credit-union

People who are worried about post-Christmas debt are being urged to get the advice they need to help them tackle the January blues.

Blue Monday is described as the “most depressing day of the year” as bills from the festive period start coming through doors ahead of many people’s pay day.

A third of all families will have spent more money than they can afford at Christmas, leaving many struggling financially this month.

Organisations like Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Renfrewshire Council’s Advice Works provide free and confidential advice on managing debt and what to do if big bills are expected.

Renfrewshire Affordable Credit Alliance, which is made up of a variety of organisations including credit unions, banks and Renfrewshire Council, can also help residents access fair and affordable forms of credit.

Councillor John Shaw, Convener of Finance, Resources and Customer Services at Renfrewshire Council, said: “January can feel depressing due to the dark days and long nights, but while no one can change the weather, there is plenty of help and support out there to manage debt.

credit-union

“I would urge anyone struggling with big bills this January to get in touch with advice services in Renfrewshire as soon as they can. Advice experts will deal with your situation confidentially and provide free and impartial advice to help you manage your debt.”

People can also start saving for next Christmas now at Renfrewshire’s five credit unions, which support people to save a small amount each week or month. For more information, visit www.mycreditunionrenfrewshire.co.uk.

Councillor Shaw added: “It’s always advisable to start saving now for next Christmas. You can find help to manage your money on Advice Renfrewshire’s website.”

For more information, visit https://advicerenfrewshire.org or call FREEPHONE 0808 164 2922.

To contact Renfrewshire Affordable Credit Alliance visit www.RACA.org.uk.

paisley-pirates

Paisley Pirates take a break from league action this weekend, but the task facing them could
hardly be more difficult, as they travel to Dundee this Sunday to take on the local Comets in
the first round (first leg) of the Scottish Cup, a competition which has seen the two clubs
meet in the final in the past two seasons, the Tayside club coming out as victors on both
occasions.

paisley-pirates
Pirates lost narrowly by four goals to three against highly fancied Murrayfield Racers last
Sunday in Edinburgh, and will need to put in a similar level of performance if they hope to
overcome a Comets side who beat them heavily in the league at Braehead Arena earlier in
the season, their only home reverse to date.
Head Coach Ian Turley commented, “We enter different territory this weekend with Scottish
Cup action to look forward to, and with the tie being over two legs a lot can happen during
the six periods which will be played. I guess this tie is a bit special in that both teams have
met in the final in the past two seasons, but only one team can make it through this time
around.”
The tie will take place at Dundee Ice Arena, facing off at 7.30pm, whole the second leg will
go ahead at Braehead Arena the following Sunday, 20 January, with a 5.00pm start, and
Pirates will be looking to bring the tie back to Renfrewshire with everything still to play for.

 

MURRAYFIELD RACERS 4 PAISLEY PIRATES 3

Pirates travelled to Edinburgh missing several key players but nevertheless contributed fully
to a thriller, before eventually going down by the odd goal in seven to a Racers side laden
with players with Elite League experience..
The home side got off to the better start and were a goal ahead before the five minute mark
as Gautschi netted short handed. Pirates recovered from this setback and were level after
their next powerplay opportunity two minutes later as Abercrombie combined with Guy to
beat McGill and score against his former side. With chances coming up at both ends it was
the hosts who went ahead after thirteen minutes and it was Gautschi again, with his second
goal of the night, who beat Russell to put Racers ahead on the powerplay. With no further
scoring in the session the sides headed for the dressing rooms with Murrayfield holding a
narrow 2-1 advantage after a tight 20 minutes.
Play continued as before in the middle period and while Racers had the early pressure, it
was in fact Pirates who equalised in the 26 th minute with an unassisted goal from Mikey
Dobson. This time Racers came back strongly and took the lead for the third time four
minutes later through Boyd. Once again, both sides had opportunities to alter the scoreline,
but with the respective goals remining intact, Racers hung on to their narrow one goal
advantage to lead at 3-2.
Pirates came out for the final session looking for a third equaliser and they got it with less
than two minutes on the clock, as Abercrombie combined with Guy once more for the former
Racer to net his second of the night and tie the scores at 3-3. The game continued to ebb
and flow at both ends of the ice, but just before the halfway point in the period it was that
man Gautschi who completed his hat trick with what proved to be the game winning goal,
breaking the hearts of the visitors who had put in a sterling performance, only to come away
with nothing at the end of the day.

Pirates will be pleased with their gutsy performance, if not the final outcome, and will be
looking to carry that form into this Saturday’s Scottish Cup first round, first leg tie away to
Dundee Comets in a repeat of last year’s final. The match faces off at 7.30pm, with the
second leg taking place at Braehead Arena on Sunday, 20 January (face off 5.00pm).

Cllr Marie McGurk

Site Investigations will inform future development potential for Ferguslie and South West Johnstone.

Survey work will commence next week on sites in Ferguslie and South West Johnstone.

Cllr Marie McGurk

For Ferguslie, this is the first stage of a £14million development that will create around 100 new affordable Council homes to transform the Tannahill area, while in Spateston the survey will provide the Council with information to inform future investment for new build Council housing in this community.

The site investigations on the site of the former St Fergus School and Drums Avenue, Ferguslie, as well as at Auchengreoch Road and Spateston Road in Johnstone will begin on Monday, 14 January and will include the excavation of trial pits and bore holes.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We want to build affordable housing that meet the needs of our tenants as well as future housing needs across Renfrewshire. The results of these surveys will provide vital information on the ground conditions for potential development in these areas.”

Anyone seeking information on the survey work or the Council’s new build housing programme should contact Renfrewshire Council Housing Service via strategyandplace@renfrewshire.gov.uk or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/SHIP

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

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

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

Support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) will host a short service open to all on Thursday 24 January at Renfrewshire House.

Anyone who has been affected by suicide is invited to meet at the Marriage Suite from 3:15pm to collect a commemorative purple heart on which they can write a message to a loved one, if so desired.

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

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 lay a wreath and light the tree.

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.

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

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.

Provost Cameron, who helped establish the memorial tree in 2010, said: “This service has become extremely important to members of the local community who have been affected by the loss of a loved one to suicide and I will be honoured to lay a wreath.

“If you’ve been affected by suicide in any manner, please come along and take part in the service. The team will be available for a chat and can provide you with the support you, or a friend or family member, needs to move forward.

“If you’re unable to make it along on the day, please get in touch to talk about what you are feeling or what support you need – don’t suffer in silence.”

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.

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.

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.

Photo captions:

1. Purple love hearts are placed on the tree to remember those lost
2. Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron with Rosemary Mullan, Choose Life, Rev. Alan Birss and Father John Eagers
3. Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron lays a wreath of remembrance

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson is calling on local people to take advantage of the opportunities to make a difference in their communities in the year ahead.

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

With Renfrewshire’s new Local Partnerships giving local people a louder voice than ever in their community, and a number of brand new funds being launched to invest in community ideas and projects, the new year could transformational for local communities in the year ahead.

Councillor Nicolson said: “We’ve listened to people telling us what they think should happen in their community and we want to tap into the wealth of knowledge that local people possess.

“We’re constantly looking at ways to better support local groups to develop their ideas which will benefit their communities which is why we’ve made it easier for people to access help from the council when they have an idea they want to progress.

“We’ve also allocated millions through a variety of funds which will support a range of local projects and bring positive change to our local communities.

“We want to help you bring your ideas to reality so why not get in touch?”

A £1.5million investment has been made to establish a Community Empowerment Fund which is open to all community groups who want to take over ownership and running of a building or piece or land in their local area.

The fund is designed to assist local people to develop a Business Plan for the takeover of the asset, support the person or group to have the skills and capacity to manage and develop it, or provide the upfront capital investment in an asset.

A significant £1.87million has been invested in a Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund, with £370,000 allocated for the Village Investment Fund specifically.

Local community groups and volunteers have the opportunity to apply for funding and support to improve underused or neglected green spaces and take forward projects which will strengthen the character, identity and heritage of their local community.

This could include upgrading or developing play areas or equipment, opening up underused open spaces to create leisure or recreation opportunities, or creating heritage trails or walks which highlight local points of interest.

Councillor Nicolson added: “Our green spaces are so important to our local communities. It’s where you play as young child and it’s where you take your sons, daughters and grandchildren when the time comes.

“The same applies to our community centres or football pitches and we know that local people will have ideas on how to improve them. This is the reason these funds are now in place and it’s important that local people take advantage of them.”

Throughout 2018, Renfrewshire communities showed their desire to make the area a brighter, more attractive place to live, work and visit.

More than 3500 volunteers have taken part in community litter picks as part of the successful Team Up to Clean Up campaign, which has also seen a £2.5million investment in behind the scenes work such as road sweeping and drain clearing.

Our new Local Partnerships were also formed following a consultation period in which hundreds of local people helped shape the direction of the former Local Area Committees.

Members will have the opportunity to drive the direction of the meetings and focus on the key issues that matter to local people. The first meetings of the partnerships are set to take place later this month and new members are still welcome to join.

For more information on the support that the council can offer community groups or volunteers, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/communityempowerment.

Gryffe High (2)

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson is urging local people to take a moment to think about where the products they buy come from and join the fair trade campaign in Renfrewshire.

Gryffe High (2)

The Renfrewshire Fair Trade Steering Group meets regularly to discuss the issue of fair trade and how it can be best promoted within Renfrewshire, with community volunteers, local businesses, schools and elected members all taking part.

The aim of the group is for these groups to work together to achieve Fair Trade status for every town and village in Renfrewshire, and the area as a whole.

Councillor Nicolson said: “We have a long history of supporting fair trade in Renfrewshire and it is important that we maintain this by introducing new members to the steering group wherever we can.

“There are lots of dedicated members of the group who just need some extra support to ensure their local community are aware of the issues around fair trade and what they can do to support it.

“Little things like switching some of the brands in your weekly shop to fair trade ones can make a huge difference to lives of the producers who make our food.

“So if you have an interest in fair trade and would like to make a difference to your community and beyond, please get in touch and come along to the next meeting.”

The steering group meets every two to three months to identify upcoming events and campaigns and offer support to other group members where needed.

The group also supports local schools to learn about fair trade and two trophies are awarded every year to the schools who have shown the biggest commitment to fair trade that year.

Todholm Primary were this year’s winners of The John McDowell Award is given to the top performing primary school and the Renfrewshire Secondary Schools Trophy was won by Gryffe High.

The next meeting of the group is on 16 January 2019 at 6pm in Renfrewshire House.

For more information on the fair trade in Renfrewshire or how to join the steering group, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/fairtrade or email fairtrade@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Photo captions:

  1. Council Leader Iain Nicolson with Gryffe High pupils
  2. Gryffe High pupils with the Renfrewshire Secondary Schools Trophy
  3. Council Leader Iain Nicolson with Todholm Primary pupils
  4. Todholm Primary pupils with the John McDowell Award
  5. Fairtrade producers visit Renfrewshire
Visitor Plan 2018

Day visits to Renfrewshire almost doubled between 2015 and 2017, new figures have revealed.

The sharp rise was unveiled in the first annual update of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan 2018-2021, which aims to develop the area as one of Scotland’s key tourist destinations.

Visitor Plan 2018

It showed that day visits to Renfrewshire rose from 2.73 million between 2013-2015 to 5.33 million between 2015-2017 – with the area’s thriving events calendar proving popular with visitors.

There was also an increase in day and overnight visitor spend from £72.5 million to £99.1 million during the same period.

The first update of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan – which was shown before Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board – includes the following key achievements:

– visitor numbers to Renfrewshire’s events are expected to exceed growth of 8% in 2018 – surpassing the target of 4% year-on-year;

– The delivery of 15 events, including four major visitor events in 2017 – Paisley Food and Drink Festival, the British Pipe Band Championships, The Spree Festival and Paisley Halloween Festival – all of which witnessed increased attendee numbers;

– the launch of Paisley Welcomes, a new customer service excellence and product familiarisation training programme to enhance the visitor experience in Renfrewshire;

– increased support for tourism business growth with 53 businesses supported and 34 businesses and agencies now regularly engaged in a tourism business network.

This year also saw the development and launch of a new destination brand and the area’s first ever digital guide to Paisley and Renfrewshire – www.Paisley.is.

The website promotes Paisley and Renfrewshire as a place to live work and visit and offers a guide to what’s on across the region, with dedicated content for each town, village and attraction.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s fantastic to see such positive results in the first annual report of the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan as we continue to work towards transforming tourism in the area.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer, from our rich heritage and a wide variety of visitor attractions across our towns and villages to our cultural events calendar, which continues to go from strength to strength.

“The phenomenal increase in both day visits and visitor spend underlines the benefits that Renfrewshire’s tourism offer has on the local economy and the appeal for those visiting the area.

“We will look to build upon this in the coming years by continuing to forge positive relationships with the tourism sector across Renfrewshire and strengthened partnerships with national agencies.

“This first report on the Renfrewshire Visitor Plan highlights the excellent work being carried out to build our visitor economy and is a key part of our plans to use our culture and heritage enhance the area’s reputation as a key visitor destination in Scotland.”

Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “This incredible increase in day visits and spend in Renfrewshire is testament to the brilliant work being done to boost the area’s tourism and events offering.

“Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.  VisitScotland is committed to encouraging and supporting the industry to provide world class service, facilities, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and it is clear that Renfrewshire is making huge strides to ensure visitors continue to have memorable experiences in the region.”

Bargarran Primary clean up (1)

With thousands of volunteers having taken part in more than 200 community clean ups and cleared more than 3100 bags of rubbish from the streets, Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign has been a rousing success.

Heriot Primary - Group shot

Since the campaign was launched in October 2017, there has been a 474% increase in the number of clean ups undertaken by the community – something which has seen more than 3500 volunteers take part.

The campaign has captured the imagination of everyone within the community with schoolchildren, community groups, lone litter pickers, businesses, police officers and the Renfrewshire Wardens all taking part.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, has taken part said: “What a fantastic year it has been for the Team Up to Clean Up campaign and it just seems to be going from strength to strength thanks to the work of community volunteers and our staff behind the scenes.

“The uptake of the community clean ups has been incredible and shows the community spirit we have in Renfrewshire to make a difference.

“We know we need to match this enthusiasm which is why we’ve invested £2.5million in this campaign to increase our road sweeping and drain clearing, boost our Rapid Response Team to have a dedicated roadside litter patrol, and take on six community litter pickers who keep local communities clean every day.”

The area hosted two large-scale community clean ups during 2018 in which communities across the area joined together to take part in the Big Spring Clean in April and then again for the Spotless September Challenge – with more than 1500 volunteers collecting in excess of 1000 bags of rubbish.

Dog fouling has also been a key focus of the campaign and the first Responsible Dog Owners walk took place in Robertson Park in Renfrew, where dog owners joined together to show that failing to pick up after your dog is not acceptable.

Streets where dog fouling has been identified as a problem have been targeted by the Wardens Service and brightly coloured messages spray painted on the pavements to deter repeat offenders and bring it to the attention of people in that area.

Councillor McEwan added: “The community have attended in their numbers when we have held larger events, but one of the best things about the campaign is the work going on in communities under people’s own steam.

“Volunteers are heading out to clear up their area, speaking to others about the campaign and continuing to push the message that it is all our responsibilities to keep Renfrewshire clean.

“I can’t thank our volunteers enough for the work they do, without forgetting our StreetScene and Waste teams who are working hard behind the scenes.”

With funding allocated to the campaign until 2022, plans are underway for the next year with the education of young people in Renfrewshire being a primary focus.

The Big Spring Clean will also return for another edition with numbers expected to be higher than ever as volunteers get set to pick up their litter pickers once again.

With a number of these community groups inspired deliver further projects within their communities, the campaign looks set to grow even bigger throughout 2019 with Renfrewshire certain benefit.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup or meet like-minded people on the dedicated Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/teamuptocleanup.

paisley town hall

THE final fling before Paisley Town Hall closed for a major refurbishment was of the Highland variety.

A sell-out Festive Family Ceilidh was the last event before the doors closed until the Town Hall re-opens in 2021 as a major venue attracting events and people to the town.

ceilidh

The festive ceilidh featuring traditional Scottish music and dancing has been a popular event for several years.

Victoria Hollows, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “There was no better way to celebrate both the end of the year and the Town Hall closing for renovation than to have a full-house of people enjoying themselves.

“And when the building re-opens there will be many more exciting events and shows taking place there to look forward to.”

The refurbishment of the Town Hall is one of the key projects within Renfrewshire Council’s £100 million investment in venues and infrastructure over the next few years, as part of a wider plan to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.

Halloween youth panel, volunteers and mentees (3)

Scotland’s Year of Young People in Renfrewshire has provided the perfect backdrop to showcase the talents of young people in the area through a year-long programme of events and opportunities to get involved, according to Renfrewshire’s specially appointed Children’s Champion for the year, Councillor Michelle Campbell.

Halloween youth panel, volunteers and mentees (3)

The Year of Young People 2018, delivered by the Scottish Government, working in collaboration with VisitScotland, EventScotland, Young Scot, Children in Scotland, Scottish Youth Parliament and YouthLink Scotland, saw thousands of Renfrewshire’s young people get involved in a year-long programme of events across the region.

Halloween parade

Renfrewshire Council Youth Services has been working with youth work partners and youth groups to deliver activities focussing on the YoYP six themes that young people had identified as most important for them – participation, education, health and wellbeing, equality and discrimination, enterprise and regeneration and culture.

Halloween parade

More than 200 young ambassadors were selected from across Scotland to represent their local communities, including ten young people from Renfrewshire. The YoYP Ambassadors and Renfrewshire Youth Voice Groups worked together to raise awareness and promote young people’s participation across the authority.  Several events were successful in securing national funding through the Event Scotland Create18 grants offered as part of the themed-year.  These events included a young writers festival, community fun days, a cheerleading taster session, and positive mental health event.  Renfrewshire Council also awarded local funding to support a series of youth activities throughout the year to help put ideas into action including holiday programmes, pop up cinema, mobile laser quest sessions, Escape Rooms and community-based youth events – all co-designed by local young people.

The Halloween Festival signature YoYP project was led by the Renfrewshire Council Events team in conjunction with Renfrewshire Youth Services, attracting more than 34,000 people to the area in October. The event involved more than 700 local young people who had the opportunity to help shape the programme for the event and took part in the parade, aerial displays and also gained valuable work experience by working as part of the council’s events team, and with artists, and youth workers.

A lasting legacy of this partnership working across Renfrewshire is increasing young people’s involvement in the existing Renfrewshire events programme, including Sma’ Shot Day. This included working to make events accessible to wider youth participation, including working to reduce barriers to participation by making tickets and transport to events available to targeted groups. Around 3,600 young people engaged in Renfrewshire’s events throughout the year. The formation of a Youth Events Panel will work into 2019 to continue the involvement of young people shaping and creating youth friendly events in the future.

Councillor Michelle Campbell was selected as Renfrewshire’s Year of Young People Champion and has been attending a range of events across Renfrewshire throughout the year.

Councillor Campbell said:

“I was delighted to be appointed as the Council’s ambassador for young people during this specially themed year and I’ve been privileged to spend a lot of time meeting and listening to young people from across Renfrewshire over the last year. It’s delivered a real shift in welcoming young people to not just share their views, but also to include them in decision making and planning so they help inform our policies going forward.

“The Year of Young People gave our local young people a chance to really showcase their ideas and talents and to celebrate their achievements throughout the year and it’s been fantastic to see all the opportunities they’ve been able to take up as part of our events programme.

“Young people have a key role in their own education and we can continue to work to support that through the networks that have developed as a legacy of the Year of Young People 2018.”

Renfrewshire Youth Voice celebrated the end of the YoYP with their Positive About Youth Awards, which was a celebration of young people’s contribution to their peers and communities.

Jade Lochhead, the current Chair of Renfrewshire Youth Voice said:

“2018 gave us an opportunity for young people and youth work to be valued and listened to. Our Youth Assembly this year gave young people a platform to speak out on matters that we think are important.

“RYV will continue the theme of “Participation” into 2019 – Look out we’ve got more plans coming to Renfrewshire to keep us on the map.”

The Young Scot Renfrewshire portal hosted digital content created and curated by young people during the YoYP campaign. This will remain as a space to host films, photographs, blogs and reviews by young people and allow a wider youth audience to participate and engage with youth events in 2019 and for the years to come.

Caste Study

How Renfrewshire’s young people took centre stage at Paisley’s Halloween festival

Around 34,000 people flocked to Paisley for the Halloween Festival in October, celebrating the town’s witchcraft past.

The festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 and EventScotland, was significantly enhanced for the themed year with a full town centre takeover.

Young people were at the heart of the festival’s development, with a 28-strong Youth Events Panel working alongside Renfrewshire Council’s Events Team and Youth Services to design and deliver the programme, while more than 700 took part in a new creative learning programme. This offered the opportunity to participate in all aspects of festival delivery from performance to live event management and technical production.

The Youth Events Panel involved young people from across Renfrewshire with differing needs which ensured a diversity of voices in the event’s creation and helped act as a driving force that shaped, developed and delivered the event activities.

Throughout the programme, the young people were supported to learn new skills and make new connections that will prove invaluable.

One of the young people involved in the aerial performance, Patrick Doherty, said he enjoyed having his creative ideas listened to in an open and fun environment.

Patrick said:

“My personal challenge was meeting new people and working in a group with people I didn’t know, but I was able to overcome this and really enjoyed the experience.”

Andi Brogan, who was also part of the aerial performance, enjoyed learning a new skill and being able to network with aerial dance theatre company, All or Nothing.

Andi said:

“As someone who wants to be a professional dance artist, this was an invaluable experience.”

Youth Events Panel member, Jessica Willcox, said:

“Being involved in Halloween allowed me to have a completely new experience. I’ve made new friends and been able to socialise, which has increased my confidence.”

Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, Louisa Mahon said:

“To have so many of our young people at the heart of the festival’s planning and staging as co-creators made it extra special and we have been delighted to have delivered such a major event in partnership with Event Scotland.

“Our high profile, high impact, ambitious Halloween Festival working with leading creative partners All or Nothing, Bridgeman Arts and 21CC, ensured our children and young people’s skills, talents and diversity shone on a local and national stage.

“Thank you to all the young people who were involved in making this year’s event such a huge success.”