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Campaign supporters paint the town red

Campaigners prepare to take part in the march

The Renfrewshire community donned high heels and walked the length of Paisley High Street to support this year’s ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ campaign.

Campaigners prepare to take part in the march

Campaigners prepare to take part in the march

The High Street was awash with red as supporters of the campaign, men and women alike, marched to end gender-based violence.

Supporters were led by Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall, as well as Tony Lawler and the Charleston Drum, on the march which finished in Dunn Square.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall with a remembrance wreath

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall with a remembrance wreath

The distinctive approach to the event aims to raise not only a smile but also awareness of sexual violence and encourage discussion over a subject which is often seen as taboo within society.

Men were encouraged to wear high heels to symbolise facing the experiences that women must tackle in modern culture. Wearing the colour red was an alternative for supporters.

One in three women worldwide report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence. The campaign aims to create a stronger and safer society where this will not continue.

Provost Hall, who made a speech in Dunn Square about the importance of the occasion, said: “The 16 Days of Action campaign is hugely important as it brings the issue to the forefront of people’s thoughts.

“Those who joined me on the march are determined to eradicate gender-based violence from our society and it was fantastic to see the community come together to try and achieve this.

“We must all work to eliminate the risk of violence being a part of any relationship and events such as today help bring the issue into people’s minds.”

The event was organised in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, the Diversity and Equality Alliance in Renfrewshire (DEAR) Group, the West of Scotland Regional Equality Council (WSREC), Renfrewshire Rising, Engage Renfrewshire, the Environmental Training Team and West College Scotland.

Anyone suffering from domestic violence can get help via two national helplines, which are available 24/7 and are free to call from a landline.

Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 027 1234

Abused Men in Scotland Helpline – 0808 800 0024

Locally, Women and Children First can be contacted on 0300 300 0345

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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

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

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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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Christmas shopping is child’s play

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.”

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Scottish Labour leader backs Paisley 2021 bid

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Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has publicly backed Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, in the latest show of cross-party political support for the town’s ambitions.

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Photos courtesy of Hannah Thomson for Paisley.org.uk

 

The Scottish Labour leader gave her backing during a visit to Paisley Museum where she met young people involved in an award winning creative youth project being funded by the bid.

The bid has received cross-party support, with local politicians hosting events in both the UK and Scottish Parliaments.

The growing support follows on from recent high-profile backers of the campaign, with musician Paolo Nutini and artist John Byrne – who both hail from the town – having done so in recent weeks.

While visiting the town, she was met by Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, Paisley 2021 Bid Manager Stuart McMillan and by participants in Project Z – which will see young people from the town’s Ferguslie Park area trained to write and create their own graphic novels.

 

The project was part-funded by the area’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, a £500,000 five-year scheme which aims to boost the capacity of the local creative scene during the Paisley 2021 bid.

It also received funding from Renfrewshire Council’s ground-breaking Tackling Poverty Programme, which covers a wide range of projects aimed at taking on long-term deprivation issues in the area.

The Paisley 2021 bid aims to use the town’s outstanding collection of heritage and cultural assets to improve the area’s prospects and transform its future.

Kezia’s visit to Paisley Museum comes in the week a fundraising strategy was unveiled for a £49m redevelopment of the Victorian-era building which aims to turn it into a visitor experience of international quality, telling the inspirational stories of Paisley, its heritage and its pattern.

Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said:

“I am delighted to back Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture in 2021. A successful bid can support the work Renfrewshire Council is already doing to transform Paisley and would leave a legacy that could improve the lives of people in the town.

“Culture can change the lives of young people living in poverty. Supporting people to develop new skills means they can grow their confidence and compete for the jobs of the future. I had the privilege of meeting with some very talented and engaging young people. All they need is the right support to have a fair chance in life. Paisley’s bid for City of Culture 2021 can be part of that.

“The Glasgow City Deal also provides an opportunity to regenerate Renfrewshire. The UK and Scottish governments should deliver the necessary funding as soon as possible, so people in Renfrewshire can start to feel the benefit of this investment.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan said:

“It was great to welcome Kezia to Paisley today and talk her through the ambitious and hugely exciting vision we have for the town over the years ahead.

“It was also good to meet some of the young people taking part in one of our innovative tackling poverty projects – ultimately the Paisley 2021 bid is about the power of culture to change people’s lives for the better.

“Paisley Museum was a fitting venue for the visit given its status as the anchor project in our plans – the proposed revamp is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year into the town centre, creating a boost to the local economy and attracting new jobs.

“Running alongside the major infrastructure improvements being delivered through the Glasgow City Region City Deal – including our plans for a tram-train link between Glasgow Airport and Paisley Gilmour Street Station – major opportunities lie ahead for Renfrewshire and we want to ensure the future for local communities is a bright one.”

Hayden Chivers, aged 18, and a member of Project Z, said:

“This project is a fantastic opportunity that helps improve our life skills and prepare us for the world of work. We’ve been meeting weekly in the local library in Ferguslie Park and we do activities such as creative writing, drama and visual art.

“The project has really benefited many of us and helped us by encouraging us to either stay on at school or go to college, some of us have part-time jobs or volunteer for other organisations. I’m proud to be from Paisley and delighted to be able to show others how great it is to live in this town.”

The team was successful in its application to the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund as part of Paisley’s City of Culture bid and will involve them working on a social history project based on the punk movement in Paisley and other subcultures popular in the town and the legacy left today. The end product will be an exhibition of film, photography and a graphic novel.

For more information, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk

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Kids bag themselves some great books

Gallowhill’s St Catherine’s Primary 1 pupils, from left, Eloise Colquhoun, Alistair Grier, Freya McKenna and Joshua Dapaah

EVERY Primary One pupil in Renfrewshire has been given a bag full of books and fun activities to encourage them to read.

Gallowhill’s St Catherine’s Primary 1 pupils, from left, Eloise Colquhoun, Alistair Grier, Freya McKenna and Joshua Dapaah

Gallowhill’s St Catherine’s Primary 1 pupils, from left, Eloise Colquhoun, Alistair Grier, Freya McKenna and Joshua Dapaah


Renfrewshire Leisure staff visited schools to hand out Bookbug Family Bags as part of Book Week Scotland.
The family bags – produced by the Scottish Book Trust in partnership with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government – contain three picture books, an activity book, a whiteboard, pen and magnetic numbers.

The three books are – There’s a Bear on My Chair, by Ross Collins; Hare and Tortoise, by Alison Murray and Shark in the Park, by Nick Sharratt.

All three titles have been shortlisted for The Bookbug Picture Prize 2017 and youngsters also received a voting form to choose their favourite for the award.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s award-winning mobile library and event space, The Skoobmobile also visited local primary schools when the gift bags were handed out.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “By handing out Bookbug Bags we aim to create a lasting link between reading at school and at home.

“If youngsters can develop a love of reading and books at an early age, the chances are this will continue into adulthood.
“We’re doing all we can to encourage youngsters to read and enjoy books.”

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Young people’s Assembly wants focus on mental health issues

Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall with young people and supporters at the first Renfrewshire Youth Assembly

Mental health has emerged as the top issue for young people at a ground-breaking youth voice event hosted by Renfrewshire Council.

Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall with young people and supporters at the first Renfrewshire Youth Assembly

Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall with young people and supporters at the first Renfrewshire Youth Assembly

Young people at Renfrewshire’s first Youth Assembly overwhelmingly felt mental health was becoming a huge concern and believe more attention and awareness is required on the issue.

Around 300 young people from local secondary schools and youth groups made their voices heard on the views that matter to them at the Youth Assembly – Renfrewshire’s biggest single community youth forum event.

The exciting event – hosted by Renfrewshire Council’s Youth Services team with support from young people including Renfrewshire Youth Voice – saw people aged between 12 and 25 come together in Paisley Town Hall for a day of discussion on key issues alongside interactive workshops.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall opened the event attended by community planning partner agencies – such as NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Police Scotland and Invest in Renfrewshire – and local and national third sector groups, including Young Scot, Zero Waste Scotland, Renfrewshire Young Carers, Active Communities, RE-EM, I am Me Scotland, Who Cares? Scotland and Erskine Music and Media Studio.

The gathering also saw active discussion on education, jobs and training, the 2021 City of Culture Bid and how to have a say in what happens in Renfrewshire. This was followed by workshops on recycling and environmental issues, how to use social media responsibly, mental health campaigns, such as Speak Your Mind from the Scottish Youth Parliament, and understanding hate crimes and discrimination.

The young people also planned out their ideas for a central youth hub where they could come together and meet, as well as providing ideas on what they would like to see in their own areas.

The Council’s Youth Services team aim to hold a Youth Assembly every year, but young people will continue to meet in smaller groups over the coming months to investigate the themes further.

Amy Chivers, 15, a pupil at Castlehead High School in Paisley, said: “The whole experience has been good to express my opinion. I’ve learned lots of different skills that are there for the future.

“I’ve also learned techniques on how to deal with stress, which will help me in my exams.”

Chloe Morrison, 15, who also attends Castlehead High School, said: “The workshops have been great. The social media one was my favourite as it told me how to get my ideas out there.

“I’ve also learned how to set goals and what is realistic to achieve.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, said: “This first Youth Assembly has been an amazing event.

“Renfrewshire’s young people have made it clear what matters to them and what they would like to see happening.

“This is just the beginning of a number of actions to ensure young people can have their say in shaping services in Renfrewshire through the issues that are important to them.

“Thanks go to all the young people who came along, passionately took part and wanted to make themselves heard and all the partners who supported us in this new venture.

“We look forward to supporting more young people to be heard and will work closely with partners to make sure we listen closely and shape our services accordingly.”

Any young person, group, or organisation who would like to be involved in the future can get in touch with Renfrewshire Council’s Youth Services tel 0141 889 1110 or email youth@renfrewshire.gov.uk

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Poverty initiative saves £1.7M for Renfrewshire’s poorest families

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RENFREWSHIRE’s pioneering anti-poverty initiative has saved £1.7 million for people living in the area’s poorest households.

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Councillors were updated yesterday that the £6 million Tackling Poverty Programme has increased income for families overwhelmed by benefit cuts, low wages and the increasing cost of living over the past 18 months.

A report to the Council’s Leadership Board said that Tackling Poverty projects are now achieving significant financial gains for citizens across Renfrewshire through welfare and benefits advice, savings on debt management, support for cost of the school day and the provision of more than 16,000 healthy meals for children through breakfast clubs across the area.

Further measures to boost people’s access to affordable credit, money management advice and credit union membership were also approved today, with a £75,260 of grant funding for Johnstone Credit Union, White Cart Credit Union, Gleniffer Credit Union and Engage Renfrewshire.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said:

“Tackling poverty is a fundamental priority for this Council and I am pleased to see that investment in our Tackling Poverty Programme is making a really encouraging difference to our poorest people, who are nowhere near ‘just about managing’.

“Poverty at the level we are witnessing in Renfrewshire – and beyond – is simply unacceptable in any advanced 21st-century society.  It is time for those at the highest levels of Government to do everything in their power to end this situation.”