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Kids charged up for recycling

Two Johnstone primary schools have collected almost 2,500 batteries as part of a nationwide recycling challenge.

Pupils from St David’s and Cochrane Castle Primary signed up for the ‘Big Battery Hunt’ in January, joining more than 1,800 schools across the UK in raising awareness of recycling.

School Eco Coordinator and P1 teacher Stephanie Mackenzie said she was delighted to see the pupils embrace the challenge so enthusiastically.

“All pupils have their own battery box at home which they fill up and bring back to school to empty into our recycling buckets,” she said.

“Several children have been very proactive in building up their battery numbers.

“For example, two of our St David’s pupils have a dad who works with the police and they’ve been bringing in old batteries from items that the forensic team uses such as torches and cameras.

“It’s been great to see the children so interested in this initiative and developing their understanding of how recycling can help the environment.”
Here’s what some of the pupils had to say:

“I enjoyed looking for batteries. My dad collected a full tub of them and then he got a massive box of them and brought them to school” – Iain (5)

“I found batteries from my old pretend computer. I would usually bin them but I now know that I can recycle them so that I can help the planet” – Eilidh (6)

“I got my batteries from old toys in the house. It is good that we are recycling at our school and telling other people about it” – Cameron (5)
Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The pupils from St David’s and Cochrane Castle Primary are proof that you’re never too young to start recycling.

“Teaching our young people about helping the environment is a positive move toward changing the recycling behaviour of our generations to come.

“With Global Recycling Day being celebrated this month, it’s timely to congratulate all the Renfrewshire primary schools taking part in the ‘Big Battery Hunt’ challenge.”

Entries to the ‘Big Battery Hunt’ competition close on 26 April when all batteries will be collected and recycled.

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Leaders in education, local government and business are urging employers across Renfrewshire to have their say in the West of Scotland Skills Survey before it closes on Friday 23rd March.

Scotland’s largest college kicked off 2018 by launching the West of Scotland Skills Survey. The first of its kind to be conducted by a Scottish college or university, it is a new way that West College Scotland is engaging with employers to help build a modern workforce.

Launched online in January, the West of Scotland Skills Survey has been gathering the views and experiences of employers in the West region – focusing on their workforce and business support needs.

The findings of the sector-leading research will then be used to better inform the work of the College and how they support employers in 2018 and beyond.

The West of Scotland Skills Survey is open to employers of all sizes in Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire – and closes on Friday 23rd March. Upon completing the survey, participants will be able to enter prize draws for £1,000 worth of free workforce training and development, free use of the College’s conferencing facilities and a 3-course lunch for 10 people.

Audrey Cumberford, the Principal of West College Scotland, said:

“As Scotland’s largest college and a leader in the region we serve, West College Scotland is committed to working with partners and employers to build a modern workforce, sustain a thriving economy and help people achieve their potential.

“The West of Scotland Skills Survey is just one way that we are engaging with employers Renfrewshire and across our region to ensure that the West is able to overcome the challenges and grasp the opportunities of a competitive global economy.

“I would urge employers across Renfrewshire to participate in our sector-leading research before the survey closes this Friday to help us support them in the future and build a modern workforce.”

Cllr Iain Nicolson, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said:

“We are committed to growing the local economy by creating new job opportunities in Renfrewshire and removing barriers to employment.

“Renfrewshire has the fourth best youth employment rate in Scotland and we are developing a reputation as a place of enterprise, creativity and drive, home to a highly-skilled workforce making a vital contribution to the local and national economy.

“West College Scotland plays a key role in this and we are working closely with the College and with business and education leaders across Renfrewshire to develop a long-term economic strategy. The findings from this innovative skills survey will provide further important information and help inform our collective approach to drive Renfrewshire’s future economic success.”

Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, added:

“Getting the right people, with the right skills, in the right jobs is one of the biggest challenges facing employers no matter what sector or industry they operate in. Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce welcomes West College Scotland’s latest initiative to support employers across the region.

“The West of Scotland Skills Survey gives employers across Renfrewshire the opportunity to have their voice heard, to shape the College curriculum and to help build a modern workforce. I’d urge all local employers – no matter how big or small they are – to participate in this important work.”

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Renfrewshire schools celebrate British Science Week with range of activities including Whodunits

From turning classrooms into crime scenes and studying tsunamis, schools across Renfrewshire marked British Science Week with a string of activities.

Budding forensic investigators at St Mary’s Primary in Paisley turned detective to take part in a special CSI day, ‘Who killed Mrs Friel?’

The classroom was turned into a CSI lab as the children solved the whodunit of which member of staff killed their head teacher in the gym hall.

A guest speaker explained to the children how evidence is gathered in real life, while they were also given the chance to quiz suspects.

Pupils also enjoyed a range of science workshops, with younger students visiting Glasgow’s Science Centre to mark the ten day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths.

St. Anne’s Primary in Erskine held a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) week with a variety of different activities to promote learning and career choice.

The Scottish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals talked to children about their work in the care and protection of animals, as well as the impact humans can have on the environment and how this affects other living things.

Microbiologist from Glasgow University undertook experiments with older pupils to help them understand how microbiology works and how it can improve our world.

Staff from Trinity High School, Network Rail and the University of West of Scotland also dropped by, while visiting academics from Strathclyde University helped children learn about wind turbines.

At Howwood Primary, older children heard from a parent based at Prestwick Airport as an air traffic controller and pupils were able to track a plane that passed over the school to Amsterdam.

Other pupils embarked on Space discovery and worked together to create rockets while senior pupils created working volcanoes and disaster movies, while learning about genetics.

Primary six pupils embarked on a bridge building project with local firm Thermo Fisher Scientific, looking at costs and design and then building the bridge in miniature.

Science was also celebrated at St Anthony’s Primary in Johnstone, where children produced a topic on the human body and one class looked at tsunamis and the impact they have on the environment.

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “It’s great to see schools putting a range of activities to mark British Science Week and bringing the subject alive in such a fun way for children.“

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Kelly Ann McCormick Whats My Story

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Whats Our Story – Tommy McGrory

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Renfrewshire’s school leavers heading for great futures

The number of young people entering a positive destination after leaving school in Renfrewshire is the highest it’s ever been.

Around 45 per cent of Renfrewshire’s young people are going to university and other higher education establishments – significantly higher numbers than the national average – as revealed in national data collected by Scottish Government.

The official statistics show a six-year trend that’s increasingly improving for Renfrewshire’s young people, with more than 90 per cent going into higher or further education, employment or training.

Education and Children’s Services Convener for Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Jim Paterson, is delighted that more of Renfrewshire’s young people are taking positive steps towards their future upon leaving school.

He said: “The fact that a high number of Renfrewshire’s young people are entering positive destinations upon leaving school is encouraging. Over the last six years, we’ve seen an increasingly improving trend for our school leavers who are going into higher and further education, work and training.

“It’s also encouraging that a significant percentage of our school leavers remain in long-term positive post-school destinations, but we want to do more to support every child and young person in Renfrewshire reach their full potential regardless of their background.

“Here in Renfrewshire, we are working hard to close the poverty-related attainment gap while also raising attainment for all. We want our children to have the best start in life, meaning they have the right skills and support to be successful in later life.

“Improving children and young people’s life chances takes a holistic approach – from providing support to vulnerable families, supporting children and young people as individuals who learn differently from each other, and improving their overall health and wellbeing.

“We have been working hard to raise attainment for all. Renfrewshire’s pupils are already performing well or better in literacy and numeracy measures in all stages (S4, S5 and S6) than pupils from across Scotland with similar backgrounds and we have a number of initiatives in place that will further improve pupil attainment levels.

“We’ve already taken significant steps to improve the learning and teaching of reading in our primary schools and all our teachers have access to continuous professional development that supports them to achieve their very best.

“By giving children and young people the best start in life, we are supporting them to achieve their goals and have a great future.”

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Gin 71 is just the tonic for Paisley Food and Drink Festival

The award-winning bar chain, Gin 71, will be at Paisley Food and Drink Festival allowing visitors to sample the very best artisan gins.

Paisley Food FestivalDarrel Douglas from the Rum Shack

Paisley’s popular Food and Drink Festival returns next month and for the first time ever will take place over two days from Friday 27 to Saturday 28 April when the very best of Scotland’s producers will showcase their wares to visitors in Paisley’s iconic Abbey Close. Visitors can experience drinks tasting sessions as well as a fantastic selection of street food vendors, interactive workshops, live music running alongside Scotland’s largest real ale festival.

Gin 71 will run two dedicated gin tasting sessions on Friday 27 April accommodating 50 people in each session and showcasing the very best Scottish craft gins with the perfect serves making it a great evening out.

On Saturday 28 April the bar will have their very own gin palace tent with an extensive array of more than 20 craft gins to sample including Arbikie, Gin Bothy and Isle of Harris.

Gin enthusiasts will also have the chance to speak to some of the gin producers at the bar’s free ‘Meet the Maker’ sessions to find out more about their product and the advice for the best way to sample their gins.

Managing Director of Gin 71, Paul Reynolds, said: “We’re looking forward to bringing Gin 71 to Paisley Food and Drink Festival to offer people the chance to sample some fantastic craft gins.

“Gin really is booming at the moment and through our tasting sessions, Meet the Maker opportunities and expert bar staff who will be at the festival we hope to highlight the great range of craft gins available and maybe even create some new gin fans.”

This news follows Gin 71’s recent expansion having opened its third Glasgow branch on the first floor of House of Fraser on Buchanan Street earlier this month. This follows the successful launch of their gin spa – the first spa of its kind in the UK.

Demand is expected to be high for the gin tasting sessions on Friday 27 April so interested parties are encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment. Tickets for the tasting session are £25 per person which covers samples of six of the finest artisan gins with Gin 71 expert staff insights on the perfect mixer and garnish. To find out more or to book a slot please visit: www.gin71.com/paisley.

To find out more about what’s on offer at this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival please visit: www.paisley.is.


paisley-SW-AI and Online Casinos What Does the Future Hold


Technology has grown at an unimaginable rate in the last decade or so. From being able to shop online to gamble online to virtual reality, technology is everywhere. The latest development comes in AI or Artificial Intelligence.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be defined as a machine which evolves itself and discovers relationships. It doesn’t need to be programmed explicitly. AI can do complex calculations, pattern recognition, problem-solving to name a few. Not only can it do these, it can keep learning and applying it appropriately. The possibilities of its work in the later years is a question for the researchers. Will it be an asset for humanity or be something that can only originate in sci-fi movies? Let’s leave that to the scientists and see how it affects gambling and online gaming world.


Data Gathering and Utilisation


Casinos can provide better services if it has more data. This data can be: how much the players bet, the online casino games they are ready to bet on and many more. AI can use this data to further benefit both the players and the casino.


AI Security


Some of the most reputed UK online casinos such as Spinzwin casino offer impressive credits and attractive offers for new members. Miscreants can misuse this opportunity, thereby committing fraud. Moreover, online casinos handle sensitive credit card information and AI can provide an additional layer of protection. In this case, AI can learn the pattern and flag any suspicious incident.


AI vs Brain


AI has been participating in games against players in real time and winning against them too. This long range of games includes chess, poker and so on. The hand that the opponent holds is hidden from the player. It is complicated to think for the other player and deduct what approach the person might be taking. There are so many variables for a computer to consider. What would happen when a time comes when an AI can beat the best players at poker. The AI robot Claudio has defeated the best players at poker a year back in Pittsburgh.


AI bots

Bots abusing the online casinos have always been a problem for the operators. The problem was not that big since bots weren’t designed to beat the human counterparts. AI bots can play in online casinos, it can’t be identified easily. Online casinos have been constantly finding ways to stop AI bots. AI bots in online casino games will mean a loss for the casino operators since it might defeat the players again and again.


Every technology can be used for a beneficial purpose, but not everything is as it’s supposed to be. While AI can be a potential solution to many problems, it also carries potential risk. If used wisely, AI can give a much-needed boost to the gambling industry. It can predict human behaviour and flag suspicious activity, even identify AI bots before they bankrupt the casinos.

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Wedding Fayre at Johnstone Town Hall

For anyone starting to plan their big day, then Johnstone Town Hall’s first ever Wedding Fayre is the place to be. Join us on Sunday 8 April from 11am to 4pm. Entry is free.

This event will host a wide variety of local wedding suppliers, from photographers to kiltmakers and florists to candy carts. There will also be the opportunity to view a wedding set up in the main hall so that visitors can see just what this award-winning venue has to offer. Visitors will be able to experience the state-of-the-art technical facilities and have a look around the dedicated marriage suite. Free consultations will also be available with our wedding co-ordinators on the day.

Visitors to the Fayre will also receive a complimentary drink, a goody bag and a range of special offers and discounts.

Any businesses wishing to participate in the event should call Johnstone Town Hall on 0300 300 1210.