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Home energy advice could save residents from huge winter bills

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People are urged to get ahead of the cold winter weather by looking at how they can save on their energy bills.

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With many weather predictions indicating it will be a cold winter, households across Renfrewshire will be turning their heating up.

But, help is on hand to manage household fuel bills and keep costs down.

Residents can speak to an Energy Advisor at Renfrewshire Citizen’s Advice Bureau as well as get energy advice from Renfrewshire Council’s Energy Advocacy service, the Local Energy Action Plan (LEAP), and Advice4Renfrewshire – with information on how to get in touch available through Advice Renfrewshire.

Convener of Finance, Resources and Customer Services at Renfrewshire Council, Councillor John Shaw, said: “One of the key areas that can save people money is finding out how to reduce your energy bills, especially this year with cold snaps expected throughout winter.

“We don’t want people worrying about their fuel bills come January and there are many simple things that people can do now to prevent huge bills.”

Getting independent and expert advice on a wide-range of energy issues can help residents keep warm without spending a fortune.

Support is available to all residents in the area whether they live in a council house, housing association house, private rent or they own their own home. Advice Renfrewshire can support residents to find an organisation that can help them reduce their energy costs.

Councillor Shaw continued: “Having a free, confidential and impartial service that people can call upon to get expert advice in their own home can turn around months of worry. Advice Renfrewshire brings together a network of services that can support people when they need it.”

Advice Renfrewshire is a one-stop shop to find free, confidential and impartial advice in Renfrewshire. Visit https://advicerenfrewshire.org or call FREEPHONE 0808 164 2922.

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Jingle Bell Mile is a walk in the park for Johnstone pupils

Pupils in Johnstone have jingled all the way round their local community as part of a festive walk.

Together with their parents, teachers and their Active Schools Coordinators Scott Graham and Senga McLeod, pupils at St David’s Primary School took part in their first Jingle Bell Mile, a festive version of the School Daily Mile.

Passersby were treated to Christmas songs as the merry group made their way around the community.

Pupils have been tallying up the miles they walk since August, with the class that walks the most miles receiving a special prize each month.

The whole school is aiming to walk the same distance from their school in Johnstone to another St David’s in Canada – a total distance of 2100 miles.

Headteacher Linda Berry said: “We invited all of our family members to come and join us for a festive walk around our local community, stopping a couple of times during the mile to sing Christmas songs and spread some Christmas cheer to people who were passing by!

“Our Jingle Bell Walk was a fundraiser for our school funds as well as an opportunity for our school wider community to join us in the daily mile.

“At St. David’s, we take part in the Daily Mile as part of our focus on health and wellbeing. It is a great opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle to all of our pupils.”

The School Daily Mile has been shown to improve interest in health and wellbeing as children grow up and even increase concentration and attainment levels in primary school.

Convener of Education and Children’s Services at Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “Health and wellbeing is an important part of school life. All pupils are encouraged to take part in healthy activities and this has a significant impact on their general wellbeing and their performance at school.”

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Hospice looking for support following break in

Following a break in to their charity shop in Glenburn, St. Vincent’s Hospice are appealing to local trade workers to repair their locks and shutters ahead of Christmas.

A provider of specialist palliative care for people with life limiting conditions, along with support for their families and children, the St. Vincent’s Charity shops throughout Renfrewshire provide a vital income for the Hospice.

Kate Lennon, Chief Executive of St. Vincent’s Hospice, said: “We are shocked and saddened that someone would do this just days before Christmas. Not only have we lost the contents of our cash register and safe, but the break in has caused extensive damage to our store, the security shutters and locks on the doors.

“All proceeds from our shops go directly towards allowing us to continue to offer the care and support we do for people throughout the community. We are asking for any local businesses or trade workers to please help us repair the damage caused to our shop and get it back up and running over the festive season.”

This is the busiest time of year for the shops, meaning the damage will cause a significant loss of income, along with the cost of repairs. If you, or someone you know, is able to help St. Vincent’s Hospice, please get in touch by calling 01505 705635.

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Renfrew High pupils book in for advent calendar with a difference

PUPILS at Renfrew High School have been opening an advent calendar with a difference in the run-up to Christmas.


Instead of a chocolate treat, youngsters from S1 to S3 are getting the chance to win a brand new book as a present every day of Advent, right up to Christmas Eve. The winners are chosen in a prize draw.

The unusual Festive initiative is part of a programme of events encouraging pupils to read more, after Renfrew High was one of only six schools, in Scotland chosen to take part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge for secondary schools.


Funding for the Advent books has come from the Scottish Book Trust, together with a discounted price from Waterstones bookstore, at intu Braehead.

Already pupils have had visits by authors, two youngsters travelled to the Scottish Book Trust headquarters, in Edinburgh to discuss the initiative and other pupils were guests on BBC Radio Scotland talking about books and reading.

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge programme at Renfrew High is being led by Renfrewshire Leisure librarian, Robin Dunlop, in conjunction with staff at the school.


Other schools taking part in the secondary reading challenge are St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High, East Kilbride; Bannockburn High; Arbroath Academy; Clydebank High and Sgoil Lionacleit, on Benbecula.
Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “The concept of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge is to raise awareness and provide a reading for pleasure culture among teenagers.
“Along with staff at Renfrew High, Robin is doing a fantastic job in creating a new interest in reading among the pupils there.

“And giving out a book every day of Advent is certainly a gift of reading, which hopefully the pupils will continue to do as they make their way to adulthood.”

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Six key sectors to a thriving Renfrewshire economy

Renfrewshire businesses are forming specialist teams to grow six key sectors of the local economy.

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Members of Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel – which brings together the region’s business and education experts – have identified the six target areas of culture, health and childcare, manufacturing, skills, tourism and transport.

Now plans are in place to create six groups who will meet in January as they formulate specific strategies for each area of emphasis.

The Leadership Panel was established in the summer to drive Renfrewshire’s future economic success. Its membership is drawn from companies large and small across the area together with representatives from the public sector, further and higher education and national agencies.

Its first task is to support the development of a long-term economic strategy for Renfrewshire from 2018-2035 and the sector specific groups will play a key role.

Audrey Cumberford, Principal and Chief Executive of West College Scotland and Chair of the Renfrewshire Economic Leadership Panel said: “This panel is about taking action and about each organisation recognising its responsibility to develop Renfrewshire’s economic potential.

“These teams will focus on areas we know are hugely important to Renfrewshire’s economic health and will ensure people with the right knowledge and expertise play their part in accelerating the area’s economic fortunes.”

These latest developments come as Councillors on the Leadership Board today (Tuesday 12 December, 2017) approved a new Renfrewshire Economic Profile, providing bitesize data on how the local economy is faring.

The six-monthly snapshot will be shared online and give councillors a handy tool to track local progress.

The example November 2017 profile shows Renfrewshire’s employment rate at 74.7 per cent, outstripping the Glasgow City Region and higher than the Scottish average.

It also shows a five per cent unemployment rate, again bettering the national position, with average weekly earnings £14 up on the average Scot.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are committed to putting the measures in place which attract new jobs and opportunities to Renfrewshire. The Economic Leadership Panel provides vital strategic direction and the formation of these new teams are most welcome to devise specific plans for these six hugely important sectors to the Renfrewshire economy.

“It is only through partnership working that we can achieve our collective goals and at the same time having this regular profile of our economic performance enables us to make the strategic directions to deliver a thriving Renfrewshire.”

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Renfrewshire pupils are on song at Paisley Abbey

The sound of music flowed through Paisley Abbey as pupils from across Renfrewshire performed in the annual schools Christmas concert.

Aspiring musicians from a variety of Renfrewshire schools utilised the stunning acoustics of the historic venue to showcase their talents and musicianship to the local community.

The performance began with the violins and cellos of the Renfrewshire Schools String Ensemble’s as they performed ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’.

This was followed by a moving performance of Africca and Tron Legacy by the assorted battery of the Schools Percussion Ensemble, which incorporated an array of instruments including timpani, drums, marimba, tubular bells and more.

The Senior Concert band then played a range of Gershwin Classics, as well as music from Shrek, leaving the Abbey reverberating with the sounds of trumpets, saxophones and flutes.

Culture and tradition then enveloped the Abbey as the Feis Phaislig Choir opened the second half with a selection of Gaelic songs.

The Senior Ceilidh Band had the audience tapping along as they concluded the concert with a fantastic rendition of ‘Let Ramensky Go’, featuring Sorcha Alcorn Stewart on vocals.

Councillor Jim Paterson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Policy Board, said: “We have a wealth of aspiring musicians in Renfrewshire and it’s fantastic to see our pupils bring their talents together to put on such an extraordinary performance.

“It is vital that we encourage our young people to express themselves musically which is why we committed to offering free music tuition to our school pupils, allowing them the opportunity to find their talent from an early age.

“We want our pupils to aim high and achieve their dreams and what better inspiration than performing in the same venue as our home-grown success story Paolo Nutini did so recently.”

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Business leaders welcome National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland to Renfrewshire

Business leaders welcome National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland to Renfrewshire

Renfrewshire’s business community has welcomed the news that Scotland’s National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) will be established in Renfrewshire.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday (Monday 11 December) announced the industry-led institute will be built on Abbotsinch Road, next to Glasgow Airport, and will become the anchor tenant of a new 130-acre business and manufacturing innovation district in Renfrewshire.

A collaborative project between the Scottish Government and national skills and enterprise agencies together with the University of Strathclyde and Renfrewshire Council, the Institute will bring together skills, expertise, research and innovation to attract investment and develop Scotland into a global leader in advanced manufacturing.

The enabling infrastructure of roads, bridges, cycleways and pedestrian routes are being delivered by Renfrewshire Council through the £39.1million Glasgow Airport Investment Area project, funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

Chair of Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel, Audrey Cumberford, feels the new institute will allow Renfrewshire to realise its economic potential.

She said: “Choosing Renfrewshire as the base for the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland is a clear indication of the area’s potential to be a leading light in the global manufacturing sector.

“The levels of private investment this could bring to Renfrewshire cannot be underestimated and this will provide a substantial boost to the area’s economic growth.

“The investment, combined with the significant improvement to infrastructure in the area, will be a key contributor in making Renfrewshire a more attractive, vibrant and sustainable place to live, work, visit and invest in.”

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Bob Grant, has also welcomed the announcement citing the promise of thousands of new jobs coming into the area.

He said: “It is fantastic that Renfrewshire has been chosen as the home for the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and it is recognition of our growing position within the international manufacturing sector.

“Thousands of highly-skilled jobs are set to be created across the next 20 years in a boost to employment across the area, while also providing an opportunity to inspire young people into an exciting and rewarding career within the industry.

“New and existing businesses in the area will feel the benefit of the increase in skilled workers in Renfrewshire, as well as the expertise and technological advances the institute brings, as it aims to allow Scotland to compete globally in manufacturing.”

The announcement builds on the recent development of the £8.9million Lightweight Manufacturing Centre, set to open in May 2018 at the Doosan Babcock site in Westway, Renfrew.

The centre will develop new manufacturing processes for lightweight materials for the aerospace and automotive industries.

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Renfrewshire is the ‘perfect home’ for Scotland’s manufacturing centre

Scotland’s national centre for advanced manufacturing has the ‘perfect home’ in Renfrewshire, according to Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson.

Councillor Nicolson was welcoming the Scottish Government announcement today that the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) will be established on Abbotsinch Road, next to Glasgow Airport.

Work to build the £65million industry-led Institute will start in 2018 with the University of Strathclyde as the anchor university and is expected to be the catalyst for thousands of jobs.

It will be the anchor tenant of a new 130-acre business and manufacturing district being developed around Glasgow Airport.

The enabling infrastructure of roads, bridges, cycleways and pedestrian routes are being delivered by Renfrewshire Council through the £39.1million Glasgow Airport Investment Area project, funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

“Renfrewshire is the perfect home for Scotland’s national manufacturing institute and I am delighted that it will be established here,” said Councillor Nicolson. “We offer the right environment for it to flourish, with a strong manufacturing base and highly skilled workforce already in place, complemented by the excellent research expertise across the region.

“This combined with excellent connections by air, land and sea — which will be further enhanced by our Glasgow City Region City Deal projects — make it the ideal choice for this exciting development.”

The Institute is a collaborative project between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council, University of Strathclyde and Renfrewshire Council.

It aims to make Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing, combining research, industry and public sector expertise to transform skills, productivity and innovation in a sector which already accounts for half of Scotland’s international exports.

Manufacturers in Scotland and worldwide will be able to access the Institute’s services through virtual reality technology.

There will also be a skills academy to enable manufacturing staff to keep up-to-date with new tools and techniques and the Institute will act as a ‘shop front’ inspiring the next generation of engineers and innovators.

This announcement builds on the development of the £8.9million Lightweight Manufacturing Centre which will open in May 2018 at the Doosan Babcock site in Westway, Renfrew, developing new manufacturing processes for lightweight materials for the aerospace and automotive industries.

Councillor Nicolson added: “Renfrewshire has long been renowned for its manufacturing exports, not least giving Paisley Pattern to the world, and I am excited about the prospect of helping to play our part in making Scotland a global leader in advanced manufacturing.

“This is an exciting time as we put in place the infrastructure and investment which connects communities, creates jobs and delivers a thriving Renfrewshire.

“The arrival of the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland is a hugely important part of this journey and we look forward to working with colleagues to deliver its ambitious aims.”

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Niamh has core skills for archery contest

Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men had nothing on the youngsters who took part in the Renfrewshire Schools Archery Championships.


There was some excellent shooting with a bow and arrow from the 22 local primary and secondary pupils who took part in the competition, held at St Andrew’s Academy, in Paisley.

The top eight archers will now go on to compete in an inter-authority competition against teams from East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde. This will be the first time a schools archery contest will be held between the different local authority areas.

At the Renfrewshire championships – organised by Renfrewshire Leisure – first place in the club archers’ section went to Linda Lay, from Renfrew High; second was Hannah Coulter, from Gleniffer High and third place went to Amy Lieberman, also from Gleniffer High.

In the beginners’ section, first place went to Daniel Evans, from Gryffe High; second was Lewis McGeachin, also from Gryffe High and third pace, went to Reece Nicholl, from St Andrew’s Academy.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “It was great so much enthusiasm among the youngsters for the sport of archery and there was some fine shooting during the competition.
“We’re keen to encourage people to try all kinds of sport as it’s important to experience as many different sorts as you can when you are young, so you cam find one particular sport that you enjoy and can excel at.

“We’d also like to thank students from West College Scotland who volunteered to act as scorers and assist in the running of the competition and to St Andrew’s Academy for hosting the event.”

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Reading is in the good books for Renfrewshire pupils

Pupils have caught the book bug this week as schools across Renfrewshire took part in the national reading campaign Book Week Scotland.

Raising literacy levels in children and young people across all early years, primary and secondary schools is a significant part of Renfrewshire’s ambitions.

The Renfrewshire Literacy Approach, a cutting-edge partnership between Renfrewshire Council and the University of Strathclyde, has supported children and young people to develop a love of reading from a young age.

During Book Week Scotland, families, pupils, teachers and support staff at Todholm Primary School launched biodegradable balloons for each child and their favourite book. The child whose balloon travels the furthest will receive a personal copy of the book of their choice.

S1 pupils at Trinity High School have been raising money for children in hospital by taking part in a read-athon, with teachers also getting involved and making their own reading recommendations.

Kilbarchan Primary pupils took part in an Extreme Reading Challenge, swapped books, read books in their PJs and asked resident author (and Primary Teacher at the school) Lindsay Littleson about why she started writing books.

The Skoobmobile proved to be a lot of fun for Howwood Primary School pupils, with P1 and P2 classes receiving Read, Write and Count bags and older children received a visit from local author Lindsay Littleson.

Kirklandneuk Primary School pupils dressed as their favourite character and took part in fun reading sessions, including a reading lunch and ‘Drop Everything and Read’ events.

Renfrewshire-based author Vikki Gemmell popped into Castlehead High School for a creative workshop with S3 pupils, while Anne Donovan visited Renfrew High to discuss her short story collection, Hieroglyphics.

DIY bath-bomb making and yoga workshops were also held in Renfrew High to showcase different aspects of nourish on top of reading for pleasure.

“Guess the shelfie” also proved popular at Castlehead High, as pupils tried to guess which teacher the bookshelf belonged to.

Everyone at St James’ Primary School, Renfrew, took part in a mannequin challenge based on their favourite book, while P7 pupils created a flash mob and P5 pupils learned about storytelling techniques from reading patron Renita Boyle.

P7 pupils at St James’ Primary School, Renfrew, created a dance flash mob, while everyone took part in

Schools also held I Am Reading challenges, took part in Bookbugs, visited libraries and held reading assemblies.

Fiona Mackenzie, Headteacher at Kilbrachan Primary School, said: “From extreme reading to cosy corners, the activities during Book Week Scotland has helped to foster a love of reading that will develop life-long literacy skills in order to raise the attainment of all.”

Lindsay Littleson, author and teacher at Kilbarchan Primary School, said: “I really enjoyed talking to the pupils in Kilbarchan Primary about how I became an author. I’m hoping to inspire some young writers.”

Claire Hall, Challenge Leader of Literacy and Numeracy/Principal Teacher at Todholm Primary School, said: “Our Balloon Launch was spectacular and we were delighted with the number of parents, grandparents and carers who attended.

“Family learning sessions were held by each class and familes took the resources home with them afterwards. We had a large queue of parents around the school waiting to come in. We are delighted with the response the event has had.”

Robin Dunlop, School Librarian at Renfrew High, said: “Book Week Scotland is a great opportunity to promote and integrate a reading culture in schools – via interactive and engaging means.

“This year’s theme of health and wellbeing has proved an inspiring subject matter to expand awareness and integrate a reading culture for a healthy mindset.”

Renfrew High are also one of a few secondary schools in Scotland taking part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge – in partnership with Scottish Book Trust and Waterstones – and each day during Advent, one of their pupils will receive a free book.

Renfrewshire is one of nine local authorities in the Scottish Government’s Attainment Challenge, supporting the Council’s work to close the poverty-related attainment gap and raise attainment for all.

Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “Book Week Scotland is a fantastic way to celebrate reading in our early years, primary and secondary schools. Getting children and young people hooked on reading from an early age is the aim of the successful Renfrewshire Literacy Approach, developed in partnership with the University of Strathclyde.

“It has already boosted reading levels by empowering teachers to adapt their teaching style as needed to develop a love of reading in all pupils. We continue to build upon our approach to literacy and numeracy as we work towards achieving our ambitions.”