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A first-of-its kind study with radical ideas for how Paisley town centre could look in a decade has been published – and aims to start a conversation about what might be possible in the town.

The ‘Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030’ is the result of a unique link-up between Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership – and uses Paisley as a test case for a series of bold ideas imagining how empty retail space could be better used

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Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, will officially unveil the report at an event in the town centre today.

The study – produced by Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture – is based on the idea changes to the way people shop have left towns like Paisley with far more retail space than they need

The authors lay out a series of radical ideas for how the town could be rebalanced to better meet community need – bringing with it new life and footfall. Their suggestions include:

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– introducing hundreds of new town centre residents, including repurposing the Paisley Centre shopping centre into a new residential quarter with ground-floor retail;

– new ‘attractors’ such as a High Street cinema, or European-style food hall housing independent food and drink businesses;

– bolstering remaining retail by concentrating it back on to the High Street and street-fronts;

– new public spaces for outdoor activity, and new lanes and streets creating new views and routes to ‘hidden’ parts of the town centre

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– how key vacant historic buildings such as the Liberal Club, YMCA building and TA Building could be brought back into use;

– other ideas such as shared office spaces or makers’ spaces, a new hotel, and relocating parts of university and college campuses into the heart of the town centre;

Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “This study represents another significant milestone in the regeneration of Paisley and is further evidence of the ambition and commitment of the local community and partners.

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“A huge opportunity now exists to use this collaborative vision to create more positive change in the town, as well as sharing learning which can benefit other town centres and communities across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with local government to support the regeneration of our towns and high streets.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The way people shop has changed forever, and towns everywhere are seeing the same issues with empty retail space.

“We can’t turn the clock back but we can consider how we could change to attract new life and footfall in future – and that’s what Paisley is doing.

“It’s important to stress these are not concrete plans – they are a set of ideas designed to spark a conversation about what might be possible over the next decade.

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“Paisley town centre is already changing for the better – the number of new cafes and restaurants and new housing built in recent years shows it is recognised as a good place to live and invest.

“Current and future council investment will make Paisley even more attractive to the private sector, but change of the scale imagined by the Vision could not be achieved by the council alone – so we want to hear from developers who could make that next stage of the journey happen.”

The contents of the report build on work already happening to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future through the Future Paisley programme, which aims to build on the momentum created by the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

That includes a £100m investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces, including turning Paisley Museum into a world-class destination for the town’s internationally-significant collections, which last week saw £3.8m of funding confirmed from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Paisley is already finding new uses for vacant High Street spaces – construction will start soon to bring a formerly-empty retail unit back into use as a new learning and cultural hub housing library services, for which the first images have just been revealed.

That will build on the success of Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High Street museum store, which opened in 2017 – showing Paisley’s ambitions to put culture at the heart of its future high street are already being realised.

The Paisley Vision was produced after gathering feedback from key local partners – including community groups, businesses, educational establishments and private developers.

The idea for a High Street cinema is already being taken forward by a local group – the Paisley Community Trust – who, with support from the council, are developing their own plans to convert an existing building for that purpose.

Gary Kerr, chair of the Paisley Community Trust, said: ““It’s exciting to see such a transformational and radical vision for Paisley’s future revealed. Paisley Community Trust fully back this new vision for Paisley and we congratulate Threesixty Architecture on producing a superb piece of work.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see cinema at the forefront of the vision. This completely aligns with our current plans to bring cinema back to the heart of our town.

“We believe a cinema by and for our community is a vital first step in realising the wider vision for regeneration in the town centre. It’s Project One if you like.

“We’ve been working behind the scenes on it for a while now and will reveal more details very soon. We also look forward to seeing the other concepts from the vision being explored and developed into regeneration projects of their own in the years ahead.”

Colette Cardosi, chair of town centre business improvement district Paisley First, added: “In recent years, Paisley has found itself firmly back on the map with fantastic events for visitors and a growing number of independent businesses.

“However, like many towns throughout the country, we need to continuously adapt and evolve and Paisley First welcomes collaboration on any long-term strategy for the future which can help bring in new investment and new footfall to local businesses in Paisley town centre.”

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, added: “Paisley has a rich tapestry of heritage and culture, is steeped in industry and tradition, and has many major assets.

“We hope this exciting blueprint can create a high street fit for 21st century citizens and Paisley can become an exemplar for other large towns across Scotland.”

Alan Anthony, managing director of Threesixty Architecture, who authored the Vision, said: “This study shows a people-first approach that reconnects the whole community to their town centre.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to rebalance our High Street back to a place with a rich mix of uses. As a lifelong Paisley Buddy, it’s exciting to think Paisley could lead the way on town centre regeneration in Scotland.”

The council now hopes to hear from developers who are interested in investing in Paisley – with one firm which has already done so believing a template for success already exists.

Brian Clark, managing director of Park Lane Developments, said: “We believe  Park Lane’s partnership with Renfrewshire Council on the regeneration of the former Arnotts department store has already shown the way for how the public and private sector can work together to transform a town centre site.

“That project has already delivered 67 completed private and social rented housing along with the welcome addition of the Pendulum restaurant. The final phase is just about to go for planning and will bring an additional 70  new homes.

“The site was derelict for 10 years and is now back in beneficial use bringing new residents and activity back into the town centre – and shows the potential that exists in Paisley as a place to live and invest.”

Residents and businesses have the chance to see and give their views on the Paisley Vision plans for themselves at a public exhibition open in POP (the former Post Office) in the town’s Piazza shopping centre – on Friday 24 (1 to 4.30pm), Saturday 25 (9.30am to 4.30pm) and Monday 27 January (9.30am to 3pm).

The full report can also be viewed online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisleyvision, along with a Q&A which goes into more details on the ideas it contains and what happens next.

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The first images showing how a vacant former retail unit at the heart of Paisley’s High Street will be turned into a 21st-century community facility housing library services are today revealed.

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Construction will start soon on the £7m Paisley Learning and Cultural Hub – a new modern community and educational facility which will bring new footfall to the town centre.

When it opens in summer 2021, the building will provide a new digitally-connected home for a range of services, including those currently offered at Paisley Central Library.

As the images released today show, that will include:

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– a comprehensive internal remodelling of the existing building, over four floors;

– an attractive ground-and-first-floor frontage with a modern look – which complements the High Street surroundings and preserves the historic features on the building’s upper floors;

– children’s library with areas for areas for reading, play, storytelling and learning;

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– IT areas and suite – offering free public digital access in the heart of the town centre

The new facility is the latest example of how Renfrewshire Council is helping repopulate the town’s High Street by finding new cultural and community uses for vacant retail property.

It follows Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High St museum store –which opened two years ago in the basement of the town’s former Littlewoods store.

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The four-floor unit at 22a High Street which will house the learning and cultural hub was last occupied by clothing chain Internacionale – but has been empty for a decade.

The work is part of a wider investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces which will see Paisley Museum transformed into a world-class home for the town’s internationally-significant collections, and Paisley Town Hall kept at the heart of local life as a landmark entertainment venue.

The project includes £1.5m funding from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and is being delivered on behalf of the council by hub West Scotland who have appointed Collective Architecture to create the new design and main contractor CCG to deliver the refurbishment.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, which will operate the facility, said: “We are delighted to be able to reveal these images, which show a modern and accessible community resource for people of all ages to learn and be inspired.

“We are putting the power of culture to change lives at the heart of everything we do – so putting a building offering library services at the heart of Paisley High Street is a bold statement of intent.

“The Learning and Cultural Hub will bring back into use a building which had been empty for some time, and had been allowed to deteriorate by previous owners.

“The future for Paisley town centre is in finding new ways to repopulate vacant retail units with cultural, leisure and community uses which will give people a reason to come into the town centre.

“As well as hosting library services, it will be able to host events and book readings – helping bring footfall into the High Street and supporting surrounding businesses.”

Iain Marley, hub West’s CEO said: “We are delighted to partner with Renfrewshire Council and lead the delivery of this very important project.

“The council has a very clear and powerful vision for the role the Learning and Cultural Hub will play in the rejuvenation of the High Street and the benefits that the investment that it will bring for residents and visitors.

“We are proud to help make this vision a reality and ensure the project maximises employment, training and other opportunities for local communities and businesses.”

Paisley Central Library is currently operating from a temporary building next to the Lagoon Leisure Centre, having moved from its former home next to Paisley Museum in 2018.

Renfrewshire Heritage Library remains open at Abbey Mill and will move into the museum when it reopens in 2022.

The former Paisley Central Library building at the top of the High Street will form part of the expanded Paisley Museum when it reopens in 2022.

For more information see www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisley

council logo

Renfrewshire Council has reiterated its green credentials as it outlines climate change as an immediate priority, with its Climate Emergency Working Group set to meet tomorrow (Thursday).

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In June 2019, there was cross-party support for a council motion which declared a climate emergency and a working group has been set up with members of all political parties, who will make recommendations on how to make Renfrewshire carbon neutral by 2030.

The area has a strong base to work from as since 2012/13, Renfrewshire has reduced its carbon emissions by 55.7%, far exceeding its 36% target, and it has been carrying out numerous projects to make the area greener.

A new recycling system has seen the area’s recycling rate increase every quarter throughout 2019, with the latest figures showing 55.42% of waste was recycled between July and September 2019, and this is further supported by the commencement of the Clyde Valley Residual Waste Project which now sees at least 90% of non-recyclable waste turned into energy rather than going to landfill.

A transformation of the street lighting in Renfrewshire has reduced energy and carbon consumption by 64%, contributing an 8% reduction in the council’s overall emissions, while there will shortly be 100 electric vehicles in the council’s fleet as part of a commitment to replace any vehicles with electric versions wherever possible.

Since 2013, the council has secured more than £15million in funding for improvements in home energy efficiency. More than 6000 homes have benefited so far and carbon emissions have reduced by 108,000 tonnes – the equivalent of removing 21,000 cars from the roads.

Recently, the council was awarded £1.8million by the UK Government to turn 75 properties into low energy or EnerPHit homes, which are low energy buildings that require very little energy to heat or cool and could see annual energy bills reduced to £150 for residents.

The council also takes a positive and ambitious approach to biodiversity conservation and promotion and its 2018-2022 Action Plan is working to protect and enhance natural habitats in Renfrewshire as part of its climate change actions.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “As a council, we are striving to reduce our emissions wherever possible as we recognise the immediate threat that climate change poses to our environment.

“We are making great progress in reducing our carbon output, far exceeding our target of 36% by March 2020, and we have undertaken numerous successful projects which are making a real difference to our local environment.

“However, we know we can do more, and this working group will endeavour to identify all areas where we can make a difference – be it immediately or when setting out how to undertake future projects.

“We recognise that the council needs to lead from the front in Renfrewshire and we’re committed to being the driving force that inspires our businesses and residents to follow suit.”

The group next meet on Thursday 23 January and will set out their goals and aspirations for the year ahead.

Proposed front elevation

An innovative housing project in Renfrewshire will help to tackle climate change and could slash tenant’s annual heating bills to £150.

Proposed front elevation

Renfrewshire Council’s housing investment team has been given the green light to deliver a £4.5million retrofit of 75 terraced council houses.

The popular 1960s-built Paisley crosswall construction properties are being given a retrofit to reduce their carbon emissions and improve their energy efficiency.

Together with experts John Gilbert Architects, the Council team has developed a specialist, cost-effective package of works to radically reduce the amount of fuel being burned.

The completed works could enable carbon dioxide emissions to drop by almost 100 tonnes per property over the next 25 years, collectively preventing 7400 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide entering the environment.

And each property’s energy efficiency could rise from Band D to Band B, the second highest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating, bringing the 60-year-old houses in line with most newbuild properties.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Board, said: “These houses are very popular with tenants as they have a front and back door, but unfortunately they weren’t built to meet modern energy efficiency standards.

“We’re very excited about this project which will improve the warmth and comfort levels for our tenants and ensure better ventilation all without the need for them to decant from their home, while at the same time tackling fuel poverty and making a critical contribution towards Renfrewshire being carbon neutral by 2030.

“Everyone should have homes to be proud of and this project will not only greatly improve the quality of Renfrewshire’s housing stock, but has the potential to be scaled up and adapted to fit other types of houses, becoming the blueprint to meet the highest energy efficiency standards.”

Renfrewshire councillors have approved the project plans and consultation will now get underway with tenants before work is scheduled to start this summer, taking around 18-months to complete.

An Energy Performance Survey will benchmark each home’s efficiency before the works start. New external wall insulation, roofing, solar panels, windows, external doors and underfloor insulation are all included, with off-site construction enabling the process at each home to be streamlined to take around 4-6 weeks.

The completed works will achieve the EnerPHit standard, one of the highest energy standards in the UK for an energy performance retrofit.

Lori McElroy, Director of Housing and Energy (Scotland) at the Building Research Establishment, said: “We’re pleased to help with the planning behind this project, which is taking innovative thinking to the next stage by demonstrating a clear solution to a complex issue. We are committed to supporting organisations to deliver the Scottish Government’s Energy Efficient Scotland targets and look forward to measuring and monitoring the project to ensure the best possible outcomes.”

Sarah Buchanan, Innovation Manager, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, said: “We are delighted to be working with Renfrewshire Council and other partners on this innovative project which will bring positive change to the lives of the tenants whilst also creating economic development for Scotland and of course improving carbon emissions. There are an estimated 250,000 crosswall properties across the UK and this pilot project creates an affordable solution for housing stock which can be rolled out at scale.”

The project is part-funded through £1.8million secured from the UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Whole House Retrofit competition.

Partners at the Bargeddie plant

A unique new contract will see a minimum of 90% of Renfrewshire’s waste transformed into energy as the area meets the Scottish Government’s landfill ban.

Partners at the Bargeddie plant

The £700 million, 25-year Clyde Valley Residual Waste Project between East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Council and Viridor is now underway and will serve almost one-sixth of Scotland’s population.

It will see up to 190,000 tonnes of general waste diverted from landfill and converted to low-carbon energy and is expected provide a net saving of almost 50,000 tonnes of CO2e every year.

It will also deliver a guaranteed minimum increase in recycling for Renfrewshire, further enhancing the area’s growing environmental prospects having seen its recycling rate improve every quarter since December 2018.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “A key priority of the council is tackling climate change and this project will make a significant difference to the level of C02 we produce by improving the way we deal with our waste.

“Anything that cannot be recycled will now no longer go to landfill and will be transformed into energy instead, making a real difference to our environment and taking our commitment to recycling to a new level.

“Our teams have been working hard over the last decade to make this a reality and we’re looking forward to working with our partnership authorities to ensure that the project achieves the environmental aims it sets out.”

This is the first partnership of its kind in Scotland and will see household waste taken from Renfrewshire and the other local authorities to a Materials Recovery Facility, where it will be further separated to remove recyclable materials before it is treated to produce a refuse derived fuel.

Then, at the brand-new Energy Recover Facility at Dunbar, it is burned at high temperatures, under carefully controlled conditions to produce 258GWh of low-carbon electricity for the national grid – enough to power more than 70,000 homes.

Steven Don, Viridor’s Head of Local Authority Contracts Scotland, said: “The Bargeddie Hub is now receiving waste as part of this contract just in time for the very busy post-festive season period.

“The Clyde Valley Partnership is an excellent example of how local authorities can work together to deliver effective waste management and contribute to a circular economy in Scotland.

“The sophisticated technology at Bargeddie improves recycling and non-recyclable waste treatment, maximising the opportunities to recycle while putting non-recyclable waste to work to generate electricity.”

The contract will also see Viridor deliver a number of community benefits, including annual apprenticeships, educational school visits and training workshops for businesses.

For more information on Renfrewshire’s approach to waste and recycling, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/mybins.

PAC Guide Launch

THE world premiere of John Byrne’s new play, Underwood Lane is one of the highlights of a packed programme of music, theatre, comedy, dance and literature coming to Renfrewshire in the next few months.

PAC Guide Launch

The musical play set in Paisley tells the story of a young skiffle band trying to make the big time.

Artist and playwright, Byrne has written Underwood Lane in memory of his close friend and fellow Buddie, singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty who died nine years ago this month.

PAC Guide Launch

Byrne is one of Scotland’s most talented artists and writers and is best known for his paintings, theatrical masterpieces like The Slab Boys Trilogy and the hit TV shows, Tutti Frutti and Your Cheatin’ Heart.

The play – a co-production from Renfrewshire Leisure and Glasgow’s Tron Theatre – is being premiered at Paisley Arts Centre between Thursday, June 25 and Sunday, June 28. This will be the last show at Paisley Arts Centre before it closes for refurbishment this summer.

PAC Guide Launch

More information about the Underwood Road performances and a host of other events, shows and performances being staged in Renfrewshire are featured in the recently-published What’s On booklet, The Guide for Spring 2020.

The Guide – available to download from www.renfrewshireleisure.com or picked up from all Renfrewshire Leisure sports facilities and venues – details how there is something for everyone when it comes to entertainment, events and stimulating talks and classes at local venues.

There is a strong programme for families including The Shark in the Park Musical show, based on the popular Nick Sharratt’s children’s books, which is being staged at Johnstone Town Hall, on Wednesday February 26.

Children and adults will also be able to enjoy the Easter Fun Day with circus-themed activities along with arts and crafts, at Johnstone Town Hall, on Saturday, April 11.

A not-to-be-missed theatre performance from Arabella Weir, star of TV’s The Fast Show and Two Doors Down, is at Paisley Arts Centre, on Friday, March 27. A best-selling author and actor, Arabella’s show is called Does My Mum Loom Big In This? as she takes to the stage to describe some hilarious anecdotes from her dysfunctional childhood.

Traditional Celtic music at its best can be heard when The Tannahill Weavers play Paisley Arts Centre on Saturday, February 15. And the Scottish Alternative Music Awards return to Paisley Arts Centre for the third year, on Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14.

For the first time a Paisley Book Festival is being held at various venues between Thursday, February 20 and Saturday, February 29 with the central theme of Radical Voices and Rebel Stories.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We have a wonderful array of entertainment and events planned for the next few months.

“We’re really excited about the world premiere of John Byrne’s Underwood Lane, which is a play written by a Paisley Buddie, about Paisley and being performed for the first time in Paisley. I’m sure the shows will be a sell-out.

“There’s definitely something for everyone in the latest issue of The Guide whether its music, theatre, dance, children’s entertainment or literature that people enjoy.”

YSOC

A survey has been launched seeking the views of Paisley town centre residents and visitors following a six-week intervention designed to build safer and stronger communities.

Link: socsi.in/Follow_up_survey_for_Paisley_town_centre_7fejpsocsi.in/Follow_up_survey_for_Paisley_town_centre_7fejp

YSOC

Led by Police Scotland, the Your Home, Your Street, Our Community programme is supported by Renfrewshire Council, Engage Renfrewshire, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Renfrewshire Leisure and the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, alongside Paisley First, and sets out to tackle the issues that matter to local residents.

Police at Paisley Abbey

A survey was carried out inviting local people and businesses to have their say on how to make Paisley town centre safer and an action plan was devised to tackle the main issues.

This was the first time that the initiative had tackled a town centre which brought fresh challenges for the working group having previously worked in wider community areas.

It addressed perceived problems including antisocial behaviour, drug offences and night-time safety, with actions such as additional police and warden patrols, mobile CCTV, taxi marshalling at weekends and enforcement action to tackle illegal parking.

Detective Chief Inspector Douglas Falconer, Renfrewshire & Inverclyde Division said: “The Paisley town centre initiative is an excellent example of how partnership working can benefit the entire community.

“We listened to what the people of Paisley have raised as their main issues to date and over the past few weeks have addressed many of those concerns.

“We have provided high visibility patrols to reassure and offer advice and guidance to local residents around specific issues such as personal safety and antisocial behaviour.

“We would encourage anyone living or visiting Paisley town centre to continue to let us know of any concerns they have, in order that we help make Paisley town centre a safer place for all.”

Paisley town centre is the latest area to benefit from the programme following successful interventions in Shortroods, Erskine, Ferguslie and Gallowhill, where the work carried out noted a significant decrease in the issues initially identified by residents in those areas.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “This campaign has made a fantastic difference in a number of communities in Renfrewshire which had been facing issues affecting the safety of people in the area – and Paisley town centre was the latest.

“All the partners involved in the project worked hard to listen to what local people told us were the main issues and implemented actions to make a difference.

“We’ve seen a visible change in to the town centre, but we want to know what local people think as we evaluate the campaign and plan our ongoing support to maintain any improvements.

“Please fill out the survey and let us know how you thought the campaign went and what Paisley town centre is like today.”

Anyone can take part in the survey, which closes at midnight on Sunday 26 January, at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/YourHomeYourStreet.

Paisley Museum

Plans to completely transform Paisley Museum into a world-class visitor destination telling the town’s unique stories including that of the globally admired, Paisley pattern, have taken a major step forward as The National Lottery Heritage Fund today announced £3.83million support for the project.

Paisley Museum

The four buildings which make up Scotland’s first municipal museum, including the country’s first public observatory, will be ambitiously re-designed and extended by an award-winning international team, including  the architects AL_A and exhibition designers Opera Amsterdam, to create an exciting new experience for visitors.

Paisley Museum

The new, contemporary galleries and exhibitions will double the number of objects on display and be fully accessible so that visitors can explore the town’s rich heritage and its part in the story of the famous teardrop Paisley pattern textile, from the shawls of Kashmir to the haute couture of rock stars. Inspiring learning zones, improved social spaces, a new cafe, shop and cloakroom facilities will add to the Museum’s appeal, as will a new, welcoming entrance surrounded by a courtyard and gardens.

Paisley Museum

The revamped museum is forecast to attract 125,000 visits a year, almost four times the current numbers, and create a £79m economic boost over 30 years. It is the cornerstone of Renfrewshire Council’s vision to bring new life to the town through investment in heritage and culture. This has included the opening of the UK’s first publicly accessible high street museum store, Paisley: The Secret Collection,  and the conservation and repair of key buildings which make up the town’s historic core through a scheme funded with £2m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“This project has been driven by the passion of the Paisley community to put their unique heritage on an international stage. With the help of National Lottery funding, new life will be breathed into these heritage buildings giving Paisley’s wonderful textiles and other treasures the prominence they deserve, while also bringing a new confidence to the town.”

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure Ltd, said: “We want to thank everyone connected to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their fantastic support.

“It will help us deliver a world-class museum which will take the town’s unique and fascinating stories to new audiences, showcase Paisley’s internationally-significant collections, and bring new life and footfall to the wider area.

“It will create a new accessible hub at the heart of life in the town for the local community – local groups are already co-producing the incredible stories which will populate the reopened museum, and we look forward to continuing to work with The National Lottery Heritage Fund and others over the years ahead to deliver on that.”

The new museum is expected to open in 2022.

SOBS Memorial tree

Renfrewshire’s annual memorial service to commemorate those who have lost their lives to suicide will be held in Paisley later this month.

A short service will take place on Thursday 23 January at Renfrewshire House, hosted by support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS).

SOBS Memorial tree

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

The service is open to all and anyone who has been affected by suicide is invited to meet in the Marriage Suite from 3:10pm to collect a commemorative purple heart on which they can write a message to a loved one, if desired.

At 3:30pm there will be a short set of readings followed by a procession to the memorial tree where Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron will light the tree.

After the service, all those in attendance are invited to join the Provost, the local SOBS support group and the Choose Life team for light refreshments in Paisley Abbey.

The memorial tree was first dedicated in 2010 as a permanent memorial to those who have died through suicide and is believed to have been the first of its kind in Scotland.

SOBS Memorial tree

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

The service aims to provide an opportunity to remember those who have been lost while providing an arm of support to the survivors. It is an opportunity to connect with others who have faced similar situations.

Provost Cameron, who helped establish the tree, said: “Over the past ten years this service has become extremely important to members of the local community and I’m honoured to be involved.

“Suicide is still very much a taboo subject, but the Choose Life and SOBS team will be available after the service to provide any support you, or a friend or family member, may need, and I would encourage anyone who has been affected by suicide in any manner to come along.

“If you’re unable to make it along, please get in touch with the team to talk about how you are feeling or what support you need. Someone is always there to listen.”

Anyone unable to attend the service who wishes a message to be placed onto the tree can get in touch in advance or can visit the council reception at any time following the service to collect a commemorative heart.

If you are feeling suicidal, or you know someone that might be then please call one of the helpline numbers: Samaritan’s 116 123, Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87, RAMH First Crisis 0141 849 90 90 or 0500 829 093

For more information contact the Choose Life Team on 0141 849 2200 or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/sobs.

nursery

Parents can now apply for nursery placements with 1140 hours of fully-funded early learning and childcare (ELC) from August 2020.

Renfrew mum, Sarah Kelly, says she has seen Charlotte, aged 4, become more confident after receiving 1140 ELC at 3 Bears Nursery.

nursery

She said: “Charlotte started getting 1140 hours of ELC last August and is in nursery four days a week. Since she started getting extra hours, I’ve seen a big change in her. She is much more sociable and has gained a lot of confidence.

“I think it is important that children get their own independence and can self-lead their own learning. Charlotte used to go to nursery just for the morning, but it can take a while for kids to warm up to being in nursery. Having the whole day has made a big difference.

“What it has meant for me is that I have been able to pick up an extra day at work, giving me more money in my pocket. I also don’t feel guilty about Charlotte spending extra time at nursery because she loves it so much and we make more time to do something exciting when we are all together.

“There are many nurseries in Renfrewshire, but I decided on 3 Bears Nursery in Renfrew because it has a good reputation and one of my friends also recommended it. You can visit the nursery you want your child to go to before you apply and see the learning experiences that go on in there.

“I believe nursery is an important part of growing up and helps children get ready for school. These increased hours are a big part of that preparation.

“Charlotte also enjoys being a helper at nursery now that she is older, and this has also improved her interaction skills. I can’t praise 1140 ELC enough.”

Parents of children due to attend nursery from August 2020 must complete an application form and return it to their local nursery by Friday 31 January 2020.

Parents who have children that will return to nursery after August 2020 will be contacted by their nursery to discuss their options for 1140 hours of ELC.

To apply for a nursery place, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/1140ELC.