Hunterhill Paisley News


Published: 19 Mar 2020 

Exams will not go ahead, teaching, learning and support can continue with local flexibility.


Deputy First Minister John Swinney has updated Parliament on the decision to close schools and confirmed that:

  • the exam diet will not go ahead this year. The Scottish Qualifications Authority will put in place a certification model using coursework, teacher assessment of estimated grades and prior attainment
  • local authorities are taking measures to protect vulnerable children who rely on schools for hot meals or a safe and supportive environment
  • children of key workers will have continuing access to learning or childcare

Mr Swinney said:

“My priorities are to ensure the health and wellbeing of our children, young people and staff, and to maintain teaching and learning wherever this is possible, guided by the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and public health experts.

“Teaching, learning and support will continue – albeit in different ways for different groups of children. For the majority, this will be through distance learning and online learning, with different forms of on-going contact with teachers rather than in-school, face-to-face. Teachers and other staff who are well will continue to be working.

“For vulnerable children and those who have parents or carers employed as key workers, local authorities are developing approaches to support them. We will not cut adrift vulnerable young people who often rely on school life for hot meals or for a safe, nurturing and supportive environment.

“Parents are not expected to be a teacher or to recreate the school day – your school will be giving you some resources and suggestions as your first port of call.

“It is a measure of the gravity of the challenge we now face that the exams will not go ahead this year. With the support of the wider education system, a credible certification model can be put in place in the that can command confidence in the absence of the exam diet – to ensure that young people in our schools and colleges who through no fault of their own are unable to sit exams, are not disadvantaged.”


The Deputy First Minister’s statement in full.

The SQA will develop a certification model to replace the exam diet. Pupils in S4-S6 with coursework for national qualifications to complete will be informed by their schools how to complete this.

Local authorities will put in place appropriate arrangements to support vulnerable children and those who have parents or carers employed as key workers – this may include exceptional provision to continue to attend school or local childcare that the local authority put in place. Those with complex additional support needs who are learning and living in residential special schools will continue to receive the care and support they require and any long-term health conditions will be taken into account.

Local authorities are also being encouraged to work with local childcare providers in the private and third sectors to ensure ongoing provision to enable key workers to remain in work. Funding will continue to allow contractual payments to private and third sector providers, including childminders, for statutory early learning and childcare hours to continue. This is worth £220 million to the childcare sector in 2020-21.

A £70 million food fund from the support package for communities announced yesterday will support access to food, including provision of free school meals. Pupil Equity Funding will be relaxed to allow headteachers and local authorities to support the most vulnerable childrens’ needs during this time.

Local authorities can deploy the 2020-21 uplift in funding for the 1140 hours expansion as flexibly as is needed to support families and childcare providers during this period.

Key workers are those who work in posts which ensure that essential services can be delivered, or those who cover tasks within the local community which support the vulnerable and aid community resilience. The exact definition will vary based on local needs.

The Student Awards Agency Scotland will endeavour to continue to fund students on time, and students will be updated throughout. The Further and Higher Education Minister is working closely with the Scottish Funding Council, college and university principals and unions.


Helping communities affected by COVID-19
£350 million fund to support welfare and wellbeing.

An additional £350 million will go to those most affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell has announced.


The funding will be made available to councils, charities, businesses and community groups and designed to be flexible, cutting down on red tape to enable them to respond swiftly and according to local need for people impacted economically or through reduced contact with society, including anyone struggling to access food.

Ms Campbell said allowing a high level of flexibility was the best way to ensure they were most effective. She said:

“This pandemic will disrupt lives like never before and cause financial hardship and negatively impact on our wellbeing. Be assured, however, that protecting and supporting people during these unparalleled times is the absolute focus of this government.

“Our funding package will be focused on delivery, not bureaucracy or red tape. Local authorities, local businesses, community groups and the third sector know and understand the support needs of their communities the best. Where people and organisations have solutions or ideas, I want to hear them.”

“Unless we work with local partners the impact of our investment will not be felt by those that need it most. So my message today is – if we can help you to help the people of Scotland then we will.”


The emergency funding package will be allocated to existing funding streams through several new funds, with the £95 million package direct to local authorities made up of:

£50 million in Barnett consequentials from the UK Government’s hardship fund is being passed direct to local authorities to support their own local resilience, support and hardship plans.

£45 million will be added to the existing Scottish Welfare Fund which makes Community Grants and Crisis Grants available to those in immediate need. This more than doubles the current £35.5 million fund, which is administered by local authorities. They will be given more flexibility in how it is used to ensure they can fully support people in financial crisis, including workers in the ‘gig economy’.

In addition:

  • a £70 million Food Fund will help organisations in the public, private and voluntary sectors address issues of food insecurity, especially for older people, and families who may not be able to rely on free school meals
  • a £50 million Wellbeing Fund will help charities and others who require additional capacity to work with at-risk people who may be worst affected by the crisis, including homeless people and those experiencing fuel poverty
  • a £40 million Supporting Communities Fund will be used to support the rapidly growing and inspiring community efforts at a local level which will be vital to national resilience, including supporting people at risk because of age, isolation, carers, homeless people and asylum seekers and signposting people to sources of help such as applying for benefits
  • £50 million will go to meet an anticipated increase in applications for the existing Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Scottish social security benefits
  • £20 million will be allocated to a Third Sector Resilience Fund, to help ensure the health and continued viability of the third sector organisations affected by cash flow and other problems, which have a key role to play in our national response
  • £25 million will be kept in reserve to allow swift and flexible responses to rapidly changing circumstances

Read the Cabinet Secretary’s full statement.


Photo Booth London

Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “In line with national guidance from the Scottish Government on the coronavirus, we have taken the decision to cancel all large-scale Renfrewshire Council-run events until the end of June.

Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019

“This will include the Paisley Food and Drink Festival which was due to take place on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 April and an agreement with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) to cancel the British Pipe Band Championships in Paisley, which was set to take place on Saturday 23 May.

“We will also look to reschedule both Renfrew Gala Day and Barshaw Gala Day for the end of summer.

“We will continue to review our future events, including Sma’ Shot Day on Saturday 4 July, as the situation progresses.

“We would advise everyone to continue to observe the medical advice available at NHS Inform. For further information, please visit

“For ongoing updates to our event programme, please visit”

All winners with Provost

Renfrewshire has honoured local groups and volunteers for their work in the community at the Provost’s Community Awards.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron was joined by comperè Libby McArthur to help celebrate the achievements of devoted community members who go above and beyond to make Renfrewshire a better place to live and work.

All winners with Provost

The award winners were invited to a special ceremony at the Normandy Hotel in Renfrew after being chosen from more than 50 outstanding nominations submitted by their peers in the local community.

Renfrewshire Schools Clarsach Group provided music as guests arrived at the ceremony. Preceding the presentation of the awards, guests were entertained by Starlight Youth Music Theatre Group who performed a selection of Motown Classics.

The recipients of this year’s awards were:

Arts and Culture (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council) – Catherine Craig

Carer’s Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison) – Linda Clark

Community Group (sponsored by City Gate Construction) – Rays of Hope

Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd) – David Love

Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire) – Pamela McKechan

Sporting Achievement (sponsored by Acre Industrial Services Ltd) – Harrison Lovett

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “The Community Awards recognises those who really go the extra mile to make Renfrewshire a better place without looking for reward or recognition.

“These winners were all nominated by their own communities and I’m honoured to be able to reward them for their dedication and commitment.

“Congratulations to all our winners, your hard work does not go unnoticed.”

The Provost’s Community Awards were first established in 1997 by former Provost Nancy Allison, who continues to sponsor the Carers Award today.

The awards have been continued by each subsequent Provost and have recognised more than 100 deserving community members for their commitment and devotion.

For more information on the Provost’s Community Awards, visit

Further information on Community Award winners

Carer’s Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison) – Linda Clark

Linda has been a foster carer for Alex for five years and was nominated for this award by Fordbank Primary School, where Alex is a pupil. Linda gave up her full-time job to be able to care for Alex full time as he required additional support both at home and at school.

Sporting Achievement (sponsored by Acre Industrial Services) – Harrison Lovett

Harrison has multiple disabilities, including visual and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy and jouberts syndrome. He was selected to represent the United Kingdom at the Special Olympic World Summer Games in judo and brought home a silver medal.

Community Group (sponsored by City Gate Construction) – Rays of Hope

Rays of Hope are a self-help cancer group based in Elderslie. The group is led by volunteers who have either all had a diagnosis of cancer of have experienced cancer through a friend or family member. They aim to help turn negative experiences in to positive ones and help people regain control of their life. As well as being a safe space for people to openly talk about their experiences, Rays of Hope offer activities such as creative writing, craft groups, choir, exercise classes and walking groups.

Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire) – Pamela McKechan

Pamela works for Families First and is based in Gallowhill. She is the first point of contact for families in the area contacting the service for help and she loves that her job allows her to empower people to make a difference in their lives. Her staff say she encourages them to develop their skills and is always around when you need a supportive chat after a hard day.

Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd) – David Love

David has been volunteering for Paisley 8th Boys Brigade for 15 years. He attends every Friday night and works tirelessly behind the scenes researching activities for the group and applying for funding for future trips and excursions. Every three years David plans a big trip away and organises fundraising to ensure the cost is affordable for the young boys who attend – mostly from the Ferguslie Park and west end area of Paisley.

Arts and Culture (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council) – Catherine Craig

Cathy volunteers at Paisley Abbey and has been instrumental in developing the Abbey as a tourist attraction. She is a well-known face and can be seen taking tours around the Abbey or helping out on busy event days. Many of the displays and timelines in the Abbey have been created by Cathy in her own time, at her own expense, to enable visitors who don’t want a tour to still learn about the Abbey. She loves history and dedicates hours to researching her chosen topics.

Nursery - St Catherine's

Council officials confirm there will be a nursery place for every child to benefit from 1140 hours of early learning and childcare from August 2020.

Renfrewshire Council has already completed nine refurbishments and is on track to complete 13 new build, extension and refurbishment projects for the August deadline set by Scottish Government.

Nursery - St Catherine's

The remaining two new build centres, one extension and one refurbishment projects are now expected to be completed in November 2020 due to delays from remediation works on each site.

Children attend nursery one month after their third birthday, giving nurseries extra capacity for the first few months while building works are being completed.

Children due to attend Lochfield Early Learning and Childcare Centre will be temporarily located at Todholm and St Charles early learning and childcare classes or Paisley Early Learning and Childcare Centre. Children living in Bishopton will temporarily attend St John Bosco or St Anne’s early learning and childcare classes.

McKillop Institute will temporarily accommodate children while Lochwinnoch Early Learning and Childcare Centre is being refurbished. Most children will be able to attend St Catherine’s Early Learning and Childcare Class while the extensions work take places, with some children being temporarily relocated.

Public meetings will be held on Monday 23 March at Bishopton Primary School, Tuesday 24 March at Kirklandneuk Primary School and Wednesday 25 March at Lochfield Primary School, all at 6.30pm, for parents, children and young people to vote for a new name for these three new build centres.

More than 1,700, equivalent to 41 per cent, of children are already receiving the expanded hours of early learning and childcare in Renfrewshire.

Progress on recruiting staff and carrying out building works on nursery centres and classes is in line with progress being made across Scotland, with 63% of the workforce target already met and further planned recruitment taking place between now and August.

Depute Leader and Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said that progress to date has been positive. He said: “We are committed to providing high quality early learning and childcare across our nurseries and have been working hard to improve the learning environment within each centre and class.

“Every child in Renfrewshire will have a nursery place from August 2020, even if the nursery building is not quite ready ahead of the deadline.

“Alternative arrangements are being put in place where needed and parents will be contacted by the nursery they applied to. For the two new builds, parents will be contacted by the head of centre for the new nurseries.

“The best thing parents can do is make sure they have applied. That will help our nursery teams plan placements and temporary relocation as far in advance as possible.”

An admissions campaign took place in January encouraging parents to apply for a nursery place. Those applications will be reviewed, and nursery places allocated during the first round of local panels held during March.

Parents can still apply for a place and this will be considered in future panels. For more information, visit

My Fun Photo Booth


Communities are investing in their local green spaces following successful applications to Renfrewshire Council’s £1.87million Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.


More than £120,000 is set to be invested in four projects which will improve the play equipment for young people and upgrade the infrastructure in parks across Renfrewshire, after councillors approved the plans at the Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board.

Sandyflats Tenants and Residents Association (TARA) have been awarded £50,000 to radically redesign their local play park to create more inclusive equipment for children of all ages, and potentially a community garden in the future.

£50,000 has also been awarded to Spateston Tenants and Residents Association to update their local play park, create a Community Hub and community gardens, kick starting their Place Plan which aspires to create a new community hub and gardens.

Bridge of Weir Community Council have been successful with their application for £12,000 which will see a new playhouse installed at Horsewood Road Park, and a new slide and activity boards in Lintwhite Park, while £10,000 has been given to Friends of Knockhill Park to upgrade the park’s main paths which they hope will encourage more leisure activities within the park.

£13,645 had already been granted to four other projects, which included a feasibility study for bowling green improvements for Lochfield Ladies Bowling and Social Club, a gardening project within Fountain Gardens in Paisley, Brediland Allotments will create a new pond and surrounding meadow area to encourage nature to thrive in the allotment, and Corseford TARA will paint and enhance the entrances to a well-used local underpass in the area.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We are investing in the ideas and the enthusiasm of our local community groups and volunteers by helping them to make the difference they recognise is needed for their area.

“Young people are set to have more play opportunities than ever and our green spaces are becoming even more enticing places for local people and families to visit.

“It’s amazing to see the projects that people are bringing forward and we’re committed to supporting them to develop and progress their ideas wherever possible.

“I can’t wait to see how these latest projects advance and if you have an idea for a green space in your area, please get in touch and see if this fund could be for you.”

More than £800,000 has been awarded or committed from the fund already, with a further £640,000 allocated to other potential projects under development including new play equipment in Kilbarchan, Barwood, Lochfield, Hawkhead, McKerrall Street and Fountain Gardens.

In addition, upgrades to Thomas Shanks Park and South Park Mound are being examined, along with improvements to the community growing grounds in Foxbar and Linwood.

For more information, and to apply for the fund, visit

Photo Booth London


SCHOOL pupils produced some “outstanding” work when they entered Renfrewshire’s annual Inspired Art Competition.

Now 122 of the 678 entries of drawings and paintings are on display in a free exhibition, at The Tannahill Centre, in Blackstoun Road, Paisley, until April 20.


Two of the talented pupils – Aine Currie, aged 14, from St Andrew’s Academy, Paisley and 11-year-old Innes Baker from Elderslie’s Wallace Primary – have had their artwork chosen to be turned into posters promoting the exhibition.

And 13 of the paintings and drawings in the exhibition will be used as the artwork for the Renfrewshire Schools 2021 Calendar.


The exhibition aims to showcase the development of young people’s art and design work from three and four year olds, to the more sophisticated pieces, which form a Fifth or Sixth Year pupils’ portfolio for national qualifications.

For the first time, this year’s competition had a drawing section in honour of well-known Paisley artist, John Byrne

The competition is organised by Renfrewshire Leisure, whose chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “Some of the work from the secondary pupils was outstanding and the artwork from nursery and primary pupils showed they have lots of potential, as they displayed great imagination and maturity in their drawings and paintings.

“Judging which pieces of artwork should be exhibited was very difficult and I would encourage people to go along to the Tannahill Centre and see for themselves the brilliant artwork on show.”


Our Budget 2020/21

Here’s how our budget will be invested in Renfrewshire in 2020/21.

Key facts

  • £440million budget
  • An investment package totalling £35million benefiting everyone in Renfrewshire
  • £385million five-year capital investment programme 2020/21-2024/25
  • £13.9million of planned costs reductions and savings generated to support this budget
  • A 4.64% increase on Council Tax, representing a £1.12 weekly increase to Band D households
  • Confirmed Scottish Government grant of £341.9million
  • A 2% inflationary increase in service charges
  • Commitments to maintain teacher numbers and prioritise adult services
  • £7.26million set aside for pay inflation

This budget builds on our existing long-term investments.

City Deal investment

  • £274million in Glasgow City Region City Deal projects to deliver long term inclusive economic growth
  • More than £115million in town centre regeneration to help town centres flourish
  • £47million to improve our roads and pathways
  • More than £30million investment in our schools
  • £10million to support tackling poverty and help people find work
  • £4.5million supporting villages, community projects, assets and green spaces

Now, we bring £35million of new investment into Renfrewshire to address the climate emergency, promote inclusive growth and community empowerment, protect the most vulnerable in society and invest in education and young people. 

Responding to the climate emergency

Vital action is needed for Renfrewshire to be carbon neutral by 2030 and the Council has a critical role to play in, leading, enabling and driving positive change. Team Up to Clean Up is improving the local environment and inspiring pride in our place and now we have set out new investments.

Climate Change - Renfrewshire landscape

  • £1million to establish a climate change fund, supporting the next steps of the Council’s climate emergency working group
  • Bolster improvements to our pathways, cycle network and gullies with an extra £200,000
  • £50,000 to fund a study identifying ways to improve bus transport across Renfrewshire
  • £10,000 ongoing support for Fairtrade

Supporting those most in need

We continue to provide critical long-term targeted support for the most vulnerable people in our communities and these investments enhance our long-term commitment to tackling poverty.

Supporting those most in need

  • £2million to support the crucial work of the Renfrewshire’s Alcohol and Drugs Commission, working collaboratively to looking at all aspects of addiction and improve the lives of everyone affected, with a main focus on the wellbeing and mental health of children and early intervention for adults
  • £1.8million additional funding for Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to manage increasing demands in adult social care services
  • £210,000 over the next three years to support families and children of relatives with head injuries
  • £84,000 to support Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau
  • £30,000 to further ongoing work supporting victims of domestic abuse
  • £100,000 will top up the available Discretionary Housing Payments that support people in crisis

Investing in our future

We want to give every child the best start in life and our investments underline our commitment to provide the best possible learning environments, while we continue to provide free music tuition.

Investing in our future

  • Almost doubling our school investment fund to £52million, opening the door to the Scottish Government’s £1billion school estate funding and prioritising a much- needed new Paisley Grammar School and Thorn Primary in Johnstone
  • £1.6million for further improvements to our school and early years facilities, in addition to £16million investment already underway to support the increase in early learning and childcare
  • £45,000 to enhance the successful Active Schools programme delivered by Renfrewshire Leisure which promotes school sport and encourages young people to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of physical activity
  • £500,000 towards enhanced indoor, inclusive adventure play facilities at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in a partnership project with Renfrewshire Leisure
  • £150,000 to support Rainbow Nursery in Shortroods, working with its management Childcare First to ensure its long-term sustainable future

Empowering our communities

Empowering our communities through new investments builds on established funds already enabling communities to take forward the projects and shape the places that matter most to them.

Empowering our communities

  • Community groups will benefit from a new £200,000 fund to support culture and heritage projects
  • £150,000 further funding to take the Villages Investment Fund to more than £500,000, supporting village communities to strengthen their unique identity, history and heritage
  • Additional investment of £400,000 over the next three years to the grounds of Renfrewshire cemeteries, adding to £1million already committed to improving the experience for residents visiting their loved ones
  • £150,000 towards a continued programme of tree works to ensure clear, accessible walkways at key locations
  • £50,000 to improve kitchens in community facilities

Strengthening our economy

Investment in the economy is an investment in our people and the places that make Renfrewshire a great place to live, visit and work and adds to major, multi-year projects already underway.

Strengthening our economy

  • £2.25million further investment in our town centres recognising their role as hubs for business, retail, culture and leisure, adding to £1.4million already secured through the Scottish Government Town Centre Capital Fund
  • An additional £100,000 towards the Retail Improvement Fund, enabling local businesses to enhance their appeal to shoppers with improved shop fronts
  • Making journeys safer with £250,000 towards priority road markings, building on improvements around schools and key Renfrewshire junctions and adding to the landmark £47million roads investment

A budget building on long-term commitments and investing in Renfrewshire communities has been agreed by councillors today (Monday 9 March 2020).


The £440million budget includes a new fund to help tackle the climate emergency and more money for the school investment fund, almost doubling it to £52million.

There’s £2million for the crucial work of Renfrewshire’s landmark Alcohol and Drugs Commission, focusing on prevention, early intervention and the wellbeing of children impacted by addiction.

Also confirmed in the £35million investment package is £2.25million towards town centres, support for local culture and heritage projects and more money for village groups to strengthen their unique identity.

Councillors also agreed a £385million five-year capital investment programme covering a range of major projects and £75million to maintain and build new council housing over the next three years.

This new investment builds on long-term commitments well under way including more than £115million of town centre regeneration; £47million of road and pathway improvements; £10million to tackle poverty and help people find work; and £274million in Glasgow City Region City Deal infrastructure projects.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our budget for Renfrewshire builds on existing long-term investments and signals new investment addressing the climate emergency, promoting inclusive growth and community empowerment, protecting the most vulnerable in society and investing in education and young people.

“Vital action is needed for Renfrewshire to be carbon neutral by 2030 and we recognise our role in leading, enabling and driving positive change.

“Building on our impactful tackling poverty programmes, we are helping those most in need and as well as funding to improve the lives of everyone affected by addiction, we’re providing additional social care funding and support for victims of domestic abuse.

“We are investing in our future by almost doubling the school estate fund and empowering our communities by enabling them to take forward the projects and shape the places that matter most to them. And our investment in town centres will bolster business and support inclusive growth as we make Renfrewshire a great place to live, visit, work and invest in.

“It is a budget which safeguards services and jobs and delivers a better Renfrewshire for everyone, rightly reflecting the crucial role of our communities as our partners.”

There was also £150,000 committed to support Rainbow Nursery in Shortroods, working with its management Childcare First to ensure its long-term sustainable future.

A 4.64% increase in Council Tax was confirmed, representing a £1.12 weekly increase to Band D households, and the budget is supported through generation of £13.9million of cost reductions and savings.

Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, Councillor John Shaw said: “The council is in a stable financial position enabling investments totalling £35million which benefit everyone in Renfrewshire and which maximise the opportunities to leverage additional private and public funding.

“It has been carefully considered conscious of the challenging financial outlook facing all local authorities and work is well under way to transform how we work, focusing our resources where they are most needed and ensuring we are fit for the future.”

Visit Renfrewshire Budget 2020 for full details.

Cllr Cathy McEwan

Volunteers are being praised after more than 70 Team Up to Clean Up litter picks took place across the winter period in Renfrewshire.

The award-winning campaign saw 278 volunteers take part from October to January with more than 300 bags of rubbish removed from the local environment.

Cllr Cathy McEwan

Volunteer groups and lone volunteers also identified larger items which had been fly tipped and alerted the council to have them removed.

The dedication and hard work of local people has been hailed ahead of the annual Big Spring Clean event, which last year saw more than 1750 people take part throughout April.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “It’s inspiring to see the dedication of local people and their desire to make where they live a cleaner, brighter place for the community.

“While the winter often sees fewer litter picks than normal, people have still been heading out to do their bit.

“We’ve built a real community within Team Up to Clean Up and it’s fantastic to see the impact of the work of local people – it really is appreciated and is making a huge difference.

“I’m looking forward to the Big Spring Clean next month as we’ve seen thousands of people take part during the previous two events and with the campaign just continuing to grow, let’s see what we can do this time!”

For more information, and to join the campaign, visit