Paisley and Renfrewshire Newsletter

A popular Bishopton restaurant and a Paisley-based international corporate training company are among 123 businesses to have benefited so far from a tailored Renfrewshire Council Coronavirus support fund.

More than £480,000 has been awarded through Renfrewshire Council’s Renfrewshire Coronavirus Business Support Fund helping businesses address the immediate impact of the pandemic.

It adds to around 6,000 grants – totalling £44million of Scottish Government funding – distributed by the Council to help people self-employed and businesses across a wide range of sectors since the outset of the pandemic.

The Council’s own support fund was created after consultation with 500 local companies, offering loans and match-funded grants to help with short-term cashflow, meet changed objectives and adapt commercial premises.

For Brian Cunningham, co-owner of Angelini’s Italian restaurant in Bishopton, an adaptation grant proved vital in enabling them to keep trading.

He said: “We needed to adapt the layout as it was too small to accommodate enough customers sitting in and manage takeaway collections, while meeting the Covid guidelines.  The Council grant allowed us to remove a wall and put down flooring which opened up our restaurant, and this worked well together with all the appropriate safety measures which our customers love.

“We would not have been able to trade efficiently if this grant wasn’t received so it was most welcome at that time as financially every penny counted in our quest to help Angelini’s survive the pandemic whilst keeping up to 15 staff in work.

“We appreciate all the support the government and local authority have provided us to date and fingers crossed we will come out the back of this situation stronger than when it hit us.”

Another business supported through the Council fund is RSVP Design, who benefited from a resilience grant to develop a range of online executive training activities.

First established in 2003, the company exports games and puzzles to business schools, HR departments and training consultant customers worldwide from its Abbey Mill Business Centre offices, with 70% of products delivered overseas to the USA, Europe and Asia.

Managing Director Graham Cook, from Brookfield, said: “We had our best year in 2019, but then the impact of Coronavirus has been dramatic. Our products are designed for people getting together for face-to-face training and by March 2020 we went to 10% of our sales volume.

“Everyone apart from myself was on furlough and sadly we had to let two of our team go, drawing down from a Bounce Back loan to keep the business going.

“We were contacted by customers about online versions of our products, so we looked into this and managed to get our first commercial product launched as early as April. We then found not having our own software platform was creating access issues with some of our larger customers, so we started investing in a new platform, with the grant funding from Renfrewshire Council helping towards this.

“It was very easy to apply for and was quickly turned around, with payment made within a couple of days of our first claim and we would not be operating without this support. We are now starting post COVID planning, we know the next period will be very hard, but we will continue to invest and create more online products, giving us a potential new income stream.”

The fund is open now for online applications on the Council website where details of all available support is set out.

Next week, the second phase of the Discretionary Business Grant will be open for applications, supporting small and microbusinesses who are experiencing the most disruption but have been ineligible for other grant support.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “I am acutely aware of the immense pressure and challenge the many brilliant businesses in Renfrewshire continue to face as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“These businesses are run by local people, our neighbours, friends and family, providing important services, hospitality and local jobs and I want them to know that the Council continues to do everything it can to support them at this tough time.

“Financial support has been critical in helping businesses survive and our teams are working tirelessly to ensure the Council and government funds reach businesses as quickly as possible, while our business advisers are on hand to provide specialist support and direct business owners to available support.

“We established our own fund listening to what our business community told us could make the greatest impact and I’m pleased to hear that it is being well received. The creation of the discretionary grant is also making a difference locally, targeting assistance to people self-employed and local traders who may have been ineligible for other grant assistance.

“We continue to work with the Scottish Government and local partners to support Renfrewshire businesses, enabling them to innovate, adapt and become more resilient, working to provide the right business and funding support to ensure not only their survival, but their future development and growth.”

Full details on available support for local businesses is detailed on the Council website at: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-businesses

The Council’s inhouse Business Gateway team is available to provide support and assistance by calling 0141 530 2406 or emailing renfrewshire@bgateway.com.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron has shared a message remembering those who have lost their lives to suicide.

Renfrewshire’s annual memorial service, hosted by support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), was unable to go ahead this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, however Provost Cameron visited the memorial tree last month to switch on the lights and lay flowers in memory of those who have been lost.

The memorial tree outside Renfrewshire House was first dedicated in 2010 as a permanent memorial to those who have died through suicide and is believed to have been the first of its kind in Scotland.

Provost Cameron, who helped establish the tree, said: “The memorial service is extremely important to members of the local community and I am sorry we are unable to gather in person this year.

“We hope that as restrictions begin to ease we will be able to distribute the commemorative purple hearts at locations in the community so those who wish to, can collect one, and visit the tree to leave their messages at a time of their choosing. In the meantime, if you would like us to place a heart on your behalf you can get in touch with your message.

“Suicide is still very much a taboo subject and, given the stresses of the Covid19 pandemic, it is more important now than ever before, to not only provide support to those who have been affected by suicide, but also to highlight the help that is available for those who are struggling with their own mental health.

“Please get in touch with someone if you are finding things difficult right now. You don’t need to suffer in silence.”

If you wish a heart to be placed on the tree, you can send your message by email to chooselife.sw@renfrewshire.gov.uk  or by text to 07903 072130.

If you are feeling suicidal, or you know someone that might be then please call one of the helpline numbers: Samaritan’s 116 123, Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87, RAMH First Crisis 0141 849 90 90 or 0800 221 8929.

Community groups in Renfrewshire are set for a £107,000 windfall as councillors prepare to consider the latest applications to the Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.

Four projects are set to go in front of councillors which aim to improve play and exercise opportunities for young people, families, and adults alike.

An investment of £50,000 in Glencoats Park would facilitate phase 2 of its transformation which is being led by the award-winning Pals of the Privies volunteer group.

A 2.8 metre tower with multiple play options, a cantilever swing and outdoor gym equipment would be installed to attract teenagers and adults, with phase 1 of the project having already provided a variety of play equipment for young children and families.

Barwood Park in Erskine could benefit from £40,000 which would be used to provide new equipment for young people to assist their play and learning, while a zip slide would be installed too if Erskine Outdoor Play and Leisure’s application is approved.

Multi-use play equipment would be introduced to Dunvegan Park in Elderslie as the Community Council aims to provide equipment for young people aged 6 to 12, while Spateston TARA have applied for £7,000 to replace the well-used goalposts in the local park as the first step of a wider project to transform the park in the near future.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “This fund has already delivered some outstanding projects across Renfrewshire which have greatly enhanced the play opportunities for young people and families, as well as making improvements to our parks and open spaces which during these current times have become so important to us all.

“I look forward to considering the latest set of applications to this innovative fund at the next board meeting on 16 March.”

The £1.87milllion fund aims to let communities change the areas where they live for the better by supporting them with advice and investment to improve underused or neglected green spaces and take forward projects which will strengthen the character, identity and heritage of their local community.

To ensure that funding can be allocated appropriately, all interested groups and individuals are asked to submit their applications by 31 March 2021, after which viable projects will be prioritised.

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

Residents of Gallowhill in Paisley have been thanked as the results of a one-week community testing blitz designed to help drive down rates of Covid19 in the area are revealed.

A mobile testing unit was sited in the area’s Montgomery Road for one week from Wednesday 25 February, and all residents of the area without symptoms of the virus invited to come along.

Testing was carried out by the Scottish Ambulance Service, supported by Renfrewshire Council, and the results were as follows:

– 880 people attended the unit, with 38 positive tests (4.3%)

– 657 of attendees were asymptomatic and 12 of them tested positive (1.83%)

– 223 people who were symptomatic attended and 26 of them were positive (11.7%).

And local ward member and deputy leader of Renfrewshire Council Jim Paterson said: “Our thanks go out to all residents of Gallowhill who came along to get a test – by doing so they helped protect their loved ones and community.

“We were very pleased with the turnout – which compares well to other sites in other areas of the country – and which shows the community spirit I already knew existed in the area.

“Sadly Gallowhill has had stubbornly-high rates of Covid19 in recent weeks – so we brought the mobile test unit here to help drive those down.

“Not everyone who has Covid19 shows symptoms and the fact the testing caught 12 people who could have been passing it on to those around them without knowing made it worthwhile.

“Overall, the team running it learned some very valuable lessons which will help them roll out more community testing in other parts of Renfrewshire in the weeks ahead.”

The Gallowhill site was promoted to local residents who were asymptomatic – but as it was open for anyone to book on the UK Government’s website, it was also used by a large number of people with symptoms for whom this will have been the closest site.

The test in use was the PCR test, which is seen as the gold-standard of tests and requires laboratory analysis, and is the same test used at the large government-run sites, such as at Glasgow Airport.

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A £79.5million construction contract to build the first opening road bridge over the River Clyde and create new connections into Scotland’s manufacturing innovation district has been approved for award.

Councillors from Renfrewshire Council’s Finance board have agreed to award the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside contract to civil engineering specialists, GRAHAM.

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The project is jointly funded by the UK and Scottish Governments through the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal. It will support around 700 jobs during its construction and generate hundreds of subcontract and supplier opportunities.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are delighted to have approved the awarding of this contract and look forward to working with civil engineering specialists GRAHAM and its project partners on what is a hugely significant project for Renfrewshire, the Glasgow City Region and indeed Scotland.

“We are excited by its potential in creating a vibrant attractive waterfront and connecting communities to their work, to hospitals and to education. Short-term, it will accelerate economic recovery from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic by creating jobs and boosting opportunities for suppliers and in the long-term, the new infrastructure opens up access to development opportunities on both sides of the Clyde and will ensure the success of AMIDS, cementing Renfrewshire’s position as the home of manufacturing innovation in Scotland.”

A twin-leaf swing bridge for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians from Renfrew to the boundary between Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire forms the centrepiece of the project.

All planning consent is in place and construction is scheduled to start in Spring and take three years to complete, with the contract to be finalised later this month following conclusion of the procurement process.

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There’s also riverside walking and cycling routes and a new road through Renfrew connecting the bridge to the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) being developed by the Council in collaboration with Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise.

Economic estimates in the final business case published last month found the waterfront project could lead to 1,400 permanent posts and 950 temporary construction roles from the resultant £230million in private sector investment expected to be attracted to development sites on both sides of the Clyde over the coming years.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson said: “Across Scotland we have so far committed more than £1.9billion over the next 10 to 20 years to City Region and Growth Deals and additional investments. It’s great to see such significant progress in delivering this transformative project, which will create jobs, apprenticeships, and new connections into the manufacturing innovation district.

Artist impression aerial view of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland

“The Scottish Government is a full partner in the Glasgow City Region City Deal, contributing £500 million over 20 years. The investment in this project through the Deal will contribute to the region’s economic recovery by creating jobs and providing the commercial infrastructure to support and attract businesses to Glasgow and the surrounding areas. It also encourages active travel supporting walking and cycling infrastructure in the area.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said: “This ambitious project will support jobs and bolster the Clyde area as a great place to live, work and do business. The UK Government is investing billions of pounds and working with partners across Scotland to build back better from the pandemic and deliver for local communities. Across Scotland we are investing more than £1.5billion into City Region and Growth Deal projects.”

The contract approval follows an extensive procurement process over the last two years, which considered in depth the technical expertise, carbon reduction activities, fair work practises and all the knowledge and experience required to deliver the project.

Civil engineering contractor GRAHAM, who have a waterfront office in Renfrewshire at Braehead, will deliver the main construction and provide more than 100 community benefits including jobs, apprenticeships, and community volunteering activities.

Leo Martin, Managing Director for GRAHAM’s Civil Engineering division, said: “We’re delighted to have been chosen to deliver the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project, including the River Clyde bridge, with our design partners Ramboll and Amey.

“The new bridge will provide a gateway to the area’s fast-growing manufacturing innovation district and help better connect communities with significant employment and development opportunities for what will be a transformational project for the Renfrewshire and Glasgow City regions.

“GRAHAM are specialists in delivering complex civil engineering projects and our innovative construction solution will minimise the carbon impact, while we will utilise our knowledge and experience from previous landmark bridge construction and installations such as the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin and Carpenters Land Bridge in Stratford to ensure this key infrastructure scheme is completed to the highest standards, while ensuring we deliver a sustainable legacy and positive impact.”

Further Glasgow City Region City Deal funding is supporting Renfrewshire Council as it converts a 52-hectare site next to Glasgow Airport into a research and development centre for advanced manufacturing.

Construction of the underpinning infrastructure is scheduled for completion this year and plans are progressing for a specialist carbon reducing district heating network, campus square and riverside green spaces.

The district has already attracted £185million in infrastructure, research, innovation and skills facilities, with construction started on both the flagship National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) headquarters facility and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, has touched down at the adjacent Westway Business Park to research metallic component manufacturing in partnership with experts from the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre – part of the NMIS group. Westway is also home to another of the NMIS Group’s specialist technology centres, the Lightweight Manufacturing Centre.

John Reid, Chief Executive Officer of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland Group, said: “The National Manufacturing Institute Scotland is the flagship for the future of manufacturing in the country, bringing together companies and people from across the manufacturing and engineering community in Scotland, the UK and beyond. The development of AMIDS and the ongoing investment in vital transport infrastructure is central to us transforming productivity levels of our manufacturing businesses, making them more competitive and boosting the skills of our current and future workforces.”

Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, said: “We’re delighted to be part of AMIDS, placing the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre at the heart of advanced manufacturing in Scotland. The new Centre will be world-leading and attracting world-class people is key to its success. This investment in infrastructure will enable vital transport links to the city region, attracting both talent and potential partners who want to locate to an internationally recognised innovation area.” 

Logo Ogar Garage

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Residents are set to benefit from a £112.98million investment in housing in Renfrewshire over the next three years.
Renfrewshire’s Housing Capital Investment Plan for 2021/22 to 2023/24 will focus on new-build housing, regeneration and renewal, and maintenance of existing council homes.

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The multi-million pound plan will invest £20.40million in 2021/22, £42.83million in 2022/23 and £49.75million in 2023/24 in a range of programmes which will improve Council housing, create new-build developments, and ensure all Council homes in Renfrewshire meet both the Scottish Housing Quality Standard and the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing.

The first year of the programme includes plans to build 101 new homes in Tannahill in Ferguslie, Paisley and 39 houses in Auchengreoch Road, South West Johnstone, with work expected to begin on both projects shortly.

Further developments are planned for Gallowhill and Foxbar, where around 100 new homes will be built in total. Provision is also included for additional new-build projects at a later stage of the programme.

This investment builds on the development of 95 homes in Johnstone Castle and 80 houses in Bishopton. Both developments were delayed due to Covid-19, but Bishopton is now finished and Johnstone Castle is nearing completion.

The plan also includes funding for planned investment programmes which will focus on improving the external fabric of Council homes, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, improved electrical wiring and heating systems, investment in laundrettes and disabled adaptations, and improvements to multi-storey flats and sheltered housing.

Smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms will also be upgraded as part of a programme to ensure they meet the Scottish Government’s new standards which come into effect in February 2022.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “This investment reinforces our commitment to provide high-quality, affordable, energy-efficient housing that will make people want to come and live and work in Renfrewshire.

“The plan will continue our investment in improving our existing council housing while also creating new-build developments which meet modern-day needs and expectations.

“We are committed to helping Renfrewshire thrive as we emerge from this pandemic and this multi-million investment will help us do that by transforming our existing council homes and supporting our regeneration plans for the region.”

The investment plan was approved at a special Budget meeting today where councillors also agreed to a 1.5% increase in council housing rent following a consultation with tenants.

The plan’s approval follows the announcement of the council’s Regeneration and Renewal Plan in December 2020, which will invest at least £100million in council housing over the next 10 years and create 300 new homes in Renfrewshire during its first phase.

For more information on housing in Renfrewshire, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/housing.

Back Sneddon Street

DP Group are delighted to announce the completion of brand new 4 storey conversion of twelve 2 & 3 bedroom unfurnished flats that are now available to the rental marketThe flats are ideally situated in the town centre directly across from Paisley Gilmour Street (4th busiest station in Scotland) with regular trains to Glasgow City Centre and beyond and minutes from Glasgow Airport.  Prices from £550pcm to £695pcm (listed on Rightmove).

Back Sneddon Street

 

Benefits include private car parking, brand new kitchens, bathrooms, floor coverings, double glazing, gas central heating and a lift to all floors.

 

Paisley provides excellent access to the M8 motorway network to commute to the central belt and destinations further afield.  There are excellent bars, restaurants and shops (when Covid is over!) and not to mention the stunning historial buildings right on your doorstep.

 

For more details or to arrange a viewing please give us a call on 0141 843 4211.

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A budget which delivers a Council Tax freeze and helps everyone in Renfrewshire recover from the profound impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has been agreed by councillors today (Thursday 4 March 2021).

The £449.8million budget prioritises people’s wellbeing with targeted support for those communities most affected by Covid-19.

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It also confirms continuation of the £443.5million capital investment programme well underway across Renfrewshire, which includes record-level spending on roads and paths investment and town centre regeneration.

And there’s a programme of investment to enhance the safe enjoyment of popular outdoor local spaces, additional funding for adult social care, new schemes for local businesses and an increase to school facility funds.

Some £2.7million will tackle inequalities and alleviate household financial hardship, building on pioneering programmes well underway tackling poverty and improving the lives of people impacted by drug and alcohol addiction.

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Full details are being developed in collaboration with community groups and organisations across Renfrewshire to provide financial support and advice, access to digital services, support physical and mental wellbeing and help children, young people and families.

Confirmed initial investments will include a £250,000 boost in funding for children and young people’s mental health, £180,000 support for care experienced young people and £200,000 for the rollout of a book gifting programme for all 2 to 5-year-old children in Renfrewshire.

There’s also £100,000 for Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau to provide employment and redundancy rights advice, the creation of a specialist team advocating for vulnerable private sector tenants and a £100,000 boost to the fund helping people with housing costs.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “I am indebted to our communities, to healthcare and Council staff who have provided lifeline support to those most in need throughout the past year.

“As we start to see positive signs of emerging from this pandemic, our budget will support Renfrewshire’s recovery and renewal from the profound impact of the last 12 months.

“Freezing Council Tax provides households with some certainty at a time of continued financial challenge for many, while our budget prioritises wellbeing and ensures support reaches those people in our communities who have felt the impacts of the pandemic most keenly.

“We are continuing in our commitment to support the most vulnerable people in Renfrewshire and deliver significant capital investment when our economy needs it most, creating jobs and boosting inclusive growth.”

Also outlined in today’s budget is £1.5million to enhance Council-owned play areas, create better walking routes at Clyde Muirshiel and the Gleniffer Braes and clear paths in urban areas.

Measures to reduce traffic and promote safer walking within rural Renfrewshire villages are also being considered and £250,000 will create safe road crossing facilities on school walking routes.

An increase in funding for school facility improvements will enable a two-year £2.4million investment by the end of March 2022.

Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership will receive £2.3million of additional recurring resources, which will enhance adult social care services, recognise the role of carers and work to secure the Living Wage for all care staff helping Renfrewshire residents.

And adding to the many Council and Scottish Government supports in place for Renfrewshire businesses, £100,000 will be used to create a grant scheme refunding licensed premises for license costs when they have been required by law to close, while hot food businesses will benefit from an incentive scheme supporting a move to bio-degradable packaging.

Councillor John Shaw, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, said: “Our budget tackles inequalities, improves the lives of children and young people, makes the most of our great outdoors, bolsters social care services and helps local communities, ensuring that together, we come out the other side stronger and more resilient than ever.

“Our budget has been carefully considered to maintain the Council’s financial stability over the next few years and by supporting our communities and those who need it most, we want to support everyone to thrive in the months and years ahead.”

The winners of the 2021 Janet Coats Memorial Prize are Gemma Livingstone, an S1 pupil at Castlehead High School (under 18s), and Paisley poet, Morag Smith (over 18s).  
The judging panel for the prestigious prize included poet and playwright and Scots Makar, until 2016, Liz Lochhead: poet, writer, and creative practitioner, Nadine Aisha Jassat: and the current Tannahill Makar, Brian Whittingham.
 
Over 130 poems were submitted in the over 18s category and 27 were submitted in the under 18s category by pupils attending Renfrewshire schools.
 
Inspired by Green Spaces which many people have taken solace in since lockdown, Gemma Livingstone’s poem entitled Breathe is her response to the air becoming cleaner.
 
Morag Smith’s poem – Background Paper 3 (Proposed Housing Developments, Dykebar) – is based on proposed housing development plans on green spaces.  
 
Runners up in the under 18s category:
Emma McCallum (S2, Castlehead High School) – Poem 3
Alisdair Napier (S1, Castlehead High School) – Let That Be Our Green Space
 
Under 18s Highly Commended
Cameron Walker (S2, Castlehead High School) – Green Space Poem
Dawn McGuire (S2, Castlehead High School) – Treehouse
Sarah Fulton (S5, St Andrew’s Academy) – Upon the Hill
 
Runners up in the over 18s category:
Marka – The Gulls’ Lament
Angus Bhattacharya – A Trumpeter 
 
Over 18s Highly Commended
Camilla Bell – Return to Edinburgh
Caroline Burrows – The Only Way Out is to Cycle Through
Sadie Maskery – Where the Wild Things Were

Keira Brown, Co-Producer, Paisley Book Festival said: “The standard of submissions was incredibly high and we want to thank everyone who submitted a poem. It was not an easy task for our sifting team which included members of Renfrewshire Leisure’s Libraries and Arts teams. We are delighted for our winners Gemma Livingstone and Morag Smith. We would also like to thank all the Renfrewshire schools who encouraged their students to write a poem.”
 
For the two winning poems – see Notes for Editors 
 
 
For further information contact: Wendy Niblock PR | wendyjniblock@btinternet.com | 07961 814834