vox

VOX by ReMode Saturday 23rd March – doors open 7pm

Sustainable Fashion show Including specially created soundtrack and animated films and followed by SWISH event

UWS students union building, Storie Street, Paisley

vox

An estimated 300,000 tonnes of fashion waste goes into landfill in the UK each year and we’re part of the growing movement of people who want to shout about this.

VOX is a platform for ReMode’s to share their work – creating sustainable fashion, sharing skills and increasing understanding of climate change issues.

Clothes in this year’s show have been made by participants and volunteers in our workshops and there will also be sections featuring guest makers and designers from Renfrewshire and Glasgow.

The theme for ReMode’s Fashion Show is the voice – as an instrument to sing and shout and as the symbolic expression of youth and protest.

Integrated into the fashion show is a specially created new soundtrack by Anders Rigg with a live vocal performance by singer Louise Macdonald.  The back drop to the show will feature 6 short animated films created by filmmaker Kevin Cameron. The films have been created in workshops with students at UWS, and school pupils from Heriot Primary, Paisley.  There will be elements of live music performed by Vocalist Louise MacDonald.

Alongside the fashion show there will be  stalls and information about sustainable fashion and straight after the fashion show, SWISH (clothes swap) event.

 

SWISH (clothes swap) event

A swish is a fast and fun clothes swapping event.  How does it work? Drop off your clean, unwanted garments with ReMode before the fashion show, to earn tokens to exchange for clothes at The Swish!

SWISH : clothes drop off – places and times  Remode@SAUWS, Elles Building, Storie Street, Paisley – every Wednesday & Thursday 10am -3pm;   ReMode, High Street, Lochwinnoch – every Saturday 12 – 4pm; UWS Students Union Building, Storie Street, Paisley.  Saturday 23rd March 4pm –7pm only

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VOX BY REMODE, SATURDAY 23rd MARCH doors open 7pm.  Fashion show starts 7.30pm, Swish start 8.15pm ADVANCE BOOKING ESSENTIAL  – TICKETS £5 (£2.50 CONCESSIONS)

Available from www.voxbyremode.eventbrite.co.uk  or via Facebook @remodeyouth

 

paisley abbey

Paisley town centre’s key outdoor spaces and road junctions are in line for a major transformation – and residents and businesses are being invited to two special events to help shape the plans.

Renfrewshire Council has set aside a £10m budget for a wide-ranging programme of improvements to the town centre – aimed at driving new footfall and life to the town centre and creating a more attractive place for residents and visitors to spend time.

paisley abbey

Two open consultation events are taking place next week at which you can have your say on how you would like the spaces to be used and what could be done with them.

The events will be in the Paisley.is office at 5a High Street, Paisley, on Thursday 14 March (1 to 7pm) and Saturday 16 March (9.30am to 12.30pm) with council staff on hand to take your comments.

The work is part of a wider programme aimed at using Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage story to change its future – including major transformations of the museum and town hall and a new library in a formerly-empty High St retail unit.

The programme aims to do the following:

– unlock the huge potential of the area around the iconic landmarks of the Abbey and town hall by creating an expanded space for the area’s already successful major events, and for people to gather and spend time;

– work to redesign County Square as a lively transport interchange and distinctively Paisley gateway to the town, as well as a space where a café culture could thrive;

Views are also being sought on work to simplify traffic movements and improve road safety at the following key town centre road junctions:

– Canal St / Causeyside St / Gordon St

– Mill St / Gauze St / Incle St / Glasgow Rd

– Lonend / Gordon St / Mill St

– the one-way system around Wallneuk

That work will aim to make the road network easier to navigate for drivers and pedestrians, remove the perception of the ring road as a barrier, and create more attractive public spaces offering a sense of arrival to the town.

It will also will feed into the results of a feasibility study into longer-term and more significant improvements to the town’s road system.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We want to bring new life to Paisley’s day and night-time economies by making the town centre easier to reach and get around, and by creating spaces in which residents, workers, students and visitors will want to spend time and money.

“But to make the most of that it is crucial we capture the views of the people who know and use these spaces best….you. The public events will allow everyone with an interest in Paisley’s ongoing revival to have the chance to help shape what happens next, and your feedback will be important.

“The investment in outdoor spaces and road junctions supports a much wider investment in our key venues aimed at driving new visitors to the town and creating new trade for local businesses.

“It’s important to remember the role of town centres everywhere has changed forever. We can’t turn the clock back but we can use what sets us apart – in our case, stunning buildings and a unique cultural and heritage story – to give people new reasons to come here.

“We also want to stress that Paisley will remain open for business while the work is happening – and we want to know how best we can work with you to keep the town moving during construction.

“This investment will help the town make the best of what it has to offer – I hope as many people as possible come to the events and help shape what happens next.”

Council staff have already met with property owners, local business groups and taxi and public transport bosses to get input on the plans, with plenty positive feedback to date.

Construction work is likely to start in 2020, meaning the new outdoor spaces and road junctions will be complete for the increase in visitors and activity expected when the town hall and museum reopen in 2021 and 2022.

Information on the work will be posted online at renfewshire.gov.uk after the public events allowing further feedback to be offered for a limited time.

Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019 _D3A8093

Paisley is teaming up with independent street food market PLATFORM for its biggest and best Food and Drink Festival yet.

Paisley Food and Drink Festival is one of Scotland’s largest outdoor food and drink festivals and will take place in Paisley town centre on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April. This year’s line-up will showcase the finest street food with more than 40 traders and vendors, a demonstration kitchen with celebrity chefs, live entertainment and picnic areas in the stunning surroundings of Paisley’s historic Abbey.

More than 15,000 people turned out to enjoy the two-day extravaganza in 2018.

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This year, organisers are working with the PLATFORM independent street food market, who reside in the iconic Argyle Street Arches, Glasgow. This will be the popular market’s first outdoor tour date of the year.

PLATFORM on Tour will bring ten of Scotland’s best street food traders, giant Kata tee-pee tents, colourful furniture, the PLATFORM DJ’s, a range of Innis & Gunn craft Arch Brews, and cutting-edge cocktails utilising some of Scotland’s finest craft spirits.

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PLATFORM traders coming to the Festival include, British Street Food Awards finalist Ginger and Chilli, Brigston & Co. Artisan Hot Dogs, Winners of the Scottish Street Food People’s Choice Award 2017 Shrimpwreck and delicious desserts from Crema Caravan.

Hilary Goodfellow, Project Manager for PLATFORM on Tour said: “Platform is a community of some of the very best street food traders in Scotland, and we love taking our traders out on tour. We are bringing a brilliant selection of genuinely authentic traders to the Festival, all with the same objective: to provide tasty, seasonal food that is sourced sustainably at an affordable price.

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“We have handpicked a delicious range of food with everything from artisan hot dogs to wood fired pizza, golden arancini, crispy calamari and ice-cream tacos! As a buddie myself, I can’t wait to bring PLATFORM on Tour to Paisley Food & Drink Festival, it’s a great event and offers something for all the family.”

Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019 _D3A8093

There will be something to suit all tastes at the Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019, including gluten-free and halal options with smaller portion sizes designed for children.

New for this year’s Festival is a dedicated vegan and vegetarian zone offering a range of delicious options.

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Returning festival favourites include Babu Bombay Street Kitchen, Scozzese woodfired pizza, Dispensary Bar cocktails, the unique Fizzbuz prosecco van and the popular Rum Shack.

The award-winning Gin 71 bar will also be back to host tasting sessions, with visitors sampling the very best artisan gins.

Managing Director of Gin 71, Paul Reynolds, said: “We’re really excited to be bringing Gin 71 back to Paisley Food and Drink Festival this April. Our gin bar and tasting sessions proved to be a real hit at last year’s event with so many people coming along to sample some fantastic craft gins.

“Gin’s popularity is continuing to soar, and our expert bar staff will be on hand to showcase the excellent range of craft gins we have available and maybe even give people the chance to try something new.”

Event organisers are teaming up with Renfrewshire CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) to host a dedicated Beer Tent at the town’s Bridge Street, with around 70 craft conditioned ales and craft beers available.

The Festival will see a variety of food workshops and cookery demonstrations, as well as live music and entertainment programmed by Paisley’s famous The Bungalow music venue.

A cooking demonstration tent, sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign, will feature celebrity chef Gary Maclean, winner of MasterChef – The Professionals 2016, who will teach visitors the tricks of his trade and Three Sisters Bake.

There will also be plenty of entertainment for the kids, with the chance to enjoy some hands-on foodie experiences and fun games.

Visitors will be able to purchase some great produce from the Farmers’ Market and trader stalls, including the Paisley Drinks Company and the Kilted Fudge Company.

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “This is the fifth year of our Paisley Food and Drink Festival and the appetite has continued to grow each year, attracting thousands of visitors to Paisley town centre.

“The Festival is one of the highlights in Renfrewshire’s events calendar, with the British Pipe Band Championships hot on its heels in May.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to Paisley for two-days of great entertainment and the very best of Scotland’s street food.”

To find out more about this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival and more fantastic events taking place in the area, visit www.paisley.is.

paisley town hall

The people of Paisley are getting their first glimpse at what to expect from their transformed town hall – including entirely new rooms inside the existing building, and an increased capacity allowing bigger-name performers to bring new life to the town.

paisley town hall

The magnificent Victorian-era town hall is currently undergoing major internal refurbishment into what will be one of the West of Scotland’s landmark entertainment venues when it reopens in 2021.

Renfrewshire Council is leading the work to turn the much-loved 19th-century architectural gem into a 21st-century facility which will drive new footfall to the area, while delivering upgrades essential to keep it at the heart of local life for generations to come.

paisley town hall

Some initial artist images have been released, with more to follow in the coming weeks, and features people can look forward to in the revamped building include:

– the capacity of the main hall increased to 1,200 for a standing gig, allowing the venue to attract bigger and better shows than ever before, boosting the local night-time economy;

paisley town hall

– entirely new rooms created inside the current building – including a new café-bar and dance studio built in currently-unused space. There will also be a smaller venue-within-a-venue – meaning more use, more footfall, and a better range of community events;

– transformed audience experience including lowered stage, new seating, better sightlines and acoustics, new reception area, and much improved access to and around the building;

– an entire replacement of the building’s decades-old electrical and mechanical equipment, and improved backroom facilities allowing more weddings and conferences;

The council is taking forward the £22m work as part of a much-bigger investment in the town centre designed to change the area’s future using its internationally-significant cultural and heritage story.

That includes a transformation of Paisley Museum which will almost quadruple current visitor numbers, a new modern home for library services on the High Street, and major investment in key outdoor spaces such as Abbey Close and County Square to create places which will keep residents, students and visitors in the town for longer.

The building’s operators Renfrewshire Leisure have already been speaking to some of Scotland’s top music promoters about using the venue when it reopens.

Mark Mackie, of Regular Music – who has worked with some of the industry’s biggest names as the man behind massive gigs including the Castle Concerts at Edinburgh Castle and Summer Nights at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Bandstand, said: “As a Paisley buddy myself, I’m really excited about the transformation of Paisley Town Hall.

“This investment is great news for gig-goers in the west of Scotland and it’s definitely a venue Regular Music would look to bring bands to. The new facilities, refurbished auditorium and café-bar will make it a must-visit venue for bands and audiences.”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Paisley Town Hall is a much-loved building which has been at the heart of life in the town for generations – but to keep it there the interior of this beautiful building needs the revamp now being delivered.

“The council is making a substantial investment – not just to do the necessary maintenance to keep the building viable, but to take what it can do to a totally new level.

“As a result, the revamp is predicted to double the number of people who use it each year – bringing new life to the town centre and helping anchor our ongoing wider work to use our outstanding cultural and heritage story to bring new visitors to the area.

“It also means creating a facility in which people will be able to experience world-class culture on their own doorstep, with all the opportunities that means to make people’s lives better.

“And while the renovation is happening we will be making sure everybody knows Paisley continues to remain open for business.”

The building is being redesigned by award-winning architects Holmes Miller, whose previous projects include the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaping Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The town hall revamp is being run by Renfrewshire 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 Homes Miller and Hub West Scotland on the new Johnstone Town Hall –which has won a string of industry awards since it opened in 2015.

Initial work to clear out the building is already under way, with stonework and roof repairs taking place over the summer, ahead of main construction work starting towards the end of the year. The building is due to reopen in late 2021.

Visitor Plan 2018

Day visits to Renfrewshire almost doubled between 2015 and 2017, new figures have revealed.

The sharp rise was unveiled in the first annual update of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan 2018-2021, which aims to develop the area as one of Scotland’s key tourist destinations.

Visitor Plan 2018

It showed that day visits to Renfrewshire rose from 2.73 million between 2013-2015 to 5.33 million between 2015-2017 – with the area’s thriving events calendar proving popular with visitors.

There was also an increase in day and overnight visitor spend from £72.5 million to £99.1 million during the same period.

The first update of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan – which was shown before Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board – includes the following key achievements:

– visitor numbers to Renfrewshire’s events are expected to exceed growth of 8% in 2018 – surpassing the target of 4% year-on-year;

– The delivery of 15 events, including four major visitor events in 2017 – Paisley Food and Drink Festival, the British Pipe Band Championships, The Spree Festival and Paisley Halloween Festival – all of which witnessed increased attendee numbers;

– the launch of Paisley Welcomes, a new customer service excellence and product familiarisation training programme to enhance the visitor experience in Renfrewshire;

– increased support for tourism business growth with 53 businesses supported and 34 businesses and agencies now regularly engaged in a tourism business network.

This year also saw the development and launch of a new destination brand and the area’s first ever digital guide to Paisley and Renfrewshire – www.Paisley.is.

The website promotes Paisley and Renfrewshire as a place to live work and visit and offers a guide to what’s on across the region, with dedicated content for each town, village and attraction.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s fantastic to see such positive results in the first annual report of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan as we continue to work towards transforming tourism in the area.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer, from our rich heritage and a wide variety of visitor attractions across our towns and villages to our cultural events calendar, which continues to go from strength to strength.

“The phenomenal increase in both day visits and visitor spend underlines the benefits that Renfrewshire’s tourism offer has on the local economy and the appeal for those visiting the area.

“We will look to build upon this in the coming years by continuing to forge positive relationships with the tourism sector across Renfrewshire and strengthened partnerships with national agencies.

“This first report on the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan highlights the excellent work being carried out to build our visitor economy and is a key part of our plans to use our culture and heritage enhance the area’s reputation as a key visitor destination in Scotland.”

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “This incredible increase in day visits and spend in Renfrewshire is testament to the brilliant work being done to boost the area’s tourism and events offering.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.  VisitScotland is committed to encouraging and supporting the industry to provide world class service, facilities, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and it is clear that Renfrewshire is making huge strides to ensure visitors continue to have memorable experiences in the region.”

paisley town hall

THE final fling before Paisley Town Hall closed for a major refurbishment was of the Highland variety.

A sell-out Festive Family Ceilidh was the last event before the doors closed until the Town Hall re-opens in 2021 as a major venue attracting events and people to the town.

ceilidh

The festive ceilidh featuring traditional Scottish music and dancing has been a popular event for several years.

Victoria Hollows, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “There was no better way to celebrate both the end of the year and the Town Hall closing for renovation than to have a full-house of people enjoying themselves.

“And when the building re-opens there will be many more exciting events and shows taking place there to look forward to.”

The refurbishment of the Town Hall is one of the key projects within Renfrewshire Council’s £100 million 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.

Halloween youth panel, volunteers and mentees (3)

Scotland’s Year of Young People in Renfrewshire has provided the perfect backdrop to showcase the talents of young people in the area through a year-long programme of events and opportunities to get involved, according to Renfrewshire’s specially appointed Children’s Champion for the year, Councillor Michelle Campbell.

Halloween youth panel, volunteers and mentees (3)

The Year of Young People 2018, delivered by the Scottish Government, working in collaboration with VisitScotland, EventScotland, Young Scot, Children in Scotland, Scottish Youth Parliament and YouthLink Scotland, saw thousands of Renfrewshire’s young people get involved in a year-long programme of events across the region.

Halloween parade

Renfrewshire Council Youth Services has been working with youth work partners and youth groups to deliver activities focussing on the YoYP six themes that young people had identified as most important for them – participation, education, health and wellbeing, equality and discrimination, enterprise and regeneration and culture.

Halloween parade

More than 200 young ambassadors were selected from across Scotland to represent their local communities, including ten young people from Renfrewshire. The YoYP Ambassadors and Renfrewshire Youth Voice Groups worked together to raise awareness and promote young people’s participation across the authority.  Several events were successful in securing national funding through the Event Scotland Create18 grants offered as part of the themed-year.  These events included a young writers festival, community fun days, a cheerleading taster session, and positive mental health event.  Renfrewshire Council also awarded local funding to support a series of youth activities throughout the year to help put ideas into action including holiday programmes, pop up cinema, mobile laser quest sessions, Escape Rooms and community-based youth events – all co-designed by local young people.

The Halloween Festival signature YoYP project was led by the Renfrewshire Council Events team in conjunction with Renfrewshire Youth Services, attracting more than 34,000 people to the area in October. The event involved more than 700 local young people who had the opportunity to help shape the programme for the event and took part in the parade, aerial displays and also gained valuable work experience by working as part of the council’s events team, and with artists, and youth workers.

A lasting legacy of this partnership working across Renfrewshire is increasing young people’s involvement in the existing Renfrewshire events programme, including Sma’ Shot Day. This included working to make events accessible to wider youth participation, including working to reduce barriers to participation by making tickets and transport to events available to targeted groups. Around 3,600 young people engaged in Renfrewshire’s events throughout the year. The formation of a Youth Events Panel will work into 2019 to continue the involvement of young people shaping and creating youth friendly events in the future.

Councillor Michelle Campbell was selected as Renfrewshire’s Year of Young People Champion and has been attending a range of events across Renfrewshire throughout the year.

Councillor Campbell said:

“I was delighted to be appointed as the Council’s ambassador for young people during this specially themed year and I’ve been privileged to spend a lot of time meeting and listening to young people from across Renfrewshire over the last year. It’s delivered a real shift in welcoming young people to not just share their views, but also to include them in decision making and planning so they help inform our policies going forward.

“The Year of Young People gave our local young people a chance to really showcase their ideas and talents and to celebrate their achievements throughout the year and it’s been fantastic to see all the opportunities they’ve been able to take up as part of our events programme.

“Young people have a key role in their own education and we can continue to work to support that through the networks that have developed as a legacy of the Year of Young People 2018.”

Renfrewshire Youth Voice celebrated the end of the YoYP with their Positive About Youth Awards, which was a celebration of young people’s contribution to their peers and communities.

Jade Lochhead, the current Chair of Renfrewshire Youth Voice said:

“2018 gave us an opportunity for young people and youth work to be valued and listened to. Our Youth Assembly this year gave young people a platform to speak out on matters that we think are important.

“RYV will continue the theme of “Participation” into 2019 – Look out we’ve got more plans coming to Renfrewshire to keep us on the map.”

The Young Scot Renfrewshire portal hosted digital content created and curated by young people during the YoYP campaign. This will remain as a space to host films, photographs, blogs and reviews by young people and allow a wider youth audience to participate and engage with youth events in 2019 and for the years to come.

Caste Study

How Renfrewshire’s young people took centre stage at Paisley’s Halloween festival

Around 34,000 people flocked to Paisley for the Halloween Festival in October, celebrating the town’s witchcraft past.

The festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 and EventScotland, was significantly enhanced for the themed year with a full town centre takeover.

Young people were at the heart of the festival’s development, with a 28-strong Youth Events Panel working alongside Renfrewshire Council’s Events Team and Youth Services to design and deliver the programme, while more than 700 took part in a new creative learning programme. This offered the opportunity to participate in all aspects of festival delivery from performance to live event management and technical production.

The Youth Events Panel involved young people from across Renfrewshire with differing needs which ensured a diversity of voices in the event’s creation and helped act as a driving force that shaped, developed and delivered the event activities.

Throughout the programme, the young people were supported to learn new skills and make new connections that will prove invaluable.

One of the young people involved in the aerial performance, Patrick Doherty, said he enjoyed having his creative ideas listened to in an open and fun environment.

Patrick said:

“My personal challenge was meeting new people and working in a group with people I didn’t know, but I was able to overcome this and really enjoyed the experience.”

Andi Brogan, who was also part of the aerial performance, enjoyed learning a new skill and being able to network with aerial dance theatre company, All or Nothing.

Andi said:

“As someone who wants to be a professional dance artist, this was an invaluable experience.”

Youth Events Panel member, Jessica Willcox, said:

“Being involved in Halloween allowed me to have a completely new experience. I’ve made new friends and been able to socialise, which has increased my confidence.”

Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, Louisa Mahon said:

“To have so many of our young people at the heart of the festival’s planning and staging as co-creators made it extra special and we have been delighted to have delivered such a major event in partnership with Event Scotland.

“Our high profile, high impact, ambitious Halloween Festival working with leading creative partners All or Nothing, Bridgeman Arts and 21CC, ensured our children and young people’s skills, talents and diversity shone on a local and national stage.

“Thank you to all the young people who were involved in making this year’s event such a huge success.”

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It’s the faded Victorian jewel in Paisley town centre’s crown and now a £22million makeover is set to bring Paisley Town Hall into the 21st century.

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The once thriving social hub will treat Buddies to one final ceilidh tonight (Friday 28 December) before shutting its doors until 2021.

The Town Hall has become the social heart of Paisley since opening in January 1882, hosting meetings, tea dances, social gatherings, conferences, events, festivals and concerts.

The historic venue gave Paolo Nutini his big break, hosted some of Gerry Rafferty’s earliest shows and provided the setting for Cuttin’ A Rug, John Byrne’s follow-up to The Slab Boys.

BringItAllHome

Construction on the iconic building, which was originally designed by Belfast architect W H Lynn, began in 1879 after George A. Clark, a member of Paisley’s famous thread family, left £20,000 for its creation in his will. A statue commemorating Clark and his contribution to Paisley now stands outside the historic venue.

Gerry Rafferty_Print_045

The £22million refurbishment will transform the facility, creating a social hub, conference and events venue fit for the 21st Century.

The redesign will be led by award-winning architects Holmes Miller, who worked on the redevelopment of Old Trafford and reshaped Hampden for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

PA694 Paisley Town Hall, 1960

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The building is going to have something for everyone when it reopens in 2021, it’s going to be used for culture, conferences, events and the community and will be a truly memorable live music venue on the Scottish touring circuit.

George A. Clark Town Hall and Gauze Street, Paisley, 1894

Gauze Street, showing Town hall, work being carried out at top of Dunn Square. Original source – black & white 7½” x 5¾” photograph

“This transformation will have a great impact on Paisley and the whole of Renfrewshire. We want to make sure that there are lots of reasons to come to this building because there are lots of activities going on.

George A. Clark Town Hall, Paisley

View from elevated position looking south east, showing Town Hall, River Cart, Cart Walk, Forbes Place, with Anchor Mills in the background. Original source – black & white 10″ x 8″ photograph.

“There’s a lot happening in Paisley. We want to bring business and visitors here and create a hub for our community, this transformation will do that.”

The redesign will also help local businesses, bringing more people from outside Paisley to the town for events and conferences and creating chances for them to thrive.

The Town Hall is expected to attract 100,000 visitors a year when it reopens.

Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Town Hall redesign and £100million investment in Paisley’s cultural and heritage venues will create jobs and support local businesses by bringing new potential customers to the town.

“In the last year Paisley has seen an increase both to the local economy and visitor numbers and we look forward to positive impact for the business community once these projects are complete.”

The project is part of a £100million investment by Renfrewshire Council and its partners in Paisley’s cultural and heritage venues that will turn the town into a tourist destination, creating jobs and benefiting the whole of Renfrewshire.

Other buildings that will benefit from the investment include Paisley Museum, which is undergoing a £42million four-year makeover, and Paisley Library, which will move into High Street in 2021.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Town Hall will close its doors today to undergo a £22million makeover. When it reopens in 2021 it will have been transformed into a flagship performance venue that will bring bigger shows to Paisley.

“These are very exciting times for Paisley and Renfrewshire. The Town Hall transformation is part of a £100million investment in Paisley’s cultural venues that will turn the town into a tourist destination, creating jobs and benefiting the whole of Renfrewshire.

“These are challenging times for high streets up and down the country but we’re making a bold move, investing in our town centre and creating opportunities to let our communities and local businesses thrive.

“The Town Hall is a jewel in Paisley’s town centre. This makeover will bring the historic venue into the 21st Century.”

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

Almost 30 projects have been supported in 2018 through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – including a two-day music festival, a mini Mela and jewellery making classes.

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

The fund was launched in February 2016 to support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and has continued as part of a wider plan to use culture and heritage to transform the area’s future, supporting 27 projects in 2018 alone.

It 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.

Three rounds of the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund have been completed in 2018, with a fourth round closing for applications in early December.

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

Local groups and organisations supported in 2018 include The STAR Project, Paisley YMCA, Right2Dance, Media Monty, Johnstone Band, Paisley Opera and Renfrewshire Carers Centre.

Since 2016, almost 300 applications have been received to the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund from communities, businesses and cultural organisations in Renfrewshire and across Scotland – with a total funding request of £3,422,984. Over a third of these have been supported, with a total of £886,544 spent.

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 in to an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections.

Drew Moir, who was awarded funding to host the 2018 Paisley International Tango Festival, said: “The Paisley Tango scene would not exist without support from the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund. We now get approached by two or three professionals a month who want to be invited to perform here, a testament to the quality of the event and the friendly environment our town can create.“

This year, Renfrewshire Council have also launched a new fund, designed to support Renfrewshire’s cultural sector. The Cultural Organisations Development Fund is open to cultural and creative organisations across Renfrewshire and will complement the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, providing support to build the resilience and sustainability of local organisations, helping them realise their cultural ambitions.

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Iain Nicolson said: “The CHE Fund has been key in involving local people in cultural and creative activity and it’s great to see so much interest in the fund over 2018.

“We know involvement in culture has a positive impact on health and wellbeing and the projects supported have given people the chance to take part in new experiences and benefit in a number of different ways.

“Through the CHE Fund we’ve seen activities supported in communities right across Renfrewshire and I’m looking forward to seeing what projects the fund can support in 2019.”

The results of the current round of funding are due to be announced in February, with further funding rounds to be announced for 2019 in the new year.

For more information on Renfrewshire’s cultural grants, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/culturalgrants

Paisley Halloween Festival

Paisley’s Halloween and Spree festivals attracted record numbers in 2018 and delivered a £2.4million economic boost to Renfrewshire.

Paisley Halloween Festival

That’s according to the findings of independent assessments into the two October events, which also showed more people flocked to Renfrewshire from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Inspired by the town’s dark and deathly witch history and against the backdrop of the 850-year-old Abbey, Paisley’s Halloween Festival welcomed 34,000 people for two nights of ghoulish goings-on, up by 8000 on 2017.

Thirty-percent of attendees were aged 26 and under – reflecting the popularity of the key date on Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 celebrations.

Paisley Halloween Festival was supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

There was a 30% rise recorded in visitors from the rest of the UK and growing numbers staying overnight, while the festival attracted almost 13,000 Scots from outside Renfrewshire.

This led to a 300% increase in visitor spend to £907,031 and a phenomenal total £1.96million injection into the economy, with traders’ tills swelling from an average spend of almost £60 per visitor on food and drink, entertainment and shopping over the two-day programme.

Martha Reeves - Spree Festival

The numbers also add up from The Spree, with a £434,702 total economic boost from the 10-day music, arts and cultural festival, up by £311,000 on 2017, and an average spectator spend up by 50% coming as music to the ears of Renfrewshire businesses.

This year saw record ticket sales as almost 11,000 people – including 2000 from outside Renfrewshire – enjoyed the festival which featured Motown legend Martha Reeves and Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi.

There was also a Wee Spree programme for kids during the school holidays and 1400 people packed out venues across the region as the inaugural Spree for All took the festival to pubs, community halls and even bowling clubs in Paisley, Johnstone, Linwood, Lochwinnoch and Renfrew.

Satisfaction levels soared at both events and attendance surveys also showed the events reached a new audience and attracted people to return in equal measure.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It was phenomenal to see such great numbers coming along to Paisley’s Halloween Festival and to Spree and now this report shows exactly how it translates into more money for the local economy and more spend with local traders.

“We’re working hard with our partners to put on unique events which are a fixture on the calendar for Renfrewshire residents and which attract new audiences from Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“It was particularly pleasing in the Year of Young People to see so many families experiencing the Halloween Festival, added to the hundreds of gifted young performers taking part and the popularity of Spree For All spread the benefits of the festival around Renfrewshire.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer and major events are an important part of our plans to use our culture and heritage to drive footfall and cement our status as a popular visitor destination.”

Researchers pored over the figures and interviewed hundreds of attendees at the two Renfrewshire Council events to compile the detailed reports, which are being welcomed by the local business sector.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Bob Grant, said: “Both these council events are firm favourites on the calendar and this report is most welcome, underlining their importance to the local economy.

“Town centre traders will welcome this significant spend and to see more people staying overnight is good news for local hotels too. We’re all proud of what Renfrewshire has to offer and it’s great to know that more people than ever before are learning about our unique heritage and culture.”