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How can you invest in your local economy?

Paisley Town Hall view from top

How can you invest in your local economy?

 

Across the UK, companies in most sectors are beginning to report improved order books and profit margins as the economy begins to expand following the longest recession for decades. Ever since the last General Election in 2010, the government has consistently hammered home its view that new start-ups were the best hope for reducing unemployment and kick-starting growth. In addition, it suggested that entrepreneurs establishing companies in regions where old industries had been overtaken by new technology or where production had been moved overseas, had a key role to play in reviving the communities in which they live.

Paisley Town Hall view from top

A typical example of such an area is Paisley, Renfrewshire. Situated some 10 miles west of Glasgow, the town grew up around the weaving industry, which became established there in the 19th century and continued to be a major employer until as recently as the early 1990s. Throughout this period, shipbuilding also employed a significant number of workers, but this, along with associated engineering works, declined rapidly during the 1950s and 60s. Today, the only companies of any size still operating in the town are Chivas Brothers (whiskey blenders) and Ciba Geigy (pigment manufacturing). However, Renfrewshire Council has its HQ there, both the University of the West of Scotland and West College Scotland have campuses, and nearby Glasgow Airport employs a significant number of local people, though nothing like the numbers employed by the cotton industry during the 1930s when a single mill had 28,000 on its payroll.

 

In an effort to attract new investment into the region, Renfrewshire Council has set up a programme ‘Invest in Renfrewshire’, which is designed to assist entrepreneurs and potential investors by providing information on locating business premises, offering advice on how to expand existing businesses, and accessing loan finance. It also aims to help local people find work, provides careers advice and helps them access training courses.

 

Websites such as this are an invaluable source of information when considering where and how to invest in this particular region, but there are also multinational investment companies that have an important part to play. A quick search on the internet will bring up a whole host of companies specialising in advising their clients on how to put together portfolios designed to maximise the return on investment. A typical example of what to look for is the Fisher Investments Flickr page, which sets out, in the form of images and graphics, the economic data, and firm information. Start-up companies are invariably riskier than blue chip multinationals, but the potential for realising a higher return on investment can be extremely attractive. Another option is to seek advice from companies that specialise in investing – their employees are financial experts, offering guidance on which local companies have the management structure in place to make a success of whatever venture they are involved in.

 

How to invest locally

 

There are a number of ways an investor can make a difference to the economy in their community.

One of the simplest options is to move to a local bank or credit union; these institutions invest funds in local enterprises and are responsible for providing around 50% of all loans to small businesses.

Another options is to get together with a group of friends and business associates to set up a local investment club. The members’ cash is then pooled to provide a loan fund for businesses in need of expansion funding.

Become a ‘business investment angel’. ‘Angels’ invest in a particular company, often a start-up, in return for a share of the business. In addition, they also take an active interest in the day-to-day running of the company and in the strategic decision making process. Though up to 50% of angels never see a profit or may even lose it all, there is always the chance that the business will eventually succeed and begin to turn a profit. If all is lost, tax breaks, in the form of the Enterprise Investment Scheme may help soften the blow.

Crowd funding has become a popular source of funding in recent years and can be extremely successful. Local authorities have been quick to recognise the potential and regularly form partnerships with crowd funding platforms such as Abundance, Crowdcube, Seedrs and Unbound.

Investors who are prepared to spend some time researching local businesses and getting to know their owners should not be at a disadvantage in terms of the return they can expect to receive when compared to those who purchase stocks and bonds in companies quoted in the FTSE100. What’s more, they are likely to have the satisfaction of seeing the benefits their investment strategy brings to their local community as it becomes more affluent and unemployment falls.

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Midge Ure Live at Paisley at Town Hall

Midge ure

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Last night Midge Ure performed live at Paisley Town Hall and quite literally it was one of the best gigs ever performed in Paisley. One member of the audience said that this was his 6th Midge Ure gig and it was definitely the best.

Paisley Town Hall was sold out days before the doors opened with people coming from far afield, one couple even came from Norway.

From the get go Midge was on fire and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand, the Old New Romantic charmed the crowd who at points were up dancing in the aisles. Midge was putting so much into it he even broke the strings on his guitar.

The organisers LNP Promotions were blown away by how well Paisley has responded to the two big gigs they have put on this month, Eddi Reader with her Vagabond Tour and now with Midge Ure who recently brought out a brand new single after 12 years absence.

LNP Promotions will now take stock and hopefully next year they will be bringing some more amazing acts to the town.

Photographs of Midge Ure in Paisley Town Hall

[/vc_column_text][vc_gallery ids=”22841,22842,22843,22844,22845,22846″ columns=”3″][vc_column_text]

Video of Midge Ure – Paisley Town Hall

[/vc_column_text][vc_video ratio=”16-9″ link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxzKZ0utsZM”][vc_column_text]Thanks to Ian McDonald Photography for the photographs and video.

Please also check out LNP Promotions on Facebook.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Epic town hall artwork puts Johnstone in the picture

Epic town hall artwork puts Johnstone in the picture.

Johnstone’s newest building is being used to celebrate its existing ones – thanks to an ambitious piece of artwork devoted to the town.

Renfrewshire Council has just unveiled a specially-commissioned illustration of Johnstone landmarks to cover the hoardings around the site of its new town hall.

Construction on the £14.5m facility is due to start before the end of the month, with the building expected to be finished by summer 2015.

But council chiefs wanted to make sure the local community had a backdrop which represented the town while work was ongoing.

Glasgow-based artist Adrian McMurchie was brought on board to create an illustration of Johnstone’s buildings.

The resulting epic artwork will be displayed on three sides of the site hoardings, stretching from Ludovic Square, along William Street and into the adjacent car park.

A small section is already on display, with the rest to follow shortly. It features the town’s station and Paton’s Mill, as well as local churches, shops and housing.

Renfrewshire’s Deputy Provost John Caldwell met Adrian and representatives of the local community in Ludovic Square to see it for themselves.

Deputy Provost Caldwell said: “We wanted to make sure people weren’t just looking at a blank wall – that they had something unique and eye-catching instead.

“Adrian has done a great job with the drawings – and I’m sure people will enjoy wandering round them picking out the local sights.

“But while we are admiring the town’s existing architecture, one of the most exciting developments of all will be the one going up behind the hoardings.

“The new town hall represents a massive investment by the council which will transform the centre of Johnstone.

“We hope residents will identify sites of personal and community significance in this artwork and enjoy the sense of continuity between the past, present and future.”

Once complete, the new town hall building will house a new library, marriage suite, theatre and conference space, meeting rooms and a café.

It will also contain offices for council housing and social work staff, as well as Police Scotland and Macmillan Cancer Support.

 

The artwork around the town centre has been given the thumbs-up by local community activists.

Throughout the project, Renfrewshire Council has been keen to involve members of the Johnstone community in the plans for its design.

Over the next few months, there will be various community activities, including the chance to contribute to public art which will be displayed inside the new building.

George Kennedy, secretary of Johnstone Community Council, said: “The new hoardings look very smart – much more interesting than a blank wall.

“It depicts the town very well – there were a few bits I instantly recognised, such as the High Church, and the former health centre.

“We are pleased we are getting a new building – it should be a big improvement on the last one and we are looking forward to it.”

Community council chairman Dennis Lavery added: “I like the way it is laid out – it isn’t meant to be a map of the town but it depicts it well.”

Artist Adrian McMurchie explained how he was able to create the mammoth artwork. He said: “It was a great job to work on and it is great to see it going up.

“We initially discussed doing lots of photos but decided drawings would work better. I had a drive around and that gave me a lot of ideas.

“I had never worked on anything as long as this before – I ended up doing the drawing on a 10m piece of paper.

“Johnstone has some great architecture but we didn’t just want it to be about the old buildings, we wanted to include some of the housing too.”

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

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Renfrew Town Hall

Renfrew Town Hall

Renfrew Town Hall

The newly refurbished Renfrew Town Hall was well worth a visit on Doors Open Day, money very well spent on this landmark building. The photos show the Main Hall and the Lesser Hall and the building is available for hire for weddings and other events. The modernised Renfrew Museum is also housed in this building and some of the displays change regularly.

All photographs taken by Anne McNair and allowed for use on www.paisley.org.uk

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Renfrewshire Arts and Museums’ new autumn programme

Scottish musical talent set to kick off Renfrewshire Arts and Museums’ new autumn programme

Superb line-up of Scottish musical talent set to kick off Renfrewshire Arts and Museums’ new autumn programme:

Autumn has arrived in Renfrewshire with a new and exciting arts programme jam packed with music gigs, plays, film screenings, stand-up comedy, exhibitions, dance pieces and outreach classes and events taking place at venues across the region.

The music programme kicks off with Heidi Talbot sharing a stage with John McCusker, Kris Drever and Ian Carr, quickly followed by a new series of Paisley Underground gigs which returns for its third year focusing on artists from 3 of the country’s most dynamic record labels as well as developing and promoting emerging talent.

Again the theatre programme boasts a diverse mix of themes, from the heart-warming and hilarious ‘The Matchmaker’ to the wonders of witchcraft, Wi-Fi and wild imagination in ‘The Scarlett WWWeb’. Moreover, the newly refurbished Renfrew Town Hall will play host to ‘The Monster in the Hall’ by award winning playwright David Greig and come November you are encouraged to lose control as ‘Sing-a-long-a Grease‘ hits Paisley Town Hall with an electrifying performance.

The countdown to Mòd 2013 is now well underway and as a taster, Gaelic musicians Mairi Morrison and Alasdair Roberts take to the stage to perform their stunning new recording of ‘Urstan’ during The Spree festival in October.

Renfrewhire Arts and Museums is again working with The Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival to bring you insightful discussions, films, such as ‘My Name Is Joe’, and a drama performance called ‘Piece of Mind’; which brings to life the experiences of young people suffering from Bipolar Disorder.

Two exhibitions not to be missed at Paisley Museum this season are Paisley Artists 100th Annual Exhibition and ‘Paisley’s River’, a presentation of the role that the White Cart Water has played in the town’s development over the years.

Once again our talented outreach team will be running an extensive programme of creative art, fashion design and animation classes, as well as family favourites Playdays! @ the Museum and themed Baby Discos.

The new Autumn What’s On brochure, complete with the full arts programme is available from various venues and hotspots across Renfrewshire and Glasgow.

You can also keep up to date with Renfrewshire Arts and Museums by following www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts, logging onto www.renfrewshire.gov.uk or signing up to their e-newsletter by emailing rem.els@renfrewshire.gov.uk where you have the chance of winning a £50 Amazon gift card if you do so before 2 November.