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Renfrewshire Council blocks 300 payday loan sites

Renfrewshire Council has become the latest local authority to block access to payday loan websites from computers in its libraries, offices and community facilities.

Some 300 sites have been blocked as part of the council’s strategy to help local people manage their money and avoid getting into debt.

In addition to banning access to payday loans, Renfrewshire Council has created a 45-strong team to provide local people with advice and assistance about the changes to their benefits and money and debt issues.

council-logoCouncillor Michael Holmes, Depute Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said, “The people who use payday loans are often on low incomes. They don’t have savings to fall back on and they struggle to get affordable credit through more traditional ways of borrowing. Payday lenders charge significantly more interest than banks and credit unions; sucking money out of low-income communities.

“The idea behind payday loans is that people borrow a small amount of money and pay it back quickly. But if these loans aren’t repaid within a month, or if the borrower defaults on their payments, interest charges and penalties can cause the debt to spiral out of control.

“One leading payday lender charges 4,214% interest a year. In 12 months this would turn a £30 payday loan into a £1,264 financial millstone.

“The changes to the benefit system are going to take £22million out of the pockets of the poorest people in Renfrewshire. Many of them will be driven to payday lenders to try and make ends meet.

“The council is determined to use its voice and influence to guide people towards affordable credit such as credit unions and protect them from falling into a high-interest debt trap.”

In addition to high interest charges there can be other pitfalls with payday loans.

Councillor Holmes said, “Payday lenders often set up Continuous Payment Authorities when people take out a loan. This gives them the right to take money out of people’s bank accounts even if it puts them into the red. This can lead to overdraft charges which make the situation even worse. It also means the payday lender can help themselves before the person has paid their essential bills such as rent or power bills.

“Payday loans may be easy to understand. They may be simple to use but with an annual interest rate of an eye-watering 4,214%, they can be very, very difficult to repay.”

Peter Tutton, Consumer Policy Officer at Citizens Advice, said, “The problems we see are where short-term credit becomes long-term and people get into a cycle of debt. Many people using these types of loan can’t afford them in the first place, can’t pay them back and end up by taking out multiple loans.”

The Government is currently considering the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) review of payday loans and the OFT has opened formal investigations into several lenders.

www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

Paisley Library - Paisley Museum

Kids competition at Renfrewshire Libraries

Libraries across Renfrewshire want local kids to help name some friendly little monsters who live among their books!

The ‘Skoobs’ are a bunch of colourful characters designed to attract children to the library.

Kids up to the age of 12 can enter a competition to name the Skoobs. The winner will have their picture taken with a life-size Skoob in May.

Paisley Library - Paisley Museum

Younger kids can pop into the library to help the staff colour in some of the smaller Skoobs.

Franzeska G Ewart will be on the judging panel. Franzeska is a Lochwinnoch-based children’s author who has written over 20 novels.

Franzeska said: “The Skoobs are a great idea – the competition should give children a feeling of involvement with books, and that has to be good!

“It’s a real honour to be judging the competition and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of names we get in.”

Competition entry forms can be picked up from any Renfrewshire Library from 8 April onwards. Completed entries can be posted in the Skoob postbox in each library. The closing date for entries is Saturday 27 April.

More information is available online at www.renfrewshirelibraries.info

ON-X Linwood

Plenty for kids this Easter break

Wondering what will keep the kids busy during the school holidays?

The answer might be a packed programme of sports and leisure activities from Renfrewshire Council.

The Active Renfrewshire team promise Commonwealth Games-themed activities, sports ‘taster’ sessions and outdoor activities such as fishing and cycling. Other less-sporty types might prefer the arts, dance and multimedia activities the StreetStuff team bring with them on the Youth Bus.

The team will be out and about across the towns and villages from 1-14 April.

ON-X Linwood

Details of where they will be and when are available online at www.activerenfrewshire.co.uk or from the Youth & Sport Services Team on 0141 889 1110.

Sports centres operated by Renfrewshire Leisure, including the new On-X Linwood centre, will host Spring Activity Camps during the holidays. These highly-popular camps are available for four or five days and are designed around ‘early risers’ or ‘afternoon kidz’ to suit parents’ needs.

Places can be booked online at www.renfrewshireleisure.com or on 0300 300 0250.

Councillor Jim Harte, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said: “With the weather being so bad lately, I’m sure the kids are raring to get outside and have some fun. But even if it stays as bad, we’ve got plenty going on, from the activity camps to the Youth Bus, which the weather won’t beat!

easter eggs

Easter activities for all the family at Renfrewshire Arts & Museums.

With the Easter Weekend and the school Spring Holidays fast approaching, what better way to keep the kids entertained than by paying a visit to Paisley Museum or catching a performance at Paisley Arts Centre.

Starting on Good Friday and running throughout Easter Weekend, Paisley Museum will embark upon its annual Easter Egg Hunt around the galleries and Observatory with help from Museum mascot ‘Easter Buddy’. Plus, visitors can create their very own masterpiece by decorating an egg to be added to our growing Easter Tree or submit an entry for our new Buddy the Lion drawing competition. All Easter activities at Paisley Museum are FREE. The Museum will be open 11am – 4pm on Good Friday, 30 March and Easter Monday. Open 2pm – 5pm Easter Sunday.

Beyond Easter Weekend, our arts programme at Paisley Arts Centre is jam-packed with eggsellent, boredom-busting performances guaranteed to entertain spring chicks. Easter marks the start of the Puppet Animation Festival, the country’s largest performing arts event especially for children. Paisley Arts Centre will be hosting two events in conjunction with this festival; glow-in-the-dark puppet adventure ‘Oscar and the Deep Sea Pearl’ on April 10, plus a matinee showing of the hand-crafted, animated film ‘A Cat in Paris’ on April 13. Then, for ages 8+, we have the swash-buckling superhero adventure ‘The Mark of Zorro’ swooping on to the stage on April 4.

The Mark of Zorro is on 4 April at 1.30pm. Suitable for ages 8 +, tickets cost £5. Oscar and the Deep Sea Pearl is on 10 April at 2pm. Suitable for ages 4+, tickets cost £4. A Cat in Paris (PG) will be screened 13 Apr at 2pm. Tickets cost £4 (£2 concession). Tickets can be booked online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/onlinebooking or by calling the Box Office on 0300 300 1210.

For further information on our Easter events, future events, exhibitions or shows log on to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts.

 

renfrewshire arts

Something for everyone: Renfrewshire Arts & Museums is delighted to announce its brand new arts programme for Spring 2013.

Spring has arrived early at Renfrewshire Arts & Museums, bringing with it a wonderful selection of dance and drama performances, museum exhibitions, music gigs and film screenings, as well as a superb range of regular activities and classes for everyone from creative kids to talented tea dancers.

renfrewshire artsOur ever popular array of regular classes kicks off proceedings and places can now be booked for Saturday Art Classes, Creative Art Classes, Fashion Design workshops and Club Animate. Run by our fantastic Outreach Team these classes offer kids the chance to make their own movie, devise a stylish outfit or create their very own masterpiece. Plus, firm family favourites Playdays! @ the museum and themed Baby Discos will be back once again.

Movie time begins in March at Paisley Arts Centre bringing you a great selection of family favourites old and new. Disney and animation fans in particular will enjoy Brave and A Cat in Paris on the silver screen.

On the music scene there will be folk performances from Karine Polwart, Heidi Talbot and the critically acclaimed Southern Tenant Folk Union, a little bit of jazz from Loretta Reid and a tribute to the magic of The Eagles courtesy of Scottish group, Hotel California.

On the stage, hit Edinburgh Fringe show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs will test our social conscience with a hilarious and sometimes harrowing tale about our beloved iPhones. Or if it’s a laugh you seek there will be plenty to smile about at How to Make a Killing in Bollywood, I Spy Mrs Peery and new comedy show Hardeep Singh Kohli’s Indian Takeaway.

This season we will once again be embracing Refugee Week to help celebrate diversity in Scotland and raise awareness of refugee issues. A Refugee Week Film curated by the African Association of Communities in Renfrewshire will be screened at Paisley Arts Centre where you will also be able to view Spirit, an inspiring photography project launched in partnership by the Scottish Refugee Council and Streetlevel Photoworks.

Paisley Museum will also play host to a number of not to be missed exhibitions this season, beginning with a beautiful display of some of our star artworks as part of Delightful in February. Plus our Alexander Wilson exhibition promises to delve into the social and natural history behind the famous Paisley poet and highly respected ornithologist.

The Guide for Spring 2013, complete with details of our arts programme in full is now available to collect, for free, from Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre and Paisley Museum or can be downloaded online by visiting www.renfrewshire.gov.uk.

You can also keep up to date with Renfrewshire Arts & Museums by following us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts), logging on to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or sign up to our weekly e-news service by emailing ram.els@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Coats Observatory, Paisley.

Now you can see the stars at any time, thanks to a new digital planetarium at Coats Observatory.

The old and the new combined at Coats Observatory recently when Scotland’s oldest public observatory, managed by Renfrewshire council’s arts and museums service, installed a new £11,500 digital planetarium, purchased from the Thomas Coats bequest, which can be enjoyed by daytime visitors as well as those attending the popular night sky viewings.

The observatory has had a planetarium since the late 1980s, allowing visitors to view a virtual version of the night sky from the comfort of their chair. Recently the planetarium has been upgraded to a state of the art digital version. This can project thousands of stars in an accurate representation of the night sky, can show the constellations by joining up the stars and then add the constellation art, which helps to show what the constellation represents and how its shape is made up from a group of stars.

The projector can also zoom in on many of the objects too faint to be seen except with a powerful telescope. High resolution images of distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters can all be called up at the push of a button, bringing the wonders of the universe much closer to visitors. All of the planets in our Solar System can also be viewed in incredible detail.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said; ‘Coats Observatory is one of Renfrewshire’s most unique buildings, experienced by thousands of visitors each year. The Grubb telescope gives visitors to the night sky viewings an incredible opportunity to view the wonders of the universe, but unfortunately our weather doesn’t always work in our favour. The new digital planetarium will allow visitors to learn about our skies at any time of the year and regardless of the weather. This investment demonstrates Renfrewshire council’s commitment to building on the unique assets of this authority and it is hoped that the new planetarium will encourage even more visitors locally, nationally and internationally.

As well as its ability to display the night sky the digital planetarium can also show films. These full-dome movies immerse the viewer completely as the image is projected onto the entire roof above their heads. The observatory hopes to expand the library of films available and develop a programme of shows which will bring the most up to date astronomical discoveries to our visitors in an interesting and innovative way.

Members of the public are invited to experience this stunning new technology, for free, at the weekly planetarium shows every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm. Booking is essential and can be made in person at Paisley Museum or by phoning 0141 840 6179. Maximum of 15 places.

To find out more about Coats Observatory click here.

 

All Paisley Photographs taken by Alex Kyle find more of photographs on Alex’s Facebook.

whats-on-ren-banner

New Partners: What’s on Renfrewshire

We are always looking at ways to improve our service to our visitors and to do that, aim to partner up with other organisations. We can then provide added value to areas where, as volunteers, we can’t put in the resources and time needed to make those sections as informative as we would like.

whats-on-ren-bannerWe have an excellent events section, however it’s extremely hard to provide up to date events information as it takes time to do the research. What’s on Renfrewshire do an excellent job in finding local events not only in Paisley but in the whole of Renfrewshire and sometimes beyond.

We are happy to announce that our websites will now be working together to update everyone with all the latest events. You can still send your events in to us at paisley.org.uk or alternatively send them direct to What’s on Renfrewshire, who will display the events. Our team of volunteers can turn up to the event, take some photos, write a review and promote it on our social networks, giving double exposure to your event.

We welcome What’s on Renfrewshire to our partnership of sites promoting Paisley and Renfrewshire to the wider public.

What’s on Renfrewshire:

Our single aim at What’s On Renfrewshire is to make sure local events are promoted throughout the community for free! We understand that not every event being held has a budget for marketing, we also know that there are thousands of Renfrewshire residents who want to know what’s going on locally to them and that’s where we come in.

Part of our strategy is to build strong ties with other community groups and organisations allowing us to reach an even wider audience with our event listings, which is why partnering with Paisley.org.uk was a no brainer!

Paisley.org.uk has such a strong presence not just in Paisley but throughout the West of Scotland and beyond and we’re proud to be working alongside Brian and the team to make sure local events get the best coverage they can!

Keep up to date by following and visiting What’s on Renfrewshire via the website www.whatsonrenfrewshire.co.uk or via Facebook www.facebook.com/WhatsOnRenfrewshire

Councillor Iain Mcillan, West PS pupils and The Skoobs

Pupils have monster day out at book giveaway

A group of Paisley schoolchildren got their hands on a pack of free kids’ books – and had a brush with some friendly monsters along the way!

The P1 pupils from West Primary were at the town’s Central Library to each receive a family pack featuring the three titles shortlisted for this year’s Scottish Children’s Book Awards.

The giveaway, courtesy of the Scottish Book Trust, took place as part of Book Week Scotland and has seen Renfrewshire Libraries gift the pack to every local P1 pupil.

And the event also marked the launch of The Skoobs – Renfrewshire Libraries’ new mascots – a group of friendly creatures who live among the books.

The West Primary pupils were treated to a reading from library staff and also met some giant life-size Skoobs.

They were joined by Councillor Ian McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board.

Councillor McMillan said: “One of the council’s key priorities is to equip the area’s children with skills they will need in life, such as a good level of literacy.

“Getting them interested in reading at an early age is a key part of that, and we are grateful to the Scottish Book Trust for enabling us to give away these great books.

“Renfrewshire Libraries have loads for children of all ages, such as a wide selection of books, a range of computer equipment, and regular events.

“If they don’t already do so, I would encourage pupils, parents and teachers to find out what their local library has to offer.”

Throughout November, any Primary One classes visiting a local library have received a free joining pack for each child.

This contains an ‘I love my library’ fluorescent bag, a leaflet with information on how to join, and a usb device containing videos of top children’s authors reading from their books.

The device also promotes the new website for children, teachers and parents at www.renfrewshirelibraries.info

The three books given away in the Bookbug pack are Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson, Solomon Crocodile by Catherine Rayner, and The Day Louis Got Eaten by John Fardell.

You can also find out what’s on at your local library by following Renfrewshire Libraries on Facebook.