Paisley and Renfrewshire Newsletter

martha and the vandellas

Photographs of Martha & The Vandellas at the Paisley Town Hall October 20th 2018 The Spree.

martha and the vandellas

All photographs courtesy of David Cameron, you can visit his Flickr Page for lots more Paisley photographs here.


modstuff the spree festival

Saturday 20th October 2018 – It’s your day Paisley – Photographs from today’s Scooter Rally.

Paisley’s very own Gerry McGuire kicked the day off playing choons as Scooters arrived in the town for the annual charity Rideout. Hosted by Paisley Vespa Club; fundraising for Renfrewshire Carers Centre.

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates are throwing open the doors at Braehead Arena as they go out into the local community, in a bid to give more local people the opportunity to watch their very own ice hockey team in action. The club is extending it’s seasonal group discount facility to cover all of their matches, which in previous seasons has only been available round about the Christmas period.

paisley pirates

Off Ice Operations Manager Jackie Turley explained, “In previous seasons we’ve been able to offer local groups, in particular, those with a high youth or young person membership, the chance to come and cheer on the Pirates for a hugely discounted admission price and, in the process, maybe encourage a few of them to come along on a more regular basis.”

“In the last couple of seasons, the scheme has been so successful that there was a danger we might not be able to accommodate all the requests we received, and, rather than disappoint people, we decided that it was better to open up the facility and make it available the whole year round, albeit groups can only use it once per season.”

She went on, “With us having moved forward our face off times for Sunday matches to a more user friendly 5.00pm the night before a school day, and this year we have a few Saturday matches facing off at 6.30pm, we feel there is an opportunity to bring the “Pirates Experience” to a whole new group of folk who have maybe heard of the club, but don’t know what it’s all about, and who maybe didn’t find the former face off time of 6.00pm altogether convenient. Throw in an opportunity to meet our mascot, Shivering Timbers, and get a name check in the course of a match, and not forgetting the on ice excitement, there’s a great chance in there for local groups to come aboard the Pirates’ ship and sample the very special atmosphere that a match night generates.”

“As we expect the takeup on this opportunity to be high, given our experience of previous years’ offers, we’re suggesting groups get in touch with us as soon as possible, either by speaking to me directly, or by emailing the club at, to ensure they don’t miss out on a really good offer.”

The names are in and the battle is set to commence as Renfrewshire names the nine gritters set to keep the area moving this winter.

The public now have the opportunity to choose their winners from suggestions such as Ploughlo Grittini, William Wall-ice and Thawin’ Batty, as a series of polls take place on the council’s Twitter channel @RenCouncilNews.


From Monday 22 October, at least one poll per day will go out with three names to choose from and the one with the most votes will be crowned the winner.

More than 1600 suggestions were put forward to the #NameOurGritters competition before the expert judging panel, including STV weatherman Sean Batty, finalised the shortlist.

Sean said: “It was great fun looking through the blizzard of name suggestions for the new fleet of gritters and I was flattered that there had been a few suggestions using my name.

“It was a tough call on many of them but we eventually narrowed it down to the finalists.

“I’m really looking forward to next week when the names go back out to the public vote and we’ll finally know the names of the family that’ll be working hard throughout the winter to keep our roads clear.”

Sean was joined on the panel by local gritter driver Eric Phillips, Care at Home worker Fraser Chittick and Joe Graham who leads HEART, a group of community volunteers who clear paths, grit residential streets and visit elderly residents during any severe weather.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, was also on the panel and said: “It was an amazing response to the competition and the suggestions have been fun, innovative and gave us all a good laugh at times so get voting on your favourites.

“The serious message behind the competition though is to recognise our local heroes who are out working when bad weather strikes, keeping our roads clear and ensuring the most vulnerable are still cared for.

“We’ve been preparing for the past few months to deal with any severe weather but the local community also needs to be #RenReady, so make sure you visit our website for guidance on how to be prepared for anything winter can bring.”

The #RenReady campaign aims to prepare Renfrewshire and its residents for winter weather and the dangers it can bring.

Information on how to prepare your home, your business, your community and more is available on the council website and helpful tips will be provided via the council’s social media throughout winter.

For more information on the competition, and for guidance on how to stay #RenReady this winter, visit

A school girl has vowed to conquer her fear of heights to take part in a thrilling aerial display 120 feet above the ground.

Bethany Docherty, 14, from Johnstone, is one of the young volunteers at the heart of this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, a major event in the Year of Young People 2018 celebrations.

The teenager is training with Scotland’s leading aerial dance theatre company, All or Nothing, and will be part of the spectacular routines which will thrill crowds throughout the evening.

All or Nothing has choreographed a dance piece involving 50 young people for a Flying Witches performance around Paisley Town Hall and Abbey. The professional performers will soar up to 120 feet high, while the young people will perform up to 20 feet off the ground.

The fourth-year Castlehead High School pupil says the whole experience has given her a confidence boost – as well as helping her beat her phobia.


Bethany said: “I’m actually terrified of heights but I’m pushing myself. I need to get over it one way or another and it’s better I do it with my own will.

“I wanted to take part because I thought it would be fun and I wanted to put myself a bit more out there.

“If I get to perform on the night it will be scary but amazing and just very energising.

“The biggest challenge for me has actually been coming along to the Halloween meetings for young people and socialising, but people have been very supportive.”

All or Nothing’s director, Jennifer Paterson said: “Getting involved in aerial is a great way to conquer your fears and it’s good to have a healthy respect for heights.

“It’s been great to work with young people who are part of Paisley to co-create something quite magical for this year’s Halloween Festival.”

The festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, has been significantly enhanced for the themed year. From aerial dancing and circus skills to photography and rigging the lights, young people are at the forefront of the Paisley event.

A 20-strong Youth Panel has been working in tandem with Renfrewshire Council’s dedicated Events Team to help create the event on Saturday, October 27.

A further 180 young people are helping deliver the spectacle. They are involved in every aspect, from performance to live event management and technical production and have taken part in masterclasses and workshops.

Many of the young people will use their experiences as part of their work towards voluntary awards such as the Duke of Edinburgh and Saltire schemes, while others have gained valuable experience as mentees.

A mardi-gras style parade features 500 young people and costumed performers who will set off from Paisley’s Art Centre, and wind their way through the town, passing lighting installations and haunting soundscapes along the way.

As well as All or Nothing, young people have been working with two other leading creative event companies, Bridgeman Arts and production and pyro experts at 21CC.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Young people are at the very heart of this year’s Halloween Festival and it’s great to see them growing in confidence and learning new skills, as well as being a part of such a large scale event in the Year of Young People.”


Aspiring photographer Eoin Graham, 17, is one of the mentees involved in the festival and said: “I hope this might open some doors and get me a job in the industry.

“I can’t wait to take photos on the day and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone in their costumes and experiencing the whole spectacle.”

James Johnstone, 16, from Paisley is one of the 20-strong Youth Panel and said that after viewing the event as a spectator in previous years, it’s an amazing opportunity to be part of this year’s event.

The Castlehead High pupil said: “Instead of other people designing a parade for young people this year, a lot of it is by young people for young people.”

Media and communications student Rachel McMinn says the valuable experience will help her get a job in the competitive events management and PR sector.

She said: “I’m graduating next year and it’s great to get a feel for the workplace and get something on my CV.

“I’ve lived in Paisley my whole life so it’s so exciting to be working on the inside of the festival.

Kate McBurnie from Paisley is on the youth panel and took part in a promotional video for the event.

She said: “When people ask if I’m going to the Halloween event this year I can say that I helped to co-design it.

“I’ve had once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in the space of a few weeks, including being in a radio advert – even though I can’t bear to listen back to myself!”

Young carer Megan Murray, 17, from Gleniffer High School has been involved in creating some of the Halloween make-up and special effects.

She said: “I can’t wait to see how it will all come together on the day. I want to work in special effects so it’s been really useful to have been part of things.”

The full programme for the Paisley Halloween Festival 2018 is available at:

A fresh approach to local decision making is bringing communities to the fore as Renfrewshire gets set to launch its new Local Partnerships.

Replacing the previous Local Area Committees (LACs), the new partnerships will adopt a more informal and inclusive approach to allow local people more of a say in the decisions which affect their area.

A series of introductory events will take place throughout October which will outline exactly what the new partnerships are, how they will work and how local people can get involved.

The meetings will take place on:

  • Wednesday 24 October: Cargill Hall, Bridge of Weir, 10am – 12pm
  • Thursday 25 October: Renfrew Town Hall, 10am-12pm
  • Monday 29 October: EMMS Studio, Erskine, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
  • Thursday 1 November: McKillop Institute, Lochwinnoch, 6.30pm -8.30pm
  • Monday 5 November: Tannahill Centre, Paisley, 10am-12pm
  • Tuesday 6 November: Paisley Town Hall, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
  • Wednesday 7 November: Johnstone Town Hall, 10am-12pm
  • Friday 9 November: Glenburn Community Centre, 10am – 12noon

Community members of all ages are invited to come along and join the new partnerships, with no previous experience of similar groups needed.

The partnerships will see membership split evenly between elected members and community representatives as part of a drive to ensure community voices are heard on local issues.

David Fowles, Lochwinnoch Community Council, said: “We were happy to be involved in the development of the new Local Partnerships and I’m looking forward to seeing the new direction of the meetings.

“It’s extremely important that local people are involved in decision making at a local level and these new partnerships should open up some exciting opportunities for our communities.”

The partnerships have changed their name to reflect the change in function and remit, from a formal, council-led committee to an inclusive approach which aims to have all members working together to make decisions.

Previously communities fell under five LACs, however the new partnerships will mirror the Community Council boundaries and move to a total of seven Local Partnerships.

The partnerships will also help identify and shortlist projects for the Youth Challenge Fund, with the final decision on these awards being made by the young people themselves.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, said: “These new partnerships are the perfect opportunity for local people to become more involved in the decision making at the heart of their communities.

“Responsibility for awarding grant funding or focusing the direction of the group will now be an equal process between elected members and local community members.

“So it’s more important than ever that you take this opportunity to get involved in your local community.

“No matter what age or what experience you have, please come along to the events to learn more and join the new partnerships as they get set to hold their first full meetings in November.”

The initial introductory events will take place throughout October to outline the first steps of the new process to interested community members.

The first full meetings of the new partnerships are set to begin in Renfrew on 13 November, with the other six partnerships following shortly after.

For more information on the Local Partnerships and a full set of meeting dates, visit

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Who are your local heroes?

Renfrewshire’s inspiring local heroes are set to be rewarded as nominations for the Provost’s Community Awards open for 2019.

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Extraordinary employees, superlative sportspeople and compassionate carers are being sought as the awards recognise the people who make Renfrewshire a better place to live, work and visit.

There are five categories available to nominate in, including a revamped award for employees to recognise those stars in the workplace, and these are:

  • Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd)
  • Community Group (sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre)
  • Sporting Achievement (sponsored by ACRE Industrial)
  • Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire)
  • Carers Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison)
  • Arts and Culture award (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council)

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “As the Provost, I meet hundreds of inspiring people and groups every year and it never ceases to amaze me that there is so much fantastic work going on throughout Renfrewshire.

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

“These awards are an opportunity to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the area who go the extra mile without looking for a reward and give them the recognition that they deserve.

“I can’t wait to read the nominations so don’t miss out on the chance to nominate and start sending them in now.”

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

The deadline for entries to all categories is Wednesday 12 December.

The Provost will be joined by the award sponsors and other local elected members to choose the winners who will be invited, along with their nominator, to the awards ceremony on Friday 15 March 2019 and the Lynnhurst Hotel in Johnstone.

For more information, and to submit your nomination, visit, email or call 0141 618 7102.

st vincents hospice

A team of 14 staff and supporters from SPAR took on the daunting challenge of Zipsliding at high speed across the River Clyde for St. Vincent’s Hospice, bringing an impressive end to their fundraising efforts over the last several months, as they raised a staggering £6,500.

st vincents hospice

SPAR Scotland, owned and operated by CJ Lang and Son, the largest independent retailing and distribution company in Scotland, are a proud Pearl Sponsor of St. Vincent’s Hospice as part of their 30th Anniversary year.

Taking place on Saturday 15th September, Team Spar joined a host of other supporters from around the community, and was made up of a wide variety of individuals, with some looking to remember a loved one, some aiming to conquer a fear of heights and others just looking for an adrenaline rush.

Commenting on the event, Fundraising Manager at St. Vincent’s Hospice, Carol-Anne Lamont, said: “The support from everyone at SPAR has been absolutely incredible and we cannot thank them, and all of the supporters who took part, for everything they have done for us. They have been fundraising for us consistently over the last several months, and had already donated an exceptional amount, before adding more than £4,000 to their total with the Zipslide.

“In spite of some winds which threatened to make the day a bit scarier than any of us had been expecting, it was a fantastic event, with everyone doing us proud as they sailed over the Clyde. Every single penny raised from this event makes a real difference to families from all walks of our community, allowing us to provide care and support for people during some of the most difficult times of their lives.”

St. Vincent’s Hospice is a specialist provider of palliative and Hospice care for individuals and families affected by life-limiting conditions from all across Renfrewshire. They also provide bereavement counselling and support for children and young people who have experienced the loss or illness of a loved one.

Area Manager for Spar, David Cunningham, said: “We are delighted to be given the opportunity to assist St. Vincent’s Hospice in the fundraising that allows them to continue to deliver the valuable care and support they provide within the community. All our staff had a fantastic time on the day and were delighted it helped contribute to such a worthy cause!”

If you would like to become involved and support St. Vincent’s Hospice, please visit: or email

Switching on the Christmas lights is a dream come true, and this year it will be a reality for three lucky school pupils!

Aleena Albin from St Peter’s Primary School was one of the lucky winners last year, and helped Provost Lorraine Cameron switch on the Paisley Christmas lights.

Renfrewshire’s Provost, Lorraine Cameron, is once again inviting children of primary school age to design a Christmas card for 2018. Three winners will be selected with each winner having the chance to push the button to light up either Paisley, Johnstone or Renfrew.

The winning designs will also be printed as Provost Cameron’s official Christmas cards and sent out all over the world.

Provost Cameron said: “Thousands of people come to watch the Christmas lights being switched on and I need someone to help me with this really important job. I loved seeing your designs last year and I can’t wait to see what Renfrewshire can create this year.”

Entries must be received by Monday 29 October and can be handed into primary schools or posted to Christmas Card Competition, Member Services, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1WD.

Snow way Sean could miss out on naming Renfrewshire’s gritters

Scotland’s most recognisable weatherman, Sean Batty, will put his expert knowledge to the test as he takes on the role of guest judge in Renfrewshire’s #NameOurGritters competition.

STV weatherman Sean will join a local gritter driver, a Care at Home staff member and an inspiring member of the local community to choose the shortlist as Renfrewshire looks to recognise its local heroes, places and landmarks.

Sean said: “For years I’ve watched comically named gritters travel across Scotland on the Transport Scotland gritter tracking map, but it’s great that we’ll now have our own fleet of named gritters driving around Renfrewshire.

“I’m so delighted to have been asked to join the judging panel and I’m excited to see the suggested names later this week. It’s too early to say what sort of winter may be ahead, but I’m sure our new, friendly gritters will have many miles ahead of them.”

More than 1600 suggestions were submitted to the competition to name the nine gritters that will operate across Renfrewshire during the winter period.

The panel will now finalise their shortlist before the public has the opportunity to vote for their winners via the council’s Twitter channel @RenCouncilNews.

Polls will take place throughout the week with the first one starting on 22 October as each gritter prepares to find out what its new name will be.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted to have Sean on board as one of the judges being one of Renfrewshire’s own and I’m sure I’m not the only one who relies on him to bring me the weather.

“Hopefully he won’t be telling us about snow and ice too often this winter, but at least he will be able to rest easy in the knowledge our gritters will be fully prepared with their new names.”

The competition is part of Renfrewshire’s #RenReady campaign which aims to prepare residents and businesses for the impact of severe weather and provide support and guidance in advance.

It asks people to think whether they are prepared for a loss of utilities, heavy flooding or staff members being unable to travel to work, and what measures they can put in place in advance to aid preparedness.

For more information on the competition and to ensure you are #RenReady this winter, visit