Renfrewshire councillors have refused a planning application from a developer to demolish the iconic Half Time School in Paisley, which was due to be replaced by 40 flats.
The School opened in 1887 to provide education to children who worked in Ferguslie Mills, this building is a key link to Paisley’s former mill town past.  However, once the mills had gone it was later used as a nightclub but suffered damage from a fire in 1998 and has seen further deterioration of the building over the following years.
There have been a few applications to build on that site over the years and retain some of the building but the plans have not got passed the Council planning department.
Councillor John McNaughtan – seconded by Councillor Kenny MacLaren – moved against the council officers recommendations to demolish the building and found widespread support among all councillors in the council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board.  Councillor McNaughtan highlighted the importance of protecting Paisley’s architectural and social history and also called for the council to use its full powers to protect not just the Half Time School but also all historic buildings within Paisley and Renfrewshire.
Councillor Kenny MacLaren, SNP – Paisley Northwest, said: “I was happy to second Cllr McNaughtan in his opposition to the demolition of this iconic building.
“We have to look at how the council can use all its powers to protect and preserve such buildings across Paisley and Renfrewshire.”
Thanks to Ricky Kelly of Renfrewshire News 24 for this article.

Jamie Scott, winner of Masterchef the Professionals 2014, will run a series of cooking demonstrations sharing his top cooking tips at Paisley Food and Drink Festival.

The chef, who runs the stunning The Newport restaurant overlooking the River Tay in Fife, will deliver three, free cooking demonstrations on Saturday 28 April to show audiences how to create top-class and delicious dining experiences at home.

The demonstrations will cover tasty recipes such as a how to get creative with your Sunday roast leftovers – delivered in association with Love Food Hate Waste, a mouth-watering vegetarian dish of cauliflower fritters and a fantastic spiced pork dish.

Chef, Jamie Scott, said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival. Events like this are a great way to get insight into local producers, suppliers, restaurants and cafés.  It’s a great way for people to get involved with food particularly those that take an interest in cooking.”

Love Food Hate Waste will provide advice on the day on making the most of your leftovers and the best ways to avoid food waste.

Ylva Haglund, Food Waste Campaigns Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “With Scottish households throwing away more than 600,000 tonnes of food every year, the Love Food Hate Waste campaign wants to inspire everyone about what they can do with their leftovers, including making a delicious meal the whole family can enjoy.

“We can all do more to tackle waste and to demonstrate, we are delighted to be teaming up with Chef Jamie Scott who will be demonstrating easy to make recipes that will provide people with new ideas for how to make the most of our food.”

Baking sensation Three Sisters Bake will also run a demonstration on the day for those keen to get some expert tips on creating some sweet treats.

This year’s festival will take place over two days for the first time ever from Friday 27 to Saturday 28 of April when the very best of Scotland’s producers will showcase their wares to visitors in Paisley’s iconic Abbey Close. Visitors on the Friday night can enjoy street food from Pitt Street traders, expert tastings with Gin 71, a Rum Shack Bar and acoustic music performances. On Saturday there will be a full programme of children’s workshops and entertainment, farmers’ market, craft market and plenty of delicious street food to enjoy and traders to purchase foodie gifts and goodies from.

The festival will run alongside Paisley’s Beer Festival which will take place from Wednesday 25 to Saturday 28 April run by the Renfrewshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, which attracts people from all over Scotland and beyond. The group will also run an outdoor bar on the Friday and Saturday.

Although the demonstrations are free spaces are limited so please book places in advance. You can find out more about the event and the demonstrations here:

Dogs of all shapes and sizes are set to undertake their daily walk in new surroundings as part of a push to remind owners of their responsibilities.

Taking place on Sunday 8 April at 1pm, dog owners from all across Renfrewshire are invited to Robertson Park in Renfrew to take part in a special dog walk which will bring together like-minded people to tackle the issue of dog fouling.

A key strand of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, responsible dog owners are being asked to join together to illustrate what the majority of owners recognise – that picking up after your dog is essential and failing to do so is against the law.

There will be the opportunity to learn more about the dog fouling campaign in Renfrewshire and how to support it both individually and collectively, including the chance to sign up to the Responsible Dog Owner’s pledge.

As well as the opportunity to meet many other furry friends, dogs and their owners will have the chance to see dog agility in action as the Phoenix Flyers showcase the talents of their four-legged companions, as well as providing tips on how best to train your pride and joy.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, was joined by local dog trainer Graeme Hunter of Blackmuir Dog Training and Behaviour Centre at Robertson Park to promote the dog walk.

Councillor McEwan said: “We recognise that dog fouling is a real problem on our streets, which is why we made it a key focus of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

“We’re working hard to change the behaviour of those who fail to pick up after their dog, as well as those who do pick up but fail to dispose of the waste into a bin afterwards.

“We do recognise though that the majority of dog owners in Renfrewshire are responsible and it’s those owners that we want to lead by example and make it clear that failing to pick up is unacceptable.

“So come and join us for this special walk, meet other responsible owners and make your Sunday dog walk a bit more interesting!”

As part of the dog fouling campaign, streets throughout Renfrewshire with an identified problem are being targeted with luminous spray paint, street stencilling, informative posters and increased warden activity.

The new approach aims to shock those who are failing to pick up after their dog into thinking twice the next time they take their dog for a walk in the local area and be aware if the potential £80 fine should they be caught.

For more information on the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, visit and for the event visit

THE UK’s tallest indoor slide has opened at Climbzone, in Soar at intu Braehead.

The modern-day version of a helter skelter is 16 metres high and ideal for thrill-seekers looking for excitement and fun.
And for those not quite ready for The Big Slide, there’s also a smaller six metres high version to try out.

It only costs £1 to go sliding down from the very top of Soar to the ground in the flume-like corkscrew tube. Children under 1.1 metres in height need to be accompanied by an adult.
The helix helter skelter is the brainchild of Climbzone director, Neil Mackay, who was inspired by a slide exhibition, at the Tate Modern Art Gallery, in London.

Neil said: “I wanted to offer a quick, cheap and fun activity that would appeal to kids, teenagers and adults alike and a slide ticks all the boxes.
“So I designed the biggest slide I could fit in the building. The stainless steel structure is stunning and I hope it will have universal appeal.”

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, Christine Macdonald said: “The top of the Big Slide is even higher than the Climbzone Skypark aerial adventure course, so it’s going to be a daredevil ride to the ground.

“Coming down the slide really gets the adrenalin going and I’ve no doubt this is going to be a very popular and exciting addition to all the other leisure and entertainment attractions we have in Soar.”

paisley from drone

Games have crossed the point where it needed a console or a TV to work. As the screens kept shrinking, the games kept evolving from a desktop to a mobile phone. This did not deter the players who now, along with the game developers, have shifted focus onto mobile gaming. The visual quality and the graphics are almost equal or better than gaming laptops.


Smartphone gaming vs Smartwatch gaming


Even casino games are available online for the convenience of the customers. Bingo games are now being developed for use in mobiles too. But now that the smartwatches are here, how logical would it be to move games to smartwatch as well. The smartwatch has its own logical issues like screen size but that same issue was raised when gaming moved to mobile. With technological development, screen size can be a thing of the past. Also, for a smartwatch to be used for gaming, proximity to a mobile phone is needed. What about the thought of marketing via your mobile? Have you ever thought of that?


Smartwatches are not as prevalent as smartphones, but app developers are not undermining its reach and potential. But with the developers being more creative, who’s to say that smartwatch gaming is not possible. But let’s see what the constraints might be the developers will have to overcome.


Screen Size


The screen size will be a constraint since it’s a watch and must fit your wrists too. But with the influx of smartwatch games in the iPhone and Android market, one can hope that small versions of your favourite games can be released. But seeing from a casino point of view, one must wonder how all the interesting visual interfaces that come with best bingo sites and online casino games can fit in a smartwatch. Card games might be a possibility only if the player’s hand is visible on the screen. But highly unlikely that it can move from mobile gaming to smartwatch gaming.




Imagine the surprise when a bunch of developers reimagined a few crowd favourite games for the smartwatch. Smartwatch is still in its infancy, so the graphics interface needs a lot more development. But even then, it’s not possible for a smartwatch to reach the potential of a smartphone. While developers are already making it work for simple games with easy interfaces, advanced graphics is not possible.


Battery life


The battery in a smartwatch is not to be made fun of. Unlike smartphones or tablets, it can last for days, making it ideal for communication. But advanced graphical interfaces eat up the battery just like in a smartphone in a short period of time. You must be careful, it will drop like a hot potato. You might have to prioritize as usual with a smartphone, what is important.


With all the recent developments, smartwatches are the best fitness companion/tracker you will ever need. What’s not to say that it can’t be your gaming companion too! Not to be left behind the game developers, online casino operators and bingo game providers like Sailor Bingo have been looking into opportunities to extend their operation in smartwatch gaming world as well. How much that will work out need to be seen. But, smartwatch in its infancy as it is now will not be able to provide all that we demand of it.

It’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days. But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to experts to get some simple techniques that will raise your writing game.

John Wilson is a PhD student at the University of Glasgow, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.

“There is a knack to it,” he says. “It took me until my second or third year at Glasgow to work it out. No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple.” Also, students frequently use service like “write my essay” which can help students at any academic level which are invaluable to students.


The goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale.

“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays. “You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them. That’s where the marks lie.”

But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Wilson, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”.

“That can be an intimidating idea,” he says. “You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?

“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’. That’s the difference between a 60-something essay and a 70-something essay” author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays.

Kids are being egged on to get active after the chocolate-filled Easter long weekend.

Street Stuff will run its new spring programme over the school holidays from April 3-12 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

St Mirren Football Club, St James Primary School and Linwood High School will host the free activities for 8-16 year olds.

The daily program consists of:

  • St Mirren FC – Football, dance and youth bus from 1-5pm
  • St James Primary School – Football and dance from 1.30-4.30pm
  • Linwood High School – Football from 1.30-4.30pm.

Consent forms must be completed for all participants on the first day of arrival. Lunch will be provided.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Easter break is an ideal time to encourage our children to get outside and get active.

“Hopefully they will enjoy themselves so much over the two weeks that they’ll continue on with good habits once school starts back again

“I’d like to thank the Street Stuff volunteers and coaches for their continued commitment over the break to bringing free, fun activities into our communities.”

The new spring timetable is available on the Renfrewshire Council website at

Johnstone’s newest personal trainer looking to bring the community together. Working from the saltire boxing gym running various Boxfit classes and personal training 1-2-1 sessions. If you are Looking to improve your knowledge, health & fitness get in touch today.

There is a real extravaganza of fantastic, fun family activities taking place across Renfrewshire this weekend to celebrate Easter. Here’s a glimpse of some of the great events happening for everyone to get involved in:

Easter Bunny Breakfast – 30 Mar 2018 – 2 Apr 2018 – Dobbies Garden Centre – Renfrew

Take the little ones along to Dobbies to meet the Easter Bunny where you can enjoy a freshly cooked hot breakfast and the kids will receive a delicious Lindt chocolate bunny to take home.

Plus there will also be a fancy dress competition so make sure your little ones have their best bunny ears on to be in with a chance of winning the prize.

Easter Bunny Breakfasts are available at £8.95 per child and £4.95 per adult. This is a ticket only family event where tickets are required to attend. Advance booking is essential.

Easter Egg-rolling – various locations around Renfrewshire

It’s Easter, you’ve decorated your egg or turned it into your favourite Paisley popstar; all that’s left is to find a big hill to roll it down.

This wonderful tradition is quintessential to family activities at Easter. So, grab your carefully prepared ‘Eggy Rafferty’ and head for Barshaw Park. The hill at the top of the park not only offers breathtaking views of Paisley, it’s also a great place to roll eggs down.

Another fantastic spot is the hill overlooking Abbey Mill at Saucelhill Park. You’re wee ‘David Sneggon’ will have a ball tumbling down the hill.

Any Renfrewshire hill will provide a cracking venue for egg-rolling.

Easter Bunny Hunt – Sat 31 March – 1pm-3pm – Finlaystone Country Estate

Looking to get outdoors this Easter to burn off all that chocolate? Why not head along to the annual Easter Bunny Hunt at Finlaystone Country Estate. Follow the clues around the forest and if you’re right you might just win a prize. It’s a real fun-filled day out for all the family.

This event is free and provided as part of your normal admission charge.

Bounce! Easter Fun Day – Sat 31 March – 11am – 3pm – Johnstone Town Hall

There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained at Johnstone Town Hall’s Easter fun day. Kids will be able to watch screenings of Easter movie classic ‘Hop’ and take part in fun activities including arts and crafts activities, biscuit decorating, bouncy castle, egg hunt and much, much more.

Easter Bunny Crafternoon Tea – 31 Mar – 1 Apr – 11.30am – 4pm – Three Sisters Bake – Bridge of Weir

While the whole family enjoys a delightfully decadent Easter Afternoon Tea, children will be entertained decorating boiled eggs ready for rolling; icing Easter biscuits and making Easter cards.

Afterwards, families can take part in the “Ten Challenge” Easter Bunny Trail around Quarriers Village/Killearn. Children must be supervised and adult participation in the fun is encouraged!

To find out more about Easter events taking place throughout Renfrewshire please visit:

Ahead of Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean next month, pupils from Johnstone High School, St David’s Primary, Cochrane Castle Primary and West Johnstone Pre-5 Centre joined members of the local community to give Thomas Shanks Park a makeover.

67 pupils took the opportunity to improve their local environment as they tackled litter left within the park, while also learning how to influence their classmates into using the bins around the school and at home.

The Renfrewshire Wardens were also on hand to discuss the effect dropping litter can have on the environment and local wildlife, as well as their job of enforcing fines to those caught in the act.

More than 80 bags of litter were collected during the clean up, which has made a real difference to the appearance and cleanliness of the popular park.

The clean up took place in advance of Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean which is set to take place between 20-22 April.

A key event as part of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, communities across Renfrewshire are being urged to get involved with the aim of holding a clean-up in as many towns and villages as possible.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “It’s fantastic to see yet another brilliant turn out at one of our community clean ups, and especially encouraging to have the young people from local Johnstone schools in attendance.

“It is important that the younger generation are aware of the damage littering can do and the importance of keeping their local community clean.

“I hope they’ll be inspired, along with everyone else, to take part in our Big Spring Clean in April where we hope the entire Renfrewshire community will get behind the campaign.

“If we can hold a clean up in as many communities as possible, this will hopefully provide the spark for them to be kept clean and for people to take a pride in their local area.”

The Team Up to Clean Up campaign was given a major boost earlier this month as councillors committed to investing £2.5million in improving Renfrewshire’s environment across the next five years – doubling the initial annual investment.

The commitment ensures the continuation of an increased road sweeping service, improved gully cleaning programme, strengthened Rapid Response Team and dedicated litter pickers out in every community, as well as supporting the local community to undertake community clean ups.

Find out more about the Big Spring Clean at or visit

The entire Team Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) sailing squad for the World Games in 2019 is set to be made up of athletes training in Renfrewshire.

Lewis Nicholson (Paisley), Michael Kelly (Paisley), Jamie Kearns (Clydebank), Shannon McGhee (Clydebank), Laura Carrick (Helensburgh, Lothian) and Darren MacGregor (Glasgow) will travel to Abu Dhabi as part of a delegation of 129 athletes set to represent Great Britain.

All six of the athletes who will make up the sailing squad train at Castle Semple within Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park and this will form their base for their preparations for the World Games next year – supported by the coaching team at Castle Semple.

Councillor Andy Steel, Chair of the Clyde Muirshiel Joint Committee, said: “It is a fantastic honour for these athletes to be chosen to represent Team SOGB at the World Games and this comes after a fantastic performance in Sheffield where they won two silvers and a bronze.

“We’re extremely proud that these young people are training and learning at the top class accessible facilities we have at Castle Semple and we will do all we can to facilitate them as they prepare to face the best athletes from across the world.”

The Special Olympics World Summer Games is the biggest global event for athletes with intellectual (learning) disabilities and takes place every four years.

Team SOGB are one of 168 countries taking part and around 7,000 athletes from around the globe will compete in 24 different sports between 14-21 March 2019.

A full list of those selected for Team SOGB can be found here:

For more information on the Special Olympics World Games 2019 can be found here:

paisley from drone

Fresh on the back of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, it is important that businesses in the local area are doing their bit to create exciting opportunities for budding entrepreneurs. Not only is this a great way to give back to your community, but it is also a fantastic opportunity for you to boost the profile of your organisation. That is why you should seriously consider setting up your own programme in the year ahead. If you are wondering where to start, you should pay close attention to the following four tips.

Work on your management skills

If you are going to make a success of your apprenticeship programme, you will need to work on your management skills. This will help you to guide your successful applicants in the right direction. Instead of leaving them to their own devices when they visit your company, it is important that you guide them through the process. You will also need to improve your Influencing Skills if you are going to get your workforce on board, secure funding for your project, and establish connections with local institutions.

Collaborate with your existing workforce

The next step is to collaborate with your existing workforce. Getting your team on the side is a brilliant way for you to ensure your apprentices are welcomed into your organisation. You don’t want to run the risk of anyone dumping extra work on your apprentices or asking them to carry out inappropriate jobs such as filing, photocopying, or coffee runs. During their time at your company, your apprentices should be treated with the same kind of respect that is shown to all of your employees. That is why you should hold regular team meetings to outline your programme and the expectations that you have for your staff.  

Reach out to young people

In order to secure the best applicants for your programme, you will need to reach out to a large number of young people. This should give you more individuals to choose from, as opposed to making do with a limited selection. Why not volunteer to speak at your local schools, colleges, youth clubs, and community centres? You should also endeavour to get your business on social media, as this is a sure-fire way to connect with today’s youth. Not only this, but your social media presence will be of use once your programme has come to an end. Instead of allowing your good work to fly under the radar, you can share your success stories on an online platform.

Ask for plenty of feedback

Last but not least, you should ask for plenty of feedback from your lucky apprentices. Every year that you run your programme, you should do so with the aim of bettering your previous efforts. This will only be achievable if you identify clear areas for improvement. Just make sure that your feedback forms are as anonymous as possible. Otherwise, you are unlikely to receive the kind of feedback your business needs to thrive.