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.”

nhs

Renfrewshire residents are being urged to stay home this Easter weekend and follow the latest guidelines to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

The latest government advice states that staying at home is essential to protect the NHS and save lives and residents can follow this by only going outside for essential food, health or work reasons, staying 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people and washing hands regularly.

Anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus should stay at home for 7 days, and other members of the household should stay at home for 14 days, even if the first person recovers.

nhs

The advice also includes not socialising with people outside your household and residents should not visit friends or family, but instead phone or video call to keep in touch and increase social activity.

Anyone who is struggling with their mental health during this period can find help and advice on the Renfrewshire Council website by visiting http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-wellbeing. If you need urgent help and advice contact the Samaritans helpline on 116 123. For life threatening mental health emergencies call 999, or 111 for NHS urgent mental health care.

Renfrewshire’s Local Assistance Helpline will be available to those who are shielding and do not have a support network that can collect essential items for them. Anyone who needs this support should call 0300 300 0230 to speak in confidence with an advisor. The helpline will be open over the Easter weekend daily from 8:45am – 4:45pm. You can also email Shielding.Support.Referrals@renfrewshire.gov.uk out of these hours and a member of the team will get in touch.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Easter is usually a time to get together with family and friends but please reconsider any plans you may have made and continue to stay at home and help combat the spread of the virus.

“Maintaining our health and wellbeing is vitally important at this tough time and although our parks and green spaces remain open for exercise, I urge you to stay close to home and not be tempted to drive anywhere for an Easter walk.

“The weeks and months ahead will be difficult but by following the guidance and staying at home we will help protect our NHS and save lives.”

The latest information, help and advice can be accessed via http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

For the latest medical advice from NHS Inform, please visit www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus.

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Local businesses in Renfrewshire have received more than £3.3million in the first phase of financial support to help mitigate the impact of Coronavirus.

The Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Grant funds are hitting business bank accounts from today (Tuesday 7 April).

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Renfrewshire Council approved more than 300 applications in just four days to ensure local businesses have access to the support they need as quickly as possible – with hundreds more in line to be processed and paid this week.

Some 279 applications worth £2.79million has provided one-off grants of £10,000 to small businesses while a further 23 grants of £25,000 were approved to hospitality, leisure and retail businesses.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We recognise the impact that the current situation is having on businesses and employees throughout Renfrewshire and we want to ensure that support is available to help through these difficult times.

“Our teams are working round the clock to ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible and this has seen us award more than £3.3million to Renfrewshire businesses already.

“This grant funding is one of a series of measures providing vital support to businesses at this difficult time, with all the details available on the Council website.

“We ask all applicants to ensure they follow the guidance on our website and complete the application fully, with all the correct documentation required, to ensure we can process this without delay.”

This grant funding is part of a number of measures available to support businesses, employees and the self-employed, and include the Job Retention Scheme, VAT and Income Tax Deferral, Business Rates Relief and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Full details of all the support on offer, with guidance on eligibility and how to apply, is available on the Renfrewshire Council website via www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-businesses.

Oakshaw green bins

Residents are being urged to recycle more than ever while the current government guidance is to remain at home wherever possible.

Bin collections in Renfrewshire are continuing to run as normal at this time (26 March), but the area’s recycling centres are currently closed.

Oakshaw green bins

With an expectation more waste will be created during this time, the council have offered a list of handy tips to help people reduce, reuse and recycle.

  • Wash and squash your cans, plastic bottles, tubs and trays – a good rinse is all you need to do.
  • Reuse any containers you can. They’re perfect for freezing any batch cooking.
  • Break down cardboard boxes to save space.
  • If you run out of food waste bags, use old newspaper or put it in directly until you can get more.
  • Visit lovefoodhatewaste.com for advice on how to avoid wasting food, using up those ingredients that are stuck in your cupboard and how to store it correctly.
  • The council website has a list of what should and should not go into each bin, do you know what goes where?

Residents are asked to ensure that parked cars do not obstruct collection vehicles to ensure that waste can be uplifted.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “This is an unprecedented time with everyone advised to stay at home unless it is essential that they leave for food, medical issues or to work in a key role.

“Being at home, you are going to create more waste than normal so I would encourage you to take recycling more seriously than ever to ensure you have the space you need in your bins.

“Our waste collections are running as normal at this time, but we need your support to help our fantastic frontline workers do their job so please be patient and show understanding for the position they are in.

“Our teams have been given the appropriate advice and PPE to carry out their role in line with government guidance and I want to thank them for the outstanding service they are providing at this time.

“To all our staff, partners, Unison, RHSCP, health workers and volunteers, thank you on behalf of us all on the way you have risen to the challenge in these difficult times.

“Let’s keep working together and show the strength of community that I know we have here in Renfrewshire.”

For the latest advice and guidance on Coronavirus, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or follow the council on Twitter via @RenCouncil.

hs_covid-19_children_header

Issued on behalf of Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee.

 

With the closure of schools and nurseries during the Covid-19 outbreak, a national child protection group is urging everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for children who may be at risk during this time.

hs_covid-19_children_header

Child Protection Committees Scotland, a national grouping of child protection professionals, supports all efforts by the Scottish Government, local authorities and the third sector to keep children safe from harm during the enforced break in normal routine.

John Paterson, Independent Chair of Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee, recognises the impact a significant change in day-to-day life may have on vulnerable children.

“Schools and nurseries in Renfrewshire play a central role in contributing to the safety of all local children, especially those who may be at risk of abuse and neglect. When children are not at school we lose the ability to monitor their wellbeing on a daily basis, and we are making every effort possible to support those children and families who may need it during these demanding times.”

However, Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee stresses the need for the public to join efforts to protect potentially vulnerable children during the Coronavirus outbreak. John Paterson urges everyone to play a part to keep local children safe.

“The onus of care has now shifted from schools to local communities, and we’re asking everyone to keep their eyes and ears open. Local people always provide a significant protective factor for children and that’s even more important at a time when families may be under significant additional stress. If you’re at all worried about a child’s welfare, it’s much better to say something than do nothing.”

Renfrewshire Council urges everyone to take action if they’re concerned about a child or children. If you’re worried don’t hesitate to contact Social Work Services – 0300 300 1199 or call the police on 101.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Who can still attend school and nursery?

The advice issued by the Scottish Government is that schools and council-run nurseries should close other than for specified groups. These groups are as follows:

– all pupils in S4-6 who still have coursework to complete

– children whose parents have been designated as essential workers

– the children and young people deemed most vulnerable or in need of support. The parents or carers of these individuals will be contacted directly by their school or nursery.

We are following Scottish Government directives and trying to strike a balance between respecting the health advice designed to stop the spread of the virus, while still supporting those most in need, allowing the frontline staff providing lifeline services to do so, and allowing older pupils the best possible chance of getting the qualifications they hoped for.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG


Which schools will be open and when?

All 11 Renfrewshire secondary schools will be open for S4-6 pupils to complete coursework. High schools will also be open to provide childcare for eligible pupils in S1 to 3 and older primary school pupils.

The following locations will be open to provide childcare for the children of essential workers who we can accommodate:

  • West Primary in Paisley (primary and nursery)
  • West Johnstone campus (primary and nursery)
  • St James’ Primary in Renfrew (primary and nursery)
  • Hugh Smiley Nursery in Paisley (nursery only)
  • Riverbrae School in Linwood (respite care only)

School staff will be in on Monday 26 March and pupils will be able to attend from Tuesday 27 March. Schools will be open from 9am until 3pm for the time being. We are looking at the possibility of having them open until later in the day but cannot offer that at this stage. All children attending schools from next week will receive a free school meal.

I’m an essential worker and I haven’t applied

We have already written to all parents and carers to identify who could be eligible to invite them to apply for a place. You can still apply in the link below.

Register interest

We have already had a huge number of requests and hope people appreciate capacity is limited we will have to prioritise, in line with Government advice. We cannot accommodate everyone as that will defeat the purpose of closing. We know some parents will be disappointed but we need to concentrate on the families who need it most.

We will be working over weekend and will be in touch to let you know if your child has a place as soon as possible. We are having to turn around a huge amount of work in a short space of time and we appreciate your patience while we do this.


How will children learn at home?

Many of our teachers will be working from home and will be keeping lessons going via online learning. Our schools have done an incredible job to pull together materials to let this happen.

We will be using Glow to facilitate this as it allows pupils to work in a variety of ways, including with their peers and at their own pace. It is free to all pupils and can be accessed anywhere, any time and on any device.

Pupils will be given homework tasks assigned by their teacher and should work to complete these at home. Here’s where to find the information.

Glow – sign in

Your child was given their log in details at the beginning of the school year and in the last week. If you have problems logging in, please email your school directly.

Here is where to find support on how to use certain apps within Glow:

Pupils should follow the Acceptable Use Policy for using digital platforms at all times. For a reminder of this policy, please contact your school.

Anyone who does not have internet access should let the school know as soon as possible and alternative arrangements will be made for these pupils to receive a homework pack. If your school uses an alternative ICT solution such as Seesaw or Sumdog, please contact them directly.


More questions on childcare and support

Will free school meals/clothing grants still be provided?

Free school meals will be provided for the children in the groups who are attending school for coursework (S4 – S6) or childcare.

Parents of children who qualify for a clothing grant will receive fortnightly payment direct to their bank account of £11.25 per child per week. These payments will continue over the Easter holidays and for as long as schools remain closed, even if over the summer.

Are private nurseries still open?

Private nurseries will decide for themselves if they will choose to stay open. The directive from the Scottish Government is that they should refocus their operations to looking after the children of critical workers and those families most in need of support. Please speak to your private provider for more information on what they are offering.

Is out of school care still on?

All out-of-school care run by the council or in a council building is now closed. Private providers who operate from a non-council building may still be open and parents should contact them directly to find out more information.


Mental health and wellbeing

There has been a lot of coverage in the media and social media about the Coronavirus and it is easy to feel everyone to feel overwhelmed, stressed and anxious.

Our Education Psychology team have pulled together some advice on how to help children cope with the current situation, and we’ve included a link to Young Scot’s advice for young people.

Mental wellbeing


Where can I get more information?

Parents will be kept informed through their school and your child’s school will advise you on how they will keep in touch with you in due course. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered in this email, visit our FAQs on our school information webpage.

School information

For the latest updates and information from us, follow our Twitter account @RenCouncil and visit our website.

@RenCouncil

Coronavirus advice

For the latest health advice, visit the NHS inform website.

NHS inform


Advice and information for our staff

Our staff can visit our staff information section of website to find out the latest information and advice.

Staff information

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT-LOGO-2011

Published: 19 Mar 2020 

Exams will not go ahead, teaching, learning and support can continue with local flexibility.

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT-LOGO-2011

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has updated Parliament on the decision to close schools and confirmed that:

  • the exam diet will not go ahead this year. The Scottish Qualifications Authority will put in place a certification model using coursework, teacher assessment of estimated grades and prior attainment
  • local authorities are taking measures to protect vulnerable children who rely on schools for hot meals or a safe and supportive environment
  • children of key workers will have continuing access to learning or childcare

Mr Swinney said:

“My priorities are to ensure the health and wellbeing of our children, young people and staff, and to maintain teaching and learning wherever this is possible, guided by the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and public health experts.

“Teaching, learning and support will continue – albeit in different ways for different groups of children. For the majority, this will be through distance learning and online learning, with different forms of on-going contact with teachers rather than in-school, face-to-face. Teachers and other staff who are well will continue to be working.

“For vulnerable children and those who have parents or carers employed as key workers, local authorities are developing approaches to support them. We will not cut adrift vulnerable young people who often rely on school life for hot meals or for a safe, nurturing and supportive environment.

“Parents are not expected to be a teacher or to recreate the school day – your school will be giving you some resources and suggestions as your first port of call.

“It is a measure of the gravity of the challenge we now face that the exams will not go ahead this year. With the support of the wider education system, a credible certification model can be put in place in the that can command confidence in the absence of the exam diet – to ensure that young people in our schools and colleges who through no fault of their own are unable to sit exams, are not disadvantaged.”

Background

The Deputy First Minister’s statement in full.

The SQA will develop a certification model to replace the exam diet. Pupils in S4-S6 with coursework for national qualifications to complete will be informed by their schools how to complete this.

Local authorities will put in place appropriate arrangements to support vulnerable children and those who have parents or carers employed as key workers – this may include exceptional provision to continue to attend school or local childcare that the local authority put in place. Those with complex additional support needs who are learning and living in residential special schools will continue to receive the care and support they require and any long-term health conditions will be taken into account.

Local authorities are also being encouraged to work with local childcare providers in the private and third sectors to ensure ongoing provision to enable key workers to remain in work. Funding will continue to allow contractual payments to private and third sector providers, including childminders, for statutory early learning and childcare hours to continue. This is worth £220 million to the childcare sector in 2020-21.

A £70 million food fund from the support package for communities announced yesterday will support access to food, including provision of free school meals. Pupil Equity Funding will be relaxed to allow headteachers and local authorities to support the most vulnerable childrens’ needs during this time.

Local authorities can deploy the 2020-21 uplift in funding for the 1140 hours expansion as flexibly as is needed to support families and childcare providers during this period.

Key workers are those who work in posts which ensure that essential services can be delivered, or those who cover tasks within the local community which support the vulnerable and aid community resilience. The exact definition will vary based on local needs.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland will endeavour to continue to fund students on time, and students will be updated throughout. The Further and Higher Education Minister is working closely with the Scottish Funding Council, college and university principals and unions.

A security staff manager at intu Braehead is in the running for a top national award. Stephen Stronach, 36, from Linwood, Renfrewshire is one of three students who have been shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute Student of the Year Award. He has recently passed his Level 8 Award in Management and Leadership as a mature student after intu Braehead paid for a lecturer from West College Scotland to visit the centre to give lectures to a dozen security staff. Stephen, a security duty manager, who has worked at intu Braehead for 14 years explains: “I’ve never had any further education qualifications before and it’s been great learning the theory behind the things we do on a day-to-day basis. “I really appreciate the opportunity the company has given me and I’m sure having this qualification will help me develop my career.” Peter Beagley, intu Braehead centre director said: “Stephen has studied hard to get this management and leadership qualification and his dedication has been recognised by the fact he has been shortlisted for this CMI Student of the Year Award. It’s a fantastic achievement.” The Chartered Management Institute is the UK’s only chartered professional body dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence. The outright winner of the Student of the Year Award is due to be announced next week.

A security staff manager at intu Braehead is in the running for a top national award.

Stephen Stronach, 36, from Linwood, Renfrewshire is one of three students who have been shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute Student of the Year Award.

A security staff manager at intu Braehead is in the running for a top national award.  Stephen Stronach, 36, from Linwood, Renfrewshire is one of three students who have been shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute Student of the Year Award.  He has recently passed his Level 8 Award in Management and Leadership as a mature student after intu Braehead paid for a lecturer from West College Scotland to visit the centre to give lectures to a dozen security staff.  Stephen, a security duty manager, who has worked at intu Braehead for 14 years explains: “I’ve never had any further education qualifications before and it’s been great learning the theory behind the things we do on a day-to-day basis.  “I really appreciate the opportunity the company has given me and I’m sure having this qualification will help me develop my career.”  Peter Beagley, intu Braehead centre director said: “Stephen has studied hard to get this management and leadership qualification and his dedication has been recognised by the fact he has been shortlisted for this CMI Student of the Year Award. It’s a fantastic achievement.”  The Chartered Management Institute is the UK’s only chartered professional body dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence. The outright winner of the Student of the Year Award is due to be announced next week.

He has recently passed his Level 8 Award in Management and Leadership as a mature student after intu Braehead paid for a lecturer from West College Scotland to visit the centre to give lectures to a dozen security staff.

Stephen, a security duty manager, who has worked at intu Braehead for 14 years explains: “I’ve never had any further education qualifications before and it’s been great learning the theory behind the things we do on a day-to-day basis.

“I really appreciate the opportunity the company has given me and I’m sure having this qualification will help me develop my career.”

Peter Beagley, intu Braehead centre director said: “Stephen has studied hard to get this management and leadership qualification and his dedication has been recognised by the fact he has been shortlisted for this CMI Student of the Year Award. It’s a fantastic achievement.”

The Chartered Management Institute is the UK’s only chartered professional body dedicated to promoting the highest standards in management and leadership excellence. The outright winner of the Student of the Year Award is due to be announced next week.

paisley pirates

(playoff quarter finals, first leg)

Pirates more than matched their hosts for the first fifty minutes of this quarter final tie, before dropping their guard in the final ten minutes to concede four goals and leave themselves with a hazardous second leg in two weeks’ time, when they will now have to beat the Comets by three goals on aggregate to progress to the playoff finals.

paisley pirates

After a scoreless opening spell, the game burst into life as the visitors went ahead just on the eight minute mark as Abercrombie shot past Shearer to break the deadlock, but they were ahead for only twenty seconds as Comets went straight to the other end and equalised through McBean. However, Finnish star Sami Harju restored Pirates’ lead within another ninety seconds, with assistance from Kenneth, and the score remained the same until the eighteenth minute, when Abercrombie netted his second to stretch the lead to 3-1, but within a minute Pokorny had pulled it back to a one goal game, to finish the scoring for the session.

After a quiet start to the middle period Pokorny bagged his second in 27 minutes to tie the scores, but within a minute Walker scored with an unassisted effort to restore Pirates’ advantage, and while both sides took penalties the extra man made no difference to the score, and the visitors went for the second break nursing a narrow 4-3 lead.

 With a one goal advantage, and a home second leg to follow, Pirates were looking good for a win in the tie, but after a scoreless opening 10 minutes in the session, the roof fell in on the visitors. Beattie equalised again for the visitors, and while Conor Spiers restored the lead inside a minute, the hosts responded with three strikes in four minutes through Robertson and a double by McBean, the latter completing his hat trick in the process, and while Pirates did go for another goal to narrow the gap, they were unable to do so, thus giving Comets what could prove to be a critical two goal cushion at 7-5 for the deciding leg on Saturday 28 March at 6.30pm at Braehead Arena.

Photo Booth London