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Renfrewshire reveals plans for attainment cash boost

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Almost 40 local schools are in line to benefit from a multi-million-pound cash boost designed to target help to pupils living in deprived areas.

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Renfrewshire was this year confirmed as one of nine council areas to benefit from Scottish Attainment Challenge funding – a £750m national pot for projects designed to help improve the results of pupils from less-affluent backgrounds.

And councilors will next week be asked to approve a detailed plan of action laying out where they want that money to go over the next two years.

That includes:
– work to extend the scope and pace of Renfrewshire’s existing primary schools literacy programme, run in partnership with the University of Strathclyde;
– reviewing maths teaching across the area and creating a numeracy action plan;
– a focus on health and wellbeing, and the role of the family in supporting learning;
– work to develop staff leadership skills, and to better measure pupil results;

The area has been awarded £1.5m funding for 2016/7, and more money will follow in each of the next four years, subject to confirmation by the Scottish Government.

Five Renfrewshire primary schools had already been included in an earlier version of the scheme but it is proposed a further 15 join this year, and ten more in 2017/18, while it is expected nine of the 11 local secondary schools will directly benefit.

The schools chosen were the ones with the highest proportion of pupils living in areas classed as within Scotland’s most deprived 20%.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Services policy board, said: “We are ambitious for our schools and want them to be regarded as among the best in Scotland.

“But, in common with most authorities, children living in deprived areas of Renfrewshire fare worse than their more affluent counterparts across a range of measures – not just in terms of results but on issues which feed into that, such as absence rates and the likelihood of being excluded from school.

“Renfrewshire Council sees tackling that gap in attainment between the most and least affluent pupils as one of our biggest priorities.

“We are already working to achieve that through a number of innovative education projects in our ground-breaking £6m Tackling Poverty programme.

“But there is only so much the council can do within the reducing financial settlement we receive from the Scottish Government.

“For that reason we were pleased they agreed with our case for Renfrewshire to be included in the Scottish Attainment Challenge funding.

“One of the main proposed uses of that money is to extend our existing primary schools literacy programme – which is changing the way our teachers teach children to read, and offering professional development opportunities unique within Scotland.

“If approved by councilors, it will also fund a wide-ranging programme of other initiatives which will build on the good work already happening across Renfrewshire.”

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Hospitality Courses at WCS


West College Scotland have 3 new fast track courses in Hospitality starting in January.


Applications are now open – visit their website www.westcollegescotland.ac.uk to apply.

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Paisley artist Joe Hargan’s Retrospective Exhibition – A Look Behind


Paisley-based Joe Hargan has been at the forefront of the art scene from more than 30 years and his striking paintings are bought by collectors from all over the world.

Joe exhibits annually at the Paisley Arts Institute in the Paisley Museum and Art Galleries.



A retrospective of the work of a major Scottish artist opened recently.

Paisley-based Joe Hargan, 64, has been at the forefront of the art scene from more than 30 years and his striking paintings are bought by collectors from all over the world.


And now there is a chance to look back on his lifetime’s achievement in a exhibition at Glasgow Art Club.

Often large, often humorous in tone, and always strongly coloured, his paintings are eyecatching and memorable.

PAISLEY DAILY EXPRESS: Live news as it happens

“There’s 50 pieces in this show from the last four decades, including a piece of work I did when I was 16, all the way through to the present work, and it shows the sort of diversity on what I work on.”

Born in Govan, Mr Hargan went on to the famous Glasgow School of Art and from there to a teaching job.

“I taught for a number of years,” he said.

“I taught in my old school St Gerard’s, in Govan. I did that for about 14 years, and I was at St Mungo’s in Glasgow, and then Belarmine in Pollok.”

The world of art began very early for Mr Hargan, who has long been a leading figure at Paisley Art Institute, and has his studio at his house in the town’s Oakshaw.

“I think it’s just one of those things. As a boy you start at the age of three and pick up a crayon and just make marks,” he said.

“My mum always used to say I was copying the words off a piece of paper.

“So I was always looking and transcribing a drawing.

“I think it’s something that’s inherent in everybody but we tend to educate it out, and especially in Scotland we educate it out of ourselves.”

It was in fourth year at school, however, that it became clear the young Joe had a real talent.

“I went to a place across from Rothesay called Castle Toward,” he said.

“They brought us out of school and they had two weeks for art people. That was my first exposure to others.

“The small world I had been in Govan was very limited.

“And then you went to Toward and suddenly you found there were all these fantastic kids from better backgrounds, and they were all doing these wonderful things.

“And that really then set me to raising the bar.”

At first, the young artist was doing representational drawings of what he saw in daily life as a means of learning his craft.

“I found it difficult to develop a style so early, because you’re basically learning off everything you’ve seen before” he said.

“And out of that constant working, keeping the process going all the time.

“People, say: ‘How often do you paint?’ and I say seven days a week and I have been doing it for 40-odd years.

“You’re always working, always putting ideas down.”

And Mr Hargan’s ideas are, as he said himself, “quite diverse”.

“If you look at the show in Glasgow you’ll see the early work looking at the masters, the Velazquez’, the Rembrandts, Rubens and all that, you’re influenced by that.”

But by the time he left art school, his awareness had developed otospheres outside of art, such as the work of psychoanalysts Freud and Jung.

“Things that stimulated your mind,” Mr Hargan said.

“You suddenly started looking at the underlying symbolism and metaphor you could put into an image, how you can convert ideas and other subtle poetic themes.

“There are fairytale paintings that are fun to do and the more latter stuff will work from things like that.

“You’ll get characters.”

Joe Hargan’s striking works range from boldy coloured portraits to fantastical scenes such as a bath sitting on a grand piano. Often there are dogs standing stock-still and staring into space.

The overall impression is one of the fantastical.

But the artist says there is no such things as a typical Joe Hargan painting.

“I wouldn’t like to be typical just like Picasso,” he said.

“I like to fire off ideas wherever they take me.”

Joe Hargan’s retrospective show is called ‘A Look Behind’ and will be at the Glasgow Art Club, 185 Bath Street, Glasgow, until November 12.

Article written by Kenneth Speirs for PDE.

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MP raises awareness of children’s fire-risk fancy dress outfits


Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, attended an awareness event in Parliament on Tuesday to highlight the potential fire risks of children’s fancy dress costumes.


Currently, the law classes fancy dress costumes as toys rather than clothes meaning that they undergo far less rigorous safety tests. But Sainsbury’s, and other leading supermarkets have introduced more stringent testing following a campaign by the host of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Claudia Winkleman, whose daughter, eight-year-old Mathilda, was seriously burned wearing a witches’ outfit while trick or treating.

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

“As a father of two young girls, I know that children love dressing up, particularly over the Halloween period and this is why I am so keen to raise awareness of the dangers of open flames and fancy dress.”

“I’m delighted that last year funding was made available for Trading Standards to conduct spot checks on hundreds of retailers to ensure that costumes meet safety standards. I also applaud Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets for introducing more stringent safety checks and would now call on others to follow suit.

“Ultimately, we need to work to close this loophole so that all manufacturers have to comply with much more stringent safety tests and I will lobby to do this. However, with Halloween just around the corner, the key thing now is to spread the message far and wide to parents about these dangers, and I hope that my awareness event will help to do that.”

Colin Bradford, Head of Non-Food Technical and Ethical Practices at Sainsbury’s, said:

“Many retailers are working extremely hard to address this issue. Today’s event was a great opportunity to raise awareness of fire safety at Halloween and share our own approach, which has led to the introduction of a more stringent approach to product development and flammability testing that exceeds all current legal requirements.”

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November events at the Bungalow


Upcoming events at the Bungalow:


Wed 2nd: The Ultimate Music Quiz

Starting at 8pm | Winner receives £50.00


Thur 3rd: The Bad Boys & The Turkey Nuts

Starting at 8pm | Free Entry



Fri 4th: Standup Arcade, Bronston, MT Doubt & Brittle Head Girl

Starting at 8pm | Free Entry


Sat 5th: The Blockheads + Special Guest

Starting at 8pm | Tickets £18.00 (available on the door)


Sun 6th: Open Mic Night with Cat Caldwell

Starting at 8pm | Free Entry


Wed 9th: The Ultimate Music Quiz

Starting at 8pm | Winner receives £50.00


Thur 10th: Retro Games Night

Starting at 6pm | Free Entry
Fri 11th: Drunk Gods, The Elephant Men & Sorrows Have Sails
Starting at 8pm | Free Entry
Sat 12th: Light up Paisley with Durty Mac
Starting at 8pm | Free Entry
Sun 13th: Open Mic Night with Cat Caldwell
Starting at 8pm | Free Entry
Wed 16th: The Ultimate Music Quiz
Starting at 8pm | Winner receives £50.00
Thur 17th: Retro Games Night
Starting at 6pm | Free Entry
Fri 18th: All or Nothing with Big Fat Panda
Starting at 8pm | £3.00 suggested donation on the door in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust
Sat 19th: Sinister Flynn & Calum Baird
Starting at 8pm | Free Entry
Sun 20th: Open Mic Night with Cat Caldwell
Staring at 8pm | Free Entry
Wed 23rd: The Ultimate Music Quiz
Starting at 8pm | Free Entry
Thu 24th: Emergency Services and Armed Forces night / Retro Games Night
Starting at 8pm | Free Entry
Fri 25th: Stone Pony & John Mackay
Staring at 8pm | Free Entry
Sat 26th: Blackbeard’s Tea Party + The Firebugs
Starts at 8pm | Tickets: £5.00 (available on the door)
Sun 27th: Open Mic Night with Cat Caldwell
Starts at 8pm | Free Entry
Wed 30th:  The Ultimate Music Quiz
Starts at 8pm | Winner receives £50.00
Tickets for gigs in The Bungalow are available from:  www.thebungalow.bigcartel.com
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Wm Phelps Butchers in conjunction with Paisley’s finest Chinese Restaurant Kwang Tung.

December Steak Meal Raffle £5 per ticket.

Thanks to Wm Phelps The Butchers on Causeyside Street for supporting this Raffle.  This raffle is going towards the funds for Rebecca Lee Malawi 2018 exhibition.


The prize is a T Bone Steak for 2 people including a bottle of House Red Wine at Kwang Tung Restaurant in George Street.  Both steaks will be cooked to your preference along with the chips onions mushrooms and gravy.

The raffle ticket will be for sale at Wm Phelps The Butcher, at Kwang Tung and on Facebook.

You can pay by cash, on Rebecca go fund page or by PayPal at kwok3@btinternet.com
Please mark Steak Raffle if paying by go fund me or PayPal.
Each ticket is £5 and you can buy as many as you like.

The whole package is worth excess of £75.

The sale of the raffle ticket will run in the whole month of November and the draw will be done on the evening of 30/11/16.   The winner will have to use the prize between 1/12/16 and 22/12/16.   This would make a great Christmas present/treat for yourselves or a loved one.

For more information please contact Peter Lee, Rebecca Lee or James Peacock.

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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

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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.

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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