A community project to turn Johnstone Police Station into a local health hub has taken a significant step forward.

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

Active Communities has received £10,000 from Renfrewshire Council’s Community Empowerment Fund towards its plans to take over ownership of the former police station.

It is one of three projects to receive support from the first round of applications for the newly established fund open to all community groups who want to take over ownership and running of a building or piece or land in their local area.

Starting out 15 years ago as a Paisley walking and jogging group, Active Communities now delivers physical activity and community sport, health and wellbeing classes to more than 700 people each week right across Renfrewshire, with a local school programme and a youth volunteering initiative.

Their innovative idea to convert the station building into a community led health and wellbeing centre has received funds for a feasibility study and to further develop the business case.

Plans for the facility also include providing space for women’s initiative Kairos, who provide support to vulnerable women facing social barriers and a men’s shed for men to make social connections and build friendships.

The station kitchen could be adapted to give local people training in cookery and healthy eating and there are also plans to provide meeting rooms for other community groups.

“The more we have grown and the greater the demand, we were keen to have a central hub so we can deliver lots more activities,” said Susan McDonald, Active Communities Manager.

“Downstairs would be space for our classes and upstairs would be office space for ourselves and for other community organisations who are looking to grow. There’s been great support from the Johnstone community and it is really exciting that we’re one step closer.

“Our classes and activities are about having fun and helping to tackle loneliness and isolation. We aim to encourage people who wouldn’t see themselves as sporty. We will have space for a drop in where people can join us for a cuppa, a chat and find out what is available.”

The group are also in discussions with Police Scotland over the transfer of the station.

Inspector Cassie Glass, Johnstone, Renfrew and the Villages Community Policing Team, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the local community in terms of health and wellbeing and very appropriate use of our former Police Station. We wish them every success.”

Councillors on Renfrewshire’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board also approved £10,000 for Paisley Community Trust as they develop the business case to turn the old Arnott’s site into a cinema, arts venue and theatre.

And West End Growing Grounds Association received £20,000 to help them relocate to Underwood Road.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We have so many innovative and creative people in our communities and these projects, from health hubs to local growing grounds, exemplify this.

“Everyone in Renfrewshire wants their own town or village to thrive and we believe that local communities are key to their success. That’s why this fund has been created, to empower all community groups – whether firmly established or just starting out – to come forward with their ideas and we will do all we can to help them along the way. It’s so important to me that we can reach as diverse a range of community members as possible.

“We are also establishing new funds for our villages and to develop Renfrewshire’s green spaces and improving local decision making as part of our commitment to give communities greater say and control than ever before.”

The next deadline for Community Empowerment Fund applications is Friday 14 September. To find out more, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/CommunityEmpowermentFund, call 0141 618 7408 or email communityplanning@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Families are set to benefit from extra nursery time for children as Renfrewshire Council unveiled plans for a phased roll-out of the area’s early learning and childcare provision.

Hugh Smiley Funding for pre-school kids
PIC Shows Cllr Iain Nicolson, Cllr Jim Paterson and Shirley Allan

The proposals will be put before councillors on Thursday 23 August at the Education and Children’s Services Policy Board.

They set out the expansion between now and 2021 to meet the Scottish Government’s target of increasing free early learning and childcare from 600 hours annually to 1140 by August 2020 and introducing more flexibility and choice for parents in the nursery classes and centres.

The expansion will give parents more flexibility in their choice of nursery and childcare services, meaning they can choose from council, private and volunteer-run nursery classes, centres and childminding.

They will also be able to choose their preferred option of nursery or childminding session, such as a service which opens between 8am to 6pm over the school year and specific options of six hours per day over 38 weeks, based on the school calendar.

There will also be an increase in the number of places commissioned from independent and private nurseries.

Parents and carers should continue to apply to their local nursery for a place for their child and when capacity to accommodate 1140 hours becomes available in their class or centre, they will be contacted directly and asked to select their preferred option.

Under the proposals, nine early learning and childcare nursery classes, located in primary schools, will operate on an extended day and 50 weeks a year, however parents will still be able to access school day and term time provision at Williamsburgh and St Catherine’s in Paisley, St Margaret’s in Johnstone, St John Bosco and St Anne’s in Erskine, East Fulton in Linwood and Lochwinnoch, Bridge of Weir and Houston Primary Schools.

Extending the operating hours will create a significant number of additional places for children to access their 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare.

To support the plans, the Council is proposing to build five new-build centres as well as refurbishing, adapting and extending more than two dozen existing buildings.

More than £14 million will be invested in early years buildings, while £22 million has been earmarked for additional early years jobs.

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “Our early years expansion proposals mean that the increased provision will enhance children’s  learning and attainment and parents will have flexibility and choice while also being able to access affordable early learning and childcare, which will then allow parents the opportunity to go back into work or go to college or university to gain further qualifications.

“We are committed to providing the best learning environments for young children and at heart of all of this is the drive to maintain quality across all early learning and childcare centres and classes, whether they are local authority, private or voluntary.

“The increase in the hours of free early learning and childcare will give children the best start in life and support the work across Renfrewshire to close the poverty related attainment gap.”

Elderslie Community Council Quiz Night at Elderslie Wallace Bowling Club

Elderslie Community Council have been busy during the summer. We had a very successful summer fayre, the first for 35 years! We have had grants awarded to allow us to buy Christmas lights for Stoddard Square and a section of Main Road and we are currently working with Renfrewshire Council to install some flower planters along the railings by Stoddard Square. We hope to build on this year on year.

We have made plans to make the park between Lomond Gardens and Queens Road into an accessible park for all. With this in mind we’re hosting the first of our fundraising events at Elderslie Wallace Bowling Club on 29th September at 7.30pm. We’re planning a quiz night with an individual entry fee of £5 with the winning team taking £100 home!
We would really appreciate your support in this, we know that we need more community engagement to make a difference in the village so if you can come along we’re sure you’ll have a great evening. Come and join us at Elderslie Wallace Bowling Club on Saturday the 29th September at 7.30pm for a fun filled night of quizzing. We will be holding a raffle during the evening and the quiz rounds will cover sport, current affairs, general knowledge, entertainment and a few picture rounds.
We have recently launched our new website at www.elderslie.org.uk where you can see all of our meetings, events and what we are all about. It is a work in progress but we are very pleased with how it has come out so far and we’re looking forward to developing it further with the communities’ involvement.

Mill is a brand new free lifestyle magazine for Paisley and Renfrewshire. A compact-sized bimonthly glossy, focusing on the present and the future of the town, with an occasional look back at its colourful past. Packed with engaging content that includes news, music, fashion, beauty, travel, food and drink, homes and interiors, property, and a range of diverse features that appeal to a wide audience.


A mum-of-three who went bankrupt after using pay day lenders says that joining a Credit Union changed her life.

Sally-Ann Bareford took out high interest loans and ended up paying back up to triple the amount she had originally borrowed.

But since she joined White Cart Credit Union eight months ago, she says for the first time she feels she has control over her finances.

Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations owned and controlled by their members, which offer savings and low cost loans.

The 49-year-old, who has a 21-year-old daughter Amy and two younger children Jack, 10 and Alex, 7, said: “I was using payday lenders as I wasn’t in a position to get a loan from the bank. I ended up paying double and sometimes triple on what I had borrowed because the interest rates were so high.

“I was using them for years and at one stage I had to declare myself bankrupt as my finances had  got into such as a bad state. It seemed like easy money until you realised you had to pay it back with astronomical rates of interest. Your debt starts off small and then just explodes and get bigger and bigger and it can take years to pay it back.”

Sally-Ann said the situation was a Catch 22 as she had such a bad credit record she felt she had no option but to go back to pay day lenders.

But earlier this year she was introduced to the non-profit White Cart Credit Union through the Paisley-based community organisation, the Star Project.

She said: “The representative Frank is so friendly. He sits and has a coffee with you and explains all the benefits. The interest rate is one per cent to cover their costs and I save as I borrow.

“I’ve had two loans, one for £1,600 to take my two youngest children to visit my mum in Eastbourne this summer, and another to go on a weekend bonding trip with my eldest daughter.

“Frank comes to the Star Project every two weeks and I pay money in to pay back my loan and whatever I can afford to save. I’ve become a regular saver for the first time.

Sally, who is unable to work due to heath issues, added: “It’s made a huge difference to my life as I can pay back the money at an affordable rate. I’ve already paid off one of my loans and am still saving. I would recommend a Credit Union to anybody.”

Renfrewshire Affordable Credit Alliance (RACA), which was previously the Affordable Credit Group, is a group of agencies, who work collaboratively to increase the provision of accessible, ethical and affordable credit for people in the most vulnerable circumstances.

It is holding a public event in the Paisley Piazza on 30 August from 10am to 4pm to talk to the public about their affordable credit options. Representatives from banks, credit union, social enterprise Scotcash as well advice agencies will all be there to answer any questions.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “As part of Renfrewshire Council’s ongoing effort to tackling poverty and inequality, we have been supporting and promoting the development of affordable credit, such as credit unions.

“Sadly, it’s often the case that those who have the least money are charged the most for credit.

“We want people to know there are other options aside from payday and other high cost lenders.

“The Council supported the establishment of Renfrewshire’s Affordable Credit Alliance and are the first local authority area in Scotland to have such an initiative.

“The work around affordable credit led to the linking of White Cart Credit Union and Star Project, which has allowed people like Sally-Ann and many others to save and borrow easily.”

The good old days are being brought back to life at a Vintage Family Fun Day.

The free fun event – which includes film footage from more than 60 years ago – is being staged by Renfrewshire Leisure, at Johnstone Town Hall, from 11.30am, on Saturday, August 25.

The films are from the National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive and the Paisley Museum Camcorder Club, whose members have recently discovered previously lost films showing the Johnstone area from the 1950s and 1960s.

As well as the films, there will also be vintage arts and crafts, playground games from a bygone era, balloon modelling, face painting, a treasure hunt and badge-making arts and crafts.

The former film projectionist from the former Alex Cinema, in Paisley, Douglas Boyle is also coming along with his popular children’s cartoon show.

The Paisley Museum’s Camcorder Club’s films includes colour footage of Johnstone Gala parades, a Royal visit by The Queen to Kilbarchan, footage of old Johnstone Town Hall as well as rare scenes of Johnstone Burgh FC winning the Scottish Junior Cup. These were filmed by local resident Robert McCrimmon.

There is also unique footage of the very last steam train from Johnstone and film of Kilbarchan’s Lilias Day in 1968, when it was revived after being cancelled in the 1930s. This was filmed by William Major, the former projectionist at Johnstone’s Globe Cinema.

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Nostalgia certainly isn’t a thing of the past and there’s lots of interest in our heritage from all ages.

“Particularly, these not-to-be-missed films make up a fantastic record of Johnstone and surrounding area in the mid-20th century. They are a great way of learning about and reliving the past.”

RAMH is celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and as part of our fundraising programme, we have secured spaces for a sponsored zipslide across the Clyde on Saturday 15th September.

I was hoping it could maybe be added to “Events” page of your website, just to help spread the word so we can hopefully fill all the spaces and raise as much as we can?

The details are:

  • Name – Zipslide Across the Clyde for RAMH!
  • Date – Saturday 15th September 2018
  • Time – Time slots available between 2.45pm-4.15pm
  • Location – Registration will take place on the South Bank, between the South Rotunda and Pacific Quay offices
  • Minimum Sponsorship: £80 – but the more you can raise, the better!
  • Restrictions – Health and Safety states a maximum weight limit of 17st and minimum age limit of 16yrs
  • For more information contact: jade.gallagher@ramh.org or 0141 847 8900

Essential training to keep your Pet safe, gain the skills and confidence to act competently in the event of an emergency!

Book now at K9 First  (£10.00 off for any Pet First Aid course date booked on-line in August 2018)

What will I Learn? Latest life saving techniques, detailed practical demonstrations for new guidelines in pet CPR, canine Heimlich, how to read vital signs and more, using training manikins…

Training available in-house in Paisley or externally to your group within central Scotland, Email for details.

Course fee £50.00 (£40.00 if booked August 2018) covers the following:

  • 4 hours of Instructor-led training
  • FREE ProTrainings weekly video refresher email
  • ProTrainings certificate and wallet card (valid for 3 years)
  • FREE Dog First Aid Manual (PDF)
  • Tea and Coffee

Please join us and learn truly vital skills to keep your pets safe.

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Email: info@k9first.co.uk

Website: https://www.k9first.co.uk/training

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paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates have altered their starting times for home games at Braehead Arena for the coming Scottish National League season.

paisley pirates

Secretary Jackie Turley explained,”We very much see ourselves as a club serving the local community, and families in particular, and in recent seasons a few people have said to us that the 6.00pm face off meant that families, with the prospect of school for the kids the next day, found it a little tight, if not impossible, to get children to bed at a reasonable hour after coming to watch their favourite ice hockey team.”


“With that in mind, our landlords at Braehead Arena were very accommodating in allowing us to bring the starting time on a Sunday forward to 5.00pm, meaning that matches shouldn’t finish much beyond 7.00pm, thus allowing parents to get their kids home and safely tucked up in bed in time to get a good night’s sleep before school on Monday morning. We think this will also help the many groups who come to watch the Pirates, in that parents will be able to pick up their kids an hour earlier and get them home in good time.”


“We always want to respond positively to supporters’ concerns, and given our desire to be a real community club we’re delighted when we can act on such suggestions put forward to us. In bringing the start time forward, and on Saturdays we’ll begin at 6.30pm, we’re hoping, too, that we can maybe encourage along a few more away supporters, as they in turn will be getting home that bit earlier. When you’ve got a two hour trip to somewhere like Dundee, getting home at 9.30pm instead of 10.30pm might just be enough to tempt you through, and that in turn might help improve the atmosphere on match nights-there’s nothing quite like having a few visiting supporters in the rink, as our own fans illustrate every time we play away, to ramp up the volume a few notches!”

DELIGHTED youngsters at Wallace Primary, in Elderslie came back to school to find they had a spruced-up courtyard that can now be used as an outdoor classroom and a space where they can spend time in with friends.

It’s all thanks to a donation of more than £2000 from intu Braehead shopping and leisure destination and the hard work of some of its staff, who volunteered to spend two days refurbishing what was a run-down and little-used part of the school.

The volunteer work was part of intu’s company-wide initiative encouraging staff to take the time from their work schedule to help support a local charity or community group.

Along with workers from landscape gardening experts, Cardwell Nurseries, based in Gourock, the intu Braehead team weeded pathways, power washed concrete slabs, carried out a general tidy-up, put in plants and flowers and painted the four walls surrounding the courtyard.

The school’s head teacher, Susan Dalrymple said: “This has been a fantastic transformation and everyone from intu Braehead has done an amazing job.

“The children are delighted with their new courtyard and it was a big surprise for them when they came back to school after the summer holidays.

“The area was very run-down and not used very much, but now we can get a real benefit from the space.”

Lydia Brown, intu Braehead’s community development manager said: “We hope the pupils enjoy their new space which is now all spick and span.

“After intu Braehead agreed to pay for the materials, our staff worked really hard to transform the courtyard.”

paisley from drone

In the first half of winter, there are so many things to do and be excited about. You have Halloween and then, of course, Christmas, and all the fun activities and festivities that go along with them. After New Years’, however, things tend to die down. Though there is still a lot to do and see in Paisley during these months, far too often the cold barricades people inside their home. This, in turn, can lead to lowered exercising and even a poorer diet. Instead of letting the cold weather hurt your health, follow these top tips to stay healthy and happy throughout the next Scottish winter:


Try to Eat Healthier During the Winter Months

Our health often takes a nosedive during winter months. The cold, while not the cause of illness, is the reason why our immune system weakens. This makes us susceptible to viruses that make us sick. By increasing the amount of nutrients that you get from foods, rather than supplements, you can improve your health throughout winter. This will improve your energy, how you feel, and your wellbeing. To do this, try eating more fruits and vegetables from the frozen section. During winter, after all, fresh foods will have to be transported over large distances. This means that by the time you get your hands on it it could have lost a significant amount of nutrients. Opt for frozen, and you can enjoy more nutrients and a lower cost.


Plan as Many Events, Outings, and Get-Togethers in Advance

Social ties are a critical component to our happiness. You need friends in order to life a balanced life, and during winter months we often go weeks without seeing anyone outside of work. The reason for this is simply because it’s too cold to go out. That is why preparation and advance planning is key. The more things you plan to do in advance, the better. Just remember to invite them over to yours as well! Making dinner together and enjoying an evening at yours can be the best way to stay social, warm, and on a budget.


Get Some Necessary Vitamin D with a Trip

One part of winter that is hard to avoid is a vitamin D deficiency, but thankfully there are many all-inclusive cheap holidays out there that will help you afford an incredible holiday every winter from here on out. All you need to do is choose the destination you want to go to and then head off and enjoy some sun and some fun. No one said you have to spend your summers at a beach. Try winters instead.


Exercising More When It’s Too Cold to Be Outside

Finally, there is exercising. Going for walks or bike rides is often out of the question when winter sets in. Instead, try new fun exercise classes to make new friends and stay social. You can learn new skills, meet new people, and socialize with your friends – it’s a win, win, win!


Winters don’t have to be when your health or wellbeing take a hit. By preparing and staying active throughout winter, you can beat the winter blues and enjoy your life to its fullest year after year.

Converting the former Johnstone Police Station into a health and wellbeing hub is one of the first projects applying for support from a new community fund being considered next week.

The £1.5million Community Empowerment fund, announced in March, is open to all community groups who want to take over ownership and running of a building or piece or land in their local area.

“We know there are so many people in our communities with innovative and imaginative ideas and we are excited to hear from them,” said Councillor Marie McGurk, Communities Housing and Planning Policy Board convener.

“This fund is open to all community groups and we want to hear from a diverse range of community voices, from those we have worked with previously to new groups who may be nurturing an idea and need help and support to get it off the ground.”

Councillors will examine the first round of applications at the Communities Housing and Planning Policy Board on Tuesday 21 August 2018.

Funding support can be put towards development of the business plan behind the idea or investment in the facilities to prepare them for community ownership.

Four applications were received for the first round of funding and have been assessed against the fund’s objectives including demonstrating the positive impact on local communities and involving the local community in the design and delivery of each project.

Councillors will next week be asked to consider accepting an application from local charity Active Communities, providing £10,000 funding for a feasibility study and development of the business case towards taking ownership of and transforming the former Johnstone Police Station into a community health hub.

The hub would also provide accommodation for KAIROS (Kind, Accepting, Inspiring, Renfrewshire’s Open Space), a new initiative supported by The Robertson Trust. Led by 15 local women, KAIROS offers free activities and support to Renfrewshire women, with a focus on tackling the social challenges they may face.

Plans for a cinema, arts venue and theatre at the former Arnott’s site being developed by Paisley Community Trust could also be boosted by £10,000 to progress its business case.

West End Growing Grounds Association are recommended to receive £20,000 towards relocation of raised beds and polytunnels to Underwood Road, while further assessment and development continue over a planned community garden project for Carbrook Street.

Linwood Community Development Trust received one of Renfrewshire’s largest ever land asset transfers and their plans to upgrade the Janitor’s House at the former Clippens School into a nursery are also recommended for further assessment and development.

Councillor McGurk added: “It is clear from the quality of initial applications that there are passionate people across Renfrewshire keen to lead on ambitious projects of real benefit to their communities and our fund is there to support these groups and realise their innovative ideas.

“We will consider every application in full and work closely with applicants towards achieving their goals. I would encourage all community groups to get in touch with us and find out more about all the available support on offer.

“This fund is one of a series of key investments in our communities, and we also be rolling out additional funds for our villages and for green spaces later this year.

“It is all part of our commitment to give communities a greater say and control than ever before over local decision making, empowering them to shape the future success of their towns and villages.”

The next deadline for Community Empowerment Fund applications is Friday 14 September.

To find out more, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/CommunityEmpowermentFund, call 0141 618 7408 or email communityplanning@renfrewshire.gov.uk.