1 exterior high st

The first images showing how a vacant former retail unit at the heart of Paisley’s High Street will be turned into a 21st-century community facility housing library services are today revealed.

1 exterior high st

Construction will start soon on the £7m Paisley Learning and Cultural Hub – a new modern community and educational facility which will bring new footfall to the town centre.

When it opens in summer 2021, the building will provide a new digitally-connected home for a range of services, including those currently offered at Paisley Central Library.

As the images released today show, that will include:

3 interior recption

– a comprehensive internal remodelling of the existing building, over four floors;

– an attractive ground-and-first-floor frontage with a modern look – which complements the High Street surroundings and preserves the historic features on the building’s upper floors;

– children’s library with areas for areas for reading, play, storytelling and learning;

4 interior childrens area

– IT areas and suite – offering free public digital access in the heart of the town centre

The new facility is the latest example of how Renfrewshire Council is helping repopulate the town’s High Street by finding new cultural and community uses for vacant retail property.

It follows Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High St museum store –which opened two years ago in the basement of the town’s former Littlewoods store.

2 section exterior

The four-floor unit at 22a High Street which will house the learning and cultural hub was last occupied by clothing chain Internacionale – but has been empty for a decade.

The work is part of a wider investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces which will see Paisley Museum transformed into a world-class home for the town’s internationally-significant collections, and Paisley Town Hall kept at the heart of local life as a landmark entertainment venue.

The project includes £1.5m funding from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and is being delivered on behalf of the council by hub West Scotland who have appointed Collective Architecture to create the new design and main contractor CCG to deliver the refurbishment.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, which will operate the facility, said: “We are delighted to be able to reveal these images, which show a modern and accessible community resource for people of all ages to learn and be inspired.

“We are putting the power of culture to change lives at the heart of everything we do – so putting a building offering library services at the heart of Paisley High Street is a bold statement of intent.

“The Learning and Cultural Hub will bring back into use a building which had been empty for some time, and had been allowed to deteriorate by previous owners.

“The future for Paisley town centre is in finding new ways to repopulate vacant retail units with cultural, leisure and community uses which will give people a reason to come into the town centre.

“As well as hosting library services, it will be able to host events and book readings – helping bring footfall into the High Street and supporting surrounding businesses.”

Iain Marley, hub West’s CEO said: “We are delighted to partner with Renfrewshire Council and lead the delivery of this very important project.

“The council has a very clear and powerful vision for the role the Learning and Cultural Hub will play in the rejuvenation of the High Street and the benefits that the investment that it will bring for residents and visitors.

“We are proud to help make this vision a reality and ensure the project maximises employment, training and other opportunities for local communities and businesses.”

Paisley Central Library is currently operating from a temporary building next to the Lagoon Leisure Centre, having moved from its former home next to Paisley Museum in 2018.

Renfrewshire Heritage Library remains open at Abbey Mill and will move into the museum when it reopens in 2022.

The former Paisley Central Library building at the top of the High Street will form part of the expanded Paisley Museum when it reopens in 2022.

For more information see www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisley

PAC Guide Launch

THE world premiere of John Byrne’s new play, Underwood Lane is one of the highlights of a packed programme of music, theatre, comedy, dance and literature coming to Renfrewshire in the next few months.

PAC Guide Launch

The musical play set in Paisley tells the story of a young skiffle band trying to make the big time.

Artist and playwright, Byrne has written Underwood Lane in memory of his close friend and fellow Buddie, singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty who died nine years ago this month.

PAC Guide Launch

Byrne is one of Scotland’s most talented artists and writers and is best known for his paintings, theatrical masterpieces like The Slab Boys Trilogy and the hit TV shows, Tutti Frutti and Your Cheatin’ Heart.

The play – a co-production from Renfrewshire Leisure and Glasgow’s Tron Theatre – is being premiered at Paisley Arts Centre between Thursday, June 25 and Sunday, June 28. This will be the last show at Paisley Arts Centre before it closes for refurbishment this summer.

PAC Guide Launch

More information about the Underwood Road performances and a host of other events, shows and performances being staged in Renfrewshire are featured in the recently-published What’s On booklet, The Guide for Spring 2020.

The Guide – available to download from www.renfrewshireleisure.com or picked up from all Renfrewshire Leisure sports facilities and venues – details how there is something for everyone when it comes to entertainment, events and stimulating talks and classes at local venues.

There is a strong programme for families including The Shark in the Park Musical show, based on the popular Nick Sharratt’s children’s books, which is being staged at Johnstone Town Hall, on Wednesday February 26.

Children and adults will also be able to enjoy the Easter Fun Day with circus-themed activities along with arts and crafts, at Johnstone Town Hall, on Saturday, April 11.

A not-to-be-missed theatre performance from Arabella Weir, star of TV’s The Fast Show and Two Doors Down, is at Paisley Arts Centre, on Friday, March 27. A best-selling author and actor, Arabella’s show is called Does My Mum Loom Big In This? as she takes to the stage to describe some hilarious anecdotes from her dysfunctional childhood.

Traditional Celtic music at its best can be heard when The Tannahill Weavers play Paisley Arts Centre on Saturday, February 15. And the Scottish Alternative Music Awards return to Paisley Arts Centre for the third year, on Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14.

For the first time a Paisley Book Festival is being held at various venues between Thursday, February 20 and Saturday, February 29 with the central theme of Radical Voices and Rebel Stories.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We have a wonderful array of entertainment and events planned for the next few months.

“We’re really excited about the world premiere of John Byrne’s Underwood Lane, which is a play written by a Paisley Buddie, about Paisley and being performed for the first time in Paisley. I’m sure the shows will be a sell-out.

“There’s definitely something for everyone in the latest issue of The Guide whether its music, theatre, dance, children’s entertainment or literature that people enjoy.”

YSOC

A survey has been launched seeking the views of Paisley town centre residents and visitors following a six-week intervention designed to build safer and stronger communities.

Link: socsi.in/Follow_up_survey_for_Paisley_town_centre_7fejpsocsi.in/Follow_up_survey_for_Paisley_town_centre_7fejp

YSOC

Led by Police Scotland, the Your Home, Your Street, Our Community programme is supported by Renfrewshire Council, Engage Renfrewshire, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Renfrewshire Leisure and the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, alongside Paisley First, and sets out to tackle the issues that matter to local residents.

Police at Paisley Abbey

A survey was carried out inviting local people and businesses to have their say on how to make Paisley town centre safer and an action plan was devised to tackle the main issues.

This was the first time that the initiative had tackled a town centre which brought fresh challenges for the working group having previously worked in wider community areas.

It addressed perceived problems including antisocial behaviour, drug offences and night-time safety, with actions such as additional police and warden patrols, mobile CCTV, taxi marshalling at weekends and enforcement action to tackle illegal parking.

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Falconer, Renfrewshire & Inverclyde Division said: “The Paisley town centre initiative is an excellent example of how partnership working can benefit the entire community.

“We listened to what the people of Paisley have raised as their main issues to date and over the past few weeks have addressed many of those concerns.

“We have provided high visibility patrols to reassure and offer advice and guidance to local residents around specific issues such as personal safety and antisocial behaviour.

“We would encourage anyone living or visiting Paisley town centre to continue to let us know of any concerns they have, in order that we help make Paisley town centre a safer place for all.”

Paisley town centre is the latest area to benefit from the programme following successful interventions in Shortroods, Erskine, Ferguslie and Gallowhill, where the work carried out noted a significant decrease in the issues initially identified by residents in those areas.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “This campaign has made a fantastic difference in a number of communities in Renfrewshire which had been facing issues affecting the safety of people in the area – and Paisley town centre was the latest.

“All the partners involved in the project worked hard to listen to what local people told us were the main issues and implemented actions to make a difference.

“We’ve seen a visible change in to the town centre, but we want to know what local people think as we evaluate the campaign and plan our ongoing support to maintain any improvements.

“Please fill out the survey and let us know how you thought the campaign went and what Paisley town centre is like today.”

Anyone can take part in the survey, which closes at midnight on Sunday 26 January, at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/YourHomeYourStreet.

Paisley Museum

Plans to completely transform Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor destination telling the town’s unique stories including that of the globally admired, Paisley pattern, have taken a major step forward as The National Lottery Heritage Fund today announced £3.83million support for the project.

Paisley Museum

The four buildings which make up Scotland’s first municipal museum, including the country’s first public observatory, will be ambitiously re-designed and extended by an award-winning international team, including  the architects AL_A and exhibition designers Opera Amsterdam, to create an exciting new experience for visitors.

Paisley Museum

The new, contemporary galleries and exhibitions will double the number of objects on display and be fully accessible so that visitors can explore the town’s rich heritage and its part in the story of the famous teardrop Paisley pattern textile, from the shawls of Kashmir to the haute couture of rock stars. Inspiring learning zones, improved social spaces, a new cafe, shop and cloakroom facilities will add to the Museum’s appeal, as will a new, welcoming entrance surrounded by a courtyard and gardens.

Paisley Museum

The revamped museum is forecast to attract 125,000 visits a year, almost four times the current numbers, and create a £79m economic boost over 30 years. It is the cornerstone of Renfrewshire Council’s vision to bring new life to the town through investment in heritage and culture. This has included the opening of the UK’s first publicly accessible high street museum store, Paisley: The Secret Collection,  and the conservation and repair of key buildings which make up the town’s historic core through a scheme funded with £2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“This project has been driven by the passion of the Paisley community to put their unique heritage on an international stage. With the help of National Lottery funding, new life will be breathed into these heritage buildings giving Paisley’s wonderful textiles and other treasures the prominence they deserve, while also bringing a new confidence to the town.”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, said: “We want to thank everyone connected to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their fantastic support.

“It will help us deliver a world-class museum which will take the town’s unique and fascinating stories to new audiences, showcase Paisley’s internationally-significant collections, and bring new life and footfall to the wider area.

“It will create a new accessible hub at the heart of life in the town for the local community – local groups are already co-producing the incredible stories which will populate the reopened museum, and we look forward to continuing to work with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and others over the years ahead to deliver on that.”

The new museum is expected to open in 2022.

Paisley-First-Three-for-FREE-1920x1080px-05-11-19

Paisley First is calling on members of the public to show their backing for their Free for Three campaign in an effort to have it rolled out across the town! 

Paisley-First-Three-for-FREE-1920x1080px-05-11-19

The Paisley town centre Business Improvement District launched a campaign calling on Renfrewshire Council to offer free parking for three hours within Paisley town centre Mondays to Fridays, at the end of 2018. 

As a result, a Free for Three pilot project is in place in six car parks – Hunter Street Upper, Hunter Street Lower, Oakshaw, Orchard Street, School Wynd and Weighhouse Close. 

Chair of Paisley First, Colette Cardosi, said:” The pilot scheme is scheduled to run until the end of January 2020 and feedback will be crucial to our campaign to have Free for Three rolled out across the town centre on a permanent basis. 

“If we can achieve this, then visitors to the town will be entitled to three hours free parking Monday – Saturday in all council owned car parks, which will also help to put town centre businesses on a level playing field with places like Braehead and the Wallneuk Retail Park who both offer free parking. 

“With visitor attractions such as Paisley Museum and Paisley Town Hall also now closed for a number of years for refurbishment, it is crucial that the negative impacts felt by local businesses are mitigated against. 

“Feedback from both visitors and local businesses alike has shown that time-limited free parking can make a difference in encouraging more people into Paisley town centre. 

“If we can have it rolled out throughout the town centre on a permanent basis, this could be a real game-changer for Paisley.” 

Whilst not part of Paisley First’s Free for Three Campaign, Renfrewshire Council decided to reintroduce charges on Saturdays in all council-owned car parks, apart from the six pilot car parks which still offer the first three hours free, as analysis has shown a lack of availability of spaces in the town centre with many people using it as a park and ride facility. 

The on-street parking areas that were free on Saturdays are still free, you can also get three hours free in the pilot scheme car parks, and the large car park at the council’s HQ is still free all day on a Saturday too. 

Members of the public can complete a short paper survey inside many of the town’s businesses, or complete an online version of the feedback survey via the Paisley First website www.paisleyfirst.com.

Paisley Halloween Festival

Paisley’s popular Halloween and Spree 2019 festivals delivered a £1.2million economic boost to Renfrewshire.

That’s according to the findings of independent assessments into the two October events, which also showed record numbers of people attended the festivals in 2019.

Paisley Halloween Festival

One of the largest events of its kind in the UK, the Dark Circus themed Paisley Halloween Festival attracted 41,000 people across the two-days – up 17% on 2018. The event was delivered alongside internationally-acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou.

More than 350 costumed performers and community groups took part in the Mardi Gras style parade, the centrepiece of the festival, which wound its way through the town centre. The parade also featured fantastic, giant lion and elephant floats, ferocious fire performers, creepy clowns and curious creatures, to delight the gathered crowds.

Gerry Rafferty Song Book

Twenty six percent of attendees to the Halloween festival were from outside Renfrewshire demonstrating the popularity and stellar programme of the free, family-friendly activities on offer.

The Paisley Halloween Festival was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland for the 2019 event.

Brickz4kids

The festival delivered £824,250 to the local economy with local businesses benefiting from the high number of visitors in the town that weekend.

Paisley Halloween Festival scooped the Best Cultural Event or Festival at the 2019/20 Scottish Thistle Awards West Scotland regional finals and will now go on to compete in the prestigious national final on March 5, 2020.

Glasvagas

The Spree also delivered impressive results for the area. More than 12,000 festival-goers turned out to enjoy the diverse range of acts in the stunning Salon Perdu Spiegeltent in Paisley’s County Square – allowing for more people to enjoy the performances.

The numbers also add up, with a £411,000 total economic boost from the 10-day music, arts and cultural festival.

Paisley Halloween Festival

The Spree 2019 saw record ticket sales with music and comedy fans being treated to sell-out shows from Hue and Cry, Glasvegas, The Snuts, Jerry Sadowitz and spectacular performances from Soul legend PP Arnold, Hayseed Dixie, Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys, Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook and two Friday comedy nights compered by Fred MacAulay and Scott Gibson.

The festival was programmed by Regular Music and sponsored by Tennent’s Lager.

There was also a packed Wee Spree programme for kids during the school holidays with 2,822 people heading along to enjoy the events – the highest number of attendees on record for the event.

The festival also provided a boost to local traders with many festival-goers choosing to Spend Local and sample the great bars, restaurants and cafes in the area.

Jacqueline McCaig, owner of The Old Swan Inn which hosted the Spree Festival Club of daily events during the festival, said: “We absolutely loved hosting the Spree Festival Club at The Old Swan – it was a fantastic week of live music. The pub was really busy with a great atmosphere and a great mix of customers old and new, who came to see what the Festival Club was all about and enjoy the variety of talent we had on show.”

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 the positive impact these major events have on the local economy and local businesses.

“We’re continuing to work with partners to offer a fantastic calendar of events to attract residents and visitors from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“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 one of Scotland’s top visitor destination.”

Entrance to Glen Cinema

“I remember I didn’t want to go that day,” said Emily Brown (95) – one of hundreds of children who attended Paisley’s Glen Cinema 90 years ago today for a packed matinee performance that ended in tragedy – forever remembered by survivors as Paisley’s ‘Black Hogmanay’.

Entrance to Glen Cinema

The Glen Cinema tragedy took place on 31 December 1929 when a smoking film canister caused a panic during a packed children’s matinee where more than 600 children were present. The main exit doors had a metal gate that had been pulled shut stopping it from opening leading to a crush where 71 children died, and more than 30 children were injured.

Survivors Robert Pope and Emily Brown at 90th anniversary service 7 Dec

Robert Pope (97), had got up that morning and asked his mother for some jars to exchange for money so he could go to the pictures with seven of his friends.

Like so many children at the time, Robert and Emily were sent out the house to the cinema on Hogmanay to allow their parents to get the house cleaned and ready for the new year. They took their seats in the crowded theatre, sang their song and settled down to watch the new cowboy movie Dude Desperado.

During the picture a film cannister was placed on a heated surface and started to smoke up – leading to the panic and stampede which followed.

Boys Brigade march past picture house at funeral

“I was there with my older sister Jean (10) and younger sister May (3) – we heard someone shout ‘fire’ and started to head for the exit. There was screaming and shouting, and people were pushing and trampling you and you were trampling on others trying to get out.”

“I remember some people jumped over the balcony or onto the stage to try to get out. I was separated from my sisters in the panic – I remember someone smashed a window and a fireman helped get me out.”

Emily’s aunt later found her wandering down Glasgow Road and took her home to her mother in Hunter Street. Her sisters Jean and May were already there and had managed to stay together during the chaos.

“I think my mother gave us all an extra cuddle that night,” said Emily.

“I don’t remember much about it,” said Robert. “I think my guardian angel watched out for me that day.

“When the panic started, I just remember something came over me and I stayed in my seat and didn’t move. I don’t remember much else until later when a fireman was clearing the hall, he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was waiting for the picture to come back on and he told me to head home to my mother and that the film wouldn’t be coming back on.

“My friends saw that I never came out and had told my mother I was still there, and she was getting ready to go up to the hospital to try and find me. As she opened the door, I was walking up the stairs and I remember the look of relief on her face. I think that saved her from the traumatic experience of seeing the children who had been killed and injured in the cinema at the hospital.”

Robert’s friend, William Spiers, who had sat beside him and fled during the panic did not survive the crush that day.

When news of the disaster spread through the town the entire community went to the Glen Cinema to try and help get the children out. Emily’s mother was one of those who pulled children from the cinema and loaded the injured onto trams for the hospital – not knowing if her children were safe or injured or worse. Emily’s mother was the only resident from Hunter Street who didn’t lose someone that day.

The funerals of all 71 children took place in early January of 1930. The town came to a standstill to pay their respects to those who died – everyone turned out including the hospital staff who treated victims and survivors and the Boys Brigade – who walked in the funeral procession. The children were laid to rest in Hawkhead Cemetery where a memorial still stands to remember all the victims of the Glen Cinema disaster.

News of the disaster was far-reaching with letters of condolence being sent to the town from people across the globe. The impacts were global as well – as the Cinematograph Act 1909 was then amended to ensure all cinemas had more exits, that doors opened outwards and were fitted with push bars. A limitation was also placed on the capacity of cinemas and a requirement for an appropriate number of adult attendants to be present to ensure the safety of children.

The Glen Cinema survivors and their families continue to commemorate the disaster every Hogmanay alongside members of the local community. They gather at 11am at the Cenotaph in Paisley town centre where they lay a wreath for those who lost their lives that day.

The Glen Cinema disaster of 1929 is considered one of Scotland’s worst human tragedies.

Reclaim the Night march1

Renfrewshire Council has become one of the first local authorities in Scotland to formally introduce a domestic abuse policy for staff.

Reclaim the Night march1

The policy demonstrates the Council’s commitment to a zero tolerance approach to all forms of abuse – psychological and physical – and shows its support for all employees impacted by domestic abuse, past or present.

Employees who are victims of domestic abuse are now able to request special paid leave to receive necessary support and attend any relevant appointments.

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, in the UK in any one year, more than 20 per cent of employed women take time off work because of domestic abuse and two per cent lose their jobs as a direct result.

Commission figures also reveal that 75 per cent of women who experience domestic abuse are targeted at work – from harassing phone calls and abusive partners arriving at the office unannounced, to physical assaults.

The Renfrewshire Council policy provides guidance for any employees who are living with domestic abuse and employees who suspect that work colleagues may be suffering. It also outlines the steps supervisors and managers should take to support colleagues who choose to speak out about their abuse and who are seeking help.

Domestic abuse policy champions are being introduced at a senior level across the organisation.

Councillor John Shaw said: “As a local authority, it’s vital that we recognise the devastating impact domestic abuse has on individuals and families.

“As one of the first local authorities in Scotland to adopt this approach, we want to send a clear message that we will support anyone affected by domestic abuse.

“We are working towards creating a safe and supportive environment which encourages employees to report all forms of harm.

“By putting a policy in place, we are ensuring the correct support is available to staff who may be directly affected and creating a clear reporting route for anyone who may have concerns about the wellbeing of one of their colleagues.

“We hope that the introduction of this policy raises awareness that there are formal procedures in place and helps colleagues to feel that they can approach domestic abuse policy champions for support and advice.”

Renfrewshire Council has also been working closely with UK domestic abuse charity SafeLives to support the implementation of the new policy.

Liz Thompson, director of external relations at SafeLives, said: “Domestic abuse is everybody’s business and this includes employers. We know that more than two million adults experience domestic abuse each year. It is something that will impact upon almost every workplace.

“Employers are well placed to spot the signs in colleagues but without the right training, leadership and guidance, it can be hard to know what to do.

“We’re so pleased to see Renfrewshire Council committing to this policy, breaking the silence on domestic abuse and supporting all staff and colleagues to get the help and support they need.”

The policy has been agreed and developed in partnership with trade unions and complies with relevant legislation,  including the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and Equally Safe – Scotland’s Strategy for Preventing and Eradicating Violence Against Women and Girls provided by the Scottish Government and its partners.

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 covers not only spouses, civil partners and cohabitants but also people in intimate personal relationships who do not live together, and as well as physical abuse, it covers other forms of psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour.

Glasgow Airport exterior

 

  • More than 260,000 passengers expected to travel through the airport during the festive period 

 

 

Glasgow Airport is preparing for a busy festive period as hundreds of thousands of travellers take to the skies over the Christmas holidays.

Glasgow Airport exterior

More than 260,000 people are expected to pass through the airport over the next two weeks (Friday, December 20 – Friday, January 3) with many heading for some winter sun to destinations including the Canary Islands, Dubai, Malaga and Alicante, or city and ski breaks to Dublin, London, Frankfurt, Geneva and Grenoble.

 

Many passengers who live and work elsewhere in the UK or overseas will also make their way home to celebrate Christmas and New Year with friends and relatives.

 

Today is expected to be the busiest with more than 20,000 passengers travelling through the airport. On Christmas Day almost 2500 passengers will travel on 14 flights between Glasgow and Amsterdam, London and Dubai. 

 

In the run up to the busy festive getaway, Glasgow Airport would like to reminding travellers to pack their Christmas gifts carefully, and to place them in their hold luggage rather than carry them as hand luggage where possible. Passengers should also check with their airlines if they are permitted to take Christmas crackers, which if being carried as hand luggage must remain in their original packing.

 

Mark Johnston, Managing Director at Glasgow Airport, said: “Christmas and New Year is always special and there’s certainly a feel-good atmosphere in the terminal as thousands of passengers travel through the airport to be with their loved ones. 


“It’s also a particularly busy time in the terminal for our staff, airlines partners, caterers, retailers and baggage handlers, who are all gearing up to welcome thousands of passengers keen to get home for the holidays.   

 

“Our advice to everyone – whether they are travelling home or jetting off for a winter break – is to double check that all liquids carried in hand luggage are within the 100ml limit. This includes presents such as toiletries and alcohol.

“To be on the safe side, and to help reduce waiting times at security, we recommend that all of our passengers pack their gifts in their hold luggage where possible. If carrying gifts in hand luggage, we would ask passengers not to wrap them until they have reached their destination as our security procedures may require that they be searched. 

 

“On behalf of everyone at Glasgow Airport, I would like to wish our passengers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year when it comes.”

Catherine McAtier, Josef McFadden, Carolyn Edmondson, Emma Owen, Council Leader Iain Nicolson, Dominic Snyder, Jane Dixon, Gillian Steel and Chloe Wright (1)

A new creative hub on Paisley High Street is encouraging everyone to make-do-and-mend.

But far from being the frugal war-time message, fashion and textile experts at ReMode are inspiring people to tailor their favourite clothes to meet the latest trends and protect the environment.

Catherine McAtier, Josef McFadden, Carolyn Edmondson, Emma Owen, Council Leader Iain Nicolson, Dominic Snyder, Jane Dixon, Gillian Steel and Chloe Wright (1)

ReMode recently opened its town centre premise thanks to support from Renfrewshire Council’s creative hub development fund, which enables creative companies to co-locate and collaborate.

The social enterprise, founded in 2017 – receives funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund – and now has premises in Paisley and Lochwinnoch, each selling second-hand and upcycled clothing.

And the dedicated staff team also run sewing workshops and a school education programme highlighting the environmental impacts of the fashion and textile industry.

Project Manager Jane Dixon, a Fine Art graduate with 25 years in arts administration, says: “Our whole ethos is can we make clothes last longer as they are an amazing, valuable resource – you can buy second-hand, you can swap, you can alter or mend the clothes you have. Whatever you want to do, we’re here to help you.

“It’s really exciting being here on the high street as people are popping in and we’re able to have conversations about why we’re here and what issues we’re highlighting. We’re not just a shop; we’re here to talk about the positive things people can do to reduce the impact our fashion choices have on the environment.”

The Paisley premise is also home to clothing and accessory print designer Josef McFadden, who converts his hand-drawn illustrations onto ties, bow ties, hats and scarves; Paisley-born embroiderer Catherine McAtier and local textile designer Chloe Wright, owner of Loopy Lally Designs. They have all benefited from the Council’s InCube Creative programme, which helps people turn their talent into a sustainable business.

Jane added: “There’s no way we would have had the confidence to take on a high street premise, let alone welcome other businesses into the fold, if we hadn’t had the support of Renfrewshire Council. It feels like we’ve made a really big leap and someone is here holding our hand. There’s now lots of different opportunities for us to explore and we are in a strong position to grow.

“I’m relatively new to working in Paisley, but what has struck me is how strongly the people in Paisley feel about Paisley. There’s a strong sense of community pride. The maker community is also really strong and there’s a bit of a vibe going on, which is very exciting to be a part of.”

Emma Owen, 27, has just joined ReMode as its Programme Assistant, and having re-located to Paisley from Inverness, is excited about being a part of the local creative network.

She said: “In the short time I’ve worked here I feel part of a community, it’s nice to meet people and see how excited they are that there’s something like this in Paisley.

“Make-do-and-mend is back and what’s great is being able to share skills with people and learn from others who come in to see us too as we all need to go back to a place where we share our skills with one another. Paisley is up-and-coming and things are happening on the High Street which will make people proud to live here.”

ReMode is the second business to benefit from the Council fund, following furniture upcycling business UpHub opening its Paisley high street hub earlier this year. Plans are in place to establish up to 12 hubs by 2021, each with a different creative focus.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s great to see ReMode open its new Paisley premises and I look forward to seeing them and all the creative companies based here go from strength-to-strength over the coming years. The work the ReMode team do is really important, giving people important life skills like sewing and helping us as consumers to make small changes which make a big difference.

“We have so many creative and innovative people in Renfrewshire making unique products and our creative hub development fund is there to help them achieve their goal of turning their talent into a viable business, giving them the platform to sell their products on our local high streets.

“Our business development team have the knowledge and expertise to support creative companies to achieve sustainable growth and in the last four years alone have helped more than 100 creative start-ups. I’d encourage creative entrepreneurs to get in touch and see how we can help them achieve their ambitions and make Renfrewshire the place of choice for creative businesses.”

For more information about our creative hubs, call InCube on 0300 300 1180.

Case study – Made in Renfrewshire

Josef McFadden may hail from Northern Ireland, but his creative business is made in Renfrewshire.

The 27-year-old moved to Paisley in 2017, via a pit-stop in the Scottish Borders, to complete the Council’s InCube Creative programme – helping people turn their talent into a sustainable business.

Josef, a clothing and accessory print designer, converts his hand-drawn illustrations into menswear products, including ties, bow ties, hats and scarves.

“My business is much bigger since I moved to Paisley,” says Josef. “The InCube programme was fantastic and through that I got a lot of support from Business Gateway and mentoring help. I learned lots, how to run a business for yourself and to think much more commercially. That’s been the biggest change in my business thanks to the programme.”

Originally aiming to be a portrait painter before discovering textiles, Josef has now moved into studio space at ReMode on Paisley High Street, the latest creative hub to open in Renfrewshire.

Fashion-focused ReMode sell second-hand and upcycled clothing and run sewing workshops together with an engagement programme to highlight the environmental impacts of the fashion and textile industry.

It’s a cause Josef is excited to be a part of. He said: “All of my products are sourced in the UK, handmade to the highest standards and all without oil or gas in the print production process. I work with an ethical, sustainable designer in North Berwick who takes my off-cuts and I’m keen to do more to support sustainability and contribute to the work ReMode are doing.

“It’s a lonely life when you’re self-employed, so it’s nice to be in a shared studio setting where you can come in, see other faces and throw ideas off one another. And it’s really beneficial to have 24-hour access, as well as space to work and to store my collections.”