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Are you living in a cold and damp home with high fuel bills? We can help!

Local Energy Action Plan (LEAP)’s ‘Making It Happen’ programme has been helping Renfrewshire residents stay warmer and cut their fuel bills.

We have already helped 52 households across Renfrewshire since December and carried out free actions such as helping understand and query and reduce electricity and gas bills, changing out old inefficient light bulbs to free low energy ones which use much less electricity for the same or better light given off, installing free insulation in lofts, loft hatches, underfloor, draughtproofing cupboards, windows and doors, putting radiator panels behind radiators to reflect the heat back into the room, tackling damp and mould.

We recently helped Mary in Paisley, who was finding her living room much colder than the rest of her house with the radiator being on the close wall and also feeling the draught coming through her living room windows. Paul from LEAP visited Mary and assessed what would be the best help for her. We installed reflective radiator panels to help keep the heat in, a letterbox draught-excluder, re-instated a slipped seal on her living room window to keep draughts out, and replaced old high electricity use lightbulbs with 15 LED bulbs to give good light and keep her electricity bills down. We helped advise Mary’s Housing Association who in turn have fitted an extra radiator and are checking and fixing the window seals throughout Mary’s home.

Mary said: I have noticed a big difference in being much warmer at home. I would definitely recommend LEAP to friends and family. Excellent service provided throughout and the staff are really friendly and helpful”

Our experienced LEAP team can help you with free advice and actions to help keep you more comfortable at home and save money in the long term.

So if you’re struggling with fuel bills, health conditions, living in a cold, damp home, or just would welcome some advice on how to keep your home cosier for less money, please contact us today at: energy@myleapproject.org, Telephone: 01505 612 034 or visit our website to learn more http://www.myleapproject.org/contact-leap-staff-team/.

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Easter Star Wars egg-stravaganza at Paisley Museum

YOUNGSTERS will be heading for a galaxy far, far away with a Star Wars Easter Trail, at Paisley Museum.

ten-year-old Leia Brown, from Paisley at the May The Toys Be With You exhibition also on at Paisley Museum.

Along with the popular May The Toys Be With You exhibition, Renfrewshire Leisure has organised a host of Star Wars activities during the Easter school holidays.

The free Star Wars Easter Trail at the museum runs from Saturday April 1 to Tuesday, April 18 and there are Easter eggs to be won by those taking part.

Activities and workshops are being held on various days between 11am and 3pm and on Tuesday April 4 there’s a chance for youngsters to learn how to code on a computer with a Star Wars theme.

On Wednesday, April 5 kids will be shown how to make their own lightsaber they can then take home and the following day, they’ll be making their own Darth Vader, Stormtrooper and C3PO lanterns.

On Friday, April 7 the Star Wars activity is how to create your own Yoda Head Hat; there’s a 3D Death Star Game on Thursday, April 13 and Star Wars screen printing, on Friday April 14 and Monday April 17.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “Not only do we have one of the country’s best Star Wars exhibitions in Paisley just now, but we’ve got lots of exciting activities on the Star Wars theme for youngsters during the Easter holidays.

“There’s no excuse for youngsters feeling bored during the school break as they can take off and land at Paisley Museum for some great fun that’s just out of this world.”

All workshops cost £3 per child and need to be booked in advance at Paisley Museum. Log on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com for more details.

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14,000 schoolkids to shape Paisley 2021 bid via special story

Every school pupil in Renfrewshire is getting the chance to shape Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 – through a specially-commissioned children’s short story written by an award-winning author.

Ross Mackenzie penned ‘Grace’s Big Idea’ – which aims to make culture and Paisley’s bid relatable to the young audience, and includes Paisley-themed illustrations from artist Neil Slorance.

A copy is going to all 14,000 primary pupils in Renfrewshire as part of a massive community engagement push which will have seen more than 30,000 people join the conversation around the Paisley 2021 bid when it is lodged at the end of April.

Schoolchildren are being asked to nominate one thing they like about Paisley and submit one idea they would like to see as part of the bid – with the results to be collated by bid bosses to inform future work.

Members of the bid team have already toured every high school in Renfrewshire.

The Renfrewshire town is bidding for the culture title as part of wider plans to transform the area’s future using Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage story.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “From the start of Paisley’s bid we said it would be by the people of Paisley for the people of Paisley – and when the bid goes in at the end of April it will be their voices contained within it.

“Once this schools exercise has been completed we estimate around 30,000 people will have had the chance to feed ideas into the bid – that’s a number equivalent to more than half the town’s population.

“That could only have happened with the hard work of our dedicated community engagement team, who have toured every corner of Renfrewshire over the past year to capture the views of cultural, business and community groups about the town and what culture means to them.

“The bid and related work aims to create a lasting legacy for the Renfrewshire our children will inherit – so it was crucial we captured their views, and Ross’s wonderfully-written story is a great way to do that.”

Renfrew-based Ross – a former winner of the Scottish Children’s Book of the Year award – was at St Catherine’s Primary in Paisley to meet the school’s 2021 committee and read section of the story, written from the point of view of a young girl who loves to dance.

Ross said: “I’m very proud to have been able to play a tiny part in the Paisley 2021 bid. Paisley has such a rich history and a wealth of cultural heritage.

“I think it’s very fitting the Paisley 2021 team are asking children all over Renfrewshire to contribute their ideas to the next chapter of the town’s story.”

The UK City of Culture competition is run by the government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport. For more information on Paisley’s bid, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk

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Lisa Kowalski – Freespirits EP

Lisa has a big event coming up with the launch of her first EP (funded by 2021) on 20/21 April.

photos courtesy of Allan Borland Images

There is a launch gig with Lisa and some guest artists at Callums Cavern on the 20th and the EP will be available for download  on 21st.

Paisley 2021 are behind the project as part of the run up of events prior to the next stage of the bidding process and St Mirren FC are great friends of Lisa Kowalski Music, having had Lisa along to play  at the ground several times and promoting the EP on the pitchside screens.

By coincedence Lisa was booked to play at the Brewers Tap for the first time last Saturday, which was packed with SMFC fans after the cup game and she had the pub singing along to Oh when the Saints and the fans shouting “Lisa, Lisa!”

Braehead and West College are also plugging/ getting involved with the EP launch and Brick Lane Studio have helped her put a band together to  perform her original songs on the stage at the Beer Fest.

Initial feedback to prelaunch promotion of the EP has been great, with airplay on Pulse FM, KA Radio, Radio Saltire, Your Radio and Amazing Radio (Jim Gellatly). STV have also listened to the songs and  expressed an interest in having Lisa on the Riverside show.

The four songs on the EP were written from age 14 to 16 and reflect teenage experiences of growing up and Lisa’s personal journey as a musician and someone who has always stuck  her head well above the parapet.  It includes the track Hearts of Gold as in “the streets are paved with hearts of gold” which is all about how much she loves busking in Paisley.

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Paisley Comic Con at Paisley Town Hall on 8th April

Paisley Comic Con is a family friendly, fun-filled event all about comic books!

A whole day in Paisley’s stunning Town Hall dedicated to celebrating and enjoying the art and culture of comic books, exploring and discovering new and exciting comic creations, and showcasing a range of local Scottish creative talent.

Writers, artists, publishers, as well as over 50 tables of comics, books, toys, collectables, arts, crafts and creators. We’ll also have comic book panels, workshops, cosplay, games and activities, and lots of family fun!

Paisley’s very own Hail The Villains will be there to exhibit their fantastic range of Comic Heroes and Villains T-Shirts, accessories, and jewellery.

A special discount code called PAISLEYORG has been created for subscribers of Paisley.org.uk.  You can use it to get 15% off all purchases on www.hailthevillains.com. Or you can use the code at the Paisley Comic Con by simply saying “PAISLEYORG” to get 15% off your purchase there.  If ordering from our website  – Delivery is FREE.

Invite your friends to like the page, join the event and spread the word!

In partnership with Comicrazy, Paisley’s only specialist comics and gaming store, and Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation SCIO – making dreams come true for some very special children with life-threatening illnesses.

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Step Up for St Vincent’s Sponsored Walk

The weather may not have been too kind to us but the people of Renfrewshire certainly were.  They turned up in their hundreds to support our first ever sponsored walk at Castle Semple, Lochwinnoch last Sunday, 19th March.

After a fun warm up led by our lion mascot, “Vinnie”, our wonderful supporters set off on their chosen 10k or 5k walk … all to support a great cause.

Laura McDade, Hospice fundraiser said “despite the early downpour of rain, the sun came out in the afternoon to greet our supporters at the finish line.  We would like to thank everyone who came along to make this a fantastic community event and hope to see you all again next year!”

Sponsorship donations are still arriving daily but to date over £11,000 has been raised for hospice care in Renfrewshire. St Vincent’s Hospice is a charitable organisation at the heart of the community, offering specialist care and services to all those affected by life-limiting illness.

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Paisley’s global weaving story to be retold during festival

Paisley will host a weekend-long celebration of the town’s radical weaving heritage and international links – and is looking for artists to help tell that story to the world.

Sma Shot drummer Tony Lawler with weaver Mariam Syed and artist Paria Goodarzi in Paisley’s Abbey Close (outside Abbey and Town Hall).

The town’s traditional Sma’ Shot Day celebration – one of the world’s oldest workers festivals – is this year joined by a two-day arts programme called Weave.

Weave – on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July – is one of Visit Scotland’s signature events for the country’s Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology 2017.

Part of Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, the event will reconnect the town’s weaving heritage and global connections via a programme of music, design, art, poetry, dance and theatre, set against Paisley’s historic town centre.

As part of that, visual artists can apply for awards of £1,500 to create temporary public artworks in the town centre telling Paisley’s unique global textile story in new and innovative ways. For more info and an application form, email events@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “Sma’ Shot Day is a much-loved part of Paisley’s events calendar – and this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever with the addition of Weave.

“The weekend will combine the traditional family elements of Sma’ Shot Day with a two-day programme of top-class performers telling Paisley’s unique historic story as a global textile hub and centre of radical political thought.

“Through the public art commission we want visual artists and makers to help us tell that story in exciting, creative and original ways which can be enjoyed by all.

“The event will help show off everything Paisley has to offer as a key destination within Scotland for heritage tourism.”

Annique Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories and unique experiences as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology celebrations.

“Scotland’s history and heritage is defined by its people, both past and present and is an integral & iconic part of our national identity.

“The wide-ranging programme for Weave will celebrate a wealth of exciting cultural heritage through music, poetry, dance, workshops, crafts and design, presenting a fantastic opportunity for visitors and locals to experience Paisley’s vibrant personality.”

A full Weave programme is still being developed and will be released later in the spring – but to publicise the call-out for participants, a Sma’Shot Day stalwart was joined by two artists already signed up to this year’s Weave bill.

Tony Lawler will this year mark his 25th year as the man banging the Charleston Drum at the head of the traditional Sma’ Shot parade through the town from Brodie Park to the festivities in Abbey Close on the Saturday afternoon.

He was joined at Paisley Abbey and Town Hall by Mariam Syed, who will give free drop-in demonstrations of traditional weaving skills on the looms at Paisley Museum.

Also involved in Weave is Iranian textiles artist Paria Goodarzi, who will exhibit work from her solo show Mass Movement, inspired by her journey to Scotland as a refugee, plus a joint show about identity and heritage with Indian photographer Arpita Singh called The Routes We Thread, both at Paisley Arts Centre.

Sma’ Shot Day marks the victory of Paisley’s weavers in an industrial dispute over payment for the Sma’ (small) Shot thread, which was unseen but held the famous Paisley-patterned cashmere shawls together.

A long fight and political battle ensued which the weavers eventually won and saw the traditional first-weekend-in-July holiday renamed Sma’ Shot Day.

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Gavin Newlands MP pledges to help charity raise awareness of screening in Paisley and Renfrewshire North during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April

gavin newlands

Gavin Newlands MP pledges to help charity raise awareness of screening in Paisley and Renfrewshire North during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.

gavin newlands
Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North is supporting Bowel Cancer UK’s campaign to urge more people to take part in bowel cancer screening and save lives, as part of Bowel Cancer Awareness Month in April.

More than 1,500 people die from bowel cancer in Scotland every year, and it’s the country’s second biggest cancer killer.  However, it shouldn’t be. It’s treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

Bowel cancer screening can save lives but at the moment in some areas of the country only half of those who receive a test complete it. Thousands of people are missing out on the chance to detect bowel cancer early when it is easier to treat.

Gavin Newlands MP said, “As the local MP, I am committed to improving uptake rates for bowel cancer screening, both locally and nationally. I would urge my constituents who are sent a bowel screening test to use it.  Taking part in bowel cancer screening is the best way to get diagnosed early.  If you are over 50, take the test when you receive it in the post. If you are younger, tell the people over 50 in your life to take the test. Early diagnosis really can save lives.”

Deborah Alsina, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, said, “I’d like to thank Gavin Newlands for supporting our campaign during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month to raise participation levels for bowel cancer screening. In Scotland, one in 15 men and one in 19 women will be diagnosed with bowel cancer during their lifetime but it is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.”

The Scotland Bowel Cancer Screening Programme can detect bowel cancer at an early stage in people with no symptoms when it is easier to treat. If you’re registered with a GP and aged 50-74, you will receive a test in the post every two years. You carry out the simple test at home in private and it comes with step by step instructions. The test looks for hidden blood in your poo, which could be an early sign of bowel cancer.

Visit Bowel Cancer UK’s website to find out how you can get involved in their campaign for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month: bowelcanceruk.org.uk<http://www.bowelcanceruk.org.uk>.

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Paisley welcomes MasterChef – The Professionals winner to food fiesta

Gary Maclean, the winner of MasterChef – The Professionals 2016 will teach Buddies how to prepare top class meals at the upcoming Paisley Food Festival.

Chef extraordinaire Gary will host a series of cooking demonstrations at the free event which will take place on Saturday 22 April at Abbey Close from 12pm – 7pm.

Also confirmed to attend is CBeebies star Katy Ashworth who will entertain children and families throughout the day and give them the chance to participate in fun, interactive games, stories and sing-a-long songs.

Now in its third year, the festival will showcase the breadth of Scotland’s vibrant street food scene, with traders using the very best seasonal ingredients and sustainably sourced produce in their dishes. This event also forms part of the push for Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The event has a wide selection of producer traders serving hand reared produce, including The Kitchen Farmer from Perthshire with their gourmet lamb burgers, and outdoor reared Pork and apple burgers from Duntarrin Farm in Argyll. The event caters for both savoury and sweet pallets, with Indian street food from Bombay Kitchen, and exquisite French patisseries from les Plaisirs d’Odette and artisan crème brule from Crema Caravan.

All traders will offer smaller portion sizes at reduced prices for children and the event will offer a range of halal, gluten free and vegetarian options. Visitors will also be able to sample a wide range of craft beers, small batch gins and prosecco on tap.

The Cooking Demonstration tent offers a jam-packed programme of free workshops around the theme of food and where it comes from, including showstopping dinners from Gary Maclean, a fermentation workshop on how to make your own healthy ginger beer from Bottle of Ginger, Asian cooking from STV’s Julie Lin Macleod, and how to conquer your fear of cooking fish from the chefs at seafood restaurant A’Challtainn. Demand for the demonstrations is expected to be high, so pre-booking is recommended.

Gary said: “I love everything about cooking from preparation through to patisserie but I also get a real buzz from teaching others how to be a success in the kitchen. I look forward to sharing my passion with Paisley’s cooking enthusiasts and showing them how to create showstopping meals at Paisley’s Food and Drink Festival.”

In addition to the cooking demonstrations taking place there will be plenty to keep the kids entertained. Children will be able to take part in hands on cooking fun with free chocolate treat workshops, fruit bouquets and challenge each other on the smoothie bike.

CBeebies Katy Ashworth is ready to entertain families on the day. She said: “Events like this are a great day out for the whole family. I’ll be bringing a burst of silliness and fun for all through fun-packed games, songs and giggles and I’m looking forward to being part of the day.”

The festival is just one of three food and drink events taking place that week. Scotland’s largest beer and ale festival, the 30th annual Paisley Beer Festival, will return for another year to Paisley Town Hall from Wednesday 19 to Saturday 22 April. While Paisley Restaurant Week, being delivered by local business improvement district Paisley First, will run from Saturday 15 to 23 April, with discounts and deals available at eateries throughout the town centre.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The range of food and drink events taking place in April is likely to attract around 15,000 visitors to the area over the course of the week demonstrating our capacity for hosting large-scale, national events that bring visitors to the area and I for one can’t wait to head along and try some of the tasty treats on offer.

“The timing of the events gives us even more reason to celebrate as they take place one week before Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is due to be lodged with the UK Government.”

To book a place or find out more about the cookery demonstrations on the day visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/foodfestival2017

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Winner of the Paisley First Mascot Competition Revealed!

The winner of the new Paisley First Mascot Design Competition has been revealed as ten year old Christopher McCall with his design…Paisley Lion!

winning design entry

Christopher, a primary six pupil from Williamsburgh Primary School, impressed judges with his colourful creation which was picked from the final shortlist of ten entries.

Paisley First received hundreds of entries for the competition from school children all across Renfrewshire.

The new mascot will be used by Paisley First at events, performances and activities, all promoting Paisley town centre as a great place to live, work and visit.

Paisley First Chairman Ian Henderson and Paisley First BID Manager Andrew Mitchell made a surprise visit to Christopher and his school friends this week to announce he had won the competition and award him with his prize…see the video at www.paisleyfirst.com

Paisley First Chairman Ian Henderson with Mascot winner Christopher McCall, teacher Michaela Lennon, Paisley First BID Manager Andrew Mitchell and Williamsburgh Primary School Head teacher Nova Scott

“I am so happy,” said Christopher. “It took me about two days to create my design.”

“We had been talking in class with our teacher Miss Lennon about the lions which came to Paisley last year and then we started to talk about the Paisley pattern.”

“So I wanted my mascot to be about the lions and the Paisley pattern and I wanted my lion to be happy because Paisley is a happy place.”

Paisley First Chairman Ian Henderson agreed that these were all factors which helped Christopher’s entry stand out, saying: “All the entries were fantastic and it was a really difficult job to pick just one winner.”

“It was such a bright, colourful and happy picture and just had that positivity that we want to be associated with Paisley.”

Class teacher Miss Michaela Lennon, who helped the class with their entries to the competition, said: “I am not from Paisley so it was really interesting to talk to them about the town and its history.”

“They were all very excited when they were telling me about the Pride of Paisley so it’s clear the lions made a big impression on them all last year.”

Head teacher Nova Scott added; “The children all loved the lions last year and we have our very own school lion “Will.i.lion.”

“The children really enjoyed taking part in the mascot competition, it’s good to get them involved in what’s happening in the town.”

As well as being able to see his mascot design brought to life, Christopher received a £25.00 prize and as the winning school, Williamsburgh Primary School Parent Teacher Association also receives £200.00.

Three runners up also received prizes of £15.00 each – Jack Dunn of Wallace Primary School and Erin Clark and Lily Belle McEwan of Williamsburgh Primary School.

Paisley First Chairman Ian Henderson said:” It’s important to involve the children in all the positive projects we are working on to bring more people to the town centre.”

“This helps them take pride in their home town and this is why Christopher’s design made such a big impact on our judges.”

“We can’t wait to see Christopher’s design being brought to life and welcoming Paisley Lion to Paisley town centre in the near future.”

Paisley First would like to thank all the local school children, and their parents and teachers, who helped submit entries.