Arts Centre
An exciting new show for 3-7 year olds and their families, The Whirlybird celebrates the differences that make us unique, finding inspiration in nature and the wonder of flight.
Scotland’s leading Eco-friendly theatre company is set to tour its latest production – The Whirlybird – to venues and museums across Scotland this spring. Through movement, music, birdsong and puppetry, The Whirlybird is a funny and moving story about a bird that yearns to fly.
In a cosy nest, two birds look skyward and get ready for their maiden flight. While flying comes easy for one, the other just can’t get the hang of it. After many failed attempts, inspiration is found in a very special flying seed.
Directed and co-devised by Eco Drama founder Emily Reid, the show is performed by co-devisors Caroline Mathison and Beth Kovarik with music by Greg Sinclair and set design by Claire Halleran.
Children aged 3-5 years from Buchlyvie Nursery in Easterhouse were involved in the show’s early stages of development. The children took part in sessions on the theme of birds, flight and puppetry. These sessions empowered them to use creativity to engage with their natural environment.
For further information, photographs and press tickets contact Wendy Niblock on 07961 814834 /
McKillop Institute (part of Lochwinnoch Arts Festival)
Wed 20 Mar
07868 752814
The Swallow Theatre (Newton Stewart)
Sun 31 Mar 
01988 850368 /
The Barn (Banchory)
Thu 4 Apr 
01330 825431 /
North Edinburgh Arts 
Sat 6 Apr
0131 315 2151 /


North Berwick Community Centre
Tue 9 Apr
The Pagoda (Grantown on Spey)
Fri 12 Apr 
11am & 2pm
01479 873877 /
Aberdeenshire Farming Museum 
Sun 14 Apr 
11am and 1.30pm 


Platform (Easterhouse)
Tue 16 Apr
10.30am & 1.30pm
0141 276 9696 (opt 1) /
Music Hall (Aberdeen)
Sat 27 + Sun 28 Apr
10.30am & 1.30pm
The performances at the Swallow Theatre, The Barn, North Edinburgh Arts Centre, North Berwick Community Centre, The Pagoda and Aberdeenshire Farming Museum are part of the Puppet Animation Festiva
worldwildlifeday why conserve

Sunday 03 March is World Wildlife Day, according to the United Nations. The theme this year is ‘Life below water: for people and planet.’ The UK marine and coastal environment is home to a huge number of species including the bottlenose dolphin and orca, the basking shark, humpback whale, and leatherback turtle, as well as some species with unusual names – butterfish, butchers broom, Bloody Henry, sea mouse and sea slug.

worldwildlifeday why conserve

Widespread threats to ocean wildlife are overfishing, pollution and climate change. The Great British Beach Clean from Marine Conservation Society (MCS) in September last year brought about 15,000 volunteers to the beaches (double that of 2017). On average, every 100 m of UK coastline cleaned had nearly 189 plastic/polystyrene pieces. Beach cleaning is now trending and things are moving forward with tackling our addiction to single-use plastics, including developments in the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in Scotland and England. Through March, April and May, MCS, together with Keep Britain Tidy and Keep Scotland Beautiful, will be running more events through the Great British Spring Clean.


Details of all upcoming MCS beach cleans can be found at Nathan Roberts, founder of Why Conserve and Conservation Scotland which were this week accepted into the ConservationNOW network of the Conservation Optimism movement alongside Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Marine Stewardship Council, and Zoological Society of London, said, “This weekend is a great opportunity to learn more about marine species, threats and conservation actions. If you are using social media, just search #WorldWildlifeDay and #DoOneThingToday.” He added, “I will use the day to launch the new Why Conserve website at to extend the conservation message and act as a signpost to accessible actions with impact.”

Renfrewshire Council Budget 2019-20

A positive budget benefiting “every single community and neighbourhood in Renfrewshire” was agreed by councillors today (Thursday 28 February 2019).

A £412million budget for 2019-20 includes a transformational £79million package of one-off and longer-term investments.

Renfrewshire Council Budget 2019-20

This will see an additional £29million invested in school buildings and £40million over the next five years towards Renfrewshire roads, pathways and cycling routes.

Further targeted investments totalling £4.3million will protect the most vulnerable people in our communities, support inclusive economic growth, improve the environment, breathe new life into community facilities and enhance cultural participation.

The budget also confirms the Council’s £324million capital investment programme and supports national policies including the expansion of free early years childcare.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our budget is based on doing what is right for Renfrewshire today and tomorrow. That’s why we are making major investments which will bring long-lasting benefit over the coming years and putting in place funds which will benefit every single community and neighbourhood in Renfrewshire.

“We are making a massive investment in our children and young people, matching their commitment to learning by providing the best possible learning environments.

“And our roads investment is the single biggest ever of its kind in Renfrewshire, making journeys safer and easier and improving business connectivity. These significant works will complement new developments and ongoing town centre improvements and make it easier for visitors to enjoy all Renfrewshire has to offer.”

Five-year funding for Renfrewshire roads is in addition to the existing City Deal infrastructure projects in the region, while the budget sets aside £5.5million to support regeneration to the south of the Glasgow Airport Investment Area and provide greater economic connectivity between Paisley town centre and the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.

Funds for school buildings will enable the council to unlock money from the Scottish Government’s £1billion school investment fund. There’s also immediate investment in improving facilities at Bishopton Primary; Kirklandneuk Primary, St Anthony’s Primary and Paisley Grammar School, while defibrillators will be installed across all Renfrewshire secondary schools.

Bucking the national trend, music tuition will remain free in Renfrewshire schools for the next four years through a £500,000 investment, recognising the power of culture in raising attainment and improving health and wellbeing.

The Provost’s School Exchange Fund is being established to support cultural exchanges for pupils and school road safety is bolstered by the development of a safety initiative team tackling irresponsible parking in and around schools.

Support to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities sees £1.4million for adult social care services, enabling Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to meet increasing demand and care cost pressures.

There is a 3% increase in the allowance for Foster and Kinship Carers recognising the lifechanging contribution they make to the most vulnerable children and young people; a commitment to help secure the Living Wage for all care staff working with Renfrewshire residents and funds for more staff to be trained in supporting victims of domestic abuse.

Communities will benefit from £2.3million towards community halls, prioritising a full refurbishment of the McKillop Institute, Lochwinnoch; Elderslie Village Hall and South End Action Centre, Paisley alongside repairs to Steeple Hall, Kilbarchan.

Renfrewshire Leisure will receive funds to develop a library outreach service and there’s funds for improvements to the popular Barshaw Park pond and to develop plans for an inclusive adventure playpark.

Initiatives to support inclusive economic growth include further funds for businesses to improve their shop fronts, enhanced warden provision in Paisley town centre and money to improve priority road markings.

Building on the successes of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, new multi-purpose litter and dog fouling bins will replace existing bins and there’s tree works planned across key locations.

Councillor Nicolson added: “Our budget reflects our on-going commitment to listen to what our communities are telling us and respects their role as partners in building success for the region over the coming years.

“It treats people fairly and builds on our multi-year investments made last year to support employability, tackle poverty and enhance the local environment.”

Also included in the budget are commitments not to introduce a workforce parking levy or any form of new household waste collection charges.

Council Tax will increase by 4.79% – equivalent to a weekly increase of £1.10 on a Band D property – with £1.3million of income it generates ring-fenced to drive the school and roads investment.

The budget includes £19million of efficiency savings through initiatives including the Better Council Change Programme, the council having delivered £117million of savings since 2010.

Councillor John Shaw, Finance, Resources and Customer Services Convener, said: “We are in a stable financial position and this has enabled us to put forward such a positive budget.

“At the same time we understand the challenging financial outlook facing all local councils and that’s why our investments support our priorities beyond the financial year and safeguard services for the future.”

council logo
Residents are set to benefit from an £86.6m housing investment in Renfrewshire over the next three years.
Councillors unveiled Renfrewshire’s Housing Capital Investment Plan 2019/20 to 2021/22 as they announced their Budget plans today.

The multi-million pound investment plan will focus on new build homes, regeneration and the maintenance of existing council homes.

council logo

It will invest £86.6m up to 2022 in a range of programmes that will improve housing levels and advance the council’s commitment to provide 1,000 new, affordable homes by 2021.

Planned investment programmes include improvements to the external fabric of council houses, roof renewals, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, improved electrical wiring and heating systems and improvements to multi-storey flats and sheltered housing. Smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms will also continue to be upgraded as part of a programme to meet the Scottish Government’s new standards which come into effect in February 2021.

The plan also includes provision for new build investment in affordable social housing in Renfrewshire at sites in Bishopton and Johnstone Castle, as well as new build homes on sites at Ferguslie Park, Foxbar, Gallowhill and South West Johnstone. These projects combined will provide over 400 new council homes.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We are committed to providing high-quality, affordable homes that will encourage people to come and live and work in Renfrewshire.

“We are continuing to invest in our housing stock and this significant investment will ensure we can provide our communities with homes that are the right type, the right size and in the right place to meet their needs and improve their quality of life.

“Listening to our tenants and providing them with services that meet their needs is one of our top priorities. We are expanding our caretaking service so it will be available to tenants seven days a week. We are also investing in an additional Neighbourhood Environmental Training squad that will work with our housing teams to address estate management in council housing areas.

“We are on track to achieve our aim of providing 1,000 new, affordable homes by 2021. This, coupled with investment in our existing housing stock, will ensure a positive future for Renfrewshire and its residents.”

It was also announced that rent will increase by 2% after a consultation with more than 600 council tenants saw an overwhelming majority back the increase.

Tenants also indicated they strongly agree with the council’s housing priorities to deliver high quality services, maintain and improve existing council houses and invest in new build homes.

Councillor McGurk added: “We recognise the pressure on many households and it’s important we continue to maintain affordability for our tenants while also covering the rising costs related to maintaining our council housing stock. This increase will contribute towards our services, the maintenance of our existing housing, the delivery of our Capital Investment Programme and the development of over 400 new build homes.

“We’re committed to mitigating the impact of the slower than expected pace of UK welfare reform changes and as such have incorporated a transitional premium cap of £1.50 per week for any rent which has to be increased to ensure the change is manageable for our tenants.

“Tenants have shown their support for our housing priorities and we will work hard to meet their needs and provide high-quality housing for those who wish to rent or buy a home in Renfrewshire.”

coats memorial

The Steering Group behind a campaign to save an iconic church building from ruin have teamed up with pupils from Castlehead High School, Paisley to launch a “Buy a Brick” project, which they hope will help raise up to £50,000 for their cause.

The 100 Days to Save Coats Memorial campaign, which launched on 1 February 2019 intends to raise £1.5m to save Paisley’s Coats Memorial Church from closing its doors.

coats memorial

Students from Castlehead High School are lending their time and skills to create 500 engraved plaques which will be available to the public to buy for £100 each.

The plaques will be mounted on the entrance wall within the Church Building where they will stay, commemorating the many people who donated their time and money to save this architectural treasure.

Ian Henderson, Coats Memorial Steering Group member said: “I am proud to be in a position to work with the students from Castlehead High School on this campaign. Coats Memorial is a church that was created to enhance our community. Thousands of people have passed through its doors to celebrate life’s biggest events and we hope it can continue to serve as community space for everyone to enjoy.

“These plaques have been designed to an incredibly high specification. The pupils have really done us proud.”

coats memorial

The campaign has already raised over £34,000 in just 27 days. The “Buy a Brick” project is one of many initiatives that the Steering Group have planned in order to make the fundraising goal a reality.

Coats Memorial is open to the public every Saturday from 12noon until 4pm for the duration of the campaign.

To fundraise or donate visit:

For more information on plans and performances visit:

Find us on Twitter: @SaveCoats

Follow us on Facebook: 100 Days to Save Coats Memorial


Call: 0141 886 5020

Picture caption: Left to Right is David Anderson Head Technical Faculty at Castlehead High School, Ian Henderson, Lewis Abercrombie (Pupil), Tony Fitzpatrick, Ross Chawk (Pupil) , Martin Macdonald Head Teacher at Castlehead High School.

council logo
Renfrewshire’s school pupils could benefit from a major new school investment programme if councillors agree a budget for the year ahead today (Thursday 28 February 2019).
If approved, an additional £29million will be earmarked for investment in school buildings, benefiting pupils for generations to come. The funding will also unlock additional investment from the Scottish Government’s £1billion schools infrastructure programme from 2021.

council logo

A five-year £40million programme of roads, cycleway and path improvements will also be put forward as part of the plans.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The proposals we’re putting forward today if approved, will ensure a major multi-million-pound investment in our schools and our local roads network.

“Unlocking this major investment for our schools and local roads will deliver a budget for Renfrewshire’s growth, both now and in the future. We want to make this investment in our pupils and in our economy, so that when our school children are making choices about their future, they can take advantage of the training and employment opportunities we are investing in now through our Glasgow City Deal investment and wider regeneration plans.”

The Scottish Government recently announced it was providing local authorities with the flexibility to extend council tax increases beyond the previous 3% cap to a maximum of 4.79%. If agreed by councillors today, this would see an additional £1.3million secured for investment in schools and roads.

Other proposals to be considered by Councillors today include:

A pledge not to introduce any new charges for the routine collection of household or garden waste

A pledge not to introduce a workforce parking levy in Renfrewshire

Councillor John Shaw, Finance, Resources and Customer Services Convener, said: “Councils face huge challenges in how they manage their budgets to ensure we continue to deliver the services people rely on as well as invest for the longer term. Since 2010-11 we have delivered more than £100million of savings and managed our budgets efficiently. However, with the increase in demand for our services, we face difficult choices in the years ahead.

“We believe this budget recognises the issues that are important to our communities as well as investing in Renfrewshire for the longer term. By maximising the resources available to us we can deliver our ambitions to support business growth, open up training and employment opportunities, invest in our schools and communities and care for the most vulnerable in our society.”


More than double the amount of people than expected turned up at Paisley Arts Centre to learn sign language.

Staff who had organised the British Sign Language sessions reckoned they would get 50 people coming along, but they were astounded when there was a queue of 128 waiting to join the Paisley Arts Centre’s Sign Language Club.

Organiser Emma Armstrong, who works for Renfrewshire Leisure said: “It was the first meeting of the club and we got a real shock when we saw people queuing out the door and along the side of the building.


“We had to move everyone into the main theatre auditorium, as there were so many who came along. We were delighted to see all these people were interested in learning sign language.”

The Arts Centre received funding from Renfrewshire Council to help with the costs of running the Sign Language Club and the grant means the club can run for at least a year. Those attending now only have to pay £10 for each block of six sessions.

The club meets on a Monday night at the Arts Centre and instruction is provided by Graham Dow, who is profoundly deaf and David O’Rorke from local theatre company, Historical Adventures.

David Emma added: “We had people coming along to learn BSL for all sorts of reasons.

“One lady wanted to learn because her grandson was born deaf and would be learning Makaton – the children’s version of BSL. She wanted to be able to communicate with the boy.

“Some people wanted to use the signing skill in their workplace and others were just interested in learning BSL.

“Everything was very informal and everyone had a lot of fun. But people were also very keen to learn sign language.”

gavin newlands


Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has called for fathers of babies born sick or premature to be given extra paid paternity leave. This follows the recent publication of a report by the charity Bliss, the UKs leading charity for babies born premature or sick.

The survey found that 66% of dads had to return to work while their child was still receiving specialist neonatal care. It also showed that 36% of dads resorted to being signed off sick in order to spend time with their baby on the neonatal unit.

Bliss also say that half of all parents would have liked to take more parental leave but couldn’t afford to take any longer off work and 24 per cent of dads said they were concerned for their job if they asked for more time off.

Newlands has joined calls led by his SNP Colleague Glasgow East David Linden MP, for fathers of sick or premature children to be given extra paternity leave.

gavin newlands

Commenting on the study, Newlands said:



Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has called for fathers of babies born sick or premature to be given extra paid paternity leave. This follows the recent publication of a report by the charity Bliss, the UKs leading charity for babies born premature or sick.

The survey found that 66% of dads had to return to work while their child was still receiving specialist neonatal care. It also showed that 36% of dads resorted to being signed off sick in order to spend time with their baby on the neonatal unit.

Bliss also say that half of all parents would have liked to take more parental leave but couldn’t afford to take any longer off work and 24 per cent of dads said they were concerned for their job if they asked for more time off.

Newlands has joined calls, led by his SNP Colleague Glasgow East David Linden MP, for fathers of sick or premature children to be given extra paternity leave.

Commenting on the study, Newlands said:

“Our first daughter, Emma, was born over 6 weeks premature following an emergency caesarean, this in itself, is a time of extreme stress given the concern over the health of my wife Lynn and the baby. Everything went well and Emma was given fantastic care in the Special Care Baby Unit at the Southern General and we took 3lb Emma home 2 weeks after her birth.

“We were lucky, not only because the premature birth, in the end, had no material impact on the health and development of our daughter, but that I was allowed to spend that time in the hospital with Lynn and Emma. I had returned to work the day after the birth as Lynn wanted me to use my paternity to help at home when she and the baby were allowed home, but I was lucky as my boss and his wife had gone through a tough pregnancy themselves and was very empathetic.

“He told me that my place was at my wife and daughter’s side and sent me straight to the hospital on additional leave. I am, to this day, extremely grateful to him for allowing me to do that. But this is the rub, it shouldn’t be down to luck, or a benevolent boss. It should be in statute that anyone in that situation should not feel compelled to leave their sick and premature baby at a very vulnerable stage to return to work – the UK Government must make provision for additional leave in these circumstances.

I have worked with Bliss in the past myself and I strongly support the work that David and his NeoNatal All Party Group are doing on this. It’s an idea whose time has come.”

Test Drive Flyer Season 2

Our casting team are currently looking for applicants for Series 2 of our brand new car-based gameshow, Test Drive.

Test Drive Flyer Season 2

The first series is due to air on BBC Scotland (the new channel) from February 25th at 7pm.

It’d be great if you could put a message out to your network?

We’re looking for fun, opinionated and outgoing teams of two – from loved up couples, bickering family members, best pals to colleagues for our exciting new car-based gameshow. For a chance to go on a road-trip across Scotland’s most amazing landscapes and potentially win a cash prize en-route, applicants must be available for one full day’s filming between 25th March & 5th April 2019 (excluding weekend).

Apply directly to (all applicants must be legal residents of the UK and currently living in Scotland | Drivers must be 21+ and have held a valid licence for at least 1 year)

St Catherine's Primary School


An inspection team from Education Scotland visited the school, which has around 216 pupils – 171 pupils in the school and 45 in the nursery class, in December, and spoke with pupils, staff, parents and partners.

The school achieved a ‘very good’ assessment across two key evaluations – learning, teaching and assessment and raising attainment and achievement.

St Catherine's Primary School

The report released today (Tuesday 26 February), highlights how children’s views are valued and used to inform the work of the school, producing children who are confident, motivated and highly engaged in their learning.

The work of the headteacher, depute headteacher and staff has also been praised, crediting the school with a positive and nurturing learning environment.

Other strengths highlighted include the ‘high-quality’ support offered to children, parents and families, and the increased levels of attainment in literacy and numeracy.

The Early Learning and Childcare Class also achieved a ‘very good’ assessment across key evaluations in learning, teaching and assessment and securing children’s progress.

Headteacher Emma Henry said: “In St Catherine’s Primary School and ELCC we are relentless in our commitment to raising attainment whilst closing the poverty related attainment gap and our efforts to ensure quality learning and teaching are reflected throughout this inspection report.

“I also feel it is right that our skills progression programme and our commitment to ensuring our pupils have a genuine voice within our school, community and beyond have been recognised as practice worth sharing more widely.

“I am very proud to call myself the head teacher of St Catherine’s Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Class and I know that thanks to an extremely committed and professional staff team we will continue to ensure the best outcomes for our children and their families.”

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “I’m delighted that Education Scotland has recognised the hard work and dedication of the staff at St Catherine’s, led by their headteacher.

“As well as the commitment to and valuable work in raising attainment levels, it’s also clear that pupil voice plays an important role within the school community, ensuring the views of our young people are heard and valued.

“I am confident that the school and nursery will build on this excellent inspection report and continue to provide a positive learning environment that ensures all children have the best possible opportunities to achieve success.”


There has been a lot going on recently with Gryffe. But we are running a massive marketing/recruitment campaign.  Our prices for car hire and PDA are £80 per week for car and £80 per week for PDA. On top of that great deal we are giving new drivers £500 CASH or 6 weeks free PDA when they sign up.


All you have to do is apply on their Facebook Page.


paisley from drone

The EFL Championship may be a second tier league, but it is without question one of the most entertaining competitions in the footballing world. A 24 team division means a 46 game war of attrition from August through until May.

And that is before we factor in the lottery which is otherwise known as the play-offs. With this end of season format in place, it means that you can finish as low as sixth in the table and still reach the promised land of the Premier League.

A land that promises huge riches for the three teams that are fortunate enough to earn promotion and as always it is going to be an incredibly tight contest to see which trio of clubs say goodbye to their Championship counterparts.

At present it is Leeds who are top of the pile and under the stewardship of legendary Argentine manager Marcelo Bielsa it is the Elland Road outfit that are viewed by many as the club who will win this season’s edition of the competition.

A feeling that is reinforced when you look at the current Championship betting, bet365 have Leeds at 13/8 favourites to win the title, although in the same market Norwich are not far off at a price of 9/4.


Leeds and by extension their manager Marcelo Bielsa made headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, as they were embroiled in the now infamous ‘spy-gate’ scandal before a clash with Frank Lampard’s Derby County.

On first light it was assumed that this was Bielsea just giving Derby special treatment in terms of pre-match preparations. However, it soon emerged that all Leeds’ opposition this season have been paid a secret visit or two.

Whether Leeds bent or broke the rules is up for discussion and your opinion probably lies with whether you are a fan of the club or not. At the same time, this off-pitch subterfuge has done little to derail their promotion hopes.

They have been in a topsy-turvy battle with Norwich and Daniel Falke’s men recently passed up the opportunity to go back to the top when they were comfortably beaten by a mid-table Preston Athletic side.

And that win for The Lilywhites would have been all the sweeter when you consider that the man in charge of the club is former Norwich boss Alex Neil, while it results such as this that show just how difficult this league can be at times.

Although nothing is a certainty in football and especially not in the Championship, Leeds and Norwich have without doubt been the best two sides in the division and rightfully occupy the pair of automatic promotion spots that are on offer.

But should either side lose their head of steam at just wrong the time, then a whole host of clubs including the likes of Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion will be ready to pounce on their misfortune.

And of course, one cannot forget Bristol City who have won their last seven league outings. A run that has seen the club move into 5th in the table, if they keep this momentum going then it could well be the Robins who make a late promotion surge and reach the Premier League promised land.