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.

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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.

Enrolling Now for 2017 !

Do you enjoy singing? Singing is good for health and well-being and promotes confidence. We have something for everyone at the music school. Come and try one of our activities, meet new friends and have fun

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We are enrolling now for January 2017

Classes start week commencing Saturday 14th January 2017

Saturday 2.30pm – 3.30pm – Fun singing group for Primary School Children

Wednesday 4.30pm – 6pm DMMS Children’s choir – age 6 years to 14 years

For Adults – Tuesday 7-9pm Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir

There are some places also in our musicianship classes on a Saturday and Thursday.

Diane Mitchell

All of our teachers are highly qualified in their field and are PVG registered

Contact Diane on 07896689816 or John on 07410918555 to enrol or find out more or email info@dianemitchellmusicschool.com

www.dianemitchellmusicschool.com

As part of the re-opening of our refurbished car park, we are offering free weekend parking until the end of December 2016.  Opening hours at the Piazza are:  Mon – Sat 8.00am to 6.30pm and Sun 11am to 5pm.

 

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A sell–out crowd of 500 people watched 16 awards presented at the ROCCO’s on Friday 18th Nov at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew – the annual business awards of  Renfrewshire Chamber.

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The area’s premier business event, now in its thirteenth year was sponsored by Paisley 2021 for UK City of Culture.   Chamber President Audrey Cumberford (Chief exec & Principal of West College Scotland) gave a warm welcome to the audience and highlighted the chambers successes in the last 12 months. She emphasised the opportunity for Renfrewshire with record investment planned via the Glasgow City Region City Deal and the potential of winning the City of Culture bid.  Council Leader Mark Macmillan gave the main sponsor address and urged companies and individuals alike to hit the “back the bid” button via the 2021 website. Paisley’s own megastar Paolo Nutini had a video message for the audience to encourage their support and the difference culture can make for young people was highlighted by Street Stuff’s Ben Milne & Mark Kerr. Rocco favourite Fred MacAulay hosted and was impressed by the performances of 3 piece girl group Loxi, Singer Lisa Kowalski and an energetic 2021 themed piece by Pace Theatre Co.  The ROCCO raffle raised £8,000 for local charities and good causes with St Vincent’s Hospice and Street Stuff Culture Bus Project the main charities of the year.

 

ROCCO Award for Excellence in Customer Services – Sponsored by Scottish Leather Group

Winner – intu Braehead

 

ROCCO Award for Enterprise in Education – Sponsored by University of the West of Scotland

Winner – DirectDevitt Comedy Management & Productions CIC

 

ROCCO Award for Innovation & Technology – Sponsored by Hillington Park

Winner – Rolls-Royce

 

ROCCO Award for Excellence in Manufacturing – Sponsored by

Winner- Diageo

 

ROCCO Award for International Trade – Sponsored by Glasgow Airport

Winner – Bridge of Weir Leather

 

ROCCO Award for Invest in Renfrewshire – Sponsored by Invest in Renfrewshire

Winner – I Am Me Scotland

 

ROCCO Award for Most Promising New Business – Sponsored by Business Gateway

Winner – PowerTek

 

ROCCO Award for Renfrewshire’s Favourite Business – Sponsored by Paisley Daily Express

Winner – Origins Fitness

 

ROCCO Award for Family Business of the Year – Sponsored by The Malcolm Group

Winner – Stafffinders

 

ROCCO Award for Young Business Person of the Year – Sponsored by West College Scotland

Winner – Fraser Gordon, The Detailing Factory

 

ROCCO Award for Employer of the Year – Sponsored by Rolls-Royce

Winner – Boston Networks

 

ROCCO Award for Community Champion – Sponsored by Engage Renfrewshire & RBS

Winner – Active Communities

 

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business <5 FTE – Sponsored by intu Braehead

Winner – Kenneth Keegan Independent Funeral Directors

 

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business 5<25 FTE – Sponsored by Renfrewshire Council

Winner – Braehead Clan
 

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business >25 FTE – Sponsored by Clyde Marine Training

Winner – Glasgow Airport

 

ROCCO Award for Business Leader of the Year – Sponsored by DIAGEO

Winner – Andrew Malcolm, MD The Malcolm Group

 

Commenting on the awards, Chamber chief executive Bob Grant said “a huge thank you to all our sponsors, those who donated prizes for our raffle and a hearty congratulations to all the finalists and winners.  Our 13th ROCCO was lucky for 16 winners and a great success.  You can view all images on the chamber Facebook page and comments on #2016Rocco.  I encourage all Rocco winners to utilise their win across their PR channels. Thank you to the entire Chamber team for all their work before and on the night to ensure our 500 guests had a great time.  Special thanks to principle sponsor Paisley 2021, Diageo who supplied our drinks reception, Cameron Presentations & Gap TV for all the AV, The Printbrokers for the program, Gary from NS Design for the excellent social media coverage and Normandy Hotel for a tasty meal. Finally thanks to Loxi, Lisa Kowalski and Pace Theatre Co. for entertaining us so well. Planning for Rocco 2017 is already underway and we hope to see you enter and attend next year

Thousands turned out for an afternoon full of festive cheer as the Renfrew Christmas Lights were switched on.

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There was fun for all the family with entertainment put on in the town centre designed to get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

Renfrew hosted the North Pole’s most famous resident as Santa’s grotto set up camp in the town hall- and gave youngsters a chance to make sure their Christmas list had made it to the man himself.

Santa wasn’t alone though, bringing a few of his reindeer along to keep him company- whilst also letting adults and kids alike get that perfect Christmas photo.

Outside, kids could burn off their Christmas excitement at the funfair with games to be played, rides to be enjoyed and toys to be won all afternoon.

And if they needed to escape the cold, the town hall had face-painting, circus workshops, arts and crafts and puppets shows- ensuring there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall led a Christmas carol service inside the town hall, with Christmas classics expertly played by the Renfrew Burgh Band.

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Later in the afternoon, the main stage in the town centre- hosted by the Pulse FM- saw local solo artists showcase their talents in front of an energetic crowd- before the big switch on arrived at 5pm.

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Provost Hall was joined by lucky competition winner, Mariyaa, 11, from Arkleston Primary, to turn on the lights and together they set off the spectacular fireworks display from the roof of town hall.

Provost Hall said: “I was delighted to see such a terrific turnout in the town centre for what is one of the main events of the year in Renfrew.

“It was a fantastic day for families with a variety of entertainment to keep both kids and parents entertained all afternoon.

“Our lucky competition winner Mariyaa had an experience she won’t forget and it was great to see how much she enjoyed switching on the lights for the festive season.”

The lights switch-on was organised by Renfrewshire Council as part of its town centre events programme.

For more information on events in Renfrewshire visit:  www.renfrewshire.co.uk/events

Renfrewshire MSP Derek Mackay is urging locals looking for a festive bargain to keep their details secure as figures reveal online crime cost UK consumers and business £10.9 million last Christmas.

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Figures from Get Safe Online and Action Fraud show the figure decreased by 33% in total compared to the same period in 2014-2015.

They also found online crime cost the UK economy nearly £11 billion in 2015/16 – approximately £210 for each adult. However, the figures only represent cybercrime that is actually reported.

Record numbers of Scots are expected to go online this year, creating opportunities for retailers, bargain hunters but also cyber criminals.

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:

“We all use online shopping to find deals, particularly in the run up to Christmas and in the post-Christmas sales. However, while we all want to enjoy these bargains, we should also be vigilant about not providing opportunities to cyber criminals.

“There are a number of simple steps locals can take to protect themselves from becoming victims to this type of cybercrime. These include paying with credit cards, shopping only with shops and sites you know and trust, never sharing your password with anyone, and regularly changing your passwords.

“By taking these straightforward steps, we can all minimise the risk of Christmas being ruined.”

Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online commented:

“Christmas is supposed to be a time of good will. Unfortunately, this is not always the case when it comes to the online world with cybercriminals seeing the festive period as the perfect time to prey on unsuspecting members of the public who are looking to buy gifts online for loved ones. The fact that so much money is being lost over the season means that we need to be doing more to protect ourselves when making purchases.

“We want the public and businesses to take that little bit of extra thinking time to double check to see if the product they are purchasing is coming from a legitimate website before making a payment. We also strongly advise people do their research beforehand too in order to look for any customer reviews which often act as a good touch point for safe online shopping. If your instincts tell you that something is “too good to be true”, then our advice would be that it probably is, so be sure you don’t given away any personal details or payments – after all it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

 

Paisley could be set for a six-figure economic boost if it can bring Scotland’s primary celebration of Gaelic language and culture back to the town in 2021.

action from the parade when the Mod last came to Paisley in 2013

action from the parade when the Mod last came to Paisley in 2013

Work to on a bid bring The Royal National Mòd back to the town is well advanced, with financial plans being put in place to cover the expected costs.

If the bid is successful, the nine-day festival would become a key part of the proposed programme for Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

Members of Renfrewshire Council’s Leadership Board will next week be asked to set aside a budget of £300,000 to meet event hosting costs, plus £12,500 per year for four years to fund a programme of Gaelic language events locally.

An independent analysis of Paisley previous hosting of the Mòd in 2013 found it attracted more than 8,000 visitors, 38% from outwith the area, and with total visitor spending of £700,000.

The same report found the return on Renfrewshire Council’s investment was six to one, and the economic activity was the equivalent of 33 full-time jobs.

Public meetings have already taken place to create a local organising committee, which – with support by council staff – will submit a bid by June.

Paisley’s Mòd ambitions have been supported by prominent Gaelic musicians Donnie Munro and Skerryvore, who both played the town’s Spree festival this year.

The town has also started to build a Gaelic legacy with an annual festival for under-18s – Fèis Phàislig – running each summer and which this year saw almost 100 young people take part in a week of musical workshops.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We were delighted to bring the Mòd to Paisley for the first time three years ago – and I am sure residents will remember how busy the town was during that week.

“Hosting the Mòd again in 2021 would bring another massive economic boost to the Renfrewshire area.

“If we win UK City of Culture 2021 it would be a key part of the year-long programme of major events that would involve.

“But even if not it will help us maintain the momentum the 2021 bid has already created in terms of establishing Paisley as a key destination on Scotland’s cultural map.

“It would also allow us to create an even stronger Gaelic cultural legacy within Renfrewshire, building on the good work already being done.”

The Leadership Board will consider the plans when it meets on Wednesday 30 November.

Plans for a new Paisley Museum which could bring hundreds of thousands of visitors into the town have taken a leap forward after new funding plans were unveiled.

Cllr Mark Macmillan at Paisley Museum with a Paisley shawl

Cllr Mark Macmillan at Paisley Museum with a Paisley shawl

The museum revamp is central to Renfrewshire Council’s ambitious plans to use Paisley’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future, including a bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

And councillors will this week run the rule over a refreshed funding strategy aimed at turning the museum into an international-class visitor destination.

It is predicted the museum will triple current visitor numbers to 125,000 a year, be worth £75m to the local economy over the next 30 years and create 160 new jobs.

Under the new plans, the overall project cost has been reduced from the initial £56.7m to £49m – achieved by working with the architects to reduce the scale of the proposed building work, in a way which still delivers the original aims.

That total is made up by:
– Renfrewshire Council increasing its contribution to £26m from the initial £15m. The bulk of this will come from money already set aside for town centre regeneration;
– an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £10m, with councilors being asked to authorise that approach;
– applications for £4m funding from Scotland-wide funding sources;
– an ask of a further £4m of direct funding from UK and Scottish Government;

That would leave a gap of £5m, to be raised through a major fundraising campaign, and which has been assessed as a realistic target over a five-year period.

The new project plans were developed after extensive discussion with experts in museum and major infrastructure projects, and feedback from likely funders.

An initial application to HLF for £15m earlier this year was unsuccessful – with them advising the project needed a greater degree of guaranteed funding to have a better chance of lottery money at a later date.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We have already made huge steps forward in recent years with our ambitious plans to use Paisley’s unique heritage assets to drive a transformation of Renfrewshire’s future.

“The proposals to revamp Paisley Museum are the signature project of that and will create a lasting legacy for the town and wider area.

“That will include major tourist footfall to the High Street, and a multi-million-pound boost to the local economy, supporting new jobs and opportunities for local people.

“The project will also retell the inspirational stories of Paisley’s heritage and Pattern by involving local people, provide an outstanding learning resource, and help change perceptions of the town at home and abroad.

“But transformation of that scale and ambition cannot be achieved without major investment and there is no option but for to the council to find its share of that.

“Major projects of this scale are rarely funded on the first ask, but the application process saw us receive some positive feedback about the ambition and viability of the project from funders.

“We also learned what we need to do to have a better chance of being funded next time – and that was to have a greater proportion of the project cost in place.

“The near-£7m reduction in cost and increased contribution from council resources will bridge that gap, while we now have a more robust fundraising strategy in place to bring in the rest of the investment needed from government and other sources.

“We remain excited by what this project will mean for Renfrewshire and believe the plans we are putting in place today will make it a reality.”

The proposals would see an extension to the existing museum, which is operated by Renfrewshire Leisure, to contain a reception, café, shop and weaving studio.

There would also be an extensive refurbishment of the current Victorian-era building, doubling the amount of the town’s collection which could go on view and fixing current issues with disabled access.

If the funding is secured, the museum would close to the public in 2018 and fully reopen in 2022, with development of the project playing a key part in the programme for UK City of Culture 2021, should Paisley win the title.

Related work includes the new publicly-accessible museum store currently being constructed on Paisley’s High Street and due to open in 2017, as well as the plans to move Paisley Central Library from its current home in the museum building to a new facility on the High Street.

The proposals will be considered by members of the council’s Leadership Board on Wednesday 30 November.

The new man set to help lead Renfrewshire’s schools says he wants to play his part in making them among the best in Scotland.

Picture by John Young © www.youngmedia.co.uk

Picture by John Young © www.youngmedia.co.uk

Steven Quinn has just been appointed the area’s new Assistant Director (Education) and will take up his new post in December, after moving from his current role as Head of Schools in North Ayrshire.

He also has years of classroom experience, having started out as a maths teacher in East Ayrshire and rising through the ranks to become a head teacher at Auchenharvie Academy and Ardrossan Academy.

Reporting to the council’s Director of Children’s Services Peter MacLeod, Steven will oversee Renfrewshire’s 11 secondary, 49 primary and three additional support needs schools.

And Steven, 46, said: “I have used all my time and energy to ensure every child and young person gets the best possible education which allows them to fulfil their potential.

“I want to learn about the very good practice already existing within Renfrewshire’s schools and build on this to reach our goal of becoming one of the highest-performing education authorities.

“My job is to make sure our central team, teachers and all supporting staff have the right supports and necessary confidence and ability to deliver a sector-leading experience which focuses on positive outcomes for our children and young people.”

Steven is married with two school-age children and now plays golf in his spare time, having previously played and coached semi-professional football for various clubs in the Ayrshire junior leagues.

He believes one of the biggest priorities in education is in making sure those children who are disadvantaged in whatever way are not left behind.

Renfrewshire schools are already very active in this area – with several innovative projects funded by the council’s £6m Tackling Poverty programme.

And Steven said: “One of biggest issues facing the education sector is closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

“We must continue to work very hard to raise attainment for all pupils – but we need to make sure young people from our most disadvantaged areas get the right opportunity and support to make the progress that lets them meet their potential.

“Renfrewshire recognised the need for a tackling poverty strategy a few years ago and my job will be to help build on the work already being done through that.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, convener of Renfrewshire’s education and children policy board, added: “I would like to congratulate Steven on his appointment and welcome him to his new role.

“He will add a wealth of experience to our existing high-performing team and I am sure he will be a real asset to the council.

“Here in Renfrewshire we are ambitious for our schools – went want them to be seen as among the best in Scotland – and we hope Steven’s input will help us achieve that.”

Derek Mackay - SNP

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the Scottish Veterans Fund.

Derek Mackay - SNP - Renfrewshire North and West  Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

Derek Mackay – SNP – Renfrewshire North and West
Pic – Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Veterans Fund will support Veterans and ex-service charities with £600,000 of funding over the next three years, including a three-year £240,000 contribution from Standard Life to support veterans employment.

The fund will continue to help one-year projects, but for the first time applicants will now also be able to bid for 2 or 3 year funding to enable more strategic projects to come forward.

The SNP MSP said:

“Veterans are an asset to our society and deserve the highest level of advice, support and care.

“However some veterans do face difficulties accessing services and the Scottish Government is committed to tackling this head on, ensuring that no member of the armed forces, service family member or veteran in Scotland faces unfair disadvantages.

“The Fund is now open to applicants. For the first time, applicants can also bid for two or three year funding to support more strategic projects.” 

Colonel Martin Gibson, Executive Chairman of Veterans Scotland, said:

“We welcome the continued support to ex-Service charities and other organisations from the Scottish Veterans Fund and we recognise the benefits that such grants can bring for individuals. The potential to have funding over a two to three year period means that a number of initiatives will be able to become well established and make a real difference to those, comparatively few, veterans who really need support.

“I anticipate many Service leavers finding meaningful and worthwhile employment as a result of the short to medium term initiatives that will come about as a result of this funding. In turn, they will bring their considerable skills and attributes into the work place in Scotland. We are grateful to the Scottish Government and to Standard Life for their generous contribution.”

Gavin Newlands MP has backed the Energy Switch Guarantee, an industry initiative to make switching supplier simpler, quicker and safer.

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More than 88% of households in Paisley and Renfrewshire North could be missing out on hundreds of pounds of energy savings that can be made by switching energy provider.

The Energy Switch Guarantee – launched in June – is a set of ten commitments designed to offer customers more confidence in the switching process.

The signatories of the Guarantee will make sure the switch is completed in twenty-one days. The Guarantee gives customers the extra assurance that the switch will be fast and reliable.

Gavin Newlands MP said:

“I want to see up to 88% of households in Paisley and Renfrewshire North save hundreds of pounds by switching their gas and electricity supplier this winter.

“People tell me that if you’ve been with the same supplier for years switching can seem like a daunting task. That is why I support the Energy Switch Guarantee which promises to make switching simple and smooth for everyone.”

Tina Tietjen, independent chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee said:

“I encourage people to shop around this winter for the best deal for them. Customers can save hundreds of pounds and with the Energy Switch Guarantee they are assured a simple, speedy and safe switch.

“The Guarantee is a major commitment by suppliers – from the largest to some of the newest suppliers in the market – to make switching simple and quick. It is designed to reassure consumers who may have reservations about switching.”

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates have given their backing to a festive drive by local organisations to help families in the area experience some Christmas cheer next month, by asking fans to donate items and bring them to the club’s next home game against Dundee Tigers on Sunday 11 December.

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“Our Supporters Club has already been in touch with representatives from the Trussell Trust and Renfrewshire Foodbank to discuss what we can do,” said chairwoman Marie Cadenhead. “They’ll be at our game on 11 December and we’re asking our fans to show their traditional generosity by bringing along food items, selection boxes, indeed any item which might make this Christmas a little easier for local families. I’m sure our fans will respond in numbers to the initiative and I’m hoping that the representatives from the two agencies will need a lot of boxes to carry away the donations from supporters.”

Coach Ian Turley also commented, “We always stress that we are a community club wanting to give something back for all the support we receive, and this is an ideal opportunity for us to show that desire in a very practical way, by hopefully bringing a smile to some faces, for whom Christmas might otherwise be a very difficult time. Like Marie, I’m in no doubt that our fans will respond in quantity and it’s a hugely worthwhile project to be involved in. I can only recommend it wholeheartedly to all our supporters and, indeed, to everyone in the wider community. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a difference and I really hope we can do that, and, by doing so, reinforce the message about the festive period being a time for giving.”