Paisley, Renfrewshire Category


Best Start Foods clients can get free fruit and vegetables in Iceland and Tesco.


Customers who show their Best Start Foods card in Iceland stores can get a £1 bag of frozen vegetables when they make a minimum payment of £4.25.

In Tesco, Best Start Foods customers who present their card will receive £1 off their total shop when buying fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables.

At a time where a third of low-income families in the UK are struggling to afford fruit and vegetables, supermarkets are doing their bit to help communities they serve.

The prepaid Best Start Foods card replaced the UK Government’s healthy start vouchers in Scotland in August 2019 and can be used to buy First infant formula, fresh milk, fruit and vegetables, pulses and eggs.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to doing all it can to improve the health and wellbeing of children in Scotland and give them the best start in life. No child in Scotland should go without – our priority is ensuring low-income families can access healthy food for their young children.

“It is encouraging to see supermarkets running these kinds of initiatives. Feeding a growing family can be expensive – any extra help towards the cost of healthy food can make a real difference.

“I’m pleased that Iceland and Tesco have recognised how the Best Start Foods card can be a link in to helping some of the most vulnerable families in Scotland and would encourage Best Start Foods clients to take up these offers in store.

“I’d also ask anyone who thinks they might be eligible for Best Start Foods to find out more and apply. We want everyone to get all the money they are entitled to. The form is quick and easy to fill in so 10 minutes of your time could give you an extra £221 a year towards your food shop.”

Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland said:

“We are proud to support The Best Start Foods initiative and the families it supports by bolstering the value of payments made by using the cards in our stores.

“We understand the pressing need to help families facing food insecurity from our interactions with millions of customers each week and we are keen to implement initiatives and find new ways to support wherever possible.”

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK & ROI CEO, said

 “Right now, many families are facing hardship as a result of the pandemic and we want to help by providing nutritious food to those who need it.

“In addition to helping Best Start Foods customers with an extra £1 off fruit and vegetables each week, we’re providing an extra £4m of food to FareShare in the run up to Christmas, on top of our regular monthly food donations, to support food banks and community groups with vital supplies at a time when so many people are relying on them.”



  • The Best Start Foods provides low income families on certain benefits with £17.00 on a payment card every four weeks during pregnancy up until a child turns three. The payment doubles (to £34.00) in the first year of a child’s life.
  • To qualify for Tesco’s offer, a Best Start Foods card must be presented and used for a transaction where £1.00 or more is spent on fresh and/or frozen fruit and/or vegetables. This offer runs from 16th November and will be reviewed in February 2021.
  • In Iceland stores, Best Start Foods customers will receive a free £1 bag of frozen vegetables (900 g – 1 kg range) on a minimum spend of £4.25 in one transaction by presenting their Best Start Foods card at the checkout. This offer is available now and runs until 31st December 2020.
  • Promotional materials and store colleagues will signpost customers to these offers in store.
  • The full Resolution Foundation ‘Caught in a Covid Trap’ report which shows figures of families struggling to buy vegetables can be accessed at
  • People on certain benefits and tax credits can apply for Best Start Foods when they’re pregnant, or at any time up until their child turns three years old.
  • People can apply for Best Start Grant, Best Start Foods and the Scottish Child Payment in one simple online form.
  • People can find out more and apply at or by calling 0800 182 2222.

The 2021 Paisley Book Festival will take place online from Thursday 18 – Saturday 27 February 2021. The theme for this year is Radical New Futures, which centres around the pandemic and our ability to be resilient, to explore our imagination and creativity to devise new and different narratives for our lives.

The Festival is delighted that one of its headline events will include the 2020 Booker Prize winner, Douglas Stuart, who will be joined by two other acclaimed Scottish writers, Andrew O’Hagan and Graeme Armstrong, both of whom have had their books Mayflies and The Young Team published in September and March respectively. Stuart’s debut novel Shuggie Bain is an uncompromising exploration of love, pride, and poverty. The book was also named winner of the Scottish Waterstones Book of the Year. All three books shine a light on the complexities of class and masculine identity.

This event will be chaired by Kirstin Innes. Her book Scabby Queen was also published this year with Nicola Sturgeon describing it as ‘Gripping and moving. A literary triumph’.

The Paisley Book Festival is funded by Renfrewshire Council and delivered in partnership with Renfrewshire Leisure as part of Future Paisley.

Victoria HollowsChief ExecutiveRenfrewshire Leisure said: “I am delighted that our 2021 event is going ahead. Whilst we may not be able to gather physically, our innovative production team is doing great work to create an interesting and interactive virtual festival experience. We have an excellent line-up of writers taking part – and to have Douglas Stuart’s attendance on the back of his fantastic Booker Prize win is incredibly exciting – highlighting the success of our inaugural festival amongst both authors and our audiences.”

She added: “The festival’s theme could not be more appropriate. Covid-19 has created a new narrative to everyone’s lives. Yet, despite the challenges, some of the ways in which we have had to broaden our outlook and approach may prove to be for the better. In our Radical New Future, society will undoubtedly be more resilient, and a creative environment where we can tap into the power of our imagination will be more important than ever for us to thrive.”

Paisley Book Festival Co-Producer Keira Brown said: “Reading has been a great source of comfort, especially as we are living in challenging times. It has provided so many people with an escape route from reality, which has been evidenced through increased borrowing figures in Renfrewshire Libraries over the last eight months. Due to Covid guidelines, we have transitioned the 2021 Festival to an online format, which we will use to our full capacity. Working with our steering committee from Renfrewshire Leisure’s Arts and Libraries teams, my co-producer, Jess Orr, and I are planning a rich and exciting book festival programme, as well as introducing our first Writer-in-Residence.”

She added: “We can’t wait to share more of the enriching and lively conversations and workshops that are planned with you.”

Jess Orr, Co-Producer said: “This has been a tumultuous year for so many people and we hope that the second edition of Paisley Book Festival – different as it will be from its inaugural iteration – will be a much-needed opportunity to heal, to reconnect with others, and to be inspired by our favourite authors to imagine a brand new

future which we can all play a part in creating.”

The full 2021 Paisley Book Festival programme will be announced in January 2021.

For further information contact: Wendy Niblock PR | | 07961 814834

Detailed designs for two new temporary cycling routes from Howwood to Paisley and Bridge of Weir to Houston have been published by Renfrewshire Council.

They are the first of a series being introduced on key commuter routes to encourage people to cycle for essential journeys to and from work and school, for exercise and to visit local shops during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Each route is funded through the Scottish Government Spaces for People programme and supported by Sustrans Scotland.

A summer survey shaped design of the 35-minute, 10km cycle between Howwood and Paisley, which passes St Anthony’s Primary School, Johnstone Train station and through Elderslie, before connecting with National Cycle Route 7 into Paisley town centre.

And the Bridge of Weir to Houston route has been brought forward following a request from Houston Community Council to provide a safe cycling option between the two villages.

The 10-minute cycle along Houston Road includes a combination of existing pavement converted into a shared use route for pedestrians and cyclists and on-road cycling, finishing in Houston outside Gryffe High School.

Letters have been issued to residents, schools, businesses and communities on each route detailing the plans and asking for any feedback to shape the final plans, with the routes to be installed in early 2021.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “Cycling brings so many benefits for our wellbeing and for our environment and these two new routes will encourage more people to cycle and wheel for essential journeys during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“Both routes have been carefully considered, with parking and access maintained for local shops, and over four weeks we are engaging with local residents, businesses, schools and communities, sharing the developed designs and listening to feedback to improve and adjust each route to ensure they are welcomed and well-used.”

Full details of each route are available now on the Council’s Spaces for People cycle routes webpage and as the Bridge of Weir to Houston route has been added to the programme, an online survey is open until Sunday 20 December for more detailed feedback.

There are also webinars on each route being hosted by the design consultants, with the Bridge of Weir to Houston webinar at 7pm on Thursday 3 December and the Howwood to Paisley webinar scheduled for 7pm on Thursday 10 December. Anyone wishing to participate in either webinar can email and they will be provided with the joining instructions.

Councillor McEwan added: “We are working hard to hear from anyone with an interest in these routes and are contacting local businesses directly to ensure we’ve considered their needs.

“These are the first routes we are bringing forward and next year we hope to share the developed designs for others. While they are temporary measures, if they prove popular then we can look at more detailed discussion and consultation to develop them into permanent cycling routes as it’s so important we enhance the active travel opportunities across Renfrewshire.”

The Spaces for People Fund is managed by Sustrans who give tailored support to successful projects to assist with the planning and delivery of the new temporary infrastructure.

Tim Aeberli, Infrastructure Coordinator, said: “Sustrans is delighted to see the delivery of the first two Spaces for People-funded pop-up cycle routes in Renfrewshire gathering pace. Bridge of Weir, Houston, Howwood, Johnstone,  Elderslie and Paisley will benefit from safe, segregated links which will make it easier to walk, cycle or wheel while maintaining physical distancing.

“We look forward to hearing feedback on the proposed routes, and to find out how the new routes will support you for safe and active journeys to schools, workplaces and essential shops in your area.”

As part of the feedback process, residents, schools, businesses and communities are being asked for their opinions – as are key active travel organisations across the country.

Clare Skelton-Morris, Communications & Monitoring Manager at Cycling Scotland said: “During lockdown, we heard from so many people how much of a difference cycling was making to their health, enjoying cleaner air, quieter roads and reduced feelings of stress. As we continue to battle against Covid-19, getting outside and active is more important than ever to look after our physical and mental health.

“We’re encouraged to hear these safe cycling routes are being introduced in Renfrewshire and hope, longer-term, that these routes may be developed into permanent, protected and inclusive infrastructure, which is the highest priority to enable more people to cycle.”

For more information on the proposals, visit

Even though we have moved into Level 4, you can still support our local businesses!

Many essential businesses remain open for food, medicines and other essentials.

A large number of our town centre hospitality businesses are still offering takeaway and delivery services.

And a number of retail businesses are also still operating by offering click and collect, shipping or delivery services so you can still order Christmas presents, Christmas flowers, homeware and clothing by phone or through social media.

For those in the food and drink sector, and those in our health, hair and beauty salons, gift vouchers can also be purchased remotely.

You can see the full list on our website here

Colette Cardosi, Chair of Paisley First, said: “We’ll be keeping you updated on social media during the next few weeks on what’s available and where!

“This also means there are still plenty of chances to be one of our Golden Ticket competition winners!

“So please continue to put Paisley First when it comes to getting your essentials and your Christmas shopping.

“Our local businesses need your support more than ever!”

Remember, even in Level 4, there’s no limit on outdoor exercise.

Plus, six people from two households can still meet outdoors and children under the age of 12 are not included in this maximum number.

So, if you are looking for a good walk and some fresh air, then why not enjoy some  festive cheer with Paisley town centre’s Christmas Buddie Bear Hunt!

Paisley First has joined forces with Renfrewshire Council to pay tribute to the heroes of 2020 with every Buddie Bear dedicated to a key worker!

All the bears are on display inside business windows so it’s the perfect activity to help the kids have some fun and get outdoors for a little while.

Plus watch out for the Paisley Advent Calendar, beginning on 1st December on Paisley First Facebook, where there will be prizes up for grabs every day until  Christmas Eve!

Love Local, Love Paisley this Christmas!

salt grit

Salt and Grit Solutions Ltd have been working hard behind the scenes all year and now look forward to providing the people of Renfrewshire and the rest of the UK with de-icing salt and associated winter maintenance products including grit bins, spreaders, snow shovels and scoops during the winter months.

salt grit

The company, based at North Arkleston Farm in Paisley, supplies de-icing salt to homeowners, businesses, local authorities and winter maintenance companies alike, and plays a pivotal role in keeping the country moving when the bad weather hits. This seems more important than ever this year as all business areas have already felt a negative impact from COVID and the different restrictions in place. When the temporary restrictions have eased off it is important to keep shops, schools and hospitals accessible and encourage some economic activity in the local area.

The company facilitates deliveries of rock salt throughout all the UK, however a fantastic service with short delivery lead times and competitive prices is offered to the people of Paisley, as to be expected from a local supplier.  Individual bags of de-icing salt are available to buy direct from the depot at North Arkleston Farm however customers are reminded that social distancing rules are in place and visitors are requested to wear a face covering in the shop area if applicable.

If you are interested in organising bulk salt supplies for your business, Salt and Grit Solutions Ltd can be contacted on 0141 8891455 or you can visit their website at


A UNIQUE adult colouring-in book that aims to encourage reminiscing and story sharing among Renfrewshire residents has just been launched.

The book, Colouring Renfrewshire is published by Renfrewshire Leisure and contains ten original line drawings relating to local industry, history and architecture from eight local artists.

People are being encouraged to colour in the drawings and share the memories sparked by the drawings.

The free book will be given to care homes, sheltered housing and older people’s organisations. But anyone can get a copy of Colouring Renfrewshire in pdf format to print out themselves by visiting

The artists who have contributed to the book are Chris Manson, Stuart Hatt, Maureen Rocks-Moore, Kay Nicolson, Joy Rae, Jane McInally, Mandy Sinclair and Joy Nevada Hale

Pamela Givan, Renfrewshire Leisure Arts Outreach Worker said: “The Colouring Renfrewshire book is aimed at older residents, or those currently shielding to share memories and stories. However Renfrewshire residents of all ages can enjoy the book and have a go at colouring in their favourite picture.

“It’s an ideal way to get creative and hold close what is dear to us in these uncertain times. We hope that when people start colouring in the book, they will recall days gone by and share those memories.”


Actor, Director and Writer, Scott Vickers, is joining forces with Renfrewshire Charity CREATE Paisley to help bring a little Hollywood glamour to young people during the pandemic.

Scott who made his name as a cop with a temper in the Glasgow based Rivercity has went on to work with some of Hollywood’s biggest names since leaving the soap. He has written, directed and starred in indie horror film ‘Matriarch’ and been signed by industry powerhouse 3 Arts Entertainment, who also manage Hollywood stars like Chris Evans and produce shows such as Brooklyn Nine Nine and The Good Place.


‘Since leaving Rivercity I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible people on Matriarch and had amazing opportunities thanks to the support of friends, family and an incredible team of people. That’s why when CREATE Paisley approached me and asked if I would like to help support some young people living through these tough times I jumped at the chance’


Scott is working with CREATE as part of their Teach me Tuesday programme which will give young people the opportunity to take part in a 5-week screen writing workshop culminating in a recorded video drama. 


CREATE knows the difference that creativity can make to a young person’s life and the role that supportive adults play.


Brid Gallagher, Youth Development Worker at CREATE has been working across the charities online programme since the start of lockdown and has seen how it has affected young people. 


‘We work with lots of young people who are facing extreme challenges in their day to day lives that have only been made worse by the pandemic. No young person should feel lonely or that they have no one that they can reach out to for support. We are so grateful to Scott for giving up his time to work alongside us to give these young people the chance to talk about their feelings and express themselves’ 


The workshops are open to anyone aged between 12 and 21 and will start on Tuesday 17th November at 7pm. To sign up visit
Visual Reel:
Drama / Dialogue Reel:

Diane Mitchell music school
Santa has made Christmas a little easier this year by delivering all his goods to The Diane Mitchell Music School!
Christmas Cards, Guitars, Ukuleles, Musicianship packs, and more available in-school now
Diane Mitchell music school

Contact us at:

Mobile: 07896689816
The Diane Mitchell Music School
Brick Lane Studios

Programme of digital content and services will be stepped up as Scottish Government confirms Covid-19 Tier 4 measures for region


Venues operated by Renfrewshire Leisure will temporarily close after the Scottish Government confirmed new Covid-19 restrictions for the region.

 Tier 4 protection measures mean that all leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, libraries and the heritage centre run by the charity must close to the public from 6pm on Friday. The First Minister has said that the new rules covering Renfrewshire will be in place until December 11.

 While in-venue facilities will be closed, a vibrant and varied package of content – covering everything from fitness and wellbeing to storytelling and nostalgia – will be available at and via the online REN TV channel.

 A vast selection of library books are also available for download via the array of services offered online by Renfrewshire Libraries.

 Direct debit membership payments will be adjusted in light of the latest restrictions. Members will be contacted with details in the coming days.

 Renfrewshire Leisure Chief Executive Victoria Hollows said: “We appreciate how disappointed people will be that our in-venue services have to be suspended to comply with the Scottish Government’s Tier 4 regulations to safeguard our communities.

 “We remain here for you, however, and our team will be pulling out all of the stops to create and deliver more brilliant content for our members and the wider community online and via social media.

 “While we cannot offer services in-venue, we hope that our work online will help the wellbeing of the region’s residents and keep people safe and well at what’s a challenging time for us all.”

 Details on service updates will be shared as soon as they are available online and via Renfrewshire Leisure’s social media channels.


Free music production and recording sessions, fully funded youth theatre places and gymnastics equipment for young people with physical, emotional or sensory impairments are just a few of the projects young people are set to benefit from as the winning projects were unveiled for Renfrewshire’s Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund 2020.

One of the only funds of its kind still operating in Scotland during the Coronavirus pandemic, it saw an incredible 86 projects imagined, designed and submitted by young people or community groups who work with 12-25-year olds.

More than 1,700 young people then cast 5,163 votes for their favourite projects as they took the lead role in the youth participatory budgeting fund at every stage in the process.

A fantastic £124,437 was awarded to 68 projects and these ideas will now be brought to life as opportunities and support for young people in Renfrewshire continue to grow.

Loud N Proud secured £6,000 to build on their 2019 project which saw young people given an introduction to song writing, and this year’s funding will now enable young musicians to record their tracks in a professional studio.

Tommy McGrory, Loud n Proud Manager, said: “We are very excited as this grant will mean that local young musicians will be able to get their songs recorded and produced to a professional level at the new Loud n Proud studios in Paisley.

“For young aspiring musicians getting their songs recorded is difficult due to the costs involved, so this will be a big stepping stone for them and they will get to work with a music producer who has 15 years’ experience working with young bands.

“Young musicians will learn how to mix and record with the support and training of a professional music producer and will take a piece of music from an idea to a finished product. This is a great opportunity to get free advice and use high-quality professional equipment to gain the key skills in music recording and production.”

Pace Youth Theatre were also successful with their application and received £4,000 as they look to provide free bursary places for local young people aged 3-21 whose financial circumstances, due to the impact of COVID-19 or otherwise, mean that they are unable to participate.

This will ensure all young people are able to see the benefits of youth theatre participation, which include improved confidence, mental wellbeing, communication skills, creative thinking and enhanced employment prospects.

Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE, said: “This is a real boost in enabling us to widen access to our work. The Celebrating Renfrewshire funds will go directly to assisting young people, allowing us to expand our Bursary Scheme and support more young people than has previously been possible.

“PACE focuses on developing and nurturing young creative talent, and creating opportunities for them to benefit educationally, socially and culturally from a varied programme of high-quality performing arts experiences. It’s really important to us that financial circumstances shouldn’t be a barrier to getting involved with these opportunities, and the Bursary Scheme is one of the ways in which we aim to achieve this.”

Another success story was Twist & Hit Cheerleaders, as they secured £1,685.82 to provide CHEER classes to disability groups in Renfrewshire.

Founder, Director & Head Coach Sarah McNeill, said: “The funds will be used to purchase new equipment that will support under 5s and those with physical, emotional and sensory impairments.

“We are the first cheerleading programme in Scotland to be offering CHEER classes to disability groups and this equipment will help us to facilitate the classes.

“This will change their lives as it gives them access to equipment and coaching that is not available anywhere else in Scotland.”

The announcement event was held online this year due to the current pandemic and more than 50 people attended as Renfrewshire Youth Voice (RYV) members unveiled the winners for each Local Partnership area.

Adrian McKechnie, Chair of Renfrewshire Youth Voice, said: “With the way 2020 has unfolded the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund has been a much-needed source of hope and optimism for a number of young people.

“When we look back on this year, many of the Celebrating Renfrewshire applicants, such as community groups, charities and other third sector organisations, should do so with a great sense of pride knowing that when their communities needed them the most they stepped up to the mark.

“Over the past two years, the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund has been a significant step forward in terms of empowering young people to make decisions that have and will continue to influence the community around them.

“I sincerely hope the successes of applicants from last year coupled with those of this year will serve as a legacy to inspire other young people to effect change in their community.”

The fund was facilitated by Renfrewshire Council’s Community Planning and Youth Services teams as they engaged with and supported young people to apply, as well as assisting RYV to run the announcement event online.

Councillor Michelle Campbell, Renfrewshire Council’s Young Persons Champion, opened the event and said: “What a fantastic event as young people from across Renfrewshire got the chance to receive funding which will make a real difference to the way they live their lives in Renfrewshire.

“I’m continually amazed by the new and exciting ideas that our young people bring forward and the ability they have to turn them into reality, so I look forward to seeing all the winning projects come to fruition.

“It’s important that those who weren’t successful this time though aren’t disheartened, and I would encourage them to get in touch with our teams at the council who will support them to find alternative ways to bring their ideas to life.”

All unsuccessful projects can contact Engage Renfrewshire via for support to apply for other funding opportunities.

The fund was supported by Young Scot throughout, including the voting process taking place through their online system, and they were quick to praise the efforts of Renfrewshire Council to support young people.

Gavin Crosby, Young Scot Local Partnership Development Manager, said: “Young Scot was thrilled to work in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Youth Voice on the Celebrating Renfrewshire Fund.

“Together, we successfully used our Young Scot online participatory budgeting system and the pages to support local young people to have their voices heard.

“Renfrewshire’s approach, particularly during restrictions, is inspiring – and Young Scot looks forward to supporting exciting projects such as this in the future.”

For more information, including a full list of the winning projects, visit