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Council Leader’s community call over regeneration plans

Paisley Abbey

Council Leader’s community call over regeneration plans.

The council unveiled proposals in January for a multi-million pound investment in Paisley’s infrastructure to kickstart heritage-led regeneration and boost the town’s tourist economy.

The hope is this would lead to a bid for UK City of Culture status in 2021 – and Councillor Mark Macmillan wants local groups to help shape that bid.

Council staff have already started to meet local business and community interests to explain the detail behind the Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy.

Paisley Abbey

It is thought the existing Paisley Vision Board – a public-private group aimed at boosting town centre trade – could evolve into a wider body which better fits the scope of the council’s proposals.

Cllr Macmillan said: “The next few years are going to be hugely exciting for Renfrewshire as we aim to lead a multi-million-pound investment in our tourist potential and a possible UK City of Culture bid.

“The Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy is a bold statement of where we want the area to be – but for us to reach our potential we will need to work in partnership with a wide range of groups who also stand to benefit.

“That will require contributions from a range of people – from public-sector bodies to business leaders to cultural groups to residents and everyone in between, as we look to transform perceptions of Paisley at home and abroad.

“The Paisley Vision Board has served the town well over the years and led the way on many worthwhile projects – but as we widen our ambitions for Paisley and Renfrewshire, we have to widen the scope of who we work in partnership with.

“Over the months ahead I want us to harness the talents of all interested parties and give them the chance to help us transform Paisley’s future for the better.”

Tom Johnston, president of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “The plans being taken forward to regenerate Paisley are far-reaching and unique.

“The local business community stands to benefit from these proposals and I would encourage them to get on board and help shape the transformation.”

The Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy was commissioned by the council to assess how the town’s rich history and culture could be used to drive tourist-led regeneration.

The report describes Paisley’s heritage – including more than 100 listed buildings, rare books and paintings, and the finest Paisley Shawl collection in the world – as being of ‘international interest and significance’.

It is estimated the developments proposed by the strategy could increase Renfrewshire’s tourist economy by £45m a year, and create around 800 new jobs for the area.

Key recommendations include a multi-million-pound revamp of Paisley Museum, possible new theatre space in the town, and work to investigate whether Paisley could receive UNESCO World Heritage Status, as well as the possible City of Culture bid.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil

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Council Leader wants Renfrewshire to lead the way on tackling unemployment

Councillor Mark Macmillan

Council Leader wants Renfrewshire to lead the way on tackling unemployment

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader wants the area to lead the way on tackling youth unemployment and is urging partner organisations to do all they can to help.

The council has made a significant investment in its £8m Invest in Renfrewshire programme, which aims to reduce youth unemployment and boost the local economy.

Councillor Mark MacmillanNow, Councillor Mark Macmillan is asking the council’s public-sector partners to consider whether they can do more to help tackle the issue.

He said: “The rate of youth unemployment among young people is far higher than the average for all age groups, in both Renfrewshire and Scotland.

“The council is determined to avoid a ‘lost generation’ of young people who are frozen out of work – which is why we have made tackling youth unemployment a priority though Invest in Renfrewshire.

“The public sector has a crucial role to play in addressing youth unemployment, which is why we are formally asking our partners to buy in to our agenda of up-scaling what Renfrewshire’s public sector does to tackle this issue.

“We want Renfrewshire to lead the way when it comes to cutting unemployment among 18 – 24 year olds.”

A meeting of the Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership Board saw the council ask other public-sector agencies in the area to consider how well they use existing council or government programmes set up to help young people into work.

Partner agencies agreed to:

* Engage with the Invest programme and provide direct support to young people;

* Agree to host as many internships, work placements and workplace visits as possible;

* Set ambitious targets in providing job opportunities and report back on these.

Invest in Renfrewshire includes an employer recruitment incentive, which pays half the wage costs of a new employee at national minimum wage for up to nine months, with an extra £1,000 available to companies agreeing to pay the Living Wage of £7.50 an hour.

It also includes a graduate internship programme, which pays a subsidy of up to £5,000 to organisations taking on an unemployed graduate for a project-led position of up to 11 months.

www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

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Rugby sponsorship helps tackle youth unemployment

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Rugby sponsorship helps tackle youth unemployment

Three young Renfrewshire modern apprentices have landed sponsorship deals for the second year of their programme with Scottish Rugby Union.

Leading IT consultancy firm Sopra Group provided the sponsorship for local students Amanda Moore, Andrew Evans and Murray Sutherland.

The modern apprentices were funded in year one by the Scottish Rugby Union and Renfrewshire Council. With those organisations’ support, the offer from Sopra Group allows them to continue with the programme.

Two first-year apprentices, Daniel Caine and Martin McKellar, have been given support from the council to begin the apprenticeship programme this year.

The money came through Invest in Renfrewshire, the council’s £8m programme to boost the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

Sopra’s Managing Director, Ian Huckle, visited the apprentices with Sopra’s Scottish Rugby Ambassador and ex-Scottish rugby international Scott Hastings and Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sports Leisure and Culture Policy Board, as they delivered Renfrewshire rugby’s annual development day for Secondary 1 and 2 boys.

Representatives of Invest in Renfrewshire and the Scottish Rugby Union were also there to witness the apprentices put the pupils through their paces.

Councillor Harte said “It’s great to see companies such as Sopra taking an interest in the young people of the area and helping them reach their potential.

“Invest in Renfrewshire has worked very hard to secure funding for many young apprentices, graduate interns and young people who are out of work.

“It is exciting to see the hard work pay off and local firms getting more involved.”

Ian Huckle said “Sopra Group is pleased to be able to create opportunities for employment via the apprentice scheme. We recognise the positive and dynamic impact sport can have on lives.

“It can inspire and motivate children to strive for a better quality of life and develop core skills. By investing in the apprentices we hope we can help deliver a sustainable sporting legacy in the area.”

Scott Hastings added “With a long involvement in sport and rugby in particular I know that Amanda, Andrew and Murray will be gaining a huge amount from their apprenticeships, as will the children they are working with on a daily basis.

“Coaching has its own rewards and Sopra’s support is helping give young people the confidence to go out into their local communities and make a difference.”

The event, at Paisley Rugby Club, will also see teams from the local secondary schools compete in either the established school or emerging schools 7’s competition, which will feature teams from Castlehead High School, Paisley Grammar School, Trinity High, Johnstone High, Linwood High and Park Mains High.