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New help for a new job

New help is at hand for workers in Renfrewshire who struggle with childcare or travel costs in the early days of a new job.

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Renfrewshire Council’s Access to Work scheme is designed to help new workers sustain their employment, with funds available to help with childcare and travel costs in the first few weeks.

Council bosses are urging those who could access the fund to speak with their Job Centre advisor.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Getting into work is one of the best things that anyone can do for their prospects, their health and their lifestyle, and we are determined to break down the barriers that make it difficult for people to start a job.

“The Access to Work fund will make a huge difference to those who find childcare and travel costs a real problem in the first working month.

“It will help to tackle poverty and make sure people throughout our communities get a fair chance at a more prosperous future.”

The fund can be used to help any unemployed resident of Renfrewshire from 16 – 64 years old seeking to return to work after receiving out of work benefits for at least four weeks.

Access to Work is funded by Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty programme, a £6million commitment to addressing the causes and effects of poverty on individuals, families and communities throughout Renfrewshire.

Anyone seeking more information about the Access to Work fund should speak first with their Job Centre advisor.

More information about the fund is also available at

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The Glasgow City Region City Deal is investing £274m in three major infrastructure projects in Renfrewshire. These will bring great economic benefits and job opportunities and it is important that residents are aware of the plans and have a say in building their successful futures.

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Three community events are taking place in Renfrew, Paisley and at Intu Braehead on 17, 18 and 19 May 2016. Residents are invited to see the plans, meet the City Deal team and express their views on these exciting developments.

Councillor Mark MacMillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said, “Renfrewshire’s communities stand to gain a tremendous amount from our three City Deal projects. They will help our economy to grow and create employment, improve our access to further work and leisure opportunities, and make Renfrewshire home to three modern, innovative, landmark projects.

“It is important that communities are part of this progress. I’d urge anyone with an interest these new developments to come along to our events, see what’s planned, and express their views on how the projects will work best for them.”

The £78m Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project will build a new bridge across the Clyde linking Renfrew and Yoker. The project also includes new roads to improve traffic flow in Renfrew and to increase accessibility to new travel and employment opportunities. It will also create potential for business growth, new jobs and new residential developments.

The Renfrew crossing will be an exciting addition to the Clyde – and its only opening road bridge.  Residents with an interest in this new piece of engineering – and in how it will improve life in Renfrew – can see plans and discuss the project with the City Deal Team at the community events.

The Glasgow Airport Investment Area (GAIA) project will improve connections between the Westway, Inchinnan and Airport Business Parks, with plans for two new bridges across the White Cart and a new ‘Gateway Route’ between Paisley Town Centre and the Airport.

The £51.39m investment is expected to generate business growth, attract inward investment and support the airport’s growth. The GAIA underlines Renfrewshire’s pivotal role in the City Region’s economy but, above all, it will create conditions for business growth and employment opportunities.

Residents with an interest in this modern and enterprising project are invited to come along to a community event where the plans will be on display and the team can listen to your views.

The third City Deal investment in Renfrewshire is in the £144m Airport Access Project (AAP); a new fixed link connection between Glasgow Central, Paisley Gilmour Street Station and the airport. This will support the airport’s continuing success with an efficient, fast and modern transport option for air travellers and airport employees.

The AAP is at an earlier development stage than the other projects but visitors to the community events will be able to see plans and discuss the new link with the project’s managers.

The City Deal Team, with details of current plans and proposals will be in Renfrew Town Hall on Tuesday 17 May, at Paisley Town Hall on Wednesday 18 May and at Intu Braehead on Thursday 19 May between 10 am and 7pm.

You can also find out more about the Glasgow City Region City Deal and its investment in Renfrewshire at

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Community groups, voluntary organisations and communities from across Renfrewshire will be able to find out about opportunities provided by Paisley’s 2021 UK City of Culture bid at a special evening event at Paisley Town Hall on 9 May from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.

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The event is the second of a series of community planning conferences organised by Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership taking place between now and the end of June.

The focus of the conference will be on how the culture bid can provide a platform for local groups and charities to achieve their goals.

Representatives from charities, voluntary organisations, community groups and local businesses across Renfrewshire are encouraged to attend.

Delegates will get the chance to hear from guest speakers about opportunities for community groups and take part in discussion groups and workshops.

Jean Cameron, director of Paisley’s UK City of Culture bid, said: “The 2021 UK City of Culture bid will provide many opportunities for communities across the whole of Renfrewshire, not only those that are Paisley-based.

“I would urge local community members and organisations to come along and find out how they can benefit their own organisation at the same time as backing Paisley’s bid.”

Anyone who would like to attend should call 0141 618 4168 (9.30am – 4.00pm, Monday to Friday) or email

To book a place online, go to:

Further details of these and other community planning conferences running in May and June can be found on the Renfrewshire community planning website

Further information about Paisley’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2021 can be found at





Airport reports busiest March on record  – up 9% on previous year

Glasgow Airport recorded its busiest March on record after more than 660,000 passengers travelled through its doors during the month, representing an increase of 9% on the same period last year.

The airport also created history after it exceeded 8.9 million passengers during a rolling 12 month period for the first time ever. The numbers ensure the airport remains on course to exceed nine million passengers during what is its 50th anniversary year.

International traffic grew by 11% due to strong demand on European routes to Berlin, Dusseldorf and Bucharest.  Aer Lingus also added capacity on its Dublin service and the airport welcomed Air France on board which launched its new service to its hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle.

Domestic traffic increased by 7.2% with Flybe, EasyJet and Loganair all adding extra capacity on services. British Airways and Ryanair also reported strong demand for their London services.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport said: “Our performance during the first quarter of 2016 has ensured we’ve made what is our busiest ever start to a year. The fact we have achieved this in our 50th anniversary year makes it all the more pleasing.

“Our passenger numbers continue to benefit from Glasgow’s success in attracting large scale events, such as the World Irish Dancing Championships which saw over 5,000 competitors from 20 different countries descend on the city last month.

“We have also continued to strengthen our route network, particularly our links with major European cities, and the addition of one of the world’s major flag carriers, Air France, was a significant achievement. Providing a greater choice of direct routes not only opens up a host of new markets for Scottish passengers, it ensures Scotland is more accessible for the growing number of tourists who continue to visit our shores.”







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A new Renfrewshire Council support package that will remove barriers to work by helping job seekers with initial transport and childcare costs is about to be launched.


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The Access to Work fund will bridge the gap currently faced by many in being unable to pay for the initial costs of childcare and travel to take on a job. It will be available from April 1.

The fund will be delivered through the council’s successful economic development programme ‘Invest in Renfrewshire’ and will give more people the opportunity to access work,

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council Leader, said: “We are committed to targeting resources towards innovative programmes that make a difference to our economy and the lives of people living in poverty – like our Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

“Our Tackling Poverty Fund has enabled us to expand our successful programmes while also taking forward new approaches. Creation of the new Access to Work fund is another key part of that and will bring Renfrewshire social and economic benefits.

“The Access to Work Fund will remove the unfair obstacles that currently prevent many people from being able to start a job. Having initial costs to meet, but not yet having a first pay cheque to cover travel and childcare fees, is a vicious circle. This was specifically highlighted by the Renfrewshire Tackling Poverty Commission and is why Access to Work is being funded from our £6m Tackling Poverty response.

“I am proud this fund is about to be launched to remove barriers, offer immediate support and open up opportunities for more people.”

To be eligible for funding you need to have been out of work and claiming benefit for at least 4 weeks. To apply to the Access to Work Fund, please speak to your local Jobcentre Plus Advisor or call Invest in Renfrewshire on 0300 300 1180 for more information.

Invest in Renfrewshire is calling on new creative local businesses to join its InCube community by entering a competition that could win them up to a year’s intensive support.

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From a business base in Paisley High Street, InCube enterprises enjoy ongoing advice and support. This is designed to help them develop their products and reach high street, online and export customers. They also get access to a range of financial and business skills training from experts and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs can expect to be InCube for up to a year where it is rent-free, rates-free and worry- free, and gives them the opportunity to focus on building their businesses.

This year’s InCube businesses cite the practical support, bespoke premises and sense of community as the chief benefits to being part of the Incubator.

The competition for the next generation of ‘InCubers’ was announced at a Bloggers’ evening at the InCube Shop in Paisley’s Gilmour Street. The shop shone brightly in the websphere when lifestyle bloggers gathered to view and review the store’s unique range of designer and craft wares.

The shop is the retail arm of the business incubator and carries: textiles by designers Amy McGregor and Siobhan Grey; fine art from; bridal accessories from Bella Brilla, hats by Pea Cooper and exclusive children’s wear from Treetops. Live music on the night was provided by Phil Hoolahan whose innovative guitar slides are already popular with musicians.

To advertise your business and showcase your business at conferences, exhibitions etc you should think about a pop up banner stand, for more click here.

Renfrewshire entrepreneurs ready to take the next enterprising step can find out more about InCube, and apply to win a place at Applications close on 25 April.

Renfrewshire Council has expanded a unique and successful family support programme, as its ambitious £6m Tackling Poverty Fund continues to deliver on-the-ground improvements for communities.


A £1m investment from the fund has now set up three new Families First core teams in Gallowhill, Foxbar and Johnstone.

They join the successful Families First approach that’s already delivering vital early years and family support services in Ferguslie and Linwood – bringing the total number of teams in Renfrewshire up to five.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Renfrewshire’s Convener for Education and Children, said: “Our ambitious Tackling Poverty Fund has allowed us to invest in a far-reaching package that has expanded proven approaches and launched new interventions to improve life chances for children.

“Families First is Renfrewshire’s pioneering family support programme which created core teams in two communities in 2013 to help families build better futures for their children. It has been independently evaluated by Glasgow University as ‘overwhelmingly positive’, and is also being held up as a national example of an approach to follow.

“All our children deserve the same opportunities and we know the valuable impact our Families First teams have had for families in Linwood and Ferguslie – so I am extremely proud this has been extended to Foxbar, Gallowhill and Johnstone.”

The new core team locations and their team leads are:
• Herriot Primary School in Foxbar: Alexandrina Sweeten
• Gallowhill Primary School in Gallowhill: Pamela McKechan
• Auchenlodment Primary School in Johnstone: Kelly McGarvey

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Children Policy Board, has joined staff and pupils at a sod-cutting ceremony on the grounds of the new St Fergus’ Primary, which is being built next to the existing school building on Blackstoun Road, Paisley.

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The work is part of Renfrewshire Council’s massive £52million investment programme to improve local primary schools, and pre-5 and additional support needs education.

The single story building will accommodate 175 pupils and is scheduled to open in spring 2017.

The new school will feature a mix of formal and informal teaching spaces along with opportunities for outdoor learning.

The new St Fergus’ Primary has been jointly funded by Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of the council’s Education and Children Policy Board, said: “Our overall aim for our school investment programme is to give children the best environment to learn and develop.

“That will certainly be the case with the new St Fergus’ Primary.

“Speaking to staff, pupils and the wider school community, there is a real sense of excitement at the possibilities that will be made available through a new learning environment.”

Minister for Learning Alasdair Allan said: “We are working hard to improve educational standards across Scotland, to make sure every child has the ability to achieve their potential. Part of that is ensuring children have the right physical environment to learn in, and I’m delighted to see work is now beginning on this state of the art school.

“Not only will this new school give children new opportunities to learn in different ways, but the construction of a new, modern building will bring benefits to the whole community.”

The school community of St Fergus’ Primary is to have a permanent reminder of its heritage when it moves to a new school building in spring 2017.


Work has started on the construction of the new school and the building will feature a stained glass panel which was chosen after a design competition open to all pupils.

Mhairi McDonald, head teacher of St Fergus’ Primary, said: “All the children took part and they were proud and excited that they were playing their part in making a connection between the current and the new school building.”

The winning design was illustrated by Jude Ralston, 11, whose design illustrated St Fergus, with the symbol of a dove above his head.

This represents the school’s ethos that pupils should value the gifts given by God and that they should use them well through life.

The competition runners up were Nathan McLeay, 6, and Courtney Wallace, 8.

The winning designs were chosen by Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, and Bishop John Keenan of the Diocese of Paisley.

Councillor Henry said: “St Fergus’ Primary School is a landmark within the Ferguslie Park area. Many people of different generations have fond memories and a strong connection with the current building.

“The panel, which will feature in the reception area, will be a prominent symbol of the school’s heritage.

“I would commend all the children who took part in the competition as the standard was very high.”

Bishop John Keenan said: “Living in Ferguslie myself, it has been impossible not to get caught up in the excitement which the plans for the new school building are creating.

“St Fergus’ Primary School has been a much loved focus of local community life and has formed not just today’s children but their parents and grandparents.

“When the children go into the new school and see St Fergus waiting on them, the people of Ferguslie will know they have something of the old school to recognise, welcome them and see their very own patron saint uniting generations and leading them confidently into a bright future.”

Johnstone’s £14.5m town hall has had international recognition at a prestigious architectural awards ceremony featuring projects from across the globe.

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The building – which was officially opened in May last year – was Commended at the Civic Trust Awards in London, which aim to showcase the very best in architecture, design, planning, landscape and public art.

Projects also honoured at the ceremony – the longest-standing built environment awards scheme in Europe – included buildings from the across the UK as well as USA, Canada, Spain, Italy and Belgium.

Johnstone Town Hall was one of only seven Scottish entries among the 58 which were honoured on the night.

The striking glass-fronted building has changed the face of Johnstone, and was taken forward as part of Renfrewshire Council’s commitment to the regeneration of the town.

It was designed around an internal ‘high street’ theme and is home to modern community facilities including a library, theatre/conference space, ceremony suite, coffee shop, meeting spaces and a dance studio.

The town hall also offers many council services under one roof, including a customer service centre, offices for housing and social work staff, and AdviceWorks. Police Scotland and Macmillan Cancer Support are also based in the building.

The building was designed to reflect Johnstone’s industrial heritage and contains specially-commissioned artwork. The design was informed by consultation with local resident groups.

The town hall was designed by Renfrewshire Council and Holmes Miller and built by BAM Construction for clients Hub West Scotland and the council.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “This ceremony is there to honour the very best architecture from across the UK and beyond – so it is pleasing to see one of ours sitting in such esteemed company.

“Over the past year it has won a string of awards but for a building we helped design to be recognised among international efforts is testament to the quality of the work.

“The new Johnstone Town Hall was years in the planning as we were determined to get it right and create a facility which could sit at the heart of life in the town for generations to come.

“We made a significant financial commitment to the project as we wanted it to help act as a catalyst for other development in the town.

“But ultimately the building was designed for the people of Johnstone to make their own and over the past year it has been great to see that happening.”

Johnstone Town Hall is available for hire for a wide range of events and activities including weddings, meetings and conferencing, social events and performances.

Further information can be found at or by calling 0300 300 1210.

More information about the awards can be found at

Plans for a multi-million pound transformation of Paisley town centre have taken a step closer after council bosses were handed a £1m funding boost.

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Renfrewshire Council wants to run a Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme to improve the built environment across the town centre over the next five years.

The planned £4m programme would focus on a defined area covering the west end of the High Street, plus New Street and Shuttle Street, and would build on the good work achieved by a similar scheme just finished on Causeyside Street.

The £1m funding confirmed from Historic Environment Scotland – the Scottish Government’s conservation arm – will pay for part of the proposed scheme covering repairs to historic buildings.

But council bosses are waiting to hear if they have secured the full £2m funding earmarked by the Heritage Lottery Fund to pay for further building improvements and other activity designed to boost the local economy.

Should they get the green light on the lottery money, the scheme – which also includes a contribution from Renfrewshire Council – would kick off later this year.

A series of priority buildings have already been identified for repairs and restoration, while there would also be a programme of community activity designed to complement Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Last year the council received initial funding of £113,000 from the Heritage Lottery Funding which allowed them to develop detailed plans for the full scheme but also to pay for necessary repairs to the stone walls surrounding Dunn Square.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Paisley’s architectural heritage is among the finest in Scotland – and it is vitally important we keep it looking at its best for future generations.

“With the help of our partners at the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland, we did some great work with the now-completed THI/CARS scheme which has transformed the area around Causeyside Street.

“That included improvements to the public realm, restoration and repairs to tenements and to Paisley Arts Centre, and part-funded a number of new shopfronts.

“If full funding is secured for this new scheme, we will be able to spread the same benefits throughout an adjacent area of the town centre which needs a boost

“In doing so we will hopefully bring a few vacant buildings back into use, which should help bring more people into the town and benefit the local economy.

“And the programme of community activity could be starting at the perfect time, just as Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture is gathering pace.”

Martin Fairley, Head of Investment, Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer £1m to Paisley as part of our Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme.

“As the name suggests, the aim of the scheme is to regenerate areas of historical interest, by restoring and preserving its historic buildings.

“This not only helps that area retain its unique identity but creates a number of jobs and training opportunities, and enhances the tourist potential.

“So, ultimately the aim is to create a sustainable boost for the economy and the improvement and preservation of the built environment.

“This is the second such award we have made to Paisley through the CARS scheme, after a grant of £730k was given in 2009.”

Paisley town centre’s ongoing regeneration has taken another exciting step forward with a deal lined up for more new flats on the site of the former Arnotts store.


Link Group has announced plans for a proposed affordable housing development of 24 flats on Smithhills Street.

Subject to planning consents, the empty department store buildings sandwiched between the Methodist Central Hall and the Tile Bar would be demolished, with new flats potentially built in their place to open in 2018.

This is the latest step in a long-term masterplan to bring the Arnotts site – owned by a joint-venture company made up of Renfrewshire Council and Park Lane Developments – back into use.

Since 2014, that has seen Link build 31 new homes on Lawn Street and Gauze Street, while Park Lane has overseen 11 new luxury apartments in the listed frontage on Gauze Street, all of which are now sold out.

Work is ongoing on a new restaurant on the ground floor – called Pendulum – to be opened later this year by the Cardosi family, who run several other local eateries.

The deal to acquire the site will be voted on when the board of Link Group meets later this month.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “For a decade the former Arnotts store was the most prominent and high-profile gap site in the town centre, and an all-too-visible sign of Paisley’s retail decline.

“This planned development will see a third phase of that site brought back into use –cementing its position as a visible sign of the town’s centre’s gradual rebirth.

“Like many residents, I have fond memories of the old department store – but we all have to accept the retail world has fundamentally changed since then, and Paisley town centre needs to move forward not back.

“By helping bring new people into the town centre to live, we are bringing new footfall into the town centre for existing retailers and other businesses.

“And there are visible signs of progress all about us, via council and private sector investment alike – more new flats on Mill Street, the Russell Institute being brought back into use, the Piazza investing more than £1m on car park improvements, and a new museum store to open on the High Street next year.

“With all of this happening as the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 gathers pace, we can see exciting times lie ahead for Paisley town centre.”

Link Group chief executive Craig Sanderson added: “We are delighted to continue to be invited by Renfrewshire Council to contribute to the regeneration of Paisley town centre and to increase the supply of affordable new homes.

“This is the latest proposal in a series of projects demonstrating the effective working relationship Link has with the council.”