SANTA PAISLEY ABBEY__D3A4723

Paisley will be celebrating all things merry and bright at this year’s Christmas Light Switch-On event with thousands expected to turn out to enjoy the fun.

Santa and his sleigh will ride into town from 12.30pm on Saturday 16 November, signalling the beginning of this free, festive, family event.

SANTA PAISLEY ABBEY__D3A4723

A highlight of the day’s activities is the Santa parade, which has a new extended route for 2019. The parade will be led by Santa on his sleigh, who will guide this year’s 300-strong parade through the town – dazzling spectators with giant festive floats, costumed characters and choreographed displays from local community groups and professional performers. Following the parade there will be a number of street performers entertaining the crowds.

New for 2019 is the fantastic, ticketed Winter Roller Disco in County Square. Visitors can take a spin around the rink at one of the six sessions taking place.

There will be plenty of music and entertainment on the live stage with performances from; Funbox, The Swinging Santas, Nickajack Men and this year’s stage headliners, special guests and The X Factor stars, Reggie ‘N’ Bollie.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without carols, and where better to hear them than the majestic Paisley Abbey where a series of local community and school choirs will perform to put everyone in the festive mood.

There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained as Coats Memorial will be transformed into the perfect Christmas playground bursting with activities to keep the little ones entertained such as writing letters to Santa, making Christmas cards, face painting, soft play and much more.

The Piazza Shopping Centre will be home to Santa’s Grotto for kids to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and for those looking to do a bit of Christmas shopping there will also be an Urban Market offering plenty of fabulous gift ideas.

A Creative Craft Trail will be taking place as part of the event in some of the town’s fantastic local cafes and businesses, where visitors can learn to make festive jewellery, decorations and fascinators among other activities.

The yuletide activities culminate in lighting up of the town with the big switch-on moment at 6pm.

This year the lights will extend to the top of the High Street leading to a giant illuminated Christmas bauble, delivered in partnership with Paisley First. The bauble will be located in the grounds of Coats Memorial Church offering the perfect festive selfie spot.

Renfrewshire Provost, Lorraine Cameron said: “The Paisley Christmas Lights Switch-On is one of the biggest events in the winter calendar and this year’s programme is packed with plenty of festive, fun activities for everyone.

“It’s an event that always brings visitors into the town and it’s one of my personal favourites. I’m looking forward to helping celebrate the start of the festive season in the town and I hope to see lots of smiling families there.”

There will also be a funfair at the event located on Bridge Street with smaller rides on Gilmour Street.

To find out more about future events taking place please visit: https://paisley.is/list_event/.

Painting at Ferguslie ELCC, Ferguslie Park, Paisley

Renfrewshire Council is recruiting for Depute Heads of Centre and Heads of Centre jobs in nurseries across the area.

Ashleigh Carson has worked in the nursery sector for more than 17 years and says becoming a depute head has been the most rewarding experience yet.

Painting at Ferguslie ELCC, Ferguslie Park, Paisley

She said: “I didn’t start out wanting to work in a management role but having been given the opportunity to work in the role temporarily, I soon realised I was made for this.

“Being a leader is about supporting your staff to grow in their roles and giving them the opportunities to develop. Trusting staff to take the lead and to make a contribution is just as important as being open and transparent as a leader. I always want my team to feel like they can have ideas, develop them and see them flourish into great projects and experiences for the children. If I ever need to say no to an idea, I always explain why so the team understand the reason.

“Making sure every member of staff feels part of the team and takes on responsibility within the centre is at the heart of how our management team functions. When it comes to developing the centre’s vision, we sit down with the team and we talk about what we want the nursery to achieve and what it should be like for our children such as engaging, exploring, investigating and fun, and then pull those ideas together to consult with parents and children. The end result means that we are all working together to a shared vision and everyone feels a part of it.

“Motivating people is a huge part of the job, especially on a dreary Monday morning, but the benefits of working as a leader in early years far outweighs any rainy day. Training is a significant benefit to working within a local authority nursery. Since I first joined Renfrewshire Council, I’ve completed a PDA in Early Childhood Education, my BA, post-grad and masters in Childhood Practice and more recently an Aspiring Leaders Programme and a Development Centre to support me as a centre leader.

“I love working with children, it’s what I wanted to do when I left school and I’m glad my career has taken me where it has. I’d recommend taking on a leadership role in a nursery to anyone who is already working in the field and is ready to take that next step, or for anyone with qualifications and a lot of determination to dive in and empower teams to do what they do best create better outcomes for children and families.”

To apply for a Depute Head of Centre or Head of Centre job, visit www.myjobscotland.gov.uk.

Paisley Fireworks 2016

A dazzling display of fireworks will be set off in the skies above Paisley Abbey on Saturday 2 November.

Paisley Fireworks 2016

Crowds will gather in Paisley town centre to watch the magnificent array of Catherine wheels, rockets and sparklers on display backed by a soundtrack of popular 90s classic hits.

Gus from Pulse FM will welcome crowds with music and banter from 6.30pm before the fireworks get underway at 7pm lasting approximately 20 minutes.

Paisley’s winter events programme will continue with the town’s Christmas Lights Switch-On on Saturday 16 November. There will be plenty of Christmas family fun including the popular Santa Parade in the town centre, Christmas Choir concerts, Santa’s Grotto and much more. Visitors will also be able to enjoy exciting street artists, fantastic performances on the live stage and even head along to the festive roller disco.

The festive fun will also extend across Renfrewshire with Christmas Lights Switch-Ons in Renfrew on Saturday 23 November and Johnstone on Saturday 30 November. The town centre also sees the return of the WinterFest event from 23 November until 30 December, run by Paisley First, featuring an outdoor ice rink, LEGO Paisley Penguin Parade Trail and plenty of festive fun.

For more information about Paisley Fireworks Spectacular, visit: https://paisley.is/featured_event/paisley-fireworks-spectacular/

Tannahill Centre

Communities across Renfrewshire have moved a step closer to acquiring assets in their local area as more than £127,000 was awarded from the Community Empowerment Fund.

Tannahill Centre

The fund is designed to support the development of community organisations and build their capacity to undertake potential asset transfers, which can be a building or a piece of land.

Four applications to the fund were approved and include:

  • £50,000 to Active Communities, and to approve in principle a further £50,000, to allow the group to purchase and renovate the old police station in Johnstone into a community hub.
  • £10,000 to the New Tannahill Centre to assist with the second stage of a feasibility study into the proposed redevelopment of the Tannahill Centre.
  • £6,500 to the Western Desert Recce Group to develop a business plan around the potential future use of the Whitehaugh Barracks.
  • £3,800 to Renfrew Victoria Youth Football Club for architects’ plans outlining the refurbishment of the Kirklandneuk Pavilion with upgraded changing rooms.

An award of £6,760 to the Paisley Community Trust for a feasibility study into a High Street Cinema was approved, subject to the updated guidance for the fund being approved by the Leadership Board.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “No one knows what their town or village needs more than those who live there, and I’m delighted that we can provide the funding to help them bring these buildings into better use for the community.

“It’s great see the progress that the community groups are making into acquiring their local assets and I’m looking forward to seeing these buildings reaching their full potential.

“We’ll continue to support them throughout the process, as we will if you have an idea for a building or a piece of land in your area, so please get in touch with the team and make a difference to your neighbourhood today.”

The deadline for the next round of applications to the fund is Tuesday 5 November.

For more information, and how to apply, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/communityempowermentfund.

Veterans at the Cenotaph in Paisley

Hundreds are expected to turn out to pay their respects to the fallen as parades are carried out in towns and villages across Renfrewshire, with services taking place to mark Remembrance Day.

A weekend of remembrance will begin on Friday 8 November as the annual Children’s Remembrance Service takes place at Mossvale and St James Primary in Paisley at 10.30am.

Veterans at the Cenotaph in Paisley

Veterans from the Royal British Legion will visit the school to see a presentation from the pupils on what they’ve learned about Remembrance Day, before speaking about their experiences of having served in Armed Forces.

Veterans marching in Paisley

On 10 November, parades will then take place from 10am to mark Remembrance Sunday, with a two minutes silence at 11am, and all are invited to attend at the following locations:

Start                Finish (Approx)

Houston                       10.00am          10.30am

Kilbarchan                   10.00am          10.30am

Renfrew                      10.45am          11.15am

Paisley                        10.45am          11.30am

Lochwinnoch               10.45am          11.15am

Howwood                    12.15pm          12.45pm

Johnstone                   12.30pm          1.00pm

Elderslie                      2.30pm            3.00pm

Bridge of Weir             3.00pm            3.30pm

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “Every year at this time we stop to remember those we have lost, and I would encourage all who are able to attend to come to one of the services taking place across Renfrewshire.

“It’s so important that we pay our respects to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and I look forward to the community once again coming together to show their gratitude for all that have gone before us.

“Through our Children’s Remembrance Service, we will work closely with our veterans to educate our young people and show exactly why we mark Remembrance Sunday each and every year.”

For more information, visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/RemembranceServices2019.

Paisley Halloween Festival 2019

Paisley’s annual Halloween Festival launched tonight with plenty of thrills and chills for visitors.

Paisley Halloween Festival 2019

The two-day spectacular is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the UK. This year’s event has a Dark Circus theme and promises to be the biggest and best yet with internationally acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, helping to transform the entire town centre into the perfect Halloween playground.

Paisley Halloween Festival 2019

The festival continues on Saturday with a whole host of frighteningly fun, free activities for everyone to enjoy including the spectacular Mardi-Gras style parade, with the entire town serving as the stage.

To find out more visit: www.paisley.is/halloween.

Laura, Convener, Lily and Anne Marie playing with mud - St Margaret's ELCC Johnstone

Parents of young children have praised the positive impact of 1140 hours of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) on their child’s speech and reading development.

Almost 1,600 three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds across the region are now receiving 1140 hours ELC and parental feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Laura, Convener, Lily and Anne Marie playing with mud - St Margaret's ELCC Johnstone

All children are currently entitled to 600 hours of nursery provision in council-run and funded private and voluntary providers, however a number of nurseries have been able to offer earlier access to the extended childcare ahead of the Scottish Government deadline of August 2020.

Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council and Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, visited St Margaret’s Early Learning and Childcare Class in Johnstone and Glendee Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Renfrew to see the impact 1140 hours has had on around 150 children.

He said: “The expansion in Renfrewshire is focused on providing high-quality experiences for children. It’s positive to hear parents already telling us they see a difference in their child’s speech and reading abilities since they’ve had access to 1140 hours of early learning and childcare. At St Margaret’s and Glendee nurseries, I saw for myself the variety of quality learning experiences that encourage children’s understanding of the world and that takes place in nurseries across the region.

“We will continue to offer parents whose child could benefit from the additional hours early access within their nursery centre or class where there is space and staff in place to support this ahead of the August 2020 timetable. From August 2020 onwards, eligible children will receive 1140 hours of early learning and childcare, and we continue to work towards that deadline by recruiting staff and expanding our nursery estate.”

The council has now recruited around 200 early years staff to support the 1140 ELC expansion and existing provision in nurseries across Renfrewshire, including nine modern apprentices and 23 graduates.

Training and development opportunities are available for current and future early years staff working in council and approved provider settings to help them progress on their career pathway, such as SVQs, leadership courses and development centres. There is also funding support to meet Scottish Social Services Council registration required for jobs in early years.

Refurbishment work at nine nursery centres and classes has already been completed and the final 17 are all on track for completion on their target date.

Headteacher Gillian Miller said it’s been positive to trial 1140 hours ELC within St Margaret’s Early Learning and Childcare Class. She said: “High-quality early learning experiences are vitally important to support children’s development. Our nursery class focuses on supporting children’s development and learning through play experiences.”

For more information on 1140 ELC, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/1140ELC.

Halloween_Map_1540x1026

Paisley’s annual Halloween Festival returns on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October with a Dark Circus theme for 2019 promising plenty of chills and thrills for visitors.

Halloween_Map_1540x1026

One of the largest festivals of its kind in the UK, this year’s event promises to be the biggest and best yet with internationally acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, helping to transform the entire town centre into the perfect Halloween playground.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

The two-day spectacular, which routinely attracts tens of thousands to the town, will serve up a whole host of frighteningly fun, free activities for everyone to enjoy with the entire town serving as the stage.

The main spectacle of the festival is the carnival-style Halloween Parade which takes place on the Saturday and will see more than 300 costumed performers and community groups led through the town by the sinister Svengali ringmaster. The parade has a new, extended route for 2019 taking over the entire town centre and will boast magnificent floats and ferocious fire performers, creepy clowns and curious creatures, along to thrilling live music.

Immediately following the parade, no matter where visitors are positioned around the town centre, there will be something to see or experience as a series of live acts and activities will restart.

Aerial artists, All or Nothing, will also perform their death-defying act ‘Into the Dark’, which will see the artists circle and swirl around the haunted carousel over the grounds of the town’s iconic Abbey.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

A new addition to this year’s festival is the ticketed spooky silent disco. Held in the heart of the town the disco is sure to deliver plenty of dancing, singing and Halloween fun for all the family.

The weekend will offer plenty of opportunities to join in the fun with a range of family-focussed Halloween-themed arts and crafts activities and workshops including pumpkin carving. Street theatre acts and walkabout performances will pop up around the town centre featuring the likes of the Spark LED Drummers and Mr Wilson’s Second Liners as well as acrobatic and hula hoop artists. There will also be a creative craft trail in a number of local cafes where visitors can do everything from building a bug to creating their very own gargoyle from clay.

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The annual Paisley Halloween Festival is always a highlight in our events calendar. Our increasingly ambitious programme attracts thousands of visitors each year and is now regarded as one of the best events of its kind in the UK.

Paisley Halloween Festival - Big Grey

“The festival has really cemented the town’s position as a key destination for visitors and is great for the local economy, with last year’s event worth more than £1.9m to the town and attracting 34,000 people. This year we aim to attract even more visitors to enjoy fabulous performances taking place across the town from high wire acts to the spectacular parade, and to sample our great selection of cafes, restaurants and shops.”

The Paisley Halloween Festival, which was supported in 2018 through the Year of Young People event fund, was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland for this year’s event.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “The Paisley Halloween Festival continues to go from strength to strength and it is hugely exciting to see it sporting its biggest ever programme for 2019. This year’s exciting and innovative programme will no doubt engage audiences of all ages with aerial performances, arts & crafts activities, outdoor street theatre and the stunning Halloween Parade. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and the festival is a great boost for Paisley, drawing thousands of visitors and locals alike to the town centre to enjoy this spectacular annual celebration.”

To find out more about Paisley Halloween Festival please visit www.paisley.is/halloween

Paisley Fireworks 2019

The skies above Paisley Abbey are set to be lit up with a dazzling fireworks display on Saturday 2 November.

Thousands are expected to don hats, scarves and gloves and head into Paisley town centre to watch the beautiful array of catherine wheels, rockets and sparklers on display backed by a soundtrack of popular 90s classic hits.

Paisley Fireworks 2019

Gus from Pulse FM will welcome crowds with music and banter from 6.30pm before the fireworks get underway at 7pm lasting approximately 20 minutes.

Paisley’s winter events programme will continue with the town’s Christmas Lights Switch-On on Saturday 16 November. There will be plenty of Christmas family fun including Christmas Choir concerts, Santa’s Grotto and the chance to meet Santa’s reindeer. Visitors will also be able to enjoy exciting street artists, fantastic performances on the live stage and even head along to the festive roller disco.

The festive fun will also extend across Renfrewshire with Christmas Lights Switch-Ons in Renfrew on Saturday 23 November and Johnstone on Saturday 30 November. The town centre also sees the return of the WinterFest event from 23 November until 30 December, run by Paisley First, featuring an outdoor ice rink, LEGO Paisley Penguin Parade Trail and plenty of festive fun.

For more information about Paisley Fireworks Spectacular, visit: https://paisley.is/featured_event/paisley-fireworks-spectacular/

DIRTY FEET DANCE CO

Laura Forbes had never fully been out of her wheelchair before participating in aerial workshops as part of this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival, but next week she will perform 100ft in the air in front of Paisley’s iconic Abbey alongside her Dirty Feet Dance Company family.

The Paisley-based Dirty Feet Dance Company aims to create opportunities for disabled and non-disabled people and carers to enjoy, express and fulfil their potential through dance. They have been working with professional performers from Scotland’s leading aerial dance company All or Nothing, on the ‘Into the Dark’ show which is taking place as part of this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October.

DIRTY FEET DANCE CO

During the workshops the group have been given the opportunity to take to the sky in special aerial harnesses to allow them to express themselves in the air.

Laura Forbes (40), joined Dirty Feet Dance Company in 2013 and this is the first time she has tried anything like this. She said: “I’ve never been fully out of the wheelchair before, when I get lifted in the harness it’s an amazing feeling, it’s freedom.

“Before I first went up in the air I was scared but after the first time in the harness I just loved it. It gives me a total sense of freedom out of my wheelchair. If there’s something I’ve learned from this experience it’s that I won’t let being scared stop me from trying something new.”

“I can’t wait for us all to perform at next week’s festival. When we all come together we can do anything and achieve anything – we’re all like family.”

DIRTY FEET DANCE CO

Clare Easdon (37) has been a member of the group since 2006. She said: “It feels amazing when you’re up in the air. I know I’m a wheelchair user but I don’t feel disabled when I’m up there. Being part of Dirty Feet Dance Company lets me try new experiences – this is the first time I’ve ever done aerial and I love it. I think it’s amazing what we’re able to do as wheelchair users.”

During the workshops the performers are able to use either a full body or sitting harness attached to a pully rope system to give them the opportunity to see how their bodies react in the air.

Ruth Foster, Co-director of Dirty Feet Dance Company, said: “It gives the performers a real sense of weightlessness and allows them the chance to explore their range of motion in a new platform and artform which has been a great experience for everyone.

“It’s within their power how high to go. They can stay a few feet off the ground or can ascend all the way up to the ceiling. They are in complete control of their movements in the air.”

Marie Williamson, aerial instructor and performer at All or Nothing, said: “The system we use gives them the opportunity to stretch out and discover their movement for themselves.

“From my point of view it’s an incredible thing to be part of – what I can see them get from it is fantastic. They all have such great characters and a real ‘do it’ attitude. They are very determined to show what they can do. I think people will be surprised by what they’ll see.”

This is one of a series of workshops taking place as part of the Paisley Halloween Festival pairing professional performance companies with local community groups to give them the opportunity to learn new skills and be involved in the town’s major events programme.

The award-winning Paisley Halloween Festival is widely regarded as one of the best events of its kind in the UK. This year’s event takes on a Dark Circus theme and promises to be the biggest yet with internationally acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou, helping to deliver an extended programme of performances to thrill, chill and enthral.

In addition to the daring aerial performances visitors will be captivated by the mass costumed parade through Scotland’s largest town featuring giant animated puppets, frightening floats and a cast of spooky circus characters. There will also be bizarre street theatrics, a ticketed silent disco and a fantastic array of family-friendly activities taking place in locations throughout the town centre over the two-day event.

The Paisley Halloween Festival, which was supported in 2018 through the Year of Young People event fund, was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland for this year’s event.