Whitehaugh, Paisley News

social security scotland

People will be able to apply for disability assistance in person across Renfrewshire.

People will be able to apply for the Scottish Government’s new disability benefits in the way that is best for them.

Options will include returning a paper form by post, applying over the phone, filling in an online form or getting help from a member of staff based in their local community.

Social Security Scotland, the agency which will administer these benefits on behalf of the Scottish Government, is continuing work to set up this local service.

There will be in excess of 400 local delivery staff providing face to face support across Scotland. This is a substantial increase on the existing Department for Work and Pensions offer, which has under 100 visiting officers for the whole of Scotland.

So far, Social Security Scotland employs four staff in Renfrewshire and has secured space in one location. This will grow as more benefits are introduced and demand increases.

Locations have been identified based on feedback from experience panels and through working alongside community partners including voluntary sector. This will help to identify venues that are easily accessed and many of  our clients already make use of.

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:

“Making sure that people are able to apply for benefits in the way that is right for them is one of the absolute fundamentals to ensuring that everyone gets the money that they are entitled to.

“The world is changing and things like the ongoing pandemic are changing the way people access services, with more and more of us looking to do so online. However, we don’t want a service that only works for the majority, it needs to work for everyone. We need to make sure that no one is left behind.

“This is why we are designing a system that gives people choices and makes sure that we take into consideration different accessibility needs – particularly for those looking to apply for disability assistance.

“People will have a range of ways in which they can apply for the disability benefits we will introduce. This includes applying online and also the option to apply in person with one of our specially trained staff located in communities in every council area.

“In setting up this service, we are taking a truly tailored approach. We want to understand the unique needs of local communities. We will continue to work with others to gain this understanding and to make sure that we have people available in the right places and at the right times across Renfrewshire.”

Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre Directors break ground at the new facility site

CPI has today announced the start of construction at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Renfrewshire, Scotland.

Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre Directors break ground at the new facility site

The new technology and innovation centre is set to become a unique and world-leading facility offering transformative solutions in small molecule and pharmaceutical manufacturing. It will accelerate the development and industrialisation of next-generation medicines manufacturing innovations and maximise technology opportunities within the medicines supply chain. Industry, academia, healthcare providers and regulators will work collaboratively within a GMP environment to address industry challenges and de-risk new technologies, providing a clear pathway for their widespread adoption within the pharmaceutical industry.

 

The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre is a collaboration between CPI, the University of Strathclyde and founding industry partners, GSK and AstraZeneca with funding provided by Scottish Enterprise and UK Research and Innovation. The Centre has recently agreed partnerships with four leading technology companies to further strengthen the range of expertise in the collaboration.

The facility will translate, at industrial and commercial scale, novel techniques for producing patient-centric medicines, including real-time release of drugs, and integrated process analytics to drive the transformation of medicines manufacturing. These technologies will enable a reduction in quantities of the materials currently required in process development; accelerate timelines to achieve just-in-time, right-first-time and real-time-release manufacturing principles; and ultimately accelerate access of affordable medicines for healthcare providers and patients.

 

Companies of all sizes will be able to use the facility to evaluate, test and prototype processes using an array of advanced Industry 4.0 manufacturing technologies, including continuous, digital and autonomous manufacturing. The utilisation of next-generation technology will enable more efficient drug production to protect future generations by bringing new medicines to market safely and quickly.

 

The facility is due for completion late 2021 and will be operational in early 2022. It is expected to eventually house over 80 staff in both technical and non-technical roles.

 

Nadhim Zahawi, Life Sciences Minister, said: “Backed with £13 million of government funding, this centre is the first of its kind and will significantly boost our domestic medicines manufacturing capability to ensure we are prepared for any future health crises. Complementing our state of the art Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire, it will ensure we are at the forefront of transformational technologies, attracting tens-of-millions-of-pounds of investment to the UK and creating new highly-skilled jobs in the Renfrewshire area – a great example of how we are working to build back better.”

 

Ivan McKee, Scottish Government Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, said: “The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre is a tremendous boost to the Scottish economy, and a great endorsement of Scotland’s strengths in life and chemical sciences. The Scottish Government is committed to attracting inward investment from global partners, whose investment in this project will help to create highly skilled jobs in Scotland in a vitally important sector. As an integral part of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland, the centre will put Scotland at the cutting edge of advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing, developing innovative technologies which will help to strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain.”

 

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “As strategic partners in the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, the University of Strathclyde is utilising its research, innovation and internationally-leading experience and expertise in advanced medicines manufacturing to meet the biggest health challenges facing our world. We are delighted to be working in collaboration with our partners across industry, academia, government and healthcare to accelerate and transform the medicines manufacturing process. We are excited to see construction begin on what will be a distinctive and important asset to the Glasgow City region and to Scotland.”

 

Jon-Paul Sherlock, Technology Strategy Lead at AstraZeneca, said: “Manufacturing innovation is critical to future pharmaceutical supply chains. Molecules are more complex, development times shorter and the expectations of patients and healthcare systems higher than ever before. However, for a highly regulated industry, innovation is risky and potentially expensive. This facility will enable close collaboration between industry, government and academia and will be a game-changer; resulting in faster industrialisation and implementation of exciting new opportunities.”

 

Andy Jones, Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Director at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), one of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre’s main funders, said: “The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre will play a key role in the infrastructure the UK is building, investing in medicines manufacturing innovation to tackle today’s health challenges and those of the future. It will also be ideally placed to help turn great ideas into great business, ensuring that UK innovators can access a global, life sciences market worth some £98 billion.”

 

Derek Shaw, Commercial Director at Scottish Enterprise, one of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre’s main funders, said: “This is an important and exciting step in the development of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, and the opportunities it will unlock for businesses through collaboration between academia, industry and government. Industry leadership and co-investment are central to shaping the facility and Scottish Enterprise is proud to have committed £15 million of funding alongside our partners.”

 

Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, Quality and Biologics, at CPI, said: “We are thrilled to be starting the construction of this new, collaborative centre. The consortium is already working together on several ambitious projects with the aim to de-risk disruptive technology that can lower the cost of drug development. Live projects include a digitally-twinned continuous direct compression platform to increase the productivity of drug product manufacture, and an automated platform to enable just-in-time supply for clinical trials which will drastically cut lead times. We look forward to bringing that technology and cross-sector expertise to these new facilities.”

 

Frank Millar, CEO at CPI, said: “Ageing populations, the increasing cost of drug development, and resource constraints impeding the adoption of emergent technologies are just some of the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry today. The increasing financial burden on the healthcare system as a whole has led to a pressing need for more cost-effective medication. By connecting the dots between academia, government, industry and healthcare providers within this state-of-the-art centre, we can address these issues and transform the pharmaceutical supply chain for the future.”

Indoor fitness classes to remain suspended following updated Scottish Government advice

People across Renfrewshire are being urged to continue taking advantage of outdoor and online fitness classes in light of the Scottish Government’s latest Covid-19 guidance.

Indoor fitness sessions for over-18s remain suspended as part of continued measures to manage the spread of the pandemic.

Renfrewshire Leisure is operating extra outdoor and online fitness sessions, both of which have proven popular and attracted a strong following.

Mark Tokeley, Head of Leisure and Community Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “We have a fantastic programme of socially-distanced outdoor exercise classes which has been tremendously well received and which we would encourage people to attend as an alternative. We have some brilliant fitness class videos online too and are continuing to build this content in response to customer feedback.

“We are also ready to support people to try something new – perhaps using the gym or going swimming. Switching up your usual routines can be a great way to boost fitness. Our team is on-hand to help in any way we can.”

Outdoor contact sports for the over-18s are also currently suspended as part of the same Covid-19 mitigation measures.

Details about the outdoor and online fitness classes – along with all other Renfrewshire Leisure services and the safety measures in place at this time – can be found at www.renfrewshireleisure.com/coronavirus

Linda and Gordon Robertson

A PAISLEY couple who say they both owe their lives to cancer research have celebrated their survival by holding a special Stand Up To Cancer brunch in their dream camper van.

Linda and Gordon Robertson

Linda and Gordon Robertson are urging Scots to turn up the heat on the disease this October by preparing a fundraising feast.

Bowel cancer survivor Gordon Robertson and his wife Linda, who are about to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary, first met just after Gordon lost his first wife Val to breast cancer.

Linda, aged 48, who is herself recovering from breast cancer, says she owes her life to treatments that weren’t available when Val was diagnosed.

The couple are now calling on people across Scotland to join them and cook up some cash with a special Sunday Brunch for Stand Up To Cancer.

They’re urging foodies and fundraisers alike to create a restaurant-style experience at home by hosting a brunch bonanza for their household – with family or housemates donating the bill to life-saving research.

Stand Up To Cancer is a joint fundraising campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4 which aims to get new cancer tests and treatments to people who need them the most.

The couple are stepping up to the stove because they know first-hand how important new discoveries and breakthroughs are to help more people like them survive.

It was a huge shock to Gordon and Linda when cancer hit them for the third time.

“When Linda went to the GP because of a lump in her breast, I wasn’t worried because it never crossed my mind that cancer could hit us for a third time,” recalled Gordon, aged 56.

“So when the tests showed it was cancer, I felt absolute disbelief. It was a massive shock.”

Gordon lost his first wife Val to breast cancer in 1997 when she was aged just 33.

Linda and Gordon Robertson

The couple, who met at work at Glasgow Libraries, had been engaged for some time and they got married at home when Val’s health deteriorated – sadly just 19 days before she died.

 

Gordon said: “Val was a library assistant and I was working with Glasgow Libraries doing odd jobs when we met. We hit it off straight away and we were together for four years.

“When Val discovered a lump in her breast, she was only 31. We went for tests immediately and we thought we’d caught it early enough. But after treatment the cancer came back and had spread to her liver. It was devastating.”

Fifteen months later, a friend persuaded Gordon to go on a holiday to Tenerife. Gordon had been struggling with grief and his friend thought a change of scene might help.

It was there Gordon met Linda, in a nightclub where neither of them were enjoying the music.

Linda remarked to Gordon that it would have been better if the DJ had been playing The Smiths. Gordon is a massive Morrissey fan and the pair bonded.

They left the nightclub and walked the streets talking about their lives and singing Smiths songs. Gordon opened his heart to Linda about his heartbreak over Val.

Linda decided that Gordon was not ready for another relationship and so the pair parted ways.

However, on return to Glasgow, Gordon got back in touch with Linda and persuaded her to go on a date with him. Six weeks later, they moved in together and they were married in October 2000.

Linda recalls: “Gordon was going through such a tough time, I didn’t think he was ready for another relationship. But when we got to Glasgow he got back in touch and took me for dinner and after that we pretty much became inseparable. It wasn’t long before I met Val’s sisters and they gave us their blessing which meant so much and really helped Gordon to find happiness again.”

On 19 October 2000, Gordon and Linda were married at the Park Circus building in Glasgow in front of 60 friends and relatives.

Ten years later, the couple had to face a second significant hurdle, when Gordon was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Gordon said: “Being told you have cancer immediately changes your life. And after what had happened to Val, of course I worried about the consequences. But I also really believed I was going to beat it. And having Linda by my side was a huge support.”

Gordon’s bowel cancer was caught early and this year he’s celebrating ten years of being free of the disease.

But another bombshell hit the couple in August 2015 when Linda discovered a breast lump.

Linda recalled: “I really didn’t think it was anything to worry about and so I didn’t even take Gordon with me when I went for the test results. So when the diagnosis came, it was a real bolt from the blue. I couldn’t believe it. How could cancer hit us for a third time – first Val, then Gordon and now me.”

Linda’s treatment included surgery, radiotherapy and Herceptin injections. She continues to take Tamoxifen, a hormone therapy which lowers the risk of early breast cancer recurring after surgery.

To make sure her body was lined up in exactly the same position to receive all her radiotherapy treatments, radiographers made pin-point sized tattoo marks on her skin.

In a bid to turn these lasting marks into something positive, and to aid her mental recovery, Linda turned the marks into a bumble bee tattoo, alongside the words Bee Positive. Gordon has a matching tattoo on his arm.

Linda said: “While Gordon is such a positive person, I can sometimes be ‘glass half empty’. I sometimes dwell on the worst-case scenario and worry that the cancer will return. The tattoo is to remind me that I’m still here, Gordon is by my side, and we have lots to look forward to in life.”

Since their marriage, Gordon and Linda have indulged in a love of travel, particularly to Spain. It was their dream to buy a camper van when they retired but, with the pandemic halting travel plans, and in celebration of their 20th wedding anniversary, the pair decided to make the investment this summer.

Since buying the van, they’ve travelled all over Scotland and enjoyed a summer holiday to Wales. They are also planning a more local camping trip in the van to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Linda said: “We’re really doing what we can to live our best life. You’d think with Gordon going through one tragedy, that would be his fair share. But that’s not how it works. We’ve been through so much together but we’re stronger and closer for it.

“When we decided to buy the campervan – which has been our dream for so long – we just thought ‘life’s too short to wait’. We love being out and about in it and preparing for each of our camping trips really makes my heart sing.”

She added: “I know that I have survived cancer because I received treatments that perhaps weren’t around when Val was diagnosed with cancer.

“Cancer affects every family and so it’s so important that scientists have the funding to find the causes and new cures. Supporting cancer research is something positive we can all do to make sure more people survive.

“With charities having been hit so hard by the coronavirus outbreak, it feels more important than ever for everyone to do what they can.”

In Scotland, around 32,400 people are diagnosed with cancer every year*. That’s why Gordon and Linda are calling on people across the country to sign up for a free fundraising kit now with everything they need to turn their home into an exclusive brunch spot.

Supported by Channel 4 show Sunday Brunch, an array of celebrity chefs – including co-host Simon Rimmer – have donated recipes. From Davina McCall’s kedgeree, to Jamie Oliver’s super spinach pancakes and Asma Khan’s courgette sabzi – there’s something to suit everyone’s taste buds. Or participants can simply choose to conjure up their own culinary creations. 

Linda Summerhayes, Cancer Research UK spokesperson in Scotland, said: “We’re grateful to the Robertsons for helping us to continue our mission. Cancer doesn’t stop in the face of a pandemic. It can affect anyone’s life, at any time so we only have one option: accelerate life-saving research.

“Thanks to the extra time spent at home lately, many of us now know our way around the kitchen much better than before. So why not put these new-found culinary skills to use while inspiring guests to dish up the dosh for a great cause.

“Cooking a special Sunday brunch for your household is a safe and simple way to show support during these challenging times. By taking part you’ll be rewarded with more than just empty plates. The donations your family or housemates make in support of your efforts really could save lives.”

For added inspiration, during October four special episodes of Sunday Brunch will be shown on Channel 4 showcasing some of the delicious Stand Up To Cancer recipes.

Get a free fundraising kit at su2c.org.uk/brunch. A Sunday Brunch mug is also available from Stand Up To Cancer’s online shop.

 

RECIPE BOX OUT:

Simon Rimmer’s Blueberry and Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Serves: 4

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
200g self-raising flour

50g caster sugar

1tsp bicarb

1 egg

50g melted butter

250ml milk

125g cottage cheese

225g blueberries

Zest 1 lemon

15g unsalted butter

Serve with a poached egg

 

Method

  1. Mix the flour, bicarb and sugar together in a bowl.

 

  1. In a separate bowl combine the egg, butter, milk, lemon and cheese, then add this to the flour mix.

 

  1. Stir in the blueberries.

 

  1. Lightly oil a frying pan and preheat over a medium heat. Spoon a small ladleful of the pancake batter into the pan and cook for one minute on each side, until golden.

 

  1. Meanwhile, poach an egg per person in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.

 

  1. Serve two pancakes per person, topped with one poached egg and a drizzle of maple syrup.

 

Exercise classes in the great outdoors

Renfrewshire Leisure expands outdoor and online programme while indoor classes suspended

An expanded outdoor exercise programme has launched to help Renfrewshire residents stay fit and healthy amid the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

One of Renfrewshire Leisure’s socially-distanced outdoor exercise classes at ON-X, Linwood

Renfrewshire Leisure has suspended all of its indoor exercise classes for over-18s until October 26 to comply with Scottish Government guidelines to slow the spread of the pandemic.

As part of efforts to continue supporting members and customers’ wellbeing during this time, the independent charity is temporarily stepping up its outdoor fitness session programme.

Nineteen extra outdoor events will be staged this week and next, with people able to exercise safely and socially distanced in line with all public health guidelines.

They will be held on track and artificial sports surface areas at the ON-X in Linwood.

An enhanced programme of fitness content for people to join in with is also being made available at www.renfrewshireleisure.com and via the RENTV channel.

Alan Cunningham, Indoor Leisure Services Manager at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Exercise is good for everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing, which is why we feel it’s so important we do all that we can to help people through these strange times.

“We have an established programme of outdoor exercise classes. Given their strong track record, we believe that temporarily expanding them is a positive way in which we can safely support people with their health and fitness. The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority.”

Bootcamp, HITT, attack, combat, metafit and circuit classes are included in the programme.

All sessions will comply with track and trace guidelines. Places are limited and must be booked in advance at www.renfrewshireleisure.com, where more details about the classes and safety measures that must be followed are available.

Meanwhile, filming is underway for a programme of exercise classes to be streamed online by Renfrewshire Leisure. These will range from relaxation to high intensity with sessions to suit ages and abilities. A broadcast schedule will be shared via social media once filming is complete.

Outdoor contact sports for the over-18s were suspended from 6pm on Friday as part of the Covid-19 protection measures governing Greater Glasgow.

social-security-scotland

People who have experienced pregnancy or baby loss are encouraged to check if they are eligible for financial support as part of Baby Loss Awareness week.

social-security-scotland

Bereaved parents who get certain benefits or tax credits could be eligible for payments to help ease some of the financial pressure when a baby is stillborn or dies after birth.

 

Eligible people could still receive a Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment of up to £600. They may also qualify for the Funeral Support Payment to help towards the costs of a funeral.

 

The Scottish Government involved parents who have experienced baby loss in the design of these services to make sure that it met their needs and was sensitive to these specific circumstances.

 

Their input has influenced website content, including simplifying wording around eligibility to make it easier to understand.

 

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

 

“The loss of a baby is one of the hardest things any parent can go through. It is awful to think that at a time of such grief and loss, some parents will also be faced with the pressure of finding money to get them through this period and will have already spent money on baby goods. We want to make sure that people in this position know that there is support available.

 

“We know that bereaved parents can often feel overwhelmed and may wish to talk things through with someone – that’s why Social Security Scotland has specially trained Client Advisers available to guide people through what they may be eligible for and the application process.

 

“And whilst this is Baby Loss Week, we want people to know that this help is here all year round. That is why we are working closely with organisations that provide vital support to parents who experience this to promote these payments.”

 

Chief Executive of SiMBA, Sara Fitzsimmons, MBE, RM said:

 

“It is important that we support bereaved parents in any way that we can, so it was an honour to be able to support the focus group for the Best Start Grant.

 

“We brought together parents who had themselves been bereaved, so they could help review and give feedback on literature and words with an empathetic understanding and help support bereaved families who may benefit from some financial help after the loss of their baby.”

 

 

Background

 

  • People can apply for the Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment for a baby that was stillborn or died after they were born – they can apply from the 24th week of pregnancy to six months after the baby’s birth date

 

  • Parents of a baby who was born alive prematurely and who died before the 24th week of pregnancy are eligible to apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment – it is a £600 payment for a first child and £300 for other children.

 

  • Funeral Support Payment can help towards burial or cremation costs. It can also cover some travel, document, and medical costs – the average total payment is around £1,500

 

 

 

  • SiMBA support those affected by the loss off a baby during pregnancy or shortly after birth, full details can be found at www.simbacharity.org.uk
Renfrewshire-Leisure

Renfrewshire Leisure will suspend all of its indoor fitness classes for 16 days from 6pm on Friday (October 9) following the Scottish Government’s latest steps to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

Renfrewshire-Leisure

The independent leisure and culture charity is also suspending all outdoor contact sports for over-18s to comply with measures outlined by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Gyms and swimming pools will remain open, operating with safety as the priority and within all Government guidelines.

Staff will also offer as much content as possible digitally, at www.renfrewshireleisure.com via the RENTV channel and across the organisation’s social media platforms.

Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The safety of our staff and customers is our key focus. As an organisation, we are committed to doing everything possible to support our communities through this pandemic.

“We want to continue helping people with their health and wellbeing while they are unable to attend classes, which is why we will look to do all that we can online. We would also encourage anyone who normally enjoys our classes to try a session at our gyms or swimming pools, where we will be happy to welcome them in the safe environment we have created.”

Details of sessions available digitally will be shared via Renfrewshire Leisure’s social media channels and website, where information about all of the charity’s services and booking arrangements can also be found.

Covid19-Kickstart-FB-v319

Renfrewshire businesses and charities have shown fantastic support to boost the career prospects of local young people by offering more than 200 Kickstart job placements so far.

Covid19-Kickstart-FB-v319

Renfrewshire Council’s employability experts Invest in Renfrewshire have teamed up with Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Engage Renfrewshire to bid on behalf of local employers for the six-month posts funded through the UK Government’s Kickstart scheme.

Pooling their experience, the trio are also assisting with skills and training support throughout the placement period.

An online survey was launched last month asking local employers to register their interest in providing a placement, which help people aged 16-24 on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

This has seen a fantastic response from companies right across the region, with detailed discussion now underway to confirm these roles and add to a further 100 placements within the Council, before submitting the Renfrewshire funding bid.

There’s still time for local companies to put forward their placements – with full details at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/kickstart or by calling the Council’s Invest in Renfrewshire team on 0300 300 1180 or email invest@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We know the devastating impact Coronavirus has had on our health, on society and on the economy, with young people more likely to be adversely affected when it comes to finding and keeping a job.

“We have a strong track record with Renfrewshire ranked among the best local authority areas in Scotland in supporting young people into work and it’s fantastic to see the groundswell of support in the Kickstart job placements so far.

“There is still time for companies to come forward and I would urge all local employers to visit the Kickstart in Renfrewshire website and fill in our online survey to register their interest as not only will they be helping someone onto the career ladder and a brighter future, they will benefit from a committed and hardworking employee to help their organisation restart, recover and grow.”

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Bob Grant said: “At a time when cashflow is tight, this fully funded scheme will help employers bring young people into the workplace and develop new talent for the future. Kickstart can help create long-term, quality employment opportunities and ensure that both businesses and employees are fully supported throughout the placement.”

Alan McNiven, Engage Renfrewshire Chief Executive said: “Right now, we know that many young people may be facing additional challenges in taking that first step into the world of work. Kickstart is aiming to tackle that risk of long-term unemployment for young people and with the support of local employers from across all sectors in Renfrewshire, I’m sure the initiative can make a positive impact.”

Covid19-Kickstart-FB-v32

This scheme builds on a wide range of support provided to local businesses throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.

More than £28million in Scottish Government grants has been awarded to Renfrewshire businesses, providing funding to address the immediate impact of Coronavirus, while the Council surveyed 500 local companies before launching a £1.3million programme of loans and grants to assist with business resilience and growth.

The Council’s Business Gateway team are also on hand to offer advice and guidance to local employers.

For full details of all available business support, visit: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus-businesses

Clyde walkway after being tidied

Renfrewshire experienced a Spotless September as hundreds of volunteers joined the Team Up to Clean Up campaign once again, with the aim of making their community a little brighter.

Clyde walkway after being tidied

The now annual Spotless September event saw 1,233 bags of litter removed from the local environment as 225 litter picks were undertaken by dedicated volunteers and community groups – equating to more than seven litter picks every day throughout the month of September.

Volunteers took to the streets in almost every community in Renfrewshire, including Erskine, Renfrew, Paisley, Johnstone, Bishopton, Houston, Bridge of Weir Foxbar, Elderslie, Inchinnan, Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch – and some even took to the water to clean the River Cart in Paisley.

James McCabe James McCabe dressed up for his litter pickdressed up for his litter pick

Erskine volunteer Stephen Hughes said: “I really just wish people would stop dropping litter and take more pride in where they live, especially our school children.

“I would rather be doing something else with my time, but I really do value living in a clean and attractive neighbourhood and helping clean up keeps me busy and active.

“The Team Up to Clean Up Facebook community is also a pleasure to be part of, it’s great to see so many people making a difference.”

Working with the community, Renfrewshire Council provided volunteers with litter pickers, bibs, bags and any other safety equipment they required, and volunteers were provided with health and safety advice for carrying out litter picks, including group sizes and physical distancing.

The council’s StreetScene team took away the collected rubbish too and this took place alongside the council’s increased litter picking, gully clearing and road sweeping which forms a key part of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “What a month it has been and another fantastic Spotless September.

“While the current situation meant we couldn’t hold any large-scale events, it’s been heartening to see the desire of our Team Up to Clean community to continue making a difference.

“Hundreds of volunteers have headed out on their own or in small groups to clear hundreds of bags of litter from our communities and each with the same goal of making Renfrewshire a better place to live, work and visit.

“We’re working hard to change the mindset of those who think it’s acceptable to litter so please let’s keep working together to make Renfrewshire litter-free.”

The award-winning Team Up to Clean Up campaign has grown substantially since it was launched in 2017 and now boasts more than 1,500 members in its online Facebook community group.

The campaign brings the council and community together to help tackle littering, dog fouling and a range of other environmental issues and the joint approach continues to thrive in Renfrewshire.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup.

Following on from the success of its inaugural Festival, Paisley Book Festival is delighted to add a new strand to its 2021 Festival.

Thanks to funding from Creative Scotland’s Sustaining Creative Development Fund, the Festival is inviting submissions from an experienced writer for its new Digital Writer-in-Residence scheme. It is looking for a published writer who will work with local communities and help the Festival reach wider audiences.

paisley book festival

This residency is open to all forms of writing including prose, poetry, playwriting, writing for children, and genre writing, as long as it is inspired and influenced by Paisley and the 2021 Book Festival theme, Radical New Futures. Writers must have a proven track record of publications (at least one book/collection published) as well as a history of community engagement and of delivering writing workshops.

Keira Brown, Producer, Paisley Book Festival said: “We are so thankful for the support from Creative Scotland to allow us the opportunity to introduce this new programme, which is not only a great opportunity for a writer but one which the local community will reap benefits from also. Connecting to Paisley and its people, as well as our book festival theme Radical New Futures, which addresses this idea of new narratives emerging from this pandemic, this will be a fantastic addition to the Book Festival.”

The first-ever Paisley Book Festival took place in February 2020, with a diverse programme of events exploring contemporary ideas around radicalism.

Headline names included Jackie Kay, John Byrne, Kirsty Wark, Janice Galloway, and the Fun Lovin ’Crime Writers. Acclaimed writers from across the UK engaged local audiences in a love of reading and writing, and took part in a variety of events, from discussion panels, masterclasses, and workshops to storytelling performances. The Festival exceeded all expectations with many events selling out.

The Writer-in-Residence will be contracted on a part-time basis for ten weeks from November 2020 – March 2021 and would be expected to be present at the Book Festival to host or chair events, which have been curated by them as part of their residency.

For further information contact: Wendy Niblock PR | wendyjniblock@btinternet.com | 07961 814834