Chloe Wright

A new project in Paisley will support start-up businesses looking to make the leap into their first commercial premises.

Chloe Wright

The town’s George Street will become Start-Up Street as vacant Renfrewshire Council-owned units are adapted into a range of low-cost, high-quality digitally-connected workspaces for up to 20 businesses.

It follows a survey of new and early-stage Renfrewshire businesses, with more than 80% looking for subsidised space to grow, but many citing high costs and a lack of know-how preventing them taking this significant step.

George Street is next to the University of the West of Scotland business school and close to the council’s existing economic development hubs.

Businesses based here will benefit from an on-site business advisor, training space and a shared reception.

George Street

Each company can rent the space for up to two years, with lease costs incrementally increased until they are ready to move to an alternative commercial space in Renfrewshire.

The Council’s Leadership Board rubber-stamped the proposals yesterday (Wednesday 5 December 2018) and now its economic development team will further develop the plans, working jointly with London Youth Support Trust, a charity which specialises in supporting young entrepreneurs from deprived backgrounds.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We have a responsibility to nurture new businesses and Start-Up Street is being developed in response to what local businesses are telling us they need.

“It will provide a whole package of support to enable businesses to overcome any barriers and grow sustainably, offering an environment which helps them achieve long-term sustainability, moving into commercial premises in our town centres.

Laura Provan

“We’re excited to be working in partnership with the London Youth Support Trust, who have an excellent track record in helping young people progress, adding to our own economic development team’s fantastic achievements in helping local businesses to grow and local people to find jobs.”

The project comes as Renfrewshire’s regeneration continues to make excellent progress, according to the latest economic indicators.

Renfrewshire’s Economic Profile published this week highlights an employment rate outstripping its neighbouring local authorities and well above the national average.

There are more than 4500 private companies based in Renfrewshire, with a lower average closure rate recorded than across the rest of the country.

And over a two-year period, visitors to Renfrewshire attractions have risen by more than 400,000, while ambitious housebuilding targets remain firmly on target, with 630 new homes completed in the first nine months of 2017.

Councillor Nicolson added: “The latest economic figures give us many reasons to be positive and Start-Up Street is the latest investment in Renfrewshire’s future, building on the five-year funding we have put in place to deliver support to the people and places who need it most.

“We boast the best performing employability programmes in Scotland and our local economy is growing, bolstered by an incredible rise in visitor numbers to the area.

“Against a tough financial outlook for all councils, we remain committed to creating the conditions which attract more companies and bring more jobs to Renfrewshire, ensuring inclusive growth across the region.”

Interested businesses can contact InCube Start-Up on 0300 300 1180 or email incube@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Loopy Lally Designs

Textile designer Chloe Wright is excited by the opportunity Start-Up Street will offer for creative businesses. The former Paisley Grammar School pupil founded Loopy Lally Designs in 2017, producing colourful, abstract interior products including cushions, framed prints and lampshades.

Having outgrown her Paisley house, Chloe is now looking to establish her own premises. She said: “I work from home in the wee spare room, but I’m fast running out of space and from a professional perspective, I don’t want to be inviting people into my house.

“My business is growing and moving into new premises is the natural next step for me, it’s really exciting. You can be waiting for years for studio space so Start-Up Street is coming at the perfect time.

“It sounds great, especially having business advice available whenever you need it. Sometimes you can be too close to your business and so it helps to pick people’s brains and get helpful feedback. It’s really exciting what’s happening in Paisley and for school kids to know that there is an opportunity to do creative arts and set up your own business in the town is great.”

www.loopylally.com

Paisley Pins

For Laura Provan, the buddie behind Paisley Pins, the opportunity Start-Up Street will provide is a “no-brainer” for businesses.

Laura took on her own workspace in her hometown this summer and has not looked back as her popular product continues to build a local, and international customer base.

“It’s amazing the amount of people with connections to Paisley that I meet, I even get orders from Paisley in Oregon in the USA. The acrylic pins continue to fly off the shelves and now there’s a much more diverse product range on offer, with ear-rings and necklaces, tie pins and cuff links.

“I’d been looking for premises for a while as I just didn’t have the space I needed to keep working from home and it was a lonely experience being there, with no opportunities to meet people or collaborate and lots of distractions like tidying up after my kids.

“Having a dedicated workspace has been fantastic, having somewhere where people can find me has definitely improved my business-to-business relationships. Upstairs there’s workspaces for other jewellers to rent out and downstairs we’ve space to run workshops.

“The emotional connection people have with jewellery is very important and people want to know the provenance of a product so it was so important to me that my Paisley product is made here in Paisley.

“Start-Up Street is a fantastic idea and it’s the one thing myself and other creative businesses have always said was sorely missing. It is definitely something people should go for if they’re looking for space, advice and being able to move their business forward – it’s a no-brainer and can only be a positive move.”

www.paisleypins.com

paisley own hall
Ensuring the benefits of Renfrewshire’s ‘buoyant’ economy reach right across the region was the hot topic at the area’s annual Economic Development Conference yesterday (Tuesday 20 November 2018).
paisley own hall
More than 150 staff from jobs, skills and economic development agencies attended the popular conference organised by Renfrewshire Council’s economic development team Invest in Renfrewshire, held at Paisley Town Hall, which this year focused on tackling inequalities and delivering inclusive growth.
Delegates heard how Renfrewshire’s economy is greatly improved, with the highest employment rate across the Glasgow city region and more businesses generating a greater turnover than this time last year.
paisley own hall
They also learned about new developments and opportunities set to boost the economy even more, including a manufacturing innovation district being developed next to Glasgow Airport and £100million being invested to transform Paisley town centre and its cultural venues.
Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills delivered the keynote speech.
He said: “The Scottish Government recognises a strong, vibrant and diverse economy is essential to our national prosperity. We are committed to delivering inclusive growth and tackling the inequalities that prevent people from achieving their potential.
“We have invested £48 million to develop a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland. Located at Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, it will provide support for manufacturing businesses, help to attract investment, and connect all of Scotland’s engineering universities and colleges.
“Our devolved employability support service, Fair Start Scotland, offers a distinctly Scottish approach where participation is voluntary for everyone who chooses to take part. We want the process of finding work and starting a new job to be seen as an opportunity and choosing to take the opportunity of support can’t be driven by fear of sanctions.”
Colleagues from Creative Scotland and the Council’s regeneration team outlined plans to develop Renfrewshire’s creative economy, while delegates also discussed the changing labour market.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Renfrewshire’s economy is buoyant, and this conference sees the organisations contributing to its success share best practice and consider the next steps.
“We’re helping more people find and sustain work and are working hard to create the conditions which bring new businesses to the area and enable established businesses to grow and innovate.
“Over the next five years we have made a long-term commitment to help people most in need into work and do more to support start-up and early stage businesses with exciting plans in place to grow the creative business sector and attract thousands of high skilled jobs in manufacturing.
“I am pleased that the conference focused on how best to achieve inclusive growth as this is central to improving the opportunities for current and future generations in Renfrewshire. It is vital the area’s economic growth benefits everyone and that’s why we are targeting our resources to communities facing deprivation and to help people unemployed and underemployed.”
Fast facts on the Renfrewshire economy
• Business incubator InCube supports the start-up of 300 new businesses each year
• Programmes to help people into work are rated the best performing in Scotland
• At 76.1%, our employment rate outstrips the entire Glasgow city region
• Weekly earnings for Renfrewshire residents are £28.50 higher than the Scottish average
• Hosting major events this summer boosted the local economy by £1.25million
• 80% of 16-64-year-olds are economically active, but by 2041, our working age population is expected to decrease by 2.1%
• Manufacturing provides employment to 11% of our total workforce with 358 different manufacturing sites in the area, including world-renowned Rolls-Royce and Diageo.
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Photo 1 shows the Town Hall conference
Photo 2 shows (l-r): Ruth Cooper, Economic Development Manager, Renfrewshire Council; Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Scottish Government; Alasdair Morrison, Regeneration Manager, Renfrewshire Council and Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board.

Here is a little photograph for you. A certain generation will remember, and probably have fond memories of, the Paisley Public Baths at the bottom of Storie Street. 

As you can see we are looking up from the bottom of Storie Street, you can see the building on the left and main entrance to the baths (just where the people are standing to the side of the car).

Unfortunately, the Public Baths were closed and demolished in the mid 1980’s as well as the buildings on the right-hand side of the street and both sites were left vacant for many years. 

The only buildings in this picture that remain are the building at the top of the street (High Street) which is now shared by a cafe, “Deli Malatso” and what was an insurance broker and the building top right, “Leisureland”.

Fortunately over the years there have been major developments, mainly by the University of the West of Scotland. From top right (next to the Leisureland building) is the University’s Students Union building – a big multi-level purple building and further down is the Paisley Shopping Centre multi-storey car park.

Also to the left, what was the Paisley Baths is now the impressive new student library complex which along with (out of shot) the new dormitories for students, which would be to the right of the picture.

The side entrance to the University also has a brand new shop called ReMode and this is what brings us to why we have combined an old photograph with the new.

ReMode is a youth-focused organisation aiming to raise awareness of the environmental impact of the textiles industry.  They started originally in Lochwinnoch and have now opened new premises in the university in Paisley.

Both venues serve as learning hubs where local communities can access information about climate change and decide on actions they can take to tackle it.

They run a programme of free workshops and events for ages 11 up to adult, from classes in upcycling and clothing alteration, natural dyes, and screen printing to hands-on learning from local artists and makers. You can find out more about their programme of events here.

You can also visit their facebook page by visiting https://www.facebook.com/remodeyouth/.

We hope you liked the mix of old and new to show you exactly where ReMode is and have a wee blast of the past too.

Image of old Baths Copyright of David Douglas, modern day (right-hand side Brian McGuire) and Front entrance Copyright Danielle McGuire

Renfrewshire Council is looking for the views of Paisley town centre businesses on how it can best work with them during the ongoing £100m investment in town centre venues and infrastructure.

The council is leading an overhaul of the town’s cultural venues as part of wider push to use the Paisley’s unique cultural, heritage and events offer to drive new footfall and help transform the whole area.

That includes a £42m transformation of Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections, and a £22m revamp of Paisley Town Hall into a landmark performance venue to stay at the heart of local life for future generations.

But that work means the museum is planned to close in September until 2022 and the town hall at the end of the year until 2021 – so the council is keen to talk to businesses now about how best to work with them during that period.

An online survey has been created which is available now which aims to inform Paisley town centre businesses about the upcoming work and invites their views on its impact, and asks how they would like to be kept up to date, and their views on ongoing town centre regeneration work.

Staff from the council and Renfrewshire Leisure will also be contacting some of the businesses closest to the museum in coming weeks to talk to them in person about how the building’s closure and future construction work might affect them.

Anyone interested in keeping up to date with news relating to Paisley town centre can now sign up for Paisley town centre email news updates via the council’s new gov.delivery news service – available via Renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Other projects coming over the next few years include a new learning and cultural hub housing library services on the High Street, a £2.5m upgrade to Paisley Arts Centre, and major investment in key outdoor public spaces and transport junctions.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson launched the survey this week while meeting local business at a question-and-answer event organised by Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.

He said: “The upcoming investment in cultural venues is the next stage of a journey aimed at transforming the whole area by promoting culture, heritage and events.

“Changes to the way people shop and live have changed the role of town centres everywhere – but we believe investing in our unique assets is the way we have to go to bring new life to Paisley.

“We are already seeing the benefits of that through our successful major events programme and in the boost to our reputation and profile which came through Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

“We predict the revamped museum will quadruple current visitor numbers to 125,000 a year and the town hall will see visitors double to around 100,000. That will create new footfall, jobs and opportunities for the long-term – which will create benefits across Renfrewshire.

“But there will be a period of disruption while we get there and we are determined to work hand in hand with businesses to understand how we can help them during that period.

“Our starting point for doing that is this survey – I would encourage as many Paisley town centre businesses as possible to fill it out as your feedback will help us work with you better.”

The survey is at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/haveyoursay

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed new statistics which show that a record number of students from Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas have successfully gained a place at university.

The UCAS figures show the number of prospective students from the 20% most deprived areas – SIMD 20 – successfully getting a place at a UK university has risen by 5% to a new record level for all ages and by 9% for 18 year olds, taking the increase for 18 year olds to 21% since 2016. This comes alongside UCAS reporting a 3.1% fall in the total number of 18-year-olds in the overall population of Scotland.

This year the total number of Scottish students getting a place at a Scottish university has also hit a new record high of 28,970, up 4%.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“University should be an option for everyone regardless of their background or their circumstances. We still have a road to travel to ensure that everyone has an equal chance of accessing a university education. However, these figures show that Scotland is making good progress on widening access with the number of students from Scotland’s most deprived areas accepted into university increasing to a record high for the third year in a row.

“Universities could learn a lot on this from our local university, the University of the West of Scotland, which is leading the sector in recruiting students from some of the most deprived backgrounds.

“We still have work to do on this, but progress is being made and we’re on the right track. Good luck to all those new students who are about to start their studies in September.

gavin newlands

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has congratulated all the UWS students who graduated recently, including his wife, Lynn.

Gavin Newlands attended the UWS Graduation Ceremony on Wednesday 4th July in the Paisley Abbey to support his wife, Lynn, who graduated with a first class honours degree in Human Management.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“Congratulations to all the student who graduated from UWS. It’s a fantastic achievement to have reached this stage and I hope all the student and their families had a memorable day in the Paisley Abbey.

“Graduation days are always special occasions for the student, but they’re probably more memorable for the wider family who are in attendance to celebrate this special occasion. I know this as I am incredibly proud of my wife Lynn who joined her fellow students in graduating.

“I am extremely proud of Lynn’s success and she has worked incredibly hard to graduate with a first class honours degree. Not only is she a full-time mother, who has to put up with me being in London for most of the week, but she also works part-time as well. She’s put in the effort and the whole family is proud of her.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said:

“I was pleased to welcome MP Gavin Newlands to our ceremony at Paisley Abbey on Wednesday 4 July to celebrate the achievements of all our graduates, but in particular his wife Lynne, who I know he is incredibly proud of.”

A primary school voted the first Scottish recipient of UK Literacy School of the Year has been given a glowing report by inspectors.

Staff from Education Scotland visited St Anthony’s in Spateston, Johnstone in April and spoke with pupils, staff and parents.

The school received ‘very good evaluations’ over all four quality indicators and was praised by inspectors for its ‘literacy rich’ environment.

Head teacher Jacqueline McBurnie’s ‘clear strategic direction’ and ‘strong personal and professional commitment to meeting the needs of all children’ was also picked up.

The school was praised with helping to close the poverty related attainment gap and the report noted: “Children facing barriers in their learning, including those facing socio-economic challenge are making good progress.

“There are positive signs that the work of the school is having an impact on closing the attainment gap.”

The school’s welcoming ethos was also praised, as well as it’s ‘supportive culture’ for learning.

Head Teacher Jacqueline McBurnie said: “I am delighted that our school community has received such a positive inspection report. This is testimony to the strong team spirt we have built in St. Anthony’s where our values are at the core of what we try to achieve, every day in every way for everyone. “

The inspection report also detailed how children are benefitting from being part of an inclusive learning community in which issues of poor behaviour are rare.

Inspectors said: “Children behave very well in classes and are eager and motivated to learn. Staff have a strong commitment to creating a purposeful learning climate for children. In addition, there is a strong and shared focus from all staff to build children’s resilience in learning and communication skills. The impact is that children feel nurtured, cared for and are keen to learn.”

Another significant strength identified by inspectors was the ‘strong collegiate culture and professional engagement’ which enables staff to work well together and to feel valued and supported.

Ensuring children’s wellbeing is another strength of the school, with children valued, cared for, respected and included.

The school also houses a unit for children with communication disorders such as autism, and children with additional support needs are well supported.

The 35 children there benefit from the ‘warm, nurturing ethos’, with the overall environment for learning and teaching showing a commitment to children’s well-being and development.

Inspectors deemed the overall quality of teaching as very good and added: “Staff have a strong understanding of the individual strengths and needs of children and use this well in their teaching. Overall, teaching is motivating and interesting and engages learners well. “

Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “We are committed to ensuring that all our children and young people are supported to reach their full potential by providing the best learning environments possible.

“It’s wonderful to see the hard work and drive of the head teacher and staff at St Anthony’s being rewarded with such a positive inspection report.

“As well as making strides in closing the attainment gap and providing access to high quality teaching, it’s also clear that the school’s nurturing and caring environment is benefitting pupils.”

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay is encouraging students to submit their 2018/2019 funding applications now.

SAAS have now opened applications for 2018/2019 full and part time courses.

To ensure students have their funding in place for the start of their course all students should apply now, submitting their complete application along with all the required supporting evidence.

Visit www.saas.gov.uk now for more information and to access your SAAS Account.

SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting students throughout their education.

“I would not want anyone to miss out on the funding and support they are entitled to. Therefore, all students should submit their applications as soon as possible.”

SAAS Chief Executive, Paul Lowe said:

“We are pleased to open funding applications for both part-time and full-time students on the same day.  Each year SAAS handles over a quarter of a million applications. I would encourage students to apply now to ensure they receive their funding in good time. Eligible students should

Local pupils learned more about Paisley’s unique built heritage at an event encouraging people to share their favourite snaps of the town’s architectural gems.

The pupils from Ralston Primary School attended the launch event for the Story Map, held at UWS. The Story Map aims to capture a visual record of historic properties within Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area. Pupils were asked to share their photos, memories and comments on buildings in the town they either have links with or simply admire to have their entry added to the Story Map. The map also shares knowledge about local heritage.

 

The pupils brought along a digital copy of their image along with a comment explaining their reason for choosing their shot.

 

In addition to presenting their photographs the pupils also received a talk with advice on how to photograph buildings from local professional photographer Tommy Graham.

 

Eight pupils from the school received winner certificates for their contributions to the map, including Eva McOuat whose picture of Paisley Abbey was selected to be included in the Story Map.

 

“It was a really fun event to be part of and it was even better to be able to go along with all my friends. I really enjoyed hearing from the professional photographer about how to take great pictures and I was so surprised and pleased to get a certificate for my picture – I really didn’t expect it.”

 

Deputy Head Teacher at Ralston Primary School, Caron Kerr, said: “The Story Map gave the children a great reason to learn more about the local heritage and history of the town they live in. The children undertook the exercise in their own time with the support of parents. It was wonderful to see their perspective on their own place and encouraged them to get out and about to look at the local area.”

 

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Cllr Iain Nicolson, said: “Paisley’s architecture is unique with many iconic buildings that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. It’s a real jewel in the crown of the town.

 

“It’s wonderful to see so many of our young people recognising the town’s beauty through its historic buildings. Congratulations to all the pupils for their fantastic contributions to the Story Map.”

 

The Story Map will go on to be used as a public online resource where people can view and continue to contribute to the story capturing the town’s built environment as time goes on.

 

This forms a key part of the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2 (TH.CARS2) which is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council and will deliver grant opportunities to property owners in a defined area of the town centre for high quality building repairs and shopfront improvements.

 

To find out more about the TH.CARS2 project please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2 or to find out more about the Story Map please visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THcars2StoryMap.

Brexit Blamed For Fall In EU Students

The latest UCAS figures reveal that a record number of Scots were accepted to UK universities in 2017 and Scottish universities opened their doors to record numbers of new students.
While all other UK countries saw a decrease in the number of their residents accepted to university, Scotland bucks the trend with increasing numbers of Scots accepted to universities here.

Meanwhile, after years of positive growth, UCAS has cited Brexit as a possible cause for the 4.4% decline in EU applicants choosing to come and study in the UK.

The damage that this Brexit-fuelled reduction in EU students will do to both our economy and the world of academia is highlighted by the Universities UK research which found that EU students generated £414.1m for the Scottish economy in 2011-12, and in doing so created 3,743 jobs.

Commenting, Paisley’s MSP, George Adam said:

“It is fantastic that Scotland’s education system has supported 36,500 people to secure a place at university this year – that’s a 2.4% increase on last year.

“We are also bucking the trend with increasing numbers of Scots accepted to universities here, while all other UK nations have experienced a decline in local applications to university.

“And while it’s great that Scottish universities opened their doors to record numbers in 2017, it is concerning that the UK has become an increasingly less popular destination for EU students since the Brexit vote last year. This is bad news for our universities and for the wider Scottish economy, which is boosted by hundreds of millions of pounds generated by EU students each year.

“The Tories’ increasingly insular approach to the world and the endless uncertainty they have created for EU citizens living here in Paisley is damaging the UK’s reputation, our economy and future prosperity, and the SNP will do all in its power to protect EU citizens in Paisley and continue making Scotland an attractive place to work and study.”