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.”

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.

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.


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

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 quick reminder that this Wednesday afternoon sees the second drop-in session at Foxbar Community Centre on Amochrie Road.
We’ll be summarising what we heard at the first drop-in on 16th May – to check we’ve been listening properly – and will have our first stab at a future plan for Foxbar on show.
We need you to keep us right! Have we missed anything? Are we on track?
PS – Date for your diary: the third and final drop-in event will take place on Wednesday 20 June, 2pm-7pm in Foxbar Community Centre.  The focus will be on making things happen: who needs to do what? What you do you want to be involved with?

Paisley is the place to be this summer! Paisley First is bringing Jurassic Bricks – a free, interactive LEGO® Brick Dinosaur Trail to the town centre!

From Saturday 30th June until Sunday 12th August, there will be 15 large dinosaurs made out of Lego bricks on the trail plus two interactive play zones, a selfie zone and a find the Hidden Dinosaur Competition!

All of the dinosaurs will be situated within local businesses and everyone who completes the trail will have a chance to win prizes.

Paisley First Chairman, Graeme McGowan, said:” This will be a great event to showcase everything that Paisley has to offer this summer. “We are sure families will come from far and wide to enjoy this great, free day out during the school holidays.

“And after hitting the shops and enjoying our Jurassic entertainment, visitors can take advantage of our many cafes, restaurants and bars.

“There is so much to see and do in the town already and this will help cement the town’s reputation as a visitor destination.”

Paisley First will also be running the Golden Ticket Competition once again this summer with a weekly draw offering visitors the chance to win £250 of Paisley town centre gift vouchers! Come to Paisley for a great family day out this summer!

For more details see www.paisleyfirst.com

Ambitious £42m plans to transform Paisley Museum into an international-class destination have pulled off a major coup, with the appointment of AL_A – the award-winning architects behind some of the world’s most striking buildings.

The firm’s founder Amanda Levete – a former winner of UK architecture’s top honour, the RIBA Stirling Prize – says the Paisley Museum project is ‘one of the most radical briefs she has read’.

It will be the first Scottish commission for the London-based practice, who have designed landmark projects including the Victoria & Albert Museum Exhibition Road Quarter – for which they this week won the prestigious RIBA London Building of the Year 2018.

They were also this month shortlisted for the competition to redesign the visitor experience at Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower.

The Paisley Museum transformation is the flagship project in Renfrewshire Council’s planned £100m investment in cultural venues and infrastructure – key to Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid legacy, and the wider plans to use the town’s unique assets to transform its future.

The museum will close this autumn and re-open in 2022 as a revitalised home for Paisley’s internationally-significant textile heritage and outstanding natural history, art and science collections, expected to nearly quadruple current visitor numbers to 125,000 a year.

The project will include a contemporary addition to the existing Victorian-era building, creating a new entrance and museum spaces – including a cafe and shop – landscaping and significantly-improved access.

There will be major revamps to all four museum buildings including the Coats Observatory, while a complete internal redesign will reimagine the visitor experience and double the number of objects on public display.

Current AL_A projects include the revitalisation of the historic Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris; a new centre for the cancer care charity Maggie’s in Southampton; and two new buildings for Wadham College at the University of Oxford. Completed projects include Central Embassy, a 1.5m sq ft luxury shopping mall and hotel in Bangkok, and Sky TV’s new London media campus.

Levete was recently named the winner of the 2018 Jane Drew Prize, an annual lifetime achievement award for an architect who has furthered the progress of women in the industry.

She said: ““This is one of the most radical briefs I have read – it triggered in us a desire to tell the untold history of Paisley and search for a narrative thread that will drive the design. The project is bigger than the building itself and I am excited to re-imagine the relationship between the street and museum.

“This is not only about finding the way to best show the museum’s collection, it’s also about showing the world how an ambitious cultural project can have a profound impact on a community and its identity.”

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure – which operates the museum – added: “For Paisley to have attracted a design team of such global reputation to come to Scotland for the first time shows we are being noticed around the UK and abroad.

“Being the first ever town on a UK City of Culture shortlist took our profile to new levels – but this appointment also says a lot about the scale and ambition of the museum project, and the worldwide importance of Paisley’s heritage and collections.

“The museum was gifted to the people of Paisley more than a century ago by Peter Coats, at the time his family were building a global thread empire headquartered right here.

“Now, AL_A will honour that legacy by designing a striking 21st-century facility to open up our unique heritage to future generations and be a valuable educational resource for our young people.

“At the same time, the new museum will be the centrepiece of the work to transform the area’s fortunes by using our unique selling points to make us a destination and drive huge volumes of new footfall into the town centre.”

AL_A were among more than 120 firms to tender for the Paisley Museum project and will lead an Anglo-Scottish multi-disciplinary design team including conservation consultants Giles Quarme and Associates, landscape architects GROSS.MAX, and engineers Arup.

They will also provide a wide range of benefits to the Renfrewshire community, including further education and school visits, work experience placements and careers events.

The £100m investment in Paisley town centre over the next four years also includes projects to transform Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre into 21st-century venues, a new learning and cultural hub on the High Street, major investment in outdoor spaces and the town’s transport links, and new sporting facilities and events space at St James Playing Fields.

The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street, and the launch of the new destination brand and website at www.paisley.is

The museum project is also being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

A campaign to boost foster carer numbers in Renfrewshire is asking  ‘Can you help us reach 100?’

Renfrewshire Council is aiming to increase numbers of foster carers by almost a fifth, from 81 to 100.

A series of drop in events were set up to allow anyone who thinks the role may be for them to meet the Council’s specialist team, as well as existing foster carers.

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, visited one of the information and advice sessions at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre, held to mark Foster Care Fortnight which runs until 27 May.

He said: “It was great to come along today and meet some of our foster carers and hear what amazing work they do.

“By becoming a foster carer you could make a positive difference to a child or young person’s life.

“What is also apparent is how much that the foster carers themselves personally get out of the role and how rewarding it is.

“We want to encourage people who think that becoming a foster carer could be for them to get in touch.

“You will be fully supported, with specialist training and also support from your peers.”

Foster carers can be in work or unemployed, be single, married or in in a same sex or heterosexual relationship and can own or rent the property they live in.

As well as training and support, carers receive 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

Last weeks open evening for former and present pupils to attend to see the old building before it is replaced by the new School under construction right in front of the old building right now, many memories were shared, old faces recognised and friendships over the years were rekindled at the school which was opened in 1960 and has seen many generations of Foxbar youngsters attend the school.

Many thanks to Fiona McCreadie for the photographs.

Thanks to Norma Connelly & Mrs Gavin, Louise Maher the head teacher who organised the celebration evening.

What a fantastic evening we had to celebrate the 58 years of success of this school building. Huge thanks to all those who turned out, around 300 over the course of the evening. I am sure you will agree that Fr Joe Burke, celebrated a beautiful mass and there has been great feedback about how valued and appreciated this event was by many people.

Thanks to the staff who worked hard to prepare especially Mrs Connelly, Mrs Gavin and Mrs Nicholson and also to Mrs Scott from St Andrew’s Academy who supported us with music preparation. The liturgy of the mass made this a truly memorable event. The psalm was beautifully sung by the Welsh family and the parent council helped serving refreshments to the many visitors. A real community event and a wonderful atmosphere. Hopefully will have many more events to come.

Goodbye St Pauls old building hello new..