The names are in and the battle is set to commence as Renfrewshire names the nine gritters set to keep the area moving this winter.

The public now have the opportunity to choose their winners from suggestions such as Ploughlo Grittini, William Wall-ice and Thawin’ Batty, as a series of polls take place on the council’s Twitter channel @RenCouncilNews.


From Monday 22 October, at least one poll per day will go out with three names to choose from and the one with the most votes will be crowned the winner.

More than 1600 suggestions were put forward to the #NameOurGritters competition before the expert judging panel, including STV weatherman Sean Batty, finalised the shortlist.

Sean said: “It was great fun looking through the blizzard of name suggestions for the new fleet of gritters and I was flattered that there had been a few suggestions using my name.

“It was a tough call on many of them but we eventually narrowed it down to the finalists.

“I’m really looking forward to next week when the names go back out to the public vote and we’ll finally know the names of the family that’ll be working hard throughout the winter to keep our roads clear.”

Sean was joined on the panel by local gritter driver Eric Phillips, Care at Home worker Fraser Chittick and Joe Graham who leads HEART, a group of community volunteers who clear paths, grit residential streets and visit elderly residents during any severe weather.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, was also on the panel and said: “It was an amazing response to the competition and the suggestions have been fun, innovative and gave us all a good laugh at times so get voting on your favourites.

“The serious message behind the competition though is to recognise our local heroes who are out working when bad weather strikes, keeping our roads clear and ensuring the most vulnerable are still cared for.

“We’ve been preparing for the past few months to deal with any severe weather but the local community also needs to be #RenReady, so make sure you visit our website for guidance on how to be prepared for anything winter can bring.”

The #RenReady campaign aims to prepare Renfrewshire and its residents for winter weather and the dangers it can bring.

Information on how to prepare your home, your business, your community and more is available on the council website and helpful tips will be provided via the council’s social media throughout winter.

For more information on the competition, and for guidance on how to stay #RenReady this winter, visit

A school girl has vowed to conquer her fear of heights to take part in a thrilling aerial display 120 feet above the ground.

Bethany Docherty, 14, from Johnstone, is one of the young volunteers at the heart of this year’s Paisley Halloween Festival, ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, a major event in the Year of Young People 2018 celebrations.

The teenager is training with Scotland’s leading aerial dance theatre company, All or Nothing, and will be part of the spectacular routines which will thrill crowds throughout the evening.

All or Nothing has choreographed a dance piece involving 50 young people for a Flying Witches performance around Paisley Town Hall and Abbey. The professional performers will soar up to 120 feet high, while the young people will perform up to 20 feet off the ground.

The fourth-year Castlehead High School pupil says the whole experience has given her a confidence boost – as well as helping her beat her phobia.


Bethany said: “I’m actually terrified of heights but I’m pushing myself. I need to get over it one way or another and it’s better I do it with my own will.

“I wanted to take part because I thought it would be fun and I wanted to put myself a bit more out there.

“If I get to perform on the night it will be scary but amazing and just very energising.

“The biggest challenge for me has actually been coming along to the Halloween meetings for young people and socialising, but people have been very supportive.”

All or Nothing’s director, Jennifer Paterson said: “Getting involved in aerial is a great way to conquer your fears and it’s good to have a healthy respect for heights.

“It’s been great to work with young people who are part of Paisley to co-create something quite magical for this year’s Halloween Festival.”

The festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, has been significantly enhanced for the themed year. From aerial dancing and circus skills to photography and rigging the lights, young people are at the forefront of the Paisley event.

A 20-strong Youth Panel has been working in tandem with Renfrewshire Council’s dedicated Events Team to help create the event on Saturday, October 27.

A further 180 young people are helping deliver the spectacle. They are involved in every aspect, from performance to live event management and technical production and have taken part in masterclasses and workshops.

Many of the young people will use their experiences as part of their work towards voluntary awards such as the Duke of Edinburgh and Saltire schemes, while others have gained valuable experience as mentees.

A mardi-gras style parade features 500 young people and costumed performers who will set off from Paisley’s Art Centre, and wind their way through the town, passing lighting installations and haunting soundscapes along the way.

As well as All or Nothing, young people have been working with two other leading creative event companies, Bridgeman Arts and production and pyro experts at 21CC.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Young people are at the very heart of this year’s Halloween Festival and it’s great to see them growing in confidence and learning new skills, as well as being a part of such a large scale event in the Year of Young People.”


Aspiring photographer Eoin Graham, 17, is one of the mentees involved in the festival and said: “I hope this might open some doors and get me a job in the industry.

“I can’t wait to take photos on the day and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone in their costumes and experiencing the whole spectacle.”

James Johnstone, 16, from Paisley is one of the 20-strong Youth Panel and said that after viewing the event as a spectator in previous years, it’s an amazing opportunity to be part of this year’s event.

The Castlehead High pupil said: “Instead of other people designing a parade for young people this year, a lot of it is by young people for young people.”

Media and communications student Rachel McMinn says the valuable experience will help her get a job in the competitive events management and PR sector.

She said: “I’m graduating next year and it’s great to get a feel for the workplace and get something on my CV.

“I’ve lived in Paisley my whole life so it’s so exciting to be working on the inside of the festival.

Kate McBurnie from Paisley is on the youth panel and took part in a promotional video for the event.

She said: “When people ask if I’m going to the Halloween event this year I can say that I helped to co-design it.

“I’ve had once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in the space of a few weeks, including being in a radio advert – even though I can’t bear to listen back to myself!”

Young carer Megan Murray, 17, from Gleniffer High School has been involved in creating some of the Halloween make-up and special effects.

She said: “I can’t wait to see how it will all come together on the day. I want to work in special effects so it’s been really useful to have been part of things.”

The full programme for the Paisley Halloween Festival 2018 is available at:

A fresh approach to local decision making is bringing communities to the fore as Renfrewshire gets set to launch its new Local Partnerships.

Replacing the previous Local Area Committees (LACs), the new partnerships will adopt a more informal and inclusive approach to allow local people more of a say in the decisions which affect their area.

A series of introductory events will take place throughout October which will outline exactly what the new partnerships are, how they will work and how local people can get involved.

The meetings will take place on:

  • Wednesday 24 October: Cargill Hall, Bridge of Weir, 10am – 12pm
  • Thursday 25 October: Renfrew Town Hall, 10am-12pm
  • Monday 29 October: EMMS Studio, Erskine, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
  • Thursday 1 November: McKillop Institute, Lochwinnoch, 6.30pm -8.30pm
  • Monday 5 November: Tannahill Centre, Paisley, 10am-12pm
  • Tuesday 6 November: Paisley Town Hall, 6.30pm – 8.30pm
  • Wednesday 7 November: Johnstone Town Hall, 10am-12pm
  • Friday 9 November: Glenburn Community Centre, 10am – 12noon

Community members of all ages are invited to come along and join the new partnerships, with no previous experience of similar groups needed.

The partnerships will see membership split evenly between elected members and community representatives as part of a drive to ensure community voices are heard on local issues.

David Fowles, Lochwinnoch Community Council, said: “We were happy to be involved in the development of the new Local Partnerships and I’m looking forward to seeing the new direction of the meetings.

“It’s extremely important that local people are involved in decision making at a local level and these new partnerships should open up some exciting opportunities for our communities.”

The partnerships have changed their name to reflect the change in function and remit, from a formal, council-led committee to an inclusive approach which aims to have all members working together to make decisions.

Previously communities fell under five LACs, however the new partnerships will mirror the Community Council boundaries and move to a total of seven Local Partnerships.

The partnerships will also help identify and shortlist projects for the Youth Challenge Fund, with the final decision on these awards being made by the young people themselves.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, said: “These new partnerships are the perfect opportunity for local people to become more involved in the decision making at the heart of their communities.

“Responsibility for awarding grant funding or focusing the direction of the group will now be an equal process between elected members and local community members.

“So it’s more important than ever that you take this opportunity to get involved in your local community.

“No matter what age or what experience you have, please come along to the events to learn more and join the new partnerships as they get set to hold their first full meetings in November.”

The initial introductory events will take place throughout October to outline the first steps of the new process to interested community members.

The first full meetings of the new partnerships are set to begin in Renfrew on 13 November, with the other six partnerships following shortly after.

For more information on the Local Partnerships and a full set of meeting dates, visit

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Who are your local heroes?

Renfrewshire’s inspiring local heroes are set to be rewarded as nominations for the Provost’s Community Awards open for 2019.

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Extraordinary employees, superlative sportspeople and compassionate carers are being sought as the awards recognise the people who make Renfrewshire a better place to live, work and visit.

There are five categories available to nominate in, including a revamped award for employees to recognise those stars in the workplace, and these are:

  • Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd)
  • Community Group (sponsored by the Piazza Shopping Centre)
  • Sporting Achievement (sponsored by ACRE Industrial)
  • Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire)
  • Carers Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison)
  • Arts and Culture award (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council)

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “As the Provost, I meet hundreds of inspiring people and groups every year and it never ceases to amaze me that there is so much fantastic work going on throughout Renfrewshire.

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

“These awards are an opportunity to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the area who go the extra mile without looking for a reward and give them the recognition that they deserve.

“I can’t wait to read the nominations so don’t miss out on the chance to nominate and start sending them in now.”

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

Renfrewshire Council Provost awards 9.3.18

The deadline for entries to all categories is Wednesday 12 December.

The Provost will be joined by the award sponsors and other local elected members to choose the winners who will be invited, along with their nominator, to the awards ceremony on Friday 15 March 2019 and the Lynnhurst Hotel in Johnstone.

For more information, and to submit your nomination, visit, email or call 0141 618 7102.

Switching on the Christmas lights is a dream come true, and this year it will be a reality for three lucky school pupils!

Aleena Albin from St Peter’s Primary School was one of the lucky winners last year, and helped Provost Lorraine Cameron switch on the Paisley Christmas lights.

Renfrewshire’s Provost, Lorraine Cameron, is once again inviting children of primary school age to design a Christmas card for 2018. Three winners will be selected with each winner having the chance to push the button to light up either Paisley, Johnstone or Renfrew.

The winning designs will also be printed as Provost Cameron’s official Christmas cards and sent out all over the world.

Provost Cameron said: “Thousands of people come to watch the Christmas lights being switched on and I need someone to help me with this really important job. I loved seeing your designs last year and I can’t wait to see what Renfrewshire can create this year.”

Entries must be received by Monday 29 October and can be handed into primary schools or posted to Christmas Card Competition, Member Services, Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire House, Cotton Street, Paisley, PA1 1WD.

Snow way Sean could miss out on naming Renfrewshire’s gritters

Scotland’s most recognisable weatherman, Sean Batty, will put his expert knowledge to the test as he takes on the role of guest judge in Renfrewshire’s #NameOurGritters competition.

STV weatherman Sean will join a local gritter driver, a Care at Home staff member and an inspiring member of the local community to choose the shortlist as Renfrewshire looks to recognise its local heroes, places and landmarks.

Sean said: “For years I’ve watched comically named gritters travel across Scotland on the Transport Scotland gritter tracking map, but it’s great that we’ll now have our own fleet of named gritters driving around Renfrewshire.

“I’m so delighted to have been asked to join the judging panel and I’m excited to see the suggested names later this week. It’s too early to say what sort of winter may be ahead, but I’m sure our new, friendly gritters will have many miles ahead of them.”

More than 1600 suggestions were submitted to the competition to name the nine gritters that will operate across Renfrewshire during the winter period.

The panel will now finalise their shortlist before the public has the opportunity to vote for their winners via the council’s Twitter channel @RenCouncilNews.

Polls will take place throughout the week with the first one starting on 22 October as each gritter prepares to find out what its new name will be.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted to have Sean on board as one of the judges being one of Renfrewshire’s own and I’m sure I’m not the only one who relies on him to bring me the weather.

“Hopefully he won’t be telling us about snow and ice too often this winter, but at least he will be able to rest easy in the knowledge our gritters will be fully prepared with their new names.”

The competition is part of Renfrewshire’s #RenReady campaign which aims to prepare residents and businesses for the impact of severe weather and provide support and guidance in advance.

It asks people to think whether they are prepared for a loss of utilities, heavy flooding or staff members being unable to travel to work, and what measures they can put in place in advance to aid preparedness.

For more information on the competition and to ensure you are #RenReady this winter, visit

Renfrewshire Leisure is responsible for attractions including Paisley Museum and Coats Observatory and also manages sport and leisure facilities, including On-X Linwood and Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre.

Victoria Hollows has visited some of the facilities she will take charge of and met with the Renfrewshire Leisure board members and staff.

Victoria said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining such a dedicated and passionate team who are delivering the very best in culture, leisure and sport within the area.

“It is an honour and a privilege to have been chosen to lead the company at such an exciting time for the area. Renfrewshire Leisure is firmly established as one of the UK’s best and everything I do will be aimed on building on that success to provide the best facilities, services and experiences for Renfrewshire residents and visitors alike.”

The chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, said: “Victoria comes to us with an impressive track record and we are thrilled that she is on board.

“I’m confident that her experiences, coupled with the commitment and passion of our fantastic staff, will deliver top-class sport, culture and leisure opportunities for the people we serve.”

Victoria will replace outgoing chief executive, Joyce McKellar, who is stepping down after 13 years at the helm.

The countdown is on to Paisley’s hugely popular Halloween Festival on Saturday, 27 October.


Inspired by the town’s dark and deathly 17th-century witch history, the event returns bigger and better than ever.

A 700-strong cast of young people are at the heart of the ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ festival, supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.


The performances include a breath-taking aerial show starring a 50-strong cast taking to the skies with Scotland’s leading aerial dance company, All or Nothing.

Catch The Flying Witches performance of jaw-dropping stunts with performers swinging 120ft above the crowds in Abbey Close from 7pm – 9.30pm.

A Mardi Gras style 500-strong parade will begin at the bottom of New Street at 6pm, before winding its way onto Causeyside Street, climbing up St Mirren Brae, travelling down Gauze Street and ending on Cotton Street.

Complete with macabre characters and gruesome parade floats including a giant animatronic ‘Witch & Cauldron’, arrive early to secure a front row position.

The Beltane Fire Society will entertain the crowds with a vivid display of fire, drumming, and acrobatics, while Mr Wilson’s Second Liners band will give the New Orleans brass blowing genre a modern twist with cover versions of dance favourites between 7pm-10pm. The street theatre also features the mesmerising Spark! LED drummers.

Paisley Town Hall will host two ticketed costumed balls on Friday 26th – one for over 18s and one for ‘unders’ – with a competition for best costume. DJ Gerry Lyons will provide the haunting soundtrack as the 18th century Victorian venue is transformed into a haunted ballroom for the evening.

There’s deceit in the air on the Friday evening in local Italian restaurant Zambretto, with a murder mystery evening.

On Saturday, hair-raising horror films for all ages will be screened in venues throughout the town, while on the Live Stage at County Square there will be Halloween themed performances from local musical talent and dance groups between 12 noon and 5pm.

Abbey Close will be transformed into a dramatic Halloween playground with a series of lighting, and sound installations featuring special effects, fire and live performances between 6pm-10pm.

Paisley Town Hall plays host to family fun and Halloween Activities including face painting, glitter tattoos, soft play, arts and crafts and kids disco from 12 noon until 10pm

Popcorn Horror will also be hosting a series of free Halloween workshops in Paisley Abbey – no need to book your space, simply turn up and enjoy

Food and drink stalls will also be available to keep your hungry horrors happy.

A series of Discovery Family Short films from all over the world will be screened between 12pm – 1pm, while Halloween favourite The Addams family and Coraline will be in the big screen, all at the Town Hall.

In the evening, a screening of horror film ‘It ’will entertain those aged 15 and over – free spaces are limited so please book ahead.

Drop in and carve your Halloween pumpkins in to a piece of art with the help of the team from Dom Art at Paisley Abbey from 1pm-7pm and visit the Storytelling Yurt to hear Terrifying Tales between 1pm – 7pm.

This year’s Paisley Halloween Festival is also in the running to win the “UK’s Spookiest Halloween Event 2018” award as one of the final 10 competitors on the holiday rentals site

Voting ends at midnight on 30 October and votes can be cast here:

Young people are at the heart of the Festival’s development and a 20-strong Youth Panel has been working alongside Renfrewshire Council’s Events Team to design and deliver the festival programme. In addition, 180 young people will take part in a new creative learning programme with the opportunity to participate in all aspects of festival delivery from performance to live event management and technical production. For more information, please go to

theatre in truck

Paisley’s flagship annual cultural extravaganza The Spree gets under way today….helped by National Theatre of Scotland offering a truckload of chances to see the area as never before.

The seventh year of the Spree (12 to 21 Oct) sees 87 shows in 17 venues in five towns around Renfrewshire over ten days – with music, comedy, theatre and much more.

theatre in truck

Big-name headliners include Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi in conversation about his legendary career (Fri 12 Oct) and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the London African Gospel Choir performing Graceland (Sat 20 Oct), both at Paisley Town Hall.

The iconic Spiegeltent in County Square will host musical acts The Orb (Mon 15th), Traceyanne and Danny and The Pastels (Sat 13th), ex-Kraftwerk man Wolfgang Flur (Sat 13th), The Wandering Hearts (Sun 14th), Vieux Farke Toure (Tues 16th), The Leisure Society and Duke Special (Weds 17th), Big Minds (Thurs 18th), and Gang of Four (Fri 19th).

The festival also includes Rimini Protokoll and National Theatre of Scotland’s Do’s and Don’ts (12-14 and 16-21 Oct) – offering a unique experience touring the area in a mobile auditorium inside a remodelled truck, backed by the soundtrack of a local choir.

The show is presented by award-winning German documentary theatre specialists Rimini Protokoll and is part of NTS’s Futureproof festival, marking Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, and some of the young cast were on hand to help launch the festival yesterday outside Paisley Town Hall.

Other Spree highlights over the next 10 days include a sold-out comedy show with Des Clarke and Janey Godley (Spiegeltent Fri 12th), Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert (Paisley Arts Centre, Sat 20th), the ModStuff festival-within-a-festival (Spiegeltent, Sat 20th) plus a visit from The National Whiskey Festival (Paisley Town Hall, Sat 13th).

Do’s and Don’ts is part of The Wee Spree programme over the October school holiday – with a list of (mostly free) shows for kids offering everything from comedy to ceilidhs, plus video game design, circus skills workshops and a dancealong to The Greatest Showman.

There’s also the Spree for All fringe festival, which includes the daily Danny Kyle Stage for unsigned acts in the Old Swan Inn, and taking top local musical talent to venues in Johnstone, Renfrew, Linwood and Lochwinnoch, as well as the pubs and clubs of Paisley town centre.

The Spree is run by Renfrewshire Council as part of a major events programme also including Paisley Halloween Festival (Sat 27 Oct) – listed as one of the top Halloween events in the UK.

The council’s head of communications, marketing and events Louisa Mahon said: “This year’s Spree will be the biggest and best yet as our events continue to grow and attract more visitors to the area.

“The bill has something for everyone – from world-renowned musical talent to a diverse programme for kids of all ages, to some of the best local acts at a venue near you.

“We are also delighted to building partnerships with organisations such as National Theatre of Scotland and bringing some of the country’s finest performers to the town is helping cement Paisley’s place as one of Scotland’s go-to cultural destinations.”

Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, said: “DO’S & DON’TS has been co-created by the young people of Paisley as part of our Futureproof festival, marking the Year of Young People 2018, and I am delighted that it is part of the Spree programme.

“It was important to the National Theatre of Scotland that, as part of Futureproof, we had the opportunity to work with the Paisley 2021 Legacy team, and we are incredibly grateful to our partners Renfrewshire Council and Renfrewshire Leisure for making this uniquely special co-production possible.”

For tickets and full line-up info, see and

A Renfrewshire Councillor has made it onto the shortlist of the inaugural Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) Scotland Councillors Award s2018.

Team UP To Clean UP
PIC SHOWS Cllr Cathy McEwan with the pupils from Gleniffer High School

Councillor Cathy McEwan will be the representing Renfrewshire in the awards and has been nominated for the Environmental Impact category having been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the local environment. Cllr McEwan is up against councillors from Edinburgh, South Ayrshire and Argyll & Bute for the award.

As Convener of the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, Cllr Cathy McEwan has led the highly successful Team Up to Clean Up campaign which has seen over 1000 local people work together to clean up their communities. This has included specific events such as the ‘Big Spring Clean’ and ‘Spotless September’ campaigns to encourage more community clean ups and a thank you event held in Paisley Town Hall to reward all those who have taken part.

Councillor Cathy McEwan said:

“I’m extremely honoured to have been nominated and to have made the award shortlist. However, I am only part of a team that is doing our best to make things better in Renfrewshire and this nomination should be seen in that context.  Without the support of my fellow SNP councillors, staff at Renfrewshire Council and of course the local volunteers then I would not have been nominated and any success would be due to everyone.”