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A FIRST FOR PAISLEY FIRST

Paisley is set to become the first Business Improvement District (BID) in Scotland to have a gable end transformed into a giant mural.

The work highlights one of the town’s most eminent yet relatively unknown sons, Alexander Wilson, as well as iconic buildings and local wildlife.

Paisley First, the regeneration group tasked with breathing new life into the town centre, have launched the project to enhance the town’s image and tap into the creative potential in Renfrewshire.

A number of walls have been identified for the murals which form part of a series and the first is situated at Johnston Street. It depicts a beautiful kingfisher perched next to thread woven in between the branches, while the distinctive Coats Memorial Church appears in the background.

The kingfisher, a bird that can sometimes be spotted on the Cart, represents the life and work of Paisley’s Alexander Wilson, who is credited worldwide with establishing ornithology as a science. Originally a weaver poet, Alexander Wilson moved to America where he studied wildlife and travelled widely, documenting and drawing hundreds of illustrations of birds.

The Coats Memorial Church, an iconic part of Paisley’s skyline, was built in memory of Thomas Coats, founder of the town’s biggest thread firm.

This mural is designed to amalgamate just some of Paisley’s rich historical and cultural past.

Paisley artists Mark Worst, 26, and Ross Dinnett, 25, have just painted the three-storey mural and have undergone special safety training specifically for the job.

Mark said: “At 16m, this is one of the highest murals I’ve ever painted and it’s certainly the most unusual. Ross and I had to do training to operate the scissors lift to get up and down the gable end. It’s some height up there. “

Paisley First project leader, Melanie Hughes, who has developed this wall concept with the artists from the start said: “Thanks to additional funding from Renfrewshire’s Cultural Events and Heritage Fund this is going to be the first of many murals in Paisley’s town centre. We’re excited to see the reaction from the local community and town centre businesses.”

Paisley First Chairman, Ian Henderson stated,

“This should help make the town centre more appealing to potential businesses and visitors, as well as to Buddies themselves.”

“It’s a project that will help breathe new life into the town and hopefully, raise its profile. Ultimately, we want this project to increase footfall and encourage people to spend money in local businesses.”

Melanie added: “By utilising the best of Paisley’s artistic talent we hope to create a colourful and vibrant town centre that people want to visit. In the future, we’d like to involve more people in the process by collaborating with community groups too.”

Ian said: “We asked local artists to submit their proposals for various locations around the town and we’ve had some terrific entries.”

“Some of Mark’s work can already be seen around the town in places such as Brown’s Lane where he has painted a spectacular mural on the outside wall of The Bungalow featuring Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon.”

“He has also painted another mural on one of the walls of the beer garden at the popular Paisley pub DeBeers and produced the art work on the shutters of the music shop in Causeyside Street. “

Train travellers in Glasgow might also have noticed his city mural which was placed on huge boards at Queen Street Station while the main line to Edinburgh was being renovated recently.

Mark’s talents have also taken him abroad where he has also collaborated with other mural artists in Europe.

Paisley First would like to acknowledge the help and support they have received from Paisley Housing Association and its tenants who have been kind enough to allow us to use their gable end.”

A spokeswoman for the association said: “We are delighted to support the installation of this mural which will bring beauty and energy to the local area. This statement piece showcases local artists and celebrates Alexander Wilson, his life and work, and his special place in the rich history of Paisley. “

“The association is committed to continuing its tradition of regeneration and improvement which boosts the local community and this Paisley First initiative is going to have a real positive impact on the town centre.”

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Arts centre’s 30th anniversary celebrations – and all that jazz!

THEY just can’t stop the music at Paisley Arts Centre.  As part of Paisley Arts Centre’s 30th anniversary celebrations, free jazz music gigs are being staged in the café bar after three shows in the main auditorium.

jazz singer Evelyn Laurie who will be doing a series of free gigs at Paisley Arts Centre cafe-bar


Jazz singer, Evelyn Laurie will perform along with guitarist, Frank Bolam from 9.30pm until 11pm after concerts by Breabach, on Saturday, March 4; Fraser John Lindsay’s Blues Incentive, on Friday, March 31 and Ken Mathieson’s Classic Jazz Orchestra, on Friday, April 21.

A series of events is being planned to mark the Arts Centre’s 30th anniversary. As part of marking the occasion, Renfrewshire Leisure – which runs the venue – are asking people to send them their memories and experiences of the Arts Centre over the years.

People should email PAC30@renfrewshire.gov.uk with stories they’d like to share.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “Paisley Arts Centre does exactly what is says on the tin – it’s the centre of much of the arts and culture that’s been going on in Paisley for the past 30 years.
“It’s only right that in the year Paisley is bidding to be City of Culture 2021 we should celebrate a venue that’s played an important part in the culture of our town.
“Having a jazz singer perform following some of the music events in the main auditorium gives people added value and extends their enjoyment from their visit to Paisley Arts Centre.”

To book tickets for Breabach, Fraser John Lindsay’s Blues Incentive and Ken Mathieson’s Classic Jazz Orchestra performances, at Paisley Arts Centre, log on to or www.renfrewshireleisure.com/arts   or call 0300 300 1210.

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Paisley Opera

Paisley Opera:  Opera for and with the people of Paisley, an idea born out of passion and a belief that opera can speak directly to all kinds of people.

What is Paisley Opera…?

Paisley Opera is an idea born out of passion and a belief that opera can speak directly to all kinds of people.

We want to create a company that the people of Paisley can be proud of. This means creating and staging opera in unpredictable and unusual places.  It means opening the doors and inviting people in to watch our work and to work with us. This means sharing a great art with great people. It’s a different way of making opera, one that we’ve put a lot of thought, experience and research into. We need you to come and be part of it.

Who are we….?

We are a group of highly experienced professional singers, musicians, stage directors and technicians who have in common a passion for keeping opera alive and about involving local people in the company as much as we can. Our artistic director, Simon Hannigan moved to Paisley in 2010 and instantly fell in love with the town becoming more and more convinced that Paisley is an ideal place for this long-planned project.

As Urban Opera, we put on our first performance in Paisley at the University of The West of Scotland in December 2015. Since then we have been planning on how best to make the company a real part of this great town.

We need YOU !

How can I get involved…?

Come and be a volunteer.  There are several ways you can help: We are starting a volunteer chorus in February of this year. This will be the core of the company. It’ll be supported by experienced professional singers who will be there to help and inspire us all as we sing some of the great choruses.

What experience do I need? None at all, lots or somewhere in between. In other words, anyone can join. There are no auditions for the voluntary chorus, so whether you have sung in choirs and would like to try something a bit different or haven’t sung since someone at school told you that you couldn’t, come and join us !

But I can’t sing… We firmly believe that everyone, given the right help can sing. So if you’ve always thought you couldn’t but would like to try.. Come and join us. We’ll help you find your voice.

Do I need to read music? No. If you can read music, great, but there will be plenty of help available for learning your parts. Apart from rehearsals, we’ll be sending out sound files with your parts so that you can practice them at home.

Are there age restrictions ? We welcome anyone of 18 years to 98 and beyond ! In the future, we will be looking to involve under 18s, but we need to get the adult chorus up and running first.

Our Programme for this year:

Weekly rehearsals start Monday 27th February, so either find us and register online on our Facebook
page @paisleyoperaproject

Or just turn up on the night… you’ll be made very welcome!
Wallneuk North Parish Church Halls, Abercorn St, Paisley PA3 4AB

Free concert involving some great opera chorus tunes and some solo numbers on Friday 21st April. Venue will be revealed nearer the time.

Autumn 2017:  A specially-devised piece which will revolve around one of the great events in Paisley’s history… More information later.

The Future
After our first year we plan to put on full-scale productions in unusual venues with the chorus at the heart and using experienced professional principals.
Contact:
Email: paisleyopera@gmail.com
Facebook: @paisleyoperaproject
Phone: 07702 424528 (Simon Hannigan)

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Helen and James prove you’re never too old for romance

LOVED-UP pensioners Helen and James McLaren have been married for 56 years – but they’ve shown you’re never too old for romance.

Helen and James McLaren

Helen, 75, wrote a message to her 80-year-old hubby, James on a cardboard leaf and hung it on a branch of the intu Braehead Love Tree, as part of the shopping and leisure destination’s Valentine’s celebrations.

Scores of people hung messages on the Love Tree and Helen’s was chosen to win a £500 holiday voucher, from Barrhead Travel.

Helen’s message to James read: “You’ve been my Valentine for 57 years.”

According to the romantic couple, who live in Erskine, Renfrewshire, it was love at first sight when they both met at a house party and James plucked up the courage to ask Helen if she would go to the cinema with him the following week.

One date followed the other and just over a year later James and Helen were married in July, 1960. Now, the couple have four children, five grandchildren and one great-grandson.

Helen said: “I saw the Love Tree in the shopping mall and on the spur of the moment I thought I would write a wee message for James.
“We’re quite romantic and have never missed sending each other a Valentine’s card since we started going out all those years ago. We just seem to get on with each other.”

James said: “I just love Helen’s attitude to life and when I first met her at my pal’s party, I had asked her out before the end of the night.”

And he joked about the secret of a long and successful marriage: “I just do what I’m told and a lot of hoovering at home!”

Helen is planning to spend the Barrhead Travel holiday voucher on a trip to Rome.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, Christine Macdonald said: “James and Helen are such deserving winners we hope their trip to Rome is a romantic as they are.
“Cupid was certainly on target with his bow and arrow on the night they met.”

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NHS to close RAH Children’s Ward and move specialist services to Glasgow

The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) have voted to move specialist services from the Children’s Ward at the RAH in Paisley to Glasgow, effectively closing the ward.

Services that will continue to be provided on the Royal Alexandra Hospital’s include outpatient services, the specialist Community Paediatric service (PANDA), and emergency care via A&E.

NHSGGC Board members voted in favour of the proposal to deliver paediatric in-patient care for children from the Royal Hospital for Children (RHC).

The result of the vote will now be sent to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport for consideration.

Greater Glasgow and Clyde said that it is anticipated that around 8,006 episodes of care will transfer to the RHC while 12,063 will remain at the RAH.

The board members took into account views expressed during the 12 week consultation and acknowledged the range of clinical benefits of improving the acute and specialist services offered to children in the Clyde area before reaching their decision.

John Brown, chairman, NHSGGC, said: “Today we saw a detailed discussion on this service change following the conclusion of the consultation.

“Our staff carried out four consultation events and nine drop in sessions across the Clyde area to help patients and their families share their views with us and allow us to answer any questions they may have.

“The board has today recognised the overwhelming clinical support and decided that young patients from Clyde will now benefit from the same first class, state-of-the-art facilities as other children from across the West of Scotland who already attend the hospital.

“The RHC is one of the finest paediatric teaching hospitals in the UK and the largest in Scotland. The entire focus is around children and young people, with care provided in a child-friendly environment.”

It was also noted that four petitions, with approximately 6,600 signatures, were submitted on the service change to the board.

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Kilbarchan AAC set for new £2.1m facility

One of Scotland’s largest and most successful athletics clubs, Kilbarchan Amateur Athletics Club (AAC), are set to build a £2.1m state-of-the-art indoor facility designed to increase participation in sport and support the achievement of sporting excellence.

Councillors will this week be asked to approve the allocation of £500,000- in two tranches of £250,000- to support the proposed development which will provide facilities for over 525 male and female athletes as well as the Renfrewshire community.

Plans have been developed, with the support of Scottish Athletics and Sport Scotland, to build an indoor athletics training centre adjacent to the outdoor track and field facilities at Linwood’s On-X sports centre.

The proposed indoor training centre would provide the club with:

-60m running track;

-Horizontal and vertical jumps;

-Pole vault;

-Indoor throws cage- including javelin;

-Club room;

-Strength and conditioning area

Scottish Athletics have identified the proposal as an important project within the National Facilities Strategy- which aims to provide athletics with numerous top class facilities throughout the country that will continue to maximise participation and increase standards of performance in all disciplines.

The successful completion of the development would significantly enhance the quality of the athletic training facilities available within Renfrewshire and support the continued development and success of Kilbarchan AAC.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Mark Macmillan, said: “Kilbarchan AAC are a credit to Renfrewshire and provide a fantastic platform for athletes to develop onto the elite stage.

“However, they also extremely inclusive and ensure that athletes of all ages are able to participate in the sport of their choice.

“This new facility would be a tremendous addition to Renfrewshire as we look to advance sporting opportunities for our communities and support the achievement of sporting excellence.”

Kilbarchan AAC are in the Premier Division of the Scottish Athletics league structure and its members include Olympians Callum and Derek Hawkins who represented Great Britain in the marathon at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Councillors will consider the proposals at the full Council meeting on Thursday 23 February.

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Volunteering to make a difference

A DRIVE to encourage more people to volunteer in their spare time has been launched by a Paisley charity this week. Kibble will be hosting a Volunteer Open Day on Monday 27th February to let people know about the opportunities available for those who want to make a difference in their community.

Volunteers of all ages and experience are being sought to help deliver the charitable programmes delivered at The Experience go karting arena in Hillington Park.  Roles include karting assistance, music & drama, photography, arts & crafts, social media and much more.

Last year over 23 million adults in the UK volunteered their time for charities. Recent studies have shown that volunteering can increase mental and physical wellbeing as well as reducing social isolation.1

Kibble are asking for a commitment of a minimum of 4 hours per week in return for full training in new skills, expenses and a bite to eat, and the chance to make a difference in their local community.

Chief Executive of Kibble Graham Bell said:

“We know people volunteer for a whole number of reasons, whether it is to enhance their CV, to meet new people, or to give something back to the community. With our new charity programmes, volunteering with us can do all of this and more.

“The Experience is such an exciting venue that we want to make it accessible for as many charity and community groups as possible. With the help of volunteering, we are dedicated to removing barriers and providing opportunities for all.”

The Volunteer Open Day is being held on Monday 27th February, 12-2pm and 5-7pm where food will be provided to this in attendance. For more details email enquiries@theexperience.org.uk or call 0141 883 4005.

Case Studies

These case studies are real examples of people who have already been volunteering with Kibble:

Audrey Sutherland, 21, Glasgow

When Audrey first heard about the chance to gain work experience that would help her degree studies, her lecturer told her to go for it. Now, it has opened the door to fulfilling a dream of becoming a graphic designer.

“I was at University completing an art related course which only involved me being there 3 days a week, so I decided to look for a volunteer opportunity that related to my course and gave me something useful to do with my time.

“I got in contact with Project Scotland and they told me about a volunteer opportunity at The Experience with Kibble. I wanted to gain practical skills in a role that related to my University course and volunteering at The Experience allowed me to gain this while being able to help out.”

“The best part about volunteering for me was definitely the amount that I learned from it. Because my role involved using the skills I had gained through college and university I didn’t expect it to be so informative but learning and doing are completely different and I found that I got a much better understanding of what my future in the design industry would involve.

“I would definitely recommend volunteering with Kibble to others. My travel was covered and I was given lunch every day, all it cost me was my time and I gained more than enough back from the opportunity.”

Hannah Jeffrey, 24, Newton Mearns

Hannah wanted the chance to learn more about working with young people. The Kids Clubs at The Experience were the perfect opportunity.

“I first heard about the chance of volunteering through someone who had also volunteered at Kibble and had said it was a great experience. l was studying psychology at Strathclyde University and l was keen to get involved in more volunteer work and help others.

“Through Kibble, l was placed at The Experience in Hillington Park. The best parts about being a volunteer is that you are helping others, making a difference, meeting lots of new people and gaining new skills – for example l volunteered in the Tuesday Children’s club at the experience, which involved helping in all the different activities. Through this l gained and enhanced my skills such as my creativity and confidence.

“I was offered great support as a volunteer – l felt valued, appreciated and part of the team, which motivates you even more. l felt it was important to be placed in a volunteer role that interested me so that you can fully contribute. There are quite a few volunteer options at the experience so there is something suitable for everyone.”

 

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ACCESSIBLE PLAY PARK “GOOD NEWS FOR ALL LOCAL FAMILIES”

Jim Paterson, SNP Councillor for Renfrew South & Gallowhill, has today welcomed plans to build a new adventure playground as part of a refurbishment of Robertson Park – which includes accessible equipment for children of all abilities.

Following an update on the project to the Local Area Committees, Cllr Paterson pressed Renfrewshire Council officials to clarify if the proposed park would adhere to a previous SNP motion, which was passed at full council, which stated that any new child’s play park must have accessible equipment for all children to use regardless of personal circumstances.

This SNP successfully persuaded Labour-controlled Renfrewshire Council to back the motion that stated that all play parks and play facilities – whether provided by the local authority, community groups or developers – should, as far as reasonably practicable, be equally accessible to children of all abilities and those people who care for them.

Welcoming the news, Cllr Jim Paterson said:

“I am delighted that the new adventure playground in Robertson Park will put all children of all abilities at the heart of it – this is good news for all local families.

“The money for the improvements to Robertson Park has come from the Renfrew Common Good Fund and will benefit all local children. The SNP’s motion, which was passed unanimously by Renfrewshire Council, has ensured that funding is used to open up our park and play areas to all children and families regardless of their personal circumstances.”

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Young Scot Awards tour rolls into Paisley

The Young Scot Awards bus visited Paisley Abbey today to urge locals to nominate their young heroes for the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards and to support Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley locals were out in force to cast their nominations and were entertained by a dance troop featuring HNC Dance students from West College Scotland.

The bus tour, sponsored by Scottish CityLink, continues its journey around Scotland for the fifth year running to encourage people across the country to nominate their local heroes for the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards 2017.

Now in its twelfth year, the Awards celebrate the contributions and work of young people age 11 – 26 across 12 categories including health, community, the arts and diversity. From hundreds of entries, three finalists will be chosen in each of the 12 categories. The winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow on 27 April 2017.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “We’ve already received hundreds of inspirational nominations and I know there are hundreds more out there. It’s fantastic to have support from Paisley to celebrate the inspirational achievements of young people.  We want everyone across Scotland to get nominating so we can give young scots the praise they deserve!”

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, said: “It was great to see Young Scot bring their bus to Paisley Abbey – the organisation are already on board as supporters of the Paisley 2021 City of Culture bid and their support is much appreciated.

“The Awards help celebrate inspiring achievements and I would encourage everybody in Renfrewshire to check out the Young Scot Award categories and consider who could be nominated – we know Renfrewshire’s young people have some fascinating stories to tell and it would be great to see some local winners”.

Young Scot is urging people to nominate at youngscotawards.com before the voting closes on 27 February 2017.

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S3 pupils asked to help shape Paisley 2021 bid

paisley2021-logo

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.

paisley2021-logo

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