Paisley West End News

Ambitious £42m plans to transform Paisley Museum into an international-class destination have pulled off a major coup, with the appointment of AL_A – the award-winning architects behind some of the world’s most striking buildings.

The firm’s founder Amanda Levete – a former winner of UK architecture’s top honour, the RIBA Stirling Prize – says the Paisley Museum project is ‘one of the most radical briefs she has read’.

It will be the first Scottish commission for the London-based practice, who have designed landmark projects including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter – for which they this week won the prestigious RIBA London Building of the Year 2018.

They were also this month shortlisted for the competition to redesign the visitor experience at Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower.

The Paisley Museum transformation is the flagship project in Renfrewshire Council’s planned £100m investment in cultural venues and infrastructure – key to Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid legacy, and the wider plans to use the town’s unique assets to transform its future.

The museum will close this autumn and re-open in 2022 as a revitalised home for Paisley’s internationally-significant textile heritage and outstanding natural history, art and science collections, expected to nearly quadruple current visitor numbers to 125,000 a year.

The project will include a contemporary addition to the existing Victorian-era building, creating a new entrance and museum spaces – including a cafe and shop – landscaping and significantly-improved access.

There will be major revamps to all four museum buildings including the Coats Observatory, while a complete internal redesign will reimagine the visitor experience and double the number of objects on public display.

Current AL_A projects include the revitalisation of the historic Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris; a new centre for the cancer care charity Maggie’s in Southampton; and two new buildings for Wadham College at the University of Oxford. Completed projects include Central Embassy, a 1.5m sq ft luxury shopping mall and hotel in Bangkok, and Sky TV’s new London media campus.

Levete was recently named the winner of the 2018 Jane Drew Prize, an annual lifetime achievement award for an architect who has furthered the progress of women in the industry.

She said: ““This is one of the most radical briefs I have read – it triggered in us a desire to tell the untold history of Paisley and search for a narrative thread that will drive the design. The project is bigger than the building itself and I am excited to re-imagine the relationship between the street and museum.

“This is not only about finding the way to best show the museum’s collection, it’s also about showing the world how an ambitious cultural project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity.”

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure – which operates the museum – added: “For Paisley to have attracted a design team of such global reputation to come to Scotland for the first time shows we are being noticed around the UK and abroad.

“Being the first ever town on a UK City of Culture shortlist took our profile to new levels – but this appointment also says a lot about the scale and ambition of the museum project, and the worldwide importance of Paisley’s heritage and collections.

“The museum was gifted to the people of Paisley more than a century ago by Peter Coats, at the time his family were building a global thread empire headquartered right here.

“Now, AL_A will honour that legacy by designing a striking 21st-century facility to open up our unique heritage to future generations and be a valuable educational resource for our young people.

“At the same time, the new museum will be the centrepiece of the work to transform the area’s fortunes by using our unique selling points to make us a destination and drive huge volumes of new footfall into the town centre.”

AL_A were among more than 120 firms to tender for the Paisley Museum project and will lead an Anglo-Scottish multi-disciplinary design team including conservation consultants Giles Quarme and Associates, landscape architects GROSS.MAX, and engineers Arup.

They will also provide a wide range of benefits to the Renfrewshire community, including further education and school visits, work experience placements and careers events.

The £100m investment in Paisley town centre over the next four years also includes projects to transform Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre into 21st-century venues, a new learning and cultural hub on the High Street, major investment in outdoor spaces and the town’s transport links, and new sporting facilities and events space at St James Playing Fields.

The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street, and the launch of the new destination brand and website at www.paisley.is

The museum project is also being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

A campaign to boost foster carer numbers in Renfrewshire is asking  ‘Can you help us reach 100?’

Renfrewshire Council is aiming to increase numbers of foster carers by almost a fifth, from 81 to 100.

A series of drop in events were set up to allow anyone who thinks the role may be for them to meet the Council’s specialist team, as well as existing foster carers.

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, visited one of the information and advice sessions at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre, held to mark Foster Care Fortnight which runs until 27 May.

He said: “It was great to come along today and meet some of our foster carers and hear what amazing work they do.

“By becoming a foster carer you could make a positive difference to a child or young person’s life.

“What is also apparent is how much that the foster carers themselves personally get out of the role and how rewarding it is.

“We want to encourage people who think that becoming a foster carer could be for them to get in touch.

“You will be fully supported, with specialist training and also support from your peers.”

Foster carers can be in work or unemployed, be single, married or in in a same sex or heterosexual relationship and can own or rent the property they live in.

As well as training and support, carers receive an allowance.

Anyone interested in more detail can call the team at Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 1199 or email at childrenandfamilies@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Hit BBC Scotland TV show Still Game captured the camaraderie of residents living in high rise homes.

And Renfrewshire’s very own Jack, Victor and Isa – or Frank, Martin and Myra to be more precise – have become great friends thanks to the welcoming environment at their 15-storey Glencairn Court building.

The Gallowhill block boasts a community garden and ground floor social area complete with a darts board, kitchen, TV and plenty comfy chairs.

“You can go out without having to go outside,” jokes sixth floor resident Martin Heron, who moved to Paisley five years ago to be closer to his two sons. “I’ve met many folks since I came here and it really is the best move I’ve ever made.”

“This social area is great,” adds 12th floor resident of 40 years and counting Myra Young. “We meet on a Monday and a Thursday night to play games and on Tuesday morning we have a coffee morning. We play dominos; I win most of the time, but not all the time. I’m down here so much my daughters keep phoning me to find out where I am.”

Frank Milne, swapped Bridge of Weir for his high rise home 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. He said: “They’ve fair spent the money on it and it’s a really nice, safe environment. It’s very good here because of the friendship and company – you’ve got to have that friendship and knowledge of the people you live with.”

Glencairn Court is one of 14 Renfrewshire Council run multi-storey blocks, providing more than 1000 homes across the region.

Significant sums are being invested inside and out to ensure residents have homes to be proud of. Alongside social areas like the one at Glencairn Court, many flats have benefited from new kitchens and bathrooms.

There has been electrical re-wiring, all-new foyer areas, new heating systems installed and high quality insulation added to the exteriors, improving both the building’s energy efficiency and its aesthetic appearance.

Five blocks have also seen tailored improvements to cater for elderly and disabled residents, such as walk-in showers and easier to reach switch and socket points.

Add in a friendly concierge or caretaker on hand to offer advice and assistance and it really is a welcoming and warm environment.

“We know how popular our high rise housing is with both Council tenants and private owners alike, as demand continues to outstrip supply,” explains Councillor John McNaughtan, Depute Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board.

“It makes up eight per cent of the Council’s total housing stock and it is very important to us that all the homes we provide are well-maintained, sustainable and attractive to residents now and in the future.

“That’s why we’re spending £15million this year to continue to upgrade our housing stock and ensure people have homes they are proud to live in as we look to create positive, thriving communities throughout Renfrewshire.”

Councillors will note the ongoing investment in Renfrewshire’s multi-storey housing and its fire safety arrangements in a report to the Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board on Tuesday 22 May.

Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London, Council staff have been working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to ensure effective fire safety management practices are in place across Renfrewshire high rise housing.

Fire alarm systems are being enhanced in all blocks while work is also under way throughout 2018 to upgrade smoke and heat detectors, and fire suppression systems are being installed in bin areas.

Councillor McNaughtan added: “We know from close partnership working with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service that our properties are well-maintained and have excellent fire safety arrangements in place, but we must not be complacent.

“We commissioned an independent audit of our fire safety measures and this is informing ongoing works across our estate. We will also support any further guidance and advice from the Scottish Government on any future fire safety improvements and residents can discuss the fire safety arrangements with our dedicated concierge and caretaking team.”

Road users in Renfrewshire are being reminded to give their litter a lift home as part of a national campaign this week.

The Council has joined forces with national environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful to support their Week of Action, which aims to make motorists recognise the effect littering can have on the environment.

Running from 12-20 May, it encourages everyone across Scotland to take action to help tackle roadside litter by getting involved in roadside litter-inspired clean ups and sharing the message on social media.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “It is unacceptable for roads users to discard their litter at the side of the road and it is important that people recognise the seriousness of their actions.

“It is not only a blight on the attractiveness of our area but it can have a severe impact on the local environment.

“We are getting set to introduce a Roadside Litter Rapid Response Team as part of our Team Up to Clean Up campaign which outlines our commitment to tackling this issue in Renfrewshire and it will be a key strand of our work moving forward.

“We’re pleased to be working closely with Keep Scotland Beautiful to promote this campaign and I would encourage everyone to show their support and give their litter a lift home.”

National charity Keep Scotland Beautiful campaigns, acts and educates on a range of local, national and global environmental issues to change behaviour and improve the quality of people’s lives and the places they care for.

Carole Noble, Operations Director at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Our latest figures show that the amount of litter and flytipping in Scotland is at its worst level in a decade, with 82.8% of motorways and A class roadside verges recording a presence of litter in 2016/17. Our Roadside Litter Campaign aims to address this problem at its source.

“We recognise that each piece of litter on our roadsides, in our parks and on our streets, was discarded by a thoughtless individual. Those who clean litter up, the local authorities staff, the road operators and the volunteers are not to blame. Littering is illegal.  We need individuals to do the right thing; to use a bin or to take their litter home.”

For further information on the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, visitwww.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup and for the Week of Action, visitwww.keepscotlandbeautiful.org.

Renfrewshire Council is the first local authority in Scotland where councillors across all parties have signed up to participate in Dementia Friends Scotland sessions.

Elected members at the local authority have committed to become Dementia Friends, joining tens of thousands across Scotland, to learn more about dementia and the small things you can do to help people with the condition.

The initiative has attracted cross party support, and the sessions, run by charity Alzheimer Scotland, are understood to be the first uptake across an entire Council chamber.

It’s part of a move towards being a ‘dementia friendly’ council and Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Many of us will know people affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s and the challenges they and their families can face. By attending the Dementia Friends sessions, we want to make sure we do all we can to understand and support those with dementia, and support communities trying to create a kind and friendly environment that ensures people continue to feel valued and supported.
“It’s an issue that sadly affects almost every family in Scotland and one in which we all want to play our part in helping in whatever small way we can, regardless of political affiliations.”

Dementia isn’t an inevitable part of ageing but is caused by diseases of the brain. There are around 90,000 people living with the condition in Scotland, with more than 3,000 under the age of 65. In Renfrewshire around 2,750 people have dementia and related conditions.

More than half of Scots with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease but other forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

The village of Lochwinnoch has become the first in Renfrewshire to become a dementia friendly community. It is introducing ways of ensuring that those with the condition can feel supported as they go about their everyday lives.

Senior primary school children in the village, which has around 3,000 residents, have attended awareness sessions and local businesses want to support those with the condition to ensure they can remain part of the community.
A steering group set up has organised events like tea dances where people with dementia and their carers can come and feel supported.
Organiser Dr Morag Thow said: “We are trying to encourage people with dementia to stay part of the community and live the lives they want. It’s part of being a kind community and it’s great to feel supported by a kind council.
“It can be a simple as the way shops arrange their displays and signage. A person with dementia might have trouble reading a sign that says ‘Ladies’ but would recognise the picture of a loo. They can also have problems with colour and working out light and shade.
“There are things we can all do – if you meet someone and you know they have dementia you just take your time with them and offer them assistance.
“It’s also demystifying it – people with dementia can and do lead very active lives. They just have limitations with memory, especially in the early stages.
“I would say that most families are affected by dementia, whether it’s somebody actually in your own family or somebody you know who has a relative with it.”

Anne McWhinnie, Dementia Friends Programme Manager at Alzheimer Scotland said: “We’re delighted that Renfrewshire Council have made the commitment to become Dementia Friends. Alzheimer Scotland believes that nobody should face dementia alone. By taking the time to understand a little of what it’s like to live with dementia, and the little ways in which we can be more helpful and patients, we can make a real difference in our communities.”

Additional Information for Dementia Friends release

It should be noted for the purposes of captioning pictures with this release, that many of the people in pictures do not have dementia but are part of the wider supportive community and/or friends, family and relatives of those who do.

Picture caption: Members

Renfrewshire Council is calling for potential foster carers to help it to reach 100 people in the rewarding role.

Foster carers are supporting the campaign to increase their number by almost a fifth – from 81 to 100.

Husband and wife team, Graeme and Shona Small are backing the local authority’s bid to boost numbers.

Graeme said: “I love it and it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

“If you’re a foster carer you are doing it for the children to try and make a difference in their life.

“We have a wall in our house with photos of all the children we’ve looked after and every one of them has a smile from ear to ear.”

Shona said: “I love kids and love thinking I’m playing a part in shaping the next generation. “The children keep me young and focused and it’s nice to be able to offer nurture, care and security.

“It’s very much a give and take and the kids probably don’t realise they are giving quite as much as they do.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Anyone over the age of 21 with a spare room and in good health can apply for the role.

Foster carer Alice Preston, 65, said: “You get a lot of training and support and I would say to anyone considering it that it’s a fantastic thing to do – you will get a lot out of it.

“Be prepared and find out as much as you can. It’s a really challenging but rewarding thing to do and you can change a wee person’s life.

“It’s the most worthwhile thing ever.”

Foster Parents. Renfrewshire council

To mark Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from 14-27 May, Renfrewshire Council will be holding a series of informal events where potential foster carers can get more information from the local authority’s team of professionals and the chance to chat with people already in the role.

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “We are committed to ensuring every child reaches their potential and for some this means joining a new family which provides them with the love and stability that their birth families are unable to offer.

“If you think you could help to make a real difference to a young person’s life and offer them a brighter future, we would love to hear from you.

“As a foster carer you can offer a child a stable home and also help keep them within their own community.

“Our family of foster carers come from all walks of life and this is a vital role.

“We will support you on every step of the journey.”

Events will be held at the Lagoon Leisure Centre on Tuesday 15 May from 10am-12pm and at Renfrew Health Centre on Wednesday 16 May from 10am-12pm. The team will be at Johnstone Town Hall on Thursday 17 May, from 1.30pm-3.30pm to give advice.

Foster carers can be in work or unemployed, be single, married or in in a same sex or heterosexual relationship and can own or rent the property they live in.

As well as training and support, carers receive a generous allowance.

Anyone interested in more detail can call the team at Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 1199 or email at childrenandfamilies@renfrewshire.gov.uk

4,000 of world’s best pipers and drummers en route to Paisley

Thousands of people will gather to watch the world’s best pipe bands descend on Paisley next week – and they’ll be able to travel in style.

The British Pipe Band Championships – one of the biggest in the piping calendar – will see more than 4,000 pipers and drummers take over the St James Playing Fields for the free all-day event on Saturday 19 May, which includes a programme of family entertainment.

 

 

Event organisers Renfrewshire Council and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association have teamed up with McGill’s to lay on a fleet of shuttle buses to ferry the army of spectators to and from the event – which runs from 10am to 6pm – free of charge.

And to give residents a flavour of the day, McGill’s took piper Alan McGeoch of the Johnstone Pipe Band – who will compete in the elite-level Grade One contest – on an open-top bus tour of Paisley town centre.

He was joined by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron – the chieftain of the event – and by dancers from the Christine Aitken Academy of Dance as he played for lunchtime commuters.

The championships will see almost 130 bands compete for some of world piping’s most prestigious titles, from the length and breadth of the UK, with international representation from Denmark and Ireland.

Free entertainment on offer includes an international food village and bar, funfair, street traders and Highland dancing competition. Renfrewshire Leisure staff will offer the chance to try out different sports, with activities run by Paisley Rugby Club, and Renfrewshire’s award-winning Street Stuff team.

McGill’s will run the shuttle buses from Paisley Gilmour St station, West College Scotland and St Mirren’s Paisley 2021 Stadium, with the latter two offering free event parking.

Visitors should note there will be no public parking at the event. Other transport options include getting the train to Paisley St James station, which is a short walk from the event site, or a McGill’s bus to Paisley town centre, and transferring to the free shuttle.

The event is in Paisley for the third year in a row – and is confirmed for a further three years, as part of the expanded programme of events planned via the legacy of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

Last year’s event saw 12,000 visitors and generated almost £300,000 for the local economy.

Other Renfrewshire interest on the day will come from the KIlbarchan Pipe Band and the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band, who are supported via the council’s investment in free music tuition in local schools.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “We are delighted to be once again hosting this great event, and welcoming our friends at the RSPBA, and thousands of the world’s best pipers back to Paisley.

“Hosting major events like this is helps to build on Paisley’s now-established reputation as a key destination on Scotland’s events map.

“Our historic town centre has many businesses who will be ready to welcome the thousands of visitors to Paisley with open arms and I hope as many of them as possible of will take advantage of the free shuttle bus service and enjoy a day or evening out here.”

Ian Embelton, chief executive of the RSPBA, added: “The British Championship is the first of our annual calendar of majors and most of the world’s top bands are going to be there.

“Paisley offers a central location with excellent transport links to and from the town and event site – and hopefully next Saturday will see a big crowd come down to enjoy a day of top-class piping.”

Rachel Stewart, Marketing at McGill’s said: “As a local company, we were thrilled to get involved and provide a free shuttle bus for attendees to travel easily to the event.

“For those travelling from further afield, we have a range of services that serve Paisley town centre, allowing customers to board their free shuttle bus at Gilmour Street. We’ll be attending on the day too – pop by to take part in some competitions or pick up a McGill’s goody bag.”

For more information on the championships and other Paisley events, visit www.paisley.is

‘Since fostering, our family has grown in love, knowledge and laughter’ – Fosterplus inviting people to find out about a career fostering

As part of ‘Foster Care Fortnight’, a well-established fostering agency based in Paisley is calling on people to consider foster care as a career, with around 7,000 new foster families needed across the UK in the next 12 months according to research by the Fostering Network.

Fosterplus is holding the two dedicated open days at its office on Renfrew Road on 15 & 22 May, 10am – 7pm to give people the opportunity to gain information on fostering.

‘Foster Care Fortnight’ is the Fostering Network’s annual campaign that aims to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives. The fortnight takes place from 14 to 27 May this year.

Geoff Armstrong, Registered Manager for Fosterplus said:

“In celebration of Foster Care Fortnight, we’re hosting two open days at our Paisley office to help people take their first steps into fostering.

“People can come along and meet our friendly team, who will be talking about the role of a foster carer and what this rewarding career has to offer.”

“We also try to dispel some of the myths behind fostering. Being a foster parent is different now than it was 10 years ago. The process is not as difficult as people often think it might be and we support them all the way.”

Suzanne, an experienced carer with Fosterplus, told us: “Since fostering, our family has grown in love, knowledge and laughter. The help we get from Fosterplus and how people pull together is something to be proud of.”

Another Fosterplus carer Carole added: “I am proud to foster because I know, no matter what, we have given children a chance.”

If you would like to find out more about these events, or fostering in general, call 0800 369 8511 or visit www.fosterplus.co.uk/paisley-events

If you are looking for the chance to improve your confidence and self-esteem, make new friends and learn new skills through a range of outdoor activities, community activities and work experience, then don’t wait a minute longer.  The next Prince’s Trust Team programme starts on Monday 21 May from our Ferguslie Learning Centre. Contact Jackie on 07881 783 790 for further information.

Click here to apply: https://bit.ly/1QrDrk6

Renfrewshire Council is launching a campaign to attract more foster carers to help make a difference to children’s lives.

Foster Parents. Renfrewshire council

To mark Foster Care Fortnight, which runs from runs from 14-27 May there will be a series of informal events where potential foster carers can get more information and the chance to chat with people already in the role.

Events will be held at the Lagoon Leisure Centre on 15 May between 10-12pm, and at Renfrew Health Centre between 10am-12pm on 16 May. Prospective carers can also get advice at Johnstone Town 17 May, between 1.30pm- 3.30pm.

Foster Care Fortnight aims to raise awareness and highlight the work of dedicated foster carers who can provide loving and stable homes for children who desperately need support.

The local authority is aiming to increase the number of people in the rewarding roles by almost a fifth, from 81 to 100.

Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “If you think you could make a difference to a child’s live and help shape a brighter future for them, then foster caring could be for you.

“Our events will give potential foster carers the chance to speak with people already in the role and hear their inspiring stories, as well as get advice from members of our foster care team.

“Our family of foster carers are fully supported on every step of their journey by a team of professionals, as well as networking and support from their peers.”

Foster carers can be in work or unemployed, be single, married or in a same sex or heterosexual relationship and can own or rent the property they live in.

As well as training and support, carers receive a generous allowance.

Anyone interested in more detail can call the team at Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 1199 or email childrenandfamilies@renfrewshire.gov.uk