Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has tucked in at a Christian Aid Big Brekkie event in Parliament, to show his support for Christian Aid Week (14-20 May 2017,, which is raising money for refugees fleeing conflict around the world.

Gavin Newlands MP holding the Big Brekkie sign in Parliament

As Christian Aid marks 60 years of Christian Aid Week, the organisation is inviting people to join them in a Big Brekkie breakfast to stand in solidarity with refugees around the world. The charity has been working with refugees since the Second World War, and is not turning its back now.

Today, tens of millions of people across the globe are forced from their homes due to war, conflict and disaster.  Many make life-threatening dangerous journeys in search of a safe place to call home

While the majority of today’s refugees continue to seek sanctuary in poor countries, in 2015 more than one million refugees crossed into Europe.  With borders across the continent now closed to refugees, thousands are stranded – and in need of urgent help.

Nejebar, from Afghanistan, fled her homeland after the Taliban announced they would kill anyone who worked for the government, like her husband Noor.  They eventually sought refuge in Greece with their children, after a treacherous journey across the Mediterranean in a small rubber dinghy.  The young family have left their home, family and friends behind, and now reside in a small tent, with no certainty on their future, especially that of their children.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“I was pleased to meet with Christian Aid this week, to hear about the great work that is being done in Paisley and Renfrewshire North and across the country to help refugees at this important time. For millions of people around the world displaced from their homes, Christian Aid’s work provides vital support. I encourage my constituents to get involved in Christian Aid Week events in Paisley and Renfrewshire North where they can.”

Simon Kirkland, Christian Aid’s UK Parliamentary and Political Adviser, said:

“We are really grateful for Gavin Newlands’s support for Christian Aid’s important fundraising events in Paisley and Renfrewshire North. Everyone can do something to help this Christian Aid Week, whether it’s attending a local event, giving money or praying for the world’s many refugees at this difficult time. Thank you to everyone who is able to take part in this year’s Christian Aid Week.”


FORMER Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts today showed shoppers how to get the purr-fect summer outfit.

Ashley Roberts presenting fashion show at intu Braehead…photos taken by Jeff Holmes

She was hosting a series of Spring and Summer Fashion Shows, at the intu Braehead mall, near Glasgow over the weekend and hundreds of shoppers turned out to see the TV presenter give them the lowdown on the latest fashion trends.

Ashley Roberts with children’s clothes model, Savannah Hardie, aged six

Ashley shot to fame with the Pussycat Dolls, who sold more than 50 million records worldwide and after the group split in 2010, she carved out a successful TV career for herself.

Ashley’s credentials include co-hosting ITV’s primetime show, Saturday Night Takeaway, with Ant and Dec; taking runner-up on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and appearing as contestant on Channel 4’s The Jump.
She was also a judge on Dancing on Ice and this year was a guest judge on the BBC’s, Let It Shine.

Ashley Roberts with intu Braehead personal stylist, Victoria Martin

paisley pirates

Following the end of their most successful campaign to date, Paisley Pirates have paid tribute to the many individuals and groups who have contributed to that success by thanking them for the part they have played in making season 2016/17 so memorable.

paisley pirates

Coach Ian Turley said, “There are an awful lot of people we need to say a very big ‘Thank You’ to, as without them we simply couldn’t ice a team. We have a squad of 20 players, and I can only say how much it has been a privilege and pleasure to work with them. The bit that people see is the players performing on the ice, the bit they don’t see is the late night training sessions and full commitment away from their families for 8 months of the year. They don’t get paid for playing, nor do they get any help with their kit or travelling costs to and from games either at home or away, and all of that takes a lot of commitment and I’ve got only the highest regard for the guys who were prepared to do that week in, week out, for the club.”

He went on, “All of the SNL teams have made various efforts to raise the standard of our league, which is clear for everyone to see, given that there was very little room for error during games throughout the season.”

“We have a mass of volunteers, who do all the match night jobs willingly to contribute to the club, and once again, without them, we couldn’t put a show on-from the people on the gate, the folk who do all the presentation stuff round the other side of the arena, and all the others who don’t really see as much of the game as they would maybe like but do their job willingly to help the Pirates, all of them have my utmost admiration for doing it to help their club, and I want them to know just how much it is appreciated.”

“Our supporters also deserve a huge thanks for getting behind the team in the way that they do. There’s no better feeling than coming out of the dressing room at Braehead Arena and hearing the fans cheering when we hit the ice, and away from home the noise they create makes us feel so much better, knowing that so many folk have given up their time and probably spent quite a bit of money to get to the game, and that is hugely appreciated. I know of one instance this year when we were playing at Dundee on a Sunday night and some fans travelled through; by public transport just to watch us play, which is quite humbling to think that a family would do that, effectively give up most of their Sunday, and probably a wee bit of their Monday morning too, just to cheer us on 100 miles from home-that’s dedication, and it’s not at all untypical with regard to what our fans will do to support the team.”

“I also have to thank the sponsors who gave us much needed support over the course of the season in various ways. Renfrewshire Sports Charity at ProLife Fitness Centre who provided the team with a top class training facility, none more when we lost ice at Braehead. Cold Blooded Sports who in spite of their own trauma when their premises went on fire, were still able to supply us with goods and services. I also want to thank our other sponsors, like Al Goold Photos, MWS and SK Cutting Edge, all of whom provided us with much valued support in various ways, and, of course, Renfrewshire Council, who have provided ongoing support through its Local Area Committees.”

“Finally, I want to say a word about our management team. We’re a very well run organisation. Jackie and her team put in a power of work behind the scenes and put in more hours in the week on behalf of the Pirates than they do in a full time job! Running the Pirates is a 24/7 commitment, you don’t get days off very often, and it is so much easier being the coach at this club when you know that all the million and one other jobs connected with the running of the organisation are all being dealt with. You could say that we are a big club in every sense of the word, with an organisation and history that many other teams would love to have, and that’s down to Jackie and her team making it that way.”

“We look forward to seeing you on Saturday 13th May at our end of season awards night.”

paisley from drone

There comes a time when the current space available in the home is simply not enough, or else someone realizes the space could be put to better use. Perhaps the children have all flown the nest and a mother wants to make the home more about her, or perhaps priorities have changed. Whatever the reason, the most obvious space for transformation is found at the top of the house, where you can create the ultimate attic conversion. 

The cost of converting

The first thing to understand about an attic conversion is that it will cost a significant amount of money. However, converting an attic will cost considerably less than moving to a new home, and will add as much as 20 per cent to the value of your property. You should establish the extent of your budget, allowing a little for contingencies, and then see the kind of attic conversion that you can afford, factoring in architect fees, building regulation fees, and anything else that you have to do before a conversion can go ahead. At a rough estimate, you could be spending anywhere between £2,000 and £15,000, depending on the size and complexity of your attic conversion concept. 

Making a plan

Once you have confirmed that your attic is suitable for conversion – for example, whether there’s sufficient head height, and whether planning permission is required or not – and established the use that the converted attic will be put to, you need to make a basic plan about how you want the room to look. Consider that you may not have as much floor space as you think because the attic will normally have a sloping roof. This may mean that you are unable to have tall wardrobes or bookcases, for example, only lower height furniture. However, most attic conversions make great use of odd spaces with in-built storage. 

Interior decoration

Once your attic has been converted, you have a blank canvas to work upon. You want this room to feel as light and airy as possible, so you should avoid hanging any window dressing that may block out too much natural daylight. A good alternative to curtains and blinds are solid wooden shutters, as these offer privacy while allowing you to regulate the light and air flow.

For smaller, low-ceilinged rooms, the best kind of decorating approach is one that uses light colours to open the room up as dark colours will make the space seem smaller. Paint or wallpaper the walls with whites or creams, light blues, and greens. Vertical stripes can also create the illusion of height, which may be useful in an attic space. Use the attic’s awkward spaces to provide storage rather than loading your space up with bulky, freestanding furniture.

Converting an attic is a great way to add value to your property and increase your useable space, but be prepared for a big commitment, as it takes a great deal of money to implement and carry through, and also takes many weeks to complete.

paisley from drone

Paisley is a town with a lot of history, stunning architecture, nature and an abundance of culture. Whether you are a visitor or potential resident, Paisley has something for everyone, making it an excellent destination for many purposes. Whilst having a lot to offer, it is also serves as a hub which connects with some of Scotland’s most scenic views and fun activities – within only 20 minutes!

With numerous departures every day, usually every 7 minutes, Scotrail always stands at the ready to take you into Glasgow. Getting you there comfortably and cheap in only 9 minutes makes it an ideal choice whether you’re looking for a day-trip, or just want to spend a couple hours exploring the largest city in Scotland. Should you be in the mood for something spiritual whilst also architecturally stunning the Glasgow Cathedral might be just the thing for you. Should the rich culture of Paisley have left you wanting for even more, a visit to one of Glasgow’s most popular sights, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum should quench your thirst!

Should you be visiting whilst on four wheels, filling a basket with excellent Scottish food and drink from any of Paisleys many vendors and setting the compass towards slightly south-east will enable you to feast your eyes on the beautiful scenery of Castle Semple Loch Park whilst enjoying your day.

If west and east gets you confused, fear not. Should you head south-east instead you’ll soon find yourself lost in the beauty of Dams to Darnley Country Park instead!

Whether you’re an experienced golfer or curious about this ancient sport, Paisley has you covered with an excellent golf course located in the Glennifer Braes Country Park, just south of the city.

 Should you be looking for something less hectic and relaxing, Paisley offers the perfect environment to do just that. How about turning a day of reading a good book into an adventure as you’re sitting atop of Saucel Hill with its breathtaking view, or why not bring your laptop with you and engage in some live casino action or brag to your friends on Facebook while the wondrous scenery of Scotland unfolds before your eyes? Aimlessly walking alongside the River Cart is guaranteed to take even your favorite music to new heights as both your ears and eyes will be feasting!

Needless to say, Paisley has something for everyone and its unique location makes it an extraordinary hub for adventure, scenic sights and activities – within only 20 minutes.

Taking place in May each year, the Voluntary Arts Festival celebrates the wide range of creative activity taking place in cities, towns and villages across the UK and Ireland – and encourages newcomers to get involved.

Run by Voluntary Arts, the Festival features ‘come and try’ sessions, open rehearsals, workshops, flashmobs and CraftBombs – all designed to inspire people to get involved and find a creative passion, whether it’s singing, acting, painting, knitting, dancing, digital arts, cooking or the many other ways people get creative.

For 2017, with support from Renfrewshire Council and Paisley 2021, we’re shining an extra special spotlight on Paisley and Renfrewshire.

Between 5 – 14 May, events will be taking place across the town and surrounding area, with a special Voluntary Arts Festival ‘What’s On Guide’ available in local venues and online, to point people in the right direction. Events include a family ceilidh, workshops and open rehearsals from craft, music, digital art, dance and painting groups – with more to be announced.

An exhibition, created by Paisley Photographic Society in partnership with Voluntary Arts Scotland, will run at Paisley Central Library capturing local creative groups in action – and giving details of how people can join them.

A special map has been produced, giving local residents an overview of creative groups in the Paisley area, so people can see how they can get creative year-round.

An informative training session, run in conjunction with Access Renfrewshire, will take place on Saturday 6 May at Tannahill Centre, Paisley, to help groups be as accessible and welcoming as possible to participants.

To learn more about the Festival, and find events taking place nationwide, visit

gavin newlands

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has submitted an Early Day Motion to the UK Parliament to recognise the success of the most recent Paisley Beer and Food Festival.

The 30th anniversary of the Paisley Beer Festival took place from the 19th to the 22nd of April in the Paisley Town Hall and was held in conjunction with the Paisley Food Festival.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Over the past 30 years, the Paisley Beer Festival has gone from strength to strength, with the most recent one proving once again how successful this event is for locals and to those who visit Paisley to sample beers from across Scotland and the rest of the UK. As a regular attendee of this annual festival, I know how great an event it is for the town.

“Last Saturday, our annual Beer Festival was held alongside the food festival, allowing locals to try a variety of foods from all over the world and to see cooking demonstrations from top chefs.

“As we take forward our bid to be named UK City of Culture in 2021, the Paisley Beer and Food Festival highlights once again the very best that our town has to offer.”

West College Scotland will be holding an Open day at Ferguslie Learning Centre on Thursday 4th May from 10am until 2pm.

SCOTS are being invited to take on Cancer Research UK’s latest fundraising challenge, Walk All Over Cancer, to help beat cancer sooner.


In Scotland, around a fifth (21 per cent) of people are getting less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week.* Now the charity is calling on people to sign up to walk 10,000 steps every day throughout the month of June and raise money through sponsorship. Based on the average person’s strides, 10,000 steps equates to approximately five miles or eight kilometres per day, and adopting small lifestyle changes can go a long way in making the goal feel achievable.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland, said: “Walk All Over Cancer is a fantastic way to become more active, with the motivation of raising money for Cancer Research UK’s life-saving research. Walkers can take part on their own or challenge family, friends and colleagues to join them.

“Ten thousand steps per day is quite a challenge for many people. Some of us spend our days transferring from seat to seat – whether that’s driving to work, sitting at a desk or enjoying a boxset on the sofa. By signing up to Walk All Over Cancer, participants will start to realise all the opportunities they have to squeeze in some extra steps.

“People can tackle the challenge at their own pace and build the walking into their day to day routine. By taking part this June, supporters could tread through 150 miles by the end of the month which is nearly the distance between Glasgow and Inverness!

“Cancer survival has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress – but every step our doctors, nurses and scientists take relies on donations from the public and the tireless fundraising of our supporters.

“Every stride taken and every donation made will help fund research to accelerate the charity’s progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”

Eight-seven people are diagnosed with cancer** in Scotland*** every day. Now Cancer Research is urging people to put on their walking shoes this June and take part in Walk All Over Cancer to help beat cancer sooner.

From walking to work, jogging in the park or opting for the stairs, the money raised through sponsorship will fund Cancer Research UK’s ground-breaking research to help improve cancer survival.

Not only will walking help to raise money, it also comes with many added health benefits as moderate exercise can help build stamina, burn excess calories and protect against a range of diseases including cancer.

Keeping check on the number of steps taken each day has never been easier with many smartphone health apps, pedometers and wearable activity trackers helping you keep a tab on your physical activity.

To sign up and download motivation tools including a wall chart, leader board and sponsorship form, visit

A new magazine featuring poetry with a connection to Paisley releases its first edition this Friday.

The pamphlet-style magazine, Paisley Poems, showcases work from 13 local poets. The poems range from depictions of life in Paisley past and present, to musings on life’s big questions.

The featured poets are: Sarah Baird, Alec Beattie, Eleanor Capaldi, Ryan Goodwin, Kate Gordon, Trisha Heaney, Kathryn Metcalfe, Maxine Rose Munro, David Rae, Max Scratchmann, Morag McDowell Smith, RK Wallace, and Lindsey Shields Waters.

Copies cost just £1.50, and from this Friday they will be available to buy online at, as well as in local shops Abbey Books and Rainbow Turtle. The magazine will also be on the shelves of the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

Paisley Poems is a true Paisley affair, and is printed by Print Studio Scotland on Seedhill Road.

Founded by 23-year-old Hannah Wilson, Paisley Poems was started with help from Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Heritage, and Events Fund – created to support Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Hannah said: “The quality of submissions we received was overwhelming, and it was a tough job to whittle it down to just 13 poems.

“Hopefully the first edition gives a good flavour of the different voices of the town, and we’ll be opening up for submissions again soon, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities for more people to get involved!”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron, said: “We are delighted to have helped fund the first volume of Paisley Poems through our Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

“The town has such a rich history of written verse, dating back to our original weaver poet Robert Tannahill – so it is fitting the current generation of talent be given this platform to show their work as part of the UK City of Culture bid.

“I look forward to seeing the first edition when published this week and hopefully this is the first of many – I wish the team every success for the future.”

Bust out those arm bands, shimmy on your scuba gear and dive in with Funbox as the tide sweeps them back to Paisley with their brand new show for 2017, UNDERWATER ADVENTURE.

Its been non stop for FUNBOX since their first show in 2015, and now the former Singing Kettle trio have 8 shows, 6 DVDs, 5 CDs and 24 costumes to their name as they embark on their ninth tour in 2 years. When it was made clear that the Singing Kettle was not for sale, Gary, Anya and Kevin took their first steps into business. “We knew we could write songs, perform and make music, but none of us had any real experience of running a business. We just went into it head first.” says Gary. “Our Pirates and Princesses tour was funded out of our own pockets and a Crowdfunding campaign that saw us raise over 20k in 4 weeks thanks to the support of our fans.” The gang admit they were having far too much fun working together and entertaining families of Scotland and beyond to say goodbye. Anya remarked “We wanted to carry on, not just for us but the kids who loved coming to see us and the parents and grandparents who wanted to take their children. It
seemed like too important a thing to let go”.

FUNBOX offers the same traditional songs and silliness known and loved by many but with their own brand of manic humour with a modern twist. “We’ve been described as fresh and edgier than before. Even the big people are enjoying it! We spotted a few grown up mermaids and deep sea divers at our DVD recording at Glasgow SEC back in February.” laughs Kevin.

Take the plunge with Gary, Anya and Kevin (the stars formerly of The Singing Kettle) for their all new show for 2017 – UNDERWATER ADVENTURE where they voyage beneath the waves to the bottom of the ocean. There’s some-fin fishy going on in their latest singalong ‘tail’ – the FUNBOX is locked and the gang will have to cause a splash because their magical keys are all tucked up in the sea bed. Fluffy and Flossie the Funsters will be diving in to lend a hand and of course everyone’s favourite salty sea dog; Bonzo will be joining the aquatic action, but has he packed his trunks, snorkel and rubber ring?

Packed with familiar favourites like ‘When the Boat comes in’, ‘The World must be coming tae an’End’ and ‘Hole at the Bottom of the Sea’ as well as brand new songs, UNDERWATER ADVENTURE is the perfect swimalong singalong treat for kids of all ages from nought to ninety! You might even cause a splash on stage with us!

Dress up for the sea and join in the fun. You’ll have a whale of a time!

Paisley Town Hall, Sunday 14 May, 1pm and 3.30pm

Tickets available from the Box Office on 0300 300 1210 or Ticketmaster
For more information go to or find us on facebook and twitter.

Paisley marked the send-off of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid by forming a human Paisley Pattern in the town centre in a colourful show of mass support.

Around 200 people donned bright T-shirts in front of the striking backdrop of Paisley Town Hall to form the giant teardrop motif – the globally-recognised symbol carrying the town’s name – to mark the bid being lodged with the UK Government today.

The giant gathering included a wide cross-section of the community, with pupils from local schools Williamsburgh Primary and Castlehead High, plus local businesses, disability groups, cultural organisations, and staff and students from the University of the West of Scotland and West College Scotland.

The teardrop shape was choreographed by and included staff and young people from PACE Youth Theatre – one of the largest groups of its kind in the UK.

Paisley is bidding for the UK City of Culture 2021 title as part of wider plans to transform the area’s future using its unique cultural and heritage story.

The 30-page bid document is now being lodged with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport ahead of Friday’s deadline. A shortlist is expected over the summer, with the winner to be announced at the end of the year.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture has captured the imagination of the whole town over the past 18 months – with more than 30,000 people involved in the conversation around it.

“That was never more evident than in the phenomenal response to the call-out for people to join the human Paisley Pattern photo.

“People of all ages and backgrounds – senior managers, schoolkids, business owners and artists – were lined up together and for me that sums up what Paisley’s bid is about…everybody coming together to show how much we want this title.

“The bid document submitted to DCMS this week carries the voices and hopes of those people – as well as a clear vision of how Paisley will harness the power of culture to transform our economy, town centre and reputation, and with it, the lives of the people who live here.”

David Wallace, executive director of PACE, and a member of the Paisley 2021 executive bid team, added: “Paisley’s cultural sector has always been strong – this is a town which punches well above its weight in producing talented people.

“But the work going on around the bid gives us a chance not only showcase that to a wider audience, but to also build a lasting legacy of excellence.

“With its stunning architectural heritage, unique venues and great transport links, Paisley is the perfect stage for a year of international-class culture.

“The momentum built up over the past 18 months has set Paisley off on a journey which will continue no matter what – and today shows how excited we are to be part of that.”

For more info on Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, see