Paisley’s iconic Russell Institute was officially opened this week as Kevin Stewart MSP, the Minister for Local Government and Housing, joined invited guests and Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson to celebrate the occasion.
Guests who attended the event were given the opportunity to tour the category A-listed building in the heart of Paisley which has been transformed through a £5 million investment into a Skills & Employability Hub.
The completion of this project is one of a range of initiatives aimed at bolstering business and driving people back to the town centre. This is a fundamental aspect of the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.
The work at the Institute was sparked by the passion of local volunteers in the Paisley Development Trust and was funded by the Council, Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and Historic Environment Scotland’s Building Repairs Grant.
The former health centre is now home to Skills Development Scotland and the Council’s Invest in Renfrewshire employability team.
It houses around 120 employees including careers and employability staff helping unemployed people across Renfrewshire and working closely with local businesses to create further jobs and grow the local economy.
Main contractors CBC Ltd were charged with ensuring the distinctive features of the Institute were retained, from its ornate sculptures on the outside of the building to its stunning staircase and balcony inside.
The Institute marked its 90th anniversary this year so the reopening of the building is just one reason to celebrate this iconic local landmark.
Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart said: “I’m delighted to have been invited to the official opening of the wonderfully restored Russell Institute in the heart of Paisley.
“Investing in community-led regeneration is a key part of our approach and I’d like to congratulate the Paisley Development Trust, the Council and the project team for securing the funding, including £2m from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, which has enabled the restoration of this iconic building back to its former glory.
“This is a great example of how we can use existing assets to regenerate our town centres and support local communities.”
Councillor Nicolson said: “It is fantastic to see the great work that has been done to refurbish this stunning building and bring it back into use.
“As a Skills and Employability Hub, the Russell Institute will provide an excellent environment in a central location to help generate new jobs and opportunities for the people of Renfrewshire.”
A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland said: “We’re delighted our funding is being used to help transform this prominent Paisley landmark. The project will bring the building back into use and created a first class facility providing a skills and employability hub which will benefit the local community now and in the years to come.”
The Russell Institute will be open to the public on 2 and 3 September as part of Doors Open Day.