food train

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Since Food Train launched in Renfrewshire in October 2013, over 40 local volunteers have donated 4,708 hours of their time to make up shopping orders and delivering to over 140 older people.

Our customers frequently refer to the service as a life line. The majority use the service on a weekly/fortnightly basis, others on an adhoc basis for example, when their families are on holiday or over the winter.

food train

We are almost at capacity with the two vehicles we have, and working on grant applications to purchase a 3rd van for use in early 2015 in order to meet the continuous referrals and demand for the service.

We are delighted to be the first project in Renfrewshire to obtain the Volunteer Friendly Award. If you haven’t already seen this, please enjoy this very short film we made in the summer to celebrate National Volunteers’ Week[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

fuel poverty

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Vulnerable homeowners in Renfrewshire are to benefit from £1.2million of funding to help heat their homes.

Renfrewshire has been awarded the grant from the Scottish Government’s £60million Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland: Area Based Schemes (HEEPS:ABS) for 2015.

The £1.2million HEEPS:ABS funding will go to Renfrewshire Council and local housing associations to offer support to vulnerable and fuel poor home owners in making improvements to their home such as external wall insulation.

fuel poverty

The funding adds to a wide range of initiatives already being run by the council to help the people of Renfrewshire tackle fuel poverty.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “Sadly far too many people in Renfrewshire are struggling to heat their homes and pay their bills. This council is committed to supporting the most vulnerable members of our communities and tackling the causes of fuel poverty.

“We are working on a number of projects to help both tenants and residents to reduce their heating bills and make their homes more energy efficient and this funding will add to the range of support we are able to offer private home owners. Over the next few months we will be working with our partners to identify suitable projects.”

As part of the council’s efforts to make homes more energy efficient, thousands of council tenants have already benefitted from external improvements such as over-cladding and new roofs as part of the £138million Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS) programme.

Nearly 500 families in Paisley will also benefit from cheaper fuel bills thanks to an innovative project to replace a 1960s District Heating Scheme with a state-of-art a biomass boiler system.

A new advocacy service has also been set up by the council to help families tackle fuel poverty. In the last three months, Energy Advice Renfrewshire has already generated a total annual energy bill saving of £33,000 across 130 families.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Allan Pickan pic

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]16 women took the message of violence against women to thousands of football fans last Saturday.

Despite the wind and the rain, the women performed a special dance on St Mirren park at half time.

The Break the Chain dance by One Billion Rising, was performed as part of Renfrewshire’s 16 Days of Action, a local version of the UN’s international campaign to end violence against women.

Allan Pickan pic

In 2013, 2276 residents in Renfrewshire were victims of domestic violence, a 44% increase from ten years ago when 695 residents reported an incident of domestic violence.

St Mirren players showed their support by wearing the One Billion Rising t-shirts during their warm-up.

Brian Caldwell, Chief Executive of St Mirren, said, “We are really proud to support Renfrewshire’s 16 Days of Action campaign. It’s important for us to send out a message that violence against women is completely unacceptable.

“Having the group perform the Break the Chain dance during half time was a great way to send that message. They had clearly been practicing and we were all very impressed.

“I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who took part, their hard work really paid off and everyone at St Mirren appreciated the chance to show their support for this important issue.”

Councillor Iain McMillan said “The Break the Chain dance at half time was a welcome surprise for St Mirren fans.

“We hope that it will encourage people to think about violence against women and how we can begin to stop it.

“Throughout the entire 16 Days of Action it is been great to see so many people committed to raising awareness of these issues which affect so many women in our community.

“All of the women performing the dance were volunteers and gave up their own free time to practice and to come here today.

“It is thanks to volunteers like these that we can have these important conversations and show Renfrewshire’s commitment to ending violence against women.”

For more information, visit[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A group of men are set to totter down Paisley High Street wearing red high-heeled shoes – in an eye-catching bid to raise awareness of sexual violence.

The men’s march to Walk a Mile in Her Shoes will take place for the first time on Wednesday 10 December at 2pm.

Starting from New Street, the men will take it one step at a time down the High Street towards Dunn Square, where a wreath will be laid at the memorial tree to women who suffer or tragically been killed due to violence.


The march marks the end of Renfrewshire’s 16 Days of Action, a local version of the UN’s international campaign to end violence against women.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said: “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes is a great way for men to understand more about women’s experiences and how they can support women. It’s a lighthearted way to raise awareness of serious issues and we hope that people will come along to support this worthy cause.

“The events for the 16 Days of Action so far have had a great turnout and atmosphere and this march will be a fitting end to our campaign in Renfrewshire.”

Anyone who wants to take part should register their interest by email to or by telephone on 0141 618 7404.

Help and advice for victims of rape and sexual abuse is available from Rape Crisis Scotland, daily 6pm to midnight, on 08088 01 03 02.

For more information, visit[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

St James P1 Renfrew class 1

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After a busy week of exciting events, it’s clear that Book Week Scotland was a big success in Renfrewshire.

A visit from Alex McCall at Johnstone Library prompted a big turn out and lucky members of the Johnstone Library Book Group got signed copies of Alex’s hit book ‘Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens’.

St James P1 Renfrew class 1

Primary 1 pupils were delighted with their new Bookbug family pack, supplied by their local library and Scottish Book Trust. The special three book package was given out to youngsters to encourage them to keep up the habit of reading, and went down well as kids discovered books, activity packs and colouring pencils in their pack.

And the lucky people who had a ticket to Doug Allan’s sold out event were treated to an inspiring presentation of his stunning wildlife photography as well as the chance to discuss his new book.

Kirklandneuk P1 at Renfrew Library

Councillor Stuart Clark, Depute Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said: “It was great to see so many different events taking place in Renfrewshire for Book Week Scotland.

“Libraries are a valuable community resource for learning and development so it’s important to encourage people to visit them regularly.

“We hope that Book Week Scotland has shown that libraries have lots to offer- whether it’s borrowing a book, going along to a reading group or even getting help to find a job.

“It’s also been great to see so many young people enjoying the events too, getting to meet their favourite author or enjoying their new Bookbug pack. We hope the events have helped to encourage people to pick up a book and get reading.”

For more information, visit[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Renfrewshire residents who have lost loved ones to suicide have been invited to an open evening by local support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS).

The informal drop-in session take place on Wednesday 17 December between 6.30 and 7.30pm in the Charleston Centre, 49 Neilston Road, Paisley. The event will give people a chance to chat over tea, coffee and mince pies with the opportunity of having a hand or neck massage.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

SOBS is a self-help organisation which provides a safe and confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings and help to support each other.

The group is part of the Choose Life campaign, which aims to raise awareness of suicide and how it affects those left behind.

Lisa Aitken, Choose Life Young Person’s Resource Worker, said: “We encourage anyone who has been affected by losing a loved one to suicide to come along to the open day. The group offers much needed support to bereaved friends and relatives, but it is also vital we raise awareness of the issue.

“Suicide can affect anyone regardless of age or background, but there is still a big stigma surrounding it, which makes it hard to get help when it is needed. Events like these are important not only to talk openly about suicide, but to highlight the help that is there to prevent suicide.

“If you are worried someone is suicidal, ask them – it could make the difference. And if you feel suicidal, talk to someone you trust or call a helpline.”

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Policy Board, said: “It’s important that as many people as possible come along and support this event, which is a vital support line for those who have been bereaved by suicide.

“By openly speaking about suicide, people can help to save lives. I’d encourage everyone, whether they have been affected by suicide or not, to get talking.”

The national helpline Breathing Space can be reached on 0800 83 85 87, and the number for The Samaritans is 08457 90 90 90.

For more information on the Renfrewshire meetings of SOBS, call 0141 849 2200, or email[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]A crackdown on vehicle emissions in Paisley town centre last weekend saw over 300 vehicles stopped and checked by wardens from Renfrewshire Council.

In total, 332 drivers were stopped off Wallneuk Road and their cars examined, with five vehicles failing an emissions test.

The owners of the five cars in question were issued with a fixed penalty notice, which will be waived if they provide evidence of having the fault fixed within 14 days.


A crackdown on vehicle emissions in Paisley town centre last weekend saw over 300 vehicles stopped and checked by wardens from Renfrewshire Council.

In total, 332 drivers were stopped off Wallneuk Road and their cars examined, with five vehicles failing an emissions test.

The owners of the five cars in question were issued with a fixed penalty notice, which will be waived if they provide evidence of having the fault fixed within 14 days.

17 private hire taxis were also tested over the weekend, with all vehicles passing the test.

Renfrewshire Wardens were able to carry out emissions tests with officers from Police Scotland checking for general road worthiness and driver details.

Councillor Eddie Devine, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “This was a very useful exercise with hundreds of Renfrewshire residents getting the message about vehicle emissions.

“We’re especially keen to discourage vehicle idling. An idling engine produces up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion, and unnecessary idling is an offence – drivers who fail to turn their engine off when asked to do so can be issued with a £20 fixed penalty notice.

“Our message to vehicle owners is “don’t be an idler” and Renfrewshire wardens will patrol ‘hotspot’ areas outside schools and bus terminals at busy times to speak with drivers.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]130 Renfrewshire families will each save £273 a year on their energy bills every year, thanks to a new council service to tackle fuel poverty.

On top of the annual savings worth £33,000 across all the families combined, the service has also generated one-off savings of around £4,683 – including a £3,500 grant for new heating and insulation for one home.

Energy Advice Renfrewshire was set up in September 2014 to offer dedicated energy support to local people hit by benefit changes and also to hard-pressed residents struggling to cope with the spiralling cost of living.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

Councillor Mike Holmes, Depute Council Leader said: “Renfrewshire families are losing out as a result of the UK Government’s benefit cuts, plus there are many residents struggling to cope with spiralling cost of living. So we need to do all we can to support hard-pressed households.

“Energy costs are a big part of any home’s expenses, and it’s a sad and harsh reality that some families often choose between buying food and heating their home because they have been pushed to the brink.

“Over the past three months, Energy Advice Renfrewshire has helped 130 households gain significant savings. Our two advocates have generated an annual energy bill saving of £33,000 across all the families supported – that’s an average of £273 for each household saved every year.

“I am pleased that by setting up a dedicated fuel advocacy service, we’ve been able to alleviate some local hardship by offering face-to-face support to residents who need it the most as we continue to try and break the fuel poverty cycle.”

Louise Fraser, 27 from Ferguslie was helped by the project. She said: “I can’t thank the adviser who worked with me enough. Being a mum of three, I don’t have time to spend on the phone, in a queue to try and speak to the energy companies – plus that costs money. I didn’t know what the Warm Home Discount was or that I was entitled to it. The adviser called my energy company for me. He was able to get me the Warm Home Discount and also switched me onto a better tariff – saving me a total of £180 on my energy bills every year. This is a huge help to me and my family.”

Residents are referred to the service from council services like social work, advice works, housing; from Home Energy Scotland; and from third sector organisations. One of the team’s advocates also works within the council’s Families First teams in Ferguslie and Linwood.

The Council secured £72,000 from the Scottish Government’s Welfare Reform Resilience Fund to set up the service.

As part of the project, more than 250 front-line council staff are also being given energy efficiency and fuel poverty training to make sure they are equipped to advise and signpost local residents.

Case studies:

1) A lady who lives alone and struggled to afford to heat her home was referred to the team by Advice Works. She had a ‘back boiler’ – popular in the 1970s and not very efficient. She qualified for the Government’s Energy Assistance Package for a new heating system and insulation upgrades worth a combined £3,500. The efficiency savings that will come from these improvements are £330 a year. She also qualified for the Warm Home Discount – taking the annual saving up to £470 on top of the £3,500 for heating and insulation.

2) A mum who lives with her partner and 4 children was referred to the team. Both adults have learning difficulties. The adviser gave energy saving advice, contacted the supplier to give meter readings, moved the family to a cheaper tariff, and applied for the Warm Home Discount – all saving £296 a year.

3) A mum of three who has mental health issues was put in touch with an adviser in September via Families First. She’d moved into her home in March, didn’t know who the supplier was and had made no payments. They contacted the supplier to have an account set up and got agreement that she could pay her debt and her on-going costs through the Fuel Direct Scheme (where money goes from your benefit to your energy suppler). There was also a successful application to the Warm Home Discount of £140 per year.

For more: Lisa McIntyre, Senior Communications Officer, 0141 618 7395[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Reclaim the Night

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hundreds of Renfrewshire residents turned out to a special procession and echo the international call to end to violence against women.

The Reclaim the Night procession in Paisley prompted a huge turn out as local people showed their support for the cause. The procession launched Renfrewshire’s 16 Days of Action, a local version of the UN’s international campaign.

Reclaim the Night

Men and women joined the procession, led by Tony Lawler, who bangs the Charleston Drum each year for the Sma’ Shot parade, as they marched from West College Scotland to Paisley Town Hall, where attendees were invited in for an evening of entertainment.

At the town hall, Rosie Kane gave a powerful talk on why society needs to break the silence on violence against women. Local community groups also provided music and entertainment.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said: “It’s great to see so many people coming along to support such an important cause.

“There was a great atmosphere throughout the procession and the high turnout shows that the people of Renfrewshire are dedicated to raising awareness of violence against women.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall, who also attended the procession, said: “It was inspiring to see so many people brave the cold and rain to show their support for ending violence against women. Domestic violence can happen to anyone and it’s important to break the stigma and encourage victims to speak out.

“There is always support available and no-one should suffer in silence. Groups like Renfrewshire Womens Aid and Renfrewshire Rising do great work and it is important to continue to support them.”

Anyone suffering from domestic violence can get help via two national helplines, which are available 24/7 and are free to call from a landline.

Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 027 1234

Abused Men in Scotland Helpline – 0808 800 0024

For more information, please visit[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

mark mcmillan

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Nearly five hundred families in Paisley are expected to save around 20 – 30 percent on their energy bills thanks to an innovative project to replace a 1960s district heating scheme with a new energy efficient system.

The £6.8million project, currently underway in the Charleston area of Paisley, will replace the existing scheme with a state-of-art energy efficient biomass heating system, as part of a partnership between Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Gas.

mark mcmillan

Up to 500 homes in the area share a district heating system which was installed when the properties were built in the 1960s.

Now, residents of Calside Court, Hamilton Court, Rowan Court and Union Court high rise blocks, and the seven maisonette blocks in Alice Street and Calside, will see this replaced by a new, energy efficient biomass boiler which runs on wood pellets.

Each home will have conventional radiators fed from the new central boiler, which will also provide instant hot water to each property.

External insulation is also being fitted to the homes, to improve their energy rating and keep more of the heat in.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan visited the site to see the progress being made. He said: “Rising fuel costs are one of the main causes of fuel poverty with many families struggling to pay their bills. This council is committed to tackling the causes of poverty in our communities and this scheme will provide real benefits to hundreds of local people.

“This is a major project that will benefit hundreds of households currently sharing an outdated and costly heating system.
Not only will this save people money on their heating bills, it will make these building more modern and sustainable for years to come.”

Steve Gapik from Scottish Gas, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Renfrewshire Council and we are certain that this project will make a real difference for the residents of Charleston. Our funding will make a huge difference to local people – making sure their homes are warm and comfortable this winter and helping to keep energy bills down.”

In addition to the expected energy savings the servicing and maintenance costs for the new system will reduce significantly for both the Council and the 160 owners in the blocks. Also, by converting from gas to biomass, the project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by around 1,100 tonnes each year.

The improvements are being fully funded through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which means there is no cost to either the Council or the owners. ECO requires energy suppliers to provide energy efficiency measures to people living in hard to heat homes and lower income and vulnerable households. ECO is part of the government’s strategy for cutting the amount of greenhouse gases generated from burning fossil fuels.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]