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Plans to build on Paisley 2021 legacy to go before councillors

Plans to use the momentum of Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid to help drive a long-term cultural, social and economic transformation of the area are to go before councillors next week.

Renfrewshire Council and its partners have been planning how the town’s bid journey will continue, by building on the positive platform the bid created, and the widespread community support that drove Paisley’s campaign.

Paisley was the only Scottish place and first-ever town to make the shortlist for the prestigious competition, run by the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Feedback from DCMS says Paisley was viewed as ‘a very strong contender’ and the decision to shortlist the bid was ‘an easy one’, while praising the town’s passion and commitment to using culture to tackle social problems, and describing the Paisley bid’s community engagement as ‘exemplary’.

The Paisley 2021 Partnership Board – set up to oversee the bid and bringing together business, cultural, educational, community, health and political representatives – has already confirmed it will continue and will deliver and drive a legacy plan, with some partners intending to maintain their original financial pledges.

That detailed legacy plan will be finalised by the Partnership Board in March – but a report outlining the key points of the local authority’s contribution towards the plan is now going before the council’s Leadership Board

It will continue the ambition to achieve the bid’s original long-term aims to significantly grow Paisley’s creative economy, transform its reputation, see the town recognised for its cultural excellence, lift communities out of poverty, and turn Paisley town centre into a vibrant destination.

And the council will continue to lead on delivering the following:

– the planned £100m-plus investment in venues and infrastructure, including the project under way to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class visitor destination, major internal revamps to transform Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre, upgrading the sporting facilities at St James Playing Fields and creating new space for outdoor events and festivals, a new library on the High Street, and improvements to the town centre streetscape and road system;

– a new Paisley destination brand and website will also be unveiled in the next few weeks to build on the national and international profile created by the bid and promote the area as an attractive place to visit, live and invest;

– an enhanced cultural events and festivals programme over the next four years to deliver the best of what was planned for 2021, attract visitors to Paisley, and strengthen the local cultural sector;

Plans will also be developed to grow the area’s creative economy through a new apprenticeship programme, support for creative businesses and a new volunteer strategy.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We must do everything to build on the impact of bidding for UK City of Culture and the momentum it created.

“The campaign took the town’s profile to new levels – with hundreds of millions of people around the world getting the chance to see or hear something positive about Paisley – transformed our reputation, raised awareness of our unique story, and brought self-confidence back to the town.

“It also generated a town-wide discussion about Paisley’s future – with more than 36,000 people engaging with the bid by the time the final submission was made, and new partnerships and relationships developed locally and nationally which will continue to work in Paisley’s interest.

“And it also firmly established the idea that Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage assets can be used to transform its future – and not just in an economic sense, but also through social impact, by harnessing the power of culture to boost health and well-being, and help people out of poverty.

“We may not have won the title – but the important point is we are still going to deliver our vision and many of the aspirations that informed our bid.

“The report going to the leadership board offers an initial outline of those next steps, and as chair of the Paisley Partnership Board I look forward to revealing the detailed action plan with our partners.

“With major investment in our cultural venues, a new destination brand and website set to launch, an enhanced events and festivals programme in the years ahead, and new funding to support local artists and help the local cultural sector grow, there is lots ahead to be excited by.”

The council’s leadership board will meet on Wednesday 21 February.

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Paisley retains coveted Purple Flag Status

Paisley town centre has successfully retained its Purple Flag status following an application for interim renewal.

Purple Flag is a town and city centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – which aims to raise the standard and broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 5.00pm and 5.00am.

The award is seen as the benchmark for good night time destinations – areas awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and well-being of visitors and local residents.

Recent projects have included the Paisley Purple Flag Student Discount card. More than 60 Paisley First BID businesses have signed up to offer special deals to students in the town with the Purple Flag Student Discount Card accepted at all participating outlets which display the Purple Flag sticker.

Chairman of Paisley First, Ian Henderson, said: “This is a great achievement for all those involved in promoting Paisley as a great place to live, work, study and visit. “It’s important now that we continue to work together so that when it’s time for the full renewal later this year, and the assessors visit the town centre again, they can see great things happening in our vibrant town centre.”

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “The interim renewal of our Purple Flag status is a fantastic boost for Paisley and recognises that the area continues to be a safe, exciting destination for a night out.

“We are working diligently with our partners to ensure that Paisley continues to offer a diverse range of establishments for people to enjoy, as well as ensuring they are able to travel home safely at the end of their night.

“Paisley’s night time economy is thriving and we look forward to the assessors returning later in the year as part of the full renewal process.”

Purple Flag status was achieved at the beginning of 2017 following an application developed by Paisley First, with partners Renfrewshire Council, Paisley Pubwatch, Police Scotland, Renfrewshire Cabs, Scotrail, Paisley and West Community Council and the Paisley Street Pastors. The town’s Purple Flag is on display at the town’s County Square.

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Mix Equality Events at Paisley Arts Centre

Mix – A New Series of Equalities Work at Paisley Arts Centre

A series of performances has been programmed at Paisley Arts centre as part of Mix – a new season of equalities work, presented by Outspoken Arts Scotland for LGBT History Month.

At A Stretch, is a wordless visual theatre production from Jordan and Skinner aimed at children and families with comedy, exciting choreography and breathtaking physical theatre. This show will be performed on Sat 17 February and follows two women as they become increasingly tied together and learn to negotiate the tricky world of close relationships.

Jumpers for Goalposts is a heart-warming tale about the Leith Gay and Lesbian five a side tournament where fitness, friendships and fabulous Moroccan cuisine are put to the test.

And finally Paisley Arts Centre welcomes back Paisley’s own Carol Laula, who will be performing alongside local musicians Lisa Kowalski, Marie Collins and Linzi Clark with an evening of music and spoken words to mark International Women’s Day.

Morag Macpherson, Head of Cultural Services at Renfrewshire Leisure states ‘We are delighted to be part of LGBT History Month once again and to work in partnership with Outspoken Arts with these three very different, but equally entertaining performances.’

Steven Thomson, of Outspoken Arts states ‘The Mix event is a new boutique season of work spanning LGBT History month and International Women’s Day. We are really excited that this has given us the opportunity to bring these inclusive cultural events to Paisley.’


At A Stretch is on Sat 17 Feb at 2pm. Tickets are £5 (£4 conc) + bkg fee

Jumpers for Goalposts is on Wed 28 Feb at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8 (£5 conc) + bkg fee

Wicked Women: Carol Laula and Friends is on Thursday 8 March at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 (£8 conc) + bkg fee

All tickets can be purchased online at www.renfrewshireleisure.com or by phone 0300 300 1210.

Please note that £1 transaction fee is applicable on all tickets booked online.

For more information, or to arrange an interview please contact Carolyn Thom on 0141 618 5109 or carolyn.thom@renfrewshire.gov.uk

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Derek Mackay MSP is encouraging his constituents to use a charity’s new hearing aid support drop-in service in Renfrew.

The MSP for Renfrewshire North and West visited Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s new monthly Hear to Help drop-in in Renfrew Library to see service coordinator, Lainey McFarlane, and volunteer, Jane Jones, support local people who would otherwise need to go to the audiology department at the RAH.

The Hear to Help service readjusts, cleans and re-tubes NHS hearing aids as well as supplying new batteries. Information about assistive equipment such as amplified phones, TV listeners and vibrating/flashing alarms, which can make life easier, is also provided.


The charity is looking for volunteers in Renfrewshire to come forward help the service for just two hours every month. Training will be provided by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s audiology department and the new volunteers will also receive an induction by Action on Hearing Loss Scotland.


Derek Mackay MSP said:


“I’ve visited the Hear to Help service in my constituency before, so I’m aware of the valuable support provided in Erskine Library and the Bridge, Bridge of Weir, especially for older people with mobility difficulties who are saved from travelling to hospital for low level hearing aid maintenance.


“I am delighted to see this service is now being delivered in Renfrew Library so that local people struggling to adapt to their NHS hearing aids can find out how to use the volume or loop controls and understand the importance of changing their batteries and getting the tubes cleaned or replaced.


“It is great to see a service making a difference to the lives of local people whilst, at the same time, ensuring that hospital-based NHS audiology staff can focus their resources on diagnosing hearing loss and fitting hearing aids.”


Lainey McFarlane, Hear to Help Coordinator, said:


“We thank Derek Mackay MSP for visiting our new drop-in service in Renfrew Library to see how we help people experiencing difficulties with their hearing aids to hear their friends and family more clearly.


“We are hoping that the service will prove to be popular with local people, so we are looking forward to recruiting more volunteers from Renfrew and surrounding communities to help ensure Hear to Help can meet anticipated increasing demand.”


For more information about Hear to Help, telephone: 0141 341 5330 or email: lainey.mcfarlane@hearingloss.org.uk

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Call to community to have their say with consultation on Foxbar Place Plan

A call has gone out to residents to have their say in shaping the future of their own community.

Renfrewshire Council will lead a consultation with Foxbar residents to create a Place Plan, which will identify areas for potential change and enhancement.

The Council has secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Making Places Initiative, which supports communities to take a leading role in shaping their local areas.

The pilot scheme is expected to provide a template for Place Plans across Renfrewshire and will be led by residents, businesses and community groups through a series of workshops and events.

Anyone interested in taking part can sign up to a mailing list.

Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, Councillor Marie McGurk, said:  “The consultation will be community led from day one and puts locals right at the heart of the project.

“The aim is to empower people to become much more involved in the planning of their places and show what role they can play in its future.

“It’s the first of its kind in Renfrewshire and the community’s likes, dislikes and aspirations will be there from every stage of the process and we will work with them to deliver what they’d like to see.”

Anyone interested in taking part can register their interest by contacting strategyandplace@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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Years of Neglect Have Left Our Roads At Breaking Point

Roads across Renfrewshire are the talking point of every local community at the moment. The volume of potholes and repairs needed over the winter has seen motorists reach breaking point. Renfrewshire Council have been swamped with complaints as outraged drivers have seen the roads reach dangerous levels with burst tyres and vehicle repairs becoming a common occurrence for motorists.
This issue is impacting all areas of Renfrewshire as the bad winter weather has taken its toll on our roads. SNP Councillor for Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank, Natalie Don has spoken out however, as she explains it is not just down to the bad winter that we are seeing our roads in need of such repairs. Councillor Don believes that we are now seeing the impact of years of neglect to the roads budget from the previous Renfrewshire Council Labour administration.
Councillor Don stated,
“Although the bad weather has obviously been a contributing factor, the current situation we are experiencing is the result of the previous Labour administration’s mismanagement and years of neglect of our roads. Labours inability to effectively invest in our roads during their last five years in administration has seen our roads gradually deteriorate and the recent bad weather was the final straw. The current SNP administration are still running on the previous administrations budget and I think it is both hypocritical and patronising to see Labour councillors complaining about the state of the roads, when it is down to their current and previous budgeting decisions over the last 5 years that the roads are in the state that they are now.”
Councillor Don, also Depute Convener of the Infrastructure Land and Environment Board, has assured residents that Renfrewshire Council is dedicated to seeing our roads improve and urges constituents to get in touch and report any damages that they encounter while commuting.
“I understand that roads across Renfrewshire are causing a great deal of concern for many local people. The number of complaints I have received regarding roads within my ward of Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank alone, has been high but I understand that this problem is affecting residents across Renfrewshire. I want to ensure all residents that your local SNP councillors are working extremely hard with Renfrewshire Council roads department, around the clock, to ensure that your complaints are dealt with and poor conditions are reported and repaired swiftly.”
On 1st March the SNP council group will put forward their first budget since taking over the administration in May last year. The current budget for roads was set by the previous Labour administration for the 2017/18 financial year and Councillor Don has emphasised that investment in Renfrewshire’s roads will be seen as a top priority when it comes to the budget in March.
“The SNP will shortly be putting our budget proposals forward and I am positive that we will see proper investment in our roads. I have certainly made it clear that it is one of my top priorities. It is time for the SNP to fix the mess that the Labour administration left Renfrewshire in and to ensure that our roads do not end up in this state again.”
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Monte Carlo Classic Rally

The centre of Paisley will be lively tomorrow night as the town waves off the cars and crews in this year’s start of the 2018 historic rally run to Monte Carlo.

But for 10 year old Primary 6 pupil Emilia Kozlowska, of St John Ogilvie Primary School in Paisley, it’ll be a really special occasion. She won a Renfrewshire-wide competition for a pupil to design the flag to be used to wave off the drivers and her winning flag will be the centrepiece of the start outside Paisley Abbey at 6pm.

It’s the fifth time the town – the sole shortlisted Scottish entry for the title UK City of Culture 2021 – will be the only British start point of six European cities.

Around 70 cars are expected to leave the start ramp – the largest number of entries so far with the first 24 of them setting off for the 1500-mile trip to the South of France.

There are three separate categories:

The Historique class is being run for the 21st year and is restricted to car models which competed in the Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980. It will run over eight days on open public roads with the cars and crews having undertaken a series of fourteen demanding test stages in the mountains of southern France.

The Classique event is for older cars from as early as 1911 to 1969 and follows the same route to Monte Carlo but does not include any test stages, the goal simply being to finish in Monte Carlo after checking in at a series of control points on the way, including Dumfries in the south of Scotland, Barnby Moor in Nottinghamshire and Banbury in Oxfordshire.

Once again the event will feature the popular Monte Heritage Runs which will follow on from the full-scale events and motoring enthusiasts in a range of interesting cars from over the years will take in a series of short classic routes in Scotland, including Aberdeen, Dumfries and Stirling.

Last year a crowd of around 10,000 gathered in the centre of Paisley with the magnificent backdrop of the Abbey to wave off the crews in a party atmosphere with lights, music, street food and pyrotechnics…..and working with staff from Renfrewshire Council and volunteers from many motorsport clubs in Scotland, the organisers are confident of making the start even bigger and better next year.

At a preview of the event and looking over some of the entries, Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming the Monte Carlo Classic Rally back to Paisley for a fifth year – the sight of the cars gathered outside Paisley Abbey always makes a fantastic spectacle, and brings a great turnout.

“This is the first event in Renfrewshire’s 2018 major events programme, which aims to bring footfall into our town centres and showcase our unique attractions to visitors.

“Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 had a hugely positive impact on the town’s profile and reputation and we will build on that with another great year of major events.”

Douglas Anderson, the UK co-ordinator and the man responsible for bringing the Monte back to Scotland in 2011, will be leading the cars off to Monte Carlo in his 1961 Triumph Herald Coupe.

He said: “Paisley’s mid-winter carnival – the Monte Carlo Rally Start – is back for a record fifth time with a record number of cars heading for the sunshine. It’s acknowledged to be the best of all the rally starts around Europe. Be part of the excitement by coming along to cheer them on their way on Wednesday evening. Share the magic of the Monte.”

Among the entrants who’ll be heading for Monte Carlo in the Historique Class and already in Paisley, are the French crew of Gerard Thill and Colette Roubaud. Their superb red 1971 Saab 96 V4 comes from Trollhattan in Sweden and was originally owned by an engineer who worked at the Saab factory. Gerard and Colette will be taking part in their ninth Historique Monte but it’s the first time they’ve started from Scotland. Previously they’ve set off from Reims, Bad Homburg, Monaco, Oslo, Barcelona and Marrakech.

It’s a slightly closer-to-home start for the three-man Angus-based crew of David Tindal, Alan Falconer and Stephen Woods who decided only recently they’d like to do the event. Fortunately David’s 18-year-old son just happened to have a 1956 Ford Prefect which he was working on in his garage. They rushed to complete the job and they’ll be competing in the Classique group under the team name ‘Kilts to Carlo’ to raise funds for Prostate Scotland.

Also taking on the challenge is husband and wife team Jim and Norma Watson from Dunfermline who are MG fans and have owned a number of different models over the years. They bought their current MGB GT just to take part in the

Classique event. Although both now retired, they are not taking it easy. When not rallying they sail and are currently restoring a wooden sailing yacht.

From Troon, Craig McGibbon has entered his Volvo 122S for the second time in the Historique category but this time he has a very experienced navigator in Karsten Brown sitting alongside. Before retirement they were both highly-trained professional drivers and are looking forward to showing the others how it’s done.

David Glen and Andrew Sturgess from Glasgow are a well-established crew who are competing in their 5th Monte. Their car is a rare 1978 Escort RS 2000 with equally rare X pack modifications. David and Andrew managed to finish the rally last year despite having a ‘coming together’ with an Alfa Romeo en route, but it is now back to its original condition and they are raring to go.

All the competing cars will assemble from around 4pm in the precincts of Paisley Abbey on the evening of Wednesday January 31st before setting off at 6pm for the long drive south. Families are encouraged to come along from 3pm – Paisley Town Hall will host a giant Scalextric set, a Sega Rally arcade machine, children’s workshops, face painting and refreshments for those wanting to gear themselves up before the send-off at 6pm.


More information can be found at www.monte.scot

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£2million improvement works complete on Renfrewshire’s parks

The main phase of a major £2.25million investment in Renfrewshire’s parks and opens spaces has been completed.

Works to create a modern, family friendly environment has seen £2million invested in a number of improvements to the two main parks in the area.

Opening of new play park at Barshaw Park Paisley 31.8.17

Two wheelchair-accessible swings have been installed in Paisley’s Barshaw Park and Renfrew’s Robertson Park to ensure an inclusive setting for young people is available in the popular community spaces.

Brand-new, state-of-the-art playgrounds have also been created in each park with the aim of improving children’s health, learning and social inclusion by providing them with stimulating play equipment.

The first castle structure of its kind in the world has been constructed in Robertson Park, with the unique three-tower construction containing a rappelling wall, rung ladder, hand over hand monkey bars, vertical climbing net and two separate styles of rope traverse.

The investment has also seen a number of significant upgrades made to pathways, roads and drainage systems to improve the park’s resistance to inclement weather and provide a safe space for the public to enjoy all year round.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted that the works to the facilities in both Barshaw Park and Robertson Park are complete and they have made a significant difference to our two main community parks.

“The new play equipment, including the wheelchair accessible swings, will provide a safe, positive environment for our young people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

“This coupled with the improvements to the pathways and drainage means these parks will provide a fantastic space for the community to utilise for years to come.”

A further £250,000 is set to be invested in five neighbourhood parks to enhance the visitor experience and provide a fun, exciting environment for local residents to enjoy.

Planning is underway to identify which parks will receive part of the funding, with works expected to take place during 2018.

For further information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/parksandgardens.

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Year of Young People ambassadors help shape the ‘once in a life time’ year ahead

Renfrewshire’s ambassadors for the Year of Young People have met with the Council to discuss what shape the ‘once in a life time’ year ahead will take.

This year has been designated as a 12 month celebration of young people and aims to inspire Scotland through celebrating their achievements.

There are more than 200 young ambassadors who are representing every local authority across Scotland, including ten in Renfrewshire.

Their role is to build awareness of YoYP 2018 activity so their communities know what’s happening.

Ahead of a year of youth led events, the ambassadors  met with Renfrewshire Council’s Youth Services, Council Leader Iain Nicolson and Convener of Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Jim Paterson.

Cllr Paterson said: “We are delighted to meet with some of the young ambassadors and establish links with them to ensure they have a strong local voice.

“There is an incredibly exciting year ahead of us and we want them to be able to help inform how the Year of Young People 2018 will look in Renfrewshire and have them tell us is in their words what they would like to do. “

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s vital that our young people are listened to as they have creative ideas on how to improve their own lives.

“In return we have asked what support and training we can offer them and offered the opportunity to meet groups such as Renfrewshire Youth Voice.”

A number of the ambassadors including Olivia Galbraith, Lauren McEwan, Cara Brown, Rebecca Adams, Sean Sweeney and Angus Collingridge-Watt attended the meeting and also met with Youth Commission group members.

Lauren McEwan, 17, from Paisley Grammar School said: “This is the first time everybody has come together in Renfrewshire and it’s great to meet everyone and share ideas.

“We are excited to work together to bring a great Year of Young People and make it as good as it can be.”

To get involved with the Year of Young People 2018 go to young.scot/YOYP2018

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Street lighting overhaul in Renfrewshire set to deliver £1.3million savings

An £11million investment in street lighting in Renfrewshire is set to deliver an annual saving of £1.3million in reduced energy, carbon consumption and maintenance costs.

More than 30,000 street lights have been converted from sodium lanterns to more energy efficient LED lanterns, which have a longer lifespan of up to 20 years and lower carbon output.

The changes are on course to bring a significant annual saving which will meet the target agreed in Renfrewshire’s Street Lighting Improvement Strategy.

The new lanterns are already delivering a reduction in street light electricity and carbon consumption of 64%, which is contributing to an 8% reduction in the Council’s overall carbon consumption.

The conversion has also removed the risk of the council being unable to source sodium lights after manufacture of components ceased during 2017, with the production of lamps set to end in 2020 as part of the European Union Energy Saving Directive.

Two independent audits have been carried out to assess the quality of work and the levels of lighting, with the results showing they greatly exceed the British minimum standard required.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We have made a significant investment in the street lighting across Renfrewshire to ensure that the streets are safe for our communities, while also achieving a significant reduction in our carbon consumption.

“The new lights will help the Council make a significant saving which can be reinvested in other areas while still providing high quality street lighting across the area.

“The independent audits which have taken place show that the lighting levels greatly exceed the British minimum but we can assure residents that we will carry out any corrective works which are needed should they feel their street has an issue and they should report these via our website.”

The programme is scheduled to be 97% complete by February 2018, with further remedial works to be completed in early in the year.

For further information visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/LEDlights