A £1.5m council fund to help local groups take ownership of buildings or land in their communities is about to open for applications.

Renfrewshire Council made the one-off investment in a community empowerment fund in its budget earlier this year – and members of the leadership board have now given the green light to a set of guidelines governing how the fund will operate.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 strengthens the powers for public bodies to transfer assets to local groups with a plan to use them for community benefit.

That means local groups could apply to take over the ownership and running of a building or piece of land to use as – for example – a community hub or sports facility.

The £1.5m fund aims to support local groups through the asset transfer process in three ways – by supporting them to develop business plans, to develop their capacity as an organisation, and to invest in assets before or after transfer.

The fund will complement the £1.5m green spaces fund and £370,000 village investment fund also set aside this year as part of the council budget, which will allow communities to apply for money for projects to develop their own green spaces – for which more detail will be released later in the year.

Applications will be expected to show a positive impact on their areas, community involvement in the project, good working relationships and partnerships, value for money and that they are financially sustainable.

It is expected £500,000 of the fund will support groups to develop their organisation or project,, with applications of up to £10,000 being accepted. £1m will be to support with direct property costs, with applications of up to £50,000 accepted.

Council officers will work with groups to develop their projects and guide them through the application process. The fund will open for applications on 1 July.

The council’s communities, housing and planning board will approve all grant awards, however it should be noted a successful application for a grant to support a project idea doesn’t guarantee the outcome of a subsequent asset transfer request, which will be considered on its own merits.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “One of Renfrewshire’s greatest assets is our thriving network of community groups.

“Often they are the people who are best equipped to make things happen within their local communities – and we want to work with them to harness their skills and energy and help their ideas become reality.

“The new laws are about making it easier for that to happen – while making sure areas get as much productive use as we can from the assets which already exist in our communities.

“I am proud Renfrewshire Council has prioritised investment in this fund and would encourage any groups who have an interest in taking ownership of an asset in their area to get in touch with officers to find out more about the financial support and how we can help.”

Everyone in Renfrewshire should keep their Eyes Open for children at risk during the school holidays.

As Renfrewshire schools prepare to sound the end of term bell, Child Protection Committees across Scotland are encouraging the public across the whole country to be extra observant to help protect potentially vulnerable children when school’s out for summer.

Child Protection Committees Scotland, a nation-wide grouping of child protection professionals, hopes their ‘Eyes Open’ campaign will raise awareness that members of the public can play an important role to keep children safe from harm in the holidays. The group believes that everyone is responsible for child welfare in Scotland.

CPC Scotland Chair Anne Houston said: “Renfrewshire children are about to be away from the usual school routine for a few weeks. For most local children this is a time of year filled with fun and free time, but for some families the summer holidays are a time of increased stress and pressure. In some cases, children are not supervised or cared for adequately, others might even experience serious neglect.”

By taking an ‘Eyes Open’ approach, Renfrewshire’s own Child Protection Committee hope that members of the public will take a more active, watchful role when it comes to protecting children in the area, and take action if they’re concerned for a child’s wellbeing.

John Paterson, Renfrewshire’s Independent Chair, is clear that each and every one of us has a role to play in keeping our youngsters safe and said: “By keeping our eyes open and our other senses tuned in, we might spot the telltale signs that a child is at risk. These signs include seeing children wandering about at all times of day and night, children who are very dirty or unfed, unsupervised children going into “party” flats, or whose parents are drunk in charge of them. However, spotting the signs isn’t enough. If something doesn’t seem quite right for a child, or a family of children, it’s better to say something than do nothing.”

As well as supporting a public ‘Eyes Open’ approach, the campaign also encourages us to speak up instead of staying silent. Anyone who has concerns about a child or children can ask the child if they’re okay, offer the family some support, or contact Renfrewshire Council Children’s Services Department or the police.

In early May 2017, local artist Garry Byars began his unique painting “Aw the Buddies at Barshaw Park” 1 year on the artwork was finally completed. The original painting is now going to auction on eBay Thursday 28/06/18 and will end on Sma Shot Day 07/07/18.

Garry Said – It has been great fun to work on and to meet everybody, It all started off as a bit of fun, painting all the various characters. Paisley is a really a very beautiful town and with stunning Architecture, there are 191 real people, 20 Businesses and a couple of famous characters including Paolo Nutini, artist John Byrne, there are even 2 Police Officers in the original artwork.

This went far beyond my expectation and with so many local buddies participating, it was only right that proceeds from the sale of the original painting should go to a charity. I have chosen MS Scotland as the charity as a very close family member had Multiple Sclerosis, and I hope “Aw the Buddies at Barshaw Park” painting can help in any small way to raise awareness about MS Scotland and the good work that they do.

There are over 11,000 people living with MS in Scotland, this makes MS more common per capita in Scotland than most other countries in the world.

Pearo commented: – “I think this is a unique piece of art, that has the support form a huge part of the community in Paisley. This year long project of Garry’s has shown that his talent and hard work is appreciated by not only his fellow buddies but also people all around the world”
Lawrence Gilgallon commented : – I am pleased to be a initial supporter of Garry’s iconic picture which brings back happy family memories of visits to Barshaw park. A picture that brings the Paisley community spirit to the fore.

For more information about the auction and to view the original paining with signed prints available, please visit the Sunshine Gallery at the Paisley Shopping Centre Local Market (Level 2)
Big thanks to the Paisley Daily Express

Exam season is a dreaded time for all students, even when their tests are weeks or months away. It’s a time of great stress. That stress builds and builds until you’re overreacting to everything, pumping with adrenaline, but always lacking energy. By the end of your exams, you’re completely burned out and feel awful. But you don’t have to get burned out every time exams come around. Here are a few tips to avoid burnout during your exam seasons.

Get a Little Help from Your Friends


It’s easy to tell that you’re getting stressed. You buzz around like you’ve had too much caffeine but feel like you’ve gotten nothing done. While you know when you’re stressed, you might have trouble telling when you’re approaching a burnout. When the stress starts to be too much, you’ll begin snapping at people or becoming irrationally annoyed at the slightest thing. For other things that are sometimes more important, you’ll become indifferent.

It’s during this time that you’ll need the help of your friends. Your friends are your support system during this time, and if they’re students, too, then you’re probably part of their support system as well.

At the start of the year, make an agreement to keep an eye on each other. It’ll be easier for them to spot the warning signs of a burnout in you than it will be for you to notice any signs. They can also devise plans that will help you relax.


Take Breaks 

Whenever you have a lot of work to take on, you need to take regular breaks. This way of staving off stress can really help during exam season. During this break time, you can find many ways to reduce stress. Do exercises or yoga, talk to a friend, or indulge in a luxurious bubble bath. If you have a weekend before your tests, take all that time off and do something that will ease the stress from your mind.

Setting aside regular time periods for breaks is an excellent way to relieve stress unless you’re using this time to run errands, catch up on housecleaning, or do things that you may not actually enjoy. If you don’t enjoy yoga or other such activities, then doing these things will not relax you. If you enjoy playing a video game or watching a movie, do that instead. The point of your breaks should not be to find time to accomplish other tasks but to truly unplug and relax.


Focus on One Thing at a Time

Multitasking is a skill that’s highly regarded in today’s society, but it’s not always a good thing. You’ve probably become accustomed to reading a book while listening to music and eating a snack all at once. It gets harder when you’re trying to keep your mental state afloat.

To avoid burning out, try to focus on one task at a time. When you’re relaxing, don’t have your textbook or notes out. You’ll enjoy the television show you’re watching less and learn absolutely nothing. When you eat and study, you don’t even enjoy what you’re eating. Take the time to really enjoy your food as distracted eating is a sign of a burnout. If you have something important to do that you may forget if you don’t do it right away, write it down and prioritize.


Be Honest with Yourself

When you’re doing too much, your body knows. You start to physically feel bad. Listen to what your body says. If it becomes too much or you’re looking for someone to “do essay for me,” then take a moment to assess. Don’t panic. Your mental health is more important than your exam scores. You’ve been preparing all semester for these exams. You have the tools. Even though you know that you have what you need, that won’t stop stress from building up.

Luckily, there are people and tools around who will help you through your exams. Good luck with your exams and stay positive!

Our homes are often filled with broken stuff -Irons, phones, chairs, toys, tools, gadgets.The kind of stuff you can’t bring yourself to throw out because it you feel kind of guilty about contributing to the 50 million tonnes of redundant items which are thrown into UK landfill sites every year.

This workshop will be your dream come true! Bring along something which is broken and our experienced facilitators will work through the process of assessment, repairing, replacing, reviving…or scrapping!Obviously  not everything will go home working

again, but in the meantime you will have learned some basic mend techniques and had a whole lot of fixing fun!


Wed, July 18, 2018

7:00 PM – 9:00 PM BST

Add to Calendar


Visually impaired veterans have been busy building scale dolls houses of some of Paisley’s most recognisable buildings as part of a project aimed at engaging communities with the town’s heritage.

Modelling Paisley Scottish War Blinded Hawkhead Centre
PIC SHOWS modelmaker Franki Finch

The group from The Scottish War Blinded Hawkhead Centre have been taking part in the Modelling Paisley project which is part of Renfrewshire Council’s £4.5 million Townscape Heritage Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2 (TH.CARS2) which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council.

Modelling Paisley Scottish War Blinded Hawkhead Centre
PIC SHOWS Michael Gray building the steps for the house

TH.CARS2 aims to make the area around the High Street a more attractive place to visit and invest as well as engage a diverse range of audiences with the heritage and culture of Paisley through learning and making.

Modelling Paisley Scottish War Blinded Hawkhead Centre
PIC SHOWS modelmaker Franki Finch and George Dickson

The Hawkhead Centre in Paisley is for veterans with sight loss. It is an activity hub for men and women of all ages and abilities – and is free of any costs, with local transport provided.  A range of activities and support assist with improving independence and mobility while one-to-one guidance helps veterans regain or maintain their confidence after sight loss.

Modelling Paisley Scottish War Blinded Hawkhead Centre
PIC SHOWS modelmaker Franki Finch

The Modelling Paisley project is being co-led by The Scottish War Blinded wood technician, David Stewart and modelmaker Franki Finch of Finch & Fouracre who are helping the group of ten veterans create four dolls houses. The group are currently working on models of the Sma’ Shot Cottages and 5 George Place and there will be another two models created before they go on display in time for Doors Open Day on 8 and 9 September.

Franki said: “It’s a brilliant project to be part of – both in terms of the historical aspect of learning more about these lovely buildings and the opportunity to work with other people teaching them new skills.

“At the start of the project a lot of the members thought there were certain tasks that they couldn’t do and it’s great that the project has shown them what they are capable of and that they can still make things and use their hands. They’re all enthusiastic about how the project is progressing which has been the best part of the process. For a lot of the members it’s given them a creative outlet which is great.”

Michael Gray (67) is one of the veterans who has been involved in the project. He said: “I hadn’t done any woodwork since I was in school and I’ve spent the last 40 years working in IT – I really missed being creative. It’s great making something and seeing it develop. As well as working on the staircase for 5 George Place I’ve also bought a clock that I want to build a case for. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the skills I’ve learned here.

“I’m hopefully going to build a workshop in my garden so I can do more woodwork projects. The key thing for me is being able to be creative and overcome problems – I’m testing myself and seeing what I can and can’t do and finding a way to work around it – I’ve really enjoyed working on this project.”

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Iain Nicolson, said: “It’s wonderful to see our veterans learning new skills by celebrating Paisley’s stunning architecture and recreating some of our most well-known landmarks.

“I look forward to seeing the completed models when they are displayed at this year’s Doors Open Days which will give even more people the opportunity to enjoy their work.”

Sally Ross, centre manager said: “The project has been great for the members. It’s allowed them to work as a group and build friendships as well as help them develop skills they didn’t know they had. There’s a great sense of support in the group which has been lovely to see.

“We welcome enquiries from veterans, and anyone interested in referring a veteran to the centre.  With the number of people living with sight loss in Scotland expected to double by 2050 in line with population ageing, the Hawkhead Centre provides a vital service for veterans with sight loss here in Renfrewshire.”

The models will be displayed in Paisley town centre as part of Renfrewshire’s Doors Open Days on 8 and 9 September – the exact venue will be announced nearer the time.

For more information on the TH.CARS2 project please visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/THCars2.

To find out more about The Scottish War Blinded Hawkhead Centre call 0800 035 6409 or visit: www.royalblind.org/scottish-war-blinded.

Derek Mackay MSP has congratulated St James’ Primary School on winning an award for their reading achievements as part of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.

The school was given an award for the School reading the most books. The only school in Scotland to be given the award.

Primary 7 pupil Kieran Mitchell was also given the Pupil Reading Journey Award by the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon presented awards to pupils and schools from across Scotland at an event in Edinburgh today, recognising their outstanding participation in the FirstMinister’s Reading Challenge.

The reading challenge aims to build on the work already taking place in schools across the country to encourage children to read widely, explore a range of books and develop a love of reading.

Following an evaluation of the first year of the challenge, reading charity Scottish Book Trust is expanding the challenge to secondary schools, libraries and community groups in the next school year.

SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

“It is fantastic that St James’ Primary’s hard work has been recognised by the First Minister, with an award for reading the most books. The only school in Scotland to win this award.

“Almost 1,000 primary schools across Scotland took part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge this year, opening up a world of adventure and fun to young people whilst also giving them really important literacy, writing and language skills.

“I hope we can encourage even more kids to enjoy the benefits of reading by signing even more schools from Renfrewshire up to the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has commented:

“I’d like to congratulate all the schools who have taken part in this year’s challenge. They’ve all worked really hard over the past year and demonstrated great enthusiasm for reading.

“Raising attainment is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s work. That is why I launched the First Minister’s Reading Challenge – to encourage reading for pleasure from an early age which in turn, helps improve children’s literacy.

“I look forward to the next year of the challenge which will see even more people able to take part from secondary schools, libraries and community groups.”

PUPILS at Renfrew High have created their own comic book with storylines inspired by the town’s rich history.

Now they have seen their work, called ‘A Trip ‘Frew Time’ printed and published with a special launch event at the school.

The project was in collaboration with Renfrewshire Leisure’s school libraries attainment and creative learning teams, along with West College Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust who provided funding.

The comic book’s fictitious stories written by 30 pupils and accompanying illustrations were based on events and historical places in Renfrew and was part of the school’s participation in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge pilot project, at Renfrew High.

Pupils were helped to produce the comic book by Magic Torch Comics, who held a series of workshops in the school.

As well as having a copy of their own comic book creation, pupils will also receive an accredited qualification from West College Scotland to add to their school record of achievement.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chief executive, Joyce McKellar said: “The pupils have done a tremendous job in creating not only the storylines, but the publication of the comic book itself. It’s something they can be proud of.

“As well as learning about their home town, the project has also stimulated the pupils’ enthusiasm and engagement in reading for pleasure.”

PROVOST Lorraine Cameron helped make sure the malls were alive to the sound of music when she joined in with the Renfrewshire Carers Centre Choir for an impromptu rendition of a classic ABBA song.

The Paisley-based carers group had been given free space at the intu Braehead shopping centre to raise money and awareness of the work they do and then be treated to a slap-up lunch by mall management to help celebrate Carers Week.

Provost Cameron was due to present certificates to volunteers from the Carers Centre and when she arrived at the mall, the choir was in full voice entertaining shoppers.

The Renfrewshire Provost was asked to join the choir for a song and she immediately agreed, belting out a version of ABBA’s Super Trouper along with the other singers.

As Provost Cameron handed out certificates she told the carers and volunteers: “I’m delighted to be here today to recognise the essential part you all play in the Renfrewshire Carers Centre. It gives me great pleasure to present you with these certificates of thanks.”

Christine Macdonald, intu Braehead’s marketing manager said: “The carers and volunteers at Renfrewshire Carers Centre deserve huge credit for the work they do.

“Giving them a lunch and mall space to have a display stand giving people advice and raising funds is just one way we can pay tribute to the vital work they do.

“The Carers Centre Choir gave shoppers some great entertainment and well done to Provost Cameron for joining in with the singing.”

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