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YMCA Makerspace will boost young people’s digital skills

The YMCA in Paisley has received a £30k funding boost to create a hub for young people to build their creative digital skills and get ready for the job market.

Bob, one of our volunteers, helping out the next generation of coders!

Once suitable premises are found they will be designated as a makerspace – a collaborative work space where people can create, invent and learn using digital technology. Participants will be able to learn about everything from robotics and coding to app development and video game design.

Year of the Dad event at St Ninnian’s Church Hall

The Children in Need funding will help provide young people with access to software/hardware, training, certification and workshops direct from Microsoft, SQA Digital, Google, Apple, Raspberry Pie Academy and Coder Dojo Scotland.

Year of the Dad event at St Ninnian’s Church Hall

The aim of the programme is to inspire young people to consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and improve their digital skills to help them find work.

By participating in the sessions young people will be able to take their ideas from inception to implementation, producing a physical product at the end of the course.

The funding is a boost for Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 – which aims to use creative industry and digital technology to help people out of poverty and drive up life chances.

YMCA Paisley is an active member of the Renfrewshire Digital Participation group that helped shape Renfrewshire Council’s Digital Strategy of which digital participation and increasing digital skills is at the core.

Darran Gillan, Youth and Programme Development Manager at Paisley YMCA, said: “Young people living in Renfrewshire are experiencing high levels of digital literacy issues that act as a barrier to employment and education opportunities in later life, particularly a lack of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) opportunities for young people who are ready to leave secondary education for the world of work.

“The great thing about being a makerspace is that it can help young people build digital skills that will make them more employable and will also dispel the myth that you have to be good at maths and sciences to be good at technology.

“Through previous projects we have seen young people create their own coding clubs and virtual reality videos to address things like cyber bullying and learn how to promote their creations. I look forward to seeing the creations the young people in our makerspace sessions will produce.”

The sessions will start in July and will take place on Thursday and Friday evenings from 5pm-7pm for 8-11 year-olds and 7pm-9pm for 12 – 18 year-olds.

For more information on the makerspace sessions please visit www.paisleyymca.org.

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Fundraisers get in the swing of things for mental health awareness

Fundraisers are teed up to take part in a charity golf tournament this weekend which aims to raise money towards suicide prevention.

Rosemary Mullan, Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron and Stephen Torrance on the bridge at the 18th hole

After the success of previous years of the event- which has seen more than £5000 raised for Choose Life and the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) group- Elderslie residents Stephen Torrance and Andy Payne have once again come together to honour the memory of Stephen’s brother Vincent.

Rosemary Mullan, Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron and Stephen Torrance at Elderslie Golf Club

The Vinny Torrance Invitational will see 100 players- playing in teams of four- take part in a Texas Scramble competition- with prizes for 1st and 2nd as well as six feature holes.

The Vinny Torrance Invitational Trophy

Elderslie Golf Club will host the event and have helped keep costs down by subsiding green fees for the tournament which has helped ensure a capacity attendance.

Following the golf, there will be a raffle and an auction to raise funds for the charity as well as a social evening in the clubhouse.

Kindly donated by Under Armour, the auction has six hospitality tickets to the Wales v Scotland match at the 2018 6 Nations Championships to be won.

Worth an incredible £5000, the current highest bid sits at £1500 and bids are encouraged to ensure the most money is raised as possible for the SOBS group.

To make a bid contact Stephen on- 07881 581 241.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This is a terrific event as it allows the issue of suicide and depression to be raised and encourages people to discuss it with their peers.

“The SOBS group provides a great outlet for those who have been bereaved and the money raised will allow the SOBS group to continue to provide help to those who need it in Renfrewshire.

“Stephen should be proud of arranging such a fantastic event which is a fitting tribute to his brother’s memory.”

In 2009, Vinny took his own life at the age of 27 after suffering from depression.

Stephen added: “”Vincent battled with depression for a number of years but hid it from friends and family.

“Like so many young men, he felt if he spoke about his illnes then this was him showing a ‘weakness’.

“We want to raise awareness that depression and suicidal thoughts are not a weakness and that there is help out there.”

The SOBS support group meets on the last Wednesday of every month at The Wynd Centre, Paisley from 7pm-8:30pm.

Rosemary Mullan, Choose Life Co-ordinator, said: “Without fundraisers and volunteers such as Stephen, the SOBS group would not be able to make the connections we do with those who may be suffering from suicidal thoughts.

“An event such as this is fantastic as it brings forward the issue of mental health to a demographic which can be most at risk and can hopefully allow anyone to seek help who may need it.”

The national helpline Breathing Space can be reached on 0800 83 85 87, and the number for The Samaritans is 116 123.

Recovery Across Mental Health (RAMH) First Crisis can be contacted on 0141 848 9090.

For more information on suicide prevention, call 0141 849 2200, or email  rosemary.mullan@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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KINLOCHARD GATHERING FOR PAISLEY CONTACT THE ELDERLY GROUP

A tea party group for older people in Paisley who live alone enjoyed a day out in Kinlochard with 60 other guests and volunteers of Contact the Elderly.

Kinlochard Village Hall hosted the event and the groups entertained by harpist Katherine Harrison, singer Donnie MacLeod, piper Murray O’May and accordionist Raymond Chalmers.

The annual event is a rare chance for so many groups to get together and share stories over cups of tea, sandwiches and cake.

Caroline McGinlay, Support Officer at Contact the Elderly, said:

“The annual outing to Kinlochard is one of the highlights in our groups’ calendars. It is always such a fantastic day out to a beautiful part of the country. As well as the afternoon itself, our guests and volunteers enjoy the chance to travel to Kinlochard.

“Our thanks go once again to the fantastic volunteer team at the Kinlochard Village Hall.”

Contact the Elderly organises free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for older people who live alone. There are more than 120 groups in Scotland offering a vital lifeline of friendship to almost 900 people. The parties ordinarily take place in volunteer hosts’ homes, with guests being accompanied by their volunteer drivers.

To find out more about becoming a guest or volunteer of Contact the Elderly, please contact Caroline on please contact Caroline McGinlay on caroline.mcginlay@contact-the-elderly.org.uk or 0141 812 1555.  Contact the Elderly can email or post a leaflet if someone would like to share it with an older person who would benefit.

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Gavin Newlands reaffirms commitment to WASPI women

Gavin Newlands, SNP Candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has pledged his continued support to help those women affected by the UK Government’s changes to their State Pension.

Since 2015, Mr Newlands has been supporting the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners who have been affected by UK Government changes to their State Pension.

John Major’s 1995 government passed a State Pensions Act that saw both men and women’s state pension age rise to 65 by 2020, while the Coalition Government’s 2011 Act brought forward the changes to 2018 and raised the state pension age to 66 by October 2020.

These changes, that saw the state pension equalised for both men and women, had a particular impact on women born in the 1950s as many of them have had their state pension age increased twice, the second time with little warning.

About 2.6 million women across the UK have been affected by the changes to the State Pension. In Renfrewshire, according to the independent House of Commons Library, around 8,130 women are directly affected by the 2011 Pensions Act alone.

Gavin Newlands, SNP Candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“At every step of the way I have supported the 2.6 million women – including over 8,000 in Renfrewshire – who have been affected by the changes that the UK Government made to their State Pension.

“It’s vitally important that we continue to put pressure on the Tory UK Government to ensure that we achieve the best outcome for these women, many of whom have worked hard for decades without taking a penny out of the system.

“If re-elected, I will continue to take the fight to the Tories to ensure that they finally start to the voices of all the WASPI women.  They should correct their mistakes, honour their commitment to the WASPI women and provide relief and dignity in retirement for the millions of women who have been affected.

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TALENT OF TOMORROW TO RECEIVE £5,000 CHIVAS BROTHERS’ BURSARY FOR SECOND YEAR

Chivas Brothers began the search for bright, enthusiastic and dedicated applicants for its popular bursary scheme in partnership with the Scottish International Educational Trust (SIET). The initiative, which launched to great acclaim for the first time last year, offers financial support to ambitious employees or their family members, helping them to realise their aspirations and take their talents to the next level, whether through further education or vocational training.

 

This sought-after bursary scheme sees Chivas Brothers team up with SIET, a body which provides talented men and women with grants to complete further education studies. The partnership provides employees and direct family members with the opportunity to secure funding of up to £5,000 a year over three years.

Last year, the bursary, which is open to the 1,600 employees of Chivas Brothers, contributed towards the studies of an aeronautical engineer, a budding actress and a Classics student studying at Cambridge University. Employees throughout the country at 32 sites in Orkney, Speyside, Central Scotland, Ayrshire, London and Plymouth are now being encouraged to apply and further their personal and professional goals.

Mia Forbes, one of the three recipients of last year’s bursary said: “The bursary has been invaluable, it has relieved the stress surrounding my financial situation at university and allowed me to be more focused on my education. People underestimate the cost of books and other resources, but without the bursary it would have been a struggle. Chivas Brothers helped me to pursue my dream degree, easing the pressure of financial costs, something I will always be thankful for.”

Adam Donnelly, who is studying to become an engineer in aeronautics said: “It’s safe to say, I don’t know what I would have done without the bursary. It enabled me to travel to college, something which was a high expense in my plans for further education. For anyone wanting to further their learning, I cannot urge you enough to apply, it’s an invaluable opportunity and the business’s support just eases that pressure of the financial demands.”

Jennie Norrish, Global Communications Director at Chivas Brothers said: “When we launched the Chivas Brothers Bursary last year, we were overwhelmed by the response and the high calibre of those who applied for it. Last year’s recipients have really benefited from the funding provided and we can’t wait to see the aspirations of this year’s applicants. An entrepreneurial mind-set is something that we champion at Chivas Brothers and so to be able to support that with not only our employees but their families too, is something we are truly proud of as a business.”

Michael Ewart, Director of SIET, said: “This bursary is such a worthwhile initiative and we are delighted to be working with Chivas Brothers again this year. The scheme shows the business’s dedication and commitment to its employees, opening up opportunities for them that might never have been possible otherwise.”

To apply, employees can visit the company’s digital hub for its staff where an application form will be available. Applicants will be required to showcase why they should be selected via three sections on personal details, education and work experience. Here there will also be a variety of information about the beneficiaries from 2016.

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Gavin Newlands joins The Great Get Together in honour of Jo Cox

Gavin Newlands, SNP Candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, took some time out from campaigning to take part in the Jo Cox Foundation’s ‘The Great Get Together’.

Gavin Newlands, Councillor Jim Paterson with volunteers from Our Place, Our Families

Mr Newlands and Councillor Jim Paterson visited Our Place, Our Families in Renfrew to learn more about their work to bring communities together, including taking part in cookery classes.

Jo Cox MP was tragically murdered last year and The Great Get Together is a community event that was held throughout the UK on the weekend of the 16-18 June to mark the anniversary of Jo’s death.

Gavin Newlands, SNP Candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“I can’t quite believe that it’s been a year since Jo Cox was tragically murdered in her constituency as she carried out her parliamentary duties. Jo was a committed parliamentarian who strived to bring communities together.

“The Great Get Together is a fantastic initiative which has been set-up in honour of Jo’s commitment to bring communities together.

“I was delighted to visit ‘Our Place, Our Families’ to learn more about their recent work to support the local community. ‘Our Place, Our Families’ do fantastic work to support families and individuals – their work epitomises the positive legacy of Jo Cox.

“We can all get caught up in the heat and pressure of an election campaign. The legacy of Jo Cox reminds us all that we all have more in common that what divides us.”

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MAJOR SUCCESS FOR JOHNSTONE BANDS

The two Johnstone pipe bands made the short trip to Paisley at the weekend to take part in the British Pipe Band Championships at the St James Playing Fields.  The two World Championship winning bands were competing for the first time in a major championship at their new promoted grades of 1 and 4a.

Grade 4a band with their 3rd place trophy. Pictures by John Shaw.

The Grade 4a band carried on from their successful season last year with third place from a field of seventeen in the final, a fine result given the step up in class of the opposition.

The Grade 1 band also had a fine result coming tenth of sixteen in their final, beating some well established Grade 1 bands in the process.

some of the Grade 1 drummers warming up prior to their competition.

Pipe Major Keith Bowes Jr commented, “I was delighted that the Johnstone grade 4 and grade 1 bands performed well at the first major competition of the year.  With both bands being newly promoted it was great to see them do so well, as it is never easy to make an impact as you move up the grades. There is always lots to improve on, but as long as the standard of the performances continue to improve then I can’t ask for much more.  I was also delighted to see many of our Renfrewshire learners came for a listen and join in with the bands to play during the march past, I hope they will have been inspired for what they can achieve in the future.”

The Johnstone Bands’ next competitions are Shotts Highland Games on the on the 3rd June followed quickly by the UK Championships in Belfast on the 10th June.

Johnstone Pipe Band are currently on the lookout for sponsorship to help enable them expand and progress the band and their educational activities, for further information please contact the band on 07751 500520.  Details on the band’s learner setup can also be found by calling the same number.

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Linwood young people showcase power of drama for 2021 bid

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Young people from Linwood have put together a showcase to highlight the power of drama and how it can transform lives and boost mental health.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

The show – called How Amdram changed our lives – was created by members of Linwood Youth Voice to tell their unique stories since becoming involved in their local am dram group and will take place at Paisley Town Hall on Thursday 25 May from 7 until 9pm.

The showcase features four films made by the young people highlighting how effective drama can be in boosting self-belief and confidence, and how important it is to tackle barriers to accessing it, such as cost and geography.

The event also includes a play on why mental health has become an important issue for young people, which was also voted as the priority issue for Renfrewshire’s Youth Commission.

The team behind it are supported by the Renfrewshire Council’s youth services team, who run two thriving groups in the town, CLASS Acts (for eight to 11 year olds) and LADDS-Linwood Area of Dance Drama and Song for secondary-school-aged pupils.

The project received funding from Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events Fund, designed to boost the area’s creative capacity as part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Nathan McCuaig, aged 17 and chairperson of Linwood Youth Voice, said “Most of the members felt their lives had been changed by amateur dramatics and we can’t wait to share all the work we have been doing on the event.

“Mental wellbeing is such a big thing for young people. Our show puts a spotlight on why local activities are so important to the health and wellbeing of young people, changing how they think and feel about themselves and getting involved in their community.”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “We were delighted to support this very worthwhile project through the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

“Part of the reason for bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 is that we know culture has the power to make people’s lives better and we want to harness that, now and in the future.

“It is great to see the young people of Linwood are spreading that very message as part of this show.”

Wendy Grubb, a community learning officer with Youth Services, added: “The young people have worked really hard to shine a light on the power of drama and the arts and are really excited to show people what they have done.

“By taking part in these groups, their confidence has increased and it has allowed them to be able to express themselves, make many new friends and take part in other community projects.”

For more information, contact Wendy Grubb on 0141 889 1110 or email youth @renfrewshire.gov.uk

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Will Ferrell backed comic makes Paisley debut

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4,000 of world’s best pipers descend on Paisley for British Championships

Around 4,000 of the world’s top pipers and drummers descended on Paisley today to contest some of bagpiping’s most prestigious titles during the British Pipe Band Championships.

More than 140 bands from as far afield as Canada, Denmark and Ireland formed an incredible spectacle of sight and sound in town’s St James Playing Fields.

Pictured l-R Erin Charker age 12 from Inchinnan Niamh Burns 11 and Olivia Burns age 6 shelter from Rain showers

A crowd of thousands gathered to see bands compete across various grades, watched by judges from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

The championships are the first in piping’s annual calendar of ‘majors’ and were taking place as part of the push towards Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

This was the second of a three-year run in Paisley for the event.

The free family event also featured a Highland dancing competition and children’s entertainment zone, which included the team from Renfrewshire’s award-winning Street Stuff youth diversionary scheme.

There was also a bar and outdoor food village boasting quality cuisine from across Scotland.

The final marchpast was watched over by event chieftain Corinne Hutton – founder of the Finding Your feet charity, and the first quadruple amputee to climb Ben Nevis.

She was joined for the prize-giving by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, in one of her first official engagements since being voted into her new role this week.

Provost Cameron said: “I was delighted to be part of this event, which saw the people of Paisley give a warm welcome to our thousands of visitors.

“Today’s success shows the town’s ability to host big crowds and events of national importance – which bodes well for the UK City of Culture 2021 bid.”

Ian Embelton of the RSPBA added: “Once again, Paisley made a great host for the first major championships of the season.

“We were pleased with the turnout from bands and spectators, who enjoyed some first-class piping throughout the day.”

For a full list of winners from today, see www.rspba.org. For more information on Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

Photos taken by Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital