Hawkhead, Paisley News


Renfrewshire Council has today announced that all large-scale Council-run events will be cancelled until the end of October in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision means that the following events will no longer take place: Renfrew Gala Day; Barshaw Gala Day; Johnstone Fire Engine Rally; Renfrewshire Doors Open Days; The Spree festival; and Paisley Halloween Festival.


Paisley’s annual Sma’ Shot Day celebrations will be marked this year – but in a different way. A programme of online events will take place on Saturday 4 July to commemorate the historic victory of local weavers, as well as the invaluable contribution of today’s key workers across Renfrewshire.

All Council-run events after October will continue to be reviewed in line with national guidance from the Scottish Government and public health advice, with a further decision on the staging of Paisley Fireworks Spectacular and the Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew Christmas lights switch-on events expected by June 30.

The Council announced in March that its spring/summer events programme, including the Paisley Food and Drink Festival and the British Pipe Band Championships in Paisley, had been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are hugely disappointed to have to announce this news today but, given the ongoing public health and government advice, it’s the safe and prudent action to take.

“Since we announced the cancellation of our spring/summer programme, festivals and events in the UK and further afield scheduled up until October have continued to be cancelled. The current advice on mass gatherings and events is expected to be in place for some months to come, along with significant physical distancing restrictions.

“Our events programme is regarded among the highlights in Renfrewshire’s annual calendar – and we’re rightly proud of the economic and social impact it brings for our communities. As with many of our Council services, and sectors of our local economy, we want to be in a position to restart and support recovery as soon as possible – but only when the public health advice recommends it is safe to do so.

“Despite the cancellation of our large-scale events until the end of October, we will still celebrate Paisley’s annual Sma’ Shot Day – but in a different way. The online programme of events will allow us to honour the historic victory of local weavers and thank the key workers in Renfrewshire today, who are doing a fantastic job on the frontline to support us all during this unprecedented time.”

Renfrewshire Council is continuing to plan its major events programme in Renfrewshire for next year, whilst monitoring the latest government and public health advice.

The Council advises everyone to continue to follow the national guidance on coronavirus set out by the Scottish Government and to consult www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus for up to date medical advice.

For the latest local updates, visit our ‘Information, help and guidance on Coronavirus’ webpage here: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

papas delivery

Do you fancy things like oven-roasted lasagne al forno with ratatouille and a nice bottle of malbec? Or a slow-baked cottage pie with some lovely honey-roasted carrots, creamed savoy and a chilled glass of beer?

In that case, we have you covered. Check out our new home dining service. www.papamacs.co.uk/home-dining

papas delivery

Food fund graphic

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, has welcomed confirmation that Paisley families unable to access food due to coronavirus will get support from the Scottish Government.

Local authorities are sharing £30 million of new investment from the Scottish Government Food Fund to support those struggling. 

Food fund graphic

Renfrewshire Council have been allocated £1.063 million from the fund, which is one part of the £350 million Communities Fund.

This funding will support those most in need including families with children who are eligible for free school meals, older people, those with long-term health conditions, and pregnant women.

Councils will have the flexibility to use this additional resource in ways that best meet emerging local needs and circumstances, working with community groups and businesses to support home delivery, provide financial help and meet dietary requirements.


Commenting, George Adam, said:

“Coronavirus has brought enormous disruption to all of our lives, and some people will be concerned about accessing food. This is a distressing enough time with families and friends separated and unable to visit loved ones without having to worry about food or where their next meal is coming from.

“This investment will help those in Paisley who are most at risk – such as older people and children eligible for free school meals – to access food through this unprecedented crisis. I hope this will go a long way in helping to ease one worry many families will have right now.

“Free school meals are vital for families across Paisley and are an important way of ensuring children receive the nutritious food they need. That is why it is so important that support continues while schools remain closed.  

“This is just one part of the support the Scottish Government is providing to individuals and businesses to protect jobs and incomes which we continue to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The £350 million Communities Fund was announced by Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell on 18 March 2020. 

Since it was announced, over £100 million of new support has been delivered to local authorities to assist their efforts. This includes £50 million in hardship funding, £22 million to bolster the Scottish Welfare Fund and £30 million from the Food Fund.

The guidance shared with local authorities outlines seven key principles to support local thinking about how funding can best be targeted and deployed. 

People worried about food during the COVID-19 crisis should therefore contact their local authority for further information on the help and support available to them.


Glasgow Airport’s Long-stay Car Park is currently being transformed into a drive-thru mobile testing facility to support the country’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

glasgow-airport-logoThe 17-acre car park site based on Abbotsinch Road is part of a series of measures being introduced to increase testing and response to the spread of COVID-19.

The Glasgow Airport-based facility is being introduced to test frontline NHS staff only at this stage and those being asked to provide swab samples from Sunday onwards will do so by appointment only. The testing centre is not open to the public.

Due to be in operation from the afternoon on Sunday 5 April, the new testing centre will have up to five lanes and provide capacity for a greater number of COVID-19 tests each day. It will operate between 10am and 4:30pm from Monday.

Mark Johnston, Glasgow Airport’s managing director, said: “We are in regular contact with both the UK and Scottish Governments and have offered our facilities available to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Glasgow Airport has the space and infrastructure capable of accommodating a large-scale testing area and we are only too happy to support in this way. The impact of this virus affects us all and Glasgow Airport, the wider AGS Airports Ltd group and our people will continue to support the national effort to overcome COVID-19 and stand ready to help in any way we can.”

Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland said: “This new testing centre at Glasgow Airport, funded by the UK Government, will keep our frontline NHS staff doing the jobs they are trained to do. Allowing those who do not have the disease to go back to work and treat those who are most in need of care.

“This is part of the UK government’s plan to vastly expand our testing capacity as we continue to work around the clock and across the country to protect the vulnerable, support the NHS, and save lives.”

Last week, Glasgow and the wider AGS Airports Ltd group donated £40,000 to homeless charity Simon Community Scotland’s #GiveHope appeal. The funding is being used to support the purchase of hotel accommodation for people who are homeless where they will be able to stay in single rooms, allowing them to self-isolate if necessary whilst accessing the range of services offered by the Simon Community.

For the latest guidance on COVID-19 visit: www.nhsinform.scot 

If your company is looking for support during the coronavirus pandemic, Real Business Rescue have this business help centre

If your are looking for a clear picture of what government support may be available, Company Debt have built a useful page here.

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Residents are being encouraged to use a new service which will deliver essential food and medicine to those who have been advised to go into quarantine.

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Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer has written to those considered most vulnerable to the effects of Coronavirus and outlined the requirement for them to be shielded for a twelve-week period.

Anyone who receives a letter should not leave their home at any time – not even for food, medicine or exercise.

Those being shielded can ask friends and family to deliver essentials to them, as long as they ensure they follow the social distancing guidance, or use online shopping or direct delivery from a pharmacy.

For those who do not have a support network that can collect food and medicine, Renfrewshire Council has set up a local helpline which will ensure everyone is provided with what they need.

Anyone who needs this support should call 0300 300 0230 to speak in confidence to an advisor or send a request online via www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/MyAccount.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s important that we support those who need us most which is why we’ve created this helpline for people who are being shielded.

“We recognise how hard it will be for those affected, but it’s incredibly important that they follow the advice and do all they can to avoid contracting this disease.

“We want to ensure that we are there for them at all times so if you need this support, please call our helpline and one of the team will find out exactly what you need and outline how we will provide this for you.

“If you know someone else who may benefit, please let them know the number to call or get in contact with us – we want to ensure that everyone who needs this support can access it.

“These are unprecedented times so please continue to follow the latest health guidance, stay safe and look after each other wherever you can.”

Shielding is for people, including children, who are at very high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus and includes people who’ve had solid organ transplants, certain cancers, or other conditions like cystic fibrosis and severe asthma.

To reduce the risk of them becoming infected, it asks the person to go into quarantine for the next 12 weeks and is different, more stringent advice than for the rest of the population at this time.

The Scottish Government are running a text-message service to keep in touch and send the latest updates to people who are shielding, with those who receive a letter asked to text 07860 064525 with their ten-digit CHI number found at the top of the letter.

For more information on shielding, and Coronavirus in general, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding.

Oakshaw green bins

Residents are being urged to recycle more than ever while the current government guidance is to remain at home wherever possible.

Bin collections in Renfrewshire are continuing to run as normal at this time (26 March), but the area’s recycling centres are currently closed.

Oakshaw green bins

With an expectation more waste will be created during this time, the council have offered a list of handy tips to help people reduce, reuse and recycle.

  • Wash and squash your cans, plastic bottles, tubs and trays – a good rinse is all you need to do.
  • Reuse any containers you can. They’re perfect for freezing any batch cooking.
  • Break down cardboard boxes to save space.
  • If you run out of food waste bags, use old newspaper or put it in directly until you can get more.
  • Visit lovefoodhatewaste.com for advice on how to avoid wasting food, using up those ingredients that are stuck in your cupboard and how to store it correctly.
  • The council website has a list of what should and should not go into each bin, do you know what goes where?

Residents are asked to ensure that parked cars do not obstruct collection vehicles to ensure that waste can be uplifted.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “This is an unprecedented time with everyone advised to stay at home unless it is essential that they leave for food, medical issues or to work in a key role.

“Being at home, you are going to create more waste than normal so I would encourage you to take recycling more seriously than ever to ensure you have the space you need in your bins.

“Our waste collections are running as normal at this time, but we need your support to help our fantastic frontline workers do their job so please be patient and show understanding for the position they are in.

“Our teams have been given the appropriate advice and PPE to carry out their role in line with government guidance and I want to thank them for the outstanding service they are providing at this time.

“To all our staff, partners, Unison, RHSCP, health workers and volunteers, thank you on behalf of us all on the way you have risen to the challenge in these difficult times.

“Let’s keep working together and show the strength of community that I know we have here in Renfrewshire.”

For the latest advice and guidance on Coronavirus, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or follow the council on Twitter via @RenCouncil.


PUPILS at Paisley Grammar have created a giant signwriting mural that’s designed to bring a bit of colour and a message of hope and encouragement to the East end of Paisley.

The young people from the school’s art classes have been working with professional artist and graphic designer Ciaran Globel, who uses traditional signwriting tools and techniques to produce striking, hand-painted work.



The pupils choose the message on the mural which read: “Smile and hold your head high.”

The 14-metre long piece of artwork has now been erected at the children’s playpark in McKerrell Street.

Paisley Grammar has been working with S1 pupils at signwriting workshops with older pupils – Kitty Hunter, Victoria Torrance, Emma Brough, Melissa Murdoch, Grace Aitchison and Emma Forbes – who are in S4.

Artist Ciaran Globel said: “The pupils came up with a great phrase. I really enjoyed working with Paisley Grammar and hope everyone enjoys the results”

Ciaran Globel

Paisley Grammar art teacher Lisa Cassidy added: We’re delighted that this powerful message will be in the park for everyone to see.”

The mural is part of the Artist and Residents Project funded by Renfrewshire Council’s Future Paisley legacy fund stemming from the town’s City of Culture bid.



Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes added:  “Our Artist and Residents strand of Future Paisley is all about artists and neighbourhoods working together to create great art.

“This amazing mural reflects a great pride and positivity in Paisley’s future.

“We continue to work with Future Paisley to breathe life into new spaces and inspire people across Renfrewshire to make and create.”

Future Paisley is the radical and wide-ranging programme of events, activity and investment using the town’s unique and internationally-significant cultural story to transform its future.


Issued on behalf of Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee.


With the closure of schools and nurseries during the Covid-19 outbreak, a national child protection group is urging everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for children who may be at risk during this time.


Child Protection Committees Scotland, a national grouping of child protection professionals, supports all efforts by the Scottish Government, local authorities and the third sector to keep children safe from harm during the enforced break in normal routine.

John Paterson, Independent Chair of Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee, recognises the impact a significant change in day-to-day life may have on vulnerable children.

“Schools and nurseries in Renfrewshire play a central role in contributing to the safety of all local children, especially those who may be at risk of abuse and neglect. When children are not at school we lose the ability to monitor their wellbeing on a daily basis, and we are making every effort possible to support those children and families who may need it during these demanding times.”

However, Renfrewshire Child Protection Committee stresses the need for the public to join efforts to protect potentially vulnerable children during the Coronavirus outbreak. John Paterson urges everyone to play a part to keep local children safe.

“The onus of care has now shifted from schools to local communities, and we’re asking everyone to keep their eyes and ears open. Local people always provide a significant protective factor for children and that’s even more important at a time when families may be under significant additional stress. If you’re at all worried about a child’s welfare, it’s much better to say something than do nothing.”

Renfrewshire Council urges everyone to take action if they’re concerned about a child or children. If you’re worried don’t hesitate to contact Social Work Services – 0300 300 1199 or call the police on 101.


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Changes to S4-S6 process for exams

Statement from Steven Quinn, Director of Children’s Services

Following the statement by the First Minister today, we are currently asking all S4-S6 pupils not to attend school. The health and wellbeing of our communities, our pupils and our staff is our priority.

I understand the concern this will be causing our pupils and their parents and carers at this time.

I want to reassure you that we are doing everything possible to support our young people in ensuring that they gain the grades in their exams that they have worked so hard for. Your child’s school will be in touch over the next few days to offer greater clarity on the arrangements that will be put in place to best support them.

Thank you for your patience and continued support. We will work together to ensure our young people are not disadvantaged.

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Which schools and nurseries are providing childcare?

The most recent advice issued by the Scottish Government is that schools and council-run nurseries should close other than for specified groups. These groups are as follows:

– children whose parents have been designated as essential workers

– the children and young people deemed most vulnerable or in need of support. The parents or carers of these individuals will be contacted directly by their school or nursery.

Pupils in S4-S6 should not attend school. Any pupils that need to complete coursework will be contacted by their school.

We are following Scottish Government directives and trying to strike a balance between respecting the health advice designed to stop the spread of the virus, while still supporting those most in need, allowing the frontline staff providing lifeline services to do so, and allowing older pupils the best possible chance of getting the qualifications they hoped for.

The following locations will be open to provide childcare for the children of essential workers who we can accommodate:

  • West Primary School in Paisley (primary only)
  • West Johnstone shared campus (primary and nursery)
  • St James’ Primary campus in Renfrew (primary and Moorpark nursery)
  • Hugh Smiley Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Paisley (nursery only)
  • Riverbrae School in Linwood (for ASN children)

School and nursery staff will be in on Monday 23 March and pupils will be able to attend from Tuesday 24 March. Schools and nurseries will be open each week from 9am until 3pm Monday to Friday for the time being. We are looking at the possibility of having them open until later in the day but cannot offer that at this stage. All children attending schools and nurseries from next week will receive a free school meal.

Following the latest guidance from the Scottish Government, pupils in S4-S6 should not attend school.

We plan to open secondary schools to provide childcare for eligible pupils in secondary school and older primary school pupils. We are currently working through these plans and we will confirm which schools we will be open as soon as we are able.

When will I hear if I have a childcare place?

Families who applied by 9am on Saturday morning are being contacted on Sunday 22 March to let them know if we can provide a childcare place or if we can’t at this time. The good news is we have been able to accommodate more than 1,300 children. For those who we could not accommodate we are sorry we can’t do more to help during what we know is a challenging time for working parents. We know some parents will be disappointed but we have to prioritise to those who need it most.

Our capacity to offer childcare to the families of key workers is limited by the number of available staff and by the need to ensure a safe level of social distancing for pupils. Demand for this service has far exceeded the capacity available, thus we have had to prioritise within the essential criteria, in line with government advice.

There are some families who we hope to be able to offer a place to later in the week but we cannot guarantee this. Those families have been contacted to make them aware and we will be in touch on Tuesday to confirm. Our staff are doing all we can to put this service in place at short notice and react to extremely fast-moving and unprecedented circumstances. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

So far we have only been able to consider applications received by 9am on Saturday. If you applied after that point we will be in touch on Tuesday to let you know if we can accommodate. If you believe you meet the criteria and haven’t applied you can still do so via this link.

Key workers

Please be aware we are now at capacity so we won’t be able to accommodate at this time. If more places can be made available we would consider your application then.

Can you appeal if you don’t get a childcare place?

We have accommodated as many people as we can. If you believe your application was wrongly rejected, email education@renfrewshire.gov.uk and we will consider whether you could be accommodated if more capacity becomes available.

What about pupil transport?

We are afraid we cannot offer school transport to the schools and nurseries that are open, given these arrangements are being put in place at such short notice. Parents who have a place at a school or nursery will need to make their own transport arrangements for the time being.

Where can I get more information?

Parents will be kept informed through their school and your child’s school will advise you on how they will keep in touch with you in due course. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered in this email, visit our FAQs on our school information webpage.

School information

For the latest updates and information from us, follow our Twitter account @RenCouncil and visit our website.


Coronavirus advice

For the latest health advice, visit the NHS inform website.

NHS inform

Advice and information for our staff

Our staff can visit our staff information section of website to find out the latest information and advice.

Staff information