Paisley Abbey

The Renfrewshire Doors Open day programme of events has been released (please see the bottom of this post for the area wide pdf). This is a great weekend for gaining access to some of our amazing visitor attractions. Take your camera and the family and you will be in for a treat. Read more

Kersland School

Kersland School has eXcellence factor

Teachers and pupils at Kersland School in Renfrewshire are celebrating after they received excellent marks for everything in an HMIe inspection report published today.

And the independent inspectors are so impressed that they are coming back to learn more about some of the innovative work being done at Kersland so that this best practice can be shared with other schools.

Kersland School in Paisley caters for 70 pupils with severe learning difficulties. Pupils join the school from pre-school centres and may stay until they are 18 years old.

Only two other schools in Scotland have been evaluated as excellent for all of the five quality indicators scrutinised by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education. The indicators are: improvements in performance, learners’ experiences, meeting learning needs, the curriculum and improvement through self evaluation. Read more

A collection of civic regalia worn and used by Renfrewshire’s Provosts past and present is now on display at Paisley Museum.
The display coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Provost’s chain. The chain, worn by current Provost of Renfrewshire Celia Lawson while on civic duty, was originally presented to the council on the 22 June 1911, the date of the Coronation of King George V. Formerly belonging to the Burgh of Johnstone, it is used with the addition of a new medallion to reflect the current Renfrewshire Council.

The exhibition features a variety of civic regalia and includes some of the badges of office worn by previous Provosts. Other items include the ceremonial spade used by a former provost when marking the creation of Robertson Park in Renfrew along with the trowel used to lay the foundation stone of the Paisley municipal buildings in 1899.
Some of the clothing worn on ceremonial duties is also on display including the robe worn by Provosts to lead a procession of councillors through the town. These processions would also have been led by a Paisley Halberdier whose tunic and hat are also on display.

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50 Renfrew residents joined Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson on a historic trip down the Clyde to preserve the town’s fishing rights on the river.
The guests were invited to watch as Renfrewshire’s civic leaders carried out the historic act of casting the nets to retain the rights of salmon fishing on the Clyde.
The tradition goes back as far as 1781 when the town lost the right to the fishing on parts of the Clyde by not fishing in the area.
King Robert III had granted a charter to the community of Renfrew granting the right to fish the River Clyde as far back as 1396.

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accord hospice

Provost predicts huge charity boost with psychic night

Renfrewshire’s Provost is predicting a huge boost for two local charities by bringing back a popular psychic night.

Provost Celia Lawson is inviting local residents to support her chosen charities for 2011, St Vincent’s Hospice and Accord Hospice, at the event on Monday 29 August by coming along to the event.


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Scottish Cycling championships head to Paisley town centre


Top cyclists from across the country will head to Paisley to compete in a national competition against the backdrop of the historic town centre.

The Scottish Cycling Circuit Race 2011 will head back to Renfrewshire for the third year in a row but will this year move from Erskine waterfront to Paisley town centre.

Cyclists, ranging from under 8s to the fastest adult riders in the country will compete in their respective categories on this fast and technical course.

The popular event will take place on Sunday 21 August . As well as the races there will be a host of entertainment and activities on offer for spectators including The Clan cycle stunt team showing off their skills.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, said: “This will be the third time the Circuit Race Championship will be held in Renfrewshire and due to its growing popularity we’ve decided to move it right into the heart of the town centre. This will give riders a new challenging course and make it great backdrop for all the excitement and fun on the day. This is a major cycling event and it is also a great family so I hope to see lots of people heading into the town to cheers on the competitors.”

The event will incorporate the 2011 Scottish Circuit Race Championships, the Youth Road Race Championships and the West of Scotland Circuit Championships.

Starting on Gauze Street at Paisley’s Town Hall the circuit turns left at Paisley Cross, down St Mirren Brae, left onto Orchard Street, left again onto Bridge Street over the White Cart River, past the Council HQ Building on the right, the historic Paisley Abbey on the left, before sweeping round the final bend and the finishing straight up to Paisley Cross.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our Renfrewshire page on Facebook.


A fleet of vintage fire engines will roll through Paisley town centre when the popular Fire Engine Rally returns.

The free event, on Saturday 20 August, will see an impressive fleet of engines, dating back from the 19th century to the present day, proceed through the town from the Fire Station in Canal Street to County Square.

There will also be plenty of entertainment for both adults and children throughout the day, including fire safety demonstrations, giveaways and more.

Area Commander Simon Hunt of Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said: “I am absolutely delighted that Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Preservation Society have this opportunity to showcase their vintage fire engines, and also to allow us to engage with the communities which we serve, in order to make Renfrewshire a safer place to live, work and visit.”

The event takes place from 11am to 4pm on Saturday 20th August.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson said: “The fire engine rally has been coming to Paisley for the last couple of years and it’s been a great success. It’s a wonderful event and opportunity to see some of the fascinating vehicles which have been used over the years by the fire service.”

The Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Preservation Society is run by volunteers who have an interest in the traditions of the fire service. Most weekends they provide fire appliances to events, open days and galas as well as supporting charitable causes.

Paisley nursery gets makeover thanks to housing firm

A Paisley nursery have been given a makeover thanks to contractors working on Renfrewshire Council’s £138million housing investment project.

Wates Living Space painted rooms, replaced and painted fences, cleaned up the garden and brought in new colourful plants at Leaps and Bounds nursery as part of their national Community Day.

The nursery’s baby room in particular benefitted from the refresh as it had been flooded in the past and all the paint and plants used were in bright colours to reflect the environment of the nursery.

Wates are one of the key contract companies working on Renfrewshire Council’s five year Delivering Housing Improvements programme which will see thousands of council tenants get new kitchens, bathrooms and rewiring, as well as new or upgraded central heating systems.

The contractors working with the council have also committed to supporting local communities wherever possible, from taking on local trainees to sponsoring local youth football.

Councillor Kenny McLaren, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “This is a huge project for council tenants but it is also important to us that the wider community benefit as well. The contractors working with the council on Delivering Housing Improvements are committed to supporting the local communities where they are working and this community day is a fantastic example of that. This was a great event and a real boost to the nursery.”

Wates Community Day is a national event organised by Wates Group where members of staff are released from their building sites and offices across the UK to deliver projects for charitable organisations in the Communities we are working.

Gillian Lavety, Partnership Manager for Wates, said: “Wates hold a Community Day event every year where teams across the country go out into the community to find a worthwhile project, a project that allows us to give something back to the community we are working in.”
The aim of Wates’ annual Community Day event is to make a tangible difference to the communities in which Wates works and live. As well as work on specific projects; quiz nights, auctions, raffles and sporting events take place across the UK to raise money for local charities. The 2011 Community Day contributed nearly 13,000 hours of hard work to over 110 charitable organisations.

Wates participated in 112 Community Day Projects, donating 12, 886 person hours to the communities they work in. In addition Wates Giving will be donating £22,500 to charitable organisations who they worked with on the day and an extra £5,500 to Barnardos for those projects who were not able to receive a donation.

Recruits take to the runway in Fashion Show Challenge

Renfrewshire teenagers taking part in this year’s Recruit competition were challenged to stage a fashion show in a busy town centre shopping mall.

Five teams taking part in The Recruit were each given two days, and no budget, to organise the show in which they each had to choreograph, style and model fashions from different decades from the 1950s to the 1990s.

They then staged three ten minute fashion shows over the busy lunchtime period in the Piazza Shopping Centre in Paisley.

Primaljit Kaur, 16, from Renfrew, said: “It was very scary because we had people watching but it was a really good experience and good for getting your confidence up.”

Caitlin Dickey, 17, from Paisley, said: “It was a bit different, quite nervewracking but really good fun.”

Francesca Connelly, 17, Gryffe High, said: “It was a bit more interesting than some of the other challenges because it was about putting on an event. I’m interested in fashion and events management so this is really good experience for me.”

The teams were judged by an expert panel made up of choreographer Susanne Neil, hair stylist Claire McMahon and Louise McBride, Fashion Marketing lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Susanne said: “I showed them how to walk, got them to relax and be confident within themselves. I got them to bring their own personalities to it. They were all very mature and professional.”

Louise McBride said: “I was giving them an overview of what fashions were apparent in each decade and gave them ideas of where to look but all of them had great ideas themselves. I was very impressed. They had great enthusiasm, great teamwork and they just got into the show.”

In the end the winning team was Team Endurance for their showcase of fashion from the 1970s.

Claire said: “The input I had was on hairstyles from different decades and help and tuition on the morning of the show. They showed great enthusiasm, great teamwork. We picked Team Endurance as the winners though because of all the costume changes, they really pulled it out of the bag.”

The fashion show task was the latest in a series of challenges the 30 Recruits are facing over the course of the Apprentice-style competition this summer.

Maureen Hill, Piazza Shopping Centre Manager, said: “The Piazza was happy to provide our support to the Fashion Show Challenge. As well as being a great opportunity for those taking part in The Recruit to showcase their skills, the Mall’s fashion retailers and style-savvy shoppers made the Piazza the perfect place for the teams to show their take on fashion through the ages to a delighted audience.”

Towards the end of the programme the Recruits will face individual interviews before the overall winner is announced at a black tie finale in August.

See photos of what The Recruits have been up to on Renfrewshire Council’s Flickr page.

Renfrew goes back in time as 139 year old time capsule is revealed

Construction work on a £5.2million modernisation of Renfrew Town Hall has revealed a 139 year old time capsule.

The time capsule is in the form of a large glass jar which was found in the clock tower of the town hall.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson joined museum and community representatives at the opening of the time capsule in the Renfrew Community Museum in the town’s Brown Institute.

Preliminary work by museum curators has found that the capsule contains documents signed by the then Provost along with a photograph of Renfrew Town Hall, coins, newspapers and a trades directory.

Among the newspapers included are copies of the Edinburgh Scotsman, Glasgow Herald, Glasgow Daily Mail, Paisley and Renfrew Gazette and Renfrewshire Independent.

Along with the insights it gives into Renfrew’s and Scotland’s history, the time capsule has a special history of its own.

From its base in the clock tower of Renfrew Town Hall, it survived a major fire in 1877 which led to much of the current town hall being rebuilt.

Now the time capsule has been rediscovered during construction work on the £5.2million refurbishment of Renfrew Town Hall which has been supported by Renfrewshire Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson said “This is an amazing discovery. It’s a very special moment for me as Provost to be part of this unique civic experience begun by a provost almost 140 years ago.

“It’s particularly pleasing that the time capsule has been rediscovered through the programme to restore the iconic Renfrew Town Hall to its rightful role at the heart of our community.

“Preserving Renfrew’s history and traditions have been at the heart of that programme and the town hall will have an adjoining new Renfrew Community Museum.

“In the lead up to the town hall and community museum opening in December this year, Renfrewshire Council’s arts and museums service has been working with young people and local history groups on how Renfrew’s history can be told.

“There will be particular interest in this new discovery from our school pupils working on the ‘Renfrew: Past, Present and Future’ project which will result in a time capsule being buried in the town hall for future generations to discover”.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson said “Renfrew has a proud history from its origins as a royal burgh to its shipbuilding heritage and the fact that it had Scotland’s first municipal airport.

“Throughout the development of the programme to redevelop Renfrew Town Hall we’ve had strong backing and commitment from the local community.

“As we move towards the final stages of that investment, it’s a great boost to be able to find and display such a distinctive part of Renfrew’s heritage”.

Craig Elliott, Marketing and Access Co-ordinator for the council’s arts and museums service
Said: “The initial assessment of the objects in the time capsule is that they appear to be extremely well preserved.

“However, most of the objects are paper which can present significant issues concerning conservation and redisplay. We will be working with freelance conservator Ann Evans who will provide advice on handling and displaying the objects.

“All being well we anticipate the objects becoming a focal point of the displays in the new Renfrew Community Museum due to open in December”.

Nationally, 1872 saw the widespread introduction of free education through the Education Act, the first international football match – a 0-0 draw between Scotland and England – and the introduction of the secret ballot by Prime Minister Gladstone on voting for Westminster MPs.

Locally, the newspapers contained in the Renfrew time capsule tell of the parade of tradesmen which accompanied the laying of the memorial stone for Renfrew Town Hall.

There’s also the story of the theft of £190 from a Renfrew cattle dealer while in a “house of ill fame in Paisley.”