smisa

ST MIRREN have today completed their five-year journey to become a fan-owned club.

The St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMISA) have bought out the remaining shareholding of chairman Gordon Scott to become majority (51%) owners of the Buddies.

The deal helps to safeguard the future of the club – formed in 1877 – by placing it in the hands of its supporters, the people who care for it the most.

The move into fan ownership comes in conjunction with charity and social enterprise Kibble who last year bought a 27 percent stake to become part-owners of the club.

That model – where the club is owned by its fans and run in partnership with a charity – is believed to be unique in top-flight European football and has allowed SMISA to complete the transition to fan ownership in five years rather than the original 10-year plan set out in 2016.

And the dream of fan ownership has only been realised thanks to the financial backing from SMISA’s near-1200 strong membership over the past five years and the support and growth of SMISA in general from its formation almost 20 years ago.

Now that the shares have been purchased, the members’ contributions will instead go towards supporting different areas of the club including the youth academy and the charitable foundation.

SMISA will now have four representatives on the St Mirren board, with Scott and Alan Wardrop joining existing SMISA-appointed club directors John Needham and David Riley.

And, although the club is now owned by its fans, the day-to-day operations will continue to be run by CEO Tony Fitzpatrick and the St Mirren staff.

Scott, who made fan ownership possible by teaming up with SMISA to buy out the previous owners back in 2016, was pleased to see the deal come to fruition on a special day at the SMISA stadium.

He said: “I am immensely proud of the part I have played in delivering fan ownership.

“We had always said that we had ten years to deliver a sustainable model but when the opportunity arose to deliver this now in partnership with Kibble it was too good an opportunity to miss.

“We have taken giant strides over the last five seasons both on the pitch and off it and with the deal now complete I am convinced that this model will allow us to continue that progress.”

SMISA chair George Adam added: “This is a really proud day not just for St Mirren fans but for the people of Paisley and beyond.

“To have our club now owned by the supporters means we will never have to worry again about it being run by people without St Mirren’s best interests at heart.

“It’s a real testimony to the fans who were presented with a vision back in 2015 and have now been able to make it a reality. I’ve never been prouder to be a Buddie.”

Kibble chief executive and St Mirren vice-chairman Jim Gillespie said: “This is a historic day for St Mirren’s fans.

“They are now in charge of the destiny of the club they love, and Kibble are delighted to be working with SMISA and to have played our part in making this possible.

“When we agreed to become shareholders and partners last year, it was because we were excited about the chance to work hand-in-hand with SMISA to help take the club forward while improving the lives of young people in the Renfrewshire area.

“We believe we are starting to see the fruits of that relationship and look forward to contributing towards many more successful years at St Mirren.”

Supporters Direct Scotland chief executive Alan Russell added: “At SD Scotland we are delighted to see SMISA reach this milestone and are proud to have supported them on their journey towards fan ownership.

“They have shown what can be achieved by working in close partnership with other shareholders and other community organisations and have had one hand on the steering wheel as St Mirren FC have established themselves in the Premiership once again.

“Their experience as minority shareholders over the last few years will be invaluable as they take ownership of the club – and they join the family of fan-owned clubs who are a beacon to the whole supporters trust movement in Scotland and beyond. Congratulations!”

Anyone wishing to join SMISA can do so from as little as £5 a month at smisa.net/signup.

1,030 PEOPLE IN RENFREWSHIRE WRONGLY DENIED BENEFITS BY UK GOVERNMENT

Disabled people in Renfrewshire have successfully appealed against a decision to deny them benefits 1,030 times – prompting calls for a fresh review of the DWP assessment and appeals process.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws show 1,030 assessments for Personal Independence Payments (PIP) have been successfully challenged by people in Renfrewshire since April 2013.

This means that there was a 63% level of appeals that were overturned.

PIP is being rolled-out across the UK to replace Living Allowance (DLA) as the main benefit for disabled or ill people. To receive this benefit, claimants have to endure controversial assessments, conducted by private companies on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

George Adam said:

“Disabled people in Renfrewshire rely on these financial lifelines to live independently and be part of their community.

“For the DWP to get these cases so consistently wrong suggests a systematic hostility towards people in need.

“The Tory government’s punitive approach to the system simply isn’t working. It’s failing vulnerable people, withdrawing support from those who need it most, and leaving people out of pocket and unable to afford the basic essentials.

“The UK government’s disastrous record on welfare shows why Scotland should have the power to take our own approach – rather than leaving these powers at Westminster.

“In the meantime, it’s vital that these fundamental flaws in the current assessment appeals process are urgently addressed.”

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT PAYS OUT OVER A MILLION POUNDS TO CARERS IN RENFREWSHIRE

2,730 CARERS BENEFIT FROM DEVOLVED WELFARE POWERS

Thousands of carers in Renfrewshire have benefitted from new Carer’s Allowance Supplement (CAS) payments of up to £442 introduced by the Scottish Government.

New figures show that 2730 payments have been to carers in Renfrewshire totalling £1,112,000.

The Carer’s Allowance Supplement is an extra payment made to carers in Scotland twice a year, in recognition of the important contribution they make.

Carers will now get two supplementary payments totalling £442 per year, equivalent to an extra £8.50 per week, which is a 13% increase on the Carer’s Allowance from the UK Government.

Paisley’s MSP George Adam said:

“Last year, the Carer’s Allowance Supplement helped 83,000 carers across Scotland.

“Carers in Renfrewshire make an absolutely vital contribution to our society, and it’s only appropriate that they’re duly valued and properly supported.

“The SNP is determined to use the powers available to the Scottish Government to improve the lives of people across Scotland.

“This supplementary payment allows the Scottish Government to get more money into the pockets of carers, as quickly as possible.

“I am delighted that carers in Renfrewshire are being recognised for the important contribution carers make, and the hard work they do in what can often be difficult circumstances.”

Gavin Newlands MP welcomes local apprentice to House of Commons

Rolls Royce Apprentice, Chris Wight, was joined by Gavin Newlands in the House of Commons this week to celebrate the 12,000 apprenticeships provided by the UK’s Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries.

There were 100 apprentices from some of the UK’s leading aerospace, defence, security and space companies who attended the ADS Parliamentary Reception.

Organised by the trade organisation ADS, and sponsored by Collins Aerospace, the event recognised the valuable contribution apprentices make to our important, high-skill manufacturing industries, and highlighted the world-leading technologies that many of the apprentices are working to develop.

Newlands said:

“I was delighted to welcome apprentice Chris Wight, who works at the Inchinnan Rolls Royce plant, to the House of Commons on Tuesday evening for a reception held by ADS Group.

The reception was an excellent opportunity to meet young people working towards highly-skilled and rewarding careers and to celebrate the huge talent working in these world-leading sectors.

Chris is a testament to the skilled workforce and the high level of training in our local area. We are rightly proud of Scotland’s advanced manufacturing industries, much of it based right here in Renfrewshire.”

ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said:

“The UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space industries contribute £30 billion in value added to our economy and apprentices play a key role in businesses, large and small. Today’s Parliamentary reception is a great opportunity to celebrate their contribution and allow MPs to hear directly about the exciting career opportunities that exist across our industries. A modern apprenticeship is the route to a high value and long-term career.”  

APPLICATIONS FOR NEW SCOTGOV BENEFIT OPEN THIS WEEK

360 families in Renfrewshire received a payment of £600 on the birth of a first child, and £300 on the birth of any siblings, thanks to the Scottish Government’s Best Start Grant scheme.

Since opening for applications in December, nearly 10,000 low income families across every area of Scotland got help from the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment, with the new benefit paying out £3.5 million in the first three months.

 

This week, the First Minister announced a brand-new benefit as part of the Scottish Government’s new Best Start Grant package, which will build on the success of the Pregnancy and Baby Payment.

Applications are open for the new payment, which will see low-income families paid a further £250 when their children start nursery and school.

The Early Learning Payment is for children aged between two to three and a half and can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys, books or days out.

 

SNP MSP for Paisley, George Adam said:

This substantial increase in support for families and new babies shows what can be achieved if we take a different approach to social security – using Scotland’s new powers to support families across the country. 

“In just the first two months of the Best Start Grant, the Scottish Government got more money into people’s pockets than the DWP had managed under the old system in an entire year.

“The SNP in government has consistently demonstrated a commitment to increasing financial support for families, bringing equality to Scotland’s children by helping them towards the best possible start in life.

“With full powers over social security, Scotland can be the best place for a child to grow up.”