paisley first

Paisley First has signed up to the public art animal trail for a “Summer of Fun” in 2016 with the company behind the successes of these events, “Wild in Art”. Combining the affection that Renfrewshire residents have had with “Buddie the Lion” and the civic pride that Paisley First is attempting to instil through our work, the project will be called “Pride of Paisley”.

paisley first

We are planning to have a trail of 30 lion sculptures which will be colourfully painted by local artists across the town centre streets that will capture the imagination of the visiting public and create footfall over a period of 10 weeks. Evidence from other cities suggests that the public will want to visit every lion and therefore all parts of the town centre will benefit from the public becoming familiar with the extremities of the town centre.

paisley first

Primary schools in Renfrewshire will also be given the opportunity to decorate their own mini lion sculpture and which will be placed within the premises of participating businesses which will add to the footfall through the doors of those businesses.


Our own “Buddie” is being painted by local group, “Right2Dance”, at a Sma’ Shot workshop over the weekend with a theme about Paisley’s rich history and will make his maiden appearance at Sma’ Shot Day next Saturday 4th July. Come and see him and post your selfies!


There will be some great opportunities for sponsoring each of the 30 lions in due course. If interested, please get in touch.

Also, if you haven’t requested to become a “Friend” of Paisley First the now would be a good time to do so and keep up to date.


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A FORMER MEP is back on the campaign trail to win a vote among the business community in Paisley.

Labour veteran Hugh McMahon has been out canvassing support in a last-minute push to have a Business Improvement District set up in Paisley town centre.


Postal ballot papers have been sent out to owners of shops, offices, cafes, bars and restaurants asking if they want to set up a Paisley BID.

Businesses now only have two days to post off their ballot papers as the votes have to be received by the Electoral Reform Services, in London by 5pm on Thursday, November 13.

In a final push for votes, Mr McMahon, who was a Labour MEP from 1984 until 1999, will be out in Paisley town centre drumming up support from businesses.

Mr McMahon is chairman of the Paisley BID Steering Group and has been using all his campaigning skills to win the vote. He said:

“Many business people have been telling us that they support the idea of a Paisley BID. But like in any election, it’s the votes that count, not what you say beforehand.

“I’ve been involved in countless elections over my political career and I know how important it is to have one final push before the ballot closes.

“We have to make sure people who have said they support us actually fill in the ballot paper and post it before the Thursday deadline.”

If there is enough support to form a Paisley BID, a board of directors will be elected from the local businesses community to run the not-for-profit company. And a small levy paid by local businesses will fund various initiatives to boost trade in the town centre.

Mr McMahon added: “Starting a Paisley BID is an important step in revitalising Paisley town centre.

“What a BID would do is increase footfall in the town centre by organising events and marketing campaigns; act as a buying group for local businesses leading to cheaper utility bills and become a campaigning voice for town centre traders on issues such as business rates, town centre cleanliness, comfort and safety.

“I would urge businesses to make sure they send off their completed ballot paper, voting to create a Paisley BID before the deadline.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

bill kelly

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Bill’s first to vote on plan to revitalise town centre.

PAISLEY businessman Bill Kelly reckons he is the first person to cast a vote to set up a Business Improvement District in the town.

The owner of Print and Copy It, in High Street had filled in his ballot form and posted it before his shop was even open, on Friday.

And he is urging other traders and businesses in the town centre to also put an ‘X’ beside the box on voting forms agreeing to set up a Paisley BID.

bill kelly

Last week, postal ballot papers were sent to town centre businesses, asking if they want to set up a BID company in the town.

If enough businesses vote to set up the BID, a board of directors from the local businesses community will be elected to run the organisation.

With fees paid by local businesses – ranging from as little as 55p a day – to fund initiatives, the BID company will start working to encourage more people to come to the town centre by organising events and other marketing and promotional campaigns.
The BID would also act as a voice for local businesses and as a buying group to get cheaper utility bills.

Bill said: “I’ve looked into the setting up of a Paisley BID in some detail and I’ve come to the definite conclusion that this is a real opportunity for local traders to not only make a difference to their own businesses, but the town centre as a whole.
“In today’s marketplace, doing nothing is not really an option and I strongly believe a Paisley BID would attract more people to the town centre and deliver many new opportunities for businesses to flourish.”

Bill added: “I am so keen to see this happen that I had completed my ballot paper voting yes to a BID and had it in the postbox before my shop even opened.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

paisley bid

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BID vote can do the business for Paisley.

BUSINESSES in Paisley are being urged to back a bold action plan to revitalise the town centre.

And all they have to do to help kick-start a new era for the town is put an ‘X’ beside the box on a voting form agreeing to set up a Business Improvement District for Paisley.
Postal ballot papers, along with the BID business plan are being sent to town centre businesses on Friday, (October 3) asking if they want to set up a BID company in Paisley.

paisley bid

If enough businesses vote to set up the BID, a board of directors from the local businesses community will be elected to run the organisation.

With fees paid by local businesses – ranging from as little as 55p a day – to fund initiatives, the BID company will start working to encourage more people to come to the town centre by organising events and other marketing and promotional campaigns.

The BID would also act as a voice for local businesses and as a buying group to get cheaper utility bills.

Yesterday town centre traders got together to launch the BID Business Plan and to encourage other businesses to vote to set up a Paisley BID.

Businesses have until November 13 to return their voting forms to the Electoral Reform Services, in the pre-paid envelope provided.

David Wallace is executive director of the hugely successful PACE Theatre Company, based in School Wynd. He said:
“I fully support this BID because it puts the success of the town centre at its core, it puts its future in the hands of its businesses and puts Paisley first.”

Maria Aitken, who runs Nibbles Sandwich Bar, in Johnston Street, Paisley is also backing the BID.
Maria said: “One of the most important factors in the successful regeneration of Paisley is bringing more people back into the town centre. The work that will be done by a Paisley BID will do just that.
“The more support the town’s business community gives to the proposal, the more we will all benefit. I would certainly urge businesses to back this plan and vote to form a BID company in the town.”

Abid Hamid, who runs the Newsrack shop, in Paisley High Street added: “As a small business I want the town centre to do well and bring more people to Paisley.
“I back the Paisley BID to do this.”

Pictured: Backing the BID – Paisley businesses owners with the BID Business Plan, from left David Wallace, Abid Hamid and Maria Aitken.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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Council leader urges firms to back the BID.

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader is urging Paisley firms to get behind business-led plans to help revitalise the town centre.

Plans are well advanced in the town to set up a Business Improvement District – which would see local firms work together on projects of mutual benefit.


A BID is set up when all businesses within a geographical area opt to collectively invest in schemes to improve the area, paid for through a compulsory BID levy.

All firms within the BID area boundary will vote by secret ballot in October on whether to adopt the plans.

Paisley First – a group of local organisations who are leading the process – have produced a detailed business plan for how it will all work.

And Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has thrown his support behind the proposals, saying local firms should back the BID.

He said: “Paisley town centre faces the same challenges as traditional shopping areas everywhere – but we believe there are exciting times ahead in the near future.

“The council this year unveiled ambitious plans to use Paisley’s outstanding heritage and cultural assets to drive a wide-ranging programme of regeneration over the next decade and help attract tourism.


“But we can only make that happen with the support of all within the local community – and town centre businesses will be at the heart of that process.

“With that in mind, they stand to gain from having a body to represent their interests and bring people together to support projects which will help boost local trade for all.

“Business Improvement Districts are already working well in other towns and I would encourage all firms within the boundary to get on board with the proposals and back the BID.”

Councillor Macmillan recently met with former MEP Hugh McMahon and Ken MacDonald, of Houston Kiltmakers, the chair and deputy chair of the Paisley First Steering Group.

Hugh McMahon said: “Paisley First is fully supportive of Renfrewshire Council’s extremely imaginative and exciting proposals for town centre regeneration by exploiting Paisley’s historic past and iconic buildings.

“Paisley First has built on these proposals in our current business plan, designed to bring specific benefits based on dealing with issues highlighted through consulting Paisley businesses, to be circulated to all business in the proposed BID area.”

There are already 22 BIDs around Scotland, but should one be adopted in Paisley it would boast the highest number of businesses of any apart from Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

All business within the BID area will receive a copy of the business plan and a ballot paper when the 42-day ballot period kicks off on Friday 3 October.

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Paisley First for Business

I was at the launch of the Paisley Business Improvement District (Paisley BID) last week. Here are some of my thoughts on the BID and what it really means to Paisley.

BIDs are well established in Scotland and from the map on, local BIDs such as Clarkston and also Falkirk, Bathgate & Inverness are seen to be a success. Certainly Falkirk seems to be making all the right noises and actions from an outsider’s perspective, for instance unlike Paisley, actually has some leaflets in Glasgow Airport explaining what is on in Falkirk and where to go to eat, drink, sleep etc which is a far cry from Paisley’s external self promotion, or lack of it should I say.

The following definition is from the Paisley BID website:

What is a Business Improvement District?

A Business Improvement District (BID) is a business-led collaboration initiative which originated in Canada and is widespread throughout the UK. A “BID” is governed by legislation whereby businesses within a defined area work together and invest collectively in those priority issues they believe will benefit them, whilst contributing to the sustainable economic growth of the local economy. source..

paisley-firstNow what will the BID bring to Paisley? Well from what I can see it has already managed to get local traders and business owners in the same room and talking.  Did you know there has not been a local traders’ organisation for some years which just makes you realise why the town has had problems… In harsh economic times we need to pull together and come up with a way to turn around the decline.

So, good on the people behind the BID as they are doing something to help and at least coming up with solutions and not more problems. Yes there is a long way to go but this is certainly a start and knowing most of the businesses behind the BID I really hope it succeeds.

I have heard questions about the amount of levy that will be charged to businesses when it goes live, before that there has to be a vote consisting of one question, ‘Do you want the BID – Yes/No’.  The vote will be some time towards the end of 2014.

They have cross party political support and also the backing of lots of local businesses, including Houston Kilts, Hamishes Hoose, Ashtree House, Marks & Spencers and also the support of the two major educational facilities in town, the University of the West of Scotland and West College Scotland (formerly Reid Kerr).

A question raised at the meeting was:  ‘Are the BIDs basically doing the work that the local authority should be doing?’ I would like to think not, as in the last few years and through various administrations the council has been doing a lot to help improve the town. They have also been applying for essential grant money for major improvements such as the Causeyside Street improvements which look fantastic.

If you are looking for more information on the Paisley BID process which is now officially called Paisley First then please visit their website by following this link. Lets hope it is Paisley First for Business..

Blog by Brian McGuire.

Paisley Christmas Lights

Its all happening in Paisley.

Paisley is gearing up for a busy October and November of events, there is quite literally something for everyone in the forthcoming months everything from a scooter rally right through to the Festive Lights Switch On  in the town centre.

Only a few years ago the fireworks display was the only thing happening remotely close (at Seedhill Playing Fields), and the town centre had not yet seen any big events happening in or around it.  St Mirren going through Paisley in the open top bus in 1987 from the triumphant Scottish Cup win saw the town covered in ‘Black and White’, and then again in 2006 when the Buddies won the First Division to be promoted to the SPL, those were momentous occasions.

The arrival of the big centrepiece Fireworks event and Festive Lights Switch On a few years back changed things and in my opinion these may just have been defining moments for the fortunes of Paisley.  Thousands of people love to come to these events showing that the town centre can cope with these large scale occasions. It has proved to be a safe environment although there is still a lot more to be done with toilet amenities and food shops and local traders combining their efforts to make the best of these events.

Paisley Christmas Lights

Paisley is turning a corner, maybe we can’t see it yet but there is change coming.  Local traders are now combining their efforts, resulting in a process called the Business Improvement District (BID) to be known as Paisley First which officially launched last week. This is the first time many local traders and business owners have actually sat in the same room, now that is no mean feat in itself! There is progress although it may be slow but at least there are signs of promise.

Events in Paisley

The Farmers Market has now moved to the Cenotaph and is much more central and visible to the public and the change in timings has also helped, so the market will go from strength to strength.  The next one is tomorrow, Thursday 10th, 10am-2pm.

The Spree, which I love, is calling itself Paisley’s National Arts Festival  and is now in its second year. You will be able to see the massive Spiegeltent being erected in County Square, this is the venue for an event which covers every taste of music, comedy, arts and drama. Last year I attended a few events and there was plenty of local talent on display as well as some big headliners such as Roddy Frame.  The Spree begins this Friday and runs as a fringe event to the Royal National Mòd.  To find out more please visit

Modstuff is a local event aimed as an alternative to everything else, but working in tandem with local businesses and organisations. This is all about the traditional MOD style and the music associated with it. Their will be a scooter rideout in town this Saturday 12th October and the winner will be announced by the sponsors the Piazza Paisley. They will also have various acts performing live on the Friday and Saturday this week. LNP Promotions have done an excellent job with this mini festival and hopefully it will go on to be an annual event in Paisley. You can find out more by visiting their Facebook Page

Royal National Mòd, It is a fantastic honour for this prestigious Gaelic event to be held in Paisley for the first time. The very fact its coming to Paisley shows just how far the town has come, and showcasing such events as the Paisley Choral Festival, which has been running in the town for six years, it brings a string of high profile classical musicians to Paisley, helping the town earn the unofficial title of Scotland’s Festival Town.

An Comunn Gàidhealach is the oldest and most respected Gaelic Language organisation. Founded in Oban in 1891, it has long been a leading light in the teaching, learning and use of the Gaelic language and the study and cultivation of Gaelic literature, history, music and art. Through the organisation and running of the Royal National Mòd and grass roots community development work, An Comunn Gàidhealach continues to further support and develop all aspects of the Gaelic language, culture, history and heritage at local, national and international levels. You can find out more by visiting the official website

Renfrewshire Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival 2013, is currently ongoing with various events throughout Paisley and Renfrewshire, some highlights over the next couple of days are..

1. Wed and Thurs Workshops and Artist in Residence with weaver Joanne Kaar, 32 Old Sneddon St, at the bottom of stairs to Gilmour St Station. Go by and say hello and have a look!

2. Gilmour St Giants Reception, platform 1 Gilmour St train station Thurs 10 11am

3. World Mental Health Day Book Club and Event 12.30-1.30 10 Oct Spiegletent, County Square, Paisley with author and RMHAFF 2013 song, ‘Your Perception, My Reality’ come and get your free cd!

4. Creativity Works on Monday Reid Kerr, some places left, employability and creativity 9.30-12.30. book with

5. Angus Weaver of Grass dramatic performance Thurs 17th 9.30am, Paisley Arts Centre, only free performance, please help me fill the house. See more by clicking here..

We of course have the Festive Lights Switch On and the Fireworks to look forward to. This year’s Festive Lights Switch On ceremony will be performed by Tynchy Stryder and The View, to find out more information on this event click here..

Blog by Brian McGuire..