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Councillors welcome completion of improvement project at Castle Semple Country Park

The completion of a series of improvements to one of Renfrewshire’s most popular visitor attractions has been welcomed by councillors.

The successful delivery of the £860,000 Semple Trail Heritage Project in Lochwinnoch was praised by councillors at the recent Planning & Property Policy Board meeting for completing on budget.

The main aim of the project was to deliver visitor improvements to the park and establish a series of ‘heritage destinations’ along the 15km trail linking the villages of Howwood and Lochwinnoch.

The restoration of key heritage features such as the 300 year old category B-listed cascades, ice house, cave and grotto and the creation of two new footbridges and a new fishing/viewing platform were also identified as key achievements.

As part of the project a programme of activities for local communities and visitors had also been delivered involving more than 2,500 participants, particularly through the Windows on Wildlife Project which enabled visitors to observe the wildlife inhabitants of the park in their natural environments via carefully placed cameras.

Councillor Terry Kelly, Convener of the Planning & Property Policy Board, said: “The Semple Trail Heritage Project has been a resounding success and has improved opportunities for learning and leisure in the area while bringing its rich heritage to life.

“The works have also been welcomed by visitors with more than 90% of those surveyed believing they have made the trail more accessible and enjoyable.

“The positive public reaction to the improvements at Castle Semple Country Park further help to promote Renfrewshire as a great place to visit with an impressive range of attractions.”

The project took four years to complete and was delivered through a £860,000 funding package secured from Heritage Lottery Fund, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire LEADER, Historic Environment Scotland, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, RSPB and Legacy 2014. Support was also provided by the South Renfrewshire Access Network Initiative.

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Glasgow Airport invests in multi-million pound road upgrade and pick-up and drop-off facility

Glasgow Airport has unveiled plans for a dedicated pick-up and drop-off facility as part of a wider scheme of works aimed at reducing congestion and improving the flow of traffic on the airport’s road network.

The current pick-up and drop-off areas will move to the ground floor of the new facility which will be located directly opposite the main terminal building. Construction work is underway and the new facility will open to the public at the end of April.

For the first time, the airport will introduce a charging structure for drop-off with customers paying £2 for a stay of up to 10 minutes. A pick-up fee has been in place since 2010. Anyone wishing to use the new combined pick-up and drop-off facility for more than 10 minutes should continue to use the short stay car park. There will be no change in the current arrangements for blue badge holders who are entitled to up to 30 minutes free parking in the short stay car park.

The airport will continue to offer a free pick-up and drop-off area which will be located in the long stay car park. Customers can park for free for up to 30 minutes and a shuttle bus, which takes approximately five minutes and runs every 10 minutes, will take customers directly to and from the main terminal building.

Amanda McMillan, managing director at Glasgow Airport, said: “This investment represents one of the most significant upgrades to our road network in over 10 years. In addition to addressing the very real issue of congestion, it will allow us to accommodate the marked increase in vehicles now using our road system and deal with recent and expected growth.

“It has been apparent for some time that our current drop-off area, which suffers from severe congestion on a daily basis, is simply no longer fit for purpose. It was implemented at a time when we were carrying 6.5 million passengers, however, we have since enjoyed sustained growth and are now fast approaching the 10 million mark.

“It is also the case that people travelling to and from the airport are wholly dependent on road access and the current arrangements are unable to cope with such a large volume of traffic. It is important, therefore, that we have a safe and efficient system in place.

“I appreciate that not everyone will be supportive of the new charging structure, however, we will always continue to provide a free option. We have resisted introducing a drop-off charge despite most airports of our size having similar arrangements in place for many years, however, having exhausted all possible alternatives we have now reached a point whereby a chargeable facility is the only way to address congestion, discourage non-airport traffic and encourage best use of our road network.”

The airport engaged global engineering firm Arup to carry out extensive modelling research to identify the best possible solution for its road network. The upgrade of its wider road network will also involve reversing the traffic flow on St Andrew’s Drive where the Holiday Inn Express is located. This will come into effect in March.

A further £4 million is being invested in a new consolidated car rental centre which will house all the rental companies that currently operate from Glasgow Airport namely Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar, Enterprise and Dollar/Thrifty. The centre will open on 13 February and is located next to terminal two.

Full details of the new multi-million pound facility, including a video fly-through, are available at http://www.glasgowairport.com/corporate/media-centre/.

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Cars set to depart Paisley for historic Monte Carlo Rally

The clock is ticking to the start of the 2017 historic Monte Carlo Rally when up to eighty cars will be flagged away from the centre of Paisley.

Drivers from the Monte Carlo rally with Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall in Paisley’s Fountain Gardens today

It’s the fourth time the town – which is bidding to be UK City of Culture 2021 – is the only British start point out of seven European cities including Stockholm, Lisbon and Barcelona, for the 1300-mile trip to the South of France.

A stunning range of classic cars will leave the start ramp outside Paisley Abbey at 6pm tomorrow (Wednesday January 25th) in three separate categories.

The Historique class is being run for the 20th year and is restricted to car models which competed in the Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980. It will take place over eight days on open public roads with the cars and crews undertaking a series of fourteen demanding test stages in the mountains of southern France.

Included in the line-up will be an ex-BMC works Mini Cooper S which competed in the Monte Carlo Rally 50 years ago, finishing 6th overall in the hands of rally legend Paddy Hopkirk.

The Classique event is for older cars from as early as 1911 to 1980 and follows the same route to Monte Carlo but does not include any test stages.

Among the cars in this category are a 1930 Austin 7 Ulster open 2-seater sports and a Sunbeam Stiletto, built nearby at the Linwood car plant and looks as good as it did when it rolled off the production line in 1968.

Once again the event will also feature the popular Monte Heritage Runs which will take in a series of short classic routes in Scotland.

Last year a crowd of more than 10,000 gathered in the centre of Paisley with the magnificent backdrop of the Abbey to wave off the crews in a party atmosphere with lights, music, street food and pyrotechnics.

Working with staff from Renfrewshire Council and volunteers from many motorsport clubs in Scotland, the organisers expect this year’s start to be even bigger and better.

The council has laid on a programme of entertainment, which starts at 4pm, and includes car-themed arts and crafts, street entertainment and music from Pulse FM

Final preparations are now being completed and Douglas Anderson, the UK co-ordinator and the man responsible for bringing the Monte back to Scotland in 2011 believes this year will be the best yet.

He said: “This year’s Monte start has all the ingredients to make it a unique mid-winter festival which is guaranteed to lift the spirits of all the folk from Paisley and beyond who come along each year to enjoy the wonderful carnival atmosphere.”

Douglas will also be doing the trip to the Mediterranean in his MG Midget which will run ahead of the group as the official opening car.

He joined some of the entrants who’ll be heading off on Burns Night as they proudly posed with their cars in the shadow of a statue of the Bard in Paisley’s Fountain Gardens

Against the striking backdrop of the park’s A-listed ornate Victorian-era fountain was Paddy Hopkirk’s Mini, Cuthbert the Rover, a Volvo Amazon and a branded Paisley for UK City of Culture 2021 Sunbeam which will also be making the run to Monte Carlo.

The event is being supported by Renfrewshire Council. Provost Anne Hall said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming the Monte Carlo Classic Rally back to Paisley for the fourth year in a row.

“Hosting such a truly international event as this is really helping to put Paisley on the map ahead of the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 being submitted in a couple of months.

“Paisley Abbey always makes a fantastic backdrop for the spectacle of these classic cars setting off for France.

“The people of Renfrewshire have given the event great backing in previous years as they turn out in their numbers to wave them off and I am sure they will again – I’m looking forward to being part of another memorable night.”

Tomorrow afternoon, the cars have to undergo strict scrutineering checks to make sure they comply with the Rally’s regulations. Among those casting a careful eye over the cars will be apprentices at GTG Training in Glasgow.
Ian Taylor, Group Operations Manager at GTG said:”It’s wonderful to once again have the Monte Carlo Rally cars here. Our apprentices look forward to working with the cars which gives them fantastic, hands-on experience. We wish all cars and drivers taking part this year the very best of luck”.

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Phil Steven Poolball Challenge

At 5.30am on Saturday 10th December, Phil Steven made an incredible effort of potting 5,000 pool balls in just 24 hours.

cheque for £2,500 being presented by Phil Steven in our hospice reception to senior fundraiser Carol-Anne Lamont.

Phil chose to support St Vincent’s Hospice as he knew of a few people whose family and friends received great care and support at St Vincent’s. Phil mentioned “They do amazing work there and I wanted to help.”

Phil originally hoped to raise £1,000 for the hospice but ended up raising an incredible £2,500.

“On behalf of everyone at the hospice, we would like to thank Phil very much for all the effort he put in to organising this challenge. To raise such a magnificent sum of money for St Vincent’s Hospice is greatly appreciated.”

“If you are interested in holding your own fundraising event in aid of St Vincent’s Hospice please contact the fundraising team on 01505705635 or email  info@svh.co.uk

 

Quote from Carol-Anne Lamont, Senior Fundraiser

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Paisley 2021 gets 2021st backer at music festival

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 just passed another magical milestone – after 2021 people signed up to back it online.

Scott Lever and Nyree Marsh pushing the button to back the bid

The bid website at paisley2021.co.uk has had an option for residents to ‘push the button’ to register their support since the start of November.

And University of the West of Scotland music student Scott Lever – one of the team who organised the uni’s Scottish Music Festival, taking place today – was the man who helped tip the total over the line.

The first ever music festival at the university saw a number of performances in the Atrium and Brough Hall throughout the day.

The festival was headlined by local band Lemonhaze, who recently won a nationwide competition to open for Paolo Nutini before a crowd of tens of thousands at Edinburgh’s world-famous Hogmanay street party.

And Scott and fellow events management student Nyree Marsh, both from Greenock, were delighted to add their names to the thousands who have already backed the bid online,

Scott said: “We fully support the Paisley 2021 bid and it’s a real honour for me to be the 2021st backer.

“Paisley has so much going on, with the Monte Carlo Rally next week and the Scottish Album of the Year coming back, plus there’s so many good bands.

“The music festival came about when we were asked to put an event on with some bands in the Atrium as part of our course – word got out and it started to grow and we added in guest speakers and people from the Scottish music industry.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board, added: “For Paisley 2021 to reach 2021 online backers in less than three months just shows the depth of support here in the town.

“That number can be added to the almost 10,000 who have already taken part in conversations around the bid online or at one of our events.

“From the start we said the bid would be led by the people of Paisley for the people of Paisley, and that has been the case.

“So it was fitting the 2021st backer was Scott – someone who is doing great work to help showcase the great musical talent we have in the town.

“But the drive for support doesn’t stop here – for us to have a chance of winning we need people to help us show the judges at DCMS that the people of Paisley want the bid and can make it happen.

“You can push the button at paisley2021.co.uk now – let’s see how many we can get to show their support by the time the bid is lodged in April.”

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Smarter help for Renfrewshire’s young job seekers

In a nationwide first Renfrewshire Council, Transport Scotland and McGill’s buses are using Scotland’s smart travel network to help young people between the ages of 16-25 into employment and training.

Where a young person registered with the council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme is eligible for free travel, advisors can now load pre-paid tickets for McGill’s local bus service onto their Young Scot National Entitlement Card, which is part of the saltirecard family of smartcards.

Advisors at the council’s Youth Employability Hub in Paisley will be able to load one, seven or twenty-eight unlimited travel tickets, which eligible young people would redeem by simply tapping their Young Scot National Entitlement Card on-board a McGill’s bus.

Staff at Youth Employability Hub provide support to young people registered with Invest in Renfrewshire. Working with an Adviser tickets are provided based on an individual’s need and can be used for a wide variety of reasons. For example, bus tickets can be provided to attend interviews and training opportunities or to support young people until their first pay packet arrives.

Through offering support at a key time of transition for young people Renfrewshire Council hope to help them find a new job and continue their journey to a positive life destination.

The project is possible because of Transport Scotland’s nationwide smart card infrastructure and the National Entitlement Card which is available to all Young People aged 11-26. It is a partnership between Renfrewshire Council, McGill’s buses, Transport Scotland and Young Scot.

Transport is mentioned by young people as one of their biggest barriers to accessing opportunities. This new initiative is an example of how Scotland’s smart ticketing network can be used to provide targeted help to specific groups of young people. As all young people have the opportunity to have a Young Scot card it can be used for travel without labelling those who benefit.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Helping young people facing particular challenges to achieve their potential is at the heart of our approach to getting people out of poverty.

“We have made it a top priority to increase the opportunities available to people throughout our communities.

“Our ground-breaking £6 million Tackling Poverty programme makes a real difference and is leading the way in Scotland, so it is fitting that Renfrewshire Council is the first local authority in the country to be involved in this initiative.

“This is yet another innovative way to help overcome the barriers that too often stand in the way of someone finding work and achieving a better future.”

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “This is another important step towards the delivery of Smart-enabled travel products which aims to help young people on their journey to employment and training across Renfrewshire.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that all journeys on Scotland’s bus, rail, ferry, subway and tram networks can be accessed using some form of smart ticketing or payment.

“We will continue to work with local authorities and bus operators to develop multi-operator schemes for all commuters across Scotland.”

Ralph Roberts, Managing Director of McGill’s, said: “McGill’s is delighted to be involved with this ground-breaking initiative.  Our £1m+ investment in new ticketing machines in 2016 has allowed us to support this Smart initiative, and we look forward to working closely with Renfrewshire Council, Young Scot and Transport Scotland on future Smart ticketing projects.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot said: “This is really excellent example of how the Young Scot National Entitlement Card can be used to promote equality. By helping young people find and stay in employment, this programme it will have an incredible impact during one of the most important stages in a young person’s journey.”

The project is part of Renfrewshire Council’s £6 million Tackling Poverty Action Plan to end child poverty in Renfrewshire. The smart card scheme one of several ways Renfrewshire Council’s Youth Services Team are using the Young Scot’s services to tackle inequality and improve services. This is the first in a series of smart travel initiatives happening in Renfrewshire in collaboration between Renfrewshire Council and Transport Scotland. More will be announced soon.

ENDS

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A novel way to learn their A, B, C’s

Young children and families are benefitting from a literacy programme aimed to inflame a child’s love of reading.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall with parents, children and nursery staff

Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall visited Linwood Community Childcare to see the Literacy Fun Club firsthand as it aims to address the attainment gap at the first stage of education.

Provost Hall observed children learning about The Gruffalo which included a group reading session, a Gruffalo Hunt and the creation of finger puppets to inject a sense of fun into reading out with the traditional approach.

The Club runs for six weeks with a different book and activity each week designed to develop a child’s love of stories, reading and to develop their imagination beyond the book itself.

A parent reading with their child

The children and their families create a family box during the first week which stores each book and activity they complete.

At the end of the six weeks, they are able to take their ‘mini-library’ home creating a literacy resource which they can explore, re-visit and ultimately develop further.

The early intervention project was awarded £2300.40 by the Houston, Crosslee, Linwood, Riverside and Erskine Local Area Committee (LAC) to support the group’s aims and provide resources for the families to use across the six weeks.

Parents and their children making finger puppets

Provost Hall said: “It’s great to see the children so excited to read their latest book and take part in the fun activities.

“A love for reading is extremely beneficial in aiding a child’s education and sparking a willingness to learn and we should encourage this time of approach to education.

“Strong literacy skills increase the opportunities for the individual in all aspects of life and it is great to see this project bring families together to support their child’s learning.”

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Service of Dedication to remember those lost to suicide

An annual memorial service to commemorate those who have lost their lives to suicide will be held in Paisley next week.

The memorial tree

Renfrewshire support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) will be holding a short service open to all on Thursday 26 January.

The service will be attended by Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall, Reverend Alan Birss and Deacon Jack Gallacher and will be held in the Marriage Suite of Renfrewshire House.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall lays a remembrance wreath

Friends and relatives are invited to meet at the Marriage Suite from 3:15pm to collect a commemorative purple heart on which they can write a message to a loved one, if so desired.

At 3:30pm there will be a short set of readings followed by a procession to the memorial tree where the Provost will lay a wreath and light the tree.

The memorial tree was first dedicated in 2010 as a permanent memorial to those who have died through suicide and is believed to have been the first of its kind in Scotland.

A girl places a purple heart on the tree in remembrance

Following the service all those attending are cordially invited to join the Provost, the local SOBS support group and the Choose Life team for light refreshments in Paisley Abbey.

The service aims to provide an opportunity to remember those who have been lost while providing an arm of support to the survivors. It is an opportunity to connect with others who have faced a similar situation.

Provost Hall said: “The annual service provides those who have been affected by suicide a chance to commemorate their loved ones and also find support from others who have faced similar heartbreak.

“I would encourage anyone who feels this may benefit them to come along and join me at the service as we remember those lost too soon.”

The local support group meets on the last Wednesday of the month, 7:00pm-8:30pm, at the Wynd Centre, Paisley and new members are always welcome.

Lisa Aitken, Choose Life Resource Worker, said: “It is important that we remember those lost to suicide and also support those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one.

“The annual service provides an opportunity for people to meet others who have faced similar difficulties and all are welcome to attend.”

For more information contact the Choose Life Team on 0141 849 2200 or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/sobs.

If you are feeling suicidal, or you know someone that might be then please call one of the helpline numbers: Samaritan’s 116 123, Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87, RAMH First Crisis 0141 849 90 90 or 0500 829 093

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Community centre upgrades continue

THE programme of works to upgrade six community centres, in Renfrewshire is now well underway.

Johnstone Castle Community Centre is now re-open after repairs and improvements were carried out and work has started at Ralston Community Centre.

The next facility to temporarily close for an upgrade is Glenburn Community Centre and work there is expected to start mid-February.

The improvements project is part of a £3 million investment upgrading six community centres and is managed by a joint project team made up of officers from Renfrewshire Council, Community Resources and Renfrewshire Leisure. Renfrewshire Council’s own building services workforce is carrying out the work.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “The work being carried out on community centres throughout Renfrewshire will create upgraded and attractive facilities for local people to use.”

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Piazza shows support for bid with Paisley 2021 signage

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture will be seen by five million rail passengers this year – after bosses at the town’s Piazza shopping centre unveiled a giant Paisley 2021 sign.

The branding has just been installed on the side of the centre’s recently-revamped multi-story car park, which faces on to the platform at Paisley Gilmour Street station.

And it means passengers at the station – Scotland’s fourth-busiest – won’t be able to miss the giant advert for Paisley’s ambitions.

Maureen Hill and Cllr Macmillan on the platform at Paisley Gilmour Street, looking on to the sign

Councillor Mark Macmillan – chair of the Paisley 2021 partnership board – said: “We looked at various sites in the town and identified the Piazza car park as one being seen by huge numbers of people.

“A big part of the bid is about raising awareness of Paisley and changing perceptions of the town among potential visitors.

“This means the millions of passengers a year travelling between Glasgow, the airport, Ayrshire and Inverclyde will be aware of what is happening here.

“A successful bid will bring massive economic benefits to Paisley town centre and huge numbers of visitors spending their money with local businesses.

“When the bid goes in it will be crucial we can show the judges at DCMS there is support from throughout the local community.

“To date more than 100 local businesses have shown their support and I would like thank The Piazza for getting involved in this way.”

The Piazza multi-storey car park has a capacity of 336 spaces and recently had a £1.3m revamp, which saw external and internal improvements.

That included extra disabled and parent/child bays, work on the lighting and surfaces, repainting the outside of the building, and new lifts and CCTV.

Piazza manager Maureen Hill added: “We made a major investment in the new car park because we have confidence in what lies ahead for Paisley town centre.

“If Paisley was to be named UK City of Culture 2021 it would be a massive boost to ourselves and other town centre businesses in terms of footfall.

“We are delighted to show our support for the bid to the many millions who pass through the station each year.”