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

“One of the funniest comedians in the world”

CRAIG FERGUSON, LATE LATE SHOW (CBS)

 

Star of Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo and Crackerjack, Stewart Francis embarks on a brand-new show, in this, his last tour EVER!!! See him before he heads off… INTO THE PUNSET.

With the added 2019 dates this is turning out to be quite a beast of a tour – beginning in Soho in October and culminating at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith in December next year. This will be Stewart’s last and final stand-up gig – ever! – and so we’re expecting a full house and not a dry eye within it. Brace yourself London, it’s going to be emotional…

 

Winner of Dave’s Funniest Joke Of The Fringe, this hugely successful one liner wizard has become a household name in the UK over the last decade, thanks to his ‘perfectly crafted gags’ and expert timing, which he has toured around the UK, and at the Edinburgh Festival, to sell-out audiences.

 

Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy, for the last time, his excellent jokes in his farewell tour.  Spring date tickets for INTO THE PUNSET go on sale on Friday 1st June 2018.

 

Stewart has received international acclaim in the US and his native Canada, as well as here in the UK.  Amongst other shows he has appeared on are BBC’s Mock The week, Live At The Apollo, Celebrity Mastermind and Not Going Out, Dave’s One Night Stand, and C4’s 8 Out Of Ten Cats.

 

Perfectly crafted gags” THE SUNDAY TIMES

 

Stewart will be playing Paisley Town Hall on 6 December. Tickets are £18.50 and £17.50 (+ bkg fee*) and are available from the Box office on 0300 300 1210 or www.renfrewshireleisure.com/arts

* a £1 service charge per transaction applies for bookings made by phone or online. There is no service charge for tickets purchased in person or for tickets booked by phone and later collected from the Box Office.

 

Further information: www.stewartfrancis.com

Tickets: https://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/stewart-francis-tickets

The £22m plans to transform Paisley Town Hall into one of the key venues in the west of Scotland will be led by the architects behind some of the UK’s best-known destinations.

Glasgow-based Holmes Miller – who worked on the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaped Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – will now help turn the inside of the 19th-century building into a 21st-century facility and preserve the future of the much-loved landmark.

The town hall will close in early 2019 and reopen in 2021 as a venue capable of attracting new events and footfall to the town and helping host the expansion of activity planned through the legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

It is one of the key projects within Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and infrastructure over the next few years, as part of a wider plan to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.

The architects will now produce initial designs for the interior aimed at broadening the range of events the town hall can offer, and transforming the performance facilities and visitor experience.

The project will also include improved catering and conference facilities, better physical access, and replacement of the mechanical and electrical systems.

The town hall revamp is being run by the council in partnership with Hub West Scotland – a Scottish-Government-backed firm who help public-sector bodies get value for money when investing in large infrastructure projects.

The council worked with Hub West Scotland on the new Johnstone Town Hall – also designed by Holmes Miller – which has won a string of industry awards since it opened three years ago.

Renfrewshire Leisure – which operates the town hall – has already been working with regular town hall users to find temporary homes for their events while the building is closed, with other town centre locations and venues around Renfrewshire set to benefit from that activity.

The design process will involve working with users and stakeholders to ensure the venue meets contemporary needs.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of RL: “Paisley Town Hall has been a much-loved landmark at the heart of life in the town for almost 140 years – we want it to stay that way for the next 140.

“But like any heritage building, it needs investment to stay at its best – and with some work having been done on the outside of the building in 2012, the interior now needs a revamp.

“The appointment of Holmes Miller is a major boost – they bring huge expertise of working with listed buildings, entertainment venues and community facilities around the UK, and will help us equip the town hall for the future and keep it as a venue of which Renfrewshire can be proud.

“Over the coming months we will consult further with town hall users and the wider community so they can help us shape the future of their town hall.”

Other historic buildings Holmes Miller have worked on include the £60m redevelopment of Marischal College in Aberdeen, while their Renfrewshire projects include the new Park Mains High School and Renfrew Health Centre, as well as the new housing at Hawkhead village in Paisley.

Douglas Jack of Holmes Miller said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to develop our successful working relationship with Renfrewshire Council and Hub West with the regeneration of Paisley Town Hall, a landmark building in Paisley and a fantastic example of Victorian architecture.

“We very much look forward to working with the stakeholders and project team on this exciting project which will play a key part in the wider regeneration strategy of Paisley.”

Iain Marley, Hub West Scotland CEO: “The Hub West Scotland team are delighted and excited to partner with Renfrewshire Council on another key community investment project.

“The redevelopment of Paisley Town Hall will transform this well known and important heritage asset and create a vibrant new destination for the community.”

The investment in Paisley town centre over the next four years also includes a £42m transformation of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination showcasing the town’s unique heritage and collections, predicted to bring around 125,000 visitors a year into the town centre.

The council last month appointed architects of international importance for the museum redevelopment – with the chosen firm AL_A having worked on landmark buildings around the globe, including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter in London, and having recently been shortlisted for the competition to redesign the visitor experience at the Eiffel Tower.

Other big projects happening over the next few years include a new learning and cultural hub on the High Street, a revamp of Paisley Arts Centre, major investment in town centre outdoor spaces and transport links, and new sporting facilities and events space at St James Playing Fields.

The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street, and the launch of the new destination brand and website at www.paisley.is

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of Scotland’s best food and drink producers and vendors will be in Paisley this weekend for the annual Paisley Food and Drink Festival for what is set to be the event’s biggest year yet.

The festival takes place this Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April, when the very best of Scotland’s producers will showcase their wares to visitors in Paisley’s iconic Abbey Close. Visitors can enjoy a fantastic selection of street food vendors, food and drink stalls, interactive workshops, live music and Scotland’s largest real ale festival.

 

For the first time Pitt Street Food Market, Scotland’s first street food market which won the Scottish Street Food Awards and have catered Electric Fields and Meats and Beats Festival, will be at the festival with some of the best street food vendors from around Scotland such as shellfish and speciality meat vendor Barnacles & Bones, Scottish food favourite Bruadair, The Buffalo Truck and Harajuku Kitchen.

Hal Prescott of Pitt Street said: “The Pitt is delighted to be a part of this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival. We’ll be bringing some award-winning traders, from far and wide across Scotland. Expect some stunning food, drinks and entertainment across an amazing couple of days.

 

“People should come along to the event and try some amazing international cuisine from some of the best street food traders in the country. Come down and try dumplings from a tuk-tuk, hanger steaks off a bespoke bbq or shellfish with gourmet fries. It’s going to be a feast for the senses.”

 

Foodie fans can also sample some more taste sensations from Babu Kitchen, Mighty Mexican, Linton and Co Coffee, Scozzese Pizza and Sharma Street Food. Smaller portion sizes for children and a range of halal, gluten free, veggie and vegan options will be on offer and visitors will also be able to sample a wide range of craft beers, small batch gins from Gin 71 and prosecco on tap from FizzBuz. Visitors will be able to purchase some great produce from the Farmers’ Market, trader stalls and craft market.

Cooking demonstrations will take place with former Masterchef the Professionals winner, chef Jamie Scott, to allow visitors to learn the best tricks of the trade.

 

Chef, Jamie Scott, said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival. Events like this are a great way to get insight into local producers, suppliers, restaurants and cafés.  It’s a great way for people to get involved with food particularly those that take an interest in cooking.”

There will be plenty to keep the kids entertained with a selection of free children’s workshops where they will have the chance to get some hands-on foodie experiences with Events Diva’s calzone and cupcake making sessions or Sweet Science’s fun food experiments. There will also be entertainment from kids favourite Mr Bloom.

 

Ben Faulks, who plays the role of Mr Bloom said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended the Paisley Food and Drink Festival before and it’s a great event that boasts a variety of different activities for the whole family to enjoy.

 

“I’m very much looking forward to making a return this year with my show, as well as getting the chance to sample some of the great activities on offer.”

 

There will also be a live music entertainment and giant lawn games providing all the ingredients for a great day out.

 

The festival will run alongside the Paisley’s Beer Festival which will take place from Wednesday 25 to Saturday 28 April run by the Renfrewshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, which attracts people from all over Scotland and beyond.

 

To find out more about what’s on at Paisley Food and Drink Festival along with updates on other great events taking place in Renfrewshire please visit www.paisley.is.

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

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

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

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

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

Photographs taken by Ruth Walsh of Paisley Comic Con on Saturday at the Town Hall.

Budding young cooking fans will be able to get some hands-on foodie fun experiences at this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival.

Free cooking demonstrations will take place on Saturday 28 April at Abbey Close where kids can learn how to make their own calzone or whip up the perfect cupcake with Events Diva – the one stop shop for all things creative.

Paisley Food Festival

Future Heston Blumenthals can flex their creative muscles at the Sweet Science Workshops with Be Experimental where they will have the chance to make colour changing drinks, rainbows with skittles and create their own sweets to take away. They will also find out the answers to some of those age-old questions about sweets like ‘how are gummy sweets made?’, ‘how do you get those little holes in puff candy?’ and ‘why is sherbet so fizzy?’

In addition to the great workshops on offer every child’s favourite entertainer, Mr Bloom, will be at the event sharing his unique bundle of veggie stories, gardening games and catchy nursery songs for tiddlers and parents alike.

Ben Faulks, who plays the role of Mr Bloom said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended the Paisley Food and Drink Festival before and it’s a great event that boasts a variety of different activities for the whole family to enjoy.

“I’m very much looking forward to making a return this year with my show, as well as getting the chance to sample some of the great activities on offer.”

There are even more fun activities to enjoy at the Paisley Food and Drink Festival such as face painting, live music and giant lawn games including twister, jenga and snakes and ladders.

The festival will take place over two days for the first time ever on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 of April when the very best of Scotland’s producers will showcase their wares to visitors in Paisley’s iconic Abbey Close.

Foodie fans can sample some taste sensations from the likes of Pitt Street Food Market, Babu Kitchen, Mighty Mexican, Linton and Co Coffee, Scozzese Pizza and Sharma Street Food and there will be a chance to part with your pennies and pounds at the popular arts and crafts market.

Smaller portion sizes will be available for children and a range of halal, gluten free, veggie and vegan options will be on offer. People will also be able to purchase some great produce from the Farmers’ Market and trader’s stalls.

The children’s workshops are free to attend but numbers are limited so interested parties are encouraged to book in advance to avoid disappointment. To find out more and book a place please visit: www.paisley.is/kidsworkshops.

To find out all the latest information on this and other events happening in Renfrewshire please visit www.paisley.is.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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