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BIG SPRING CLEAN WEEKEND

Last weekend saw Renfrewshire Council’s first Big Spring Clean with more than 1000 volunteers taking part in 31 community clean ups across Renfrewshire. Volunteers, pupils, services and local businesses all worked together to collect just under 500 bags of rubbish and joining with them were your local SNP councillors who took part in clean ups across Renfrewshire.
 
Litter picks were arranged across the area by schools and community groups, while Renfrewshire Council provided the equipment and were on call to collect rubbish at the end of each event.
 
Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean was created as a part of the SNP administration’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign and the success of this weekend shows the continuing support for the campaign.
 
Cllr Cathy McEwan, Convener of the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Board stated, “I am thrilled about the success of the Big Spring Clean weekend and the continuing success of the SNP’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign. It was fantastic to see so many people out working together and taking pride in their local areas.”
 
“Volunteers young and old turned out to work alongside each other to make a real difference to their local area and the event has been a huge success, with a noticeable increase in the cleanliness of all communities after the weekends efforts.”
 
“Thank you to every volunteer who took part over the weekend. Please continue to harness that community spirit and work with us as we Team Up to Clean Up.”
 
The SNP budget recently allocated £2.5 million over the next five years, to the Team Up to Clean Up campaign and environmental efforts. Investment over the last year has already seen a programme of increased gully cleaning, mechanical street sweeping, a strengthened Rapid Response Team and additional litter pickers however with increased investment, the SNP will be looking to take this even further.
 
Cllr Don, Depute Convener of the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Board has stated that she hopes the results of the Big Spring Clean will be maintained in the future. 
 
“Just under 500 bags of rubbish were collected by volunteers and while this is fantastic, I want to get to a stage where this level of litter is non-existent in Renfrewshire.”
 
“The council has a responsibility to maintain the fantastic work carried out by volunteers over the weekend and the SNP’s increased investment will allow the council to continue to invest in new ways to improve the cleanliness and appearance of our local environment.”
 
“As local residents however, we also have a responsibility too. We need to discourage the throw away culture which has developed and I hope that the visual presence of a huge number of local residents picking up litter in their area, may make people think twice in the future.
 
“It was fantastic to see many local businesses getting involved, with some even carrying out litter picks of their own. Education is key to the Team Up to Clean Up campaign; people have to understand that it is not ok to drop litter and the more attention the campaign gets, the more we will be able to get this message across. Thank you again, to everyone who got involved.”
 
More information on the campaigns initiatives, following the increased investment, will be available in the coming weeks. Although the Big Spring Clean weekend may now be over, the Team Up to Clean Up  campaign continues with new litter picks being organised regularly.If you would like to get involved or for more information on the campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup or join the Team Up to Clean Up Facebook group where you can keep up to date with the campaign and volunteers across Renfrewshire.
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Public exhibition on plans for new business development site

Plans to develop a new business development site next to Glasgow Airport will be presented at a public exhibition in May.

Renfrewshire Council’s City Deal team will be on hand to discuss the proposals at the Normandy Hotel in Renfrew, from 11am to 7pm on Wednesday 2 May.

The City Deal team intend to apply for planning permission in principle for the new business development located at Netherton Farm, to the east of Abbotsinch Road.

A 158-acre site, it would have a focus on advanced manufacturing and research and development, with opportunities for a wide range of businesses large and small.

And the proposed site would be at the centre of the development of emerging plans for an advanced manufacturing innovation district.

Planning consent is already in place for the enabling roads, bridges and cycle routes, which is funded through £39.1million from the Glasgow City Region City Deal, with work expected to start on this in late 2018.

Feedback from this public consultation will be incorporated into an application for planning permission in principle to ensure the site is in prime position to attract investors and welcome new tenants.

Planning permission in principle addresses common planning, environmental and statutory requirements for the land, streamlining the process for potential developers, who would still be required to submit detailed planning applications for any proposed developments.

Members of the public will have further opportunity to make formal representation to the planning authority once the application is submitted.

A City Deal spokesperson said: “We would encourage people to come along and learn more about these exciting proposals which have the potential to attract major investment into Renfrewshire and create thousands of jobs.

“This exhibition is an important part of the pre-application planning process and all feedback will be carefully considered before any application is submitted.”

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Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean brings out more than 1000 volunteers

More than 1000 volunteers took part in 31 community clean ups as the Renfrewshire community were inspired to take part in an action-packed weekend of events.

Almost 500 bags of rubbish were collected as pupils, volunteers, police, and local businesses and elected members worked side by side to brighten the local area and tackle the issue of littering.

Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean was the largest set of events planned since the launch of the Team Up to Clean campaign, and set out to make a real difference to the area’s environment.

Litter picks were arranged across the area by schools and community groups, with Renfrewshire Council assisting by providing all the required equipment needed and removing the collected rubbish at the end of each event.

Donations of water, bananas and sweet treats for the volunteers who took part were made by local Morrisons, Tesco, McDonalds and Greggs outlets across the area.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The level of support we have seen over this weekend has been incredible and has shown the breadth of support for our Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

“Volunteers young and old turned out to work alongside each other to make a real difference to their local area and the event has been an undeniable success, with a noticeable increase in the cleanliness of all communities after the weekend’s efforts.

“We know there are still areas of improvements to be made but with the support of the community, and a desire to eradicate the problem, we will begin to see real results and this weekend shows what can be achieved when we work together.

“Improving the cleanliness of Renfrewshire is a key commitment for the Council and we will continue to do our bit to ensure our streets are cleaner and Renfrewshire is a brighter, more attractive place to live and work.

“Thank you to every volunteer who took part over the weekend. Please continue to harness that community spirit and work with us as we Team Up to Clean Up.”

£2.5million has been allocated to Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign across the next five years to allow the continuation of an enhanced programme of gully cleaning, increased mechanical road sweeping, replacement or removal of out of date street signs, a strengthened Rapid Response Team and an additional six community litter pickers.

The campaign also challenges the community to play their part and this has been a rousing success as almost 100 community clean ups have been undertaken throughout the area and more than 1800 volunteers have taken part.

The campaign also aims to tackle the issue of dog fouling in the area and recently saw more than 50 responsible dog owners turn out for a mass dog walk in Robertson Park in Renfrew.

This followed a targeted streets initiative in which dog waste is spray painted with bright colours, warning messaging is painted sprayed  onto the pavement, enforcement patrols are enhanced and signage is placed around the area to bring the issue to the attention of offenders within that street.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup or join the Team Up to Clean Up community group on Facebook.

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Paisley Food and Drink Festival set to be a treat for the tastebuds

Some of Scotland’s best food and drink producers and vendors will be in Paisley this weekend for the annual Paisley Food and Drink Festival for what is set to be the event’s biggest year yet.

The festival takes place this Friday 27 and 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 enjoy a fantastic selection of street food vendors, food and drink stalls, interactive workshops, live music and Scotland’s largest real ale festival.

 

For the first time Pitt Street Food Market, Scotland’s first street food market which won the Scottish Street Food Awards and have catered Electric Fields and Meats and Beats Festival, will be at the festival with some of the best street food vendors from around Scotland such as shellfish and speciality meat vendor Barnacles & Bones, Scottish food favourite Bruadair, The Buffalo Truck and Harajuku Kitchen.

Hal Prescott of Pitt Street said: “The Pitt is delighted to be a part of this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival. We’ll be bringing some award-winning traders, from far and wide across Scotland. Expect some stunning food, drinks and entertainment across an amazing couple of days.

 

“People should come along to the event and try some amazing international cuisine from some of the best street food traders in the country. Come down and try dumplings from a tuk-tuk, hanger steaks off a bespoke bbq or shellfish with gourmet fries. It’s going to be a feast for the senses.”

 

Foodie fans can also sample some more taste sensations from Babu Kitchen, Mighty Mexican, Linton and Co Coffee, Scozzese Pizza and Sharma Street Food. Smaller portion sizes for children and a range of halal, gluten free, veggie and vegan options will be on offer and visitors will also be able to sample a wide range of craft beers, small batch gins from Gin 71 and prosecco on tap from FizzBuz. Visitors will be able to purchase some great produce from the Farmers’ Market, trader stalls and craft market.

Cooking demonstrations will take place with former Masterchef the Professionals winner, chef Jamie Scott, to allow visitors to learn the best tricks of the trade.

 

Chef, Jamie Scott, said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival. Events like this are a great way to get insight into local producers, suppliers, restaurants and cafés.  It’s a great way for people to get involved with food particularly those that take an interest in cooking.”

There will be plenty to keep the kids entertained with a selection of free children’s workshops where they will have the chance to get some hands-on foodie experiences with Events Diva’s calzone and cupcake making sessions or Sweet Science’s fun food experiments. There will also be entertainment from kids favourite Mr Bloom.

 

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 will also be a live music entertainment and giant lawn games providing all the ingredients for a great day out.

 

The festival will run alongside the Paisley’s Beer Festival which will take place from Wednesday 25 to Saturday 28 April run by the Renfrewshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, which attracts people from all over Scotland and beyond.

 

To find out more about what’s on at Paisley Food and Drink Festival along with updates on other great events taking place in Renfrewshire please visit www.paisley.is.

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Johnstone Castle regeneration work underway to create homes fit for the 21st century

Residents of Johnstone Castle are looking to the future now that demolition work has started to clear the way for 95 new build Council properties.

The development will feature a mix of mainly two and three bedroom homes and own-door flats, as well as two specially designed bungalows for tenants with mobility requirements.

The regeneration project has also catered for larger families, with four semi detached homes which have four bedrooms.

The next phase of  work will see vacant properties at Cedar Avenue, Tower Road and Elm Drive taken down to make way for the new energy efficient homes.

As excavators from Reigart Contracts Limited moved in to start the demolition of the flats at Elm Drive, built in 1960, residents including Nicola Stevenson gathered to watch.

Nicola lived in the flats for eleven years with her 22-year-old daughter, and is excited about being considered for one of the new build properties.  She said: “I’ve seen the plans and I like the new houses. We’re looking forward to getting our own front door for the first time ever.”

Resident Margaret MacKay was also on hand to watch the next phase of the regeneration take place.

She lived in number 89 for more than half a century after first moving in as a six-year-old school girl in July 1960.  The 64-year-old said: “When we moved in it was so new there wasn’t even a pavement here.

“There is a great community spirit in Johnstone Castle and I am happy to be staying in the area. It’s time for the flats to be replaced by something new.”

Construction work on the new housing is expected to start next month by the Council’s recommended contractor ENGIE Regeneration Limited, with the first completions due next spring.

The construction costs of almost £13million will be funded from the Council’s housing investment programme and a Scottish Government grant.

Convener of Communities, Housing and Planning Policy, Councillor Marie McGurk said: “The regeneration work underway at Johnstone Castle demonstrates our commitment to providing affordable, energy efficient social housing that will meet the needs of local people as well as improve their quality of life and community.  It’s been key to have the community on board, as an integral part of the process.”

Council Officers are also on hand in Johnstone Castle Community Centre on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings if tenants or residents have any questions about the ongoing regeneration work in the area.

Tenants who moved out of the flats to allow the regeneration work to go ahead and who wish to be considered for one of the new build homes, can contact Council staff at the Housing Options team in Johnstone on 0141 618 2581.

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Thousands turn out for St Mirren league trophy parade

Thousands of people lined the streets of Paisley tonight to see St Mirren’s league-winning team parade the SPFL Championship trophy.

Renfrewshire Council honoured the Saints with an open-top bus parade through the town centre before the team took to the outdoor stage in Bridge St.

DJs from Pulse FM were on hand to keep the crowd entertained before the fans got the chance to hear from their heroes, including captain Stephen McGinn, manager Jack Ross, chairman Gordon Scott and chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This was a wonderful occasion – they don’t come around every year but Paisley knows how to party when we do. The great thing about being a one-team town is that Buddies can take over the streets and celebrate together.

“I come from a family of St Mirren supporters and remember going to Love St as a kid, and seeing some of the trophy wins of years gone by – so it was just wonderful to see a new generation of Paisley families get the chance to make their own memories tonight.”

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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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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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Local MP urges people to vote for Bravehound

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, is backing a local charity as they seek to win a public vote and help secure funds from the National Lottery’s Big Lottery fund.

Bravehound are based at Erskine Hospital and provide a range of support to former servicemen, women and their families, this includes providing companion dogs to veterans as a means of helping to support their transition into civilian life.

The charity is now competing for The People’s Project public vote and if successful, will receive £50,000 of National Lottery money to create a permanent exhibition on the role of military dogs from their base at Erskine House.

Five local community groups across STV West are set to compete for up to £50,000 of National Lottery funding each. The People’s Project is giving these groups a chance to go head to head to compete in a public vote to help them make an extraordinary difference to their community. People can vote once per region and will need an email address to vote. To vote please visitwww.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk

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

“People in Renfrewshire are extremely proud of its veterans and of the area’s heritage in supporting  serving and ex-Service personnel. Bravehound is a fantastic local charity doing great work to support ex-servicemen and women.

“Bravehound support’s former servicemen, women and their families by providing companion dogs to help them make the transition into civilian life, some of these will be suffering from post-traumatic stress, mental health issues and physical injury.

“It’s great to see their fantastic work being recognised and that they’re now in with a chance of securing funds to allow them to set-up an exhibition, in Erskine House, on the role of military dogs from their base at Erskine House. This is a fantastic and I would encourage everyone in Renfrewshire to vote for Bravehound.”

Fiona MacDonald from Bravehound said:

“We’re so grateful to Gavin Newlands for making the time to visit us. The People’s Project Award will help us to provide more support for veterans with their amazing BRAVEHOUND companions, and to organise events for the whole community to join, as well as to create an exhibition of the role of military dogs from the Western Front through to Helmand Province, and we would be incredibly grateful for your vote.”