russell institute

Progress in the bid to restore the iconic Russell Institute building.

Bid to restore iconic building making progress

Renfrewshire Council is making progress in its efforts to bring one of Paisley’s architectural gems back to life.

The iconic Russell Institute building has been put up for sale by its owners, the NHS, but needs substantial work.

Renfrewshire Council has been working with the Paisley Development Trust, a group of local volunteers dedicated to the regeneration of the town, to find a tenant.

russell institute

An organisation has been lined up to move into the former health centre – but the deal is conditional on funding being secured to pay for the restoration work.

The council has applied for a Scottish Government regeneration grant to meet a chunk of the cost – and bosses will hear soon if they have been successful.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “The Russell Institute is an iconic site in the centre of Paisley but sadly it is in need of investment.

“We have an understanding with the NHS where – if we can help secure a tenant – the health service will dispose of the building.

“We are now waiting to hear whether the Scottish Government is willing to back the efforts of the community to bring this important building back into use.

“The council is determined to make use of the area’s superb architectural heritage – which has already been on show this month, having been commented on by many of the visitors we had for the Royal National Mòd.

“In terms of our wider efforts to make the most of the area’s built assets, this year has already seen Paisley Town Hall reopen after a major investment.

“We have also had the continuation of the Townscape Heritage Initiative, including public realm works in Causeyside Street and the restoration of Paisley Arts Centre.”

The Paisley Development Trust commissioned a feasibility study into the condition of the building, which formed the basis for the grant application.

Piero Pieraccini, the trust’s chair, added: “We would like to thank all the people who made a contribution to the funds for the feasibility study.

“We are delighted that there is a future for the building and hopefully we will be involved in that.”

The council is due to hear in November whether its stage-two application to the Scottish Government Regeneration Grant Fund has been successful. If not, other funding sources will be considered.

The Category A-listed Russell Institute sits on the corner of New Street and Causeyside Street and was opened in 1927.

It was gifted to Paisley Burgh by Miss Agnes Russell, who wanted it to be used as a child welfare clinic as a memorial to her two brothers.

The building is notable for the distinctive bronze and stone sculptures on the exterior walls, and was used as a health centre until it closed in 2011.

Lady Lane Theatre Company.

A new theatre group for Renfrewshire has been formed and will be holding Readings for a new Scottish play to be produced in the Spring.  It is hoped that the production will also tour to areas of Renfrewshire that do not normally see theatre on the doorstep .

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The group’s  name is: Lady Lane Theatre Company,  and is home-based in the well-appointed Central Hall in Lady Lane, Paisley. The aims are to further broaden Paisley’s reputation as a burgeoning centre of excellence for the arts, and to provide access to good theatre for everyone.

The auditions are to be held on November 20th, at 7 p.m.  Anyone interested in taking part in the group’s activities should come along. If you have other skills apart from acting that you fancy offering a community group, please come along also.

The contact address for more info. is: paisleyladylane3@gmail.com

The company is a not-for-profit enterprise and no fees or expenses can be given, with all surplus going to rents, purchases and future productions.  A small donation at meetings if it can be afforded will be used to defray running costs.

Soul & Motown Paisley.

Pockets Pool & Snooker Club Presents

Soul & Motown, Classic chart & club soul from the 60’s & 70’s.

Pockets pool & snooker club, Stock Street, Paisley.

Saturday November 9th 8pm-1am

DJs Paul Massey & Grant Ogilvie

Tickets £5 on sale at the club – Advance purchase recommended.

PS

 

Paisley observatory

Winter Viewing Season begins soon at Coats Observatory.

The changing of the clocks at the end of October may signal darker days and the onset of winter – but what better way to brighten up these dark winter nights than to view the wonders of the night sky.

Coats Observatory will once again open its doors on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to allow visitors the rare chance to see a wide variety of celestial delights through powerful telescopes.

Paisley observatory

Opened on 1 October 1883, Coats Observatory celebrates its 130th anniversary this year and continues to welcome anyone interested in astronomy, from absolute beginner to knowledgeable expert.

During the viewing evenings observatory staff shall train the telescope on the Moon, the planets and any other interesting objects visible in the skies above Paisley. There will also be telescopes set up in the Observatory garden trained on various points of interest for visitors who don’t wish to climb the stairs to the dome. Observatory staff will be on hand to answer any astronomically-related questions anyone may have.

This year, right at the start of winter viewing season, there may be the chance to spot the planet Venus, which will be low in the sky in the west about an hour after the sun sets. Venus is covered in thick clouds and shines very brightly in the sky – it is in fact the source of many reports of UFOs!

By mid November Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System, will start to rise by 8pm. This gas giant is a fantastic sight through the telescope, revealing gas bands which encircle the planet’s atmosphere, its four brightest moons and even the Great Red Spot, a gigantic storm three times the size of the Earth.

Late November will also see the appearance of a very bright comet. Comet Ison, only discovered in September 2012, will pass very close to the Sun on November 28. If it emerges intact from its journey past our nearest star it should have brightened up enormously – it has been predicted that it might even be visible in daylight! Hopefully Comet Ison will be one of the highlights of the astronomical year.

Winter viewing nights at Coats Observatory will run every Tuesday and Thursday from 29 Oct 2013 to 27 March 2014 from 6.30pm – 9pm. Winter viewing is FREE and there is no need to book, last admission is 8.45pm.

For the duration of the winter viewing season the Observatory will also run a pre-viewing Planetarium Show every Thursday evening from 6pm – 6.30pm. The Planetarium show gives a virtual guided tour of the night sky from the comfort of your chair. Admission to the Planetarium show is free, but spaces are limited. Please call Paisley Museum on 0300 300 1210 to book a place in advance.

Visitors should note that winter viewing nights can only go ahead in good weather and will not run in the event of overcast skies or high winds. In the event of inclement weather Coats Observatory will operate Planetarium shows, talks and guided tours of the building.

For further information on Renfrewshire Arts & Museums’ events log on to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts or Twitter @RenArtsMuseums.

GLASGOW AIRPORT HELPS BRING LOCAL HISTORY TO LIFE.

A local project which aims to digitally capture the history of parts of Renfrewshire has got off to a flying start following support from Glasgow Airport’s FlightPath Fund.

Inchinnan Historical Interest Group, a committee made up of local volunteers, is dedicated to promoting the history, culture and heritage of Inchinnan and its surrounding areas. The group plans to produce a digital archive and website containing details on a number of projects. The first of which is an oral history project about life in rural Inchinnan from the 1930’s onwards.

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Oral history is the recording of people’s memories, experiences and opinions and the £1,020 donation from Glasgow Airport’s Flightpath Fund will be used to purchase technical equipment for filming interviews and capturing scenic shots of the area.

The project, which will examine life through the decades, will gather information from residents and relatives and try to understand what it was like to live in the rural environment of Inchinnan farmlands. It will also focus on the development of Erskine community – which was built in the early seventies – and the impact it had on the local community and economy.

Ronald Leitch, head of security and terminal operations at Glasgow Airport, said: “This historical project is a fantastic community initiative and will definitely allow more people to learn about the history of the area. As a neighbour, Glasgow Airport is only too happy to offer assistance and get this exciting project off the ground.”

Councillor Iain Nicolson at Renfrewshire Council said: “Inchinnan Historical Interest Group is a good example of a community working together to promote the local history of the area. To do so, in such a public way is a terrific idea and demonstrates a great sense of community. I am sure the archive and website will prove extremely popular with residents of all ages.”

Bill McCallum, farmlands project leader at Inchinnan Historical Interest Group, said: “Talking to the various people we have interviewed for this project, has been very interesting and enlightening. Asking people to go back down their own memory lane is, in the main, a very pleasurable experience for them, and sharing that journey is both a privilege and rewarding for the project team. We are creating our own piece of history as there has never been an oral history of Inchinnan before, and receiving support from the FlightPath Fund is very encouraging to our project team.”

Once complete details of the project, which are expected to generate interest from local residents, schools and community groups, will be available from the Inchinnan Historical Interest Group’s website and will include photographs, video clips and interviews with residents living in the area during this time. Information will also be available at Inchinnan Parish Church.

Courtesy of Glasgow Airport.

Picture: Glasgow Airport’s Ronald Leitch (centre) and Councillor Iain Nicolson meet members of the Inchinnan Heritage Interest Group, pictured with the camera is Bill McCallum.

Paisley Arts Centre in New Street

A true story inspires World War II survival tale.

Coming to Paisley Arts Centre on 29 Oct, Lifeboat is based on the extraordinary true story of Bess Walder and Beth Cummings.

Set in World War II, it is a story of courage, survival and enduring friendship brought to life by Musselburgh-based Catherine Wheels Theatre Company.

On Friday 13 September, 1940, a ship, The City of Benares set sail from Liverpool for Canada. On board were 90 evacuees escaping the relentless bombing and dangers of war torn Britain. Four days into the crossing, the ship was torpedoed and sank. Only eleven of the evacuees survived.

Paisley Arts Centre in New Street
Two fifteen year old girls, Bess Walder and Beth Cummings, spent 19 terrifying hours in the freezing waters of the Atlantic on an upturned Lifeboat, willing each other to survive.

The inspiration for Lifeboat came when Catherine Wheels Director Gill Robertson came across a ‘how we met’ article in the Sunday papers in 1999. In the article, Bess and Beth (who were then in their 70s) explained how they first met on the evacuee ship, The City of Benares in 1940, bound for Canada.

Bess and Beth credited their survival on the fact that they were both together and willed each other to survive, and that they were young and did not realise the direness of their situation. The article ended by saying, ‘we were not in the business of giving up…we hung on’ which of course went on to become a key line in the play.

Both Gill and Catherine Wheels writer Nicola McCartney couldn’t ignore Bess and Beth’s compelling, true-to-life story and subsequently brought Lifeboat to life on stage in 2002.

Lifeboat will be at Paisley Arts Centre on Tues 29 October, 7.30pm. Tickets to the show cost £10 (£6 conc) and can be purchased at the Box Office in Paisley Arts Centre, on 0300 300 1210 or online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/onlinebooking

For further information on Renfrewshire Arts & Museums’ events log on to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts or Twitter @RenArtsMuseums.

Renfrewshire Rockin’ Rollers seek Sponsorship.

We are Renfrewshire Rockin’ Rollers! Our team name is Mirin Maulers and we are a mixed, over 18 team who play roller derby, a hard hitting, full contact sport on skates. We are a team who promote teamwork, confidence, equality and hard work.

rockin-rollers

Roller derby is a multi discipline and inclusive sport that encourages fitness, strength and a strong commitment to furthering the team. We are looking to both raise awareness of the team and seek sponsorship.

If you can help sponsor the club then please find out more information and contact details for the team by visiting their Facebook Page here.. www.facebook.com/renfrewshirerockinrollers

Joining the team:

So…. thinking of joining? Then you’ll need the following to start training:
Quad roller skates
Helmet
Wrist guards
Elbow and knee pads
Mouth guard

You can get most things (apart from the helmet and mouth guard) second hand off ebay and the UK roller derby recyclables group. You don’t need to spend wads of cash, and if you do, your protection is most important as you’ll soon find out! Any quads to start would be great to get you rolling initially! Also, the shops 5th Blocker in Glasgow and Into the Nitemare in Falkirk are on hand to let you try on, give advice and of course purchase from!

www.facebook.com/renfrewshirerockinrollers

Happy holidays for Renfrewshire’s kids.

A new scheme from Renfrewshire Council has seen hundreds more children taking part in activities during the October school holidays.

The new local activity sessions, which keep children entertained, cared for, and fed during the holidays are part of the council’s £7 million commitment to giving Renfrewshire’s children the best start in life.

Delivered as part of the council’s wider ‘Families First’ programme, the activity sessions were available free of charge in 14 venues across Renfrewshire.

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As well as keeping kids active during the school break, the Families First sessions offered a nutritious holiday lunch to children who normally receive a free meal during the school term.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board said: “School holidays can place further strain on families who are already struggling.

“We want our youngsters to return to school after the break feeling healthy, refreshed and ready to learn again.

“These new local activities help to ensure this and are a great example of how Families First is helping to reduce the pressure on parents.

“We have to make parents aware of the support and services available to them. Over the coming months, Families First will be bringing a range of existing council, health and voluntary services together; making them easier to find and easier to use for those who need them most.”

The free local activities were piloted in Linwood and Ferguslie during the summer. The On-X and St Fergus Primary played host to 60 children for four days of play and healthy lunches. Following their summer success, the activities were rolled out for children throughout Renfrewshire during the October break.

Families First will continue to expand, offering a range of local services to families across Renfrewshire.

Parents with young children have until the 1 December 2013 to take part in a survey about the forthcoming changes to nursery provision in Renfrewshire. They can advise the council about what arrangements would suit them and their child best by logging onto www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/familiesfirst

Image: Quads, Kayam, Eshan, Anika and Rayan (left to right) aged 6 enjoy the Families First holiday activities at Renfrew High School

Energy advice service will help hard-pressed families this winter.

Renfrewshire Council and Linstone Housing Association (on behalf of FLAIR) will launch a dedicated energy advocacy service this winter to target support to hard-pressed local people.

As part of the service, residents will be able to make use of an expert adviser who can help them on a range of issues from resolving problems with energy companies to securing funding for new energy measures in their home.

The move means the previous Renfrewshire energy advocacy role that was run by the council and funded by the Scottish Government until March 2013, can be re-launched in time for winter.

Councillor Macmillan and Mrs Kerton

It helped many local people last year including elderly home owner, Elizabeth Kerton who had no hot water and poor insulation until an adviser stepped in.

Mrs Kerton, 64, from Johnstone explained: “The service was able to help me out during winter last year when my boiler wasn’t working properly. I was getting heat – but I’d had no hot water for over a year and had to constantly rely on my shower. The adviser was able to sort that all out for me and I got a new boiler, plus loft insulation. I’m absolutely delighted because the house is definitely holding the heat much better now. I’d recommend the advocacy service to others.”

Council Leader, Mark Macmillan met Mrs Kerton recently to hear how the service helped her. He said: “I’m pleased that with our partners at Linstone, we are able to re-launch this worthwhile service to offer a wide range of support on energy issues. I was delighted to hear first hand from Mrs Kerton who benefitted previously from energy advocacy. She had a faulty boiler and no hot water and they took on her case, resulting in a brand new boiler and loft insulation. I’m delighted for Mrs Kerton and look forward to other people who need help, getting dedicated support.”

Gary Dalziel, Linstone’s Director of Finance and Corporate Services, said: “We recognise that one of the most expensive aspects of having a home are the energy costs and we are confident that the introduction of this service of will be a tremendous benefit to our residents to ensure they are receiving expert, tailored and independent energy advice on what can be an extremely complex system. We are delighted to have been able to secure funding to allow Renfrewshire Council’s energy advice team to deliver this service on our behalf and across Renfrewshire.”

Councillor Macmillan added: “With national Energy Saving Week from 21 until 25 October, we’re reminded of the importance of doing all we can to be energy efficient to not only help cut down our bills, but to also reduce our impact on the environment.

We’ve set up a dedicated energy section at our website to offer tips and useful advice, and I’d urge everyone to visit the pages.”

The new service will be up and running by the end of October. To get in touch with the advocacy team, call 0141 618 7515 or email emu@renfrewshire.gov.uk

For more information visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/energy

brick-city-st-pancras-

LEGO exhibition comes to Paisley Museum

A must-see exhibition for fans of LEGO® young and old, Brick City is a display of the world’s most iconic buildings and landmarks by LEGO artist Warren Elsmore, one of the very few professional LEGO artists in the country. Exclusive to Paisley, Brick City is a celebration of the world’s architecture, recreated using the toy of the century…LEGO bricks.

brick-city-st-pancras-Brick City features many impressive replicas such as the London 2012 Olympic Park, Rome’s Colosseum and the Las Vegas strip. The exhibition also includes a model of London’s St Pancras station, which measures 5 ft tall and 12 ft long, and contains no less than 180,000 LEGO bricks; Brick City celebrates the best of global architecture and the simple magic of the famous Danish children’s toy.

In addition to this spectacular reconstruction of world-famous landmarks, from 23 November, the public are invited to get creative by producing their own version of famous Paisley buildings such as Paisley Abbey, Paisley Museum and Paisley Town Hall. Visitors can also participate in a public art piece; a mosaic of the famous Paisley Pattern, constructed entirely of LEGO.

The exhibition takes place at Paisley Museum, from 8 November to 16 February. Tickets cost £4 (£3 conc), Family ticket is £12 (2 adults and 2 children). Children under 3 go FREE. For the duration of Brick City only Paisley Museum is extending its opening hours to the following: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 11am to 4pm, Tuesday and Thursday 11am to 5.30pm and Sunday 12pm to 5pm.

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Arts.