Ralston, Paisley News

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Ritchie’s race number’s up for amount of charity cash raised

Count on us to raise charity cash – from left, Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure; Ritchie Hocking and Macmillan Cancer Support fundraising manager for Renfrewshire, Laura Stockwell

THERE was a run on the pound this week, but it had nothing to do with the financial markets.

Count on us to raise charity cash – from left, Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure; Ritchie Hocking and Macmillan Cancer Support fundraising manager for Renfrewshire, Laura Stockwell

Count on us to raise charity cash – from left, Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure; Ritchie Hocking and Macmillan Cancer Support fundraising manager for Renfrewshire, Laura Stockwell

Instead, Macmillan Cancer Support were given £2387 for being the official charity partner of this year’s Paisley 10k Race and Fun Run organised by Renfrewshire Leisure in association with Renfrewshire Council.

And the charity’s number was most certainly up as Paisley 10k runner, Ritchie Hocking sported a running vest number matching the amount raised when he met up with Macmillan Cancer Support local fundraising manager, Laura Stockwell and Renfrewshire Leisure chief executive, Joyce McKellar.

Ritchie works as a senior leisure attendant at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre and ran this year’s race for the first time.

In August this year, a record 2872 people took part in the two events, sponsored by Paisley First and Decathlon.
Laura Stockwell said: “We’re so grateful for this donation from the Renfrewshire Leisure’s Paisley 10k.
“No one should have to face cancer alone and with support like this, they won’t have to.
“This donation will go a long way to helping us be there for people with cancer and their families.”

Joyce McKellar added: “The Paisley 10k and Fun Run is not only a great way to keep fit and healthy, but it’s a fantastic event for raising money for good causes.
“And Macmillan Cancer Support is certainly a great cause.”

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Council and police team up for festive safety advice


Renfrewshire Council and Police Scotland have teamed up to give taxi and private hire passengers some important festive safety tips.


Councillor John Hood, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Regulatory Functions Board, said:  “Renfrewshire’s places of entertainment offer a wide range of options for a great night out.

“This is a particularly busy time of year and we want everyone to enjoy their evening and get home safely.

“So the council and the police have joined forces to issue some easy to remember safety tips when booking or using taxis and private hire cars.”

Sergeant Jeff Curran of Police Scotland  said:  “There are some simple and easy to remember tips which involve planning your night out in advance, using only licensed  taxis or private hire vehicles, and making the effort to pre-book your hire at the beginning and end of your night out.”

One of the key pieces of advice is that people should only use an officially licensed taxi cab company or a private hire vehicle.  Both options have Renfrewshire Council plates displaying the licence details and the driver’s badge should be displayed within the vehicle.

Sergeant Curran added:  “Never be tempted to take the offer of a lift from a passing car,” added Sergeant Curran.  “And check that the taxi or private hire that arrives for you is the one that you booked.  Most firms use a text service which advises when the vehicle is coming and what type of vehicle it is.”

Booking in advance  a time for a taxi or private hire to collect you at the end of the evening also saves the stress of trying to find a cab or private hire at some of the busiest times of the year.

The final piece of advice comes from Councillor Hood: “Make the effort to take responsibility for yourself and look out for your friends.”

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Paisley goes to Holyrood!

The fabulous PACE players doing their bit again - left to right Angus Taylor, Ruth Main, Carla McPherson and Daniel Meehan.

Artists, poets, actors and musicians from Paisley will join with representatives from the public, private and third sectors at the Scottish Parliament tonight to show their support for Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.


The fabulous PACE players doing their bit again – left to right Angus Taylor, Ruth Main, Carla McPherson and Daniel Meehan.

George Adam MSP for Paisley and Neil Bibby, MSP West Scotland, are sponsoring a reception for Paisley 2021, which has attracted attendance by Creative Scotland, the National Theatre of Scotland, VisitScotland, Skills Development Scotland, YoungScot and the British Council, to name but a few.

Paisley-born, renowned artist and script-writer, John Byrne, is also expected to attend, having recently said he supports the bid wholeheartedly. And MSPs of all parties will be invited to show their support in person and via social media.

The event marks a critical point in Paisley’s journey towards submitting its bid for the title, run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), next spring, and celebrates phenomenal support for the endeavour garnered over the past year.

Jean Cameron, Project Director for Paisley 2021, said, “In 12 short months, we have seen the tide of opinion turn towards a position where people now really believe we can do it, and that belief in itself has had an enormously positive effect on our communities.

“A vivid pattern is emerging – a bit like the famous Pattern itself – with passionate people all pulling together to create an incredible showcase that draws inspiration locally, but also thinks globally looking to partners across Scotland to help us throw the country’s doors open to colourful, dynamic, marvellous, friendly exploration!”                 

In the past year:

  • 8,000 people have been part of “the conversation”, participating in consultations across the eight different themes around which Paisley will construct its bid, including visual art, music, literature and fashion.
  • 74 local businesses have backed the bid, 16 of which have taken on the role of principal partner using their influence to amplify the bid team’s appeal that Paisley’s cultural assets can be used to transform the lives of local people, and the experience of visitors to Scotland’s largest town.
  • The bid has achieved cross-party support, with Scottish Labour Leader, Kezia Dugdale, recently recording a message of support, and MPs for Paisley and Renfrewshire South and Paisley and Renfrewshire North, respectively, Mhairi Black and Gavin Newlands, hosting a reception at Westminster in September.
  • Paisley 2021 marketing and communications have generated 70 million opportunities to see or hear something positive about Paisley and the town’s bid for the City of Culture accolade.

Paisley also has the largest following on social media of any of the known contenders including Perth, Coventry, Hereford, Sunderland and Stoke-on-Trent.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Bid Partnership Board, Mark Macmillan, added, “These past 12 months have taken us on an incredible journey, rediscovering assets that have for too long been overshadowed and engaging with local communities on an unprecedented scale. Tonight we are moving things up a gear and we are very grateful to George and Neil for affording us the opportunity.”

George Adam MSP, said, “It is an honour as Paisley’s MSP to host this event showcasing what Paisley has to offer and presenting the powerful case for Paisley to be the UK City of Culture in 2021.

“The interest that has been generated will mean this is one of the best attended events the parliament has ever seen. Indeed, the numbers are so high because so many of the talented individuals from in and around the town are attending.

“I’m sure this will go a long way in presenting Paisley’s bid to the world.”
Neil Bibby MSP, said, “I’m proud to co-host this important event in support of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture. Local people already know that we have an incredibly strong case to be the 2021 host, but it was fantastic to showcase the town’s Untold Story in the Scottish Parliament to MSPs, the Scottish Government and key stakeholders. It is very encouraging to see that more and more people are backing the bid.”

Meanwhile, Paisley’s events calendar is steadily growing in strength and popularity. On Saturday, December 3, it secured the Scots Trad Music Awards 2017 to add to the British Pipe Band Championships and Scottish Album of the Year Awards, which will both be returning in 2017. The town is also bidding to host The Royal National Mòd again in 2021.

A full list of next year’s events is at http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/news/major-events-programme-in-2017/

For more information on Paisley’s story go to www.paisley2021.co.uk You can support the bid by pressing the red button on the site, liking /Paisley 2021 on Facebook, or following @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

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Doosan Babcock Announce Consultation Over Jobs

Doosan Babcock has announced plans to cut up to 270 jobs at their company’s base in Renfrew.

They include 140 posts at its machining and assembly facility in Renfrew, along with 130 management and back-office support roles.

The firm could cut 470 across the UK.

In Renfrew, 800 people are currently employed.

Commenting on the news that Doosan Babcock is to close in Renfrew, constituency MSP and Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said:

 “I am extremely disappointed and saddened to hear of this news and my thoughts are with the workers, who now face an uncertain future. 

“I was given no notice by the company as constituency MSP

 “I will be engaging with the company urgently and the Scottish Government will be doing all we can to assist in this extremely difficult time”

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North said

“I am extremely disappointed to learn that Doosan Babcock is to enter into a formal consultation with its employees that could result in significant job losses.

“Following the announcement by Chivas a few weeks ago this announcement represents another kick in the teeth for Renfrewshire. Both Chivas and Doosan Babcock are two longstanding Renfrewshire-based companies, with both providing careers to generations of local families.

“My thoughts at the moment are with the workers of Doosan Babcock’s in Renfrew. There is never of a good time to learn that you may be potentially losing your job but to do so in the run-up to Christmas is particularly insensitive.

“I will be contacting Doosan Babcock to find out more about this restructure and its implications. I am ready to offer as much assistance as possible to the workforce.”

Doosan Babcock Chief executive Andrew Hunt said: “Over the last year we have worked hard to rebalance the business, adapting to changing market dynamics and reacting to industry requirements for a low-carbon future.
“Unfortunately, we foresee long-term downturn in certain market sectors which mean the current position is unsustainable.
“It is with much regret that we now have to enter into the statutory consultation period on redundancies.”
He added: “The continued long-term growth of the business across the UK and in strategic international markets remains a priority.
“We have made significant progress in transforming and future-proofing the business but this will only prove successful if we also reduce our cost base in parallel.”
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Shoppers entertained by Highland dancers


HIGHLAND dancers made sure everyone at intu Braehead was in step with St Andrew’s Day celebrations.

Almost 20 pupils from the Paisley-based Christine E Aitken Academy of Dance entertained shoppers with a demonstration of Highland and country dancing.

The dancers drew a crowd of onlookers who took time out of their Christmas shopping to watch the colourful display from the kilted dancers.

And they collected almost £120 from shoppers as part of their fundraising effort to send a team of dancers to perform abroad next year.

Dance school principal, Christine Aitken said: “The girls were really excited about dancing in front of so many people in a place as big as intu Braehead.

“It was a good experience for them and they loved it. So much so, we’re hoping to come back and entertain the shoppers again in the near future.
“We’d like to give a big thank you to intu Braehead for allowing us to perform in the centre.”
Community development manager for intu Braehead, Lydia Brown said: “We wanted to do something in the mall to mark St Andrew’s Day and there’s nothing more Scottish than having Highland dancers resplendent in their colourful tartan kilts.
“The dancers were quite the attraction for shoppers who enjoyed the dancing display and it was good we could bring the talents of the dancers to a wide audience.”

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Contact the Elderly welcome new Age Scotland campaign


Contact the Elderly welcome Age Scotland’s newly launched campaign ‘No-one should have no-one at Christmas’.


With figures outlining that more than 50,000 older Scots will spend Christmas alone, it is welcome news that the Scottish Government has also announced a national strategy to tackle loneliness.

Loneliness is an issue all year round and our team of dedicated volunteers ensure more than 1000 of those aged 75 and over who live alone enjoy social contact at least once a month through our much loved and treasured free tea parties.

The figures from Age Scotland highlight once again there is much more potential to expand our tea parties in Scotland and this is something we are working very hard to do that. To make that happen we need to identify and reach out to those living alone and we would once again like to encourage the public and other agencies to help us find these people. We also need more volunteers to offer just a little bit of time once a month, or even a couple of times a year, to make an immeasurable difference and enjoy great company, tea and cake.

Our 112 groups in Scotland, from the Borders to the Highlands, Glasgow to Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh to Angus and plenty of places in between are currently enjoying fantastic Christmas parties and it brings such joy to see volunteers and guests having a wonderful festive gathering. I would urge anyone reading this, or anyone who has offered an act of kindness inspired by the Age Scotland campaign and keen to do more throughout 2017 and beyond, to consider donating a little time – from the vast testimonials we receive from guests and volunteers we can assure you the rewards are mutually felt.

To find out more about becoming a guest of or volunteering with Contact the Elderly please visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk.

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Christmas shopping is child’s play


CHRISTMAS shopping will be child’s play this year after a new activity camp for kids was launched in sports and leisure centres throughout Renfrewshire.

Parents can take their children along to the Drop ‘N’ Shop Days and then head off on their own to buy this year’s Christmas presents for family and friends.

And while mum and dad hit the shops, youngsters will be having fun and games with Renfrewshire Leisure staff during the activity sessions between 10am and 3pm.

The next Drop ‘n’ Shop activity day is being held at Johnstone Community Sports Hub, on Saturday, December 10 and the following Saturday, the activity camp moves to Renfrew Leisure Centre.

On Sunday, December 18, Drop ‘n’ Shop is at the ON-X, in Linwood; Thursday, December 22, at Erskine Sports Centre and on Friday, December 23, at The Lagoon, in Paisley. The activity camps cost only £10 per child.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “The run-up to Christmas can be a very busy and stressful time for adults.

“While the kids are getting excited about Santa Claus and waking up on Christmas Day to lots of presents, they might not be so keen about having to trail round all the shops.
“So, we’re giving parents the chance to drop their kids off at one of our leisure centres where they’ll have loads of Festive fun and games with our fully-trained leisure staff, then the grown-ups can get on with the serious work of Christmas shopping.”

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Paisley to host Scots Trad Music Awards in 2017


The Scots Trad Music Awards are to be held in Paisley in December 2017 for the first time.

The news was announced by event founder Simon Thoumire at this year’s Gala Concert and Awards Ceremony in Caird Hall, Dundee on Saturday, December 3.

The BBC MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards are considered a major highlight in the traditional music calendar. The aim of the annual awards is to highlight Scotland’s wonderful traditional music in all its forms and to create a high profile opportunity that will shine a light on talent as well as the industry in general.

From its inception in 2003, the awards have steadily grown in popularity and prestige attracting television coverage by BBC ALBA in 2007 and major sponsorship from MG ALBA in 2008. This year’s awards will be broadcast to the world (via bbc.co.uk/alba) and it is hoped this will afford Scotland’s largest town an opportunity to share news of its bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 with a global audience.  

The is also further evidence that Paisley is capable of hosting high profile music events – it hosted both the British Pipe Band Championships and the Scottish Album of the Year Awards this year, with both returning in 2017.  

It is also proof of Paisley’s burgeoning music scene. Renfrewshire’s talents have featured heavily in the BBC MG ALBA Scots Trad Awards in recent years with The Scott Wood Band nominated for ‘Folk Band of the Year’ in 2014 while Johnstone Pipe Band are in contention for ‘Pipe Band of the Year’ this year (see separate release for results).

Simon Thoumire said, “Hands Up for Trad are really delighted that the 2017 Scots Trad Music Awards will be hosted by Paisley, currently bidding for the UK City of Culture title in 2021, home of The Spree, and the birth place of some of Scotland’s finest musical talent. We’re really looking forward to working with Renfrewshire Council to make the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2017 the best yet“.

Welcoming the Trad Awards announcement, Renfrewshire Council leader, Mark Macmillan, said, “We are delighted to be hosting the Trad Awards in 2017 and look forward to welcoming fans from all over the world. Paisley’s music scene is thriving, offering formal concerts and more impromptu gigs in local cafes, bars and restaurants, as organisers grow in confidence. Add several major music events in 2017 and the reasons to visit have grown enormously.”                      

For more information on the Scots Trad Music Awards visit: https://projects.handsupfortrad.scot/scotstradmusicawards/

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Todholm Primary School launches its first community café to the public

Todholm Cafe Todholm Primary School Paisley

Cllr Jacqueline Henry, Peter MacLeod (Dir Childrens Services) and Raymond Kane ( Development Officer) served by Joshua Perry, Erin McLaren and Kayla Whire all aged 11

Budding entrepreneurs from Todholm Primary School have run their first community café after being awarded funding through Renfrewshire Council’s Dragons’ Den competition.

Todholm Cafe Todholm Primary School Paisley Cllr Jacqueline Henry, Peter MacLeod (Dir Childrens Services) and Raymond Kane ( Development Officer) served by Joshua Perry, Erin McLaren and Kayla Whire all aged 11

Todholm Cafe Todholm Primary School Paisley
Cllr Jacqueline Henry, Peter MacLeod (Dir Childrens Services) and Raymond Kane ( Development Officer) served by Joshua Perry, Erin McLaren and Kayla Whire all aged 11

The first Todholm Tearooms event was held on Fri 2 December with more than 40 members of the community coming along to enjoy the pupils’ hospitality and wares. On the day visitors were offered a delicious selection of home baking prepared and served by the children themselves.

Todholm Cafe Todholm Primary School Paisley Grace Collins (11) with Suzanne Pitkeathly and Robert MacAdam

Todholm Cafe Todholm Primary School Paisley
Grace Collins (11) with Suzanne Pitkeathly and Robert MacAdam

Earlier this year the school received £630, double the requested amount, for their idea to establish the Todholm Tearooms. The funding was used to purchase resources such as cups, saucers, branded aprons and ingredients as well as helping to finance the compilation of a school cook book to help fund future events.

Todholm Cafe Todholm Primary School Paisley Mirin Lafferty (11)

Todholm Cafe Todholm Primary School Paisley
Mirin Lafferty (11)

The idea to run a café was inspired by the children wanting to offer a place where members of the community, especially the older generation, could congregate. As part of the project pupils are also looking to run a mobile service to deliver their home baking to neighbouring care homes Rowan Gardens and Hunterhill Care Home.

The ‘Cooking Up A Storm with Todholm Tearooms’ cook book, also unveiled at the event, was compiled by all the pupils of Todholm Primary School. Each class selected a starter, main course and dessert that they themselves had made to feature in the book. Priced at £5 the funds from the book sales will go towards running future Todholm Tearooms.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, who attended the launch said: “I would like to congratulate all the pupils from Todholm Primary School and the teachers that supported them for running such an excellent event for members of the local community to enjoy.

“It was inspiring to see the children apply the creative ideas presented during the Dragons’ Den event with such successful results.  The Todholm Tearooms is aimed at helping others in their local community and highlights why the school was presented with the funding. I’m sure this will lead to more successful events in the future.”

Todholm Primary School Head Teacher, Lynne McGinn, said: “The children have been so enthusiastic about this project and we’re really impressed with their efforts and how well it’s been received by the local community.

“The Todholm Tearooms project has enabled the pupils to learn valuable life skills such as team work, planning and also helped to improve their confidence which will help them in the future. This has been an excellent learning opportunity for the children and provided them with the chance to give something back to the community. I look forward to our next Todholm Tearooms event.”