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Paisley 2021 gets 2021st backer at music festival

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 just passed another magical milestone – after 2021 people signed up to back it online.

Scott Lever and Nyree Marsh pushing the button to back the bid

The bid website at paisley2021.co.uk has had an option for residents to ‘push the button’ to register their support since the start of November.

And University of the West of Scotland music student Scott Lever – one of the team who organised the uni’s Scottish Music Festival, taking place today – was the man who helped tip the total over the line.

The first ever music festival at the university saw a number of performances in the Atrium and Brough Hall throughout the day.

The festival was headlined by local band Lemonhaze, who recently won a nationwide competition to open for Paolo Nutini before a crowd of tens of thousands at Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay street party.

And Scott and fellow events management student Nyree Marsh, both from Greenock, were delighted to add their names to the thousands who have already backed the bid online,

Scott said: “We fully support the Paisley 2021 bid and it’s a real honour for me to be the 2021st backer.

“Paisley has so much going on, with the Monte Carlo Rally next week and the Scottish Album of the Year coming back, plus there’s so many good bands.

“The music festival came about when we were asked to put an event on with some bands in the Atrium as part of our course – word got out and it started to grow and we added in guest speakers and people from the Scottish music industry.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board, added: “For Paisley 2021 to reach 2021 online backers in less than three months just shows the depth of support here in the town.

“That number can be added to the almost 10,000 who have already taken part in conversations around the bid online or at one of our events.

“From the start we said the bid would be led by the people of Paisley for the people of Paisley, and that has been the case.

“So it was fitting the 2021st backer was Scott – someone who is doing great work to help showcase the great musical talent we have in the town.

“But the drive for support doesn’t stop here – for us to have a chance of winning we need people to help us show the judges at DCMS that the people of Paisley want the bid and can make it happen.

“You can push the button at paisley2021.co.uk now – let’s see how many we can get to show their support by the time the bid is lodged in April.”

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Brothers team up for first joint art exhibition

AN art exhibition featuring the work of two Paisley-born brothers, Kevin and Dermott Egan has opened in the town’s Museum and Art Galleries.

Kevin Egan and his brother, Dermott at their art exhibition in Paisley Museum and Art Galleries.

Much of the brothers’ paintings, drawings, carvings and sculptures relate to their working class roots growing up in both Paisley’s Ferguslie Park and Glenburn housing schemes.

The free exhibition, Form and Colour: A Way of Being in the World, runs until February 26.

Kevin, 61 and 57-year-old Dermott come from a very creative family. Their brother Tommy was a well-known folk singer locally and their late brother, Jim was also an accomplished singer of folk music and popular standards of the 1950s and 60s, appearing on radio and television.

Another brother, Joe enjoyed chart success in the music business as one half of the band, Stealer’s Wheel along with fellow-Paisley singer-songwriter, Gerry Rafferty.

Following a college course in commercial art, Dermott worked for different artistic agencies producing posters for venues like The Pavilion and King’s Theatres, in Glasgow. Some of his early artistic work in this field can be found in the Mitchell Library archive.

Kevin’s early work was in polychrome bas relief and free standing sculpture. His relief carvings – produced for the Marquis of Bute – can still be seen at Mount Stuart House, on the Isle of Bute. One of these particular pieces was shortlisted for the Saltire Prize.

Kevin said: “All our family were good at art and at the same time all of us, including Dermott and I were also musical and could sing.
“I suspect that on a subconscious level, Dermott and I decided to take the road of painting, drawing and sculpture, so as not to compete with our older brothers.
“When you’re in such a big family you try to find your own place to be creative and we choose art.”
Dermott adds: “Almost all of my art and much of Kevin’s is based on Paisley and the worthies we knew when we were growing up.
“This is our first joint exhibition and we hope that when people come along they bring their imagination with them and share some of the unexpected discoveries we have made while creating our art.”

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Smarter help for Renfrewshire’s young job seekers

In a nationwide first Renfrewshire Council, Transport Scotland and McGill’s buses are using Scotland’s smart travel network to help young people between the ages of 16-25 into employment and training.

Where a young person registered with the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme is eligible for free travel, advisors can now load pre-paid tickets for McGill’s local bus service onto their Young Scot National Entitlement Card, which is part of the saltirecard family of smartcards.

Advisors at the council’s Youth Employability Hub in Paisley will be able to load one, seven or twenty-eight unlimited travel tickets, which eligible young people would redeem by simply tapping their Young Scot National Entitlement Card on-board a McGill’s bus.

Staff at Youth Employability Hub provide support to young people registered with Invest in Renfrewshire. Working with an Adviser tickets are provided based on an individual’s need and can be used for a wide variety of reasons. For example, bus tickets can be provided to attend interviews and training opportunities or to support young people until their first pay packet arrives.

Through offering support at a key time of transition for young people Renfrewshire Council hope to help them find a new job and continue their journey to a positive life destination.

The project is possible because of Transport Scotland’s nationwide smart card infrastructure and the National Entitlement Card which is available to all Young People aged 11-26. It is a partnership between Renfrewshire Council, McGill’s buses, Transport Scotland and Young Scot.

Transport is mentioned by young people as one of their biggest barriers to accessing opportunities. This new initiative is an example of how Scotland’s smart ticketing network can be used to provide targeted help to specific groups of young people. As all young people have the opportunity to have a Young Scot card it can be used for travel without labelling those who benefit.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Helping young people facing particular challenges to achieve their potential is at the heart of our approach to getting people out of poverty.

“We have made it a top priority to increase the opportunities available to people throughout our communities.

“Our ground-breaking £6 million Tackling Poverty programme makes a real difference and is leading the way in Scotland, so it is fitting that Renfrewshire Council is the first local authority in the country to be involved in this initiative.

“This is yet another innovative way to help overcome the barriers that too often stand in the way of someone finding work and achieving a better future.”

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “This is another important step towards the delivery of Smart-enabled travel products which aims to help young people on their journey to employment and training across Renfrewshire.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that all journeys on Scotland’s bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram networks can be accessed using some form of smart ticketing or payment.

“We will continue to work with local authorities and bus operators to develop multi-operator schemes for all commuters across Scotland.”

Ralph Roberts, Managing Director of McGill’s, said: “McGill’s is delighted to be involved with this ground-breaking initiative.  Our £1m+ investment in new ticketing machines in 2016 has allowed us to support this Smart initiative, and we look forward to working closely with Renfrewshire Council, Young Scot and Transport Scotland on future Smart ticketing projects.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot said: “This is really excellent example of how the Young Scot National Entitlement Card can be used to promote equality. By helping young people find and stay in employment, this programme it will have an incredible impact during one of the most important stages in a young person’s journey.”

The project is part of Renfrewshire Council’s £6 million Tackling Poverty Action Plan to end child poverty in Renfrewshire. The smart card scheme one of several ways Renfrewshire Council’s Youth Services Team are using the Young Scot’s services to tackle inequality and improve services. This is the first in a series of smart travel initiatives happening in Renfrewshire in collaboration between Renfrewshire Council and Transport Scotland. More will be announced soon.

ENDS

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A novel way to learn their A, B, C’s

Young children and families are benefitting from a literacy programme aimed to inflame a child’s love of reading.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall with parents, children and nursery staff

Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall visited Linwood Community Childcare to see the Literacy Fun Club firsthand as it aims to address the attainment gap at the first stage of education.

Provost Hall observed children learning about The Gruffalo which included a group reading session, a Gruffalo Hunt and the creation of finger puppets to inject a sense of fun into reading out with the traditional approach.

The Club runs for six weeks with a different book and activity each week designed to develop a child’s love of stories, reading and to develop their imagination beyond the book itself.

A parent reading with their child

The children and their families create a family box during the first week which stores each book and activity they complete.

At the end of the six weeks, they are able to take their ‘mini-library’ home creating a literacy resource which they can explore, re-visit and ultimately develop further.

The early intervention project was awarded £2300.40 by the Houston, Crosslee, Linwood, Riverside and Erskine Local Area Committee (LAC) to support the group’s aims and provide resources for the families to use across the six weeks.

Parents and their children making finger puppets

Provost Hall said: “It’s great to see the children so excited to read their latest book and take part in the fun activities.

“A love for reading is extremely beneficial in aiding a child’s education and sparking a willingness to learn and we should encourage this time of approach to education.

“Strong literacy skills increase the opportunities for the individual in all aspects of life and it is great to see this project bring families together to support their child’s learning.”

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Service of Dedication to remember those lost to suicide

An annual memorial service to commemorate those who have lost their lives to suicide will be held in Paisley next week.

The memorial tree

Renfrewshire support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) will be holding a short service open to all on Thursday 26 January.

The service will be attended by Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall, Reverend Alan Birss and Deacon Jack Gallacher and will be held in the Marriage Suite of Renfrewshire House.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall lays a remembrance wreath

Friends and relatives are invited to meet at the Marriage Suite from 3:15pm to collect a commemorative purple heart on which they can write a message to a loved one, if so desired.

At 3:30pm there will be a short set of readings followed by a procession to the memorial tree where the Provost will lay a wreath and light the tree.

The memorial tree was first dedicated in 2010 as a permanent memorial to those who have died through suicide and is believed to have been the first of its kind in Scotland.

A girl places a purple heart on the tree in remembrance

Following the service all those attending are cordially invited to join the Provost, the local SOBS support group and the Choose Life team for light refreshments in Paisley Abbey.

The service aims to provide an opportunity to remember those who have been lost while providing an arm of support to the survivors. It is an opportunity to connect with others who have faced a similar situation.

Provost Hall said: “The annual service provides those who have been affected by suicide a chance to commemorate their loved ones and also find support from others who have faced similar heartbreak.

“I would encourage anyone who feels this may benefit them to come along and join me at the service as we remember those lost too soon.”

The local support group meets on the last Wednesday of the month, 7:00pm-8:30pm, at the Wynd Centre, Paisley and new members are always welcome.

Lisa Aitken, Choose Life Resource Worker, said: “It is important that we remember those lost to suicide and also support those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one.

“The annual service provides an opportunity for people to meet others who have faced similar difficulties and all are welcome to attend.”

For more information contact the Choose Life Team on 0141 849 2200 or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/sobs.

If you are feeling suicidal, or you know someone that might be then please call one of the helpline numbers: Samaritan’s 116 123, Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87, RAMH First Crisis 0141 849 90 90 or 0500 829 093

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Community centre upgrades continue

THE programme of works to upgrade six community centres, in Renfrewshire is now well underway.

Johnstone Castle Community Centre is now re-open after repairs and improvements were carried out and work has started at Ralston Community Centre.

The next facility to temporarily close for an upgrade is Glenburn Community Centre and work there is expected to start mid-February.

The improvements project is part of a £3 million investment upgrading six community centres and is managed by a joint project team made up of officers from Renfrewshire Council, Community Resources and Renfrewshire Leisure. Renfrewshire Council’s own building services workforce is carrying out the work.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “The work being carried out on community centres throughout Renfrewshire will create upgraded and attractive facilities for local people to use.”

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Piazza shows support for bid with Paisley 2021 signage

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture will be seen by five million rail passengers this year – after bosses at the town’s Piazza shopping centre unveiled a giant Paisley 2021 sign.

The branding has just been installed on the side of the centre’s recently-revamped multi-story car park, which faces on to the platform at Paisley Gilmour Street station.

And it means passengers at the station – Scotland’s fourth-busiest – won’t be able to miss the giant advert for Paisley’s ambitions.

Maureen Hill and Cllr Macmillan on the platform at Paisley Gilmour Street, looking on to the sign

Councillor Mark Macmillan – chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board – said: “We looked at various sites in the town and identified the Piazza car park as one being seen by huge numbers of people.

“A big part of the bid is about raising awareness of Paisley and changing perceptions of the town among potential visitors.

“This means the millions of passengers a year travelling between Glasgow, the airport, Ayrshire and Inverclyde will be aware of what is happening here.

“A successful bid will bring massive economic benefits to Paisley town centre and huge numbers of visitors spending their money with local businesses.

“When the bid goes in it will be crucial we can show the judges at DCMS there is support from throughout the local community.

“To date more than 100 local businesses have shown their support and I would like thank The Piazza for getting involved in this way.”

The Piazza multi-storey car park has a capacity of 336 spaces and recently had a £1.3m revamp, which saw external and internal improvements.

That included extra disabled and parent/child bays, work on the lighting and surfaces, repainting the outside of the building, and new lifts and CCTV.

Piazza manager Maureen Hill added: “We made a major investment in the new car park because we have confidence in what lies ahead for Paisley town centre.

“If Paisley was to be named UK City of Culture 2021 it would be a massive boost to ourselves and other town centre businesses in terms of footfall.

“We are delighted to show our support for the bid to the many millions who pass through the station each year.”

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Renfrewshire’s ground-breaking educational training initiative named among Scotland’s best

Renfrewshire’s ground-breaking teacher training initiative to improve pupil reading standards.has been named among Scotland’s most successful educational interventions.

Teachers featured in the Renfrewshire Literacy Initiative training films at the premiere with Renfrewshire Council HQ education staff and (centre) Councillor Jacqueline Henry (in red jacket). To her right is Prof Sue Ellis, University of Strathclyde (wearing grey cardigan).

The Renfrewshire Literacy Approach – launched in September 2015 – is featured alongside the cream of Scottish educational initiatives in a new digital resource from Education Scotland .

The cutting-edge partnership between Renfrewshire Council and the University of Strathclyde.has seen more than 800 teachers across primary and secondary schools take part in a high quality programme of professional learning – designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers and head teachers in the teaching of reading

Now the success of the Renfrewshire Approach is highlighted in Interventions for Equity – a new digital resource from Education Scotland to help schools and their partners making local decisions about how best to go about closing the attainment gap between children of richer and poorer households.

The interventions listed in the new resource represent the range of different approaches developed in Scotland and which have proved to be effective, according to Education Scotland.

The Renfrewshire Approach is designed to increase staff skills in encouraging a love of reading and books in children from an early age – and so increase pupils’ chances of success in education and in later life.

Teachers are being trained to look not just at core skills which support the development of reading skills. The Approach also equips staff to address other factors which play a role – such as children’s opinions, along with knowledge and understanding of the world.

News of the national accolade came shortly after a special event in Johnstone to highlight the success of the Literacy Approach to Renfrewshire Council’s education and early years staff.

Johnstone Town Hall may be 5000 miles from Hollywood Boulevard – but staff attending the venue were given the red carpet treatment at a film ‘premiere’ there this week..

It was the setting for a special after-school cinema format screening of three short films of local teachers telling how their work has been helped by the Renfrewshire Literacy Approach.

The films feature 18 teachers from 11 primary schools giving their personal views and opinions on the benefits of the Literacy Approach

Primary school and early years education specialists from across Renfrewshire were in the audience of more than 200 people who watched and listened to the teachers praising the effect which the new training techniques has had on them – and the children.

One little boy featured on screen talked about how he was now enjoying reading instead of disliking it.

Teachers described how strategies to help them deal with teaching full classes and individuals wth differing abilities were having a very positive effect on children’s enthusiasm for reading – with knock-on effects for pupils’ learning and overall achievement in class.

Copies of the DVD containing the films will be sent round Renfrewshire schools to give easy access to information about how the programme is working in practice and so help staff development among teachers and classroom assistants.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, said: “Being able to read easily and well is a basic essential for children to get the education necessary to make the most of life and avoid poverty in adulthood.

“Showing children that learning to read is interesting and fun helps them to understand that learning is an enjoyable experience.

“Our hope is that this Initiative not only helps improve literacy skills of pupils but encourages a lifelong interest in all forms of learning.

“It’s great to see the inspirational effect the Renfrewshire Literacy Approach has had on our teachers and it’s immensely satisfying to see it getting the national recognition it so richly deserves..

“The films are not only an important training tool for staff – they also show the amazing work going on in Renfrewshire to end the poverty gap through giving our children the best possible start in life.”

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Renfrewshire venues toast success at Best Bar None Awards

Renfrewshire’s bars and pubs have toasted success at this year’s Best Bar None Awards.

Best Bar None Award winners with members of Renfrewshire Council and Police Scotland

The awards ceremony, held in Renfrew Town Hall on Thursday 12 January, saw accreditation given to local venues across five different categories of Independent Pub, Independent Bar, Pub, Bar and Nightclub.

Ten out of the 12 venues which applied secured a gold award with two receiving a silver award.

The Best Bar None joint initiative between Police Scotland and Renfrewshire Council was introduced in 2012 to reward venues that provide a safe and welcoming environment for local residents to enjoy responsible drinking.

The awards are based on core national standards with flexibility to address local needs. It also encourages pubs, clubs and bars to work with the Council and Police Scotland to prevent crime and disorder.

Councillor Eddie Devine, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “It’s great to see Renfrewshire’s bars, pubs and clubs working with the council and the police to deliver excellent entertainment venues, while also improving the safety and wellbeing of customers.

“Best Bar None recognises the hard work of the local venues and Renfrewshire is very proud to have so many outstanding licensed premises for locals and visitors to enjoy a drink.

Sergeant Jeff Curran of Police Scotland said: “I am delighted to see so many licensed premises in Renfrewshire achieve accredited status.

“Pubs and bars that offer a secure environment where customers can drink responsibly are becoming the norm and local people can enjoy a drink knowing they are in safe hands.”

This year’s Best Bar None ceremony also saw outstanding premises recognised in new local award categories for Best Family Venue, Most Improved, People’s Choice and Best Venue Manager.

Venues were assessed during October and November 2016 and were scored using national guidelines. Best Bar None Awards are based on core standards relating to five licensing objectives, which are:

• preventing crime and disorder,

• securing public safety,

• preventing public nuisance,

• protecting and improving public health, and

• protecting children from harm.

Overall category winners now have the chance to compete at the end of the year for the national Best Bar None Awards in Glasgow, which will take place in March 2017.

Councillor Devine added: “To have 12 premises across Renfrewshire achieve accredited status in the Best Bar None awards is a fantastic achievement and highlights the good practice in our venues. This is vital as we go forward with Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture in 2021.

“I’d encourage more bars, pubs and clubs to take part in this scheme and showcase Renfrewshire as a thriving location for entertainment and leisure.”

To read more about the Best Bar None Awards visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/bestbarnone

Below is a list of the venues which entered the Best Bar None scheme in 2016/17 and the awards they received.

Category – Independent Bar

Kilty Kilty Gold and Innovation in Public Health Award winner

Cafuffals Gold

The Bankhouse Gold

Bar Varia Gold and overall category winner

Bar Varia was the overall category winner. Kilty Kilty has also been given an additional award for Innovation in Public Health.

Category – Bar

Canal Station Bar & Restaurant Silver and overall category winner.

Category – Independent Pub

Old Swan Inn Gold and People’s Choice Award winner

The Ferry Inn Silver and Best Family Venue Award winner

Tartan Rose Gold and Heart of the Community Award winner

Craigielea Bar Gold and overall category winner

Craigielea Bar was the overall category winner. The Old Swann Inn, The Ferry Inn and Tartan rose also received an additional award for People’s Choice, Best Family Venue and Heart of the Community respectively.

Category – Night Club

Fantoosh Gold

Fantoosh was the overall category winner and also received an additional award for Most Improved.

Category – Pub

Lord of the Isles Gold

The Flying Scotsman Gold and overall category winner

Manager Award

Claire Colquhoun Tartan Rose Best Venue Manager (joint)

Jason Smith Bankhouse Best Venue Manager (joint)

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It’s all going on in Renfrewshire

THE new edition of a What’s On Guide reveals there’s plenty going on in a line-up of cultural events being staged at venues throughout Renfrewshire.


Renfrewshire Leisure is staging a varied programme of shows, exhibitions and workshops from now until the end of April.  An events brochure listing all that is going on, called The Guide has just been launched.

The colourful free brochure – jam-packed with information about more than 40 different shows and events – can be picked up at Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre, Renfrew Town Hall and Johnstone Town Hall. The Guide can also be downloaded by logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com .

The events being staged feature drama, music, dance, comedy, exhibitions, talks and workshops.
They include everything from a performance by award-winning traditional folk band, Breabach, stand-up comedian, Chris Ramsey to well-known film and TV actor, David Hayman appearing in a play called The Cause of Thunder to an exhibition of Star Wars memorabilia called May The Toys Be With You.

There are also events that are part of various festivals – International Women’s Day, Puppet Animation Festival and for the first time, LGBT History Month.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “There is culture everywhere you look in and around Paisley, these days.
“There’s something for everyone to enjoy and The Guide is the best way to find out what’s going on.”

Tickets for all the events are now on sale and can be bought online at www.renfrewshireleisure.com/arts  or by phoning 0300 300 1210 or in person at Paisley Arts Centre, in New Street, Paisley.