theatre in truck

Paisley’s flagship annual cultural extravaganza The Spree gets under way today….helped by National Theatre of Scotland offering a truckload of chances to see the area as never before.

The seventh year of the Spree (12 to 21 Oct) sees 87 shows in 17 venues in five towns around Renfrewshire over ten days – with music, comedy, theatre and much more.

theatre in truck

Big-name headliners include Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in conversation about his legendary career (Fri 12 Oct) and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the London African Gospel Choir performing Graceland (Sat 20 Oct), both at Paisley Town Hall.

The iconic Spiegeltent in County Square will host musical acts The Orb (Mon 15th), Traceyanne and Danny and The Pastels (Sat 13th), ex-Kraftwerk man Wolfgang Flur (Sat 13th), The Wandering Hearts (Sun 14th), Vieux Farke Toure (Tues 16th), The Leisure Society and Duke Special (Weds 17th), Big Minds (Thurs 18th), and Gang of Four (Fri 19th).

The festival also includes Rimini Protokoll and National Theatre of Scotland’s Do’s and Don’ts (12-14 and 16-21 Oct) – offering a unique experience touring the area in a mobile auditorium inside a remodelled truck, backed by the soundtrack of a local choir.

The show is presented by award-winning German documentary theatre specialists Rimini Protokoll and is part of NTS’s Futureproof festival, marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, and some of the young cast were on hand to help launch the festival yesterday outside Paisley Town Hall.

Other Spree highlights over the next 10 days include a sold-out comedy show with Des Clarke and Janey Godley (Spiegeltent Fri 12th), Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert (Paisley Arts Centre, Sat 20th), the ModStuff festival-within-a-festival (Spiegeltent, Sat 20th) plus a visit from The National Whiskey Festival (Paisley Town Hall, Sat 13th).

Do’s and Don’ts is part of The Wee Spree programme over the October school holiday – with a list of (mostly free) shows for kids offering everything from comedy to ceilidhs, plus video game design, circus skills workshops and a dancealong to The Greatest Showman.

There’s also the Spree for All fringe festival, which includes the daily Danny Kyle Stage for unsigned acts in the Old Swan Inn, and taking top local musical talent to venues in Johnstone, Renfrew, Linwood and Lochwinnoch, as well as the pubs and clubs of Paisley town centre.

The Spree is run by Renfrewshire Council as part of a major events programme also including Paisley Halloween Festival (Sat 27 Oct) – listed as one of the top Halloween events in the UK.

The council’s head of communications, marketing and events Louisa Mahon said: “This year’s Spree will be the biggest and best yet as our events continue to grow and attract more visitors to the area.

“The bill has something for everyone – from world-renowned musical talent to a diverse programme for kids of all ages, to some of the best local acts at a venue near you.

“We are also delighted to building partnerships with organisations such as National Theatre of Scotland and bringing some of the country’s finest performers to the town is helping cement Paisley’s place as one of Scotland’s go-to cultural destinations.”

Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, said: “DO’S & DON’TS has been co-created by the young people of Paisley as part of our Futureproof festival, marking the Year of Young People 2018, and I am delighted that it is part of the Spree programme.

“It was important to the National Theatre of Scotland that, as part of Futureproof, we had the opportunity to work with the Paisley 2021 Legacy team, and we are incredibly grateful to our partners Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure for making this uniquely special co-production possible.”

For tickets and full line-up info, see thespree.co.uk and nationaltheatrescotland.com/futureproof

It is one of the most infamous witch trials in history which saw Paisley the last town in western Europe to conduct a mass execution in 1697.

Four women and three men were sentenced to death after series of events which started when the  11-year-old daughter of a local laird mysteriously fell ill.

Christian Shaw suffered fits, similar to demonic possession, and accused several people of bewitching her.  Witchcraft was against the law in Scotland and seven people were tried as witches and executed at Gallow Green.

But as Paisley gears up to stage its annual Halloween Festival inspired by Renfrewshire’s dark witch history, retired academic Hugh McLachlan says history has treated Christian Shaw unfairly.

Hugh, who researched the 1697 trials extensively and is editor of ‘The Kirk, Satan and Salem: A History of the Witches of Renfrewshire’, says that far from being a malicious accuser, she was unfairly maligned.

Hugh, who first became aware of the case as a young research assistant at Glasgow University, said: “Christian Shaw has had a very bad press with the notion that she was a particularly bad, evil child who was able to fool the courts and local dignitaries for malicious purposes.

“This seemed to me be not very plausible and grossly unfair so my interest was aroused at the potential injustice.

“The alternative view point that she was suffering from a hysterical malady or mental illness seemed to me to be even less likely, so I researched the case.”

Hugh says the case was different from other witchcraft trials in that a child was the main accuser.

He also believes the story was influenced by what happened in Salem in Massachusetts just a few years later.

He added: “The actual evidence didn’t suggest that Christian Shaw was either mentally ill or malicious, but rather she was actually peripheral to the case.

“If you look at the accusations against the people who were charged with witchcraft, if you removed what they were said to have done to Christian Shaw, they would still have been executed.

“It wasn’t crucial to the case and it’s not clear if she even gave evidence at the trial.”

He says that he believes the story was influenced by a book later written on the case by local minsters.

He said: “When people consider her role in all of this, they weren’t considering her evidence at the trial but this book.

“It was written be local ministers who were very well aware of Salem witch trial and wanted to make a theological point. Witches renounced Christ and the fear of witchcraft centred on that and the Devil.

“But if the Devil existed, so did God, and they were trying to encourage atheists to repent.

“It was 1697 and they were looking to the turn of the century and it was a period of great turmoil.

“The local ministers thought the world was coming to an end.”

After the trial Christian Shaw’s story took another sensational twist when she became a prominent businesswoman who founded the Bargarran Thread Company along with her mother.

It transformed into the cotton company on which Paisley’s fame and wealth was founded.

Hugh added: “I think even today her role in the witchcraft trials is misinterpreted. I don’t think Christian Shaw was a malicious child and that she should instead be celebrated as a successful entrepreneur.

“Women often get a rough deal in history and are written out. This is only one interpretation, but the one that I believe. But I think the other stories should still be told, they live in contradiction and conflict with each other.”

Paisley’s annual Halloween Festival ‘Something Wicked this Way Comes’ returns on Saturday 27 October, with a Friday Fright Night on 26 October, and features an animated parade, sound and light installations and performances.

The festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, has been developed with the help of young people. It is celebrating their talents both as performers, as well as contributors to the management of the event behind the scenes.

Part of this is a new production starring a 50-strong cast of young people who will take part in a breathtaking aerial show.

For more information please go to www.paisley.is

Ambitious plans to realise the vision behind Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 have been backed by senior figures from Scotland’s cultural scene – in the week the ongoing legacy work takes several big steps forward.

Today is the last chance to see inside Paisley Museum ahead of a four-year £42m transformation into an international-class destination telling the story of the town’s pattern, heritage and people.

And yesterday saw councillors approve a number of measures to bring new life to Paisley town centre and harness the power of culture to change lives for the better, including:

– formal approval for a new cultural organisational development fund of £360,000 over the next three years to support the area’s creative sector to grow their operations and reach;

– transforming key outdoor town centre sites in Abbey Close and County Square by expanding capacity for major events and creating spaces which encourage residents, visitors and students to spend time;

– improvements to major road junctions to improve road safety, allow traffic to flow better, and open up key gateways to the town centre;

And the new measures have been backed by senior figures within Scotland’s cultural scene.

Gary Cameron, Head of Place, Partnerships and Communities, Creative Scotland commented: “We are delighted Renfrewshire Council have established the Cultural Organisations Development Fund.

“Local authority support is essential for developing arts and culture across Scotland, and we believe this fund will build on Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture and bring a range of cultural, social and economic benefits to the region.”

Support has also arrived from Dundee – a city which has already shown the power of culture to transform fortunes, culminating in the opening of the V&A museum last week.

Dundee City Council leader Councillor John Alexander said: “The recent opening of V&A Dundee is the latest achievement in the long-term regeneration of the city where culture plays an integral part in this transformation.

“Our status as a UNESCO City of Design has been awarded because of the growth of the sector in the Dundee and the contribution this is making to our economy. Creativity is helping to create jobs and to attract tourists in ever great numbers.

“I am pleased to see how the legacy of the Paisley bid campaign is being used to focus on the future and tap into the power of the arts to bring about change for the good.”

The council’s leadership board also agreed to consider a report at their next meeting which would look at how the cultural legacy will reach towns and villages throughout Renfrewshire.

The investment in outdoor spaces and roads forms £10m of a £100m investment in Paisley town centre over the next few years – to create homes for the increased events, festivals and cultural activity the area is already attracting.

That includes the Paisley Museum redevelopment, expected to quadruple current visitor numbers when it reopens in 2022, plus £22m plans to preserve Paisley Town’s Hall’s place at the heart of life in the area and turn it into a landmark performance venue.

The various partners behind the UK City of Culture bid this year agreed to commit resource set aside to host had Paisley won to projects designed to deliver on the bid’s aims – and the report to councillors told how investment in culture is already delivering results for Renfrewshire including:

– a £1.25m economic boost and 70,000 attendees at major events so far this year alone, including the Paisley Food Festival, British Pipe Band Championships and Sma’ Shot Day/Weave;

– work to sell the area as a visitor destination through the paisley.is brand and website, pioneering work by the NHS to use cultural activity to tackle mental health issues, and a growth in creative business development across Renfrewshire;

Today will see bid partners taking to social media to celebrate the work achieved so far, using the hashtag #WhatPaisleyDidNext, and a number have already had their say.

Alan McNiven, chief executive of Engage Renfrewshire said: “We know Renfrewshire’s cultural activity programme is already providing fantastic opportunities for developing local aspirations, reducing isolation and re-connecting people with Paisley.

“The plans for refreshed, re-imagined outdoor areas in the centre of the town will positively benefit all our social aims by providing a fantastic backdrop for an even wider range of cultural activities – attracting more visitors and local people for many decades to come.”

Bob Grant, chief executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce added: “We welcome this investment in the next stage of the journey to deliver the vision of the 2021 bid.

“Enhancing our key cultural assets and public realm will we believe drive visitor numbers and increase economic spend, presenting opportunity for businesses to capitalise on our growing profile on the national and international stage.

“Cultural development and the legacy fund will encourage creative organisations to upskill, build their operations and shine a spotlight on the reinvigorated vision for Paisley and Renfrewshire. “

Alan Clark, of the Creative Renfrewshire group – a network which shines the spotlight on creative and cultural activities across Renfrewshire, added: “I think the Creative Renfrewshire members would see real value in this investment in the local creative scene over the long-term.

“The new organisational development fund will allow organisations to build partnerships and create growth across the whole sector – we are all part of this together. It feels like this is the beginning of a long-term growth.”

Renfrewshire’s major events programme has created a £1.25m boost for the local economy so far in 2018 as the ongoing work to use the area’s cultural and heritage story to transform its future continues to deliver results.

More than 70,000 people have come to the area from across Scotland and beyond to attend big days with April’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival, May’s British Pipe Band Championships and Sma’ Shot/Weave festival in July, each attracting five-figure crowds.

Those three events alone created more than £850,000 of local spend plus almost £400,000 of spend by visitors to the area – boosting the coffers of local businesses.

This year also saw Scottish Opera bring a unique outdoor production of Pagliacci to a specially-erected tent in Seedhill Playing Fields for five sold-out nights in July, which also attracted a five-figure crowd and Scotland-wide profile.

The figures are listed in a report going before the council’s leadership board next week updating members on progress with the wide-ranging Paisley 2021 legacy plan.

The council and its partners have agreed to use the resources set aside during the town’s UK City of Culture bid to host the title had Paisley won on projects which will deliver on its vision and aims, and create long-term economic, social and cultural benefits for the whole area.

Other key strands of the legacy plan referred to in the report include:

– the push to promote the area as a visitor destination continues through the area’s new destination brand and website www.paisley.is, which has already smashed its first-year target for views;

– a new arts and culture in health steering group led by the NHS is now up and running, and has secured funding to expand its pioneering community connectors programme allowing GPs to ‘prescribe’ creative activities to patients suffering from social isolation;

– work to build the area’s creative business sector, which has already – thanks to the work of the council’s business incubator InCube – seen a sharp rise in the numbers of creative businesses seeking funding and support in the past few years;

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley’s UK City of Culture bid did a huge amount to lift the town’s profile, reputation and self-confidence, but it was only ever one part of a major plan designed to use culture and heritage to make us a destination and drive new footfall.

“We said that journey would continue – and the numbers attending major events in the area are one of many ways we can now demonstrate that. To have £1m pumped into the local economy so far this year will have had major benefits for traders throughout Renfrewshire.

“We’ve also a new fund designed to build capacity among local creative groups as well as investment to transform key outdoor spaces and transport links as part of the £100m investment in Paisley town centre over the next few years.”

The next events taking place in the area are The Spree festival, which sees nine days of music comedy and more at various venues in Paisley from 12 to 20 October, and the Paisley Halloween Festival on 26 and 27 October.

Plans to bring new life to Paisley town centre by transforming key outdoor areas have been revealed, as the ongoing £100m investment in the town’s venues and infrastructure moves forward.

Renfrewshire Council is leading the investment as part of wider plans to transform the area’s future using its internationally-significant cultural and heritage story.

Work to turn key venues including Paisley Museum and Town Hall into 21st-century facilities hosting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year is well under way – and will be complemented by a £10m investment to improve the outdoor streetscape and transport links.

The plans – aimed at driving new footfall and boosting the evening economy by growing the area’s already-successful events programme and creating more attractive spaces to keep visitors, students and workers in the town – include:

– unlocking the enormous potential of the area around Abbey Close by creating a larger and more flexible events and gathering space around the Abbey, town hall and river, including improvements to the Abbey Green;

– a new and improved town gateway in County Square – creating a decluttered town square to welcome visitors and expand events capacity, and create a more attractive space for pavement cafes and people to dwell;

Details have also been revealed for major improvements to the town’s transport infrastructure, with upgrades to key road junctions at Mill St/Glasgow Rd, Mill St/Lonend, Canal St/Causeyside St and Renfrew Rd/Mill St/Incle St.

The aim is to improve traffic flow and road safety, while linking the town centre to its surroundings by making it easier to walk or cycle into the heart of the town and creating a better sense of arrival for people visiting Paisley’s attractions.

The projects will go to public consultation next year, followed by a detailed design phase. There will also be a feasibility study to look at further-reaching longer-term changes to the town’s road system.

The council last year set aside £10m for the above public realm projects but wants to top that up by applying to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Councillors on the leadership board will be asked to approve that application when they meet next Wednesday (19 Sept), where they will also be updated on other projects in the £100m investment.

That includes the £42m transformation of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections, and the £22m plans to preserve Paisley Town Hall’s place at the heart of life in the town by becoming a landmark performance venue.

The museum is planned to close later this month and reopen in 2022, and the town hall will close at the end of the year and reopen in 2021.

Other projects coming in the next few years include a new learning and cultural hub offering library services on the heart of the High St, and a refurbishment of Paisley Arts Centre.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our £100m investment in Paisley town centre is the backbone of everything which will happen in the next stage of our regeneration journey, the benefits of which will be felt around the whole Renfrewshire area.

“Over the next few years, we will transform our unique and much-loved venues into 21st-century facilities to host the expansion of events, visitors and activity the area will be at the centre of – we are also this week revealing plans to grow the capacity of Renfrewshire’s independent creative sector through a new fund.

“We have already seen investment in culture deliver results – with visitor numbers and attendees at our already-successful major events programme on the up, and the UK City of Culture bid boosting the town’s profile, reputation and self-confidence.

“And put simply – it’s the way we have to go. Changes in the way people shop mean town centres everywhere have to reinvent themselves. We cannot turn the clock back but we can create a vibrant destination around our unique culture, heritage and events, and that is what we are doing.

“The public realm projects we are revealing details of today are key to that – they will create key outdoor spaces allowing our already-successful major events to be even bigger and better.

“At the same time, Paisley already has large populations of students and workers, and a growing number of visitors – this investment will support traders by creating more attractive spaces which encourage them to spend more time and money here.

“And the improvements to the transport infrastructure will make the town easier to get around and through, while we look at a longer-term masterplan to improve the road system further.”

Historic buildings and locations across Renfrewshire opened their doors this weekend to thousands of visitors as part of Doors Open Days.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Part of a worldwide event with over 50 countries taking part, Renfrewshire’s Doors Open Days is a celebration of the fantastic design and architectural history of the region.

Popular heritage buildings – such as the John Neilson Institute and the Russell Institute welcomed hundreds of visitors through their doors.

Those interested in the weaving history of the area had the opportunity to visit the Sma’ Shot Cottages and the Kilbarchan Weavers Cottage, and Paisley: The Secret Collection was also open, giving the public a chance to see thousands of objects reflecting Renfrewshire’s amazing heritage and culture.

Paisley Police Office welcomed the public to their grounds – there was even a chance to learn some CPR skills; while Paisley Abbey offered visitors a stunning view of Paisley’s skyline from the tower.

There was something for everyone, with the RSPB Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve allowing visitors a chance to get up close with wildlife, and several walking tours around Renfrewshire focusing on the rich history and heritage of the area.

For the first time, members of the public were invited inside the mysterious Abbey Drain exclusively for Doors Open Days. The 90-metre-long medieval structure was first discovered in 1879 and then rediscovered in 1990. Over 1000 people applied for this unique opportunity, with tickets allocated through a ballot for 15 minute long tours of the drain led by expert Bob Will from GUARD Archaeology.

Paisley Museum and Art Galleries hosted a Museum Memories film evening in advance of the planned closure later this month to prepare for a £42m refurbishment, and hundreds of people took to the Gleniffer Braes on Sunday as River City star, Tom Urie, and a series of local acts kept the crowds entertained all afternoon.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron also took the opportunity to visit various places across Renfrewshire.

Provost Cameron said: “Doors Open Days is a fantastic opportunity to visit those places across Renfrewshire we don’t normally have the chance to see.

“I was delighted to see so many people out enjoying themselves and taking part in the brilliant activities on offer.

“This year I was pleased to welcome visitors in to the Council Chambers, and to see such a great community turn out at the Discover Gleniffer Braes event. Photos of the Gleniffer Braes event taken by Brick Lane Studios.

“We are so lucky to have a wealth of culture and heritage on our doorstep and it’s important we continue to take advantage of the amazing opportunities right here in Renfrewshire.

“Our annual music, comedy and drama festival ‘The Spree’ is just a few weeks away and will kick off a season of exciting events across Renfrewshire. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.”

The Spree festival takes place between 12-20 October and has yet another bumper line up ready to entertain locals and visitors.

Information on who’s playing and how to buy tickets is available at: www.thespree.co.uk.

For information on further events set to take place across Renfrewshire visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or www.paisley.is

Paisley town centre will host a free Halloween spectacular featuring pyrotechnics, parades and performances – including a new finale production starring a 50-strong cast of young people who will take part in a breath-taking aerial show.

The town’s annual Halloween Festival returns on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 October and the ever-popular family event – which typically attracts a crowd of tens of thousands – will be the biggest yet.

This year’s event – run by Renfrewshire Council – is enhanced by Year of Young People event funding, managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and will be one of the major events as part of the year, with the performances shaped by young people.

Highlights over the weekend’s free frightfest – launched at Paisley Abbey by young people from PACE Theatre Group and assisted by make-up students from West College Scotland – include:

– more than 500 young people parading through the streets of Paisley town centre on the Saturday in unique costumes, featuring new large-scale parade artworks created by Renfrewshire’s young people, plus top-class performers Spark! LED drummers, Beltane Fire Society and Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, co-ordinated by parade specialists Bridgeman Arts;

– the Flying Witches performances, which follow the parade and sees a cast of young people work with Scotland’s leading aerial dance company All or Nothing for a show inspired by the town’s 17th-century witchcraft trials – the last mass hanging for witchcraft in Western Europe – 40 foot in the air above Paisley Abbey and Town Hall;

– a spectacular pyrotechnic performance from award-winning specialists 21cc to close the Saturday evening show

– a Halloween Ball and Prom Night in Paisley Town Hall on the Friday with live performances and music (note: ticketed event)

– Halloween-themed children’s entertainment in Paisley Abbey and town hall on the Saturday including animation workshops, face painting, soft play, arts and crafts, kids disco, craft workshops, balloon modelling, ghost stories and pumpkin carving;

– much more, including live stage, big screens around the town centre, outdoor funfair, and cinema screening horror films.

The Year of Young People 2018 is a Scottish Government initiative consisting of a year-long programme of events and activities aimed at inspiring all ages of young people by celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities, and creating new opportunities for them to shine on a local and global stage.

Much of the Halloween Festival activity will be driven by a specially-convened 20-strong youth panel, who will take a lead role in the design and delivery of the event.

Year of Young People funding will also provide 180 young people with the chance to take part in a new youth training programme offering a unique learning experience through masterclasses and workshops in all aspects of event delivery and performance from circus skills to technical production, and support a volunteering and internship programme.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Paisley Halloween Festival is now in its fifth year and has grown into one of the biggest events of its kind, bringing tens of thousands of people to the town and helping establish Paisley as one of Scotland’s key destinations for major cultural events.

“The programme for this year is the biggest and most ambitious yet – and will see two days of entertainment across the town centre, almost all of which will again be free.

“And thanks to the involvement of EventScotland, we are delighted hundreds of young people will get the chance to help shape or take part in the event as part of the Year of Young People 2018.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Paisley Halloween Festival to expand its offering as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 celebrations.

“Young people will have the chance to showcase their own unique skills and talents while getting invaluable hands-on experience.

“It is a great opportunity for young people to take a leading role in designing and delivering a fantastic event within their local community, further reinforcing Scotland as the perfect stage for events as the youth training programme will educate the event organisers of tomorrow.”

Valerija Tkacenko, who will be working on the festival as an intern with Renfrewshire Council’s events team, added: “I will be co-ordinating the work of the youth panel, who will be helping to co-design the event.

“I’m really looking forward to that as it will help me develop new skills. The Halloween festival is going to be a great event for all the family.”

The full programme for the Paisley Halloween Festival 2018 is available at www.paisley.is

The festival is part of Renfrewshire’s programme of winter events which also includes the annual Spree festival (12 to 20 October) and Paisley Fireworks Spectacular (Saturday 3 November) and Christmas Lights Switch-on (Saturday 17 November).

YEAR OF YOUNG PEOPLE 2018 (YOYP2018)

• A global first, YoYP 2018 is a part of the Scottish Government’s themed year programme which focuses on celebrating Scotland’s greatest assets.

• A year-long programme of events and festivals are taking place across the whole of the country for all ages to enjoy, led by EventScotland part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. More information at www.visitscotland.com/yoyp2018

• Paisley Halloween Festival is supported by the Year of Young People 2018 Event Fund, managed by EventScotland, part of the VisitScotland Events Directorate. EventScotland is working with the events and festivals sector to develop an exciting portfolio of Year of Young People 2018 public-facing events which provide opportunities for young people to express themselves through a wide range of activity.

• Local authorities, schools, youth groups and organisations are running their own YoYP 2018 activity. Search #YOYP2018 on Twitter for the latest news.

• Young people co-designed the Year. A group of young leaders, Communic18, lead on all key decision making. More than 380 Ambassadors are championing activity.

• The Year is delivered in partnership between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and EventScotland – part of the VisitScotland Events Directorate, Young Scot, Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Scotland, YouthLink Scotland and Creative Scotland.

More information can be found at yoyp2018.scot, searching @YOYP2018 #YOYP2018 on Twitter or by emailing yoyp2018@gov.scot.

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.