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Remembrance services take place across Renfrewshire

Communities across Renfrewshire have paid their respects to the Armed Forces at a series of remembrance services across the area.

Services took place in the main town centres of Paisley, Renfrew, Johnstone, as well as six other services in neighbouring villages, to give local people the opportunity to pay tribute to those lost in the line of duty.

More than 500 people attended the service in Paisley, where Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron joined members of the Royal British Legion at the Cenotaph to remember those who have been lost in all wars and conflicts.

A member of the Royal British Legion Scotland- Paisley Comrades branch sounded the Last Post to commemorate those who have given the ultimate sacrifice before the Two Minutes’ Silence was impeccably observed at 11am.

Provost Cameron laid the first wreath, followed by more than 30 others from various groups and organisations including the Royal Air Force, 102 Field Squadron, Renfrewshire Council and the Emergency Services.

Provost Cameron said: “It is an honour to take part in this service which gives everyone the opportunity to recognise the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces and the importance of this cannot be misunderstood.

“We must ensure that we remember those who have given their lives to allow us to continue to live ours in peace.

“I was privileged to attend the Children’s Remembrance Service on Friday and it was clear that the message of remembrance remains in our schools, and it is important that the younger generation recognise the importance of remembering the fallen.”

The annual Children’s Remembrance Service took place on Friday 10 November at the joint campus of Mossvale and St James Primary Schools.

Primary 7 pupils from both schools led a service of readings and poetry to Provost Cameron and members of the Royal British Legion Scotland- Paisley Comrades branch, which included a moving rendition of ‘In Flanders Fields’ by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae.

For more information visit www.legionscotland.org.uk.

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Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, is supporting a campaigning charity’s call on deaf Renfrewshire residents to share their experiences about accessing health services.

The Scottish Government’s new Health and Social Care Standards and the British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan both aim to improve the accessibility of health services for people in Renfrewshire who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

The charity is urging local residents who are Deaf or have hearing loss to complete a short survey to give details about whether their individual communication needs are currently being met when booking or attending hospital, health centre or GP appointments.

The information from survey respondents will play a vital role in highlighting where health services are doing well in being accessible for deaf people and also where there could be room for improvement.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: “It’s great to see the Scottish Government taking steps to deliver improvements in the everyday accessibility of public services for people who are Deaf or have hearing loss – including health services.

“I’m pleased to support Action on Hearing Loss Scotland’s call for people in Paisley and Renfrewshire North to complete the charity’s Access to Health Services survey to provide vital information about how accessible hospital, health centre and GP surgeries currently are for patients who are Deaf or have hearing loss, so that any needed improvements can be highlighted.”

The survey can be completed online at www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/access, which has BSL translation, or paper copies can be requested by emailing scotland@hearingloss.org.uk or calling 07388 227407.

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“On Your Bike!” Gavin Newlands MP Raced Against Service Personnel in Support of The Royal British Legion’s Annual Poppy Appeal

On Wednesday 1 November the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, the Director General of The Royal British Legion, and over 90 Members of Parliament raced alongside serving members of The Armed Forces on an exercise bike to raise money for The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal.

The 12 hour bike ride was held from 08:00 to 20:00 in Portcullis House, Parliament and aimed to raise money for the Legion’s national Poppy Appeal. Gavin Newlands MP represented his constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire North by cycling as far as he could in 5 minutes, with the hope of topping the leaderboard and beating his colleagues. Gavin managed to cycle 3.27km in 5 minutes.


The bike ride was organised by the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) and The Royal British Legion following on from the successful bike ride held in 2016 (where 77 MPs and Peers cycled a total of 128.8 miles in 12 hours). This year’s race emphasised that The Royal British Legion will once again be asking the nation to ‘Rethink Remembrance’ and consider the meaning of the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance and hope.


MPs were encouraged to donate as they take part, with all of the money raised on the day going to help The Royal British Legion provide lifelong support for the Armed Forces community. The Central Parliament Poppy Appeal is the only charity that can fundraise in Parliament.


Gavin Newlands MP said:


“I would like to thank the Industry and Parliament Trust and The Royal British Legion for arranging this event which brought together MPs from across the House to support the efforts of The Royal British Legion.


“People in Renfrewshire will be well aware of the fantastic and invaluable support that the Royal British Legion provides to our armed forces community. I am always happy to support this cause, particularly as we’re approaching Remembrance Day.”


Nick Maher, CEO of the IPT said:


“The work of The Royal British Legion is essential to the lives of the whole Armed Forces community across the UK and I am delighted that MPs and Peers are supporting us in our efforts to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. The support and enthusiasm from parliamentarians and service men and women has been fantastic’

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Gavin Newlands MP gets a “dog bowl in one” for Guide Dogs Scotland

Gavin Newlands MP saw the fun side of the SNP Party Conference recently by putting around street clutter on Guide Dogs Scotland’s mini golf course. With the interactive game, Guide Dogs Scotland raised awareness of their Streets Ahead campaign to keep streets free from clutter.

Street clutter, such as pavement parked cars, shop advertising boards and wheelie bins, is a real blight on the streetscape and a major problem for pedestrians. It is particularly dangerous for people with visual impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people.


According to a Guide Dogs survey, 98% of people with a vision impairment in Scotland encountered obstacles on the pavement and 88% of them have had problems with pavement parked cars specifically. Guide Dogs Scotland campaigns against problem pavement parking to make sure that blind and partially sighted people can get out and about independently.


Gavin Newlands MP commented:


“No one should be forced to risk themselves in traffic because of obstructions on the pavement. I have heard from my constituents how cars parking on the pavements and other obstructions affect people from all backgrounds, particularly disabled people, the elderly and those with prams.


“I welcome the plans to introduce a law in Scottish parliament which will hopefully end the problem of pavement parking. We should all be able to walk the streets without being obstructed by cars parked on pavements.”


Niall Foley, Engagement Manager at Guide Dogs Scotland, commented:


“It is terrifying for someone who cannot see oncoming traffic or has small children with them to take the risk of stepping out into a road because of cars parked on the pavement. Everyone should be able to walk the streets without fear.


“We welcome Transport Scotland’s work on a law to curb unsafe pavement parking and are looking forward to seeing a prohibition of unsafe pavement parking as part of the Transport Bill in the near future.”

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Gavin Newlands MP calls for greater support for families fleeing domestic violence

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has called on the UK Government to provide long-term and sustainable funding to support those who help women and children fleeing domestic violence.

The Prime Minister announced her latest U-turn on Wednesday, stating that the UK Government would abandon their plans to impose a cap on funding for supported housing.


This was a welcome relief but refuge providers are still concerned that the Government will fail to offer the long-term and sustainable funding that is urgently needed to prevent further refuge centres from closing.


Mr Newlands serves as the Chair of the White Ribbon cross party group, which highlights the positive role that men can play in ending violence against women and girls.


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


“Thankfully due to pressure from the supported housing sector, the UK Government have performed their latest U-turn and abandoned their plans to impose a cap on the Local Housing Allowance on supported housing.


“This would have been disastrous for women refuge services with Women’s Aid suggesting that it could’ve resulted in 67% of refuge services closing their doors for good.


“Next week, the UK Government will bring forward their plans on how they plan to fund supported housing. They have to recognise the distinct nature of women’s refuges and provide the long-term funding that these life-saving services urgently require. Failure to do so will result in more women and children fleeing domestic violence to be turned away in their moment of need.”

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Parliament looks forward to Rugby League World Cup

Members of Parliament are looking forward to the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

A motion has been tabled in the House of Commons, wishing all home nations well ahead of the men’s and women’s competitions.


The men’s competition kicks off on 27 October with England’s group A match against Australia, whilst Wales and Scotland face Papua New Guinea and Tonga respectively in the first round of fixtures.


England are the only home nation represented in the six team women’s Rugby League World Cup, which commences on 16 November, and play group games against Papua New Guinea, Australia and the Cook Islands.

Both competitions conclude with a Rugby League World Cup final double-header in Brisbane on 2 December.


Tabling the motion was Parliamentary Rugby League Group Secretary and Member of Parliament for St Helens South and Whiston, Marie Rimmer MP. She said “I am looking forward to the men’s and women’s Rugby League World Cups in the coming weeks, and will be following the action closely. England’s men’s and women’s teams both have a fantastic opportunity on the biggest stage of all, and I wish all involved with the squads well ahead of the tournament.”


Also supporting the motion was Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, Gavin Newlands MP. He said “After some great performances in the 2016 Four Nations, I am looking forward to following Scotland’s progress through the tournament. I hope that Coach Steve McCormack, Captain Danny Brough and the rest of the Scotland team are successful and encourage more young people in Scotland to give rugby league a try.”

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Gavin Newlands MP urges households to ‘Keep a Step Ahead of Winter’

New research from Scottish Gas has highlighted that having no heating or hot water would be the number one disaster for households in Scotland this winter. Even so, many people in Renfrewshire have not taken action to ensure their homes are winter-ready.

British Gas – Stay warm this Winter 2017

Despite the autumn chill, a national survey* shows that more than a third of households (35%) in Scotland have not checked that their central heating is working and nearly four in ten have not prepared their home for winter by getting their boiler serviced.

Keeping homes safe is an important part of winter preparation, yet only four in ten households in Scotland have checked that their carbon monoxide alarm is working. Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’, because the gas has no odour or taste, and is invisible.

Being energy efficient is particularly important during the winter months, and technology can help with this. Whilst more than half of households in Scotland (51%) acknowledge that technology could help their home to run more smoothly during winter, less than a third (32%) have smart meters.

Having smart meters installed can help keep household energy in check, as they automatically send readings to the energy supplier.  Smart meters also come with a display that shows you how much energy is being used, in pounds and pence, in near real-time, and identify where savings can be made.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: “It’s really important to be properly prepared for winter. I want everyone in Renfrewshire to understand what help is available, not just for themselves, but their family and friends too. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is really important, so I’d encourage people to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”

Scottish Gas engineer Stephen Cosgrove, who fixes and repairs boilers, said: “Winter can be a challenging time for households, but there are some practical steps that you can take, with our help, to make sure that you are prepared.”

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Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has welcomed the First Minister’s move to exempt care leavers from paying council tax.

During the First Minister’s Key Note Address at the SNP conference held in Glasgow the First Minister announced that the Scottish Government will exempt care leavers from paying council tax.


This is part of the wider review that the Scottish Government is conducting into the care system.


Gavin Newland’s, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:


“I am delighted that the SNP Scottish Government will be exempting care leavers from paying council tax. The financial hardship facing youngsters leaving care is a serious problem, and this announcement from the First Minister will help to make life that bit easier for those young people.”


“This policy announcement has been welcomed by those working in the sector and I am sure this will prove to be a good decision in improving the experience for many care leavers in Scotland.”


“There is still a lot of work to be done to help improve the experience and life chances for those in care and this policy announcement from Nicola Surgeon will go a small way in helping to deliver that change for those youngsters living in care.”

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Gavin Newlands MP marks Baby Loss Awareness Week

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has marked the Baby Loss Awareness Week taking place between 9th and 15th October and has called for better bereavement care for people affected by pregnancy and baby loss.


Baby Loss Awareness Week is an annual international event which unites bereaved parents, family members and friends with others across the world to commemorate the all-too-brief lives of their babies. The Week also provides an opportunity to talk about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK, and what positive changes could be made.


This year, Baby Loss Awareness Week focuses on improved bereavement care. Good bereavement care is vital for anyone who has lost a baby before, during or after birth. Relevant services can include psychological and emotional support including memory making; information on support available; advice on benefits, discussions with employers and funeral arrangements. Sometimes bereavement care services will be involved prior to a baby or infant’s death, when illness or problems in pregnancy mean that the death is anticipated.


In the UK, Baby Loss Awareness Week is a collaboration between more than 40 charities.


Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, commented: “Baby Loss Awareness Week provides an opportunity to raise awareness of issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss and push for tangible improvements in the services available to families. It is also an opportunity to let the public know about the work of charities and support organisations.


“Anyone who goes through the tragedy of losing a child should receive all the support and help that they require. I urge the UK Government to provide wider support for bereaved families, in particular look at the level of support provided via bereavement support payment. We should provide the best level of support to parents who have lost a child, and to do so in a way that does not require parents to navigate a complicated administrative process.”

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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.“