Thomas Coats Observatory

Coats Observatory 130th Anniversary

Tuesday 1 October will mark the 130th anniversary of the opening of Coats Observatory. To commemorate this event the observatory will play host to an evening of astronomical-themed events.

Coats Observatory is Scotland’s oldest public observatory. A gift to the town from the Paisley Philosophical Institution and funded primarily by Thomas Coats of the Coats thread-manufacturing family, Coats Observatory first opened its doors to the public on the night of October the first, 1883. Coats Observatory was the first purpose-built observatory in Scotland which allowed members of the public access to a powerful telescope to see the wonders of the universe up close.

Thomas Coats Observatory

The building now operates as a visitor attraction and museum. During the day visitors can enjoy a guided tour around the building, taking in some of the fantastic Victorian-era scientific equipment once used to record earthquakes, the weather and observe the stars and take in the view from the balcony. In the winter months the observatory opens twice a week to keep up the tradition of allowing members of the public to look at the night sky through the telescope. If the weather is poor a state of the art digital planetarium provides a virtual tour of the cosmos without having to leave the comfort of your seat.

To celebrate its 130th anniversary Coats Observatory will open from 7pm to 10pm on Tuesday 1 October. Amongst the activities on offer will be planetarium films, guided tours, a talk on the history of the institution and, weather permitting, night sky viewing from 9pm – 10pm. If the weather prevents the use of the telescope planetarium shows will operate instead.

Admission to Coats Observatory is free, although places must be booked for the planetarium films as spaces are limited. Please call Paisley Museum on 0300 300 1210 to book. Films will operate at 7.30pm, 8pm and 8.30pm.

Entry to Coats Observatory that evening will be via 49 Oakshaw Street West, Paisley, PA1 2DR.

For any other information on the event, please contact Coats Observatory on 0141 618 5119.

For further information on Renfrewshire Arts & Museums’ events log on to or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @RenArtsMuseums.


A charity which provides support for people with mental ill health in Renfrewshire has hit the streets in a new electric van thanks to the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund.

RAMH, formerly known as Renfrewshire Association for Mental Health, supports clients to maintain their tenancy or to re-settle in a new tenancy and maintain a safe and comfortable home through its Lifeskills programme.

The £10,000 cost of the new vehicle has been met by the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund and the Clothworkers’ Foundation with each providing half.

It will allow RAMH to continue providing vital services such as gardening, painting, carpet fitting and delivering furniture and other household items all over Renfrewshire. As the van is carbon neutral it will also result in a significant reduction in the charity’s carbon footprint.

Lifeskills has two distinct services, both of which operate by referral. Lifeskills Tenancy Support is a handyman service providing practical support and assistance with small repairs and DIY tasks like joinery, flat pack assembly and electrical jobs.

Lifeskills Furniture Re-use collects unwanted furniture and redistributes it to referral clients, providing a lifeline for those relocating on a limited budget. Goods that are commonly given a new home by RAMH include furniture such as sofas, suites, beds and bedding, electrical items and kitchenware.

John McConnell, head of commercial at Glasgow Airport, said: “RAMH clearly provides fantastic support for people in Renfrewshire who suffer from mental ill health through its Lifeskills programme, and key to maintaining that support is finding an affordable way for staff and volunteers to carry out these visits to people in the community every day.

“As a business which takes our environmental responsibilities very seriously, we are also keen to support RAMH in its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. The electric van is carbon neutral and cheap to run, which makes it ideal for the type of short journeys on urban roads that it will be used for.”

Stephen McLellan, RAMH Chief Executive, said: “We are very grateful to Glasgow Airport for recognising the importance of increasing tenancy sustainment and supporting our efforts to increase it through this award. It is well known that providing furniture to tenants in need, and carrying out odd jobs in the earlier stages of a tenancy, are effective ways of increasing tenancy sustainment.

“Research has shown that where 25% of all homeless lets failed within the first twelve months, this figure reduced to 14% if furniture was provided. This is a staggering 44% reduction in the number of failed tenancies and this van is crucial if we are to maintain the services we provide through the Lifeskills programme.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “RAMH is one of the four charitable organisations that I am supporting and promoting during my time as Provost of Renfrewshire. It has a  strong track record of providing practical support for people in communities across Renfrewshire. This generous funding from the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund will help RAMH take forward a programme which is already delivering very positive results.” 

  • RAMH is an independent organisation which aims to enable people to recover from mental ill health and to promote wellbeing. Since 1978 it has been providing a platform for discussion and delivering a range of services across Renfrewshire.
  • If you would like more information on RAMH services, or would like to donate any household items to the Lifeskills programme then contact them on 0141 847 8900 or
  • The Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund was established in 2010 to support community groups, charitable organisations and innovative projects with positive outcomes in three areas – education, employment and the environment.
  • It has awarded in excess of £600,000 to more than 200 community groups and charities in parts of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire. In 2012 the FlightPath Fund made awards totalling more than £200,000.


Scotland’s biggest home energy company Weatherseal has launched a major campaign to support Paisley community projects.

As part of an ongoing commitment to fund tens of thousands of pounds of worth local causes, across the country, the Weatherseal Community Heroes Fund will give back to the communities who have served Weatherseal so well over the years.


Any community or charity project in the Paisley area can today apply for a grant of up to £500 to spend on improving the lives of the people in their area.

Every area in Scotland will benefit from at least one community bursary award.

Weatherseal has already gifted thousands of pounds already including projects for the elderly, vulnerable, and young people. Other good causes have included supported mental health charities, children’s hospitals, specific children’s health support groups, and carers.

Weatherseal managing director Tony Reilly comments:

“Weatherseal is proud to serve Scotland and throughout the length and breadth of the country, communities have been good to us.

“We have a tradition of supporting local projects and charity, and this launch of a major new Community Heroes Fund over the next year, is a sign of our desire to support those who support those in the communities in which we serve.

“I fervently hope that lots of deserving local projects in the Paisley area apply for a bursary from our Weatherseal Community Heroes Fund, and would encourage as many as possible to do so.”

The Weatherseal Community Heroes Fund grants bursaries of up to £500. Applications should be submitted online at Applicants are encouraged to choose the Paisley Daily Express when asked where they heard of the fund.

Enquiries:          Amy Forsyth, Progress Sponsorship & Communications, 07808 132 592

weatherseal community

Glasgow Airport logo 2013


Charities and community groups have been invited to compete for a £50,000 lump sum from the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund.

The money will be given to the organisation which makes the most convincing case for a significant community project which will bring a lasting benefit to those living under the flightpath.

Glasgow Airport logo 2013In order to be considered for the airport’s third Challenge Fund, applicants must demonstrate their project will lead to positive outcomes in at least one of three areas – education, employment and the environment.

On two previous occasions the Challenge Fund has awarded large sums to worthy projects. The community departments of Celtic and Rangers football clubs received £50,000 between them to enable educational youth football programmes to take place in Clydebank and Drumchapel.

This funding ensured 280 young people were able to benefit from more than 40 hours of coaching and workshops designed to tackle anti-social behaviour and sectarianism, while also increasing the number of young people taking part in physical activity.

And the charity Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) received £40,000 which allowed them to pilot a new project called Skills for Sustainable Tourism, which introduces young people to the career opportunities available in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Amanda McMillan, Glasgow Airport’s managing director, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a local community group or a national charity delivering local projects to think of a really innovative and beneficial project which would not be possible without this level of donation.

“After two successful Challenge Funds in recent years we are confident this will generate a lot of interest. Through the FlightPath Fund we support a wide range of organisations and hopefully the applications we receive will reflect this diversity.”

Bob Christie, SBC’s regional manager for Glasgow, said: “The Skills for Sustainable Tourism project was very successful and would not have been possible without the Challenge Fund money. It’s fantastic that a high-profile business such as Glasgow Airport, which directly and indirectly supports thousands of jobs in tourism and hospitality, both funded and participated in the programme.

“By committing so much of its money and time, Glasgow Airport showed it is willing to invest in the future of the young people in its community and the future of tourism in Scotland. Charities and community groups should be really excited that another Challenge Fund has been launched.”

The Challenge Fund is supported by money from the Communities Trust, formerly the BAA Communities Trust, which is the charitable arm of Glasgow Airport’s parent company.

The Communities Trust is one of the revenue streams which make up the airport’s FlightPath Fund, which was established in 2010 to ensure nearby communities share in the airport’s success.

It supports communities in those areas of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire which lie under the flightpath. Each of these four local authority areas is represented on the decision-making panel.

The FlightPath Fund has awarded in excess of £550,000 to more than 150 community groups and charities, and in 2012 made awards totalling more than £200,000.

If you are a charity or community group seeking funding and your project meets the criteria below then why not apply?

To be considered a project must:

  • Create a significant and sustainable benefit to the community.
  • Yield positive outcomes in at least one of the following areas: education, employment and the environment.
  • Benefit a significant number of people.

Applications must:

  • Provide clear evidence that the project will fulfil a local need.
  • Provide clear evidence of the financial viability of the project.

The closing date for applications is Friday 18 October. The Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund’s decision-making panel will shortlist the strongest entries and the winner will be chosen by the trustees of the Communities Trust.

If you would like more information on the Challenge Fund or FlightPath Fund visit, e-mail or write to FlightPath Fund, Glasgow Airport, St Andrew’s Drive, Paisley, PA3 2SW

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

‘Bedroom tax’ impact reduced for more than 260 Renfrewshire households

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader has welcomed the fact that more than 260 Renfrewshire households facing disability and illness have been spared from a ‘bedroom tax’ hit of around £150,000 a year.

In the cases of 263 people who receive Housing Benefit, the council has found that a ‘spare’ room isn’t in fact ‘spare’ because it’s either needed as an additional room for an overnight carer or can’t be used as a bedroom because it’s needed for storing medical equipment.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “I am absolutely delighted that in the case of 263 local residents facing illness or disability issues, we’ve been able to re-assess their case and deem that a ‘spare’ bedroom is not in fact ‘spare’ and is very much needed either for either an overnight carer or for storing medical equipment. This will save these households on average an £11 cut in their Housing Benefit each week – that’s around £572 over the year for each home.

“This is another step forward in what’s been a robust response to the ‘bedroom tax’ from Renfrewshire Council. We previously pledged that, where our tenants are working with us, we will not resort to eviction to collect rent, where arrears have occurred as a direct result of the under occupancy rules.

“I’ve always maintained that this benefit change is unfair, and we’ve now heard directly from UN official, Raquel Rolnik, that Under Occupancy Rules should be suspended to allow time to assess the human rights implications and re-design the reform. I completely share her view on this.

“We will do all we can to help Renfrewshire residents who are facing hardship as a result of the ‘bedroom tax and I would encourage anyone who feels that their ‘spare’ room can’t be used as a bedroom because of disability or medical reasons to contact our Benefits Team.”

Renfrewshire residents who would like to speak to someone about having a room re-assessed due to disability or medical equipment, or because of a overnight carer sleeping in a room, should call the Benefits Team on 0300 300 0204.

Residents who receive Housing Benefit and are having difficulty meeting their housing costs can apply for financial support to the council’s Discretionary Housing Payments fund: or call 0300 300 0204.

Under-Occupancy rules mean households are losing an average of £11 per week in Housing Benefit for one spare room – that’s around of £2,893 saved for the 263 households a week; amounting to around £150,000 over the year.


Historical Adventures Youth Theatre blog

Hello all! Welcome to another addition of the Historical Adventures Youth Theatre blog, letting you know about the different classes we have running and what shows we’ll be doing!

We have new classes starting on the 18th of September at the Hunterhill Community Centre!  The first class starting at 3.30pm and finishes at 4.30pm.  This class is our juniors class and is for children between the ages of five and seven.  The second class begins at 4.30pm, still at the Hunterhill Community Centre and finishes at 5.30pm.  This class is for children of ages eight to twelve and both classes will cost each participating child £3.00 for each session.

historical-adventuresOur other Youth Theatre class which takes place in the Foxbar Community Centre on Amochrie Road is still going strong and they are having such a busy time of late, doing a small performance for the East Renfrewshire Witch Hunt (more information on that later) and are working hard for the Christmas show as they do their own rendition of ‘Beauty & The Beast’.  This class is for children ages eight to fourteen, starts at 5.30pm and finishes at 7.00pm and will cost each £3.50 for each child taking part for every session.

The Renfrewshire Witch Hunt will take place on Saturday the 5th of October and our Foxbar Youth Theatre will be doing three small performances at the times of 1.00pm, 2.30pm and finally 3.55pm, these will be situated in County Square just outside of Paisley Gilmore Street.  The children will take you back into the past to show a sample of what life was like for the people back in the 1600s with some helpful narrators to lead the way for you as they learn and discover just what a ‘Witch Hunt’ is.

Please be sure to watch this space as we will have more news of upcoming after school clubs in the near future!

Find out more by visiting their Facebook Page

Turning Food Waste into Opportunity

Renfrewshire is about to increase its impressive recycling rates with the roll out of a new food waste collection and recycling service. Residents are already recycling effectively; doing their bit for the environment by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and reducing the amount of tax that their council pays on that waste.

On average, food makes up one third of the waste in our grey bins and the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 places a statutory duty on all local authorities to provide households with a separate food waste collection service by 1 January 2016.


This week, residents will start to receive all they need to make recycling food easy. A small 7 litre caddy and biodegradable refill bags to be used in the kitchen for all sorts of cooked or uncooked food: dairy, meat, chicken, bones, fruit, vegetables, bread, rice and pasta, fish, teabags and coffee grounds.

When full, the bags should be put in the outside 23 litre food recycling bins. These have secure lids and will create no more smell or pest risk than normal grey bins.

The council will collect food caddies weekly.

When they are close to running out of the biodegradable caddy bags, people should tie a bag to their outside food waste caddy when they put it out for collection. The council will then leave a free roll of replacement bags. It is important that only these bags are used to recycle food, as ordinary bin liners and carrier bags are not biodegradable.

One half of Renfrewshire’s households will take delivery of their two caddies and a supply of food waste bags during week commencing 16 September. Their waste will be collected the next week on the same day as their usual bin collection.

The remainder of households will receive their caddies and bags during the week commencing 23 September and collections will start during the following week. People who live in flats will get all they need to recycling their food waste later in the autumn.

More benefits have arisen from this initiative; it has created work for 12 people to drive the specialist vehicles and 12 collectors.

The good news continues with the processing of the food waste that Renfrewshire recycles. It will be taken to a treatment facility where it will be made into agricultural fertiliser and used to produce a gas that can be used to generate electricity.

Residents are still being urged to continue home composting and recycling. This new collection service takes food that cannot be composted in a domestic setting.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Environment Policy Board, is enthusiastic about the new recycling service. “This is one of the easiest multiple wins we can all contribute to. It will reduce waste, create work for local people, decrease our use of landfill, save money, and create power and fertilisers. The council’s making it easy, safe and free to recycle food waste and I’d encourage everyone to do their bit so that we can all reap these benefits.

“Of course, we might all be shocked by the amount of food that we do actually waste. In these tough times, residents might like to visit to see how they can eat well, save money and create less waste all round.”

All Renfrewshire household will receive leaflets containing detailed instructions on how best to recycle their food waste.

Paisley Abbey

Explore area’s hidden gems for Doors Open Day

The countdown is on to Renfrewshire’s Doors Open Day, with more than 60 local buildings set to offer visitors a peek behind the scenes this weekend.

The event offers residents a showcase of the area’s fascinating architectural history, with this year marking the 20th anniversary of Renfrewshire’s participation.

This year – for the first time – there is a special feature for children in the form of a wicked-history-themed Diabolical Diaries booklet.

There will be prizes for any child who picks up at least five ‘venue-stamps’ in their booklet, available through all libraries and participating venues.

Buildings set to throw open their doors include historic gems such as Paisley Abbey as well as newer sites like St Mirren Park and the On-X Leisure Centre in Linwood.

Other highlights include a chance to see the A-listed Bascule Bridge at Renfrew in action, with the bridge set to open at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on Saturday.

Also open will be local churches, fire stations and Paisley Sheriff Court. There will also be tours of Glasgow Airport, but places on these are now fully booked.

Paisley Abbey

Other events of note include:

– a family fun day in Paisley’s Johnston Street to mark the end of a £1m investment in the Causeyside Street area from noon until 5pm on Saturday;

– an information event regarding the project to restore the stunning 19th-century Grand Fountain in Paisley’s Fountain Gardens from 1 to 4pm on Saturday;

– a consultation event to let residents have their say on the latest proposals for the Semple Heritage Trail project in Lochwinnoch’s Castle Semple Centre on Sunday from noon until 4pm.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “Doors Open Day is a great chance for residents to uncover the hidden gems on their own doorstep.

“Renfrewshire has some superb buildings, both old and new, and I would encourage everybody to get out and about and take stock of their own surroundings.”

Residents are also invited to take part in a photo competition through social media.

All they have to do to be in with a chance of some great prizes is share their photos of the day on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or Instagram tagged with the hashtag #doorsopendaysrenfrewshire

Doors Open Day is one of many European Heritage Days, which take place in over 50 countries, with more than 20 million visits each year.

For more information and for a full list of participating venues, visit, or pick up a brochure from any Renfrewshire library.


Renfrewshire Council Must Follow Legal Standards

The re-organisation of school estates in Renfrewshire was discussed in the Scottish Parliament this week.  The Cabinet Secretary for education, Mike Russell MSP, was questioned by Paisley’s MSP about the proper process that should be followed when local authorities are reviewing educational facilities.

george-abbeyAfter questioning the Cabinet secretary George said;

‘It is essential that full scrutiny and all relevant statutory processes are followed when reviewing local authorities educational estates.  The Cabinet Secretary agreed with me and I have voiced my concerns on the record in Parliament about what is happening within Renfrewshire Council.

‘The review and council consultation being undertaken by Labour in Renfrewshire must ensure that correct procedures are adhered to.  This is not only to ensure that parents and the children have full confidence in any of the proposed changes but to ensure that legal challenges do not emerge.

‘The information that I have had to gather myself from the council has raised some questions.

‘There are claims that shutting a school and moving the pupils to another school is not actually a school closure.

‘There are also concerns that the pupils being moved in to an existing school is not the model of shared campuses that we know.  Here in Renfrewshire purpose built schools were built to house shared campuses, differing educational facilities with other shared aspects.

‘These concerns are troubling.

‘We must ensure that any consultation is a real consultation, I would advise every parent to follow what is happening to their school, do not get caught out by changes that surprise you when the consultation process ends.’

For more information please visit

paisley beer festival

Paisley Beer Festival 2013

This September, Paisley Town Hall again plays host to the annual Paisley Beer Festival. Celebrating it’s 26th anniversary, the biggest beer festival in Scotland once more brings the widest range of ales and cider available in one location.

We will feature over 160 different real ales from all around Scotland; the English bar will be sourced from the Yorkshire area; as well as a Foreign Beer bar which boasts draught and bottled beers from Europe.

paisley beer festival


Opening Times

Wed 11th 5pm – 11pm
Thu 12th noon – 11pm
Fri 13th noon – 12am
Sat 14th noon – 9pm

Information from

You can also join the event by clicking on the Facebook Events Page here.