Paisley West End News

clyde bridge

A major project to transform the Clyde waterfront, connect communities and bring thousands of jobs and investment to the regional economy has taken a significant step forward.

clyde bridge

Scottish Government ministers today (Friday 16 November 2018) approved the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project.

It is expected to create more than 2300 jobs and inject £867million into the regional economy, ranking it one of the top performing economic growth projects in the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

The project will see construction of the first opening road bridge over the River Clyde, linking Renfrew and Yoker. It has been designed by leading engineering consultancy Sweco working with Kettle Collective, the award-winning architects behind the Falkirk Wheel.

clyde bridge

The crossing will greatly improve access to employment, education, health and leisure for communities on both sides of the river and increase access for businesses to more customers and suppliers.

It also includes new roads, walkways and cycle routes into a 150-acre site next to Glasgow Airport being developed into a manufacturing district, which has already attracted two national innovation centres, the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and a major centre revolutionising medicines manufacturing.

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“This is fantastic news for the entire city region and for Scotland,” said Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, welcoming the waterfront planning decision.

Councillor Nicolson added: “The completed project and subsequent regeneration has the potential to deliver a significant economic boost to the Glasgow City region.

“Current businesses will gain access to more customers and suppliers, while new companies and developers will be attracted to locate to the regenerated waterfront.

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“Communities on both sides of the Clyde will benefit from greatly improved access to their work, to education and to hospitals through the new connections which will also help reduce congestion and improve journey times.

“It builds on the development of the new manufacturing district which will bring thousands of new high skilled jobs and training opportunities to Renfrewshire and the wider region and help secure the future of Scotland’s vital manufacturing industry.

“We will continue to work closely with neighbouring councils to ensure the project delivers on its significant potential and the benefits reach all communities on both sides of the Clyde.”

There has been strong support for the project during extensive engagement over a two-year period, with surveys signalling 90 percent backing for the plans.

Public engagement helped identify the preferred bridge location, guaranteed environmental enhancements and ensured all new roads come complete with pedestrian walkways and cycle lanes.

Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside is one of three Glasgow City Region City Deal-funded projects in Renfrewshire alongside the Glasgow Airport Investment Area project, which will deliver the underpinning infrastructure behind the new manufacturing district and the flagship Airport Access Project, creating a direct rail link between Glasgow Airport, Paisley Gilmour Street and Glasgow Central Station.

The £1.13billion City Deal is an agreement between the UK Government, Scottish Government and eight local authorities to deliver improved infrastructure, create new jobs, tackle unemployment and drive innovation and growth.

It has already helped 8085 people across the region into jobs through a pioneering youth gateway programme, including 745 in Renfrewshire.

Tony Fitzpatrick, Councillor Cathy McEwan and St Catherine's Primary pupils (3)

Pupils at St Catherine’s Primary in Paisley were delighted to receive a visit from Renfrewshire Council gritter ‘Tony Gritzpatrick’ yesterday after the name they submitted was voted to be one of nine famous names for the gritting machines.

Tony Fitzpatrick, Councillor Cathy McEwan and St Catherine's Primary pupils (3)

Pupils from the school’s Citizenship Committee wanted to honour friend of the school and St Mirren legend Tony Fitzpatrick, and the man himself took the time to pay them a visit and meet his winter namesake.

Tony said: “It’s fantastic that the young people at St Catherine’s Primary put my name forward for one of the gritters and I’m humbled to have been chosen.

Tony Fitzpatrick in his winter namesake

“The competition caught the imagination of everyone, for all the names, and I just want to again say thank you to everyone who voted, and especially to the pupils at St Catherine’s.”

The pupils had taken part in the council’s #NameOurGritters competition which set out to recognise the local heroes within Renfrewshire who keep the area moving throughout the winter period.

Famous faces, places and landmarks were sought for their new names and Tony’s gritter will be joined by names such as Ploughlo Grittini, Fridge of Weir and Paisleigh.

Lauren Berry, Head of St Catherine’s Citizenship Committee, said: “The pupils were delighted to take part in the competition and had fun coming with ideas and learning about what happens to prepare for winter.

“They’re all big fans of Tony and they’re thrilled that their suggestion was chosen as one of the winners and that they got to meet the newly-named gritter alongside their hero!”

The competition was part of the annual #RenReady campaign which aims to prepare local communities, groups and businesses for the effects of winter weather.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The competition reached people of all ages and we received more than 1600 suggestion and over 8000 votes in the final polls which is fantastic.

“We need to celebrate the people who work in our gritting teams, our Care at Home staff and our homeless support team as these are the people keeping Renfrewshire going throughout the winter, and this competition gave us the chance to highlight that.

“We saw last year the trouble an unexpected weather event can cause so it’s important that we are all #RenReady to cope with anything winter can bring.

“Please check our website for advice and guidance on how to keep safe this winter.”

For more information on the competition, visit, and for advice and guidance on how to be prepared for winter, visit

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

St Mirren football legend Tony Fitzpatrick escaped a life of poverty and violence to become a trophy-winning footballer, manager and now chief executive.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

Tony has penned his autobiography, Fitzy – The Story of My Life, revealing many humorous and heart-breaking tales of his time in and out of football.

Bullied at school, he was seconds away from taking his own life by drowning himself in the Forth and Clyde Canal and was saved when he found a tiny statue of the Virgin Mary he had been carrying around in his pocket.

Tony tells of the violence that was the norm in his life and how he was arrested for carrying a knife and attacked by a machete-wielding thug, who left him with his pinkie hanging off his hand by a thread.

He tells how as a teenager he was left devastated after Aston Villa told him he would never make it as a footballer because he was too small.

Tony defied his Celtic-daft father and signed for St Mirren. It was a good move on his part though, as when he was still a teenager, Saints manager, Alex Ferguson made him team captain. But not before Tony’s dad had to phone Fergie pretending to be the family doctor assuring him the young footballer was fit enough to play after suffering pleurisy!

Tragedy struck at the height of Tony’s football career when his six-year-old son, Tony Jr. died from cancer. And if burying his boy wasn’t heart-breaking enough, when Tony returned home after the funeral, he discovered callous thieves had ransacked his house, stealing anything and everything they could load on to a furniture van.

Tony goes on to win the Scottish Cup with St Mirren and tastes alcohol for the first time by drinking champagne from the trophy in the Hampden dressing room. He also describes at length the worst moment of his football career. The St Mirren game against Hammarby, who scored two last-minute goals to put them out of the UEFA Cup, still haunts him.

Tony twice becomes manager of St Mirren and admits he behaved like a “mad chimp” during his first stint in the dugout – trying and failing to emulate Fergie and his infamous hairdryer treatment.

But in charge for a second time, he tricked his players with a bogus scouting report to get them fired up to win a game that would save the club from relegation.

He was sacked after constant battles with the board and Tony goes on to run Livingston FC’s youth development programme. He pours thousands of his own money into the club and loses it all when the club goes into administration. But he bounces back and as part of a groundbreaking police initiative, works with some of the most violent young men in Glasgow’s gangs encouraging them to give up the blade and the gun.

Now the chief executive of St Mirren FC, Tony’s must-read autobiography is a heart-warming story of personal triumph over adversity.

Fitzy – The Story of My Life is published by Macdonald Media Publishing and is available from for only £11.99.


Paisley First’s free Festive Nutcracker Trail returns to Paisley town centre this weekend.

Starting Saturday 17th November, this Christmas trail will help the town get into the festive mood, running daily apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day, until Sunday 30th December!


There will be 15 Nutcracker Kings and three mini-nutcrackers spread throughout the town…can you name them all?

Collect your free trail booklet at the Paisley Centre or the Piazza Paisley Shopping Centre and complete the trail for your chance to win prizes in a weekly draw!

If you are feeling extra adventurous, you may also wish to undertake the search for the special hidden nutcrackers, Sven and Kristoff!

They seem to be spotted in different locations every few days and are enjoying the festivities throughout the town centre so you may wish to check out Paisley First’s website or social media for clues!

Once completed, post your entries in the special mailboxes located in both shopping centres.

One overall winner at the end of the Nutcracker Trail will also win an iPad mini. Good luck!

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

FOOTBALL legend Frank McAvennie is teaming up with an old football Buddie for a book signing session.

Macca will be at intu Braehead shopping centre on Saturday, November 17 between noon and 2pm to sign copies of his former St Mirren teammate, Tony Fitzpatrick’s newly-released autobiography.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

Fans will be able to buy the book, Fitzy – The Story of My Life, at the signing session being held outside Costa Coffee in the lower mall.

Tony Fitzpatrick not only won a league title and a Scottish Cup medal with St Mirren, he also had two spells as manager and now he’s the club’s chief executive.

frank mcavennie

In his book he tells some hilarious tales from the dressing room and reveals the behind-the-scenes boardroom battles he had.

But behind the football banter and bust-ups, there’s an amazing story of being brought up in one of the poorest and most violent areas of Glasgow and how he used his football skills to escape that life.

While at the top of his football career, tragedy struck when his six-year-old son, Tony Jr. died after cancer struck down the young boy. And on the day of his funeral, callous thieves ransacked the family home stealing anything and everything they could load on to a furniture van.

Sir Alex Ferguson, in only his second managerial job, made the teenage Fitzpatrick the captain of St Mirren FC.

But not before Tony’s dad had to phone Fergie pretending to be the family doctor assuring him the young footballer was fit enough to play after suffering pleurisy!

Tony said: “Frank McAvennie is one of the great characters in Scottish football and he was a fantastic teammate. He’s still a good friend and we keep in regular contact.

“I can’t wait to hear some more of his banter with the fans at my book signing session at intu Braehead on Saturday.”

 Fitzy – The Story of My Life is published by Macdonald Media Publishing and is also available from for only £11.99.

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Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson is calling on enthusiastic community members to sign up for their nearest Local Partnership and have their say on the issues that matter locally.

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Replacing the previous Local Area Committees (LACs), the partnerships aim to be more inclusive and give local people more of a role in decision making at a local level.

A series of community events have been taking place across Renfrewshire to introduce the new Partnerships and to encourage people to become community representatives.

Councillor Nicolson said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to have their say on the issues that matter to them within their community.

iain nicolson

“It’s important that the opinions of local people are highlighted and that decisions are made with the thoughts of local people in mind.

“I’d encourage anyone who has a passion for their community to put their name forward.”

The first official meetings of the new partnerships were due to take place over the next few weeks but will be rescheduled to early 2019 to ensure that all interested community members have a chance to express their interest in being part of a Local Partnership.

Councillor Nicolson added: “It was clear from the community events that people are very positive about the move to the new Local Partnerships but need more time to submit their applications to be a member.

“We want to give everyone the opportunity to be a part of the new partnerships as they are about achieving a range of views and working together as a community to make the local area better.

“So, get in touch to put your name forward and take this opportunity to make a difference.”

Seven new Local Partnerships will replace the previous five Local Area Committees, with membership split evenly between local elected members, and local community representatives.

Local Partnerships will continue to allocate funding to local voluntary and community groups.

For more information on the Local Partnerships and to submit your application to become a member, visit,The closing date for membership applications is Friday 14 December..

Renfrewshire housing

The Council has been working with four local housing associations – Bridgewater, Linstone, Paisley and Williamsburgh housing associations – to develop a draft Common Housing Allocation Policy for Renfrewshire which all five landlords will use.

Renfrewshire housing

They are keen to get the views of housing applicants, existing tenants and other people who have an interest in how housing is allocated by the five social landlords which collectively own and manage over 17,000 homes in Renfrewshire.

The proposed new policy would mean the Council and housing associations would all use the same approach, no matter which organisation residents approached.

Their aim is to make it easier and more straightforward for people to apply for housing.

The draft Common Policy takes account of legal requirements and best practice guidance, including the duty to give priority to people in housing need along with changes introduced by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014.

Councillor Marie McGurk, who is Convener of the Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “Having a single policy that covers Renfrewshire-based social housing organisations will make it simpler for people who are applying to either the Council or one of the four local housing associations.

“It means that if people choose to apply to another organisation for social housing, that they know their circumstances will be treated in the same way. We will be consulting with tenants, housing associations and other housing groups in November to ensure that the new proposals are fit for purpose.

“I would urge everyone to get involved in these events and give us their views on the proposed policy.”

The consultations take place on:

Tuesday 13 November, 11am – 2pm in Johnstone Town Hall
Wednesday 14 November, 4pm – 7pm in Paisley Town Hall
Thursday 15 November, 11am – 2pm in Renfrew Town Hall

For more information, visit


Residents are being reminded to trust their instincts to avoid being scammed.

Councillor John Shaw, Finance Convener for Renfrewshire Council, is reinforcing the message during Talk Money Week, the national awareness week that focuses on avoiding debt, money worries and financial harm.


Councillor Shaw said: “If something doesn’t feel right, it’s perfectly ok to speak out. You can report it to the police, social work or national support groups. Don’t be worried about contacting anyone to help, it’s better that you and your money are safe from harm.”

Financial harm can be from bogus traders or internet scams, but people can also have their money taken away from them by relatives, friends and carers.

Key warning signs can include the sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming rights to a person’s affairs and possessions or an unusual concern by someone that too much money is being spent on the care of the person.

Financial harm can also be the cause if someone has a lack of basic things, like TV, toiletries, clothing, or food that they should be able to afford or they have unpaid bills or overdue rent, when someone else has been given power to manage the person’s finances.

Other warning signs include an older person being isolated from friends and family, not having access to their own bank account or property and money disappearing without reason.

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, Vice-Chair of Renfrewshire Health and Social Care and Chair of Public Protection Committee, added: “Always keep an eye out for older people who are more vulnerable to financial harm but be aware that anyone can become a victim.”

To report financial harm or a suspicion of it, contact Police Scotland on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Concerns can also be reported to Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s adult protection team on 0300 300 1380.

Advice is also available from Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau on 0141 889 2121 or Action on Elder Abuse Scotland helpline 0808 808 8141.

paisley provost

Inspiring volunteers are set to be rewarded as the Provost’s Community Awards returns for 2019.

The Community Volunteer award is once again sponsored by Glasgow Airport and sets out to recognise those who give their time and effort for nothing more than the knowledge that they are making a difference to their community.

paisley provost

Craig Martin, Head of HR at Glasgow Airport, said: “We’re proud to serve Renfrewshire and as a major employer is the area it is important we support the Community Awards.

“It is particular appropriate for the airport to support the Community Volunteer award as we have strong links to the local area, and the vast majority of our staff live in the Renfrewshire area.

“We are keen to recognise the contribution of the significant number of everyday heroes who are making a real difference in their communities.”

Nominations are now open and all entries must beat the deadline of Wednesday 12 December.

Craig added: “This is your opportunity to recognise the real unsung heroes in your community who are making a real difference to both their neighbourhoods and other people’s lives so get your nominations in now!”

There are five other categories which anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire can nominate in, which are Community Group, Sporting Achievement, Arts and Culture, Employee of the Year and the Carers Award.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “It’s great to have the support of Glasgow Airport again as part of the awards and I’m looking forward to seeing the brilliant nominations for Community Volunteer.

“It’s important we recognise those inspiring people who go above and beyond the call of duty to make Renfrewshire a better place so don’t miss your chance to give them the recognition they deserve.”

The winners and their nominators will be invited to a special ceremony on Friday 15 March at the Lynnhurst Hotel to celebrate their achievements.

For more details and to submit your nomination, visit or email

Paisley Abbey and Paisley Town Hall lit up in red

Hundreds attended Paisley Abbey for a special service to mark the centenary of the signing of the Armistice, which signalled the end of the First World War.

Paisley Abbey and Paisley Town Hall lit up in red

​Minister for Paisley Abbey, Reverend Alan Birss, led a short service of commemoration for those who gave all in service to their country with a poignant reading and prayer.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron was joined by a young person and an ex-serviceman to light a candle of remembrance in the Abbey for all those who never returned home.

Hundreds attended the special service to commemortate 100 years since the end of the First World War

The service was followed by a concert of music, song and poetry performed by the Starlight Youth Music Theatre, Chamber Choir and the Johnstone Brass Band, as they honoured the Armed Forces who have given so much.

The Abbey and Paisley Town Hall were also lit up in red to mark the occasion.

All proceeds from a collection on the night will be donated to Poppy Scotland and There But Not There.

Provost Cameron, who also attended the 10:45am service in Paisley, said: “This was a moving, poignant service in remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to allow us to have the lives we have today.

“We cannot express enough gratitude to our Armed Forces and it’s extremely important that we continue to honour them on Remembrance Sunday, and all year round as well.

“It was fantastic to see the number of people who attended services across Renfrewshire to pay tribute to the fallen, especially this year as we marked 100 years since the end of the First World War.”

Another nine events were held across Renfrewshire on Remembrance Sunday to allow all communities the opportunity to pay their respects to the fallen.

Renfrewshire’s also hosted its annual Children’s Remembrance Service on Friday 9 November at Mossvale and St James Primary School in Paisley, where pupils performed poetry and sang as they showcased their learning about why we celebrate Remembrance Day.

Veterans from the Royal British Legion Scotland (Paisley Comrades Division) were there to give pupils the opportunity to ask questions about their experiences and the work of the Legion, before a two-minute silence was observed at 10am.

For more information on why we mark Remembrance Day every year, visit