The ROCCO Awards returned with a roar on Friday 19th November at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew. An ecstatic crowd of 400 people cheered 17 winners being crowned at Renfrewshire’s largest black-tie business event, now in its 17th year. The ambitious destination brand PAISLEY.IS returned as main sponsor for a third year signifying their ongoing support for the Renfrewshire business community.

Chamber President Liz Connolly highlighted the chamber’s achievements since Rocco 2019 and focused on the response in supporting the business community during the pandemic. The guests were piped into the Normandy by the talented St Columba’s School Pipe Band.

Mary Crearie Director, Communities, Housing and Planning Services, Renfrewshire Council gave the principal sponsor address and profiled the economic grant support awarded by Renfrewshire Council of over £53 million to the business community.

The ROCCO raffle raised an outstanding £9,000 supporting St Vincent’s Hospice and Kidney Research UK in memory of much-loved chamber director and friend Elaine Sherlock from Ingliston Country Club & Hotel.

The Rocco favourite host Fred MacAulay kept the audience laughing all evening and the GGC NHS Choir drew a warm and ecstatic response from the guests following their stirring performance with many of the choir members having been on the front line with the response to Covid-19.

ROCCO Award for Environmental Sustainability – Sponsored by Paisley Is.

Winner: Glasgow Airport

ROCCO Award for Developing the Young Workforce sponsored by Developing the Young Workforce (West)          

Winner: Rolls-Royce plc

ROCCO Award for Innovation & Technology – Sponsored by Creation IP.

Winner: Glasgow Airport

ROCCO Award for Excellence in Manufacturing – Sponsored by the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.

Winner: Rolls-Royce plc

ROCCO Award for International Trade – Sponsored by Glasgow Airport.

Winner: Volantes Technical Recruitment Ltd

ROCCO Award for Excellence in Business Resilience – Sponsored by Invest In Renfrewshire & Renfrewshire Council                

Winner: Right Way Credit Union

ROCCO Award for Most Promising New Business 2021 – Sponsored by Renfrewshire Council

Winner: Squared Insurance Brokers Limited

ROCCO Award for Renfrewshire’s Favourite Business – Sponsored by Paisley Daily Express

Winner: I Am Me Scotland

ROCCO Award for Resilience in Tourism – Sponsored by Paisley Is

Winner: Open Road Scotland

ROCCO Award for Family Business of the Year – Sponsored by The Malcolm Group

Winner: Carli’s Kindergarten Ltd

ROCCO Award for Young Business Person of the Year – sponsored by Rolls-Royce plc

Winner: Andrew O’Brien J.G.B Steelcraft (UK) Limited

ROCCO Award for Employer of the Year – sponsored by West College Scotland

Winner: Arnold Clark

ROCCO Award for Community Champion of the Year – sponsored by Engage Renfrewshire & The Royal Bank of Scotland

Winner: I Am Me Scotland

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business <=5 employees – sponsored by Braehead

Winner: Plush Plans Ltd

ROCCO Award For Outstanding Performing Business 5>25 employees – sponsored by The University of the West of Scotland

Winner: J.G.B Steelcraft (UK) Limited

ROCCO Award for Outstanding Performing Business >25 employees – sponsored by Doosan Babcock

Winner: Wholesale Domestic Equipment Company Ltd

ROCCO Award for Business Leader of the Year – sponsored by Diageo     

Winner: Eddie Hawthorne, Chief Executive & Group MD, Arnold Clark

Bob Grant chief exec said” Friday’s event marked a crucial step on the road to normality for our business community. The board and team at Renfrewshire felt it was crucial to run Rocco 2021 this year and plant a flag to mark the resilience and recovery underway. We witnessed a fantastic response from all our sponsors, companies entering and our guests on the night.”

“You can view all images on our Facebook page and comments on #2021Rocco. I encourage all Rocco winners to utilise their win across their PR channels. Thank you to the entire Chamber team for all their work before and on the night to ensure our 400 guests had a great time. Special thanks to principle sponsor, Diageo who supplied our drinks reception, Cameron Presentations & Gap TV for all the AV, the Printbrokers for the program, Gary & Jan from NS Design for the excellent social media coverage and the Normandy Hotel for the superb meal and service. Thanks also to St Columba’s School Pipe Band who welcomed guests in such style.”

“Finally, thank you the GGC NHS Choir. It was a privilege to have them entertain us with many of the choir members having been on the front line with the response to Covid-19 from our wonderful NHS. Planning for Rocco 2022 is already underway, and we hope to see you enter and attend next year.”


Natalie Don MSP has praised the efforts of Recovery Across Mental Health (RAMH) staff and volunteers in providing much-needed support for Renfrewshire residents experiencing mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a meeting with RAMH’s Chief Executive, Stephen McLellan, and recently appointed Operations Manager, Claire Gallagher, the MSP for Renfrewshire North and West was informed that the charity, which usually supports around 7,5000 people across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire in their recovery from mental ill health each year, saw an increase of 10 per cent in the number of individuals contacting the organisation during the last 18 months.

Stephen McLellan, Manager of RAMH, said: “We were pleased to speak with Natalie Don MSP to highlight the valuable one-to-one support we are providing to people throughout Renfrewshire during the pandemic – including to many individuals who were previously not known to Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s Adult Community Mental Health Team.

“Unsurprisingly, we have been contacted by an increasing number of Renfrewshire residents who are experiencing COVID-19 related anxiety both in terms of the social isolation being suffered during times of restrictions as well as concerns relating to the prospects or reality of unemployment and debt issues.

“Anyone in Renfrewshire aged 16 or over who is experiencing a crisis in their mental health can reach out on an anonymous basis to our FIRST Crisis service which operates out of hours and offers essential personalised support.”

Natalie Don MSP said: “It’s vitally important that we all look after our mental health as much as we can and don’t hesitate to reach out for confidential support offered by dedicated services such as those run by RAMH.

“Through correspondence and conversations with my constituents, I am acutely aware of the range of difficulties and everyday challenges facing a lot of local people during the COVID-19 pandemic and offer RAMH staff and volunteers my heartfelt gratitude for making themselves available to provide life enhancing person-centred support to residents across Renfrewshire.

“I encourage anyone struggling with their mental health to make immediate contact with RAMH’s FIRST Crisis service and give the charity’s trained staff and volunteers the opportunity to gently talk you through steps which can help improve your wellbeing and recovery.”

Renfrewshire residents can contact RAMH’s FIRST Crisis service between 9am-8pm Monday-Friday or 9am-5pm Saturday-Sunday on freephone: 0800 221 8929 (or standard rate 0141 848 9090) seven days a week, 365 days a year.

paisley from drone

The COP26 summit is almost over and it’s been great to see all nations come together to talk about climate change. Moreover, on a more localised level individual businesses are rethinking their working operations to find more environmentally friendly processes that are sustainable in the long term.


When we think about the environment and how plants are beneficial to the earth’s atmosphere we tend to think about rainforests and the exchange of gases occurring with trees. Did you know that grasses also play a substantial part in this too? An area of around 500 square metres produces as much oxygen as two 100 foot trees! And it doesn’t take as long to grow 500 square metres of grass as it does for a tree to grow 100 foot. An area of approximately 70 square metres can provide the amount of oxygen required by an average hum in a day. That’s not all – part of this gas exchange is the absorption of carbon dioxide – lawn grasses absorb an unexpectedly high volume of carbon dioxide daily!

Grass also plays a massive part in nature’s water filtration system. It is not only pollution and gases that are trapped in the blades, enormous quantities of dust and other particles are trapped and filtered through the grass. It is essentially self-cleaning due to the addition of mycelium, a type of fungus. Mycelium helps to absorb dead cells and nutrients and can sometimes be seen on the end of grass as little white threads. This is a sign of healthy grass, and it is essential to stop a thick layer of dead thatch forming.

Rukeri, a brand of Salt and Grit Solutions Ltd are turf growers based in Paisley who cut turf from their own fields to provide grass for commercial and residential lawn areas. Once all turf has been used up from one field the ground is ploughed and rotovated before it is reseeded, and another field of turf is grown.  This cycle is kept going – growing and supplying turf for use elsewhere. As a result of this many householders and public areas alike benefit from a lovely green grass lawn. So, you could say that Rukeri are playing apart in helping the environment too!

It wont stop there for Rukeri though. Like most other businesses the Rukeri team will be reviewing their processes and looking for practical ways to reduce their impact on the wider environment. 

If you would like to returf your garden and benefit from a new lawn please visit

Local MP Gavin Newlands is joining Britain’s train companies in promoting the use of a half price rail discount card to get more jobseekers back on track and into work, as new research shows that journeys made using the card dropped by 20,700 in Scotland since the start of the pandemic, meaning that thousands of jobseekers could be missing out on major savings.

The Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card gives holders a 50% discount on journeys across Britain and anyone claiming Jobseekers Allowance or Universal Credit for 3-9 months (18-24 year olds) or 3-12 months (over 25s) can apply through their Work Coach and local Jobcentre Plus.

Meanwhile Scotrail offers additional support in the form of two free return tickets a month to attend interviews and a free season ticket for the first month of a person’s return to work.

The drop in custom reflects a national trend which has seen usage of the card drop by nearly a third in the months March 2020-October 2021 – with over 62% of journeys taken using the card in London and the South East.

Jacqueline Starr, Chief Executive of Rail Delivery Group, said:

“Over 40,000 journeys in Scotland were made during the pandemic by people using the Jobcentre Plus Travel Discount Card, but with the world of work opening back up and new opportunities becoming available, we want to encourage even more people to take advantage as they look to secure new jobs. The railway is a key part of Britain’s clean and fair recovery, and this discount card is yet another way that train companies are helping the country to bounce back.”

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North said:

“Applying and interviewing for jobs can be an expensive business, and particularly so when a household depends on the disgracefully low levels of Universal Credit the UK Government have imposed on the poorest in society.

“Every bit of help for jobseekers is welcome, which is why I’m happy to back the Rail Delivery Group in getting the word out about the support on offer.

“Together with the extra help available here in Scotland via Scotrail, there are big savings to be made for people getting back into work, particularly in those first weeks where money is always tight.

“I would urge anyone who thinks they might qualify and benefit to speak to their Jobcentre and make sure they aren’t missing out on these deals.”

Members of Paisley & District u3a are in for a reel musical treat.  Top of the festive bill on Thursday 2 December is guest speaker and conductor, Robert Rocke.  He’s sharing how the Caledonian Fiddle Orchestra is “still going strong 132 years on.”  He will show a 30 minutes video featuring orchestral performances since the 1980’s with a commentary outlining the orchestra’s history.  There will be time to share a few anecdotes and respond to questions.  This free talk from 2-3.30pm will be held in the Salvation Army Hall at Mill Street in Paisley.  Doors open at 1.30pm.  

U3a chair, Kathy O’Donnell said: ‘Expect lots of hand clapping and toe tapping as Robert Rocke introduces us to the sounds of music played by fiddlers of all ages.  I’m sure the history of how this longstanding orchestra has developed since1888 will be fascinating.  The Caledonian Fiddle Orchestra recently started doing live rehearsals and playing together after 81 weeks of lockdowns and Zoom practices.  Our u3a can enjoy some of their previous recordings, from Scottish jigs and polkas to strathspeys and waltzes.  This promises to be a popular, lively event and a fun-filled way to end the year.’ 

Robert Rocke remarked: ‘Everyone remembers events enlivened by Scottish dance music.  The orchestra aims to keep that music available to audiences.’        

Details of local u3a activities and groups at:

Child Disability Payment opens for new applications in Renfrewshire from today.

For the first time anywhere in the UK, disability benefit applicants can apply online, as well as by phone, post or face-to-face.

This is the first of three complex disability benefits to be introduced nationwide by the Scottish Government. This new payment replaces the UK Government’s Disability Living Allowance for children.

Those already receiving Disability Living Allowance for children do not need to apply. These approximately 52,000 current cases are being automatically transferred in phases from the Department for Work and Pensions to Social Security Scotland. This will be completed by spring 2023.

Child Disability Payment, which will be administered by Social Security Scotland, provides families with support for extra costs that a disabled child might have.

The national roll out to all local authority areas follows successful pilots in Dundee City, Perth & Kinross and the Western Isles.

Minister for Social Security Ben Macpherson said:

“I’m really pleased that Child Disability Payment is now available to eligible families all over Scotland.

“This is a significant milestone in the introduction of our new social security system. Families who find themselves in need of support will be able to access this help in a way that suits them best.

“Those who currently receive Disability Living Allowance for children from the DWP will also be transferred to Social Security Scotland. They will be told when this is happening and will find their payments transferred safely and securely within the next 18 months. Payments will be made at the same rate and there will be no break in entitlement.

“In the months and years ahead thousands of families will benefit from our simplified and much less stressful system, which will treat everyone with dignity, fairness and respect.

“Social security is a shared investment in building a fairer Scotland and we encourage those who are eligible for support to apply.”

A 380 sqft bright office to let at Mirren Court Three on the second floor. An office has fluorescent lighting, power, carpeting, central heating and lots of natural day light. The space is perfect as an office for 3-4 people. Meeting room hire is also available. Call on 0141 843 4211 or email to arrange a viewing.


Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron is searching for community heroes across Renfrewshire as nominations open for the 25th edition of the Provost’s Community Awards.

The 2022 event will see seven categories, including one introduced last year to recognise businesses who have adapted to ensure their survival during the Covid19 pandemic.

Anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire can send in a nomination for the following categories:

  • Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd)
  • Community Group (sponsored by City Gate Construction)
  • Sporting Achievement (sponsored by ACRE Industrial)
  • Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire)
  • Carers Award (donated by the late Provost Nancy Allison)
  • Arts and Culture Award (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council)
  • Ingenuity in Business (sponsored by Provost Lorraine Cameron)

This year’s awards will also see the return of an in-person awards ceremony – due to take place in March – after last year’s was conducted online due to the pandemic.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “I am delighted and honoured to be able to open nominations for the 25th edition of the Provost’s Community Awards.

“A quarter of a century on from the first edition, we are living through a time which has brought so many challenges, as the pandemic continues – so it is as important as ever we honour those in our community who go above and beyond to help those around them.

“I know Renfrewshire has more than its fair share of unsung heroes and the awards are a great way for them to be recognised.

“It’s always a pleasure to be involved in and the fact the nominations come from the community themselves makes it extra special – so I’m looking forward to seeing your nominations.

The deadline for entries to all categories is Friday 7 January 2022.

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

A first-of-its-kind app has been developed by Renfrewshire pupils and a hate crime charity to support their mental health and wellbeing.

Launching today (Friday 19 November), the Keep Safe Kids app is available to all Renfrewshire children and young people and allows them to report bullying and wellbeing concerns directly to their school – the first app in the UK designed to do so.

More than 60 children and young people from primary schools Arkleston, Kirklandneuk and St James’ (Paisley) and high schools Castlehead, Paisley Grammar and Renfrew worked with the award-winning I Am Me Scotland team to develop the app.

Pupils can make reports at any time of day or night, including making anonymous reports, and their school will pick them up during school hours. This gives pupils more control over how and when they report concerns to their teachers, something that pupils told the charity that they wanted.

The app also gives children and young people access to a wide range of mental health and wellbeing support, information and guidance from local and national wellbeing organisations.

Craig Orr, a sixth-year pupil, said he loved being part of the app’s development.

“As a young person, I love that I have this information at my fingertips and all in one place. I think that it is also great that you can hid that you are using the app if you don’t want others to see you are on it.

“I think being able to get support and report any issues when we are away from school is a real benefit to lots of young people. I know that some of my friends might not talk to teachers or anyone at home, but the app gives them a brand-new way to reach out.

“It also allows parents and carers to support young people with new resources that they maybe were not aware of, or just to reinforce how they are supporting them.”

Charity founder, Carol Burt, says putting children and young people in control of how they report bullying was a priority.

“Putting pupils in control of how they report bullying was essential, as ensures that they can easily access support and advice. There is a fantastic wealth of information already available, however, young people may not always know how to access it. That’s why it was important that children and young people were directly involved in the design of the app, including how it looked and what information was available, and as such they have developed a ground-breaking app that can be made available across Scotland.”

Education convener for Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Jim Paterson, praised how the team developed the app with pupils.

“There’s no doubt the pandemic has impacted many of our young people with many different challenges and as a council, we are committed to the supporting the social, emotional and mental wellbeing of our children and young people. We have a robust anti-bullying policy in place, which we developed with anti-bullying charity RespectMe, and this app is a further development of our commitment to ensuring we educate and support children and young people to treat each other with respect.”

The Keep Safe Kids app can be downloaded from iOS and Android

THE trials and tribulations of living through the coronavirus lockdown have been captured on film.

Renfrewshire Leisure is to screen the video diary style movie – 2020 – A Film By Paul Mothersole – on its Ren TV online channel.

Like many other people Paisley-based filmmaker Paul had to endure not being able to visit his mum and dad, Mary, aged 73 and 74-year-old Vincent, sister Fiona, aged 40, along with other family and friends during lockdown.

And Paul decided to ask his family to make a video diary documenting his family’s experience of living through the coronavirus restrictions. Filming took place between November 2020 and June 2021.

The innovative short film – funded by Creative Scotland’s Venue Recovery Fund and supported by local charity Renfrewshire Leisure – has been described as “incredibly moving” is being broadcast on Ren TV at 8pm on Thursday 25th November.

It can be viewed free of charge by logging on to

Paul said: “Like many others, my family were communicating via video conferencing and social media.  It occurred to me that collecting these videos, calls and clips and photos would be a great way of documenting this unique time in our history. 

“Though this is my family’s experience of lockdown I imagine that many people experienced something similar and I hope that my film will remind people of what we have gone through.  Hopefully in future years it will be a reminder of what we have survived.”

Paul continued: “My 50th birthday was at the end of lockdown and that was the first time our family could get together after lockdown.

“The film’s final scenes are of my birthday celebrations, so we were able to end the film on a positive and hopeful way.

“When my mum and dad saw the film, they were quote emotional as it showed everything they had to go through during lockdown.”

Richard Weeks Film Project Producer at Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Renfrewshire Leisure has been working with local filmmaker Paul Mothersole to document this important part of Paisley’s history. 

“Paul’s family have shown great courage in telling their story. The film is incredibly moving, is told from multiple perspectives and provides a valuable reminder of the pandemic which may otherwise be lost in the mists of time.”

A new consortium has been formed to support the deployment of renewable technology that can produce carbon-neutral energy from previously unharnessed power. The Scottish wind energy consortium between Katrick Technologies, AGS Airports Limited (AGS) and the University of Strathclyde will enable a faster transition to clean power by exploiting low-level wind energy.

The newly-formed wind energy consortium will see the development and deployment of a new type of wind technology, created by Katrick Technologies and supported by AGS and the University of Strathclyde. This will involve the installation of Katrick Technologies’ dual-purpose wind panel and sound barrier, which can produce carbon-neutral energy from ground and low-level wind

AGS, encompassing Glasgow, Aberdeen International and Southampton airports, has long been committed to carbon reduction. In 2020, the group achieved carbon neutrality status and earlier this year it launched its Sustainability Strategy which set out its commitment to achieving net zero by the mid-2030s.

The University of Strathclyde boasts its own impressive green credentials. The University’s Sustainability team has developed a bold climate-neutral districts vision, which will see renewable technologies used across its central Scotland facilities. The team is already helping to deliver the University’s first carbon-neutral building.

Among the University of Strathclyde’s alumni is Katrick Technologies founder and Co-CEO, Karthik Velayutham. Velayutham is an accomplished renewable engineer who holds four patents for renewable technologies. He launched Katrick Technologies as a green energy start-up in 2016 and is supported by Co-CEO, Vijay Madlani, to bring these technologies to the market.

One of these technologies, which is core to the consortium, is Katrick Technologies’ dual-purpose wind panel and sound barrier, which can produce carbon-neutral energy from ground and low-level wind. These energy-harvesting wind panels have been designed to tackle the decarbonisation challenges common to both airports and highways — unlike traditional wind turbines they can capture wind power, without needing significant height or scale.

As part of the consortium, Katrick Technologies’ wind acquisition systems will be installed on the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Airport estates. Initial wind-mapping on these sites will kick-off a phased approach for development of the wind panels. The ultimate goal is roll-out of this technology to support both estate’s net-zero goals and launch it to the wider market.

“Katrick Technologies and the University of Strathclyde have just been awarded Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) funding for a collaborative R&D project for the wind panel and noise barrier technology,” explained Vijay Madlani, Co-CEO of Katrick Technologies. “This is an initial step that will provide a catalyst for development by attracting large funding and investment opportunities. Not only will this support the development of our own technologies, but can help the group realise its shared vision by unlocking unharnessed wind power.”

“Partnering with technology experts and embracing innovation is essential for AGS to meet its decarbonisation goals,” explained Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports. “Renewable technologies have the potential to power vast amounts of on-site equipment, offset energy costs and reduce the requirement for carbon-based energy supply. In addition to supporting our transition to net zero, these wind panels also have the potential to help us manage the impact of airport-related noise which we know is an important issue for the communities we serve. Managing this is an integral part of how we grow our airports responsibly and these panels could also act as noise barriers on our airfields.”

Roddy Yarr, Executive Lead for Sustainability at the University of Strathclyde, said: “As a socially progressive university with ambitious targets towards net zero, we are pleased to support this project.

“Katrick’s clean technology is a great example of an innovation that can help us to create a series of ‘living labs’ to demonstrate and enable the transition to scalar greenhouse gas emissions reduction.”

More information on Katrick Technologies pioneering wind panels can be found on the organisation’s website. Examples of the technology in action can also be seen here. To get involved in the consortium, or to find out more, please contact

Collaboration and commitment credited with making town stronger highlighted as a trailblazer for other communities to follow

The collective will which has helped power the transformation of Paisley has been hailed as an inspiration for other Scottish towns to follow.

Work to improve the community is highlighted in a recently-launched website designed to empower and inspire those determined to make the nation’s towns stronger and more attractive.

Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s (STP) Town Toolkit aims to help local authorities, community groups, social enterprises and businesses take action to build better communities. More than 200 people and organisations contributed to the Toolkit, whose development was supported by the Scottish Government. 

And Paisley will be among the communities highlighted as a prime example of success as the toolkit is discussed at the Scotland’s Towns Conference next Friday (November 26).

Nick Wright, a Johnstone-based town planner who developed the toolkit for STP, will speak of the town’s achievements.

He said: “Paisley may have had its struggles in recent decades, but now the town is leading the way in showing what collaboration, commitment and a strategic approach can achieve.”

Among the initiatives highlighted are the “inspirational” 2030 vision for the town centre, which shows how Paisley can be redesigned to re-energise the high street, mapping out how that can be achieved.

The £100m investment in the town centre – spearheaded by Renfrewshire Council – is also highlighted, with work including the transformation of Paisley Museum, revamp of Paisley Town Hall and a new library, learning and cultural hub on the High Street.

On the lessons that other communities can learn, Mr Wright added: “The council may be taking a leading role in Paisley’s transformation, but it knows it doesn’t have the power or resources to do everything.

“Much more impact can be achieved by helping everyone’s projects and initiatives to materialise. So a crucial part of the council’s role has been to support everyone involved in the town centre to work together, from the local youth theatre to the chamber of commerce.

“Collaboration helps individual projects come to fruition – such as the proposal for a community-owned cinema on the High Street to reconnect socially isolated individuals of all ages, circumstances and abilities, making cinema accessible for all.”

Mr Wright said that the toolkit is about sharing that wealth of experience from across the country – showing that communities can do it because it’s been done before.

While inspiring communities and groups, it is also hoped that the toolkit will prove useful for local authority officials working in planning, community development, leisure, transport and the economy when considering developments in their region, as well as for politicians at every level.

For more information, go to Details about how to join in the discussions at Scotland’s Towns Conference, which runs from November 22 to 26, can be found at