Ralston, Paisley News

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Renfrewshire Council and Police Scotland have joined forces to give taxi and private hire passengers some important festive safety tips.

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Councillor John Hood, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Regulatory Functions Policy Board, said: “This is a particularly busy time of year as people enjoy nights out in our town centres.

“We want everyone to enjoy themselves and be safe in our towns and on the way home.

“That is why the council and police are reminding people of some key issues to keep in mind when they are booking or using taxis and private hire cars.

Chief Inspector Alison Kennedy, Area Commander Paisley for Police Scotland, said: “I would urge people to plan their night out – including how to get home. Stay with friends and avoid leaving parties or nights out with strangers.

“If possible, pre-book your taxi or private hire car with a well known company and use the text service offered by most companies. It is also important to ensure your mobile is charged before you go out.”

One of the key pieces of advice is to make sure that the taxi or private hire car is officially licensed. All taxis in Renfrewshire are white in colour and can collect from ranks at Glasgow Airport and at Gilmour Street in Paisley.

All private hire vehicles should have a Renfrewshire Council plate on the rear and window stickers displaying the licence details on the rear passenger windows. Taxi and private hire drivers’ badges should be displayed within vehicles.

It is also important to check that the car which arrives is the one that has been booked. Most firms use a text service which advises when the vehicle is arriving and what type of vehicle is coming.

Customers are also being asked to make sure they avoid any confrontations at taxi queues.

Taxi marshals will be on hand at ranks late nights at weekends in the run up to the festive period in Gilmour Street and the recently-established pick up point in the town’s Witherspoon Street.

Councillor Hood added: “The vast majority of the taxi and private car hire trade provide a very good service. But like any other service industry, if customers feel unhappy about the conduct of a taxi or private hire driver, they should contact the council’s civic government enforcement officer or the police.

“Customers can ask to see the driver’s badge and note the number or can note the plate number or registration number of the vehicle.

“Overall, we are doing all we can to keep things safe for everyone and we are asking people just to take some time and thought to play their part too so we all enjoy this special time of year.”

For additional advice and guidance, please visit the Police Scotland website.

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Renfrewshire support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) are holding an open evening for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

The informal meeting will take place on Wednesday 16 December between 6:30 and 8pm at the Wynd Centre, 6 School Wynd, Paisley. There will be a chance to chat over mince pies, tea and coffee for those in attendance.

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SOBS are a self-help organisation and aim to provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings.

From January the Renfrewshire group will meet on the last Wednesday of every month at the Wynd Centre and anyone who feels they can benefit from the support the group offer is encouraged to come along.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convenor of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Policy Board, said: “I would encourage anyone who has been affected by suicide to come along to the open evening. The support group continue to do brilliant work and it is a vital resource within such a sensitive subject.

“It is extremely important that we open discussion over the issue of suicide. Talking really can save lives so if you, or someone you know, could benefit from the group then please come along.”

Lisa Aitken, Choose Life Young Person’s Resource Worker said: “The group is in place to offer an outlet for those affected by suicide to seek the support needed when coming to terms with the issue.

“It is imperative that we raise awareness and ensure that people feel comfortable to take about their issues. This event, and others like it, is important to increase communication and make people aware that support is there should they need it.

“If you are worried someone may be suicidal then please speak with them- it could be vital. If you are feeling suicidal then there is help available, don’t keep it to yourself.”

The National SOBS helpline can be reached on 0844 561 6855, and the number for Breathing Space is 0800 83 85 87.

Locally residents of Renfrewshire can contact FIRSTCrisis on 0141 848 9090.

For more information on the monthly SOBS meetings call 0141 849 2200 or emailelizabeth.aitken@renfrewshire.gov.uk.


St Mirren in the Community is delighted to announce details of our Festive Football Camp – Jingle Balls – the perfect stocking filler for all young footballers!

The Camp will run at St Mirren’s Carbrini@JD Airdome at the back of the North Stand at the Paisley 2021 Stadium (St Mirren Park).


The festive football camps, which include a goalkeeper’s camp (full day only), will take place on 24th, 28th, 29th and 30th December.

There will be options of spending half a day or the full day at the camps which will cost £9 and £15 per day respectively.

The half day option is open to girls and boys aged 3 to 5 and will take place between 9:00am and 12:00pm (noon) and the full day option, which is open to boys and girls aged 6 to 12, will be from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

Once again we expect the camps to be extremely popular so we advise you to book your place as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

For bookings and further information please contact Football Development Officer Ross Paterson by mobile: 07702 287 693 or e-mail: ross.paterson@saintmirren.net.

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Thirteen extra primary teachers are now in place in Renfrewshire thanks to a unique schools package that’s targeting an additional £1.16m towards closing the attainment gap.

As part of the attainment boost, a new literacy development programme is now under way to give every primary school extra tools and support – including the extra teachers – to improve reading.

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The investment comes from the council’s £6m tackling poverty fund – and is delivering the literacy programme jointly with the University of Strathclyde to pioneer new approaches to closing the gap between pupils from low and high income households.

The council’s Leadership Board will hear a full update next week about how the poverty fund – approved this summer – is already delivering positive, on-the-ground benefits across communities.

As well as hiring 13 extra teachers, two additional social workers are also in place to boost support to looked after children, and Scotland’s first ever ‘cost of the school day’ fund is up and running to offer help to those families who need it most.

Three new Families First teams will launch in early 2016 to deliver a wide range of support to families in Gallowhill, Johnstone, and Foxbar, thanks to a £1m investment from the poverty fund.

Eight young people have also secured positions on the recently-launched sports coach academy that will prepare them for a job in the leisure industry and see them deliver 7,000 hours of coaching, support local voluntary groups and help with Families First sports camps.

And since being extended in June thanks to the fund, the Energy Advice Renfrewshire service has supported 257 households and generated £39,000 of on-going fuel savings.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “I am proud to see the real progress being made thanks to the £6m tackling poverty fund we announced in summer. Already, Renfrewshire Foodbank has received vital money to help people in crisis this winter, and our cost of the school day safety net for families is also now in place in schools.

“I welcome the fact our drive to close the attainment gap with additional teachers is now being delivering in our schools, and I’m pleased we’ve been working with the communities of Foxbar, Gallowhill and Johnstone to prepare for the introduction of the new Families First teams that will be launched in their areas in early 2016.

“The Leadership Board will hear a full update about the £6m pot – which boosts the existing investment already made by the council to support economic growth and regeneration. The fund is crucial and allows us to work towards achieving the recommendations – the legacy – of the independent Tackling Poverty Commission.”

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Policy Board, added: “The attainment gap starts early in life, widens at every stage of school and can have lifelong consequences. If we are to make a real difference to the lives of young people from low income households and close the attainment gap, we need to intervene early.

“It is clear that good reading and writing skills are the basic foundations young people need to access education and learning. I am delighted that we are working with Professor Sue Ellis and her team from Strathclyde University.”

Professor Sue Ellis from the University of Strathclyde, said: “Schools can do a lot to close the attainment gap linked to poverty. The Renfrewshire project is helping Head Teachers and teachers use the strongest research and make strategic, cost effective and sustainable changes to literacy teaching in schools. It is clear that Renfrewshire is committed to doing its very best to meet the needs of all children in the local authority.”


Renfrewshire’s primary schools are taking part in a campaign to improve children’s safety going to and from school.

The campaign aims to make drivers aware of the dangers of parking illegally near schools and the threat that idling engines pose to children’s health.


Council officers, school staff and pupils at Auchenlodment Primary School in Johnstone organised a week-long blitz on inconsiderate drivers with a high-impact banners outside the school.

The campaign will target other Renfrewshire primary schools over the coming weeks.

Councillor Eddie Devine, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said:

“It is paramount that children in Renfrewshire are able to get to and from school without risk to their safety or health.

“Ideally, parents should avoid driving children to school where possible.

“Where this is not possible, we are asking parents who need to stop or park near a school to do so safely.

“Avoid parking on zig-zags and yellow lines and do not stop in the middle of the road.

“Also, if it is essential to wait outside a school, drivers should switch off their engines and minimise the dangerous CO2 emissions which can endanger children’s health.”

The campaign was kicked off during National Road Safety Week which takes place in November every year and which aims to raise awareness of death and injury on the roads, and the steps that can be taken to improve road safety.


Following the recent appointment of Emma Dowson as our Duke of Edinburgh Award Group Leader, Paisley & District Scouts is pleased to announce an open evening for young people and parents to sign up to the award.


Young People (aged 13years and above) along with their parents are invited to attend our open evening on 7th December at District HQ, Oldhall Road, Paisley starting at 8pm, We don’t envisage it lasting more than an hour or so.

This meeting will be an opportunity for young people across Paisley, Barrhead & Neilston to come along with their parent/guardian to gather information on the Districts plan for Duke of Edinburgh Award and to register their interest in joining our new adventure.

We will outline the different levels and the way in which we plan to run the training etc. over the coming year.

District Duke of Edinburgh Group Leader, Emma Dowson Said:
“The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a great opportunity for young people to further their skills and boost their opportunities to get a job, into college or university.

“We are offering young people across Paisley, Barrhead & Neilston the opportunity to experience the fun and adventure of Scouting whilst completing the award.”

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The PlayTalkRead bus is back in Renfrewshire – giving local families the chance to get creative, sing songs and tell stories.

The big purple bus will call at Ferguslie Library before touring Renfrewshire for two weeks from Monday 23 November, making a total of 10 fun-filled stops.

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The PlayTalkRead bus travels up and down the country to show the positive impact of play. It introduces parents and carers to fun activities they can try at home with their child.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Renfrewshire Council’s Education and Children Convener, said: “Often the best play ideas are simple and don’t cost a penny. Interaction with children really helps build the child/parent bond while developing essential social skills and motivation that can make lifelong learning easier. Admission to the bus is free and there’s no need to book. Whenever and wherever parents and carers see the bus, they can hop on board with their children to discover a world of fun and engaging activities to do together.”

The PlayTalkRead bus offers parents and children the opportunity to join in with BookBug storytelling, rhymes and songs sessions with young passengers also receiving a free book or playcube to take home.

  1. PlayTalkRead bus timetable:
Date Venue Timings
23 Nov Ferguslie Park Library, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
24 Nov Gallowhill Community Centre 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
25 Nov Foxbar Community Centre, Amochire Road, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
26 Nov Tweedie Hall and Linwood Library, Linwood 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
27 Nov Houston Square, Johnstone 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
30 Nov Erskine Community Centre, Erskine 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
1 Dec Renfrew Leisure Centre 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
2 Dec County Square , Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
3 Dec Bishopton Community Library, Bishopton 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm
4 Dec Glenburn Community Library, Paisley 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 4pm



Paisley will light up on Thursday 26 November when the Christmas Switch-on will showcase traditional festive fun for children.

Renfrewshire Council employees have worked tirelessly to reschedule the event following the sudden postponement on Saturday.


And a new event has been arranged with the youngsters of the area especially in mind.

The event will take place in Abbey Close and Paisley Town Hall and will start at 5pm with the big switch on at 7pm.

Santa will be there along with his reindeer while there will also be music hosted by Pulse FM and carols from RockUs Community Choir.

There will also be outdoor food stalls, mulled wine and mince pies, and children’s entertainment including balloon modellers and face painters.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We received widespread support from the local community for our decision to postpone at the weekend.

“Christmas is a magical time so for the rescheduled event we have gone right back to the spirit of the festive season by ensuring this is a great experience for the kids.

“In this very short space of time, an event on the scale of the original celebrations was obviously not possible.

“But we knew that Paisley would want its switch-on to be fun and to be for the youngsters – so that is exactly what we have produced.

“There is a great programme of festive entertainment laid on which will give local families the chance to come together and celebrate the start of the Christmas period. And I want to thank council employees for pulling out all the stops to deliver this.

“We are looking at running a separate public event to get everyone right behind Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 which last week received overwhelming support from the local area and beyond. This will be some time in the new year so watch this space.”

book week

As part of Book Week Scotland 2015, the national celebration of reading taking place between 23 –29 November, Scottish Book Trust will gift three free picture books to every Primary 1 child in Scotland.

The books, all by Scottish authors or illustrators, will be gifted in the Bookbug Primary 1 Family Bag and comprise the Bookbug shortlist for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2016. The titles include: Never Tickle a Tiger, by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Marc Boutavant, Mouse’s First Night at Moonlight School by Simon Puttock and illustrated by Ali Pye andWanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar by Emily MacKenzie.book week


The bags also include resources such as an activity book, pencils, whiteboard and pens, to help support learning at home. These resources also contain additional counting and writing ideas for parents and children to explore together, developed through the partnership with Education Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Read Write Count campaign.  The bag will also contain Ziggy and Maggie Start School, a children’s book about road safety created in partnership with Road Safety Scotland.

Marc Lambert, Director of Scottish Book Trust, said:

“Primary One is a crucial point in every child’s learning journey, and it is the perfect point at which to begin a lifelong love affair with books. The Bookbug Family Bag has been designed to help teachers, librarians and parents show children how much enjoyment can be derived from books and the possibilities that lie between the pages. This association of books with fun will in turn lead to a more positive educational experience, inspiring children to seek out and devour more books. The bag is also intended to create a lasting link between reading at school and at home.’’

For more information about Book Week Scotland 2015, visit www.bookweekscotland.com, where you can find information about all the events taking place in your local area. Take part in Quote Vote, a poll for the most shareable quote from a book or offer your #ThankBooks, a praise to a book, author or person from the world of literature that has inspired you or changed your life.

Initiated by the Scottish Government and supported, along with a Readers in Residence programme in libraries, by £250,000 from Creative Scotland, Book Week Scotland will be delivered by Scottish Book Trust. Book Week Scotland in libraries is funded by The Scottish Library and Information Council.

Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has criticised the UK Government for presiding over an eruption in the demand for foodbanks in Scotland, after Trussell Trust figures show that foodbank use has increased by 3,473 per cent since 2011.

Trussell Trust figures show that demand for foodbanks in Scotland from April to September 2015 stood at 60,458 compared to 51,647 in the same quarter in 2014; however, only 1,692 people used foodbanks in Scotland in the same period in 2011 – representing a 3,473 per cent increase. The top primary referral causes cited by the biggest foodbank charity are: benefit delays (30.93%); low income (20.29%); and benefit changes (16.97%).


Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“The demand for foodbank use in Scotland has shockingly soared by 3,473 per cent since 2011 under the Tory government’s watch. David Cameron and his cronies have created a contemporary crisis in modern Scotland whereby men, women and children are forced to rely on handouts in order to survive – foodbanks are no mistake, they are a Tory-made tragedy.

“Foodbanks and the thousands of people who support them are doing a phenomenal job and, in doing so, help stop people in our communities from going hungry. However, the undeniable truth is that there should be no food poverty in a country as rich as Scotland.


“Charities who work day-to-day at the coalface, like the Trussell Trust, tell us that benefit delays, low income and benefit changes are the reasons why people are forced to the doors of their local foodbank. The UK Government’s ideologically-driven assault on our social security system, dressed up as ‘welfare reform’, are to blame and they should be ashamed of themselves.

“The draconian policies of the Tory government – who were given a resounding vote of no confidence by the people of Scotland at the last election – are punishing cash-strapped families. The case has never been clearer for Scotland to be given full powers over welfare to champion a fairer social security system for our people.”