Paisley and renfrewshire Events

Inside Renfrewshire's Skills and Employability hub

A new Skills Action Plan will increase the number of local people in work and provide a boost for Renfrewshire businesses, according to Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson.

The Council Leader will present the three-year plan for councillors to consider at the Leadership Board on Wednesday (19 February).

Inside Renfrewshire's Skills and Employability hub

Skills experts from Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel have developed the detailed plan which will support the growth of expanding and emerging local sectors including manufacturing, tourism, care and the creative industries.

It will also ensure the workforce is ready to capitalise on an estimated 35,000 job openings forecast for the region over the next 10 years as people retire and change roles.

And the plan sets out actions to help bring 3000 working-age people back into the local workforce and radically reduce the number of local businesses reporting skills gaps and shortages.

Outside the Russell Institute

Councillor Nicolson said: “We have a strong local economy and want to grow this further and ensure the benefits it brings reach everyone, helping people to gain employment and the skills they need to succeed. Renfrewshire benefits from good schools, a college and a university all on our doorstep, which gives us an excellent platform on which to build.

“However, we also recognise that many local employers face skills gaps and shortages, while new technologies are rapidly changing the way we work, so it’s vital that all skills agencies work together. The Skills Action Plan provides us with a road map to grow the local workforce and bolster Renfrewshire businesses now and in the coming years.”

Amongst the actions are plans for enhanced apprenticeship opportunities, a business peer-to-peer mentoring programme, tailored careers advice at schools and a young entrepreneur incubator space.

Gordon McGuinness, Director of Industry and Enterprise at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), said: “To realise its economic ambitions, Renfrewshire will need an adaptive and resilient workforce with employers right at the heart of shaping skills.

“This new Skills Action Plan offers a blueprint for how such a dynamic and responsive skills system can be created and Skills Development Scotland is committed to working with industry and its full range of partners to deliver on those ambitions for both individuals and employers.”

The skills plan is one of a series of priority actions identified by Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel to accelerate inclusive economic growth.

The panel, which pools expertise from across the private and public sector, was established in 2017 and last year unveiled a 10-year strategy for the region.

James Lang, Chair of Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel and Scottish Leather Group Director, said: “Last September we set out our strategic ambitions for Renfrewshire over the next 10 years and it is clear that having a skilled and knowledgeable workforce underpins everything we are working towards.

“I am delighted to see this action plan get underway and look forward to working together with colleagues on the panel to provide the local knowledge, passion and drive that will help deliver a thriving local economy.”

John Byrne's Big Birthday Bash - image courtesy of The Fine Art Society

A commitment of over £1million to support culture and events is helping to bolster Paisley’s reputation as one of Scotland’s top destinations for culture and events with a jam-packed programme planned for 2020.

A range of exciting projects, events and collaborations are being supported by Future Paisley – a programme of economic, social and physical regeneration building on the work already done to use Paisley’s internationally-significant culture and heritage story to change its future.

John Byrne's Big Birthday Bash - image courtesy of The Fine Art Society

Following the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid Future Paisley, funded by Renfrewshire Council, earmarked more than £1million to invest in supporting cultural and events programming in the town as part of a three-year funding package until 2022. Some projects supported through this funding come to fruition in 2020.

Next week the town will host the first-ever Paisley Book Festival supported through the Future Paisley programme and delivered by Renfrewshire Leisure. The ten-day event, taking place from 20 – 29 February at various town centre venues, will be centred on the theme of Radical Voices and Rebel Stories – drawing on the Paisley Radicals of 1820 as inspiration. The impressive programme will feature the likes of Jackie Kaye, John Byrne, Janice Galloway, Kirsty Wark, Alan Bissett and even a performance from the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.

Underwood Lane Tron Theatre_IMAGE - resized 1

One of Paisley’s favourite sons, John Byrne, will bring his new musical play, Underwood Lane, to Paisley Arts Centre from 25-28 June for its world premiere, in partnership with Renfrewshire Leisure and Tron Theatre. The play tells the tale of a young skiffle band trying to make it and is written in memory of John’s Paisley buddy, Gerry Rafferty, who was born and brought up on the titular street. Underwood Lane is the last event to be held at Paisley Arts Centre before it closes for refurbishment.

The Paisley People’s Theatre Project, a large-scale participatory arts programme will launch this summer as part of a collaboration between National Theatre of Scotland, Slung Low and Renfrewshire Leisure. It will engage with the local community offering classes and courses via Slung Low’s mobile Cultural Community College and months of in-depth workshops and rehearsals with professional actors and creatives leading to a performance in 2021 telling the story of Paisley’s momentous past.

Paisley Book Festival logo

Future Paisley Lead for Renfrewshire Council, Leonie Bell, said: “The quality of events and collaborations taking place in Paisley in 2020 demonstrates how culture is thriving in the town. Through Future Paisley we are nurturing and supporting creativity in communities, the cultural potential of Paisley and opening-up opportunities for everyone to benefit from the transformative power of culture.

“By working with partners, communities, artists and creative and cultural organisations, locally and nationally, we are making changes that will benefit everyone in Renfrewshire by supporting brilliant art and culture through a programme of events, festivals and collaborations.”

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “This year offers so many opportunities for the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire to enjoy and engage with a fantastic and diverse range of cultural and creative events.

“The first-ever Paisley Book Festival will bring some of the most prestigious names in the Scottish literary scene to the town for what is sure to be a fantastic event. We’re all very excited to be hosting the first ever performance of celebrated Paisley Buddie, John Byrne’s, Underwood Lane production to Paisley Art Centre for what I’m sure will be a sell-out show.

“The impressive and extensive range of activity taking place supports the aims of Renfrewshire Leisure to help build cultural capacity and public participation in the creative arts in the town.”

Co-Producer of Paisley Book Festival, Keira Brown, said: “It’s great that Future Paisley have committed to funding the Paisley Book Festival. Having that level of commitment to reading, debate, learning and discussion in Renfrewshire is key to see a beneficial change in wellbeing, and reading development.”

Over the next few years, Future Paisley will continue to deliver exciting new cultural collaborations, events and programmes to celebrate Paisley’s unique stories, support local creative groups to grow and thrive through existing cultural funding programmes and create opportunities for everyone to benefit from all that culture has to offer.

Future Paisley investment will also supplement the town’s existing major events programme which already includes Paisley Halloween Festival – one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK.

The programme also complements the ongoing £100m investment in Paisley’s cultural venues and outdoor spaces, currently being overseen by Renfrewshire Council, and which includes the work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination bringing new footfall to the town.

The support, commitment and investment by Future Paisley in the cultural and creative sector continues to build on the work of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

To find out more about the events taking place in Renfrewshire please visit: or

44 High St

Two prominent historic Paisley town centre buildings are set to be given a new lease of life – if council building repair grants towards a combined £1m investment are approved.

44 High St

Members of the council’s Leadership Board will next week consider whether to award £615,000 of funding towards the projects to revive buildings at 44 High Street and 3 County Place.

The money is available through the council-run Townscape Heritage/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (TH/CARS2) which includes financial support to help property owners with the cost of repairing and restoring historic buildings which have fallen into disrepair.

3 County Place

The current TH/CARS2 scheme aims to improve the built environment in Paisley town centre and is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and the council. The two projects for which approval is being sought are:

3 County Place: A grant of up to £360,000 towards a £630,000 project of external repairs to transform a C-listed building in a highly-visible site opposite Paisley Gilmour Street station. Once completed, the owner plans to convert the upper floors above the existing units into four new flats.

44 High Street: A grant of up to £255,000 towards a £375,000 building and shopfront improvement programme in a building currently home to several businesses.

The work will also include external building repairs and new traditional shopfronts for the ground-floor units.

It would cover the whole building apart from the middle shop unit – Uptown Barbers – which has already benefitted from work funded by the TH2/CARS scheme to improve its shopfront.

Both buildings are currently in poor condition and are on the Buildings at Risk register. The grants will be subject to the approval of the funders NLHF and HES.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley town centre is fortunate to have a wonderful collection of historic buildings but sadly some of them have been allowed to fall into disrepair.

“The great work being done by the TH/CARS2 scheme is helping to change that by helping property owners bring their buildings back into use for generations to come, and we thank our funders NLHF and HES for making that possible.

“Should these two projects be approved, they will transform the look of two prominent sites in the town, which we hope will in turn encourage others to invest.

“The building in County Place is seen by millions of rail passengers each year so the planned work will help change first impressions of Paisley, and will complement the investment the council will make to improve the look of County Square over the next couple of years.

“And the work on the top of the High Street is one of several investments being made in that area ahead of Paisley Museum reopening in 2022, which will bring 125,000 visitors a year.”

The current TH/CARS2 scheme operates in the area around Paisley High Street, New Street and Shuttle Street and follows a successful scheme which transformed the look of the Causeyside Street area of the town in recent years.

The five-year scheme will run until 2021 and will also see a number of other building restoration, shopfront improvement, and changes to streetscapes being delivered over the next year.

It is part of a much wider £100m investment in Paisley town centre’s cultural venues and outdoor spaces, which includes the work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination and to keep Paisley Town Hall at the heart of life in the town as a landmark entertainment venue.


 Introduction of new recycling stations offer sustainable solution for disposal of thousands of coffee cups – 


Glasgow Airport’s new recycling stations have arrived with a sustainable solution for the disposal of single-use coffee cups in the terminal. 


Three stations have been introduced in the James Martin Kitchen, Panopolis and Starbucks catering outlets in the main departures area with a further four stations set to be installed. 


The stations feature three collection tubes to allow passengers and staff to the recycle single-use coffee cups, lids and their contents where previously they could only be disposed of in general waste bins. 

Glasgow Airport introduced the first station in James Martin Kitchen last summer and since its introduction more than 12,000 cups have been recycled. 


Kirsty Webster, Glasgow Airport’s Sustainability Assurance Manager, said: “As a responsible business we are committed to reducing our environmental impact. As disposable cups are composed of paper with a thin plastic liner to keep them from leaking, recycling them requires a specialised process. 


“The remaining liquid has also been a barrier to recycling as if there’s nowhere to hand to empty the contents of the cup, they are often tossed in the general waste bins. 


“These stations provide both staff and our customers with the means to dispose of their leftover drink and the disposable cup in a sustainable manner and they are proving really popular.”


The new recycling stations were introduced as part of Cup Movement® in Glasgow, a city-wide initiative from environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful. It is aimed at reducing the waste associated with single-use cups through cross-sector reuse and recycling solutions. Glasgow Airport joined Cup Movement in the summer, gaining access to Scotland’s first cup collection and recycling service delivered in collaboration with Simply Cups. 


Kirsty added: “We are proud to be part of the Cup Movement in Glasgow, which ensures that through the support of Keep Scotland Beautiful and Simply Cups we are able to make use of the appropriate collection facilities for the segregated cups used across the airport.” 


It is estimated that more than 500 million single-use cups are used in Scotland each year with just 4% being recycled with the remaining amount either going to landfill or littering the country. Around 95 million are used in the Greater Glasgow area each year. 


Paul Wallace, Campaigns and Social Innovation Manager at Keep Scotland Beautiful, commented: “Transport hubs like Glasgow Airport are a key part of our take-away coffee culture, with thousands of travellers reaching for a drink in a disposable cup each day, as they wait for their flight to board.


“We are delighted the airport has made a success of its cup recycling efforts and look forward to working with Kirsty and the team to further reduce single-use cup waste as part of our Cup Movement.


“Having an initiative like this in a key hub in and out of Glasgow helps send a strong message to locals and visitors alike about the importance of waste reduction. Every step counts as we transition towards lower impact ways of living.”


The introduction of the recycling stations is one of a series of sustainability-focused and waste management projects underway locally at Glasgow Airport. 


Last year Glasgow Airport handed out reusable water bottles to over 5000 staff with the help of pupils from Sunnyside Primary School, known as the Ocean Defenders. 


Glasgow became the first UK airport to introduce a fleet of full-electric buses to its long-stay car park operations and also replaced eight diesel airfield vehicles with more fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 4x4s.


Thousands of pieces of crockery and cutlery that were no longer required by the airport’s Frankie & Benny’s restaurant and due for disposal were donated to Starter Pack Glasgow. The charity helps new tenants, many of whom were previously homeless, get started with household items they may struggle to afford when moving into a new home.


An unused airfield passenger bus that would have been scrapped was also donated to the charity Help the Homeless Glasgow to be converted into a mobile support unit. 


To find out more about Cup Movement visit:

paisley pirates

Pirates put in a spirited performance against their hosts in Edinburgh on Sunday night, but it wasn’t enough to stop them from going down 5-3 in a match where they were far from disgraced.

paisley pirates

The visitors were actually ahead as early as the 9th minute as skipper Chris Turley linked with Conor Duncan to put Pirates in front, and the chance of an upset grew when goal maker Duncan turned scorer seconds before the first break, assisted by Sarginson, to send them in with a two goal advantage after 20 minutes.

Pirates continued to hold that advantage until the latter stages of the second period when a three goals in three minutes burst by the hosts turned the tables, a double by Martyn Simpson and then a late marker by Joel Gautschi with under two minutes of the session remaining giving Racers a narrow 3-2 lead going into the final twenty minutes,  Pirates still very much in the game.

The home side came out the quicker in the last session and were two ahead inside thirty seconds as Gautschi nabbed his second with a powerplay goal to give his side a little breathing space. A second powerplay effort by Gary Simpson five minutes later took the lead to three, and while Pirates kept fighting in a spirited performance it wasn’t until seven seconds from the end that Dan Abercrombie netted a consolation goal to give them a deserved third, Murrayfield running out winners by 5-3.

Pirates return to Braehead on Sunday as they take on North Ayrshire Wild in a local de. With the match facing off at 4.30pm.


Airport’s chaplaincy service and staff to raise funds for stroke charity this year – 


Stroke Association Scotland has today (Monday 3 February) been chosen as the Glasgow Airport Chaplain’s Charity for 2020.


Chaplain Chris Connelly and his team will be supported by staff from across the Glasgow Airport campus in raising vital funds throughout this year for Scotland’s national stroke charity. 


Chris Connelly, who took over as Glasgow Airport’s chaplain following the retirement of Keith Banks last year, said:This year’s chosen charity Stroke Association Scotland has a special significance for me personally.


“I suffered two Trans Ischemic Attacks and a mini stroke 10 years ago. It was due to the diligence of the doctors and nursing staff, as well as being educated on the causes of why this happened to me, and what I could do to prevent it from happening again, that I can say without hesitation that Stroke Association Scotland is a worthy choice as the Chaplain’s Charity for 2020.


“There are over 15,000 cases of individuals suffering from strokes every year in Scotland that could be prevented by a campaign of education and health awareness. The aim of the Chaplain’s Charity 2020 is to raise as much money as possible to support the ongoing work of Stroke Association Scotland to help achieve this goal.”


Andrea Cail, Director of Stroke Association Scotland, said: We are delighted to have been chosen as Glasgow Airport’s Chaplain’s Charity for 2020 and we are really looking forward to working with staff at the airport. 


“Strokes kill around 4000 people every year in Scotland. There are currently over 128,000 people in Scotland living with the effects of their stroke, with about 27,000 of these people live in the Greater Glasgow & Clyde area. 


“Our partnership with Glasgow Airport will allow us to support more people to rebuild their lives after a stroke and we are very thankful to have been chosen.”


Last year the airport’s chaplaincy raised a record £8,476.47 for Children 1st. Stroke Association Scotland together with Chris and his chaplaincy team are hopeful the total can top £10,000 this year.


Introduced in 2010, the Chaplain’s Charity has raised almost £77,000 in total for a number of national and local good causes. Previous beneficiaries of the Chaplain’s Charity programme include The Teddy Bear Foundation, CHAS, Robin House Children’s Hospice, Teenage Cancer Trust, The Salvation Army, Wish upon a Star, Make a Wish, the British Heart Foundation, Funding Neuro and ROAR.


This year’s fundraising got off to a flying start with a launch day donation of £1,000, which was raised through an annual staff survey with Glasgow Airport donating £1 for every person who took part. 

To find out more about Stroke Association Scotland visit: If you’d like to support the Glasgow Airport Chaplain’s Charity in 2019 contact


MEMBERS of the LGBT+ community network group working for Renfrewshire Council have chosen two films to be shown at Paisley Arts Centre as part of LGBT History Month.

The film, But I’m A Cheerleader is being screened on Thursday, February 13 and the following night the movie, Pride is being shown.


The Renfrewshire Council LGBTQIA+ staff network group aims to improve the opportunities for LGBT+ staff to be involved in how the local authority supports and celebrates its diverse workforce.

The staff network group chose But I’m A Cheerleader as it highlights the fight against discrimination using creativity and humour.

And the film, Pride has been described as ‘an inspiration’ to members of the network group. The film celebrates the power of community and how two very different communities can work together to overcome prejudice and persecution.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We support both the council’s LGBT+ staff and the wider LGBT+ community and these films are excellent choices for people to see.

“It’s well worth everyone coming along to Paisley Arts Centre to see these thought-provoking films.”

Visit or call 0300 300 1210 to book tickets for these film showings.

3. Cllr Nicolson with Mary Russell pupils

Renfrewshire’s top schools for the promotion of fair trade have been announced, with Mary Russell and Bargarran Primary taking home the glory for 2019.

The awards aim to recognise the outstanding work carried out by local schools to promote fair trade in Renfrewshire and ensure young people have the opportunity to learn about how they can make a difference to the world.

3. Cllr Nicolson with Mary Russell pupils

First-time winners of the John McDowell Award, which is named after the former Provost of Renfrewshire who established the campaign for fair trade in the area, are Bargarran Primary School.

They’ve established a Fair Trade Parliament consisting of 25 pupils from Primary 2-7, outlined their own fair trade policy for the school, run tuck shops and coffee mornings to promote the issue, and held whole school assemblies to talk about fair trade.

2. Bargarran Primary pupils with their award

The school also renewed its FairAchiever status in 2019 with the Fairtrade Foundation – the highest award that a school can receive.

Liz Mackenzie, Depute Head Teacher at Bargarran Primary, said: “All our pupils are delighted to receive this year’s John McDowell Award for their commitment to Fair Trade.

“Having successfully renewed our FairAchiever Status in May 2019, the pupils from this year’s Fairtrade Parliament are continuing to promote Fairtrade by raising awareness within the school and local community.“

Mary Russell Primary were highly commended for their commitment to the campaign.

Their peers in Mary Russell Secondary though have taken home the Renfrewshire Secondary Schools award for the first time after their committed group achieved FairAchiever status from the Fairtrade Foundation.

Their monthly group hosted regular coffee mornings and events, including the visit of a Rwandan coffee producer, worked with fair trade organisations including the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and Rainbow Turtle, have embedded the issue into the school curriculum with all pupils having the chance to learn about fair trade in class and at school assemblies.

Julie McCallum, Mary Russell Head Teacher, said: “Our school is firmly committed to promoting the fair trade and sustainability agenda and we are delighted that this year the work we have been undertaking in Mary Russell has been recognised.

“Our Fairtrade committee led by our principal teacher Susan Hamill have worked hard to ensure that we continue to raise the profile of Fairtrade across our school and within our partnerships.”

Previous winners Gryffe High were highly commended for their fantastic ongoing work.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson presented the awards to both schools and praised their commitment to the cause.

Councillor Nicolson said: “It’s fantastic to see our young pupils learning about the importance of fair trade and both schools have done so much throughout the year to deserve their awards.

“Their work within their school is ensuring that our younger generation recognise the difference that can be made by supporting fair trade and they’ve raised awareness in the local community too by hosting regular events.

“As a council, we are committed to promoting fair trade having become the first in Scotland to sign up to the International Fair Trade Charter in May last year and we will continue to support it wherever possible as we move forward.”

The Renfrewshire Fair Trade Steering Group meets regularly to discuss the issue of fair trade and outline how it can be supported within the council and more widely in Renfrewshire, and new members are always welcome.

For more information, visit

FPF 10-Year 2

Glasgow Airport’s FlightPath Fund will award £10,000 each to four environmental projects to mark a decade of supporting local communities  

Glasgow Airport’s FlightPath Fund has today (Thursday 30 January) pledged £40,000 to support four local sustainability-themed projects. 

FPF 10-Year 2

To celebrate 10 years of the FlightPath, the Fund’s committee is urging local groups, charities and organisations to submit applications to support sustainability-themed projects aimed at improving the environment in the communities neighbouring Glasgow Airport and beyond. 

A £10,000 award grant will be made available to projects based in each of the four local authority areas – Renfrewshire, Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire – supported by the FlightPath Fund during the last decade.  

Glasgow Airport’s Sustainability Assurance Manager Kirsty Webster has joined the FlightPath Fund’s committee this year to help identify award submissions that best demonstrate a positive environmental impact.

Chair of the FlightPath Fund Archie Hunter said: “Supporting sustainability-themed projects and engaging with local community groups and organisations that focus their efforts on improving the environment has been a core value of the FlightPath Fund for the last 10 years. 

“During this time, the FlightPath Fund has supported a number of environmentally-focused projects and organisations. These include the purchase of an electric vehicle for a car club, buying polytunnels for growing groups and support for community gardens and the preservation of local greenspaces.

“For several years now the FlightPath Fund has also made it possible for hundreds of school pupils to take part in the Clyde River Foundation’s tremendous Flying Fish programme, which teaches young children about the health and biodiversity of their local waterways. 

“To mark our 10-year anniversary, we wanted to go further by making £10,000 available to a group, club or charity from each of the four areas working on a sustainability-focused project that shows their dedication and commitment to the improving or enhancing the local environment.

 “The FlightPath Fund will continue to support and champion the many wide-ranging and diverse groups and projects it was set up to support in 2010, and I would encourage them to keep the applications coming.”


The FlightPath Fund was established in 2010 and since then more than 600 groups have been awarded over £1.6m with three key areas  of focus – education, employment and the environment.

Mark Johnston, Glasgow Airport’s Managing Director, said: “The Fund was set up in 2010 to help support our neighbouring communities so that they could share in our success. It remains a source of great pride to myself and my colleagues that during the last decade Glasgow Airport has played an active and positive role our local communities.

“The FlightPath Fund committee’s decision to introduce a £40,000 Sustainable Communities Challenge is to be commended and supports Glasgow Airport’s continued commitment to balance the clear social and economic we bring as one of the region’s biggest employers with our climate change responsibilities.”  

If you are a local club, charity or community group applying for the Sustainable Communities Challenge, your project should meet the following criteria.


To be considered a project must:


  • Create a significant and sustainable benefit to the community or local environment 


  • Benefit a significant number of people


Applications must:


  • Provide clear evidence that the project will fulfil a local need


  • Provide clear evidence of the financial viability of the project


To find out more about applying for funding support, visit: and download the application form. 

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates, fresh from three wins on the trot in the Scottish National League, face one of their most daunting tasks so far as they head for Edinburgh this Sunday to take on the Murrayfield Racers (face off 6.00pm). The side from the capital has so far inflicted three heavy defeats on the Pirates, who are hoping that their recent winning streak will stand them in good stead against a side which has so far proved to have had the Indian sign over them in league and cup matches. Murrayfield have seldom been troubled in the  SNL so far this season, but suffered a rare 5-4 reverse to Solway Sharks, the other blockbusting side in the league this year on Saturday, although they did go to Aberdeen and record a 4-0 shut out victory on the Sunday.

paisley pirates

Pirates, on the other hand, have steadily climbed up the league table in recent weeks, their three wins from three matches in actual fact netting them eight points, as with matches against Belfast Giants SNL counting for double points, their 13-4 win against the Irish side last Sunday netted them four vital league points in their quest for an end of season playoff place, where they hope to successfully defend their title.

Pirates return to home league action the following Sunday (9 February) when they take on local rivals North Ayrshire Wild (face off 4.30pm).