New play areas, rediscovered nature reserves and inclusive community gardens have all been developed thanks to more than £2million in funding from Renfrewshire Council’s Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.

Since it was launched in 2018, 66 projects have been supported with grant funding up to a maximum of £50,000 to improve and develop green spaces, parks, play areas and community facilities in their local area – with eight further projects being developed and expected to apply for the remaining funding.

Young people and families have benefitted from brand-new and redeveloped play parks created in their local areas with new equipment and resurfacing carried out to create welcoming, safe spaces for active play.

A brand-new interactive park in Bargarran has seen its equipment become the highest used in the UK since it opened in April 2021, Howwood Park now offers an outdoor gym, skate ramps, new goal posts, basket swings and picnic tables, and brand-new play equipment and maintenance work has allowed Glencoats Park to host silent discos, gala days and Halloween trails.

Karen Campbell, Chair of Pals of the Privies, said: “We are so pleased with what we have all achieved in Glencoats Park and I’m so proud of the volunteers who regularly help to make the park look better and help with our events.

“It really feels like there is a really strong sense of community again here in Ferguslie.

“The funding really has made a difference and we couldn’t have delivered what our community wanted without it. Thank you.”

Numerous nature reserves have been brought back to life with Jenny’s Well in Paisley set to be free of Japanese Knotweed this year and replaced with native wildflowers, Newshot Island in Erskine has seen bird watchers flocking to return to the redeveloped viewing area, and Erskine Community Garden has been able to install a labyrinth, extend their sensory garden and now grow fresh fruit and vegetables all thanks to Council funding.

Jim O’Neil, Erskine Community Council, said: “We can confirm that our vision for the Bird Watching area has been fully realised because of the donation received from the Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.

“Our regular users are delighted at the efforts made by the Council and the improvements made have resulted in a huge increase in usage of the area so on behalf of the Community Council, and the friends of Newshot Island, we offer our heartfelt thanks”

These projects are in addition to numerous others including community gardens, reclaiming woodland areas for the community and saving community facilities with structural upgrades, such as The Old Library in Kilbarchan.

Other projects expected to come forward soon include new play and fitness equipment in Thomas Shanks Park, a community social garden in Lochwinnoch and new football and gym facilities in Elderslie.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “I’m incredibly proud of how beneficial this fund has been for our communities since we launched it back in 2018 and it’s a real example of how we can make real change working with local people.

“The projects have been brought forward and driven by local groups and we’ve been privileged to support them with advice and funding to make their ideas into reality.

“Almost every community in Renfrewshire has seen a projected completed thanks to this fund and you can see the real difference it has made to our green spaces, parks, play areas and villages.

“I want to thank the staff involved in driving this fund forward, but also the people and groups who have led the projects and been such an inspiration for our local communities.”

Applications to the fund for over £10,000 require additional funds to be in place from the community group which has led to more than £300,000 in external funding brought into Renfrewshire.

In addition to the creation of new projects, eight local community groups have completed, or are working towards, a community asset transfer thanks to grants received from this fund and the Council’s Community Empowerment Fund.

No further applications are being now accepted for the fund with the entire £2.04million committed to existing or expected projects

For more information, visit https://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/GreenSpacesFund

Street Stuff’s festive programme attracted more than 250 young people over the festive break, with free activities taking place in communities across Renfrewshire.

Young people attending the activities, delivered four nights per week during the three-week break, were also offered a free meal to ensure they were fuelled up and ready to go.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convenor of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many young people taking part in Street Stuff.

“The holiday programmes are so important as it gives young people an opportunity to take part in sport and exercise, and to socialise with their peers in a safe and fun environment.

“Thank you to all coaches and volunteers who continue to make a difference to the lives of young people through Street Stuff.”

 Staff and volunteers were on hand at all the activities to spread some festive cheer, handing out gift cards and selection boxes to those taking part.

Street Stuff is a diversionary project run in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Engage Renfrewshire and St Mirren Football Club.

The programme began in 2009 in Renfrewshire contributing to a reduction in youth disorder and anti-social behaviour by 75 percent over the first five years with a sustained reduction of 65 percent.

The programme runs six days a week, all-year-round, at venues across Renfrewshire and young people aged 8 to 16 are encouraged to turn up and take part for free.

For more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/streetstuff or follow @SMFCStreetStuff on Facebook and Twitter.

Villagers in Houston will soon be able to get active outside as a new fully inclusive, interactive outdoor gym is added to Argryffe Park.

The new gym equipment will cater for young and old, including people of all abilities, and users will even be able to connect to an app which will monitor performance and encourage continued use.

The project is being delivered after Houston Community Council were granted £35,000 following their application to Renfrewshire Council’s Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.

Having already raised £7,000, this funding will allow a supplier to be appointed and work to start on the gym ahead of the summer months.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to support yet another project that people have told us their community needs.

“This fund was created to deliver real change for local people and ensure that they could take forward ideas which they know will make a difference to where they live.

“More than £2million will be committed from the fund and it has seen projects completed across Renfrewshire and created lasting relationships between the Council and the community.

“I look forward to seeing the new gym in Argryffe Park when it’s installed and I’m sure it will be a huge boost for parkgoers in Houston.”

Since its inception in 2018, 66 projects have been completed in Renfrewshire in almost every community, ranging from new play parks and community gardens to outdoor gyms and new nature trails.

The fund has encouraged the formation of new constituted community groups, created new play areas for young people and families, and made clear environmental improvements to local green spaces across Renfrewshire.

The fund is now fully subscribed so cannot accept new applications for funding.

For more information, visit https://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/GreenSpacesFund

An ambitious £100m ten-year plan to transform the quality of council housing in eight areas throughout Renfrewshire has been given the green light to move to the next stage.

Councillors today agreed updated plans for the Housing Regeneration and Renewal Programme, revised after an in-depth consultation with the 1,500-plus affected residents last year.

The programme aims to create modern, high quality, energy-efficient and affordable council housing throughout Renfrewshire, while improving the wider neighbourhoods as places to live and contributing to the area’s recovery from the pandemic.

It will see a mix of investment to improve existing buildings and the common areas around them, with potential demolition and new-build in some areas.

The eight areas covered by the first phase of the programme are: Auchentorlie Quadrant/Seedhill Road, Howard Street area, Waverley Road, Thrushcraigs area, Ferguslie/Broomlands area, Springbank Road area (all Paisley), Moorpark (Renfrew) and the Howwood Road area (Johnstone).

Last year council housing staff carried out an in-depth consultation with affected residents, tenants and owners over several months to capture their views on the initial plans, and that feedback has now been analysed and published.

Overall, 72% of tenants who responded broadly agreed with the plans. In four of the areas, the plans have now been changed in line with resident feedback. In the other four, the vast majority of residents confirmed they were happy for the original plans to be delivered.

Residents were also asked for their views on their neighbourhood as a place to live. That feedback will be used to help develop a neighbourhood plan for each area which will consider wider issues such as health and wellbeing, travel, outdoor areas, and access to services.

Members of the Communities, Housing and Planning board agreed to give officers authority to move forward with the programme when they met earlier today.

Convener of the board, Cllr Marie McGurk, said: “These updated proposals set out a hugely ambitious, positive and forward-thinking vision for the future of council housing in Renfrewshire and we are delighted members have agreed to proceed with them.

“The work will transform the look and quality of council housing and the common areas around them, while making them more energy-efficient, reducing fuel bills for residents, and contributing to the area’s wider climate-change targets.

“But what sets this programme apart is that it’s about so much more than investing in bricks and mortar – it’s about working with residents to consider all the factors that help make an area a great place to live, and work with them to create neighbourhoods they can be proud of.

“I want to thank every resident who took the time to respond to the consultation – nobody knows our neighbourhoods better than the people living in them, so your feedback was really important to us, and allowed us to reshape the plans in line with what you told us.

“I’d also like to recognise the staff from our housing team for their efforts to speak to as many people as possible during the consultation, despite the restrictions placed on them by the pandemic.

“We will be back in touch with affected residents in the coming weeks to set out what the plans will mean for them, and will stay in close contact over the months and years ahead as the plans move forward.”

The plans will see around 500 new social-rented homes being delivered across six of the eight areas. Council staff will now take forward the technical work required to assess each site for the delivery of newbuild housing.

The updated proposals for each area can now be viewed at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/housing-regen-programme and council staff wrote to each resident last week to make them aware.

Staff will now write again to each resident or owner with more information on next steps and the likely timeline for work in their area.

That will include setting out the options and financial support available to private owners of properties in shared blocks earmarked for improvement or demolition.

Any council tenants in properties which are to be demolished will be offered suitable alternative housing in line with the council’s allocation policy.

New name for charity highlights Renfrewshire’s community spirit 

The charity that delivers culture, leisure and sport across Renfrewshire has announced that it is changing its name to OneRen. The change will be gradually rolled out across the organisation’s services and facilities over the coming weeks, and is seen as the completion of “unfinished business” after the addition of responsibility for cultural services in 2015.

Chair of the Board of OneRen, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, said that the change marked “an exciting new phase for our charity.”

She continued: “This is a new identity that draws us together as one team, and emphasises our core purpose of working together to help everyone locally live lives which are healthy, happy and fulfilled. 

“It comes at a time when we have had to pull together like never before as we look to the future and provide innovative new ways to help rebuild our community’s mental and physical wellbeing from the pandemic.

“We are proud of the difference we can make: building healthy, happy and fulfilled lives for everyone living in or visiting Renfrewshire. At OneRen, find community and wellbeing, enjoy world-class events and experiences and explore unique spaces. 

“We are OneRen.”

OneRen Chief Executive, Victoria Hollows, said:“This is a natural and long overdue consequence of the addition of cultural and sport responsibilities to our original leisure remit. 

“The OneRen name allows us to draw together every part of our charity, with our mission to improve our community’s health and wellbeing by working in partnership to design and deliver a range of life-enhancing and accessible cultural, leisure and sporting opportunities that meet local needs and improve life chances across the population. 

“The last eighteen months have shown that we are OneRen – our community and staff drawing together like never before. With major future cultural investment, this is a change for the better, at just the right time.” 

OneRen has been working with staff and stakeholders in developing the new name and branding and the outcome has been well received across the organisation and amongst partners. The implementation will be immediate, with a gradual change to the charity’s signage and other marketing materials over the course of the next few weeks.

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A new exhibition showcasing the collection of major projects transforming Paisley’s future and how the town can reinvent itself through culture has now opened its doors.

The Future Paisley Exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the fascinating past, present and future of the town, based on its forward-thinking approach to culture-led regeneration.

The free-to-enter interactive exhibition – in the Piazza Shopping Centre – makes innovative use of maps, graphics, 3D digital models and augmented reality to bring Paisley’s story to life like never before.

Future Paisley is the wide-ranging programme of events, activity and investment using the town’s unique and internationally-significant cultural stories to transform its future, led by Renfrewshire Council.

The programme continues the momentum generated by Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, which raised the town’s profile at home and abroad saw it become the first town to ever be shortlisted for the prestigious title, four years ago.

The exhibition will show how the town was shaped by Paisley’s proud textile and industrial past, and how current projects are bringing new life by giving new reasons to come into town.

Featured projects include the ongoing £100m investment in the town centre’s historic venues and outdoor spaces, including the transformations of Paisley’s museum and town hall, and the work to build a new modern home for library services in a formerly-vacant High Street unit.

It will also showcase the emerging Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation District Scotland currently being built next to Glasgow Airport, which will become the country’s new home for advanced manufacturing.

Other local landmarks to feature include Paisley Abbey, Thomas Coats Memorial Church, the Russell Institute, the TA Building, and the Grand Fountain, as well as the work to create new community-led place plans for Ferguslie and Foxbar.

The physical exhibition will run until Saturday 19 March in Unit 27-28 of the Piazza shopping centre, open every Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm (check the www.paisley.is website for changes to opening times). It will also include a parallel digital exhibition, allowing anyone anywhere to go online and enjoy it.

Visitors will be asked to consider their hopes for the future of the town, and how it can evolve to meet big global challenges of the future such as recovery from Covid and the climate crisis.

Over the coming weeks, school and community groups will visit the exhibition and express their hopes for the future of the town through creative artist-led workshops, leading to a display of art that will feature in the exhibition space from late February.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are delighted to host this exhibition, which takes place at an exciting time for Paisley and Renfrewshire, as we prepare to complete work on several nationally-significant projects in the next couple of years.

“The exhibition shows how the area has evolved over time, showcases the current once-in-a-generation investment, and invites visitors to consider what they want from its future.

“It will include work created by local schools and community groups and offers something for residents of all ages – I’d encourage people to pop in and see for themselves.”

The exhibition will also include a series of ‘Grand Conversazione’ events, where leading figures from the arts, architecture and academia will discuss how urban design and place-shaping can tackle major world issues such as pandemic recovery and the climate emergency.

The Grand Conversazione events are a nod to the town’s past, so-called after a series by the same name hosted by thread baron Sir Thomas Coats, including one to mark the handover of the Coats Observatory – the oldest public observatory in Scotland – back in 1882.

Speakers include Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, who added: “It’s hard to imagine a nation that can match Scotland in terms of culture and heritage. Scots invented much of the modern world and Scotland’s towns are a storybook of our journey as a nation

“Paisley is the best example of all of this in Scotland and it’s vital we all support the efforts to reimagine what Paisley can become once again – the work has resonance throughout the country and I’d encourage people to visit the exhibition and see it for themselves.”

The exhibition was created by design collective Lateral North, whose design director, Tom Smith said: “It has been a pleasure to work with the wider Future Paisley team to develop stories of the past, present and future of the town.

“Through a combination of graphic design, filmmaking and augmented reality we have been able to share the stories of architects, designers and communities who are making a positive impact towards the cultural regeneration of Paisley.

“The exhibition also aims to hear from you and your aspirations for a future Paisley, so please head along and let us know your ambitions for the town.”

Brand new studio space to let at Mirren Court Three on the ground floor. The space of 265 sqft has been freshly decorated and ready to let now. The space might be perfect as a beauty studio. There is a possibility to install the sink inside the room. Depending on tenants requirements the landlord will lay down the carpet or a vinyl throughout.

The suite comes with one car parking space.

The space benefits from central heating, double glazing, LED lighting and lots of natural day light. The shared kitchen and the toilets are located on the same floor.

Mirren Court benefits from a fantastic location, on-site parking, amenities nearby and is close proximity to M8 Jct.27.

Please call on 0141 843 4211 to organize a viewing.

Did you know that by completing the College’s 12 week Prince’s Trust Team Programme you will have improved chances of moving into a job, education or other training?

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A new role in Renfrewshire secondary schools is supporting young people to achieve their ambitions.

Every mainstream and ASN secondary school in Renfrewshire now has a Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) School Co-ordinator.

The DYW School Co-ordinator roles are delivered through a partnership with the DYW West and since being established last year, the co-ordinators have helped 450 pupils complete work experience and career opportunities in just a three month period.

They have also networked with more than 400 local employers, all achieved against the backdrop of the pandemic.

These posts also support pupils in Renfrewshire to benefit from the Young Person’s Guarantee, the Scottish Government commitment ensuring everyone 16-24 in Scotland has the opportunity of an apprenticeship; fair employment including work experience, training, studies and volunteering.

Eileen Wilkie, DYW School Co-ordinator at Johnstone High School, said: “It is very satisfying to have the opportunity to help the young people move forward to the next stage in their career path. It’s great to see the students gain confidence and achieve a positive outcome when they leave school, whether that’s a college place, an apprenticeship or employment.”

Alongside college courses, university studies and apprenticeships, many Johnstone High pupils have also benefited from the long-established construction pathway programme developed with local businesses.

The 30-week programme prepares pupils for construction careers through employer events, site visits and mock job interviews, earning a National 4 qualification and completing industry qualifications needed to work on site.

Amanda Carlin, the school’s Project Leader for Employability, adds: “I am a great believer in the benefit of Apprenticeships, and have had the opportunity to see many of the young people I work with move into Modern Apprenticeships and carve a career in a pathway they thought they could not enter.”

The support through DYW adds to careers advice and guidance in schools from Skills Development Scotland, together ensuring a strong link between education and industry and preparing young people for the world of work.

Renfrewshire has the lowest level of residents with no qualifications across the entire Glasgow City Region and last year more than 250 young people started in paid placements, traineeships and Modern Apprenticeships with the Council and local businesses last year.

Education convener for Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “So often it’s the inspirational teacher or the work experience placement that provides the spark for a young person to consider a future career and I’m pleased to see the school co-ordinators in post and enjoying their roles.

“There is a breadth of career support and guidance in place across our schools, signposting the opportunities available right now and I want to praise the collaborative approach being taken between our education and employability agencies and local businesses, giving young people the opportunities they deserve.”

paisley from drone

With a heating system 90% greener than a gas boiler and two specialist centres transforming skills, processes and productivity, Scotland’s home for manufacturing innovation is taking shape in Renfrewshire.

Here’s a snapshot of photos showing the progress being made on the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS).

Renfrewshire Council is leading development of the 52-hectare site next to Glasgow Airport, which has already attracted the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) headquarters, operated by the University of Strathclyde, and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, led by CPI, both facilities on course to complete construction this year.

They will be the first occupiers to benefit from heating and hot water supplied through a ‘fifth generation’ low carbon renewable energy network, the sustainable system – including 3.7km of underground pipes – currently being installed by experts FES Energy.

There’s also a new primary sub-station providing power and later this year, further across the site, work starts on landscaping to create a central square and gathering place for people to meet, collaborate and enjoy the riverside views.

Netherton Avenue will provide a new gateway road through the district, complemented by better walking and cycling facilities, with two bridge connections around the site opening this year improving access for commercial vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, all funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal.

Boeing has already landed in the wider district at Westway Park, opening the Metallics Research Centre in the NMIS Boeing facility.  This will see Boeing undertake its first ever research and development project in Scotland in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre, which is part of the NMIS group and has been based at Inchinnan Business Park since 2010 next to Rolls Royce.

And more companies are sure to follow, the £150million capital value and green campus credentials an appealing offer, with the council looking to form a joint venture with a private sector partner to develop the district to its full potential.

Plans are also being progressed to better connect people from the surrounding areas to the district through the UK Government’s Levelling Up funding, creating a new network of road, cycling and walking links from Paisley town centre along the route of the White Cart river.

Alongside new infrastructure, there’s strong links being forged with the local manufacturing sector through a new network, ensuring Renfrewshire companies know what AMIDS has to offer them and how they can secure supply chain opportunities.

And careers co-ordinators in Renfrewshire schools are linked into the jobs of the future and apprenticeships on offer, including a Foundation Apprenticeship in Digital Manufacturing.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Development of AMIDS will bolster our hugely productive manufacturing sector in Renfrewshire, made famous from the threadmills, shipyards and aerospace engines, and now accounting for more than 8,000 jobs – almost 10% of all employment across the region.

“It’s great to see the district taking shape, achieved despite the backdrop of the pandemic, and I’m sure it will bring big benefits locally as the research centres open their doors – creating new jobs and helping local, national and international businesses to grow and upskill their employees.

“Its development is a fantastic example of collaboration between a wide range of enterprise, education, public and private sector agencies and every aspect of it is focused on a net-zero future.”

Working together on its success alongside the Council are the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the University of Strathclyde, West College Scotland, NMIS and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, CPI.

Walk Lighter is a new support group aimed to help those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The group has been set up by Ciara Duddy, a primary school teacher based in Paisley. 
First walk: Saturday 5th February, Barshaw Park, 09:30 am 

“On the 21st September 2021 my life as I knew it changed forever. I lost my dad to suicide.

Throughout the darkness I have been trying to find connections, a support group, a safe space to meet others who have also lost a loved one to suicide. I found phone numbers for helplines, zoom meetings and forums but no physical group. This led me to think of others who are trying to find the same support…so therefore I decided to create my own. 

@walklighterglasgow will be an informal monthly support group meeting in Paisley. We can grab a coffee and walk with those who are experiencing the same confusion, heartache and fears. 

Let’s walk lighter… together ✨🌿”