6 Book Challenge winners

Six Book Challenge
More than 50 people who signed up for a reading challenge through Renfrewshire Libraries have been honoured at an awards ceremony.

Renfrewshire Libraries hosted an awards ceremony for those who took part in the Six Book Challenge.

Now in its fifth successful year, the Six Book Challenge was launched in 2008 by The Reading Agency, a charity which works to inspire more people to read more. It is promoted through libraries, adult education, prisons and workplaces.
This year Renfrewshire Libraries signed up over 50 participants through working with partners including Adult Learning and Literacies , the Disability Resource Centre and the STAR Project.
6 Book Challenge winnersOn the night, held in Paisley Central Library, author, playwright and poet, Des Dillon, who has himself written material for emergent readers, gave a talk on the importance of reading.
Certificates were presented to each of the participants by Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board.

Councillor McMillan said: “The Six Book Challenge is a great way of inspiring more people to take up reading. By working with our partners, our libraries service were able to sign up more local people to take part. They’ve each done a fantastic job and I was delighted to present them with their awards.”

The Six Book Challenge is a UK-wide annual incentive scheme that encourages less confident adult readers to develop a reading habit through choosing, reading and expressing their views about books. Research confirms that engagement in reading for pleasure through the Six Book Challenge increases confidence, motivation and skills.

Also on the night, Emma Richardson from the STAR Project spoke about the impact the challenge had on her group.

She said: “Through taking part in this challenge, parents have grown more confident in reading along with their children. As a result families have become more motivated to come along and join the library.”



Renfrewshire Council services win recognition at excellence awards
Four Renfrewshire Council services have won runners up prizes at this year’s annual Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Awards.

The awards saw over 300, UK, local authorities competing to show how they deliver the goods for local customers.

Paul O’Brien, Chief Executive of APSE said, “These are not awards that recognise obscure or meaningless targets or initiatives. These awards are about the services that local councils deliver on the frontline, day in and day out, to local residents. From emptying bins to serving up nutritious school meals these awards are about the frontline services that matter to the public.”

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1“APSE is celebrating the very best in service delivery and rightfully recognising the contribution that workers within local councils make to frontline public services in the UK.

“These awards not only recognise and promote individual achievement, but also provide an invaluable opportunity for information to be shared with other authorities and bodies that recognise the hard work and dedication involved in delivering continuous improvement.”

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, said, “Our goal is to provide the best possible services that we can to the people of Renfrewshire. It is a credit to our staff that we secured a place in the finals in four key categories against tough opposition from virtual every other local authority in the UK.

“These awards are about excellence and innovation. We are consistently looking for new ways to deliver the top quality services that local people deserve and our success in these awards is a welcome recognition of that hard work.”

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit local government body which works with over 300 councils throughout the UK. It promotes excellence in public services and hosts a network for front line service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.

The following Renfrewshire Council services made it to the finals of the APSE Awards:

Category 6a Best Partnership Working Initiative (Public/Private) – Kick and Collect
Kick & Collect is a community involvement reward scheme. It is a new development of the Street Stuff programme which was successfully established to tackle problems with young people not connecting with services and being antisocial. Kick & Collect encourages disaffected and hard-to-reach young people to take pride in their local communities. Reward activities are run across West Central Scotland. On average approximately 3,500 young people attend the youth activities each quarter. Strathclyde Police attributes a recorded 20% drop in disorder (aged 10 to 18 years old) to the project.

Category 6b Best Partnership Working Initiative (Public/Public) – Safer Renfrewshire Partnership
The Safer Renfrewshire Partnership works to tackle the causes of violence and antisocial behaviour and build safer and stronger communities. A range of innovative initiatives over the last three years have led to significant reductions in violent crime, antisocial behaviour, disorder and vandalism. Police Statistics show a 42.1% drop in violent crime across Renfrewshire since 2008.

Category 10c Service Team of the Year – Building FM Cleaning Services
For the last two years, Renfrewshire Council’s Site Services have been rigorous reviewing of their services, challenging existing methods and considering whether they provide Best Value.

The objectives of this review were to:
1. Develop and introduce new specifications for services
2. Introduce new working practices, and
3. Identify £600,000 efficiencies to contribute to the council’s overall efficiency targets.

The submission identified how these goals were achieved.

Category 10g Service Team of the Year – Streets Cleansing and StreetScene
The StreetScene Services undertook the same review process as Site Services.

The objectives of this review were to:
1. Develop and introduce new specifications for services
2. Introduce new working practices, and
3. Identify £2.1 million efficiencies to contribute to the Council’s overall efficiency targets.

The submission identified how these goals were achieved.

APSE Award categories
· Best Employment and Equality Initiative
· Best Local Democracy Initiative
· Best Housing & Regeneration Initiative
· Best Efficiency Initiative
· Best Health and Well-being Initiative (inc. Social Care)
· Best Partnership Working Initiative
· Best Community & Neighbourhood Initiative (inc. Community Safety)
· Best Information Technology & Communication Initiative
· Best Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Initiative
· Internal Service Team of the Year.



Paisley Business Improvement District

Derek Mackay MSP  announces support for Paisley businesses

Local Government Minister Derek Mackay today announced £20,000 funding to support the development of a Business Improvement District in Paisley.

Business Improvement Districts offer a sustainable financial model to support businesses in a defined geographical area of a town, city or commercial district. BIDS can augment existing public sector investment to provide mutual benefit and contribute to sustainable economic growth in the local economy. The businesses work together reducing costs, sharing risks and creating new opportunities for growth.

business-improvement-districtAnnouncing the award to support the development of the Paisley Business Improvement District, Local Government Minister Derek Mackay said:

“I’m delighted to support the work of local businesses in taking forward their proposals to form a Business Improvement District (BID) for Paisley and to help private and public sector partners to transform opportunities for the town.  Today I have announced the award a £20,000 grant to support the development of this project.  The BID aims to enhance events and the promotion of Paisley, which I wholeheartedly endorse.

“The Business Improvement District (BID) initiative links directly to this Government’s commitment to support sustainable economic growth and is particularly relevant in the current economic climate.  The initiative supports private and public sector partners in working together to  invest in improvements to the local business environment, while contributing to the wider regeneration of the local community.”Partners will now use the seed corn funding we have provided to develop  their proposals and work to enhance the prosperity of Paisley’s town centre.

“I look forward to seeing the Paisley BID progress and wish all involved well.”

Piero Pieraccini, Chair of the Paisley Development Trust added:

“I welcome the decision by the Scottish Government to give £20,000 grant funding to take forward the Business Improvement District for Paisley.  We look forward to working with people locally to take it to the next stage.  This will kick-start activity, and is great news for the town.”


Create Paisley

The “See through Fashion” Video was shown at the launch of the Paisley launch of the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival.

To find out more about the Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival click here

To find out more about Create then please click here.

Paisley Museum

Sympathetic restoration puts Victorian gallery back in proportion

The Pillar Gallery, part of Paisley’s Museum and Art Gallery, is being returned to its original Victorian splendour 40 years after it was ravaged by a 1970s make-over.

The original double arched ceiling was lost to view when a lowered ceiling was installed. The 1970s ceiling halved the height of the gallery, significantly affecting the look and feel of the display space.

Paisley MuseumThe ongoing nine month restoration has seen the removal of the suspended ceiling and associated lighting. During the work air handling units were also removed along with plinths, display structures and redundant ICT cabling.

The double arched ceiling and walls have been redecorated, the pillars have been re-plastered and the floor has been resurfaced.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, said, “The Victorians had an eye for space and believed in architecture which inspired and impressed. The 1970s saw a rebellion against what was seen as the over ornamentation of the 1870s.

“What we have done is to return the Pillar Gallery to its correct proportions while carrying out a sympathetic upgrade. Our aim has been to make the display space fit for the 21st century without taking anything away from its character.”

The upgrade has involved fitting new energy efficient lighting and installing two banks of seats with projection and screen capabilities, new information graphics and new display cases.

The new/old look Pillar Gallery will be officially opened on 7 November. Exhibition themes are expected to include: natural history, the Victorians, World War I and II, archaeology and the Egyptians.

The Paisley Museum opened in 1871. The building was designed by the well-known Glasgow architect John Honeyman and was paid for by Sir Peter Coats of the famous Coats thread manufacturing family. www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

scottish mental health arts and film festival renfrewshire

Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival

The 1st of October saw the start of the 6th annual Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, and as usual Renfrewshire is hosting a huge variety of events for all interests and ages. The Festival is one of the largest arts and social justice festivals and the theme this year is Walk in My Shoes, promoting the empathy and understanding that comes with really thinking about our own and others’ mental health and wellbeing.

scottish mental health arts and film festival renfrewshireThere are events taking place between now and October 24th in various venues across Renfrewshire, so over the next 3 weeks, each Monday you will get an e-mail highlighting the coming week’s events. There are brochures in various locations including Council offices, libraries, leisure centres and the Charleston Centre, and a pdf version of the brochure is attached. There is also lots more information on www.mhfestival.com
Tue 2nd Oct, 6.30pm – ‘Walking in my Shoes – from Prada to Primark’ – multi media event about the impact of materialism on our culture delivered by Dr Carol Craig from the Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing, Reid Kerr College (£5)

  • Wed 3rd Oct, 12.30pm – Poetry at the Museum – Read Raw Ltd share poems and readings during lunchtime, Paisley Museum (free)
  • Wed 3rd Oct, 2pm – My Name is Joe – Film starring Peter Mullan followed by panel discussion exploring issues in the film, Paisley Arts Centre (free)
  • Wed 3rd Oct, 7pm – Walk the Line – Film about the late great Johnny Cash, followed by live music in the style of the man himself! Paisley Arts Centre (free)
  • Wed 3rd Oct, 7.30pm – Positive Renfrewshire Pubs – Live music and mental health info in the Bungalow Bar, Paisley (free)
  • Thus 4th Oct, 10am – My Story, My Rhythm, My Shoes – expressive arts workshop for adults, Life Church, Paisley (free)
  • Fri 5th Oct, 1pm – ‘On Edge’ – film about how young people cope with the pressure of their lives, Abercorn Centre, Reid Kerr College (free)
  • Fri 5th Oct, 2pm – ‘Mind Games’ – interactive drama focussing on depression, Abercorn Cemtre, Reid Kerr College (free)
  • Fri 5th Oct, 7.30pm – Loud’n’Proud 10th Year Anniversary Showcase – music extravaganza featuring singers and musicians of all ages, including a rock orchestra and rock choir, Paisley Town Hall ((£12.50, £9.50)

Ongoing events

Poetry Windows – Discover poems displayed in shop windows and pick up a copy of the Walki in My Shoes contemporary poetry collection, throughout Paisley

‘Walk in My Shoes’ – Art Exhibition, Paisley Arts Centre and Sunshine Art Gallery in the Paisley Centre

The Road to Wellbeing – Interactive public art project, Sunshine Art Gallery, Paisley Centre
Photography Exhibition – created by members of the DRC Photography Group, Disability Resource Centre, Paisley


Stooshe get set to switch on Paisley

Chart-topping girl-band Stooshe are set to put an extra bit of spark into Paisleys Christmas Lights Switch on this year.

The band will top the bill at this year’s event which for the first time will have all the main performances funded through private sponsorship.

StoosheStooshe have taken the charts by storm in 2012 with their hits “Love Me” and “Black Heart” and their own unique style and lyrics ripping the traditional girl-band image to shreds.

The girls, who are soon to be supporting J-Lo on her UK tour, will be headlining a full day of festive fun on Saturday 10 November before officially switching on Paisley’s Christmas lights.

Before the big finale there is also a terrific line-up throughout the day including the Red Hot Chilli Pipers and The Singing Kettle.
Renfrewshire Council have so far secured over £16,500 in commercial sponsorship for the event which will be used to fund the performers.
The main acts have been revealed following the announcement that this year Paisley will have two separate Christmas lights and Fireworks events providing a double events boost to the community and local retailers.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “After consulting with local businesses we took the decision to create two back to back all day events for the town centre which will really kick off the countdown to Christmas in style whilst also increasing local participation and providing a major boost to the town’s retailers. We’re also delighted to be working very closely with the business community to support our town centre events programme and for the first time ever fund all the main performers purely through private sponsorship.”

The event kicks off at 12 noon with the Piazza Shopping Centre’s traditional Reindeer parade from Gilmour Street, which will this year be lead by Santa with some special help from Buddie the Elf.

There will also be a Christmas farmers’ market and craft market.

The Clyde 1 Roadshow team will be leading the entertainment on the main stage from 1pm introducing the performers and offering some fantastic giveaways throughout the afternoon.
Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce the line up for this year’s Christmas Lights Switch on. Stooshe are a really current and successful girl-band who’ll definitely bring something fun and different to this year’s event. It’s also great to have the fantastic Red Hot Chilli Pipers and family favourites The Singing Kettle returning as well as a huge range of activities and entertainment going on throughout the day.”

Sponsors so far include the Piazza Shopping Centre, the Paisley Centre, Braehead, St Mirren FC, Ingliston Country Club, Reid Kerr College, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, Strathclyde Police, University of the West of Scotland, Renfrewshire Leisure and Central Building Contractors.

Paisley’s Christmas Lights Switch on Saturday 10 November. To keep up to date with all the event details follow @rencouncilnews on Twitter or like www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil.

Glasgow Airport

Glasgow Airport publishes holidaymakers’ guide to winter

Glasgow Airport has launched its comprehensive winter 2012 flight guide to ensure travellers have the latest information at their fingertips.

Whether it is a European city break, ski holiday, business trip or some winter sun, Glasgow Airport has it covered this winter and as well as details on destinations, the handy pocket-sized guide provides passengers with information on parking, shopping, eating and relaxing at the airport.

A number of additions have been made to the flight guide with easyJet now serving both Palma and Jersey all year round, Jet2.com adding Lanzarote to its already extensive schedule and Flybe reintroducing the popular East Midlands route.

Glasgow AirportThomson and Thomas Cook continue to serve an impressive range of winter sun destinations, while those seeking to travel further afield can take advantage of Emirates’ second daily service to Dubai. Passengers using this service can now benefit from new onward connections to Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia, and the Thai holiday island of Phuket.

In March, Virgin Atlantic will bring forward the launch of its summer flights to Florida to coincide with the Easter holidays, and Icelandair will introduce a new Friday flight to Reykjavik.

Francois Bourienne, commercial director at Glasgow Airport, said: “We have worked hard to strengthen our route network this year and it really is encouraging to see a number of our airline partners add a host of new routes and services.

“Passengers travelling from Glasgow Airport can choose from a fantastic range of domestic, European and long-haul scheduled flights this winter, and with regular flights to a range of popular sun destinations we have all the bases covered when it comes to package holidays.

“Over the course of the past two years we have committed significant investment to improving our facilities for passengers. In addition to adding top fashion brands such as Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger to our retail portfolio, we have refurbished our departures lounge and added two new bars both of which have fabulous views of the airfield and runway.”

In 2011, Glasgow Airport invested almost £12 million in capital projects designed to provide a better experience for passengers and a further £9 million is being spent this year on airside developments and further improvements to the fabric of the terminal.

To download a copy of the winter 2012 flight guide visit http://www.glasgowairport.com/flight-information/flight-timetables.


Historical Adventures Youth Theatre

Johnstone Class

Hello there and welcome to another update from the Historical Adventures Youth Theatre.  During the past couple of weeks the children and teenagers of Johnstone have been very hard at work with our upcoming winter panto ‘Cinderella’.  Poor Cinders is being forced to work away all day and night while her horrible stepmother and stepsisters are always out enjoying themselves (I’m pretty sure the parents of Johnstone can empathize with Cinderella).  After a session or two, we have the cast members in place which everyone is happy with and we are steadily on our way to show our performance come sometime soon in early December (details will be available soon, please check our Facebook and our blog for updates).

historical-adventuresWe also had a new influx of new members to our Monday nights and as always with any Drama group, the more the merrier!   This has brought our Johnstone register to just over twenty members! Meaning more performers which in turn means bigger things for the group which all adds up too lots more fun for all involved!

For more details or inquiries, please contact David O’Rorke by email at:


Or alternatively, contact by phone at the following number: 07812437559

The Historical Adventures Johnstone Youth Theatre takes place on a Monday night, in St Aidan’s Church Hall, starting at 6:00pm and finishing at 7.30pm.  The first night for new members is free and each following class after that is £3.50 per person.

Foxbar Class

Hello and welcome to another update from Thursday nights here at Historical Adventures Youth Theatre.  While planning to do our upcoming pantomime ‘Cinderella’ (dates to be announced please check our Facebook and continue following our blog for upcoming details) and the standard is really high with all the rehearsals we’ve been having, it really shows.  The children have all been very hard at work and for a newly founded group they are learning the arts of stage craft very quickly.  Parents of Foxbar probably have a hard enough time trying to keep their young actors sitting still for five minutes, well our job is to teach them how to stand still on stage for an entire performance (you can imagine how well this activity went during our first time trying it).  Although, they are getting there and we have no doubt they will be more than capable when it comes to show time.  The progress is there in leaps and bounds with every single scene we rehearse every week.

In saying that, just because we are working on our panto, does not mean we are full up.  In drama, the motto will always be ‘the more, the merrier’ and that rings more than true for us here at Historical Adventures.  Our Foxbar class takes place in the Foxbar Community Centre and begins at 5.30pm, finishing at 7.00pm.  The first night for new members is free and each following class after your free trial is £3.50 per person.

For more details or inquiries, please contact David O’Rorke by email at:


Or alternatively, contact by phone at the following number: 07812437559 or go to our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HistoricalAdventuresLtd   

Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain

Paisley Abbey Concert Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain

Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain entertained a full house in Paisley Abbey last night with their usual brand of humour and excellent music. Having only just returned from a flying visit to Canada they were in good form despite admitting to some jetlag!

Phil Cunningham and Aly BainThey gave a virtuoso performance of a variety of music old and new, one tune written by Aly as a Christening gift for a baby in Shetland and another by Phil for a friend’s birthday. The music were interspersed with stories about their exploits during 25 years of travelling and playing together, including the occasion when Phil’s fingers were trapped in a car door on last year’s tour, resulting in a broken pinkie!

Make sure you don’t miss a great night of entertainment when they make their return visit next year.

Find out more about Phil and Aly by visiting their website here. www.philandaly.com

Paisley Abbey

Paisley Abbey was founded in 1163 as a Cluniac Monastery, Paisley Abbey retains its medieval nave with transepts and choir restored in 19th and 20th Centuries. It has Royal Tombs, fine woodcarving and beautiful 19th and 20th century Stained Glass Windows. Visitors can also view the sacristy exhibition and visit the abbey gift and coffee shop.

Paisley Abbey History: It is believed that Saint Mirin (or Saint Mirren) founded a community on this site in 7th century. Some time after his death a shrine to the Saint was established becoming a popular site of pilgrimage and veneration. The name Paisley may derive from the Brythonic Passeleg, ‘basilica’ (derived from the Greek), i.e. ‘major church’, recalling an early, though undocumented, ecclesiastical importance.

In 1163 Walter FitzAlan, the first High Steward of Scotland, issued a charter for a priory to be set up on land owned by him in Paisley, dedicated to Saints Mary, James, Mirin and Milburga.

Around 13 monks came from the Cluniac priory at Much Wenlock in Shropshire to found the community. Paisley grew so rapidly that it was raised to the status of Abbey in 1219. In 1307, Edward I of England had the Abbey burned down, however it was rebuilt later in the 14th century. William Wallace, born in nearby Elderslie is widely believed to have been educated in the Abbey for some time as a boy.
In 1316 Marjorie Bruce, daughter of Robert I of Scotland and wife of Walter Stewart, the sixth High Steward of Scotland, was out riding near the Abbey. Heavily pregnant at the time, she fell from her horse and was taken to Paisley Abbey where she gave birth to King Robert II. However, Marjorie Bruce died and is buried at the Abbey. In the Abbey itself there are signs which indicate that Marjorie’s baby was cut out of her womb, a caesarean delivery long before anaesthesia was available.

A cairn, at the junction of Dundonald Road and Renfrew Road, approximately one mile to the north of the Abbey, marks the spot where she reputedly fell from her horse.
A succession of fires and the collapse of the tower in the 15th and 16th centuries left the building in a partially ruined state. Although the western section was still used for worship, the eastern section was widely plundered for its stone. Between 1858 and 1928 the north porch and the eastern choir were reconstructed on the remains of the ruined walls by the architect Macgregor Chalmers. After his death, work on the choir was completed by Sir Robert Lorimer.

Monks from Paisley founded Crossraguel Abbey in Carrick, Ayrshire, in 1244.

Media: You can find photographs and video on the Paisley Photographs website