A £79.5million construction contract to build the first opening road bridge over the River Clyde and create new connections into Scotland’s manufacturing innovation district has been approved for award.

Councillors from Renfrewshire Council’s Finance board have agreed to award the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside contract to civil engineering specialists, GRAHAM.


The project is jointly funded by the UK and Scottish Governments through the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal. It will support around 700 jobs during its construction and generate hundreds of subcontract and supplier opportunities.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are delighted to have approved the awarding of this contract and look forward to working with civil engineering specialists GRAHAM and its project partners on what is a hugely significant project for Renfrewshire, the Glasgow City Region and indeed Scotland.

“We are excited by its potential in creating a vibrant attractive waterfront and connecting communities to their work, to hospitals and to education. Short-term, it will accelerate economic recovery from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic by creating jobs and boosting opportunities for suppliers and in the long-term, the new infrastructure opens up access to development opportunities on both sides of the Clyde and will ensure the success of AMIDS, cementing Renfrewshire’s position as the home of manufacturing innovation in Scotland.”

A twin-leaf swing bridge for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians from Renfrew to the boundary between Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire forms the centrepiece of the project.

All planning consent is in place and construction is scheduled to start in Spring and take three years to complete, with the contract to be finalised later this month following conclusion of the procurement process.


There’s also riverside walking and cycling routes and a new road through Renfrew connecting the bridge to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) being developed by the Council in collaboration with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

Economic estimates in the final business case published last month found the waterfront project could lead to 1,400 permanent posts and 950 temporary construction roles from the resultant £230million in private sector investment expected to be attracted to development sites on both sides of the Clyde over the coming years.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson said: “Across Scotland we have so far committed more than £1.9billion over the next 10 to 20 years to City Region and Growth Deals and additional investments. It’s great to see such significant progress in delivering this transformative project, which will create jobs, apprenticeships, and new connections into the manufacturing innovation district.

Artist impression aerial view of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland

“The Scottish Government is a full partner in the Glasgow City Region City Deal, contributing £500 million over 20 years. The investment in this project through the Deal will contribute to the region’s economic recovery by creating jobs and providing the commercial infrastructure to support and attract businesses to Glasgow and the surrounding areas. It also encourages active travel supporting walking and cycling infrastructure in the area.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “This ambitious project will support jobs and bolster the Clyde area as a great place to live, work and do business. The UK Government is investing billions of pounds and working with partners across Scotland to build back better from the pandemic and deliver for local communities. Across Scotland we are investing more than £1.5billion into City Region and Growth Deal projects.”

The contract approval follows an extensive procurement process over the last two years, which considered in depth the technical expertise, carbon reduction activities, fair work practises and all the knowledge and experience required to deliver the project.

Civil engineering contractor GRAHAM, who have a waterfront office in Renfrewshire at Braehead, will deliver the main construction and provide more than 100 community benefits including jobs, apprenticeships, and community volunteering activities.

Leo Martin, Managing Director for GRAHAM’s Civil Engineering division, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen to deliver the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project, including the River Clyde bridge, with our design partners Ramboll and Amey.

“The new bridge will provide a gateway to the area’s fast-growing manufacturing innovation district and help better connect communities with significant employment and development opportunities for what will be a transformational project for the Renfrewshire and Glasgow City regions.

“GRAHAM are specialists in delivering complex civil engineering projects and our innovative construction solution will minimise the carbon impact, while we will utilise our knowledge and experience from previous landmark bridge construction and installations such as the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin and Carpenters Land Bridge in Stratford to ensure this key infrastructure scheme is completed to the highest standards, while ensuring we deliver a sustainable legacy and positive impact.”

Further Glasgow City Region City Deal funding is supporting Renfrewshire Council as it converts a 52-hectare site next to Glasgow Airport into a research and development centre for advanced manufacturing.

Construction of the underpinning infrastructure is scheduled for completion this year and plans are progressing for a specialist carbon reducing district heating network, campus square and riverside green spaces.

The district has already attracted £185million in infrastructure, research, innovation and skills facilities, with construction started on both the flagship National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) headquarters facility and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, has touched down at the adjacent Westway Business Park to research metallic component manufacturing in partnership with experts from the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre – part of the NMIS group. Westway is also home to another of the NMIS Group’s specialist technology centres, the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre.

John Reid, Chief Executive Officer of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland Group, said: “The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland is the flagship for the future of manufacturing in the country, bringing together companies and people from across the manufacturing and engineering community in Scotland, the UK and beyond. The development of AMIDS and the ongoing investment in vital transport infrastructure is central to us transforming productivity levels of our manufacturing businesses, making them more competitive and boosting the skills of our current and future workforces.”

Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, said: “We’re delighted to be part of AMIDS, placing the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre at the heart of advanced manufacturing in Scotland. The new Centre will be world-leading and attracting world-class people is key to its success. This investment in infrastructure will enable vital transport links to the city region, attracting both talent and potential partners who want to locate to an internationally recognised innovation area.” 


A budget which delivers a Council Tax freeze and helps everyone in Renfrewshire recover from the profound impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been agreed by councillors today (Thursday 4 March 2021).

The £449.8million budget prioritises people’s wellbeing with targeted support for those communities most affected by Covid-19.


It also confirms continuation of the £443.5million capital investment programme well underway across Renfrewshire, which includes record-level spending on roads and paths investment and town centre regeneration.

And there’s a programme of investment to enhance the safe enjoyment of popular outdoor local spaces, additional funding for adult social care, new schemes for local businesses and an increase to school facility funds.

Some £2.7million will tackle inequalities and alleviate household financial hardship, building on pioneering programmes well underway tackling poverty and improving the lives of people impacted by drug and alcohol addiction.

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Full details are being developed in collaboration with community groups and organisations across Renfrewshire to provide financial support and advice, access to digital services, support physical and mental wellbeing and help children, young people and families.

Confirmed initial investments will include a £250,000 boost in funding for children and young people’s mental health, £180,000 support for care experienced young people and £200,000 for the rollout of a book gifting programme for all 2 to 5-year-old children in Renfrewshire.

There’s also £100,000 for Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau to provide employment and redundancy rights advice, the creation of a specialist team advocating for vulnerable private sector tenants and a £100,000 boost to the fund helping people with housing costs.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “I am indebted to our communities, to healthcare and Council staff who have provided lifeline support to those most in need throughout the past year.

“As we start to see positive signs of emerging from this pandemic, our budget will support Renfrewshire’s recovery and renewal from the profound impact of the last 12 months.

“Freezing Council Tax provides households with some certainty at a time of continued financial challenge for many, while our budget prioritises wellbeing and ensures support reaches those people in our communities who have felt the impacts of the pandemic most keenly.

“We are continuing in our commitment to support the most vulnerable people in Renfrewshire and deliver significant capital investment when our economy needs it most, creating jobs and boosting inclusive growth.”

Also outlined in today’s budget is £1.5million to enhance Council-owned play areas, create better walking routes at Clyde Muirshiel and the Gleniffer Braes and clear paths in urban areas.

Measures to reduce traffic and promote safer walking within rural Renfrewshire villages are also being considered and £250,000 will create safe road crossing facilities on school walking routes.

An increase in funding for school facility improvements will enable a two-year £2.4million investment by the end of March 2022.

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership will receive £2.3million of additional recurring resources, which will enhance adult social care services, recognise the role of carers and work to secure the Living Wage for all care staff helping Renfrewshire residents.

And adding to the many Council and Scottish Government supports in place for Renfrewshire businesses, £100,000 will be used to create a grant scheme refunding licensed premises for license costs when they have been required by law to close, while hot food businesses will benefit from an incentive scheme supporting a move to bio-degradable packaging.

Councillor John Shaw, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, said: “Our budget tackles inequalities, improves the lives of children and young people, makes the most of our great outdoors, bolsters social care services and helps local communities, ensuring that together, we come out the other side stronger and more resilient than ever.

“Our budget has been carefully considered to maintain the Council’s financial stability over the next few years and by supporting our communities and those who need it most, we want to support everyone to thrive in the months and years ahead.”

Nicola Drummond interview - Glasgow Science Centre festival

Renfrewshire’s joint environmental campaign Team Up to Clean Up is set to be showcased at a digital science festival hosted for the first time by Glasgow Science Centre.

Curious About Our Planet takes place from 18 to 20 February and aims to celebrate the wonders of the planet and the science of climate change.

Nicola Drummond interview - Glasgow Science Centre festival

The line-up includes a behind-the-scenes tour of Edinburgh Zoo, a sustainable cocktail making session, a UK film premiere and an art exhibition.

Also included is an interview with Lead Officer for Environment Coordination at Renfrewshire Council, Nicola Drummond, who discusses the impact the Team Up to Clean Up campaign has had in Renfrewshire as the council and community work together to effect change.

Nicola said: “It’s fantastic to be part of this online festival and hopefully we can inspire others throughout the country, especially those in our younger generations, to think about how they treat their local environment.

Facebook - Curious About - Envirotent - Workshops and Activities

“The Team Up to Clean Up campaign has grown tremendously over the past few years as more and more people take a real pride in their community and want to do what they can to improve where they live.

“We support them with litter pickers, collecting rubbish from their litter picks and providing a network of like-minded volunteers through our Facebook group and it’s fantastic to be part of such an inspiring campaign.”

The festival is an online version of Curiosity Live, a regular science engagement event that has been held at Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) for the past few years.

Cllr Cathy McEwan

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted that our campaign is part of this exciting festival and I hope those who attend are inspired by the work going on in Renfrewshire.

“It’s incredible to see the dedication of our volunteers who are making a difference not only to their communities and the health of our local environment, but also inspiring others to join them and affect behaviour change in Renfrewshire.

“As a council, we will continue to do our bit with enhanced street cleaning and gully clearing to ensure that the commitment is there from us and the community, and I can’t wait to see where this campaign can take us in the future as we do what we can to tackle climate change.”

The festival is being delivered with support from the Inspiring Science Fund provided by Wellcome, UKRI and BEIS. It is also part of Our World Our Impact, Glasgow Science Centre’s climate change programme which is in partnership with the Scottish Government.

Dr Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Glasgow Science Centre, said: “We’re excited to be launching our first digital science festival following the success of GSCAtHome and our online Halloween and Christmas shows.

“Climate change will have an impact on everyone and Curious About Our Planet invites us to explore the science of it as well as reminding us of the beauty of our planet, all from the safety and comfort of home”.

Festival contributors include Heather Reid, WWF Scotland, Royal Zoological Society for Scotland (RZSS), Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), National Environment Research Council (NERC), the Conservation Volunteers and Keep Scotland Beautiful.

To find out more about the full festival programme, visit

Imogen Stirling

Poet, musician and theatre-maker, Imogen Stirling, collaborates with youth arts charity CREATE Paisley, to help the young people of Renfrewshire express themselves through poetry. 


The internationally renowned writer, whose portfolio of work has been featured on Sky Arts will be taking up the mantle of writer in residence for this year’s Paisley Book Festival which is going digital for the first time.

Imogen Stirling

As part of Imogen’s role she’s working with CREATE Paisley to champion the role of creativity in the lives of young people and offer a chance to work alongside her on their own poetry and writing. Imogen’s work has seen her travel the world with sold out performances at the Prague and Edinburgh fringe as well as appearances at both the Eden and latitude festivals but with her 2020 touring schedule being ground to a halt by Covid-19 she is looking forward to supporting young people express themselves as part of the project.


I’ve always had a passion for working with young people and the opportunity to work with CREATE Paisley as part of my tenure as Writer in Residence is really exciting. During these tough times it is so important for young people to be able to express themselves and I am super excited to do that with them through my passion for poetry. I believe that using words and poetry in a relaxed environment can really help us to express our thoughts and explore emotions in a safe and healthy way and I am so looking forward to these workshops and hope to see as many people there as possible’’

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

Imogen joins CREATE as part of their Teach Me Tuesday programme which will give young people the opportunity to take part in a series of free online creative writing workshops. Together, Imogen and the young people will use simple writing exercises, discussion, poetry readings and storytelling to explore how words can be used to express mindfulness and fun. With a view to looking forward to more hopeful times than 2020, the imagination will run wild with radical new futures and what we can learn from this tumultuous year. After having played around with various poetic techniques throughout the workshop, each participant will be encouraged to create their own short piece of writing which can be edited into a collective ballad and then presented during one of the Paisley Book Festival’s online events.


CREATE knows the importance of creativity in a young person’s life in terms of their mental health and academic attainment but also at this time, workshops like Imogen’s, play a much more important role. Brid Gallagher, Youth development worker at CREATE, has been working across the charities online programme since the start of lockdown and has seen first hand the effect that lockdown is having on young people’s lives: 


‘We work with so many young people who are struggling at the moment. The isolation and anxieties surrounding the pandemic are really having an effect on their well being and we have had many young people approach us who are struggling with depression and isolation. Workshops like Imogen’s give much needed structure and a chance to express their feelings in a safe and healthy way. We are so excited to be working with Imogen and  grateful for her giving our young people such a great opportunity to see their work being showcased at the Festival’s online events!’ 


The workshops are open to anyone aged between 12 and 21 and will start on Tuesday 26th of  January at 7pm. 

Open to all levels, with complete beginners very welcome!” To sign up visit


STAFF at Braehead shopping centre will be turning Blue Monday into Brew Monday as a way of keeping in touch with one another during lockdown.

They are supporting the Samaritans’ Brew Monday event, on January 18 and have organised a virtual quiz on Zoom along with everyone having a cuppa.


The third Monday in January is traditionally known as Blue Monday – the saddest day of the year – and with many Braehead staff on furlough or working from home it was decided to do something to keep in touch with each other.

Lydia Brown, Braehead’s community development manager explains: “We usually have an event in the centre to bring a smile to everyone’s face on Blue Monday.

“But with this year being so different and the centre only open for essential shopping we decided to stage a Braehead Zoom quiz for staff. It’s a nice way to keep in touch with each other, have a quiz, a chat and a cuppa during these tough times.

“Because many of us are either on furlough or working from home, we don’t get to see and talk to each other as much as usual.

“It’s important that everyone reaches out to their colleagues and friends during lockdown.”

Braehead will stage two Brew Monday quiz sessions on Monday, with the centre’s operations manager, Paul Lucas acting as quizmaster.

The Samaritans launched Brew Monday to turn Blue Monday into something positive by encouraging people to get together over a warming cuppa. 

Go to for more information about Brew Monday and the charity, or if you want to chat to someone, call 116 123 for free.

Johnstone 8.12.20-6758

Landmark locations at the heart of Renfrew and Johnstone town centres are being lit up – as part of a collection of projects aimed at bringing new life to Renfrewshire’s town centres.

The projects have been delivered by Renfrewshire Council using the area’s share of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund, intended to improve town centres across the country by encouraging new investment and uses for vacant buildings and spaces.

Johnstone 8.12.20-6758

Renfrewshire initially received £1.46m from the fund in 2019, for which a series of projects in Renfrew, Johnstone, Paisley and Erskine were put into action, with some now complete.

A further £527,000 was allocated earlier this year when the government added extra money to the fund to help town centres bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


Projects which have already been delivered or are nearing completion include:

– new and improved lighting around Renfrew Town Hall and Johnstone’s Houstoun Square. The same fund also paid for new Christmas lights in Johnstone, with the additions to Renfrew Town Hall complementing recent investment in the town’s festive displays through the Renfrew Common Good Fund;

– new lighting added to Renfrew’s Bascule Bridge, with work to add new lighting, wayfinding and CCTV to Robertson Park now partly-complete and due to be finished in the spring;

– work to tidy up the gap site at the corner of Johnstone’s High St and McDowall St;

– refurbishments to vacant shop units at George Street, Paisley, and High Street and McDowall St in Johnstone, plus external improvements to vacant shop units at Renfrew’s Dunlop Crescent;

– a new storage area for commercial waste at 55 High St, Paisley;

Johnstone 8.12.20-6776

The fund is also being used to provide grants to three local community groups to support ongoing work to bring vacant buildings back into use. Each of the following projects is expected to be complete by the end of 2021:

– PACE Theatre’s plans to refurbish Paisley’s former Mannequins nightclub to create a new theatre, called Exchange;

– Active Communities ongoing work to bring the former police station in Johnstone’s Quarry Street back into use as a community hub;

– the conversion of the former toilet block in Renfrew’s Robertson Park into a cycle hub by Kustom Kruisers;

Bascule Bridge - Purple

The council’s leadership board this month also approved a list of additional projects for the second tranche of money to go on, which included:

– a grant to allow the Erskine Arts charity to set up a base within Erskine Leisure Centre;

– funding to extend the council’s Start-up Street hub for new creative businesses to Renfrew as a new use for the vacant units in Dunlop Crescent;

– outdoor improvements to Paisley’s Shuttle St to help support the hospitality businesses in the street, including new a canopy of lighting and a new bin store area

– additional funding for an already-planned refurbishment of upper-floor tenements at 3 County Place, Paisley – a prominent building facing Gilmour St station which has fallen into disrepair;

Robertson Park II December 2020

As the additional money needs to be committed by March 2021, the projects above were chosen as ones which had already been scoped out and could go on site in the next few months.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Ensuring our town centres are attractive places for people to live, work and invest is a big priority for the council.

“We are very mindful how hard the past year has been for town centres everywhere – we are determined to do all we can to support our traders and communities and this support from the Scottish Government is very welcome.

“We carefully considered which projects would be eligible for the funding and would have the most impact in terms of attracting new uses and investment across all our town centres.

Robertson Park December 2020

“The work has been happening since last year and we are delighted people are now starting to see the results of it – with the new lighting in Renfrew and Johnstone being the most eye-catching of the projects, and ones which have been well-received.

“And there will be plenty more for people to look forward to in 2021 as projects to bring vacant buildings back into use and improve the look of our outdoor spaces are completed.”

provost community awards

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron is searching for community heroes across Renfrewshire as nominations for the Provost’s Community Awards open for 2021. 

provost community awards

This year there are seven categories to nominate in, including a new category to recognise businesses who have adapted to ensure their survival during the Covid19 pandemic. You can nominate anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire for the following categories:

  • Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd)
  • Community Group (sponsored by City Gate Construction)
  • Sporting Achievement (sponsored by ACRE Industrial)
  • Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire)
  • Carers Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison)
  • Arts and Culture Award (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council)
  • Ingenuity in Business (sponsored by Provost Lorraine Cameron)

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This year has been unlike any other and it’s important that we pay tribute to the local unsung heroes who keep our communities going.

“We have recently heard of the sad death of former Provost Nancy Allison, who established the very first awards in 1997, and I know, for certain, that Nancy would have been very happy that I have decided to go ahead this year, despite the pandemic.  She knew how important it was to recognise the big hearted people who support their communities and that is why we continue with these awards year after year.

“Earlier this year I awarded certificates to those who I know have gone the extra mile throughout the pandemic, but these awards are different – they come from the community themselves. Now it is your chance to tell me about the hard work that these groups and individuals do.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be able to have an event this year to celebrate these achievements, but we will make sure the winners are announced online and through other media channels. I know there are some fantastic people out there who really deserve to be recognised and I can’t wait to read your nominations.”

The deadline for entries to all categories is Friday 29 January 2021.

For more information, and to submit your nomination, visit, or email


CLAIRE Cunningham-Stirrup’s business baby was a stall selling children’s clothes at Braehead shopping centre.

And like all parents she has watched with pride as her Kiddie Boutique offspring has grown over the past ten years to become Scotland’s biggest independent children’s clothing company.


After running the stall for three years, Claire moved into an 1100 square foot shop at Braehead, but now she has moved into a new store in the mall – almost three times the size of her previous shop.

Claire admits she was more than a little emotional when she opened her new Kiddie Boutique store after years of hard work and long hours building the business she started when she couldn’t get the clothes she wanted for her then baby daughter, Rebecca.

Claire explains: “I was on maternity leave from my job as the manager of a travel agents after my daughter, Rebecca was born ten years ago and I couldn’t get the brands of clothing I wanted for her.

“That’s when I realised there was a gap in the market and very few shopping centres had independent kids-wear stores.

“So, after a lot of research into what products were available at the right price, I decided to start selling quality children’s clothing from what is known as a retail merchandising unit only a few metres long.

“I was stunned how popular it was and very quickly we became extremely busy and it has stayed that way ever since. After three years we had become so successful it was time to move to a shop and I leased one of the retail units in the upper mall.

“Seven years on we had yet again outgrown our shop and we needed to move to bigger premises in the mall.

claire cunningham

“We now have lots more space and are able to stock more brands and a bigger collection of children’s clothing. The bigger shop also means customers have more room to browse and enjoy their time in our store.”

Kiddie Boutique has won a host of accolades in the Braehead Retail Awards over the years, including Best Children’s Wear Store three times and Best Customer Services awards.

The store has also had some celebrity customers with singer, Paolo Nutini popping in to buy his nephew a Mitch and Son tracksuit, Coronation Street actress, Helen Flanagan choosing clothes for her daughter, Matilda and X Factor star Nicholas McDonald also buying an outfit as a gift.

Claire continued: “When I first opened, I was working ten-hour days, seven days a week, but now I employ 25 people.

“I definitely thought of it as my business baby and now with us moving to a bigger store, it seems like my baby has grown up and is like a teenager heading into adulthood.

“I was very emotional when we opened the new shop as a phenomenal amount of hard work has gone into the business over the past ten years.”

“To be able to achieve this in the middle of a pandemic really is amazing. I cannot thank Braehead enough for their continued support throughout our first ten years in business.

“To allow a small independent business to grow in such a tough environment dominated by big multiple companies really has been phenomenal. We are delighted to have such a wonderful and successful store at Braehead.

Claire added: “You never know how a business is going to go when you first start out, but when I realised I was on to something and it was working, my ambition was to eventually run the biggest independent children’s wear company in Scotland.

“And that’s what has happened now I’ve moved into this bigger retail unit.

“We’ve been able to build on what we’ve achieved at Braehead and we launched a Kiddie Boutique online business as well, although the physical store we have is still the most successful.

“We are delighted and cannot thank our customers enough for their on-going support. We hope to continue to bring high quality Childrenswear to Braehead for many years to come.”


“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our health, our wellbeing, our communities and our economy, but I am confident that by working together, Renfrewshire will recover and renew to come back stronger.”

That’s according to Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, as he welcomes plans for Renfrewshire’s economic and social recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.


Councillors will consider the ambitious plans next week which aim to create jobs and upskill employees, bolster business, invest in housing, tackle inequalities and improve the lives of people living and working in Renfrewshire.

Stark statistics within the reports lay bare the impact of the pandemic in Renfrewshire, with 293 local people having lost their lives.

The number of people claiming benefits rose by 80% at the height of the virus, while 6,000 crisis grant applications have been received, thousands have been supported through neighbourhood hubs and local community groups and Renfrewshire Foodbank has helped more than 4,000 adults and children.

Furlough support for Renfrewshire employees is estimated to equate to £115million and self-income support to almost £10million.


Cllr Iain Nicolson

Councillor Nicolson said: “The pandemic has impacted on all parts of daily life and in some cases exacerbated existing vulnerabilities or created new difficulties. Many people and businesses have been impacted, through bereavement, loss of income, isolation and loneliness.

“Since the outset, Council staff have been working tirelessly together with community groups and local volunteers as well as with national agencies to support people during these unprecedented times, and the collective response has been phenomenal.

“This work continues and while the true impact of the pandemic will take time to fully emerge, we have been carrying out detailed research and together with community groups, local businesses and economic leaders, we have been preparing our plans for recovery and renewal.”

The two-year economic recovery plan has been prepared with, and approved by, Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel, which pools business expertise from major local employers and skills and enterprise agencies.

It is underpinned by economic analysis by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute and by a summer survey of 500 local companies, with further data being collected next spring following the end of the furlough scheme and the Brexit transition period.

Detailing 14 priority actions the panel believe will make the biggest difference locally, the report focuses on support for business, young people, wellbeing, skills and employability, fostering a green recovery and on capital investment.

Councillor Nicolson added: “The building blocks of Renfrewshire’s economy have been consistently strong for some time and there are significant opportunities for growth after the pandemic with a strong business base, excellent educational facilities and £500million in capital investment well under way.

Lovell Cocstruction, social housing, Bishopton

Lovell Cocstruction, social housing, Bishopton

“We will build on this by creating jobs and training opportunities for our young people, including 150 new apprenticeships, with targeted projects to tackle unemployment and reduce health inequalities, and measures to bolster the skills and innovation of our significant manufacturing sector. To achieve this plan, all partner agencies will have a key role to play and by combining our knowledge and expertise, we can achieve so much more.”

Tackling inequalities is at the heart of the developing social renewal plan for Renfrewshire, which is being prepared through a public survey of 1,500 people combined with ‘listening events’ with community groups during winter 2020, to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 and involve local people in identifying solutions to the issues they face.

Council Depute Leader Jim Paterson said: “Local people and communities continue to experience significant impacts on their lives resulting from the pandemic and sadly the initial findings suggest it is most affecting people on low incomes and in insecure employment, in particular women and young people.

“The social renewal plan will act as the blueprint for how we will work with our partners to learn from the pandemic and build on this experience to tackle the inequalities that exist in our communities.”

Councillors will also be asked to approve plans for at least £100million of additional investment over the next 10 years in Council housing across Renfrewshire, with the first phase targeting investment to eight areas across Johnstone, Paisley and Renfrew.

Communities, Housing and Planning Convener Councillor Marie McGurk said: “Coronavirus has underlined the importance of our home on our wellbeing and the need to live within a supportive community environment.

“This planned investment will provide a step-change in housing conditions for Council tenants by enhancing properties inside and out, making them more energy efficient and creating safe, welcoming neighbourhoods.

“At each location, we will develop comprehensive regeneration place plans, engaging with tenants and the wider community to create places to be proud of through a mix of improvements and new homes, this approach will continue the recent investment by the council and housing associations which will see more than 1,000 affordable homes completed by 2022.”


When it comes to hiking, there’s nothing worse than having to do so with wet feet because neither your socks or shoes could handle the terrain. While the first defense against water on your hike would be through your sneakers, many forget about the backup plan—your socks. 

What are waterproof socks? They’re exactly what they sound like—they’re socks that are designed to be completely waterproof and therefor serve as a protectant against wet feet. Most waterproof socks consist of a waterproof membrane that allows water vapor to escape without letting water or moisture in. 

So, what are the best waterproof socks for 2020? Here are the things you should look for when finding the best fit for you:

Multiple Uses

Waterproof socks are not made for the sole purpose of tackling hiking trails. They can be used for many different activities including:

  • Cycling
  • Golfing
  • Fishing
  • Hiking/walking
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding

No matter what spots you visit as a nature lover, waterproof socks can be an aid to your adventure that your feet will thank you for. 

Reliable Materials

There are two blends of materials that most waterproof socks are made from:

  • Nylon and Coolmax: This is a material blend that uses lightweight and moisture-wicking nylon to protect feet from water. Since nylon doesn’t absorb water as other fibers do, it makes a great material for waterproof socks. 
  • Merino Wool: This blend is focused on warmth over comfort. Because merino wool is recognized for its thermal properties, it’s even used by the military to protect duty members feet from water and cold—so, not only does merino keep your feet dry, but it keeps them warm as well.

Depending on preference, you may want to choose one material blend over the other.

Both Waterproof and Weatherproof

Whether you’re hiking or cycling, golfing or snowboarding, wet feet can ruin any adventure if you don’t properly prepare. That being said, waterproof socks have you covered no matter what obstacles are thrown your way. Not only do they protect your feet from water, but they can also withstand high water pressure. The amount of water pressure socks can handle is measured by using a hydrostatic head pressure rating (HHPR), which is basically a measure of how water resistant a material is. 

Easy Washing

Washing waterproof socks is as easy as these four simple steps:

  1. Take a bowl and fill it with lukewarm water and add soap. You’ll want to be sure not to use boiling water as that can damage the material.
  2. Turn the socks inside out and use the lukewarm water to thoroughly wash them. If you prefer, you can even use body wash in place of regular soap as this won’t damage the waterproof lining. 
  3. Turn them inside out again and repeat the washing process.
  4. Once both the inside and outside have been thoroughly washed, let them air or hang dry—preferably in the fresh air. Similar to boiling water, you’ll want to avoid drying your socks on a radiator or heater as that can also damage the material.

Considerations Before Buying

Now that you’ve decided to buy yourself a pair of waterproof socks, you’ll want to consider two things: size, and whether you want knee length or mid-calf height. Depending on the materials, some brands are more forgiving and flexible than others. Always be sure to consult a brand’s size chart before purchasing.

Beyond that, you’ll have to decide how much water protection you need. Since their socks come in mid-calf and knee length versions, you can choose which is best for you and your plans. Knee length socks are better for fishing and wading, or other boating activities. Midcalf socks, on the other hand, are ideal for cyclers, hikers, and runners.  

Overall Benefits

Overall, here are some of the best benefits that waterproof socks have to offer:

  • Waterproof and warm

Waterproof socks will keep feet both dry and warm no matter how far your journey is going to take you. 

  • Debris resistant

Not only do these socks protect you from water, but they protect you from different debris you may encounter on the trail.

  • Practical and comfortable

Since these socks consist of three different layers, they’re geared toward comfort and won’t be too tight or itchy for even the pickiest of hikers. 

  • Hygiene/cleanliness

A huge benefit of waterproof socks is their ability to improve the hygiene of your feet. Of course, if your feet get wet during a long hike and then have to be in your shoes like that for a long period of time, they can cause infections, irritation, or other funks. These socks can help to ward off these potential issues.

  • Multipurpose

Unlike some hiking socks, waterproof socks aren’t only made for hiking trails. They can be used for many other actives, as previously mentioned, including, golfing, fishing, and cycling. 


When searching for waterproof socks, be sure to purchase ones that are built to withstand any adventure thrown their way, keeping your feet dry, warm, and protected along the way.