manufacturing exports, with highly qualified employees and jobs up by 9,000 in the last three years.

The area also faces significant challenges, with one in five Renfrewshire children living in poverty and life chances in some communities blighted by poor health and wellbeing.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “This plan sets out our ambitions as a local authority to deliver for everyone in Renfrewshire.

“Renfrewshire is a place of outstanding natural beauty, steeped in cultural heritage, with thriving business and economic activity. By listening to our communities and working together with our partners we can reshape Renfrewshire, our economy and our future.

“It is only by working together that we can give people a sense of pride in the place where they live. We want to remove the barriers to opportunities, building strong, safe and resilient communities, and make the most of what the area has to offer.

“This is a fantastic, yet challenging time for Renfrewshire and many people in our communities are affected by poverty, poor health and unemployment. These are unacceptable inequalities and we will address them by working differently, making decisions which ensure growth and investment reaches our most disadvantaged.

“Like many public services, we face significant financial challenges, a changing society and changing needs of local people, communities and businesses. It is vital that this plan is ambitious and flexible, enabling us to respond to the challenges and embrace the opportunities that will help us deliver the high-quality services local people and businesses rely on.”

Renfrewshire Council is the 10th largest local authority in Scotland, with 7900 staff and a £380million budget. It delivers a diverse range of services, from educating more than 27,000 children to managing more than 12,200 Council homes.

Councillors will consider the plan at the Council meeting on Thursday, 28 September 2017.

They will also discuss the details of Renfrewshire’s Community Plan, the new ten-year plan developed jointly by key public, private and third sector organisations including the Council.

Councillor Nicolson added: “Renfrewshire’s Community Plan marks a shared responsibility between the Council and its many partners to get things right for Renfrewshire people.

“Developing these two plans in parallel provides us with a real opportunity to agree on the collective outcomes we will all focus on going forward and create a ‘golden thread’ running through each one, together delivering a thriving Renfrewshire.”

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New partnership programme launches in Renfrewshire to keep young drivers safe on the road

Young drivers at Renfrewshire Council are set to improve their skills behind the wheel as Police Scotland launched a new partnership programme in Renfrewshire.

More than 40 driving instructors and learners attended a launch event at the Gleniffer Hotel which outlined the benefits of the programme through presentations by Police Scotland and the Motor Schools Association of Great Britain.

The new driver scheme aims to provide young drivers with the skills and knowledge needed to lower the risk of a collision for inexperienced drivers.

The scheme will link with the Council’s Modern Apprenticeship programme and young drivers will have the opportunity to attend workshops designed to improve their hazard perception.

The course will use case studies to identify the missed hazards which ultimately caused a collision, recognise why they were missed and provide the solutions to ensure that drivers will not make the same mistakes.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “This new programme will be a fantastic resource for our Modern Apprentices to take advantage of and will prepare them for life on the roads, both in their own vehicles and when using the council fleet.

“It is important that young drivers are able to deal with the hazards which may present themselves on the roads and the course allows the risks to be addressed in the classroom before facing them in reality.

“This training will ensure that all young drivers who have access to the council fleet will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to drive the vehicles safely and appropriately as they carry out their role within the organisation.”

Since the scheme was launched in February 2017, more than 1000 drivers have taken part in workshops with Police Scotland to enhance their hazard perception skills when behind the wheel.

Superintendent Nichola Burns, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Division, said “Working in partnership with Renfrewshire Council is a fantastic way for us to reach out to new drivers through their modern apprentice programme.

“It allows us to promote road safety by discussing opinions and driving styles, and highlighting the dangers of peer pressure and bravado whilst in control of a vehicle.

“Working in partnership with Renfrewshire Council allows us to improve road safety by delivering the right messages to the right audience and at the most appropriate time.  We hope our presentations will change attitudes and behaviours.”

The Council will make the course available to all its modern apprentices, with an initial focus on those who will have access to the Council fleet.

All employees currently have to undergo a pre-assessment check before being allowed access to a council vehicle and the training will expand on this to ensure all necessary precautions are in place.

Constable Craig Beaver of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Department, said: “We will be delivering the New Driver Scheme to all apprentices within Renfrewshire Council over the next few months.

“Our resource is impactive, informative, and puts the hazard perception skills which new drivers have acquired into a real life context.”

If you are a new driver, or an employer of new drivers and feel you may benefit from this free opportunity, please get in touch via newdriverscheme@scotland.pnn.police.uk

For more information on the scheme visit: http://www.scotland.police.uk/contact-us/new-driver-scheme.

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Operational activity underway as part of Team Up to Clean Up campaign

The fruits of a £250,000 investment in the cleanliness of Renfrewshire’s streets will soon be visible as an enhanced programme of operational activity gets underway.

The Team Up to Clean Up campaign sees an additional investment in gully cleaning, road sweeping, litter picking and a refresh of the roads infrastructure to improve the standard of Renfrewshire’s environment.

Residents can expect to see an enhanced programme of gully maintenance on the roads which will complement existing activity and allow gullies to be examined, and where appropriate, drained and cleaned.

There will also be an increase in the road sweeping provision across the area with employment of two new drivers meaning Renfrewshire’s residential communities will now be swept every two months.

New dedicated litter pickers have been employed to complement existing street cleaning activity and will work to clear litter from their area whilst also addressing any other cleanliness issues they come across on their route.

The Rapid Response Team, who undertake patrols of Renfrewshire and tackle reports of fly tipping, fly posting and similar activity, will be boosted with additional employees.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “This campaign will make our streets cleaner, brighter and a more attractive place to live and work.

“Cleaning gullies, sweeping roads, picking up litter will all make an immediate difference to the perception of our area which is why we have chosen to make this investment.

“The increased programme of activity will ensure that the community can see tangible benefits in their area, which we hope they will then take pride in.

“We want this campaign to spark a sense of civic pride across Renfrewshire and we want the community to work with us by taking part in community clean ups, cleaning up after their dogs, reporting an fly tipping and addressing their recycling habits.

“If we all ‘Team Up to Clean Up’ then we will make Renfrewshire a better place to live, work, visit and invest in.”

The campaign also looks to motivate the community to become involved and invoke a sense of civic pride across Renfrewshire.

A number of engagement sessions have taken place to discover what those who live and work in Renfrewshire believe are the main issues affecting the environment, what can be done to change this and how best to get the community involved.

Two further evening sessions are scheduled for Wednesday 27 September at Park Mains High School in Erskine and Thursday 28 September at Renfrewshire House, Paisley.

To confirm your attendance, please contact 0300 300 1375.

Further information on the campaign can be found at: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup

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Further Engagement Sessions Announced for Team Up to Clean Up

Renfrewshire Council will be holding another round of local engagement sessions for the upcoming Team Up to Clean Up Campaign, which sees an extra investment of £250,000 devoted to cleaning up our streets and improving our local environment.
Renfrewshire Council want to make sure the views of local communities are heard within the campaign and celebrate and empower local community groups already active around Renfrewshire. A number of engagement sessions have already taken place to discover what local people believe are the main issues affecting the environment in their area and what can be done to change this.
The upcoming sessions that have been scheduled will be on Wednesday the 27th September at Park Mains High School and Thursday the 28th September at Renfrewshire House, Paisley. To book a place at one of the sessions Renfrewshire Council have asked you to call 0300 300 1375.
Councillor Natalie Don, deputy convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Board, has encouraged local residents to get involved by attending the sessions.
Councillor Don said
“This campaign will see the council step up their efforts in a bid to make our streets cleaner and improve our local environment but we want to hear what is important to local people in their own areas.”
“If you have an opinion on the main issues affecting your area, how they could be improved and how we can change behaviours to ensure that this campaign has a long lasting effect, I would encourage you to attend one of these sessions and make sure your voice is heard.”
“I would also encourage local community groups to attend the sessions and give their opinions on how the council  can help the activities that they already carry out. There are many fantastic community groups in Renfrewshire and we want to celebrate and empower the work they already do voluntarily, to improve our local areas.”
Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of the Infrastructure, Land and Environment board, also highlighted the importance of the sessions for local people.
Councillor McEwan stated,
“To make sure your concerns about street cleaning in your area are addressed come along. Let’s work together to put a pride back into all areas of Renfrewshire.”
“Your views are what we need to take this campaign forward and help us to change a culture that has been allowed to develop into a situation that has seen Renfrewshire in second bottom position for street cleaning in Scotland’
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LOCAL VOLUNTEERS URGED TO VOTE FOR THEIR CHARITY AT NATIONAL AWARDS

Volunteers are being urged to vote so the work they do for Contact the Elderly can be recognised at a national awards ceremony.

Contact the Elderly’s 125 tea parties in Scotland, including groups based locally, are supported by 1400 volunteers and offer an invaluable lifeline of friendship to more than 850 older people who live alone.

SONY DSC

The charity’s volunteers are in the running for The Great Scot Community Champion award.

 

Morna O’ May, Head of Service Scotland at Contact the Elderly, said:

 

“We were delighted to find out our volunteers had been shortlisted for this award. We were nominated anonymously so it is a great honour.

 

“Without our volunteers, we would not be able to break the cycle of social isolation for hundreds of older people who live alone in villages, towns and cities throughout Scotland.

 

“This is an opportunity to thank our volunteers and for their superb efforts to be recognised. I hope plenty of them vote and make sure their friends and families get on board too.”

 

In the past year, Contact the Elderly in Scotland has won five awards and been shortlisted for a further five.

 

Volunteer drivers collect one or two older people each month and accompany them to an afternoon tea in a volunteer host’s home. A host will welcome a group of between six and eight people once or twice a year.

 

Voting, which remains open until 1st October, takes only a few moments atwww.greatscotawards.co.uk/vote.html.

 

To find out more about becoming a guest or volunteer of Contact the Elderly, contact0800 716543.

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Influential women of Paisley to be celebrated as part of exhibition in twin town of Furth

Influential women from across Paisley and Renfrewshire have gathered to celebrate their heritage with a special visitor from Paisley’s sister town of Fürth.

Michaela Schneider, who is a member of the Women’s Museum in the German city, visited the town last week to find out more about the history of powerful women from Paisley.

The museum plans to include information on Paisley’s broad cultural diversity and feminine history in its latest exhibition which focuses on Fürth and its twin locations in France, Turkey, Greece, Tunisia and Scotland.

The exhibition will look at the ‘feminine side’ of Fürth and its twin cities, and will bring to life the stories of strong women, past and present.

Paisley has been twinned with Fürth since 1969 and also has further twin town links with Gladsaxe in Denmark.

During her visit, Michaela attended a special dinner at Paisley Town Hall to meet influential figures in culture, art, music, sport, business and politics from across Renfrewshire.

Among those attending the dinner were former Provost of Renfrewshire Anne Hall, director of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 Jean Cameron, president of the Old Paisley Society Cath Mitchell, InCube Renfrewshire designer Dominika Zurawska, artist Caroline Gormley, Diane Mitchell of the Diane Mitchell Music School and local musicians Carol Laula, Linzi Clark and Lisa Kowalski.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, who welcomed Michaela Schneider and guests at the event, said: “I was delighted to welcome Michaela to Paisley and celebrate the efforts of outstanding women in the Renfrewshire area.

“The exhibition in Fürth will go a long way to highlight the important work of women throughout Paisley’s history and their influence on society today.

“This event was a fantastic way to showcase the inspirational work and activity being carried out by women right here in Renfrewshire, whilst also building upon the strong relationship we have developed with Fürth.”

Michaela Schneider said: “The purpose of my visit was to get to know Paisley, introduce the Women’s Museum and to make connections for future collaborations between our museum and the town.

“Learning about Jane Arthur, the Mill Girls and Agnus Russell, to name just a few, and the businesswomen, politicians and creative minds I have met during my visit, I have found a town with an impressive spirit which has been inspired by these women.

“I have been moved by the unbelievable support and warm-hearted welcome, which was apparent even before I came over from Germany.”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “Celebrating our international links is a key part of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and it was fantastic to have Michaela visit from our twin town of Fürth.

“Paisley’s bid is also about highlighting the area’s cultural and historical figures – and the town’s rich history of strong women in the mills showcases just that.

“The town has raised women who have gone on to change the world and it is great that we will be able to mark this with our friends in Fürth.”

You can visit the International Women’s Museum website at www.frauenindereinenwelt.de

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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

The Scottish Government has given its financial backing to Scotland’s bid if Paisley is named UK City of Culture 2021.

 

Commenting Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay, who also serves as Cabinet Secretary for Finance, said:

 

“The Scottish Government is backing Paisley’s bid, and I am delighted to play my role and add my support as local MSP and Finance Secretary.

 

“Winning UK City of Culture will benefit all of Renfrewshire, and as the only bid from Scotland shortlisted – the eyes of the country are on Paisley and Renfrewshire.

 

“It has been a fantastic, positive and energised campaign which is all about people, and great credit must go to everyone involved.”