Renfrewshire and Inverclyde residents are being encouraged to attend a ceremony to celebrate our serving military men and women.

Serving troops, veterans and their families will join the Provosts of Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, as well as the Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Guy Clark, to mark Armed Forces Day with a service in Paisley Abbey on Saturday 23 June.

Reverend Alan Birss, Minister of Paisley Abbey, will lead a short service at 10am to recognise the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, both past and present.

A collection will be held at the service with donations going to Fares4Free, a charity providing free transport for veterans, assisting them with getting to appointments they might not otherwise be able to travel to.

Following the service tea and coffee will be provided within the Abbey.

Both Provost’s and the Lord-Lieutenant will then move on to Hawkhead cemetery where they will lay wreaths at the memorial.

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “Our Armed Forces make sacrifices every day to protect our country and we must ensure we support them wherever possible.

“Armed Forces Day brings the communities of Inverclyde and Renfrewshire together to pay our respects to those who have served, and to recognise those who currently serve in our name.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to attend.”

Inverclyde Provost Martin Brennan said: “This is an opportunity for us all to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community, including veterans and cadets, and to recognise their outstanding contribution to this country now and in the past.

“Many serving members are currently deployed in extremely dangerous parts of the world and their morale is significantly improved knowing that back home they have the support of the public and that their families are being cared for.”

As well as the joint service with Inverclyde, Renfrewshire will host a flag raising ceremony on Friday 22 June, at 11am, outside Renfrewshire House.

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force and the Year of Young People, Air Cadet Sergeants James Fulton and Aimee Dunlop from 396 Paisley Squadron, will raise the flag which will fly for seven days.

Inverclyde will host a flag raising service on Monday 25 June, 10:30am, at Clyde Square, Greenock.

One of Scotland’s most senior cultural figures will lead the work to transform Paisley’s future using its unique cultural and heritage story – and says the town can show the way for the rest of the UK.

Leonie Bell – the Scottish Government’s Head of Culture Strategy and Cultural Engagement – will this autumn join Renfrewshire Council in the newly-created post of Paisley Partnership Strategic Lead.

Her role will be to build on the momentum of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and lead the next stage of the town’s ongoing transformation into a vibrant cultural destination.

She is currently working on the government’s flagship cultural strategy for Scotland – having been seconded from her previous role as Director of Arts and Engagement at Creative Scotland.

And having supported Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, she has seen first-hand what the town has to offer. Leonie said: “I am so excited to get started. Paisley is brimming with potential – and it can lead the way for the rest of UK in showing how a town can use culture to transform itself.

“My early jobs in Glasgow gave me a real sense of the power of culture to change how people relate to where they live. Culture offers so many opportunities for communities – it is fundamental to who we are and why we are.

“Paisley is such a deeply and distinct cultural town – both in terms of its history and contemporary culture. You only need to walk around it for five minutes to see that – with such wonderful buildings and spaces as the Abbey and the town hall.

“The Paisley 2021 bid was so inspiring and impressive in its ambition and commitment and the way it was community driven. Paisley can still continue that bid journey and reimagine itself, and it can now do that on its own terms.”

Leonie will bring a vast range of contacts and experience to Paisley after a 20-year career at the forefront of the arts in Scotland, including stints at Glasgow: UK City of Architecture and Design, and as programme director at The Lighthouse: Scotland’s Centre for Architecture and the City.

Before joining Creative Scotland, she led the Scottish cultural programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and paved the way for its Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games equivalent.

In her new role she will lead the delivery of a far-reaching 2021 bid legacy plan, bringing together local, Scottish and UK groups to harness the power of culture to impact on education, health, poverty and wellbeing across Renfrewshire – and to help make those benefits available to all.

The Paisley Partnership Legacy Board includes representation from the council and local community plus University of the West of Scotland, West College Scotland, Glasgow Airport, the NHS, Creative Scotland, Glasgow School of Art, Young Scot, Scottish Enterprise, and Arts and Business Scotland.

It is a continuation of the board which governed the UK City of Culture 2021 bid but will continue to meet to take forward the town’s legacy plan, to which Renfrewshire Council and other partners have already committed funding and other resource.

That plan includes a £100m investment in Paisley town centre venues, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class facility; new events and festivals for the area’s existing major events programme; and investment in building the area’s cultural capacity and creative economy.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson – who chairs the Paisley Partnership Legacy Board – added: “We warmly welcome Leonie to Paisley later in the year and believe her experience and passion make her the ideal person to lead the next phase of Paisley’s ongoing transformation.

“For us to have attracted someone highly regarded in Scotland’s cultural sector is a major coup for the town which shows the extent to which it is now viewed as a key destination.”

For more information on what’s happening in Paisley, visit www.paisley.is

If you have children aged up to 14, Renfrewshire Council is asking you to help shape future nursery and childcare provision for families.

The Council is seeking the views of parents in the area on the provision of early learning and child care, including before and after school services and school holiday cover, by competing a short survey,

Eligible children aged two and three to five year olds are entitled to 600 funded hours annually, which will increase to 1140 hours by August 2020.

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “The survey is a great chance for parents to have their say on what they need going forward and even if this doesn’t currently apply to you, your views will help us plan for families in the future.”

The information provided in the survey, which is to be completed by Friday 6 July, 2018, will be treated confidentially and will be used to inform future service provision.

A link can be found here: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/article/4622/Children-and-Young-People-Consultation-2018

Plans to build a 21st-century learning and cultural hub on Paisley High Street are set to take a step closer – with councillors being asked to approve a comprehensive refurbishment of the building.

The council has earmarked a currently-empty retail unit at 22 High St – formerly the Internacionale clothes shop – for a new modern community facility to house the town’s library collection.

Initial plans had looked at demolishing the building and putting in a new structure – while retaining the existing listed façade.

But further detailed surveys of the site and assessment of costs have allowed officers to produce a new solution based on a comprehensive refurbishment of the current building, which can be done within budgets already set aside for the project.

The new facility will be a fully-accessible and digitally-connected space housing the library collections and offering a modern educational resource for the area’s pupils, students and adults in the heart of the High Street – helping drive footfall to the heart of the town.

It will eventually replace the current Paisley Central Library, which will leave its current location next to Paisley Museum in September when the museum closes for a £42m revamp to become an international-class destination based around Paisley’s unique heritage and collections.

Both projects are part of a £100m investment in the town’s venues and infrastructure as part of a wider plan to transform the area’s future using the power of its unique culture and heritage – which also includes internal revamps of Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre.

Library operators Renfrewshire Leisure will open a temporary facility in the town centre to keep library services running until the new learning and cultural hub opens– expected to be summer 2021.

The learning and cultural hub project is being run by the council in partnership with Hub West Scotland – a Scottish-Government-backed firm who help public-sector bodies get value for money when investing in large infrastructure projects.

The project team will now produce designs for the building, while further site investigation works will continue over the summer. It is expected construction will start in late 2019.

Members of the Leadership Board will be asked to give the green light to the revised plan when they meet on Wednesday.

Council leader Iain Nicolson – who chairs the Leadership Board – said: “When completed this building will deliver a first-class learning resource for future generations of residents.

“Paisley is blessed with some stunning heritage buildings – but the downside is that can make them complex to revamp – which will be the case with this site.

“The building had previously been privately owned and will need a lot of work to get the interior into the right condition for this project – but we are confident we now have a solution which will do that.

“The benefit of having that on the High Street – other than bringing an empty unit back into use – is we drive footfall and new life to heart of the town centre, which will hopefully benefit traders.

“The project is just one strand of the programme of investment in our cultural facilities which is at the heart of the wider plan to transform the area’s fortunes by harnessing our unique cultural and heritage story.”

Making sure local communities benefit from Renfrewshire’s £274million City Deal projects was high on the list of topics discussed at Paisley North Community Council this week (Tues 12 June) attended by Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson.

The Council Leader is visiting community councils across the region to hear about their local issues and the visit to Beechwood Community Centre in Shortroods was the latest in the series of visits.

City Deal employment opportunities, engagement with the Council and grass cutting programmes were all on the agenda, which was well attended by councillors for the area.

Councillor Nicolson said: “When we were elected last year, I made a pledge to continue listening to communities and responding direct to their concerns and that is why I’ve been out and about attending community council meetings across the area, to hear for myself the issues that are being discussed and also where we can work more closely together to improve the quality of life for people.

“Being in close proximity to the airport, the investment in the City Deal projects will bring hundreds of jobs to the area and the investment in the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland will also create many training opportunities so we want to make sure we capitalise on this for local people so everyone can share in the benefit these developments will bring.

“We also discussed how we can work more closely together. We want to support communities to take pride in their place, tackle the issues that matter to them and have community backing. By hearing first hand their experiences and ideas, this gives us a great foundation to build on and I look forward to continuing these conversations as we move forward.”

A primary school voted the first Scottish recipient of UK Literacy School of the Year has been given a glowing report by inspectors.

Staff from Education Scotland visited St Anthony’s in Spateston, Johnstone in April and spoke with pupils, staff and parents.

The school received ‘very good evaluations’ over all four quality indicators and was praised by inspectors for its ‘literacy rich’ environment.

Head teacher Jacqueline McBurnie’s ‘clear strategic direction’ and ‘strong personal and professional commitment to meeting the needs of all children’ was also picked up.

The school was praised with helping to close the poverty related attainment gap and the report noted: “Children facing barriers in their learning, including those facing socio-economic challenge are making good progress.

“There are positive signs that the work of the school is having an impact on closing the attainment gap.”

The school’s welcoming ethos was also praised, as well as it’s ‘supportive culture’ for learning.

Head Teacher Jacqueline McBurnie said: “I am delighted that our school community has received such a positive inspection report. This is testimony to the strong team spirt we have built in St. Anthony’s where our values are at the core of what we try to achieve, every day in every way for everyone. “

The inspection report also detailed how children are benefitting from being part of an inclusive learning community in which issues of poor behaviour are rare.

Inspectors said: “Children behave very well in classes and are eager and motivated to learn. Staff have a strong commitment to creating a purposeful learning climate for children. In addition, there is a strong and shared focus from all staff to build children’s resilience in learning and communication skills. The impact is that children feel nurtured, cared for and are keen to learn.”

Another significant strength identified by inspectors was the ‘strong collegiate culture and professional engagement’ which enables staff to work well together and to feel valued and supported.

Ensuring children’s wellbeing is another strength of the school, with children valued, cared for, respected and included.

The school also houses a unit for children with communication disorders such as autism, and children with additional support needs are well supported.

The 35 children there benefit from the ‘warm, nurturing ethos’, with the overall environment for learning and teaching showing a commitment to children’s well-being and development.

Inspectors deemed the overall quality of teaching as very good and added: “Staff have a strong understanding of the individual strengths and needs of children and use this well in their teaching. Overall, teaching is motivating and interesting and engages learners well. “

Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “We are committed to ensuring that all our children and young people are supported to reach their full potential by providing the best learning environments possible.

“It’s wonderful to see the hard work and drive of the head teacher and staff at St Anthony’s being rewarded with such a positive inspection report.

“As well as making strides in closing the attainment gap and providing access to high quality teaching, it’s also clear that the school’s nurturing and caring environment is benefitting pupils.”

The £22m plans to transform Paisley Town Hall into one of the key venues in the west of Scotland will be led by the architects behind some of the UK’s best-known destinations.

Glasgow-based Holmes Miller – who worked on the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaped Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – will now help turn the inside of the 19th-century building into a 21st-century facility and preserve the future of the much-loved landmark.

The town hall will close in early 2019 and reopen in 2021 as a venue capable of attracting new events and footfall to the town and helping host the expansion of activity planned through the legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

It is one of the key projects within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and infrastructure over the next few years, as part of a wider plan to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.

The architects will now produce initial designs for the interior aimed at broadening the range of events the town hall can offer, and transforming the performance facilities and visitor experience.

The project will also include improved catering and conference facilities, better physical access, and replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems.

The town hall revamp is being run by the council in partnership with Hub West Scotland – a Scottish-Government-backed firm who help public-sector bodies get value for money when investing in large infrastructure projects.

The council worked with Hub West Scotland on the new Johnstone Town Hall – also designed by Holmes Miller – which has won a string of industry awards since it opened three years ago.

Renfrewshire Leisure – which operates the town hall – has already been working with regular town hall users to find temporary homes for their events while the building is closed, with other town centre locations and venues around Renfrewshire set to benefit from that activity.

The design process will involve working with users and stakeholders to ensure the venue meets contemporary needs.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of RL: “Paisley Town Hall has been a much-loved landmark at the heart of life in the town for almost 140 years – we want it to stay that way for the next 140.

“But like any heritage building, it needs investment to stay at its best – and with some work having been done on the outside of the building in 2012, the interior now needs a revamp.

“The appointment of Holmes Miller is a major boost – they bring huge expertise of working with listed buildings, entertainment venues and community facilities around the UK, and will help us equip the town hall for the future and keep it as a venue of which Renfrewshire can be proud.

“Over the coming months we will consult further with town hall users and the wider community so they can help us shape the future of their town hall.”

Other historic buildings Holmes Miller have worked on include the £60m redevelopment of Marischal College in Aberdeen, while their Renfrewshire projects include the new Park Mains High School and Renfrew Health Centre, as well as the new housing at Hawkhead village in Paisley.

Douglas Jack of Holmes Miller said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop our successful working relationship with Renfrewshire Council and Hub West with the regeneration of Paisley Town Hall, a landmark building in Paisley and a fantastic example of Victorian architecture.

“We very much look forward to working with the stakeholders and project team on this exciting project which will play a key part in the wider regeneration strategy of Paisley.”

Iain Marley, Hub West Scotland CEO: “The Hub West Scotland team are delighted and excited to partner with Renfrewshire Council on another key community investment project.

“The redevelopment of Paisley Town Hall will transform this well known and important heritage asset and create a vibrant new destination for the community.”

The investment in Paisley town centre over the next four years also includes a £42m transformation of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination showcasing the town’s unique heritage and collections, predicted to bring around 125,000 visitors a year into the town centre.

The council last month appointed architects of international importance for the museum redevelopment – with the chosen firm AL_A having worked on landmark buildings around the globe, including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter in London, and having recently been shortlisted for the competition to redesign the visitor experience at the Eiffel Tower.

Other big projects happening over the next few years include a new learning and cultural hub on the High Street, a revamp of Paisley Arts Centre, major investment in town centre outdoor spaces and transport links, and new sporting facilities and events space at St James Playing Fields.

The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street, and the launch of the new destination brand and website at www.paisley.is

Paisley 2021 campaign wins prestigious UK-wide PR awards

The people of Paisley have been thanked after the PR campaign behind the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 was honoured at the UK PR industry’s Oscars.

Renfrewshire Council beat off competition from some of the UK’s biggest names to be named best Arts, Culture and Sport campaign at the 2018 Chartered Institute of Public Relations Excellence Awards in London – and was the only Scottish entry to win an award.

The other nominees were Channel 4’s Great British Bake-off, the PR agency of sports betting giants Paddy Power, the British Postal Museum, Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery (which hosted last year’s Turner Prize) and an entry connected to BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Feedback from the expert judges said the Paisley 2021 campaign’s aim to ‘change lives through a major perception shift about Paisley was inspiring’ and it had ‘created a powerful legacy for the community’.

Paisley was the only Scottish place to make the final shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition, and the first-ever town to do so. The Paisley 2021 campaign saw an unprecedented community engagement push where 38,000 people – equivalent to half the town’s population – interacted with the bid over two years.

It took the town’s profile to new levels, with the Paisley 2021 PR campaign reaching 780m people, and visits from international media including the New York Times, the FT, the Guardian, De Telegraaf (Holland), the Irish Independent and Chinese Weekly Press.

Highlights included a human Paisley Pattern formed in the town centre, teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Paisley Lego animation now seen by millions, the mass saxophone performance of Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street organised by Loud ‘n’ Proud’s Tommy McGrory, and 150 choir singers seeing off the final bid with an emotional rendition of Robert Tannahill’s Wild Mountain Thyme.

The campaign also secured the backing of locally-born celebrities Paolo Nutini and Gerard Butler, plus figures from across the political spectrum, including Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s head of communications, marketing and events: “For us to win one of the UK’s biggest PR awards shows this was an exceptional campaign.

“Despite the outcome of the UK City of Culture competition, we always felt Paisley won in other ways – the town changed for the better over the past two years, and the judges recognised the key role PR and community engagement played in that.

“We were bold in tackling some of the negative perceptions of the area at home and further afield. We did that by shining a spotlight on why Paisley matters to the world – our globally-significant heritage, fascinating untold stories, and the creativity and radical spirit in Paisley’s DNA.

“Our team’s job was to create a platform for the people of Paisley to say in their own words what the bid meant to them. The campaign worked because it had that buy-in and authenticity and it’s the people of Paisley we thank – this award is for Buddies everywhere.

“For us to be recognised on a UK stage shows Paisley’s profile has gone to a totally new level – and we will build on that in the future as we promote the town as a destination for visitors and events.”

Alan McNiven, chief executive of Engage Renfrewshire, helped lead the community engagement push – including a series of bus tours of local charities and businesses to rally support.

And he added: “In my two decades of working in Paisley I haven’t seen anything capture the public’s imagination like the 2021 campaign – or make as big a difference to people who had most to gain.

“Some of the feedback we had was humbling – we work with people in Ferguslie Park who told me the bid created opportunities which have been life-changing for them.

“Thanks to the PR campaign there’s now an understanding culture isn’t something we do for the sake of it – it’s something which is changing the town for the better, and that journey will continue.”

For more information on what’s happening in Paisley, visit www.paisley.is

Transport Bill Introduced to Parliament

 

Flexible options introduced to improve bus services

 

Double parking and parking on pavements to be Prohibited

 

The Transport (Scotland) Bill has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament by local MSP and Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay, alongside Transport Minister Humza Yousaf.

The Scottish Government’s Bill will bring forward the most radical measures since devolution to make Scotland’s transportation network cleaner, smarter and more accessible than ever before. It aims to empower local authorities and establish consistent standards in order to tackle current and future challenges, while delivering a more responsive and sustainable transport system for all.

Proposed measures in the Bill include:

  • Providing local authorities and Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) with the flexibility to improve bus services through partnership working with operators or, where there is a good case for doing so, local franchising or running services themselves.
  • Enabling the creation and decriminalised enforcement of Low Emission Zones.
  • Prohibiting double parking and parking on pavements and giving local authorities the powers needed to enforce this important change.
  • Standardising smart ticketing technology to ensure compatibility, and setting in place an advisory body to best support interoperable Scotland-wide smart ticketing.
  • Strengthening the powers of the Scottish Road Works Commissioner in order to better regulate road works.
  • Allowing RTPs to build up and carry appropriate financial reserves.

Derek Mackay said:

“This Bill reflects a period of significant public consultation and engagement. It provides the Council with the tools to address issues specific to Renfrewshire.

“We are also providing clearer options for authorities to pursue local franchising or provide services themselves in appropriate circumstances.

“The Bill will allow for decriminalised enforcement of double parking and parking on pavements. This is an issue I know is a problem in parts of Renfrewshire and has been raised with me by many constituents. This will help transform our local towns and villages into more accessible and more pleasant places to live.”

More Details of the Bill can be found at:

http://www.parliament.scot/Transport%20(Scotland)%20Bill/SPBill33S052018.pdf

https://news.gov.scot/news/new-transport-legislation-set-to-empower-local-authorities

Mackay welcomes NHS pay rise

First Minister announces 3% rise for majority of healthcare staff.

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the news that the majority of NHS Scotland staff will receive a 3% pay rise this year.

Staff currently earning up to £80,000 will receive at least a 3% uplift, and those earning £80,000 and over will receive a flat rate increase of £1,600. Staff not at the top of their pay bands will also receive any incremental progression they are due.

This uplift is a payment on account of progress made in negotiations so far.

Negotiations between the Scottish Government, employers and unions on pay, terms and conditions continue towards a three year pay deal.

Compared to equivalent staff in NHS England:

  • Experienced porters at the top of Band 2 will be over £500 better off
  • Healthcare assistants at the top of Band 3 will be over £600 better off
  • Auxiliary nurses with a year’s experience in Band 4 would be over £800 better off.
  • Nurses with five years’ experience in Band 5 will be over £400 better off
  • Paramedics in middle of Band 6 will be over £450 better off
  • Advanced Nurse Practitioners in the middle of Band 7 will be over £250 better off

For staff paid weekly, the pay uplift will be paid week beginning 2 July 2018. For those paid monthly, the uplift will be made in end July salaries. The payments will be backdated to 1 April 2018 as quickly as possible.

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:

“I know the last few years of pay restraint have been tough, and that is why I’m proud that the budget I brought forward this year included the lifting of the 1% pay cap for public sector workers – the first government in the UK to do so.

“The Scottish Government are currently in negotiations to agree a 3 year pay deal for NHS staff in which we aim to not just match but exceed the deal agreed in England. I hope these talks reach a positive conclusion soon.

“But we don’t believe those working in the NHS should have to wait for that agreement to be reached before they get a pay rise this year. That is why I am delighted the First Minister has announced those earning up to £80k will get a 3% pay rise now, and will be backdated to 1st April as soon as possible.”