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S3 pupils asked to help shape Paisley 2021 bid

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School pupils from across Renfrewshire were asked to help shape Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 ambitions by submitting their own ideas for the bid.

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The Higher Expectations Event hosted by the University of the West of Scotland saw 120 S3 pupils split into five-person teams and asked to discuss what ‘culture’ means to them.

They were also challenged to produce an idea to be included in the Paisley 2021 bid programme and which involves local pupils.

Five prizes of £250 were awarded to the teams from Trinity High, Paisley Grammar, Castlehead, St Andrew’s Academy and Park Mains.

The Park Mains team of Kyle Burns, Callum Munro, Elise Roxburgh, Maya Little and Hannah Stirling were declared the overall winners for their idea to help brighten up Paisley High Street by placing a series of murals on shopfronts.

Each of the five sponsors provided a judge for the panel – Steven Thomson (Paisley 2021 bid team), Bob Grant (Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce), Bob Davidson (Developing the Young Workforce West), Gordon Hunt (UWS) and Vicky Gemmell (Skills Development Scotland).

Renfrewshire Council’s education convener, Councillor Jacqueline Henry, said: “We were delighted to work with UWS and other local organisations for this event.

“The Paisley 2021 bid ultimately aims to create a better future for Renfrewshire and the young people of the area are the ones who that will impact on most – so it is only right they be asked what they want to see from Paisley’s bid.

“One of the key things we want to put across is that culture is for everybody, and we want our young people to know the benefits it brings are theirs to enjoy if they want them.”

This event was part of a wider initiative run by UWS to engage S3 pupils who show academic potential to help them maximise their talent and consider higher education as an option later in life.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said: “As proud and proactive supporters of the Paisley 2021 bid, we were delighted to run another event on our Paisley campus to promote the town for the UK City of Culture 2021 title.

“The University regularly works with schools to help raise aspirations and awareness of future possibilities.

“We are actively involved in the Children’s University and recently launched our Wee University which provides the opportunity for early years staff and students to work with local nursery aged children.”

More information on the 2021 bid can be found at paisley2021.co.uk and on the university at uws.ac.uk

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Councillors approve ambitious plans to transform Ferguslie Park

Communities will have the chance to shape an ambitious regeneration programme for Ferguslie Park.

Artist impressions of Ferguslie Park Regional Centre for Sport (NB – This is NOT a final design, but is merely an illustration of how a centre could look)

Members of the Renfrewshire Council Leadership Board approved proposals for major investment in the area, which are focussed around the development of a Regional Centre for Sport and delivery of high quality homes.

The proposals have been shaped by community consultation undertaken by the council in summer 2016, which indicated strong support for the sports facility and targeted housing investment.

The state-of-the-art sports facility will create a focus for local communities and generate opportunities for jobs, health improvement and activities for young people, as well as attracting visitors from across Renfrewshire.

It is expected to include a range of indoor and outdoor pitches for football, rugby and hockey as well as a specialist sports clinic, conditioning suite and associated changing facilities.

Initial proposals in relation to the sports facility, which is estimated to involve investment in the region of £14 million, have been developed in partnership with the University of the West of Scotland and St Mirren FC.

Proposals for housing investment relate to the Tannahill Road and Tannahill Crescent area of Ferguslie Park. These involve investing in existing stock, the demolition of low demand and vacant properties and developing a small number of new affordable homes.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Renfrewshire Council’s convener of housing, said: “The regeneration of Ferguslie Park is a priority for the council and I’m delighted the board has approved these proposals.

“We are determined that regeneration is led by the local community and our plans reflect the outcomes of our community consultation in summer 2016.”

He continued: “Most residents told us they want to stay in the area, with many people speaking positively about good local facilities, a community spirit and closeness to their neighbours, family and friends.

“The proposals for housing investment have been developed to reflect these views and enable local residents to remain in the area.

“The sports proposals have also been developed to include additional facilities and improve transport links to the area to reflect the views expressed”.

The plans will enable further consultation with the local community, local sports groups and all potential partners and funders on the detail of the regional sports facility and housing investment plans.

Councillor Williams explained: “The plans will give local people access to top class sporting facilities, high quality housing and have wider social and economic benefits.

“So far the local community have played a key role throughout the process and we are keen this continues.

“The consultation on the proposals is expected to start in early March and I would urge everyone to take part so that the final plans we ultimately take forward continue to reflect local people’s vision for their community.”

Renfrewshire Council’s regeneration of Paisley is part of a drive to give it a sustainable and prosperous future.

This will improve opportunities for local people and establish the area as a destination of choice for residents, businesses and visitors.

The Paisley 2021 bid to become UK City of Culture is already transforming people’s perceptions of the town, encouraging new arts events and activities, and making it a destination of choice for businesses and visitors alike.

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Renfrewshire households protected from cuts as Councillors vote to freeze council taxes and rents for coming year

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Councillors to consider ambitious plans to transform Ferguslie Park

Communities will have the chance to shape an ambitious regeneration programme for Ferguslie Park under plans to be considered by councillors next week.

Artist impressions of Ferguslie Park Regional Centre for Sport (NB – This is NOT a final design, but is merely an illustration of how a centre could look)

Members of the Renfrewshire Council Leadership Board will consider proposals for major investment in the area which are focussed around the development of a Regional Centre for Sport and delivery of high quality homes.

The proposals have been shaped by community consultation undertaken by the council in summer 2016, which indicated strong support for the sports facility and targeted housing investment.

Regional Sports Facility

The state-of-the-art sports facility would create a focus for local communities and generate opportunities for jobs, health improvement and activities for young people, as well as attracting visitors from across Renfrewshire.

It is expected to include a range of indoor and outdoor pitches for football, rugby and hockey as well as a specialist sports clinic, conditioning suite and associated changing facilities.

Initial proposals in relation to the sports facility, which is estimated to involve investment in the region of £14M, have been developed in partnership with the University of the West of Scotland and St Mirren FC.

Housing Investment

Proposals for housing investment relate to the Tannahill Road and Tannahill Crescent area of Ferguslie Park.

The proposals involve investing in existing stock, the demolition of low demand and vacant properties and developing a small number of new affordable homes.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Renfrewshire Council’s convener of housing, said:“The regeneration of Ferguslie Park is a priority for the council.

“We are determined that proposals are led by the local community and I’m very pleased that the plans to be considered by the Board reflect the outcomes of our community consultation in summer 2016.”

He continued: “Most residents told us they want to stay in the area, with many people speaking positively about good local facilities, a community spirit and closeness to their neighbours, family and friends.

“The proposals for housing investment have been developed to reflect these views and enable local residents to remain in the area.

“The sports proposals have also been developed to include additional facilities and improve transport links to the area to reflect the views expressed”.

The plans to be considered by councillors will enable further consultation with the local community, local sports groups and all potential partners and funders on the detail of the regional sports facility and housing investment plans.

Councillor Williams explained: “We believe that the proposals will give local people access to top class sporting facilities, high quality housing and have wider social and economic benefits.

“So far the local community have played a key role throughout the process and we are keen this continues.

“If the consultation is approved then I would urge everyone to share their views on the proposals, so that the final plans we ultimately take forward continue to reflect local people’s vision for their community.”

If plans are approved by councillors, consultation on the proposals is anticipated to start in early March.

The council has written to residents of the area to inform them that the report will be considered by the board on Wednesday 15 February.

Renfrewshire Council’s regeneration of Paisley is part of a drive to give it a sustainable and prosperous future, improving opportunities for local people and establishing it as a destination of choice for residents, businesses and visitors.

The Paisley 2021 bid to become UK City of Culture is already transforming people’s perceptions of the town, encouraging new arts events and activities, and making it a destination of choice for businesses and visitors alike.

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Paisley 2021 car steals the show on epic Monte trip

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 was on show in the millionaire’s playground of Monte-Carlo – thanks to a local man who drove there as part of the city’s famous historic car rally.

Jim and Neville on the start ramp at Paisley Abbey with Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall

Jim Meggat and his Paisley 2021-branded Chrysler Sunbeam undertook the grueling trek to the principality – where the rally is based – over an epic nine-day test of endurance and skill.

His was the first car over the ramp when the rally’s only UK start leg took place outside Paisley Abbey in front of a crowd of thousands on January 25.

He was joined by his friend and navigator Neville Breach for the 5,000-mile round trip, with the pair acting as a support car to rally competitors Ranald White and Karsten Brown in their Rover 2000.

And as Jim explained, the colourful car caught the attention of competitors from across Europe as he helped spread the word about Paisley’s UK City of Culture ambitions.

He said: “The Paisley car attracted a lot of interest – loads of the other competitors wanted to know what it was all about.

“We were posting updates on our progress online and we reached thousands on Facebook, from all over the UK.

“And we also managed to get some of the Paisley 2021 banners out in the parc ferme in Monte-Carlo itself – we spoke nicely to the security guards next to the ramp and got some up there!”

Jim is now safely back home and catching up on some sleep after tackling a harsh road regime to hit the tough times set down by rally organisers.

the Paisley 2021 car high up in the snowy Alps

As he explained: “The first two days through the UK are relatively easy. But then on day three from Calais it is continuous – we went for 42 hours without sleep from Calais to Monte Carlo.

“While some crews will have rotated, I was driving and Nev was navigating the whole way.

“On the way down a lot of the driving is through villages, so it isn’t high-speed stuff and it is of course all within speed limits.

“By the time we arrived I was quite dehydrated as we had run out of fluids – there isn’t a lot of room in the car and limited places to stop and pick stuff up.”

some of the other competitors with a Paisley 2021 banner

But their efforts were rewarded as Ranald and Karsten battled the odds to finish a highly respectable 169th place in the rally – the best of the UK starters by some distance.

Jim explained: “The rally starts properly on Day 5 with a series of 14 stages around the Alps. These run almost continuously for three and a half days, and on two of the stages run at night the roads are closed to public.

“There are a lot of torturous twisting roads and hairpin bends and it got pretty tricky as the road conditions were patchy – one minute all is fine and the next it is a sheet of ice.

“A lot of cars retired this year, on all stages. But Ranald and Karsten had a really good result as they were the highest placed of all entries starting from Paisley.

“While a lot of the competitors had full service back-up they only had us – and what was even more impressive was they did most of it on the same unstudded tyres they left Paisley on.”

The Monte Carlo Classic Rally was taking place in Paisley for the fourth time this year, as part of the push towards UK City of Culture status.

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

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University PhD researcher aims to put Paisley on the cultural map

Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 aims to put the area on the map – and that’s exactly what one University of West of Scotland (UWS) student intends to do.

Alison McAndlish, University of West of Scotland PhD Researcher

Alison McCandlish, 38, who is a PhD student in Cultural Heritage at UWS, is developing a cultural map of Renfrewshire which forms part of the bid campaign.

And she hopes to use the map to showcase the wide range of cultural assets and ‘what is happening where’ across Paisley and Renfrewshire as a whole.

Alison working on the Renfrewshire Cultural Map

Alison said: “The reason behind the map is to show the diversity of things that are happening in Renfrewshire because there are huge amounts of music activity, arts activity, theatre and broadcast activities but they’re not mapped at the moment.

“The idea is to get people involved in inputting information as well so that it is a community-based map, showing what they do.

“What we want to do is get as many things as possible on the map, such as the cultural heritage activities that are going on around Renfrewshire. That includes things such as pubs, sports and leisure activities, people with exhibitions and cafes that have got events on.

“It’s not just about official tourist attractions or organised venues, but places that wouldn’t be that obvious without further research. It’s a place for people to showcase their activity.”

A building, venue or even an organisation which does cultural things is considered a ‘cultural asset’ and can be plotted on Alison’s interactive map.

The locations are represented visually by coloured dots and can fall into nine categories of cultural activity. These are:

  • Community
  • History, heritage and architecture
  • Sports, leisure and open spaces
  • Film, broadcast and digital activities
  • Music
  • Literature and spoken word
  • Visual arts
  • Theatre and dance
  • Fashion, design and applied arts

Alison said: “Before I created the map, there wasn’t a visual way of seeing what’s happening across Renfrewshire. There’s a lot of information but it’s all in different places so the idea is that the map shows up the concentration of things that are happening across activities.”

Professor Gayle McPherson of the University’s School of Media, Culture and Society, who is Alison’s PhD supervisor, said: “This cultural map of Renfrewshire, which Alison has created as part of her PhD, helps showcase the wide range of cultural activities happening across Renfrewshire.

“This map highlights the cultural vibrancy of the area and it is great that it will form part of the Paisley 2021 bid.”

Alison is encouraging other cultural assets and members of the public to add information to the Renfrewshire Cultural Map to increase awareness on their projects and activity.

She said: “There is a lot of information online, but this is one way to get all of it in one place and there are lots of different categories and activities. For example, if someone wants to see what visual arts things are on, then it’s there on the map.  There’s also a section on sports and it’d be great to populate the section with all the local clubs with what’s happening around the area.”

You can see the Renfrewshire Cultural Map and find out how you can add your location to it at http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/news/welcome-to-the-renfrewshire-cultural-map/

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What the Scottish Government’s change to the Council Tax means for Renfrewshire households

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The basis on which properties are assessed for council tax has been changed by the Scottish Government and this will increase the charge for properties banded E to H.

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Renfrewshire Council has no discretion in this matter and is legally required to apply these increases from 1 April 2017. Households living in properties in bands A to D are not affected by the increases.

The change means that residents of Band E properties will pay at least £106.76 per year more in council tax, which equates to an extra £8.90 per calendar month or an additional £2.05 per week.

Residents of Band H properties will pay at least £524.11 per year more than they do at present, which is an increase of £43.68 per calendar month or £10.08 per week.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “The Scottish Government has changed the ‘council tax multiplier’ for higher bands, which automatically raises the charges for those households.

“All councils are legally required to implement this change from the start of April and we have no power to opt-out.

“We have written to every affected household in Renfrewshire to help residents prepare for the changes coming into effect, as well as to advise people who may be entitled to exemptions on how they can apply for them.”

Council tax bills for 2017-18 confirming payments will be issued to all households mid March.

Households with income that does not exceed £321 per week for single households, or £479 per week for couples, lone parents and families, are eligible to apply for a full exemption from the increased charge through the Council Tax Reduction scheme.

People can apply for Council Tax Reduction through the MyAccount service at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/MyAccount.

Paper application forms are available by visiting a Renfrewshire Council a Customer Service Centre or by calling 0300 300 0288.

Where possible, completed application forms will be processed by the council in time to be included in the 2017/18 annual demand notice; otherwise applications will processed and a replacement notice will be issued at the earliest opportunity.

Low income households already in receipt of Council Tax Reduction do not need to re-apply.

Anyone having difficulty paying their Council Tax, or who falls behind with their payments, should call Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 0300 (Monday to Thursday 8.45am-4.45pm, Friday 8.45am-3.55pm) for help and advice.

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Renfrewshire Council to help create another 100 jobs

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Renfrewshire Council will help create another 100 jobs by continuing a successful initiative encouraging businesses to take on young and unemployed people.

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Over the past four years more than 840 local people have gotten into work through new posts created with the help of Invest in Renfrewshire’s incentives to employers.

The new jobs were on top of an extra 430 paid traineeships and internships that were also created over the same time.

The Invest in Renfrewshire Employers Recruitment Incentive helps businesses meet the cost of employing an extra member of staff who may need time to build-up experience and skills needed in the job.

It was launched by Renfrewshire Council in 2012 but for the past few years has been jointly funded by the council, European Social Funds and the Scottish Government.

After national contributions to the programme ended in January councillors approved plans to continue funding the programme, along with the European Social Funds, for another year.

The convener of Renfrewshire Council’s economy and jobs policy board, Councillor Roy Glen, said: “We are determined to drive the economy forward and do everything we can to help create jobs for local people.

“This is a great programme that does exactly that, so we authorised Invest in Renfrewshire – our own programme for boosting employment and growing the local economy – to step into the gap and make sure it keeps delivering for local people.

“By paying half of the new worker’s wages for six months our new Invest in Renfrewshire Employers Recruitment Incentive will make it less risky for businesses to take on new staff.”

He added: “The scheme no longer has to be aligned with national funding criteria. Continuing with it now under local direction means we can make improvements.

“This Invest in Renfrewshire Employers Recruitment Incentive will offer businesses a more streamlined payment structure, making it easier for them to take part.

“We will also extend the initiative to the over 50s, helping people in this age group get vocational training and subsidised work experience leading to sustainable employment.”

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Start of £1m improvement works marks first step of park regeneration

Improvement works have begun at Barshaw Park to enhance the surroundings as part of a £1m investment to upgrade the park.

Works currently taking place involve resurfacing the car park and pathway leading to the walled garden, with the park remaining open to all visitors throughout the works.

The improvements are part of £2m worth of infrastructure works set to be delivered at Barshaw Park in Paisley and Robertson Park in Renfrew with each park benefitting from £1m of the allocated budget. At the latest meeting of the Environment Policy Board, it was advised that the main works, which are likely to last for around 20 weeks, are scheduled to begin in the spring.

Those works will see a series of upgrades made to pathways, car parks and drainage systems in both parks, improving areas affected by flooding and enhancing the overall park experience for visitors. This will then be followed by the installation of new play equipment in early summer.

The project team delivering the regeneration programmes at both parks engaged with local community groups to gather their views on the plans before progressing.

Karen Sutherland from Friends of Barshaw Park, said: “The infrastructure improvements to Barshaw Park will enable a greater number of visitors to enjoy the facilities.

“It’s great to see a focus on parks as they are important features in the community helping to improve people’s health and wellbeing by encouraging them to get outdoors and enjoy nature.

“Any improvements to the park, allowing it to cater to a wider audience and age range are welcome news.”

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “Barshaw Park and Robertson Park are at the heart of their local communities, providing open spaces for play and relaxation to citizens.

“The proposed improvements recognise the important role these parks play and the need for regeneration and environmental improvements so the facilities can be enjoyed by members of the local community for years to come.

“We are confident that the upgrade works to Barshaw Park and Robertson Park could just be the beginning of further investment in our region’s parks as we look to bring in extra funding from national organisations.”

The implementation of the park regeneration follows a consultation by the Council working in partnership with the Friends of Barshaw Park group to prepare an ambitious Master Plan which details a community vision for the park.

As the works progress at Barshaw Park and Robertson Park some areas will have restricted access. More information will be made available in due course on the Renfrewshire Council website and social media channels.

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Gerard Butler backs Paisley 2021 bid

Paisley’s ambitions to be UK City of Culture 2021 have received another big boost – after Hollywood star Gerard Butler backed the bid.

Lego Gerard in the video and one of Morgan Spence helping launch the video this week

The Paisley-born actor spoke of his pride at being recreated in Lego during an animated film made by teenage Kilbarchan filmmaker Morgan Spence in support of the Paisley 2021 bid.

Taking to his Twitter and Facebook accounts to back the bid, Gerard said: “Honoured to make the cut, especially in Lego form. Paisley 2021, you have my support!”

Gerard grew up in Paisley and attended St Mirin’s and St Margaret’s High School before progressing to University of Glasgow School of Law and then on to Hollywood stardom with his roles in hit films 300, PS I Love You and Olympus Has Fallen.

Morgan’s video was unveiled at an event at St Charles Primary School on Wednesday and has become a social media sensation, now seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Political broadcaster Andrew Neil was one of the big names featured in Lego form and showed the clip on his Daily Politics BBC show yesterday.

And Morgan’s video was also a hit with STV weatherman Sean Batty, who also starred and described it as ‘absolutely incredible’, adding ‘I’ve just messaged Morgan to say how wonderful it is…I love it!’.

Other famous Buddies recreated in Lego included Paolo Nutini, Gerry Rafferty, John Byrne, David Tennant, and 80s singer Kelly-Marie, while the video also gives nods to iconic Paisley buildings – and even St Mirren’s 1959 Scottish Cup win.

You can see Morgan animation’s on the Paisley 2021 YouTube channel here https://youtu.be/JUJ3Q859GqQ

Morgan’s video was funded through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events fund, designed to help build up the local creative scene before the bid is lodged with judges at the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport this April.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Paisley 2021 partnership board chair Mark Macmillan added: “Morgan’s video is a wonderful showcase of the town – and the reaction to it online this week has been incredible.

“As well as being a hit with the huge numbers of people to watch it so far, it’s also caught the attention of the celebrities who feature in it.

“We are delighted Gerard Butler has added his name to the list of famous Buddies who have publicly backed the bid – to have his endorsement just shows the extent to which the world is taking notice of Paisley and what is has to offer.”

For more info on Paisley 2021, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk