For the month of January we are offering a 25% off discount to new members who join the Chamber. 

Kick start 2019 by joining Renfrewshire’s largest business network and take advantage of the benefits of membership.

business

Networking
We run various events throughout the year. Our monthly networking lunches held at local hotels are attended by 50-70 delegates from businesses based in Renfrewshire and the surrounding areas. New members receive a free place at one of these lunches on joining.
Other events include: a New Members Event, Pitch and Roll Networking, HR Forum, our annual B2B Event in May and Business awards… the ROCCO’s.

Business Mentoring

Free business mentoring in an area or skill you are looking to develop for a period of one year.

Marketing
Members can tap in to our marketing channels for free. Please send us any press releases or editorial to be featured on our website. Anything featured on our website will also be sent out to members in our eNews – sent every 2-3weeks. Our quarterly publication, Business Matters, is circulated to members and is distributed to business centres, coffee shops, council offices and hotels in the Renfrewshire. New members receive a free quarter page of editorial.

Free Chamber HR, Health & Safety, Legal & Tax Services
These services give you unlimited access to no less than five business advice lines and website which features over 750 free downloadable template documents. You are also protected by £1,000,000 of legal expenses insurance which includes employment cover and tax enquiry cover.

Contact Jill Carrino for more information on how your business can benefit from Chamber Membership – 0141 847 5450 jcarrino@renfrewshirechamber.com

Incube

The latest line up of InCube entrepreneurs are seeing their businesses bloom through the innovative business support and employability programme, run by Renfrewshire Council.

InCube developed by Invest in Renfrewshire, allows local creative start-ups to benefit from support to improve their growth.

Incube

InCube’s Class of 2018 are already seeing their businesses benefit from the package of support offered by the programme, including attending a range of workshops and having the chance to sell their products in the dedicated InCube shop.

Designer Geraldine Donnelly, of textiles and homewares brand Obsidian Ore, said her time at InCube has been amazing and a helpful experience for both herself and her business.

Geraldine added: “Without the support of InCube, I wouldn’t have won the chance to design the prizes for the 2018 Scottish Album of the Year Awards – my first big commission as a professional designer.”

Designer Eva Arnaudova who designs childrens clothing under the name Atelier Eva Art, said that InCube helped her to develop new ideas and gave her confidence in her own abilities.

She said “Incube covers all the steps for creative businesses and was a great help to me in every possible way.”

The programme is now accepting applications for the 2019 intake and is open to those wishing to start or grow a business in the creative retail, textiles, jewellery, design, fashion, crafts and makers sector.

Designer Sohelia Keyani said that InCube offer warmth and guidance to help fledgling businesses become strong and self-sufficient.

She added: “If you’re a creative needing support and business acumen, then InCube is the place to be!”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “InCube continues to nurture local creatives every year and this is helping to establish Renfrewshire as a place where creativity thrives.

“The support in 2018 has been phenomenal and I would encourage everyone to continue to visit the InCube shop in 2019 and continue to support local designers who are showcasing the skill and talent we have here in Renfrewshire.”

Applications for the 2019 InCube intake close on Monday 11 February. For more information and to apply visit www.incube.ren/incube-competition-2019

A fifth round of entrepreneurs has taken the first steps to develop their businesses with the help of Renfrewshire Council.

InCube is an innovative business support programme, developed by Invest in Renfrewshire, where local creative start-ups can benefit from support to improve their growth.

Incube 16.5.18

Based on Paisley High Street, Incube provides talented creatives with the means and confidence to showcase their products, as well as providing them with the support and guidance to take their business further.

The entrepreneurs benefit from a package of support for up to nine months including free office and meeting space in Paisley town centre and one-to-one mentoring and coaching. They also gain access to funding opportunities, a range of workshops and high profile networking events.

Incube 16.5.18

Also present at InCube are Business Gateway and Prince’s Trust Scotland – meaning creatives can access business start-up support in a supportive environment.

Designer Sarah Johnstone, of FlipFlop Design Shop felt the InCube programme was a great opportunity to take on board valuable knowledge from experts and apply it to her own business, creating personalised flip flops.

Incube 16.5.18

Sarah added “It’s perfect for networking and learning alongside other creative, inspirational and like-minded people who have the same goal.”

As part of the programme, the businesses have the opportunity to have their products available for sale within the dedicated InCube shop, 9B Gilmour Street Paisley. During this time they are responsible for ensuring they can fulfil customer orders made within the shop to a high standard.

Designer Caitlin Mooney of Woolybox, a crochet subscription box service, applied to InCube as she was struggling to understand the legal matters of running your own business and, after losing her job, was keen to start focusing on something creative.

Incube 16.5.18

“I’m excited to see what my business holds for me in the future and hope that one day I can be my own full time boss.”

Other businesses supported in this round are children’s clothing brand Atelier Eva Art, textiles and homewares brands Obsidian Ore and Church & Jones, milliner Roberta Simpson, art inspired fashion designer Soheila Kenyani and Handmade Moments who specialise in teddy bears, jewellery and cards.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “InCube has been a tremendous success with local creatives being supported and nurtured to showcase their products and advance their business to the next level.

“It is important that we continue to support this innovative community who are producing exceptional products and who will help establish Paisley as a place where creativity thrives.”

As part of the programme, the businesses are asked to act as an advocate for InCube and often take an active role in promoting and selling their own products through taking stalls at Renfrewshire Council events and holding workshops.

For further information on Incube and to find out how to get involved, visit www.incube.ren

Paisley’s iconic Russell Institute was officially opened this week as Kevin Stewart MSP, the Minister for Local Government and Housing, joined invited guests and Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson to celebrate the occasion.

Guests who attended the event were given the opportunity to tour the category A-listed building in the heart of Paisley which has been transformed through a £5 million investment into a Skills & Employability Hub.

The completion of this project is one of a range of initiatives aimed at bolstering business and driving people back to the town centre. This is a fundamental aspect of the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The work at the Institute was sparked by the passion of local volunteers in the Paisley Development Trust and was funded by the Council, Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and Historic Environment Scotland’s Building Repairs Grant.

The former health centre is now home to Skills Development Scotland and the Council’s Invest in Renfrewshire employability team.

It houses around 120 employees including careers and employability staff helping unemployed people across Renfrewshire and working closely with local businesses to create further jobs and grow the local economy.

Main contractors CBC Ltd were charged with ensuring the distinctive features of the Institute were retained, from its ornate sculptures on the outside of the building to its stunning staircase and balcony inside.

The Institute marked its 90th anniversary this year so the reopening of the building is just one reason to celebrate this iconic local landmark.

Minister for Local Government and Housing, Kevin Stewart said: “I’m delighted to have been invited to the official opening of the wonderfully restored Russell Institute in the heart of Paisley.

“Investing in community-led regeneration is a key part of our approach and I’d like to congratulate the Paisley Development Trust, the Council and the project team for securing the funding, including £2m from the Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, which has enabled the restoration of this iconic building back to its former glory.

“This is a great example of how we can use existing assets to regenerate our town centres and support local communities.”

Councillor Nicolson said: “It is fantastic to see the great work that has been done to refurbish this stunning building and bring it back into use.

“As a Skills and Employability Hub, the Russell Institute will provide an excellent environment in a central location to help generate new jobs and opportunities for the people of Renfrewshire.”

A spokesperson for Historic Environment Scotland said: “We’re delighted our funding is being used to help transform this prominent Paisley landmark. The project will bring the building back into use and created a first class facility providing a skills and employability hub which will benefit the local community now and in the years to come.”

The Russell Institute will be open to the public on 2 and 3 September as part of Doors Open Day.

Investment in Paisley’s heritage buildings and high street is a strong sign that ambitious heritage-led transformation plans are bringing a new lease of life to the town.

Council Leader and Head of Regeneration at Pendulum

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson took a tour round Paisley’s town centre to see firsthand recent investments in heritage buildings and shop units in the town.

Council Leader, Head of Regeneration and Mr Hussain outside 20 High Street

The Council’s ambitious plans to use Paisley’s internationally-significant heritage and cultural assets as part of wider regeneration plans for the area have already seen the town shortlisted for the UK Government’s UK City of Culture 2021 competition.

Head of Regeneration and Council Leader at Coats Memorial Church

Regeneration plans are working towards transforming Paisley into a hub of creative and cultural excellence and a world-class visitor destination that will drive investment to the whole of Renfrewshire.

The Leader’s tour began with a visit to the ground floor of the former Arnotts building, now a 120 seat contemporary restaurant Pendulum by the owners of the town’s existing Cardosi’s restaurant, which has benefitted from a new frontage, part-funded by a grant from Renfrewshire Council’s retail improvement scheme.

The former Arnotts department store site has been transformed into new residential apartments on Gauze Street and Lawn Street as part of a joint venture between Park Lane Group and Renfrewshire Council, with work to develop further apartments on Smithhills Street due to commence on site very soon.

At 20 High Street, Councillor Nicolson greeted owner and landlord Mr Hussain who is refurbishing shop units in the King Solomon building, due to open soon. The private sector investment includes fitting both shop units with traditional shop fronts in keeping with Paisley’s heritage-led and cultural ambitions for the town centre.

The shops are next door to the proposed Learning and Cultural Hub at 22 High Street, a £5 million investment funded by Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

Up at the top of the High Street, plans to renovate shop frontages to a traditional look is part of a £4 million investment into the Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration schemes in the area around the High Street, funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council, expected to run until 2021.

Changing the way the area looks and feels and creating a warm welcome for visitors are part of plans behind Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, which will make the most out of County Square and rail connections through Paisley Gilmour Street, the fourth busiest train station in Scotland.

As part of the tour, the Leader also visited Moss Street to see renovations to residential property (14a Moss Street) and works at former Early Learning Centre (5 Moss Street). The tour ended at the magnificent Coats Memorial Church, which is currently in the care of trustees.

Council Leader said: “Our vision for Paisley is a new town centre economy based around heritage and culture as part of wider regeneration plans for the area.

“Being shortlisted in the UK Government’s UK City of Culture 2021 competition is a huge endorsement for the town. The competition has really changed people’s perceptions of the town and we are starting to see investment come into the area, which will drive economic benefits for the whole of Renfrewshire.

“Investment in venues and cultural infrastructure will have a huge effect on the local community, but also attract visitors into the town through our vital transport links – such as the M8, Paisley Gilmour Street, the fourth busiest train station in Scotland, and plans for a bridge from Renfrew to Yoker, funded by Glasgow City Deal.

“In retelling Paisley’s story to the world, we are bringing the past into the present and creating a new era for the town that will attract investment, people and jobs into the area. The work that we will put into submitting our final UK City of Culture 2021 bid to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in September, goes hand in hand with working with businesses, the community and landlords to transform the public space in Paisley.”

For more information on Paisley and the town’s bid for UK City of Culture in 2021, visit www.paisley2021.co.uk, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

An employability programme designed to give experience and improve the job prospects of young graduates is flourishing- with over 214 having come through the system since it began.

Invest in Renfrewshire’s Graduate Internship programme offers paid work placements to Renfrewshire’s skilled young graduates who are unemployed, or underemployed, in their chosen sector.

Linzi Clark, the 200th intern to come through the programme, was struggling to find that first step on the ladder after graduating from university.

Linzi said: “I had graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Commercial Music and found that it was difficult to get that first opportunity to start my career and so was working in Costa Coffee full time.

“My older sister had previously completed a graduate intern placement at Renfrewshire Council and recommended that I should look at the vacancies available through the Invest in Renfrewshire website.”

Linzi applied for an internship with the Paisley 2021 Bid Team as the town entered the race to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

“Having lived in Paisley my entire life, I was excited that Paisley was going to showcase everything it has to offer through the City of Culture bid.

“I had been actively looking for work in the creative sector and have a big interest in the creative arts and so when I saw the opportunity to work as part of the bid team, I thought it would be the ideal role for me.”

As part of her role Linzi works within the community to raise awareness of the bid and find the hidden stories within Paisley.

“The highlights have been getting to meet people from all walks of life through community engagement, and gaining a better understanding of all the amazing things that are happening in Paisley.

“I’ve assisted with the organisation of various community engagement events and cultural consultations and I’ve also had the opportunity to perform at various events including at the launch of the Culture bus.”

The internships are an excellent opportunity for graduates and of those who have completed their internship, 80% have gone straight into work or further education.

Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We made eradicating long-term youth unemployment a key aim of the Council and figures in June 2015 showed Renfrewshire had climbed to 4th for youth unemployment out of all 32 local authorities- previously having been 27th.

“The Graduate Internship programme has been a key factor in bringing young people into employment and giving them the experience and skills to move into jobs which utilises their degrees.

“It is important that we give our young people a chance to get their first step on the ladder which will set them up for a career in their chosen field- and Invest in Renfrewshire gives graduates that opportunity.”

Linzi now plans to use her experiences to continue working in the creative sector with a number of fields now open to her.

“Working in such a small team has meant that I have gained experience which has given me confidence moving forward in my career as I now feel better equipped to take on new challenges.”

“I would encourage anyone thinking of applying for an internship to do so, as it’s a really great way to gain new skills and kick start your career.”

For further information on undertaking a graduate internship or advice on how to take that next step in your career, visit: www.investinrenfrewshire.com, call 0141 618 7856 or email intern@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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Work has started on a new school as another nears completion as part of Renfrewshire Council’s multi-million pound schools investment programme.

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Work has started on the building of a brand new campus in Erskine for a new joint faith primary school and nursery which will replace the existing Bargarran Primary and St John Bosco Primary as part of the £14m programme. The phased works will see the construction of a two-storey building and shared site facility.

Works commenced on site in January and the new campus is expected to be operational by January 2019.

In addition, work is nearly completed on the new St Fergus Primary in Paisley. The single storey building will accommodate 175 pupils and will feature a mix of formal and informal teaching spaces along with opportunities for outdoor learning. The school is due to open its doors later this year.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, said, “By progressing projects like the Bargarran and St John Bosco Primary campus and St Fergus Primary as part of our schools investment programme we are supporting the future of our children and young people by providing the best environment to help them learn and keep them engaged.

“This significant programme of refurbishing and building schools that is being implemented as part of the investment is not in the buildings themselves but in Renfrewshire’s children and it is exciting to see the results.”

The work is part of Renfrewshire Council’s extensive £52million investment programme to improve local schools and promote learning and achievement by giving children the best possible learning environment.

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Renfrewshire Council will help create another 100 jobs by continuing a successful initiative encouraging businesses to take on young and unemployed people.

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Over the past four years more than 840 local people have gotten into work through new posts created with the help of Invest in Renfrewshire’s incentives to employers.

The new jobs were on top of an extra 430 paid traineeships and internships that were also created over the same time.

The Invest in Renfrewshire Employers Recruitment Incentive helps businesses meet the cost of employing an extra member of staff who may need time to build-up experience and skills needed in the job.

It was launched by Renfrewshire Council in 2012 but for the past few years has been jointly funded by the council, European Social Funds and the Scottish Government.

After national contributions to the programme ended in January councillors approved plans to continue funding the programme, along with the European Social Funds, for another year.

The convener of Renfrewshire Council’s economy and jobs policy board, Councillor Roy Glen, said: “We are determined to drive the economy forward and do everything we can to help create jobs for local people.

“This is a great programme that does exactly that, so we authorised Invest in Renfrewshire – our own programme for boosting employment and growing the local economy – to step into the gap and make sure it keeps delivering for local people.

“By paying half of the new worker’s wages for six months our new Invest in Renfrewshire Employers Recruitment Incentive will make it less risky for businesses to take on new staff.”

He added: “The scheme no longer has to be aligned with national funding criteria. Continuing with it now under local direction means we can make improvements.

“This Invest in Renfrewshire Employers Recruitment Incentive will offer businesses a more streamlined payment structure, making it easier for them to take part.

“We will also extend the initiative to the over 50s, helping people in this age group get vocational training and subsidised work experience leading to sustainable employment.”

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Renfrewshire Council has unveiled the final version of a housing investment master plan which could see the area deliver more than double its target of building 1,000 new affordable homes by 2020.

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Councilors will next week be asked to approve the area’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan (SHIP), which will see at least £30m of grant funding directed towards building new homes over the next five years.

The SHIP is the document which lays out the priority affordable housing projects in Renfrewshire – either planned or under way – over the years ahead, for the council and housing associations.

Since 2011, Renfrewshire Council and its housing association partners have overseen the building of 950 new homes in the area

That means the 1,000-homes target will be hit years ahead of schedule – and if all projects in the new version of the SHIP are delivered it will have been more than doubled.

Local authorities need to submit an updated version to the Scottish Government every two years to access central funding for affordable housing projects.

The plan was produced after consultation with local and national housing associations.

Councillor Tommy Williams, convener, of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “One of the biggest priorities of the council is to help provide good-quality homes people can afford to live in.

“The Strategic Housing Investment Plan shows which projects we and our housing association partners are already delivering in that area, as well as the ones we plan to achieve.

“In line with other key council planning and housing strategies, the plan aims to make sure any new housing development is of the right kind and in the right place.

“Renfrewshire’s target was 1,000 new homes between ourselves and our housing association partners by 2020 – we will hit that years ahead of schedule and if all the projects outlined in this plan are delivered over the next few years, we will have more than doubled it.”

The following projects are detailed in the plan and will amount to more than 800 new homes over the next few years –
– redevelopment of Paisley’s west end, starting with the former Co-op site on Wellmeadow Street, by Sanctuary Scotland;
– around 200 affordable homes in the Bishopton Community Growth Area;
– 200 new affordable homes at two sites in Renfrew, at Andrew Avenue and the Western Park site in Inchinnan Road;
– around 100 new council homes for social rent in Johnstone Castle;
– 47 new homes and flats in Seedhill Road, Paisley, delivered by Williamsburgh HA;
– 24 flats built by Link Group in Smithhills Street, Paisley, as part of the next phase of development on the former Arnotts site;
– 18 social rented homes by Williamsburgh HA in Milliken Road, Kilbarchan;
– comprehensive improvements to tenements in Orchard Street, Paisley;

The plan also lists other potential future projects which could add another 500 units, including the proposals for housing regeneration in Ferguslie Park, connected to plans for a regional sports village next to the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

Affordable housing includes a range of options for people who are looking for a home to rent or buy: new council homes for rent, housing association homes for rent, low-cost home ownership/shared equity schemes and intermediate/mid-market rental.

Councilors on the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board will discuss the finalised SHIP when they meet on Tuesday 8 November.

Innovative anti-poverty programmes have put more than £3m into the pockets of Renfrewshire’s hardest-pressed families.

(l to r) Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty commissioners Dr Jim McCormick, Prof Sue Ellis (University of Strathclyde), Cllr Mike Holmes and Dr Linda de Caestecker (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde director of public health)

(l to r) Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty commissioners Dr Jim McCormick, Prof Sue Ellis (University of Strathclyde), Cllr Mike Holmes and Dr Linda de Caestecker (NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde director of public health)

Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty programme was the first of its kind in Scotland – and members of the commission whose report preceded it today returned to Paisley to see how their recommendations are being brought to life.

The programme is made up of more than 50 individual projects covering education, health, income support, employability, and digital and cultural inclusion.

two of the Street Stuff coaches outside Renfrewshire's culture bus - Sarah Beattie and Emma Phelan

two of the Street Stuff coaches outside Renfrewshire’s culture bus – Sarah Beattie and Emma Phelan

Since the programme started in summer 2015 it has:
– allowed almost 1,000 home visits by energy advocates, cutting almost £270,000 from residents’ household bills;
– created 600 new credit unions members across Renfrewshire, saving them £85k in interest payments compared to high-street rates;
– put £84k into year one of a cost-of-the-school day fund – the first of its kind in Scotland – breaking down the barriers for less-affluent pupils;

That work complements the council’s existing Families First early-years scheme, which has helped residents claim £2.7m in benefits they didn’t know they were entitled to.

The Tackling Poverty programme has funded three new Families First locations from earlier this year, to add to the two which had been running in Ferguslie and Linwood since 2013.

Other achievements since the Tackling Poverty programme started include:
– more than 750 primary school teachers trained in literacy coaching through a programme unique to Renfrewshire;
– a 72% reduction in sanctions on Jobseekers Allowance claimants in the area;

The original commissioners included a range of local and national experts from the fields of education, health, housing, industrial relations, social affairs and more.

They and other guests were invited to Paisley Museum for an interactive showcase of some of the key Tackling Poverty Programme projects by the staff running them.

That included a unique scheme to increase literacy skills in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, the award-winning youth diversionary Street Stuff scheme, and a Making Futures project to engage young people in culture.

Renfrewshire Council’s depute leader Councillor Mike Holmes chaired the initial commission and gave the closing speech to visitors at the event.

He said: “Renfrewshire is a diverse area but deep-seated pockets of deprivation remain in some of our communities – as was shown this summer when government stats showed Scotland’s most deprived area was in Ferguslie Park in Paisley.

“These are long-term problems to which there are no easy fixes – and only a long-term solution will suffice.

“But this council was determined to take a fresh approach, which is why we pulled together a group of national experts and prioritised a £6m investment.

“I am pleased to say the work we are doing has attracted widespread attention and Renfrewshire is now recognised as leading the way in taking on poverty – several other Scottish councils have now followed our model.

“Today’s event was a way to thank our commisioners for their input and show them the steps we have made to act on their recommendations.

“I am immensely proud of the work the programme has done over the past 18 months – and would like to thank all the staff from the council and our partners across all 50 projects for everything they are doing.”

Dr Jim McCormick, Associate Director Scotland to the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, was one of Renfrewshire’s Tackling Poverty Commissioners.

He said: “Renfrewshire has been one of the first areas to take such a comprehensive view of mapping out the causes of poverty – and across partners, not just the council.

“I see a big focus on removing cost barriers on families. There is reason to be optimistic about the long-term prospects for the area.”

For more information, visit  www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/tacklingpoverty