Parents can now apply for nursery placements with 1140 hours of fully-funded early learning and childcare (ELC) from August 2020.

Renfrew mum, Sarah Kelly, says she has seen Charlotte, aged 4, become more confident after receiving 1140 ELC at 3 Bears Nursery.


She said: “Charlotte started getting 1140 hours of ELC last August and is in nursery four days a week. Since she started getting extra hours, I’ve seen a big change in her. She is much more sociable and has gained a lot of confidence.

“I think it is important that children get their own independence and can self-lead their own learning. Charlotte used to go to nursery just for the morning, but it can take a while for kids to warm up to being in nursery. Having the whole day has made a big difference.

“What it has meant for me is that I have been able to pick up an extra day at work, giving me more money in my pocket. I also don’t feel guilty about Charlotte spending extra time at nursery because she loves it so much and we make more time to do something exciting when we are all together.

“There are many nurseries in Renfrewshire, but I decided on 3 Bears Nursery in Renfrew because it has a good reputation and one of my friends also recommended it. You can visit the nursery you want your child to go to before you apply and see the learning experiences that go on in there.

“I believe nursery is an important part of growing up and helps children get ready for school. These increased hours are a big part of that preparation.

“Charlotte also enjoys being a helper at nursery now that she is older, and this has also improved her interaction skills. I can’t praise 1140 ELC enough.”

Parents of children due to attend nursery from August 2020 must complete an application form and return it to their local nursery by Friday 31 January 2020.

Parents who have children that will return to nursery after August 2020 will be contacted by their nursery to discuss their options for 1140 hours of ELC.

To apply for a nursery place, visit

Entrance to Glen Cinema

“I remember I didn’t want to go that day,” said Emily Brown (95) – one of hundreds of children who attended Paisley’s Glen Cinema 90 years ago today for a packed matinee performance that ended in tragedy – forever remembered by survivors as Paisley’s ‘Black Hogmanay’.

Entrance to Glen Cinema

The Glen Cinema tragedy took place on 31 December 1929 when a smoking film canister caused a panic during a packed children’s matinee where more than 600 children were present. The main exit doors had a metal gate that had been pulled shut stopping it from opening leading to a crush where 71 children died, and more than 30 children were injured.

Survivors Robert Pope and Emily Brown at 90th anniversary service 7 Dec

Robert Pope (97), had got up that morning and asked his mother for some jars to exchange for money so he could go to the pictures with seven of his friends.

Like so many children at the time, Robert and Emily were sent out the house to the cinema on Hogmanay to allow their parents to get the house cleaned and ready for the new year. They took their seats in the crowded theatre, sang their song and settled down to watch the new cowboy movie Dude Desperado.

During the picture a film cannister was placed on a heated surface and started to smoke up – leading to the panic and stampede which followed.

Boys Brigade march past picture house at funeral

“I was there with my older sister Jean (10) and younger sister May (3) – we heard someone shout ‘fire’ and started to head for the exit. There was screaming and shouting, and people were pushing and trampling you and you were trampling on others trying to get out.”

“I remember some people jumped over the balcony or onto the stage to try to get out. I was separated from my sisters in the panic – I remember someone smashed a window and a fireman helped get me out.”

Emily’s aunt later found her wandering down Glasgow Road and took her home to her mother in Hunter Street. Her sisters Jean and May were already there and had managed to stay together during the chaos.

“I think my mother gave us all an extra cuddle that night,” said Emily.

“I don’t remember much about it,” said Robert. “I think my guardian angel watched out for me that day.

“When the panic started, I just remember something came over me and I stayed in my seat and didn’t move. I don’t remember much else until later when a fireman was clearing the hall, he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was waiting for the picture to come back on and he told me to head home to my mother and that the film wouldn’t be coming back on.

“My friends saw that I never came out and had told my mother I was still there, and she was getting ready to go up to the hospital to try and find me. As she opened the door, I was walking up the stairs and I remember the look of relief on her face. I think that saved her from the traumatic experience of seeing the children who had been killed and injured in the cinema at the hospital.”

Robert’s friend, William Spiers, who had sat beside him and fled during the panic did not survive the crush that day.

When news of the disaster spread through the town the entire community went to the Glen Cinema to try and help get the children out. Emily’s mother was one of those who pulled children from the cinema and loaded the injured onto trams for the hospital – not knowing if her children were safe or injured or worse. Emily’s mother was the only resident from Hunter Street who didn’t lose someone that day.

The funerals of all 71 children took place in early January of 1930. The town came to a standstill to pay their respects to those who died – everyone turned out including the hospital staff who treated victims and survivors and the Boys Brigade – who walked in the funeral procession. The children were laid to rest in Hawkhead Cemetery where a memorial still stands to remember all the victims of the Glen Cinema disaster.

News of the disaster was far-reaching with letters of condolence being sent to the town from people across the globe. The impacts were global as well – as the Cinematograph Act 1909 was then amended to ensure all cinemas had more exits, that doors opened outwards and were fitted with push bars. A limitation was also placed on the capacity of cinemas and a requirement for an appropriate number of adult attendants to be present to ensure the safety of children.

The Glen Cinema survivors and their families continue to commemorate the disaster every Hogmanay alongside members of the local community. They gather at 11am at the Cenotaph in Paisley town centre where they lay a wreath for those who lost their lives that day.

The Glen Cinema disaster of 1929 is considered one of Scotland’s worst human tragedies.

Renfrewshire Foodbank2

The number of people using Renfrewshire Foodbank continues to grow – but kind donations from the people of Renfrewshire ensured people had supplies over Christmas.

Renfrewshire Foodbank2

From the start of April 2018 until the end of March 2019, the foodbank received 95 tonnes of donations and gave out 100 tonnes to a total of 10,200 people.

This Christmas, people received food parcels and butchermeat vouchers for Graeme’s in Paisley, John Marshall & Son in Johnstone, and Bannatyne in Renfrew.

Local charity the Night Before Christmas also donated boxes full of toys and gifts to the foodbank so that they could be given out to youngsters in need.

Renfrewshire Foodbank project manager Elizabeth Alexander hopes that there is no need for a foodbank in 2020 but is grateful that the people of Renfrewshire do so much to help people in need.

Elizabeth said: “The number of people we’re helping has definitely increased and our donations have increased in response to that.

“We’re extremely grateful that the Renfrewshire community is so willing to support us. It’s the people of Renfrewshire that keep us going. Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.

“We have a tremendous team of volunteers and work closely with charities, churches and schools to make sure no one goes without.”

On Wednesday 18 December 2019 alone, the foodbank provided parcels for 75 people in five hours.

Renfrewshire Foodbank links up with community organisations to provide the best possible service to people, and is also working with St Mirren FC on the Festive Friends initiative to provide support to people who will be spending Christmas on their own.

Renfrewshire Council employees donate to the foodbank through the Council’s Food Bank Food Rush Initiative.

Since the initiative started in 2014, more than 130,000 items have been donated. A three-week collection at Renfrewshire House in June gathered 433.95g of supplies which equates to 1,033 meals.

Renfrewshire Foodbank operates from Paisley Central Baptist Church. You can find out more via the website –

Reclaim the Night march1

Renfrewshire Council has become one of the first local authorities in Scotland to formally introduce a domestic abuse policy for staff.

Reclaim the Night march1

The policy demonstrates the Council’s commitment to a zero tolerance approach to all forms of abuse – psychological and physical – and shows its support for all employees impacted by domestic abuse, past or present.

Employees who are victims of domestic abuse are now able to request special paid leave to receive necessary support and attend any relevant appointments.

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, in the UK in any one year, more than 20 per cent of employed women take time off work because of domestic abuse and two per cent lose their jobs as a direct result.

Commission figures also reveal that 75 per cent of women who experience domestic abuse are targeted at work – from harassing phone calls and abusive partners arriving at the office unannounced, to physical assaults.

The Renfrewshire Council policy provides guidance for any employees who are living with domestic abuse and employees who suspect that work colleagues may be suffering. It also outlines the steps supervisors and managers should take to support colleagues who choose to speak out about their abuse and who are seeking help.

Domestic abuse policy champions are being introduced at a senior level across the organisation.

Councillor John Shaw said: “As a local authority, it’s vital that we recognise the devastating impact domestic abuse has on individuals and families.

“As one of the first local authorities in Scotland to adopt this approach, we want to send a clear message that we will support anyone affected by domestic abuse.

“We are working towards creating a safe and supportive environment which encourages employees to report all forms of harm.

“By putting a policy in place, we are ensuring the correct support is available to staff who may be directly affected and creating a clear reporting route for anyone who may have concerns about the wellbeing of one of their colleagues.

“We hope that the introduction of this policy raises awareness that there are formal procedures in place and helps colleagues to feel that they can approach domestic abuse policy champions for support and advice.”

Renfrewshire Council has also been working closely with UK domestic abuse charity SafeLives to support the implementation of the new policy.

Liz Thompson, director of external relations at SafeLives, said: “Domestic abuse is everybody’s business and this includes employers. We know that more than two million adults experience domestic abuse each year. It is something that will impact upon almost every workplace.

“Employers are well placed to spot the signs in colleagues but without the right training, leadership and guidance, it can be hard to know what to do.

“We’re so pleased to see Renfrewshire Council committing to this policy, breaking the silence on domestic abuse and supporting all staff and colleagues to get the help and support they need.”

The policy has been agreed and developed in partnership with trade unions and complies with relevant legislation,  including the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 and Equally Safe – Scotland’s Strategy for Preventing and Eradicating Violence Against Women and Girls provided by the Scottish Government and its partners.

The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 covers not only spouses, civil partners and cohabitants but also people in intimate personal relationships who do not live together, and as well as physical abuse, it covers other forms of psychological abuse and coercive and controlling behaviour.


Residents in Renfrewshire are being reminded that bin collections will not take place on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, with these collections rearranged to earlier in the week.

Grey, blue or food waste bins due to be collected on Wednesday 25 December or Wednesday 1 January will be collected the previous Sunday, on 22 and 29 December.


Green bin, brown bin, sack collection or bulk bin recycling due to be collected on Wednesday 25 December or Wednesday 1 January will be collected the previous Monday, on 23 and 30 December.

Bulk bin residual, food or trade waste due to be collected on Wednesday 25 December or Wednesday 1 January will be collected the previous day on Tuesday 24 and 31 December.

All bins due to be collected on all other days will be collected as normal.

Renfrewshire’s Household Waste Recycling Centres are open every day, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, for any excess recycling or waste generated over the festive period.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We know how important collections are at this time of year and our teams will be working extremely hard to ensure that all bins are uplifted as normal.

“If you’re due a collection on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day then please make sure you know when to put it out instead.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in our collection teams for their hard work and dedication over the festive period, it really is appreciated.”

All residents will have received a new collection calendar to their home, which includes their festive collections, and these are available to download from

Nursery - Grow Your Own Froebel - group shot - 21 Nov 2019 - JCON

Nurseries across Renfrewshire are bringing play and autonomy into the heart of teaching young children after practitioners completed a highly-praised course.

Around 50 nursery managers and officers from Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, part of the West Partnership, have completed a Froebel and Childhood Practice CPD Certificate, a professional development course developed with the University of Edinburgh and the Froebel Trust.

Nursery - Grow Your Own Froebel - group shot - 21 Nov 2019 - JCON

Friedrich Froebel was a German educator who pioneered new ways of thinking about education for very young children and is most famous as the creator of the first ‘kindergarten’ – a child garden.

Froebelian principles say that children need to lead their own learning through play to become confident learners, and that their environment plays a big part in their development.

Since going on the course, nursery teams in council-run and approved funded private and voluntary providers have been using what they have learned to enhance practices within their centres and classes.

Sandra Brackenridge, Senior Early Learning and Childcare Officer at Foxlea Early Learning and Childcare Centre, said: “Since being on this course, we’ve been putting the Froebelian principles into practice in our nursery. We have changed all our activities to be open-ended so children can be creative and find their own solutions.

“As a team, we have been sharing our experiences with art and creative play, block play, baking, outdoor play and community links with each other.

“I’d want to see more nursery managers and officers have time to go to this course and have the opportunity to embed these principles in their work. I can’t wait to see the impact these principles have on a child’s learning when they get into primary school and into life-long learning.”

Nursery Manager at Stepping Stones Nursery, Lorna Bradley, said: “This course consolidated everything I wanted to do and what I believed was important to help children develop and grow. It helped me see the theory behind the practices and why they are important.

“It has motivated me to study and read again and I’ve been qualified for 25 years. It’s also helped me motivate my staff and everyone is on board with embedding the Froebelian principles. I’ve put forward my depute to go onto the next course.

“It has changed our ethos and how we deliver learning for children. We have taken a step back and let children have their own autonomy. We’ve also started growing our garden, which helps children appreciate living things and, in the end, appreciate themselves.”

Michelle Goodwin, Depute Head of Centre at Hillview Early Learning and Childcare Centre, said: “My main learning was that it is best to keep things simple. Natural surroundings are great places for children to develop and flourish on their own.

“Some of my colleagues have already been on this course and when they came back to the centre, they were incredibly passionate about embedding the Froebelian principles into our nursery. I think it is important that all staff get this opportunity, so everyone has that same passion and ethos.

“Our nursery is already working with the Froebelian principles, so I want to continue to develop our practice now that I’ve been on this course.”

Head of Centre at Glenfield Early Learning and Childcare Centre, Alison Lauder, said: “For me, the biggest learning was that children need hands-on experiences outdoors with nature. That’s why I chose to create an area to house chicks and hens and involve parents and children in looking after them. Having a two-way partnership with parents is great. We learn from them and they learn from us.

“During the course, we did a practical lesson on block play. We all sat down on the floor and played with the blocks around us, but we were all playing as individuals. Then the course organiser said we could help ourselves to small parts and we started building things and helping each other out. Knowing we could do what we wanted helped us be more creative and we need to allow children the same opportunities.”

Julie Lindsay, Early Years Graduate at Williamsburgh Early Learning and Childcare Class, said: “The course has consolidated everything I believed in. It has given me the confidence to join a new team and drive the Froebel principles forward. Everyone in the team has excitedly taken the principles on board and are eager to get on with it. It’s been very empowering.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm from the team to go on this course too. Everyone should get a chance to go on it. It really brings meaning to everything we are already doing to support children’s early learning and development.”

Senior Practitioner at Maxwellton Park Nursery, Roslyn McLardie, said: “I learned a lot from this course, such as the importance of children being outdoors and in nature. It has reinforced that children should experience natural play and growing things.

“It also changes your perception on the importance of little things that support the bigger picture, such as relationships. I think it would be beneficial for all members of staff to go on this course and the learning is spread across all teams.”

Gayle Millar, Nursery Manager at Carli’s Kindergarten, said: “As a nursery manager, this course has given me the confidence to upskill my staff and support children to have valuable outdoors opportunities. The Froebelian principles are inspiring staff to be creative and allow children to get experiences they wouldn’t normally get day-to-day.

“I have two nurseries and two out-of-school care groups and I’m developing the Froebelian principles across all four services. This means the children can come in and play with the younger children during outdoor learning experience.”

Depute Head of West Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Class, Vicki Wiszniewski, said: “It was a huge experience. I am a new depute and it has helped me make positive changes within the nursery. Three members of staff went on the course with me and it was great that we all had the same mindset and that our staff are being brought along with us in terms of the changes we are making.

“Many of the principles were things I already believed in, those from my childhood and raising my own child, but I just didn’t know they were Froebelian.

“This training is an incredible opportunity and the changes we have been able to make in our nursery have been incredible too. Children now have an improved free-flow environment, both inside and in the outdoor play and growing area which is in the shared playground with the primary school. It is a long time for children to be indoors all day and they have the freedom to choose where they want to be.”

For more information on careers in a Renfrewshire nursery, visit

street stuff

It’s not just Santa that young people across Renfrewshire are waiting for this December, Street Stuff’s festive camps are back too as the award-winning programme returns to help burn off all that excess excitement.

From 23 December to 5 January, with the exception of Christmas and New Year’s Day, there will be football and youth bus activities on every day and a few festive surprises too as coaches and volunteers bring some festive cheer to young people in Renfrewshire.

street stuff

Anyone aged 8-16 is welcome to take part in every session and there is no cost to take part.

A free, healthy meal will be provided at each of the afternoon activities to ensure participants are fuelled up and ready to go.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “It’s the time of year where our young people start to feel excited about the upcoming festivities and we want to ensure that they can harness this excitement with sport and exercise, as well as having fun with their friends through the Christmas period.

“Not all young people look forward to this time of year however, so we want to provide a fun, safe environment where they can have fun and are given a healthy meal too.

The activities are free and open to all so please send your little along and tell them to bring their friends too!”

Street Stuff’s core programme will continue to run alongside the festive activities, with the youth bus out every night except Christmas Day and New Years Day in communities across Renfrewshire.

The programme is a diversionary project run in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Engage Renfrewshire and St Mirren Football Club.

It began in 2009 in Renfrewshire contributing to a reduction in youth disorder and anti-social behaviour by 75 percent over the first five years, with a sustained reduction of 65 percent, and its success has been recognised with numerous national awards.

For more information, visit or follow @SMFCStreetStuff on Twitter.

Mrs Connor

Lochfield resident Chaanach Connor is enjoying a warmer winter in her new look home.

The Paisley property, purchased by her son 15-years-ago, has been transformed thanks to a new roof, guttering and external wall insulation.

Mrs Connor

It is one of 445 Renfrewshire homes this year to benefit from the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Scheme (HEEPS ABS).

“I love it, I’m so much cosier and the house retains the heat really well,” exclaimed the 75-year-old, who has lived in Scotland, England and Canada before settling in Renfrewshire.

“I used to be freezing here even with the heating right up and I had an electric heater on all day. Now I put my heating on first thing in the morning and again before bed and it’s lovely. I’m hoping it will reduce the bills and it’s definitely made it a more comfortable place to live.

“It also looks great, what a difference to the outside of the building – my only problem now is I notice any slight speck of dirt!”

This year, the Council invested more than £4million, including HEEPS ABS and Eco funding, enabling improvements to entire housing blocks with a mix of private owners and Council tenants throughout Renfrewshire.

Housing staff use thermal imaging to identify each building’s heat loss, and the package also includes a home energy audit to see where savings can be made on bills.

Happily-retired, having previously worked in a bookshop, a jewellers and even in an Alberta cafe serving ‘tattie scones’, Mrs Connor now enjoys completing jigsaws, reading and gardening and is looking forward to many more years in Lochfield.

She added: “With all the works in Lochfield it’s given us all more pride in the area, the houses all look tidy and well-loved. We certainly couldn’t have afforded the works without the grant support, we discussed it as a family and with our neighbours and I’m delighted with the end result.”

The programme adds to more than £86million being invested over the next three years to improve existing council houses in Renfrewshire and build more high-quality affordable homes for social rent and low-cost ownership.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Renfrewshire Council’s Convener of Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “It’s great to hear that Mrs Connor is enjoying the results of these energy efficiency works, which are estimated to help residents save around 25 percent on their heating bills and bring vital benefits to the local environment too by reducing our carbon footprint.

“Everyone should enjoy warm, energy efficient homes, and our housing team have secured millions in HEEPS funding, directing this to the Renfrewshire residents who need it most.

“We continue to invest in improving our existing housing stock while at the same time support the construction of newbuild properties as we create homes to suit all needs, for families to grow and people to prosper.”

All Renfrewshire residents can also get help managing their fuel bills by calling the free, confidential and impartial Advice Renfrewshire on 0808 164 2922.

paisley south

The results of the 2019 UK General Election for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, and Paisley and Renfrewshire South constituencies have been declared.

Gavin Newlands has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North.

paisley north

Mhairi Black has been re-elected as MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South.

paisley south

In Paisley and Renfrewshire North, 49,835 votes were cast, a 69.2 per cent turnout.

In Paisley and Renfrewshire South, there were 43,217 votes cast, a 67.1 per cent turnout.

Returning Officer Sandra Black, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Council, announced the results in the early hours of Friday 13 December at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley.

The election count involved more than 300 staff, counting the contents of 167 ballot boxes and 46 postal ballot boxes.

59 polling places containing 167 stations across Renfrewshire had been open from 7am until 10pm and included various venues such as schools, community centres, churches and a bowling club.

For more information, visit

Photo 3 - Intergenerational quiz

Renfrewshire pupils and older adults teamed up for the seventh annual staging of IQ, Renfrewshire’s Intergenerational Quiz.

More than 300 people took part in IQ2019, which saw primary school pupils team up with older people from the local community.

Photo 3 - Intergenerational quiz

Ten teams of primary six and seven pupils each joined forces with older adults from local day centres, sheltered housing, seniors’ forums, extra care housing and members of the community.

Together, they were tested on a range of topics including natural history, general knowledge and flags and capital cities alongside practical tests and an opportunity to sing together.

The annual event at the Lagoon Leisure Centre is the culmination of each team meeting regularly in recent months to gen up on their knowledge and build long-lasting relationships.

Todholm Terrors - Winners

In a close-run contest, Todholm Terrors were crowned 2019 champions, winning by one point from the Thorn Squad, with Mighty Mossys in third.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron was on hand to award the prizes.

Provost with Ralston Rockstars

She said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to hand out the prizes at the Intergenerational Quiz for the last few years and the event continues to grow from strength-to-strength. I really love the energy and excitement in the room, congratulations to everyone who took part, it looked like everyone had great fun and more importantly built really strong bonds, friendship and respect with one another. Roll on IQ2020!”

Participating teams were:

  • Fordbank Primary and Johnstone Seniors Forum
  • Mossvale Primary and Springbank Sheltered Housing
  • Newmains Primary with Renfrew Day centre
  • Ralston Primary with Ralston Day Centre
  • St John Ogilvie Primary with Hanover court tenants
  • Todholm Primary and Renfrewshire Council Springbank Sheltered Housing
  • Thorn Primary and Linstone Housing Farriers Court
  • Thorn Primary 7 with Johnstone Day centre and Altpatrick Gardens
  • West Primary with Linstone Housing Newton St tenants
  • Woodlands Primary with Arnott Gardens extra care tenants

The annual event is organised by Sally Logan, Health & Wellbeing Co-ordinator at Renfrewshire Council, Jane McTaggart, Activity Officer and Carolyn Russell, Community Link Worker with Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership.