Hawkhead, Paisley News

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has warned that the local authority faces its “biggest challenge yet” in the face of budget cuts.

Councillor Macmillan was reacting to the announcement of the Scottish Government’s annual budget for 2016/2017.

Funding from the Scottish Government makes up approximately 80% of each council’s income.

Councillor Mark Macmillan

Renfrewshire Council will meet in February 2016 to agree an annual budget for 2016/2017.

Councillor Macmillan said: “We are working now to assess the implications of the announcement but be in no doubt this is a severe cut in funding from the Scottish Government – in fact the single biggest cut imposed on local government yet – which will have serious implications for people in Renfrewshire.”

“We have consistently pointed out that Renfrewshire receives one of the lowest funding settlements and, once again, we find that Renfrewshire is not receiving its fair share with the choice being taken to apply the maximum grant reduction possible to an individual council in Renfrewshire’s case.”

“We had assumed well in advance a cut in funding and prepared best we can but this is worse than our assumptions. On top of this cut to our revenue budget which pays for vital frontline services, our capital budget for investment is almost 20% less than it was last year.”

“I think most people understand and appreciate this will have serious implications for our budget and our ability to deliver for the people of Renfrewshire. And a one-year settlement introduces some uncertainty into our plans for the longer-term change that Renfrewshire needs.

“It’s our biggest challenge yet. We’ve made it clear what our priorities are and we’re successfully delivering on them, as shown by the report to council on our Council Plan. The Invest in Renfrewshire programme has halved youth unemployment in the past three years; we’re delivering hundreds of new, affordable homes across Renfrewshire; our investment in Families First is ensuring our youngest children get the best start possible; and our £6m Tackling Poverty Fund now supports a range of initiatives making a huge difference.”

“But without the necessary long-term funding from the Scottish Government that Renfrewshire deserves, for initiatives such as these and to maintain the vital frontline council services people rely on, it becomes increasingly difficult to change things for the better.”

Paisley sports fanatic Gavin Lemon has cycled from Edinburgh to Glasgow raising £105 for local mental health charity RAMH.

Gavin, who plays community football for Paisley Lions, pedalled 55 miles to raise funds for local mental health services provided by RAMH.

Paisley Lions Team (1)

Physical health coordinator Leanne Connolly said “at RAMH we’re thrilled to have had Gavin’s support. This was a significant achievement for him and furthermore will help us develop the service so that even more people can enhance their mental health by getting physically active.”

The Paisley Lions community football sessions are every Saturday from 10am-12pm in Paisley for males aged 16 or above. Five-a-side matches are played at the individuals’ own pace. Football is used as a means of encouraging people with mental ill health to engage with others and their local community, while improving physical, mental and social wellbeing. It is particularly geared towards men, who are less likely than women to seek support for mental health problems.

Gavin Lemon

Recent research has evidenced that becoming physically fit can lead to improved mental health and a significant reduction of anxiety, depression and a range of other symptoms. Paisley Lions is a RAMH initiative and they recently played at St Mirren as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

New players are welcome, sessions cost £2. Contact Leanne on 0141 618 5547 or leanne.connolly@ramh.org to get involved.

RAMH helps 5,000 people across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire with all mental health diagnosis from depression to bipolar disorder. To support mental health services in your local area go to www.virginmoneygiving.com and search for RAMH.

An award-winning youth programme is seeing record numbers of young people through its doors thanks to a Renfrewshire Council investment to combine free hot meals with fun activities.

The new approach to give healthy food as part of the innovative Street Stuff programme has dished up 1,500 hot meals to local kids since being launched eight weeks ago – with hundreds more free meals set to be served up during the Christmas school holidays.


More than 500 healthy lunches were enjoyed by young people in Paisley’s Gallowhill and Glenburn areas during the October week. This was so successful, meals have been since offered at several evening drop-in sessions with the finishing touches being put to the festive Street Stuff menus.

Renfrewshire Council’s Depute Leader, Councillor Mike Holmes, said: “A £250,000 investment from our £6m tackling poverty fund means we’ve been able to boost the successful Street Stuff youth diversion programme, which is great news for young people.

“Our new approach to offer free, hot lunches during the October holiday sessions was so successful, we’ve since been offering hot meals in the evenings too – twice a week in Gallowhill and twice in Shortroods. The feedback we’re getting from the kids is fantastic.


“And we’re gearing up to expand this over the Christmas holidays with lunches planned again for Gallowhill and Glenburn with evening activities including a hot meal at The Paisley 2021 Stadium – all completely free of charge. This will be the first time we’ve taken this approach over the festive holidays.

“We estimate our new and enhanced Street Stuff service will have offered local young people around 2,100 free, healthy meals between October and the end of 2015.”

The boost from the tackling poverty fund has also delivered two brand new Street Stuff youth buses.

Activities set to be delivered during the festive period will include football, dance, table tennis, FIFA tournament, and the youth bus, with lots of prizes to be won including St Mirren match day tickets, signed shirt, and match day footballs.

For the full Street Stuff timetable visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/streetstuff

Street Stuff is an award-winning youth diversion programme, delivered in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, St Mirren Football Club, Police Scotland, Engage Renfrewshire and Strathclyde Fire and Rescue.

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Residents and communities across Renfrewshire are being asked for their views on plans to improve and develop local housing over the next five years.

Comments are being invited on Renfrewshire Council’s Draft Local Housing Strategy 2016-2021 which is available on the council’s website www.renfrewshire.gov.uk for viewing until the end of April 2016.

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When the final version of the strategy is approved by councillors, it will provide a clear vision of how local housing and housing-related services will be provided by the local authority, local housing associations and private sector developers and landlords.

The draft strategy takes into account a number of trends that will affect housing in Renfrewshire over the next five years.

These factors include an ageing population; a rise in the number of single-person households; and an increasing number of young adults living in their parents’ home.

The strategy focuses on seven key areas for improving housing and the quality of life of local people:

  • Increasing the supply of housing in Renfrews
  • Promoting sustainable, attractive and well-designed communities and town centres
  • Increasing the availability of high-quality, well-managed homes
  • Improving energy efficiency in homes and tackling fuel poverty
  • Preventing homelessness and supporting vulnerable households
  • Helping older people to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible
  • Providing affordable housing that meets people’s needs at different stages in their lives

Councillor Tommy Williams, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said:

“Providing good quality, affordable housing of the right type in the right locations is essential to our communities.

“This will also contribute to the regeneration of Renfrewshire as a thriving and prosperous place where people want to live and work.

“I would encourage as many local people as possible to take part in this consultation and give us their views on our proposals.”

As well as being able to comment online on the draft strategy, residents will have the chance to air their views at a series of consultation events in March next year:

  • Johnstone Town Hall 2 March 2016 1:15pm – 4pm
  • Renfrew Town Hall 9 March 2016 1:15pm – 4pm
  • Paisley Town Hall 16 March 2016 9:45am – 12:30pm

The draft strategy can be viewed at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/haveyoursay

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Renfrewshire Council and Police Scotland have joined forces to give taxi and private hire passengers some important festive safety tips.

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Councillor John Hood, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Regulatory Functions Policy Board, said: “This is a particularly busy time of year as people enjoy nights out in our town centres.

“We want everyone to enjoy themselves and be safe in our towns and on the way home.

“That is why the council and police are reminding people of some key issues to keep in mind when they are booking or using taxis and private hire cars.

Chief Inspector Alison Kennedy, Area Commander Paisley for Police Scotland, said: “I would urge people to plan their night out – including how to get home. Stay with friends and avoid leaving parties or nights out with strangers.

“If possible, pre-book your taxi or private hire car with a well known company and use the text service offered by most companies. It is also important to ensure your mobile is charged before you go out.”

One of the key pieces of advice is to make sure that the taxi or private hire car is officially licensed. All taxis in Renfrewshire are white in colour and can collect from ranks at Glasgow Airport and at Gilmour Street in Paisley.

All private hire vehicles should have a Renfrewshire Council plate on the rear and window stickers displaying the licence details on the rear passenger windows. Taxi and private hire drivers’ badges should be displayed within vehicles.

It is also important to check that the car which arrives is the one that has been booked. Most firms use a text service which advises when the vehicle is arriving and what type of vehicle is coming.

Customers are also being asked to make sure they avoid any confrontations at taxi queues.

Taxi marshals will be on hand at ranks late nights at weekends in the run up to the festive period in Gilmour Street and the recently-established pick up point in the town’s Witherspoon Street.

Councillor Hood added: “The vast majority of the taxi and private car hire trade provide a very good service. But like any other service industry, if customers feel unhappy about the conduct of a taxi or private hire driver, they should contact the council’s civic government enforcement officer or the police.

“Customers can ask to see the driver’s badge and note the number or can note the plate number or registration number of the vehicle.

“Overall, we are doing all we can to keep things safe for everyone and we are asking people just to take some time and thought to play their part too so we all enjoy this special time of year.”

For additional advice and guidance, please visit the Police Scotland website.

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Renfrewshire support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) are holding an open evening for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The informal meeting will take place on Wednesday 16 December between 6:30 and 8pm at the Wynd Centre, 6 School Wynd, Paisley. There will be a chance to chat over mince pies, tea and coffee for those in attendance.

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SOBS are a self-help organisation and aim to provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings.

From January the Renfrewshire group will meet on the last Wednesday of every month at the Wynd Centre and anyone who feels they can benefit from the support the group offer is encouraged to come along.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convenor of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Policy Board, said: “I would encourage anyone who has been affected by suicide to come along to the open evening. The support group continue to do brilliant work and it is a vital resource within such a sensitive subject.

“It is extremely important that we open discussion over the issue of suicide. Talking really can save lives so if you, or someone you know, could benefit from the group then please come along.”

Lisa Aitken, Choose Life Young Person’s Resource Worker said: “The group is in place to offer an outlet for those affected by suicide to seek the support needed when coming to terms with the issue.

“It is imperative that we raise awareness and ensure that people feel comfortable to take about their issues. This event, and others like it, is important to increase communication and make people aware that support is there should they need it.

“If you are worried someone may be suicidal then please speak with them- it could be vital. If you are feeling suicidal then there is help available, don’t keep it to yourself.”

The National SOBS helpline can be reached on 0844 561 6855, and the number for Breathing Space is 0800 83 85 87.

Locally residents of Renfrewshire can contact FIRSTCrisis on 0141 848 9090.

For more information on the monthly SOBS meetings call 0141 849 2200 or emailelizabeth.aitken@renfrewshire.gov.uk.


St Mirren in the Community is delighted to announce details of our Festive Football Camp – Jingle Balls – the perfect stocking filler for all young footballers!

The Camp will run at St Mirren’s Carbrini@JD Airdome at the back of the North Stand at the Paisley 2021 Stadium (St Mirren Park).


The festive football camps, which include a goalkeeper’s camp (full day only), will take place on 24th, 28th, 29th and 30th December.

There will be options of spending half a day or the full day at the camps which will cost £9 and £15 per day respectively.

The half day option is open to girls and boys aged 3 to 5 and will take place between 9:00am and 12:00pm (noon) and the full day option, which is open to boys and girls aged 6 to 12, will be from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Once again we expect the camps to be extremely popular so we advise you to book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

For bookings and further information please contact Football Development Officer Ross Paterson by mobile: 07702 287 693 or e-mail: ross.paterson@saintmirren.net.

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Thirteen extra primary teachers are now in place in Renfrewshire thanks to a unique schools package that’s targeting an additional £1.16m towards closing the attainment gap.

As part of the attainment boost, a new literacy development programme is now under way to give every primary school extra tools and support – including the extra teachers – to improve reading.

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The investment comes from the council’s £6m tackling poverty fund – and is delivering the literacy programme jointly with the University of Strathclyde to pioneer new approaches to closing the gap between pupils from low and high income households.

The council’s Leadership Board will hear a full update next week about how the poverty fund – approved this summer – is already delivering positive, on-the-ground benefits across communities.

As well as hiring 13 extra teachers, two additional social workers are also in place to boost support to looked after children, and Scotland’s first ever ‘cost of the school day’ fund is up and running to offer help to those families who need it most.

Three new Families First teams will launch in early 2016 to deliver a wide range of support to families in Gallowhill, Johnstone, and Foxbar, thanks to a £1m investment from the poverty fund.

Eight young people have also secured positions on the recently-launched sports coach academy that will prepare them for a job in the leisure industry and see them deliver 7,000 hours of coaching, support local voluntary groups and help with Families First sports camps.

And since being extended in June thanks to the fund, the Energy Advice Renfrewshire service has supported 257 households and generated £39,000 of on-going fuel savings.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “I am proud to see the real progress being made thanks to the £6m tackling poverty fund we announced in summer. Already, Renfrewshire Foodbank has received vital money to help people in crisis this winter, and our cost of the school day safety net for families is also now in place in schools.

“I welcome the fact our drive to close the attainment gap with additional teachers is now being delivering in our schools, and I’m pleased we’ve been working with the communities of Foxbar, Gallowhill and Johnstone to prepare for the introduction of the new Families First teams that will be launched in their areas in early 2016.

“The Leadership Board will hear a full update about the £6m pot – which boosts the existing investment already made by the council to support economic growth and regeneration. The fund is crucial and allows us to work towards achieving the recommendations – the legacy – of the independent Tackling Poverty Commission.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, added: “The attainment gap starts early in life, widens at every stage of school and can have lifelong consequences. If we are to make a real difference to the lives of young people from low income households and close the attainment gap, we need to intervene early.

“It is clear that good reading and writing skills are the basic foundations young people need to access education and learning. I am delighted that we are working with Professor Sue Ellis and her team from Strathclyde University.”

Professor Sue Ellis from the University of Strathclyde, said: “Schools can do a lot to close the attainment gap linked to poverty. The Renfrewshire project is helping Head Teachers and teachers use the strongest research and make strategic, cost effective and sustainable changes to literacy teaching in schools. It is clear that Renfrewshire is committed to doing its very best to meet the needs of all children in the local authority.”


Renfrewshire’s primary schools are taking part in a campaign to improve children’s safety going to and from school.

The campaign aims to make drivers aware of the dangers of parking illegally near schools and the threat that idling engines pose to children’s health.


Council officers, school staff and pupils at Auchenlodment Primary School in Johnstone organised a week-long blitz on inconsiderate drivers with a high-impact banners outside the school.

The campaign will target other Renfrewshire primary schools over the coming weeks.

Councillor Eddie Devine, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said:

“It is paramount that children in Renfrewshire are able to get to and from school without risk to their safety or health.

“Ideally, parents should avoid driving children to school where possible.

“Where this is not possible, we are asking parents who need to stop or park near a school to do so safely.

“Avoid parking on zig-zags and yellow lines and do not stop in the middle of the road.

“Also, if it is essential to wait outside a school, drivers should switch off their engines and minimise the dangerous CO2 emissions which can endanger children’s health.”

The campaign was kicked off during National Road Safety Week which takes place in November every year and which aims to raise awareness of death and injury on the roads, and the steps that can be taken to improve road safety.


Following the recent appointment of Emma Dowson as our Duke of Edinburgh Award Group Leader, Paisley & District Scouts is pleased to announce an open evening for young people and parents to sign up to the award.


Young People (aged 13years and above) along with their parents are invited to attend our open evening on 7th December at District HQ, Oldhall Road, Paisley starting at 8pm, We don’t envisage it lasting more than an hour or so.

This meeting will be an opportunity for young people across Paisley, Barrhead & Neilston to come along with their parent/guardian to gather information on the Districts plan for Duke of Edinburgh Award and to register their interest in joining our new adventure.

We will outline the different levels and the way in which we plan to run the training etc. over the coming year.

District Duke of Edinburgh Group Leader, Emma Dowson Said:
“The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a great opportunity for young people to further their skills and boost their opportunities to get a job, into college or university.

“We are offering young people across Paisley, Barrhead & Neilston the opportunity to experience the fun and adventure of Scouting whilst completing the award.”

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The PlayTalkRead bus is back in Renfrewshire – giving local families the chance to get creative, sing songs and tell stories.

The big purple bus will call at Ferguslie Library before touring Renfrewshire for two weeks from Monday 23 November, making a total of 10 fun-filled stops.

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The PlayTalkRead bus travels up and down the country to show the positive impact of play. It introduces parents and carers to fun activities they can try at home with their child.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Convener, said: “Often the best play ideas are simple and don’t cost a penny. Interaction with children really helps build the child/parent bond while developing essential social skills and motivation that can make lifelong learning easier. Admission to the bus is free and there’s no need to book. Whenever and wherever parents and carers see the bus, they can hop on board with their children to discover a world of fun and engaging activities to do together.”

The PlayTalkRead bus offers parents and children the opportunity to join in with BookBug storytelling, rhymes and songs sessions with young passengers also receiving a free book or playcube to take home.

  1. PlayTalkRead bus timetable:
Date Venue Timings
23 Nov Ferguslie Park Library, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
24 Nov Gallowhill Community Centre 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
25 Nov Foxbar Community Centre, Amochire Road, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
26 Nov Tweedie Hall and Linwood Library, Linwood 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
27 Nov Houston Square, Johnstone 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
30 Nov Erskine Community Centre, Erskine 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
1 Dec Renfrew Leisure Centre 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
2 Dec County Square , Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
3 Dec Bishopton Community Library, Bishopton 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
4 Dec Glenburn Community Library, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm



Paisley will light up on Thursday 26 November when the Christmas Switch-on will showcase traditional festive fun for children.

Renfrewshire Council employees have worked tirelessly to reschedule the event following the sudden postponement on Saturday.


And a new event has been arranged with the youngsters of the area especially in mind.

The event will take place in Abbey Close and Paisley Town Hall and will start at 5pm with the big switch on at 7pm.

Santa will be there along with his reindeer while there will also be music hosted by Pulse FM and carols from RockUs Community Choir.

There will also be outdoor food stalls, mulled wine and mince pies, and children’s entertainment including balloon modellers and face painters.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We received widespread support from the local community for our decision to postpone at the weekend.

“Christmas is a magical time so for the rescheduled event we have gone right back to the spirit of the festive season by ensuring this is a great experience for the kids.

“In this very short space of time, an event on the scale of the original celebrations was obviously not possible.

“But we knew that Paisley would want its switch-on to be fun and to be for the youngsters – so that is exactly what we have produced.

“There is a great programme of festive entertainment laid on which will give local families the chance to come together and celebrate the start of the Christmas period. And I want to thank council employees for pulling out all the stops to deliver this.

“We are looking at running a separate public event to get everyone right behind Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 which last week received overwhelming support from the local area and beyond. This will be some time in the new year so watch this space.”