Renfrewshire and Inverclyde have joined forces to celebrate Armed Forces Day with a special service at Paisley Abbey.

 

The Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Guy Clark, the Provost of Renfrewshire, Lorraine Cameron, and Provost of Inverclyde, Martin Brennan, were in attendance to recognise the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, both past and present.

The Renfrewshire Schools Brass Ensemble performed within the Abbey as members of the congregation arrived for the service- which was led by Reverend Alan Birss, Minister of Paisley Abbey, Reverend Alan Sorensen, Minister of Wellpark Mid Kirk and Fr Matthew Carlin from the Diocese of Paisley.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Guy Clark, completed the first reading of the service, and was followed by Inverclyde’s Provost, Martin Brennan.

Renfrewshire’s Provost, Lorraine Cameron, then led the Prayer of Intercession and both Paisley Abbey Choristers and Bridge of Weir Primary School Choir filled the Abbey with the sound of music.

Provost Cameron said: “Armed Forces Day is an opportunity for us to gather and show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community.

“I was delighted to see such a large attendance of veterans, serving military personnel and members of the public there to pay tribute to those who have served, and currently serve in our name.”

The service took place in advance of the national Armed Forces Day – which is Saturday 30 June – in order to allow those in attendance the chance to pay tribute at both a local and national service.

The service was preceded on Friday by a short ceremony outside Renfrewshire House which saw the Armed Forces Day flag raised by Air Cadet Sergeants James Fulton and Aimee Dunlop, of the 396 (Paisley) Squadron.

The Cadets were chosen to raise the flag to represent the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force and the Year of Young People.

The flag flies for seven days in recognition of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women to protect the country.

A £1.5m council fund to help local groups take ownership of buildings or land in their communities is about to open for applications.

Renfrewshire Council made the one-off investment in a community empowerment fund in its budget earlier this year – and members of the leadership board have now given the green light to a set of guidelines governing how the fund will operate.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 strengthens the powers for public bodies to transfer assets to local groups with a plan to use them for community benefit.

That means local groups could apply to take over the ownership and running of a building or piece of land to use as – for example – a community hub or sports facility.

The £1.5m fund aims to support local groups through the asset transfer process in three ways – by supporting them to develop business plans, to develop their capacity as an organisation, and to invest in assets before or after transfer.

The fund will complement the £1.5m green spaces fund and £370,000 village investment fund also set aside this year as part of the council budget, which will allow communities to apply for money for projects to develop their own green spaces – for which more detail will be released later in the year.

Applications will be expected to show a positive impact on their areas, community involvement in the project, good working relationships and partnerships, value for money and that they are financially sustainable.

It is expected £500,000 of the fund will support groups to develop their organisation or project,, with applications of up to £10,000 being accepted. £1m will be to support with direct property costs, with applications of up to £50,000 accepted.

Council officers will work with groups to develop their projects and guide them through the application process. The fund will open for applications on 1 July.

The council’s communities, housing and planning board will approve all grant awards, however it should be noted a successful application for a grant to support a project idea doesn’t guarantee the outcome of a subsequent asset transfer request, which will be considered on its own merits.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “One of Renfrewshire’s greatest assets is our thriving network of community groups.

“Often they are the people who are best equipped to make things happen within their local communities – and we want to work with them to harness their skills and energy and help their ideas become reality.

“The new laws are about making it easier for that to happen – while making sure areas get as much productive use as we can from the assets which already exist in our communities.

“I am proud Renfrewshire Council has prioritised investment in this fund and would encourage any groups who have an interest in taking ownership of an asset in their area to get in touch with officers to find out more about the financial support and how we can help.”

Renfrewshire and Inverclyde residents are being encouraged to attend a ceremony to celebrate our serving military men and women.

Serving troops, veterans and their families will join the Provosts of Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, as well as the Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Guy Clark, to mark Armed Forces Day with a service in Paisley Abbey on Saturday 23 June.

Reverend Alan Birss, Minister of Paisley Abbey, will lead a short service at 10am to recognise the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces, both past and present.

A collection will be held at the service with donations going to Fares4Free, a charity providing free transport for veterans, assisting them with getting to appointments they might not otherwise be able to travel to.

Following the service tea and coffee will be provided within the Abbey.

Both Provost’s and the Lord-Lieutenant will then move on to Hawkhead cemetery where they will lay wreaths at the memorial.

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “Our Armed Forces make sacrifices every day to protect our country and we must ensure we support them wherever possible.

“Armed Forces Day brings the communities of Inverclyde and Renfrewshire together to pay our respects to those who have served, and to recognise those who currently serve in our name.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to attend.”

Inverclyde Provost Martin Brennan said: “This is an opportunity for us all to show our support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community, including veterans and cadets, and to recognise their outstanding contribution to this country now and in the past.

“Many serving members are currently deployed in extremely dangerous parts of the world and their morale is significantly improved knowing that back home they have the support of the public and that their families are being cared for.”

As well as the joint service with Inverclyde, Renfrewshire will host a flag raising ceremony on Friday 22 June, at 11am, outside Renfrewshire House.

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force and the Year of Young People, Air Cadet Sergeants James Fulton and Aimee Dunlop from 396 Paisley Squadron, will raise the flag which will fly for seven days.

Inverclyde will host a flag raising service on Monday 25 June, 10:30am, at Clyde Square, Greenock.

One of Scotland’s most senior cultural figures will lead the work to transform Paisley’s future using its unique cultural and heritage story – and says the town can show the way for the rest of the UK.

Leonie Bell – the Scottish Government’s Head of Culture Strategy and Cultural Engagement – will this autumn join Renfrewshire Council in the newly-created post of Paisley Partnership Strategic Lead.

Her role will be to build on the momentum of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and lead the next stage of the town’s ongoing transformation into a vibrant cultural destination.

She is currently working on the government’s flagship cultural strategy for Scotland – having been seconded from her previous role as Director of Arts and Engagement at Creative Scotland.

And having supported Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, she has seen first-hand what the town has to offer. Leonie said: “I am so excited to get started. Paisley is brimming with potential – and it can lead the way for the rest of UK in showing how a town can use culture to transform itself.

“My early jobs in Glasgow gave me a real sense of the power of culture to change how people relate to where they live. Culture offers so many opportunities for communities – it is fundamental to who we are and why we are.

“Paisley is such a deeply and distinct cultural town – both in terms of its history and contemporary culture. You only need to walk around it for five minutes to see that – with such wonderful buildings and spaces as the Abbey and the town hall.

“The Paisley 2021 bid was so inspiring and impressive in its ambition and commitment and the way it was community driven. Paisley can still continue that bid journey and reimagine itself, and it can now do that on its own terms.”

Leonie will bring a vast range of contacts and experience to Paisley after a 20-year career at the forefront of the arts in Scotland, including stints at Glasgow: UK City of Architecture and Design, and as programme director at The Lighthouse: Scotland’s Centre for Architecture and the City.

Before joining Creative Scotland, she led the Scottish cultural programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and paved the way for its Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games equivalent.

In her new role she will lead the delivery of a far-reaching 2021 bid legacy plan, bringing together local, Scottish and UK groups to harness the power of culture to impact on education, health, poverty and wellbeing across Renfrewshire – and to help make those benefits available to all.

The Paisley Partnership Legacy Board includes representation from the council and local community plus University of the West of Scotland, West College Scotland, Glasgow Airport, the NHS, Creative Scotland, Glasgow School of Art, Young Scot, Scottish Enterprise, and Arts and Business Scotland.

It is a continuation of the board which governed the UK City of Culture 2021 bid but will continue to meet to take forward the town’s legacy plan, to which Renfrewshire Council and other partners have already committed funding and other resource.

That plan includes a £100m investment in Paisley town centre venues, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class facility; new events and festivals for the area’s existing major events programme; and investment in building the area’s cultural capacity and creative economy.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson – who chairs the Paisley Partnership Legacy Board – added: “We warmly welcome Leonie to Paisley later in the year and believe her experience and passion make her the ideal person to lead the next phase of Paisley’s ongoing transformation.

“For us to have attracted someone highly regarded in Scotland’s cultural sector is a major coup for the town which shows the extent to which it is now viewed as a key destination.”

For more information on what’s happening in Paisley, visit www.paisley.is

4,000 of world’s best pipers and drummers en route to Paisley

Thousands of people will gather to watch the world’s best pipe bands descend on Paisley next week – and they’ll be able to travel in style.

The British Pipe Band Championships – one of the biggest in the piping calendar – will see more than 4,000 pipers and drummers take over the St James Playing Fields for the free all-day event on Saturday 19 May, which includes a programme of family entertainment.

 

 

Event organisers Renfrewshire Council and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association have teamed up with McGill’s to lay on a fleet of shuttle buses to ferry the army of spectators to and from the event – which runs from 10am to 6pm – free of charge.

And to give residents a flavour of the day, McGill’s took piper Alan McGeoch of the Johnstone Pipe Band – who will compete in the elite-level Grade One contest – on an open-top bus tour of Paisley town centre.

He was joined by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron – the chieftain of the event – and by dancers from the Christine Aitken Academy of Dance as he played for lunchtime commuters.

The championships will see almost 130 bands compete for some of world piping’s most prestigious titles, from the length and breadth of the UK, with international representation from Denmark and Ireland.

Free entertainment on offer includes an international food village and bar, funfair, street traders and Highland dancing competition. Renfrewshire Leisure staff will offer the chance to try out different sports, with activities run by Paisley Rugby Club, and Renfrewshire’s award-winning Street Stuff team.

McGill’s will run the shuttle buses from Paisley Gilmour St station, West College Scotland and St Mirren’s Paisley 2021 Stadium, with the latter two offering free event parking.

Visitors should note there will be no public parking at the event. Other transport options include getting the train to Paisley St James station, which is a short walk from the event site, or a McGill’s bus to Paisley town centre, and transferring to the free shuttle.

The event is in Paisley for the third year in a row – and is confirmed for a further three years, as part of the expanded programme of events planned via the legacy of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

Last year’s event saw 12,000 visitors and generated almost £300,000 for the local economy.

Other Renfrewshire interest on the day will come from the KIlbarchan Pipe Band and the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band, who are supported via the council’s investment in free music tuition in local schools.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “We are delighted to be once again hosting this great event, and welcoming our friends at the RSPBA, and thousands of the world’s best pipers back to Paisley.

“Hosting major events like this is helps to build on Paisley’s now-established reputation as a key destination on Scotland’s events map.

“Our historic town centre has many businesses who will be ready to welcome the thousands of visitors to Paisley with open arms and I hope as many of them as possible of will take advantage of the free shuttle bus service and enjoy a day or evening out here.”

Ian Embelton, chief executive of the RSPBA, added: “The British Championship is the first of our annual calendar of majors and most of the world’s top bands are going to be there.

“Paisley offers a central location with excellent transport links to and from the town and event site – and hopefully next Saturday will see a big crowd come down to enjoy a day of top-class piping.”

Rachel Stewart, Marketing at McGill’s said: “As a local company, we were thrilled to get involved and provide a free shuttle bus for attendees to travel easily to the event.

“For those travelling from further afield, we have a range of services that serve Paisley town centre, allowing customers to board their free shuttle bus at Gilmour Street. We’ll be attending on the day too – pop by to take part in some competitions or pick up a McGill’s goody bag.”

For more information on the championships and other Paisley events, visit www.paisley.is

Paisley is one of three UK towns in the running to be named ‘Great Town’ in a national awards ceremony which celebrates great placemaking.

The Academy of Urbanism Awards covers five categories of scale, including European City of the Year and Great Town, Neighbourhood, Street and Place. This year’s awards are particularly focused on places that have been through a transformation journey from a past based predominantly on industries to new approaches for their present and future.

Paisley is the only Scottish town to be shortlisted alongside finalists Barnsley in South Yorkshire and Chelmsford in Essex.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “Being shortlisted in the ‘Great Town’ category of The Academy of Urbanism Awards is something we are very proud of. All the work which has taken place over the years to regenerate the town coupled with the success of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has helped lead us here.

“We have been able to celebrate our manufacturing and industrial heritage while looking to the future and finding new ways for our area to prosper through making the most of our attractions and unique culture which is showcased through the Paisley.is destination brand and website. The fact that we have been shortlisted in this prestigious award recognises these efforts.”

The town has been on a transformational journey for some time culminating in being shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition. As part of the bid legacy £100million of confirmed investment has been allocated in Paisley town centre aimed at driving new footfall, preserving the incredible architectural legacy and creating a cultural destination to attract people to live, visit and invest in the area. Some of the projects benefiting from this funding include the £42million refurbishment of Paisley Museum and the £22million project to transform Paisley Town Hall.

A number of successful projects have taken place in recent years to improve the town including the £3.5m THI/CARS scheme which transformed the area around Causeyside Street which included shopfront repair grants, public realm improvements and a revamp of Paisley Arts Centre. The work on Causeyside Street was recognised by the awards last year when it was nominated in their Great Street category.

The success of THI/CARS was followed by the launch of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme in 2017 – a £4million project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council which is being delivered over five years.

The next stage of the awards process will see a team of academicians travel to each finalist location and compile a report based on The Academy of Urbanism Award’s assessment criteria. A vote will then take place to determine the winner in each category.

The winners will be announced at The Academy’s high profile Awards Ceremony event which will take place on 7 November 2018 and will be co-hosted by the Academy’s Poet in Residence Ian McMillan.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Paisley tonight to see St Mirren’s league-winning team parade the SPFL Championship trophy.

Renfrewshire Council honoured the Saints with an open-top bus parade through the town centre before the team took to the outdoor stage in Bridge St.

DJs from Pulse FM were on hand to keep the crowd entertained before the fans got the chance to hear from their heroes, including captain Stephen McGinn, manager Jack Ross, chairman Gordon Scott and chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This was a wonderful occasion – they don’t come around every year but Paisley knows how to party when we do. The great thing about being a one-team town is that Buddies can take over the streets and celebrate together.

“I come from a family of St Mirren supporters and remember going to Love St as a kid, and seeing some of the trophy wins of years gone by – so it was just wonderful to see a new generation of Paisley families get the chance to make their own memories tonight.”

Jordan Stewart, Matthew Gibb and and Lisa Kowalski already have a few things in common. They are all talented and very hard working musicians who have been entertaining all ages at local charity, community and sports events for a number of years. They are also now linked together by the event they are organising and performing at in Paisley on 22nd April.

As part of Scotland‘s official national events programme to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, Jordan, Matthew and Lisa are hosting a Family Fun Day at the Wynd Centre in Paisley.

There will be music, dance displays and plenty of fun things for the kids to do. In addition, a number of local youth groups and organisations will be showcasing their activities. Confirmed so far are the YMCA, Active Communities, Music Broth, Jump Dance, PRIMA  and the local Scouts, with more still to come. The musical trio have obtained funding from the Create 18 events programme, a fund administered by a group of young people called Communic18, with support from Young Scot, on behalf of Event Scotland.

Jordan Stewart, the youngest of the group and driving force behind the idea, says:

Our aim for the event is to showcase local groups and organisations in our community that don’t charge a lot of money in order to get involved with them. There is free entry to the event and everyone is welcome”.

Jordan, Matthew and Lisa were all part of and benefited from the cultural activity and funding generated by the Paisley 2021 bid last year and each of them are keen to give back to the community and say thanks for all the support that they have received.  Jordan was honoured to perform at Paisley Abbey alongside esteemed local musician James Grant for last year’s Spree Festival and Lisa is ever grateful to the local people who took part in her Hearts of Gold music video, which has really helped showcase Paisley far and wide. Matthew has, thanks to the generosity of the Scottish public, been able to raise around £15,000 to date for charity through busking.

The Create18 fund has given young people an opportunity to support Year of Young People 2018 with an exciting event in the local area and the chance to generate better understanding and respect between the generations.

The event is taking place between 1 and 3 o clock on Sunday 22nd April and there is no need to pre-book.

For further details, please   see the following link: https://www.facebook.com/events/317018438823159.

For more information about YoYP18, visit www.yoyp2018.scot.

Local pupils learned more about Paisley’s unique built heritage at an event encouraging people to share their favourite snaps of the town’s architectural gems.

The pupils from Ralston Primary School attended the launch event for the Story Map, held at UWS. The Story Map aims to capture a visual record of historic properties within Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area. Pupils were asked to share their photos, memories and comments on buildings in the town they either have links with or simply admire to have their entry added to the Story Map. The map also shares knowledge about local heritage.

 

The pupils brought along a digital copy of their image along with a comment explaining their reason for choosing their shot.

 

In addition to presenting their photographs the pupils also received a talk with advice on how to photograph buildings from local professional photographer Tommy Graham.

 

Eight pupils from the school received winner certificates for their contributions to the map, including Eva McOuat whose picture of Paisley Abbey was selected to be included in the Story Map.

 

“It was a really fun event to be part of and it was even better to be able to go along with all my friends. I really enjoyed hearing from the professional photographer about how to take great pictures and I was so surprised and pleased to get a certificate for my picture – I really didn’t expect it.”

 

Deputy Head Teacher at Ralston Primary School, Caron Kerr, said: “The Story Map gave the children a great reason to learn more about the local heritage and history of the town they live in. The children undertook the exercise in their own time with the support of parents. It was wonderful to see their perspective on their own place and encouraged them to get out and about to look at the local area.”

 

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Cllr Iain Nicolson, said: “Paisley’s architecture is unique with many iconic buildings that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. It’s a real jewel in the crown of the town.

 

“It’s wonderful to see so many of our young people recognising the town’s beauty through its historic buildings. Congratulations to all the pupils for their fantastic contributions to the Story Map.”

 

The Story Map will go on to be used as a public online resource where people can view and continue to contribute to the story capturing the town’s built environment as time goes on.

 

This forms a key part of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2 (TH.CARS2) which is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council and will deliver grant opportunities to property owners in a defined area of the town centre for high quality building repairs and shopfront improvements.

 

To find out more about the TH.CARS2 project please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2 or to find out more about the Story Map please visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THcars2StoryMap.

Photography fans are being encouraged to share their favourite snaps of Paisley’s unique architecture for a Story Map that tells the story of the town through its rich built heritage.

The Story Map will capture a visual record of historic properties within Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area. Pupils and community groups are being asked to share their photos, memories and comments on buildings in the town they either have links with or simply admire and have a chance to have them added to the Story Map. The map will also share knowledge about local heritage.

The Story Map will go on to be used as a public online resource where people can view and continue to contribute to the story capturing the town’s built environment as time goes on.

Local primary school pupils and community groups will attend the Story Map launch on Friday 16 March in the UWS atrium, and bring along a digital copy of their image and a comment to accompany it in order to contribute to the map.

The event will also launch a new photography competition which will first be trialled with the groups who attend on the day.

Two winners will be announced (under 16 year-olds and over 16 year-olds) at the event and the winning photographs will be printed on banners displayed around Paisley Town Centre promoting the TH.CARS2 project. Following the event the competition will then be opened up to the general public to enter. All details about the competition can be found on the TH.CARS2 website.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Cllr Iain Nicolson, said: “Paisley is home to some beautiful buildings and boasts the second highest concentration of listed buildings in Scotland and it’s great to celebrate this.

“People living in and around Paisley are uniquely able to see our most iconic buildings in a new way as well as highlight some of our hidden gems. By contributing to the Story Map people can share their own stories of why these stunning buildings matter to the town.”

This forms a key part of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2 (TH.CARS2) which is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council and will deliver grant opportunities to property owners in a defined area of the town centre for high quality building repairs and shopfront improvements.

To find out more about the TH.CARS2 project please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2 or to find out more about the Story Map please visit:www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THcars2StoryMap.