lisa-marie hughes pic

An ambitious new grant scheme will support local visual artists and craft-makers take their work to the next level.

Renfrewshire Leisure has teamed up with Creative Scotland to launch this year’s Visual Artist And Craft Maker Awards.

lisa-marie hughes pic

Artists and crafts people can apply for grant awards between £500 and £1500 to help with the cost of developing their creative and professional practices.

Organisers recommend anyone interested in applying for one of the VACMA awards to book a ten-minute one-to-one advice session with an advisor from Creative Scotland.

Would-be applicants should, in the first instance, contact Kate Drummond by or calling 07483 360714. Closing date for applications is Tuesday, June 4.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “There is an amazing array of creative talent in Renfrewshire and we want to help these artists flourish.

“The awards are intended to support artists and craft makers who can demonstrate a clear progression and development of their skills and have an on-going commitment to their work.

“This is an ideal opportunity for artists to gain much-needed financial support to help them continue their creative work.”


Renfrewshire’s next generation of footballers have sampled life as a professional after taking to the pitch at the Simple Digital Arena, home of St Mirren Football Club.

Part of the celebrations to mark popular youth programme Street Stuff’s ten-year anniversary, aspiring footballers crossed the white line to take part in a five-a-side festival of football.


More than 170 young people took part as they seized the chance to emulate their heroes on the hallowed turf, with more than 200 spectators creating the matchday atmosphere.

The event was put on for free for all Street Stuff participants, aged 8-16, by the team and a number of volunteers including Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, Engage Renfrewshire and the No Knives Better Lives campaign.

Stevie Gallacher, Street Stuff Manager, said: “We’re delighted to give our young people the opportunity to play on the pitch at the stadium and hopefully it inspires them to work towards doing it for real in the future.


“Even if they aren’t the next players to pull on the black and white stripes, the opportunity for some of our young people to have this experience is so worthwhile and something they may never otherwise had the chance to do.

“Through Street Stuff, we aim to give all young people in Renfrewshire, regardless of their background, the chance to take part in sport and exercise, as well as giving them a place to feel safe and make new friends.”

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.

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.

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.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “The Street Stuff programme continues to go from strength to strength and it remains so popular with our young people across Renfrewshire.

“We’re celebrating ten years of working within our communities and we will continue to provide opportunities for our young people to stay on the right path through our activities.

“The football festival was a great success and I’m sure we’ve inspired hundreds of young people to make sure it’s not the last time they step on the field at St Mirren.”

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 the programme, visit

easthetic suites wedding show
The girls at aesthetic suites had a great weekend at braehead arena. Thanks to everyone who came along.

easthetic suites wedding show
trinity high school

Take a wad of musical smash hits from the greatest successes of recent years, mix in some time-served classics, then throw on a healthy smattering of all-time favourites and what have you got? Only The Greatest Showcase of all time!

trinity high school

From 17-19 June 2019, Trinity High School is proud to present The Greatest Showcase, a musical revelry including – amongst others – hits from a wide range of classics both present and past, including La La Land, HamiltonFrozen and MatildaGuys & DollsAnnieOliver and Hairspray; and of course, none other than Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominated The Greatest Showman.


Performed by pupils and students from across the year groups, it promises to bring three nights of fabulous entertainment for all the family.


Tickets priced at £5 for adults, £3 for concessions and £13 for families (two adults, two children) are available from the school (“box”) office and by calling 0300-300-1444.


Paisley Stanford Maths _D3A1957

For many, the mere mention of fractions, calculus and algebra can cause a cold sweat to break out, but Renfrewshire pupils are being inspired to love maths through an innovative partnership with Stanford University.

Educational experts at the renowned US institution developed youcubed, an alternative approach to maths education which is followed by one-in-two American schools and has seen students achieve significant improvement in their test results.

Now in a UK first, 172 pupils from six Renfrewshire primary schools are taking part in youcubed maths camps.

Professor Jo Boaler

The camps are being run over two weeks for P5 and P6 pupils from Heriot, St Catherine’s and Glencoats (all Paisley); Auchenlodment and St Anthony’s (Johnstone) and East Fulton (Linwood).

Renfrewshire education staff received specialist training in San Francisco to deliver the camps’ creative curriculum, which uses the latest research and applies it in the classroom.

Morning sessions focus on collaborative problem-solving projects while the afternoon is packed with activities applying mathematics to different subjects, including engineering, orienteering, film making and art.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board said: “It is critically important to us that all children and young people in Renfrewshire benefit from a high-quality education and have equality of opportunity to achieve their ambitions, regardless of their background.

Paisley Stanford Maths _D3A1957

“This innovative partnership with Stanford University is multiplying the opportunities for Renfrewshire pupils to fulfil their potential. Pupils will benefit from an exciting approach to learning maths and our staff will be able to develop and hone their skills to inspire pupil’s love of mathematics.”

Youcubed is co-founded by Jo Boaler, a former maths teacher in London, now Professor of Mathematics Education at Stanford and author of the award-winning Mathematical Mindsets.

Professor Boaler said: “I am thrilled to be partnering with Renfrewshire, bringing our youcubed approach to students in Scotland, to help them love maths and start a pathway of success.

“The maths approach students will learn is inspired by evidence from neuroscience about the ways the brain processes mathematics.

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“The students will engage in problem solving and deep thinking and learn that maths is a creative and connected subject rather than a list of rules and methods. Students will learn a growth mindset lens to apply to all of their learning, and their lives.”

Stanford staff will be researching the impact of the 30 camps being held across the US, in Renfrewshire and Brazil, analysing pupil development data over the next three years as part of an international study comparing cultural learning differences.

The partnership comes after Renfrewshire Council was the first local authority in Scotland rated ‘excellent’ by Education Scotland for its progress in raising attainment and closing the learning gap between those in the least and most deprived communities.

Renfrewshire is one of nine Scottish Attainment Challenge authorities receiving funding from the Scottish Government and the national inspection reported significant year-on-year improvements in listening, talking, reading, writing and numeracy.

Funding has enabled tea time study sessions for families and strengthened the transition from primary to secondary school, while more than 3800 pupils have benefited from a programme to develop their self-control.

More than 1000 staff have completed a course to improve confidence in teaching numeracy and a partnership with the University of Strathclyde is delivering impressive results in reading and writing, through a professional learning programme for classroom assistants.

This has seen St Anthony’s Primary School in Johnstone named UK Literacy School of the Year and Renfrewshire schools have won the UKLA Our Class Loves this Book Award two years’ running.

“Inspiring our pupils to enjoy learning maths is really important not just for improving their maths understanding and achievement, but in improving their overall confidence in problem solving and investigation. It also improves learning in a wide range of other subjects,” explains Steven Quinn, Interim Director of Children’s Services at Renfrewshire Council and a qualified maths teacher.

“Through the ongoing work with the University of Strathclyde we have seen the significant benefits of an academic partner and we are really excited about working with the leading experts in maths education at Stanford University and look forward to further developing the partnership over the coming years.”

travelling gallery

IT’S a case of have gallery will travel as a touring art exhibition visits Paisley, next week.

The Travelling Gallery will visit local schools for pupils to see the many different kinds of artwork installed inside a brightly-coloured double-decker bus.

travelling gallery

The bus will also visit different parts of Paisley so the public can see the interesting art exhibits.

The exhibition of photography, printmaking, film and painting is entitled Displaced and explores how artists are responding to and represent in their work global migration and the refugee crisis.

On Monday, May 20 the Travelling Gallery will visit Williamsburgh Primary School; the public can see the exhibition when it visits the Tannahill Centre, in Ferguslie the following day at 3.30pm, then it’s the chance for Todholm Primary pupils to see the artwork, on Wednesday May 22.

lisa-marie hughes

On Thursday, May 23, between 11.30am and 1pm and 2.30pm and 4pm, the Travelling Gallery will be open to the public when it’s situated at Paisley Cross. The gallery will also be at Paisley Cross the following day between 10am and 4pm

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Secret Collection, at 9m High Street, Paisley is also running free drop-in guided tours on Friday, May 24 focusing on objects which reflect the Travelling Gallery’s current Exhibition ‘Displaced’.

The tours – at 11am, noon, 1pm and 2pm will last approximately 30 minutes – 45 minutes.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “The Travelling Gallery is an innovate way of bringing art to the people and I would encourage those who can to pay the gallery a visit when it’s in Paisley.

“It will be a thought-provoking experience and with on-going international conflicts and the continued displacement of human beings, artists are asking us to question how we view, understand, and represent refugees and migrants.”

Council Leader

A new community survey which gives local people the chance to help shape the way Renfrewshire Council works has been launched.

The council started its Our Renfrewshire survey today (Monday 13 May). The survey, which is open for four weeks, is open to anyone who lives, works and studies in the area and will help shape a new set of values for the organisation, which will shape how the council communicates and works with communities and partners in the future.

Council Leader

The Council employs almost 8,000 people, most of whom live in the area, and delivers a range of public services including waste and recycling collections, maintenance for local roads, schools and homes, as well as the provision of local education services and care for the most vulnerable.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Iain Nicolson, said: “The Our Renfrewshire survey is quick to fill out and your contribution will make a big difference. We want to know what matters to you, what you value and how we can work together to transform the way we work, building a better Renfrewshire for everyone.

“This survey will help us develop a new set of council values that will shape how we communicate and work with you in the future.

“If you live, work or study in Renfrewshire, we want to hear from you. From our day to day work and our regular conversations, we know communities are keen to work with us so we want everyone to have their say.

“Your views are very important so please get involved in the survey. Don’t miss your chance to shape Renfrewshire’s future.”

The Our Renfrewshire community survey, which includes a short set of simple questions, closes on Friday 7 June.

To take part in the survey visit If you need some help to go online, ask about ‘Our Renfrewshire’ in any of our libraries.

You can also share your stories, photos and views on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #OurRenfrewshire.


Renfrewshire’s cultural scene is in line for a cash boost as groups benefit from the latest rounds of two cultural grants.

Councillors have approved the latest round of awards from the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – created to support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and which has continued as part of a wider plan to use culture and heritage to transform the area’s future.


The fund aims to create more chances for people to get involved in cultural activity, help young people develop, boost the local economy, raise Renfrewshire’s profile, and show how creativity can boost education, social inclusion and quality of life.

The current round of funding is the tenth – and five projects have been awarded funding totalling £50,101, from a total funding ask of £96,774. Projects to be supported are:

  • £11,645 to Mandy McIntosh to run a sculptural project with Ferguslie Park Learning Centre including aspects of community art history, practical skill sharing and hands on making
  • £3,935 to musician Linzi Clark to develop a space for young women in Renfrewshire to express their creative identity and develop songwriting skills in a supportive environment
  • £14,890 to PACE Theatre Company to deliver a high-quality participatory theatre experience to young people who may not otherwise be able to experience or access such an activity
  • £14,000 to Loud n Proud for the development of Sma’ Shot the Musical
  • £5,631 to Starlight Youth Theatre to work with young adults who have challenges of autism and learning disabilities to explore and extend their personal and creative interests

This tenth round sees funds awarded through the CHE Fund reach the £1m mark, with 121 projects supported and a total of £1,045,868 spent since launching in 2016.

Successful completed projects to date include teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Lego stop-motion animation about Paisley, and a dance project bringing pupils in schools across Renfrewshire together to perform pieces inspired by Renfrewshire’s architecture at Johnstone Town Hall.

The CHE fund is part of a wider cultural regeneration plan for Paisley which also includes a £100m investment in town centre venues, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections.

Based on the success of the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, in 2018 Renfrewshire Council introduced the Cultural Organisations Development Fund and awards for this new cultural grant have also been approved by Councillors.

The Cultural Organisations Development Fund is a three-year fund with the purpose of strengthening and building the capacity of local cultural and creative organisations.

The fund can support a range of organisational development opportunities, such as board recruitment, creating new staff posts, developing programmes for internships or apprentices, and supporting new partnerships.

Five applications to the Cultural Organisations Development Fund have been approved totalling £302,318, from a total funding request of £539,312. These are:

  • £72,000 to Erskine Music and Media Studio over three years to develop the workforce within the organisation and to enable them to continue to support the development of cultural opportunities in Erskine
  • £8,500 to STAR Project to allow the organisation to work with external consultants with the aim of improving the reach and reputation of the organisation and allowing them to continue delivering services and positive social change in Renfrewshire
  • £70,000 to Outspoken Arts over two years to fund two new posts, allowing the organisation to grow and support multiple projects in the ongoing programme
  • £71,778 to CREATE Paisley over three years to address identified organisational challenges that currently limit the organisations ability to deliver its strategic goals and vision
  • £80,040 to PACE Theatre Company over three years to build fundraising capacity, allowing the company to pursue projects that are not viably supported by fees, ticket sales or other incomes.

Projects supported by both funds will benefit communities across Renfrewshire.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Since the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund launched it has succeeded in increasing the number of people getting involved in creative activity across Renfrewshire and I am pleased to see the interest in the fund is still strong as we announce the groups benefiting in this tenth round.

“The new Cultural Organisations Development Fund is designed as an opportunity for organisations to further develop their capacity and progress with longer term planning, and I am pleased to see that some of our previous CHE Fund recipients have progressed to this stage of their development and will benefit greatly from these further opportunities for funding.”

Are you interested in applying for funding? You can find out more by visiting

Elektrik Marketing

The prestigious ceremony for the Scottish SME Business Awards 2019 took place on Wednesday May 8th at the Marriott Hotel Glasgow and welcomed creative and successful SME’s from across Scotland that have push the boundaries of innovation and imagination.

Elektrik Marketing

Elektrik Marketing based in Renfrewshire and run by Kat Kennedy was nominated as a finalist in the category of Marketing Activity of The Year’ and scooped this top award beating off stiff competition from a range of businesses from across the country.

Kat Kennedy, Director at Elektrik Marketing said, ‘I really was shocked when Elektrik was named as the winner especially when I saw the range of high profile businesses in this category. I’m delighted to say the least! This sort of recognition is fantastic for my marketing business.

Elektrik Marketing is a solutions provider delivering innovative, high quality marketing campaigns, events and promotional strategies and specialise in retail, leisure and major events marketing, providing inspiring solutions to consistently deliver excellent customer experiences which result in increased footfall, dwell time and ultimately generate incremental sales for clients.

The company have provided marketing services for some of the biggest events in Scotland such as the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival as well as major launch campaigns for Scotland’s largest Odeon Luxe cinema at Glasgow Quay to name a few.

Prior to launching her business in 2012 Kat worked with Renfrewshire Council in the Arts & Museums Service providing marketing services for Renfrewshire’s top attractions such as Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre, Renfrew Town Hall and many community projects.

For more info on Elektrik Marketing visit


This year’s Sma’ Shot Day celebration will see day-long spectacular of parades and partying in Paisley town centre – as the event returns to its roots in a new location.

The programme has been confirmed for this year’s event on Saturday 6 July –  with almost 50 events taking place across more 20 venues in a town-wide celebration for one of the world’s oldest worker’s festivals.


This year’s main events will move to the streets around the historic Sma’ Shot Cottage – meaning Shuttle Street, New Street, Witherspoon Street and Brown’s Lane will come alive with activity.

Sma’ Shot Day celebrates a 19th-century victory by the town’s weavers over their bosses in an industrial dispute – and this year’s event will have the theme of ‘Let’s party like its 1856’, bringing to life the traditional weavers’ celebration.


Members of local groups PACE Youth Theatre, Loud n Proud school of rock and the Old Paisley Society helped launch the programme for the 2019 event – which can be seen now at

The day’s activity starts with a colourful parade – this year co-ordinated by parade specialists Bridgeman Arts in collaboration with local groups and performers – featuring spectacular floats and giant puppets. The parade leaves Brodie Park at noon, led by sound of the Charleston Drum.

Once it arrives in the main event site in and around Paisley Arts Centre the party will get under way – with traditional event favourites including the Burning of the Cork, the re-enactment of the Sma’ Shot story by PACE Youth Theatre, and speeches by trade unions.


This year’s programme also includes a wide range of free performances and workshops showcasing Paisley’s thriving local cultural scene, unique heritage, and status as a creative hub, including:

– live performances from Starlight Music Theatre’s rock choir and swing band, drummers of Loud ‘n’ Proud rock school, and some of Scotland’s top traditional musicians with Gaelic group Fèis Phàislig;

– The InCube creative craft trail with some of the area’s best designers showing off their skills with family-friendly workshops in local cafes and venues, plus a makers’ markets and kids’ art workshops;

– kids’ entertainment around Paisley Arts Centre and Brown’s Lane including an outdoor beach, storytelling yurt, face-painting, puppet shows, and circus skills and carnival craft workshops;


– a programme of poetry, spoken word and live music on the Dooslan Stane Stage at Browns’ Lane, featuring local performers and the young people of Create Paisley performing songs specially-written with local musician Michael Cassidy inspired by Paisley’s musical heritage;

– a chance to see how a 19th-century weaver lived with tours of the Sma’ Shot Cottages and traditional weaving demonstrations by Paisley Museum’s Dr Dan Coughlan;

– a series of events celebrating Paisley’s heritage run by the TH2/CARS programme to restore historic buildings in the town centre – including textile exhibitions, film screenings and street theatre performances.

Local businesses will be involved – with The Bungalow, The Lane and Factionvenues in Shuttle Street, local cafes Bianco e Nero, Blend, Brew and Fairfull Collection, and Helen’s Haberdashery on the High St and The Workshop in the Old Fire Station among those hosting activity.


Other venues include a sensory safe space in the Russell Institute, and tours of the Paisley Thread Mill Museum, as well as Paisley Abbey and the InCube business incubator.

Sma’ Shot Day is organised by Renfrewshire Council as part of the area’s successful major events programme which brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area each year

In recent years Sma’ Shot Day has taken place in Abbey Close but as initial construction work to transform Paisley Town Hall into a landmark performance venue and preserve its place at the heart of life in the town will be under way by the summer, organisers opted to move this year’s event.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Sma’ Shot Day is always one of the highlights of the annual events calendar – and this year sees an exciting development as it moves to a new location.

“The Sma’ Shot Cottages is one of Paisley’s hidden treasures – so it is fitting the event is going back to its roots and taking place in the streets surrounding the unique attraction it shares a name with.

“The programme has something for everyone and combines all the traditional elements people know and love with a full day of contemporary events showing off Paisley’s creativity and history.

“One of the main aims of the events programme is to bring footfall to town centre traders so we are delighted so many of them have agreed to host parts of the event and give it a real town-wide feel.”

The next major event in Paisley is the British Pipe Band Championships, at St James Playing Fields on Saturday 18 May, which sees thousands of the world’s top pipers and drummers descend on the town for a full day of free entertainment with free transport from the town centre.

For more info on all local events visit