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Celebrate Paisley’s buildings by contributing to the town’s Story Map

Photography fans are being encouraged to share their favourite snaps of Paisley’s unique architecture for a Story Map that tells the story of the town through its rich built heritage.

The Story Map will capture a visual record of historic properties within Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area. Pupils and community groups are being asked to share their photos, memories and comments on buildings in the town they either have links with or simply admire and have a chance to have them added to the Story Map. The map will also share knowledge about local heritage.

The Story Map will go on to be used as a public online resource where people can view and continue to contribute to the story capturing the town’s built environment as time goes on.

Local primary school pupils and community groups will attend the Story Map launch on Friday 16 March in the UWS atrium, and bring along a digital copy of their image and a comment to accompany it in order to contribute to the map.

The event will also launch a new photography competition which will first be trialled with the groups who attend on the day.

Two winners will be announced (under 16 year-olds and over 16 year-olds) at the event and the winning photographs will be printed on banners displayed around Paisley Town Centre promoting the TH.CARS2 project. Following the event the competition will then be opened up to the general public to enter. All details about the competition can be found on the TH.CARS2 website.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Cllr Iain Nicolson, said: “Paisley is home to some beautiful buildings and boasts the second highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland and it’s great to celebrate this.

“People living in and around Paisley are uniquely able to see our most iconic buildings in a new way as well as highlight some of our hidden gems. By contributing to the Story Map people can share their own stories of why these stunning buildings matter to the town.”

This forms a key part of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2 (TH.CARS2) which is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council and will deliver grant opportunities to property owners in a defined area of the town centre for high quality building repairs and shopfront improvements.

To find out more about the TH.CARS2 project please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2 or to find out more about the Story Map please visit:www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THcars2StoryMap.

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Photographs of Paisley in the Snow

Fantastic Pictures showing the scale of the disruption and the beauty of the snow around Paisley taken by Ian McDonald Photography and kindly allowed for use on Paisley.org.uk

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Spectacular programme revealed for Paisley’s winter events season

The spectacular programme has been revealed for this year’s winter events season in Paisley – with Northern Irish rockers Ash set to headline the town’s annual Christmas Lights Switch On.

Paisley’s winter events programme will begin with the two-day Halloween Festival on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October. The special 80’s themed Paisley Fireworks Spectacular will take place on the Saturday 4 November with the ever-popular Christmas Lights Switch On taking place two weeks later on Saturday 18 November.

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Paisley Winter Events package.
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Winter events excitement will extend across Renfrewshire with live music and free family entertainment taking place at Christmas Lights Switch Ons in Renfrew on Saturday 25 November and Johnstone on Saturday 2 December. The annual MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards comes to Paisley for the first time ever and will be held at Paisley Town Hall on Saturday 2 December.

Programme highlights include:

  • the spooktacular Halloween Parade through Paisley town centre with a stunning fire monster on a Paisley Chariot, New Orleans style street band Mr Wilson’s Second Liners Band, the Spark! Drummers and much more.

 

  • a spectacular Fire Garden and Fire Stage at Bridge Street with soundscapes, projections and illuminations to make for a real extravaganza of sight and sound in Abbey Close.

 

  • a night of music, haunted performers and spooky goings-on with a Halloween Ball at Paisley Town Hall and Friday Fright Night at Paisley Museum, organised by Renfrewshire Leisure.

 

  • an 80s themed Silent Disco in Paisley Town Hall during the afternoon and broadcast from Clyde One DJs in the evening ahead of the Paisley Fireworks Spectacular at Abbey Close.

 

  • The famous Reindeer Parade starting and finishing on Paisley High Street before Santa opens his grotto outside the Paisley Centre.

 

  • a Live Stage with performance by music headliners Ash before Paisley’s festive season is officially marked with the annual Christmas Lights Switch On.

The winter season is part of a wider programme of events in Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley was this summer named as the only Scottish location on the shortlist for the title, alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique heritage and cultural story to transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area, with the final bid document due to be submitted to the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the month.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The Halloween Festival, Fireworks Spectacular and Christmas Lights Switch On are established favourites in the town’s events calendar – and this year Paisley’s winter events programme is even bigger and better than ever.

“One of the key aims of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is to showcase the town’s proven track record in hosting a diverse range of major cultural activities and the winter events programme highlights just that.”

Tim Wheeler, frontman of Ash, said: “We’re really looking forward to playing Paisley for the switching on of the Christmas lights this year. Hopefully our tunes will get the elves dancing and the Christmas spirit flowing.”

Santa Claus, who visited the town for the launch of Paisley’s winter events programme, is looking forward to the Christmas Lights Switch On and said: “It will be a happy, wonderful occasion. Paisley’s real strength is its great people and I know they’ll turn out to see me and enjoy the night.”

Gerry Lyons, DJ for the 80s themed Silent Disco and family fun at the Fireworks Spectacular, said: “The eighties was a great decade for music and I’ll be playing everything from classic pop like Wham through to power ballads and iconic tunes like Michael Jackson’s thriller. The silent disco will see people in the room listen to different music through head phones, so they’re dancing to different tunes and it’s great fun.”

Find out more information at www.paisley2021.co.uk.

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PLANS TO BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO HISTORIC PAISLEY LANDMARK

the coats memorial

Plans are being submitted to Renfrewshire Council which would safeguard the future of one of Paisley’s best loved buildings, Thomas Coats Memorial Church.

The project would see the church transformed into a world class events and entertainment venue which could be used for arts performances, concerts and weddings.

the coats memorial

Looking to retain the striking features of this gothic inspired building, the proposal would see minimal alterations to the fabric of the building which has been under threat for many years due to rising maintenance costs.

Plans, which have support from Historic Environment Scotland, include a distinct theatre performance space and banqueting facility.

With an imposing position at the top of the town’s High Street, the church was commissioned by the family of Thomas Coats of Ferguslie in his memory and completed in 1894.

Known colloquially as the Baptist Cathedral of Europe, its spired gothic design is famous the world over.

However, this stunning building needs significant investment to be preserved for future generations.

With a dwindling congregation and a lack of essential funds required to maintain this iconic building, it is important that action is taken now.

Following year long discussions, a steering group has been working with the current trustees for the last six months to explore options to preserve this important landmark in Paisley’s history.

With the support of the trustees, a new vision has emerged to take this building forward and provide a resource which will benefit the town of Paisley for many years to come.

The man behind the project is Paisley entrepreneur, Ian Henderson, who serves as Chairman of Paisley First Business Improvement District and also sits on the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board.

“I have long been an admirer of this stunning building and like many Buddies, I am concerned that it may be lost to future generations if urgent action isn’t taken,” said Ian.

“As well as creating a world class venue for the arts and events, this proposal would also allow the continuation of University of West Scotland graduations at the church.

“Preserving this magnificent and historically important building now will bring benefits to all in the community.”

Speaking on behalf of the existing trustees, Allan Driver, said: “The existing trustees have spent a significant number of years trying to find a sustainable solution which will safeguard the future of the building, which is too important to be lost to the people of Paisley.

“Of all the options investigated, this is the proposal which we believe provides the most secure future for Thomas Coats Memorial Church.”

The plans being submitted to Renfrewshire Council, for a change of use for the building, would also allow for the continued use of the church by community groups who are currently based there.  

The current trustees of the church would hand the building over to a new trust, Coats Memorial Church Paisley Ltd, comprising of local business people who are all keen to ensure this Paisley landmark is preserved.

It’s expected the funding for the project would be a combination of private investment and grant funding. The application to Renfrewshire Council has been submitted today and is subject to a 21 day consultation period.

To see the designs being submitted to Renfrewshire Council please visit www.cmcpaisley.co.uk

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Discover more about Paisley’s Heritage during Doors Open Days

A series of workshops and exhibitions will take place this weekend to celebrate Paisley’s rich built heritage as part of Renfrewshire Council’s Townscape Heritage Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2 (TH.CARS 2).

The legendary Paisley Arts Centre will play host to a range of TH.CARS 2 activities taking place as part of Doors Open Days on Saturday 2 September 2017.

The £4 million TH.CARS 2 project, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council aims to make the area around the High Street a more attractive place to visit and invest while highlighting the significant role Paisley has played in the weaving and textile industry.

During Doors Open Days visitors can view work created by the STAR Project and artist Mandy McIntosh about the life and work of Paisley architect James Steel Maitland – including a short film and a publication ‘Special Concrete’. Create Paisley and local film maker Kevin Cameron will also premiere a short documentary ’Coats Tales – the Town that Coats Built’ about the architectural legacy left to Paisley by the Coats & Clarks families.

There will also be an opportunity to participate in a cognitive mapping workshop with designers Dress for the Weather and After the News where participants can think about how to mentally map their own Paisley. The Paisley TH.CARS2 team will be available throughout the day to provide information about future opportunities available through their five-year heritage and culture programme, and the grant funds available to Paisley town centre building owners.

The activities taking place not only celebrate the town’s heritage but also encourage people to get involved in a range of cultural activities. This is a key part of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Cllr Jim Paterson, said: “Paisley boasts an impressive built heritage and it’s great to see this celebrated during Doors Open Days and through the TH.CARS 2 project.

“Events and activities like this will help share the town’s unique story and attract more visitors and businesses to the area.”

Michael Easson, Grants Manager at HES, said:  “The funding awarded through our CARS and Historic Environment Repair Grant to Paisley in the last few years has played a significant role in supporting investment in the City’s built environment.

“We now hope, via  Doors Open Day 2017, this can help Renfrewshire Council attract as wide an audience as possible to engage with the City’s many fine heritage attractions, now and in the months and years to come.”

The events at Paisley Arts Centre are not the only activities TH.CARS2 are delivering over the course of the Doors Open Days weekend. An Arty-Archi Sketching and Walking Tour will also take place on 2 September. Heritage expert Alison McClandish leads an architectural sketching tour of Paisley’s Oakshaw area. The tour starts and finishes outside the High St entrance of UWS.

Additionally, a traditional building skills demonstration will take place at Abbey Close on 4 and 5 September. The public will be able to see the traditional building skills and crafts which maintain Paisley’s architectural heritage in action. The project is being delivered by TH.CARS2 in partnership with West College Scotland, and with the support of the Glasgow Traditional Building Forum, Scottish Traditional Building Forum, Glasgow City Heritage Trust, National Federation of Roofing Contractors, Stone Federation GB, CITB, Paisley Abbey and Paisley Hammermen Society.

To find out more about the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme please visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/thcars2

To find out more about the events taking place as part of Doors Open Days please visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/doorsopendays

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Paisley shows its passion for Tango Festival

Tango dance enthusiasts from across the UK and beyond visited Paisley at the weekend to take part in the first ever Paisley International Tango Festival.

Paisley International Tango Festival 26.8.17 Diego (El Pajaro) Reimer and Natalia Cristobal Rive

The festival which took place at the Coats Memorial Church from Fri 25 – Sun 27 August saw hundreds of people come along to learn new moves and see the experts in action. The event attracted dance fans from across Scotland, England, Germany, Spain and even as far away as Queensland.

The Paisley International Tango Festival was funded through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund (CHEF). It also shows the range of cultural activities taking place throughout the town as part of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Over the course of the weekend local people were invited to come along and take part in free taster tango classes. There was also a series of masterclasses and workshops which took place.

The centrepiece to this fantastic event was the Grand Milonga, an Argentinian social dance, on Saturday evening which featured world renowned tango music performer Juango Lopez Vidal and Orquesta Tipica – an international ensemble band working with members of Scotland’s highly regarded McFalls Chamber Orchestra.

The event was organised by Drew Moir who has been teaching argentine tango for six years and was delighted by the response to this event which is the first of its kind in the town.

He said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve had such overwhelming support for the event not just in Paisley but from the whole of Scotland. People have come from Europe, America and even Australia to visit the festival and it’s given them a great excuse to visit Paisley and Scotland. It’s great to be able to show that Paisley can host international events like this.”

The Culture Heritage and Events Fund enabled Drew to bring internationally renowned tango dancers to Paisley to deliver masterclass workshops and inspire the crowds. The instructors travelled to the town from as far afield as New York, Paris, Lyon, Russia and Australia to share their talents.

Bid Director for Paisley 2021, Jean Cameron, said: “It’s fantastc to see yet another great festival come to Paisley which attracted such world-class talent to the area as well as hundreds of visitors.

“The festival was so vibrant and fun and was a real celebration of dance. Paisley has a great relationship with dance, we are above the Scottish national average in terms of uptake in dance, so I’m sure tango will be another art form that people from Paisley and the surrounding areas will be keen to explore and learn more about.”

Drew is hoping to turn the Paisley International Tango Festival into an annual event following its success.

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Don’t miss your chance to look inside Renfrewshire’s historic landmarks

The ‘Porridge Bowl’, unique gargoyles and the home of Robert Burns’ compatriot are just a few of the intriguing sights and locations visitors to Renfrewshire can experience next weekend.

Paisley Abbey

Part of a worldwide event with over 50 countries taking part, Renfrewshire Doors Open Days is a celebration of the fantastic architecture and significant history of the region.

On Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September, everyone will have the opportunity to experience a weekend of exploration around Renfrewshire as many venues not normally accessible to the public open their doors for a look inside.

Alison Christie with children at the Sma’ Shot Cottages

On Saturday, the home of Robert Tannahill, the ‘Weaver Poet’ who formed a close relationship with Robert Burns, will be open for visitors to see the extraordinary collection of memorabilia on display at what is now the home to one of the oldest Burns Clubs in the world.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to look inside the John Neilson Institute which, due to its distinctive roof, is nicknamed the Porridge Bowl and has become a distinct feature of Paisley’s skyline.

Sunday will see the Renfrew Victory Baths welcome visitors in on a guided tour of the striking Edwardian swimming pool  which was awarded Grade ‘B’ listed status in 1971, while Castle Semple in Lochwinnoch will offer tours of the lookout tower giving visitors to take in the spectacular views of the loch and Garnock Valley.

After the news Paisley has been shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2021, its High St location will open its doors on both days to give everyone a chance to find out more about what the bid means for the area, what it could do for you and what’s still to come in the next few months.

More than 50 buildings and locations will be open for the public across the weekend ensuring there is something to peak everyone’s interest.

Kids can collect their own Doors Open Days passport from participating buildings and Renfrewshire’s libraries which they can fill up over the weekend with stamps.

Collecting five stamps will see them rewarded with a certificate and a gift in yet another reason to get involved.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron will be joining members of the public in exploring the area and can’t wait to see what she discovers.

Provost Cameron said: “We are extremely fortunate to have so many beautiful, historic buildings in Renfrewshire but it is not often that we take the time to visit them.

“Venues from across the area will open their doors to let us inside next weekend and I can’t wait to take up the opportunity.

“I will be at the Council chambers from 10am until midday so I’d be delighted to see you while I’m also looking forward to visiting the Sma’ Shot Cottages as it is always fascinating to hear the volunteers speak on the history of the weavers.

“So if you’ve always meant to visit Paisley Abbey, or never had the time to walk around Castle Semple, this weekend is the perfect opportunity so don’t miss out and visit as many locations as you can.”

The Renfrewshire Doors Open Day programme is available from all Renfrewshire libraries.

An online version can be downloaded from www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/doorsopendays

For a look forward to what’s coming up across Renfrewshire visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or www.paisley2021.co.uk/events

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Transformation tour of Paisley showcases investment in town

Investment in Paisley’s heritage buildings and high street is a strong sign that ambitious heritage-led transformation plans are bringing a new lease of life to the town.

Council Leader and Head of Regeneration at Pendulum

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson took a tour round Paisley’s town centre to see firsthand recent investments in heritage buildings and shop units in the town.

Council Leader, Head of Regeneration and Mr Hussain outside 20 High Street

The Council’s ambitious plans to use Paisley’s internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets as part of wider regeneration plans for the area have already seen the town shortlisted for the UK Government’s UK City of Culture 2021 competition.

Head of Regeneration and Council Leader at Coats Memorial Church

Regeneration plans are working towards transforming Paisley into a hub of creative and cultural excellence and a world-class visitor destination that will drive investment to the whole of Renfrewshire.

The Leader’s tour began with a visit to the ground floor of the former Arnotts building, now a 120 seat contemporary restaurant Pendulum by the owners of the town’s existing Cardosi’s restaurant, which has benefitted from a new frontage, part-funded by a grant from Renfrewshire Council’s retail improvement scheme.

The former Arnotts department store site has been transformed into new residential apartments on Gauze Street and Lawn Street as part of a joint venture between Park Lane Group and Renfrewshire Council, with work to develop further apartments on Smithhills Street due to commence on site very soon.

At 20 High Street, Councillor Nicolson greeted owner and landlord Mr Hussain who is refurbishing shop units in the King Solomon building, due to open soon. The private sector investment includes fitting both shop units with traditional shop fronts in keeping with Paisley’s heritage-led and cultural ambitions for the town centre.

The shops are next door to the proposed Learning and Cultural Hub at 22 High Street, a £5 million investment funded by Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Up at the top of the High Street, plans to renovate shop frontages to a traditional look is part of a £4 million investment into the Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration schemes in the area around the High Street, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council, expected to run until 2021.

Changing the way the area looks and feels and creating a warm welcome for visitors are part of plans behind Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, which will make the most out of County Square and rail connections through Paisley Gilmour Street, the fourth busiest train station in Scotland.

As part of the tour, the Leader also visited Moss Street to see renovations to residential property (14a Moss Street) and works at former Early Learning Centre (5 Moss Street). The tour ended at the magnificent Coats Memorial Church, which is currently in the care of trustees.

Council Leader said: “Our vision for Paisley is a new town centre economy based around heritage and culture as part of wider regeneration plans for the area.

“Being shortlisted in the UK Government’s UK City of Culture 2021 competition is a huge endorsement for the town. The competition has really changed people’s perceptions of the town and we are starting to see investment come into the area, which will drive economic benefits for the whole of Renfrewshire.

“Investment in venues and cultural infrastructure will have a huge effect on the local community, but also attract visitors into the town through our vital transport links – such as the M8, Paisley Gilmour Street, the fourth busiest train station in Scotland, and plans for a bridge from Renfrew to Yoker, funded by Glasgow City Deal.

“In retelling Paisley’s story to the world, we are bringing the past into the present and creating a new era for the town that will attract investment, people and jobs into the area. The work that we will put into submitting our final UK City of Culture 2021 bid to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in September, goes hand in hand with working with businesses, the community and landlords to transform the public space in Paisley.”

For more information on Paisley and the town’s bid for UK City of Culture in 2021, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

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Help Coats Observatory take part in Scottish Archaeology Month – vote for them in a public poll on Facebook

One of Paisley’s most beautiful buildings has been shortlisted to take part as a centrepiece for  Scottish Archaeology Month.


Coats Observatory, on Oakshaw Street West, has the chance to be one of six buildings or places in Scotland to take part in the showcase titled Dig It! 2017 but the Observatory need you to vote for them.

The Observatory opened in October 1883 and is Scotland’s oldest public observatory, giving visitors the opportunity to view the night sky through powerful telescopes.

Dig It! 2017 wants to highlight 6 extraordinary  hidden gems in Scotland. The Coats Observatory is 1 of 28 places put forward for a public vote, with each of the six winning sites hosting  events in September as part of the Archaeology event.

The organisers of Dig it! 2017 said: “Unlike the [Scottish] World Heritage Sites, you won’t find these places featured in as many travel guides, postcards or Instagram feeds.  They might be a little bit quieter, harder to find and rougher around the edges.

“You’ll have to step off the beaten track to see some of them with your own eyes; it’s all part of the experience.  Your reward is a piece of the past will surprise, delight and inspire you.

“Hidden Gem sites from across Scotland are vying for the public’s votes, with six winners hosting fantastic events in September as the centrepieces to Scottish Archaeology Month.  Each contender is supported by an organisation or group who works hard all year round to protect and promote these special places.”

Voting is taking place on the Dig It! 2017 <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/DigIt2017/posts/990602744408831:0“>Facebook page</a> until the end of July, with one “like” equalling one vote.

Councillor Mags MacLaren, whose Ward covers the Observatory said: “I would like to encourage as many people as possible to go online and vote for Coats Observatory in the Hidden Gems vote”, said Cllr Mags MacLaren (SNP – Paisley Northwest) commenting on the Dig It! 2017 campaign to celebrate Scottish archaeology.

“This is a great opportunity to promote Paisley’s history and heritage via this campaign.  Let’s get voting for the Coats Observatory to let more people across Scotland know of this magnificent building in the heart of our town.

“It’s easy to vote, simply go to the Dig It 2017 facebook page and ‘like’ the photo of Coats Observatory.
“The more ‘likes’ the observatory gets, the better chance that it will win the competition.“

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Voluntary Arts Festival shines spotlight on Paisley

Taking place in May each year, the Voluntary Arts Festival celebrates the wide range of creative activity taking place in cities, towns and villages across the UK and Ireland – and encourages newcomers to get involved.

Run by Voluntary Arts, the Festival features ‘come and try’ sessions, open rehearsals, workshops, flashmobs and CraftBombs – all designed to inspire people to get involved and find a creative passion, whether it’s singing, acting, painting, knitting, dancing, digital arts, cooking or the many other ways people get creative.

For 2017, with support from Renfrewshire Council and Paisley 2021, we’re shining an extra special spotlight on Paisley and Renfrewshire.

Between 5 – 14 May, events will be taking place across the town and surrounding area, with a special Voluntary Arts Festival ‘What’s On Guide’ available in local venues and online, to point people in the right direction. Events include a family ceilidh, workshops and open rehearsals from craft, music, digital art, dance and painting groups – with more to be announced.

An exhibition, created by Paisley Photographic Society in partnership with Voluntary Arts Scotland, will run at Paisley Central Library capturing local creative groups in action – and giving details of how people can join them.

A special map has been produced, giving local residents an overview of creative groups in the Paisley area, so people can see how they can get creative year-round.

An informative training session, run in conjunction with Access Renfrewshire, will take place on Saturday 6 May at Tannahill Centre, Paisley, to help groups be as accessible and welcoming as possible to participants.

To learn more about the Festival, and find events taking place nationwide, visit www.voluntaryarts.org/festival