Families are set to benefit from extra nursery time for children as Renfrewshire Council unveiled plans for a phased roll-out of the area’s early learning and childcare provision.

Hugh Smiley Funding for pre-school kids
PIC Shows Cllr Iain Nicolson, Cllr Jim Paterson and Shirley Allan

The proposals will be put before councillors on Thursday 23 August at the Education and Children’s Services Policy Board.

They set out the expansion between now and 2021 to meet the Scottish Government’s target of increasing free early learning and childcare from 600 hours annually to 1140 by August 2020 and introducing more flexibility and choice for parents in the nursery classes and centres.

The expansion will give parents more flexibility in their choice of nursery and childcare services, meaning they can choose from council, private and volunteer-run nursery classes, centres and childminding.

They will also be able to choose their preferred option of nursery or childminding session, such as a service which opens between 8am to 6pm over the school year and specific options of six hours per day over 38 weeks, based on the school calendar.

There will also be an increase in the number of places commissioned from independent and private nurseries.

Parents and carers should continue to apply to their local nursery for a place for their child and when capacity to accommodate 1140 hours becomes available in their class or centre, they will be contacted directly and asked to select their preferred option.

Under the proposals, nine early learning and childcare nursery classes, located in primary schools, will operate on an extended day and 50 weeks a year, however parents will still be able to access school day and term time provision at Williamsburgh and St Catherine’s in Paisley, St Margaret’s in Johnstone, St John Bosco and St Anne’s in Erskine, East Fulton in Linwood and Lochwinnoch, Bridge of Weir and Houston Primary Schools.

Extending the operating hours will create a significant number of additional places for children to access their 1140 hours of funded early learning and childcare.

To support the plans, the Council is proposing to build five new-build centres as well as refurbishing, adapting and extending more than two dozen existing buildings.

More than £14 million will be invested in early years buildings, while £22 million has been earmarked for additional early years jobs.

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “Our early years expansion proposals mean that the increased provision will enhance children’s  learning and attainment and parents will have flexibility and choice while also being able to access affordable early learning and childcare, which will then allow parents the opportunity to go back into work or go to college or university to gain further qualifications.

“We are committed to providing the best learning environments for young children and at heart of all of this is the drive to maintain quality across all early learning and childcare centres and classes, whether they are local authority, private or voluntary.

“The increase in the hours of free early learning and childcare will give children the best start in life and support the work across Renfrewshire to close the poverty related attainment gap.”

A mum-of-three who went bankrupt after using pay day lenders says that joining a Credit Union changed her life.

Sally-Ann Bareford took out high interest loans and ended up paying back up to triple the amount she had originally borrowed.

But since she joined White Cart Credit Union eight months ago, she says for the first time she feels she has control over her finances.

Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations owned and controlled by their members, which offer savings and low cost loans.

The 49-year-old, who has a 21-year-old daughter Amy and two younger children Jack, 10 and Alex, 7, said: “I was using payday lenders as I wasn’t in a position to get a loan from the bank. I ended up paying double and sometimes triple on what I had borrowed because the interest rates were so high.

“I was using them for years and at one stage I had to declare myself bankrupt as my finances had  got into such as a bad state. It seemed like easy money until you realised you had to pay it back with astronomical rates of interest. Your debt starts off small and then just explodes and get bigger and bigger and it can take years to pay it back.”

Sally-Ann said the situation was a Catch 22 as she had such a bad credit record she felt she had no option but to go back to pay day lenders.

But earlier this year she was introduced to the non-profit White Cart Credit Union through the Paisley-based community organisation, the Star Project.

She said: “The representative Frank is so friendly. He sits and has a coffee with you and explains all the benefits. The interest rate is one per cent to cover their costs and I save as I borrow.

“I’ve had two loans, one for £1,600 to take my two youngest children to visit my mum in Eastbourne this summer, and another to go on a weekend bonding trip with my eldest daughter.

“Frank comes to the Star Project every two weeks and I pay money in to pay back my loan and whatever I can afford to save. I’ve become a regular saver for the first time.

Sally, who is unable to work due to heath issues, added: “It’s made a huge difference to my life as I can pay back the money at an affordable rate. I’ve already paid off one of my loans and am still saving. I would recommend a Credit Union to anybody.”

Renfrewshire Affordable Credit Alliance (RACA), which was previously the Affordable Credit Group, is a group of agencies, who work collaboratively to increase the provision of accessible, ethical and affordable credit for people in the most vulnerable circumstances.

It is holding a public event in the Paisley Piazza on 30 August from 10am to 4pm to talk to the public about their affordable credit options. Representatives from banks, credit union, social enterprise Scotcash as well advice agencies will all be there to answer any questions.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “As part of Renfrewshire Council’s ongoing effort to tackling poverty and inequality, we have been supporting and promoting the development of affordable credit, such as credit unions.

“Sadly, it’s often the case that those who have the least money are charged the most for credit.

“We want people to know there are other options aside from payday and other high cost lenders.

“The Council supported the establishment of Renfrewshire’s Affordable Credit Alliance and are the first local authority area in Scotland to have such an initiative.

“The work around affordable credit led to the linking of White Cart Credit Union and Star Project, which has allowed people like Sally-Ann and many others to save and borrow easily.”

RAMH is celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and as part of our fundraising programme, we have secured spaces for a sponsored zipslide across the Clyde on Saturday 15th September.

I was hoping it could maybe be added to “Events” page of your website, just to help spread the word so we can hopefully fill all the spaces and raise as much as we can?

The details are:

  • Name – Zipslide Across the Clyde for RAMH!
  • Date – Saturday 15th September 2018
  • Time – Time slots available between 2.45pm-4.15pm
  • Location – Registration will take place on the South Bank, between the South Rotunda and Pacific Quay offices
  • Minimum Sponsorship: £80 – but the more you can raise, the better!
  • Restrictions – Health and Safety states a maximum weight limit of 17st and minimum age limit of 16yrs
  • For more information contact: jade.gallagher@ramh.org or 0141 847 8900

To celebrate the start of the new season the Paisley Pistons Basketball Club are offering the first 4 sessions of the school term at half price (£2/£2.50 per session). The club caters to boys and girls aged between P1-S2. We would love to see new and returning players along to the Lagoon Sports Centre on a Monday evening, no experience required. Please book your spot at: https://basketballpaisley.class4kids.co.uk

THOUSANDS took to the streets of Paisley yesterday (Sunday, August 19) for the town’s annual 10k Road Race and Fun Run.

A total of 3493 runners took part in the two events, organised by Renfrewshire Leisure.
From serious athletes to fun runners in fancy dress, they pounded the streets around the town.

Both the Paisley 10k and fun run was sponsored by sports and outdoors retailer, Decathlon and 2133 people took part in the 10k Race and 1360 in the Fun Run.

Paisley Fun run 2018

And for the third year the official charity partner was Macmillan Cancer Support.
Many of the fun runners were also sponsored to raise much-needed funds for local charities, clubs and good causes with several entire football teams of youngsters taking part.

This year’s Paisley 10k race had £2320 of prize money and trophies were presented to fun runners, with prizes for the first three boys and girls from primary and secondary schools over the finishing line.

The Paisley 10k Race men’s winner was Euan Gillham, from Kilbarchan AAC with a time of 30 minutes 47 seconds. Second place in the men’s race went to Lachlan Oats, from Shettleston Harriers, with a time of 31 minutes 13 seconds and third was Daniel Bradford, also from Shettleston Harriers with a time of 31 minutes 21 seconds.

The women’s 10k Race winner was Fionnulla Ross, from Shettleston Harriers with a time of 34 minutes ten seconds. Second was Gemma Rankin, from Kilbarchan AAC with a time of 36 minutes five seconds and third was Jo Williams, from Lothian AC with a time of 37 minutes 16 seconds.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “The Paisley 10k and Fun Run has grown incredibly over the years and the big race attracts a high calibre of athlete.

“It’s a fantastic sight to see so many people enjoying the Fun Run with young children and their families taking part. It’s also a great way for sports clubs to raise vital funds and lots of youth football teams take part with the youngsters kitted out in their football strips.”

Fiona Naylor, Renfrewshire Leisure’s head of Finance and Corporate Services added: “The is event really puts Paisley on the map for athletes who want to compete in road races.

“We now have a reputation for organising a really good event and both the 10k and Fun Run attracts thousands of people taking part as well as spectators supporting the runners as they make their way round the town.

“When it comes to organising the event, it’s more like a marathon for our staff  – who did a fantastic job – as there are many months of planning involved.”

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Renfrewshire Employability Awards celebrating the successes of people supported through Renfrewshire’s Local Employability Partnership programmes.

RDC Invest awards 6.9.17 Celebrating Success
Renfrewshire Employability Awards
6.9.17
Paisley Town Hall

It is the fifth year of the popular awards organised on behalf of the partnership by Renfrewshire Council’s economic development service Invest in Renfrewshire.

Invest work closely with more than 1000 local businesses to support Renfrewshire residents from its base at Paisley’s Russell Institute building.

Together, the programme provides direct access to vacancies, work experience, training, personal support and finance.

There are nine awards across a range of categories including Most Promising New Entrepreneur and Apprentice of the Year. The awards also recognise school pupils and people building their CV through volunteering as they prepare for the world of work.

Last year’s glittering celebrations recognised top intern Debbie Campbell, whose work with award-winning community charity I Am Me Scotland raised awareness of disability hate crime.

Johnstone High School pupil Morgan Spence won the Youth CV builder award, the Kilbarchan teenager’s stop-motion film-making skills being viewed more than a million times online.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Renfrewshire Employability Awards are always an excellent event, recognising new employees making a real difference to local businesses and celebrating the successes of those who transform their lives and future careers through involvement in Renfrewshire’s employability programmes. I would encourage people to submit their nominations as soon as possible.

“Invest in Renfrewshire organises these awards on behalf of the Local Employability Partnership in recognition of Renfrewshire’s success in this area and the hard work and effort put in by our local people.

“The Invest team themselves have built strong partnerships with the local business community and together are creating work and training opportunities for more than 1400 people each year. This is hugely important, reducing unemployment and enabling our local economy to grow.”

Deadline for nominations is Friday 14 September 2018 with the awards ceremony taking place at Paisley Town Hall in November.

The ever-popular event is also an opportunity to thank local businesses for their contributions which has helped the Renfrewshire economy grow significantly in recent years.

“In June we set out a five-year commitment to help the people most in need into work,” added Councillor Nicolson. “We will help communities facing deprivation and those unemployed and underemployed, changing people’s opportunities and making the most of the major areas of growth coming to Renfrewshire in areas such as childcare, tourism and manufacturing.

“These annual awards are a great way to celebrate the successes and acknowledge the many partners playing their part in creating a thriving Renfrewshire, open for business.”

For full details of the awards and to make a nomination, visit: www.investinrenfrewshire.com/awards-2018/

ORGANISERS of this year’s Paisley 10k Road Race and Fun Run are making last-minute preparations for the popular event on Sunday. (August 19)

And with the deadline of noon on Friday (August 17) looming for entries, people are being urged to sign up before they miss their chance to take part .

The Paisley 10k organising team from Renfrewshire Leisure are expecting to match last year’s record-breaking entry of 3600 runners and if there is a last-minute surge in entries to the race and fun run, that figure could even be overtaken on the final straight.

Macmillan Cancer Support is the Paisley 10k Race and shorter Fun Run official charity partner for the fourth year and the event is sponsored by sports and outdoor retailers Decathlon.

Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “The route for the 10k and Fun Run is through the centre of Paisley and is relatively flat. It’s ideal for both experienced and novice runners.

“It’s a great route to run as people will pass the town’s famous landmarks and hundreds are expected to line the route giving encouragement to the runners.

“There’s a fantastic atmosphere throughout the day with lots of families, clubs and groups coming along to take part in the fun run as well as the more serious athletes who will be giving their all to be first to cross the line in the big race.”

The activities start in Paisley’s County Square at 9.40am on Sunday with Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron welcoming the runners and their supporters. The Paisley 10k Race warm-up is at 9.45am and the race starts at 10am. Winners will be presented with their medals around 11.30am.

The Fun Run warm-up starts at noon with the starting gun fired at 12.15pm and the presentation if prizes expected around 1pm.

There will also be hoops of fun in County Square during the day as BasketballPaisley will have a basketball stand set up for youngsters to try their hand at the sport.

Joyce added: “This is always a great day for Paisley with a carnival atmosphere showing of the town at its best.”

Primary One pupils at a Renfrewshire school are learning how to read and write from aptly named teachers – Mrs Reid and Mrs Wright.

Ms Reid and Wright at Brediland Primary School Renfrewshire 15.8.18

As Brediland Primary School in Paisley welcomes its latest intake, the teachers admit that their pairing has raised a chuckle among colleagues.

Maureen Reid, 48, who’s taught at the school for 14 years, said: “Neither of us actually realised at first, it was a colleague who made the connection and he certainly found it very funny.

“I don’t think the younger children will make the connection but I’m sure the older children and parents will.

“We will work very closely together with lots of interaction between the two classes so I’m sure there will be lots of comments.”

Her fellow teacher, Audrey Wright, 40, said: “I’ve been at the school for eight years and this is my first year teaching primary one. I’m really looking forward to it. I think our names will raise a smile from the parents.”

Depute Head Teacher Lisa Robertson said: “The new Primary One children that we welcome to Brediland this session have had a head start.  What better way to begin to learn at school than with a teacher called Mrs Reid and a teacher called Mrs Wright?

“Surely only good things can come from this.”

Schools across Renfrewshire are recording improvements in pupil’s reading, writing and numeracy skills thanks to the innovative projects introduced as part of the Scottish Government’s Attainment Challenge.

One pioneering project between Renfrewshire Council and the University of Strathclyde has led to an improvement in children’s literacy attainment regardless of their background.

The Renfrewshire Literacy Approach, funded by the local authority and the Scottish Government, is a teacher and leadership training programme designed to enhance knowledge and skills in the teaching of reading.

There have been improvements made in pupils’ reading age scores across primary three to seven, while further analysis also indicates that the teaching programme may have had the greatest positive impact on children living in the most deprived areas.

It also shows a positive increase in pupil attainment at all stages, particularly for those children who have previously struggled with aspects of learning to read.

Thousands of people turned out in Johnstone on Saturday to see fire engines, past and present, showcased in the town centre.

The day kicked off with emergency vehicles from across the years parading from Johnstone Fire Station into Houston Square, where they remained for the afternoon, giving everyone the chance to climb on board and learn how firefighting has advanced through the years.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service undertook several demonstrations throughout the day, showing people what the impact can be when a chip pan bursts in to flames.

The event was hosted by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Heritage Trust.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “The Fire Engine Rally is always a highlight of our events calendar and a firm favourite for the people of Johnstone.

“Events like this really benefit the local communities as they bring visitors in to the town and increase footfall to local traders.

Renfrewshire’s packed events schedule continues for the rest of the year, so make sure you check out what’s coming up next!”

For upcoming events in Renfrewshire visit www.paisley.is or www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events.

Hundreds of children across Renfrewshire have enjoyed a summer of fun attending Families First holiday clubs.

Families First Johnstone Campus
L-R Hayley McGuire, Newlyn Harris and Kai Lynch

Running at 10 school venues, children have taken part in sporting activities and arts and crafts, as well as being served a healthy, nutritious lunch.

Around 6,000 two course hot meals have been served over the six week programme.

Families First Johnstone Campus
Miaya Docherty

Pupils from primary one to primary four who are in receipt of a school clothing grant were invited to attend the free camp, while older siblings in primary five to seven at the same school were also welcomed when accompanied by their brother or sister.

Families First Johnstone Campus

Children enjoyed the three hour daily clubs the West Johnstone shared campus, St James, St Fergus, Gallowhill, Heriot, Langcraigs and Todholm Primary Schools and Paisley Grammar, Linwood and Castlehead High Schools.

The mobile library service, the Skoobmobile was also part of the programme, with four of the venues hosting a weekly visit to encourage children to sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge, while the remaining six venues enjoyed at least one visit.

Families First Johnstone Campus

The clubs ensure that as many kids as possible get physical activity and have a tasty and nutritious meal every day, as well as encouraging them to try a wider range of foods than they may not otherwise eat. They can also provide valuable social interaction for children.

Education and Children’s Services convener, Cllr Jim Paterson said: “It’s great to have had so many children coming along to socialise with their peers and enjoy sporting activities which can help them stay healthy and active.

“By providing free school meals outside of term time we can also take some of the pressure off the family food budget and ensure that all children can get a nutritious meal.

“We are committed to ensuring that every child in Renfrewshire is given the best chance in life to reach their full potential and supporting families is essential to raising attainment for all and closing the poverty-related attainment gap.”

The Families First holiday clubs started in 2013 and run across most school holidays.