Incube

The latest line up of InCube entrepreneurs are seeing their businesses bloom through the innovative business support and employability programme, run by Renfrewshire Council.

InCube developed by Invest in Renfrewshire, allows local creative start-ups to benefit from support to improve their growth.

Incube

InCube’s Class of 2018 are already seeing their businesses benefit from the package of support offered by the programme, including attending a range of workshops and having the chance to sell their products in the dedicated InCube shop.

Designer Geraldine Donnelly, of textiles and homewares brand Obsidian Ore, said her time at InCube has been amazing and a helpful experience for both herself and her business.

Geraldine added: “Without the support of InCube, I wouldn’t have won the chance to design the prizes for the 2018 Scottish Album of the Year Awards – my first big commission as a professional designer.”

Designer Eva Arnaudova who designs childrens clothing under the name Atelier Eva Art, said that InCube helped her to develop new ideas and gave her confidence in her own abilities.

She said “Incube covers all the steps for creative businesses and was a great help to me in every possible way.”

The programme is now accepting applications for the 2019 intake and is open to those wishing to start or grow a business in the creative retail, textiles, jewellery, design, fashion, crafts and makers sector.

Designer Sohelia Keyani said that InCube offer warmth and guidance to help fledgling businesses become strong and self-sufficient.

She added: “If you’re a creative needing support and business acumen, then InCube is the place to be!”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “InCube continues to nurture local creatives every year and this is helping to establish Renfrewshire as a place where creativity thrives.

“The support in 2018 has been phenomenal and I would encourage everyone to continue to visit the InCube shop in 2019 and continue to support local designers who are showcasing the skill and talent we have here in Renfrewshire.”

Applications for the 2019 InCube intake close on Monday 11 February. For more information and to apply visit www.incube.ren/incube-competition-2019

russian-train

Russia is signified by perhaps two things. The birthplace of socialism and for its cold weather. This country is the perfect destination for a solo trip filled with melancholy and self discovery. And perhaps the best way to traverse this behemoth of a country all by yourself is the famous and illustrious railway system of Russian Train Tickets are easily available online.

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Russian railways are famous in its myth and its stature. The Trans-Siberian train route is known for traversing some of the toughest and scariest terrain possible. For any solo travellers who are planning a trip across the length and breadth of this majestic country, the train route traversing throughout the heartland is the perfect means to an end.  Here are some of the train routes within and across Russia which can be taken for a memorable journey.

 

  1. Moscow to St. Petersburg

 

Moscow and St. Petersburg are the two main cities of Russia. The connectivity between these two cities is very important for the country. And obviously the train system plays a very important part in that connection. Moscow to St. Petersburg is an overnight trip and is dotted with innumerable trains in between. Apart from the famous high speed Sapsan railway, which covers the distance in just four hours, there are many more overnight train routes. So if you are ever in Russia and are traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg it is advisable that you avail the train.

  1. Trans-Siberian railway

 

Perhaps the most romanticized and written about railway in the world is the Trans-Siberian railway. It crosses through six time zones, through plains, mountains, rivers , valley and steeps to connect some of the most inaccessible areas of the world with each other. The main route of Trans-Siberian railway runs from Moscow to Vladivostok. This is the main route. Apart from this route there are two more routes connecting Moscow to Beijing . One of those two traverse through Mongolia and pass through Ulan Bator. The other one does not travel through Mongolia and this makes this route longer.

 

  1. From Europe to Russia

 

Russia has train connection with all the important European cities. The Paris-Berlin-Moscow route is one of the busiest train routes in all of Europe. Many people prefer to travel by train across Europe instead of taking a flight and this makes the train routes through Europe a very important connection for tourists.

 

  1. The Golden Ring

 

This is the railway system of Russia that connects the old cities at the north west of the country. This railway system is a hit among the tourists because all the cities that this railway system connects, like Vladimir, Yaroslavl , Sergiev Posad etc. are all ancient cities which contain a lot of historical places and monuments depicting the ancient history of Russia.

 

The railways are a historic milestone of the country of Russia and the intense connection that the railway provides gives Russia its strength in this economy due to the connectivity . For solo travellers the railway system of Russia is the biggest asset as it provides a cheap and reliable source of transport across the length and breadth of the country.

Emergency services Renfrewshire

The work of the emergency services has been praised by Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson as they continue to operate throughout the festive period.

Emergency services Renfrewshire

While many places close or offer a reduced service during the festive period, our Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance and NHS staff continued to serve Renfrewshire at full capacity.

The festivities can often be one of the busiest times of the year for our emergency responders and the Council Leader has offered his thanks for the work they do to keep the area safe.

Councillor Nicolson said: “The festive period can often bring added pressures to our emergency services, with Christmas nights out sometimes ending in a need for their assistance.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson

“However, each of the emergency services copes admirably and provide an outstanding service to those in Renfrewshire who need them.

“We often don’t realise how lucky we are to have such dedicated and highly-skilled staff available to help us and I want to thank them for all they do to keep us safe.

“If you’re heading out for Hogmanay, or even just during the festive period, please be careful and ensure you are safe at all times.”

Anyone who needs the assistance of the emergency services should call 999 immediately. If the situation is not an emergency, then please call 101.

Most council offices will be closed over the festive period, although all essential services will continue to operate.

A handy guide on how to access council services during the closure period has been created and can be found on the council website or in your local library, leisure centre or at Renfrewshire House.

For full information on council opening hours and emergency contact numbers, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/festiveclosure.

taxi

As the bells get set to toll to bring in another year, revellers are being advised to plan ahead and book their taxi home in advance if they’re heading out on Hogmanay.

taxi

Renfrewshire Council and Police Scotland have joined forces to give passengers some important safety tips as the New Year celebrations get set to begin.

Party-goers should ensure they plan how to get home from their night out in advance and, where possible, pre-book their taxi home.

They should also only use licensed taxis or private hire vehicles to make any journeys and never be tempted to accept the offer of a lift from a passing car.

Councillor John MacNaughtan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Regulatory Functions Board, said:  “Hogmanay is one of the main party nights of the year so planning your journey to and from your destination can save you a lot of hassle later in the night, as well as keeping you safe.

“Book your taxi in advance if possible so you know how and when you are getting home and always ensure you are using a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle.

“These will have Renfrewshire Council plates which display the licence details, and the driver’s badge should be displayed within the vehicle.

“If this is not the case, then don’t accept the lift and call your taxi company to confirm that it is the correct vehicle.”

Police Scotland will have additional patrols in Renfrewshire on Hogmanay to ensure that revellers are safe at one of the busiest times of the year.

Chief Inspector Simon Wright, Area Commander for Paisley, said: ” The festive period is an exceptionally busy time of year, with large numbers of people out enjoying themselves across Renfrewshire.

“My message would be to have a fantastic, but safe time while out across Renfrewshire. Always plan ahead and make arrangements to ensure you can get home, preferably in the company of friends.

“Never get into a private hire you have not booked in advance and always ensure that the driver is displaying their drivers badge. If you are in any doubt, seek alternative transport.”

Should you enter a vehicle which you believe to be a taxi or private hire vehicle and become aware it is not, or if you feel unsafe in any way you should contact Police Scotland using 101 or 999 in an emergency.

For more information on taxis in Renfrewshire, visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/taxisandprivatehires.

Highland Fling Swing

Throughout 2018, Provost of Renfrewshire, Lorraine Cameron, has been doing her piece for charity, helping to raise funds and awareness for her chosen charity – MND Scotland.

Highland Fling Swing

From hopping aboard trains spreading awareness to all corners of Renfrewshire, to taking a team up to Killiecrankie for a sponsored swing, Provost Cameron has been keeping busy.

MND Scotland was founded as the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association in 1981 by John Macleod, a Strathclyde police officer and his wife Peggy.

At the time, services were limited, and health professionals had little or no knowledge of the condition.

John had been visiting Charing Cross Hospital in London when he learned about a charity that was already providing support for people with Motor Neurone Disease in England, and became determined to set up a similar organisation here in Scotland.

Today, MND Scotland strive to reduce the impact of MND on the lives of those affected, by offering services such as benefits advice, equipment loans, counselling, advocacy and a grants programme.

There are over 450 people in Scotland currently living with MND and on average almost 200 people are diagnosed each year.

Sadly, around 53% of those diagnosed will die within one year.

Provost Cameron said “I lost my mum to MND in 2011 and the charity is very close to my heart. I really love that as part of my role as Provost I’m able to support the amazing work that charities such as MND Scotland undertake in our communities.

“It’s been a brilliant year from start to finish and I’ve had a ball getting out and about in the community spreading the message far and wide.

“One of the highlights was taking a team of daredevils up to the Garry Bridge in Killiecrankie to take part in the Highland Fling Swing. Our brave fundraisers experienced a 15-metre free fall from the bridge and everyone had a great day.

“I’ve also been honoured to work closely with Scotrail this year, who also support MND Scotland. For MND Awareness Day I travelled around Renfrewshire by train, raising money and awareness for the charity, and I also worked for a day at Johnstone Train Station as part of my Working Challenge.

“There are currently 14 people living in Renfrewshire with MND – but when you consider the number of family, friends, and colleagues the number of people affected by MND locally is actually much higher. All the money raised this year will help MND Scotland offer essential services and go towards research to find treatments and a cure for MND.”

As well as working with Scotrail, Provost Cameron also spent a day working with City Gate Construction and hosted a charity ball to raise essential funds.

Iain McWhirter, Head of Fundraising at MND Scotland said: “MND Scotland was very grateful to be chosen as one of Provost Cameron’s chosen charities and we have enjoyed following her activities throughout the year.

“This summer we announced the launch of the first Motor Neurone Disease clinical drug trial in Scotland, in over 20 years.

“This funding is part of a total commitment of over £1.5 million into clinical drugs trials being made by MND Scotland, and developments like this can only happen thanks, in part, to the support given by Provost Cameron and the people of Renfrewshire.”

Provost Cameron will support local charities, St Vincent’s Hospice and ACORD Hospice, in the next two years and will return to fundraising for MND Scotland in 2021.

paisley-pirates

Paisley Pirates rounded off the first half of their season with a tense 4-2 win in their final game before the Christmas break.

They got off to the best possible start in the second minute when, on the powerplay, defender Euan McLaughlin broke forward to take a pass from Ryan Sarginson and fired an unstoppable shot past Beveridge in the visitors’ goal to give his side the lead. It got even better for the home team as just over a minute later, Henderson latched on to the puck, assisted by Divok, to double their lead and give the hosts a handy advantage.

paisley-pirates

Wild came more into the game after their early double shock and, while they had more of the play, they were reliant on Beveridge to keep them in the game and he did so with a string of fine saves. Pirates did have the puck in the net after 17 minutes, but the “goal” was wiped out as there was an attacker in Beveridge’s area.

The visitors came out firing in the second session and were back in the game within 70 seconds. They took advantage of a powerplay opportunity through ex-Pirate Scott Cowan who scored a wraparound goal to pull the deficit back to one, and for the next few minutes a tension crept into the game before Walker fired a top shelf effort beyond Beveridge to restore the two goal advantage at 3-1. However, with Wild again on the powerplay within seconds it was that man Cowan once more who pulled the score back to a one goal difference, and the Wild player/coach wasn’t slow to show his delight at netting a second marker. The match was now ebbing and flowing at either end and within four minutes Henderson had scored his own second, and his team’s fourth goal, to stretch the scoreline to 4-2, and with no further scoring in the session Pirates saw out the period in somewhat nervy fashion.

While Pirates had the best of the openings in the final session, they just couldn’t put the Wild away, in spite of having several gilt edged chances to score the killer fifth goal, and the visitors came close on several occasions to pulling the scoreline back once again, with the tension mounting as the period progressed. With the match proceeding into the final ten minutes, Pirates fell foul of referee Emerson on three occasions, and they had to withstand periods of sustained pressure as they defended powerplays, the last one being almost a minute of playing off a five on three disadvantage, with the home fans holding their collective breath as play edged towards the final buzzer, a sound which was greeted with some relief.

Head Coach Ian Turley said after the game, “ Despite having a number of players unavailable through injury and illness I thought we started really well. I felt it was a game we were always in control of and we really should have been more clinical in front of the net as we created a number of high scoring chances but couldn’t execute them. Overall we are happy with the two points and have set ourselves up going into January when we will face quality opposition in the Racers.”

Pirates now have a two week festive break before their next match, a trip to Edinburgh to take on Murrayfield Racers on Sunday 6 January.

JCooper_130808_6914_blend-Edit-Edit

It’s the faded Victorian jewel in Paisley town centre’s crown and now a £22million makeover is set to bring Paisley Town Hall into the 21st century.

JCooper_130808_6914_blend-Edit-Edit

The once thriving social hub will treat Buddies to one final ceilidh tonight (Friday 28 December) before shutting its doors until 2021.

The Town Hall has become the social heart of Paisley since opening in January 1882, hosting meetings, tea dances, social gatherings, conferences, events, festivals and concerts.

The historic venue gave Paolo Nutini his big break, hosted some of Gerry Rafferty’s earliest shows and provided the setting for Cuttin’ A Rug, John Byrne’s follow-up to The Slab Boys.

BringItAllHome

Construction on the iconic building, which was originally designed by Belfast architect W H Lynn, began in 1879 after George A. Clark, a member of Paisley’s famous thread family, left £20,000 for its creation in his will. A statue commemorating Clark and his contribution to Paisley now stands outside the historic venue.

Gerry Rafferty_Print_045

The £22million refurbishment will transform the facility, creating a social hub, conference and events venue fit for the 21st Century.

The redesign will be led by award-winning architects Holmes Miller, who worked on the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaped Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

PA694 Paisley Town Hall, 1960

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The building is going to have something for everyone when it reopens in 2021, it’s going to be used for culture, conferences, events and the community and will be a truly memorable live music venue on the Scottish touring circuit.

George A. Clark Town Hall and Gauze Street, Paisley, 1894

Gauze Street, showing Town hall, work being carried out at top of Dunn Square. Original source – black & white 7½” x 5¾” photograph

“This transformation will have a great impact on Paisley and the whole of Renfrewshire. We want to make sure that there are lots of reasons to come to this building because there are lots of activities going on.

George A. Clark Town Hall, Paisley

View from elevated position looking south east, showing Town Hall, River Cart, Cart Walk, Forbes Place, with Anchor Mills in the background. Original source – black & white 10″ x 8″ photograph.

“There’s a lot happening in Paisley. We want to bring business and visitors here and create a hub for our community, this transformation will do that.”

The redesign will also help local businesses, bringing more people from outside Paisley to the town for events and conferences and creating chances for them to thrive.

The Town Hall is expected to attract 100,000 visitors a year when it reopens.

Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Town Hall redesign and £100million investment in Paisley’s cultural and heritage venues will create jobs and support local businesses by bringing new potential customers to the town.

“In the last year Paisley has seen an increase both to the local economy and visitor numbers and we look forward to positive impact for the business community once these projects are complete.”

The project is part of a £100million investment by Renfrewshire Council and its partners in Paisley’s cultural and heritage venues that will turn the town into a tourist destination, creating jobs and benefiting the whole of Renfrewshire.

Other buildings that will benefit from the investment include Paisley Museum, which is undergoing a £42million four-year makeover, and Paisley Library, which will move into High Street in 2021.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Town Hall will close its doors today to undergo a £22million makeover. When it reopens in 2021 it will have been transformed into a flagship performance venue that will bring bigger shows to Paisley.

“These are very exciting times for Paisley and Renfrewshire. The Town Hall transformation is part of a £100million investment in Paisley’s cultural venues that will turn the town into a tourist destination, creating jobs and benefiting the whole of Renfrewshire.

“These are challenging times for high streets up and down the country but we’re making a bold move, investing in our town centre and creating opportunities to let our communities and local businesses thrive.

“The Town Hall is a jewel in Paisley’s town centre. This makeover will bring the historic venue into the 21st Century.”

Tony Fitzpatrick, Eric Phillips, Cllr Natalie Don and Sean Batty (1)

Snow is falling outside; the presents are wrapped under the tree and a family favourite is just about to begin on tv – then the phone rings.

Tony Fitzpatrick, Eric Phillips, Cllr Natalie Don and Sean Batty (1)

While many of us may get to experience that stereotypical cosy night in at Christmas, for workers on the frontline they could be called out at any minute.

Renfrewshire Council’s gritting teams work on a 24/7 schedule from October to March to keep the roads clear and free of ice, and sudden weather can have big effect on their festive plans.

Gritter drivers Eric Phillips and John Clark

Eric Phillips has been working as a gritter driver for more than ? years and has faced many challenges along the way.

Eric said: “Along with the rest of the team, we work non-stop throughout the winter to stay one step ahead of the snow and ice as best we can.

“When cold weather is forecast, we head out during the day to grit the roads before the ice gets a chance to take hold and then again overnight to clear any snow and put down more grit for the morning commuters.”

Renfrewshire Gritters

More than 4000 tonnes of salt is stored in advance of the winter period to ensure that the gritters are fully stocked to protect Renfrewshire’s 800km of roads.

Eric added: “It’s not always straightforward though as the Beast from the East showed last year, with sudden downpours of snow meaning we couldn’t clear it fast enough.

“Many drivers were caught out on the roads, with one car even climbing the Gleniffer Braes in front of my gritter when really it should have been the other way around!

“We often hear that the gritters haven’t been out which can be frustrating when you’ve just driven for hours throughout the night, so I’d ask people to take the time to think about our teams and the work we put in all winter.

“Unfortunately, we can’t reach every residential road, but we do the best we can to keep our main routes, including schools and hospitals, clear and keep Renfrewshire moving when bad weather strikes.”

The team in charge of the gritting vehicles, who were newly-named by the public this year and include famous names such as Ploughlo Grittini and William Wall-ice, are constantly on weather watch and take decisions throughout the day dependant on the forecasts.

Duty controller, John P Wallace, said: “We’re always looking ahead in this role and we do three weather checks, at 7am, 12pm and 7pm, before deciding how many of the gritters need to be on the roads.

“We have 20 drivers on each shift, day and night, meaning we can provide a 24-hour service for winter gritting and the teams do a great job in keeping our roads safe and clear.

“If need be in extreme weather events, we can call on our stand-by workers to help strengthen the team’s efforts and return the roads back to normal as quickly as possible.”

The nine gritters in Renfrewshire have set priority routes to follow which include main roads within Renfrewshire, and bus, emergency and schools routes – before moving onto more residential roads once these are clear.

The vehicles are loaded with salt at the depot before the automatic spreading system ensures that it’s spread evenly across the roads when the gritter is moving.

Once the route is complete, the vehicle returns to base where any leftover salt is weighed and returned to the store and the vehicles are cleaned ahead of their next outing.

For more information on winter gritting and Renfrewshire’s #RenReady campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/readyforwinter.

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People who are worried about post-Christmas debt are being urged to get help now before their bills start arriving in January.

At least a third of all families will have spent more money than they can afford at Christmas, leaving many struggling in the New Year.

council logo

If you are worried about post-Christmas debt, help is available. Organisations like Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Renfrewshire Council’s Advice Works provide free, impartial and confidential expert advice on managing debts and what to do if you have got big bills coming in.

The Money Advice Service also provides information on its website about how to manage your money, including online budgets and a financial health checker tool.

Renfrewshire Council’s Convener of Finance, Resources and Customer Services, Councillor John Shaw, said: “I would urge anyone who is struggling with debt after Christmas to contact one of Renfrewshire’s advice services as soon as possible.

“Dealing with debt early is key to making it much more manageable. Advice experts will deal with your situation confidentially, providing you with free and impartial money advice to help you manage your debts.”

It may seem far away, but many money experts are advising people to take the financial strain out of next Christmas by starting to save for it now.

Setting up a Credit Union Christmas account will allow you to put away money regularly and can help you borrow cash without hefty interest charges.

Councillor Shaw added: “It’s always advisable to start saving for the next Christmas as early as possible. You can find out more about managing your money on Advice Renfrewshire’s website.”

For debt advice visit www.advicerenfrewshire.org or call freephone 0808 164 2922. You can also visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

For more information on Credit Unions visit www.mycreditunionrenfrewshire.co.uk.

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

Almost 30 projects have been supported in 2018 through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – including a two-day music festival, a mini Mela and jewellery making classes.

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

The fund was launched in February 2016 to support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and has continued as part of a wider plan to use culture and heritage to transform the area’s future, supporting 27 projects in 2018 alone.

It aims to create more chances for people to get involved in cultural activity, help young people develop, boost the local economy, raise Renfrewshire’s profile, and show how creativity can boost education, social inclusion and quality of life.

Three rounds of the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund have been completed in 2018, with a fourth round closing for applications in early December.

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

Local groups and organisations supported in 2018 include The STAR Project, Paisley YMCA, Right2Dance, Media Monty, Johnstone Band, Paisley Opera and Renfrewshire Carers Centre.

Since 2016, almost 300 applications have been received to the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund from communities, businesses and cultural organisations in Renfrewshire and across Scotland – with a total funding request of £3,422,984. Over a third of these have been supported, with a total of £886,544 spent.

Successful completed projects to date include teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Lego stop-motion animation about Paisley – now seen by millions – and local dance group Right2Dance bringing Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company here for a week-long residency.

The CHE Fund is part of a wider cultural regeneration plan for Paisley which also includes a £100m investment in town centre venues, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum in to an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections.

Drew Moir, who was awarded funding to host the 2018 Paisley International Tango Festival, said: “The Paisley Tango scene would not exist without support from the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund. We now get approached by two or three professionals a month who want to be invited to perform here, a testament to the quality of the event and the friendly environment our town can create.“

This year, Renfrewshire Council have also launched a new fund, designed to support Renfrewshire’s cultural sector. The Cultural Organisations Development Fund is open to cultural and creative organisations across Renfrewshire and will complement the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, providing support to build the resilience and sustainability of local organisations, helping them realise their cultural ambitions.

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Iain Nicolson said: “The CHE Fund has been key in involving local people in cultural and creative activity and it’s great to see so much interest in the fund over 2018.

“We know involvement in culture has a positive impact on health and wellbeing and the projects supported have given people the chance to take part in new experiences and benefit in a number of different ways.

“Through the CHE Fund we’ve seen activities supported in communities right across Renfrewshire and I’m looking forward to seeing what projects the fund can support in 2019.”

The results of the current round of funding are due to be announced in February, with further funding rounds to be announced for 2019 in the new year.

For more information on Renfrewshire’s cultural grants, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/culturalgrants

anchor-mills

A wee (safe} fly on Boxing day across the Hammills and Anchor Mill, Paisley Abbey and the Town Hall to The top of the now abandoned TA Halls where you can see how much damage the roof has sustained also a wee spin around the top of Thomas Coats Memorial. Thanks to Paisley Buddie for sending this in to www.paisley.org.uk

 

Paisley Christmas Lights 2018

Paisley businesses have hailed a multi-million economic boost thanks to major events this winter.

A new economic impact study has found that three Renfrewshire Council events – Paisley’s Christmas Lights Switch-On; the Halloween Festival and The Spree – delivered a combined £3.5million for the local economy.

Paisley Christmas Lights 2018

Record numbers flocked to the town for each event, as 72,000 people enjoyed the activities on offer.

More than 27,000 people packed the Paisley streets for the Christmas Lights Switch-On as Santa and his reindeer were joined by Princesses of Pop and X-Factor stars The Cutkelvins.

The family fun day delivered a £1.07million economic boost – more than double the 2017 tally – while visitor spend soared to £406,000.

Paisley Halloween Festival

Paisley Halloween Festival was supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

It brought in almost £2million and achieved a 300% increase in visitor spend as 34,000 people flocked to experience the town’s dark and deathly witch history.

And the seventh year of The Spree saw the highest ticket sales yet, as almost 11,000 people enjoyed the 87 shows on offer right across Renfrewshire, raising £434,700.

Satisfaction levels soared at all the events and attendance surveys also showed they reached new audiences from across Scotland and further afield.

Spree Festival - Martha Reeves

The Winter bonanza adds to the £1.25million boost from major events in the spring and summer – with more than 70,000 people coming to April’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival, May’s British Pipe Band Championships and Sma’ Shot & Weave festival in July.

Revellers in the town have also been enjoying Paisley First’s WinterFest which features an outdoor ice rink, a Big Wheel and a free festive Nutcracker Trail.

Paisley restaurateur Colette Cardosi said: “The way people shop and socialise has changed and we have to offer something different, an experience, to attract visitors to the town. Recent events organised by Renfrewshire Council and Paisley First have shown that people are happy to visit Paisley town centre when there are events on. Whether it’s one day events like Sma’ Shot and Halloween or longer events like Jurassic Bricks and Paisley First WinterFest, it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of the diverse range of businesses within the town to different audiences.”

Paisley-based multimedia production company Brick Lane Media was commissioned to capture the events on camera, with three young Renfrewshire filmmakers producing the final videos.

Director Alan McEwan said: “Being part of the council events has given us opportunities to up-scale our filming operations and grow our business model and at the same time has seen young filmmakers from Renfrewshire gain experience and earn an income. Without these opportunities we would not have seen the positive growth we’ve had this year.”

Paisley Abbey provided the perfect backdrop for Halloween and has hosted a range of family activities throughout the winter events.

Reverend Alan Birss said: “We’ve been very happy to support Paisley’s winter events programme, which have brought many people into the Abbey for a whole range of activities and our volunteers have been able to welcome them and share their enthusiasm for this wonderful place.

“The stalls, the shop, the café and donations made by visitors at these events all help raise the funds needed to keep the doors open every day of the year both as a place of worship and prayer and as a visitor attraction and the income from these events is an important part of our annual revenue generation.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our winter events programme is going from strength to strength and these numbers underline the huge impact they are having with more people attending and spending more than ever before, which puts millions into the local economy and into the pockets of local businesses.

“It was also great to see these winter events reaching new audiences including many people from across Scotland and the rest of the UK, which is testament to the high quality of these events and the fantastic programme on offer having a wide appeal.

“Alongside the numbers, to see satisfaction levels hit the highest levels yet and for the first year of Spree for All so well received across Renfrewshire’s towns and villages gives us many reasons to be cheerful. We are working hard on another brilliant programme of events in 2019 which will build upon this and further extend support to events across our communities.”