Louise Drennan, Renfrewshire Leisure

Renfrewshire Leisure highlights success of services online as all 12 of its libraries prepare to launch click and collect service from Monday

Bookworms have borrowed more than 24,000 ebooks and emagazines from Renfrewshire’s libraries during lockdown.

Louise Drennan, Renfrewshire Leisure

The remarkable figure – representing an 80 per cent rise on this time last year – is among a string of successes secured by library staff as they’ve met massive demand for services online during the coronavirus crisis.

Renfrewshire Leisure will begin the gradual restart of physical operations at its libraries on Monday (July 20) as part of the latest phase of the community’s route map out of the pandemic, starting with a click and collect service.

But libraries staff will continue to develop their online offering in tandem with in-library services after experiencing huge demand for activities including quizzes, games, storytimes and writing workshops.

Between March 18 and July 13, Renfrewshire Leisure recorded 24,000 eloans – 16,963 ebooks and audiobooks and 7,096 emagazines. That compares to 9,267 ebooks and audiobooks and 4,096 emagazines – a 13,363 total – between the same dates last year

Joyce Higgins, Digital and Library Development Manager at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “While we may not have physically had people visiting our libraries in the past few months, our online engagement has gone through the roof. We have been blown away by the engagement in the services and activities we have been running online and via social media.

“Our team have done a tremendous job in the way they have innovated, reimagined some of our services for online and ensured that – despite our physical buildings having been closed – we have continued to work with huge numbers of people across Renfrewshire to support their health and wellbeing during lockdown.

“We are excited about continuing to develop our online offering.”

Other online successes include the Bookbug sessions, which have been led by Kirstie Burns, a volunteer at Renfrew Library. She started her sessions from the first week of lockdown, broadcasting them on YouTube. She has produced 15 sessions which have had about 80,000 video views.

A series of Libraries Live Lunchtime Quizzes – broadcast via Facebook Live – have also been viewed more than 10,000 times.

The Skoobmobile team have been keeping in-touch with families through storytimes on RENTV channel including readings of “Oi Frog!” by Kes Gray and “Whiffy Wilson the Wolf who wouldn’t wash” by Caryl Hart and Leonie Lord.

Meanwhile, The Reading Agency and Renfrewshire Libraries are excited to introduce Silly Squad, Summer Reading Challenge 2020. The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends who love to go on adventures and read all kinds of funny books. More than 200 children have already signed up to take part in the challenge, which is digital this year. Visit www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk for more details.

All 12 of the libraries operated by Renfrewshire Leisure will be open for returns and for borrowing on a click and collect basis, as part of measures being put in place to ensure the safety of staff and library users. Books can be reserved online at

www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk or by telephone on 0300 300 1188. Access to buildings will be on a one in, one out basis. Each one will have a simple drop-off point for returns.

On top of this, staff will continue with the Libraries Direct service they have been operating throughout lockdown. This has seen them work with volunteers and Renfrewshire Council to deliver books and make wellbeing phone calls to people who have been shielding in their homes throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Morag Macpherson, Head of Cultural Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Our libraries team can be really proud of the work they have done during lockdown. I’m delighted with what we have achieved and look forward to developing our online services further, in tandem with what we offer in our library buildings as our services restart there.”

Opening arrangements for each library will be available at www.renfrewshire leisure.com. As well as the click and collect service, people will be able to phone library staff for recommendations and will contact them when their book is ready to collect. Computers in the libraries are not yet available for public use.

Social distancing and hygiene requirements will be clearly displayed at each building.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s libraries are at: Bishopton; Bridge of Weir; Erskine; Ferguslie; Foxbar; Glenburn; Johnstone; Lochwinnoch; Linwood; Paisley Central Library; Ralston and Renfrew.

Renfrewshire Leisure continues to await further guidance from the Scottish Government on the reopening of leisure services.

paisley-abbey-townhall

Renfrewshire Council has unveiled plans for a £1.3m package of support designed to help local businesses get back on their feet after the coronavirus lockdown.

The proposals – including crisis loans, grants and advice services – were based on the results of a detailed survey of local firms run by the council and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.

paisley-abbey-townhall

The council and chamber between them spoke to more than 500 companies – around 10% of Renfrewshire’s businesses – by phone and email to understand the issues they are facing and what would help them emerge from lockdown.

And members of the council’s Emergencies Board will this week be asked to approve proposals for several new funds targeting short-term support to the local economy. They include:

– £500k for zero-interest business restart loans of up to £5,000 to help small-and-medium-sized business with short-term cashflow;

– £400k for grants of up to £10,000 to help sustain businesses and plan for growth in the medium term;

– £250k for grants of up to £2,500 to help businesses adapt their premises to allow for physical distancing;

– £150k to help fund expert advice to businesses in crisis and self-employed people over training and access to funding;

The money is coming from within existing council budgets for business support and is expected to be the first stage of a longer-term economic recovery plan being developed by the council in partnership with the local business sector through the Renfrewshire Economic Leadership Panel.

If the proposals are approved when the board meets on Friday, council officers would put in place and promote a process for firms to apply for the support from mid-August.

The measures are being announced in the same week as Scotland’s non-essential shops, bars and restaurants are allowed to reopen – and as the council launches its Renfrewshire Spend Local campaign, encouraging residents to support local traders.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We understand the devastating impact of coronavirus on our local businesses and that some very challenging months lie ahead for them while the country emerges from lockdown.

“We and the Chamber have spent the past few months having in-depth conversations with hundreds of our businesses to develop a detailed understanding of what the council could do to help.

“What they told us is that cashflow and reduced sales were the biggest issues, along with adapting to physical distancing and new regulations – and the package of measures we are now putting forward were designed around that.

“Although there is a very challenging financial outlook for the council too, we have prioritised this investment because we are determined to do all we can to help keep as many local businesses as possible trading and to help keep people in jobs.

“And while we hope this package of support will – if approved – make a difference, we are at the same time calling on all residents to do what they can to help support local businesses. Money spent in the local area will support your local community, so please Spend Local if you can.”

Renfrewshire Council has already distributed more than £26m of financial support to local business through various Scottish Government funds designed to mitigate the effect of coronavirus.

More information on the range of business support on offer from the council can be found at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-business and www.investinrenfrewshire.com, while more info on Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce can be found at www.renfrewshirechamber.com

MFG Intu Braehead reopens 2020

SHOPPERS got some retail therapy at intu Braehead yesterday after months of lockdown.

Visitors headed to the mall an hour before the official opening time of 10am as non-essential stores reopened for the first time since March 24 following lockdown restrictions being eased.

MFG Intu Braehead reopens 2020

People coming to the mall followed the new measures and procedures introduced by intu Braehead to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The plan drawn up to keep everyone who visits or works there safe included social distancing and hygiene procedures and more support to help stores safely reopen.

It included a raft of other measures with floor stickers indicating a one-way system for visitors making their way through the centre and staff training to ensure visitors stay socially distanced.

Visitors were also required to wear face coverings in line with Scottish government instructions.

Peter Beagley, regional centre director for intu Braehead said: “We were pleased to see that everyone supported the measures we had put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.”

One of the first through the doors at intu Braehead were Anna Gorska, 35; her seven-year-old daughter Maja and friend Marzena Marcinczyk, 33, from Govan, in Glasgow.

Anna said: “We’ve really missed coming shopping at intu Braehead. We prefer to come to the shopping centre so we can see exactly what we are buying.

“We’re all going back to Poland later this month for a visit and we came early today in case there were any queues as we’re buying clothes for our holiday.”

People said they felt comfortable being in the centre with the health and safety measures put in place at the mall.

Audrey Stewart, from Bishopton said: “I definitely feel quite safe being in the centre with all the different procedures that’s been introduced and everything is well sign-posted.

“You just have to be a bit more observant when you’re walking around and everyone seems to be following what they’re being asked to do.”

Alan Reid, from Irvine, Ayrshire said: “With all the measures put in place I feel quite comfortable being here. The layout looks pretty good to me.”

Peter Beagley added: “It’s a great feeling being able to welcome people back to the centre and there has obviously been a big jump in footfall with most of our non-essential stores re-opening.

“We had remained partially open during lockdown for essential stores to stay open, but today now feels like we’re getting back to some kind of normality.

“We’ve made sure the centre is re-opening in line with the government’s guidelines and we’re doing everything we can to make sure intu Braehead is a safe place to visit and to work.

“It will be a different experience than usual for everyone who visits us, but it’s pleasing to see everyone following the guidelines we’ve put in place. Both our visitors and our staff are working together to keep each other safe and I would thank everyone for doing that.”

grease

DRIVE-IN movies are coming to the boardwalk at intu Braehead to raise money for charity.

And yesterday, the Gordon family moved like greased lightin’ when they bumped into lookalikes for Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson from the Grease movie – one of a host of films being shown during the five-day Lockdown Drive-in event from Wednesday, July 29 until Sunday, Sunday 2 August.

grease

Dad, David, mum, Gillian and kids, Ava, seven and five-year-old Max, from Foxbar, in Paisley also got to ride in a 1950s Pink Cadillac after they had taken a stroll past the shopping and leisure destination.

The Arena at intu Braehead has teamed up with the Catherine McEwan Foundation charity to help raise much-needed funds to help people living with Crohn’s and Colitis get better care, treatment and quality of life.

Tickets costing £35 per car plus booking fee, and are now on sale from www.lockdowndrivein.com but NHS workers will get a free night out at the movies, as the first showing of Grease is exclusively for NHS workers.

To apply for free tickets, hospital and medical staff should apply to the booking website and give their NHS number. The free tickets will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

There will be two films shown on a giant screen every night and four movies at the weekend, with the audio broadcast via a frequency that car radios can be tuned to.

As well as tickets going on public sale for the Grease Singalong movie – which has lyrics to all the songs running along the bottom of the screen so everyone can join in – other films being shown are Jurassic Park, Mama Mia, Goonies, Finding Nemo, Lion King, The Lost Boys, Back to the Future and Dirty Dancing.

There will be 160 cars at each show and refreshments will be provided by the UK’s top street food operator, The Big Feed who will be on site.

Mum Gillian said: “This is a fantastic idea to have a drive-in movie on the boardwalk, as it gives families somewhere to go for a night out during lockdown.

“When we found out that the Grease movie was being screened we decided that this was definitely the one that we want!”

Derek McEwan, who launched the Catherine McEwan Foundation after his mother, Catherine passed away after years of suffering from Crohn’s Disease said: “Drive In movies are a major part of our annual fundraising and in these very testing times they have never been more important.

“To bring our concept to the iconic Braehead Boardwalk is huge for us and will add to the amazing experience for all our cinema goers.

“It is especially pleasing to have a free night as a thank you to all our NHS heroes where 360 families can come down and enjoy a movie on us”

Scott Martin, intu Braehead Leisure general manager added: “We’ve got the ideal location for a drive-in movie with plenty space to keep within social distancing guidelines and great sightlines.

“It’s a great opportunity for people from the same household to get some normality back for a while with a night out at the movies.”

sign

The team at intu Braehead has outlined how it will safely reopen the non-essential stores at the centre in line with Scottish Government guidelines.

The plan drawn up to keep everyone who visits or works there safe includes social distancing and hygiene procedures and more support to help stores safely reopen.

sign

It includes placing limits on the number of people allowed into the centre at a time, with a raft of other measures including floor stickers indicating a one-way system for visitors making their way through the centre and staff training to ensure visitors stay socially distanced.

Visitors will also be required to wear face coverings in line with Scottish government instructions.

The Scottish Government has indicated that shopping centres can reopen on Monday, July 13.

Enhanced hygiene regimes that were introduced at the start of the coronavirus outbreak will continue, with even more deep cleaning of key areas and touch points like escalators, toilets and keypads.

These measures have remained in place since intu Braehead provided vital access to essential services such as pharmacies and supermarkets during lockdown. Automatic Hand sanitation dispensers will also remain at entrances and other locations throughout the centre for visitors to use.

And intu Braehead staff will be given personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe, with facemasks and gloves provided to frontline workers such as security and customer service staff and visors issued to waste and environmental teams.

The centre’s team has given individual stores support to help them reopen safely and in line with Government guidelines, such as queuing zones in the malls to ensure social distancing inside shops.

Peter Beagley, intu Braehead’s centre director said: “We can’t wait to see our wide variety of stores reopen to give people some much-needed retail therapy, which would be a perfect antidote to the lengthy lockdown we’re thankfully now coming out of.

“Our team has been working hard to have the centre fully open in line with the government’s guidelines and we’re doing everything we can to make sure intu Braehead is a safe place to visit and to work.

“It will be a different experience than usual for everyone who visits us, but this is to make sure everyone is safe and enjoys their time when they come shopping.

“We know we cannot do this alone and everyone who visits us, whether for work or to shop will play their part in keeping themselves and each other safe by following official guidelines and the instructions and safety information provided by our team.”

 

 

Captions: Escalator 1 and 2: intu Braehead environmental assistant, Pamela Davidson deep cleans the escalators at the shopping centre.

Rail: intu Braehead environmental assistant, Pamela Davidson deep cleans the handrails on stairs at the shopping centre.

Mask 1 and 2: intu Braehead staff member, Jonathan Cunningham wears a mask as he helps prepare the shopping centre for reopening.

Screen: Building services engineer, Jim Webster fits protective screens to the customer services desk at intu Braehead.

Sign pix: The intu Braehead mall is well signposted to keep shoppers safe when the shopping centre fully reopens.

switch

It’s game-on for the team at Renfrewshire Libraries who are taking part in the Nintendo Animal Crossing New Horizons video game.

Now they’re inviting youngsters with Nintendo Switch to join the fun on the RenLibrary Island to pick up items and make a virtual visit to their museum and library.

switch

Animal Crossing New Horizons is a video game that allows Nintendo Switch players to create and escape to their own desert island paradise, where they can collect materials to make furniture for their new living quarters, meet new friends and even go fishing in the ocean without having to leave the comfort of their own home.

The RenLibrary Island gates will be open Monday to Friday, between 2pm and 4pm and a friendly virtual librarian will be on hand to meet and help visitors. The friend code needed to access the island is SW-7364-6035-8713.

switch

Even if youngsters don’t have a Nintendo Switch console they can download the free Animal Crossing Pocket Camp app, which allows players to add Renfrewshire Libraries as a friend with the ID code of 33390233280.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “This project will be great fun for young people and also for the grown ups from our libraries who are taking part.

“Our libraries are far from being places where all you do is borrow books, as we provide a wide range of services on and offline. Getting involved in video games like Animal Crossing New Horizons shows that we are in tune with the digital age and are relevant to people of all ages.”

The project is supported and funded by the Scottish Government’s School Library Improvement Fund and is an expansion on Renfrewshire Leisure’s popular Dip Into Digital Schools’ sessions, which took place in Trinity High library and Paisley Grammar school library between January and March.

switch

Renfrewshire School Libraries received funding in December 2019 to increase digital participation with digital workshops, which were already successfully being run in Renfrewshire public libraries.

Go to www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk for more information on taking part in the Animal Crossing New Horizons video game.

glasgow clan paisley pirates

The Glasgow Clan and Paisley Pirates are jointly delighted to announce a new working partnership that will see both clubs further strengthen their links. 

The Clan, who compete in the Elite Ice Hockey League, and the Pirates, who compete in the Scottish National League, both play out of the 3,500 capacity Braehead Arena in Renfrewshire. 

glasgow clan paisley pirates

The new partnership will see the Clan provide the Pirates with commercial and marketing support while ultimately providing a pathway for young Scottish players in the Greater Glasgow area to progress from junior hockey to opportunities to train and play with the Clan.

 

Clan Chief Operating Officer Gareth Chalmers commented: “I’m delighted to be able to confirm this new working partnership with the Paisley Pirates.

“It’s something we have been discussing for a couple of years now and will not only benefit both the Clan and the Pirates, but I believe the wider West of Scotland hockey community.

“With the Pirates rich history and the fact they’re right on our door step, this is really something that should have happened a number of years ago, so it’s really exciting to get it finalised.

“We’re looking forward to working with Adam Walker, Jackie & Ian Turley & everyone at the Paisley Pirates.

Pirates Operations Manager Jackie Turley commented: “I’m delighted that we are able to solidify our relationship with Gareth and the Glasgow Clan. This partnership will bring hockey and the local community closer together and provide a platform for our young players to strive for. The Pirates are dedicated to developing top level British players and are excited to see what the future holds for both clubs.”

chocs

THE team at intu Braehead have been going mall out to support doctors and nurses on the frontline, charities and local communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The shopping and leisure destination has donated cleaning supplies, toilet rolls and personal protection equipment to the St Vincent and ACCORD hospices in Renfrewshire and the Ronald McDonald House Glasgow charity, which provides accommodation for parents of seriously ill children in hospital.

chocs

They also organised for the centre’s Hotel Chocolat store to donate more than 100 boxes of luxury chocolates to the critical care team at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital as a thank you for the work they are doing during the current health crisis.

Staff from intu Braehead have clocked up almost 300 hours of volunteering in their local communities helping people who are self-isolating and shielding by delivering shopping and collecting prescriptions.

The centre’s operations manager, Paul Lucas has been providing an emergency radio communications system to voluntary groups across the west of Scotland including the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Scottish Emergency Rider Volunteer Service and Glasgow The Caring City charity who supports vulnerable people in times of need.

ronald

And charities like Ronald McDonald House and Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity have been given help with their recent fundraising appeals.

Community development manager at intu Braehead, Lydia Brown said: “The NHS frontline staff along with local charities and community groups have been doing amazing work during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve been doing all we can to help them help others and to create a strong community spirit.

“I’d also give a shout out to our teams who have continued working to keep the centre open and making ensure the essential stores can provide a vital lifeline to our communities. They’re doing a brilliant job.”

Lydia added: “I know lockdown can be hard for everyone, but if we all work together and look out for each other, we will get through this crisis.

“We always try to bring positive change in our local community through strong relationships with charities and community groups.”

Provost Lorraine Cameron

The Leader, Provost and Board Conveners of Renfrewshire Council have praised the dedication and hard work of staff, as well as the patience and community spirit of residents during the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a video posted to the council’s social media channels, Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson paid tribute to the “incredible sacrifices” being made by local people to continue to care for the most vulnerable, while Chair of the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board, Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, saluted the council’s care staff saying “we really owe them a debt of gratitude.”

Provost Lorraine Cameron

Education and Children Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, praised the “imagination and creativity of our teaching staff in creating new and exciting ways of learning”, while Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Environment and Infrastructure, called the continuation of a full waste collection service “an incredible achievement.”

Convener of Finance and Resources, Councillor John Shaw, celebrated the work of the council’s Customer Services team as they answer, “tens of thousands of calls every week to ensure that help and support is available for people, as and when they need it.”, and Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, spoke of the amazing job Renfrewshire Leisure staff are doing to “help all of us with our physical and mental wellbeing at this incredibly difficult and stressful time”.

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Communities, Housing and Planning Convener Councillor Marie McGurk praised the community spirit in Renfrewshire saying of volunteers that she is “delighted that these people call Renfrewshire home”, while Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron declared the actions of local people made her “proud to be part of this community.”

The council’s response to Coronavirus has included setting up a local helpline – 0300 300 0230 – to ensure that those being shielded are able to access essential food and medication – with more than 37,000 meals and essential supplies delivered already.

Health and Social Care teams continue to care for the most vulnerable in the community, while emergency repairs are still being undertaken for residents who need them – with the appropriate PPE and distancing measures in place.

Key workers have received childcare places thanks to qualified staff from across all services volunteering to work in childcare hubs and teachers are continuing to provide a positive, engaging education for pupils in their own homes.

Businesses have been supported to access funding and receive detailed guidance, with more than £15million in grants awarded to local businesses so far.

A full waste collection service is still being provided at this time and the Council’s Community Meals Service continues to operate for those who need it.

To protect people’s mental and physical wellbeing, Renfrewshire Leisure is keeping people active via online classes and resource, and Youth Services are keeping in touch with young people to ensure they have an outlet should they need it.

The video can be viewed via www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VmEI-BmWpg, and is also available on Facebook @renfrewshirecouncil, Twitter @RenCouncil and Instagram @Renfrewshire_Council.

For the latest advice and guidance on Coronavirus, please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

BrexitSpeech gavin

Renfrewshire MP Gavin Newlands has hit out over the narrow scope of changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme announced on Wednesday.

While many initially welcomed yesterday’s announcement that the scheme would be extended to those employed by 19th March, it is now clear from the detail that the UK government’s strict criteria on Real Time Information (RTI) submissions will prevent many businesses and employees from benefiting at all.

gavin newlands

The Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP has called on the Chancellor to make meaningful changes so anyone with a contract of employment by 19th March is covered.  The SNP is also calling for the Chancellor to reconsider his refusal to introduce a comprehensive financial package, including a guaranteed minimum income, to ensure no one is left behind.

Gavin said:

“It’s now clear from the detail that this announcement is not what it seemed. Thousands of businesses and workers will continue to lose out – unless the UK government makes meaningful changes to fix the serious gaps in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“SNP MPs have been contacted by many businesses and employees who say the narrow criteria being imposed has dashed their hopes of help. Frankly, that’s not good enough. Further changes are now required so that anyone with a contract of employment by 19th March gets the support they need.

“From the start of this crisis, I’ve urged the UK government to introduce a comprehensive financial package to ensure no one is left behind. It’s vital the Chancellor now fixes the gaps in these schemes, and looks again at introducing a guaranteed minimum income and strengthened welfare protections – so everyone gets the help they need.”