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New Street Stuff culture bus gets ready to hit the road

Street Stuff staff, councillors plus repreentatibes of St Mirren with some of the boys and girls taking part in the camp

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is hitting the road on a grand tour of Renfrewshire – thanks to the area’s award-winning Street Stuff youth scheme.

Street Stuff staff, councillors plus repreentatibes of St Mirren with some of the boys and girls taking part in the camp

Street Stuff staff, councillors plus repreentatibes of St Mirren with some of the boys and girls taking part in the camp

Street Stuff is a council-led partnership which has helped cut youth disorder locally by 75% since 2009 through offering activities including football, dancing and mobile youth clubs for young people in selected areas.

And the Street Stuff fleet has been boosted with the addition of a ‘culture bus’ –designed by the young people themselves after a consultation with more than 250 of them led by the Paisley 2021 team and Street Stuff staff.

The inside is equipped with the latest video-game consoles as well as DJ decks and other musical equipment.

The brightly-coloured graffiti-style artwork on the exterior of new bus was produced by a group of Street Stuff attendees working with Paisley-based visual artist Duncan Wilson.

Street Stuff is run by a partnership including Renfrewshire Council, St Mirren FC, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue.

And staff involved in managing the project gathered at the Paisley 2021 Stadium, to see the culture bus for the first time before it set off around Renfrewshire.

The stadium was a busy place during the October school holiday, with St Mirren running football coaching in the club’s Airdome and dance classes inside the stadium.

There was also some catwalk action in the form of a fashion show featuring some of the young people who designed their own bespoke tie-dye T-shirts.

Street Stuff holiday camps across the area also provided free meals to all attendees during the week, thanks to the council’s Tackling Poverty Programme, which funded an extension of the scheme.

Renfrewshire’s Street Stuff champion, Councillor Eddie Devine, said: “Street Stuff has made a huge difference in the areas where it operates over the years – last year saw more than 37,000 attendees and 4,500 healthy meals provided.

“It’s also a great example of what partnerships can achieve – ourselves, St Mirren, the police and fire brigade have all played a role in what has been a nationally-recognised success, and everybody involved is immensely proud of that.

“Street Stuff also links together some of the biggest projects happening across the area at the moment.

“Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 aims to harness the power of creativity to help change people’s lives, and key to that is creating opportunities for young people to engage in whatever form of culture means most to them.

“The new bus was only made possible by the input of the young people who already take part in Street Stuff – they told us what they wanted inside it.

“It also means we can take cultural activity to all areas of Renfrewshire and make it easier for people in all areas to enjoy the benefits.

“And at the same time, Street Stuff is a key part of the council’s innovative programme to tackle poverty – the holiday camps are making sure pupils continue to get a free healthy meal and activity even outwith the school term.”

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Renfrewshire Council Leader urges Scottish Government to support reinvention of Paisley

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Mark Macmillan, has requested the Scottish Government make Paisley Town Centre a pilot area for a range of innovative initiatives which would help to reinvigorate the town and surrounding areas.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Councillor Macmillan has written to Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government and Housing, following a meeting during the Scottish Town Planning Institute annual conference which took place in Paisley earlier this month. This gathering of planning experts from across Scotland coincided with the launch of Renfrewshire Council’s Economic Framework (REF) and Paisley Town Centre – 10 Year Action Plan (PTCAP) strategies.

Both documents have a key role to play in the Council’s commitment to building a better Renfrewshire for all through the delivery of economic regeneration and its associated social benefits.

The PTCAP is an ambitious ten year programme of investment to re-invent Scotland’s largest town centre which will drive economic growth and inward investment in the town and across Renfrewshire as a whole.

To support the objectives of the PTCAP, Councillor Macmillan is urging the Scottish Government to make Paisley a pilot Town Centre Incentivisation Zone and test a number of initiatives designed to stimulate economic growth.

The request included a number of suggestions, such as:

  • Business rates
    • Creation of a ‘town centre regeneration fund’ by allowing local authorities to keep an agreed percentage of current business rates (NDR) within the Incentivisation Zone for a set period, together with any additional NDR payable during this period from new occupants
    • Change regulation to make vacant listed buildings liable for business rates
    • Allow local authorities to retain a proportion of additional business rates from listed buildings within the incentivisation zone so they are liable for rates whether occupied or vacant
    • Offer a VAT exemption for the refurbishment of property within the pilot zone
    • Establish a ‘housing regeneration fund’ targeted at vacant buildings in the pilot zone to allow scale to be achieved to entice housing developers to create new housing in town centres

Councillor Macmillan said: “Paisley has the potential to be the driver for economic growth across the whole of Renfrewshire. It is Scotland’s largest town centre, boasting the country’s fourth busiest railway station and one of the highest concentrations of listed buildings.

“The request I have made of the Scottish Government would support our own commitment and ambitious plans for the regeneration of Paisley and Renfrewshire. Each of the proposals we have submitted is designed to support long-term growth and investment through a mix of housing and business investment.

“Also, for a town with such a proud and extensive built heritage as Paisley, these proposals have the potential to play a vital role in protecting our heritage assets which, for too long, have been left neglected.”

Renfrewshire Council is currently conducting a consultation for local people and businesses to have their say on the REF and PTCAP strategies.

The PTCAP will see four areas in the town centre revamped. These are the Gilmour Street Gateway, High Street and UWS Campus, Abbey and River Precinct, and Improving Connections between the town centre and surrounding areas.

The REF sets out a clear strategy for establishing the region as an attractive place to live, work and visit, emphasising that Renfrewshire is open for business. It contains 10 near term strategic priorities which will create more and better jobs through supporting growing businesses, attracting new investment and ensuring the foundations are in place to sustain that growth in the long term.

The consultation period will culminate with two public events at Paisley Town Hall on Thursday November 3 (from 11.30am to 2.30pm) and Wednesday 9 November (from 5.30pm to 7.30pm).

Members of the public are encouraged to attend the events but can also provide feedback by completing the Council’s short survey at:  www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/haveyoursay

The consultation period ends on Thursday 10 November.

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Club Carnage was awesome! – Tactical Defence Krav Maga


The venue in Paisley was perfect, training in a hot club with limited space really does change the way you approach situations. The floor being sticky or slippery, the lighting and low visibility are usually the norm in a nightclub but it isn’t until the Krav Maga mindset is applied that you really start to think about how these impact violent or aggressive situations. This event promised to show us that and it delivered.



Pulling off clean self defence techniques in a nice air conditioned class is a good bit different than trying to do the same whilst completely surrounded by people, struggling to see who or what the threat is and losing your footing on a slippery floor. Fighting your way out of enclosed spaces while trying to protect a loved one or friend, escorting them to safety are just a few of the things we trained on the day.

Getting first hand experience of this sort of training is invaluable. Being on the floor surrounded by attackers, trying to protect yourself whilst getting attacked was one of my personal favorites. It all adds another level to the self defence training we do regularly at Tactical Defence Krav Maga. Not just physically but mentally, trying to overcome the natural freeze in the fight or flight response.

The Tactical Defence instructors were brilliant and professional, the whole day was well planned and you could tell by the quality of the presentation. Everyone who attended only made the day better with their effort and hard work.

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3 Unmissable Book Week Scotland Events Happening in Renfrewshire


Book Week Scotland is taking place Monday 21 – Sunday 27 November 2016 and audiences across Scotland can take part in a national celebration of books and reading, with hundreds of free events and fun reading activities happening across the country.


Booklovers can get involved by voting for their favourite http://scottishbooktrust.com/reading/book-week-scotland/scottish-book-to-screen-vote, challenge themselves or a friend to a #ReadingDare  and during the week, a brand new Book Generator quiz will be available on http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/book-week-scotland, enabling participants to uncover the perfect book match for themselves or the ideal present for a friend.

The 2016 events programme is a literary box of delights, with something for people of all ages to enjoy. Events happening in Renfrewshire are as follows: 

Clare Mackintosh Chats About Her Thrilling Crime Novels

Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Free, ticketed


Tuesday 22 November 2016 14:30

Clare Mackintosh spent twelve years in the police force, including time on CID, and as a public order commander, before turning her hand to journalism, social media consultancy and writing. Last year she published I Let You Go, a fantastic thriller that was the fastest selling title by a new crime writer in 2015. This year, she’d been delighting readers with the recently published I See You. Hear her discuss her inspiration, writing process and more.

More information about this event


Author Talk: Jill Mansell

Johnstone, Renfrewshire

Free, ticketed


Thursday 24 November 2016 14:30

Jill Mansell is a much loved British romance writer with more than 25 brilliant books. Last year, she launched Three Amazing Things About You, which was one of her best-loved books to date and this year she’s making a splash with You and Me, Always. Discover what makes her tick, where her inspiration comes from and how she manages to write so many beloved characters at this welcoming event.

More information about this event


Conversation with Chris Brookmyre

Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire

Free, ticketed


Monday 21 November 2016 19:00

Chris Brookmyre is one of Britain’s leading crime writers. His Jack Parlabane books have sold more than a million copies in the UK alone. His latest novel, Black Widow, has just won the McIllvanney Prize and is shortlisted for the CWA Golden Dagger. In it he deals with contemporary themes such as everyday sexism, hacking and social media trolls. He also pays homage to the past, bringing maverick reporter Parlabane back to Edinburgh and the flat which was the setting for his award-winning debut, Quite Ugly One Morning.

More information about this event

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Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir in concert with Jimmy Blair Accordion Orchestra


ENJOY a night celebrating Gospel, Scottish and Contemporary music in Renfrewshire in support of the Paisley 2021 Bid for the City of Culture.

On Friday 4 November The Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir will be in concert with the Jimmy Blair Accordion Orchestra for what promises to be a lively evening appreciating many talented musicians in the area.

Renfrewshire is home to a wealth of musical talent and the Cultural Bid offers the chance for members of the community to showcase their talent.

Taking place at Wallneuk North Parish Church at 7pm, the talented performers will be bringing their soulful, upbeat sounds to the stage.

The Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir is the first choir of its kind in Renfrewshire, inclusive to all with no auditions required. Aimed at people who enjoy singing, they welcome people to come along, whether it’s for fun, to meet new friends or to improve their vocal skills.

The choir was formed by Diane Mitchell, who had previous involvement with school choirs and singing in choirs herself. After the launch of her music school last year, she decided to approach the Association of African Communities in Paisley.

As a result, a partnership was formed and both Diane and the African Communities are enthusiastic in their desire to support the Paisley 2021 Bid for the City of Culture. They hope that the choir will play a big part in the community in the lead up and the concert is just one example of this.

Joining the choir for the concert will be the Jimmy Blair Accordion Orchestra, conducted and led by world famous and internationally renowned accordionist Gary Blair, whose father Jimmy Blair founded the original orchestra in the 1970’s.

As former British champions, they also boast past and present members who are Scottish and British Champions.

In what promises to be a lively night for all the family, also gracing the stage on November 4 will be Coda, a young, new, vibrant and extremely talented five piece band.

Acoustic duo, Rebekah and David, will be bringing their contemporary, up beat sounds and classical guitarist Ross Wilson will be performing.

Flying the flag for the younger performers, The Cardonald Primary School Choir will also be taking to the stage. The night willed with grand finale with both choirs, the accordio.

The concert is supported by Renfrewshire Council who recently awarded the Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir money from the 2021 Bid Fund to help make the concert possible.

An event not to be missed, tickets costing £8 for adults and £4 for children/ concessions can be purchased from Gary Blair by contacting 07813 712594 or Diane Mitchell on 07896 689816.

There will also be a number of tickets kept aside to purchase at the door.

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M8 Driving School


Hate to remind you folks but Christmas is on its way and it’s time to get your head thinking “what can I get her/him this year”.


Well, why not get them a gift that lasts a lifetime? Get them on the road to their very own driving license this Christmas and enjoy the fact you helped put them there. M8 driving school have vouchers throughout the year from 1 to 40 lessons.  Give us a call on 07747 600 672 to put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas.

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Halloween in the Hoose

Whit a weekend we have for you. Friday night its the big Halloween parade through the town passing oor windaes while inside the hoose its a spooktacular paaaarty with drinks promos and give aways.
On Saturday night, the toons best live music venue sees the return of EPIC a fantastic live covers band, they will have you on your feet all night. 
On Sunday afternoon we launch the Paisley Folk Club sessions with Rentrad a local traditional music group 5-8pm. Get in and dine with us have a glass of prosecco and hiv a right guid time. !!!
Thursday the 3rd we have the Paisley Development Trust race night all contributions are welcome to fund the organisation that saved the Russell Institute and also a great night oot ina Hoose!!
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Mackay Backs Blythswood Shoebox Appeal

Derek Mackay MSP, Cllr Bill Perrie & Cllr Cathy McEwan with volunteers at Blythswood Care distribution centre in Hillington

SNP MSP Derek Mackay is once again showing his support to Blythswood Care’s Shoebox Appeal. Since 1966, Blythswood Care has led a number of appeals to help those in desperate poverty across Europe, Africa and Asia, through filled shoeboxes at Christmas, relief and development aid or social projects for young and old.

Derek Mackay MSP, Cllr Bill Perrie & Cllr Cathy McEwan with volunteers at Blythswood Care distribution centre in Hillington

Derek Mackay MSP, Cllr Bill Perrie & Cllr Cathy McEwan with volunteers at Blythswood Care distribution centre in Hillington

Blythswood sends shoeboxes filled with gifts and donations from generous Renfrewshire residents and others across the country to impoverished nations across Eastern Europe and Asia.  Last year 116,576 shoeboxes were delivered to Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. A 10% increase on 2014. All of the shoeboxes are sent out early to ensure they arrive by Christmas.  For more information on how you can help please see:  http://www.blythswood.org/shoebox-appeal

Mr Mackay is encouraging constituents to get involved by filling up and dropping off a shop box at Blythswood Care, Montrose Avenue, Hillington Industrial Estate from 4th November 2016.

Commenting Derek Mackay MSP said:

“My heartfelt congratulations go out to the organisers at Blythswood.  It is amazing that they have been able to bring so much joy to those less fortunate than us for over half a century now.

“These shoeboxes can bring so much joy to children, teenagers and adults alike. Everyday items that seem so small to us; a new hat and scarf, a toothbrush with some toothpaste, a small toy, some soap; bring great joy to thousands of people who live in desperate poverty.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved this year. Boxes can be dropped off from 4th November. Constituents can contact Blythswood Care at 882 0585 for more information.”

Cllr Bill Perrie praised the organisation for their work by saying:

 “I’ve been highly impressed by the set up at Blythswood and by the effort which has been put in by all the volunteers sorting the thousands of shoe boxes which have been donated.”

 Cllr Cathy McEwan added:

“This is an on-going reminder that thousands of people struggle day by day in Europe and in Asia just to get by, and I hope last year’s success will inspire even more people to be involved this year.”

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Let’s mall go trick or treating

The seven-year-old Heads of Fun at intu Braehead, Lucie Roy, from Erskine and Aidan Smith, from Houston, Renfrewshire get in some practice for Halloween trick or treating

YOUNGSTERS are being invited to go trick or treating this Halloween weekend at intu Braehead – in one of Scotland’s biggest shopping and leisure malls.

The seven-year-old Heads of Fun at intu Braehead, Lucie Roy, from Erskine and Aidan Smith, from Houston, Renfrewshire get in some practice for Halloween trick or treating

The seven-year-old Heads of Fun at intu Braehead, Lucie Roy, from Erskine and Aidan Smith, from Houston, Renfrewshire get in some practice for Halloween trick or treating

Stores and leisure attractions at the centre and Soar at intu Braehead are expecting scores of youngsters in fancy dress to visit them asking: “Trick or treat?’ and in return, they’ll be given a sweet treat.

The free event is taking place this Saturday and Sunday, October 29 and 30 between noon and 4pm and children are being encouraged to come along in Halloween costume.

Head of Fun at intu Braehead, seven-year-old Lucie Roy, from Erskine prepares for some Halloween fun at the centre’s trick or treat event.

Head of Fun at intu Braehead, seven-year-old Lucie Roy, from Erskine prepares for some Halloween fun at the centre’s trick or treat event.

They can collect a special pumpkin basket from outside Thorntons and Pandora, in the shopping mall and Frankie and Benny’s restaurant, in Soar at intu Braehead.

Then they can visit shops and leisure attractions featuring a special pumpkin in their window.

Stores taking part in the shopping centre are A1 Toys, Waterstones, Build-a-Bear, Claire’s and Schuh Kids. And over in Soar, kids should pay a visit to Chiquito, Gambado, Paradise Island Adventure Golf, Frankie and Benny’s and Laser Station.

Head of Fun at intu Braehead, seven-year-old Aidan Smith, from Houston, Renfrewshire prepares for some Halloween fun at the centre’s trick or treat event

Head of Fun at intu Braehead, seven-year-old Aidan Smith, from Houston, Renfrewshire prepares for some Halloween fun at the centre’s trick or treat event

Marketing manager at intu Braehead, Christine Macdonald said: “Many parents will be looking to keep out of the cold when it comes to trick or treating with their children.
“So we’re giving them the chance to go guising and ask ‘trick or treat’ in the warmth and comfort of the shopping centre and Soar.
“It’ll be great fun and we’re looking forward to seeing lots of kids in the mall in fancy dress.”

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Linwood student takes off on aeronautical career with bursary funding

Adam Donnelly

A Linwood resident has become one of three students to be awarded grant funding as part of a new national bursary scheme from Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard – securing £1,000 towards a further education course in Aircraft Engineering.

Adam Donnelly

Adam Donnelly

Adam Donnelly, whose mother Jacqueline works as a payroll analyst at Chivas Brothers’ Paisley site, took one step closer to his dream of becoming an aeronautical engineer when he was accepted into Ayrshire College’s Aircraft Engineering HNC (Higher National Certificate) course earlier this year. The course forms an essential part of Adam’s plan to continue the subject at university in 2017 – but he was concerned about the cost of travel for the one-hour commute between his home and the college. After hearing about the newly launched Chivas Brothers Bursary scheme, he decided to apply.

Adam explains: “Getting a place at Ayrshire was a real milestone for me, because my long-term plan is to take my studies to degree level, and ultimately get a job as an aeronautical engineer. My only worry was covering train fares between Linwood and the college in Ayr three times a week. My mum had been sent a copy of the bursary application at work, and noticed that it was open to both Chivas Brothers staff and their direct family members. She sent it on to me and told me to go for it! It feels amazing to have been chosen as one of the three successful candidates.

“The £1,000 grant will make a big difference over the next year. It means I can put all my own savings towards my actual studies, rather than just travel. I’ll be able to invest in books and resources for the course and focus on getting the results I need for university. I’ve got my sights set on Glasgow or Strathclyde, which are the best in the UK for aeronautical engineering – it will be hard work but I’m up for the challenge!”

Introduced for the first time this year, the Chivas Brothers Bursary has been developed in partnership with the Scottish International Education Trust (SIET). The SIET was set up in 1971 to help talented men and women fulfil their personal and professional goals by providing them with grants to complete further study. The launch of the new bursary scheme makes it easier for employees and their families to apply for support from the SIET, with up to £5,000 a year on offer over the next three years. It follows a £100,000 donation by Chivas Brothers to the SIET last year, and complements an ongoing employee development programme that has seen the company invest extensively in professional training for its staff.

Anthony Schofield, Public Affairs Director at Chivas Brothers, says: “The new Chivas Brothers Bursary marks our ongoing commitment toengaging and inspiring our people, and giving back to the communities where we work. We’ve been incredibly impressed with the high level of applications we’ve had for the scheme in its inaugural year. We’re very pleased to be supporting Adam in his journey to become an aeronautical engineer, and want to congratulate him on his excellent application.

“Adam’s experience is testament to his drive and passion for his subject. He missed out on a place at university this year, but didn’t let that deter him from his career goals. Instead he plans to reapply next year after further study at college. We wish him the best of luck for a successful HNC at Ayrshire and what is undoubtedly a very bright future.”

Chivas Brothers counts some of the world’s leading whisky and gin brands as part of its portfolio – including Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, The Glenlivet, Royal Salute and Beefeater gin – and has opened the new bursary scheme to employees at all of its 32 sites, which span Orkney, Speyside, Central Scotland, Ayrshire, London and Plymouth.

Also awarded funding under the 2016 Chivas Brothers Bursary scheme were Mia Forbes, whose father works in the company’s London offices, and Laura Caban, whose grandfather works at its Glasgow site. Mia is putting her grant towards a Classics degree at the University of Cambridge, and Laura will be using her funds to help cover costs during an undergraduate degree in Acting for Stage & Screen at Edinburgh Napier and Queen Margaret universities.