Business leaders met with a senior team from Renfrewshire Council this week to hear about the local authority’s plans to boost the region’s profile and economy.


At an event hosted by Amanda McMillan, Chief Executive Officer of AGS Airports – operator of Glasgow Airport, business leaders from some of Renfrewshire’s biggest companies heard about the Council’s wide ranging plans for economic regeneration and tackling poverty.

Renfrewshire Council leader Mark Macmillan was joined at the event by directors from companies including Diageo, Gas Measurement Systems, Gordon Leslie Group, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intu Braehead, Malcolm Group, Scottish Leather Group, Spectrum Service Solutions, and Thermo Fisher.

Representatives from organisations such as Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, University of the West of Scotland, and West College Scotland also attended.

Attendees were presented with a copy of the Council’s new draft economic framework, which draws together existing strategies and initiatives to drive the region’s economy forward during the next two years. The draft framework will be the subject of a series of consultations with stakeholders from the private, public and third sectors, with this week’s event being the latest in that series.

Council Leader Macmillan said: “We want Renfrewshire to prosper and grow, and we have a great number of assets within our region to help us achieve that goal. We want to create more and better jobs for local people through supporting growing businesses, attracting new investment and ensuring the foundations are in place to sustain the economy in the long term.

“Working with our partners, we can collectively build Renfrewshire’s profile both nationally and internationally, as part of the wider Glasgow City region and cement our position as Scotland’s economic powerhouse.

“Our Economic Framework provides a clear sense of direction and will be instrumental in achieving a fairer, more inclusive Renfrewshire where all our people, communities and businesses thrive.”

Central to the economic rejuvenation of Renfrewshire is its participation in the Glasgow City Region City Deal, which will deliver an investment of £274 million for Renfrewshire in infrastructure projects. The region’s three projects will create thousands of jobs, a new bridge linking Renfrew to the north side of the river, an investment area with Glasgow Airport at its heart, and the long-awaited rail link between Glasgow Airport and the City Centre, via Paisley Gilmour Street.

The Council is fully committed to making these projects a reality in the near future and the Council leader met with the Transport Minister earlier this month to seek assurances that delivery of the Glasgow Airport Access Project is a priority for the Scottish Government.

Relative to the rest of Scotland, Renfrewshire boasts one of the best qualified populations and highest employment rates in the country. However, the region also has areas of significant deprivation within its boundaries and tackling these inequalities is a key focus of the Council.

That strategy includes Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, which aims to harness the town’s internationally significant collection of heritage and cultural assets to transform the region’s future. Paisley’s bid is already well under way with awareness of the long-lasting social, economic and cultural benefits which a successful bid would deliver, generating strong support.

Council Leader Macmillan continued: “Bidding for UK City of Culture in 2021 is a once in a generation opportunity to harness culture to help tackle poverty in some of our most deprived communities in Paisley and across Renfrewshire.

“Culture is an incredibly powerful tool in helping to inspire people and support them in realising their potential. We want to give everybody in Renfrewshire the motivation and support they need to feel good about themselves and achieve their own ambitions in life.

“The UK City of Culture bid also has the capability to accelerate our economic vision as it will bring an estimated one million additional visitors to Renfrewshire, delivering significant stimulus to our tourism, creative and cultural economies.”

Renfrewshire’s musicians are being urged to show their Gaelic roots in a brand new traditional music showcase withFèis Phàislig as part of this year’s Spree Festival.


The Ceilidh Trail – part of the Spree sessions in support of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 – will bring together musicians young and old to learn traditional tunes and songs over the October school holidays.

Anyone who can sing or play an instrument – such as the accordion, clarsach, fiddle, guitar, piano and whistle – at an intermediate or advanced level are being urged to sign up to one of the sessions across the week.

-Monday 17 October, 10am to 4pm in Paisley

-Tuesday 18 October, 10am to 4pm in Renfrew

-Wednesday 19 October, 10am to 4pm in Erskine

A concert rehearsal will take place on Thursday 20 October, before a free afternoon performance takes place in the Spiegeltent on Friday 21 October at 1.30pm.


Grant McFarlane of Fèis Phàislig said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for young people across Renfrewshire. We’re looking for musicians to put together a concert with us in just a few days and showcase some great traditional tunes and songs. No previous experience of traditional music is required – just lots of enthusiasm and a willingness to take part.”


Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, Council Leader Mark Macmillan, said: “Paisley has some great Gaelic connections, such as MOD Phàislig in 2013 that took place alongside our second Spree Festival. As Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace, we want to build upon these connections and the Ceilidh Trail is a great way to do that.”

The Spree sessions include James Grant with Create Paisley and Rockus Community Choir – both hosting a series of open events for people in Renfrewshire. Each session culminates with a final performance as part of The Spree festival.

Jean Cameron, Paisley 2021 Bid Director, said: “As a result of our weaving history, Paisley has a proud Gaelic heritage that is now being celebrated within our contemporary culture events programme including The Spree and Paisley’s Halloween Festival.”

For more info and to apply for the Ceilidh Trail, visit or call 07595175099.

Find out more about The Spree sessions at

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates head for the east coast for the second consecutive weekend as they take on SNL champions Kirkcaldy Kestrels in an important SNL fixture this Sunday, having won a tough encounter at Dundee on Saturday when they triumphed 5-2, after trailing going into the final session.

paisley pirates

“We were back to something like full strength at Dundee and having everyone available always makes things that little bit easier,” said coach Ian Turley. “I think we were able to capitalise on having four lines as our guys were definitely that bit fresher in the final session and it showed. The goals were spread around a little too and that’s always pleasing when you know that you have a lot of players who can chip in with a goal or two.”

“While it was a good win to achieve we’ll have to step up a gear again to take on the team which deservedly won the league title last year. We swopped wins in the league during the season, and we beat them in Kirkcaldy on our way to lifting the Scottish Cup last season, so while it’s another tough one for us we’re entitled to think we can put on a show again and give a good account of ourselves. Our new guys are settling in well so it’s good to have a number of lines you can send out with confidence to do a good job, and while we had to come from behind, in spite of having the bulk of possession throughout the Dundee game, it nevertheless showed that we don’t let our heads go down if the puck isn’t running for us. There will be spells on Sunday where that might happen so it’s important that our players remember they’re playing against a good side.”

He continued, “We hope to create chances with our style of play. However, it is important we are clinical around the Kestrels’ as not taking our chances could prove to be costly. It’s usually a game worth watching when we go against each other and I can’t imagine Sunday night will be any different.”

Paisley Natural History Society is continuing its autumn programme of evening talks with an illustrated talk by Derek Shannan, Community Ranger, Forestry Commission Scotland on Thursday 6 October at 7.30pm in Paisley Museum.


Forestry Commission Scotland manages the National Forest Estate, some of Scotland’s greatest natural assets. They are responsible for harvesting trees, planting new ones and play a fundamental role in wildlife, environment and heritage conservation.

Forests form part of the unique character of our countryside and Forestry Commission Scotland undertakes research to ensure sustainable forest management, supporting a wealth of biodiversity as well as providing places for people to work and visit.

The talk is free to attend and open to all.

Renfrewshire Council is taking significant steps to close the digital divide with the launch of its Digital Renfrewshire Strategy.


The Digital Renfrewshire Strategy sets out how the Council and its partners aim to tackle digital exclusion, improve digital public services and infrastructure, and use digital technology and skills to grow Renfrewshire’s economy.

It was launched this week (Tuesday 20 September) when Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan joined older members of the local community at a digital participation class, designed to give people the basic skills needed to reap the benefits offered by the digital world. The class took place at University of the West of Scotland’s (UWS) Paisley Campus.

The class, organised by Renfrewshire Council’s new Digital Participation Officer in partnership with Roar: Connections for Life (formerly known as Reaching Older Adults in Renfrewshire), is supported by the Council as part of its Tackling Poverty programme. The newly launched strategy has been developed out of the Council’s Digital Participation Plan and seeks to raise awareness of the need to close the digital divide, with an estimated 26,000 people in Renfrewshire lacking basic digital skills.

Councillor Macmillan joined class members as they were introduced to the fundamentals of using tablets and the benefits which digital technology can bring to their daily lives. The weekly classes, which run for a six week period, take place at a range of locations including UWS and West End Community Centre.

The tablet classes for older people are just one of the initiatives taking place across the region as the Council looks to deliver its Digital Strategy. There will also be tablet classes for people with disabilities and coding clubs for young people, among many others.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “The internet is being increasingly used for things like keeping in touch with others, banking, shopping, accessing benefits and applying for jobs but not everyone has the skills or access they need.

“Increased digital participation can improve people’s quality of life, save them money and boost economic regeneration. Unfortunately, those most likely to be digitally excluded are already facing social inequality with people who are retired, unemployed, in poor health and less educationally qualified at greatest risk.

“The Digital Renfrewshire Strategy sets out our vision and action plan for ensuring everybody has the opportunity to reach their digital potential and maximise the wider economic, educational, health, social and cultural benefits for all.”

Paul Cameron, Digital Participation Officer, said: “There has been an enormous demand for these tablet courses. Many older people are aware of the great opportunities that the internet offers and tablets give them an affordable way of accessing the web, however a lot of older people lack the skills to get online. These practical courses help addresses that issue”

The Digital Renfrewshire Strategy has four cornerstones:

  • Tackle digital exclusion by removing the barriers to digital participation
  • Enable digital participation through provision of a strong digital infrastructure of connectivity
  • Becoming an efficient, effective and sustainable council by developing our digital public services
  • Grow Renfrewshire’s economy by maximising the use of digital technology and tackling the growing digital skill gap

To help deliver its aims, Renfrewshire Council has committed £1m of investment in public wi-fi for Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew town centres which will deliver significant benefits for communities and businesses in these areas.

The Council is also improving its digital public services through the introduction of its MyAccount online portal. This makes it easier and more convenient for people to make payments, apply for council tax benefit and student council tax exemption online, and further services will go live in the coming months.

Renfrewshire businesses will also benefit from the Council’s Digital Volunteer programme which provides a digital resource to local third-sector organisations and small businesses which otherwise would not have had access to it.

Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of UWS, said: “UWS is proud of the contribution it makes to Renfrewshire and, in particular, its close relationship with Renfrewshire Council. We are delighted to be a venue for ROAR: Connections for Life classes and that the Council’s new digital strategy was officially launched at our Paisley Campus.

“Widening access and providing innovative learning opportunities are extremely important to UWS and we strongly advocate upskilling as many people as possible in the area.  We are therefore a keen supporter of the Council’s work to increase digital participation and open up digital technology to the entire community.”

To find out more about digital participation classes in your area, please visit the Digital Renfrewshire Facebook page: DigitalRenfrewshire or on Twitter: @Digi_ren

Renfrewshire Council also operates a Digital Directory which provides details of where local people can gain access to computers, wi-fi, and digital skills training at locations including libraries and Community Adult learning venues.

The Digital Directory can be found at:

Hard copies are also available at libraries and the Council’s Customer Service centre at Renfrewshire House.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has visited a local charity to find out more about their work to help disadvantaged young people find work, as well as helping to provide a recycling centre for the local community.


Oskars, based in Paisley, provides a range of local services, including second-hand furniture, recycling and gardening, as well as delivering training and employment opportunities to disadvantaged young people.

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

“I am extremely grateful to Karen and her team for showing me round their facility and talking about the range of services that they offer to the local community. Not only do Oskars provide an excellent second-hand furniture service – helping to reduce waste going to landfill – but they also provide a fantastic removal service.

“More importantly though, Oskar provides training and full-time employment opportunities to young people who may have had a difficult time growing up. It was great to speak to the young people at Oskars and it’s easy to see they enjoy the work that they do there.

“It cannot be stressed enough how much Oskar helps change the lives of some of the most disadvantaged youngsters in Renfrewshire. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Oskar’s and look forward to supporting them in the future.”

Eileen Cummings, Executive Director for Young Workforce Development at Kibble said:

“It was great to have the opportunity to welcome Gavin to Oskars and let him see the important work that we do. As a social enterprise, every penny we make is reinvested back into the local community.

“Not only do Oskars provide affordable furniture, but we can prevent waste going to landfill and provide jobs and training to local young people. The support of our local MP and of the community means we can continue with this positive business model.”

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has today commented on the confirmation that the cost of downgrading amenity sites at Renfrew, Erskine, Johnstone and Linwood, and then reversing the changes, will cost an estimated £281,000.

Mr Mackay wrote to the Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Council earlier this month asking for the details, after it was announced that the decision to downgrade the sites was now being reversed.


Renfrewshire Council estimated that the costs associated with the original planned changes would be £106,000.

Commenting Mr Mackay, who campaigned against the original decision to downgrade the sites, said:

“It was clear from day one that the plans to effectively close these sites was a bad one, and one in which the public was never going to accept. However, Labour pressed ahead with the plans, plans which they could have scrapped at any point. Instead their stubbornness has cost the Renfrewshire tax payer over quarter of a million pounds in closing and now re-opening the sites. Now let’s be very clear, that is a waste of £281,000 which could have been totally avoided.

“This whole fiasco was avoidable from the start and their bad management and failure to stop the changes when it became clear it was not workable has resulted in £281,000 being effectively flushed down the toilet.  Labour can not keep attempting to blame the Scottish Government for their bad decisions and poor foresight, nor can they keep saying ‘just give us more money’, when they are completely wasting the money that they have got.

“Labour have been ploughing millions of pounds into their pet projects whilst starving roads and the environment of the necessary resources, partly why they ended up in such a mess over the amenity sites in the first place. A mess which has now resulted in something which was created to apparently save £150,000 a year, now costing £281,000. A complete waste of money due to bad management and poor foresight by Labour.”

National and local businesses transform school into mock-hotel for the day to help boost Scotland’s hospitality industry and reduce youth unemployment. 

Today, 20th September, pupils from Linwood High School in Renfrewshire were given the chance to ‘Taste the Industry’ as classrooms were turned into mock-bars and restaurants for the day. The event, developed by the Tennent’s Training Academy (TTA) and Tree of Knowledge, introduces young people to the skills and roles available in the hospitality and tourism industry. Today was the first in a series of roadshows which will tour across Scottish schools throughout the rest of the year.

 (L-R) Linwood High School Head Teacher Eileen Young, Director of the TTA Stephanie Wade, pupil Necole Wilson (14), Kained Holdings Group Development Chef Scott Leask, pupil Evan Thompson (17), Kyle Steel of pop-up restaurant Section 33, pupil Emile McEwan (14) and Tree of Knowledge Director Dougie Clark at the Taste the Industry event at Linwood High School

(L-R) Linwood High School Head Teacher Eileen Young, Director of the TTA Stephanie Wade, pupil Necole Wilson (14), Kained Holdings Group Development Chef Scott Leask, pupil Evan Thompson (17), Kyle Steel of pop-up restaurant Section 33, pupil Emile McEwan (14) and Tree of Knowledge Director Dougie Clark at the Taste the Industry event at Linwood High School

100 pupils aged 14-17 took part in hands-on masterclasses run by businesses such as; underground pop-up restaurant Section 33, bar group Kained Holdings and catering giants Sodexo and trade suppliers Breahead Foods. Each masterclass gave the students an introduction to skills such as the art of service, bartending and event catering. The events aim to raise the awareness and attract new and young talent into Scotland’s hospitality industry, one of the key contributors to Scotland’s economy.

Evan Thompson, 17, pupil of Linwood High School said:

“Today has been brilliant, especially cooking the Mexican food with Section 33. It’s been great to learn more about the different areas of the industry such as catering at large events like Hampden, and learning it’s more than just about being a chef.” 

Eileen Young, Head Teacher of Linwood High School said:

“Today has been fantastic, it’s wonderful for the children to see all the different aspects of hospitality, rather than the perception they might have that it’s just being a waiter or a chef. It’s fantastic that all the different partners have come to the school, and we’ve been pleased with how the day has gone. Some great stars have emerged from the workshops, and I’m sure the children will go home having got a lot out of Taste the Industry.”

‘Taste the Industry’ was devised by the TTA and Tree of Knowledge following a report from the Scottish Government in 2015, advising that employers and education should work closer together to help reduce the levels of youth unemployment. The TTA and Tree of Knowledge aim to do just that by giving school children the knowledge and confidence to seek employment in the hospitality industry after leaving school.

Taste the Industry will visit Bell Baxter High School, Cupar (29th Sept.), Gracemount High School, Edinburgh (12thOctober) and Queen Victoria High School, Dunblane (1st November), before the final stop at Grove Academy, Dundee on the 25th and 26th January 2017, where the pilot event was held earlier this year.

Businesses involved in Taste the Industry have the chance to give something back to their local areas, talent spot for future employees and also meet their CSR objectives. Any businesses who would like to get involved in any of the Taste the Industry events should get in contact via 

Dougie Clark, Director of Tree of Knowledge said:

“This was another fantastic event at Linwood High School today, bringing the worlds of business and education together. It’s great to see the kids get so involved, and we hope today is another step to help in the developing the young workforce in Scotland.”

Stephanie Wade, Director of the Tennent’s Training Academy said:

We’re thrilled to have launched the first of our Taste the Industry roadshow events at Linwood High School today. The Tennent’s Training Academy are passionate about Scotland’s hospitality industry and furthering the careers of people within it. By working in partnership with employers across Scotland, we can look to grow the industry and support its future success. The industry constantly needs young talent, which is what we aim to achieve from the roadshows and at the same time help reduce the levels of youth unemployment across Scotland.”

DIanne Mitchell

The Diane Mitchell Music School are offering the following new classes:

On Wednesday the 26th of October the Children’s Choir is starting from 4.30 – 6pm. The first week is a free introductory trial session, and the class will meet regularly on Wednesdays from the following week.

DIanne Mitchell

There is also a musicianship class starting on Thursday the 27th from 4 – 5pm for 3 – 6 year olds. Classes teach beat, rhythm and pitch and children get the opportunity to try out different instruments

FASHIONISTAS will be shown how to turn over a new leaf this autumn.

TV presenter, Jean Johansson, left with nine-year-old Ava McKeown, at intu Braehead shopping centre

TV presenter, Jean Johansson, left with nine-year-old Ava McKeown, at intu Braehead shopping centre

Model and TV presenter Jean Johansson is hosting a free Ladies Day Out event at intu Braehead shopping centre.
And she’ll reveal what the latest autumn and winter fashion trends are, as well as guests being given a make-up and beauty masterclass.


The Ladies Day Out takes place this Friday and Saturday, September 23 and 24, between noon and 5pm in the central atrium.

But yesterday nine-year-old Ava McKeown got a sneak preview of the what everyone will be wearing this season when she bumped into Jean at the mall and got to try on some fashion outfits.

Log on to to book you and your friends a place on the guest list and be first to know what’s setting the trends this autumn and winter.

Marketing manager at intu Braehead, Christine Macdonald said: “We’re really kicking off the new fashion season in style and we can’t wait to hear the latest on the autumn and winter fashion trends.
“So get the girls together and come along to hear the good advice Jean has for us all. And remember you’ll have heard it first at intu Braehead!”

Council bosses have stepped in to help parents hit by the sudden closure of a Johnstone after-school club by extending temporary childcare until Christmas.


The shutdown of the privately-run Wean’s World facility in August left many local parents with nowhere for their kids to go the week before the schools went back.

Renfrewshire Council initially agreed to run temporary childcare facilities for the first six weeks of the school term, to allow parents to find alternative arrangements.

Many have now done so but education bosses met last week with some of the parents who are still to find a more permanent childcare solution.

And as a result the council has now made resources available to extend the temporary service by running an after-school club in Thorn Primary until schools break for Christmas on 20 December.

That will include free after-school transport to Thorn Primary from St Margaret’s Primary.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, added: “Helping parents access affordable childcare in order to go to work is a big priority for this council.

“The former Wean’s World nursery was a privately-run facility and it is worth remembering the council isn’t legally required to provide the sort of care they offered.

“Still, we appreciate how stressful the sudden closure was for parents and we were determined to help ease those worries.

“We put the temporary solution in place hoping six weeks would be enough to allow everybody to find other arrangements.

“But when it became clear last week that wasn’t the case we stepped in again to give parents some certainty for the rest of the year by extending the temporary service.

“We won’t be able to run that service indefinitely – but there are independent providers exploring the possibility of a permanent service from either Thorn or St Margeret’s.

“And over the next three month we will be working with them and hope to be able to sort something out which will help parents over the long term.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall is calling on everyone to identify their local heroes as the Community Awards open once again for nominations.

Jim Price- Acre Industrial and Cleaning Services, Nicola MacNaughton- Glasgow Airport, Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall and Maureen Hill- Paisley Piazza

Jim Price- Acre Industrial and Cleaning Services, Nicola MacNaughton- Glasgow Airport, Renfrewshire Provost Anne Hall and Maureen Hill- Paisley Piazza

The awards- which are now in their 20th year- give civic recognition to those who work or live in Renfrewshire and make a difference to their community.

There are five categories under which people can be nominated: Community Group, Community Volunteer, Sporting Achievement, Carers’ Award and Employer of the Year.

2016 Community Award winners with award sponsors and Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall

2016 Community Award winners with award sponsors and Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall

Provost Hall said: “Every year we discover yet more incredible people who give their time and effort to their community without expecting anything in return.

“The Community Awards is your opportunity to reward these people and ensure they gain the recognition they deserve.

“There are five categories to nominate in so make sure that deserving person or group doesn’t miss out and get your nominations in early.”

Jim Price, Managing Director of Acre Industrial and Cleaning Services, who sponsor the Sporting Achievement Award, said: “It’s been a pleasure for Acre to be able to support such a worthwhile cause as the Provost Community Awards for the last 13 years.

“I’m personally always amazed and humbled to see first-hand the enthusiasm and energy members of the community bring to their chosen endeavours.

“It is truly inspiring to witness the differences they make to their local communities and I look forward to being a part of this for many years to come.”

The Community Group award is sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre and celebrates the organisations in Renfrewshire that have a positive effect on their communities and deserve to be rewarded for their accomplishments.

The Community Volunteer award recognises those who give their time and effort for nothing more than the knowledge that they are making a difference to their community.

Employer of the Year is sponsored by Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark MacmIllan and encourages employees to nominate their employers who have provided a positive working environment and have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their workers.

Former Renfrewshire Provost Nancy Allison- who has been a part of each of the Community Awards since its inception- donates the Carers’ Award which rewards anyone who cares for a relative, friend or neighbour.

Anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire can be nominated for an award.

More information can be found on

Printed nomination forms are available at Council offices and facilities.

The closing date for nominations is 30 November 2016.

The winners in each category will be invited to a special ceremony which will be held in March 2017.