bus

Going by bus in Renfrewshire is now easier and more convenient than ever before due to ongoing efforts to improve information at bus stops.

Renfrewshire Council and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) have been working to introduce real-time digital information displays at bus stops, using funding provided by the Scottish Government’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme.

bus

The Paisley – Renfrew – Glasgow corridor is the latest route to benefit from the investment with new displays now live, after similar displays were installed along the A761 Glasgow Road corridor in 2018.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said “It’s great that bus passengers in Renfrewshire will now have high quality information available at more bus stops on when their bus is due.

“We want to ensure that bus services are improved for existing customers and we will continue to work with SPT and McGIlls Buses to make this happen.

“Real time information provides passengers with even more confidence when travelling and will encourage more people to use bus services within Renfrewshire.”

Real-time information gives passengers at the bus stop live updates on the expected arrival of their bus by tracking its actual location and comparing it to the scheduled timetable. If the bus is running late, it will outline how much longer passengers may have to wait.

As well as the system being available at bus stops, real time information can be accessed by the McGills Buses mobile app so passengers can make decisions while on the move or before heading off to the bus stop.

Chair of SPT operations committee David Wilson said: “Having reliable and real time passenger information for passengers is essential.  Quite rightly there is a demand from bus users, local authority colleagues as well as bus operators to ensure up to date service information is available to the travelling public.

“I am delighted we have now established RTPI for bus passengers in Renfrewshire, which should make their experience of using public transport much better, offering a very viable alternative to the car. I’d also remind passengers that for any stops that do not have displays, real time bus information is available via the Traveline Scotland app and website.”

The effectiveness and quality of the new displays will be continually monitored to ensure they provide an accurate, high-quality service for passengers.

renfrew centre

Town centres across Renfrewshire are to receive a £1.46m cash boost – the bulk of which could transform key sites in the heart of Johnstone and Renfrew.

The sum was made available to the area earlier this year as part of the Scottish Government’s £50m Town Centre Capital Fund – aimed at bringing vacant buildings back into use, improving infrastructure and supporting community-led regeneration.

renfrew centre

And councillors on the leadership board will this week be asked to approve a list of suggested projects for where the money will be spent.

That includes a total of around £750k for three projects helping community groups bring vacant buildings back to life:

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

– to help PACE Youth Theatre move forward with their ongoing work to create a new performance base for their 2,000 students and performers in a vacant property in Paisley;

– to support a social enterprise to turn the former toilet block in Renfrew’s Robertson Park into a cycle hub;

johnstone centre

Other proposed projects include around £460k for town centre presentation and travel links:

– investment in CCTV, lighting and wayfinding in Renfrew’s Robertson Park to boost the use of the town centre park in the evenings, and help connect the town centre and nearby neighbourhoods to the Paisley/Renfrew Riverside cycle network;

– money for lighting improvements to the areas around Johnstone’s Houstoun Square and Renfrew’s town hall and cenotaph, to improve the night-time environment;

– to repurpose vacant shop units in Renfrew’s Dunlop Crescent to create a council-run hub for business start-ups;

– funding for gap sites in Johnstone, focussed on the area around High St/George St/MacDowall St;

The remaining £250k will be used as a fund to support the refurbishment and reuse of vacant town centre properties across all town centres.

It was decided to prioritise Johnstone and Renfrew for the funding – as Paisley is already benefiting from major investment, and there are limited numbers of projects in Erskine or Linwood town centres that would have been eligible for the fund.

If approved work could get under way soon on all of the above – the funding is to be used in the financial year 2020/21, with work to have started or be agreed in the current year.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Town centres are vital to the way we live and identify with our places but this funding recognises that recent years have been tough for towns.

“The rise of the internet and out-of-town retail have changed how people shop, and left empty buildings and sites in towns everywhere – so town centres need to evolve if they are to thrive.

“This funding is aimed at making that happen by helping bring buildings back into a condition where new uses can be found for them, and make towns more attractive for people to spend time – and the projects we are proposing will do that.

“Paisley is already benefitting from £100m of investment in venues and outdoor spaces – including transformations of its museum and town hall – which will build on the work already being done to make it one of Scotland’s key destinations for culture and events.

“This fund will help bring some of the same benefits to Johnstone and Renfrew and elsewhere, while also supporting some very good community-led regeneration projects.”

expo

RECORD-BREAKING crowds turned up on Saturday for Scotland’s biggest gaming event.

Many of those attending the event were dressed in amazing costumes as they re-enacted the characters from their favourite video games.

expo

More than 6000 fans are expected to descend on The Arena at intu Braehead for PLAY Expo Glasgow 2019 for the two-day extravaganza of gaming and popular culture that continued on Sunday.

And for the first time the Scottish Gaming Championships are being held at the show with the heats being held today and the head-to-head contests to find the country’s top gaming gladiator tomorrow.

PLAY Expo Glasgow is staged by experienced video game show specialists, Replay Events. Organiser Andy Brown said: “Ticket sales have been phenomenal and already we have sold many more tickets than we did for the same show last year.

“It’s definitely going to be a record-breaking weekend and I expect we’ll have more than 6000 through the doors compared to 5000 last year. A lot of this is down to the bigger show we’re putting on with more video games and gaming machines for people to play.

“It’s going to be a fantastic, colourful weekend with the fans coming along dressed as characters from their favourite video games and as well as the tickets already sold we also expect a lot of people to turn up on the day.”

The PLAY Expo Glasgow has something for everyone including retro consoles and computers, classic arcade and pinball machines, indie and modern games for PC and console.

There will also be gaming tournaments, LAN gaming and Cosplay contests, board games, Minecraft, Fortnite, merchandise stalls and much more. And best of all, once you have bought your entry ticket, all the games are free to play.

For the first time, this year’s show features live entertainment with Australian comedian, John Robertson hosting his hilarious game show The Dark Room, which sees members of the audience being trapped inside an imaginary retro video game.

Log on to www.playexpoglasgow.com to buy tickets that start at £16 for adults and £10 for youngsters or pay at the door of Arena in the lower mall next to Costa Coffee.

gaming

It’s game on as record-breaking crowds are expected to turn up this weekend for Scotland’s biggest gaming event.

More than 6000 fans will descend on The Arena at intu Braehead for PLAY Expo Glasgow 2019 for the two-day extravaganza of gaming and popular culture on Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9.

gaming

And for the first time the Scottish Gaming Championships are being held at the show with the heats being held on Saturday and the head to head contests to find the country’s top gaming gladiator on Sunday.

Many of those attending PLAY Expo Glasgow will be dressed in some amazing costumes as they re-enact the characters from their favourite video games.

gaming

PLAY Expo Glasgow is staged by experienced video game show specialists, Replay Events. Organiser Andy Brown said: “Ticket sales have been phenomenal and already we have sold many more tickets than we did for the same show last year.

“It’s definitely going to be a record-breaking weekend and I expect we’ll have more than 7000 through the doors compared to 5000 last year. A lot of this is down to the bigger show we’re putting on with more video games and gaming machines for people to play.

gaming

“It’s going to be a fantastic, colourful weekend with the fans coming along dressed as characters from their favourite video games and as well as the tickets already sold we also expect a lot of people to turn up on the day.”

The PLAY Expo Glasgow has something for everyone including retro consoles and computers, classic arcade and pinball machines, indie and modern games for PC and console.

There will also be gaming tournaments, LAN gaming and Cosplay contests, board games, Minecraft, Fortnite, merchandise stalls and much more. And best of all, once you have bought your entry ticket, all the games are free to play.

For the first time, this year’s show features live entertainment with Australian comedian, John Robertson hosting his hilarious game show The Dark Room, which sees members of the audience being trapped inside an imaginary retro video game.

Log on to www.playexpoglasgow.com to buy tickets that start at £16 for adults and £10 for youngsters or pay at the door of Arena in the lower mall next to Costa Coffee.

recycle

PUPILS from Renfrew High School spent two days experiencing life at a busy shopping centre after being asked to come up innovative ways to recycle more waste.

The third year pupils were invited to spend the time at intu Braehead as part of their school’s close links with the shopping centre to complete a business challenge to develop new ways to encourage shoppers and retailers to recycle their rubbish.

recycle

The idea was to engage with the pupils to not only make them think about recycling, but how a business can play its part in helping save the environment.

Two groups of pupils devised very different ideas to encourage recycling.

The winning group came up with the concept of colour coded recycling bins with shoppers being rewarded with points on a card every time they recycled a piece of rubbish. The points can then be traded in for an intu Braehead gift card.

A leaflet encouraging people to recycle designed by the winning group will be used in the shopping mall as it is being professionally printed for shoppers to pick up and read.

The second group came up with the idea of a hi-tech recycling bin with a camera that recognised what type of waste product the customer was holding and then automatically opened the lid of the specific bin for cardboard, plastic or glass.

Billy Burke, Head Teacher, Renfrew High said: “I am very grateful to the team at intu Braehead for hosting another Renfrew High Business Project.

recycle

“The teams of young people worked really well together, displaying the skills for work required to be successful in employment. They rose to the challenge set and displayed creativity, problem solving and excellent communication skills.

“This was an invaluable experience for them in their learning journey and will stand them in good stead for the future.”

Caroline McColl, Employability Co-ordinator, at Renfrew High added: “This was yet another fabulous experience with intu Braehead and our S3 Business Partnership Project.

“If only the employability skills learned by our young people over the two days could bottled.

“We’d like to thank the team at intu Braehead for an extremely relevant environmental waste management project brief.

“I’m so proud of our young people who cam up with such innovative and passionate presentations.”

Community development manager at intu Braehead, Lydia Brown said: “The pupils from both groups taking part showed great inventiveness and practical awareness of the need to recycle more.

“The leaflet that the winning group designed will certainly be put to good use and I’m sure the pupils will be excited to see their idea become a reality.”

birthday

It’s party time as intu Braehead celebrates its family club’s first birthday.

Everyone’s invited to Soar at intu Braehead for four days of celebrations between Friday May 24 and Monday May 27.

birthday

The fun starts at 11am and goes on to 4pm each day and there will be a range of traditional birthday party games like Pass the Parcel; Musical Statues; What’s the Time Mr Wolf; Musical Chairs and Giant Connect 4.

And at 1pm every day of the celebrations, a birthday cake will be cut up and slices handed out to youngsters at the party.

birthday

There will also be arts and crafts and sweet treats at the free event and youngsters can take a selfie in front of a giant wall of multi-coloured streamers.

It’s free to join the intu family club and members get a host of exclusive benefits, gifts, inspirational ideas and the chance for families to spend quality time together.

And any family who signs up this holiday weekend will get the chance to win £1000 of Playmobil toys.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, David Lyon said: “Everyone loves a party and our family club’s birthday celebrations last all weekend.

“It’s a great opportunity for the family to get together and have some free fun.”

gaming champs logo

GAMING fans will battle it out to be crowned Scotland’s first video game champ.

The Scottish Gaming Championships are being held for the first time during the massive PLAY Expo 2019 event at intu Braehead, on Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9.

gaming champs logo

A trophy and a bundle of video gaming prizes are up for grabs for the winner of the hi-tech tournament. But whoever becomes the top gaming gladiator will have to beat off competition from scores of other contenders over a series of different video games.

This year’s PLAY Expo – the country’s biggest and longest-running gaming event – is almost twice the size as previous shows and the Scottish Gaming Championships are being held over two days during the event.

gaming champs logo

Described as an Olympic Decathlon of gaming, the tournament is open to everyone and the final will be streamed live around the world on Twitch and the internet.

The first rounds take place on Saturday, June 8 with contestants taking part in five classic retro games at any time during the day, with points scored being shown on a giant leader board.

The games are Nintendo NES’s Balloon Fight; PC Engine’s Super Star Soldier; PlayStation 2’s Burnout 3; Playstation’s Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo and the Sega Megadrive Super Hang On.

gaming champs logo

The top 16 scorers will then take part in double elimination knockout round the following day, with contestants going head-to-head playing from a list of ten randomly chosen video games.

Event organiser Andy Brown, of Replay Events said: “There are many talented gamers in Scotland, but we want to find out who really is the best.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge and if you pardon the pun, the winner will really need to be on their game.”

gaming champs logo

Andy added: “It’s a bit like an Olympic Decathlon event because contestants will need to excel at different types of video games to win and not just the particular one they favour and play all the time.”

“As well as being intense for those taking part, the tournament will be an exciting spectacle for the audience watching the gamers battle it out.”

Anyone who reckons they are good enough to be crowned Scottish Gaming Champion should register for the tournament on the opening day of the show.

As well as filling the giant Arena at intu Braehead, the event this year also takes over the site of the adjacent curling rink at the retail and leisure destination.

For the first time, this year’s show also features live entertainment with Australian comedian, John Robertson hosting his hilarious game show, The Dark Room, which sees members of the audience being trapped inside an imaginary retro video game.

Log on to www.playexpoglasgow.com for more details and to buy tickets that start at £16 for adults and £10 for youngsters.

The Clumps Book

More than 14,000 primary school children will be able to lose themselves in a book as they receive a copy of a new short story written by multi-award-winning children’s author Ross MacKenzie.

Ross has penned ‘The Clumps’ Big Mess’ which will be given to every primary and additional support needs school pupil in Renfrewshire with the aim of educating the younger generation on the damage littering can do to the environment, part of the highly successful Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

the clumps

The book is designed to be read by older primary pupils, with younger pupils able to read the story with their family or through in-class activities.

Interactive versions have been created to allow teachers to use the story as a teaching accessory and an audio version is also available to help bring the story to life for young people.

Ross visited his old school Kirklandneuk Primary in Renfrew to read his creation to the pupils there, two of which share the names of the main characters and just happen to be his daughters, Selina and Molly.

Ross said: “It was great fun to write this book and especially one with such an important message.

The Clumps Book

“Two of the characters are named after my own kids and when I write a book I try and look at it from a child’s point of view, so how would they look at it if the world was full of litter?

“So I hope the book achieves the message that we should look after the amazing surroundings we have and if it plays a small part in that then we’ve done our job.”

Commissioned by Renfrewshire Council as part of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, the story focuses on the Clump family who deliberately fail to pick up after themselves and their pet dog  Murphy.

Twists and turns occur as Selina and Molly learn more about the damage that can be done if people don’t take pride in where they live, and their carefree attitude leads to a world covered in litter, can they reverse it or is it too late?

Selina and Molly said: “It’s really fun having a dad as an author because we’re the first ones to hear his stories.”

The Clumps Book

The Clumps’ Big Mess has been illustrated by renowned illustrator Neil Slorance and his creations have been brought to life as cardboard cut outs which will tour the schools throughout Renfrewshire.

Neil said: “It was an absolute pleasure working with the Renfrewshire Council team and Ross on the Clumps’ Big Mess.

“It’s such a great story with a really important message and I hope all the pupils around Renfrewshire enjoy it!”

The new book forms part of a drive to educate pupils further on the aims of the campaign in a fun and inspiring way, with pupils having already been involved in litter picks since the campaign began in 2017.

The book is the latest strand of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, a five-year, £2.5million investment in Renfrewshire’s local environment, which includes an increased programme of road sweeping, drain clearing, litter picking and an enhanced Rapid Response Team.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted that every primary pupil in Renfrewshire will have the opportunity to lose themselves in a book and learn the important message that Team Up to Clean Up promotes.

“While we want to make an immediate impact to the cleanliness of the area, we know that educating the next generation is just as important and we’re aiming to make binning their rubbish second nature for our young people.

“They are learning all the time in their younger years so it’s vitally important that we ensure they recognise the damage littering can do and let them lead from the front in the future.

“We’ve already seen their enthusiasm to take part in litter picks with their schools and I hope this fantastic new book will further keep the message at the forefront of their minds.”

The investment in the campaign has also facilitated local communities to undertake litter picks by providing them with gloves, litter pickers, bags and hoops, as well as the support of the council’s Wardens Service and StreetScene team who remove all rubbish following the completion of the community clean up.

For more information on the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup.

kate humble

THE malls will be alive to the sound of birdsong this weekend in a bid to make shoppers feel happier.

The unusual move by intu Braehead shopping centre to play the springtime sounds of birds tweeting away in the central atrium comes after new research revealed four out of five Scots say they feel happy when they hear the sound of birdsong.

A special 12-feet high Tweet Tree with models of different species of birds perched on the branches will be created in the middle of the shopping mall, on Friday and Saturday, May 24 and 25.

And from the tree, shoppers will hear the sounds of the country’s ten greatest songbirds being played, including the blackbird, nightingale, robin, cuckoo, woodpigeon, blue tit and wren chirping away.

The soothing birdsong soundtrack was created by BAFTA-winning ambient music producer, Laurence Love Greed and the idea is backed by naturalist Kate Humble.

kate humble

Kate said: “Scientific studies undertaken last year demonstrated that contact with nature – trees, seeing the sky, listening to birds singing – has a hugely beneficial impact on our mental wellbeing.

“So many people shut out the natural sounds around them by wearing headphones to listen to music, but they are denying themselves the wonderful effects nature can have on our mental health.

“So I love this initiative from intu to reconnect millions of people with the wonder of birdsong, the most beautiful and beneficial music of all!”

The research on the effect birdsong has on people also revealed that almost one in ten (eight per cent) haven’t heard a bird sing this Spring – and more than a third of adults (36 per cent) say they hear less birds now than they did ten years ago.

The study, conducted on behalf of intu, marks the launch of a new initiative by the shopping centre brand to reconnect people with the wonder of birdsong.

The initiative to reconnect people with the sounds of nature comes as nearly three in four Scots (74 per cent) say listening to birds singing helps them relax and 68 per cent say it makes them feel less stressed.

Almost a third (30 per cent) say it helps them to work or study, but everyday life is becoming noisier with one in three (34 per cent) worried they are losing touch with nature.

The research showed that 43 per cent of 18-24 year olds wear headphones everyday and 37 per cent regularly wear them outdoors making them deaf to the sounds of nature.

Marketing manager at intu Braehead, David Lyon said: “We’re bringing the sounds of the great outdoors into our centres to encourage our shoppers to reconnect with nature.

“We work really hard to create experiences that will bring a smile to the faces of our customers, and knowing that birdsong is proven to make people happier, we hope our Tweet Tree will bring joy to our shoppers and help them leave happier than when they arrived.”

The birdsong soundscapes will be played at other intu shopping centres around the country.

The initiative is the latest from intu to encourage shoppers to engage with nature, following the launch of Big Bugs on Tour with Chris Packham last year which has seen 12 giant bug models tour its centres.

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates may be enjoying a well-earned break from their on–ice activities after a season which ended when they won the national playoff title for the very first time, but off the ice the club and its supporters are continuing to work hard to ensure that the club continues to flourish.

paisley pirates

“Yes, it’s a busy time for us all,” said Supporters Club chairwoman Marie Cadenhead. “We’re holding our AGM in the Priorscroft Bowling Club on Wednesday 29 May at 7.00pm and, on the following Sunday, 2 June, we’re taking part in the Renfrew Gala Day at Robertson Park from 1-5pm, when we’ll have a stall at the event, and I know that Pirates’ Off-Ice Operations Manager Jackie Turley is planning to bring our seven foot mascot, Timbers,along to say Hi and have his picture taken with the younger children, and maybe even some of the not so young children too.”

“It’s very important to everyone within the Pirates’ organisation that as members of the local community they get the opportunity to take part in local events such as this Gala Day, and I know we have another couple of similar events already in the diary over the summer before we get back into action of the icy kind.”

“Jackie has very kindly donated a game worn jersey to the Supporters Club which will be raffled on 2 June, meaning that one very lucky person is going to win what is now a piece of local history, a jersey worn on the ice when we beat Murrayfield Racers 5-0 to win the playoff title, and when you add that to all the other goodies we’ll have with us, that makes for a terrific opportunity for people attending to pick up a great prize at our stall. We know the Gala will be a big success at always is, and we’re looking forward to playing our part in making sure that history repeats itself.”