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Gavin Newlands MP highlights the positive effect of arts and good health

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has praised Paisley’s cultural contribution to the country, highlighting the positive effect that the arts can have on improving health outcomes.

During a debate the Westminster on the effects that the arts can have on a person’s health, Mr Newlands spoke about the emphasis that the Paisley 2021 bid is placing on the role that culture can play in helping to regenerate parts of the town.

 

The Member of Paisley and Renfrewshire North spoke about a number of Paisley-based projects which specialise in using the health to combat a range of health problems, including loneliness, poor mental health and old age.

 

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

 

“The role of the arts and culture in our society is extremely important and wide ranging, including helping to combat longstanding health inequalities. Existing evidence confirms that the arts can combat a range of health problems, including mental health and loneliness.

 

“I was therefore delighted to take part in this debate, stressing the positive relationship between the arts and good health and being able to highlight the range of Renfrewshire-based organisations who use culture to help produce positive health outcomes.

 

“Paisley is leading in this field and our bid to be named as the UK’s City of Culture is built on the belief that the arts can play a fundamental role in help to transform our town. From the Scottish Mental Health Festival, which will take place in the town next week, to projects like Buddy Beat and the Star Project – it’s clear that Renfrewshire is forward thinking in using culture to promote good health.“

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21st edition of Provost’s Community Awards launches in Renfrewshire

Local heroes across Renfrewshire are to be recognised as the Provost’s Community Awards open once again for nominations.

The awards are into their third decade and aim to give civic recognition to those who work or live in Renfrewshire, and are making a difference to their community.

Nominations can be made in six categories this year, an increase from five in previous years.

A new Arts and Culture award has been created which will seek out the hidden, or not so hidden, gems who light up Renfrewshire’s cultural scene.

Five other awards, Community Group, Community Volunteer, Sporting Achievement, Carers’ Award and Employer of the Year, give the opportunity for local people to give recognition to their colleagues, friends and family for the work they do in their community.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This will be my first Community Awards in my role as Provost and I can’t wait to see the nominations coming in.

“Our area is full of inspiring community members who deserve to be recognised for the difference they make to the lives of those around them.

“There are a number of different categories to nominate in so don’t miss your chance and nominate the people or groups who you think deserve to win a Community Award.”

The Community Group award is sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre and celebrates the organisations in Renfrewshire that have a positive effect on their communities.

Sponsored by Glasgow Airport, the Community Volunteer award recognises those who give their time and effort for nothing more than the knowledge that they are making a difference to their community.

Perennial award sponsor Acre Industrial will present the Sporting Achievement award to the person, team or group who have represented Renfrewshire to a high standard this year in the sporting arena.

Former Renfrewshire Provost Nancy Allison, who has been a part of each of the Community Awards since its inception, donates the Carers Award which recognises anyone who cares for a relative, friend or neighbour.

This year, Employer of the Year is sponsored by UNISON and encourages nominations for employers who have provided a positive working environment and have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their staff.

Anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire can be nominated for an award.

Further information can be found on www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provostawards

Printed nomination forms are available at Council offices and facilities.

The closing date for nominations is Friday 1 December.

The winners in each category will be invited to a special ceremony which will be held in March 2017

For further enquiries contact: provostawards@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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Employability awards recognise outstanding talent

The 2017 Renfrewshire Employability Awards have celebrated the successes and people making a difference to local businesses.

Employees, entrepreneurs and interns were just some of the top talent recognised at the award ceremony on Wednesday (6 September 2017) hosted by television and radio presenter Bryan Burnett at Paisley Town Hall.

Renfrewshire businesses nominated local people who have been supported through the Employability in Renfrewshire Partnership programmes.

RDC Invest awards 6.9.17 Celebrating Success
Renfrewshire Employability Awards
6.9.17
Paisley Town Hall Top Intern Award Top Intern Award
Debbie Campbell

And after a nail-biting wait, nine winners were announced from the impressive list of finalists.

The award winners are:

  • Most Promising New Employee: Jamie Drysdale, Power 1 Electrical Contractors Ltd
  • Most Promising New Entrepreneur: Euan McIntosh, Starkstrom (Scotland) Ltd
  • Top Intern: Debbie Campbell, I Am Me Scotland
  • Best Trainee: Homam Sharif, Renfrewshire Council
  • CV Builder (Youth): Morgan Spence, Johnstone High School
  • CV Builder (Adult): Laura Connor, Engage Renfrewshire
  • Apprentice of the Year: Andrew McClorey, Renfrewshire Council
  • Progression in Work: Laura Currie, Consilium Contracting Ltd
  • Achiever of the Year: Barbara Brown

More than 1,000 local businesses have signed up to support the Invest in Renfrewshire programme which support 1400 people each year, providing direct access to vacancies, work experience, training, personal support and finance.

The programme is now based at the recently refurbished Russell Institute building on Causeyside Street, which is also home to Skills Development Scotland.

The night concluded with three Special Recognition awards for local businesses who have shown outstanding support over the last year, enthusiastically helping people prepare for work, enter work and progress in work.

These awards went to Papamacs Gourmet Kitchen in Johnstone; Gormac Coachworks in Renfrew and Carli’s Kindergarten in Erskine.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “Congratulations to all the winners and to everyone shortlisted for these awards which celebrate success and recognise the talent, enterprise and commitment of Renfrewshire’s people.

“The collective cooperation and commitment of our partners in the business community, education and employability sectors is key to our continued economic success.

“Together, we have taken Renfrewshire’s youth employment from 27th in Scotland to being fourth best. Our job totals are at pre-recession levels; regeneration is gathering pace; unemployment is falling; businesses are growing; and we are developing a reputation as a place of enterprise, creativity and drive.

“Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 is already changing how we are seen and how others see us. The Glasgow City Region City Deal’s £274m investment in Renfrewshire will put us right at the heart of a powerhouse regional economy. We will seize this momentum by continuing to support business growth and create jobs. We will work tirelessly to help people find work and succeed in a modern economy.”

Sandra Black, Renfrewshire Council Chief Executive said: “I too want to congratulate all our finalists and partners who have shown what is possible and inspire our continued success.

“These awards celebrate the enterprise, talent and commitment to excellence that characterise Renfrewshire’s businesses and their employees. From the winners and everyone shortlisted we can see that these qualities are having an immense and positive effect on our people and our future.

“Renfrewshire has always had a strong, creative, hardworking and entrepreneurial culture. We also have a strong sense of community and fairness. Through local partnership working, we have made great strides in developing our economy, tackling poverty, regenerating our towns and empowering our communities.”

Find out more about employability programmes in Renfrewshire at: www.investinrenfrewshire.com

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Old friends ‘reconnect’ through technology classes

Two old friends who had not seen each other for more than 60 years have reconnected after they both signed up to tablet classes.

L- R – Christine Maxwell and Elizabeth Young with volunteers at the Adult Tablet Class

Christine Maxwell and Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Young first met when they were 15 and 22 respectively and they worked in the planning department at Thomas White & Sons in Paisley. They each moved on to different jobs and had families and over the years they lost touch, although always sent each other a Christmas card every year.

The pensioners reconnected after they each decided to sign up to tablet classes after receiving tablets as gifts from their families.

The classes which are run by Roar: Connections for Life in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, are part of the Digital Renfrewshire Strategy’s aim to close the digital divide. During the classes participants go from the basics of how to turn on and handle a tablet, to how to safe search online, send emails, use social media, install apps, and sort simple problems.

Commenting on the chance meeting Betty said: “We didn’t recognise each other at first. Christine sat down next to me and then the teacher asked everyone to call out their names and that’s when we realised who each other was.”

Christine added: “It was a great surprise!”

The timing of their reunion is fitting as this week is the first National Digital Learning Week 2017 which aims to celebrate how digital technology can make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Betty explained her reasons for joining the course, she said: “My family bought me an iPad and at first I wasn’t the least bit interested in it. I thought that’s not like me at all. My daughter works in the reception at the University of the West of Scotland where the classes are held and she suggested I go to the tablet classes to learn how to use it. It’s been very interesting and a good laugh. I’ve always been a giggler.

“The classes have really helped me, there were things on the iPad that I didn’t understand but I do now. I’m certainly interested in the iPad now and it’s good to get the company as well.”

Christine added: “My family were always telling me I was behind the times so I shocked them all by asking for a tablet for Christmas. My family are on Facebook a lot but I love playing scrabble on it – it’s really improving my scores I even managed to get a word worth 72 the other day!

“The classes have helped me learn more about what I can do with the tablet and it’s great that there are others there at the same level as me. I’ve also got another reason to look forward to the classes now with Betty being there.

Those interested in participating in the classes can contact Roar: Choices for Life: 0141 889 7481 or email: paul@roarforlife.org. Those with a good working knowledge of tablets wishing to volunteer should contact Lauren Gilmour, Digital Volunteer Co-ordinator, Engage Renfrewshire, 0141 887 7707 email:  lgilmour@engagerenfrewshire.com.

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New savings website helps give residents some credit

Renfrewshire’s five credit unions have teamed up to offer a one-stop-shop website aimed at covering the savings and loan needs of everybody in the area.

Frances McCann (Scotwest); Margaret Bryce (Johnstone Credit Union); Heather Kay (Engage Renfrewshire); Provost Anne Hall; Stacey Mathieson (Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union); Sean Sandland (White Cart Credit Union); Cathy Mitchell (White Cart Credit Union); Bill Ingles (Gleniffer Credit Union); Paula Ferrier (My Credit Union Renfrewshire); Alan McNiven (Engage Renfrewshire).

Frances McCann (Scotwest); Margaret Bryce (Johnstone Credit Union); Heather Kay (Engage Renfrewshire); Provost Anne Hall; Stacey Mathieson (Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union); Sean Sandland (White Cart Credit Union); Cathy Mitchell (White Cart Credit Union); Bill Ingles (Gleniffer Credit Union); Paula Ferrier (My Credit Union Renfrewshire); Alan McNiven (Engage Renfrewshire).

The new site at  www.mycreditunionrenfrewshire.co.uk has just been launched and brings together Gleniffer, Johnstone, Renfrewshire-Wide, Scotwest and White Cart credit unions.

It means the various services offered by the five organisations are available in one place – allowing visitors to find whatever savings and borrowing plan suits them and link through to the credit union website.

children from Hillview Nursery with Paula Ferrier of My Credit Union Renfrewshire

children from Hillview Nursery with Paula Ferrier of My Credit Union Renfrewshire

The website was funded through Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty Programme – a two-year £6m scheme covering 50 projects aimed at taking on the causes of deprivation.

Staff from local third-sector group Engage Renfrewshire also played a key role in co-ordinating the project.

nursery child Robbie McGlynn

nursery child Robbie McGlynn

And representatives of all five credit unions were joined by councillors in Paisley’s Piazza to promote the scheme to lunchtime shoppers.

They were joined by kids from Childcare First’s Hillview Nursery in Ferguslie Park – one of the first organisations to make use of the new website.

Paula Ferrier, marketing officer for  www.mycreditunionrenfrewshire.com, said: “The website signposts the users to a credit union which suits their needs.

“The five credit unions all offer different things but whatever the user is looking for – savings, a mortgage, a car loan, a funeral loan – it’s all there.

“We aren’t like the banks in that we aren’t in competition – we all work together and support each other.

“We are not-for-profit organisations and our members are the shareholders so by saving with us people are giving back to the community.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall was there to help launch the scheme and she added: “The website is a great idea and really easy to use – I would recommend anybody who is thinking about borrowing any money have a look at it.

“We are delighted to have funded this scheme through the council’s Tackling Poverty programme – by helping the credit unions market what they offer we are putting money back into the pockets of people who need it most.

“Since the programme started in 2015 it has helped create more than 600 new credit union members across Renfrewshire, and saved local people a total of £84,000 on interest payments compare to high street banks.”

You can see the new website now at www.mycreditunionrenfrewshire.co.uk

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Renfrewshire One Digital Meet Up

CHARITIES and voluntary organisations across Renfrewshire are being invited to take part in the very first One Digital Meet Up at Johnstone Town Hall on Thursday 22nd September. From 12.30pm – 3.30pm attendees will hear from speakers such as Alan McNiven from Engage Renfrewshire and Diane Webb from Renfrewshire Council about all things digital in the Renfrewshire area.

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Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty Team established a Digital Team help improve digital participation throughout Renfrewshire through classes and recruiting volunteers to support organisations with digital. This event is being delivered in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation’s Digital Participation Team. There will be presentations and technology demonstrations and a general networking session afterwards to discuss any concerns and issues organisations and individuals may have.

Organisations and individuals with an interest in finding out more about digital participation and the latest digital happenings in Renfrewshire are encouraged to come along. Lauren Gilmour, Digital Volunteer Co-Ordinator based at Engage Renfrewshire who is helping to organise the event said:

“This is a really great opportunity for people across Renfrewshire to come together and talk about digital. As we know, it’s the way forward for many organisations and the benefits it brings to them far outweigh the negatives. But some people lack access and basic skills to get online and our job is to try and change that through training courses, investing in infrastructure and events like this.”

Anyone who is interested in going along to the event is encouraged to register online at http://www.meetup.com/One-Digital-Meetup/events/233112413/ or contact Lauren Gilmour at Engage Renfrewshire on 0141 887 7707 or  lgilmour@engagerenfrewshire.com

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Teenage Syrian refugees rewarded for volunteer work

Five teenage Syrian refugees who arrived in Renfrewshire last year have been praised for their volunteering work with an environmental charity.

 the five boys with Provost Anne Hall and Councillor Mark Macmillan

the five boys with Provost Anne Hall and Councillor Mark Macmillan

The boys are part of a small community of families welcomed to Paisley last November after fleeing the civil war in their homeland.

Renfrewshire welcomed 81 refugees from Syria under the Government’s vulnerable persons resettlement scheme – the third-highest of any area in the UK.

The boys, aged between 15 and 17, were presented with Saltire Awards for their work with the Environmental Training Team (ETT), which organises community clean-ups and not-for-profit enterprise including garden maintenance.

The boys – brothers Ahmad and Ayman Ahmad, Moatasem and Ebrahim Andoura and Issa Al Ahmad – are all pupils of Paisley Grammar and have been volunteering with the charity since June.

Mohamad and Ebrahim Andoura

Mohamad and Ebrahim Andoura

Renfrewshire Council staff arranged the opportunity for the boys through local volunteer co-ordinators Engage Renfrewshire, and paid for their travel costs.

And council leader Mark Macmillan was on hand to present the boys with their certificates at a small ceremony at ETT’s base in the town’s Ferguslie Park area.

He said: “We believe everybody has a moral duty to help those who are fleeing persecution and oppression.

“That’s why we are proud Renfrewshire was able to lead the way in Scotland by welcoming a community of Syrian refugees to the area last year.

“Council staff have worked hard to help the group settle in here – and it’s great to see the boys and their families integrating into the local community like this.

“I was delighted to be able to present these certificates to the boys and wish to thank them for their efforts.”

Alan McNiven, chief executive of local third-sector body Engage Renfrewshire, added: “This award is designed to encourage young people to develop their skills within a team and we were thrilled to be able to honour the boys for their efforts.

“People have many reasons to volunteer – it’s not just the opportunity itself, they want to know they are giving something back and growing themselves too.

“The boys have made a really positive contribution to the Renfrewshire community and we would love to continue to work with them on any of the many other volunteering opportunities we have available.”

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One of Renfrewshire’s Syrian refugees has thanked the people of the area for welcoming them to their new life in Scotland.

Mohamad Andoura arrived in Paisley last November along with his wife and four children – and says his family love their new home…even though they had to get used to the Scottish weather.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “When I was back in Syria I always wanted to travel to the UK and now it is my home. Scotland is a great country and the people are amazing.

“I want to thank the people for receiving us – it was a great way we were received. I want to thank Renfrewshire Council – thanks to them my kids are going to school and studying.

“The main difference here is the weather. But I like Scottish people – they are always smiling and we have not experienced any racism.

“We feel at home here but we miss our family back home in Syria. They are not secure there – but there is nothing we can do for them.

“There is just one thing we are missing – I am looking for work and hope to find a job. In Syria I was an accountant and had experience of running a coffee shop. Having a job is very important to Middle Eastern men.”

His son, Ebrahim, aged 17, is one of the boys who volunteered with the charity. He added: “Paisley is a nice area. The people in Scotland are very nice and they smile all the time.

“To be working as a volunteer is very good for me and has given me confidence.

“There were different things we did here and I learned new things, such as how to mow the lawn.

“I am learning English although in school I do not understand everything. But my teachers in school are trying to come up with different ways to teach us and they do their best.

“My favourite subjects are maths and woodwork. When I leave school I want to go to university to study mechanical engineering.”

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Digital volunteers out to help town centre businesses

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Businesses in Paisley town centre could soon have the help of an army of digital volunteers.

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Renfrewshire Council have this month appointed a new digital volunteer coordinator.

And Lauren Gilmour, who started in the post this month, is appealing for town centre businesses to get in touch.

Lauren said: “A lot of smaller businesses are reluctant to sell themselves and their services online. It is so important nowadays for any business to look at its digital profile and make sure it has a strategy for its online presence.

“At the same time, there is a lot of digital expertise in the local community, and a lot of free advice and support out there for a variety of places.

“Part of my job will be matching up our growing network of digital volunteers with businesses who could benefit from their help, and helping these same businesses access other support available.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are revitalising Paisley town centre with our ambitious museum and museum store investments, new housing developments in the town centre and an expanding events programme which is bringing more people in.

“The digital volunteer programme is another important step in making sure town centres businesses have the maximum opportunity to benefit from our investment. Later this year, we will be expanding free public wi-fi access across our three main town centres and we really do want everyone to participate in a ‘digital Renfrewshire’.

The move has been welcomed by Paisley First BID Manager Andrew Mitchell who said: “We need to work out how Paisley’s businesses can use the internet and social media as a tool to attract people to our town centre, who can then experience the warm welcome that our town centre community has to offer. Assistance to local businesses to improve their IT and marketing skills can only benefit individual businesses and the town centre”.

Businesses or potential volunteers interested in finding out more can contact Lauren Gilmour at Engage Renfrewshire on 0141 887 7707 or email  lgilmour@engagerenfrewshire.com.

Lauren can also be contacted on Twitter @lauren_gilmour1.

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St Vincents Hospice is Volunteer Friendly

St Vincent’s Hospice has been awarded the prestigious Volunteer Friendly Award.

Local Councillor Iain McMillan presented the award today to delighted Hospice staff and volunteers in a brief ceremony at the Hospice in Howwood.

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“The real stars,” he said, “are the volunteers themselves.  It’s so easy to sit at home and not bother, but it’s terrific that so many people do turn out to help St Vincent’s in so many different ways.”

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The Volunteer Friendly Award is an important quality standard which recognises charities and community groups who are excellent at involving volunteers, lead best practice in volunteering offer good volunteering opportunities and experiences.

It recognises and supports volunteers in making a fantastic, essential and valuable contribution to people both in the hospice and wider community.

Elaine Grealey, Volunteer Services Manager at St Vincent’s said “I’m extremely proud of the achievements of the volunteer team to date. This award demonstrates a real commitment from St Vincent’s Hospice to recognise how valuable our volunteer team is.  We could not function without them, their dedication and support is unquestionable and I look forward to working alongside our volunteers in the future developing new opportunities”

St Vincent’s currently has a team of 241 exceptional volunteers, who work tirelessly across the organisation to support all areas of its work, from our retail teams in the Hospice shops across Renfrewshire to kitchen support, admin and housekeeping within the hospice itself –  to name just a few.  This award is a credit to them, as without them we could not offer the services we do.”

The presentation was also attended by Jacqueline Carroll, Head of Finance at Engage Renfrewshire, who said “It is wonderful to see volunteers being recognised for the work they do.  Engage Renfrewshire is proud to support the Hospice in the next stage of developing its volunteers.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a volunteer at St Vincent’s Hospice please get in touch with Elaine Grealey or Christine Haddock on 01505 705635 or email volunteering@svh.co.uk

 

 

 

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Brighter future for young people leaving care system in Renfrewshire

Young people, who have been looked after by Renfrewshire Council, can look forward to a brighter future after the local Community Planning Partnership signed the Care Leavers’ Covenant.

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The Covenant focuses on five key areas: health and wellbeing, housing and accommodation, education and training, employment, youth and criminal justice and rights and participation.

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The partnership includes: Engage Renfrewshire, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Police Scotland, Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and voluntary sector organisations.

This is the time a Community Planning Partnership has thrown its weight behind the Covenant.

Councillor Mark McMillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said, “Young people who have been in the care system often don’t do as well as young people who haven’t. It’s estimated that only 1% of care leavers go to university compared to 37% of all young people.

“When young people who have been looked after don’t achieving their full potential at school and college it can have a knock-on effect throughout their lives. It affects their job prospects, their choice of housing and even their health.

“Most young people can rely on their families to provide a safety net which lasts long after they leave school. Young people don’t stop needing care and support when they reach 18. The Covenant is all about corporate parents, like the council, offering the help that young people need to make that difficult transition to successful, independent adults.”

Renfrewshire Council looks after over 700 children and young people.

The Care Leavers’ Covenant was drawn up by: Barnardo’s Scotland, the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS), the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, the Institute for Research in Social Services, the Life Changes Trust, Quarriers, the Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum and Who Cares? Scotland.