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Record Number of Scots At Uni

Brexit Blamed For Fall In EU Students

The latest UCAS figures reveal that a record number of Scots were accepted to UK universities in 2017 and Scottish universities opened their doors to record numbers of new students.
While all other UK countries saw a decrease in the number of their residents accepted to university, Scotland bucks the trend with increasing numbers of Scots accepted to universities here.

Meanwhile, after years of positive growth, UCAS has cited Brexit as a possible cause for the 4.4% decline in EU applicants choosing to come and study in the UK.

The damage that this Brexit-fuelled reduction in EU students will do to both our economy and the world of academia is highlighted by the Universities UK research which found that EU students generated £414.1m for the Scottish economy in 2011-12, and in doing so created 3,743 jobs.

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

“It is fantastic that Scotland’s education system has supported 36,500 people to secure a place at university this year – that’s a 2.4% increase on last year.

“We are also bucking the trend with increasing numbers of Scots accepted to universities here, while all other UK nations have experienced a decline in local applications to university.

“And while it’s great that Scottish universities opened their doors to record numbers in 2017, it is concerning that the UK has become an increasingly less popular destination for EU students since the Brexit vote last year. This is bad news for our universities and for the wider Scottish economy, which is boosted by hundreds of millions of pounds generated by EU students each year.

“The Tories’ increasingly insular approach to the world and the endless uncertainty they have created for EU citizens living here in Paisley is damaging the UK’s reputation, our economy and future prosperity, and the SNP will do all in its power to protect EU citizens in Paisley and continue making Scotland an attractive place to work and study.”

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Hat-trick of wins for Kilbarchan AAC in annual sports awards

COACHES from Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club ran out with a hat-trick of wins at the annual Renfrewshire Sports Awards.
Arthur Smith won both the Community Coach of the Year and Dedication to Sport awards along with John Rodger, who lifted the Event Volunteer of 2017 award.

Arthur has been a member of Kilbarchan AAC for more than 50 years and has been coaching young athletes for three decades, including Scottish internationalist, Laura Stark and GB runner, Jemma Reekie.
John has been involved with the club for more than 20 years and has been instrumental in the development of athletics – cross-country, road race and track and field events in Renfrewshire’s schools. He is also heavily involved in organising the popular annual Paisley 10k Race and Fun Run.

Other winners presented with awards at the event,organised by Renfrewshire Lerisure and held at a ceremony in Johnstone Town Hall, were – Development Coach of the Year, Susan Wright, who is head coach of Clyde Judo Club; Young Coach of the Year, Claire Scougall, who coaches Paisley Juniors Netball Club and Volunteer of the Year was won by Joanne McDowall, who has developed sporting activity at Barsail Primary, in Erskine.
Young Volunteer of the Year went to Lusia Steele, who delivers school health days at Barsail Primary and volunteers at the Johnstone Jets cycling club; Disability Coach of the Year is Rachel Killens, who is a disabled athlete herself and coaches swimmers with additional support needs.

And Jack Thomson, a referee at the Basketball Paisley Friday Night Superleague, West Regional Development League and other Scottish League games, won the Technical Official of the Year award.
The Honour Our School Sports Award was given to one student from every local secondary school who has shown commitment to sport. The winners were –
Alan Rice, Linwood High; Amy McCann, Renfrew High; Craig Kennedy, Park Mains High; Eilidh Murphy, Gleniffer High; Franca Paterson, St Andrew’s Academy; Gemma Whyte, St Benedict’s High; John Martin, Johnstone High; Mario Girasoli, Trinity High and Rebecca Telford, from Gryffe High.

A Level Six Award in Higher Sports Leadership was presented to Alan Rice, Calum Findlay, Emma Driver, Heather Fawcett and Laura-Rose Reid.
The special guest at the awards ceremony was Corinne Hutton, from Lochwinnoch who has defied the odds after having had both her hands and legs amputated when she suffered acute pneumonia and septicemia.
Since losing her limbs, Corinne has gone on to set three world records including becoming the first female quadruple amputee to climb Ben Nevis. She has also set up a charity called Finding Your Feet to support families affected by amputation, or limb differences through a range of sporting and social inclusion initiatives.

Corinne took to the stage for a Question and Answer Session with the event host, broadcaster Lorraine Herbison.

Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa Marie Hughes said: “These awards showcase the talent, dedication and commitment of individuals in our community.

“With Paisley’s bid to become UK city of Culture 2021, sport plays a large role in the culture of our community. We have a vibrant and exciting sports network in Renfrewshire, which adds energy and passion to the overall bid.”
The successful event was sponsored by Renfrewshire Council, West College Scotland, Renfrewshire Sports Network, and SportScotland.

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Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has extended a warm welcome to all Freshers who have started their courses at either the University of the West of Scotland or at West College Scotland.

As classes begin, Gavin Newlands MP is also reminding those students to remember to sign up to the electoral register to make sure that they are entitled to vote.


While youth turnout was at its highest in this year’s General Election since 1992, and the gap between the number of older voters and younger voters decreased, young people are still noticeably less likely to vote and millions are still missing from the electoral register.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MSP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:
“I extend a warm welcome to all those students who have moved to study in Paisley. Renfrewshire is a fantastic place to live and I hope you enjoy your stay here whilst you are studying.


“Many of the students will be moving away from home for the first time and they should remember to register to allow them to vote. Registering to vote online takes a couple of minutes and it is important that the thousands of freshers who may have moved address to begin their studies this year make sure they are registered to vote.

“Decisions are being taken every day that will affect young people, not least on Brexit-related issues, jobs or indeed tuition fees.

“In Scotland, the SNP has legislated to grant 16 and 17 year olds the right to vote, however at Westminster, the Tories are reluctant to extend the franchise to them, despite the SNP’s repeated calls to allow 16 and 17 year olds to have a say in general elections.

“My advice to anyone given the opportunity to register to vote, is to take it with both hands.”

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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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NASA astronaut launches out of this world space school in Renfrewshire

American-born NASA astronaut Steve Swanson joined 200 young people in Paisley for a spectacular week-long space school.

Alexander Slack, 15, pupil at Renfrew High School, Samantha Batten, 14, pupil at Trinity High School, and NASA astronaut Steve Swanson

School pupils from Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and East Renfrewshire will work together to design a science experiment that can be carried out in space during Mission Discovery Renfrewshire, an event hosted by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and run by the International Space School Education Trust (ISSET).

The programme gives young people the chance to learn from NASA’s approach to developing leadership, team building and personal development as well as fostering interest in science and research.

Teams of pupils will work alongside student mentors from UWS and a panel of space experts, including Steve Swanson, 56, who will share his insights and experience gained during 643 days of space flight.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “Mission Discovery has been a tremendous success in Renfrewshire and pupils who have taken part tell us what a great programme it is.

“Learning first-hand from space experts is a unique opportunity for young people and we hope it will inspire many of them to consider taking science forward as a career.

“Renfrewshire is one of only a few places where children can learn directly from NASA astronauts and that’s thanks to Mission Discovery and the team at ISSET.

The fourth Mission Discovery Renfrewshire kicks-off just days after SpaceX 11 rocket launched into outer space towards the International Space Station, carrying last year’s winning experiment.

The experiment was designed to test whether bacteria can enable phosphate to become soluble, which is a step towards enabling plant growth on Mars.

The winning team said: “It is great that our experiment is on its way from Paisley to the International Space Station and it will be amazing to see the results. We know there is an abundance of inorganic phosphate on the surface of Mars, but plants would need it to be solubilised in order to grow.

“Phosphate solubilising bacteria are able to achieve this solubilising, but we do not yet know how effectively the bacteria will grow in microgravity. This experiment will compare growth of the bacteria in microgravity compared to on earth.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, UWS Principal & Vice-Chancellor, said: “The Mission Discovery project is one of the most innovative programmes we’ve ever been involved with at UWS.  It is vital that as a university we promote and nurture the development of science, engineering, technology and mathematics capability in students and young people and introduce them to these areas as well as to the prospects of higher education.

“We want to foster interest in these areas as well as developing and encouraging the best talent and this project goes a long way towards achieving this goal. As such, UWS is delighted not only to take a lead role in supporting the Mission Discovery project for the fourth year running, but also to be hosting this year’s event for the second time at our Paisley Campus which brings together nearly 250 secondary school students onto the Campus.

“We are extremely keen to continue to develop our involvement in this important project that continues to support widening access and the pursuit of higher level skills in students.”

Pupils will find out which experiment has been chosen to be launched into outer space at the end of the programme.

To find out more about Mission Discovery Renfrewshire, follow #RenMD2017 on Facebook and Twitter.

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NNE Presents The Complete Stone Roses & Madchester Party

Calling all fans of MADCHESTER….

**Saturday 18th March****

NNE are delighted to announce we have The Complete Stone Roses + Full Support Headlining a full night of MADCHESTER mayhem for us at the SAUWS, Storie Street, Paisley.

This is going to be an awesome night paying homage to one of the most inspirational periods & cities in modern music history.

The SAUWS Paisley will be open from 19:30hrs, with full support act lined up, followed by our headliners – THE COMPLETE STONE ROSES – who are now one of the UK’s most well-known, most seen and most successful tribute bands.

The aftershow party kicks in with DJ playing sounds of Madchester right through to 3am.

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University PhD researcher aims to put Paisley on the cultural map

Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 aims to put the area on the map – and that’s exactly what one University of West of Scotland (UWS) student intends to do.

Alison McAndlish, University of West of Scotland PhD Researcher

Alison McCandlish, 38, who is a PhD student in Cultural Heritage at UWS, is developing a cultural map of Renfrewshire which forms part of the bid campaign.

And she hopes to use the map to showcase the wide range of cultural assets and ‘what is happening where’ across Paisley and Renfrewshire as a whole.

Alison working on the Renfrewshire Cultural Map

Alison said: “The reason behind the map is to show the diversity of things that are happening in Renfrewshire because there are huge amounts of music activity, arts activity, theatre and broadcast activities but they’re not mapped at the moment.

“The idea is to get people involved in inputting information as well so that it is a community-based map, showing what they do.

“What we want to do is get as many things as possible on the map, such as the cultural heritage activities that are going on around Renfrewshire. That includes things such as pubs, sports and leisure activities, people with exhibitions and cafes that have got events on.

“It’s not just about official tourist attractions or organised venues, but places that wouldn’t be that obvious without further research. It’s a place for people to showcase their activity.”

A building, venue or even an organisation which does cultural things is considered a ‘cultural asset’ and can be plotted on Alison’s interactive map.

The locations are represented visually by coloured dots and can fall into nine categories of cultural activity. These are:

  • Community
  • History, heritage and architecture
  • Sports, leisure and open spaces
  • Film, broadcast and digital activities
  • Music
  • Literature and spoken word
  • Visual arts
  • Theatre and dance
  • Fashion, design and applied arts

Alison said: “Before I created the map, there wasn’t a visual way of seeing what’s happening across Renfrewshire. There’s a lot of information but it’s all in different places so the idea is that the map shows up the concentration of things that are happening across activities.”

Professor Gayle McPherson of the University’s School of Media, Culture and Society, who is Alison’s PhD supervisor, said: “This cultural map of Renfrewshire, which Alison has created as part of her PhD, helps showcase the wide range of cultural activities happening across Renfrewshire.

“This map highlights the cultural vibrancy of the area and it is great that it will form part of the Paisley 2021 bid.”

Alison is encouraging other cultural assets and members of the public to add information to the Renfrewshire Cultural Map to increase awareness on their projects and activity.

She said: “There is a lot of information online, but this is one way to get all of it in one place and there are lots of different categories and activities. For example, if someone wants to see what visual arts things are on, then it’s there on the map.  There’s also a section on sports and it’d be great to populate the section with all the local clubs with what’s happening around the area.”

You can see the Renfrewshire Cultural Map and find out how you can add your location to it at http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/news/welcome-to-the-renfrewshire-cultural-map/

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Popularity of Coding Clubs continues to grow in Paisley

Young people looking to learn new digital skills are invited to join a new coding club launching in Paisley.

The free Coderdojo Club for 8-17 year olds is being run in partnership between Renfrewshire Council and the University of the West of Scotland (UWS).



The first meeting will be on Thursday 27 October, 6pm-8pm, at UWS, Paisley.

The new club is the latest in a series of clubs and initiatives taking place across Renfrewshire including Coding Clubs already underway in Linwood and Paisley with Paisley YMCA and Renfrewshire Leisure.

The clubs teach young people how to build online programmes and websites and have proved hugely popular so far.

They are part of the drive by the council and its partners to improve digital participation, particularly for those who lack the access and skills to maximise the potential of being online.

The vision set out in the Digital Renfrewshire strategy, launched in September, aims to give everyone in Renfrewshire the opportunity to reach their digital potential.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “People often think young people are naturally more digitally skilled than the rest of us but the truth is that many young people are digitally excluded too.

“Coding clubs are a great way for them to learn new skills and gain confidence. The demand has been really high so far so we’re delighted to be teaming up with UWS to offer another opportunity for young people.”

Coderdojo is free and young people don’t have to have done any coding before. For more details and to register go to


Anyone interested in volunteering at coding clubs should contact Lauren Gilmour at Engage Renfrewshire on 0141 887 7707 or email lgilmour@engagerenfrewshire.com.

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Older People’s Comunity Art workshop at Paisley Museum

At part of the Paisley Digital Art Commission by UWS, the two artists, Vicky Isley and Paul Smith, will be running a workshop at Paisley Museum from 10 am on Friday 28 October.


This workshop will be a crafts workshop, dealing with memory and reminiscence, and how we represent memories. The artwork made at the workshop will form part of the exhibition, which will also include the commissioned ‘Paisley Pearl’ digital loom that will generate a unique paisley pattern for everyone in Paisley.

The workshop is free, and you don’t need any digital or craftmaking skills to take part. Registration is via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/paisley-pearl-art-commission-community-workshop-tickets-27729302089 or e-mail belle.doyle@uws.ac.uk if you would like to come.