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Voluntary Arts Festival 2017 – Creative Opportunity

Voluntary Arts Festival takes place each May, in cities, towns and villages across the UK and Republic of Ireland.  It’s a chance for people to get creative – share what they already do, or try something new for the first time.

A full list of events can be found here


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Register now for Business Matters in Renfrewshire 2017

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Masterplan to transform the West End of Paisley

Plans to deliver ‘transformational change’ in the West End of Paisley through major investment in new homes will be considered by councillors next week.

The draft Paisley West End Regeneration Masterplan will be presented at the Council meeting on Thursday 20 April, 2017.

It aims to integrate the West End further in the regeneration of Paisley Town Centre and improve it as a place to live and operate a business.

The masterplan sets out proposals for around 150 new homes to provide a mix of private and social housing. New commercial units are also being considered in the proposals, subject to demand.

The area under consideration covers Well Street, Underwood Lane, Clavering Street East, Sutherland Street, Oakshaw Brae and West Brae.

It currently contains low demand tenement flats and commercial premises around Well Street as well as the former University of the West of Scotland halls of residence and surplus undeveloped land.

Proposals would see demolition of the existing tenement flats on the east side of Well Street and commercial ground floor properties in the tenement blocks as well as vacant residential blocks on Clavering Street East.

Residents affected by demolition would be assisted by the Council to find alternative accommodation to suit their requirements.

Council officers would also work with affected business owners and tenants to determine their preferences and potentially source available alternative premises which meet their aspirations.

Clearance of the vacant former University residences and relocation of community growing areas on Sutherland Street – redeveloping these sites for housing – also form part of the proposals.

If approved, the plans would be progressed for public consultation in June 2017, which would see extensive engagement with affected tenants, residents, businesses, landowners and any other interested parties.

All tenants and property owners would be contacted directly and offered an individual face-to-face meeting to discuss their thoughts on the proposals as well as being invited to drop-in consultation events at local community venues.

Discussions would also take place with Paisley West and Central Community Council, Paisley West End Tenants and Residents Association, University of the West of Scotland, private landowners and any other interested groups.

Costs to deliver the masterplan are being developed and will be informed through the consultation process and site investigations of the undeveloped land. Scottish Government grant support for the project would be brought forward through Renfrewshire’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP), which includes a £10 million provisional allowance.

Councillor Mags MacLaren, SNP Housing Spokesperson, said:

“I welcome this long-awaited proposal as it will result in improved housing within Well Street and the West End of Paisley. “This proposal has been on the table for years and there is still some way to go before all the funding is secured to enable it to be completed.  However, this proposal would see new housing coming into the West End, including using the gap site behind Well Street.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren, SNP Group Leader, added:

“It’s been a while since the original proposal was put out to Sanctuary Housing to bring forward some details, so it’s good that there is now something in the public domain which residents of Well Street can look at. “Obviously, I would hope that existing council tenants and businesses would have a higher priority when it came to any new social housing and new business units within the area but in general terms the plans look promising.” Kevin McNeillie-Welsh, the secretary of Paisley West Tenants and Residents Association, said: “The redevelopment of Well Street is a major issue for us and we have been pressing the housing department to bring forward their proposals. I’m glad they’ve eventually done so as it will now give our members a chance to add their voice to the consultation process.”

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The Voice finalists Into the Ark to headline Paisley Food Festival

The Voice finalists, Into The Ark, have been announced as the headline music act at this year’s Paisley Food Festival.

The talented duo, who finished as runners up on The Voice 2017 will perform at the free event which will take place on Saturday 22 April at Abbey Close from 12pm – 7pm.

Now in its third year, the festival will showcase the breadth of Scotland’s exciting 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, which is due to be submitted at the end of the month.

Dane from Into The Ark said: “We always love playing in Scotland, it’s like a second home for us. It’s great to be supporting Paisley 2021. This will also be our first proper gig since taking part in The Voice, so we’re looking forward to getting back to what we do best.”

Into The Ark are also on tour in across the UK in May and June, including headline dates in Edinburgh and Inverness; a festival slot in Inveraray; and a charity event for Nordoff Robbins in Glasgow.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The growing list of special guests and interesting traders participating in this year’s Paisley Food Festival is sure to attract hundreds to the town for what I’m confident will be the best food festival yet.

“The range of events taking place this month will further help to showcase our town at its very best at a crucial time as we prepare to submit our bid for UK City of Culture 2021.”

Also confirmed to attend the event are Masterchef: The Professionals winner Gary Maclean, who will host a series of cooking demonstrations, and 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.

The event has a wide selection of producer traders catering for all kinds of tastes with smaller portions available at reduced prices for children. Visitors will also be able to sample a wide range of craft beers, small batch gins and prosecco on tap.

The Cooking Demonstration tent will host a packed programme of free food workshops, which are now almost fully booked.

The festival is just one of three food and drink events taking place that week. Scotland’s largest real ale festival, the 30th annual Paisley Beer Festival, will return for another year to Paisley Town Hall from Wednesday 19 to Saturday 22 April and Paisley Restaurant Week, 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.

For more information visit www.paisley2021.co.uk

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“Zipslide the Clyde” in aid of St Vincent’s Hospice

 Thirteen was the lucky number of participants that took part in “Zipslide the Clyde” for St Vincent’s Hospice on Sunday 9th April. The thrill seekers braved an adrenaline filled flight across the River Clyde on a zip wire and to date have raised £3,500 while doing so.

If you would like to test your nerves and support local patient care in Renfrewshire why not sign up to our Saturday 13th May “Zipslide the Clyde”. Minimum sponsorship £150. Let’s hope the 13th will be another lucky fundraising day for the Hospice!

If you would like further information, please contact our fundraising team on 01505 705635 or email info@svh.co.uk

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Causeyside Street shortlisted for national award

Causeyside Street in Paisley has been shortlisted for a national Great Street award competing against the likes of Cromer Street in London and Grafton Street in Dublin.

The awards, run by The Academy of Urbanism, aim to recognise the best, most enduring or most improved urban environments.

Causeyside Street has been transformed in recent years as part of the Townscape Heritage Initiative/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (THI/CARS) which was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council.

As part of the scheme, improvements were made to the streetscape, a number of buildings were repaired and traditional shopfronts restored.  The public realm improvements were delivered with the support of contractors Land Engineering and the consultant Ironside Farrar.

A spokesperson for Renfrewshire Council said: “The £3.5m THI/CARS project has transformed the face of Causeyside Street over the years and it is great to see it shortlisted alongside other locations across the UK at The Academy of Urbanism Awards.

“The businesses in Causeyside Street have benefitted from the improved environment with one shopkeeper commenting that the project had ‘given the street another 100 years’.

“This recognition helps shine a light on Paisley and makes the most of our town’s fantastic built heritage as we head ever closer to the submission of our bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“We would like to thank our funding partners at the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland as well as our contractors Land Engineering and Ironside Farrar for their role in helping to transform the street and we look forward to the next stage of the awards later this month.”

Representatives from the Academy of Urbanism assessed and celebrated 150 outstanding examples of good urbanism across the UK, Ireland to compile the shortlist for each award category.

Each category is to be whittled down to the top three later this month. The overall winners will then be announced at our Urbanism Awards Ceremony in November 2017.

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ReMode Workshop Dates – April/May/June

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St Vincent’s Hospice are looking for volunteers & staff

st vincents


St Vincent’s Hospice are recruiting for a permanent Staff Nurse to work 34.5 hours per week, working 12 hour rotational shifts.  Please see website for more details and for an application form – www.svh.co.uk

They are also recruiting for an experienced and enthusiastic Fundraiser to come and work for us on an initial 18 month fixed term contract which could become permanent for the right candidate. Please see website for more details and for an application form – www.svh.co.uk.


Do you have a few hours to spare every week?

St Vincent’s Hospice are looking for volunteers to help out at the Hospice, in The Barn Tearoom at the Hospice, in our charity shops across Renfrewshire and at events.

Not only will you be helping a great cause you will also be eligible for discounted gym memberships and many discounts in shops, retailers, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, beauty salons, spas and many other places across Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Glasgow as well as many online discounts too.

Volunteers are also eligible for discounts at Dominos Pizza Johnstone, Dominos Pizza Paisley, Dominos Pizza Irvine, Frankie & Bennys, Nando’s Braehead, Chiquitos Braehead, Handmade Burger Co, Braehead and Linwood Farm when they show their St Vincent’s Hospice name badge.

If you would like more information, please call Christine or Elaine on 01505 705635 or email volunteering@svh.co.uk – we’d love to hear from you.



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Glasgow Airport March passenger numbers


MARCH PAST 700,000 

Airport reports busiest March on record

EU-scheduled traffic up 20.5% 

Glasgow Airport reported its busiest March on record after more than 700,000 passengers travelled through its doors during the month, representing an increase of 7% on the same period last year.

The airport’s success in strengthening its European connectivity saw demand for EU destinations increase by 20.5% with services to Paris, Valencia, Lisbon and Berlin all performing well. Long haul carriers Emirates and Virgin Atlantic, which has increased capacity on its Orlando service, both enjoyed an uplift in passenger numbers. This contributed to an overall increase in international traffic of 13.7%.

Domestic traffic grew by 1.4% with British Airways, easyJet and Flybe all reporting an increase in demand for their London and UK regional services.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport said: “Our performance during the first quarter of 2017 has ensured we’ve made our busiest-ever start to any year.

“Our continued growth is a direct result of our efforts in securing new routes and services for our passengers. We have succeeded in significantly strengthening our European connectivity since the start of 2016 and later this year we will launch direct flights to Madrid, Frankfurt and Krakow.

“Providing a greater choice of routes not only opens up a host of new markets for our passengers, it provides our tourism industry with a much needed boost by ensuring Scotland is more accessible. Earlier this year Glasgow, through its Tourism and Visitor Plan to 2023, set out how it aims to attract one million more visitors to the city and position Glasgow as the gateway to Scotland.

“Glasgow Airport has a key role in supporting this ambition. If the city and Scotland are to continue to attract further visitors and enjoy the associated economic uplift, then it’s important we address the high levels of Air Passenger Duty which put our airports at a severe disadvantage when it comes to competing with our European and global counterparts.”

Traffic summary

March 2017

Terminal passengers




April 2016 to March 2017 %


706,137 7.0% 9,475,792 6.7%


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West College Scotland successfully launches coding clubs in three Renfrewshire Secondary Schools

West College Scotland’s Digital Xtra Project, funded by Skills Development Scotland, is now well underway with the launch of coding clubs. Run by some of the College’s computing staff and students, the clubs are aimed at engaging S1/2 pupils in the use of the BBC Micro:Bit and encouraging them to become more involved in coding.

The clubs have been launched successfully in three Renfrewshire Secondary Schools: Paisley Grammar School, St Benedicts High School and Renfrew High School. All of the clubs have been well attended and have seen some great activities taking place including making music from Katy Perry & Star Wars and developing a pong game… controlled by a banana!

Chris Wilson, computing teacher from St Benedicts High School said: “We had a whole lab full of pupils turning up after school in their own time.  The best thing was the gender split – exactly 50/50!  Really great to see so many girls taking a genuine interest in STEM and coding in particular. The hands-on Micro:Bit coding is going down really well with the pupils.  I think the idea of writing code to run on a physical device they hold in their hand gives them something extra.  All pupils seem to have a love for technology and creativity so the Micro:Bit exercises really appealed to them.  The staff and students from West College Scotland have been absolutely fantastic with our pupils and I’d definitely recommend the club to any schools who missed out first time around.”

West college Scotland’s computing students involved in running the clubs are thrilled to share their skills with the pupils while gaining invaluable experience themselves. Michael Walsh, one of the students enrolled in the STEM Ambassador program, said: “This is was a great opportunity to introduce young people to the game development industry to try and get them interested in programming specifically as there aren’t enough people coming out of school and going into the game development sector. This experience is also different from my usual College week and it will be a great addition to my CV for future employment.”

Josh Balling, also STEM Ambassador student, adds: “Taking part in the coding club is a great way to get the kids thinking outside the box while having fun by creating their own code and seeing it work in front of them. Every pupil is interested and engaged and hopefully this could lead them down the path to a STEM career in the future.”

West College Scotland also hosted the second training session for Renfrewshire School Teachers as part of the project. The sessions are run in association with Microsoft Education, Renfrewshire Council and Paisley YMCA.

This time over 20 teachers from primary & secondary schools across Renfrewshire attended the session to further develop their technology skills for teaching and use engaging activities to encourage use of the Micro:Bit in the classroom.

The College is also happy to now be on the Digital Xtra Map, featuring all activities taking place across the country. To find them visit:www.digitalxtrafund.scot/find-an-activity/