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The first groups in the frame to benefit from a £500k culture fund have been named – after applications totaling an incredible £1m worth of funding were lodged.

paisley2021-logo

The first groups in the frame to benefit from a £500k culture fund have been named – after applications totaling an incredible £1m worth of funding were lodged.

The Renfrewshire Culture, Heritage and Events Fund is key to Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, aimed at unlocking the area’s creative potential by helping the cultural community run its own events and projects in the run-up to the bid.

And bid bosses were deluged with applications for the first round of grants – receiving 72 requests for funding, totaling £994,829.

Renfrewshire Council last year set aside £500,000 for the fund – but that is intended to last five years, with three funding rounds each year.

That left the panel with a tough task to sort through the applications – before eventually agreeing to recommend 12 awards totaling £62,634.

The council’s Leadership Board will be asked to approve those awards when it meets later this month.

The nominated groups and individuals range from grassroots to professional, and cover a wide range of sectors – including music, dance, theatre, art and Gaelic culture. Those set to benefit include school pupils and disabled people.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “We were overwhelmed by the volume and quality of the applications received – it was just incredible.

“The applications were a wonderful showcase of the scale, quality and ambition of the cultural scene in and around Renfrewshire. There were some inspirational ideas and a real enthusiasm for the bid.

“On the other hand it gave us a problem – even though the council has made a massive financial commitment, demand far exceeds the money available and we will never be able to fund every good idea.

“Ultimately we had to select projects which best met the criteria at this stage in the process and which we thought would make the biggest positive impact on the bid.

“So while some people will be disappointed not to be funded, we may be able to help in future.

“We noticed a lot of similar themes in the applications and will host an event before the next round of funding in August to discuss how we can help people form new creative partnerships which may lead to more projects coming to life in future.”

The assessment panel also identified a longlist of additional projects which scored highly and which could strengthen Paisley’s UK City of Culture bid, but where more information would be needed before a final decision could be made.

The council’s Leadership Board will also next week be asked to delegate the authority for an additional £65,000 worth of awards to be made from that longlist, to be announced in April.

The twelve applications which have been recommended for approval so far are as follows:
– Right2Dance (£13,946) – to run a new free weekly dance class;
– Al Seed (£9,990) – to produce a solo work of visual theatre which ties in with Paisley Halloween Festival;
– Feis Phaislig (£8,837) – for a year-round programme of music tuition for young people;
– Renfrewshire Disability Art Forum (£6,000) – a number of projects using creativity to improve health and wellbeing;
– PACE Theatre Company (two awards of £4,750 and £3,060) – for Paisley 2021 drama workshops in schools, and free street theatre workshops for young people;
– West College Scotland (£4,052) – to create and commercialise Paisley artwork
– Morgan Spence (£3,200) – to create animation workshops for schools and an animated Paisley Lego film;
– Bushes Primary (£3,000) – to create permanent communuty artwork;
– Hobigoblin (£2,689) – to create a space for learning new crafts and skills in Paisley;
– Dates-n-Mates (£2,160) – to take members of group for learning-disabled adults on a drama course and produce a pantomime
– Lisa Kowalski Music (£950) – to work with other musicians to produce an EP

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is due to be lodged in spring 2017. For more information, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Backing for Paisley to be UK City of Culture 2021 has poured in just hours after the town launched its bid in the historic surroundings of Paisley Abbey.

Performances from PACE Youth Theatre Company – who delivered a production specially commissioned for the bid launch – as well as the Grant McFarlane Band and the RockUs Community Choir, showed how culture is thriving in the town.

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Broadcaster Shereen Nanjiani, who went to school in Paisley, introduced a group of bid ambassadors which included Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council and Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board; David Wallace, Executive Director of PACE Youth Theatre Company; Bob Davidson, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce; Sharon McAulay and Emma Richardson of the local STAR Project; and newly-appointed Bid Director Jean Cameron.

The identity for the Paisley 2021 bid was unveiled by a group of local school pupils who will be aged 21 in 2021.

Councillor Mark Macmillan said: “There is no single voice for Paisley, we are a community of voices, and that message was delivered loud and clear.

“We are not reinventing Paisley; the bid is utterly authentic. It’s about our historic buildings like the breathtaking Abbey, the famous and the historic cultural figures produced by the town and also the spirit forged on the hard work and enterprise of the women of the mills. Our Paisley 2021 brand encapsulates this, inspired by perhaps the most famous thing we gave the world – the Paisley Pattern.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_gallery ids=”27945,27946,27947,27948,27949,27950,27951,27952,27953,27954,27955,27956,27957,27958,27959,27960,27961,27962,27963,27964,27965,27966,27967,27968,27969,27970,27971,27972,27973,27974,27975,27976,27977,27978,27979,27980,27981,27982,27983,27984,27985,27986,27987,27988,27989,27990,27991,27992″ columns=”3″ indents=”yes”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]“Our ambitions are becoming a reality as we get set to put in motion a £56.7m planned investment aimed at placing Paisley Museum on the world stage. Now is the time to reach out to our communities across Paisley and Renfrewshire and build this bid.”

He added: “Paisley’s famous weaver poet Robert Tannahill said: ‘When hope persuades, and Fame inspires us, and pride with warm ambitions fires us. Let reason instant seize the bridle’.

“So we are counting on everyone here today to seize that bridle, be Paisley’s ambassadors and to play their part in unlocking Paisley’s potential.”

Backing for the campaign has been flooding in on social media with Twitter users from as far afield as Texas and Thailand following@Paisley2021 and sharing their support with #Paisley2021. A new website outlining the bid went live this morning atwww.paisley2021.co.uk.

Shereen Nanjiani said: “I am a proud Buddie! I am wearing the Paisley Pattern today, and am very proud of the town and its people.”

Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “I grew up in Ferguslie Park, on Tannahill Road, named after Paisley’s famous poet and my belief in the transformational power of culture was nurtured in this town. Now we need to take the message out to the people of Paisley and of Renfrewshire, and our partners further afield, and ultimately, it will be its people who will make it happen for Paisley.”

Sharon McAulay of the STAR Project, one of the bid ambassadors speaking at the event, said: “Paisley is an inspirational, culturally- rich town full of proud people who carry a strong sense of identity and community spirit through good times and tough. A successful bid for City of Culture 2021 will inspire and energise all of our communities.”

Bob Davidson, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to help Paisley become the great place it deserves to be – great for all businesses, their employees and their customers. Having been part of Paisley for over 50 years, the chamber fully supports the Paisley 2021 bid and encourages businesses and organisations of all sizes and sectors to do the same.”

David Wallace of PACE Youth Theatre Company said: “Bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 is an opportunity to celebrate and to develop the already thriving cultural sector here in Paisley and Renfrewshire whilst creating new opportunities for potential national and international cultural partnerships.”

Further endorsements for the campaign were received from:

“The bid will celebrate the diversity of Renfrewshire’s communities and provide an opportunity to remind the rest of the world what Paisley has done, is doing – and will do next!”
Alan McNiven, Chief Executive of Engage Renfrewshire

“Paisley First completely supports the bid for City of Culture status. A successful bid will lead us to re-engage with our prime audience and help us to improve the overall quality of experience in the town centre”.
Sunil Varu, Paisley First

“We can use the process of bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 to leverage social change through cultural regeneration; inspire our artists, musicians and people to tell their stories and demonstrate the depth of cultural engagement we have in the communities we serve.”
Professor Gayle McPherson, Chair in Events and Cultural Policy at University of West of Scotland

“A successful bid from Paisley would highlight the fantastic industrial and commercial heritage that Paisley possesses, how this has contributed to the fabric and skyline of the town and how this business success lives on. Paisley was built on the back of the creative textiles industry and the legacy of this is clear to see in the town.”
Nick Shields, Scottish Enterprise

“Over the years Paisley has raised and taught men and women who have gone on to change the world. Today it remains one of Scotland’s great centres of education, where new generations of young people are equipped with the skills to help them shape the future.”
Audrey Cumberford, West College Scotland

“The announcement of the bid, and indeed the journey and the prize of Paisley City of Culture 2021, is the single most important step that has been made for Paisley. This will put Paisley on the world map where it rightly belongs and will no doubt create a great tourism, education and cultural centre for all to enjoy.”
Tom Stewart, Ashtree House Hotel, Paisley[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Paisley Photographs, all images in the gallery were taken for www.paisley.org.uk by Ian McDonald Photography.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Ambitious plans for a community-led theatre and cinema development in Paisley town centre have taken another step forward thanks to a council cash injection.

The Paisley 2021 Community Development Trust is working on innovative proposals for a multi-purpose performance venue as part of the wider push to use culture and heritage to transform Paisley’s future, including a bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

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And the trust has been awarded up to a maximum of £34,000 from a council fund for social enterprises to help them produce a detailed business case for the new venue.

A feasibility study into a new venue was one of the key strands of the heritage-led regeneration strategy for Paisley revealed by Renfrewshire Council last year.

The flagship project of the regeneration strategy is the plans to turn Paisley Museum into a national museum of textile and costume and an international destination for heritage tourism.

The Paisley 2021 Trust – a charitable organisation formed by local businessmen and including PACE Theatre Group – last year approached the council and offered to take the lead on the study into the new theatre/cinema.

The money for the project comes from a social enterprise grant fund set up last year through the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme to support business and create employment.

Councillors on the Economy and Jobs Board this week approved the award of an additional £100k to extend the grant scheme for another year until 2017.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are taking forward ambitious and far-reaching plans to use Paisley’s internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets to transform the town’s future.

“Paisley is due to lodge its bid for UK City of Culture in 2021 and crucial to that will be boosting the area’s cultural programme, which means we need to consider our venue capacity.

“That bid process is bigger than anything the council can do on its own – it will need the entire community pulling together, which is why we are delighted the Paisley 2021 Trust has volunteered to run with this element of it.

“The social enterprise grant fund has been a big success since it launched last year, with a number of worthy local causes having benefitted to date, and we are delighted to be able to extend that fund to run into 2017.”

Paisley 2021 trustee Gary Kerr added: “We are delighted with the level of support we are receiving from the council at this stage of the project.

“The feasibility study is an exciting development which we hope will demonstrate the viability of a new theatre and cinema in Paisley town centre.

“Our consultants will be speaking to the local community as well as touring groups, performers and agents.

“We hope by the end to have established a demand for it, what shape it should take, and which of the five sites we have earmarked it should be on.”

Other third-sector projects to benefit from the social enterprise small grants scheme since it was set up last year include Crisis Counselling, Erskine Music and Media Studio, Scottish Huntington’s Association and KipCo Kilbarchan Improvement Projects.

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[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Paisley could be in line for a new theatre and cinema as part of ambitious plans connected to the proposed bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

A new group – called Paisley 2021 Community Trust – has been formed with the aim of working with Renfrewshire Council on plans for the new venue.

A feasibility study into new theatre space was one of the flagship projects outlined in the Paisley Heritage Regeneration Strategy unveiled by the council earlier this year, which aims to use culture to transform the town over the next decade.

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The trust – which has just secured incorporated charity status – is now developing ideas and a business case for the possible theatre and cinema.

They will also be speaking to key partners over how the facility could be delivered, as well as developing a funding strategy.

The new body will be chaired by asset management expert Gary Kerr, with computer games entrepreneur Andy Campbell and PACE Theatre director David Wallace as trustees.

Gary Kerr, who runs local firm EPM Solutions, said: “When the council unveiled the Paisley Heritage Regeneration Strategy earlier this year, they asked for community groups to come forward and take part in the process.

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“We have offered to look at that strand of the strategy because we are very committed to the idea of a theatre and cinema in Paisley town centre.

“It is something that Paisley should have as part of the City of Culture bid, and we are really passionate about what this idea could become.

“We would stress these plans are at a very early stage, no sites have yet been earmarked, and substantial funding will be needed.

“But the first step will be to speak to key stakeholders to see where the facility could be and what should be in it.”

Other flagship projects discussed as part of the Paisley Heritage Regeneration Strategy include a major refurbishment of Paisley Museum and the creation of a Paisley Fashion and Design Centre on the High Street.

Experts estimate if the plans were to come to fruition, they would boost the local economy by £45m a year and create up to 800 new jobs.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan added: “Although the council is taking forward the heritage strategy and UK City of Culture bid, we have always said the regeneration process is bigger than anything we can do on our own – it will only happen if Paisley’s people and institutions get behind it and help us make it happen.

“So we want the community to share ownership of the plans and I commend Gary, Andy and David for being willing to put themselves forward and do that.

“Council staff will now be working with the Paisley 2021 Community Trust on more detailed work into the feasibility of a theatre and cinema in the town centre.

“I believe Paisley has the potential to become a centre of excellence in creative industries, and that a new theatre could help host the explosion in activity a City of Culture bid will bring.

“Plus, Paisley’s heritage is at the heart of what we will be selling to the world and one element of that is the town’s rich history of cinema.

“Many people will have fond memories of venues such as the old Kelburne – but with no dedicated cinema in the town centre since it shut in 1997, it would be great to see a facility for future generations to enjoy.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Slug in a Bottle Market

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]’Christmas’ Slug in a Bottle Market at Paisley Town Hall, Saturday 15 November
12noon – 5pm.

ALL Slug in a Bottle Market stallholders shall be positioned in the centre of the MAIN HALL.

JOINING US AT 1PM – 4PM PACE Carol Singers…they shall perform throughout the afternoon.

Its a great opportunity to start, add or complete your Christmas shopping.

Slug in a Bottle Market

All profits raised from stall rental is donated to St. Vincent’s Hospice, Howwood.

Follow Slug in a bottle market on Facebook.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Video of Paisleys Halloween Parade

Video of Paisleys Halloween Parade as it goes through the streets of Paisley which included Spark the LED Drummers as well as a parade of family’s dressed in their Halloween costumes which included members of PACE, stilt walkers, jugglers and massive flowers of fire placed along Abbey Close.

Click for Photographs of Paisley Halloween Parade…

The above video was taken by 1021 Photography on behalf of Paisley Photographs.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Countdown is on to Sma Shot Day

The first big date in Renfrewshire’s summer town centre events calendar arrives at the weekend with the return of family favourite Sma’ Shot Day.

The popular annual event – one of the oldest workers’ festivals in the world – will take place on Saturday 5 July in the usual place of Abbey Close.

Sma' Shot Day - Tony Lawler and Provost Anne Hall

The fun begins at noon when the parade, headed by the beat of the Charleston Drum, sets off from Brodie Park.

Attractions at Abbey Close include funfair rides and stalls including the Slug in a Bottle market, featuring a mix of traditional and vintage clothing and accessories.

There will be performances throughout the day on the outdoor stage from PACE Youth Theatre Group as well as various local bands from LNP Promotions.

The day will culminate with the spectacular Burning of the Cork – which marks the victory of the 19th-century weavers over the mill owners – at 5pm.

Elsewhere, older folks can step away from the crowds at a tea dance in Paisley Town Hall from 1 to 3pm.

A full schedule for the day can be viewed at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events

To help promote the event, Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall met up with Freeman of Renfrewshire Tony Lawler, who will take up his usual place beating the drum at the head of the parade.

Sma' Shot Day - Tony Lawler and Provost Anne Hall

Provost Hall said: “Sma Shot Day is always a popular family favourite and we hope to see a big crowd come out and enjoy the day.

“Last year’s event took place in blazing sunshine so fingers crossed the Paisley weather is kind and we get more of the same this year.

“Sma Shot Day is important because it helps keep alive a link to the area’s proud past at the heart of the world’s textile industry.

“The council has recently announced big plans to use Paisley’s heritage and culture to drive regeneration and tourism over the next decade, and events like Sma Shot Day will be part of that.”

Sma Shot Day celebrates the victory of Paisley’s weavers over the town’s mill owners in the 19th century.

The owners refused to pay their staff for the Sma’ (small) Shot thread, which was unseen but held together the famous Paisley-patterned cashmere shawls.

Sma' Shot Day - Tony Lawler and Provost Anne Hall

A long fight and political battle ensued which the weavers eventually won and renamed the traditional July holiday Sma Shot Day.

Any residents planning a trip into the town centre on Saturday are reminded that parking is free in all council-metered bays every weekend.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Multi-million-pound Paisley Transformation plans officially launched

Ambitious plans to use Paisley’s internationally-significant cultural and heritage assets to turn the town into one of the key destinations on Scotland’s tourist map were officially launched today in the town.

Key figures from the local community and national cultural scene heard how multi-million-pound regeneration proposals to transform the town over the next decade will be brought to life.

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It is thought the plans could create 800 jobs and be worth an extra £45m a year to the local economy – and if successful they could lead to a bid for UK City of Culture status in 2021.

The launch of Paisley: The Untold Story saw several hundred people gather in the spectacular Thomas Coats Memorial Church to hear speeches and theatrical and musical performances.

The steps of the church – known as the Baptist Cathedral of Europe – were dressed with 30 vibrantly-coloured handmade trees on which almost 1,000 ‘wishes for Paisley’ written by local schoolchildren were attached.

Meanwhile, members of the local PACE youth theatre group – the largest in the UK – formed a Paisley Pattern shape, the globally-recognised symbol of the town’s textile industry.

The event, hosted by Paisley-born TV star Tom Urie, saw speeches from Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, author and one-time local writer-in-residence Ajay Close, Creative Scotland’s Director of Strategy Philip Deverell, and PACE Theatre Group director David Wallace.

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The proposals contained within the Paisley Town Centre Heritage Asset Strategy, approved by local councillors earlier this year, would use the town’s outstanding cultural, architectural and industrial heritage as the basis for a wide-ranging programme of regeneration to benefit all of Renfrewshire.

Plans include the refurbishment of Paisley Museum to become a national museum of textile and costume, the building of a Paisley fashion and design centre on the town’s High Street and a study into a new theatre space.

The infrastructure projects would take place alongside an expansion of the area’s existing cultural and events programme, which last year saw Paisley host the Royal National Mòd for the first time.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “It is no exaggeration to say this launch could mark a turning point in the recent history of the area, leading to lasting positive change for all of Renfrewshire.

“Paisley has a wealth of assets to be proud of – the second-highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland, our historic place at the heart of the global textile industry, and our thriving events, arts and cultural scene to name just three.

“Those assets will be used as the engine to drive regeneration throughout the whole area – and all of Renfrewshire will share in the economic benefits.

“But what we are aiming at is bigger than anything the council could do by itself. Paisley’s biggest asset is its people – and this process will be led by them, for them.

“When the Paisley Pattern was invented, the town was known the world over. We are ready to tell the town’s story to the world again and to bring the world to Paisley.”

Copies of the full strategy can be downloaded from www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisleyuntold[/vc_column_text][vc_separator icon=”star”][vc_gallery ids=”21732,21733,21734,21735,21736,21737,21738″ type=”masonry”][vc_separator icon=”star”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

PACE Theatre Company – Making the right Connections!

On the 13th, 14th, & 15th March PACE Theatre Company will be performing at The Wynd Auditorium as part of National Theatre Connections – a nationwide celebration of new plays for young people.

Each year new plays are commissioned for and about young people from some of the best contemporary playwrights, for performance by youth theatres all over the UK and Ireland, making Connections one of the world’s largest celebrations of youth theatre.

Last year PACE’s production of “The Guffin” by Howard Brenton was invited to perform at the National Theatre in London where it wowed critics and audiences alike and this year they will be hoping to emulate that feat with their production of “Heritage” by Dafydd James.

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Mayday has dawned in Northbridge, and a group of misfit Youth gather to rehearse their heritage anthem to sing at the celebration. It soon becomes clear however that they have been chosen for a far darker purpose. What has Tubbsy hidden in his bag, why is Mark dressed as a stegosaurus and greater than all what does the Provost know!? Northbridge – a place full of whispers ready to reveal its ‘bloodiest’ secret

PACE’s Mhairi Gilbert who directs the play said “This has been a fantastic opportunity to work with the young actors on a new play and to create a completely original piece of theatre. What the audience can expect is an exciting and vibrant new piece of work which will showcase the talents of these young actors.”

Book now to see PACE Theatre Company perform “Heritage” at The Wynd Auditorium, Paisley 13th – 15th March 2014. Contact the box office on 0845 130 5218. Tickets £8/£6.

The cast will also be performing “Heritage” on Wednesday, 4th June at The Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh as part of a double bill for the NT Connections Festival. Tickets can be purchased from The Lyceum Box Office on 0131 248 4848.

For more information about National Theatre Connections visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/connections

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Keep Safe Initiative.

Police Scotland and community group I Am Me are working together to set up a Keep Safe Initiative. The Keep Safe initiative is the first of its kind in Scotland and aims to encourage disabled people to live an ordinary life and to raise awareness of, and increase reports of disability hate crime. The Keep Safe initiative will work with a network of local shops, businesses etc to create safe places for disabled people to go if they are lost, scared or if they are the victim of crime.

Keep Safe places can be easily recognised with an I Am Me / Keep Safe window sticker. Staff within premises will assist in any way they can and will be encouraged to report any crimes or incidents to the police.

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Keep Safe launched on 23rd August 2013 and was piloted in Paisley town centre. Early feedback from everyone involved indicates that the initiative is making a positive difference in Keeping People Safe.

Due to its initial success Police Scotland are now rolling Keep Safe out to all of Renfrewshire and would like to invite you and staff members along to a free training event on either;

Tuesday 21st January 2014 – 7.00pm or
Tuesday 28th January 2014 – 6.30pm

at the Wynd Centre, School Wynd, Paisley, PA1 2DB.

The event will last around 1hr 15mins and will include the opportunity to see the hard hitting drama production ‘I Am Me’, performed by PACE Theatre Company. This production highlights what disability hate crime is and the effects that incidents have on individuals and communities. The performance will be followed by a short talk from Police Scotland with information on how your business can participate in the Keep Safe initiative.

All Keep Safe premises will be advertised on a variety of websites and literature distributed across Renfrewshire. Spaces are limited and we would be delighted if you could join us.

To book your place, please contact Ewan Smith (details below). To secure your place we would advise booking early. Refreshments will be provided.

If you require any further information please don\’t hesitate to get in touch with PC Ewan Smith at ewan.smith@scotland.pnn.police.uk or 0141 532 6029.