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JOINING CONTACT THE ELDERLY COULD BE THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT THIS YEAR

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For most of us, Christmas is a time when families gather and special times are had with loved ones. But for many Christmas can be a lonely time, much like any other day for those with little or no company.

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Contact the Elderly, a charity which offers tea, cake and most importantly, company, to older people is currently looking for more guests to join their groups that help alleviate loneliness amongst the older generation in Renfrewshire.

The charity provides tea parties which take place once a month on a Sunday afternoon and are an opportunity for those aged 75 and over who live alone to get out of the house and socialise.

A vast network of more than 1300 volunteers currently help 1000 people across Scotland through 112 parties taking place throughout the country from the Borders to the Highlands.

A volunteer driver collects one or two guests and joins them at the party before returning them safely home. A volunteer host welcomes a group of six to eight people into their home once a year, laying on afternoon tea and a warm atmosphere.

Morna O’ May, Head of Service – Scotland, for Contact the Elderly said:

“Our presence has grown significantly in recent years but we are always aware there are so many more people we could be supporting and volunteers we could potentially be working with.

“Our tea parties in towns and cities throughout Scotland, including those running locally, make such a difference to older people who live alone and we cannot thank our volunteers enough. Without them the charity wouldn’t be possible.”

The charity recently launched the ‘Be Our Guest’ campaign encouraging people to help identify those in their local community who would enjoy the tea parties.

Morna continues:

“It is incredibly difficult for someone who is older, and often isolated, to reach out and ask for help. We work with agencies throughout Scotland to help us identify who might benefit from our services but we know there are more and are encouraging those to help us reach out to people in their community who would benefit from the chance to enjoy a bit of a blether over a tasty afternoon tea”.

When asked about their experience at the monthly tea parties guests comments were only ever positive. One said:

“It is such a relief for me to come here today.  I feel as if I’ve been swimming and struggling to get to the surface but now it’s easy to swim!”

A volunteer added:

“It is such a pleasure to be around the guests who are all lovely and still motivated to get out and meet other people. They were all very inspirational.”

To find out more about Contact the Elderly and volunteering contact morna.o’may@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.  To refer a potential older guest call Freephone 0800 716 543, visit www.contact-the-elderly.org.uk or email guest@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.

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20 years at the helm of Paisley.org.uk

Brian McGuire

My Name is Brian McGuire today marks 20 years of me doing the Paisley website, what do I get from it… One word Pride and pride for all the volunteers who have set out to help do what I have set out to do, without them it would be nothing. I don’t ask for riches I don’t ask for fame, although there are others out there who attempt a poor copy of what I have set out to do. I shall name no names.

Brian McGuire

What have I set out to do… Well promote Paisley in a Positive Light i.e #PositivePaisley

When I first started no one knew what was going on in the town, no one cared, the town was a shambles as far as organisation was concerned.

Now Look, it’s amazing the place tonight was buzzing there is a real sense of optimism. I would like to think by setting up www.paisley.org.uk I was in some way responsible for changing perceptions and I am not wrong. I hopefully have made people sit up and notice that their town should be something to be proud of not something to ignore. The council through its successive administrations certainly has started to really get its act together.

I help all sorts of organisations, all quietly I never shout from the rooftop unlike some pretenders who are out for themselves.

I love the town I grew up in and live and work in. Paisley 2021 is an amazing thing which I hope succeeds.

Paisley has cultural, historical and the people who live in the town just make it come alive. I shall continue to do what I do, I will overcome the barriers in our way and Paisley will be great again.. I thank all the visitors to the number of websites and of course the sponsors without such I couldn’t do what I do. The Future is Bright…. Thank you… 20 Years is a long time… here’s to the next 20….

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Please support Paisley on the web by voting for us

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Paisley on the web is looking for your support to win the best community group category in Renfrewshire Council’s Provost’s Community Awards.

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Paisley on the web was started almost 20 years ago by Brian McGuire and continues to this day with many volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure that the community is kept up to date with information and events happening in Renfrewshire.

If you like what we do, please follow the attached link  http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provostawards and complete the interactive nomination form.

 

 

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Invisible Army interview

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Invisible Army is a new play by Victoria Beesley (My Friend Selma) which has been created in collaboration with young carers from the Glasgow South West Carers Centre.
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Combining storytelling with movement and original live music, Invisible Army is a funny, moving, imaginative and charming insight into the life of a young carer.

Peter Greenwood from Paisley.org.uk interviews Invisible Army at Paisley Arts Centre.

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PRESENTATION OF THE QUEEN’S AWARD TO THE WYND CENTRE

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The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services was presented to The Wynd Centre by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Renfrewshire, Mr Guy Clark, on 5 October 2016.

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The Wynd Centre which is based in School Wynd, Paisley, operates a donation –based Counselling Service and provides accommodation for a wide range of other voluntary groups and charities.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work in their communities. The awards were created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee and winners are announced each year on 2 June – the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

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Almost one hundred Wynd Centre volunteers, both past and present, joined a number of invited guests to see the Lord Lieutenant present a framed certificate and domed crystal to the Centre’s Chairman, Graeme McGowan.

The citation, which was read by Deputy Lieutenant Norman Walker at the presentation, paid tribute to the commitment and enthusiasm of the volunteers. The citation went on to state that “With a highly recognised counselling service at its heart, the Wynd Centre has become indispensable in providing an accessible resource and a lifeline for many vulnerable individuals from every section of the community.”

Graeme McGowan, Chairman of The Wynd Centre, said:

 “This is a tremendous achievement for The Wynd Centre and is testament to the invaluable work which we have been carrying out in our community for over thirty years.

This is all thanks to our team of volunteers, both now and in the past, and I sincerely thank them for their contribution to the work of The Wynd Centre.”

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Run, jog, walk or volunteer at local parkruns says Gavin Newlands MP

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Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North,  encourages everyone in Renfrewshire to run, jog, walk or volunteer at a ‘parkrun’ on the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of October to help celebrate the 12th anniversary of the running phenomenon. There are parkruns currently taking place in 440 Constituencies each weekend, with more events launching every week. 

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Gavin Newlands MP is taking part in the parkrun event that’s being held in Linwood on Saturday the 1st of October. 

parkrun UK supports local volunteers to establish and deliver free, weekly, timed runs for their communities, which are accessible to both runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. 

Saturday 5k events are open to everyone, and 2k junior parkrun on Sunday is for children aged from 4-14. 

Since the first parkrun in London’s Bushy Park in 2004, more than one million people in the UK have taken part. Each weekend sees around 90,000 runners and walkers participating in the free 5k and 2k events, thanks to the contribution of 10,000 volunteers. 

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

“parkrun and junior parkrun are two of the most accessible activities you will find anywhere. They are completely free, open to anyone and perfect for families because they can participate together. 

“The fact that parkrun is a run not a race, and finishes with people enjoying tea and coffee together, shows that it is as much about bringing the local community together each week as it is about running. 

“I am looking forward to taking part in the parkrun event that’s being held in Linwood on the 1st of October. This will be a great opportunity to have fun as a community and become more active in the process. 

Chief Operating Officer for parkrun UK Tom Williams said:

“Our aim is to break down the barriers to regular physical activity and volunteering, both for organisers and participants. We are proud to support local volunteers in more than 500 locations around the UK who provide parkrun to their communities every weekend.

“We know that many MPs are already regular participants at their local parkruns, and we’ve been delighted to hear from so many others who will be going along on the first weekend in October to see first-hand the amazing contribution that parkrun volunteers are making in their constituencies.”

 Earlier this month around 50 MPs attended a parkrun Parliamentary Reception hosted by Graham Evans MP, the Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Running. The Reception provided parkrun UK with an opportunity to explain more about how it is supporting local communities to promote regular physical activity and volunteering.

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Johnstone Cat Rescue appeal for donations to help pay veterinary fees

Sam the Cat who is being looked after at Johnstone Cat Rescue

Johnstone Cat Rescue (JCR) have made an appeal for funds to help pay daily bills like veterinary fees.

Volunteers have been working day-by-day to help and protect cats in Renfrewshire since the Renfrewshire branch of Cats Protection closed back in 2014.

Sam the Cat who is being looked after at Johnstone Cat Rescue

On a regular basis JCR receive cats who have injuries, infections and conditions related to old age that require life-long medication.

Margaret Finnigen from JCR wrote about one of the latest cats to need their help “Sam is Johnstone Cat Rescue’s latest challenge. So badly neglected that he has rock hard tufts and knots on his back that are causing him great discomfort.

“Sam cannot bear to have his back touched, it’s far too painful for him. As a result, he is missing out on cuddles that other cats take for granted. We have booked Sam into the vet for a dematt procedure but he will have to be put under sedation.”

Looking after Renfrewshire’s cats is basically a full-time job: “Sam is only one of many cats that need our help, and we need your help to allow us to continue our work. We have cats who come in with injuries, infections, and other conditions related to old age that require life-long medication.

“We also strive to keep down the population of unwanted kittens by neutering as many cats as we can. Since the demise of the Renfrewshire branch of Cats Protection in 2014, volunteers at Johnstone Cat Rescue have been working solidly day by day to help cats all over Renfrewshire. Aside from food and litter, vet fees are our biggest outlay, and our biggest fear is that we will run out of funds.

“We work more or less full-time. We don’t get paid, nor do we ask to. In fact, we often dig into our purses when the need arises. What we area asking is for the support of the Renfrewshire public to help us continue

“Please remember, it could be you that needs our help someday.”

If you would like to make a donation you can follow the link below to their Just Giving page.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/justgivingjohnstonecatrescue

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Renfrewshire One Digital Meet Up

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CHARITIES and voluntary organisations across Renfrewshire are being invited to take part in the very first One Digital Meet Up at Johnstone Town Hall on Thursday 22nd September. From 12.30pm – 3.30pm attendees will hear from speakers such as Alan McNiven from Engage Renfrewshire and Diane Webb from Renfrewshire Council about all things digital in the Renfrewshire area.

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Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty Team established a Digital Team help improve digital participation throughout Renfrewshire through classes and recruiting volunteers to support organisations with digital. This event is being delivered in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation’s Digital Participation Team. There will be presentations and technology demonstrations and a general networking session afterwards to discuss any concerns and issues organisations and individuals may have.

Organisations and individuals with an interest in finding out more about digital participation and the latest digital happenings in Renfrewshire are encouraged to come along. Lauren Gilmour, Digital Volunteer Co-Ordinator based at Engage Renfrewshire who is helping to organise the event said:

“This is a really great opportunity for people across Renfrewshire to come together and talk about digital. As we know, it’s the way forward for many organisations and the benefits it brings to them far outweigh the negatives. But some people lack access and basic skills to get online and our job is to try and change that through training courses, investing in infrastructure and events like this.”

Anyone who is interested in going along to the event is encouraged to register online at http://www.meetup.com/One-Digital-Meetup/events/233112413/ or contact Lauren Gilmour at Engage Renfrewshire on 0141 887 7707 or  lgilmour@engagerenfrewshire.com

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Teenage Syrian refugees rewarded for volunteer work

the five boys with Provost Anne Hall and Councillor Mark Macmillan

Five teenage Syrian refugees who arrived in Renfrewshire last year have been praised for their volunteering work with an environmental charity.

 the five boys with Provost Anne Hall and Councillor Mark Macmillan

the five boys with Provost Anne Hall and Councillor Mark Macmillan

The boys are part of a small community of families welcomed to Paisley last November after fleeing the civil war in their homeland.

Renfrewshire welcomed 81 refugees from Syria under the Government’s vulnerable persons resettlement scheme – the third-highest of any area in the UK.

The boys, aged between 15 and 17, were presented with Saltire Awards for their work with the Environmental Training Team (ETT), which organises community clean-ups and not-for-profit enterprise including garden maintenance.

The boys – brothers Ahmad and Ayman Ahmad, Moatasem and Ebrahim Andoura and Issa Al Ahmad – are all pupils of Paisley Grammar and have been volunteering with the charity since June.

Mohamad and Ebrahim Andoura

Mohamad and Ebrahim Andoura

Renfrewshire Council staff arranged the opportunity for the boys through local volunteer co-ordinators Engage Renfrewshire, and paid for their travel costs.

And council leader Mark Macmillan was on hand to present the boys with their certificates at a small ceremony at ETT’s base in the town’s Ferguslie Park area.

He said: “We believe everybody has a moral duty to help those who are fleeing persecution and oppression.

“That’s why we are proud Renfrewshire was able to lead the way in Scotland by welcoming a community of Syrian refugees to the area last year.

“Council staff have worked hard to help the group settle in here – and it’s great to see the boys and their families integrating into the local community like this.

“I was delighted to be able to present these certificates to the boys and wish to thank them for their efforts.”

Alan McNiven, chief executive of local third-sector body Engage Renfrewshire, added: “This award is designed to encourage young people to develop their skills within a team and we were thrilled to be able to honour the boys for their efforts.

“People have many reasons to volunteer – it’s not just the opportunity itself, they want to know they are giving something back and growing themselves too.

“The boys have made a really positive contribution to the Renfrewshire community and we would love to continue to work with them on any of the many other volunteering opportunities we have available.”

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One of Renfrewshire’s Syrian refugees has thanked the people of the area for welcoming them to their new life in Scotland.

Mohamad Andoura arrived in Paisley last November along with his wife and four children – and says his family love their new home…even though they had to get used to the Scottish weather.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “When I was back in Syria I always wanted to travel to the UK and now it is my home. Scotland is a great country and the people are amazing.

“I want to thank the people for receiving us – it was a great way we were received. I want to thank Renfrewshire Council – thanks to them my kids are going to school and studying.

“The main difference here is the weather. But I like Scottish people – they are always smiling and we have not experienced any racism.

“We feel at home here but we miss our family back home in Syria. They are not secure there – but there is nothing we can do for them.

“There is just one thing we are missing – I am looking for work and hope to find a job. In Syria I was an accountant and had experience of running a coffee shop. Having a job is very important to Middle Eastern men.”

His son, Ebrahim, aged 17, is one of the boys who volunteered with the charity. He added: “Paisley is a nice area. The people in Scotland are very nice and they smile all the time.

“To be working as a volunteer is very good for me and has given me confidence.

“There were different things we did here and I learned new things, such as how to mow the lawn.

“I am learning English although in school I do not understand everything. But my teachers in school are trying to come up with different ways to teach us and they do their best.

“My favourite subjects are maths and woodwork. When I leave school I want to go to university to study mechanical engineering.”

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Kilbarchan community projects boosted by cash injection

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Three projects in Kilbarchan are set to benefit from over £5000 in grants awarded by the Renfrewshire Council Citizens Fund.

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The Citizens Fund exists to provide financial assistance to those living and working in the area to further voluntary activity and to aid the regeneration of the community.

And at a meeting of the council’s Finance and Resources Policy Board today, councillors agreed a report which recommended the awarding of grants to three community groups- Kilbarchan Singers, Kilbarchan Community Council and the Kilbarchan Agricultural Society.

The Kilbarchan Singers have been awarded £3000 for the purchase of new sheet music and to provide honoraria for two singers from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to work with the group for a season.

New music and compilations will be identified by the Musical Director with the aim of challenging the members into performing a difficult range of songs- which will then be regularly performed for the local community.

Adding to the cultural and musical landscape in Renfrewshire, the group gives young singers the chance to work with an established choir, expanding their repertoire both as a member of a choir or chorus and as a soloist.

Kilbarchan Community Council has received an award of £600 to purchase a case for one of the village’s defibrillators- which can help save the life of someone suffering a cardiac arrest.

Having secured match funding from the British Heart Foundation, the community council ran a successful fundraising drive to raise the community’s share of the funding to purchase the defibrillators.

The community council has been awarded the grant to fund the specialist storage case needed to keep the defibrillator in a climate controlled environment and accessible 24 hours a day.

After discussions with the Foundation and the Scottish Ambulance Service, the defibrillators are to be located at Kilbarchan Scout Hall and Kilbarchan Bowling Club- with both organisations happy to support the scheme.

The Kilbarchan Agricultural Society holds an annual exhibition of livestock, rural crafts and home produce in the local area- and in more recent years the show has expanded to include a dog show and light horse section.

A grant of £1,850 has been awarded to bring the light horse section show equipment up to new health and safety standards to allow the continuation of the event- which provides a social day out for local families to see farm animals and vintage machinery.

Councillor Mike Holmes, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance and Resources Policy Board, said: “As a council, we are committed to empowering our communities and the Citizens Fund is a valuable resource which local community groups can access for support.

“The awarding of this funding will strengthen the social and cultural fabric of the local community and support the community groups to continue their fantastic work in the area.

“All three projects provide significant benefits for Kilbarchan- from improving the safety of residents in the area to providing cultural opportunity for the residents to be a part of.