Lily the frog with joke book

It’s time for youngsters to join the Silly Squad this summer.

All kinds of daftness is the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge and children between the ages of four and 11 are being encouraged to sign up for a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter.

Lily the frog with joke book

The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends who love to go on adventures and read all kinds of humorous books. This year’s Reading Challenge also features characters designed by the award-winning author and illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson who created books like Amelia Fang and Evil Emperor Penguin.

The challenge runs from now until August 15 and to join all you have to do is visit www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk where you’ll find the link to the Silly Squad website. Parents or carers will need to give consent for children to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.

Once registered, youngsters can set their own personal reading challenge and the website helps keep track of their books, reviews and the rewards for reading books during the summer.

Lily the frog with joke book

The website is also packed with suggestions of brilliant books to read and tips on how to keep reading over the summer. There will also be heaps of super silly activities, quizzes, videos and games to keep children entertained.

Youngsters can also tune into the #ScottishSillySquad on YouTube where every week three authors and storytellers will broadcast their tips on how best to enjoy and complete the Summer Reading Challenge.

A wide variety of children’s books and e-books can be borrowed for free with library membership. To do that, or to join a library, just go to the Renfrewshire Libraries website.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “Reading should be fun for children and that’s exactly what this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is.

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“Last year more than 2000 young people took part in our reading challenge and even though we have been in lockdown in recent months, we’re making sure children don’t miss out on the joy of books this year.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is being organised by Renfrewshire Libraries and the Reading Agency with the aim of getting youngsters to read books during the summer break.

Renfrewshire Libraries have now re-opened for click and collect and returning books only. For more information go to www.renfrewshireleisure.com.

paisley arts institute

25 July – 6 September 2020

Launch Event SAT 25 July 4pm on www.paisleyartinstitute.org (All welcome)

This year, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the much-anticipated Paisley Art Institute Open Annual Exhibition, the 132nd edition no less, will take the form of an online presentation for the first time in our history.  The 132nd PAI Annual Online goes live on www.paisleyartinstitute.org on Saturday 25 July and continues online until Saturday 6 September 2020.

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These unparalleled circumstances offer Paisley Art Institute a pivotal opportunity to embrace something of the scale and excitement of presenting one of Scotland’s longest running annual exhibitions in a gallery setting whilst reimagining what artists and visitors might experience of the PAI Annual in an online environment.

We had an overwhelming response to our open call for submissions. From an open call, we received 628 entries. Just over 60% of artworks submitted were from Open Entrants. Undeterred by showing work in a virtual rather than physical setting, exhibiting artists invite us to consider themes that have been felt universally in 2020: human connection, a love of nature, the turbulent times we live in to name but a few.  Artists showing work come from across Scotland and further afield. The Annual Online will display work by artists at all stages of their careers including submissions from highly regarded artists who are Paisley Art Institute Diplomates including, Charles JamiesonJames CosgroveRobert Murray and Gail Murray, who have embraced the opportunity to show work on this virtual platform.  

With its rich tradition and history as one of Scotland’s longest running exhibitions, ‘porting’ the PAI Annual online has been a fascinating challenge which presented us too with a unique opportunity to reflect on the cultural heritage of Paisley.  In the 1820s the Jacquard loom was being used to propel Paisley as a leading light in Scotland’s textiles industry.  The intricate punch card input method used laid the foundations of computer technology and ‘coding’ in particular – the building blocks of creating our online presentation.

We are delighted to have worked with Berlin-based Paisley Buddie Andrew Hopkins as our Digital Collaborator who has designed a bespoke series of virtual viewing rooms.  It has been important for Andrew to amplify the creative energy of his hometown, especially during lockdown when he is physically cut off from Scotland.  

A specially convened Selection Committee of PAI Artists Members chose work specifically with the online context in their sights.  Eòghann MacColla, Convenor of the Paisley Art Institute Exhibitions Hanging Committee said “It was a real pleasure for the selection team to review the works we received via the artists call out.  The quality of submissions has been so impressive and encompasses a wide range of techniques.  The process of selecting works for an online exhibition has been a fascinating challenge and a unique one. We are sure the range of work on display will bring some much-needed vibrancy, colour, and joy in 2020.  We hope the 132nd Paisley Art Institute Annual Online will also offer an opportunity to reflect on our collective experience of this pandemic through several pieces which deal very directly with the lockdown theme.  It has been humbling to see how a number of artists exhibiting in the 132nd PAI Annual Online have directly taken their experience of lockdown and used this time to make a personal creative response, exploring themes of personal wellbeing and our universal need for connection.

As you would expect a range of Paisley based artists are included in the 132nd PAI Annual Online, including:

  • Alexander Ramsay with his piece ‘Lockdown Fever’ – Alex was recognised with an award for his work during the 2019 PAI Open Annual exhibition
  • Caroline Gormley, PAI Vice President is exhibiting this year as is artist Sandy Guy who, with Caroline, is co-founder of the ‘Made in Paisley’ Studio and Gallery.
  • We are delighted to include examples of work by an up and coming generation of Paisley based artists such as Angela Pieraccini, who has lovely circular geometric works included. 
  • Paisley based painter and PAI Artist Committee Member, Moe Rocksmoore, presents her signature atmospheric skyscapes in this year’s Annual Online. 

Our universal experience of living through the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has unsurprisingly generated some highly creative responses.  Themes of self-care, wellbeing, isolation and connection and the familiar symbols of face coverings and rainbows all appear in the exhibition.  Participating artist, Wendy Greig, is a fulltime anaesthetic nurse in the NHS who paints and draws in her evenings and weekends. Describing her art practice as ‘a lifeline during the current crisis’. Her works are in soft pastel, portraits. 

 

Other examples of ‘crisis responsive’ artworks in the Annual Online include:

 

  • Ilona Dynowski Red run an almost apocalyptic street scene. 
  • Lynn Howarth’s portrait of a frontline worker wearing a mask
  • Boo Paterson ‘COVID Old Glory’ our poster image for the PAI exhibition in 2020. 
  • Former PAI Vice President Al Strachan and his colourful collages relating to being housebound and Zoom
  • John Andrew’s Lockdown work, ‘Joan in a mask’. John discovered his passion for visual art ‘later in life’.  He has natural talent and flair for painting and drawing and is returning to exhibit with PAI after first doing so in 2019.

 

This year for the first time ever, the Paisley Art Institute website will host an online shop, where much of the artwork on display will be available to purchase during the duration of the exhibition.

Renfrewshire's libraries

It was one for the record books as avid reader Ann Clark was the first person to visit Johnstone Library after it re-opened after months of lockdown.

The sprightly 77-year-old was at the head of the queue before the library opened at 10am to return 15 books and borrow another nine books to keep up with her favourite pastime of reading.

Renfrewshire's libraries

As she clutched her latest supply of books outside Johnstone Library, Ann, from Kilbarchan said:

“Being able to visit the library was the thing I missed most during lockdown. I’ve loved reading since I was a young girl and I always had my nose in a book.

“I was overjoyed when I heard the library was reopening, as I visit the library twice a week and I must be their most regular customer.”

Ann whose favourite books are romance novels and wartime stories added: “When the library was closed over the past few months I got books from friends and I even read some books twice.”

All 12 Renfrewshire Leisure libraries re-opened yesterday (Monday) for members to return titles and pick up books they had ordered by phone or online by click and collect.

The move comes after the Scottish Government last week gave the go-ahead for libraries to open as part of the move into Phase 3 of the route map out of the coronavirus pandemic.

To keep both staff and the public safe, only one customer at a time will be alllowed into a library to drop off books, or collect pre-ordered books and face coverings should be worn inside the building.

It has also been decided that there won’t be any fines for people returning overdue books.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We encourage people of all ages to read books, as it brings enjoyment and knowledge into our lives.

“Libraries have always been an important resource in our community and it’s brilliant to be able to open up our libraries again and provide a vital service to the public.

“Due to the current coronaviris guidelines from the Scottish Government we will have to operate our libraries in a different way for the time being. But I’m sure our customers will understand and we thank them for their patience and willingness to abide by these guidelines as we welcome them back.”

Renfrewshire’s libraries are at: Bishopton; Bridge of Weir; Erskine; Ferguslie; Foxbar; Glenburn; Johnstone; Lochwinnoch; Linwood; Paisley Central Library; Ralston and Renfrew.

Books can be reserved online at www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk or by telephone on 0300 300 1188.

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Renfrewshire Council will not be progressing with the remainder of its events programme this year, as part of ongoing measures to help to manage the coronavirus pandemic and minimise the risk of local outbreaks.

The decision, which was confirmed at the Council’s Emergencies Board, means that the Paisley fireworks and Christmas lights switch-on events in Paisley, Renfrew and Johnstone will not be going ahead in 2020.

Paisley Xmas Lights 16.11.19-3639

Currently a ban on mass gatherings is in place across Scotland and when lifted it is expected that restrictions will remain in place for some time, including physical distancing measures and advice to avoid crowded places. The decision not to run the winter programme, which attracts tens of thousands annually, also takes into account the lengthy planning time required to safely organise major events.

Christmas Lights will still be displayed across Renfrewshire and work is ongoing with local organisations to plan activities that will safely attract footfall and visitors to Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew over the festive period, including boosting the council’s Spend Local campaign to encourage people to shop local and support local traders and high streets.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “I know this will be disappointing news for everyone who supports and attends our popular winter programme and we are sorry that these events cannot go ahead this year. I hope everyone will understand that we must put public health first and will do everything we can to be back in 2021.

“Scottish Government guidance currently prevents mass gatherings from taking place and since we announced the cancellation of our summer and autumn programme, major events and festivals across the country have continued to be cancelled. Even if the restrictions due to coronavirus were relaxed, physical distancing measures are likely to remain in place for some time to ensure we do not experience local outbreaks and a further lockdown.

“Our major events take months of extensive planning and organising – and with uncertainty over how and when they can return, we have to take this difficult, but prudent decision now.

“We are proud of the social and economic impacts the events programme contributes to our communities – and we will continue to focus on delivering a fantastic events programme in 2021, working closely with national bodies and following public health advice.”

The Council is continuing to work closely with businesses across Renfrewshire to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and support reopening, with the announcement of a £1.3m package of support to help local businesses get back on their feet.

Renfrewshire Council advises everyone to stay safe and continue to follow the national guidance on coronavirus set out by the Scottish Government.

For the latest local updates, visit our ‘Information, help and guidance on Coronavirus’ webpage here: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

chivas

A Paisley site of strategic importance for Renfrewshire’s long-term economic and community development is to be brought into public ownership.

Renfrewshire Council has agreed terms to conclude its purchase of the bulk of the 24-acre site at Renfrew Road from Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers. It is anticipated ownership of the site will transfer to the Council later this year.

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Bringing the site into public ownership will allow the Council to explore a range of possible development opportunities, including new transport links, economic and community uses, supporting the region’s economic recovery from the impact of Coronavirus.

Situated to the north of the town centre, the sizeable site sits between West College Scotland’s Paisley campus and Abbotsinch Retail Park, with the White Cart river to the west.

The Council is exploring options for an economic development corridor along the White Cart, improving connections from Paisley town centre to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland under development next to Glasgow Airport.

The Chivas Brothers land has been identified as a possible site for a new Paisley Grammar School, with a public consultation to take place at a future date.

The remainder of the site is being purchased by Scottish Leather Group, which is converting the North Hall into a new car seat upholstery facility as the UK’s largest leather manufacturer expands its Renfrewshire operations, bringing with it a further 100 high-skilled jobs.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the local, national and global economies and we must be ready and able to tackle the social and economic harm now and in the months ahead.

“We have awarded more than £25million in government grants to businesses to provide immediate support and have consulted with more than 500 businesses and enterprise and education leaders as we develop a roadmap for Renfrewshire’s economic recovery, with a central focus on retaining and creating jobs.

“I am pleased that, following detailed negotiations with Chivas Brothers over the last two years, we have been able to conclude a contract for the future purchase of this site. Securing its public ownership will enable us to consider a range of development opportunities which support long-term growth of the local economy and bring benefits to the surrounding communities.

“The Chivas Brothers site provided many local jobs over the years and I am pleased that while one chapter is closing, this purchase will ensure the site continues to play a vital role in the region’s future for many years to come.”

Iain McFadyen, CEO of Scottish Leather Group said: “We are extremely pleased to have secured the North Hall part of the Chivas Brothers site which will allow us to expand our operations in Renfrewshire. The site will initially employ 100 people cutting leather for premium automotive interiors.”

Jean-Christophe Coutures, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “We are delighted to have confirmed the sale of our Paisley site to Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Leather Group. Together they bring significant opportunity to the local area, with the latter creating 100 new high-skilled jobs.

“The site has played an important role in the local community for many years, so we’re pleased this sale will allow it to continue to leave a positive economic and cultural legacy in Paisley.”

MFG Intu Braehead reopens 2020

SHOPPERS got some retail therapy at intu Braehead yesterday after months of lockdown.

Visitors headed to the mall an hour before the official opening time of 10am as non-essential stores reopened for the first time since March 24 following lockdown restrictions being eased.

MFG Intu Braehead reopens 2020

People coming to the mall followed the new measures and procedures introduced by intu Braehead to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The plan drawn up to keep everyone who visits or works there safe included social distancing and hygiene procedures and more support to help stores safely reopen.

It included a raft of other measures with floor stickers indicating a one-way system for visitors making their way through the centre and staff training to ensure visitors stay socially distanced.

Visitors were also required to wear face coverings in line with Scottish government instructions.

Peter Beagley, regional centre director for intu Braehead said: “We were pleased to see that everyone supported the measures we had put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

One of the first through the doors at intu Braehead were Anna Gorska, 35; her seven-year-old daughter Maja and friend Marzena Marcinczyk, 33, from Govan, in Glasgow.

Anna said: “We’ve really missed coming shopping at intu Braehead. We prefer to come to the shopping centre so we can see exactly what we are buying.

“We’re all going back to Poland later this month for a visit and we came early today in case there were any queues as we’re buying clothes for our holiday.”

People said they felt comfortable being in the centre with the health and safety measures put in place at the mall.

Audrey Stewart, from Bishopton said: “I definitely feel quite safe being in the centre with all the different procedures that’s been introduced and everything is well sign-posted.

“You just have to be a bit more observant when you’re walking around and everyone seems to be following what they’re being asked to do.”

Alan Reid, from Irvine, Ayrshire said: “With all the measures put in place I feel quite comfortable being here. The layout looks pretty good to me.”

Peter Beagley added: “It’s a great feeling being able to welcome people back to the centre and there has obviously been a big jump in footfall with most of our non-essential stores re-opening.

“We had remained partially open during lockdown for essential stores to stay open, but today now feels like we’re getting back to some kind of normality.

“We’ve made sure the centre is re-opening in line with the government’s guidelines and we’re doing everything we can to make sure intu Braehead is a safe place to visit and to work.

“It will be a different experience than usual for everyone who visits us, but it’s pleasing to see everyone following the guidelines we’ve put in place. Both our visitors and our staff are working together to keep each other safe and I would thank everyone for doing that.”

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Families and local residents in Renfrewshire are being urged to visit the Paisley.is website and steal back summer with great days out and activities available right on your doorstep.

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The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in changes to the way we live our daily lives in recent months – but as restrictions begin to ease, Renfrewshire’s destination brand Paisley.is aims to help locals get the most out of their summer holidays.

The Paisley.is website is a one-stop shop to see the best things to do across Renfrewshire, including spectacular outdoor spaces and undiscovered gems that can be enjoyed safely, in line with Scottish Government guidance.

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Visitors to the website will also be able to find a bucket list of fascinating blogs and local information, maps, activities and colourful ideas that children, families and local people can tick off over the summer months.

All the activities aim to help people keep fit and feel good while staying safe, learn new things about our area and provide things to do on a rainy day when you may not be able to enjoy the great outdoors.

Find out how you can steal back summer by visiting www.paisley.is/discover/steal-back-summer-with-paisley-is/.

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The last few months have been very difficult for everyone as we all deal with the impact of Covid19 on our daily lives. As measures begin to ease and we continue to follow the Scottish Government’s Route Map out of the crisis, it is important that we continue to do all we can to support our local residents, businesses and attractions over the summer months.

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“The summer holidays offer a glimmer of normality – and as we start to go out more often and see more of our friends and family, the Paisley.is website will help children and families to make the most of their summer safely by signposting to safe activities and places available in Renfrewshire.

“The website highlights everything that makes Renfrewshire a fantastic place to live and explore, showcasing all of our spectacular open spaces and hidden gems.

“We urge everyone to stay safe and stay local and find out how to have the best possible summer at www.Paisley.is.”

The Paisley.is destination brand and website was launched in March 2018, to showcase everything that makes Paisley and Renfrewshire a great place to live, invest and visit.

For more information, visit www.Paisley.is

grease

DRIVE-IN movies are coming to the boardwalk at intu Braehead to raise money for charity.

And yesterday, the Gordon family moved like greased lightin’ when they bumped into lookalikes for Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson from the Grease movie – one of a host of films being shown during the five-day Lockdown Drive-in event from Wednesday, July 29 until Sunday, Sunday 2 August.

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Dad, David, mum, Gillian and kids, Ava, seven and five-year-old Max, from Foxbar, in Paisley also got to ride in a 1950s Pink Cadillac after they had taken a stroll past the shopping and leisure destination.

The Arena at intu Braehead has teamed up with the Catherine McEwan Foundation charity to help raise much-needed funds to help people living with Crohn’s and Colitis get better care, treatment and quality of life.

Tickets costing £35 per car plus booking fee, and are now on sale from www.lockdowndrivein.com but NHS workers will get a free night out at the movies, as the first showing of Grease is exclusively for NHS workers.

To apply for free tickets, hospital and medical staff should apply to the booking website and give their NHS number. The free tickets will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

There will be two films shown on a giant screen every night and four movies at the weekend, with the audio broadcast via a frequency that car radios can be tuned to.

As well as tickets going on public sale for the Grease Singalong movie – which has lyrics to all the songs running along the bottom of the screen so everyone can join in – other films being shown are Jurassic Park, Mama Mia, Goonies, Finding Nemo, Lion King, The Lost Boys, Back to the Future and Dirty Dancing.

There will be 160 cars at each show and refreshments will be provided by the UK’s top street food operator, The Big Feed who will be on site.

Mum Gillian said: “This is a fantastic idea to have a drive-in movie on the boardwalk, as it gives families somewhere to go for a night out during lockdown.

“When we found out that the Grease movie was being screened we decided that this was definitely the one that we want!”

Derek McEwan, who launched the Catherine McEwan Foundation after his mother, Catherine passed away after years of suffering from Crohn’s Disease said: “Drive In movies are a major part of our annual fundraising and in these very testing times they have never been more important.

“To bring our concept to the iconic Braehead Boardwalk is huge for us and will add to the amazing experience for all our cinema goers.

“It is especially pleasing to have a free night as a thank you to all our NHS heroes where 360 families can come down and enjoy a movie on us”

Scott Martin, intu Braehead Leisure general manager added: “We’ve got the ideal location for a drive-in movie with plenty space to keep within social distancing guidelines and great sightlines.

“It’s a great opportunity for people from the same household to get some normality back for a while with a night out at the movies.”

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Paisley First is launching a fun, family “Safari” to help give families a safe town centre story-trail this summer, whilst supporting the NHS.

From today, families from across Renfrewshire and beyond can search the streets for 10 cute and colourful MonsterHeroes.

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Using only smartphones, the Safari allows you to learn each of the MonsterHero’s name, story, and superpowers.

Once all 10 MonsterHeroes are found, a free e-book that tells the story of their first team-up will be unlocked.

The Safari works by utilising contactless NFC technology and QR codes, without the need for players to download or sign up to anything.

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To play, simply tap or scan the Let’s Go posters or MonsterHero Safari window decals dotted around the town centre, and make a donation of £2, or more if you wish, to the charity NHS Together.

As we all adjust to the new normal, it’s hoped this outdoor trail will bring some family fun to Paisley town centre, where visitors can enjoy fresh air and wide-open spaces, and hopefully bring a smile to visiting children.

Colette Cardosi, Chair of Paisley First, said: “Keeping everyone safe is the top priority of Paisley First and our town centre businesses so we made the decision some months ago to postpone our planned LEGO® Animal Paradise summer trail until 2021.

“MonsterHero Safari is an outdoor only trail and a great way to help people get some fresh air whilst having fun and raising money for such a worthwhile cause too.

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“As more and more of our local businesses are reopening, families can be assured that we are all working together to implement COVID-19 safety measures to Keep Paisley Safe.

“We can’t always promise sunshine, but we will do our best to offer a safe day out this summer here in Paisley.”

More than 100 areas across the UK are taking part in this summer’s MonsterHero Safari project with the aim of raising more than £100k for NHS Charities Together.

Paisley town centre’s trail has been sponsored by Love Local, Love Paisley

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To learn more about the story-trail please go to www.paisleyfirst.com

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The Wolfson Foundation has announced Paisley Museum will receive £200,000 in capital funding towards its transformation into a world-class cultural destination.

More than 80 grants were announced by the foundation with Paisley Museum receiving the highest heritage grant outside London.

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When Paisley Museum reopens it is expected to attract 125,000 visits each year from Scotland, the UK and overseas and provide a £72m economic boost to the area over the next 30 years.

The £42m redevelopment of the museum is the signature project in Paisley’s radical regeneration which also includes refurbishments of the town’s A-listed town hall and a new learning and cultural hub housing library services on the town’s high street.

The redesign of the museum campus, being led by an international team including architects AL_A and exhibition designers Opera Amsterdam, will allow the number of objects on display to be increased by 100%.

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Few places of Paisley’s size have had such a global impact, and this is reflected in the museum’s internationally-significant holdings, which include an unrivalled collection of 1,200 Paisley shawls and vast natural history collections. They are currently being held in Paisley: The Secret Collection, the only publicly-accessible museum store on a UK high street.

The Museum’s final phase of fundraising is now under way, with the recently-launched museum website reimagined.paisleymuseum.org showcasing the project’s ambitious vision.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, said:
“We are delighted the Wolfson Foundation is investing in the future of Paisley Museum. The museum has been beloved by generations of Renfrewshire people and this significant sum brings us a step closer to radically transforming this prominent symbol of Paisley’s past into a central part of our town’s future. Investing in our venues is key to our recovery from the pandemic, as it will create jobs, support new and existing businesses in the area, and drive new footfall to our town centre.”

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Eric Grounds, Capital Appeal Director of Paisley Reimagined, said:
“Paisley Museum has remained at the heart of the community since being founded in 1871. This £42m project presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure our world-class collections are safeguarded, and the museum continues to be a source of knowledge, enjoyment and pride for everyone living in or visiting Paisley. We look forward to connecting with others who recognise the national significance of this project and the positive outcomes it will bring to Paisley.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive of Wolfson Foundation, said: “The Wolfson Foundation is committed to funding widely across Scotland and so we are delighted to be supporting Paisley Museum, especially at such a challenging time for cultural life generally. The scale of the ambition is extremely impressive – and the new Museum campus will tell a glorious mix of local and global stories, all based on superb collections.”

Paisley Museum Reimagined is supported by Renfrewshire Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.