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New heritage centre is highlight of ‘Digital December’

Cllr Stuart Clark with libraries manager Jenifer McFarlane

New heritage centre is highlight of ‘Digital December’.

A new digital heritage centre in Paisley Central Library has been unveiled as part of a ‘Digital December’ of online activity from Renfrewshire Libraries.

The Heritage Centre, based in what was known as the Reference and Local Studies Library, is designed to meet the growing demand for access to digital archives and records and to showcase Paisley’s proud history.

Cllr Stuart Clark with libraries manager Jenifer McFarlane

The new centre was officially opened this week by Cllr Stuart Clark, depute convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board.

The opening the new centre is the centrepiece of a month of online activity from Renfrewshire Libraries.

A new website for library members will make it possible to borrow at all hours and access electronic and audio books amongst a wealth of other online resources.

Libraries staff will hold a number of drop-in sessions during the month designed to help local people ‘tame technology’ and get to grips with the growing number of smartphones, tablets and e-readers they possess.

Cllr Clark said: “Shows such as the BBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” have made research into family history an ever more popular leisure activity. As our libraries do more to tap into that demand, our visitor numbers will only increase.”

“But Digital December shows that our libraries are about so much more than places to borrow books.

“They are places where people can go online for free and access information about the job market. They host Bookbug sessions where parents and children can bond through reading and song. And they are sources of vital health information and advice thanks to initiatives like Living Well @ The Library which we’ve developed together with Macmillan Cancer Support”.

“Libraries are ideal places to bring like-minded people together within a community, or for people to go to get the information and services they need, and that’s why we’re investing in their future.”

A programme of events for Digital December is available in every Renfrewshire Library. More information about library services is available by calling 0300 300 1188 or emailing

The new Renfrewshire Libraries website is available at

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Renfrewshire Businesses get chance to quiz the experts

Invest in Renfrewshire business hub

Renfrewshire Businesses get chance to quiz the experts

Renfrewshire firms can pick up some business-boosting tips at a series of free meet-the-experts events next month.

The special sessions will allow businesses of all kind to find out more about subjects including how to access business-growth funding, and bid for council contracts.

They will be hosted at Renfrewshire Council’s recently-opened business hub in Lawn Street, Paisley throughout October.

Invest in Renfrewshire business hub

Other topics set to be covered include consumer protection, planning and building standards, business licensing, recruitment, and funding for the third sector.

Each of the ten sessions will be staffed by an expert from the council or elsewhere, who will be able to answer questions and offer advice on their subject.

They are open to any local businessperson, although visitors will need to book a timeslot in advance.

To see a full list of sessions and times, and for details on how to book a timeslot, visit

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said: “The council has a key role to play in creating conditions in which local firms can grow.

“We have made a significant investment in boosting the local economy through our Invest in Renfrewshire programme, to which more than 400 local firms have signed up since it launched last June.

“We are keen to ensure that any knowledge which could help the local business community is passed on, which is why we are hosting these meet-the-expert events.

“If successful, we will look to make these sessions a regular feature in future. I would encourage any local firms to get in touch and find out more.”

Invest in Renfrewshire is the council’s flagship £8m programme to tackle youth unemployment and boost the local economy.

The council recently opened the Invest in Renfrewshire Business Hub in Lawn Street, with the facility intended to be a one-stop shop for local firms to find out about the scheme.

The hub contains rooms which are available for any local business in need of meeting space to use.

For more information about Invest in Renfrewshire, call 0300 300 1180, email or visit

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A celebration of Gaelic Heritage and Culture at Paisley Museum


A celebration of Gaelic Heritage and Culture at Paisley Museum

To coincide with the Royal National Mòd, Paisley Museum presents three exhibitions, collectively titled ‘A Celebration of Gaeldom’ running from 27 September to 27 October.

The exhibition, ‘A Wing and A Prayer: Paisley’s Gaelic Chapel Graveyard’ will reveal how research into a secluded former graveyard has illuminated the rich cultural heritage of Gaelic AViewofGaeldom.jpgspeaking people who migrated to Paisley in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Their lives were hard but Gaelic speakers performed a huge diversity of crafts and trades. Nowadays the site shows a diversity of a different kind – of wild plants and animals – providing a small wildlife refuge in the heart of Paisley.

‘A View of Gaeldom’ is an art exhibition, featuring works from the Paisley Museum collection that depict the beautiful scenery of those parts of Scotland in which Gaelic was traditionally spoken. Indeed Gaelic place names are in evidence in many of the titles. In addition some excellent examples of Celtic Revival Art will be displayed.

The final exhibition, ‘Weaving and Waulking’ will look at the traditional methods and skills of producing cloth in Scotland. ‘Waulking’ is a method of shrinking or ‘fulling’ newly woven tweed and is carried out by a group of women who sing in unison as they work the cloth on the table. During the week of the Royal National Mòd there will be opportunities to see a traditional hand loom in operation and demonstrations by waulking groups.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Sport, Leisure and Cultural Policy Board at Renfrewshire Council states ‘ As we celebrate Paisley hosting the Royal National Mòd this year, these exhibitions are a wonderful opportunity to showcase the links Renfrewshire has with Gaelic heritage and culture.’  


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Rugby sponsorship helps tackle youth unemployment

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Rugby sponsorship helps tackle youth unemployment

Three young Renfrewshire modern apprentices have landed sponsorship deals for the second year of their programme with Scottish Rugby Union.

Leading IT consultancy firm Sopra Group provided the sponsorship for local students Amanda Moore, Andrew Evans and Murray Sutherland.

The modern apprentices were funded in year one by the Scottish Rugby Union and Renfrewshire Council. With those organisations’ support, the offer from Sopra Group allows them to continue with the programme.

Two first-year apprentices, Daniel Caine and Martin McKellar, have been given support from the council to begin the apprenticeship programme this year.

The money came through Invest in Renfrewshire, the council’s £8m programme to boost the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

Sopra’s Managing Director, Ian Huckle, visited the apprentices with Sopra’s Scottish Rugby Ambassador and ex-Scottish rugby international Scott Hastings and Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sports Leisure and Culture Policy Board, as they delivered Renfrewshire rugby’s annual development day for Secondary 1 and 2 boys.

Representatives of Invest in Renfrewshire and the Scottish Rugby Union were also there to witness the apprentices put the pupils through their paces.

Councillor Harte said “It’s great to see companies such as Sopra taking an interest in the young people of the area and helping them reach their potential.

“Invest in Renfrewshire has worked very hard to secure funding for many young apprentices, graduate interns and young people who are out of work.

“It is exciting to see the hard work pay off and local firms getting more involved.”

Ian Huckle said “Sopra Group is pleased to be able to create opportunities for employment via the apprentice scheme. We recognise the positive and dynamic impact sport can have on lives.

“It can inspire and motivate children to strive for a better quality of life and develop core skills. By investing in the apprentices we hope we can help deliver a sustainable sporting legacy in the area.”

Scott Hastings added “With a long involvement in sport and rugby in particular I know that Amanda, Andrew and Murray will be gaining a huge amount from their apprenticeships, as will the children they are working with on a daily basis.

“Coaching has its own rewards and Sopra’s support is helping give young people the confidence to go out into their local communities and make a difference.”

The event, at Paisley Rugby Club, will also see teams from the local secondary schools compete in either the established school or emerging schools 7’s competition, which will feature teams from Castlehead High School, Paisley Grammar School, Trinity High, Johnstone High, Linwood High and Park Mains High.

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Caring kids achieve Duke of Edinburgh success

Billy Fairnie, Emma Hewitt and Joseph Wiltshire with their award certificates

Caring kids achieve Duke of Edinburgh success

Young people from Renfrewshire Carer’s Centre are celebrating after completing the first step in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

The group have achieved Bronze Award status in the long-running national scheme for young people.

Renfrewshire Council is an ‘operating authority’ for the scheme and the council’s Youth and Sports Services team takes many local young people through the scheme.

Billy Fairnie, Emma Hewitt and Joseph Wiltshire with their award certificates

The scheme asks young people to volunteer, develop a skill or hobby, test their physical fitness and undertake an expedition. Participants work through the Bronze and Silver award levels before attempting the ultimate Gold Award.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “My congratulations go to all of these young people on a tremendous achievement.

“The Duke of Edinburgh Scheme needs a major commitment of time and effort and to balance it up with caring commitments shows great dedication.

“The award is a major boost to any young person’s CV and I know it’s highly valued by prospective employers. But it also helps build confidence and self-esteem which are so important heading into adulthood.

Youth and Sport Services are currently looking for adult volunteers who can support scheme activities. If you’re interesting in lending your support, call the team on 0141 889 1110.

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£200k cash boost for extra apprenticeships

Cllr Roy Glen

£200k cash boost for extra apprenticeships

Renfrewshire Council is to pour an extra £200,000 into creating up to 40 new apprenticeship positions for young people within the local authority.

The council already runs a highly-regarded apprenticeship programme, which offers opportunities in both office-based and craft environments for people aged 16 to 19.

Young people who sign up to be a modern apprentice get the chance to pick up on-the-job experience while studying for a relevant vocational qualification.

Cllr Roy GlenFunding for the additional posts will come from the council’s £8m Invest in Renfrewshire scheme, which has the twin aims of boosting the local economy and tackling youth unemployment.

The cash injection will provide a £5,000 subsidy for each new apprenticeship, with the relevant council department meeting the rest of the salary cost.

Currently the council’s modern apprenticeship scheme offers opportunities in areas such as business admin and customer service, as well as trades including joinery, bricklaying and gardening.

Councillor Roy Glen, convener of the council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said: “Creating employment opportunities for young people is a big priority for us.

“Modern apprenticeships are a great way for young people to learn on the job while picking up a relevant qualification.

“The council’s modern apprenticeship scheme has already provided a route into work for hundreds of young people, and this extra funding will increase the number of opportunities available.”

Invest in Renfrewshire has been in operation for more than a year, and includes a number of schemes designed to help young people into work.

This includes an employer recruitment incentive, which provides a wage subsidy when a company takes on an unemployed young person, as well as a graduate internship scheme.

The council’s modern apprenticeship scheme was honoured at a prestigious national awards ceremony earlier this year, when it was named the joint-winner of the Apprentice Award category at the s1jobs recruitment awards.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at

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Building work set to begin on Johnstone town hall

Johnstone Town Hall exterior

Building work set to begin on Johnstone town hall

The project to deliver Johnstone’s new £14.5m town hall is about to reach its latest major milestone – with construction on the building set to begin in October.

The new town hall is being delivered by Renfrewshire Council and is expected to transform the look of the town centre once completed.

The building will be home to a new library, marriage suite, theatre and conference space, meeting rooms and a café.

It will also contain offices for council housing and social work staff, as well as Police Scotland and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The demolition of the former town hall and library was completed over the summer and with subsequent site investigations throwing up no significant issues, construction is due to start next month as planned.

The construction and fit-out of the new building is expected to take 21 months, meaning it should be open for business in spring 2015.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said: “The council is making a significant investment in delivering this new building, which will provide a striking 21st-century centrepiece to the town.

“This new building is one of the biggest public sector investments taking place in Scotland at the moment.

“Contractors have been busy on site over the summer making sure everything is in place ahead of the building phase of the project.

“Over the next nine months or so, Johnstone residents will be able to see the progress for themselves, as the structure of the new building is put into place.

“Throughout the project, we have aimed to develop good relationships with local residents and traders, and we hope to keep them involved in the months ahead.”

The council is planning a range of activities over the next few months to ensure the community continues to have the chance to be part of the project.

Specially-created artwork depicting iconic buildings around the town has been commissioned for the site hoardings, and will be unveiled soon.

There will also be opportunities for the community to involve themselves in public art which will go on display inside the new building.

The project will also see extensive landscaping and public realm works in the area surrounding the new building, including Ludovic Square.

A temporary library has been opened in nearby Collier Street, and will stay in place for the duration of the works.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at

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Language teaching boost for Renfrewshire schools

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Language teaching boost for Renfrewshire schools

Six Renfrewshire primary schools are to pilot an ambitious new approach to language learning.

Pupils will be able to learn a foreign language from primary one. A second additional language will be offered to pupils no later than primary five.

Following an evaluation of the pilot scheme, it is anticipated that all Renfrewshire primary schools will deliver a modern language from primary one on a phased basis from the 2014-15 school year.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGThe teaching of a second foreign language from primary five is set to follow on a phased basis in the 2015-16 session.

The six primary schools taking part in this year’s pilot scheme are Todholm, Lochfield, Lochwinnoch, Kirklandneuk, Houston, and St James (Renfrew).

The approach will take forward the ‘1 plus 2’ model of foreign language teaching as recommended by the Scottish Government’s report , Language Learning in Scotland – a 1 + 2 Approach.

The aim is that children will be given the opportunity to start learning two foreign languages in primary school in addition to their own mother tongue.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said, “The opportunity to learn foreign languages helps pupils’ general learning as well as being useful in later years for employment, further study, or even simply making the most of trips abroad.

“There’s no doubt that there’s a need to maintain children’s interest in and commitment to learning foreign languages. Starting that work in primary school is a great way to do that.

“We are setting ambitious and challenging targets but we want to support our schools and our pupils in this key area.”

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£100,000 science boost for Renfrewshire schools

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£100,000 science boost for Renfrewshire schools

Renfrewshire schools are set for a £100,000 science boost after the local council concluded an agreement to take part in a science grant scheme.

The council has linked up with the Edina Trust, a charitable organisation that offers grants to promote the teaching of science and gardening.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGEach year a maximum grant of £550 is available from the Edina Trust to each primary school, pre-five centre, or additional support needs (ASN) school.

In Renfrewshire’s case, that could mean up to £35,200 being available for each of the three years in which the grant scheme is available.

Councillor Stuart Clark, Depute Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “The Edina Trust is well known for its work in encouraging interest and achievement in science.

“Renfrewshire Council is delighted to be working with the Trust. Many of our schools already have innovative approaches on science or environmental projects. This substantial funding boost will enhance that work.”

Dave McLavin, Senior Communications Officer. Tel 0141 618 7398.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at

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New £600,000 fund to soften the ‘bedroom tax’ blow

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New £600,000 fund to soften the ‘bedroom tax’ blow

Renfrewshire Council is setting up a new £600,000 cash pot to help council tenants who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’.

The money will be available via a new Council Tenant Assistance Fund to help council tenants who receive Housing Benefit and are struggling to pay their rent because they’re affected by under occupancy rules.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Tommy Williams, Convener of the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board said: “This major investment is part of our on-going response to help our tenants cope with the UK Government’s ‘bedroom tax’.

“Between April and July, 684 council tenants applied for Discretionary Housing Payment to assist them with their housing costs, with the majority of those affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.

“But while many have come for support, there are still tenants who are clearly struggling to pay their rent because of ‘bedroom tax’ who haven’t come to us for help. We’ve already said that we won’t evict our tenants who fall into arrears as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’, as long as they’re working with us, and we want them to know that this assistance fund is now available to help them cope with the strain of under occupancy.

“We absolutely do not want local families to face hardship because of the ‘bedroom tax’ and we’ll continue to work with our tenants to help them.”

The Council Tenant Assistance Fund will solely help council tenants in financial hardship because of ‘bedroom tax’. The cash is coming from the Housing Revenue Account which by law, can only be spent on council tenants.

To apply to the Council Tenant Assistance Fund, download a form at or you can call 0300 300 0204 to ask for a form to be sent out to you.

Anyone who needs help to fill out a form (and for general financial support) should call Advice Works on 0300 300 1238.

The creation of the Council Tenant Assistance Fund was agreed at the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board earlier today.