Apprentice event attracts hundreds of young people

A special event designed to promote the benefits of modern apprenticeships drew a crowd of more than 200 young people to Paisley town centre.

The modern apprentice showcase run by Renfrewshire Council was designed to allow those aged 16 to 19 to meet employers with training and employment opportunities on offer.

Among those there were staff from the council’s own modern apprenticeship scheme, Renfrewshire Leisure, Skills Development Scotland and Reid Kerr College.

Local businesses there on the night included Napier Hair and Beauty, Penny Lane Homes and Cairellot Childcare.

Young people planning to leave school or who have left but are not in training or employment were able to chat to representatives about what a modern apprenticeship could offer.

There was also a ‘meet the apprentice’ feature allowing visitors to speak to young people who have benefited from apprenticeships about their own experiences.

The event was taking place as part of Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Week, on from 20 to 24 May.

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, paid a visit to the event, which was held at the Youth Employability Hub in Gauze Street, Paisley.

Councillor Glen said: “I was delighted to see such a good turnout on the night – we had more than 200, which was more than we had expected.

“From speaking to some of the exhibitors on the night, I could see there is a great range of apprenticeship options available to young people in Renfrewshire.

“Modern apprenticeships are a great way for young people to pick up valuable on-the-job experience which studying for a vocational qualification at the same time.

“I would encourage any young people looking for a first step on the job ladder to investigate what one could offer.”

The council’s own modern apprentice scheme for 2013 will soon be offering further opportunities in horticulture and in office-based apprenticeships. Posts will be available on the MyJobScotland website.

The scheme was recently honoured at a prestigious national awards ceremony, when it was named the joint-winner of the Apprentice Award category at the s1jobs recruitment awards.

For more information on apprenticeships visit


Rail links plea on Paisley’s Mòd

Scottish Ministers are being urged to reverse cuts in rail services at Paisley Gilmour Street in time for Paisley’s hosting of the Royal National Mòd in October.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has written to Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans, asking him to reverse controversial cuts on rail services stopping at Paisley Gilmour Street on Glasgow-Ayrshire routes.  The changes were introduced in December 2012.


“Everyone is working hard to make Paisley’s hosting of the Mòd a success,” said Councillor Macmillan

“It’s vital that the Scottish Government plays its part too.

“Paisley has a unique product to offer the thousands of competitors and visitors who will come to the town.

“We can offer unique event spaces and an unrivalled cultural, industrial and architectural heritage.

“A major part of Paisley’s appeal has long been its public transport links by train, bus or plane at nearby Glasgow Airport.

“Discussions are continuing with local bus companies to amend services and timetables to cater for potential travel demand during this special event.

“However, the Minister’s decision to support cuts in rail services stopping at Paisley Gilmour Street is a potentially damaging factor in our efforts to attract visitors.

“It would be a massive boost for the Mòd, and The Spree, the national arts and music festival which is held at Paisley at the same time, if these damaging cuts were reversed by October.

“Paisley Gilmour Street is the fourth busiest rail station in Scotland and its role as an important regional transport hub should be reinforced not reduced.

“There has already been some tinkering at the margins in bringing back some off-peak rail services stopping at Paisley Gilmour Street on Saturdays.

“It’s time there was fair treatment and fair services for rail passengers in Renfrewshire.  With these major events coming to Paisley, there’s no better time for the Scottish Government to make that change.”

Doors Open Day 2013 will be chance to get into buildings

An annual celebration of Renfrewshire’s fascinating architectural history will return later this year – and organisers are looking for buildings to add to the list.

Doors Open Day is a showcase of the country’s built heritage, where visitors take a peek through the keyhole at hundreds of Scotland’s buildings for free.

This year’s event takes place on 14 and 15 September and will be the 20th anniversary of Renfrewshire’s participation.

Paisley Abbey interior

Local buildings set to throw open their doors on the day include Paisley Abbey, the council chambers at Renfrewshire House, local churches and fire stations.

But organisers are looking for local buildings of historical or architectural significance which have not taken part before to come forward for this year’s event, which is supported by Renfrewshire Council.

Councillor Terry Kelly, Convener of the council’s Planning and Property Policy Board, said: “The idea behind Doors Open Day is to show people the hidden gems that link present-day Renfrewshire to its past.

“Renfrewshire has an architectural heritage to be proud of, and Doors Open Day gives residents a glimpse of the fascinating history on their own doorstep.

“While there are many local buildings that prove popular with visitors every Doors Open Day, we would love to add new attractions to our list.

Paisley Abbey interior“We are keen to hear from the owners or managers of interesting buildings throughout Renfrewshire.

“If you would like to offer or recommend a building to add to Doors Open Day, please call 0141 618 6794 or email by the end of May.”

Doors Open Day is part of a wider Europe-wide celebration of built heritage, and sees over 50 countries take part, with over 20 million visits annually.

The Renfrewshire event will feature a competition for children to have their passport ‘stamped’ as they visit different venues, and will have a fun historical theme.

The council will also be running a photo competition with visitors encouraged to share their pictures of the buildings on social media.

For more information about the national event, visit


You can download the Doors Open Day Leaflet for the Renfrewshire area by clicking here..

“Business really does matter in Renfrewshire”

The largest business to business event in Renfrewshire has just completed a successful 2 day residence at the beautifully restored Paisley Town Hall. Ran by Renfrewshire Chamber, “Business Matters in Renfrewshire” a free local B2B event (Business to business) open to all business people, students & school pupils was attended by >500 people over the 2 days.

The business conference on Day 1 attracted an impressive panel of speakers including:

Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP
Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander MP
Dr Walter Boettcher – Economist – Director, Research and Forecasting Colliers International
Sir Tom Hunter – Scottish businessman, entrepreneur & philanthropist

Hosted by Douglas Fraser, BBC Scotland Business & Economy Editor

Economist Dr Boettcher commented that “….the focus was on the real economy, how to break the hiatus of investment and especially how to capitalise on Scotland’s numerous comparative advantages (energy, engineering & technology, education, to name a few).  The economy may still be lacking traction, but the messages were consistently positive suggesting that a turning point in sentiment is at hand and stronger economic performance within reach.”


Sir Tom Hunter – whose first retail outlet opened in Paisley in 1984, gave an inspirational speech and before leaving gave his time to a number of people keen to get some advice from one of Scotland’s most successful business men. Sir Tom, who stayed for the whole event commented “well done, speakers were all good… was a good event with an impressive turnout”.

Day 2 attracted 35 exhibitors and offered delegates the opportunity to learn about a broad range of topics from the “How to…” themed seminars including:

How to Build a Brilliant Brand with Fission Creative
How to Ruin Your Brand on Social Media with NSDesign
How to Grow Your Business with Invest in Renfrewshire
How to Improve your Tendering with Renfrewshire Council Procurement Team
How to be a Great Business Leader with Dr Stuart Paul of UWS
How to Deliver Customer Service the Disney Way with Renfrewshire Chamber Board Director & ex Diageo Supply Chain Director Colin Neill


Chamber President Tom Johnston said “This was our 1st time adding the business conference to Business Matters in Renfrewshire – and I have to say it went very well. Great speakers and a good turnout of approx. 200 people on day 1. We listen to our members and the Chamber Team used that feedback to improve the 2nd day from last year. Over the course of Day2 – approx. 350 attended. I would like to take this opportunity again to thank all our speakers, exhibitors and the people from Renfrewshire and beyond that attended. I hope what they heard & seen will inspire them to bigger & better things – improve their business and ultimately protect and ideally create jobs in Renfrewshire.

All images from the event are available on the Chamber facebook page – and to see the many twitter comments use the hashtag #b2bpaisley – 200+ tweets used the hashtag

Twitter comments included:

@fissioncreative: #b2bpaisley has been a fantastic event! @RenfrewshireCoC have done an amazing job, seminars were very useful and informative!

@LAShuttleworth – Oh. My. Goodness. #b2bpaisley absolutely fantastic. Colin Neil & Dr. Stuart Paul in particular were excellent. @fissioncreative also great.

‏@FullHouseApps: Hilarious and informative talk from @nsdesign #b2bpaisley

@markmacmillan12: Great turn out from at @RenfrewshireCoC #b2bpaisley event in Paisley Town Hall

‏@ModPhaislig2013: At the #b2bpaisley event in Paisley Town Hall. Lots of interest on #modphaislig2013


About Renfrewshire Chamber

Est. in ’64 and based in Paisley at Glasgow Airport, the fully accredited award winning Chamber is run by Chief Exec Bob Davidson and his team.  Bob reports to a Board of Directors chaired by President Tom Johnston. Renfrewshire Chamber is the area’s main business member organisation – whose purpose is to “help Renfrewshire grow & prosper” and have just under 600 members. The Chamber delivers a year round calendar of events and offers a range of member benefits.

For more information on Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce please visit

the single kettle

Meet the new-look Singing Kettle cast for new show, Rumble in the Jungle.

Anya Scott-Rogers has recently been unveiled as the brand new cast member of the Singing Kettle, joining existing members Gary Coupland and Kevin Macleod just in time for the Singing Kettle’s next show-stopping adventure, deep into the jungle!

Stopping off at Paisley on their busy tour of Scotland, the Singing Kettle will bring their new show, ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ to the Town Hall stage on Sunday 12 May. With the new characters leading the way, young audiences will follow the jungle beat on a quest for magical coloured kettles and find clues for songs that will captivate and enthral mums & dads as well as the kids! Bozo the dog will also take to the stage, causing mischief and mayhem with all his monkeying around.

Be part of the action by coming along dressed as your favourite wild animal and join in the fun with Singing Kettle friends both old and new on this wonderful safari adventure.

The Singing Kettle, Rumble in the Jungle show will take place at Paisley Town Hall on 12 May at 1pm and again at 3.30pm. Ticket prices vary, please call the Box Office for more information and to book, or visit

For further information on the Singing Kettle, future events, exhibitions or shows log on to or follow us on Facebook

the eagles

Paisley Town Hall hosts 100 minutes of pure Eagles nostalgia.

Eagles’ devotees and rock fans take note; original Eagles tribute group Hotel California will relive all the classics for one night only at Paisley Town Hall.

Coming to the venue on Saturday 11 May, Scottish group Hotel California have promised music fans a show stopping 100 minute live set, covering all the classics like Tequila Sunrise, Desperado and Peaceful Easy Feeling, not to mention their namesake track, Hotel California.

Formed in 1999, Hotel California started out humbly by playing pubs and clubs in and around their native Edinburgh. After several years honing their craft, the group then took their 2003 smash hit show ‘The Eagles Story’ on tour to large venues throughout Scotland, gradually building up a faithful following along the way. Acclaim for The Eagles Story really picked up speed though when word spread throughout the industry and reached The Eagles themselves – leading to the gig of a lifetime accompanying original member Don Felder at the prestigious Dunhill Cup in St Andrews. Since then, the band have continued to go from strength to strength not just at home, but abroad too, going as far as Australia to play at the Melbourne Music Festival.

Catch the band next month with their brand new show, Hotel California – A Night of Eagles Music, taking place at Paisley Town Hall on Saturday 11 May, 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 each (£13 concession) and can be bought by calling the Box Office on 0300 300 1210 or going online to

For further information on Hotel California, future events, exhibitions or shows log on to or follow us on Facebook


Quest4Talent 2013 Finals

Still Game actor and comedian, Alex Robertson plays host to an exciting talent show in Paisley Town hall on the 20th of April. Organised by the towns Rotary Club to help raise money for its charity work, children and schools from across the whole of Renfrewshire and Glasgow have already battled it out through 5 heats of the highly popular competition now in its 6th year.

48 highly talented acts have made it through to the semi-finals with the winners of each going head to head on the night to find this year’s outright champion.Talented youngsters gave amazing performances in 10 categories including musical theatre, glee clubs, dance, vocals, bands and traditional Scottish Music as the town plays host to this year’s Gaelic Mod.

A spokesperson said “The judges faced a very difficult time this year as the level of talent was exceptional and a credit to themselves and their parents”.

Councillor Sam Mullen has agreed to free parking for this event at the council buildings and the entrance is at the new houses just built at the council building.

Tickets for the event are available from the Paisley Arts Centre’s box office on 0141 887 1010 with the finals taking place at 2pm and 7pm on the 20th of April. Photographs and memorabilia are also on sale to commemorate the occasion with profits going towards the charities work. Further details can be found on http://www.quest4talent

All photographs taken by Alex Kyle for

msp george adam

Renfrewshire Hit with £60 million Welfare Cuts

Renfrewshire is going to be hit with £60 million of cuts through welfare reform each year.  This has been revealed from research carried out by Sheffield Hallam University, amounting to £530 for each and every adult in Renfrewshire.  This is a straight removal of money from the local economy.

Speaking on the newly revealed figures, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, said:

‘This is a significant hit against those most in need in Renfrewshire.

‘Eight out of ten households affected by the bedroom tax are the homes of disabled people.

‘This is where we are, the most vulnerable in society being targeted, ‘Bedroom Tax’ being collected from the disabled.

‘We must remember that the UK is the 4th most unequal society in the developed world.  This is the current situation as part of the UK, the gap between rich and poor widening.

‘At the same time there has been a reduction in tax for millionaires, getting a tax cut of £100,000.

‘This is not the fairer society that we want to see.  Times are hard but seeing the disabled being crushed with millionaires getting hundreds of thousands of pounds turns my stomach.

‘I joined the SNP in the eighties after seeing injustice done in Scotland with industry being destroyed and the ‘Poll Tax’ inflicted on Scotland a year before the rest of the UK.

‘’With financial powers outwith our control Scotland is still being hit with policies that we did not vote for.

‘We must recognise that the Westminster Government’s own figures say that if Scotland had full control over finance every man, woman and child in Scotland would be £824 better off.

‘We have the chance to change this unfair society.  We must take it.’


Bringing It All Home for Gerry and the songmakers

Bringing It All Home for Gerry and the songmakers

Paisley is gearing up to honour one of its favourite sons with a series of songwriting events in the town this May.

Bring It All Home (2 – 4 May) is a celebration of song inspired by the legacy of Gerry Rafferty.  The Paisley-born singer-songwriter, who died in 2011, is known for his iconic hits ‘Baker Street’, ‘Right Down the Line’, and ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’.

Bring It All Home will feature performances from internationally-renowned artists such as Love and Money’s James Grant as well as a celebration of Paisley songwriters.

James Grant will open the event in Paisley Abbey on 2 May, where he will welcome friends Chris Thompson(Friends Again and The Bathers), Graham Skinner (Hipsway), Monica Queen (Belle and Sebastian collaboratrix), Fraser Spiers and bandmate and producer Paul McGeehan.

Home-grown songwriting talent will feature with Carol Laula and Yvonne Lyon performing in the Wynd Centre on 3 May and Michael Cassidy, local artist and winner of a council-sponsored songwriting prize in 2012, opening the Abbey concert.

In this first year of a new annual event, budding songwriters can join a free ‘masterclass’ in the town in a special session in Paisley Museum with James Grant.

Paisley’s Songwriting Guild will also perform free in The Bungalow Bar on Thursday 2 May and in Hamishes Hoose (just after the masterclass in the Museum) on Saturday 4 May.

Martha Rafferty, Gerry’s daughter, said: “Gerry’s talent is recognised as much today as it ever was and he would have hoped to inspire people from Paisley to pick up a guitar and try writing a tune or two themselves, I’m sure.”

“He was passionate about his music and he was passionate about his hometown – any combination of the two is a great way to remember him.”

Renfrewshire Council is backing the event with Council Leader Mark Macmillan describing it as “another step in promoting Paisley as an exciting cultural venue”.

Councillor Macmillan said: “The Paisley music scene has always been incredibly vibrant and we’re doing all we can at Renfrewshire Council to encourage musicians and music fans to the town.

“We’ve been blessed to have talents like Gerry Rafferty over the years and it’s great to have this opportunity to celebrate what he and his music brought to Paisley.

“This is a huge year for music in the town.  In October, Paisley will take centre-stage as the showcase for traditional and contemporary Scottish culture when we see the return of The Spree festival and we play host to the Royal National Mòd.

“All of these events attract people into the town and that’s what we need as we work to regenerate Paisley after some tough years.”

Tickets for the shows on 2-3 May can be bought from on 08444 155 221 or from the food counter of Marks & Spencer, High Street, Paisley.

More information about the festival is available online at

Behind the scenes at Paisley Town Hall – Paisley Photographs

Paisley Town Hall will be ‘an even bigger asset than before’ when it reopens after a £2.36m refurbishment next month.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan scaled the heights of the iconic clocktower for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the work.

This was a one-off opportunity to see up close some of the features of the town hall, long regarded as one of the finest 19th-century buildings in Renfrewshire.

(Image rights of Renfrewshire Council, not to be used without permission)

After checking out the restoration work and speaking to the project team, Councillor Macmillan said: “The town hall will become an even bigger asset to Paisley when it reopens in May.

“We are investing in our architectural and cultural heritage as a step towards the economic regeneration of our town centres.

“Aside from the restoration of a much-loved building, the project is also generating work opportunities for young people as apprentices.”

The new venue will be fully accessible for people with disabilities and will be a top entertainment, wedding and conference, venue.

A remodelled foyer, and the creation of new interior space from the existing cloisters, will provide space for customers to relax and access information on what to see and do in Renfrewshire using the new interactive screens.

The restoration work will provide the town hall with a makeover in time to play host to the Mòd in October 2013.

The town hall is currently closed for events, but open for bookings. Customers can have restricted access to view the building prior to making a booking. The new town hall reception number is now 0141 618 5041.

I am sure you will agree that these Paisley Photographs are simply stunning and from a unique angle.