Communities across Renfrewshire are preparing for a weekend of remembrance as the area pays tribute to those lost in service with the Armed Forces.

The proceedings will begin on Friday 10 November with Renfrewshire’s annual Children’s Remembrance Service, held at Mossvale Primary School in Paisley.

The Royal British Legion Scotland– Paisley Comrades Division will lead a joint assembly for the pupils of Mossvale and St James Primary which will give them the opportunity to ask questions about the veteran’s experiences and the work of the Legion, followed by a minutes silence at 10am.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, who will be attending both the Children’s Remembrance Service and the Armistice Service in Paisley, said:  “This is an important weekend as it gives the whole of Renfrewshire the opportunity to pay tribute to our Armed Forces, past and present, and give thanks for the sacrifices they have made.

“Renfrewshire has a proud military tradition and the services of commemoration are a chance to recognise those who have done so much to shape past, present and future generations.

“If you are able to attend one of the services then please feel welcome to do so and come pay your respects.”

A number of commemorative events have been arranged for Sunday 12 November at Cenotaphs or war memorials across Renfrewshire.

These include:

Start    Finish (Approx)

Renfrew         9.45am           10.30am
Houston         10.00am         10.30am
Kilbarchan    10.00am         10.30am
Paisley           10.45am         11.30am
Lochwinnoch           10.45am         11.15am
Howwood      11.45am         12.15pm

Johnstone     12.30pm         1.00pm
Elderslie        2.30pm           3.00pm
Bridge of Weir 3.00pm        3.30pm

Full details of all services can be found at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/RemembranceServices2017

Renfrewshire Council has unveiled a five-year plan to deliver more than 1000 high-quality, affordable homes across Renfrewshire over the next five years.

New Sanctuary Housing at Andrew Avenue, Renfrew.
Renfrewshire Cllr Marie McGurk and Gillian Lavety

The new Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP) for the period 2018/19 – 2022/23 was approved today by Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board. The Board gave the green light to the plan which sets out the key investment priorities for affordable housing in Renfrewshire. It details how the Council will meet the objectives of the Renfrewshire Local Housing Strategy by delivering at least 1,000 new homes over the next five years.

New Sanctuary Housing at Andrew Avenue, Renfrew.
Renfrewshire Cllr Marie McGurk and Gillian Lavety

The homes will be a mixture of council and housing association properties. As well as new housing for social rent, a mix of housing options are also being developed including properties specifically for older people, families and people with additional needs plus homes which are available to buy at below market prices.

Construction work is due to start on two Council projects in Spring 2018 where around 95 new homes will be built as part of the regeneration of Johnstone Castle and 80 new homes at Dargavel Village in Bishopton.  It is also planned to bring forward further Council newbuild projects in Paisley and Johnstone over the five year period.

Construction is also underway on housing association newbuild developments in different parts of Renfrewshire.  Sanctuary Scotland is building social rented housing in Renfrew (Andrew Avenue and Inchinnan Road) and homes for both social rent and low cost home ownership at Love Street in Paisley.  Work is due to start shortly on the former Co-op site in Paisley West End, where around 40 new homes will be built for social rent by Sanctuary. The Link Group will start work in 2018 on the third phase of the redevelopment of the former Arnotts site – building around 26 flats on Smithhills Street in Paisley town centre for social rent.  In addition, Paisley Housing Association is progressing plans for comprehensive improvement at Orchard Street/Causeyside Street following the designation of a Housing Renewal Area earlier this year.

The Council is also working with other housing associations and the Scottish Government to bring forward newbuild schemes in other parts of Renfrewshire over the next five years.

The draft investment plan was presented to Community planning partners, Renfrewshire housing associations, local stakeholder groups, Community Councils and tenants and Residents Associations for consultation in August of this year. The consultation also included meetings with housing association partners to identify potential sites and new projects in line with the Local Housing Strategy outcomes.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing & Planning Policy Board visited a new housing area site to see first-hand one of the new affordable housing developments in Renfrew.

Commenting on the new plan, Councillor McGurk said:

“Good quality, energy efficient, affordable housing helps to improve people’s quality of life.  Renfrewshire Council is committed to providing high-calibre homes that people can afford to rent and buy.

“The Strategic Housing Investment Plan isn’t just about building more and more houses. It is about creating homes that people want to live in, in places where they want to live.

“There is a demand for affordable homes for older people, families and those with additional needs. We’re expanding the supply of homes that are the right type, the right size and in the right place to meet the needs of people in Renfrewshire. There are a number of planned developments for additional supported housing, sheltered housing and extra care housing which meet these needs.

“We are already well on track to delivering our target of 1,000 new affordable homes by 2021 and I fully expect that the Strategic Housing Investment Plan will take us beyond that.”

Gillian Lavety, Head of Development for Sanctuary Homes in Scotland, said:

“Sanctuary is proud to work in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government to develop much-needed affordable housing in the area.

“Our planned homes will provide modern, attractive and energy-efficient accommodation for local residents, just as Sanctuary’s previous Renfrewshire projects across Paisley, Renfrew and Linwood already have.”

For further information on housing and to download a copy of the Renfrewshire Strategic Housing Investment Plan 2018/19 to 2022/23 go to http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/housing

Renfrewshire’s residents are being urged to prepare themselves for the winter weather conditions as the coldest months arrive.

Renfrewshire Council has launched its Ready for Winter campaign and has put in place its normal winter measures to ensure the area will continue to operate fully should there be severe snow, ice, wind or rain.

More than 800km of road and 1200km miles of pavement will be treated across Renfrewshire with over 4000 tonnes of salt purchased to combat the freezing conditions.

Specialist gritters will be operating on a priority basis to ensure all main bus routes and access routes to schools and emergency services remain available, providing 24 hour cover to deal with the effects of snow and ice.

Residents will also be able to access more than 400 grit bins to tackle roads which are not on essential gritting routes.

The council is also urging everyone to be #RenReady to face the winter weather by preparing in advance to keep their home, business and community safe.

Preparing emergency plans and grab bags for your home, checking weather reports often and having an emergency kit in your car are just a few of the ways which you can stay safe this winter.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We recognise severe winter weather can cause issues for those who live and work in Renfrewshire and we are undertaking a variety of measures to ensure we are prepared for every eventuality.

“Every year we utilise our specialist gritting vehicles to provide a 24 hour response to snow and ice, which helps maintain our roads during the winter period.

“There is also a variety of advice available on our website to learn how to best prepare your home, community or business during an emergency situation.

“We want to ensure our communities are safe and prepared this winter to allow Renfrewshire to continue to operate as normal and ensure we are all #RenReady this winter.”

For more information on how you can be prepared for severe weather across the winter period visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/readyforwinter

You can follow the council’s social media campaign advising on staying safe this winter by following @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil.

Photographs of Paisley Fireworks Display 2017. Thousand’s turned up to tonight’s event. Paisley was packed and the 80’s music went down a storm with families with the kids being stunned by the powerful display held at the heart of Paisley’s Historic centre.

The photographs above were taken by Ian McDonald Photography and kindly allowed for use on www.paisley.org.uk

THE team at Renfrewshire Leisure has come up with a new version of a well-known proverb – a friend indeed is a friend in need of a free gym session, swim or exercise class!


And it means that this weekend, November 4 and 5, Renfrewshire Leisure members can bring a friend along to one if the gyms, sports centres and swimming pools for free.
The Bring a Friend For Free offer is available at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre, The ON-X, in Linwood, Johnstone Sports Hub, Renfrew Sports Centre and the town’s Victory Baths and Erskine Sports Centre and swimming pool and Ralston Community Sports Centre.

And any friends coming along during that weekend can become a member of the sports and leisure organisation with a ‘join now pay in January’ special offer.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “We have some of the best sports and leisure facilities in the country and people will be doing their friends a favour by bringing them along to try out what we have to offer.
“Keeping fit and healthy is a great idea, but it’s even better when you can do it with friends.

“So, if anyone knows a friend who would like to try out a a fitness class, enjoy a workout in the gym or take a dip in the pool, just invite them along to our Bring A Friend For Free weekend.”

Thousands are expected to turn out to see Paisley’s historic skyline light up in the annual fireworks extravaganza this Saturday.

With Paisley the only Scottish place on the shortlist for the UK City of Culture 2021, the 80s themed event will show the town knows how to stage a huge event, with a silent disco, kids workshops and retro arcade games.

The twenty minute fireworks spectacular will burst into life across the Paisley skies from 7pm, accompanied by an 80s soundtrack.

Radio Clyde DJs Callum Gallacher and Grant & Amber will be playing classics from the decade from 4pm, with George & Cassi also playing 80s classics from 6pm at Paisley Town Hall leading up to the dazzling display.

The funs starts in Paisley Town Hall from 2pm, with a series of free family activities throughout the afternoon.

Remode Redesign will run workshops where participants will print fabric using a range of 80s games themed wooden blocks and create their own pencil case or make up bag.

Numbers are limited to 20 per session and the free event starts at 2pm.

The 80s themed silent disco kicks off on the ground floor at 2pm, where two sets of music fans of all ages dance to different music played through headsets.

The sessions are suitable for all ages and will run throughout the afternoon.

At the end of each one, the best dressed 80s costume or best dancer will win a prize.

Kids drop in workshops start at 2pm in the Artmania zone, with crafts suitable for pre-schoolers to kids of Primary 4 and beyond.

All of the workshops should be booked through Eventbrite.

Arcade games will continue the 80s theme, with iconic favourites like Pac- Man, Space Invaders and Donkey Kong available to pit your skills against.

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is part of a wider push to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural story to transform the whole of the Renfrewshire area.

The town is on the shortlist alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “It’s great to be able to showcase Paisley as a large scale events venue as we bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“Big events like these show our proven capacity to host big crowds and Paisley town centre makes a unique venue, especially with the back drop of the Abbey.”

Residents should be aware that a series of road closures will be put in place from early on Saturday 4th November at Gauze Street, St Mirren Street, Cotton Street, Lawn Street and Smithhills Street until after the event.

County Place, Gilmour Street, High Street and Bridge Street will be closed in places, while Abbey Close and the Lagoon South Car Park will be closed.

From 3.30pm, Seedhill Road  will be closed in places, with Causeyside Street to follow from 4.30pm onwards, while Mill Street will  be closed from Lonend to Bank Street from 6.45pm.

The fireworks display follows the Halloween festival and parade in the town centre and precedes the Paisley Christmas Lights Switch-On on November 18.

For more information and to book go to: http://www.paisley2021.co.uk/paisleys-winter-festival/fireworks-spectacular/

Our spectacular Halloween Parade is always a festival highlight!
With a Fire Monster on a Paisley Chariot, the Spark! Drummers, LED lanterns, Mr Wilson’s Second Liners Band and lots more colourful participants, this is one not to be missed.

Parade route: New Street – Causeyside Street – St Mirren Brae – Gauze Street- Cotton Street

Proposals to build new nurseries and create hundreds more early years and childcare jobs in Renfrewshire will be considered by councillors next week.

Free early learning and childcare entitlement for all 3 and 4-year-olds and some 2-year-olds will increase to 1140 hours when the national legislation changes from August 2020.

Councillors will discuss the significant steps to be taken in Renfrewshire to meet the increased entitlement in a report to the Education and Children’s Services Policy Board next Thursday (2 November).

More than 2500 children aged 3-5 and 785 two-year-olds are currently registered for early learning and childcare in Renfrewshire.

There are 22 Council-run nurseries and 12 Pre-5 Centres in Renfrewshire, alongside 33 private and voluntary partner providers.

The Renfrewshire report outlines a need for an additional 350 staff and seven new centres as well as major refurbishments and adaptations to existing centres.

An additional 18 centres would offer extended hours and cater for different year groups while there will be an increase in commissioned places from private sector nursery providers and childminders according to the detailed proposals.

Parents and carers in Renfrewshire will have plenty of choice when accessing their child’s entitlement, including options for 8am to 6pm over the school year and individual mornings and afternoons.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board Convener, says the increase in entitlement supports Renfrewshire’s commitment to give all children the best possible start in life.

He said: “Delivering on this entitlement is a priority for Renfrewshire Council as we recognise the vital role early years education and childcare has on a child’s development.

“We believe that with the right resource and through strong partnership working we can set the standard here in Renfrewshire.

“Our implementation plan sets out the different elements we will need to put in place and acknowledges the challenges we face in delivering the increased entitlement, recognising the free hours increase will almost double the current entitlement.

“The quality of early learning and childcare we provide in Renfrewshire is among the best in Scotland and we will ensure this continues to be the case by investing in new and existing facilities and crucially by developing a strong and committed workforce.”

Renfrewshire has received around £1million in funding from the Scottish Government so far to support a phased implementation period.

Proposals to expand the workforce will include offering existing part-time employees the opportunity to increase their hours worked and funding has also been secured from the Scottish Government to recruit 26 early years graduates to staff nurseries and Pre-5 Centres in deprived areas.

As well as recruiting from established college routes, the report outlines plans for Council-led training of new staff through foundation and modern apprenticeships.

Councillor Paterson added: “This will benefit Renfrewshire, bringing new jobs and providing more free access to vital early learning which can play a hugely important role in closing attainment and inequality gaps.

“We look forward to continued engagement with the Scottish Government to ensure we are able to deliver our plan effectively and further our established reputation in providing high quality early learning and childcare to children across Renfrewshire.”

Paisley gave a real buddie welcome to the judges who will decide which of the five shortlisted towns and cities will be named UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley 2021 judges visit to Tannahill Centre 24.10.17

The judging panel, led by chairman Phil Redmond CBE, were treated to a tour of Scotland’s largest town where they took in famous sites such as the 12th century Abbey and Victorian-era town hall. They later visited a series of community groups and projects at the Tannahill Centre in the heart of Ferguslie Park to see the town’s diverse range of cultural programmes in action.

Paisley 2021 judges visit to Tannahill Centre 24.10.17

During the visit the judges met groups including Renfrewshire’s award-winning youth diversionary project – Street Stuff, Strong Women in Ferguslie Together (SWIFT) and STAR Project which is committed to building safer, more connected and resilient families and communities.

Paisley 2021 judges visit to Tannahill Centre 24.10.17

As part of the visit the judges met with some of the members of local sewing group the Feegie Needlers which is made up of nursery kids, young mums and the elderly and aims to teach new skills and encourage social inclusion.

Paisley 2021 judges visit to Tannahill Centre 24.10.17

Elaine Carter is one of the members of the group, she said: “It was great to chat to the judges today, introduce them to some of the kids in the group and tell them about what we do – they seemed impressed.

“The whole place was buzzing, the atmosphere was brilliant. Let’s get it!”

Paisley 2021 judges visit to Tannahill Centre 24.10.17

During interviews with the media the chair of the judges’ panel, Phil Redmond CBE, said: “I’ve enjoyed going around seeing everything and actually meeting some of the people and seeing the enthusiasm of the people that are getting behind the bid.

“Each city is different and I think one of the great things is how you come and see the commonalities and the differences in each city. It’s been a really great, interesting day and that’s the thing I love about doing this – it’s a real privilege.”

Paisley 2021 bid director, Jean Cameron, said: “It’s been wonderful to welcome the judges to our town to show them the diverse range of culture we have and for them to meet some of the people who have been the voices of Paisley’s bid from the start.

“The competition has already proved positive for Paisley – it has taken awareness of our internationally-significant story to a new level and changed perceptions of the town. It’s also brought a new sense of self-confidence to residents and shown them how the power of culture can be harnessed to change people’s lives for the better.

“Buddies have really helped the town shine – shown what Paisley can bring to the UK and why the town wants the title, needs the title, and will deliver a year of world-class culture in 2021.”

The bid has also been backed by some of the town’s most high-profile figures, including singer Paolo Nutini, who performed an exclusive charity concert in the town last week, actor Gerard Butler, designer Pam Hogg and artist John Byrne who also met the judges during the visit.

Paisley is bidding to be UK City of Culture 2021 as part of wider plans to transform the town’s future using its unique story as the home of the world-renowned Paisley Pattern.

The town is the only Scottish place on the final shortlist announced by the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea. Paisley will find out if it has been successful in December.

For more information on Paisley’s bid, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

Twelve aspiring music stars who wrote songs to capture what Paisley means to them have had their original works recorded for a special album to mark the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

2021 Album Bands play at the Spiegltent in Paisley 23.10.17

The compositions make up Paisley 2021: The Album, which was launched last night, with performances by all the artists (Monday 23 October) to a sold out audience in the Spiegeltent at The Spree festival, with former River City star Tom Urie acting as event compere.

The only stipulation was that the songs had to be about the town or Renfrewshire and had to be an original work.

Profits from the record, which was funded by a grant from the Paisley 2021 Culture, Events and Heritage fund, will be shared equally among the 12 singer songwriters.

Alan McEwan from Brick Lane Studios who recorded the album and whose brainchild it was, said: “When we put the call out for local musicians to submit original songs we didn’t know what the demand would be like. But we had about 25 applications from people who wanted to be part of the album and whittled it down to 12.

“The album is very diverse – we’ve got traditional and folk music to rock and pop and even a world percussion band. There’s a real variety of music talking about Paisley’s past, present and future and the initial feedback is fantastic.”

Alan added: “It’s a great way of supporting local musicians as it’s giving them an income from their time on the project and its giving them exposure as well. They’re getting music videos and air play as part of the project – Celtic Music Radio are making it album of the week next week.”

Arhythmia Grooves featuring Samadhisoundscapes kicked off the evening with ‘Threads’ and other artists performing last night included Mandulu and Hephzibah, who were one of the support acts for Paolo Nutini at his sell out Homecoming show at Paisley Abbey last Friday.

Paisley based singer songwriter Matt Fotheringham, aka the Highway Chile, showcased ‘Patterns’ while three piece The Pilgrim Society from the University of the West of Scotland played their song ‘Welcome to Paisley’.

Local 24-year-old acoustic pop artist Linzi Clark loved every minute of her time on stage and hailed the opportunity to write her Paisley 2021 album track, called ‘Gallow Green.’

It is based on how seven people were found guilty in the infamous witch trials of 1697. They were sentenced to death in the last mass execution for witchcraft in western Europe.

Linzi said: “I’m born and bred in Paisley, I have been writing my own songs since I was 17 and I saw this opportunity and thought it would be a good challenge.

“There has already been an increase in opportunities for young artists and performers in Renfrewshire since the bid began. Paisley has a rich history of talented musicians and the bid has provided an opportunity to showcase the next generation coming through.”

There were other songs by Dogtooth, by music composer Alan Fleming Baird who recorded the ‘The Secret Tear (Tannahill)’ and by Evelyn Laurie, whose song Keep Your Eye on Paisley was warmly received.

Evelyn said: “I was honoured to add my voice to this album as making music is what Paisley is all about. The town has always been full of talent. When I was a college student in Paisley everyone played music – we just didn’t realise that was culture.”

Maria McMillan, Christy Scott and Seve Smith all also showcased their original work before the Hellfire Club, featuring Meadows rounded off the night’s entertainment with their track ‘The Bungalow Bar’ in tribute to the popular music venue.

An initial release of 1,000 copies of the album – complete with artwork designed by West College Scotland students – have gone on sale at £8 each and are available from Feel the Groove and The Music Centre, the InCube shop and Brick Lane Studios, all in Paisley.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The album is a fantastic way of helping to nurture fledgling local talent and to give them a stage, as well as supporting the Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid.”

Paisley is the only Scottish place to be included on the shortlist for UK City of Culture 2021 with a decision on the winner to be announced in December by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which is running the competition.

The Spree takes place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters.

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.