Renfrewshire’s unsung heroes have been honoured at the 2012 Provost’s Community Awards.

STV’s Sean Batty and River City star Tom Urie joined Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson for the celebrations which recognise the special achievements of local heroes.

The awards, now in their 14th year, were also the last to be hosted by Provost Lawson before she steps down in May.

Each of the nominees, their families and the people who nominated them were invited to the ceremony, held at the Glynhill Hotel, Renfrew.
This year’s winners were:
Arts and Culture Award (sponsored by Acre Industrial and Cleaning Services) – The Buddy Beat
Adult Achiever Award (sponsored by Diageo) – Alice Beaton, Lamont Farm.
Special Needs Award (sponsored by Scottish Power and former Provost Ronnie Burns) – Edward Garry, Paisley
Community Volunteer Award (sponsored by BASF Performance Products UK) – Ian Williams, Paisley

Carer’s Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison) – Irene Struthers, Johnstone

Spirit of Fairtrade Award, (sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre) – Katrina Millar and Brooke Hepburn, Gleniffer High School

Child of Achievement (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd) – Robbie Colquhoun, Paisley.

This year for the first time, there was also an overall winner’s award, chosen by the panel of judges from all the categories. Overall winner’s award went to Alice Beaton, for her service of more than 20 years to the Lamont Farm charity in Erskine.

Provost Lawson said: “The Provost’s Community Awards are always a very special occasion and this year was particularly special for me as it was my last time hosting the awards.

“It is one of my favourite jobs as Provost to be able to host this event and pay tribute to the many people who make such worthwhile contributions to our communities and overcome significant personal difficulties and tragedies at the same time. All the winners and nominees were fantastic and an inspiration to others. I’d like to congratulate them all, as well as the sponsors, without whom the awards wouldn’t be possible.”

Sean Batty said: “Being from Renfrewshire myself, it is a great pleasure for me to be able to join the Provost in honouring these local residents for all their achievements and contributions to the community. It’s always really inspiring and a really great, positive event. The winners, and nominees, are all very deserving and I really enjoyed meeting them and hearing their stories. It’s also been a pleasure to work closely with Provost Lawson on this and several other community events over the past few years and would also congratulate her on her huge contribution to the community as well.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson also spoke at the event to congratulate Provost Lawson on all her work over the past five years.

He said: “The Provost’s Community Awards have become one of the key community events in Renfrewshire over the past 14 years and have grown under Provost Lawson to incorporate awards that recognise local achievements in Fairtrade and Arts and Culture. She has always been a huge supporter of the community and local charities and will be sadly missed as Provost. So as well as all very deserving winners and nominees, it’s also fitting to congratulate the Provost.”

Paisley logo large

Events in Paisley & Renfrewshire
28th February – 4th March 2012

Check out the events happening this week, if you wish any more information about any of
these events simply visit or email

Tuesday 28th February

Talk it Over Group – 10:00am – 12:00pm – Paisley Abbey (Use Cafe Entrance)

Johnstone Healing Rooms offering Prayer – 12:00pm – 4:00pm – Johnstone Town Hall

The Rotary Club of Renfrew – 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Glynhill Hotel, Renfrew

Wednesday 29th February

Creative Renfrewshire Network – 6:00pm – 8:00pm – Paisley Town Hall

Paisley Sea Cadets – 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Brediland Community Centre, Cardell Road, Paisley

Thursday 1st March

Johnstone Spiritualist Church – 7:15pm – 8:30pm – United Services Club, 26 Macdowall Street

Friday 2nd March

Boys Brigade & Anchor Boys – 6:30pm – 8:00pm – St Columba’s Church, Foxbar

Saturday 3rd March

Weaving Musical Threads – All Day – Various Locations see

Wallneuk North Church Car Boot Sale – 10:30am – 12:30pm – Wallneuk North Church

Sunday 4th March

Weaving Musical Threads – All Day – Various Locations see

Bridge of Weir Car Boot Sale – 10:00am – 2:00pm – Bridge of Weir Car Park as our calendar is updated almost every day.

Starlight Youth Music Theatre:

SYMT is a Scottish company based in Paisley offering the best opportunities for young people to stage new music theatre. We are proud to work with some of the most talented and passionate artistic professionals from within the music theatre industry in the Scotland and the UK. A host of opportunities are available for young people aged 4-19 on this website.

One of their next events is The Producers, see poster below for details.

For more information please check out

People of all ages across Renfrewshire are being urged to back the Fairtrade Foundation’s ‘Take a Step campaign’ by helping poverty stricken farmers and workers around the world take their own steps towards a brighter future.

The campaign is part of this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight (27th February- 11th March). As part of the campaign the Fairtrade Foundation is aiming to achieve 1.5 million steps in 2012.

The Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group is backing the challenge and urging individuals and groups in the area to take steps towards Fairtrade, no matter how big or small.

A step is any action that supports Fairtrade – taking a first step could be choosing to buy a Fairtrade coffee on the way to work, or making sure the weekly shopping basket contains one or two more Fairtrade products like Fairtrade tea or bananas, or encouraging friends and family to switch to Fairtrade

Councillor Brian Lawson, chair of the steering group, has already written to all the schools in the area asking pupils and staff to take part by Pledging a Step and is urging other groups, including churches and youth groups to join in.

All the step pledges made in Renfrewshire will then be gathered together and sent off to the Fairtrade Foundation to help them achieve their target.

Councillor Lawson said: “The support for Fairtrade in Renfrewshire is constantly growing, and as a result this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight looks set to encourage even more people to step into Fairtrade.  In particular we really want Renfrewshire to back the Fairtrade Foundation’s challenge of reaching 1.5 million steps this year.”

A series of Fairtrade Fortnight events have also been lined up throughout Renfrewshire for people of all ages to get involved in.

The steps that are being taken around Renfrewshire range from coffee mornings and afternoon teas, to a Fairtrade film night and a Fairtrade Step Trail around Bridge of Weir and Houston.

As part of the campaign activities, a Fairtrade producer will visit Renfrew Town Hall to talk to Fairtrade supporters. Mrunal Lahankar, from the Chetna Organic Farmers Association (COFA), India, will be telling groups about how Fairtrade benefits the community and plays a vital role in reducing poverty and creating sustainable development.

For a full list of events running in Renfrewshire over Fairtrade Fortnight, go to or follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at

Paisley Town Hall

Events in Paisley & Renfrewshire
21st – 26th February 2012

Check out the events happening this week, if you wish any more information about any of these events simply visit or email

Tuesday 21st February

Talk it Over Group – 10:00am – 12:00pm – Paisley Abbey (Use Cafe Entrance)

Johnstone Healing Rooms offering Prayer – 12:00pm – 4:00pm – Johnstone Town Hall

The Rotary Club of Renfrew – 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Glynhill Hotel, Renfrew

Wednesday 22nd February

Paisley Sea Cadets – 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Brediland Community Centre, Cardell Road, Paisley

Thursday 23rd February

Johnstone Spiritualist Church – 7:15pm – 8:30pm – United Services Club, 26 Macdowall Street

Friday 24th February

Boys Brigade & Anchor Boys – 6:30pm – 8:00pm – St Columbas Church, Foxbar

Ladies night in aid of Vanessa Riddle – 7:30pm – 11:30pm – Beechwood Community Centre

Saturday 25th February

Scottish Wrestling Event – 6:30pm – 9:00pm – Paisley Town Hall, Abbey Close

Farmers Market – 9:00am – 1:00pm – County Square, Paisley

Inchinnan Parish Church car boot sale – 10:00am – 1:00pm – Inchinnan Parish Church

Linwood Parish Church table top sale – 11:00am – 1:00pm – Linwood Parish Church

Sunday 26th February

Paisley Pirates vs Dundee Tigers –  6:00pm  – Braehead Arena, Renfrew

If you would like an event added to our calendar, please email us at or visit and fill out the contact form.

Please check as our calendar is updated almost everyday.

New Zumba® class

Whether you are new to Zumba®, haven’t been for a while or are a regular come along and join in the fun!

The easy to follow, fun routines are what makes it so unique. It’s made for everyone.

For Details Click Here

The Zumba® Fitness goal is simple: We want people to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked. By integrating Zumba® Fitness into everyday life individuals may achieve long term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exhilarating hour of caloric burning, heart racing, muscle pumping, body energizing movements meant to engage and captivate for life!

Another fantastic band booked for Paisley, from LNP Promotions

From the Jam.


Saturday 5th May, 2012
The Union,
SAUWS (Student Association – University of the West Of Scotland)
Student Union, Storie Street Paisley. PA1 2HB

Dear Colleague

As you will be aware Renfrewshire Council hosted a consultation event in Paisley Town Hall in June of 2011 with over 150 representatives from Renfrewshire cultural organisations. It was clear from that meeting that the organisations and individuals involved in, as well as delivering, cultural events and activities in Renfrewshire shared a common view that there was a requirement for better lines of communication, better cooperation, and a means of dissemination of information. It was agreed that a “creative network” would address these needs and concerns

As a result the organisation now known as the Creative Renfrewshire Network (CRN) was formed. The objectives of CRN are to facilitate communication between groups and individuals in the cultural sector, facilitate the development, promotion and delivery of events etc, to promote participation in existing cultural activities etc, and to provide a direct link for, and representation of, the Renfrewshire creative sector.

We would like to invite you to the first membership meeting of the Creative Renfrewshire Network at 6.00pm on Wednesday 29th February in Paisley Town Hall.

This will be an opportunity for representatives to discuss the development of the CRN, be introduced to the new CRN web site, and to join the CRN. There will even be some fabulous entertainment from some local organisations just to make the evening even more enjoyable!

The Creative Renfrewshire Network is for all cultural organisations and individuals in Renfrewshire and will be the first steps to enhancing and developing a cohesive cultural strategy with more partnerships better cooperation, and easier communication.

We do hope you will be able to attend and learn more about the network and contribute to its development however, if unable to, information resulting from the meeting and the opportunity to sign up to the CRN will be distributed after the 29th.

I would also be grateful if you could pass this information on to any other individual or organisation that you know of who may also have an interest in attending this meeting.

We very much look forward to seeing you at the first meeting of the Creative Renfrewshire Network.

Kind Regards

David Wallace
Chairperson, Creative Renfrewshire Network Group


Kids Need Our Ward meeting
The Children’s ward at the RAH has been saved, at least for now, as Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health Board finally realise that closing the ward at the hospital will affect many other services and have a catastrophic domino effect on the Hospital.

The unexpected news came as KNOW campaigners prepared to lobby Tuesday’s Health Board meeting, at which it was expected that the closure of the ward would go out to consultation.

Now the health board say that:

Overall service provision should be incorporated into the wider strategic review of clinical services across NHSGGC to ensure that all of the implications in relation to other services are considered within the wider strategic framework.

They at last admit that

The paediatric inpatient service at RAH interfaces with a number of other services, which require to be considered as part of the wider and more strategic review, including:

  • Emergency Department & Adult Medical Services
  • Maternity Unit/Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Surgery and Anaesthetics Directorate, specifically ENT, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedics, General Surgery, Anaesthetics and Critical Care
  • Diagnostic Services

This means that they now know that they can’t close the ward without it having a disastrous effect on the hospital and overall service provision across the area, which is what KNOW has said all along.

But this is far from the end of the matter. The report makes it clear that the financial and staffing pressures that formed the “drivers for change” have not simply gone away. The health board will still find it difficult to manage it’s rotas in the coming years, but our campaign has always said that the answer to these pressures should never be to centralise services.

The two main drivers for change were the European Working Time Directive, which bodies have had 13 years to prepare for and Modernising Medical Careers, a set of rules that brought changes to the way doctors are trained to create a “consultancy led service”. Both of these meant that there are real staff pressures on hospitals including the RAH, essentially a shortage of middle grade doctors, but we have always said that services shouldn’t have to suffer from these pressures.

Clinicians that we have spoken to have advised us that rota pressures could be alleviated by making consultants to fill the gaps in middle grade doctors and if the issue is costs, then the health board should demand more money.

KNOW campaigners are delighted that RAH is safe, for now, but this wider review combined with the financial pressure on NHSGGC means that they will be back, maybe not for the children’s ward, but for something, so our campaign will keep a watching breif.

Thanks to everyone who has been involved

Read More

Paisley Abbey

The Paisley Abbey
Today, Paisley Abbey remains the heart of the community, with different events taking place throughout the year. These events have included vocal concerts, art exhibitions and rock gigs. If you are interested in history, archaeology, heritage and architecture, the Abbey is certainly worth the visit.

By the middle of the 13th Century, the priory had gained enough power, wealth and influence, that it was raised to the position of monastery. The southern aisle, the western wall of the main body of the Abbey kirk and the St Mirin’s Chapel all date from the building work that was carried out at this time. Therefore, these are the oldest surviving parts of the Abbey that we see today.

But with the start of conflict between Scotland and England, in the shape of the Wars of Independence, the Abbey played its part the fighting. A skirmish between the Scots and English took place in woodland in what is now the Charleston area of the town. At this time, the Abbey was attacked by the English and partially destroyed by fire. This has usually been put down to the Abbey’s connections to the Stewarts, who at the time were supporting Robert the Bruce’s claim to the Scottish throne. Those parts of the Abbey that had been damaged were rebuilt and restored and the monastery continued to play an important part in Scottish politics, especially as the monastery continued to have strong connections to the Stewart dynasty.

This is on top of the Abbey’s connections to the Stewarts; it also has supposed connections to William Wallace. The legend goes that Wallace was at least partially educated by Paisley’s monks before being sent off to his uncles in Dundee. This connection between the Abbey and Wallace can be clearly seen today in the shape of the Wallace Window, which can be found at the end of the southern aisle.

During the 1550’s, disaster struck the Abbey. It was at this time that they Abbey’s original tower collapsed, which led to the destruction of much of the transepts, as well as the choir. As this was the time of the Reformation, it was decided not to rebuild what had been lost, and to seal off the nave and the St Mirin’s Chapel, which had been left unscathed by the collapse of the tower. The nave went on to be used as the Reformed parish church of Paisley, while the St Mirin’s Chapel was used as a private chapel by the Hamilton family.

It wasn’t until the 19th Century that is was decided to restore the Abbey to its former glory. During the original building phase, which saw the rebuilding of the transepts and the tower, the project ran out of funds, and the section that led into the area of the choir was sealed off. It wasn’t until the early 20th Century that the choir was finally finished.

In the 300 years since the collapse of the tower, the choir had been used as a parish graveyard. This led to an increase in the ground level within that area of the church. It was decided that none of these graves would be disturbed and the restored Abbey was built around those who had been interred in what had once been a graveyard. During World War I, the rebuilding of the Abbey’s choir came to a halt, with the choir finally being completed during the interwar years.

The restoration work that has been carried out on the Abbey is continuing to this day. The clearest example of this can be seen with the plans to rebuild the west range of the cloisters. The original west range of the cloisters was torn down during the first phase of restoration work on the Abbey in the 19th Century. The rebuilt range will allow for a new gift shop, visitors cafe, as well as an area for interactive displays.

Today, Paisley Abbey remains the heart of the community, with different events taking place throughout the year. These events have included vocal concerts, art exhibitions and rock gigs. If you are interested in history, archaeology, heritage and architecture, the Abbey is certainly worth the visit.

Many thanks to Claire Casey for this blog.


Renfrew Town Hall Wedding Fayre: Saturday 25th February 11.00 am – 4.00pm

Are you a local band or DJ? Do you supply beautiful wedding cakes or supply wedding flowers? Or
perhaps you create stunning wedding photography?

Our event planners are looking for suppliers for this fantastic wedding fayre at the beautifully
refurbished Renfrew Town Hall, to provide potential clients with everything they will need to make
their big day with us truly perfect.

Event Details

The newly restored and modernised Town Hall will be decorated in beautiful wedding style and the
various rooms within the building will be set up for a wedding reception. The main hall will be laid
out complete with tables, chair covers and a live band & DJ, allowing future brides and grooms to
experience the glamour and elegance that the venue could offer them.

As a locally based wedding supplier exhibiting your products and services, we hope our new clients
will find everything they need to plan their most important day all under one roof.

There is no cost to be an exhibitor. For more details please contact our event planning team at:

Paisley Town Hall 0141 887 1007

Some video and pictures taken of the recent gig at Paisley Town Hall by Magic on their ‘A kind of Queen’ tour on Sunday the 29th January 2012. Pictures and video taken for with permission from  Renfrewshire Arts

Widely regarded as the finest tribute to Queen they performed all their greatest hits including ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘A Kind of Magic’, ‘Under Pressure, ‘We Are The Champions’ and many more. Well known on the UK theatre circuit for their tributes to Queen, the Electric Light Orchestra and even the Beach Boys, Magic has been entertaining with a truly live show for more than 20 years. A loyal fan base just keeps on growing as a new generation of music lovers takes the opportunity to hear their favourites performed live!

Text from here.