Hunterhill Paisley News

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Gavin Newlands MP raises Chivas dispute in Parliament

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has called on Chivas bosses to get back round the table with the Renfrewshire workforce and agree a deal which recognises the contribution that the workers have made to Chivas Brothers.

During questions to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy about the industrial action which has been called at Paisley and Dumbarton, Mr Newlands asked the UK Government to join him in calling for a positive resolution to be reached.

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

“Chivas Brothers deciding to close their operations in Paisley was a blow to the local workforce and the Renfrewshire economy.

“It’s been a frustrating period for the workers and this ongoing dispute has only added to the stress of the workers. As such, it’s vital that a positive resolution is reached as soon as possible.

“In a letter to me responding to questions I had raised, the company admitted that they only planned to incorporate 80% of an additional payment into workforce salaries that they had previously committed to incorporating in full. The Renfrewshire workforce has been critical to the success of Chivas over the years and the company has a duty to get back round the table with the workers to find a deal which satisfies all parties and which recognises the commitment and hard work of the Renfrewshire workforce.”

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WCS Paisley Campus Computing Lecturer announced finalist for 2017 BAFTA YGD Mentor Award

David Renton, Curriculum Quality Leader in Computing at our Paisley Campus, is one of only five finalists for the 2017 BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) Mentor Award.

David’s nomination was supported by his colleagues who highlighted his outstanding contribution in engaging young people in Games Development. They said:

“David is always looking for ways to make sure his students have as many opportunities as possible. Most recently he has been working with students to encourage them to run coding clubs in local schools to teach the children how to make games.”

“By working with David he has inspired me to push myself at work and outside of work by also working with the students and the clubs and encouraging me with my own clubs that I run as well as my game jams which he has been speaking at”.

David is delighted by his nomination and, most important, by the results of his efforts as he’s seeing every year more local young people getting into Games Development, a field he’s passionate about.

“I am thrilled to be nominated for a BAFTA as Young Game Designer Mentor of the year. I started teaching games development at what was Reid Kerr College in 2006 to 12 students and we now have over 160 students doing games development at different levels in the Paisley Campus of West College Scotland. The College and I have done a lot of work in the past 7 years to engage with schoolchildren in Renfrewshire in both Primaries and Secondary schools to encourage them to consider Games Development as a career path to follow. I am now seeing schoolchildren who visited the college when they were only 10 years old, to playtest my students’ games, applying to our full time courses. This nomination is recognition of all that hard work”.

David will be attending the prestigious BAFTA YGD Awards Ceremony which will take place on Saturday 8 July at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, London.

We hope David will be announced winner of the prestigious award that would come as a well-deserved recognition of his exceptional work. Bill Gallacher, Head of Sector, Business & Technologies, says:

“It is no surprise to me or his colleagues that David has been nominated for a BAFTA.  Everyone at West College Scotland is delighted David has been recognised in this way.  He has been an inspirational lecturer to the hundreds of students who have been taught by him over the years.  David has that special talent that can make difficult concepts understandable to us mere mortals!”

“He is always focused on using the latest ‘next big thing’ in computing and how he can use and adapt it to improve his own teaching and his students’ knowledge and understanding.  He is a nice guy and a special talent”.

Angela Pignatelli, Assistant Principal – Creative Industries & Essential Skills, concurs:

“We are immensely proud to hear of David’s nomination for an internationally recognised BAFTA award. He has dedicated himself to learning and teaching, excelled in the field of digital technologies and remains a source of inspiration for his students and colleagues alike. We have our fingers crossed for his success on the night and wish him all the very best to continue flying the flag for West College Scotland“.

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SAY Award 2017 Commission Buddie Designer

Paisley will welcome the biggest names in Scottish music this week who will take home a piece of the town’s famous pattern created by a local designer.

Lisa Crockard with the SAY Award and some items from her collection

The Scottish Album of the Year Award will take place on Wednesday 28 June at Paisley Town Hall where the winning artist will receive a £20,000 cash prize provided by Creative Scotland. The event is taking place in the town in support of Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

Each of the ten shortlisted acts, which include big names like Mogwai, Sacred Paws, Honeyblood and Ela Orleans, will be presented with a distinctive 3D printed creation designed by Lisa Crockard as part of the SAY Design Commission.

Lisa, a textiles graduate of Glasgow School of Art took a detour on the path to her design career, having worked as a menswear fashion buyer in London for big names like Selfridges and Harvey Nichols for more than 16 years. Lisa decided it was time for a change and moved back home to Paisley to pursue her real passion – jewellery design.

“I really enjoyed my job in London but it was something I kind of fell into – I always thought I’d go back to design at some point. When I came home I enrolled in a jewellery design course at the City of Glasgow College which I completed last year,” she said.

“I was really interested in the idea of using modern technology like 3D printing to create bespoke designs and I use it in a lot of my work.”

Lisa has been working with Renfrewshire Council’s InCube business incubator scheme which provides funding and support to creative businesses. Her jewellery designs are currently on sale at the InCube shop in Gilmour Street, Paisley.

Lisa continued: “The support I’ve had from InCube has been fantastic. It’s given me access to business experts which has been invaluable as well as providing office space and advice. It’s also a great place to network with similar businesses. I really don’t think I’d be as far along with setting up my business without the help I’ve had from InCube.”

Lisa was selected for the SAY commission after entering a competition by the organisers of the SAY Award, Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA).

She said: “When I made the decision to enter I really didn’t think I’d win because there were so many great ideas. I really love live music so I’m really excited that my design was chosen as a commission by SAY.

“The design brief was to create something that connects Scottish music, art and design and captures the spirit of the SAY Award. I decided to design a 3D printed award for the 10 shortlisted acts with a reason to celebrate Scottish music etched on each Paisley pattern motif.  Also, as the awards are being held in Paisley I was keen to highlight the town’s cultural heritage using modern technologies.”

Robert Kilpatrick, Projects and Operations Manager Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), said: “We received a number of applications for the SAY Design Commission, and were completely blown away by Lisa’s work, the bespoke award truly encompasses the spirit and characteristics of the town, in which we are so thankful to be supported by.”

The SAY Award is produced by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, Paisley for UK City of Culture 2021, Creative Scotland, Black Bottle, TicketWeb and PPL. The most prestigious music prize in Scotland, the winner receives £20,000, equal in prize terms to the Mercury Music Prize. Previous SAY Award winners include Anna Meredith (2016), Kathryn Joseph (2015), Young Fathers (2014), RM Hubbert (2013) and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat (2012). Visit for more info.

You can also view more of Lisa Crockard’s work by visiting

The production costs for making the awards were supported by Incube. The business incubator is currently inviting applications for their next programme to find out more visit:

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Without Villains…..There Are No Heroes!!!

The title of this locally owned shop is catchy and there is certainly a true hero behind the scenes, as you now get 15% off everything in the online shop.  So for that birthday present that’s certainly different or for a present for that certain person that has everything you can never be a villain by purchasing from this online exclusive shop.

The discount code is VILLAINS – which can be used at the checkout for 15% OFF – Delivery is free.

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Work is completed at Lady Lane Mural

Local artist Kevin Cantwell has completed the next mural in the Paisley First Walls Series at Lady Lane.

Pictured left to right – Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron, Sharon Breen of Co-op Funeralcare, Paisley First BID Manager Andrew Mitchell, David Eagle of Co-op Funeralcare, Paisley First Chairman Ian Henderson and artist Kevin Cantwell

This stunning work incorporates a tree with roots, the Paisley pattern and butterflies – all signifying birth and roots and re-birth, as well as a small marker to the slug in the bottle.

David Eagle, Regional Operations Manager for Co-op Funeralcare who own the wall which now proudly displays the mural, said: “We were delighted when our funeral home was identified as the next location for a mural and it’s been great to be involved with such an inspiring community project.”

‘’Community is at the heart of Co-op and we’re always happy to support such incredible local talent. The mural truly represents the roots of Paisley and we hope the residents are as delighted with it as we are.’’

Paisley First Chairman, Ian Henderson, said: “Kevin is a well-known artist in Paisley whose commissions are always popular thanks to the level of detail in his work and the same rings true at Lady Lane, it really is beautiful.”

“We were delighted to be able to bring a mural to Lady Lane, it’s really important that the benefit of these murals is spread throughout the whole town centre.”

Artist Kevin Cantwell said: “It’s been fantastic to see the murals appear, they really do add to the vibrancy of the town.”

“It’s always great to see art bringing happiness to people and making them smile.”

The Paisley First Walls Series is part-funded with a grant through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

Jean Cameron, Project Director of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, said: “We are delighted to be working with Paisley First to create these stunning murals through the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.”

“One of the key aims of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is to showcase the creative talent within the town and highlight Paisley’s unique story to residents and visitors alike. The latest mural at Lady Lane by popular local artist Kevin Cantwell does just that.”

“The existing murals in the town are fantastic examples of how culture can brighten up our everyday surroundings and I believe this new artwork will help encourage people to explore the amazing sights around Paisley.”

This is the fourth mural in the Paisley First Walls Series with the town’s Johnston Street, Storie Street and Lawn Street already boasting artworks which are attracting visitors to the town.

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Paolo Nutini backs home-town culture bid with exclusive one-off Paisley Abbey show

Paisley’s Paolo Nutini has announced an exclusive one-off homecoming charity show in the stunning surroundings of Paisley Abbey to back the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

The show – on Friday 20 October – tops the bill for Paisley’s annual Spree festival and is taking place in support of a number of local good causes.

Paolo and his band will deliver an unforgettable experience for those lucky enough to be in the town’s 850-year-old Abbey to see it.

Only a limited number of gold-dust tickets will be available to the public for the 550-capacity venue.

Fans will be able to register via from Friday for a chance to get the option to purchase a pair.

100 tickets will be made available to Renfrewshire community groups.

All ticket monies will go directly to five local charities selected by Paolo himself – The Love Street Singers, Mirren Park School, The Kibble Band, the Sunshine Recovery Cafe and some of the town’s Syrian refugee children.

Paolo said: “I’ve always wanted to play in the Abbey since I was a wee boy. I’m proud to be a part of The Spree … I’m proud to be from Paisley … love is music and music is home. Big love people.”

Paisley is bidding to be UK City of Culture 2021 as part of wider plans to transform the town’s future using its unique cultural and heritage story.

Bids were submitted to the UK Government in April and a decision on the shortlist for the next stage is due over the summer. The winner will be announced at the end of the year.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “Paolo’s support has been absolutely instrumental to Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid and we are utterly thrilled he is playing this gig – it will be spectacular and we cannot wait.

“It is wonderful to see him helping us realise the bid’s aim to open up the benefits of culture to everybody in the town by supporting local charities and communities who face real barriers to accessing world-class cultural experiences.”

The Spree is Paisley’s flagship annual arts festival and takes place over ten days in October, with Paisley Abbey also hosting a one-off – and now sold-out – collaboration between Frightened Rabbit and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The full bill is available at

Tickets for Paolo’s show are £30 each and restricted to two per person. Ticket sales will be via an online ballot utilising Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan System. The ballot opens at 9am on Friday 30 June and runs until Thursday 6 July.

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Mackay welcomes £2.85m funding for cancer services

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the announcement of £2.85 million of funding to help improve cancer services. 

The investment announced today by Health Secretary Shona Robison will be directed to health boards to reduce waiting times, and particularly to speed up access to diagnostic tests. Discussions are currently being held with the boards to determine the most effective way to spend the money. 

The number of people being diagnosed with cancer has increased in recent years, mainly due to the ageing population. Better treatment has also meant more people are cured than ever before, and more are living longer with the disease. 

The work will complement the Scottish Government’s £100 million cancer strategy, which aims to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment over the next ten years. 

Mr Mackay said: 

“Greater awareness to cancer has led to more people coming forward to get their symptoms checked. This means more demand on services, and that’s a challenge the Government are ready to meet. 

“This investment will support health boards to reduce waiting times, and ensure that people get a vital early diagnosis so that treatment, if required, can start as soon as possible.”

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£250,000 set to be invested to revitalise Renfrewshire’s local environment

Councillors will consider plans for a £250,000 investment to deliver a programme of improvements to Renfrewshire’s local environment.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson (second from left) and Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board (furthest right), with members of Community Action for Erskine.

A report published for the Council meeting on Thursday (29 June) outlines plans to tackle the challenges faced in delivering improved environmental standards and a desire to support local communities in their contributions to improving Renfrewshire.

The proposed investment would deliver a programme of focused activities to clean up roadsides and tackle litter and dog fouling hot spots as part of an initial environmental clean-up. This would be followed by improvements to roads signage and infrastructure.

RDC Litter at Erskine 16.6.17

There would also be a marketing campaign designed to support and empower communities to help them address the local issues that matter to them most.

The programme would be launched in late summer 2017 and would focus on all key routes and include additional activities in town centres, neighbourhoods and villages, parks and open spaces.

The initiative would see a high-profile public engagement campaign take place to support, and work in partnership with local people and key partners.

A series of seasonal campaigns would be undertaken to raise awareness, encourage community participation and demonstrate the benefits for people to get involved in environmental improvements – particularly targeting local people, schools, businesses and communities.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, said: “We’ve listened to what the communities of Renfrewshire have told us and one of their highest priorities is the cleanliness of our streets.

“The proposals which are set to be considered will ensure that levels of litter, dog fouling and waste will be tackled and our roads infrastructure will be revitalised.

“The quality of the environment plays a huge part in civic pride and we want to encourage residents, groups and organisations to take ownership of the campaign and help make it their own.

“We want to make Renfrewshire a great place to live, work, visit and invest in, and by listening to what communities have told us and improving our local environment, we can provide a solid foundation to deliver these ambitions.”

The report will be considered at the Council meeting on Thursday 29 June.

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Archaeological dig to explore a mysterious site near Paisley Abbey

A mysterious site next to the grounds of Paisley Abbey will be unearthed after funding was secured for an archaeological dig.

The north west side of the building. Original source – black & white 3½” x 5½” photograph

Renfrewshire Council has been awarded £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Stories, Stones and Bones programme as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology to conduct a ‘Wee Dig’ of part of the Abbey Drain site.

The 12th century Abbey is renowned not only for its outstanding architecture but also as 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 Drain.

View of Abbey from window of the George A. Clark Town Hall looking south showing Clark’s Anchor Thread Works Mill faintly in the background. Original source – black & white 6½” x 4¾” photograph.

The Paisley “Wee Dig 2017” will take place between 18 and 24 September 2017. This significant heritage-led regeneration project will see 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 “Wee Dig 2017” will expand what is already known about Paisley’s monastic past as well as inspiring some budding archaeologists of the future.

Councillor Iain Nicolson, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “The ‘Wee Dig 2017’ is a very exciting project which celebrates our unique heritage – one of the main themes of our Paisley Town Centre Action Plan 2016 – 2026 which aims to regenerate the town centre and create jobs.

“This project demonstrates how we are delivering on these plans by making the most of our assets to attract more people and businesses into the town.”

Commenting, 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, Paisley 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 will be held with a number of local 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 Drain 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.

Iraia Arabaolaza from GUARD, said: “We are very excited to be part of the Wee Dig and work alongside volunteers and local people. This project will provide an opportunity to carry on with our long involvement with Paisley and the Abbey Drain, and introduce this part of local heritage to future generations.”

Reverend Alan Birss, Minister for Paisley Abbey said: “I am delighted to support the Wee Dig project.  It is always fascinating to discover more about the past. It is good that the dig will have a strong community focus as the history of Paisley is so closely interwoven with the Abbey’s history.

“The Wee Dig will give everyone the opportunity to become detectives investigating our shared past.”

The public is encouraged to come along, get involved and to share their experiences of this week-long event on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WeeDig2017.

Further information about the programme of activities and guidance on how the public can get involved will be available later this summer.

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Barshaw Gala Day 2017

Paisley’s ever-popular Barshaw Gala Day returned on Saturday 24 June 2017.  Families enjoyed the festivities of the day despite the traditional Scottish weather.

Pictures taken by Ricky Kelly for