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Renfrewshire Council has reiterated its green credentials as it outlines climate change as an immediate priority, with its Climate Emergency Working Group set to meet tomorrow (Thursday).

council logo

In June 2019, there was cross-party support for a council motion which declared a climate emergency and a working group has been set up with members of all political parties, who will make recommendations on how to make Renfrewshire carbon neutral by 2030.

The area has a strong base to work from as since 2012/13, Renfrewshire has reduced its carbon emissions by 55.7%, far exceeding its 36% target, and it has been carrying out numerous projects to make the area greener.

A new recycling system has seen the area’s recycling rate increase every quarter throughout 2019, with the latest figures showing 55.42% of waste was recycled between July and September 2019, and this is further supported by the commencement of the Clyde Valley Residual Waste Project which now sees at least 90% of non-recyclable waste turned into energy rather than going to landfill.

A transformation of the street lighting in Renfrewshire has reduced energy and carbon consumption by 64%, contributing an 8% reduction in the council’s overall emissions, while there will shortly be 100 electric vehicles in the council’s fleet as part of a commitment to replace any vehicles with electric versions wherever possible.

Since 2013, the council has secured more than £15million in funding for improvements in home energy efficiency. More than 6000 homes have benefited so far and carbon emissions have reduced by 108,000 tonnes – the equivalent of removing 21,000 cars from the roads.

Recently, the council was awarded £1.8million by the UK Government to turn 75 properties into low energy or EnerPHit homes, which are low energy buildings that require very little energy to heat or cool and could see annual energy bills reduced to £150 for residents.

The council also takes a positive and ambitious approach to biodiversity conservation and promotion and its 2018-2022 Action Plan is working to protect and enhance natural habitats in Renfrewshire as part of its climate change actions.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “As a council, we are striving to reduce our emissions wherever possible as we recognise the immediate threat that climate change poses to our environment.

“We are making great progress in reducing our carbon output, far exceeding our target of 36% by March 2020, and we have undertaken numerous successful projects which are making a real difference to our local environment.

“However, we know we can do more, and this working group will endeavour to identify all areas where we can make a difference – be it immediately or when setting out how to undertake future projects.

“We recognise that the council needs to lead from the front in Renfrewshire and we’re committed to being the driving force that inspires our businesses and residents to follow suit.”

The group next meet on Thursday 23 January and will set out their goals and aspirations for the year ahead.

paisley pirates

Pirates ended their miserable start to the New Year in emphatic style as they put the Lynx to the swords with an emphatic 8-2 road win.

paisley pirates

The visitors began with Donaghy between the pipes, but minus Turley and Andreucci who were both suspended. Play was relatively even in the early stages, but with the line including Walker and Abercrombie causing the hosts considerable discomfort the two of them combined well in the 14th minute to allow the former to put the visitors ahead with the only goal of the .period. 

Pirates opened up in the middle session and netted on no fewer than five occasions without reply. Two powerplay goals in ninety seconds around the 27th minute though Abercrombie and Walker took the lead to a comfortable 3-0 advantage, before a three goals in two minutes burst from the 33rd minute took the game away from the hosts completely to give the visitors an unlikely 6-0 lead after 40 minutes, Abercrombie completing his hat trick before Jay Crawford netted a rare strike after 35 minutes.

The somewhat shell shocked hosts finally broke their duck on the powerplay in 44 minutes through Malcolm, but Thorp netted within a minute to restore the six goal cushion. Man of the Match Walker completed his hat trick a minute later, and while there was some excitement after 49 minutes which saw the MacEachran brothers take their leave of the game for Lynx, and Jay Crawford and Wallace take extended breaks for Pirates after a fracas, Lynx had the minor consolation of scoring the final goal of the match through Jack after 55 minutes.

Pirates will be well pleased with getting a win on the board, their first in a month, and now look forward to welcoming the Belfast Giants SNL team to Braehead Arena next Saturday, face off 6.30pm.

laugh 1

VISITORS to a shopping centre were yesterday (Monday, January 20) given an unusual antidote to Blue Monday – the chance to take part in laughter yoga sessions.

laugh 1

The team at intu Braehead organised the laughter yoga in a bid to help people feel good in a day that is described as the most depressing of the year.

The relatively new concept in mind and body exercise teaches people how to laugh without relying on jokes or humour.

It was developed in Mumbai, India by a Dr Madan Kataria, in the mid-1990s and laughter yoga provides similar physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughing.

The special laughter yoga sessions are part of a unique programme of activities at intu Braehead aimed at getting folks smiling again during the January – which can be a time when some people feel down after the festive celebrations.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, David Lyon said: “Everyone likes a good laugh and it’s a great way to lift your spirits.

“We decided to bring in some laughter yoga instructors and I’m sure people taking part will leave intu Braehead with a smile on their face.”

Along with the laughter yoga sessions, David has listed other things to do at the shopping centre and in Soar at intu Braehead to beat the January blues.

They include ice skating; trampolining; indoor adventure golf; having a go on the Big Slide – the UK’s tallest helter-skelter; catching a movie at the Odeon cinema; ten-pin bowling; watching a Glasgow Clan ice hockey match; indulge yourself in The Little Dessert Shop, or simply spend quality time with family and friends in one of their many cafes, restaurants and bars.

Partners at the Bargeddie plant

A unique new contract will see a minimum of 90% of Renfrewshire’s waste transformed into energy as the area meets the Scottish Government’s landfill ban.

Partners at the Bargeddie plant

The £700 million, 25-year Clyde Valley Residual Waste Project between East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Council and Viridor is now underway and will serve almost one-sixth of Scotland’s population.

It will see up to 190,000 tonnes of general waste diverted from landfill and converted to low-carbon energy and is expected provide a net saving of almost 50,000 tonnes of CO2e every year.

It will also deliver a guaranteed minimum increase in recycling for Renfrewshire, further enhancing the area’s growing environmental prospects having seen its recycling rate improve every quarter since December 2018.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “A key priority of the council is tackling climate change and this project will make a significant difference to the level of C02 we produce by improving the way we deal with our waste.

“Anything that cannot be recycled will now no longer go to landfill and will be transformed into energy instead, making a real difference to our environment and taking our commitment to recycling to a new level.

“Our teams have been working hard over the last decade to make this a reality and we’re looking forward to working with our partnership authorities to ensure that the project achieves the environmental aims it sets out.”

This is the first partnership of its kind in Scotland and will see household waste taken from Renfrewshire and the other local authorities to a Materials Recovery Facility, where it will be further separated to remove recyclable materials before it is treated to produce a refuse derived fuel.

Then, at the brand-new Energy Recover Facility at Dunbar, it is burned at high temperatures, under carefully controlled conditions to produce 258GWh of low-carbon electricity for the national grid – enough to power more than 70,000 homes.

Steven Don, Viridor’s Head of Local Authority Contracts Scotland, said: “The Bargeddie Hub is now receiving waste as part of this contract just in time for the very busy post-festive season period.

“The Clyde Valley Partnership is an excellent example of how local authorities can work together to deliver effective waste management and contribute to a circular economy in Scotland.

“The sophisticated technology at Bargeddie improves recycling and non-recyclable waste treatment, maximising the opportunities to recycle while putting non-recyclable waste to work to generate electricity.”

The contract will also see Viridor deliver a number of community benefits, including annual apprenticeships, educational school visits and training workshops for businesses.

For more information on Renfrewshire’s approach to waste and recycling, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/mybins.

St John Bosco Nursery Painting

Renfrewshire Council is recruiting for dozens of senior and entry-level jobs in nurseries across the area.

Ashlie McLaughlan is an Early Years Graduate at Heriot Early Learning and Childcare Class in Paisley, and says learning on-the-job is what’s great about working in nurseries.

St John Bosco Nursery Painting

St John Bosco Nursery Painting

“Being able to learn on-the-job in the early years sector is hugely important and it has helped me get where I am today.

“I’ve always wanted to work with children and support their learning and development and to make a difference in their lives. I’ve worked in several Renfrewshire nurseries, including Hillview Nursery, St Margaret’s ELCC and now Heriot ELCC, for around 14 years now. I have loved every single moment.

“The role of early years graduate is fairly new and it’s great that there are new positions emerging that give nursery staff the chance to progress in their career. Having already achieved my BA in Childhood Practice and been on the Froebel CPD course, I felt that it was the right move for me to take that next step in my journey and work with staff to embed creative, natural and open-ended play within the nursery.

“Sharing our learning with each other is important and I encourage all team members, long-standing or new in post, to contribute to our shared knowledge and learning. I also work with staff members on training to promote our Frobelian approach to early learning.

“Ensuring our parents know what their child does at nursery and sharing their learning experiences is vital too. When we bake scones together, we make sure to share pictures and recipes with families so they can bake at home too.

“Parents know they can contact us at any time to talk about how their child is doing, and they can stay and play in nursery whenever they want. Our door is always open.

“Our children are enjoying being in nursery for longer days too. Having children in nursery all day lets them explore play in more depth and they are progressing better in their learning.

“If the children are engaged in play before lunch, they know they can get back to it after they’ve eaten. It’s also helped friendships develop and deepen, which in turn is helping children get ready for primary school.

“Working in early years is definitely a career that makes a difference to children and their families. It is a supportive profession and there are plenty of learning and development opportunities.

“If you are thinking about taking a step up, or just interesting in getting your first job in a nursery, I would 100% say go for it.”

To apply for an Early Years Graduate role and other positions, visit www.myjobscotland.gov.uk.

Foster Parents. Renfrewshire council

More kind-hearted people in Renfrewshire are giving looked-after children and young people a loving home than ever before.

Last year, six more households became foster carers after they reached out to the Council’s fostering and adoption team.

Foster Parents. Renfrewshire council

Foster Parents. Renfrewshire council

There is also 71 per cent more children and young people being looked after by aunts and uncles, grandparents or family friends, known as kinship care, than there was 10 years ago.

More than half of all looked-after children and young people are placed in kinship care or with foster carers, but the service is always looking for more people to open their heart and give a child or young person a loving home.

Education and Children’s Services Policy Board Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “Giving children and young people the chance of a positive, brighter future is one of the most rewarding things that people can do, and it takes all kinds of people to support all types of children.

“To foster, you need to be in good health, be over 21 years-old and have enough living space to accommodate a child or young person.

“It doesn’t matter if you are single or unmarried, rent a property, are unemployed or what your religious background or sexual orientation is.

“Foster placements can be a short break, interim or permanent. For those just starting out, short breaks or interim are often the best options.

“If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, you can find out what it entails without making a commitment. Just get in touch with our fostering and adoptions team.”

Potential foster carers can learn more about fostering and the children and young people who need a foster placement at a group preparation session. Attendance at the group session is required before a formal application to become a foster carer can be made.

To find out more about becoming a foster carer, call the fostering and adoption team on 0300 300 1199, email childrenandfamilies@renfrewshire.gov.uk or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/fostering.

laughing yoga

AN AMAZING antidote to beat the January Blues has been introduced at a popular shopping centre – laughing yoga sessions.

laughing yoga

Shoppers will be encouraged to try laughing yoga as part of a unique programme of activities to get folks smiling again during the first month of the New Year, which can be a time when some people feel down after the festive celebrations.

Laughing Yoga is a relatively new concept in mind and body exercise teaching people how to laugh without relying on jokes or humour.

It was developed in Mumbai, India by a Dr Madan Kataria, in the mid-1990s and Laughing Yoga provides similar physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughing.

The team at the intu Braehead retail and leisure destination launched their campaign to get folks having fun with family and friends and beating the January Blues – thought to be caused by the month’s short daylight hours, cold and damp weather and the anti-climax of Christmas being over.

According to intu Braehead’s marketing manager, David Lyon, the best way to make yourself feel good and motivated again is to get out the house and enjoy yourself.

Along with the Laughing Yoga sessions, David has listed another ten things to do at the centre and in Soar at intu Braehead including – ice skating; trampolining; indoor adventure golf; having a go on the Big Slide – the UK’s tallest helter-skelter; catching a movie at the Odeon cinema; ten-pin bowling; watching a Glasgow Clan ice hockey match; spending time at a special Relaxation Station in the mall; indulge yourself in The Little Dessert Shop, or simply spend quality time with family and friends in one of their many cafes, restaurants and bars.

The free Laughing Yoga sessions are being held in the lower mall between 10am and 11.15am outside the Boots and New Look stores during Blue Monday, January 20, which is said to be the year’s most depressing day.

David said: “Sometimes January can be a bit of a downer, so we brought together our team of blues busters to come up with a programme of activities with something for everyone to enjoy.

“There’s nothing better to lift the spirits than to have a good laugh, so we’re bringing in some Laughing Yoga instructors to help shoppers have just that.

“As well as a bit of retail therapy, we’ve got lots different of leisure activities at intu Braehead. We’ve got things that will get you physically active, that will entertain you, give yourself a treat and most importantly, give you lots of fun.

“If anyone feels like they’ve got the January Blues, then they should come along and pay us a visit and we’ll help them turn glum into glee!”

Reclaim the Night march1

Renfrewshire Council has become one of the first local authorities in Scotland to formally introduce a domestic abuse policy for staff.

Reclaim the Night march1

The policy demonstrates the Council’s commitment to a zero tolerance approach to all forms of abuse – psychological and physical – and shows its support for all employees impacted by domestic abuse, past or present.

Employees who are victims of domestic abuse are now able to request special paid leave to receive necessary support and attend any relevant appointments.

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, in the UK in any one year, more than 20 per cent of employed women take time off work because of domestic abuse and two per cent lose their jobs as a direct result.

Commission figures also reveal that 75 per cent of women who experience domestic abuse are targeted at work – from harassing phone calls and abusive partners arriving at the office unannounced, to physical assaults.

The Renfrewshire Council policy provides guidance for any employees who are living with domestic abuse and employees who suspect that work colleagues may be suffering. It also outlines the steps supervisors and managers should take to support colleagues who choose to speak out about their abuse and who are seeking help.

Domestic abuse policy champions are being introduced at a senior level across the organisation.

Councillor John Shaw said: “As a local authority, it’s vital that we recognise the devastating impact domestic abuse has on individuals and families.

“As one of the first local authorities in Scotland to adopt this approach, we want to send a clear message that we will support anyone affected by domestic abuse.

“We are working towards creating a safe and supportive environment which encourages employees to report all forms of harm.

“By putting a policy in place, we are ensuring the correct support is available to staff who may be directly affected and creating a clear reporting route for anyone who may have concerns about the wellbeing of one of their colleagues.

“We hope that the introduction of this policy raises awareness that there are formal procedures in place and helps colleagues to feel that they can approach domestic abuse policy champions for support and advice.”

Renfrewshire Council has also been working closely with UK domestic abuse charity SafeLives to support the implementation of the new policy.

Liz Thompson, director of external relations at SafeLives, said: “Domestic abuse is everybody’s business and this includes employers. We know that more than two million adults experience domestic abuse each year. It is something that will impact upon almost every workplace.

“Employers are well placed to spot the signs in colleagues but without the right training, leadership and guidance, it can be hard to know what to do.

“We’re so pleased to see Renfrewshire Council committing to this policy, breaking the silence on domestic abuse and supporting all staff and colleagues to get the help and support they need.”

The policy has been agreed and developed in partnership with trade unions and complies with relevant legislation,  including the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and Equally Safe – Scotland’s Strategy for Preventing and Eradicating Violence Against Women and Girls provided by the Scottish Government and its partners.

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 covers not only spouses, civil partners and cohabitants but also people in intimate personal relationships who do not live together, and as well as physical abuse, it covers other forms of psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour.

Christmas presents

With more waste produced over the festive period, Renfrewshire Council is advising residents on how to make sure they can recycle effectively with some top tips on how to deal with excess waste.

Christmas presents

With Renfrewshire’s recycling rate continuing to increase every quarter, there is a drive to maintain this positive step when there is more waste than normal over the Christmas period.

Top tips to recycle effectively are:

  • Packaging can pile up at Christmas time so make sure you separate paper, card and cardboard into your blue bin, with polystyrene and plastic wrapping not recyclable.
  • Flattening cardboard boxes will give you more space in your blue bin.
  • Plain wrapping paper and Christmas cards can go into your blue bin, but anything with glitter, foil or plastic can’t be recycled.
  • Leftover Christmas dinner and nibbles should go into your brown bin or food caddy to be recycled, it’ll save you more space than you’d think in your grey general waste bin.
  • If you’re having a festive tipple, make sure cans and bottles go into your green recycling bin and not the grey bin.
  • Contamination of recycling can ruin all your efforts, so make sure tinsel, bauble and fairy lights go into your grey bin as they can’t be recycled.
  • If you’ve got a real Christmas tree, you can recycle it from 4 to 11 January at Barshaw, Lochwinnoch, Barwood and Thomas Shanks Public Parks, or at the recycling centre at Underwood Road.

Renfrewshire’s Household Waste Recycling Centres will be open every day, except on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, for any excess waste residents need to dispose of during the festive period.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The festive period really is a brilliant time of the year, but it does bring extra food waste, packaging and bottles than you would normally have to deal with.

“Using your recycling bins effectively will mean you have more space in your grey bin for anything that can’t be recycled, and you can also be satisfied that you’ve done your bit to stop any waste going to landfill.

“Our recycling centres are open almost every day throughout the festive period, so please use these too if you find Santa’s been extra good to you this year.

“Our bin collections are running as normal throughout the period, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, so please make sure you know when your bin should be going out during the festivities.”

Any resident due to have their bin collected on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day will have a different collection over the festive period, with these collections rearranged to earlier in the week.

Grey, blue or food waste bins will be collected the previous Sunday, on 22 and 29 December.

Green bin, brown bin, sack collection or bulk bin recycling will be collected the previous Monday, on 23 and 30 December.

Bulk bin residual, food or trade will be collected the previous day on Tuesday 24 and 31 December.

All bins due to be collected on all other days will be collected as normal.

For more information on bin collection or recycling in Renfrewshire, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/mybins.

Drink driving

Road users in Renfrewshire are being warned of the dangers of driving while under the influence during the festive party season.

Drink driving

With new laws coming into force in October, motorists can now face roadside drugs tests as well as a breathalyser test for alcohol – with a zero-tolerance approach to eight drugs including cannabis, heroin and cocaine.

Anyone caught drug or drink-driving can face penalties such as the loss of their licence or jail time.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “It’s important that motorists recognise the criminal and personal consequences of being caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“It puts not only the driver, but any passengers and other road users at risk and the advice to any motorist would be not to risk it.

“You may think that you won’t be over the limit but don’t run the risk of causing a crash, losing your licence and even jail time.”

In the first four weeks of roadside drug testing being in place, 96 people provided positive tests and were arrested pending further enquiries.

This year is the first festive campaign that roadside drug testing is in place and police are carrying out dedicated patrols.

Chief Inspector Douglas Falconer, Local Area Commander for Paisley, said: “We know the dangers of driving under the influence of drink or drugs and there really is no excuse for it. The consequences of doing so can be life-changing.

“Local officers and road policing colleagues will continue to proactively enforce the drink-drive limit and use the new drug-drive laws and roadside testing kits to help keep Renfrewshire’s roads safe.”

For more information, visit www.roadsafety.scot/topics/drink-driving.