Puccini’s La Bohème in the Wynd Centre

  Showing at the Wynd Centre on 17th and 18th November 2016 starting at 19:30, tickets cost £6/£8 and can either     be bought directly from our website or through our ticket office – for which we have commandeered William Kelly’s ‘  Print and Copy It’ shop – which is located at 61 High St, Paisley, PA1 2AS.

 

La Boheme Poster final

paisley from drone

EDINBURGH CAPITALS   6             PAISLEY PIRATES   5     Pirates’ flickering hopes of an SNL title were finally extinguished in another late night show at Murrayfield Ice Rink as they went down by the odd goal in eleven to an Edinburgh side including a number of players who had just iced for their Elite League team, the match not getting underway until close to 9.00pm   After the opening exchanges, the home team were the first to get on the board in the 9th minute as Beattie opened the scoring, but Pirates came back strongly and once they had equalised through …

paisley from drone

KILMARNOCK STORM   0      PAISLEY PIRATES   19     Storm were blown away as a ruthless Pirates outfit destroyed the home side with a devastating display, creating a record by achieving their biggest road win in the SNL since they re-formed in 1992.   Pirates, welcoming back captain Graham McCamley after a 3 month absence through injury, and icing a full squad of four lines, were on the front foot immediately but were interrupted after 4 minutes when play was stopped due to a mechanical failure which saw the match clock malfunction. It was repaired after a lengthy delay, which …

 

A Paisley soldier whose first frontline deployment was to Gulf War One has recalled his experience of the conflict as the Armed Forces commemorate the 25th anniversary of Op GRANBY.

Colour Sergeant Mark Hamilton, 45, from Paisley, who now serves in the Band of the Grenadier Guards, was one of 34,000 British Army troops deployed in response to the invasion of Kuwait in January 1991.

Members of the Royal Family have joined Armed Forces personnel in London today to pay tribute to the thousands of Servicemen and women who took part in the First Gulf War on the 25th anniversary of the conflict.  On 17 January 1991, the United Nations launched the largest coalition of forces since the Second World War in response to the invasion of Kuwait.The British contribution to these efforts – codenamed Operation GRANBY – involved the deployment of 53,000 UK Armed Forces personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.  A ceasefire was agreed just over a month later, on 28 February 1991.Photographer: Cpl Timothy Jones RLC Crown Copyright 2016

Personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force also fought in the Middle East conflict which was codenamed Operation GRANBY. CSgt Hamilton was just 20-years-old when he was deployed as a medic attached to 22 Field Hospital.

Members of the Royal Family have joined Armed Forces personnel in London today to pay tribute to the thousands of Servicemen and women who took part in the First Gulf War on the 25th anniversary of the conflict.   On 17 January 1991, the United Nations launched the largest coalition of forces since the Second World War in response to the invasion of Kuwait. The British contribution to these efforts – codenamed Operation GRANBY – involved the deployment of 53,000 UK Armed Forces personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.  A ceasefire was agreed just over a month later, on 28 February 1991. Pictured: The Grenadier Guards memorial in the Guards Chapel. Photographer: Cpl Timothy Jones RLC Crown Copyright 2016

He said: “It was exciting and scary at the same time, because I was a young boy going on an Op for the very first time.  I was looking through photos last night and thinking ‘God, that young boy was me.’ I didn’t expect to still be in the Army, 25 years down the line, but here I am and have no regrets.”

CSgt Hamilton added: “Today I’m reflecting on the 25 years since Operation GRANBY – what happened in the desert all those years ago and everything I have done in the Army since.  We were sent ahead of the main force and were stood by for the main assault in Wadi al Batin. We could hear the bombardment and were prepared to treat a lot of casualties but when it came to it there were surprisingly few.”

A ceasefire was agreed on 28 February 1991.

On Friday 26th February 2016, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh who is Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, joined veterans and serving soldiers from the Grenadier Guards at a special commemorative service in the Guards Chapel in Wellington Barracks, London.

Music for the service was provided by the Band of the Grenadier Guards, of which CSgt Hamilton is part, and he played the clarinet.

While the Grenadiers remembered their own involvement in the conflict, His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent joined other Gulf War veterans, their families and representatives of all three Services at the Chapel of St Faith within the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral for a service organised by the Ministry of Defence.

Those in attendance paid tribute to the 47 British servicemen and women who gave their lives during the campaign, and whose names are dedicated at the Gulf War Memorial within St Paul’s Cathedral.

On Sunday, 28 February 2016, an RAF Tornado GR4 is planned to stage a flypast over an event honouring British forces at the National Memorial Arboretum. The Tornado has been painted in the original Gulf War “desert pink” colour scheme to honour the aircraft’s almost continuous operational service since 1991. Chief of the Air Staff (Designate) Sir Stephen Hillier, who himself flew Tornado aircraft during the First Gulf War, said:

“It is a fitting tribute to all those who served on that mission in 1991, many of whom still serve today.”

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Community groups and voluntary organisations from across Renfrew can find out about opportunities provided by Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 at a special event on 11 March.

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The event is one of a series of community planning conferences organised by Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership that will take place over the next four months. It will focus specifically on how the culture bid can provide a platform to help local groups and charities achieve their goals.

The event will take place in the Abercorn Conference Centre, West College Scotland, Renfrew Road, Paisley, 9.30am-2.30pm.

Representatives from charities, voluntary organisations and community groups across Renfrewshire are warmly invited to attend. For those who cannot come along, a second event will take place on 9 May, 5.30pm – 8.30pm in Paisley Town Hall.

Delegates will get the chance to hear from guest speakers about opportunities for community groups and take part in discussion groups and workshops.

Participants are also being asked to bring along photographs or other items that open up a personal cultural or historic connection with Paisley or the surrounding area.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, leader of Renfrewshire Council and chair of Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership said:

“Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is a huge opportunity for communities across the whole of Renfrewshire, not only those that are Paisley-based.

“I would urge local community members and organisations to get along to these events to find out how they can back Paisley’s bid and further their own aims.”

Anyone who would like to attend can sign up by calling 0141 618 4168 (9.30am – 4.00pm, Monday to Friday) or by emailing communityplanning@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Or book a place online at:

http://paisley2021day.eventbrite.co.uk (Abercorn)
http://paisley2021evening.eventbrite.co.uk (Paisley Town Hall)

Further details of these and other community planning conferences running in May and June can be found on the Renfrewshire community planning website www.renfrewshire2023.com

For more information on Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

Mhairi Black MP visits St Vincent’s Hospice

  Staff and patients were delighted to welcome a local MP to St Vincent’s Hospice in Howwood today.

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Mhairi Black MP was visiting the Hospice for the first time and during her visit spent time talking with patients and staff in St Vincent’s In-Patient Unit.

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Paisley is to host a festival of Fair Trade as part of Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Fortnight.

Families and friends are invited to join in the fun with stalls selling Fairtrade goods, offering tasters of Fairtrade food and exciting entertainment being provided on the day.

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The Renfrewshire Gospel Choir will be performing at the event and the terrific Street Stuff Dancers will also take to the stage.

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Co-founder of Carishea, Trevor Gregory will be speaking about working in disadvantaged communities combating poverty through the sale of fair and ethical bath and beauty products.

Stalls will be held on the day by Bala Sport, Rainbow Turtle, Just Trading Scotland, Redss Catering, Carishea, Sainsbury’s, Olive Tree and the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group.

All are invited to the Paisley Methodist Church for the event which takes place on Saturday 5 March between 11am and 1pm.

Fairtrade Fortnight takes place from 29 February-13 March and this year’s theme focuses on Martin Luther King’s quote “‘before you finish eating your breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world”.

People are encouraged to have a ‘Big Breakfast’ to recognise our dependence on farmers and workers across the world for the foods, drinks and products that we love.

Councillor Jim Sharkey, Chair of the Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said: “This event promises to be a tremendous occasion bringing fair trade to the attention of those in Renfrewshire.

“There will be opportunity to taste Fairtrade food, buy Fairtrade goods and discover how easy it is to make a difference to the life of the person who actually grows the food.

“I encourage everyone, and their friends and families, to come along to the event, enjoy the day and learn about the issue.”

To find out more about the event visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/FairtradeFestival.

Information on Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 can be found at www.fairtrade.org.uk.

For more information on how to join your local group contact: fairtrade@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Coats Memorial

Renfrewshire’s Council Leader has vowed Paisley’s iconic Thomas Coats Memorial Church will stay at the heart of the local community – as a deal to transfer the landmark building to new owners took a step closer.

The A-listed building has dominated the town’s skyline for more than a century – but the building’s trustees have revealed they will relinquish ownership at some point in the future, due to financial pressures and declining congregation.

However Renfrewshire Council has been working with the trustees in recent months to broker a deal to find new owners for the stunning building – known as the Baptist Cathedral of Europe.

And the Princes Regeneration Trust – a charity which preserves and finds new uses for important historical sites throughout the UK – has now signed an agreement to provide mentoring and fundraising support to the trustees.

The PRT and their partners will now work on a business plan to find a suitable use for the building. Currently it houses a range of local groups, and hosts weddings, as well as University of the West of Scotland’s graduation ceremonies.

It will take some time for the transfer of ownership to be fully complete, during which time council staff will provide support to the trustees to help them maintain the building in good condition.

And council leader Mark Macmillan said: “The Thomas Coats Memorial Church is one of the jewels in the crown of Paisley’s unique urban heritage.

“The trustees first approached us for help some time ago and we are pleased to have helped them find a route through which the church can be kept open.

“It has been clear from the reaction over the past week just how much the building means to local residents – and I want to reassure them we are confident it will stay where it belongs at the heart of the community.

“The church is a direct link to Paisley’s days at the heart of the global textile industry – and that industrial legacy will feature strongly in the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, now gathering pace.”

Bob McIntyre, chairman of the Thomas Coats Memorial Church Trust, said: “I want to record our appreciation of the unstinting support offered to the trustees by staff at Renfrewshire Council.

“Like many churches our future is uncertain due largely to financial pressures and a declining congregation. The trustees are endeavouring to find a secure future for this magnificent building beyond its present purpose as a place of public worship.

“The discussions we are presently involved in owe much to the initiatives of Renfrewshire Council staff as we seek to maintain the building as a living place for the years ahead within Paisley’s wider cultural and industrial heritage.”

The Thomas Coats Memorial Church was opened in 1894 to commemorate a member of the famous J&P Coats family, who had helped fund other buildings in the town including the Coats Observatory and Grand Fountain.

Ros Kerslake OBE, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, said: “We are so pleased to be involved in the plans to save this wonderful place, which is crucial to understanding Paisley’s rich history and the part played in it by benevolent industrialists.

“All across the UK some of our most important buildings, which have the most pertinent links to our local and social history, are our churches.

“The Thomas Coats Memorial Church is a great example of this – a place with real potent value in maintaining the identity and sense of continuity for Paisley.

“We look forward to working with the trustees and the local community to ensure they can use it to its fullest potential.”

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Coats Memorial

Two representatives from paisley.org.uk met with a key member of Thomas Coats Memorial Church on Thursday and we (as we announced on a reply to a post yesterday) can announce that the Baptist Church building will not close its doors, the board members of Coats Memorial are seeking other ways to keep the building open, I know they had some discussions with the council which I will put out a press release on the website in the coming days.

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But with Paisley.org.uk’s help and other key partners, we will work hard to ensure one of Paisley’s most iconic buildings stays open and I will also announce plans which we aim to help the Church board in keeping the doors open.

We need to ensure we keep our existing cultural, historic and rich heritage alive, not only that we need to restore buildings like the TA hall the Ferguslie Half Timers school and many more.

We do a lot at paisley.org.uk behind the scenes, quite a lot people don’t hear about, we don’t go shouting from the rooftops about our achievements but maybe we should so people know what a bunch of like minded people who have Paisley in their heart and minds can achieve and do, all with the aim to promote a Positive Paisley.

Remember we are not the council nor do any of us get paid, we do this because we want to make Paisley a better place to live, work and raise your family in. #PositivePaisley #Paisley2021

Photograph courtesy of Tom Caddell.

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Renfrewshire Council is set for a £14m investment in housing and regeneration in 2016/2017.

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The local authority’s housing budget was agreed at a council meeting on 25 February and includes funding for new build housing, regeneration in several areas of Renfrewshire and the continuation of an extensive programme of housing improvements.

Work will begin this year on the construction of 100 new build council homes as part of an ambition to deliver 1,000 new affordable homes in Renfrewshire by 2020 working in partnership with local housing associations.

Renfrewshire Council is set for a £14m investment in housing and regeneration in 2016/2017.

The local authority’s housing budget was agreed at a council meeting on 25 February and includes funding for new build housing, regeneration in several areas of Renfrewshire and the continuation of an extensive programme of housing improvements.

Work will begin this year on the construction of 100 new build council homes as part of an ambition to deliver 1,000 new affordable homes in Renfrewshire by 2020 working in partnership with local housing associations.

In total, over £14m will be spent in 2016/2017 as part of a £52m three-year investment programme.

Up to 300 properties will benefit from new kitchens, bathrooms and rewiring, and another 250 will benefit from heating upgrades.

A rent increase of only 2%, which is lower than the 3.5% agreed for 2015/2016, has also been proposed following consultation with tenants.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “In these difficult financial times, we want to do what we can to help our tenants, so we kept the rent raise this year to only 2%.

“The UK Government’s welfare reforms are causing severe financial difficulties for families and we anticipate that the new Universal Credit will cause further challenges for our tenants so we have set aside funding for additional support measures to help alleviate the pressure on households.”

“Regenerating our communities is one of this council’s key priorities and we have plans to build 224 new council homes including 24 in the Seedhill Road area of Paisley, and 100 each in Dargarvel Village in Bishopton and in Johnstone.

“These are areas where the shortage of affordable social housing often forces people into expensive private lets. The work starting this year on the Seedhill and Dargarvel developments will provide a full mix of housing options, from one-bedroom flats to three-bedroom family homes.

“Last year, we completed our £138m programme to bring all our housing stock up to the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. The challenge now is to continue investing in our housing stock to ensure it continues to meet the standard, and the aspirations of our tenants, so over £9m of this budget is earmarked for new kitchens and bathrooms, rewiring, heating upgrades and external improvements in up to 300 properties.”

The programme also proposes investing £9.9m over the next three years to support the regeneration of the West End of Paisley and the Tannahill area of Ferguslie Park.

Housing services are paid for entirely by council tenants in a housing revenue account separate from the council’s budget for services.

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Renfrewshire Council has confirmed that it will meet on Thursday 3rd March to agree a budget for 2016/2017.

The local authority has previously reported that the grant funding it receives from the Scottish Government has been cut by 3.4% this year.

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Councillors met on Thursday 25 February to agree a housing budget for 2016/2017.

Renfrewshire Council has confirmed that it will meet on Thursday 3 March to agree a budget for 2016/2017.

The local authority has previously reported that the grant funding it receives from the Scottish Government has been cut by 3.4% this year.

Councillors met on Thursday 25 February to agree a housing budget for 2016/2017.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “It has been well-documented that, like other local authorities, we challenged the financial settlement offered by the Scottish Government and asked for clarification on the many conditions attached.

“This year’s settlement saw the biggest single cut imposed on local government yet, so it has been an especially difficult process this year.

“Sensibly, we have taken as much time as possible to deal with the implications of the settlement before drafting our own budget proposals. I believe we are proposing a budget that protects frontline services, helps our most vulnerable and invests in Renfrewshire’s future, and I look forward to getting the agreement of the full council.

“We have delivered on last year’s budget priorities and we’re starting to see the fruits of that investment.

“People can see for themselves the investment in physical assets like the Arnotts building and the Russell Institute in Paisley. But we’re also having great success with things like Families First, Street Stuff and our various Tackling Poverty initiatives, which are all making a difference in people’s lives and strengthening our communities.”