Company Shop 6.2.20-3189

Renfrewshire’s jobs and employability programme is already ranked among the biggest and best in Scotland…now it’s helped source staff for a supermarket with a difference.

Pioneering food redistribution supermarket Company Shop recently opened its doors on its first Scottish store in Renfrew, offering emergency services and NHS staff memberships to buy surplus food at discount rates.

Company Shop 6.2.20-3189

And to recruit its workforce, the innovative supermarket joined forces with the Council’s employability team Invest in Renfrewshire.

The Invest team promoted the vacancies, hosted information sessions and offered training and CV building support in advance of the interviews, which helped 60 people to gain Company Shop jobs.

This includes Jamie Kilpatrick, who works on reception managing new memberships and serving on the shop tills. The 34-year-old previously worked at a creamery and then a jam producer in Arran, but struggled after swapping island life for Paisley seven years ago.

Company Shop staff - Paul Gallagher-Janette OBrien-Jamie Kilpatrick

“Things weren’t going that well for a good few years and it got really bad in 2017,” explained Jamie. “My mental health deteriorated, I had depression and was in a dark place, alone quite a lot. The longer I didn’t have a job, it became such a big deal to me and the prospect of it seemed so far away.

“Thankfully I managed, with the help of my family and others, to get out of the hole I was in and along that process I started with Invest in Renfrewshire about a year and a half ago. The team there really helped to bring me back and make me realise it can be tough to get a job, but I can do it. I did a course there called Steps, which honestly changed my life. I know that sounds drastic, but it did and I lost a whole lot of weight, my confidence and motivation went way up.

“The Invest team are great and the absolute best thing about them is they let you do it in your own time, you’re not rushed into employment and a job which you might not be ready for. My advisor recommended the job at Company Shop and helped me to prepare for the interview. It is going well and working on reception is ideal for me as I enjoy interacting with the public. For my mum, the job is a bonus as long as I’m happy and healthy.”

Janette OBrien

Also happily employed is Renfrew resident Janette O’Brien, who works the 6am shift in the cash office and helps serving customers and stocking produce too.

The 61-year-old had always been in employment, but with her previous company going into liquidation, lacked confidence in starting a new role in retail.

She said: “At my age, as a senior, it can be quite hard for somebody to take you on and that was in my head. All the jobs I’ve had have been long-term, but I hadn’t faced a formal interview before so was nervous about that.

Jamie Kilpatrick

“I saw the Company Shop job on Facebook and Invest then invited me to enrol with them. They helped me to bring my CV up-to-date and then arranged a mock interview, which I scored quite highly in and that gave me confidence to come for the real interview.

“I’ve always worked, it’s great to be back in work and especially so close to my house. My daughter and two grandkids are proud of me and I’m enjoying the variety of the job, I’ve come on leaps and bounds and I’m just about used to getting up at five in the morning!”

Renfrew Company Shop Store Manager Paul Gallagher said: “I’m fortunate to have worked for two multi-national companies, but I have never been prouder of any team than here, to see their journey through the interview process to the induction, to store opening and now serving the customers I’m so proud of them every day.

“We wanted to help people from the Renfrewshire area back into employment, build their confidence and of course earn a wage. Right from the word go, the support from the employability team was amazing. I spent weeks with them, doing interviews and the hospitality, the camaraderie, they were a joy to work with. The work they did to prepare candidates really helped us and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to them as they were phenomenal.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s great to hear how well Jamie, Janette and all the other employees are getting on in their new roles and I wish them and Company Shop well as they continue to serve the local community.

“We have made a long-term commitment to help bring 3000 working-age people back into the local workforce as we ensure that as our economy continues to grow, everyone has the chance to benefit.”

Door Sandbags

Renfrewshire has taken a battering recently with two back to back storms – Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis. The bad weather doesn’t seem to be letting up – there are more weather warnings issued for the rest of the week. The main towns of Renfrewshire have been quite fortunate in that they have not been affected too badly, however localised flooding has occurred, as well as costly leaks and water ingress into buildings caused by the downpours.

Door Sandbags

Lots of people in the UK are at risk of flooding, yet not everyone has a flood protection plan in action. It is one of those disasters that we don’t think about, and it is often left until the threat is imminent before action is taken. That being said, anyone who has suffered first-hand the effects of flooding will be able to tell you just how devastating it can be. Watching helplessly as everything you have worked hard for is damaged and often destroyed, including sentimental items like photographs that are irreplaceable. Flood damage can take an age to clean up and repair properly. More often than not people have to leave their homes for weeks, months or even years.


Flood insurance in the UK is becoming more expensive. Taking steps to protect your home from flooding may, in some instances, enable you to obtain a more affordable insurance policy. For example, if you have suffered from a flood before and continue to be at high risk of repeat flooding you can take advantage of the rebuild and repair works by using flood resilient materials. (Flood resilience refers to measures that reduce the impact and damage caused when flood water enters your property, and flood resistance refers to measures that help prevent floods from happening and entering your property in the first place.) 


A flood protection plan should be a consideration for the 2.5 million properties throughout the UK that are at risk from flooding. An appropriate plan, or even knowing where to get supplies such as sandbags when floods are imminent, can save you money and help protect your valuable property and belongings. Rukeri, a brand of Salt and Grit Solutions Ltd, based on Arkleston Road in Paisley supplies filled, woven polypropylene sandbags that are a perfect flood defence barrier. Lisa Taylor, Marketing manager at Rukeri says, ‘Don’t leave it until it is too late. As with most things in life, prevention is always more effective than a cure’.

You can order sandbags from Rukeri’s microsite – If you have any serious concerns about the risks of flooding,  more information on predicted floods and safety measures can be found at or on Renfrewshire Councils website at .

2018 Renfrewshire Employability Awards winners

Renfrewshire’s leading jobs and employability partnership is calling on local businesses to nominate their star staff.

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Renfrewshire Employability Awards, which celebrate the success of people supported through Renfrewshire’s Local Employability Partnership programme.

2018 Renfrewshire Employability Awards winners

The programme is rated the best in Scotland at helping people to find work, supporting 1,500 people a year and involving more than 1,100 Renfrewshire companies.

It is the sixth year of the popular awards, organised on behalf of the partnership by Renfrewshire Council, who deliver jobs and skills support from a central hub 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 Top Intern, Most Promising New Employee and Achiever of the Year, while the awards also recognise school pupils and people building their CV as they prepare for the world of work.

Emma Gormley

Previous winners include Ronnie Lockhart, who collected the Progression in Work award after the Ferguslie Park resident turned his life around from 20-years unemployed to qualified gardener working for Linstone Housing Association and Tivoli Landscaping Services.

Emma Gormley was recognised for her excellent CV building skills in her final year at Paisley Grammar School, where she combined her studies with a motor vehicle course, leading to an Arnold Clark apprenticeship. 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.

Ronnie Lockhart

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Renfrewshire Employability Awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the local workforce and also thank local businesses for investing in their staff and supporting people into employment, which is literally transforming people’s lives.

“If you have trained, supported or employed a Renfrewshire resident who deserves special recognition, then make sure to complete the straightforward online nomination form.

“Our jobs and employability programme is among the biggest and best in Scotland and we have set out plans to help bring 3000 working-age people back into the local workforce as we continue our commitment to help the people most in need into work.”

Deadline for nominations is 13th March 2020, with the awards ceremony taking place at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew, in May.

For full details of the awards and to make a nomination, visit:

st vincents

Victoria Hamilton from Kilmacolm has successfully raised more than £10,000 for St. Vincent’s Hospice after an intense year of fundraising, which concluded by completing the Loch Ness Marathon, in memory of her father who sadly died in 2018.

After being diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer, Victoria’s dad (Tom Maitland) was admitted to St. Vincent’s Hospice in October 2018, where he spent 27 days in their care before sadly passing away on the 14th of November.

st vincents

Victoria said: “My dad spent 27 days in the Hospice, quite a lengthy stay compared to some others. After he died, I estimated that to provide this care must have cost around £10,000 and I decided I was going to repay this. That was a very daunting figure at first, so I just set about breaking it down into smaller targets.

“I was able to work with my daughter, Olivia and her school, St. Colomba’s, were generous enough to support her contribution by holding a bake sale and movie night, which raise £800. The Old Ranfurly Golf Club, where Dad was a lifelong member, held a Texas Scramble event which raised £350, and my friend Alyson Scott held a coffee morning which raised another £825.”

Above and beyond the support of her friends, family, and various donors throughout the community, Victoria received incredible support from her former employer HSBC, which provided fund matching of more than £1,000, along with several members of staff from the John Lewis Financial Services Team who raised a further £1,000.

All of these efforts culminated with Victoria tackling her biggest challenge to date, the Loch Ness Marathon, in October 2019.

She added: “I had run the London Marathon before, so I knew what I was letting myself in for in terms of the training and gruelling runs. If I never see the cycle path between Kilacolm and Johnstone again it will be too soon! I also knew that it had added challenges or being across challenging terrain, and steep hills. But in spite of that I was able to complete the marathon in four hours and nine minutes.

“I am so grateful and really humbled by the support that everyone has shown. I really do view this as an example of what can be accomplished when a community comes together and gets behind something. Taking on this challenge really has helped my recovery following the loss of my dad and helped turn a negative into a positive.

“To have not only met the target but surpassed it by raising £10,350 is absolutely overwhelming and I cannot thank everyone enough for all their support.”

St. Vincent’s is a specialist provider of palliative care for people living in Renfrewshire who have been affected by life-limiting conditions, including cancer, heart failure and Motor Neuron Disease.

Chief Executive of St. Vincent’s Hospice, Kate Lennon, said: “For one individual, going through such a difficult time to find the energy and determination to undertake such an unbelievable challenge is truly incredible and we cannot express how thankful we are for everything that Victoria has done for our Hospice.

“To raise more than £10,000 will make an immeasurable difference to the lives of people in the local community who need it most, making sure that we are here not just for the patient, but their families and loved ones throughout their journey.

“On behalf of everyone at the Hospice and beyond, thank you Victoria!”


Musicianship – The Diane Mitchell Music School

New 12 Noon Musicianship class for kids age 5-9 years
Come and learn musicianship, basic ukulele and make friends in a fun, interactive environment!
Social - We're taking part

Save money this February in Paisley town centre with these great offers from our local businesses as part of February FiverFest! 

Paisley is joining with hundreds of High Streets across the UK, and thousands of independent businesses, to put on special £5 offers across two weeks in February, as part of the Totally Locally FiverFest Fortnight! 

Social - We're taking part

Paisley has a great mix of retail shops, food and drink venues, health, hair and beauty salons and professional service companies. 

Around 65p from every pound spent locally, stays local – so by picking up that coffee, going for lunch or buying that gift, you can do your bit to support the local community and its businesses. 


Colette Cardosi, Chair of Paisley First, said: “The independent shops and businesses are what helps to make Paisley town centre special. We appreciate it when our community support us, so these offers are to say thank you for that support, and to show just what great value our local businesses are. 

“Spending just £5 a week in Paisley town centre can make a big difference to our High Street!” 

So, come and show your local High Street some love this February and take advantage of our great FiverFest offers! 

Social - Five Pound Message (Paisley)

February FiverFest runs from 15th – 29th February 2020. 

See the full list of deals here or pick up a February FiverFest leaflet from our leaflet racks in the Paisley Centre and the Piazza Shopping Centre. 

Love Local? Love Paisley! 


Community groups and voluntary organisations are being encouraged to submit their applications as the latest round of Local Partnership funding becomes available.

Up to £10,000 is available for projects which will benefit local communities in Renfrewshire and align with the priorities set by the Local Partnership that has been applied to.


The deadline for applications is 9 March 2020, with decisions will be made by each Local Partnership at the subsequent meetings held in April and May.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Local Partnerships provide a brilliant opportunity for people to make a difference to where they live by discussing and finding solutions to local issues, as well as also providing funding for important local projects.

“Up to £10,000 is available which can make a significant difference to your neighbourhood and I always look forward to seeing the innovative ideas local groups have to make their area better.


“If you’re part of a community group or local organisation, then please get in touch with the team to see how your closest Local Partnership can support you.”

There are seven Local Partnerships which local organisations can apply to which are: Renfrew, Erskine, Inchinnan, Bishopton and Langbank, The Villages, Johnstone and Linwood, Paisley North, West and Central, Paisley East, and Gleniffer.

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

Each has set out their local priorities and any application for funding must align with these to be considered for approval.

Membership is split evenly between local elected members and community representatives, and they work together to assess each application and allocate funding where it is identified it will make a positive difference to the community.

For more information on grant funding, including a detailed guidance document on how to apply, visit www.renfrewshire.govuk/localpartnershipfunding or contact the Community Planning Team on 0141 618 4168.

Inside Renfrewshire's Skills and Employability hub

A new Skills Action Plan will increase the number of local people in work and provide a boost for Renfrewshire businesses, according to Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson.

The Council Leader will present the three-year plan for councillors to consider at the Leadership Board on Wednesday (19 February).

Inside Renfrewshire's Skills and Employability hub

Skills experts from Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel have developed the detailed plan which will support the growth of expanding and emerging local sectors including manufacturing, tourism, care and the creative industries.

It will also ensure the workforce is ready to capitalise on an estimated 35,000 job openings forecast for the region over the next 10 years as people retire and change roles.

And the plan sets out actions to help bring 3000 working-age people back into the local workforce and radically reduce the number of local businesses reporting skills gaps and shortages.

Outside the Russell Institute

Councillor Nicolson said: “We have a strong local economy and want to grow this further and ensure the benefits it brings reach everyone, helping people to gain employment and the skills they need to succeed. Renfrewshire benefits from good schools, a college and a university all on our doorstep, which gives us an excellent platform on which to build.

“However, we also recognise that many local employers face skills gaps and shortages, while new technologies are rapidly changing the way we work, so it’s vital that all skills agencies work together. The Skills Action Plan provides us with a road map to grow the local workforce and bolster Renfrewshire businesses now and in the coming years.”

Amongst the actions are plans for enhanced apprenticeship opportunities, a business peer-to-peer mentoring programme, tailored careers advice at schools and a young entrepreneur incubator space.

Gordon McGuinness, Director of Industry and Enterprise at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), said: “To realise its economic ambitions, Renfrewshire will need an adaptive and resilient workforce with employers right at the heart of shaping skills.

“This new Skills Action Plan offers a blueprint for how such a dynamic and responsive skills system can be created and Skills Development Scotland is committed to working with industry and its full range of partners to deliver on those ambitions for both individuals and employers.”

The skills plan is one of a series of priority actions identified by Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel to accelerate inclusive economic growth.

The panel, which pools expertise from across the private and public sector, was established in 2017 and last year unveiled a 10-year strategy for the region.

James Lang, Chair of Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel and Scottish Leather Group Director, said: “Last September we set out our strategic ambitions for Renfrewshire over the next 10 years and it is clear that having a skilled and knowledgeable workforce underpins everything we are working towards.

“I am delighted to see this action plan get underway and look forward to working together with colleagues on the panel to provide the local knowledge, passion and drive that will help deliver a thriving local economy.”

John Byrne's Big Birthday Bash - image courtesy of The Fine Art Society

A commitment of over £1million to support culture and events is helping to bolster Paisley’s reputation as one of Scotland’s top destinations for culture and events with a jam-packed programme planned for 2020.

A range of exciting projects, events and collaborations are being supported by Future Paisley – a programme of economic, social and physical regeneration building on the work already done to use Paisley’s internationally-significant culture and heritage story to change its future.

John Byrne's Big Birthday Bash - image courtesy of The Fine Art Society

Following the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid Future Paisley, funded by Renfrewshire Council, earmarked more than £1million to invest in supporting cultural and events programming in the town as part of a three-year funding package until 2022. Some projects supported through this funding come to fruition in 2020.

Next week the town will host the first-ever Paisley Book Festival supported through the Future Paisley programme and delivered by Renfrewshire Leisure. The ten-day event, taking place from 20 – 29 February at various town centre venues, will be centred on the theme of Radical Voices and Rebel Stories – drawing on the Paisley Radicals of 1820 as inspiration. The impressive programme will feature the likes of Jackie Kaye, John Byrne, Janice Galloway, Kirsty Wark, Alan Bissett and even a performance from the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.

Underwood Lane Tron Theatre_IMAGE - resized 1

One of Paisley’s favourite sons, John Byrne, will bring his new musical play, Underwood Lane, to Paisley Arts Centre from 25-28 June for its world premiere, in partnership with Renfrewshire Leisure and Tron Theatre. The play tells the tale of a young skiffle band trying to make it and is written in memory of John’s Paisley buddy, Gerry Rafferty, who was born and brought up on the titular street. Underwood Lane is the last event to be held at Paisley Arts Centre before it closes for refurbishment.

The Paisley People’s Theatre Project, a large-scale participatory arts programme will launch this summer as part of a collaboration between National Theatre of Scotland, Slung Low and Renfrewshire Leisure. It will engage with the local community offering classes and courses via Slung Low’s mobile Cultural Community College and months of in-depth workshops and rehearsals with professional actors and creatives leading to a performance in 2021 telling the story of Paisley’s momentous past.

Paisley Book Festival logo

Future Paisley Lead for Renfrewshire Council, Leonie Bell, said: “The quality of events and collaborations taking place in Paisley in 2020 demonstrates how culture is thriving in the town. Through Future Paisley we are nurturing and supporting creativity in communities, the cultural potential of Paisley and opening-up opportunities for everyone to benefit from the transformative power of culture.

“By working with partners, communities, artists and creative and cultural organisations, locally and nationally, we are making changes that will benefit everyone in Renfrewshire by supporting brilliant art and culture through a programme of events, festivals and collaborations.”

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “This year offers so many opportunities for the people of Paisley and Renfrewshire to enjoy and engage with a fantastic and diverse range of cultural and creative events.

“The first-ever Paisley Book Festival will bring some of the most prestigious names in the Scottish literary scene to the town for what is sure to be a fantastic event. We’re all very excited to be hosting the first ever performance of celebrated Paisley Buddie, John Byrne’s, Underwood Lane production to Paisley Art Centre for what I’m sure will be a sell-out show.

“The impressive and extensive range of activity taking place supports the aims of Renfrewshire Leisure to help build cultural capacity and public participation in the creative arts in the town.”

Co-Producer of Paisley Book Festival, Keira Brown, said: “It’s great that Future Paisley have committed to funding the Paisley Book Festival. Having that level of commitment to reading, debate, learning and discussion in Renfrewshire is key to see a beneficial change in wellbeing, and reading development.”

Over the next few years, Future Paisley will continue to deliver exciting new cultural collaborations, events and programmes to celebrate Paisley’s unique stories, support local creative groups to grow and thrive through existing cultural funding programmes and create opportunities for everyone to benefit from all that culture has to offer.

Future Paisley investment will also supplement the town’s existing major events programme which already includes Paisley Halloween Festival – one of the biggest events of its kind in the UK.

The programme also complements the ongoing £100m investment in Paisley’s cultural venues and outdoor spaces, currently being overseen by Renfrewshire Council, and which includes the work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination bringing new footfall to the town.

The support, commitment and investment by Future Paisley in the cultural and creative sector continues to build on the work of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

To find out more about the events taking place in Renfrewshire please visit: or

44 High St

Two prominent historic Paisley town centre buildings are set to be given a new lease of life – if council building repair grants towards a combined £1m investment are approved.

44 High St

Members of the council’s Leadership Board will next week consider whether to award £615,000 of funding towards the projects to revive buildings at 44 High Street and 3 County Place.

The money is available through the council-run Townscape Heritage/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (TH/CARS2) which includes financial support to help property owners with the cost of repairing and restoring historic buildings which have fallen into disrepair.

3 County Place

The current TH/CARS2 scheme aims to improve the built environment in Paisley town centre and is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and the council. The two projects for which approval is being sought are:

3 County Place: A grant of up to £360,000 towards a £630,000 project of external repairs to transform a C-listed building in a highly-visible site opposite Paisley Gilmour Street station. Once completed, the owner plans to convert the upper floors above the existing units into four new flats.

44 High Street: A grant of up to £255,000 towards a £375,000 building and shopfront improvement programme in a building currently home to several businesses.

The work will also include external building repairs and new traditional shopfronts for the ground-floor units.

It would cover the whole building apart from the middle shop unit – Uptown Barbers – which has already benefitted from work funded by the TH2/CARS scheme to improve its shopfront.

Both buildings are currently in poor condition and are on the Buildings at Risk register. The grants will be subject to the approval of the funders NLHF and HES.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Paisley town centre is fortunate to have a wonderful collection of historic buildings but sadly some of them have been allowed to fall into disrepair.

“The great work being done by the TH/CARS2 scheme is helping to change that by helping property owners bring their buildings back into use for generations to come, and we thank our funders NLHF and HES for making that possible.

“Should these two projects be approved, they will transform the look of two prominent sites in the town, which we hope will in turn encourage others to invest.

“The building in County Place is seen by millions of rail passengers each year so the planned work will help change first impressions of Paisley, and will complement the investment the council will make to improve the look of County Square over the next couple of years.

“And the work on the top of the High Street is one of several investments being made in that area ahead of Paisley Museum reopening in 2022, which will bring 125,000 visitors a year.”

The current TH/CARS2 scheme operates in the area around Paisley High Street, New Street and Shuttle Street and follows a successful scheme which transformed the look of the Causeyside Street area of the town in recent years.

The five-year scheme will run until 2021 and will also see a number of other building restoration, shopfront improvement, and changes to streetscapes being delivered over the next year.

It is part of a much wider £100m investment in Paisley town centre’s cultural venues and outdoor spaces, which includes the work to transform Paisley Museum into a world-class destination and to keep Paisley Town Hall at the heart of life in the town as a landmark entertainment venue.