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£100,000 science boost for Renfrewshire schools

Renfrewshire schools are set for a £100,000 science boost after the local council concluded an agreement to take part in a science grant scheme.

The council has linked up with the Edina Trust, a charitable organisation that offers grants to promote the teaching of science and gardening.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGEach year a maximum grant of £550 is available from the Edina Trust to each primary school, pre-five centre, or additional support needs (ASN) school.

In Renfrewshire’s case, that could mean up to £35,200 being available for each of the three years in which the grant scheme is available.

Councillor Stuart Clark, Depute Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “The Edina Trust is well known for its work in encouraging interest and achievement in science.

“Renfrewshire Council is delighted to be working with the Trust. Many of our schools already have innovative approaches on science or environmental projects. This substantial funding boost will enhance that work.”

Dave McLavin, Senior Communications Officer. Tel 0141 618 7398.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil.

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New £600,000 fund to soften the ‘bedroom tax’ blow

Renfrewshire Council is setting up a new £600,000 cash pot to help council tenants who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’.

The money will be available via a new Council Tenant Assistance Fund to help council tenants who receive Housing Benefit and are struggling to pay their rent because they’re affected by under occupancy rules.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Tommy Williams, Convener of the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board said: “This major investment is part of our on-going response to help our tenants cope with the UK Government’s ‘bedroom tax’.

“Between April and July, 684 council tenants applied for Discretionary Housing Payment to assist them with their housing costs, with the majority of those affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.

“But while many have come for support, there are still tenants who are clearly struggling to pay their rent because of ‘bedroom tax’ who haven’t come to us for help. We’ve already said that we won’t evict our tenants who fall into arrears as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’, as long as they’re working with us, and we want them to know that this assistance fund is now available to help them cope with the strain of under occupancy.

“We absolutely do not want local families to face hardship because of the ‘bedroom tax’ and we’ll continue to work with our tenants to help them.”

The Council Tenant Assistance Fund will solely help council tenants in financial hardship because of ‘bedroom tax’. The cash is coming from the Housing Revenue Account which by law, can only be spent on council tenants.

To apply to the Council Tenant Assistance Fund, download a form at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/dhp or you can call 0300 300 0204 to ask for a form to be sent out to you.

Anyone who needs help to fill out a form (and for general financial support) should call Advice Works on 0300 300 1238.

The creation of the Council Tenant Assistance Fund was agreed at the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board earlier today.

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Paisley Farmers’ Market is on the move

Shoppers looking for some fresh ideas are being encouraged to check out Paisley Farmers’ Market when it moves to a new location and time this weekend.

The popular twice-monthly market has been a fixture in County Square over the past 12 years.

But it is now moving along the street to Paisley Cross as part of a revamp which will see midweek markets introduced for the first time.

Farmers-Market-Paisley

Markets will take place on the second Thursday and last Saturday of every month, at a new time of 10am to 2pm, slightly later than the previous time of 9am to 1pm.

The first market at the new location will be this Saturday, 31 August. To mark the occasion, the council is laying on children’s entertainment, including face-painting, stilt walkers and balloon modelling.

Paisley Farmers’ Market features a wide range of stall-holders offering quality fresh produce, straight from the farm to the shopping bag, such as meat,fish, cheese, fruit and veg, and chocolate.

The market is operated by Ayrshire Farmers’ Market and Renfrewshire Council, and the decision to relocate came after consultation with traders and shoppers.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Town centre regeneration is a big priority for us.

“We hope the new location will improve the visibility of the market and will in turn bring new vibrancy to Paisley High Street.

“The market offers something a little bit different, which complements the range of shops we have already have in the town.

“The feedback we received when we surveyed the public was that they wanted the market to be later in the day and to take place midweek as well as at the weekend

“We took all of that on board, and it would be great to see as many residents as possible check out what is on offer, starting this Saturday.”

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Paisley 10k road race attracts almost 1,500 runners

Around 1,500 runners pounded the streets of Paisley at the weekend as the annual Paisley Vision 10k road race took place.

The event – doubling as the Scottish Athletics West District 10K Road Race Championship – saw serious runners and enthusiastic amateurs alike strap on their running shoes.

Hundreds of residents lined the streets as they turned out to cheer on the runners in the sunshine.

The 10k course started and ended in County Square and took runners through Ferguslie Park on its way to Asda, before coming back through the west end of the town along the Paisley – Kilmacolm cycle track.

Along the way, runners passed local landmarks such as Paisley Abbey and Town Hall, St Mirren Park and the University of the West of Scotland.

The first man home was Callum Hawkins of Kilbarchan AAC, in a time of 30:40 and the fastest woman was team-mate Hayley Haining, in 34:28.

The road race was followed by a fun run, which saw a record-breaking entry of around 700 runners tackle the 3km route around the town centre.

The winner was Kilbarchan AAC’s Conor Thomson in a time of 08:47.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall, who was there on the day to present medals to the winners, said: “Events like this are great for bringing a crowd into the town centre and it was lovely to see so many people turn out to cheer on their friends and family.

“The runners will have had their own reasons for getting involved, whether it be to raise money for charity or just to get themselves fit – but they are all winners.”

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, added: “The promotion of sport and healthy lifestyles is something the council is very keen to be part of.

“The turnout was up on recent years, which is testament to how well-established this event has become.

“We made changes to the pricing structure for this year’s event in line with feedback from participants, and I am glad people have responded to that.

“I would like to thank all those who gave up their time to help with the organisation of the race, as well as our race sponsors MEPC for their contribution.”

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil.

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Gerry Baker – St Mirren Legend

Paisley’s MSP has lodged a parliamentary motion acknowledging the career of Gerry Baker who sadly passed away at the weekend. Gerry was part of the team that won the Scottish Cup in 1959, his first season with the club.

George said:

George at St Mirren‘Although I never saw Gerry Baker play for St Mirren I have been told how he was such an important part of the wonderful 1959 Scottish cup wining team. My Dad and other members of my family would go as far to say we have never had a centre forward of his class since, at St Mirren Park.

‘For me the legacy of men like Davie Lapsley and Gerry Baker and their team mates in that team are that most of us in Paisley still know about their achievements. Paisley’ s thoughts are with his family but we can say that he gave our town so much during his time here.’

www.paisleysmsp.org

Paisley 10k Photographs 2013 Finishing Line

Photographs from today (Sunday 25th August 2013) of the Annual Paisley 10k Road race.

All photographs taken for Paisley on the web by Tracey Clements. If you would like the full resolution please use our contact page to request the photograph.

Paisley 10k Photographs 2013

Photographs from today (Sunday 25th August 2013) of the Annual Paisley 10k Road race.

All photographs taken for Paisley on the web by Tracey Clements. If you would like the full resolution please use our contact page to request the photograph.

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Major investment planned to help residents through hardship

Renfrewshire Council will invest an additional £200,000 into helping local people who are struggling to pay their rent, if the move gets the seal of approval next week.

Council bosses want to top up a fund that’s in place to help residents receiving Housing Benefit who are having difficulty meeting their housing costs – by £215,648.

If the move gets rubber-stamped next week, it will bring the council’s total investment into the Discretionary Housing Payment fund up to £365,648, following a £150,000 contribution in December.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Mike Holmes, Deputy Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “We know the UK Government’s benefit changes are having an impact on local communities. More people are coming to us for advice, more people are falling into arrears, more are applying for DHPs, and more families are using food banks.

“This latest investment will bring our overall contribution to this key support fund up to more than £365,000 – the maximum we are allowed to contribute to DHP. We want to do all we can to help local residents through these tough times.”

“Our message is clear: if you’re facing financial hardship and are struggling to meet your housing costs, apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Help is there and we don’t want local families to struggle. Our Advice Works team can even help you if you need support to fill in the form, so please get in touch.”

Any Renfrewshire resident who is claiming Housing Benefit and having difficulties meeting their housing costs can apply for a DHP.

Application forms are available at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/dhp or you can call 0300 300 0204 to ask for one to be sent out to you. If you need help to fill out a form (and for general financial support) please call Advice Works on 0300 300 1238.

The proposed top up of the DHP fund will go before the Finance and Resources Policy Board for a decision on 28 August.

Fire Engine Rally attracts crowds to town centre

Renfrewshire residents turned out in their numbers at the weekend to grab a glimpse of some vintage vehicles during the Fire Engine Rally

Hundreds of people gathered in Paisley town centre on Saturday afternoon for the popular annual event, which is now in its fifth year.

A mixture of old-style and current fire appliances paraded through the town from Canal Street Fire Station before parking in County Square and Gilmour Street.

The event was run by Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Heritage Trust.

There was plenty to keep visitors entertained, with chip-pan fire demonstrations and a fire-engine bouncy castle.

Other emergency services who met the public on the day included the Glasgow Airport fire crew, and blood-transfusion motorcycle couriers from the Scottish Emergency Rider Volunteer Service.

Being ‘rescued’ was Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall, who volunteered to be cut from a car by the fire brigade as part of a safety demo.

Provost Hall said: “Once again, Renfrewshire residents turned out in their numbers for one of our town centre events, following on from Sma’ Shot Day and the Paisley Pipe Band Championship last month, both of which were well attended.

“The day carried a serious message in terms of fire safety and was a great showcase for the work of the fire brigade – although I would like to reserve a special thank-you to the ones who rescued me from inside the car!”

“I also have to compliment the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Heritage Trust for their work to restore these magnificent vehicles, as it gives young and old alike a chance to see a piece of our history in action.”

Info from Renfrewshire Council

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Council Leader presses Scottish Government for Living Wage power

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader wants private companies to pay a fair Living Wage to any of their staff who deliver work for the local authority – and he has written to the Scottish Government in a bid to turn this into reality.

living wageCouncillor Mark Macmillan has written to the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to urge that powers be added to public contract regulations. These would enable councils to specify that contractors’ employees are paid the Living Wage when they deliver work for local authorities. Currently, when awarding contracts to private sector companies, the council cannot take the rate of employees’ wages into consideration.

This move forms part of Renfrewshire Council’s anti-poverty agenda and links to the authority’s work supporting people affected by the UK government’s Welfare Reform and the £8million Invest in Renfrewshire programme that supports businesses while creating work and training opportunities.

Councillor Macmillan said: “I am fighting to get everyone working in Renfrewshire a fair Living Wage. It’s better for business and it means that people can work their way out of poverty. It is simply the right thing to do.

“The Scottish Government needs to change its legislation to let us specify to contractors that, when their staff are delivering work for the council, they have to pay them our Living Wage. It is simply unjust that a worker doing the same job as a council employee is paid at a lower rate.

“Renfrewshire’s Living Wage is fair, it’s encouraging, it shows that we value our employees and their work, and it’s better for the local economy. I’d urge Nicola Sturgeon to give us the powers we need to make sure anyone delivering work for Renfrewshire Council, receives our Living Wage.”

Councillor Macmillan has asked the Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, to address these legal issues regarding contractors in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill.

He also plans to work with Renfrewshire employers later this year to encourage them to consider applying the £7.50 per hour Living Wage. Already, companies who recruit employees and interns under the Invest in Renfrewshire programme are paid a £1000 bonus.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and updated annually. It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and employers choose to pay it on a voluntary basis. The current hourly Living Wage outside London is set at £7.45. Renfrewshire Council was one of the first Scottish local authorities to introduce a living wage for its own staff and, for 2013/14, this is set at £7.50 per hour.

The national minimum wage is currently set at £6.21. More information on the Living Wage can be found online at www.livingwage.org.uk