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Volunteering to make a difference

A DRIVE to encourage more people to volunteer in their spare time has been launched by a Paisley charity this week. Kibble will be hosting a Volunteer Open Day on Monday 27th February to let people know about the opportunities available for those who want to make a difference in their community.

Volunteers of all ages and experience are being sought to help deliver the charitable programmes delivered at The Experience go karting arena in Hillington Park.  Roles include karting assistance, music & drama, photography, arts & crafts, social media and much more.

Last year over 23 million adults in the UK volunteered their time for charities. Recent studies have shown that volunteering can increase mental and physical wellbeing as well as reducing social isolation.1

Kibble are asking for a commitment of a minimum of 4 hours per week in return for full training in new skills, expenses and a bite to eat, and the chance to make a difference in their local community.

Chief Executive of Kibble Graham Bell said:

“We know people volunteer for a whole number of reasons, whether it is to enhance their CV, to meet new people, or to give something back to the community. With our new charity programmes, volunteering with us can do all of this and more.

“The Experience is such an exciting venue that we want to make it accessible for as many charity and community groups as possible. With the help of volunteering, we are dedicated to removing barriers and providing opportunities for all.”

The Volunteer Open Day is being held on Monday 27th February, 12-2pm and 5-7pm where food will be provided to this in attendance. For more details email enquiries@theexperience.org.uk or call 0141 883 4005.

Case Studies

These case studies are real examples of people who have already been volunteering with Kibble:

Audrey Sutherland, 21, Glasgow

When Audrey first heard about the chance to gain work experience that would help her degree studies, her lecturer told her to go for it. Now, it has opened the door to fulfilling a dream of becoming a graphic designer.

“I was at University completing an art related course which only involved me being there 3 days a week, so I decided to look for a volunteer opportunity that related to my course and gave me something useful to do with my time.

“I got in contact with Project Scotland and they told me about a volunteer opportunity at The Experience with Kibble. I wanted to gain practical skills in a role that related to my University course and volunteering at The Experience allowed me to gain this while being able to help out.”

“The best part about volunteering for me was definitely the amount that I learned from it. Because my role involved using the skills I had gained through college and university I didn’t expect it to be so informative but learning and doing are completely different and I found that I got a much better understanding of what my future in the design industry would involve.

“I would definitely recommend volunteering with Kibble to others. My travel was covered and I was given lunch every day, all it cost me was my time and I gained more than enough back from the opportunity.”

Hannah Jeffrey, 24, Newton Mearns

Hannah wanted the chance to learn more about working with young people. The Kids Clubs at The Experience were the perfect opportunity.

“I first heard about the chance of volunteering through someone who had also volunteered at Kibble and had said it was a great experience. l was studying psychology at Strathclyde University and l was keen to get involved in more volunteer work and help others.

“Through Kibble, l was placed at The Experience in Hillington Park. The best parts about being a volunteer is that you are helping others, making a difference, meeting lots of new people and gaining new skills – for example l volunteered in the Tuesday Children’s club at the experience, which involved helping in all the different activities. Through this l gained and enhanced my skills such as my creativity and confidence.

“I was offered great support as a volunteer – l felt valued, appreciated and part of the team, which motivates you even more. l felt it was important to be placed in a volunteer role that interested me so that you can fully contribute. There are quite a few volunteer options at the experience so there is something suitable for everyone.”


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Volunteers sought to help get Renfrewshire online

Renfrewshire Council are looking to recruit a team of volunteers to support the delivery of the recently launched Digital Strategy and help people and local organisations get online.

A tablet class in action

The Digital Renfrewshire Strategy – sets out a vision and approach to tackling digital exclusion in the area.

It aims to ensure everybody has the opportunity to reach their digital potential so they can benefit from the health, learning, economic, social, and cultural opportunities that being online can bring.

Lauren Gilmour, Renfrewshire Council’s Digital Volunteer Co-ordinator, is appealing for people with digital skills who would like to help people across Renfrewshire reach their digital potential and help bridge the digital divide.

“Around 26,000 people in Renfrewshire lack basic digital skills. We have a Digital Strategy that aims to close the digital divide in Renfrewshire and we want to tap into the skills of local people to help support digital participation and offer people a positive volunteering experience”

Volunteers are needed for several different projects including tablet classes for older adults- hosted in partnership with Roar: Connections for Life – and take place at University of the West of Scotland every Tuesday from 3–5pm and at Underwood Lane every Thursday from 10am–12noon. If you know your way about a tablet or smartphone you could support these classes.

Help is also needed to help run CoderDojo coding clubs for young people in various locations across Renfrewshire. Volunteers don’t need an in-depth knowledge of coding – just an interest in helping young people to solve problems. Resources will be provided to get volunteers up to speed.

Lauren added: “We can match anyone with suitable digital skills with an organisation or project that need help with boosting their digital skills.

“Volunteering isn’t only a way to give back to your community– it’s a way to boost your CV, gain skills and improve your confidence. Volunteers will be supported with a dedicated contact and the opportunity to train to become a digital champion.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Mark Macmillan, said: “We’re committed to removing the barriers to digital participation in order to face the issue of digital exclusion head on.

“With thousands of people in Renfrewshire without basic digital skills, it is important that we give everyone the tools to get online and take advantage of the benefits this provides.

“Our Digital Strategy- combined with initiatives such as our £1m investment in free public wifi in Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew town centres- will begin to address and improve these figures.”

If you would like to become a digital volunteer or want to find out any information about digital volunteers, please contact Lauren Gilmour on lgilmour@engagerenfrewshire.com or 0141 887 7707. You can also tweet Lauren on @lauren_gilmour1.

If you live in Renfrewshire and are interested in joining one of the tablet classes please contact Roar: Connections for Life on 0141 889 7481.

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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.


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

paisley logo web

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

paisley logo web

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

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

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