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

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£100k boost for creative groups as part of Paisley 2021 legacy

Renfrewshire’s cultural scene is in line for a £100k cash boost – including a two-day music festival and films about Paisley’s history of radical politics.

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Councillors will this week be asked to approve the latest round of grants from the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – created to support

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and which has continued as part of a wider plan to use culture and heritage to transform the area’s future.

The fund aims to create more chances for people to get involved in cultural activity, help young people develop, boost the local economy, raise Renfrewshire’s profile, and show how creativity can boost education, social inclusion and quality of life.

The current round of funding is the seventh – and 12 projects have been recommended for approval with a suggested spend of £100,240, from a total funding ask of £172,736. Highlights include:
– £19,500 to InMotion Theatre Co to work with women’s groups and the wider community of Ferguslie Park to develop a play tackling negative images of the area;
– £8,750 for the Scottish Alternative Music Awards Takeover 2019 – a two-day music festival at various local venues featuring contemporary and up-and-coming artists;
– £8,300 to Magic Torch Comics to tell the story of the 1820 Radical War – when Paisley was at the centre of a nationwide workers rebellion – through a graphic novel and community workshops;
– £9,950 to artist Lil Brookes for a historical project called The Matron, The Parish and the Pauper Girls, to rediscover the forgotten stories of the female inmates of the Abbey Poorhouse;

Other projects include a specially-commissioned performance of Puccini’s La Boheme by Paisley Opera, a film about the forgotten Paisley to Barrhead railway, and a biography of Paisley-born trade unionist and Communist MP Willie Gallacher

Since 2016, the CHE Fund has supported 88 projects, with a total of £715,000 spent – and the fund was topped up earlier this year with the aim of running until 2021.

Successful completed projects to date include teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Lego stop-motion animation about Paisley – now seen by millions – and local dance group Right2Dance bringing Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company here for a week-long residency.

The CHE fund is part of a wider cultural regeneration plan for Paisley which also includes a £100m investment in town centre venues, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections.

The next few years will also see new events and festivals added to the area’s existing major events programme, investment to grow the creative economy, and work to embed the benefits of culture at the heart of the area’s anti-poverty, education, health and well-being work.

The council’s Leadership Board will vote on whether to approve the latest round of grants when they meet on Wednesday.

Councillor Iain Nicolson – chair of the Leadership Board – said: “The CHE Fund is a key part of the area’s 2021 bid legacy plan and central to the work we are doing to harness the power of culture to change the area – and people’s lives – for the better.

“We know involvement in culture has a positive impact of education, health and well-being, and over the past two years the CHE Fund has given thousands of local people the chance to do things they couldn’t otherwise have done.

“The latest round of recommended grants will build on that – while shining a spotlight on some of the area’s fascinating untold stories, further raising our profile as a destination, and encouraging people to visit.”

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

Paisley 2021 campaign wins prestigious UK-wide PR awards

The people of Paisley have been thanked after the PR campaign behind the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 was honoured at the UK PR industry’s Oscars.

Renfrewshire Council beat off competition from some of the UK’s biggest names to be named best Arts, Culture and Sport campaign at the 2018 Chartered Institute of Public Relations Excellence Awards in London – and was the only Scottish entry to win an award.

The other nominees were Channel 4’s Great British Bake-off, the PR agency of sports betting giants Paddy Power, the British Postal Museum, Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery (which hosted last year’s Turner Prize) and an entry connected to BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Feedback from the expert judges said the Paisley 2021 campaign’s aim to ‘change lives through a major perception shift about Paisley was inspiring’ and it had ‘created a powerful legacy for the community’.

Paisley was the only Scottish place to make the final shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition, and the first-ever town to do so. The Paisley 2021 campaign saw an unprecedented community engagement push where 38,000 people – equivalent to half the town’s population – interacted with the bid over two years.

It took the town’s profile to new levels, with the Paisley 2021 PR campaign reaching 780m people, and visits from international media including the New York Times, the FT, the Guardian, De Telegraaf (Holland), the Irish Independent and Chinese Weekly Press.

Highlights included a human Paisley Pattern formed in the town centre, teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Paisley Lego animation now seen by millions, the mass saxophone performance of Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street organised by Loud ‘n’ Proud’s Tommy McGrory, and 150 choir singers seeing off the final bid with an emotional rendition of Robert Tannahill’s Wild Mountain Thyme.

The campaign also secured the backing of locally-born celebrities Paolo Nutini and Gerard Butler, plus figures from across the political spectrum, including Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s head of communications, marketing and events: “For us to win one of the UK’s biggest PR awards shows this was an exceptional campaign.

“Despite the outcome of the UK City of Culture competition, we always felt Paisley won in other ways – the town changed for the better over the past two years, and the judges recognised the key role PR and community engagement played in that.

“We were bold in tackling some of the negative perceptions of the area at home and further afield. We did that by shining a spotlight on why Paisley matters to the world – our globally-significant heritage, fascinating untold stories, and the creativity and radical spirit in Paisley’s DNA.

“Our team’s job was to create a platform for the people of Paisley to say in their own words what the bid meant to them. The campaign worked because it had that buy-in and authenticity and it’s the people of Paisley we thank – this award is for Buddies everywhere.

“For us to be recognised on a UK stage shows Paisley’s profile has gone to a totally new level – and we will build on that in the future as we promote the town as a destination for visitors and events.”

Alan McNiven, chief executive of Engage Renfrewshire, helped lead the community engagement push – including a series of bus tours of local charities and businesses to rally support.

And he added: “In my two decades of working in Paisley I haven’t seen anything capture the public’s imagination like the 2021 campaign – or make as big a difference to people who had most to gain.

“Some of the feedback we had was humbling – we work with people in Ferguslie Park who told me the bid created opportunities which have been life-changing for them.

“Thanks to the PR campaign there’s now an understanding culture isn’t something we do for the sake of it – it’s something which is changing the town for the better, and that journey will continue.”

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

Groups who formed the heart of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 gathered at a special event to hear how the town’s bidding journey will continue.

The Paisley 2021: The Journey Continues event saw around 70 people gather in Paisley Town Hall to hear how the vision behind the bid will still be delivered.

A range of creative, cultural and business groups heard from speakers from various organisations who played a role in the bid about the positive impact it made – and the platform it created for the future.

The event was MC’d by Alan McNiven, chief executive of Engage Renfrewshire – who worked on the community engagement push which saw 36,000 people involved in the conversation around the bid.

Speakers including Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron, St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick, Alan Clark of the Creative Renfrewshire Network, and representatives of community groups the STAR Project and Stronger Women in Ferguslie Together gave their own reflections.

Looking to the future, some of the partners behind the bid – including Glasgow School of Art, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and West College Scotland – outlined plans to deliver on the aims and vision it contained.

And senior council and Renfrewshire Leisure staff talked about investment in Paisley’s cultural infrastructure and programming, and efforts to promote the area as a great place to live, work and invest, underpinned by the new paisley.is destination brand. That includes:

– a £100m-plus investment in town centre venues and infrastructure, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into a world-class facility, and revamps for Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre

– £5m for a programme of new events and festivals – including the Royal National Mod in 2022 – to add to the area’s existing and successful major events programme;

– a £500k investment in building the area’s cultural capacity by topping up the existing Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, and creating a new fund to help organisations grow;

– work to embed the opportunity to take part in cultural activity – and the benefits it brings – at the heart of all the area’s anti-poverty, education, health and well-being work;

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The Paisley 2021 bid has already changed the area for the better.

“It raised our profile and awareness of our unique story, and brought a sense of self-confidence back to the town, not to mention the more tangible benefits through the increase in visitor numbers and event attendees we’ve already seen.

“Today’s event was about bringing people together to celebrate all of that – but more importantly it was about looking to the future and making sure the groups who contributed to the bid know the journey can and will continue.

“The bid was only ever one part of a wider plan to harness the power of our internationally-significant heritage and cultural story to transform our future….and with exciting opportunities and major investment over the next few years, that is still in our hands to do.”

Alan McNiven, chief executive of Engage Renfrewshire, added: “The Paisley 2021 bid was a team effort that became a mass movement – so it was fitting we brought the team back together today.

“The bid formed new partnerships between people and groups, gave them a voice, and invited them to help shape a shared vision for our town.

“Today was about reminding ourselves of that vision and looking at how it can still be realised – and the people of Paisley have the power to do it.”

For more information on what Paisley has to offer, visit www.paisley.is

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Plans to build a lasting legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 are taking a major step forward – with a £500,000 investment to develop the area’s creative sector being revealed.

The town’s bid for the title was part of a wider plan to transform the fortunes of Paisley and Renfrewshire by harnessing the power of the area’s globally-significant cultural and heritage story.

The partners behind the bid are now working on a detailed legacy plan to make sure Paisley’s journey continues and deliver on the vision of the bid over the next decade.

One of the key strands of that is in growing the area’s independent cultural sector – and the half-million-pound investment unveiled today by Renfrewshire Council – using money set aside to fund the 2021 year had the town won the title – aims to do that. It comes in two parts:

– £360,000 for a new Organisational Development Fund to grow the independent creative sector locally over the next three years.

By giving existing groups certainty over budgets it is hoped they could expand to a level where they could apply for and get national funding and become sustainable at that level. Detailed criteria and application process have yet to be developed, but the fund is due to run from 2019 until 2022.

– a £140,000 top-up for the existing Culture Heritage and Events Fund, allowing it to run until 2021. The fund ran alongside the bid with the aims of increasing cultural participation, showcasing the town’s story, and allowing local talent to work with organisations of national stature.

It has supported more than 80 projects to date with highlights including teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Lego animation about the town, local dance group Right2Dance bringing Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company here for a week-long residency, and local music charity Loud ‘n’ Proud’s Bungalow Bar musical on how a small Paisley venue hosted the biggest names in the UK punk scene

The funding announcement comes within days of the launch of a new destination brand and website – Paisley is – designed to promote the area as a great place to live, invest and visit.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure – whose Cultural Services team will administer both funds – said: “The Paisley 2021 bid has already changed Paisley for the better – it raised our profile, made people aware of our untold story, and brought a sense of self-confidence back to a town which needed that boost.

“And it’s important people know that journey will continue. It may not be the turbocharged journey we would have had if we’d won – but the bid focused the area behind a very clear vision for the area’s future, which we will still deliver on.

“That vision was to grow a new dimension to the local economy through creative industry, ensure the area is recognised for its cultural excellence, transform Paisley’s image, lift communities out of poverty, and make our town centres vibrant destinations.

“Over the next few years we and our partners will deliver all of the above – and the investment announced today feeds into those aims.

“By helping the local creative sector grow through this funding, we equip them to stage more events, festivals and projects which showcase what the area has to offer and bring people here, with all the benefits that brings to the local economy.

“At the same time, we know culture has a positive impact on well-being and life chances – which is why we are putting that at the heart of everything we do from now on.

“By helping local groups create more opportunities for people to access those benefits it supports the wider work across the area around health and education and to tackle poverty.

“The investment in cultural capacity is just one of several parts of the 2021 legacy – we already have a confirmed £100m+ investment in town centre venues and infrastructure, have just announced £5m of additional budget to grow our major events and festivals programme, and have more support on the way to develop the area as a hub for creative industry.

“All those benefits that will be felt throughout all of Renfrewshire – not just Paisley – and with the new Paisley Is… brand signposting to all the events and local culture which makes us a great destination there’s loads going on to feel excited by.”

For more information on what Paisley has to offer, visit www.paisley.is

Plans to secure a exciting future for Paisley will be laid out at a celebration event aimed at highlighting the benefits of bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 and how the town plans to continue to harness the power of culture to transform its fortunes.

The ‘Our Journey Continues’ event, which will take place on Thursday 29 March at Paisley Town Hall from 12.00 – 1.30pm, will examine the key benefits of the town’s bid including helping to raise the town’s profile, raising ambitions for the area, developing a deeper understanding of the excellent work taking place in the community.

The town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 changed the town for the better, and the momentum it generated will continue and this will be discussed in more detail at the event.

In addition to celebrating the work which has already taken place it will also reveal more about the future opportunities. This includes investing in cultural venues and outdoor spaces such as Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre and St James Playing Fields, developing the creative economy and enhancing our cultural events and festivals programme and continuing to build on the support from the community. This investment demonstrates how Renfrewshire continues to buck the trend in terms of cultural investment.

Furthermore it will show that the council and its place partners are still committed to achieving the step changes outlined in the bid – to grow a new dimension to the economy, transform the town’s image, lift Paisley’s communities out of poverty, be recognised for cultural excellence and transform the town into a vibrant cultural centre.

The event will see partners and local community groups come together to find out more about future plans and members of the public are encouraged to come along to learn what will happen next for the town.

Chair of the Paisley Partnership Board, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “The Our Journey Continues event is not only a celebration of the excellent work which has already taken place through the bidding process but is a great opportunity for us all to look ahead to the exciting plans for the future.”

This event precedes the Future Forward: Culture in Renfrewshire collaborative discussion which will ask attendees what directions culture in Renfrewshire should take, and what successes people would like to build on.  The event will be held in Paisley Town Hall from 2-4pm.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Head of Cultural Services, Morag Macpherson, said: “The thank you event is a great introduction to the Culture in Renfrewshire discussion which will allow everyone to have their say on what the priorities for culture in Renfrewshire should be in the years to come.

“I’m sure the plans unveiled through Our Journey Continues, and the ideas and ambitions which people come along with, will create a really rich inspirational mix. We will discuss how we best focus our aspirations and collectively create a really exciting cultural environment over the next few years.”

There will also be another Future Forward session on Tues 17 April 6-8pm, places can be booked here.

A pilot project is using Virtual Reality to hook up older and isolated members of the community to cultural experiences they would otherwise be unable to access.

Pensioner Ruth Clunie, aged 98 tries out new virtual reality for the housebound 14.12.17

Thanks to support from Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Heritage and Events (CHE) Fund, housebound and elderly members of Paisley-based Roar Connections for Life, are having their horizons opened up by the technology.

The fund was set up in 2015 as a way of getting people involved in culture and unlocking Renfrewshire’s creative potential as part of Paisley’s bid to win the UK City of Culture 2021 title.

It continues as a key legacy now that the competition is over, with applications from local groups invited for further rounds of funding.

Pensioner Ruth Clunie, aged 98 tries out new virtual reality for the housebound 14.12.17

The ‘VR Over the Doorstep’ project is being tested in the community by people befriended by the charity, which provides preventative, health and wellbeing services for older people.

Film maker and Virtual Reality Artist Simon Bishopp, said: “The idea is to involve isolated and mobility impaired elderly people in the Renfrewshire community to allow them to engage with cultural events and activities that they can’t physically travel to.

“We will visit them with Virtual Reality headsets so they’ll be able to see and interact with things that have happened in the area.

“At the moment we’re going through the testing phase and are making the apps which allows them to travel around virtual spaces – so they can visit physical spaces that we’ve filmed and then engage with things there simply by looking at them.”

The users will be able to go to places like Paisley Museum and by simply by looking at the virtual exhibits, the objects will become larger and closer to them and rotate. Even online UK Casinos.

A narrator will take them through the museum and they will be able to move from one room to the next to create an immersive experience that feels like they’re actually there.”

The six months pilot scheme also aims to offer live stream events like theatre productions.

Virtual Reality can also be used to take the housebound and elderly members to significant places from their past that they wouldn’t normally be able to revisit.

Simon added: “We can take them to spaces that they wouldn’t easily be able to access, like the Coats Observatory in Paisley.

“We also intend to do some live streaming and hope to do that from the new High Street Museum store in Paisley, the Secret Collection, which is full of wonderful exhibits.

“So we will create content on multiple apps and then take that out to see what people think of it. I hope it will give them a sense of mobility and of being able to engage with the community and leaving behind the isolation they can feel.

“We’ve taken a film at the RSPB in Lochwinnoch and the members really enjoyed being able to see what was going outside of where they spend their days and being outside, hearing the sounds and seeing the birds.

“For us that’s a very every day thing, but for them it’s very special.”

Roar has 15 clubs and projects in a range of venues running throughout the week in Renfrewshire.

Roar’s Manager Nicola Hanssen said: “This is a very exciting project. Research has identified that two fifths of all older people say the television is their main company. As this is a very passive activity it doesn’t give people the cognitive stimulation or interactivity that contains health benefits. Our VR Over the Doorstep project will engage people in a new and more meaningful way, which will enrich their lives and their minds.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The UK City of Culture bid about bringing people together and opening up new experiences for people which is what this project does. That doesn’t stop just because we didn’t win the title and we will continue to open up the benefits of culture for all.”

For more information on the CHE Fund, which is still receiving funding applications for cultural events and projects, go towww.paisley2021.co.uk

Renfrewshire school children are being asked to design a winning flag to wave off drivers taking part in one of the world’s most iconic races.

Paisley is the only British starting point of the 2018 Monte Carlo Rally, with 25 cars setting off for the 1500-mile trip to the South of France next month.

A competition has been launched for local pupils to design a flag to send the competitors in the historic event on their way.

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron will select the winner, who will also get to keep the flag after the event on January 31st.

Almost 100 cars in total are expected to leave the start ramp outside Paisley Abbey at 6pm, in three separate categories.

Next year’s event also has crews from Scotland, England, Wales, as well as Europe and the USA.

Provost Cameron said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for school children to get their creative thinking caps on and put their own stamp on a world class event.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing the amazing designs I know our talented pupils will come up with and can’t wait to wave the drivers off at the start line.”

Entries can be submitted at schools and local libraries with a closing date of January 15th. The competition is exclusive to primary school children and please remember to include your name, age, school and contact information with your entry.

Next year’s event, which sees Paisley as the sole British starting point for the fifth time, will feature the popular Monte Carlo Heritage Runs and the competitors will be sent off in style from Paisley in a party atmosphere with lights, music and fireworks.

The event will also have lots of motor-themed activities such as a giant scalextric, racing arcade games and free children’s workshops in Paisley Town Hall from 4pm.

Douglas Anderson, the rally’s UK co-ordinator and the man responsible for bringing the Monte Carlo Rally back to Scotland in 2011, said: “We are delighted that the youngsters of the community can get involved in the rally in this way and the winning design will be seen all over Europe.

“It’s wonderful to be returning to Paisley for the fifth year and we are looking forward to a huge turn out on January 31st.”

The Historique class is being run for the 21st year and is restricted to car models which competed in the Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980. It will run over eight days on open public roads with the cars and crews having undertaken a series of fourteen demanding test stages in the mountains of southern France.

The Classique event is for older cars from as early as 1911 to 1969 and follows the same route to Monte Carlo but does not include any test stages, the goal simply being to finish after checking in at a series of control points on the way, including Dumfries in the south of Scotland, Barnby Moor in Nottinghamshire and Banbury in Oxfordshire.

For more information please go to www.paisley2021.co.uk

Paisley singer-songwriter Lisa Kowalski has unveiled her very first music video – inspired by the positivity of her hometown.

“Hearts of Gold” recounts the 17-year-old’s experiences of busking on Paisley High Street since the age of 14 and the wave of support she has received from local people.

The video sees the up-and-coming singer joined by a crowd of fellow Buddies – including St Mirren Football Club mascot, the Paisley Panda, and youngsters from PACE Youth Theatre – as they dance along Paisley High Street and around some of the town’s iconic landmarks.

Lisa was awarded funding from Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events (CHE) Fund towards her debut EP “Free Spirits” and the filming of a music video for her single “Hearts of Gold”.

The CHE fund aims to raise cultural ambition, enhance participation and unlock creative potential in Renfrewshire.

It is one of the key legacies of Paisley’s 2021 bid for UK City of Culture and has so far supported 80 projects to the tune of more than £630,000.

Paisley was the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition alongside Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea and Coventry, which took the title.

Lisa’s video was filmed by local youth arts organisation Create Paisley, which has worked closely with Lisa in recent years through a number of song-writing programmes and events.

After unveiling her first music video, Lisa Kowalski said: “I’ve received so much support in Paisley since starting my music career and it only felt fair to give something back to show how grateful I am.

“It was so much fun to film and I was so happy that a lot of people turned up to take part. I absolutely love the way it turned out!

“I really think this video captures the amazing community and talent this town has to offer and the happiness that Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid has caused. Although we missed out on the title, we’ve still come really far and achieved so much in this journey and I believe that this town and the people in it will only continue to excel.”

The release marks the end of a successful year for the young musician after she reached the final six of Salute Music UK’s Top 100 competition in October.

Lisa’s original song “I Do” was selected by a panel of music industry judges to be one of 100 songs from over 2000 entries in the competition.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Convenor of the Leadership Board, Councillor Iain Nicholson said: “Lisa’s video really captures the pride of Paisley and the positive journey around the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid – and it’s great to see another fantastic project benefiting from Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

“The CHE Fund has already supported amazing talent in the area, such as filmmaker Morgan Spence’s spectacular Lego animation about Paisley, a collaboration between local group right2dance and the internationally renowned Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company and much more.

“This funding is an important part of the legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and will continue to shine a spotlight on local talent across Renfrewshire.”

Applications for the next round of Renfrewshire’s CHE Fund should be submitted by February 12th 2018.

You can watch Lisa Kowalski’s video for “Hearts of Gold” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F19NLO8NsPs&feature=youtu.be

The legacy of Paisley’s 2021 bid for UK City of Culture continues with public applications invited from community projects for funding from Renfrewshire Council’s flagship cultural grants programme.

The Culture, Heritage and Events (CHE) Fund is available for organisations looking to stage a cultural event.

One of the key legacies of the town’s bid, it has so far supported 80 projects to the tune of more than £630,000.

Paisley was the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition alongside Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Swansea and Coventry, which took the title.

The CHE fund aims to raise cultural ambition, enhance participation and unlock creative potential in Renfrewshire.

Application deadlines have just been approved by Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board for the next four rounds of funding.

New applications for 2018/19 will be considered at three levels, from £1,000 and under, from £1,000 to £10,000 and over £10,000.

The first round should be submitted by February 12th 2018, with a decision by 24 April.

A further three rounds will follow, on May 10th, October 10th and December 10th.

The initial fund amount of £500,000 was doubled to £1 million in February this year, with the first five rounds of funding attracting a total of 242 applications from businesses, communities and cultural organisations across Renfrewshire and Scotland.

There have been total funding requests of around £3 million.

Voluntary or community organisations, schools, colleges and universities, independent artists and makers, artist’s collectives, cultural organisations and networks and business, including creative industries, can all apply.

Projects to have received funding so far include teenage animator  Morgan Spence’s Lego video about Paisley and a collaboration between local group Right2Dance and the internationally renowned  Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company .

The projects should contribute to regeneration and can show imaginative use of the townscape or buildings and enhance the annual cultural calendar.

Strengthening cultural capacity –and showcasing the talent of Renfrewshire are among the other objectives.

Renfrewshire Council Leader and Convenor of the Leadership Board, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “The UK City of Culture contest may have come to a close but the CHE Fund continues as one of the key legacies of Paisley’s bid.

“Renfrewshire has a great creative scene and the 2021 bid shone a spotlight on that and let people see what was out there, and the CHE Fund will keep allowing that to happen.”

The fund can support a range of activities, such as training and cultural learning opportunities, new and one-off events or enhancements to existing festivals and bodies of work.

For more information on the CHE Fund, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk.