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21st edition of Provost’s Community Awards launches in Renfrewshire

Local heroes across Renfrewshire are to be recognised as the Provost’s Community Awards open once again for nominations.

The awards are into their third decade and aim to give civic recognition to those who work or live in Renfrewshire, and are making a difference to their community.

Nominations can be made in six categories this year, an increase from five in previous years.

A new Arts and Culture award has been created which will seek out the hidden, or not so hidden, gems who light up Renfrewshire’s cultural scene.

Five other awards, Community Group, Community Volunteer, Sporting Achievement, Carers’ Award and Employer of the Year, give the opportunity for local people to give recognition to their colleagues, friends and family for the work they do in their community.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This will be my first Community Awards in my role as Provost and I can’t wait to see the nominations coming in.

“Our area is full of inspiring community members who deserve to be recognised for the difference they make to the lives of those around them.

“There are a number of different categories to nominate in so don’t miss your chance and nominate the people or groups who you think deserve to win a Community Award.”

The Community Group award is sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre and celebrates the organisations in Renfrewshire that have a positive effect on their communities.

Sponsored by Glasgow Airport, the Community Volunteer award recognises those who give their time and effort for nothing more than the knowledge that they are making a difference to their community.

Perennial award sponsor Acre Industrial will present the Sporting Achievement award to the person, team or group who have represented Renfrewshire to a high standard this year in the sporting arena.

Former Renfrewshire Provost Nancy Allison, who has been a part of each of the Community Awards since its inception, donates the Carers Award which recognises anyone who cares for a relative, friend or neighbour.

This year, Employer of the Year is sponsored by UNISON and encourages nominations for employers who have provided a positive working environment and have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their staff.

Anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire can be nominated for an award.

Further information can be found on www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provostawards

Printed nomination forms are available at Council offices and facilities.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 1 December.

The winners in each category will be invited to a special ceremony which will be held in March 2017

For further enquiries contact: provostawards@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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From New York to New Street for PACE panto star

ACTOR Chris Alexander is swapping New York for New Street, in Paisley to take the role of the Dame in this year’s PACE panto, Snowhite.

Scots-born Chris performed in New York as part of Ramesh Meyyappan’s production of Butterfly, which was part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival, at the 59E59 Theatre, in Manhattan, last year.

And earlier this year, Chris was back in the USA with the same production – an adaptation of Madame Butterfly – staged in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

But the Paisley Arts Centre, in New Street will be Chris’s stage from November 25 until December 30 when he stars in the Snowhite panto.

Also appearing in the panto, written and directed by Ross Stenhouse are professional actors Chloe Lupton, as Snowhite; Dani Heron, as the Evil Queen; Danny Holmes, as The Prince and Nathan Byrne, taking the comic lead.

And of course, there will also be 100 local youngsters who are members of PACE, taking part in the hilarious adaptation of the traditional panto.

Tickets only recently went on sale and already more than half the seats have been snapped up.
The show is produced by PACE panto stalwart, Alan Orr who also takes on the role of musical director.
Alan said: “Everyone at PACE is working their socks off to make this the biggest and best panto we’ve ever done.

“We’ll be performing a magical, fun-filled family show with laughter every step of the way and loads of audience participation.

“Our Dame, Chris Alexander is a very experienced actor and is a really funny guy. He’s got natural comic timing and has experience performing in panto many times before.”

Tickets, priced from £9.50p are available from the Arts Centre Box Office, by logging on towww.boxoffice.renfrewshire.gov.uk or by calling 0300 300 1210.

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Time to remember Absent Friends

To Absent Friends, the people’s festival of storytelling and remembrance, returns from 1 – 7 November, and is looking for people and organisations from across Scotland to join in.

The festival, started in 2014, gives people across Scotland the opportunity to remember loved ones who have died, through stories, celebrations and acts of reminiscence.


It is easy to get involved in any way you like. The festival website, www.toabsentfriends.org.uk, offers plenty of suggestions, from small private acts of reminiscence to larger events in which communities can come together to celebrate the lives of those who have died.

People can hold a To Absent Friends supper, a simple gathering of friends or family over food to remember and tell stories of people who have died. Alternatively, people can start a To Absent Friends wall at their workplace or community venue. All it needs is some triangles of coloured paper, some pens and an empty noticeboard. People write a tribute to an absent friend and pin it up, until the wall is filled with memories.


Other groups choose an activity more suited to them. Events already planned for this year include street parties, jazz evenings, coffee mornings, even a barber shop concert with an absent friends theme.  


Many people choose to hold their own private acts of remembrance as well, and the festival provides an opportunity for people to share their tributes on the online Wall of Remembrance, and their songs on the Remembrance Playlist. People can visit the site at any time to write a message.


November has long been associated with remembrance of the dead, through traditions like Samhain and All Souls’ Day. To Absent Friends is reviving those lost traditions and helping to create new ones, as a way to support active remembrance of dead people. Talking openly about someone who is dead can often cause discomfort or embarrassment, but To Absent Friends wants to change that.

“Just because someone has died doesn’t mean they are not a part of our lives any more,” says Robert Peacock of Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, the alliance of organisations behind the festival. “They are there in our stories and memories. The festival gives people time and space to remember those people – whether it’s just raising a glass, or something more formal. In this day and age, we don’t often stop and do that.”


“To Absent Friends has really captured people’s imaginations since we started it in 2014. There have been some very poignant and moving events, as well as many lighter moments shared.”   


The festival welcomes anyone who wants to do something – whether it is a large event or a small personal remembrance – as part of the festival.


To Absent Friends will take place across Scotland from 1 – 7 November 2017.


To take part, contact Robert Peacock on robert.peacock@palliativecarescotland.org.uk or 0131 272 2735 or find out more via the website www.toabsentfriends.org.uk

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Linwood Farm Pub Quiz in aid of St Vincent’s Hospice

Kind hearted staff at Linwood Farm Restaurant have pledged their support for local hospice care by hosting a number of different fundraising activities throughout the year, in aid of St Vincent’s Hospice in Howwood.

Adding to their ongoing fundraising efforts, Linwood Farm will now donate the £1 entry fee for their pub quiz night that takes place ever Tuesday evening at 9pm.

Linwood Farm General Manger, Pamela McLachlan “We are delighted to have this opportunity to get involved in the community and to support St Vincent’s Hospice.  We hope our customers will give generously and help us support this deserving charity”.  


 Why not help to support St Vincent’s Hospice and have some fun at the same time!

The Linwood Farm Quiz night takes place every Tuesday from 9.00pm and costs only £1.00 to play which is donated to St Vincent’s Hospice.

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Buddies encouraged to have their say at Scottish Government Culture Conversations

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

People throughout Renfrewshire are being encouraged to get involved in shaping Scotland’s new culture strategy at a public event taking place in Paisley.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Following sessions held in July in Dundee and Inverness, Paisley’s University of the West of Scotland, will host the first of three new events on Tuesday 19 September 1-3pm which will be attended by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

The fact that the event is taking place in Paisley is particularly apt given that the town is the only Scottish location in the running for UK City of Culture 2021.

The engagement event is a crucial part of helping the Scottish Government capture the views and voices of the public to help shape its culture strategy for Scotland.

The strategy aims to show how important culture is to Scotland’s future and its role in enabling everyone to have the opportunity to take part in or contribute to cultural life in Scotland.

Provost Lorraine Cameron, who will address the event on the day, said: “We are thrilled to be the host of the first in this series of events to help shape the Scottish Government’s culture strategy.

“The ambitions of the Government’s strategy are closely tied with those set out in Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021. The bid aims to support the long term development of culture to transform the town’s future and ensure everyone has the same opportunities to take part in creative activities.”

The engagement event supporting the development of a Culture Strategy for Scotland is being held in partnership with Renfrewshire Council in Brough Hall at Paisley Campus, University of the West of Scotland, on Tuesday 19 September 1-3pm.

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Work starts on archaeological dig to explore a mysterious site near Paisley Abbey

Work has started to unearth a mysterious site next to the grounds of Paisley Abbey as part of an archaeological dig.

Paisley Abbey archaeological dig 18.9.17

The Paisley “Wee Dig 2017” is taking place from 18 to 23 September 2017. This project will investigate a previously unexplored part of the Abbey Drain site excavated to shed light on what lies beneath alongside a programme of events to allow people to get involved. This ties in with ambitions set out in the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The project has been funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Stories, Stones and Bones programme as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Paisley’s iconic 12th century Abbey is an outstanding architectural gem in the town and was also the cradle of the Royal House of Stewart as a number of the Stewarts were buried within its walls. It is also believed that Robert II, the first Stewart king of Scotland and the grandson of Robert the Bruce, was born within the walls of Paisley’s Abbey. The Abbey also has a fascinating underground history – the magnificent medieval Abbey Walkway.

The “Wee Dig 2017” will expand what is already known about Paisley’s monastic past as well as inspiring some budding archaeologists of the future.

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “The ‘Wee Dig 2017’ celebrates our town’s unique history and heritage and is a great way for the public to learn more about Paisley’s past and learn new skills in the process.

“This project ties in ties in with the main themes of our Paisley Town Centre Action Plan 2016 – 2026 which aims to regenerate the town centre and create jobs and also highlights how we are delivering on these plans by making the most of our assets to attract more people and businesses into the town.”

Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is a key partner in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and it’s our ambition that people of all ages will have the chance to discover something new about the heritage they care about.

“We’re delighted that, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, the wee Dig will be opening the door to fun, learning and everlasting memories for many people as we celebrate this special year.”

Over the course of the week a series of interactive workshops are taking place with local school children, community groups and members of the public. These sessions will involve experiencing the dig itself, learning about various archaeological techniques and looking at artefacts from previous digs.  A film on the Paisley Abbey Walkway will be featured to allow visitors to see what is under the area of the dig site.

The dig and supporting activities will be led by archaeologist firm GUARD Archaeology Limited who will manage the project on the ground, lead the workshops and be on hand to answer questions about what is uncovered.

GUARD Archaeologist, Bob Will, said: “The drain is an amazing architectural structure. It’s so well built and very detailed – it’s a very interesting structure to investigate.

“Working with volunteers from the Renfrewshire Local History Forum, community groups and members of the public who will visit the site this week we will unearth the site and see what we can find.”

The public is encouraged to come along, get involved and to share their experiences of this archaeology event, taking place during archaeology month, on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WeeDig2017.

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Call out for artists to step forward for new Paisley First Mural

Paisley First is looking for artists to submit design work for the latest project in our Paisley First Walls Series.




Following on from the success of our recent murals in the town’s Johnston Street, Storie Street, Lawn Street and Lady Lane, we are now moving to Incle Street.


The wall at the side of Elma Whyte School of Dancing is one of the most prominent locations in the town as a main thoroughfare for traffic in and out of the town.


As a means of reflecting something of the town’s artistic heritage, of which the dance school is a part, the concept should include a dominant yet uncluttered and contemporary paisley Pattern motif which forms the major part of design background.


Set into this pattern, there should be a clear symbol of the rich history of dance training which is synonymous with the building and throughout the town.


”Paisley is a town which is rich in culture and all the murals have their own distinct theme reflecting this.” said Paisley First Chairman, Ian Henderson.


He continued: “I am sure Paisley’s talented artists will help ensure this latest mural provides another great talking point for residents and visitors to the town.”


Adelle Maasz who took over the running of the school from her mother, Elma Whyte, in 2012, said:” We believe that the pedigree and the heritage of arts-based excellence that the Elma Whyte dance school represents, as well as the highly visible location of the school, mark the site out as a great opportunity to add to the Paisley mural project that has brought the town so much positive publicity.”


“We are looking forward to playing our part in such an inspiring community project.”


The Paisley First Walls Series is part-funded with a grant through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.


Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “The Paisley First Walls Series has already been a fantastic addition to the Paisley streetscape – and this latest mural has a really great location.

“As a massive dance fan and former pupil of Elma Whyte, this is a subject close to my heart and I am delighted our great local dance scene is being celebrated in this way.


“The strength of that scene features strongly in our UK City of Culture 2021 bid – Renfrewshire’s participation in dance is well above the Scottish average. I would encourage artists to get involved and I can’t wait to see the submitted ideas.”


Initial designs and written concepts should be submitted to Paisley First by 9 am on Friday 29th September. Submissions should also include the artist’s quotation to carry out the project and this fee should also cover all materials, equipment and insurance as required. These can be handed into the Paisley First office or emailed toask@paisleyfirst.com. Artists must either work or live in Paisley, or have prominent links to the town.

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Keeping fit is child’s play

KEEPING fit is child’s play especially when you can take your baby with you to a fitness class.
For the first time, Renfrewshire Leisure is staging classes where mums can take their children along with them while they work out. KEEPING fit is child’s play especially when you can take your baby with you to a fitness class.

For the first time, Renfrewshire Leisure is staging classes where mums can take their children along with them while they work out.

RL Mum and baby Metafit 8.9.17

It’s part of the sport and leisure organisation’s newly-launched fitness timetable and the first two child-friendly classes are Baby Friendly Metafit and Buggy Spin, held at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre.

One mum, Kim O’Connor travels all the way from Pollok, in Glasgow to attend the Baby Friendly Metafit class, in Paisley with her one-year-old daughter, Melanie.

Kim, 30, said: “Everyone who can help with looking after Melanie works full time, so I wouldn’t be able to attend a fitness class during the day.

“The baby friendly classes are like a breath if fresh air for me and it’s good to know you’re getting back in shape. It also lets me do something like keeping fit at a time that suits me.

“I really look forward to going along to my fitness classes with Melanie every week. And even though she’s only one, I’m setting an example to Melanie that health and fitness is important.”

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “It can be difficult getting back to your normal fitness routine after having a baby and you can lose the sense of who you are because of the demands on your time looking after a child.

“You can’t always find a babysitter when your favourite fitness class is being held especially during the day when family and friends are working. So, we’re giving mums the option of bringing their babies along with them.

“Although, you don’t need to bring a baby along to join the classes, as everyone is welcome!”
The new Renfrewshire Leisure timetable offers a variety of classes and workouts including a wide range of aerobic fitness sessions, along with ballroom dancing, spin, Zumba, kettlebells, Pilates, Tai Chi, yoga, outdoor and indoor boot camps and meditation and guided relaxation.

They are held at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre, The ON-X, Linwood, Erskine Sports Centre, Renfrew Leisure Centre and Johnstone Sports Hub. Log on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com  for more information.

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Party nights doing it your way!

FANCY having Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé along to your Christmas party?

Well, thanks to Renfrewshire Leisure, you almost can, as they’ve organised two Christmas Party Nights, at Johnstone Town Hall featuring tribute acts of both these singing superstars.

The first is being held on Friday, December 15, and features a fantastic Frank Sinatra tribute act followed by music from the Big Band era.

The second festive event is the following night, with a Michael Bublé tribute act followed by a disco.
Everyone coming along will get a delicious three-course meal and a glass of bubbly.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “We’re hoping everyone will get into the Christmas spirit with our fabulous Party Nights.

“It’s a great way to get together with friends and colleagues to celebrate the festive season with a great night of entertainment and fun. And the Michael Bublé night is particularly ideal for an office Christmas party.”

Log on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com or call the Box Office on 0300 300 1210 for more information and to book tickets at only £27 per person. And if you book before the end of this month, there will be a ten per cent discount.

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Singing Children of Africa Choir wow crowd with Paisley return

A chorus of beautiful voices filled Paisley Town Hall last night (Sunday 17 September) as the Singing Children of Africa Choir returned to the town for another sparkling performance.

The group of youngsters, aged nine to 16-years-old from the Jolaurabi School in Mombasa, Kenya, warmed the hearts of the hundreds in attendance with The Angels Tour 2017 show.

The show also featured Kirklandneuk Primary School pupils, who performed scenes from The Lion King, as well as special performances by the Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir and dancers from the award-winning Street Stuff youth scheme.

Choir teacher Simon Sims was also on hand to entertain the audience with a solo performance on his return to Paisley before all performers joined together for a rousing rendition of Flower of Scotland.

This year marked the tenth anniversary of Renfrewshire Council supporting the event and was part of the exciting calendar of activities taking place as part of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture in 2021.

MSP for Renfrewshire North & West Derek Mackay announced during a speech at the event that over £15,000 had been raised for Scottish charity Educate the Kids, including £5,000 funding from the Scottish Government.

The Singing Children of Africa Choir were set up by the charity, which raises funds towards the youngsters’ education and development by bringing the choir over for concerts around the country.

Renfrew volunteers Mike and Lynn Baldwin – who have been involved with the charity for over 10 years – have regularly organised the children’s visits to Renfrewshire, including their last tour in August 2016.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, who welcomed the choir and audience on the evening, said: “I was delighted to welcome the Singing Children of Africa choir back to Renfrewshire and it was a special sight to see them perform in Paisley’s historic Town Hall.

“These amazingly talented youngsters really captured the hearts of those in attendance with their wonderful voices and inspirational stories. The tours organised by Educate the Kids helps to give the children the education they deserve and it’s great to see local people helping such a fantastic cause.”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “Seeing the Singing Children of Africa choir and talented local groups from across Renfrewshire putting on a special performance in the beautiful surroundings of Paisley Town Hall was a wonderful experience.

“This concert is another example of the wide range of cultural activities taking place as part of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 – and with our annual music, comedy and drama festival ‘The Spree’ just weeks away it really is an exciting time for the area.”

Find out how you can sponsor a child at https://www.educatethekids.com/support-a-child/.