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Paisley 2021 bid gets green light from councillors

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has been given the green light by councillors ahead of it being lodged with the UK Government next week.

 

Elected members were today given a preview of the contents of the bid report and gave unanimous cross-party approval for the council – as the lead agency in the Paisley 2021 partnership – to submit it on behalf of the town.

The 30-page document answers a series of questions set by the Department for Culture Media and Sport on the economic and social impact the title will have on the town, Paisley’s outline 2021 programme, and its ability to host the title.

Paisley is bidding for the prestigious title as part of wider plans to use the town’s unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future.

The bid deadline is Friday 28 April and the timetable published by DCMS says the 11 bidders can expect to find out in June if they have made the shortlist.

Those places will be expected to lodge a more detailed second-stage bid, with the winner expected to be announced at the end of the year.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The 18 months since the bid was launched have already been incredibly positive for the town and it has been a pleasure to be a part of.

“It has been a real grassroots movement, with more than 30,000 people taking part in the conversation around the bid and helping us shape the contents, and I want to thank everybody who contributed – your voices are in this bid.

“The bid has raised awareness of everything Paisley has to offer, changing negative perceptions of the town and creating a new sense of self-confidence.

“The bid is just one part of a wider set of plans aimed at using events, culture and heritage to bring new footfall and tourism to the town, and build a new type of town centre economy based around creative industry.

“But the impact of winning the title would be on another level – a year of major international events and huge numbers of visitors in 2021, thousands of new jobs, major investment in infrastructure and a lasting economic and social legacy.

“The work to prepare the bid has been a real partnership effort, with great contributions from a wide range of different groups all working to a common goal.

“Approval from councillors was the last milestone on this stage of the journey before the bid is submitted next week – and we know we have one which will show the judges how much Paisley wants and needs the title and is ready to deliver it.”

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

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Renfrewshire Interfaith group backs the bid

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has been backed by members of a group designed to bring together all the area’s different faiths.

Members of the Renfrewshire Interfaith group gathered in Paisley Abbey to show their support for the Paisley 2021 bid, which is due to be lodged in April.

The group is one of the regional branches of Interfaith Scotland and has members from various Christian denominations, as well as the Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and pagan communities, plus many more.

Their aim is to work together to promote and foster unity between Renfrewshire’s different faith communities, and to build good relations between people of different beliefs.

Last year, the group was successful in a bid to host the launch of the Scotland-wide national interfaith week at Paisley Town Hall, which took place in November.

Stephen Haggerty, chair of Renfrewshire Interfaith Group, said: “Renfrewshire is a wonderfully unique, diverse and multi-cultural place, where people of many different faiths and beliefs all live and work side by side, that is something to be celebrated.

“An opportunity lies for us to work much closer together to build a society rooted in values we all treasure.

“For this, Interfaith dialogue becomes incredibly important – it provides us with a chance to find common ground, and foster mutual respect, openness, and understanding with others who have beliefs different from our own, and to build on our shared hopes and values for the benefit and betterment of society.

“We hope through Interfaith work and dialogue we can go some way to helping to achieve that goal.”

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “Our various faith groups make up a really important part of Renfrewshire’s cultural fabric and we are thrilled to have the interfaith group on board with the bid.

“For the bid to be a success, it needs to be able to show support from throughout the local community, and we have been delighted by the way the people of Renfrewshire continue to come forward to be a part of what is happening.”

For more information on the Paisley 2021 bid, visit paisley2021.co.uk

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Origins Gym offer free membership to Paisley 2021 business backers

A Renfrewshire gym is helping get Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 into shape – by offering free memberships to any other businesses who sign up to back the bid.

Origins Fitness founders Pam Berry, Graham Weaver and Graham’s daughter Ariella Weaver

Award-winning Origins Fitness, based in Hillington Park, has urged local businesses to get behind the Paisley 2021 bid by pledging one month’s free membership to supporters.

The gym was one of a number of organisations visited by the Culture Bus during its recent tour of Renfrewshire to raise awareness of the Paisley 2021 City of Culture bid.

Origins Fitness was founded by Graham Weaver and Pamela Berry in September 2011 and first opened in a 500 square foot rented personal training studio in Paisley’s Abercorn Street.

Origins Fitness founder Graham Weaver with his daughter Ariella Weave

However, the facility’s phenomenal rise in popularity led to the pair opening Origins Fitness Gym in Hillington Business Park just 10 months later.

The state of the art 5,500 square foot gym has since been crowned Renfrewshire’s Favourite Business at the Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce ROCCO Awards 2016 and Glasgow’s Best Gym at the Move GB Awards in 2017.

To date, almost 200 local businesses and organisations have formally backed Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 – and Origins founder Graham reckons his offer will entice more to come forward and do the same.

Graham said: “We firmly believe that businesses should invest in their town. This is why we sponsor the Paisley Panthers ice hockey team, Paisley Spartans American Football team, Paisley Basketball Club, Jordan Gronkowski Racing Team, Derek Shanks XC mountain biker and are strongly backing the bid for Paisley 2021.

“I’m originally from Barrhead but spent all my time in Paisley – through work and university – and it used to be the busiest place. Over the years it’s been getting quieter so we totally believe in backing the bid and getting Paisley back into being a brilliant, popular and vibrant place.

“Health and fitness is also a massive bonus to workforces. So they’ll be able to say that, because they’re backing Paisley’s bid, they can give every single member of staff a free gym membership. Studies have shown that healthy staff are happy staff.”

Find out how you can back Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 by visiting http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/partners/

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S3 pupils asked to help shape Paisley 2021 bid

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School pupils from across Renfrewshire were asked to help shape Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 ambitions by submitting their own ideas for the bid.

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The Higher Expectations Event hosted by the University of the West of Scotland saw 120 S3 pupils split into five-person teams and asked to discuss what ‘culture’ means to them.

They were also challenged to produce an idea to be included in the Paisley 2021 bid programme and which involves local pupils.

Five prizes of £250 were awarded to the teams from Trinity High, Paisley Grammar, Castlehead, St Andrew’s Academy and Park Mains.

The Park Mains team of Kyle Burns, Callum Munro, Elise Roxburgh, Maya Little and Hannah Stirling were declared the overall winners for their idea to help brighten up Paisley High Street by placing a series of murals on shopfronts.

Each of the five sponsors provided a judge for the panel – Steven Thomson (Paisley 2021 bid team), Bob Grant (Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce), Bob Davidson (Developing the Young Workforce West), Gordon Hunt (UWS) and Vicky Gemmell (Skills Development Scotland).

Renfrewshire Council’s education convener, Councillor Jacqueline Henry, said: “We were delighted to work with UWS and other local organisations for this event.

“The Paisley 2021 bid ultimately aims to create a better future for Renfrewshire and the young people of the area are the ones who that will impact on most – so it is only right they be asked what they want to see from Paisley’s bid.

“One of the key things we want to put across is that culture is for everybody, and we want our young people to know the benefits it brings are theirs to enjoy if they want them.”

This event was part of a wider initiative run by UWS to engage S3 pupils who show academic potential to help them maximise their talent and consider higher education as an option later in life.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said: “As proud and proactive supporters of the Paisley 2021 bid, we were delighted to run another event on our Paisley campus to promote the town for the UK City of Culture 2021 title.

“The University regularly works with schools to help raise aspirations and awareness of future possibilities.

“We are actively involved in the Children’s University and recently launched our Wee University which provides the opportunity for early years staff and students to work with local nursery aged children.”

More information on the 2021 bid can be found at paisley2021.co.uk and on the university at uws.ac.uk

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Gerard Butler backs Paisley 2021 bid

Paisley’s ambitions to be UK City of Culture 2021 have received another big boost – after Hollywood star Gerard Butler backed the bid.

Lego Gerard in the video and one of Morgan Spence helping launch the video this week

The Paisley-born actor spoke of his pride at being recreated in Lego during an animated film made by teenage Kilbarchan filmmaker Morgan Spence in support of the Paisley 2021 bid.

Taking to his Twitter and Facebook accounts to back the bid, Gerard said: “Honoured to make the cut, especially in Lego form. Paisley 2021, you have my support!”

Gerard grew up in Paisley and attended St Mirin’s and St Margaret’s High School before progressing to University of Glasgow School of Law and then on to Hollywood stardom with his roles in hit films 300, PS I Love You and Olympus Has Fallen.

Morgan’s video was unveiled at an event at St Charles Primary School on Wednesday and has become a social media sensation, now seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Political broadcaster Andrew Neil was one of the big names featured in Lego form and showed the clip on his Daily Politics BBC show yesterday.

And Morgan’s video was also a hit with STV weatherman Sean Batty, who also starred and described it as ‘absolutely incredible’, adding ‘I’ve just messaged Morgan to say how wonderful it is…I love it!’.

Other famous Buddies recreated in Lego included Paolo Nutini, Gerry Rafferty, John Byrne, David Tennant, and 80s singer Kelly-Marie, while the video also gives nods to iconic Paisley buildings – and even St Mirren’s 1959 Scottish Cup win.

You can see Morgan animation’s on the Paisley 2021 YouTube channel here https://youtu.be/JUJ3Q859GqQ

Morgan’s video was funded through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events fund, designed to help build up the local creative scene before the bid is lodged with judges at the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport this April.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Paisley 2021 partnership board chair Mark Macmillan added: “Morgan’s video is a wonderful showcase of the town – and the reaction to it online this week has been incredible.

“As well as being a hit with the huge numbers of people to watch it so far, it’s also caught the attention of the celebrities who feature in it.

“We are delighted Gerard Butler has added his name to the list of famous Buddies who have publicly backed the bid – to have his endorsement just shows the extent to which the world is taking notice of Paisley and what is has to offer.”

For more info on Paisley 2021, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk

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We Are The Voice Art Programme & Free Visual Arts Drop In

We Are The Voice by Create Paisley, is a project designed to showcase young people’s visions and dreams of what Paisley could be like in 2021.

We’re looking for 21 young artists (ages 12-21) to create artwork representing their dreams and visions for Paisley2021.Whether you’re a poet, a musician, an artist, filmmaker or you love to paint, this is for you!

 Working alongside the Paisley 2021 bid team, Create will offer support for successful applicants to create an artwork expressing their ideas. We can offer access to cameras, computers with Adobe and design software, art supplies, trained art professionals or just a guiding hand.

Successful applicants will have their work displayed in a June exhibition in Paisley (and an online gallery) and will be promoted throughout the project by Create Paisley.

Getting involved is really easy: You can drop us an email to maria@createpaisley.org.uk OR pop in to CREATE (22 Lawn Street, PA1 1HF) every Thursday from 4pm to 6pm for our weekly arts drop in Couch & Canvas.

Join us, be creative and express your voice for Paisley 2021!

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Teenage Lego movie whizz unveils film for Paisley’s City of Culture bid

A teenager from Kilbarchan has created a fabulous stop-motion animation film about the nearby town of Paisley, Scotland in trademark Lego bricks style.

The three-minute film, which was launched today (1 February) at St. Charles’ Primary School in Paisley features the town’s most striking buildings while Paisley “buddies” are depicted in their most famous roles – from David Tennant as Dr. Who and the artist and playwright, John Byrne, in his studio, to pop megastar Paolo Nutini performing at ‘T in the Park’. There’s even homage to kitsch 70s Paisley pop queen, Kelly-Marie.

Following his creation of ‘Brick Flicks’- a series of stop-motion animation films using Lego of famous movie scenes – 17 year-old Morgan Spence has been fêted by America’s Jimmy Kimmel and commissioned by a Birmingham man to create a unique marriage proposal (screened before the main feature in his local cinema).

Morgan received funding for this new film from Paisley’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, which is designed to enhance the town’s cultural richness and diversity as part of its bid to become UK City of Culture 2021.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Bid Partnership Board, Mark Macmillan, said: “The wealth of young, creative talent in Renfrewshire is an extremely important part of our bid to become UK City of Culture 2021, and we are delighted to have Morgan in our midst.

“His film is a wonderful, affectionate tribute to Paisley, which we hope will ignite further debate about the town and its future.”

Morgan Spence said, “Renfrewshire Council has supported my films for several years, involving me in Lego exhibitions back in 2013 and 2014. So it was a privilege for me to be able to promote the town in this way.

“My parents and grandparents went to school and worked in Paisley and I’m delighted to have been able to play a small part in enhancing the town’s bid to become UK City of Culture.”

As part of his funding, Morgan is also delivering digital filmmaking and animation workshops in 10 Renfrewshire schools – one of which was today’s session at St Charles’. Meanwhile he is studying for a clutch of qualifications at Johnstone High School in a bid to secure a place at university to study multimedia journalism.

Lynne Hollywood, Acting Head Teacher at Johnstone High, said: “Morgan is in his sixth year at Johnstone High School and we are incredibly proud of him. At just 17, he manages to balance his academic studies alongside his duties as Depute Head Boy, whilst also making stop-motion animation films through his own production company.

“Morgan has a genuine commitment to his local community and his film for the 2021 bid is a great example of how our talented, local young people can back the bid.”

Morgan’s film about Paisley, which took four months to make, is at (insert link to movie on Paisley 2021 YouTube channel).

For further information on Morgan Spence, visit www.morgspennyproductions.co.uk

For more information on Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture visit www.paisley2021.co.uk or follow us on Twitter @Paisley 2021 or on Facebook /Paisley2021

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MSP Derek: Paisley deserves to win 2021 title

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has had some more high-level backing – after local MSP Derek Mackay threw his weight behind the town’s ambitions.

In the latest show of cross-party support for the bid, Renfrewshire North and West MSP Derek says the town deserves the title and believes the Paisley 2021 campaign has ‘captured the imagination’ of people across the area.

Derek – also the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution – was speaking during a series of videos now available on the Paisley 2021 YouTube channels.

He said: “I am very positive about Paisley and always have been – it’s the town I was born in. I think Paisley is very deserving to win UK City of Culture 2021– it has the passion, the pride and the people.

“The events that are taking place are wonderful and they’ve grown over a number of years – there is a sense of that cultural renaissance making a difference.

“The bid has captured the imagination of many people right across the county – and indeed across the country eyes are on Paisley and Renfrewshire.

“It’s a fantastic, positive, energised campaign which is all about people, and people should be involved in whatever way they can.

“Be part of it and enjoy it as well because the bid is about being positive about Paisley and it’s great fun too.”

Paisley’s bid is due to be lodged at the end of April with the competition organisers, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport – and the town will find out if it has made the shortlist in the summer.

The bid has already received cross-party political backing at well-attended parliamentary receptions at both Westminster and Holyrood.

Over the next few months, bid leaders will be pushing ahead with plans to generate as much local-level support for the campaign as possible.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council Leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, added: “From the start we said this bid would be by the people of Paisley for the people of Paisley.

“Over the past year, thousands of local people have taken part in conversations around the bid to help shape it, and we recently saw the 2021st person ‘push the button’ on our website to support for the campaign.

“A successful bid could help transform Renfrewshire’s fortunes – but for that to happen we need even more of you to help show the judges that Paisley wants the title, needs the title, and can deliver it.

“You can find out more about how you can get involved at paisley2021.co.uk.”

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Paisley to Monte Carlo Classic Rally Photographs

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Paisley 2021 gets 2021st backer at music festival

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 just passed another magical milestone – after 2021 people signed up to back it online.

Scott Lever and Nyree Marsh pushing the button to back the bid

The bid website at paisley2021.co.uk has had an option for residents to ‘push the button’ to register their support since the start of November.

And University of the West of Scotland music student Scott Lever – one of the team who organised the uni’s Scottish Music Festival, taking place today – was the man who helped tip the total over the line.

The first ever music festival at the university saw a number of performances in the Atrium and Brough Hall throughout the day.

The festival was headlined by local band Lemonhaze, who recently won a nationwide competition to open for Paolo Nutini before a crowd of tens of thousands at Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay street party.

And Scott and fellow events management student Nyree Marsh, both from Greenock, were delighted to add their names to the thousands who have already backed the bid online,

Scott said: “We fully support the Paisley 2021 bid and it’s a real honour for me to be the 2021st backer.

“Paisley has so much going on, with the Monte Carlo Rally next week and the Scottish Album of the Year coming back, plus there’s so many good bands.

“The music festival came about when we were asked to put an event on with some bands in the Atrium as part of our course – word got out and it started to grow and we added in guest speakers and people from the Scottish music industry.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board, added: “For Paisley 2021 to reach 2021 online backers in less than three months just shows the depth of support here in the town.

“That number can be added to the almost 10,000 who have already taken part in conversations around the bid online or at one of our events.

“From the start we said the bid would be led by the people of Paisley for the people of Paisley, and that has been the case.

“So it was fitting the 2021st backer was Scott – someone who is doing great work to help showcase the great musical talent we have in the town.

“But the drive for support doesn’t stop here – for us to have a chance of winning we need people to help us show the judges at DCMS that the people of Paisley want the bid and can make it happen.

“You can push the button at paisley2021.co.uk now – let’s see how many we can get to show their support by the time the bid is lodged in April.”