Derek Mackay MSP has congratulated St James’ Primary School on winning an award for their reading achievements as part of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.

The school was given an award for the School reading the most books. The only school in Scotland to be given the award.

Primary 7 pupil Kieran Mitchell was also given the Pupil Reading Journey Award by the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon presented awards to pupils and schools from across Scotland at an event in Edinburgh today, recognising their outstanding participation in the FirstMinister’s Reading Challenge.

The reading challenge aims to build on the work already taking place in schools across the country to encourage children to read widely, explore a range of books and develop a love of reading.

Following an evaluation of the first year of the challenge, reading charity Scottish Book Trust is expanding the challenge to secondary schools, libraries and community groups in the next school year.

SNP MSP Derek Mackay said:

“It is fantastic that St James’ Primary’s hard work has been recognised by the First Minister, with an award for reading the most books. The only school in Scotland to win this award.

“Almost 1,000 primary schools across Scotland took part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge this year, opening up a world of adventure and fun to young people whilst also giving them really important literacy, writing and language skills.

“I hope we can encourage even more kids to enjoy the benefits of reading by signing even more schools from Renfrewshire up to the First Minister’s Reading Challenge.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has commented:

“I’d like to congratulate all the schools who have taken part in this year’s challenge. They’ve all worked really hard over the past year and demonstrated great enthusiasm for reading.

“Raising attainment is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s work. That is why I launched the First Minister’s Reading Challenge – to encourage reading for pleasure from an early age which in turn, helps improve children’s literacy.

“I look forward to the next year of the challenge which will see even more people able to take part from secondary schools, libraries and community groups.”

PUPILS at Renfrew High have created their own comic book with storylines inspired by the town’s rich history.


Now they have seen their work, called ‘A Trip ‘Frew Time’ printed and published with a special launch event at the school.

The project was in collaboration with Renfrewshire Leisure’s school libraries attainment and creative learning teams, along with West College Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust who provided funding.


The comic book’s fictitious stories written by 30 pupils and accompanying illustrations were based on events and historical places in Renfrew and was part of the school’s participation in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge pilot project, at Renfrew High.

Pupils were helped to produce the comic book by Magic Torch Comics, who held a series of workshops in the school.

As well as having a copy of their own comic book creation, pupils will also receive an accredited qualification from West College Scotland to add to their school record of achievement.


Renfrewshire Leisure’s chief executive, Joyce McKellar said: “The pupils have done a tremendous job in creating not only the storylines, but the publication of the comic book itself. It’s something they can be proud of.

“As well as learning about their home town, the project has also stimulated the pupils’ enthusiasm and engagement in reading for pleasure.”

PROVOST Lorraine Cameron helped make sure the malls were alive to the sound of music when she joined in with the Renfrewshire Carers Centre Choir for an impromptu rendition of a classic ABBA song.


The Paisley-based carers group had been given free space at the intu Braehead shopping centre to raise money and awareness of the work they do and then be treated to a slap-up lunch by mall management to help celebrate Carers Week.

Provost Cameron was due to present certificates to volunteers from the Carers Centre and when she arrived at the mall, the choir was in full voice entertaining shoppers.

The Renfrewshire Provost was asked to join the choir for a song and she immediately agreed, belting out a version of ABBA’s Super Trouper along with the other singers.

As Provost Cameron handed out certificates she told the carers and volunteers: “I’m delighted to be here today to recognise the essential part you all play in the Renfrewshire Carers Centre. It gives me great pleasure to present you with these certificates of thanks.”

Christine Macdonald, intu Braehead’s marketing manager said: “The carers and volunteers at Renfrewshire Carers Centre deserve huge credit for the work they do.

“Giving them a lunch and mall space to have a display stand giving people advice and raising funds is just one way we can pay tribute to the vital work they do.

“The Carers Centre Choir gave shoppers some great entertainment and well done to Provost Cameron for joining in with the singing.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson has set out his long-term commitment to help people most in need into work and improve opportunities for future generations.

The £4.5million funding plans for Invest in Renfrewshire – the Council’s economic development service – were approved yesterday (Wednesday 20 June 2018).

This will provide targeted job support to people, communities and local businesses over the next five years.

“We want to provide support to the people and places most in need, to make the greatest difference,” said Councillor Nicolson. “We must ensure the area’s economic growth benefits everyone and that’s why we are targeting our resources to communities facing deprivation and to help people unemployed and underemployed, changing their opportunities and that of future generations.”

The new service will start from 1 October 2018 and includes further development of a community based pilot project under way in Ferguslie which supports people facing a range of barriers to employment.

It is already achieving positive results for local residents like Ronnie Lockhart, who’d been out of work for the past 20 years, but is now working as a gardener with Linstone Housing Association thanks to the support from the Invest team.

The 49-year-old said: “I love it, I’m out cutting grass, using the leaf blower, strimming, litter picking and tidying places up. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me, I’m even out cutting the neighbour’s grass for them.

“I was in a routine of going out once a fortnight to sign on then back home to watch TV. Eventually I got sick of being in the house doing nothing. Now I never want to go back to that – I love the job and the team work. We have such a laugh and we get the work done. I’m learning every day and I’m hopeful I can get kept on.

“My mum is proud of me, my whole family are proud of me and I couldn’t have asked more of the support from Invest, they do their damnedest to get you into employment, they do a great job and I’m really grateful for what they have done for me.”

More will be done to support start-up and early stage businesses through the new service, with exciting plans in place to grow the creative business sector and increase the number of sustainable small businesses and social enterprises.

Local communities will also reap the benefits of staff working locally to grow services and support voluntary groups looking to secure external funding, with 40 applications already in development.

And there is a major focus on maximising key economic growth opportunities in Renfrewshire, including in manufacturing, care and the creative industries by working with local businesses to provide direct pathways into these job growth areas.

Renfrewshire’s economy has grown significantly in the last six years with 8000 more jobs across the local area and employment figures dramatically improved.

Councillor Nicolson added: “Renfrewshire is open for business and there are major areas of growth coming here, with new jobs in the creative and tourism sectors as we build on the legacy of our Paisley 2021 bid and in the care sector as we expand our childcare and nursery provision.

“We are also developing an advanced manufacturing district which will be home to Scotland’s manufacturing institute and a world-first medicines manufacturing centre. This all means new jobs and we want to make sure Renfrewshire people are best placed to seize these opportunities.

“We will tackle the challenges head-on and develop Renfrewshire as an attractive place to locate and do business, supporting local businesses to grow and improving the area’s economic, social and physical regeneration.”

Find out more at www.investinrenfrewshire.com

A campaign to boost foster care numbers in Renfrewshire has resulted in a seven times increase in the number of enquiries from prospective carers to the service.

During Foster Care Fortnight last month, carers shared their inspirational stories to help spread the word on their rewarding role, while a series of drop in events also helped increase its visibility.

Renfrewshire Council is aiming to raise the number in its foster care family from 81 to 100 and the campaign to boost numbers continues.

Foster Parents. Renfrewshire council

Education and Children’s Services convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “There was a great response to our campaign to make the role more visible, but the work very much carries on.

“If you think becoming a foster carer may be for you then we absolutely still want to hear from you.

“Our existing foster carers can talk you through every step and have incredible stories to share, but what comes through is that they are ordinary people just like you and me who have taken on an extraordinary role.

“If you want to help change the life of a child or young person for the better, please get in touch.

“By boosting the number of foster care family we can ensure that we give all our cared for children and young people the best possible start in life.”

Foster carer Nicola Hanvey said: “It’s great to hear the campaign has resulted in more enquiries but that doesn’t stop here.

“If you think you have something to offer, then pick up the phone. You’ll be guided every step of the journey and can end up making a huge difference to a child’s life.

“I also like working from home and as part of a team. I get involved in any training opportunities I can and I attend the support group for foster carers. We meet once a month and it’s important to get that support from people who understand the job.”

If you are over 21, have a spare room and are in good health, you can apply to help make a difference to a child’s life.

Children and young people of all ages need carers who will help them feel wanted, valued and safe.

As a foster carer, you can be in work or unemployed, be single, married, or in a same sex or heterosexual relationship, and can own or rent the property you live in.

You will receive advice, specialist training and peer support, as well as an allowance.

Anyone interested in more detail can call the team at Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 1199 or email at childrenandfamilies@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Mackay welcomes NHS pay rise

First Minister announces 3% rise for majority of healthcare staff.

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay has welcomed the news that the majority of NHS Scotland staff will receive a 3% pay rise this year.

Staff currently earning up to £80,000 will receive at least a 3% uplift, and those earning £80,000 and over will receive a flat rate increase of £1,600. Staff not at the top of their pay bands will also receive any incremental progression they are due.

This uplift is a payment on account of progress made in negotiations so far.

Negotiations between the Scottish Government, employers and unions on pay, terms and conditions continue towards a three year pay deal.

Compared to equivalent staff in NHS England:

  • Experienced porters at the top of Band 2 will be over £500 better off
  • Healthcare assistants at the top of Band 3 will be over £600 better off
  • Auxiliary nurses with a year’s experience in Band 4 would be over £800 better off.
  • Nurses with five years’ experience in Band 5 will be over £400 better off
  • Paramedics in middle of Band 6 will be over £450 better off
  • Advanced Nurse Practitioners in the middle of Band 7 will be over £250 better off

For staff paid weekly, the pay uplift will be paid week beginning 2 July 2018. For those paid monthly, the uplift will be made in end July salaries. The payments will be backdated to 1 April 2018 as quickly as possible.

Renfrewshire North & West MSP Derek Mackay said:

“I know the last few years of pay restraint have been tough, and that is why I’m proud that the budget I brought forward this year included the lifting of the 1% pay cap for public sector workers – the first government in the UK to do so.

“The Scottish Government are currently in negotiations to agree a 3 year pay deal for NHS staff in which we aim to not just match but exceed the deal agreed in England. I hope these talks reach a positive conclusion soon.

“But we don’t believe those working in the NHS should have to wait for that agreement to be reached before they get a pay rise this year. That is why I am delighted the First Minister has announced those earning up to £80k will get a 3% pay rise now, and will be backdated to 1st April as soon as possible.”

Huge steps have been taken to make it easier for families in Renfrewshire to provide a dignified and respectful funeral service if they find themselves in particular financial circumstances

Renfrewshire Council has agreed funding and that council officers will work directly with Funeral Directors to develop an agreed standard for a Respectful Funeral Service for residents within Renfrewshire. This will cost no more than a specified amount and will be below the Scottish average. Funeral Directors which commit to providing this service to the agreed standard and within the cost criteria set, will be included on a list of Funeral Directors provided online which highlights the fact that they can provide a respectful, affordable funeral service.

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Cllr Iain Nicolson said : “We believe individuals should have access to support which helps to provide a respectful and dignified funeral service, particularly when financial circumstances are already difficult for some families.

Renfrewshire Council have also agreed that all Council costs involved in the death of young children under the age of 16 will be removed. This involves, lairs, internment and registration.

Cllr Nicolson added, “Losing a child is one of the biggest tragedies that a family can endure. The steps we have taken are a small way of helping to support families and show that Renfrewshire Council recognises that the trauma and pain of having to organise your childs funeral is something that no one every plans for or expects to happen”

“I am proud that this SNP administration have brought these policies into force and helping families across Renfrewshire cope with what is often a difficult time for them”

These new policies were approved early 2018 and now the Scottish Government and COSLA have recently agreed to work together to remove all local authority charges for child burials and cremations. While Renfrewshire Council have removed  fees for those 16 and under, this new commitment – which is supported by Scottish Government funding – will see the removal of fees consistently and completely across all council areas, for the burial of those under 18.

Cllr Cathy McEwan, Convener of the Infrastructre, Land and Environment Board welcomes the moves by the Scottish Government adding:. “Dealing with funeral costs can be extremely difficult and it’s important that we look to support parents and families.  “We are pleased to be working with the Scottish Government to ensure that all local authorities can fully commit to removing their charges for the burial or cremation of those aged under 18. I am also pleased to see that at both levels of government, the SNP are working to help families who find themselves in difficult and traumatic circumstances”

A Renfrewshire school says that a scheme which eases the path of both children and parents into Primary One has led to an increased sense of community.

St Margarets PS Johnstone

St Margaret’s Primary School in Johnstone has experienced an increase in parental engagement with 28 families going through the ‘Good Start, Great Start’ programme, developed by Middlesex University in London.

The programme offers parents the opportunity to develop relationships with their child as well as each other in their pre-school setting, helping them form vital networks ahead of the start of their offspring’s first school year in August.

St Margarets PS Johnstone

The school, one of just three places in Scotland to adopt the pilot programme, has two trained Nursery Officers who help promote school readiness at a point of big change for both parents and children.

The scheme, which started as a pilot in October, has worked so well that the school has continued to run it on a permanent basis.

St Margarets PS Johnstone

Head teacher Gillian Miller said: “The children who attend have grown in confidence and self-esteem and have gained more independence as a direct result of attending the sessions.

“There is definitely an increased sense of community among the parents who attend, as there is a sharing of parenting skills, strategies and advice in both formal and informal forums.

St Margarets PS Johnstone

“All of this is facilitated by skilled staff who know when to make a supportive intervention and who are benefitting from the increase in parental engagement.

“The results have been very positive so far and there is very positive feedback about the programme from the families involved.

St Margarets PS Johnstone

“This has been a very worthwhile programme and we wish all of our families a very successful transition from St Margaret’s Nursery Class to Primary One.

Each block of six structured sessions is designed to help to build a social support network for the parents and also promote independence for the children.

St Margarets PS Johnstone

There is a welcome time and snack time, where nutritional food is prepared and served  by the children themselves.

This is followed by a ‘make and do’ craft session directed by the parent, with a new skill or element of knowledge built into each week.

 

The children then continue their nursery session while the parents break off to have tea and coffee and an informal, confidential discussion of any parental issues they may be having.

The sessions end with the children returning for story time with a bag with figures and a mat so they can and they make up their own stories about what’s inside.

Parent Donna Manson said: “My daughter and I have enjoyed our six weeks of this group and meeting parents and other children who are going to school.

“I feel less worried for her starting school, watching her being independent and her confidence at group time. We have had fun and would recommend this group to other pre-school parents.”

The programme is sustainable because the staff are trained and the scheme has proved so popular that some parents have returned after their initial sessions.

Provost and Depute Education Convener Lorraine Cameron dropped into the school to see the programme first hand and said: “As well as being an exciting time, the step from nursery to school can leave both parents and children feeling uncertain.

“It’s been great to come along and see how the programme works and how it lays down the ground work for a positive start at school for both children and their carers.

“It’s clear how much the parents enjoy the one to one time with their children, which is a great benefit to the whole family.

“Some of the mums and dads have also told me that the sessions have helped show them what their children are capable of, like being able to use a knife to make a snack, allowing the children’s independence to flourish.

“They also get great benefit from the parents group where they can share strategies and  have a safe space to raise any parenting concerns.”

WANT TO TAKE PART?
PACE Theatre Company and CREATE Paisley are working together to produce Write Here Write Now, a Young Writers Festival as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

This project will give young people an opportunity to take part in positive activities and develop their skills but will also increase the capacity for young people to express themselves through the arts and have an increased platform. Young people will be involved at each stage of this project from the application to the creation of new writings to supporting the running of the final Write Here Write Now festival. We will self-publish a book of all the works, with copies for all the young writers. On the day of the performance we will also run an open day of drop-in workshops for young people.

SUBMISSIONS
If you are are interested in writing a new one act play, a monologue, song or poem then we want to hear from you. We plan to work with two age groups 12-16, 17-21.

We are looking to support and develop new writing by young people that explores;
1: The reality of being a young person in 2018.
2: The hopes and dreams of a young person in 2018.

If you are interested in taking part, we want to hear about your ideas  and we would like you to submit either a synopsis, an extract or a first draft. What would work best would vary depending on the category that you are submitting under. For example, If you are submitting as a playwright we would not necessarily expect you to submit a full first draft, but perhaps a synopsis and a short extract. If you are submitting as a songwriter,  perhaps a recording or video would work best. This could be a section of your song or a rough first draft. Similarly poems or monologues could either be a first draft or a section and a brief synopsis.

Every submission will be considered and feedback will be given from a professional writer (theatre director, songwriter, poet etc.) with the goal of encouraging your writing. Submissions can be in the form will be accepted in a variety of formats, video, audio, digital, written etc.

We’ll also be looking for 1-2 plays, 5 monologues and 10 songs or poems to take forward to develop with our team of professional writers at development days and masterclasses. These writings will be fully rehearsed and produced as live performances as part of the final Write Here Write Now showcase event.

Please note that all the final performances will be performed by young actors, poets and musicians and you should consider this when developing your idea/writing characters etc. (If you submit a song, poem or monologue and are willing to also perform it, you can indicate that on this form).

If you are submitting an idea for a play, the final length of the selected play should be no more than 30 mins.  Songs, monologues and poems should be no more than 5 minutes.

There is no cost to submit or to take part in the development days or rehearsal period.  Submissions are welcome from all over Scotland.  Limited travel bursaries are also available to help support some travel costs.

 

KEY DATES
In order to participate in this project, you need to be available to attend all the following dates:

Monday 11th June- FINAL Application Deadline

Sunday 24th June – Development Day 1 (TBC)

Further Development Times TBC

Mon 23rd – Fri 27th July – Rehearsal week

Friday 27th July – Performance / Workshop Day

WANT MORE INFORMATION?
If you have any questions about the event or the submission process, the don’t hesitate to get in touch by e-mailing write@pacetheatre.co.uk and we will do our best to answer your questions.

If you are happy with the brief and can attend all the dates, please complete the application by clicking here..

A group of women from Ferguslie Park will join thousands from across the UK at the weekend to celebrate 100 years since women were given the right to vote.

On Sunday 10 June, women and girls from across the UK will come together to take part in PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork. Wearing green, white or violet, the colours of the suffragette movement, rivers of colour will flow through the streets of Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Belfast.

Ferguslie Womans Banner 30.5.18

Joining them, will be a group of women from Paisley’s Ferguslie Park who have been taking part in the 100 Years 100 Banners programme, where 100 organisations across the UK collaborate with 100 female artists to create 100 unique banners for PROCESSIONS.

Based within The Tannahill Centre, the banner is an intergenerational collaborative work between Strong Women in Ferguslie Together (SWIFT), The Feegie Needlers and a variety of young women from local youth groups.

The group held workshops talking about issues that matter to them, raising awareness of the important role women play in the Ferguslie community and helping them to understand that their voices matter.

This has been incorporated in to the banner which features the names of women who have contributed to the wellbeing and creativity of the community, with many of the women mentioned being relations of those who are working in the community today.

For local artist Mandy McIntosh, the banner, featuring the slogan ‘Feegie Wummin’, we’re a breed o oor ain’, celebrates the resilience and strength of Ferguslie women in the here and now.

She said “We wanted to use the word ‘Feegie’ to show the public that these women think positively about their home and are extremely proud to come from Feegie Park.”

Carol Anderson, a Community Work Assistant who works closely with the SWIFT group, says the women have embraced the cross-generational aspect of the project. “It’s been a great opportunity for the different groups to work together, sharing their knowledge and stories of the community.”

The group will be travelling to Edinburgh on Sunday 10 June to march in PROCESSIONS, and will be joined by other women from Ferguslie and across Renfrewshire who have made their own banners or who have joined in with a community banner making workshop.

Other local groups involved in banner making are STAR Project, the Disability Resource Centre and Kairos in Johnstone.

PROCESSIONS is produced by Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm, as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Helen Marriage, CEO Artichoke said: “The 100th anniversary of the passing of legislation which made universal suffrage unstoppable is a moment both for celebration and reflection. Individuals and groups up and down the country, including The Tannahill Centre, will be at the heart of this UK-wide artwork.

“What they make and bring to their chosen procession on Sunday will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “I’m so pleased to see the women from Ferguslie coming together to make their banner and take part in PROCESSIONS.

“The banner truly tells the story of their community and you really get a sense of how proud the group are to come from Ferguslie Park, and so they should be.

“Recently, the Ferguslie community has come together to make changes to their environment, and it is having a very positive effect on the people who live there.

“The local people are making Ferguslie a place to be proud of once again, and the women will further that cause by taking Ferguslie to Edinburgh to display their proud banner

“I would encourage every women or girl, from all generations, to consider making their way to Edinburgh on Sunday for what promises to be a spectacular event.”

PROCESSIONS takes place on Sunday 10 June in Edinburgh. For more information and to register to attend visit www.processions.co.uk

Ferguslie Womans Banner 30.5.18