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Haulage firm flying the flag for Paisley 2021 with truck

A Renfrewshire-based distribution company will be flying the flag for Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid – after revealing a branded truck and trailer.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Councillor Iain Nicolson
Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital  infogibsondigital@gmail.co.uk    www.gibsondigital.co.uk

Hillington-based Gordon Leslie Group provide distribution and storage services throughout the UK and beyond, and joins a wide range of companies who have agreed to provide funding should Paisley’s bid be successful.

And new Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson – also the chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board – paid the company a visit to see the truck and trailer – covered in colourful 2021 branding – for himself.

Paisley is bidding for the title as part of a wider push to use the area’s unique cultural and heritage offer to transform its future.

The town’s initial bid was submitted in April and competition organisers at the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport are due to announce the shortlist for the second stage over the summer.

To date the Paisley 2021 bid has been backed by almost 200 local firms – including internationally-important names Glasgow Airport, intu Braehad and WH Malcolm.

There has also been support from Coats PLC – which started life in the town and remains the world’s largest industrial thread manufacturer – and whisky giant Diageo, who bottle 30% of the world’s Scotch from their Shieldhall base.

Councillor Nicolson said: “The UK City of Culture bid has already taken awareness of what Paisley has to offer to a new level. No matter what happens next, that will bring new visitors and investment into the area for local businesses to feed off.

“Should the bid be successful, there would be even more economic opportunity and thousands of new jobs for Renfrewshire, as well as all the social benefits from creating opportunities for people to get involved in cultural activity.

“We are fortunate to be home to large employers such as Gordon Leslie Group – we are delighted they have thrown their support behind the bid and it’s great to think the truck and trailer will be spreading a bit of Paisley on its travels.”

Gordon Leslie Group is a second-generation family business, which has been based in Renfrewshire almost 50 years.

Managing director Craig Leslie said: “The firm was started by my father and has been in Renfrewshire since the 1970s – first at Abbotsinch Industrial Estate, then Linwood, and now Hillington.

“Paisley 2021 is a fantastic opportunity to put the area back on the map and will provide a much-needed boost for local businesses in terms of attracting investment and creating jobs.

“We are behind what the bid is trying to achieve and I would call on other businesses to consider how they could get involved and help promote the town.”

You can see the Paisley 2021 business wall and find out more about the bid at paisley2021.co.uk

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Stuart Mitchell Interview

Stuart Mitchell Interview

Following the runaway success of his 2016 Fringe debut ‘Dealt a Bad Hand’ BBC Radio Scotland’s ‘Breaking the News’ panelist Stuart Mitchell brings his critically acclaimed show to Paisley Arts Centre on Friday 9th June. You can read more about Stuart here.

The interview was conducted by our very own Peter Greenwood.

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Bill revealed for three-day arts fest taking over Paisley town centre

The programme has been revealed for a three-day arts festival set to take over Paisley town centre this summer, inspired by the town’s globally-significant heritage of weaving and radical politics.

musician Johnny Barr, ceramic artist Karen Hanvidge, poet Shaun Moore and Linda Morrison, of Paisley’s Sma’ Shot Cottages

The town’s annual Sma’ Shot Day celebration – one of the world’s oldest workers festivals – is this year joined by a wraparound cultural programme called Weave, as part of the push towards Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Weave – on Friday 30 June, Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 July – is billed as a signature event in Scotland’s Year of Heritage, History and Archaeology 2017.

The event will reconnect the town’s weaving heritage and global connections via a programme boasting almost 40 shows across six venues and two outdoor live zones in Paisley’s historic town centre.

Programme highlights include:

– Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, the Scottish/English/Indian ensemble touring their new album Neuk Wight Dehli All-Stars;

– the premiere of Iranian textile artist Paria Goodarzi’s new show Mass Movement, influenced by her personal journey as a refugee rebuilding her life in Scotland;

– unveiling two new poems written by author and journalist Kirstin Innes and award-winning novelist, playwright and performer Alan Bissett at the Sma’ Shot Poetry Slam

– an outdoor family ceilidh, mass drum-off, and two live music stages – main stage in Abbey Close, hosted by DJs, and an outdoor stage at Paisley Arts Centre, hosted by Celtic Music radio;

– live music zones at Paisley Arts Centre and Shuttle Street on Saturday, 12noon to 10pm with Paisley Music Guild, Renfrewshire Trad, Create Renfrewshire, LNP and Brick Lane,  and in The Cave, Shuttle Street on Sunday, 1 – 10pm;

– a poetry slam, storytelling sessions, and a series of talks, tours, workshops and demonstrations from local artists and designers, including traditional Paisley shawl weaving;

The event will also include all the traditional Sma’ Shot Day elements on the Saturday, including a parade through the town led by performance experts Walk the Plank, historic re-enactments by local youth theatre group PACE, and a pyrotechnic Burning of the Cork show outside Paisley Abbey.

The full bill can be viewed at www.paisley2021.co.uk.  Some of the acts featuring on the bill – musician Johnny Barr, ceramic artist Karen Hanvidge and poet Shaun Moore – joined Linda Morrison, of Paisley’s Sma’ Shot Cottages, which recreates an 18th century weavers’ home and will be open over the event weekend.

Annique Armstrong, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating culture through a range of exciting experiences and events in celebration of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

“Scotland’s history & heritage is defined by our traditions, both past & present – all of which will be at the very heart of Weave’s vibrant and varied weekend programme of activity. From workshops to live music, storytelling to artist and designer showcases, Weave will welcome both locals and visitors alike to celebrate and engage with Paisley’s rich and colourful historical roots.”

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “Sma’ Shot Day is an established favourite in the town’s events calendar – but with Weave this year making it a weekend-long event, it will be bigger and better.

“Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 aims to allow the creative talent for which the town is famed to exhibit their exemplary work in this cultural programme alongside established artists.

“So it is great to see the bill for Weave mixing a strong international strand with a showcase of the best musical and artistic performers from the area.”

Sma’ Shot Day marks the victory of Paisley’s weavers in an industrial dispute over payment for the Sma’ (small) Shot thread, which was unseen but held the famous Paisley-patterned cashmere shawls together.

A long fight and political battle ensued which the weavers eventually won and saw the traditional first-weekend-in-July holiday renamed Sma’ Shot Day.

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National orchestra to ‘take over’ Paisley for 2021 bid

National orchestra

Renfrewshire teenagers dreaming of a career in the music industry are being offered a chance to learn from the best through a unique link-up with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

The RSNO are staging a two-day Takeover event in Paisley in October – culminating a special show in Paisley Town Hall as part of the annual Spree festival.

Up to 50 young people will get to work on every aspect of planning and staging the gig – guided by professionals from the RSNO, including international-class musicians.

The link-up is taking place as part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, for which the initial bid was lodged at the end of April.

National orchestra

Opportunities include performing or conducting, as well as working on marketing, press and PR, fundraising, learning and engagement, and stage and orchestra management.

The RSNO Paisley Takeover is inviting applications now from young people living in Renfrewshire aged 15 to 18 on 24 October 2017.

The application period runs until 23 May and details of how to apply are at www.paisley2021.co.uk.

Jean Cameron, Paisley 2021 bid director said: “A key feature of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is in making it easier for residents – particularly young people – to get involved in cultural activity and enjoy the benefits that brings.

“The Takeover is open to any young people with an interest in music – and will be of great experience for anybody considering a career in that field, whether on or off stage.

“Another key bid feature is in bringing artists of international standing to Paisley for local creative talent to learn from – so we are delighted to be working with an organisation of the calibre of the RSNO.

“The RSNO and Paisley already have a good partnership, with the stunning collaborations between the orchestra and some of Scotland’s best bands in Paisley Abbey having formed the musical highlights of recent Spree festivals.”

RSNO Head of Learning and Engagement Samantha Wright added: “We’re delighted to once again open our doors to an influx of young people in this way, offering the chance to run one of Scotland’s busiest performing arts organisations.

“Takeover provides a rare and valuable experience to those seeking to pursue a career in the arts, and is intended to be challenging, stimulating and fun. You never know – we may very well have a future RSNO conductor or chief executive among our group.”

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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

paisley2021-logo

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.

paisley2021-logo

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!