Thousands of families and heritage lovers from across the West of Scotland visited Renfrewshire at the weekend for Doors Open Day.

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Popular heritage buildings – such as Thomas Coats Memorial Church, Paisley Abbey and Sma’ Shot weavers’ cottages saw hundreds of visitors come through their doors.

Visitors took the opportunity to see inside Tannahill’s cottage – famous as the home of Paisley’s son Robert Tannahill – and watch as the only remaining fully operational bridge of its kind – the Inchinnan Bascule Bridge, designed by Sir William Arrol – lift up at Renfrew.

Paisley’s ambitions to be UK City of Culture 2021 featured in an exciting Yarn Storming inside Paisley Abbey as part of PaisleyMake – a design showcase supporting Paisley’s exceptional textile history and reconnecting the Paisley Pattern – the town’s global brand – back with the town.

History lovers popped into Johnstone to see the UK’s only museum in a supermarket – Johnstone History Museum sits inside Morrisons – and over to Paisley to visit Paisley Thread Mill Museum, which sits inside Mile End Mill, Abbey Mill Business Centre.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall and members of the public also took part in a charity zip slide to raise much needed funds for four Renfrewshire charities – Renfrewshire Carers Centre, RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health) and two hospices – Accord and St Vincent’s.

More than 50 buildings and locations took part in Doors Open Day in Renfrewshire, which is part of an exciting calendar of events for the area that supports Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

The area’s rich heritage and vibrant cultural scene, at the heart of local communities, is a key component of Paisley’s bid.

Provost Hall said: “Doors Open Day is always a fantastic event that many people enjoy and this year was no different. Renfrewshire has a wealth of heritage buildings and hidden gems and people love getting inside to see them.

“Paisley Abbey also featured three special workshops as part of PaisleyMake, with the public making corsages, origami and yarn storming the Paisley 2021 logo.

“Brave members of the public also joined me for a charity zip slide in East End Park, which will raise much-needed funds for my four chosen charities. I really enjoyed my first zip slide and it was great that it took place as part of Doors Open Day.

“Renfrewshire’s unique features also proved popular among visitors, with two new buildings – St Machar’s Ranfurly Church and Erskine Community Allotments – also opening their doors at the weekend.

“We are fortunate to have examples of brilliant architecture and innovative venues across the area. Renfrewshire should be proud of its heritage and cultural offering, and Doors Open Day does a wonderful job of showcasing why the Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is so strong.”

Paisley’s bid is taking place as part of a wider push to transform the town’s future using its unique cultural and heritage offering as the home of the Paisley Pattern and the one-time centre of the global textile industry.

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in spring 2017.

For more information on Paisley 2021, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

A group of eight young people from Paisley’s PACE Youth Theatre are on their way to London to wow Westminster as part of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

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PACE Youth Theatre group who will be travelling to London to support Paisley 2021. Included are David Wallace, founder of PACE, and Mhairi Gilbert, director of the performance which the group will deliver in Westminster

The group set off on their way today (Tuesday 6th September), making the first leg of their journey in the official Paisley 2021 taxi.

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The young performers will accompany Renfrewshire Council Leader and Chair of the 2021 Partnership Board, Mark Macmillan, and Bid Director, Jean Cameron, to a special reception at the House of Commons, attended by parliamentarians, business leaders and key cultural figures.

Hosted by Renfrewshire MPs Mhairi Black and Gavin Newlands, the event will promote Paisley’s Untold Story and showcase the strength of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The group from PACE, the youth theatre which started the careers of Paolo Nutini, James McAvoy, and new star of Hollyoaks Amy Conachan, among many others, will put on a specially commissioned performance that will tell Paisley’s story and share what makes the town – Scotland’s largest, so special.

Paisley’s bid and journey to 2021 will harness the power of culture to tackle deep-rooted poverty in communities identified as the most deprived in Scotland, and will place the artistic community at the heart of the town’s cultural, social and economic transformation.

The bid will celebrate the town’s internationally significant cultural and textile heritage, home to the world famous Paisley Pattern and one of the UK’s original creative industries – thread making and weaving, and will be used to attract tourism investment as well as promote further job growth and economic stability across all of Renfrewshire.

The Paisley delegation is the first representing any of the locations bidding for the UK City of Culture title to hold such an event at the House of Commons.

Councillor Mark Macmillan said: “Being home to PACE Youth Theatre, one of the largest youth theatres in the UK, is just one of the many jewels in Renfrewshire’s cultural crown. Our bid is all about changing perceptions of Paisley at home and abroad and changing local aspirations and ambition. The passion and talent displayed by our young people performing here today epitomises the Paisley spirit and is a driving force behind our bid”

“I’m sure everybody involved will do the town proud and will help to convince our guests that Paisley deserves to become UK City of Culture 2021.”

Abby, aged 17, is one of the members of PACE Youth Theatre who is making the trip to London. She said: “We are really excited to be representing Paisley 2021 at such an important event. Paisley is my town and being able to play a part in helping to spread the word about how much culture there is here in Paisley and Renfrewshire is great.”

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in Spring 2017, with the winner announced in Autumn 2017.

For more information on Paisley 2021, visit  www.paisley2021.co.uk, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

Johnstone Cat Rescue (JCR) have made an appeal for funds to help pay daily bills like veterinary fees.

Volunteers have been working day-by-day to help and protect cats in Renfrewshire since the Renfrewshire branch of Cats Protection closed back in 2014.

Sam the Cat who is being looked after at Johnstone Cat Rescue

On a regular basis JCR receive cats who have injuries, infections and conditions related to old age that require life-long medication.

Margaret Finnigen from JCR wrote about one of the latest cats to need their help “Sam is Johnstone Cat Rescue’s latest challenge. So badly neglected that he has rock hard tufts and knots on his back that are causing him great discomfort.

“Sam cannot bear to have his back touched, it’s far too painful for him. As a result, he is missing out on cuddles that other cats take for granted. We have booked Sam into the vet for a dematt procedure but he will have to be put under sedation.”

Looking after Renfrewshire’s cats is basically a full-time job: “Sam is only one of many cats that need our help, and we need your help to allow us to continue our work. We have cats who come in with injuries, infections, and other conditions related to old age that require life-long medication.

“We also strive to keep down the population of unwanted kittens by neutering as many cats as we can. Since the demise of the Renfrewshire branch of Cats Protection in 2014, volunteers at Johnstone Cat Rescue have been working solidly day by day to help cats all over Renfrewshire. Aside from food and litter, vet fees are our biggest outlay, and our biggest fear is that we will run out of funds.

“We work more or less full-time. We don’t get paid, nor do we ask to. In fact, we often dig into our purses when the need arises. What we area asking is for the support of the Renfrewshire public to help us continue

“Please remember, it could be you that needs our help someday.”

If you would like to make a donation you can follow the link below to their Just Giving page.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/justgivingjohnstonecatrescue

Paisley.org.uk‘s Brian McGuire and Danielle Caira have completed an Arran Bike & Hike challenge to help raise funds for a Paisley charity.

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Over two days they completed a 42-mile cycle from Brodick to Lochranza on Saturday, then on Sunday they took on a further 13-mile cycle on as well as hiking the Goatfell Hike.

That’s 55 miles of cycling in total and an 874 metre hike.

Both had been training before the big weekend arrived with Brian and Danielle cycling 20 miles every day to make sure they were fit for the challenge.

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Brian and Danielle are raising money for RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health), a charity based here in Paisley.

Brain took to Facebook after it was all completed to thank everyone for their support, he said: “Smashed it. Thanks for everyone who supported us on this epic journey… This is us at the top of Goatfell, Arran. After two days of cycling some of the toughest roads we’ve ever done.”

There is still time to sponsor Brian and Danielle by going to their Money Giving page: http://bit.ly/2c0fMpy.

To find out more about RAMH visit http://ramh.org.

 

Events at the Bungalow this month are as follows:

Event:  Berry Tweed & The Chasers
Date: Friday 9th September
Supported By: The Cut Throat Razors
Entry: £3.00 on the door.
Time: 8pm
Age: 18+

 

Event: All or Nothing
Date: Friday 16th September
Performing: The Underground Jam & All or Nothing DJ’s Tommy Clark and Boab Williamson.
Entry: £3.00 recommended donation on the door.
Time: 8pm
Age: 18+
Notes: All profits go towards Teenage Cancer Trust, in memory of Stephen Roy.

Event: Colonel Mustard And the Dijon 5
Date: Saturday 17th September
Supported by: Declan Welsh
Entry: £7.00 (Tickets available behind the bar & from www.thebungalow.bigcartel.com).
Time: 8pm
Age: 18+

Event: Syteria (Featuring Girlschool’s Jackie Chambers)
Date: Friday 23rd September
Supprted By: Law of The Chord & 3 Minute Heroes
Entry: £3.00 (Tickets available from www.thebungalow.bigcartel.com)>
Time: 8pm
Age: 18+
 Event: Her Way to Hell (AC/DC Tribute)
Date: Saturday 24th September
Supported By: AWOL
Entry: Free Entry
Time: 8pm
Age: 18+
Event: Edenthorn
Date: Friday 30th September
Supported By: Anchor Lane & Astral Suns
Entry: Free Entry
Time: 8pm
Age: 18+

CHARITIES and voluntary organisations across Renfrewshire are being invited to take part in the very first One Digital Meet Up at Johnstone Town Hall on Thursday 22nd September. From 12.30pm – 3.30pm attendees will hear from speakers such as Alan McNiven from Engage Renfrewshire and Diane Webb from Renfrewshire Council about all things digital in the Renfrewshire area.

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Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty Team established a Digital Team help improve digital participation throughout Renfrewshire through classes and recruiting volunteers to support organisations with digital. This event is being delivered in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation’s Digital Participation Team. There will be presentations and technology demonstrations and a general networking session afterwards to discuss any concerns and issues organisations and individuals may have.

Organisations and individuals with an interest in finding out more about digital participation and the latest digital happenings in Renfrewshire are encouraged to come along. Lauren Gilmour, Digital Volunteer Co-Ordinator based at Engage Renfrewshire who is helping to organise the event said:

“This is a really great opportunity for people across Renfrewshire to come together and talk about digital. As we know, it’s the way forward for many organisations and the benefits it brings to them far outweigh the negatives. But some people lack access and basic skills to get online and our job is to try and change that through training courses, investing in infrastructure and events like this.”

Anyone who is interested in going along to the event is encouraged to register online at http://www.meetup.com/One-Digital-Meetup/events/233112413/ or contact Lauren Gilmour at Engage Renfrewshire on 0141 887 7707 or  lgilmour@engagerenfrewshire.com

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has met with the local Renfrewshire police force to discuss the issues affecting the local area and to find out more about the challenges they face.

In addition, to discussing issues such as community policing, antisocial behaviour and the recent acts of vandalism around Renfrewshire, Gavin also joined two police officers on patrol to find out more about day-to-day
policing.

Gavin Newlands commented: “I was grateful to be invited to visit Renfrew police station to find out more about how our local police operate and what they feel are the biggest issues facing them locally. The conversation I had
with Simon Wright, Area Commander for Johnstone and Renfrew was very informative. I would also like to thank PCs Mark Ewin and Fraser Cambridge for letting me join them on their patrol and for giving me a taste of what
it is like to be a police officer.

“Our local police service do a fantastic job to keep us all safe, and we can’t thank them enough for the job that they do. The people I met are working hard to keep the community a safe and pleasant place to live and they deserve thanks for all the work they do, and I will continue to support them in any way that I can.

If you can read between the lines, you can save lives. That’s the message Choose Life is sending out to people in Renfrewshire to mark Suicide Prevention Week (5–11 September).

Memorial tree for those lost to suicide outside Renfrewshire House

Last year 21 people in Renfrewshire took their own lives, leaving a lasting impact on families, friends and communities.

Choose Life is tackling this through its ‘Read between the lines’ campaign, which calls on everyone to be alert to the warning signs of suicide in people close to them.

The message is that if you’re worried about someone, such as a friend, family member or workmate, asking them directly about their feelings can help to save their life.

Memorial bench in Johnstone

The campaign acknowledges that signs of suicide can be ambiguous, but encourages people to take all signs of distress seriously, even if the person seems to be living a normal life. It also aims to assure people that asking a person about what’s troubling them can make a positive difference.

The campaign targets men and women who are likely to be in greatest contact with people most at risk of suicide – men aged 30-59, since statistics show that around three-quarters of suicides have been men in every year since 1990.

Raising awareness of suicide prevention and giving the public information is a vital part of the Choose Life work. A host of activities are taking place in Renfrewshire during Suicide Prevention Week, including the launch of the ‘Time to Listen’ film which sees national support groups, local community groups and members of the community speaking about suicide and its effects.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Well-being Policy Board, said: “Suicide Prevention Week is a chance to highlight the part that suicide plays in people’s lives and educate people on the warning signs which they may notice in someone’s behaviour.

“Scotland’s suicide rate has been decreasing since 2002 with the latest figures showing that that they are at their lowest level since the 1970’s- but this is not enough.

“We must ensure that those who are dealing with suicidal thoughts are aware of the help that is on offer and make it as easy as possible for them to access these support channels.

“If we can show that there is always a better option, then these statistics should continue to fall year on year- until we achieve the ultimate goal of no one being lost to suicide.”

Lisa Aitken, Choose Life Co-ordinator, said: “You tend to know when someone close to you isn’t quite themselves. So if you notice any changes in their behaviour that worry you – even if the signs come and go – ask them about it.

“You’ll find that talking can help a person get clarity about what it is that’s troubling them, and often gives a sense of perspective. Starting a conversation is half the battle. You don’t need to have an answer to their problems – just be there for them, try to listen carefully without judging, and show that you care.”

The Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) support group meets on the last Wednesday of every month at The Wynd Centre, Paisley from 7pm-8:30pm.

The national helpline Breathing Space can be reached on 0800 83 85 87, and the number for The Samaritans is 116 123.

Recovery Across Mental Health (RAMH) First Crisis can be contacted on 0141 848 9090.

For more information on suicide prevention, call 0141 849 2200, or email elizabeth.aitken@renfrewshire.gov.uk.