Hit BBC Scotland TV show Still Game captured the camaraderie of residents living in high rise homes.
And Renfrewshire’s very own Jack, Victor and Isa – or Frank, Martin and Myra to be more precise – have become great friends thanks to the welcoming environment at their 15-storey Glencairn Court building.
The Gallowhill block boasts a community garden and ground floor social area complete with a darts board, kitchen, TV and plenty comfy chairs.
“You can go out without having to go outside,” jokes sixth floor resident Martin Heron, who moved to Paisley five years ago to be closer to his two sons. “I’ve met many folks since I came here and it really is the best move I’ve ever made.”
“This social area is great,” adds 12th floor resident of 40 years and counting Myra Young. “We meet on a Monday and a Thursday night to play games and on Tuesday morning we have a coffee morning. We play dominos; I win most of the time, but not all the time. I’m down here so much my daughters keep phoning me to find out where I am.”
Frank Milne, swapped Bridge of Weir for his high rise home 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. He said: “They’ve fair spent the money on it and it’s a really nice, safe environment. It’s very good here because of the friendship and company – you’ve got to have that friendship and knowledge of the people you live with.”
Glencairn Court is one of 14 Renfrewshire Council run multi-storey blocks, providing more than 1000 homes across the region.
Significant sums are being invested inside and out to ensure residents have homes to be proud of. Alongside social areas like the one at Glencairn Court, many flats have benefited from new kitchens and bathrooms.
There has been electrical re-wiring, all-new foyer areas, new heating systems installed and high quality insulation added to the exteriors, improving both the building’s energy efficiency and its aesthetic appearance.
Five blocks have also seen tailored improvements to cater for elderly and disabled residents, such as walk-in showers and easier to reach switch and socket points.
Add in a friendly concierge or caretaker on hand to offer advice and assistance and it really is a welcoming and warm environment.
“We know how popular our high rise housing is with both Council tenants and private owners alike, as demand continues to outstrip supply,” explains Councillor John McNaughtan, Depute Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board.
“It makes up eight per cent of the Council’s total housing stock and it is very important to us that all the homes we provide are well-maintained, sustainable and attractive to residents now and in the future.
“That’s why we’re spending £15million this year to continue to upgrade our housing stock and ensure people have homes they are proud to live in as we look to create positive, thriving communities throughout Renfrewshire.”
Councillors will note the ongoing investment in Renfrewshire’s multi-storey housing and its fire safety arrangements in a report to the Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board on Tuesday 22 May.
Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London, Council staff have been working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to ensure effective fire safety management practices are in place across Renfrewshire high rise housing.
Fire alarm systems are being enhanced in all blocks while work is also under way throughout 2018 to upgrade smoke and heat detectors, and fire suppression systems are being installed in bin areas.
Councillor McNaughtan added: “We know from close partnership working with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service that our properties are well-maintained and have excellent fire safety arrangements in place, but we must not be complacent.
“We commissioned an independent audit of our fire safety measures and this is informing ongoing works across our estate. We will also support any further guidance and advice from the Scottish Government on any future fire safety improvements and residents can discuss the fire safety arrangements with our dedicated concierge and caretaking team.”