PAISLEY 2021 Food festival MFG

Visitors will be able to learn valuable cooking tips from the professionals to reduce waste and help protect the environment at this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival.

The festival, which is one of Scotland’s largest outdoor food and drink events, will host a range of cookery demonstrations with celebrity chefs in collaboration with Zero Waste Scotland’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign, on Saturday 27 April.

Love Food Hate Waste aims to raise awareness of how doing easy, practical things in the home can reduce food waste, save money and benefit the environment.

Top chefs, including Gary Maclean, winner of MasterChef – The Professionals 2016, Matt Pritchard, star of hit MTV series Dirty Sanchez and BBC TV’s Dirty Vegan, and baking sensations Three Sisters Bake will teach their tricks of the trade and show how making small changes in the kitchen can have a big impact.

PAISLEY 2021 Food festival MFG

Love Food Hate Waste will be on hand to provide advice at the festival to help prevent good food ending up in the bin.

Ylva Haglund, Food Waste Campaigns Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “A massive £1 billion worth of food is binned from our homes in Scotland every year. Most of this is good food that could have been eaten and enjoyed had it been used up in time. Food waste also contributes more to Scotland’s carbon emissions than any other type of waste.

“To make it easier for people at home to tackle this, we’ve teamed up with leading chefs at this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival, who will share tips and tricks to show just how simple it can be to save food from the bin.”

Ahead of the Festival, Love Food Hate Waste will also work with local community groups, including The Tannahill Centre, ROAR: Connections for Life, Erskine Music and Media Studios, Our Places Our Families and Active Communities, to host a selection of free to attend workshops across Renfrewshire.

Paisley Food Festival

The daily two-hour Love Food Hate Waste workshops aim to provide further advice on how to reduce food waste at home and will take place with the following groups:

  • Young Mums – The Tannahill Centre – Monday 22 April – 10am – 12pm
  • Older Adults – ROAR: Connections for Life – Tuesday 23 April – 2pm – 4pm
  • Erskine Community Hub – Erskine Music and Media Studios – Wednesday 24 April – 3pm – 5pm
  • Our Places Our Families – Our Places Our Families – Thursday 25 April – 1pm – 3pm
  • Feel Good Project – Active Communities – Friday 26 April – 10am – 12pm

Ms Haglund added: “Our popular Love Food Hate Waste training sessions are delivered to many community groups, businesses and local authorities across Scotland every year.

“They are fun, free, interactive sessions which will provide those attending with practical knowledge around the simple things we can all do to stop wasting food at home and save money in the process.”

Apple Oils Ltd will also be collecting waste cooking oil from participating traders at this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival, which will then be transformed into sustainable biodiesel.

The Glasgow-based company will filter the cooking oil and use a chemical process to turn it into biodiesel which can be used to fuel vehicle engines.

Paisley Food Festival

Alexander Macdonald of Apple Oils Ltd said: “We are delighted to be participating with Paisley Food and Drink Festival and support any actions that reduce waste and help save our environment. We collect waste cooking oil from all over Scotland and sell new to a selection of our customers.”

Paisley Food and Drink Festival takes place over two days on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April and will see more than 40 vendors from across Scotland in the stunning surroundings of the town’s Abbey Close.

This year’s line-up will also feature delicious street food with traders from PLATFORM on Tour – the independent street food market who reside at Glasgow’s Argyle Street Arches, expert tasting sessions with the award-winning Gin71, the popular Rum Shack and the Renfrewshire CAMRA Beer Tent.

There will also be live music and entertainment on the Main Stage, sponsored by Paisley’s famous The Bungalow music venue, including Sprog Rock, Princesses of Pop and Esperanza – perfect for adults and kids alike.

Smaller portion sizes will be available for children and there’s something for all foodies with a range of halal, gluten free, veggie and vegan options also on offer.

Find out more about what’s on at the Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019, visit https://paisley.is/featured_event/paisley-food-and-drink-festival/

Oran Kearney - St Mirren Manager

Young footballers are being given the opportunity to sample life as a professional and take to the field at the Simple Digital Arena, home of St Mirren Football Club.

Part of the celebrations to mark Street Stuff’s ten-year anniversary of working in the Renfrewshire community, aspiring footballers will have the opportunity to cross the white line and play on the pitch as part of a festival of football.

Oran Kearney - St Mirren Manager

The five-a-side football event is free for all Street Stuff participants, aged 8-16, and will take place in the evening of Wednesday 15 May.

Players can register individually or as a team, with all consent forms to be returned to St Mirren in advance of the tournament taking place.

St Mirren FC Manager, Oran Kearney, said “The people of Paisley and Renfrewshire have given the team brilliant support in my time at the club so it’s great that the young people of Renfrewshire will get the opportunity to play on the pitch at the stadium and have the chance to emulate their heroes.”

Since its inception in 2009, Street Stuff has seen more than 200,000 young people come through its doors, each having the opportunity to take part in sport, make new friends and engage in social activities.

A firm fixture of the community for a decade, the programme has contributed to a sustained reduction of 65% in reported youth disorder and anti-social behaviour in Renfrewshire.

Street Stuff provides activities such as football, dance and gaming six days a week, as well as hosting four holiday camps throughout the year where a healthy meal is provided to each young person who attends – with more than 26,000 healthy meals provided in the last four years.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “What a fantastic opportunity for our young people to make it out of the stands and onto the pitch at St Mirren and hopefully we can inspire the next generation of footballers for the club.

“Street Stuff works hard to provide opportunities for sport and exercise for young people that they may not otherwise have the chance to experience and the work of our staff, coaches and volunteers really is changing the lives of young people in Renfrewshire.

The project runs in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, St Mirren Football Club, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Engage Renfrewshire.

For more information on how to sign up, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/StreetStuff.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Communities are being urged to help shape their area by applying for a grant from their Local Partnership.

Applications for funding from the Local Partnerships, which replaced Renfrewshire’s Local Area Committees, are now open.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

The funding, which used to be known as Local Area Committee grants, is available for projects which help each Local Partnership meet its local priorities. These priorities were set by each Local Partnership at meetings in March and April.

There have been important changes to the way this funding works since the introduction of the Local Partnerships in 2018, with groups now having to demonstrate how their application will contribute to the local priorities of the partnership they are applying to.

All applicants are advised to read the new guidance for Local Partnership funding, available on the Renfrewshire Council website, before submitting their applications.

Local Partnerships are a new way for communities, elected members and public organisations to work together at a local level. The partnerships adopt a more informal and inclusive approach which allows local people to have more of a say in decisions which affect their area.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “People in Renfrewshire are passionate about their communities and Local Partnerships are a great way for them to shape their community and get involved in decision making.

“This funding will allow Local Partnerships to support projects that are important to local people and address their local priorities, making a difference to their communities.

“If you are looking for funding and have a project that supports your Local Partnerships’ local priorities, I’d encourage you to apply.”

The Council’s Community Planning Team will hold two drop-in sessions to provide potential funding applicants with information on how the grants work, what the local priorities are for their Local Partnership and advice on alternative funding sources. The sessions will take place on Wednesday 24 April from 5.30pm-7.30pm at Johnstone Town Hall and Thursday 2 May from 2-4pm at the Abercorn Centre, West College Scotland in Paisley.

Anyone who cannot attend the drop-in sessions can call our Community Planning Team on 0141 618 4168 or email communityplanning@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

The deadline for applications is Monday 20 May 2019.

A decision on funding applications will be made by Local Partnerships at their next meetings in June.

To book a slot at our Johnstone drop-in session, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/local-partnerships-grant-funding-drop-in-session-tickets-59523195480. To book a slot at our Paisley drop-in session, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/local-partnerships-grant-funding-drop-in-session-tickets-60530532452

For more information on Local Partnerships and their local priorities or to download an application form, visit http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/localpartnerships

Free for Three Pilot Project

Paisley First is calling on the public and members of the local business community in Paisley town centre to get behind their Free for Three campaign, as they launch a petition calling for a pilot project.

Free for Three Pilot Project
The Business Improvement District for Paisley town centre is calling for free parking for three hours for visitors to the town centre and is now looking to Renfrewshire Council to implement a pilot project to test the scheme.

Members of the public and local business community are being invited to join the launch of the petition on Wednesday 24th April at 11am outside Paisley Town Hall. Paisley First believes that free parking for three hours will bring the optimum benefit to
those businesses in Paisley who currently lose out to retail parks such as Braehead and Silverburn, and very soon, the new Wallneuk development.

Paisley First Chair, Colette Cardosi, said: “We appreciated the opportunity to join and contribute to Renfrewshire Council’s working group on parking in Paisley and we were pleased at the positive response to our campaign from the other external
stakeholders who attended as well as local councillors. “However Free for Three is a crucial campaign for the future of the business
community we represent in Paisley town centre and those who visit or would like to visit the town on a more frequent basis.
“With visitor attractions such as Paisley Museum and Paisley Town Hall now closed for a number of years for refurbishment, it is crucial that the negative impacts felt by
local businesses as a result of these closures are mitigated against as soon as
possible.”

Colette added: “The public response to our Free for Three campaign has been fantastic and shows that many more people would visit Paisley to shop and socialise if there was an element of free parking on offer.”
Paisley First is calling on Renfrewshire Council to implement a Free for Three Pilot Project before the start of the summer school holidays at the end of June.
The petition will be available to sign on the Paisley First website from next Wednesday as well as in local businesses throughout the town centre.

For more details go to www.paisleyfirst.com

Scottish Power Win BPBC MFG

Thousands of the world’s top pipers and drummers will again descend on Paisley for one of the biggest dates in the global piping calendar.

 

The British Pipe Band Championships will take place on Saturday 18 May at the St James Playing Fields – with 123 bands from across the UK and Ireland, and drum and pipe majors from as far afield as the USA, Denmark and Belgium set to compete.

The free-to-attend event will see a full day of family entertainment from 10am to 6pm – including a Highland Games competition, a food village, and sporty activity.

Scottish Power Win BPBC MFG

This will be the fourth year the championships have been in Paisley, with the town contracted to continue to host the event – one of piping’s five ‘majors’ and second-only in size to the World Championships – until 2021.

Last year’s event attracted 17,000 attendees and generated more than £300,000 for the local economy, with half the attendees visitors to Renfrewshire and 7% from outwith Scotland.

Event organisers Renfrewshire Council and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association have also teamed up with McGill’s Buses to transport spectators to and from the event – free of charge.

There will be plenty local interest on the day – the Johnstone Pipe Band will have two entries, one going head to head with the world’s best in the prestigious Grade 1 competition, and another looking to win Grade 3a (having topped Grade 3b last year).

Kilbarchan Pipe Band will feature in the Grade 4b contest, while the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band will be hoping to equal or better last year’s brilliant performance, when they came third in Novice Junior Grade B in their first major championships.

Ian Embelton, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Paisley to bring the British Championships to the town once again.

“Paisley is a popular venue with the bands for its central location, transport links and the many excellent options available locally to stay overnight and to enjoy a meal or a drink.

“This is the first of the annual majors and many of the world’s best pipe bands will be competing – for anyone who hasn’t been before, my message would be come along on the day and enjoy some top-class piping and drumming.”

McGill’s will run the shuttle buses from Paisley Gilmour Street station, West College Scotland and Swift Parking on Greenhill Road, 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.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Hosting major events like this is helps to build on Paisley and Renfrewshire’s now-established reputation as a key destination on Scotland’s events map.

“Renfrewshire has many businesses who will be ready to welcome the thousands of visitors with open arms and I hope as many of them as possible of will enjoy a day, and evening or an overnight stay with us.”

Other major events coming up in Paisley over the next few weeks include the Paisley Food and Drink Festival – expected to draw thousands to the town centre on Friday 26 and Saturday 27 April.

More information about the British Pipe Band Championships and other Renfrewshire events is available online at www.paisley.is.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Oran Kearney, Gordon Scott and Street Stuff participants

Street Stuff celebrated the start of its 10-year anniversary in style with more than 1200 young people took part in the free Spring Break programme.

Hundreds of young people flocked to activities every day of the two-week holiday camp, as football, gaming and more was made available at venues across Renfrewshire.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Oran Kearney, Gordon Scott and Street Stuff participants

A free healthy meal was provided to all participants at the afternoon activities, meaning 675 young people were refuelled throughout the duration of the programme.

Stevie Gallacher, Street Stuff Manager, said: “We’re delighted to see more and more young people spending their school holidays with us.

“Our holiday programmes are so important as they provide an opportunity for young people from all walks of life to take part in sport and exercise while they don’t have school as an outlet.

“To see so many young people leave with a smile on their face is brilliant and we have our fantastic coaches and volunteers to thank for making it so enjoyable.”

The spring programme marked the start of Street Stuff’s 10th anniversary celebrations which will be marked with a series of events throughout the year.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “What a fantastic start to Street Stuff’s tenth anniversary celebrations and to see more than 1200 young people taking part is a great achievement.

“By providing the programme for free, we are giving all young people the opportunity to take part in sport and exercise and this can be vital in keeping them on the right track in life.

“The programme has changed so many lives over the past ten years and we’re proud of the work carried out by our staff, coaches and volunteers to provide these opportunities for young people.”

Street Stuff is a diversionary project run in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Engage Renfrewshire and St Mirren Football Club.

The programme began in 2009 in Renfrewshire and has contributed to a sustained reduction of 65 percent.in youth disorder and anti-social behaviour.

The programme runs six days a week, all-year-round, at venues across Renfrewshire and young people aged 8 to 16 are encouraged to turn up and take part for free.

For more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/streetstuff or follow @SMFCStreetStuff on Facebook and Twitter.

Wright Street

Renfrew was the latest area to benefit from a Big Spring Clean as volunteers headed out over the weekend on community clean-ups.

More than thirty volunteers turned out to two litter picks in Renfrew as inspired teams tackled the banks of the Clyde from Wright Street as well as the Blythswood Woods.

Blythswood

Crisp packs, bottles, a shoe and even some skateboard wheels were collected as the volunteers filled their bags and made the local area a little brighter.

The Big Spring Clean is one of the flagship events of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign which aims to make Renfrewshire a cleaner, more attractive place to live, work and visit and is running throughout April, with more than 50 litter picks arranged so far.

Neil Paterson, Renfrew to Paisley People and Nature Corridor, said: “Clean up activities are key towards re-naturing the old railway and path and making it more pleasant for people and wildlife.

“Doing this through organised events is a great way to enable community involvement and for like-minded folk to meet and enjoy each other’s company.

“The Big Spring Clean is a good way for the council to promote and encourage people to get involved in improving  the environment throughout Renfrewshire.”

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, hosted the clean-up in Blythswood and was delighted with the support of the local community.

Councillor McEwan said: “It’s brilliant to see everyone coming together to make a difference to their own local area and I was delighted to join my neighbours on a litter pick at the weekend, where we even had volunteers from Elderslie make the trip across to join us.

“If we all take the time to make our neighbourhoods cleaner then the whole of Renfrewshire will benefit and that’s what Team Up to Clean Up is all about.

Wright Street

“We’ve made a significant investment as a council to ensure we can increase the level of work we do ‘behind the scenes’ as we recognise that we need to work with the local community to ensure the campaign is a success.

“We’ve seen amazing things happen so far with the support for the Big Spring Clean surpassing all our expectations.”

The Team Up to Clean Up campaign has benefited from a £2.5million investment in Renfrewshire’s local environment which has seen an increased programme of road sweeping, drain clearing, litter picking and an enhanced Rapid Response Team.

The investment has also facilitated local communities to undertake litter picks by providing them with gloves, litter pickers, bags and hoops, as well as the support of the council’s Wardens Service and StreetScene team who remove all rubbish following the completion of the litter pick.

For more information visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/BigSpringClean2019 or call 0300 300 1375.

Pals of the Privies

Inspiring supporters of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign have been recognised at the Provost’s Community Awards for their work in the community.

The awards set out to reward the unsung heroes within Renfrewshire who go above and beyond for their community and taking home the Community Group and Community Volunteer awards were Pals of the Privies and Heather Clisset respectively.

Pals of the Privies are a volunteer group who set out with the mission of reclaiming Glencoats Park for the community and making it a welcoming area for young and old alike.

Pals of the Privies (1)

They transformed the park from a seldom used green space into a thriving family park, achieving this by embracing the Team Up to Clean Up campaign through improving the appearance of the park and keeping it litter free.

Community events have been held in the park, primary school classes can now take place there and it is a haven for older people and dog walkers, with new benches installed for elderly residents.

Karen Campbell, Pals of the Privies, said: “Pals of the Privies all began with a simple litter pick, never did we think it would have grown to what it is now.

“Team Up to Clean up was a major part of our work from providing equipment to uplifts of large amounts of vegetation and Nicola and all the team have been a godsend, going out of their way to answer our queries or concerns.

“Winning the Provost’s Community Group Award has been a real boost to our group, giving us all some recognition and a sense of appreciation for what we are doing.”

Heather Clissett

Heather Clisset has been carrying out litter picks for more than nine years to keep her area clean and is a big supporter of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

She created the Erskine Community Garden which hosts community events and gives a safe place to rest and play, and the garden received the second highest ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ award from national environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

She has worked closely with Keep Scotland Beautiful to carry out pilot projects, including providing dog fouling bags on walking routes to measure the difference in dog mess left behind and has recently become one of the anchor groups for the ‘Upstream Battle’ campaign.

Heather said: “It was truly humbling to be chosen as the Provost’s Community Volunteer Award winner.

“The work the Erskine Community Garden is a full community effort regardless of what we do, whether in the garden or litter picks, we work as a team to make our community better for everyone.

“When Team Up to Clean Up started, this was something we very much wanted to be part of as the idea of joining with like-minded individuals in Renfrewshire meant we could support, encourage and lend practical help to each other.

“The friendships and links we’ve made with other groups are invaluable.”

The Team Up to Clean Up campaign has benefited from a £2.5million investment in Renfrewshire’s local environment which has seen an increased programme of road sweeping, drain clearing, litter picking and an enhanced Rapid Response Team.

The investment has also facilitated local communities to undertake litter picks by providing them with gloves, litter pickers, bags and hoops, as well as the support of the council’s Wardens Service and StreetScene team who remove all rubbish following the completion of the litter pick.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Depute Provost and Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted that both Heather and the Pals of the Privies were recognised at the Community Awards this year and they are both fully deserving of the recognition for the fantastic work they have done.

“They are prime examples of what the Team Up to Clean Up campaign is all about as they take pride in the local community and want to make it a brighter place for everyone to live and work in.

“The difference made to Glencoats Park is extraordinary and Heather has had the same impact within Erskine, and it’s great to see the local community reaping the benefits.

“We’re working hard through the campaign to make Renfrewshire a cleaner, nicer place to live, work and visit and thanks to inspiring people like these, we are making a real difference.”

The awards were chosen by a judging panel made up of the Provost, the award sponsors and various elected members from across all political parties.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup or join the dedicated Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/teamuptocleanup.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Oran Kearney, Gordon Scott and Street Stuff participants

Renfrewshire’s award-winning diversionary programme, Street Stuff, is celebrating ten years of making a difference to the lives of young people in the community.

Since its inception in 2009, the programme has seen more than 200,000 young people come through its doors, each having the opportunity to take part in sport, make new friends and engage in social activities.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Oran Kearney, Gordon Scott and Street Stuff participants

Providing activities such as football, dance and gaming six days a week, the Street Stuff team aim to offer young people, often in disadvantaged areas, with the opportunity to access exercise and social activities which they may otherwise not have the chance to take part in.

The programme hosts four holiday camps throughout the year to ensure that young people have an outlet during the school holidays and a healthy meal is provided to each young person who attends – with more than 26,000 healthy meals provided in the last four years.

Street Stuff partners

The project runs in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, St Mirren Football Club, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Engage Renfrewshire.

St Mirren FC Chairman Gordon Scott said: “Street Stuff is a great conduit to enable the club to foster stronger links with the community and the young people within it.

“The programme has massive health and social benefits and, as the programme hits the ten-year milestone, I think the number of both local and national awards it has received speaks for itself, in terms of both its success and the efforts of those who take part and run it.”

Malcolm Gillies is the longest-serving Street Stuff coach having been part of the programme for more than 10 years and he considers joining the programme as one of the best decisions he ever made.

Malcolm said: “Street Stuff brings young people into a safe environment, gives them a sense of responsibility and plays a big part in their childhood.

“It’s a place where they can get advice, talk about anything and provides an environment where they are not judged and can be themselves completely.

“There are many examples of kids enjoying the programme, getting to do some tasks and then becoming members of staff, and it’s an honour being part of such an amazing programme.”

The programme encourages and supports young people who attend to become volunteers and coaches and almost 80% of volunteers are former participants of the programme.

Stephen Gallacher, Street Stuff Manager, said: “The volunteers and staff take immense pride in the success of the programme and the difference being made to the lives of young people in Renfrewshire.

“We are actively working to engage with young people, ensure they have positive activities to take part in and aim to guide them into positive destinations which they may otherwise not be able to achieve.

“I’m delighted to see the number of attendees who go from taking part in the activities to helping to deliver them to the next generation of young people and we’ll continue to give young people the skills and experience they need for the future.”

The programme has been a firm feature in Renfrewshire for a decade and has contributed to the delivery of a sustained 65% reduction in reported youth disorder and anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We’re extremely proud of our Street Stuff programme and the success it has achieved since it was introduced in 2009.

“The sustained reduction in anti-social behaviour makes a real, tangible difference to our communities and we are seeing young people actively seeking out the activities Street Stuff provides.

“The success of the programme is down to the fantastic staff who run it, the wonderful coaches and volunteers who give their time every week, but also to the young people who have embraced it.

“Street Stuff gives young people access to facilities and experiences within local communities they may otherwise not be able to access and we’re committed providing opportunities for everyone within Renfrewshire, regardless of their background.”

The success of the programme was recognised with more than 20 awards, including three high-profile awards in 2017 at the COSLA Excellence Awards, ROCCO Business Awards and Scottish Public Sector Awards.

For more information on Street Stuff and how to get involved, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/streetstuff or follow the team on Twitter @SMFCStreetStuff.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

A team of intrepid experts will go underground to solve a centuries-old mystery this summer during the biggest exploration yet of Paisley’s unique medieval Abbey Drain.

The intricate underground structure is believed to have carried material from Paisley’s 850-year-old Abbey to the nearby River Cart – but no one has ever established where and how it met the river.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Now, a team of archaeologists will excavate an area next to Abbey Close to try to answer that – with the hope their findings could help the drain become a bigger visitor attraction in future.

The two-month project (running from May until July) is being managed by Renfrewshire Council and includes an extensive programme of activity to involve the local community.

The dig is being run by Guard Archaeology with volunteers from Renfrewshire Local History Forum, supported by funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

Paisley’s Abbey Drain is an ornate underground passageway, around 100m long and believed to be more than 700 years old, which was discovered in the 19thcentury and rediscovered in the 1990s.

Previous archaeological digs have revealed carved slates featuring the earliest written polyphonic music – and largest collection of medieval pottery – ever found in Scotland.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

Community activity planned for during the Big Dig will include a series of short films and a documentary made by students from the University of the West of Scotland, school visits, volunteering opportunities, and free talks and workshops for the general public.

The drain itself won’t be accessible to the public during the dig – but there will be a chance for residents and visitors to go inside it, as in previous years, during Doors Open Day in September.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley’s Abbey Drain is a hidden treasure and people are rightly fascinated by it – so we are delighted to be able to run a project which will engage the community and bring the stories of the Abbey Drain to life for residents and visitors.

Ope Doors at Renfrewshire. 8.9.18

“The team behind the Big Dig hope to solve some of the unanswered questions around it and that may lead to further exploration or even a more permanent visitor attraction in future.

“If so, that would be a perfect fit for the wider push to use Paisley’s rich heritage and culture to bring new footfall to the town and build on our growing reputation as one of Scotland’s top visitor destinations.”

Riona McMorrow, Acting Head of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Scotland, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to think that the Big Dig might uncover the long held mysteries of Paisley’s Abbey Drain.

“It is thanks to National Lottery players that we have been able to help fund this innovative programme of activities which will nurture and build the community groups interested in improving Paisley through their heritage.”

Caroline Clark, Acting Head of Grants at Historic Environment Scotland (HES), said: “We’re delighted to have contributed funding to support the Paisley Abbey Drain Big Dig through our Historic Environment Support Fund.

“This is a fantastic project that will not only explore the hidden history of Paisley Abbey and help enhance our understanding of this fascinating site, but also provide an opportunity for the local community to get involved in archaeology and engage with the rich heritage on their doorstep.”

You will be able to keep up to date with the Big Dig and see the full programme of activity via www.paisley.is