Paisley and Renfrewshire Newsletter


This open competition will run from 2nd February to closing date 31st March 2021 and lead to an eventual exhibition of works in June 2021.


A number of exciting prizes ranging from £100-£500 will be offered to winners.

Full details and Entry Guidelines at this link.  Please note guidelines may change at any time subject to Covid-19 restrictions in force at any time.

Entrants must be over 16 years of age.  You must submit work through our online submission system at this link

Entry opens 2nd Feb 2021

Closing Date 31st March 2021

One artwork only with £10 application fee

Provisional Exhibition 4-26 June 2021. (may be subject to covid-19 restrictions)

Entrants requiring assistance with digital accessibility issues should contact:

Steven Thomson, Secretary
Tel 0776 272 2460

Registered Office
c/o Unit 33, Sir James Clark Building,
Abbeymill Business Centre, Seedhill,
Paisley PA1 1TJ

Renfrewshire’s three large-scale Covid19 vaccination centres welcomed their first visitors today.

The facilities at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre, Renfrew Leisure Centre and Johnstone Town Hall opened their doors this morning – with thousands expected to attend in the weeks ahead.

NHS staff are running the vaccine rollout and Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure are supporting the NHS with the operation of the buildings.

Those attending on day one were mainly from the 70-74 age group – with that cohort having received their appointment letters from the NHS as part of the national vaccine rollout.

Those aged 65-69 will be next to receive a letter inviting them to be vaccinated at the centres at some point in the coming weeks, with other age groups to follow at later dates.

And – speaking after they received their jabs – some of the first visitors to the centre at Paisley’s Lagoon urged their fellow residents to take up the offer of the vaccination when their turn comes.

Archie Conroy, of Paisley, said: “I didn’t feel a thing! Getting vaccinated is the only way we’ll get out of the pandemic and get things back to being more normal than they are just now.”

And John Steele, also of Paisley, added: “When you think about all the deaths that have been happening, if people are offered the vaccine they should definitely take it.”

When you become eligible for an appointment the NHS will write to you directly with details of the location, date and time. Please be patient – do not turn up without an appointment.

Free parking is available at each site. All three have good public transport links but if you need extra help to plan your public transport journey you can visit SPT’s website or call the free Traveline Scotland helpline on 0141 465 1878.

If you have a mobility issue, you can use SPT’s bookable, door-to-door MyBus service by calling 0345 128 4025, although advance booking is recommended.

The advice for anyone coming along is to wear a face covering, bring your appointment letter, arrive as close to your appointment time as possible, and wear loose-fitting clothing you can easily remove your arm from.

More information on the local centres is at and more info on the vaccine itself is available from the NHS at

P&D U3A Tea about Three club

Paisley & District U3A members can now raise their spirits over a mid-week cuppa and chat.  A new activity, initiated by member Mary Law and hosted by group co-ordinator Jane Hughes, allows safe social contact despite lockdown measures.   The free Tea about Three zoom club on Wednesday afternoons opens at 2.45pm.

P&D U3A Tea about Three club

Jane Hughes remarked: “All the changes introduced to deal with the pandemic means face to face group meetings cannot happen for a while.  So it made sense to offer a safe way for younger and older members to still be sociable and stay in touch.  At least we can now see someone else’s four walls!  There’s no agenda for Wednesdays.  People make a cuppa, bring it to the meeting and enjoy a friendly chat as they put the world to rights.  We are a welcoming bunch.  So you’ll feel right at home while staying at home.”

Mary Law, from Paisley, had the bright idea to start an ‘On your own’ activity group in 2020.  She explained. “A friend told me about the U3A one she went to in England.  So I suggested starting it here but then the Coronavirus changed everything.  Instead of being able to play indoor games, chat in person or meet for afternoon tea as we hoped, things have moved online and now we’ve launched the Tea about Three club.”  Mary has also started a beginners’ bridge group and enjoys helping others to learn the game.

For details on how to join the new Tea about Three club or beginners’ bridge group, please visit the U3A website:

social security scotland

Eligible families are being encouraged to apply for the School-Age Payment before applications close on 28 February.


The one-off £250 Payment is currently open to families with a child born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016. It can be used for anything from a warm coat to books and toys.

Parents who have deferred their child’s entry to school from August 2020 to August 2021, or those home schooling, must still apply before the 28 February closing date or they will lose out on their payment.

The payment is part of the Best Start Grant, a package of three payments for families who get tax credits or certain benefits – including Universal Credit, Income Support and Housing Benefit.

Social Security Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“As we approach the application deadline, I want to encourage eligible families who have not yet applied, to get their applications in before the end of the month to ensure they get the payment.

“The money can be used for things like clothes and home schooling materials or anything else you need for your child.

“I’d also like to say to parents who weren’t eligible when the payment opened in June but whose circumstances have changed and are now getting tax credits or benefits – it’s not too late to get your application in and get the School Age Payment too.

“Eligible people can also apply for the new Scottish Child Payment at the same time – this is an extra £40 every 4 weeks for children under 6.

“Access to financial support is a right, and we are committed to ensuring families in Scotland receive all the money they are entitled to.”



  • Applications for this year will close on 28 February 2021
  • Eligible families can apply for a payment if their child was born between 1 March 2015 and 29 February 2016
  • There is no requirement to take up a place at school to be eligible for the payment
  • Parents who have deferred school entry so their children will start school in August 2021 should still apply in the 1 June 2020 to 28 February 2021 window
  • To be eligible you have to live in Scotland and be receiving tax credits or certain benefits.
  • Parents can find out more and apply at

Tear Drop Gin is a new Paisley business that was created during lockdown, July 2020, by husband-and-wife team Donald and Louise Boyd.

Donald and Louise are Paisley Buddies, lived in Paisley all our lives. They married in Paisley in the year 2000 and in fact met each other when they had Saturday jobs in Topo Gigio cafe, which used to be based in the ground floor of the Paisley Centre.

The idea for a Paisley inspired gin came about during a family celebration for Donald’s birthday. The conversation had turned to favourite gins and they thought why was there no gin from Paisley, yet there were gins from any other area in Scotland.

So…to cut a very long story short, they decided to give it a go!

Team Tear Drop employed the skills of a local graphic designer to assist in getting the product ready for market. With the help of another Paisley Buddy, Michael Barron…who is a graphic designer (Zest Creative), Tear Drop Team have designed and created a new gin based on their hometown of Paisley.

In the run up to launch of the website and e-commerce platform, Donald and Louise were grateful for help support and guidance from friend and Paisley Community Trust Trustee and show host, Andy Campbell.  Indeed Andy and his co-host Gary Kerr have helped with spreading the word by featuring a sampling of Tear Drop Gin on their show.

The juniper led London Dry Gin has forward notes of rowan berries and brambles. Both these berries can be found all over Paisley in the right season…lots of Paisley Buddies can recall bramble picking in late summer.

The bottle design is inspired by the world-famous Paisley Pattern and uses a unique process of direct print to glass.  This means that the bottle does not have any paper label, with the design and information being printed directly on to the bottle…this gives the bottle an extra special quality to it and has been well admired.

Tear Drop Gin was launched on 23 November and both Batch 1&2 are sold out with more than half of Batch 3 now sold!  Batch 4 is in the process of being bottled and if the support of the people of Paisley continues,  Batch 5&6 will be distilled. We hope it goes from strength to strength!

The gin is available to buy exclusively online only via the website and comes in a  70cl bottle, retailing at £36 including VAT.  The gin is available to click and collect at the Paisley gift store on Gauze Street, IVAD Gifts…our Paisley click and collect partner.

However, due to current lockdown restrictions, this service is unavailable at the moment…so the Tear Drop team are offering FREE LOCAL DELIVERY to the people of Paisley, Renfrewshire, Barrhead and Hillington…until the click and collect service can resume.

The bottle comes as a gifting set with a free bottle bag, hand sanitiser, gift postcard and wee business card…so the product is gift ready.

Team Tear Drop are continuing to develop the business in 2021 with a number of complementary products being developed in the pipeline.

Further information is available on the website and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Plans to create a new walking and cycling route between Renfrew and Paisley have taken a huge step forward after it secured almost £1million in Scottish Government Funding.

The Renfrewshire Active Travel Route has been awarded £935,000 as one of 12 projects to receive funding from the Scottish Government’s Clyde Mission Fund.

Running parallel to the White Cart, the 5km route begins on the banks of the River Clyde in Renfrew and links into existing active travel routes providing access to local businesses, parks and community facilities, before finishing at Paisley Gilmour Street train station.

It will provide a safe cycling and walking route between the two town centres for the first time in decades and will provide direct access to Westway Business Park, West College Scotland and the former Chivas site – the proposed location of the new Paisley Grammar community campus.

It will also connect to walking and cycling routes at the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS), at Glasgow Airport and at the new Wright Street bridge.

The route design was developed following consultation over a number of years with the public, local employers and community partners and is a main priority of the Renfrewshire Cycling Strategy 2016-2025.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Creating safe, accessible walking and cycling routes is a key priority for the Council and this route will not only link two of our largest town centres together, it will improve access to key sites across Renfrewshire including AMIDS, West College Scotland and Glasgow Airport.

“As we continue to develop Renfrewshire as an attractive place to live, work and visit, improving active travel routes for commuting and leisure will only further enhance the area’s reputation and encourage businesses and employees alike to locate to Renfrewshire in the future.”

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said “The scenic route will encourage people to walk, wheel or cycle wherever possible which ties in with our aim to support healthy, active lifestyles for residents and visitors to Renfrewshire.

“I know first-hand that this is already a popular route for local people and it’s adaptation into a permanent walking and cycle route will be a fantastic addition to the area. I look forward to it being developed in 2021.”

Formalised in the Programme for Government set out by the Scottish Government in September 2020, the Clyde Mission Fund offers £11.2million to local authorities in the Clyde Corridor to put the river at the heart of the area’s place ambitions.

Successful projects have to contribute to inclusive economic growth, reduce carbon emissions or improve the environment, involve partners and communities in the project and show a real benefit to the local community.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, said: “The Renfrewshire Active Travel Route, led by Renfrewshire Council, is one of 12 projects receiving over £11 million of support from the Clyde Mission Fund, creating hundreds of jobs, benefiting places and communities and supporting Scotland’s environmental ambitions.

“Working with the public and private sectors, the Clyde Mission is driving forward a national, place-based, mission to make the Clyde an engine of sustainable and inclusive growth for the city, the region and Scotland.

“This is an opportunity to not only put the Clyde back at the centre of our economy and communities, but also at the heart of our plans for a net zero future.”

The results of a tender process for the works will be presented to the Finance, Resources and Customer Services Board in March 2021 with the route aimed to be completed by the end of 2021.

New designs aimed at turning Paisley’s Abbey Close into an expanded outdoor events venue and improved public space have been published – and the public are being asked to give their views.

The planned changes will create a more attractive outdoor space around the town hall and Abbey, allowing people spend time in the shadows of two of the town’s most iconic buildings.

The work would see an expanded paved area in front of the town hall – removing the current ‘D’ shape – increasing the capacity for events such as the Halloween and Food and Drink festivals.

They also include new high-quality paving and lighting, removing some boundary walls to make the space more accessible and open, and adding new seating.

The proposed designs were based on feedback from an initial consultation in 2019 which asked the public what they wanted from Paisley town centre’s open spaces.

The statues of Alexander Wilson and Robert Tannahill would be repositioned but retained in prominent spots close to their current locations overlooking the town hall.

Residents and businesses can have their say on the proposed designs at

The work is part of the wider push led by Renfrewshire Council to use culture and heritage to drive new footfall to the area, and includes the ongoing work to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class destination and Paisley Town Hall into a landmark entertainment venue.

The Abbey Close improvements are planned to be complete for the town hall reopening and will allow venue activity to expand outside into the space at the entrance to the building.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The last year has shown us that high-quality outdoor space will only be more important in future.

“While the major events were postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, visitors to them and our reopened town hall will play a part in the area’s economic recovery in the years ahead.

“When we last asked the public’s views on Abbey Close in 2019 they told us they valued its architecture and scenery but felt it could be improved – the designs are based on that feedback.

“I would encourage members of the public to go to the council website, read more about the proposals, and let us know what they think”

Volunteers from across Renfrewshire are working together as they aim to inspire local people to take pride in where they live.

As part of Renfrewshire Council’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign, more than 1,500 volunteers took part in a litter pick in 2020 and removed an incredible 4,430 bags of litter from the local environment.

In addition to these bags, larger items of fly tipping such as tyres, trolleys or household waste have been actively reported to the council who have removed them as a priority through their StreetScene team.

In total, 707 litter picks took place by lone litter pickers, families, workplaces, schools and group events as communities continue to take pride in their neighbourhoods and encourage behaviour change from their fellow residents.

All volunteers are given health and safety advice, including adhering to the number of households they are able to meet under current restrictions, following physical distancing and only picking up what is safe to do – with any glass or similar items reported to the wardens service.

Volunteers continue to spring up across the area and Dargavel Village in Erskine is latest to benefit, with 15 new people joining the campaign since the beginning of the year.

Local volunteer Ross Baillie said: “When we moved to Dargavel, we wanted to be ‘net contributors’ and so picking up litter as part of Team Up to Clean Up seemed like a simple way to start that in our new neighbourhood.

“Some friends also started volunteering to do the same and each of us that does it talks about the sense of achievement when we have collected a bag.

“It is this sense of achievement that keeps us going back and picking more. Not only are we contributing to keeping our neighbourhood clean, we are supporting wildlife and our environment too.”

The campaign is joint initiative between the council and the community, with bibs, litter pickers and bags provided free of charge to volunteers and the rubbish collected cleared by the council as soon as possible after it takes place and posters put up in the area to showcase that it was tidied by volunteers.

The council continue to drive behaviour change through the campaign which tackles litter, recycling and dog fouling, as well as making a sustained investment in clearing drains and sweeping roads.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I’m always amazed at the level of enthusiasm and dedication that our volunteers have to make Renfrewshire a cleaner, better place to live, work and visit.

“The fact they’ve managed to remove so many bags of rubbish last year is incredible and sad at the same time, but hopefully the campaign is inspiring people not to drop rubbish and to take care of where they live.

“Our volunteers are a shining example of what our communities in Renfrewshire can be and we’ll continue to work alongside them to provide the support they need to take part in the campaign.”

More than 1,600 like-minded people have joined the campaign’s Facebook group to share ideas, seek support and showcase what they’re doing to improve their neighbourhood.

For more information on the campaign and how to get involved, visit

Imogen Stirling

Poet, musician and theatre-maker, Imogen Stirling, collaborates with youth arts charity CREATE Paisley, to help the young people of Renfrewshire express themselves through poetry. 


The internationally renowned writer, whose portfolio of work has been featured on Sky Arts will be taking up the mantle of writer in residence for this year’s Paisley Book Festival which is going digital for the first time.

Imogen Stirling

As part of Imogen’s role she’s working with CREATE Paisley to champion the role of creativity in the lives of young people and offer a chance to work alongside her on their own poetry and writing. Imogen’s work has seen her travel the world with sold out performances at the Prague and Edinburgh fringe as well as appearances at both the Eden and latitude festivals but with her 2020 touring schedule being ground to a halt by Covid-19 she is looking forward to supporting young people express themselves as part of the project.


I’ve always had a passion for working with young people and the opportunity to work with CREATE Paisley as part of my tenure as Writer in Residence is really exciting. During these tough times it is so important for young people to be able to express themselves and I am super excited to do that with them through my passion for poetry. I believe that using words and poetry in a relaxed environment can really help us to express our thoughts and explore emotions in a safe and healthy way and I am so looking forward to these workshops and hope to see as many people there as possible’’

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Imogen joins CREATE as part of their Teach Me Tuesday programme which will give young people the opportunity to take part in a series of free online creative writing workshops. Together, Imogen and the young people will use simple writing exercises, discussion, poetry readings and storytelling to explore how words can be used to express mindfulness and fun. With a view to looking forward to more hopeful times than 2020, the imagination will run wild with radical new futures and what we can learn from this tumultuous year. After having played around with various poetic techniques throughout the workshop, each participant will be encouraged to create their own short piece of writing which can be edited into a collective ballad and then presented during one of the Paisley Book Festival’s online events.


CREATE knows the importance of creativity in a young person’s life in terms of their mental health and academic attainment but also at this time, workshops like Imogen’s, play a much more important role. Brid Gallagher, Youth development worker at CREATE, has been working across the charities online programme since the start of lockdown and has seen first hand the effect that lockdown is having on young people’s lives: 


‘We work with so many young people who are struggling at the moment. The isolation and anxieties surrounding the pandemic are really having an effect on their well being and we have had many young people approach us who are struggling with depression and isolation. Workshops like Imogen’s give much needed structure and a chance to express their feelings in a safe and healthy way. We are so excited to be working with Imogen and  grateful for her giving our young people such a great opportunity to see their work being showcased at the Festival’s online events!’ 


The workshops are open to anyone aged between 12 and 21 and will start on Tuesday 26th of  January at 7pm. 

Open to all levels, with complete beginners very welcome!” To sign up visit

A brand-new activity area is set to become one of the most sought-after play parks in Scotland when state-of-the-art equipment is installed for young people.

For the first time in a Scottish play park, equipment will include an interactive DJ booth, dance arch and activity zones offering various games on seven different screens that support learning and activity for all ages.

The new activity area in Bargarran, Erskine has been designed to be a central community resource, where groups and families can come together and socialise safely outdoors and is being created thanks to a £50,000 award from Renfrewshire Council’s Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.

Young people will be able to play their own music through interactive decks where they can learn to beat match and mix songs with their friends and peers.

A number of activity zones will also be set up around the play area with interactive games they can play individually or as a group, while a zip wire, seating areas, a shelter and outdoor gym equipment will also be available – all key asks from young people as part of a consultation run by Erskine Youth Council (EYC).

The Youth Council organise events, identify activities and develop opportunities to benefit young people in Erskine and deliver campaigns designed to create positive change for their whole community – and they will take a lead role in developing the play park into a social hub.

Graeme Wilson, EYC Treasurer, said: “We are over the moon that we received the additional £50k funding and can now go ahead with the building of the new Erskine activity area.

“This will bring about new and exciting ways for children, young people and their families to have fun and will also be an interactive play facility – the first of its kind in Scotland.

“EYC has been involved in picking the equipment to make sure it will fit the needs and wants of Erskine’s youth and going forward our Youth Council will look after the activity play area, making sure all the equipment is up and running as well as monitoring what games are being played and the settings of the DJ booth.

“We look forward to leading on fun outdoor group activities using the play area equipment once it is built and open to our community.”

Work to complete the project is expected to begin in March with the aim for it to be in place this summer – although construction will be subject to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions.

The latest funding adds to the £110,000 already allocated to the project by the Council to replace the former MUGA at the site of the new primary school joint campus in Bargarran.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted that we are able to provide significant funding to Erskine Youth Council to ensure that this new, interactive play area can be developed.

“It will be one of the standout play parks in the country thanks to the state-of-the-art equipment that is set to be installed and young people have been at the heart of the process every step of the way. I can’t wait to see their ideas become reality.

“The Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund really has given local people of all ages the chance to change their community for the better and it’s great to see the difference that it is making across Renfrewshire.”

The activity area has been designed by working closely with leading outdoor play organisation Jupiter Play and the modern, interactive equipment was purchased from international playground equipment supplier Yalp.

Ian Smith, Regional Sales Manager at Jupiter Play, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Renfrewshire Council. Designing play spaces that create a sense of wonder and engage an entire community is our aim as a business.

“I am delighted that we are delivering this really innovative project at Bargarran and the first one of its kind in Scotland as I know I will see people of all ages really benefitting from interactive play.

“It will be fantastic seeing people of all generations outside, having fun, staying active and socialising in their local park.”

For more information on the Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund, including how to submit your application before the 31 March 2021 deadline, visit