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NHS Scotland praises award winning family fitness app idea by Renfrewshire pupils

Pupils at a Renfrewshire school who invented a family fitness app praised by NHS Scotland and Andy Murray could see their idea become a reality.

A team of five sixth-year students from Erskine’s Park Mains High School created the ‘Health Buzz’ app, which tracks the health and wellbeing of the whole family.

The prototype won a prestigious competition, the #DigiInventorsChallenge, run by the Digital Health and Care Institute in conjunction with Andy Murray.

Now pupils will work with Scottish-based technology experts SwarmOnline this summer to see how the app may be developed.

NHS Scotland Chief Executive Paul Gray also visited the school this week to congratulate the team and find out more about the app through a presentation by pupils.

The team of Emily Bannon, Craig Kennedy, Adam Hazle, Luisa Steele and Connor Wilson, all 17-years-old, received a £2,000 cash prize for their school, new personal tech, as well as the opportunity to have their idea made into a reality.

Paul Gray said: “This is a fantastic idea from the students at Park Mains High School. We all know how popular fitness trackers are, so this is a great way to build on that and get active as a family.

“The number of Scots being physically active has risen in the last five years, and we really want to keep that going. For example, by walking just one mile a day, people can make huge changes to their lives.”

“This app is also an excellent example of how innovation can help improve our mental and physical health – 2018 is the year to get Scots more active.”

The app won first place in the challenge which aims to find new ways to help young people keep active and stay healthy.

Along with other shortlisted teams, the pupils were invited to an inventor’s boot camp to develop their proposals through a series of master classes by industry experts.

They then presented to a panel of expert judges, including Andy himself and got to meet the star at the SSE Hydro event in November, where he played Roger Federer in an exhibition match.

Former Wimbledon champion Andy revealed how impressed he is with the pupil’s design and said: “I liked this idea straight away, it’s a really big achievement for the team behind it. Anything that gets people moving more is a good thing and will hopefully help to improve the health of the nation.”

Judges also praised the team’s high quality professional pitch and recognised the potential of the app to transform lives by focussing on the family as a whole, and not just individuals.

Renfrewshire Council’s Children’s Services and Education Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “In the Year of Young People it’s wonderful to see how Renfrewshire school pupils can come up with such creative and award-winning ideas that could benefit us all. I look forward to hearing the progress of the app.”

Emily Bannon from the team said: “We are happy to get as far as we have with the app and want to make fitness more a hobby than a chore across the generations and maybe help make a difference to people.

“We have become so passionate about it and are excited to see what comes next.”

Park Mains Head teacher Michael Dewar, said: “This was an outstanding achievement from a group of very talented S6 pupils. Our hope is that the app will be developed to help make a positive impact on the health and well-being of families across the country.”

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Active Schools Co-ordinator at Park Mains and the pupil’s mentor, Olivia Bell, said: “We are overwhelmed with how far we have come and hope the app will eventually be accessible in our local and wider primary schools and allow pupils to utilise technology that is already at their fingertips.”

The shortlist for this year’s challenge will be announced on May 30th.

George Crooks Chief Executive of the Digital Health and Care Institute said: “We are delighted to be working with the team at Park Mains High School and SwarmOnline to help develop their idea from the #DigiInventorsChallenge.”

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Street Stuff presented with national environmental award

Renfrewshire’s award-winning youth diversionary programme Street Stuff, has been presented with the prestigious Clean Up Scotland ‘Hero of the Month’ award in recognition of its efforts to support the Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

Street Stuff volunteers and coaching staff from St Mirren FC have assisted Renfrewshire Council with community clean up activities, including litter picking, removing graffiti from public spaces and spraying dog fouling with paint to make it more visible – therefore highlighting the problem.

The award forms part of the Clean Up Scotland campaign, organised by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful, and acknowledges Street Stuff’s work to help reduce youth disorder and to instil responsibility in young people.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We are delighted that Street Stuff have been named as the 50th recipient of the Hero of the Month Award.

“The work volunteers and staff do to engage local children and provide them with activities they may not normally have the opportunity to undertake is fantastic, and has been extremely successful since its inception in 2009.

“They are making a real difference to the local community through participating in litter picks, removing graffiti from shop fronts and supporting the Team Up to Clean Up dog fouling initiative.

“With £2.5million being invested across the next five years, we hope that many local community groups will be able to follow in Street Stuff’s footsteps as we continue to advance the Team Up to Clean Up campaign and make a tangible improvement to the quality of Renfrewshire’s environment.”

Street Stuff works as a partnership between St Mirren FC and Renfrewshire Council delivering a youth activity programme including dance and football, as well as volunteering and employment opportunities for young people.

Gordon Scott, St Mirren FC Chairman, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen as Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Hero of the Month and it’s testament to the work of the Street Stuff volunteers and staff.

“We’re proud to support the Team Up to Clean Up campaign and will continue to work hard to improve Renfrewshire’s environment for the benefit of the entire community.”

Heather McLaughlin, Community Project Officer with Keep Scotland Beautiful added: “High levels of graffiti, litter and flytipping are closely linked to community safety. By helping to tackle litter in their local area, Street Stuff, its participants and volunteers have all helped to make their local area both cleaner and safer for all of its residents.

“Keep Scotland Beautiful recognises that there are armies of volunteers all across Scotland working very hard to clean up and green up their local area. Clean Up Scotland can help to support their efforts as well as recognising the contribution made by individuals with our Hero of the Month award.”

Lindsay Richmond-Kearns, Communities Manager at Helping Hand Environmental, which provides a clean up kit to each monthly hero, commented: “We are delighted to present Street Stuff with this award. I would like to commend them for successfully improving and delivering significant local environmental improvements in Renfrewshire.

“Helping Hand has been privileged to sponsor the Hero of the Month award in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful since 2014, and have rewarded 50 Scottish Heroes to date. If you know a Scottish volunteer who is making a difference to their local environment – you can nominate them for this prestigious award.”

For more information on Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup.

Keep Scotland Beautiful is encouraging everyone to organise or take part in a clean up this spring www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/cleanupscotland.

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Renfrewshire Council scraps burial fees for children’s funerals

Renfrewshire Council has scrapped burial charges for families who lose a child under the age of 16.

The local authority abolished burial and registration costs in its 2018/19 budget and is working to establish an affordable Respectful Funeral Service to support families.

Cllr Jim Paterson

The charges can run into hundreds of pounds and Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “Grieving parents shouldn’t also have to carry the burden of worrying if they can afford to pay for a dignified funeral for a child.

“By scrapping the burial and registration fees for a child under 16, the intention is to remove some of the financial pressures and support families at the most difficult of times as they try to come to terms with their heart breaking loss.”

The move has also been welcomed by bereavement charities, who say that worrying how to pay funeral costs can add to the pressure on grief stricken relatives.

Hugh McAninch, the Scottish co-ordinator of The Compassionate Friends, a charity run by bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents which offers support to family members after the death of a child, said: “I welcome the initiative by Renfrewshire Council to scrap fees for children under 16 and hope it is expanded to all councils across Scotland.

“It’s a traumatic enough time and parents often have to take time off work at the very point where they have to face these extra expenses. “

Brenda Murray from the Scottish charity Bumblebee Babies, which supports parents who have lost babies, also welcomed the move.

She said: “Worrying about how to pay for a funeral can be another massive pressure for grieving parents. They just want to be able to put things in order to start the healing process and feel they’re letting their child down if they aren’t able to.

“A lack of money can be frightening to them because they want to give their child the best send off they can.”

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National environmental charity backs Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean

National charity Keep Scotland Beautiful have showcased their support for Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean this weekend, which aims to see a community clean up take place in every area in Renfrewshire.

The event, part of Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign, is set to bring out hundreds of volunteers as they take part in litter picks to make a difference to their local environment.

School pupils, community volunteers, police, councillors and more will take part on Friday 20, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 April at clean ups across the area with the support of Renfrewshire Council.

Derek Robertson, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful said, “We’re extremely grateful to all the volunteers across Scotland for taking part in clean ups during April and May, and would urge everyone to get involved in Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean on 20-22 April.

“Through our Clean up Scotland campaign we support thousands of people each year to improve the places they care about by removing litter and fly tipping. We are delighted that Renfrewshire Council is showing a real commitment to make Renfrewshire cleaner and greener – and know that each one of us can make a huge difference collectively if we clean up together.”

Communities across Renfrewshire are being encouraged to host their own clean up in an area in need of attention and the Renfrewshire Warden’s Service will provide them with litter pickers, bibs, gloves and bags to carry it out, as well as removing the collected rubbish at the end of the event.

If volunteers aren’t able to host their own, they are being supported to attend any of the other clean ups arranged across the weekend and meet like-mind individuals taking part.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of a national organisation such as Keep Scotland Beautiful and it shows the strength of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign as it continues to grow.

“Our Big Spring Clean is our most ambitious set of events since we launched the campaign but we’re determined to grasp the enthusiasm of the local community to make a difference to their local area.

“We are working hard to support local volunteers to carry out litter picks while also carrying out our enhanced programme of work to clear drains, sweep roads and refresh signage, as well as expanding our environmental teams.

“We’ve shown our commitment to the campaign through our £2.5million investment and we will continue to work alongside the community to make Renfrewshire a cleaner, brighter, more attractive place to live.”

For more information on the event visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/bigspringclean and on the campaign www.renfrewshre.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup.

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Millions to be invested in Renfrewshire’s roads network

The largest ever single year investment in Renfrewshire’s roads is set to be delivered in 2018/19 as part of an extensive programme of roads resurfacing.

Pothole repair with Councillor McEwan at Barrhill Rd, Erskine. 12.4.18.

£7.2million has been committed from Renfrewshire Council’s budget to improve routes across Renfrewshire’s as part of the continuing physical and economic regeneration of the area.

The programme for 2018/19 will include the resurfacing and improvement of a number of high profile strategic routes and also a large number of busy rural and residential streets.

It will focus on carriageway resurfacing, including patching and surface dressing, as well as addressing drainage improvements, footway resurfacing and crash and safety barrier installation.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We recognise that a key concern for the Renfrewshire community is the quality and safety of our roads network which is why a significant investment has been made to make improvements.

“This is the largest ever single year investment made by this Council in our roads infrastructure and shows a clear commitment to increasing the quality and usability of the network for road users.

“There are areas within Renfrewshire which are in urgent need of repair and we will prioritise those roads in what will be a comprehensive programme of upgrades.

“While all roads cannot be repaired overnight, the investment we are making will ensure that the community begin to see tangible improvements immediately and a continual progress in the quality of our roads throughout the year.”

The roads resurfacing programme will coincide with an enhanced schedule of pot hole repairs which will tackle the effects severe weather has had on Renfrewshire’s roads.

Immediate temporary repairs will be undertaken on pot holes which are causing a hazard on roads with the full repair then planned into a programme for completion.

Any excessive pot holes which have developed will be temporarily repaired and then undertaken as part of the larger roads resurfacing programme.

Councillor McEwan added: “We recognise there is a significant issue regarding pot holes which is affecting our roads due to the severe weather we faced this winter, with the freezing conditions causing the road surface to crack.

“This is an issue which has been seen nationally, even occurring on our motorways, and we have invested accordingly to ensure our teams can carry out the necessary repairs.

“We recognise the frustrations of road users and want to assure them that we are committed to providing a roads network which is fit for purpose and will work hard to address all problems across the area.”

The full programme of roads resurfacing works is being finalised with initial repairs already underway and more extensive resurfacing work set to begin shortly.

For more information on roads services in Renfrewshire, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/roads.

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World’s largest industrial thread manufacturer backs Paisley 2021 legacy

Plans for Paisley to build a legacy of its UK City of Culture 2021 bid are being financially supported by Coats – the company which made the town the centre of a global empire.

Coats Representitives visit Paisley 9.4.18.

Coats – the world’s largest industrial thread manufacturer – was last year one of 15 firms to pledge £20,000 towards the costs of Paisley hosting the cultural title, should it have won.

And members of the company’s board of directors have confirmed that pledge remains in place for projects promoting the ambitious bid legacy plans of the firm’s birthplace.

Members of the Coats Group plc board, including chairman Mike Clasper CBE and group chief executive Rajiv Sharma, made the announcement during a visit to the town.

Coats Representitives visit Paisley 9.4.18.

While here, they were given a tour of Paisley Museum and Coats Observatory – both built by the Coats family – and Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first high-street museum store and home to many of the items the mill owners bequeathed to the town.

Paisley is pushing ahead with ambitious plans to deliver on the vision of the 2021 bid to transform the area’s future using its internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets.

That includes a £100m+ investment in town centre venues and infrastructure, including a £42m project to make Paisley Museum into an international-class destination showcasing the town’s rich textile heritage and unique collections.

The Paisley 2021 legacy plan also includes ambitious plans to grow the area’s major events programme, invest in its independent cultural sector, develop as a hub of creative industry, and harness the power of culture to make people’s lives better across health and education services.

The work will be underpinned by the new destination brand paisley.is, which aims to promote Renfrewshire as a great place to live, visit and invest, and help grow the local visitor economy.

While the 19,000 employees of Coats are spread across six continents, the company retains a presence in Paisley – with a high-tech colour management technology team overseeing the dyeing of products manufactured across the globe from its base in the historic Abbey Mills complex.

Members of the Coats board were met at the museum by Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, who operate the museum, and by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, who also hosted a short civic reception for the board on Monday evening.

Cllr Hughes said: “We are delighted to have welcomed the Coats board to the town and thank them for their contribution towards Paisley’s ongoing transformation.

“While the modern Coats company is very different from the one which started life in Paisley in the 19th century, the spirit of innovation and creative industry which saw it grow to be one of the biggest companies in the world is still at the core of what it does.

“Just as Paisley made textiles, textiles made Paisley – many of the most striking parts of Paisley’s iconic skyline grew from the generosity of the Coats family, as did the globally-significant collections in our museums.

“With the museum set to undergo a transformation into a major visitor destination over the next few years, it was great to show the board how the shared heritage and creative spirit of Paisley and Coats will be at the heart of the town’s future.”

Rajiv Sharma, Group Chief Executive, Coats said:  ‘Coats is extremely proud of its heritage, which is inextricably linked with Paisley.  We are delighted to confirm that we remain committed to the financial pledge we made when we backed the Paisley 2021 bid last year.  The tremendous energy and focus that emerged during the bid process has created a legacy which we want to support.’

For more information on Paisley, visit www.paisley.is

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Mass community dog walk sets tongues and tails wagging across Renfrewshire

Dog owners descended on Robertson Park in Renfrew at the weekend to show their support for Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign and its aim to rid the area of dog fouling.

More than 50 people brought along their pride and joy to take part in the event which saw a mass dog walk take place to promote responsible dog ownership.

Renfrew Council Responsible Dog Owners Event at Robertson Park 8.4.18

Local organisation, the Phoenix Flyers, put on a fantastic display of dog agility which saw pets fly through tunnels, up and down see-saws and over jumps as our four-legged friends showcased their talents.

Those in attendance were also given the opportunity to sign up to Renfrewshire’s Responsible Dog Ownership pledge which outlines their commitment to looking after their pet and taking responsibility for everything that comes with being an owner.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I was delighted to see such a fantastic turnout as people put their support behind our Team Up to Clean Up campaign and denounce their fellow dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets.

“We are working hard to remove dog fouling from our streets to ensure they are cleaner, more attractive areas to live and it is so important that people recognise that it is their responsibility to carry a bag with them and be ready to pick up after their dog.

“Events like this aim to show that it is a minority of dog owners in Renfrewshire that are irresponsible and we are striving to change their behaviour and make a real difference to our local environment.”

As part of the dog fouling campaign, streets throughout Renfrewshire with an identified problem are also being targeted with luminous spray paint, street stencilling, informative posters and increased warden activity.

The new approach aims to shock those who are failing to pick up after their dog into thinking twice the next time they take their dog for a walk in the local area and be aware of the potential £80 fine should they be caught.

To sign up to the pledge, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/responsibledogowner.

For more information on the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup

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Kids can cook up some fun at Paisley Food and Drink

Budding young cooking fans will be able to get some hands-on foodie fun experiences at this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival.

Free cooking demonstrations will take place on Saturday 28 April at Abbey Close where kids can learn how to make their own calzone or whip up the perfect cupcake with Events Diva – the one stop shop for all things creative.

Paisley Food Festival

Future Heston Blumenthals can flex their creative muscles at the Sweet Science Workshops with Be Experimental where they will have the chance to make colour changing drinks, rainbows with skittles and create their own sweets to take away. They will also find out the answers to some of those age-old questions about sweets like ‘how are gummy sweets made?’, ‘how do you get those little holes in puff candy?’ and ‘why is sherbet so fizzy?’

In addition to the great workshops on offer every child’s favourite entertainer, Mr Bloom, will be at the event sharing his unique bundle of veggie stories, gardening games and catchy nursery songs for tiddlers and parents alike.

Ben Faulks, who plays the role of Mr Bloom said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended the Paisley Food and Drink Festival before and it’s a great event that boasts a variety of different activities for the whole family to enjoy.

“I’m very much looking forward to making a return this year with my show, as well as getting the chance to sample some of the great activities on offer.”

There are even more fun activities to enjoy at the Paisley Food and Drink Festival such as face painting, live music and giant lawn games including twister, jenga and snakes and ladders.

The festival will take place over two days for the first time ever on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 of April when the very best of Scotland’s producers will showcase their wares to visitors in Paisley’s iconic Abbey Close.

Foodie fans can sample some taste sensations from the likes of Pitt Street Food Market, Babu Kitchen, Mighty Mexican, Linton and Co Coffee, Scozzese Pizza and Sharma Street Food and there will be a chance to part with your pennies and pounds at the popular arts and crafts market.

Smaller portion sizes will be available for children and a range of halal, gluten free, veggie and vegan options will be on offer. People will also be able to purchase some great produce from the Farmers’ Market and trader’s stalls.

The children’s workshops are free to attend but numbers are limited so interested parties are encouraged to book in advance to avoid disappointment. To find out more and book a place please visit: www.paisley.is/kidsworkshops.

To find out all the latest information on this and other events happening in Renfrewshire please visit www.paisley.is.

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Paisley’s unique architecture inspires budding photographers

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.

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Contract awarded for replacement of Ferguslie sports pitch

Ferguslie Sports Centre will be pitch perfect when a new playing surface is laid by this summer – in the first steps towards a long-term transformation of nearby St James Playing Fields.

A new full-size 3G Astroturf pitch will be in place by June – with work taking place over the next few weeks – after the award of a contract for the work was given the green light by councillors on the Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board.

This is part of a £7.7m investment for sporting facilities already agreed by the council – the bulk of which will go on a major redevelopment of St James Playing Fields over the next few years.

The detail of that is still being worked on – but proposals include an upgrade of existing grass pitches, a synthetic hockey pitch, a new pavilion and changing facilities, and new road access and car parking.

There would also be work to develop the site to host large-scale outdoor cultural events from the expanded programme of festivals and cultural activity starting next year through the legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Councillor John Shaw, convener of the council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, said: “The provision of top-class sporting facilities is one of the many ways we are working to make Renfrewshire a great place to live, work and invest.

“The investment in relaying the pitch at Ferguslie by the summer means there will be a new surface available for use while we work on the long-term plans to upgrade the facilities at St James.

“Those plans will see major investment not just in sporting facilities but in creating outdoor space capable of hosting the type of major events we have ambitions to attract.”