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monster hero

Paisley First is offering a fun, family “Safari” to help give families a safe town centre story-trail this summer, whilst supporting the NHS.

Will you accept the challenge to search the streets for 10 cute and colourful MonsterHeroes?

Using only smartphones, the Safari allows you to learn each of the MonsterHero’s name, story, and superpowers.

Once all 10 MonsterHeroes are found, a free e-book that tells the story of their first team-up will be unlocked.

The Safari works by utilising contactless NFC technology and QR codes, without the need for players to download or sign up to anything.

To play, simply tap or scan the Let’s Go posters or MonsterHero Safari window decals dotted around the town centre, and make a donation of £2, or more if you wish, to the charity NHS Together.

As we all adjust to the new normal, it’s hoped this outdoor trail will bring some family fun to Paisley town centre, where visitors can enjoy fresh air and wide-open spaces, and hopefully bring a smile to visiting children.

MonsterHero Safari is an outdoor only trail and a great way to help people get some fresh air whilst having fun and raising money for such a worthwhile cause too.

As more and more of our local businesses are reopening, families can be assured that we are all working together to implement COVID-19 safety measures to Keep Paisley Safe.

More than 100 areas across the UK are taking part in this summer’s MonsterHero Safari project with the aim of raising over £100k for NHS Charities Together.

Paisley town centre’s trail has been sponsored by Love Local, Love Paisley ❤

To learn more about the story-trail please visit our website.

Lily the frog with joke book

It’s time for youngsters to join the Silly Squad this summer.

All kinds of daftness is the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge and children between the ages of four and 11 are being encouraged to sign up for a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter.

Lily the frog with joke book

The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends who love to go on adventures and read all kinds of humorous books. This year’s Reading Challenge also features characters designed by the award-winning author and illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson who created books like Amelia Fang and Evil Emperor Penguin.

The challenge runs from now until August 15 and to join all you have to do is visit www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk where you’ll find the link to the Silly Squad website. Parents or carers will need to give consent for children to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.

Once registered, youngsters can set their own personal reading challenge and the website helps keep track of their books, reviews and the rewards for reading books during the summer.

Lily the frog with joke book

The website is also packed with suggestions of brilliant books to read and tips on how to keep reading over the summer. There will also be heaps of super silly activities, quizzes, videos and games to keep children entertained.

Youngsters can also tune into the #ScottishSillySquad on YouTube where every week three authors and storytellers will broadcast their tips on how best to enjoy and complete the Summer Reading Challenge.

A wide variety of children’s books and e-books can be borrowed for free with library membership. To do that, or to join a library, just go to the Renfrewshire Libraries website.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “Reading should be fun for children and that’s exactly what this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is.

print

“Last year more than 2000 young people took part in our reading challenge and even though we have been in lockdown in recent months, we’re making sure children don’t miss out on the joy of books this year.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is being organised by Renfrewshire Libraries and the Reading Agency with the aim of getting youngsters to read books during the summer break.

Renfrewshire Libraries have now re-opened for click and collect and returning books only. For more information go to www.renfrewshireleisure.com.

paisley arts institute

25 July – 6 September 2020

Launch Event SAT 25 July 4pm on www.paisleyartinstitute.org (All welcome)

This year, due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the much-anticipated Paisley Art Institute Open Annual Exhibition, the 132nd edition no less, will take the form of an online presentation for the first time in our history.  The 132nd PAI Annual Online goes live on www.paisleyartinstitute.org on Saturday 25 July and continues online until Saturday 6 September 2020.

paisley arts institute

These unparalleled circumstances offer Paisley Art Institute a pivotal opportunity to embrace something of the scale and excitement of presenting one of Scotland’s longest running annual exhibitions in a gallery setting whilst reimagining what artists and visitors might experience of the PAI Annual in an online environment.

We had an overwhelming response to our open call for submissions. From an open call, we received 628 entries. Just over 60% of artworks submitted were from Open Entrants. Undeterred by showing work in a virtual rather than physical setting, exhibiting artists invite us to consider themes that have been felt universally in 2020: human connection, a love of nature, the turbulent times we live in to name but a few.  Artists showing work come from across Scotland and further afield. The Annual Online will display work by artists at all stages of their careers including submissions from highly regarded artists who are Paisley Art Institute Diplomates including, Charles JamiesonJames CosgroveRobert Murray and Gail Murray, who have embraced the opportunity to show work on this virtual platform.  

With its rich tradition and history as one of Scotland’s longest running exhibitions, ‘porting’ the PAI Annual online has been a fascinating challenge which presented us too with a unique opportunity to reflect on the cultural heritage of Paisley.  In the 1820s the Jacquard loom was being used to propel Paisley as a leading light in Scotland’s textiles industry.  The intricate punch card input method used laid the foundations of computer technology and ‘coding’ in particular – the building blocks of creating our online presentation.

We are delighted to have worked with Berlin-based Paisley Buddie Andrew Hopkins as our Digital Collaborator who has designed a bespoke series of virtual viewing rooms.  It has been important for Andrew to amplify the creative energy of his hometown, especially during lockdown when he is physically cut off from Scotland.  

A specially convened Selection Committee of PAI Artists Members chose work specifically with the online context in their sights.  Eòghann MacColla, Convenor of the Paisley Art Institute Exhibitions Hanging Committee said “It was a real pleasure for the selection team to review the works we received via the artists call out.  The quality of submissions has been so impressive and encompasses a wide range of techniques.  The process of selecting works for an online exhibition has been a fascinating challenge and a unique one. We are sure the range of work on display will bring some much-needed vibrancy, colour, and joy in 2020.  We hope the 132nd Paisley Art Institute Annual Online will also offer an opportunity to reflect on our collective experience of this pandemic through several pieces which deal very directly with the lockdown theme.  It has been humbling to see how a number of artists exhibiting in the 132nd PAI Annual Online have directly taken their experience of lockdown and used this time to make a personal creative response, exploring themes of personal wellbeing and our universal need for connection.

As you would expect a range of Paisley based artists are included in the 132nd PAI Annual Online, including:

  • Alexander Ramsay with his piece ‘Lockdown Fever’ – Alex was recognised with an award for his work during the 2019 PAI Open Annual exhibition
  • Caroline Gormley, PAI Vice President is exhibiting this year as is artist Sandy Guy who, with Caroline, is co-founder of the ‘Made in Paisley’ Studio and Gallery.
  • We are delighted to include examples of work by an up and coming generation of Paisley based artists such as Angela Pieraccini, who has lovely circular geometric works included. 
  • Paisley based painter and PAI Artist Committee Member, Moe Rocksmoore, presents her signature atmospheric skyscapes in this year’s Annual Online. 

Our universal experience of living through the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has unsurprisingly generated some highly creative responses.  Themes of self-care, wellbeing, isolation and connection and the familiar symbols of face coverings and rainbows all appear in the exhibition.  Participating artist, Wendy Greig, is a fulltime anaesthetic nurse in the NHS who paints and draws in her evenings and weekends. Describing her art practice as ‘a lifeline during the current crisis’. Her works are in soft pastel, portraits. 

 

Other examples of ‘crisis responsive’ artworks in the Annual Online include:

 

  • Ilona Dynowski Red run an almost apocalyptic street scene. 
  • Lynn Howarth’s portrait of a frontline worker wearing a mask
  • Boo Paterson ‘COVID Old Glory’ our poster image for the PAI exhibition in 2020. 
  • Former PAI Vice President Al Strachan and his colourful collages relating to being housebound and Zoom
  • John Andrew’s Lockdown work, ‘Joan in a mask’. John discovered his passion for visual art ‘later in life’.  He has natural talent and flair for painting and drawing and is returning to exhibit with PAI after first doing so in 2019.

 

This year for the first time ever, the Paisley Art Institute website will host an online shop, where much of the artwork on display will be available to purchase during the duration of the exhibition.

virtual 5k

Fans of the Paisley 10k can still take part in a road race this year as a new competition gets up and running.

The annual Paisley 10k and Fun Run may have had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the team at Renfrewshire Leisure have organised a series of virtual races to take its place.

virtual 5k

Runners can take part by signing up for the Renfrewshire Leisure Virtual 5k Summer Series for free and after registering, they are asked to submit their best times for running a distance of 5k.

They can start submitting their times once every week for three weeks starting on July 27 and runners can complete the distance either on an outdoor run, or on a treadmill.

Week One is July 27 to August 2; Week Two, August 3 to August 9 and Week 3, August 10 to August 16.

Registration via www.renfrewshireleisure.com/5ksummerseries will be open throughout each week and once signed up, runners will be sent an email with a weblink to a Google Form where they can submit their times.

Runners can choose to register and submit their time for Week 1, Week 2, or all three weeks. At the end of each week, results will be collated and a leader board will be posted on the Renfrewshire Leisure website and social media.

The Virtual 5k Summer Series is being organised in conjunction with Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club and the event’s charity partner is Erskine – Scotland’s foremost provider of care for military veterans and their spouses.

Although entry to the event is free, runners are being encouraged to make a donation to Erskine at www.erskine.org.uk/support-our-work/donate/ .

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “It’s a shame the Paisley 10k and Fun Run has had to be cancelled this year, but we’re making sure all the training that runners have been doing throughout the year will be put to good use.

“Our team has been very creative in coming up with the idea for a Virtual 5k Summer Series and I hope lots of runners sign up and log their best times for running the 5k race distance.

“I’m sure those taking part will join in the fun and competitive spirit of the event and if they aren’t top of the leader board after the first week, they have another two opportunities to post even faster times.”

Renfrewshire's libraries

It was one for the record books as avid reader Ann Clark was the first person to visit Johnstone Library after it re-opened after months of lockdown.

The sprightly 77-year-old was at the head of the queue before the library opened at 10am to return 15 books and borrow another nine books to keep up with her favourite pastime of reading.

Renfrewshire's libraries

As she clutched her latest supply of books outside Johnstone Library, Ann, from Kilbarchan said:

“Being able to visit the library was the thing I missed most during lockdown. I’ve loved reading since I was a young girl and I always had my nose in a book.

“I was overjoyed when I heard the library was reopening, as I visit the library twice a week and I must be their most regular customer.”

Ann whose favourite books are romance novels and wartime stories added: “When the library was closed over the past few months I got books from friends and I even read some books twice.”

All 12 Renfrewshire Leisure libraries re-opened yesterday (Monday) for members to return titles and pick up books they had ordered by phone or online by click and collect.

The move comes after the Scottish Government last week gave the go-ahead for libraries to open as part of the move into Phase 3 of the route map out of the coronavirus pandemic.

To keep both staff and the public safe, only one customer at a time will be alllowed into a library to drop off books, or collect pre-ordered books and face coverings should be worn inside the building.

It has also been decided that there won’t be any fines for people returning overdue books.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We encourage people of all ages to read books, as it brings enjoyment and knowledge into our lives.

“Libraries have always been an important resource in our community and it’s brilliant to be able to open up our libraries again and provide a vital service to the public.

“Due to the current coronaviris guidelines from the Scottish Government we will have to operate our libraries in a different way for the time being. But I’m sure our customers will understand and we thank them for their patience and willingness to abide by these guidelines as we welcome them back.”

Renfrewshire’s libraries are at: Bishopton; Bridge of Weir; Erskine; Ferguslie; Foxbar; Glenburn; Johnstone; Lochwinnoch; Linwood; Paisley Central Library; Ralston and Renfrew.

Books can be reserved online at www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk or by telephone on 0300 300 1188.

covid_19

An innovative package of support to help Renfrewshire businesses recover from the effects of lockdown has been given the green light by councillors.

And the £1.3m funding boost agreed today by members of Renfrewshire Council’s Emergencies Board has also been welcomed by some of the area’s key economic leaders.

covid_19

The proposals were developed as a result of an in-depth survey which saw staff from the council and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce speak to more than 500 businesses – around 10% of Renfrewshire’s total – about the issues coronavirus has caused for them.

The council then used the results of that to develop a new package of short-term funding which will now be open for local firms to apply for from mid-August. It includes:

– £500k for zero-interest business restart loans of up to £5,000 to help small-and-medium-sized business with short-term cashflow;

– £400k for grants of up to £10,000 to help sustain businesses and plan for growth in the medium term;

– £250k for grants of up to £2,500 to help businesses adapt their premises to allow for physical distancing;

– £150k to help fund expert advice to businesses in crisis and self-employed people over training and access to funding;

The money is coming from within existing council budgets for business support and is expected to be the first stage of a longer-term economic recovery plan.

And the package of support has been backed by members of the Renfrewshire Economic Leadership Panel.

Bob Grant, chief executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The survey exercise in partnership with Renfrewshire Council has been the largest ever of the business community in Renfrewshire and we warmly welcome the innovative package of funding as a direct response to the key issues highlighted.

“In addition to these measures Renfrewshire Chamber will fund two initiatives launching at the end of July: Development of a peer-to-peer business mentoring service and a unique Transform training program which will help companies to innovate, re-design and develop new strategies to mitigate the impacts of Covid and identify future opportunities.”

Grant Edmondson, Hillington Park commercial director for Frasers Property UK – the majority owner of Scotland’s biggest business park, home to around 500 organisations – also welcomed the news.

He said: “We are happy to see the majority of Hillington Park businesses are now back open and operating, albeit significantly below capacity.

“We’re aware however many are concerned about the speed of pick-up in demand for their products and services over the next few months, with impact on cashflow as government support tapers off.

“The new business support package being announced by Renfrewshire Council is therefore extremely welcome at this point and we would encourage local businesses to get in touch with the council and apply for the support when applications open.”

Lydia Brown, Community Development Manager for intu Braehead said: “Businesses have been going through unprecedented times recently and only now, as lockdown restrictions are easing, do they have the opportunity to start the process of economic recovery.

“Many businesses still need support to help them kick-start their revival and this assistance from Renfrewshire Council can play a vital role in this.

“If any businesses – large or small – can benefit from this extra funding they should certainly apply to find out if they qualify for the assistance.

“The people running businesses in Renfrewshire are very creative and resilient and thankfully, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve no doubt we will get there and the Renfrewshire economy will come back as strong as ever.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson added: “I am pleased this package of business support was backed by councillors today. We have prioritised this investment as we are determined to do all we can to support the local economy and protect local jobs through what will be a tough period ahead.

“We wanted to make sure the support we are offering was based on what businesses need – and the extensive work we and the Chamber did to establish what that was has been hugely valuable to us in terms of understanding the challenges facing our businesses.”

Paisley Xmas Lights 16.11.19-3639

Renfrewshire Council will not be progressing with the remainder of its events programme this year, as part of ongoing measures to help to manage the coronavirus pandemic and minimise the risk of local outbreaks.

The decision, which was confirmed at the Council’s Emergencies Board, means that the Paisley fireworks and Christmas lights switch-on events in Paisley, Renfrew and Johnstone will not be going ahead in 2020.

Paisley Xmas Lights 16.11.19-3639

Currently a ban on mass gatherings is in place across Scotland and when lifted it is expected that restrictions will remain in place for some time, including physical distancing measures and advice to avoid crowded places. The decision not to run the winter programme, which attracts tens of thousands annually, also takes into account the lengthy planning time required to safely organise major events.

Christmas Lights will still be displayed across Renfrewshire and work is ongoing with local organisations to plan activities that will safely attract footfall and visitors to Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew over the festive period, including boosting the council’s Spend Local campaign to encourage people to shop local and support local traders and high streets.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “I know this will be disappointing news for everyone who supports and attends our popular winter programme and we are sorry that these events cannot go ahead this year. I hope everyone will understand that we must put public health first and will do everything we can to be back in 2021.

“Scottish Government guidance currently prevents mass gatherings from taking place and since we announced the cancellation of our summer and autumn programme, major events and festivals across the country have continued to be cancelled. Even if the restrictions due to coronavirus were relaxed, physical distancing measures are likely to remain in place for some time to ensure we do not experience local outbreaks and a further lockdown.

“Our major events take months of extensive planning and organising – and with uncertainty over how and when they can return, we have to take this difficult, but prudent decision now.

“We are proud of the social and economic impacts the events programme contributes to our communities – and we will continue to focus on delivering a fantastic events programme in 2021, working closely with national bodies and following public health advice.”

The Council is continuing to work closely with businesses across Renfrewshire to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and support reopening, with the announcement of a £1.3m package of support to help local businesses get back on their feet.

Renfrewshire Council advises everyone to stay safe and continue to follow the national guidance on coronavirus set out by the Scottish Government.

For the latest local updates, visit our ‘Information, help and guidance on Coronavirus’ webpage here: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus

Louise Drennan, Renfrewshire Leisure

Renfrewshire Leisure highlights success of services online as all 12 of its libraries prepare to launch click and collect service from Monday

Bookworms have borrowed more than 24,000 ebooks and emagazines from Renfrewshire’s libraries during lockdown.

Louise Drennan, Renfrewshire Leisure

The remarkable figure – representing an 80 per cent rise on this time last year – is among a string of successes secured by library staff as they’ve met massive demand for services online during the coronavirus crisis.

Renfrewshire Leisure will begin the gradual restart of physical operations at its libraries on Monday (July 20) as part of the latest phase of the community’s route map out of the pandemic, starting with a click and collect service.

But libraries staff will continue to develop their online offering in tandem with in-library services after experiencing huge demand for activities including quizzes, games, storytimes and writing workshops.

Between March 18 and July 13, Renfrewshire Leisure recorded 24,000 eloans – 16,963 ebooks and audiobooks and 7,096 emagazines. That compares to 9,267 ebooks and audiobooks and 4,096 emagazines – a 13,363 total – between the same dates last year

Joyce Higgins, Digital and Library Development Manager at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “While we may not have physically had people visiting our libraries in the past few months, our online engagement has gone through the roof. We have been blown away by the engagement in the services and activities we have been running online and via social media.

“Our team have done a tremendous job in the way they have innovated, reimagined some of our services for online and ensured that – despite our physical buildings having been closed – we have continued to work with huge numbers of people across Renfrewshire to support their health and wellbeing during lockdown.

“We are excited about continuing to develop our online offering.”

Other online successes include the Bookbug sessions, which have been led by Kirstie Burns, a volunteer at Renfrew Library. She started her sessions from the first week of lockdown, broadcasting them on YouTube. She has produced 15 sessions which have had about 80,000 video views.

A series of Libraries Live Lunchtime Quizzes – broadcast via Facebook Live – have also been viewed more than 10,000 times.

The Skoobmobile team have been keeping in-touch with families through storytimes on RENTV channel including readings of “Oi Frog!” by Kes Gray and “Whiffy Wilson the Wolf who wouldn’t wash” by Caryl Hart and Leonie Lord.

Meanwhile, The Reading Agency and Renfrewshire Libraries are excited to introduce Silly Squad, Summer Reading Challenge 2020. The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends who love to go on adventures and read all kinds of funny books. More than 200 children have already signed up to take part in the challenge, which is digital this year. Visit www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk for more details.

All 12 of the libraries operated by Renfrewshire Leisure will be open for returns and for borrowing on a click and collect basis, as part of measures being put in place to ensure the safety of staff and library users. Books can be reserved online at

www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk or by telephone on 0300 300 1188. Access to buildings will be on a one in, one out basis. Each one will have a simple drop-off point for returns.

On top of this, staff will continue with the Libraries Direct service they have been operating throughout lockdown. This has seen them work with volunteers and Renfrewshire Council to deliver books and make wellbeing phone calls to people who have been shielding in their homes throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Morag Macpherson, Head of Cultural Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Our libraries team can be really proud of the work they have done during lockdown. I’m delighted with what we have achieved and look forward to developing our online services further, in tandem with what we offer in our library buildings as our services restart there.”

Opening arrangements for each library will be available at www.renfrewshire leisure.com. As well as the click and collect service, people will be able to phone library staff for recommendations and will contact them when their book is ready to collect. Computers in the libraries are not yet available for public use.

Social distancing and hygiene requirements will be clearly displayed at each building.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s libraries are at: Bishopton; Bridge of Weir; Erskine; Ferguslie; Foxbar; Glenburn; Johnstone; Lochwinnoch; Linwood; Paisley Central Library; Ralston and Renfrew.

Renfrewshire Leisure continues to await further guidance from the Scottish Government on the reopening of leisure services.

chivas

A Paisley site of strategic importance for Renfrewshire’s long-term economic and community development is to be brought into public ownership.

Renfrewshire Council has agreed terms to conclude its purchase of the bulk of the 24-acre site at Renfrew Road from Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers. It is anticipated ownership of the site will transfer to the Council later this year.

chivas

Bringing the site into public ownership will allow the Council to explore a range of possible development opportunities, including new transport links, economic and community uses, supporting the region’s economic recovery from the impact of Coronavirus.

Situated to the north of the town centre, the sizeable site sits between West College Scotland’s Paisley campus and Abbotsinch Retail Park, with the White Cart river to the west.

The Council is exploring options for an economic development corridor along the White Cart, improving connections from Paisley town centre to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland under development next to Glasgow Airport.

The Chivas Brothers land has been identified as a possible site for a new Paisley Grammar School, with a public consultation to take place at a future date.

The remainder of the site is being purchased by Scottish Leather Group, which is converting the North Hall into a new car seat upholstery facility as the UK’s largest leather manufacturer expands its Renfrewshire operations, bringing with it a further 100 high-skilled jobs.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Coronavirus has had a huge impact on the local, national and global economies and we must be ready and able to tackle the social and economic harm now and in the months ahead.

“We have awarded more than £25million in government grants to businesses to provide immediate support and have consulted with more than 500 businesses and enterprise and education leaders as we develop a roadmap for Renfrewshire’s economic recovery, with a central focus on retaining and creating jobs.

“I am pleased that, following detailed negotiations with Chivas Brothers over the last two years, we have been able to conclude a contract for the future purchase of this site. Securing its public ownership will enable us to consider a range of development opportunities which support long-term growth of the local economy and bring benefits to the surrounding communities.

“The Chivas Brothers site provided many local jobs over the years and I am pleased that while one chapter is closing, this purchase will ensure the site continues to play a vital role in the region’s future for many years to come.”

Iain McFadyen, CEO of Scottish Leather Group said: “We are extremely pleased to have secured the North Hall part of the Chivas Brothers site which will allow us to expand our operations in Renfrewshire. The site will initially employ 100 people cutting leather for premium automotive interiors.”

Jean-Christophe Coutures, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “We are delighted to have confirmed the sale of our Paisley site to Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Leather Group. Together they bring significant opportunity to the local area, with the latter creating 100 new high-skilled jobs.

“The site has played an important role in the local community for many years, so we’re pleased this sale will allow it to continue to leave a positive economic and cultural legacy in Paisley.”