Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson has set out his long-term commitment to help people most in need into work and improve opportunities for future generations.
The £4.5million funding plans for Invest in Renfrewshire – the Council’s economic development service – were approved yesterday (Wednesday 20 June 2018).
This will provide targeted job support to people, communities and local businesses over the next five years.
“We want to provide support to the people and places most in need, to make the greatest difference,” said Councillor Nicolson. “We must ensure the area’s economic growth benefits everyone and that’s why we are targeting our resources to communities facing deprivation and to help people unemployed and underemployed, changing their opportunities and that of future generations.”
The new service will start from 1 October 2018 and includes further development of a community based pilot project under way in Ferguslie which supports people facing a range of barriers to employment.
It is already achieving positive results for local residents like Ronnie Lockhart, who’d been out of work for the past 20 years, but is now working as a gardener with Linstone Housing Association thanks to the support from the Invest team.
The 49-year-old said: “I love it, I’m out cutting grass, using the leaf blower, strimming, litter picking and tidying places up. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me, I’m even out cutting the neighbour’s grass for them.
“I was in a routine of going out once a fortnight to sign on then back home to watch TV. Eventually I got sick of being in the house doing nothing. Now I never want to go back to that – I love the job and the team work. We have such a laugh and we get the work done. I’m learning every day and I’m hopeful I can get kept on.
“My mum is proud of me, my whole family are proud of me and I couldn’t have asked more of the support from Invest, they do their damnedest to get you into employment, they do a great job and I’m really grateful for what they have done for me.”
More will be done to support start-up and early stage businesses through the new service, with exciting plans in place to grow the creative business sector and increase the number of sustainable small businesses and social enterprises.
Local communities will also reap the benefits of staff working locally to grow services and support voluntary groups looking to secure external funding, with 40 applications already in development.
And there is a major focus on maximising key economic growth opportunities in Renfrewshire, including in manufacturing, care and the creative industries by working with local businesses to provide direct pathways into these job growth areas.
Renfrewshire’s economy has grown significantly in the last six years with 8000 more jobs across the local area and employment figures dramatically improved.
Councillor Nicolson added: “Renfrewshire is open for business and there are major areas of growth coming here, with new jobs in the creative and tourism sectors as we build on the legacy of our Paisley 2021 bid and in the care sector as we expand our childcare and nursery provision.
“We are also developing an advanced manufacturing district which will be home to Scotland’s manufacturing institute and a world-first medicines manufacturing centre. This all means new jobs and we want to make sure Renfrewshire people are best placed to seize these opportunities.
“We will tackle the challenges head-on and develop Renfrewshire as an attractive place to locate and do business, supporting local businesses to grow and improving the area’s economic, social and physical regeneration.”
Find out more at www.investinrenfrewshire.com