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Invisible Army interview

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.
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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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.


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.


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


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. 


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.


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Renfrewshire One Digital Meet Up


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.


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


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



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.

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Grab Cash Quickly and Easily by becoming a Scratch Card seller at St Mirren

scratch for saints

Now you can earn £’s quickly by helping St. Mirren Fan’s Council promote their new and highly popular club scratch cards at each home game.

Based at the The Paisley 2021 Stadium these part time posts will require you to work for a short time on a Saturday at match days to help us sell our new “Scratch for Saints” lottery cards. Benefits include:

scratch for saints
* Commission paid on EVERY scratch card sold
* FREE game ticket worth £22
* Hot drink provided
* Training provided
* Opportunity to earn up to £35 for just a few hours work

This is a great opportunity to get involved in an established and highly popular project with the club’s fans and earn some additional money for just a few hours work.

Hurry and contact us right away for details. Sellers must be 16+


contact Colinmack63@gmail.com

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Contact the Elderly

This Sunday is International Friendship Day and national charity Contact the Elderly is urging everyone to acknowledge the day.

Contact the Elderly

Contact the Elderly  rovides tea, cake but, most importantly, company to people aged 75 and over who live alone through free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties. These parties are operated entirely by volunteers who act as hosts for the older guests and their drivers, who take them from their front door, to the volunteer’s home, and back again.

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

“Friendship is the very backbone of our charity. It is one of the main reasons volunteers and guests join our groups, of which there are now more than 100 across Scotland.

“You only need to ask a guest what their afternoon out means to them to understand how important friendship is, to everyone, but particularly those who do not get out and about as much as they’d like. I’ve made so many lasting friendships through my work with Contact the Elderly, for which I’m very grateful.

“I hope everyone takes the opportunity to do something nice with your loved ones on International Friendship Day. And if anyone has some free time to offer a hand of friendship to others, then we are always looking for more volunteers so please get in touch.”

Across Scotland, Contact the Elderly supports more than 1,000 older people through its network of more than 1,100 volunteers.

Laura Brown, 25, has been a deputy coordinator for the charity for two years. She has a special friendship with one of her guests, 87-year-old Jim. She said:

“I have made many great friends but a favourite of mine is Jim.

“Jim, born and bred in Scotland moved with his wife to Zimbabwe where he worked as an industrial scientist and she as his secretary. He sadly lost his wife several years ago and now lives alone. His sight has deteriorated to the point of blindness but he has not let this slow him down. He is full of fascinating stories that I look forward to hearing each time we meet and he tells me for him, life doesn’t stop in old age, it’s just the beginning of a new chapter.

“Through our tea parties the label of ‘older person’ is stripped away and you come to see that beneath it all there’s just a ‘person’ with life experience, funny stories and empathy. It deepens your understanding of the challenges some older people face and what you can do to help.”

To find out how to volunteer with Contact the Elderly or if you would like to enquire about becoming a guest please contact Caroline McGinlay on 0141 812 1555 or caroline.mcginlay@contact-the-elderly.org.uk.

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Celebrate your local heroes with Queen’s Award


The Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Guy Clark, and Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall are calling on you to nominate deserving volunteer groups for a prestigious award.


The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was introduced by the Queen in 2002 in celebration of her Golden Jubilee and- ranking in importance alongside the MBE- is the highest award possible for volunteer groups.

It recognises exceptional contributions made by voluntary groups who give up their time for their local communities.

This year, the Wynd Centre in Paisley was awarded the prestigious honour for its work in providing counselling in Paisley- supported by Child Contact Victim Support, SSAFA and Combat Cancer.

32nd Greenock & District Scout Group, The Clydeside Singers and Your Voice, Inverclyde Community Care Forum are also amongst the worthy winners from the Renfrewshire Lieutenancy area.

The winners will be presented with their awards in a ceremony later this summer.

Now the Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire, Guy Clark, is calling for local people to put forward voluntary groups for the 2017 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Mr Clark, the Queen’s representative in Renfrewshire, as well as East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, said: “I know there must be many more local organisations that would be worthy winners of this very special award.

The most awards in Scotland have been gained in the Renfrewshire Lieutenancy area, which demonstrates the depth of the volunteer spirit in the area.

“Voluntary groups make such a difference in their communities and make such a massive contribution to people’s lives. They do it selflessly and they deserve some public recognition.

If you know of any deserving groups in Renfrewshire, please get your nomination in by 16 September 2016.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost, Anne Hall, joined the call for nominations, saying: “My congratulations go out to The Wynd Centre in Paisley for their award and they fully deserve this being bestowed upon them.

“Renfrewshire is blessed to have numerous organisations that merit the recognition this award provides and I agree with the Lord-Lieutenant that their work should be acknowledged.

“This prestigious award will recognise the difference these volunteer groups make in the lives of our community members in Renfrewshire.

“Please don’t miss the chance to give these groups the appreciation that they deserve and put your nominations forward.”

Full details and nomination forms are available at the Queen’s Award for Voluntary website – https://qavs.direct.gov.uk