Megan Milligan for press

Megan Milligan is one of scores of Renfrewshire residents to get a permanent job after an Invest in Renfrewshire Graduate Internship. She is now a Project Assistant with “I Am Me”, an award winning project that works with Police Scotland to raise awareness of Disability Hate Crime.

Paisley born Megan attended Williamsburgh Primary School and Paisley Grammar before going to Glasgow University to gain a degree in English Literature & Theatre Studies. A hard worker and independent by nature, she also worked in retail from the age of sixteen. After graduating, Megan contacted Invest in Renfrewshire looking for an internship that would use her degree and kick start her career.

The Invest internship programme gives local graduates the chance to gain meaningful work experience and build their skills and CVs. Interns can work with the council or other local businesses, on projects in degree disciplines such as business, IT, social sciences, marketing and media. They are paid the Living Wage on projects that last from six to eleven months.

Invest in Renfrewshire is the council’s business support and employability partnership. Since its launch in 2012, it has worked with over 850 local businesses, created almost 1,000 jobs, and found work and training for more than 3,000 people.

Megan applied for the post with I Am Me; “because I felt like the job description was speaking directly to me. Disability hate crime and harassment is a subject close to my heart, and I really wanted to be a part of something that was trying to make a difference in the community.” Her role was to raise awareness of disability hate crime which is one of the most under reported crimes in the UK.

Of the work itself, Megan said: “We do so many different things in the I Am Me project, so whilst I was expecting to raise awareness of disability hate crime, I didn’t realise just how many ways we could do it! We visit high schools, primary schools, disability groups, day centres, local businesses, town halls, and have even visited the Scottish Parliament. We also work in partnership with Police Scotland and Renfrewshire Council, and many other organisations from Renfrewshire and beyond.”

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said; “The internship programme is good for graduates looking for that first step on the career ladder and it’s good for businesses and organisations that need graduates’ skills. Invest in Renfrewshire is committed to developing a thriving, skilled local economy and internships contribute to this aim by offering graduate careers in the area.”

After her internship, Megan applied for the permanent post of Project Assistant with I Am Me. She was successful at interview and is now an established member of the team, firmly on her chosen career path, and has even bought a house in Paisley.

To other graduates who have yet to land that career-starting job, Megan says: “I always tell people about Invest in Renfrewshire. An internship can lead to a career and use your hard-earned degree. The Invest in Renfrewshire team is so helpful. They all care about getting people into roles that suit the individual. There’s strong support network that stays with you throughout your internship, and it’s obvious that they care about the young graduates of Renfrewshire.”

To apply for an Invest in Renfrewshire Internship, you need to be younger than thirty, have graduated in the past two years and be a Renfrewshire resident. If you, or someone you know, could make a great intern, please call 0141 618 4690 to speak to the team. Invest in Renfrewshire also offers programmes and services for people of all ages, levels of experience and educational backgrounds. Renfrewshire residents looking for work or training opportunities should call 0300 300 1180.

Anyone who is affected by Disability Hate Crime or who wants to know more about the issue should visit: www.iammescotland.co.uk

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Renfrewshire support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) are holding an open evening for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The informal meeting will take place on Wednesday 16 December between 6:30 and 8pm at the Wynd Centre, 6 School Wynd, Paisley. There will be a chance to chat over mince pies, tea and coffee for those in attendance.

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SOBS are a self-help organisation and aim to provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings.

From January the Renfrewshire group will meet on the last Wednesday of every month at the Wynd Centre and anyone who feels they can benefit from the support the group offer is encouraged to come along.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convenor of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Policy Board, said: “I would encourage anyone who has been affected by suicide to come along to the open evening. The support group continue to do brilliant work and it is a vital resource within such a sensitive subject.

“It is extremely important that we open discussion over the issue of suicide. Talking really can save lives so if you, or someone you know, could benefit from the group then please come along.”

Lisa Aitken, Choose Life Young Person’s Resource Worker said: “The group is in place to offer an outlet for those affected by suicide to seek the support needed when coming to terms with the issue.

“It is imperative that we raise awareness and ensure that people feel comfortable to take about their issues. This event, and others like it, is important to increase communication and make people aware that support is there should they need it.

“If you are worried someone may be suicidal then please speak with them- it could be vital. If you are feeling suicidal then there is help available, don’t keep it to yourself.”

The National SOBS helpline can be reached on 0844 561 6855, and the number for Breathing Space is 0800 83 85 87.

Locally residents of Renfrewshire can contact FIRSTCrisis on 0141 848 9090.

For more information on the monthly SOBS meetings call 0141 849 2200 or emailelizabeth.aitken@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

FITNESS fans are being urged to swim, run, row and cycle to raise money for charity.

Two local hospices – St Vincent’s and ACCORD – will benefit from a fundraising week of activities being organised by Renfrewshire Leisure in the sports centres, swimming pools and gyms the organisation operates.

It’s hoped as much as £10,000 could be raised with people being sponsored to take part in a host of sporting activities taking place between November 30 and December 6.
Swimmers can choose a distance to swim over as many pool sessions as they want during the fundraising week and when they have reached their target, a member of staff will sign off that they have completed their distance.

In the gym you can run, or walk 10k, a half-marathon, or a full marathon over the week on the treadmill, or get on the rowing machine and row the 24.2-miles distance that is the length of Loch Lomond.

Those taking part can also cycle the equivalent 55.3 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh, or if you want to put the fun into the fundraising, you can make a donation to take part in an aerobics class dressed to a different theme over five days. The themes are Movies, Pyjamas, 80s Style, Glam and Neon.

And also by making a minimum £10 donation to the charity event, people can take part in a five-hour fitness challenge, which includes eight different classes between 9.15am and 2.45pm on

Wednesday, December 2 at The Lagoon, in Paisley and Friday, December 4, at the ON-X, in Linwood.

Sports clubs who use the Renfrewshire Leisure facilities are also being encouraged to organise a special fundraising game or training session.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said:

“This is all about fundraising, fitness and fun and I hope as many people as possible take part. You can do the fundraising sessions on your own, or make up a team with family and friends and also turn it into a social event.

“The money raised will be going to two very worthy causes.”

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St Mirren in the Community is delighted to announce details of our Festive Football Camp – Jingle Balls – the perfect stocking filler for all young footballers!

The Camp will run at St Mirren’s Carbrini@JD Airdome at the back of the North Stand at the Paisley 2021 Stadium (St Mirren Park).

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The festive football camps, which include a goalkeeper’s camp (full day only), will take place on 24th, 28th, 29th and 30th December.

There will be options of spending half a day or the full day at the camps which will cost £9 and £15 per day respectively.

The half day option is open to girls and boys aged 3 to 5 and will take place between 9:00am and 12:00pm (noon) and the full day option, which is open to boys and girls aged 6 to 12, will be from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Once again we expect the camps to be extremely popular so we advise you to book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

For bookings and further information please contact Football Development Officer Ross Paterson by mobile: 07702 287 693 or e-mail: ross.paterson@saintmirren.net.

CO2 Design was established in Paisley 13 years ago by husband and wife David and Colette Atkinson producing all things promotional from brands and business cards to websites. Now a team of 7 with offices at 33 Glasgow Road, Paisley business has never been better, employing local talent and servicing businesses across the Renfrewshire area, Glasgow. This digital era enables us to work with clients from Glasgow to Dublin and across the world. David Atkinson qualified as a Graphic Designer in 1985, worked in several agencies in London before settling in at Sebastian Conran PID; initially running the design department with four designers and then gaining promotion to Associate Director. In 1993 he moved to Glasgow working in a few agencies before starting CO2 Design in 2003.

David has always embraced technology as avenues for new income streams. He started before Apple Mac’s were mainstream, using magic markers and drawing boards. So, when the Internet and emails surpassed fax machines David embraced this new mode of communication, enhancing his knowledge and CO2 Design. There’s one constant in this ever changing world – creativity and ideas. CO2 breathe life into creative ideas. Proud to be based in Paisley, it was a milestone for CO2 to design and oversee the new Accord Hospice brand.

The Accord Hospice has been caring in the community for over 30 years and is a respected organisation that has helped many families through difficult times. Discussions, ideas and concepts for the re-brand started as far back as 2012; there were so many considerations. Like all companies the Accord needed to change with the times, the old brand had changed little since day one, but so much has changed in 30 years with the advent of computing, the internet, CDs, DVDs, memory sticks – I could go on.   Research – first things first, we research the old brand/logo and look into the charity market in the 21st century. The Accord Hospice should be mentioned in the same breath as leading Scottish and UK charities.

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A team consisting of board members, employees and CO2 discussed the possibility of a new brand –it was far from a certainty that the project would ever get off the ground. We started by creating sketches, nothing is discarded at this stage and everyone’s ideas are considered. After months of discussions and exploration of creative ideas the new brand starts to take shape, we present every stage of this process to the Client, in this case Accord Hospice. At every stage budgets are also discussed with the idea of a ‘soft launch’ –meaning the new brand would replace the old brand naturally, so when shops needed refurbished the new brand would be used, when new vans were ordered the new brand would be applied. Almost 4 years later the brand is launched, here we are today:

http://www.paisleyfirst.net/project/accord-hospice-case-study

So what do CO2 do?
We meet, talk, advise and swap creative ideas helping you produce better, professional, more cost-effective marketing and promotional material than your competitors. We make it easy and fun, so if you want to sit down with David for a coffee and a chat, have a look at our website www.co2design.co.uk and give
us a call on 0141 404 1199.

Renfrew kicked-off its countdown to Christmas at the weekend with a day-long party to mark the town’s annual Christmas lights switch-on.

Big crowds gathered in the streets outside Renfrew Town Hall to see the town illuminated by the festive lights and fireworks despite the wet weather.

Helping Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall switch-on the lights was competition winner Joshua Lowrie, 11 from Barsail Primary School.

The switch-on itself was then followed by a stunning fireworks display, with the town hall providing a striking backdrop to the spectacle.

Pulse FM DJs were on hand to provide some tunes and lead the countdown to the lights going on, with the Snow Queen and Jack Frost dancing with kids in the rain during the build-up.

Kids also enjoyed the free entertainment and family fun throughout the afternoon, with visitors to the town hall getting the chance to meet Santa in his grotto.

Other activities including facepainters, balloon modelling, Christmas crafts and circus workshops, puppet shows and a Christmas carol service, while outside there was funfair rides, street performers and entertainers.

I Heart Renfrew, a music festival run by Renfrew Development Trust and Mad Angle Music, also saw local musicians performing in various venues across the town on the day.

Provost Hall said: “It is always a pleasure to be out in Renfrew to help switch on the lights in the town.

“The event is always well-supported by the local community, who always turn out in their numbers, enjoying the live entertainment and family fun.

“Our events programme is geared towards giving local traders a boost by using our historic town centres as venues and bringing in a crowd.

“Renfrew Town Hall is a fantastic backdrop for the fireworks display and the town looked great.”

Renfrew Christmas Lights Switch-on – run by Renfrewshire Council – is part of an exciting winter events programme for the area.

Big crowds turned out to Johnstone and Paisley last week for their Christmas Lights Switch-on events.

Earlier in November, thousands turned out the Paisley Halloween Festival and the Fireworks Spectacular, which featured the ever-popular Spark! LED drummers and local band Lemonhaze.

For more information on local events, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events.

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Paisley Pirates are entering into the spirit of Christmas by offering voluntary organisations the chance to come and see the club in action, at a much reduced admission cost.

“We know money is very tight for everyone,” explained secretary Jackie Turley. “We’re a voluntary group as well, and we know how hard it is to do all that we want to, when there’s so little cash around to do it with. Especially round about Christmas time, we know that clubs and groups are looking to do something a little special for their members, like an outing somewhere, but the money just won’t stretch to allow that to happen.”

She went on, “What we’re therefore offering to local groups, particularly those where there are a lot of children participating in their activity or interest, is the chance to come along as a group and watch the Paisley Pirates in action as their pre-Christmas treat. We’ve got two home games just before the big day, as we play Moray Tornados on Sunday 13 December, and Dundee Comets the following Sunday, both at 6pm, and we’re offering spectacular deals to encourage clubs and groups to come along and watch their local ice hockey team, for less than the price of a selection box a head, to either game.”

“We’re very conscious of the considerable local support we have within the community, so this is one of these times where we have the opportunity to put a little back into it and, in doing so, giving folk a night to remember at this time of year.”

“We’ve done this in previous years and it’s proved to have been popular with local clubs and organisations, so what we’re asking them to do is get in touch with us via the club’s website at paisleypirates.org, telling us who they are, where they can be contacted, how many they would like to come, etc and we’ll take it from there! We’ll be delighted to see them and we’re sure they’ll get a kick out of seeing the fastest team game in the world, and supporting their very own team, not to mention joining in with all the fun of the whole experience! All we’d say is, don’t take too long to get in touch, as we usually get a lot of enquiries at this time.”

 

KIND-HEARTED bosses at the intu Braehead shopping mall yesterday gave out free cups of tea and coffee to shoppers who had been queuing outside to bag a Black Friday bargain.
Staff from the mall were on hand at 5.30am as intu Braehead tea lady for the day, Sadie Matts poured warming cuppas and a teacake for those who’d been waiting in the queue for Curry’s PC World to open at 6am.

Linwood man Eddie Mason, 55, made sure he was first in the queue by turning up before 5am.
The heating engineer came out to take advantage of the big discounts on offer before heading off to his work as a heating engineer.

He said: “I’ve been looking to buy a television for a wee while, but I thought I would wait until Black Friday to get the best deal.
“I got a 48-inch TV and saved £120, so I’m happy I got it at a reduced price.”

Throughout yesterday, tens of thousands of shoppers turned out at stores at intu Braehead where discounts of up to 50 per cent were on offer.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, Christine Macdonald said: “We always like to look after our shoppers, so we thought we would go the extra mile for the hardy souls who had been queuing outside our Currys PC World store.

“Our free cups of tea and coffee were well appreciated by the shoppers waiting to bag a bargain at the store.”
Christine added: “The shopping centre opened earlier than normal at 8am and there were some fantastic bargains to be had right across the range of shops we have.

“We even had our Game store open at midnight and there were plenty of customers coming out in the wee small hours to take advantage of the discounts on computer game consuls and the games themselves.”

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Thirteen extra primary teachers are now in place in Renfrewshire thanks to a unique schools package that’s targeting an additional £1.16m towards closing the attainment gap.

As part of the attainment boost, a new literacy development programme is now under way to give every primary school extra tools and support – including the extra teachers – to improve reading.

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The investment comes from the council’s £6m tackling poverty fund – and is delivering the literacy programme jointly with the University of Strathclyde to pioneer new approaches to closing the gap between pupils from low and high income households.

The council’s Leadership Board will hear a full update next week about how the poverty fund – approved this summer – is already delivering positive, on-the-ground benefits across communities.

As well as hiring 13 extra teachers, two additional social workers are also in place to boost support to looked after children, and Scotland’s first ever ‘cost of the school day’ fund is up and running to offer help to those families who need it most.

Three new Families First teams will launch in early 2016 to deliver a wide range of support to families in Gallowhill, Johnstone, and Foxbar, thanks to a £1m investment from the poverty fund.

Eight young people have also secured positions on the recently-launched sports coach academy that will prepare them for a job in the leisure industry and see them deliver 7,000 hours of coaching, support local voluntary groups and help with Families First sports camps.

And since being extended in June thanks to the fund, the Energy Advice Renfrewshire service has supported 257 households and generated £39,000 of on-going fuel savings.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “I am proud to see the real progress being made thanks to the £6m tackling poverty fund we announced in summer. Already, Renfrewshire Foodbank has received vital money to help people in crisis this winter, and our cost of the school day safety net for families is also now in place in schools.

“I welcome the fact our drive to close the attainment gap with additional teachers is now being delivering in our schools, and I’m pleased we’ve been working with the communities of Foxbar, Gallowhill and Johnstone to prepare for the introduction of the new Families First teams that will be launched in their areas in early 2016.

“The Leadership Board will hear a full update about the £6m pot – which boosts the existing investment already made by the council to support economic growth and regeneration. The fund is crucial and allows us to work towards achieving the recommendations – the legacy – of the independent Tackling Poverty Commission.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, added: “The attainment gap starts early in life, widens at every stage of school and can have lifelong consequences. If we are to make a real difference to the lives of young people from low income households and close the attainment gap, we need to intervene early.

“It is clear that good reading and writing skills are the basic foundations young people need to access education and learning. I am delighted that we are working with Professor Sue Ellis and her team from Strathclyde University.”

Professor Sue Ellis from the University of Strathclyde, said: “Schools can do a lot to close the attainment gap linked to poverty. The Renfrewshire project is helping Head Teachers and teachers use the strongest research and make strategic, cost effective and sustainable changes to literacy teaching in schools. It is clear that Renfrewshire is committed to doing its very best to meet the needs of all children in the local authority.”

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Renfrewshire’s primary schools are taking part in a campaign to improve children’s safety going to and from school.

The campaign aims to make drivers aware of the dangers of parking illegally near schools and the threat that idling engines pose to children’s health.

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Council officers, school staff and pupils at Auchenlodment Primary School in Johnstone organised a week-long blitz on inconsiderate drivers with a high-impact banners outside the school.

The campaign will target other Renfrewshire primary schools over the coming weeks.

Councillor Eddie Devine, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said:

“It is paramount that children in Renfrewshire are able to get to and from school without risk to their safety or health.

“Ideally, parents should avoid driving children to school where possible.

“Where this is not possible, we are asking parents who need to stop or park near a school to do so safely.

“Avoid parking on zig-zags and yellow lines and do not stop in the middle of the road.

“Also, if it is essential to wait outside a school, drivers should switch off their engines and minimise the dangerous CO2 emissions which can endanger children’s health.”

The campaign was kicked off during National Road Safety Week which takes place in November every year and which aims to raise awareness of death and injury on the roads, and the steps that can be taken to improve road safety.

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A huge crowd of Renfrewshire residents joined a march supporting the international call to end to violence against women.

The Reclaim the Night procession in Paisley prompted a vast turn out as local people showed their support for the cause. The procession launched Renfrewshire’s 16 Days of Action, a local version of the UN’s international campaign.

Men and women joined the procession which took place from the University of the West of Scotland to Dunn Square, and finished outside Paisley Town Hall. Campaigners were led by Tony Lawler, who bangs the Charleston Drum each year for the Sma’ Shot parade, which created a positive atmosphere for the awareness raising march.

Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall gave a touching address on a women’s right to feel safe in their community before a remembrance wreath was laid by Terianne Docherty of Renfrewshire Rising. A two minute silence was held to remember those lost to domestic violence.

Outside the town hall, Frances Monaghan, of Wise Women, spoke passionately on why women should not attach blame to themselves and should fight to eradicate the problem for the sake of future generations. The night was closed with tea and coffee within Paisley Abbey.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said: “It is important that we continue to raise awareness of this important issue.

“The march creates discussion on violence towards women and this is vital if we are to eradicate domestic violence from our society. It is terrific to see the local community come together to join the march and support the campaign”

Provost Hall said: “The 16 Days of Action campaign gives everyone an opportunity to break the silence on this issue. We can give hope to those women who are suffering and hold the perpetrators to account.

Please continue to talk and raise awareness wherever you can in order for us to reach the ultimate aim of removing domestic violence from our communities.”

Anyone suffering from domestic violence can get help via two national helplines, which are available 24/7 and are free to call from a landline.
Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 027 1234
Abused Men in Scotland Helpline – 0808 800 0024

Locally, Women and Children First can be contacted on 0300 300 0345.

For more information, please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/16DaysofAction

Renfrewshire’s council leader reckons the deal to rename St Mirren FC’s home as the Paisley 2021 Stadium will help carry the town’s UK City of Culture ambitions around the world.

The club has changed the name of St Mirren Park to the Paisley 2021 Stadium to support the town’s campaign in the lead-up to the winning bid being announced in 2017.


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As well as the renaming of the stadium, the two-year, £33k per annum sponsorship includes programme and pitch-side advertising, branding inside and outside the stadium and promotion of Paisley’s bid across all of the club’s digital media channels.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, who is also chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, said:

“The sponsorship deal we have agreed with St Mirren FC will put the spotlight on Paisley’s bid, and not just for home supporters and visitors to the ground.

“Broadcast coverage of St Mirren’s home games will ensure that football fans and Scottish ex-pats across the rest of the UK and internationally will know about Paisley’s ambitions to become UK City of Culture in 2021.

“The support of our local club is a huge boost for our campaign to encourage people in Paisley, Renfrewshire and beyond to get behind this bid which will bring so much to the town.”

Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 was officially launched earlier this month. The competition is run by the UK Government and is open to large towns and urban areas.

The sponsorship agreement was approved by Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board on 18 November.

St Mirren FC chief executive Brian Caldwell said:

“St Mirren FC is proud of its roots in Paisley’s history, dating back to the founding of the club in the town in 1877.

“This sponsorship agreement will see our stadium playing a key part of the City of Culture campaign and our fans are right behind it.”

For more information about the bid, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk