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Welcome to Paisley – Completed mural heralds new arrival at Gilmour Street

Paisley’s vibrant art scene has welcomed a new arrival to the town with the completion of a Paisley First mural inside the town’s main train station.

L-R – Artist Sandy Guy with Heather Collins, ScotRail Alliance’s Station Manager for Paisley, Paisley First Chairman Ian Henderson and artist Caroline Gormley

Paisley First, with the support of the Scotrail Alliance, commissioned local artist Caroline Gormley to produce an artwork for a wall on the corridor to Platforms 1 to 4 in Paisley Gilmour Street Railway Station.

Commuters and visitors to the town have been amazed as they watched the transformation during the summer as Caroline and co-artist Sandy Guy worked tirelessly on the wall.

The talented duo have painted iconic people, places and historic moments from the town’s past – everything from a mill girl, a burning witch and Gerry Rafferty to Fulton Mackay, the Russell Institute and the Hillman Imp car.

Braveheart William Wallace and Caroline’s previous Buddie artwork are also highlighted.

Paisley First Chairman Ian Henderson said: “More than four million passengers pass through Gilmour Street, the town’s largest railway station, every year.”

“Caroline and Sandy’s hard work has had visitors to the town captivated as they watched it develop day by day.”

“The finished work is amazing and it’s a great way to tell Paisley’s story while providing a warm Paisley welcome for people using the station from near and far.”

The project came to fruition thanks to the support of station managers, the ScotRail Alliance.

Heather Collins, the ScotRail Alliance’s Station Manager for Paisley, said: “The station team at Paisley, along with myself and all the train crews who pass through, love this mural.

“It brings Paisley’s heritage and famous residents to life and tells the town’s story to the many rail travellers who use the station every year. Well done to Caroline and Sandy.”

Artist Caroline Gormley, who completed the work with co-artist Sandy Guy, said: “First port of call is getting on the train that brings you to Gilmour Street station, the gateway to Paisley and its vibrant culture, which will definitely give you something to write home about.”

“It’s a celebration of Paisley people, their vision, enthusiasm, positivity, determination, humour and hard work.”

“Paisley wouldn’t have heritage if it wasn’t for the people of the town, this has been the case throughout our history and it continues today.”

“The use of the postcard was to add an element of humour, also the postcard may be seen as a thing of the past when it comes to communication but people have to look to their past in order to create a better, brighter future.”

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PAISLEY PIRATES – UPDATE

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates are gearing up for a successful defence of their SNL title and are inviting players and volunteers to come forward and join the organisation.

paisley pirates

Coach Ian Turley said, “I’m really looking forward to the start of training in a few weeks, on 22 August, as this won’t only give our new member of the coaching set up, Adam Walker, the opportunity to get to know the players, it’ll also give us the chance to look at the guys who played for us before, and, hopefully, there will be a few players from around the ice rinks wanting to come along and impress us enough to be offered a team slot. It’s a very critical period for us as we’d like to get a lot of hard work and preparation under our belts before the serious stuff starts.”

“It’s always nice to get a few new faces in as it freshens up the dressing room a bit, and it showed last season when we got young players like Dean Hamilton and Euan McLaughlin to join up with us. The enthusiasm of the youngsters always rubs off on the more established players so I’m hoping that the early practices will throw up at least a couple of new faces able to join the ranks and make a difference. The standard of the SNL has risen markedly in the seven years I’ve been involved with the Pirates and there’s no reason to suggest the new season will be anything different in that respect.”

He continued, “We’re also looking to expand our army of off-ice volunteers to do the million and one jobs which need to be done on match nights. We’re proud of the fact that we’re regarded as a well run organisation and there’s good reasons for that-we work very hard at being the best we can be, and we have a lot of folk helping us too! Like I say, we’re wanting to further increase our volunteer numbers as there’s a lot of unseen jobs go into putting on a professional show.”

“The message is the same for anyone wanting to join our on-ice team, or our off-ice squad. Get in touch with us at paisleypirates@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you with all the details you need to become one of the Pirates’ family. It really couldn’t be simpler and we’ll look forward to hearing from you!”

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Exam results boost for Renfrewshire’s young people

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Renfrewshire’s young people have once again achieved high levels of attainment, as early indications of exam results suggest.

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S6 pupils achieving Advanced Highers has risen by six per cent, which is the highest level achieved by young people in Renfrewshire.

S4 and S5 pupils also maintained the strong performance earned last year, matching the best results ever achieved for these year groups, with the percentage of S4 pupils achieving seven awards at National 5 and S5 pupils achieving three or more Highers even surpassing those of previous years.

Renfrewshire Council’s Convener of Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “Renfrewshire’s young people have done an amazing job achieving great results and I would like to congratulate them all.

“The support given to young people to reach their full potential is vital, and this is achieved through our teachers, our support staff and parents. I would like to thank everyone for the hard work they have put in together that has helped our young people flourish.

“The results in Renfrewshire are encouraging but we want to do more to help children and young people reach their full potential, regardless of their background, into positive destinations. We know that exam results are only one way to measure success and there are a number of wider achievements young people also gain from school.”

Renfrewshire Council will be looking at the results in more detail, with particular focus on literacy and numeracy, attainment for our most vulnerable young people and schools’ performance against similar-sized schools from across the country. A more accurate picture of young people’s success is expected in the next few months.

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Gavin Newlands MP wishes Judo star well at Special Olympics

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has passed on his best wishes to Judo star, Harry Lovett, as he travels down to compete in the Special Olympics, in Sheffield.

Harry had a stroke before he was born and is now registered blind, has a hearing impairment, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. He also has a rare genetic disorder called Joubert syndrome.

Harry – from Linwood – first got involved in Judo during his time studying at the Royal School for Visually Impaired and Blind Children.

After this month’s games, Harry is looking forward to studying at West College Scotland where he plans on studying craft and photography.

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

“Harry is a real star, who despite facing difficulties in life, has never allowed them to hold him back from pursuing his dreams.

“It was great to catch-up with Harry to learn about his preparations for the Special Olympics and to personally wish him all the best as he looks to represent Renfrewshire and Scotland in the Judo Championships.

“It’s clear from speaking with Harry that his high school years were crucial in helping him to develop as an aspiring judoist with his coaches performing a phenomenal job in helping him become the athlete that he is.

“From speaking with Harry’s mum, Fiona, it’s clear that Harry is a team player who is valued by his fellow athletes and competitors.

“I am positive the whole of Renfrewshire will be cheering Harry on later this week as he takes to the mat to compete in the Special Olympics. Good luck to Harry and also to all those other athletes who are competing in the Special Olympics.”

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Lisa Kowalski to film first pop music video on the streets of Paisley

Local Buddies and organisations are being encouraged to take part in the filming of a music video in the town for an up and coming 17-year-old musician.

Lisa Kowalski has been awarded funding from Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events Fund to film a music video for the Paisley themed song “Hearts of Gold” which is about Lisa’s experience of busking on Paisley High Street since the age of 14. The catchy chorus describes how much she cherishes the support she has received from local people:

“And the streets are paved with hearts of gold,

As the people stop to listen and appreciate the stories that I’ve told

Through the lyrics and the melodies that have run through my head

As I take in this moment and think,

I don’t wanna be anywhere else”

Lisa said: “I love Hearts of Gold because it tells such a personal story and reflects how much I love Paisley. I wasn’t the happiest of 14 year olds and it gave me such a confidence boost to know people appreciated my music and that it could cheer up their Saturday morning for a while.

“As I have progressed on my musical journey, the support I have received from local people, businesses and the Paisley 2021 Campaign has been amazing. I want the video to show how grateful I am and what a great place Paisley is.”

The video will be filmed on the High Street and around some of Paisley’s landmarks, referencing the song’s mention of the town’s impressive architecture.  Lisa has also lined up St Mirren FC, not least their mascot the Paisley Panda, to get involved as the song also mentions football fans on their way to the game.

Steven Thomson, Creative Producer for Paisley 2021, said: “Paisley has always punched above its weight in terms of musical talent and it’s great to see this tradition continue with Lisa.

“She is a gifted musician and we are very happy to be in the position to work with her to achieve her dream through helping fund the creation of her first music video.”

Hearts of Gold is a track on Lisa’s recently released debut EP Free Spirits, which also received funding from Paisley 2021 and has enabled Lisa to represent the Paisley music scene on many radio stations, Live at Five on STV2, the Scottish Sun Live Sessions, music review sites and webzines and even in the magazine of the Scottish American foundation.  The title track Free Spirits has also been included in a UK-wide folk compilation album and the EP is available on Spotify, Itunes and Google Play.

Lisa is working on the video production with Create Paisley, the local youth arts organisation which has helped her in many ways since she started out. Filming will commence in the second half of September with a view to releasing the video at the end of October, allowing it to be used to promote the town and its music before the final decision is made about the City of Culture winner.

Alan Clark from Create Paisley said: ‘We’re thrilled to have been asked to work on this film with Lisa and in partnership with Paisley 2021. It’s been so great to work with Lisa over the last couple of years in our songwriting programmes, recording and events. At Create, we love creativity and are dedicated to empowering young people in Paisley to reach their potential. We’re excited that this project will both highlight the great talent that Lisa has but also showcase Paisley, our bid for city of culture and the thriving youth arts scene in the town.’

 

To express an interest in taking part in the video when filming commences on the High Street and to be part of a celebration of Paisley’s Hearts of Gold, please contact Lisa via her music page https://www.facebook.com/lisakowalskimusic/ or e mail lkowalskimusic@gmail.com.

 

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Renfrew V Johnstone Burgh match report

Renfrew got their Central Sectional League Cup campaign off to an emphatic start on Wednesday night by beating Johnstone Burgh 5-1.

Photo by Collarge Images – Photography & Art

The two local rivals squared off at New Western Park with the first three points of the group stage up for grabs.

There wasn’t much to separate the sides early on but goals from Kieran Healy and Darren Jones, as well as a Scott Morton hat-trick, secured victory for the hosts.

Renfrew co-manager Colin Clark says he’s delighted his side managed to get their season off to a winning start with an impressive display.

He said: “I thought we were always good for the win, we fell behind but reacted well and turned the game around.

“These early games can always be tricky, even more so when it’s a derby, but I’m pleased we were able to get the win.

“Winning 5-1 against any team is great, but to do it against your rivals is even better, I couldn’t think of a better way to start the season.”

It looked like Renfrew had got off to the perfect start when Scott Morton put the ball into Burgh’s net with only five minutes on the clock.

However, the goal was disallowed as Patrick O’Keefe was deemed to have been in an offside position when the ball was originally played into the box.

Renfrew were the team in control early on but it would be the visitors who’d take the lead through Scott Arthur.

Paul Sweeney knocked the ball over the Frew backline into the path of Arthur who volleyed home from inside the box.

Renfrew wouldn’t have to wait long for an equaliser as only two minutes later Morton scored to make it one-all.

Kieran Healy headed home a Connor McGuinness free kick three minutes before the break to give the hosts a 2-1 lead at half time.

The second half saw Renfrew take full control of the match and they doubled their lead just before the hour mark with a penalty kick.

Burghs Jonathon Yule was penalised for a hand ball after sliding in to prevent a low cross from David Quinn.

Scott Morton stepped up to take the spot kick and fired his shot low into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

Morton completed his hat-trick ten minutes later with an almost identical penalty after Yule fouled Quinn in the box.

Things then went from bad to worse for Burgh when Greg McBride was sent off for abusive language toward the referee.

Renfrew substitute Darren Jones put the final nail in Burgh’s coffin when he netted the hosts fifth and final goal.

Johnstone Burgh co-manager David Brolly admits it hurt to watch his side suffer a heavy loss against their local rivals.

He said: “It’s really disappointing to lose by such a large margin, in all honesty, I’m hurting after that result.

“We had a very strong showing in the first half but we just didn’t turn up in the second half and the scoreline shows that.”

Report coverage from Dean Robertson

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Exam Results Day – SDS Helpline Open from Tuesday

Renfrewshire students will receive their National, Higher and Advanced Higher exam results on Tuesday (8th August).

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay is highlighting help and advice available to students and parents on results day.

Skills Development Scotland’s (SDS) annual Exam Results Helpline will be open from 8am to 8pm on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th August, and then from 9am until 5pm up until the 16th August. The number is 0808 100 8000.

This is the 25th year of the free Helpline which offers advice, information and support for young people and their parents, who make a third of all calls.

Qualified Careers Advisers are on hand to help young people who may not have received the results they were hoping for and those who have done better than anticipated. These skilled professionals have unique access to information on UCAS course vacancies at UK colleges and universities, confirmation and clearing, advice about Modern and Foundation Apprenticeships and employment or volunteering.

Post-results information for students and parents is also available at myworldofwork.co.uk. There’s also information about Modern Apprenticeships and Foundation Apprenticeships, at apprenticeships.scot. Foundation Apprenticeships help young people gain valuable, real-world work experience and access work-based learning while they are still at school.

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:

“Exam results day can be a daunting and nerve-wracking time, and I think it is important that all students who are receiving results are supported with advice and guidance.

“If you get the results you are looking for, then that is obviously fantastic. However, if students do not get what they need this time round, then be assured that there are a huge number of options available and there is support and advice available to help you get where you want to be.

“Whatever the outcome, these results will be a beginning, rather than an end point.

“Skills Development Scotland are on hand to offer support and advice to students and parents on the next chapter.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish all students the very best of luck.”

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Exhibition of prisoner artwork helps weave new side to Paisley 2021 bid

Prisoners at one of Scotland’s jails have created an exhibition of creative artwork inspired by Paisley – now on display in the town’s museum.

artwork depicting Paolo Nutini and John Byrne, while

The exhibition – called Weave – opened this week and features paintings, creative writing, sculpture, textiles and song produced by inmates at HMP Low Moss.

Paisley Museum’s Georgia Edmondson poses in the gallery

The programme was run by the Learning Centre at the prison, who each year work with Glasgow School of Art on a residency aimed at helping the prisoners turn their lives around by using creativity to express themselves.

As many of HMP Low Moss’s inmates are from the Paisley area, this year’s event was themed around the town – with input from the team behind Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

It saw a series of workshops inspired by Paisley’s story, including a demonstration of traditional weaving skills, and a songwriting masterclass run by the University of the West of Scotland.

End products include striking paintings of famous Buddies Paolo Nutini and John Byrne, and artwork depicting local features such as Paisley Town Hall, the Paisley Pattern…and even the logo of the Paisley Pirates ice hockey team.

The free-to-visit exhibition was curated by staff at Paisley Museum – who also worked with the prisoners – and runs from this week until October.

The programme was run by Ruth Facchini, learning manager at HMP Low Moss, who said: “To make our society safer, it pays to channel offenders’ energies to positive ends, build their self-worth and help them learn new skills.

“The arts are an especially effective way of engaging with offenders who feel alienated from mainstream education and employment, and there is growing evidence they are effective in turning around offenders’ lives.

“I have already had amazing feedback from people who have viewed the exhibition and our guys who produced it could not be more thrilled to have their work recognised and appreciated.

“They feel valued and that they have contributed something really positive to their community.

“We in HMP Low Moss are firmly behind Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021. The town needs regeneration and an economic boost, and our learners – who know more than most about deprivation and lack of opportunity – recognise what a winning bid might bring to Paisley.”

Margaret Scott, Development Manager in the Paisley 2021 bid team, said: “We were delighted to be able to work with the staff and prisoners at HMP Low Moss on this hugely worthwhile project.

“We know involvement in culture makes people’s lives better – one of the key themes of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is in making those benefits available to every segment of our community.

“This exhibition shows us putting that into practice – by reaching members of society most in need of a change of direction and, through the power of culture, helping equip them to do that.

“It’s also a great example of partnership in action – with staff from the Scottish Prison Service, the 2021 bid team, Renfrewshire Leisure and the prison charity the Koestler Trust – all playing a part.

“The quality of the artwork is fantastic and really tells the town’s story – I would encourage the public to get along and check out the exhibition for themselves.”

Paisley is bidding for the prestigious title as part of a wider push to transform the town’s future using the power of its internationally-significant heritage and cultural story.

Earlier this month, Paisley was confirmed by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as the only Scottish place on the final shortlist – which also features Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

For more information, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk

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Gavin Newlands MP calls for the UK Government to take action on energy prices

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has condemned the announcement from British Gas that they are increasing their prices by 12.5% from September onwards and has called for the UK Government to take action against the spiralling energy costs.


The price rise will affect around 3.1 million customers on the company’s standard variable tariff.

Before the election, the Conservatives promised to cap energy prices, but this policy was left out of the Queen’s Speech in June. Last month, the energy regulator Ofgem proposed a price cap for around 2m vulnerable customers currently getting a poor deal. This stops far short of a price fall to 17m homes, as suggested in the Conservative manifesto.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: “This latest price rise from British Gas is just another kick in the teeth for millions of consumers and will especially hit people on poor value tariffs. A third of people in Scotland struggle to afford their electricity and gas bills and a price hike just before the colder months won’t help their situation.

“The Government needs to take action to hold all energy companies accountable and protect everyone on standard variable tariffs, not just the most vulnerable.

“Everyone on standard variable tariff should take this opportunity to find out whether they could get a better deal elsewhere. Switching is simple and can save a lot of money over the year. You can contact the local Citizen Advice Bureau or Home Energy Scotland for advice on how to lower your energy bills.”

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“St Vincent’s Hospice Bowled Over by Fundraiser”

On Sunday 9th July John G. Fleming Bowling Club in Houston hosted their Annual Charity Day and Ladies bowls competition. 64 ladies took part in the fantastic competition and an incredible sum of £890 was raised for St Vincent’s Hospice.

The fundraising didn’t end there. A second fundraising event took place on July 22nd – a club cabaret evening which managed to raise a further £425 bringing the grand total to the magnificent sum of £1,315.

John and Isabel Gilchrist said:

“We would like to say a huge thank you to all the members of John G Fleming Bowling Club in Houston, to all the Ladies from across Renfrewshire who participated in the Bowls competition, to all the local people and local businesses who donated raffle prizes, home baking and to everyone who dug deep into their pockets and bought raffle tickets and home baking. Now we look forward to 2018 and doing our best to beat this year’s figure!”

Laura McDade, Fundraiser from St Vincent’s Hospice said:

“Everyone at St Vincent’s Hospice would like to say a huge thank you to John and Isabel Gilchrist from J G Fleming bowling club. We understand the amount of time and effort that it takes to put on an event of this kind and we truly appreciate all your hard work. Thank you to everyone who supported the day and in turn, St Vincent’s Hospice.”

“If you are interested in fundraising for St Vincent’s Hospice please contact the fundraising team on 01505705635 or email  info@svh.co.uk