The chief executive who transformed Renfrewshire Leisure into a multi-million pound business creating jobs and new facilities has announced she is to retire.

Joyce McKellar, 56, who has been chief executive since 2005, will step down from her role at the end of October. The position will be advertised later this month.

With the recent birth of her first grandchild and the health of her father deteriorating, Joyce had decided to spend more time with her family.

She explains: “I have been with Renfrewshire Leisure for 13 years and in that time I’ve been proud of the way the organisation has grown to provide hugely expanded sport, leisure and cultural facilities.

“I now think it’s time for me to concentrate more on family matters and I want to help with my father’s care and spend more time with my grandchild.

“Health and well-being will always be important to me and I’ll now also have more time to up my fitness regime by doing more cycling, running and swimming.”

Joyce has spent 38 years service with local government and leisure trusts and since she became chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, the number of people employed has risen from 250 to almost 800 and the annual turnover doubled from £6 million to £19 million.

She has led major changes in the organisation, which includes the transfer of cultural and sports services from Renfrewshire Council to the leisure trust.

Joyce was also seconded to the council to lead the development of their leisure facilities strategy, which saw a £42 million investment in building a brand new sports and leisure centre – The ON-X, in Linwood – and the creation of a new sports hub, in Johnstone.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure’s board of trustees, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “Joyce has been a fantastic chief executive for Renfrewshire Leisure and the people of Renfrewshire.

“It’s thanks to her forward thinking, expertise and determination that we have seen such huge improvements in sports and leisure facilities locally.

“She has modernised and expanded sports and leisure services in Renfrewshire in the face of increased competition from the private sector.

“Joyce will leave an organisation that is fit for purpose and thanks to her efforts, whoever picks up the baton as the new chief executive will be starting from a high point as they take the company forward.”

Renfrewshire’s hidden stars have been given civic recognition for their work in the community by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron.

Eight inspiring community members were rewarded with a Provost’s Distinction Certificate at a special ceremony in Paisley Town Hall.

Refrewshire Council Provost awards at Paisley Town Hall 12.7.18

The Distinction Certificates provide the Provost the opportunity to recognise community members who have came to her attention for the positive difference they have made to Renfrewshire.

Provost Cameron said: “One of the most satisfying parts of my role as Provost is being able to recognise those who make a real difference to the lives of those around them and make Renfrewshire a better place for us all to live.

“Every one of the award winners is deserving of the accolade for the positive work they do and I’m delighted to be able to give them the recognition they deserve.

The Distinction Certificate award winners are:

Anne and John Bellshaw – What started as a one-off charity event in memory of Anne’s brother has turned into 22 years of daredevil challenges, race nights and raffles. Fundraising for MND Scotland and ACCORD Hospice, and with the support of family and friends, they have raised more than £132,000 for these two great causes.

Peter Stewart – A youthful 90 years old Peter is still raising money for charity, culminating in his latest exploit, a 165ft abseil off the Forth Road Bridge. Following the loss of his wife, Peter has dedicated himself to a variety of different causes and challenges to make a difference to the lives of others.

Stephen Torrance – A long-time supporter of the Choose Life and SOBS group in Renfrewshire, Stephen has fundraised in the memory of his brother Vinny who took his own life in 2009. Hosting an annual golf tournament, Stephen has managed to raise not only money but much-needed awareness of the issue of male suicide.

Howwood Emergency Amateur Response Team (HEART) – This inspiring group of volunteers worked diligently within the local Howwood community during the severe weather earlier this year. They cleared local roads, visited elderly neighbours to ensure they were safe and well and ensured local school routes were safe for parents and children.

Rekz Afzal – A well-known community figure, Rekz has created a community fridge which allows people to buy essentials for those who may be in need. He has also organised local music events with the proceeds going to the One Giant Leap programme which supports young adults with disabilities through music and art.

Brian McClure – Taxi driver Brian has been honoured for his quick thinking that saved the life of a elderly woman. Spotting that a car had crashed into a stationary car, Brian performed emergency CPR on the driver who had suffered a heart attack which helped save her life.

Margaret Beacom – A true community hero, Margaret has been looking after her neighbour through a long-term illness to ensure they are coping, have the essentials in the fridge and are able to make all appointments they need to, which has gone a long way to improving their quality of life.

Alongside the Distinction Certificates, community members can be rewarded through the Provost’s Community Awards in a variety of categories.

Nominations can be made for anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire and the nomination period will open later in the year.

For more information on the award winners, visit

Renfrewshire Council is cracking down on businesses illegally dumping commercial waste – by bringing in a permit scheme at the area’s five Household Waste Recycling Centres.

In a move to stop commercial operators using the centres, anyone driving a van, pick-up, mini bus or towing a trailer must from 16 July register online for a free permit by 4:30pm the day before they plan to visit a facility.

Permit holders must ensure they bring photo identification and proof of residency to the centre when they visit.

The new system does not apply to residents using a car unless they are towing a trailer.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We are unfortunately having issues with commercial businesses and traders attempting to use our Household Waste Recycling Centres free of charge to dump their trade waste.

“This is illegal and is not fair to other Renfrewshire residents who are using the sites correctly.

“Under the new system, drivers of commercial-style vehicles will need to apply for a permit each time they visit a site, and the permit will only be valid for the date and vehicle applied for.

“Waste brought to any of our five centres may be subject to inspection and, if deemed to be commercial waste, the person will be refused access to the site.

“This change brings us into line with other local authorities and aims to stop illegal commercial dumping and free up our centres for residents who are using the service correctly.”

Residents can apply online for a free permit by filling out an application on the Council’s website at

The website also includes detailed information and frequently asked questions to help residents familiarise themselves with the new permit system.

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Residents are set to see a change to their bin collection service later this year as part of a drive to improve recycling across Renfrewshire.

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With evidence showing 69% of rubbish being placed in the general waste bin could have been recycled, the new service aims to encourage people to be better recyclers and help Renfrewshire fulfil the national Household Recycling Charter objectives.

As part of the changes, residents will be provided with an additional bin to help separate out their recycling and reduce the amount of waste produced ahead of a ban on sending untreated biodegradable waste to landfill by 2021.

The changes to collections will include:

  • A new green wheelie bin, for plastics, cans and glass and will be collected on alternate fortnights with the blue bin
  • The blue bin will now be for paper and cardboard only and will be collected on alternate fortnights with the green bin
  • The grey general waste bin will be collected every three weeks
  • There is no change to the brown food and garden waste bin which is still collected fortnightly

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The change to the bin collection service later this year will give residents the opportunity to reduce the amount of rubbish in their general waste bin and spread it out into an extra recycling bin.

“We recognise that that this is a change for residents but everyone will still receive a weekly collection and by recycling correctly they will be able to see a difference in the level of rubbish they are producing.

“Other local authorities who have moved to a similar service have seen a significant improvement in recycling, meaning there are less disposal costs and the money saved can be reinvested into other vital services including investing in our schools, our roads and caring for the most vulnerable in our communities.

“We will be launching a campaign in the next few months to ensure residents have all the correct information in advance of the changes and we will work closely with them to guide them through the new process to ensure the new service works efficiently.”

The new collection service delivery model will impact on the 90,000 properties across Renfrewshire which have a kerbside collection service and is set to be delivered in late 2018.

Approximately 30,000 Renfrewshire properties, which includes tenements, maisonettes and high flats, will see no change to their general waste collection but the service will be tailored to allow these properties access to the new service.

All residents affected by the changes will see receive detailed information in advance of the new service change on how to recycle correctly, what can be placed in each bin and the schedule of bin collections.

Information and updates will be provided via the Renfrewshire Council social media accounts and at

Footballers in Paisley will have a new all-weather surface to play on when the new season kicks off later this summer – after the pitch at the Ferguslie Sports Centre was relaid.

Renfrewshire Council funded the pitch upgrade as the first stage of a £7.7m project to transform the facilities at the nearby St James Playing Fields over the next few years.

The work at the Ferguslie facility – just off Blackstoun Road – saw the replacement of the previous surface, which had been in use for more than 15 years.

It had its big-match debut at the weekend when it hosted the annual No Substitute for Life football tournament – organised to raise awareness of issues surrounding suicide – with hundreds turning out for the popular 7-a-side event.

The new pitch was paid for from a budget set aside for a wider investment at St James over the next few years to include improved grass pitches, a synthetic hockey pitch, and a new pavilion and changing facilities, plus improved access road and car parking.

There will also be work to develop the site to host large-scale outdoor cultural events from the expanded programme of festivals and cultural activity expected over the next few years.

The St James investment is itself part of a much-bigger £100m programme to transform Paisley’s cultural venues as part of the legacy of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

That includes the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique textile heritage and collections, major internal redevelopments of Paisley Town Hall and Arts Centre, a new learning and cultural hub on the High Street, and investment in town centre public spaces and transport links.

Among the spectators at the No Substitute for Life event was Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, which operates Ferguslie Sports Centre and St James Playing Fields.

She said: “The new surface is looking great and it was good to see it in use at the weekend – particularly for such a well-attended and important event as No Substitute for Life.

“The investment at Ferguslie means there is a new surface available in that area while we develop the plans to upgrade St James.

“The council is investing in our sporting facilities now and over the next few years because we value the importance of healthy lives but also as part of the ongoing work to make the area a more attractive place to live, work and invest.

“As well as becoming a top-class sporting destination, St James will also be able to host large-scale outdoor cultural events – such as gigs or music festivals – which complements the investment in our historic town centre venues and attractions.

“That work is in turn part of a much bigger effort to use what makes Paisley and Renfrewshire unique to sell the area as a destination and drive new footfall to our town centres.”

Paisley Central Library will be moving to a temporary home in the town centre – ahead of a new state-of-the-art facility opening on the High Street.

The library has to leave its current home next to Paisley Museum in September when the building closes for a £42m revamp to turn the museum into an international-class destination based around the town’s unique textile heritage and collections.

Library provision will move to a new learning and cultural hub at 22 High Street by 2021, with a temporary library to be built next to the Lagoon leisure centre and due to open in January 2019.

The modular building will take over part of the facility’s south car park – currently used by council staff – and will house the most popular books and services, plus some public access PCs.

In the meantime, library users will be able to access the same services at Foxbar, Glenburn, Ferguslie and Ralston libraries, as well as a wide range of e-books.

A number of public-access PCs will be made available from September at 5 High Street to ensure jobseekers and others requiring internet access can continue to get online.

The hugely-popular Bookbug sessions will move to the main Lagoon building until the end of the year until the temporary library is ready.

The heritage centre – where the public can access family and local history records – is set to decamp to a new home in Mile End Mill in Seedhill Road over the winter and will stay for four years until moving back into the museum when it reopens in 2022.

The moves are part of Renfrewshire Council’s £100m investment in venues and infrastructure over the next few years, central to a wider plan to use the town’s unique heritage and cultural assets to transform its future.

The new learning and cultural hub will bring back into use a long-term vacant building on the High Street and create a modern library facility and educational resource for residents, pupils and students.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The £100m investment in Paisley’s venues and infrastructure over the next few years will preserve the future of some of our best-loved heritage buildings by turning them into modern community facilities, while helping us attract new events and visitors, and driving footfall to the town centre.

“When the new learning and cultural hub opens in 2021 it will be a flexible, fully-accessible and digitally-connected space for pupils, students and residents of all ages to use.

“At the same time, the space vacated by the current library will allow the museum to expand and showcase our unique history and collections to a much wider audience than we can at present.

“But to achieve that, there will be a period of disruption over the next couple of years – and we will be ready to work with businesses and residents to minimise the impact of that.

“The temporary library at the Lagoon will be smaller in size than the current one, but will be designed to allow the most popular items and services to be easily accessed there.

“And while there will be a gap of a few weeks between the current building shutting and the temporary one opening, there will be lots of ways to access library services in the interim – from our online catalogue, to our other libraries at Ralston, Ferguslie, Glenburn and Foxbar, to the extra public PCs we are putting in place.”

The council’s investment in Paisley’s cultural infrastructure aims to build on the momentum of the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 by making it a key destination for visitors and events and equipping it to host a planned expansion of activity over the next few years.

The £42m museum revamp will create an international-class destination showcasing the town’s unique heritage and collections, predicted to bring around 125,000 visitors a year to the town centre.

Other big projects as part of the same programme include a £22m transformation of the interior of Paisley Town Hall to create one of the West of Scotland’s key entertainment venues, an upgrade of Paisley Arts Centre, major investment in town centre outdoor spaces and transport links, and new sporting facilities and events space at St James Playing Fields.

The plans build on the investment already made in the publicly-accessible museum store Paisley: The Secret Collection, opened last year on the town’s High Street, and the launch of the new destination brand and website at

The new learning and cultural hub is being delivered by the council in partnership with Hub West Scotland – part of a Scottish-wide Government initiative, led by the Scottish Futures Trust, which forms a public-private partnership to develop community infrastructure projects, providing value for money and community benefits, for public-sector bodies.

For more info on library services, visit

Paisley will be transformed into a seaside escape in celebration of this year’s Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day celebrations taking place this weekend.

This year’s event, which will take place on Saturday 7 July, will celebrate the traditional weavers’ holiday by taking visitors on a trip ‘doon the watter’. Sma’ Shot Day, which is one of the world’s oldest worker festivals, will for the second year running, include the Weave Festival – offering an enhanced and diverse programme of cultural events and activities on the day.

The festival is part of an expanded programme of events which is part of Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bidding legacy and will reconnect the town’s weaving heritage and global connections via a programme boasting around 30 shows in Paisley’s historic town centre.

The popular Sma’ Shot parade will leave from 12 noon at Brodie Park and finish up at Abbey Close. This year’s parade is being co-ordinated by Bridgeman Arts in collaboration with a number of local community groups, performers and musicians. The parade will bring to life the theme of a trip ‘doon the watter’ topped off with a spectacular paddle steamer boat float.

Noel Bridegman, Artistic Director at Bridgeman Arts said: “The Bridgeman Arts Events team has been producing carnival events for over 15 years now and this is the first time that we will be producing the parade and the Burning of the Cork.

“This year will see several new, giant puppet characters join the throng such as the Paddle-steamer captain and a new, friendly Cork character. The Burning of the Cork will have a colourful, theatrical element to it with a celebratory finale piece on the bridge area that includes more street theatre, live music and lots of fun.”

The parade will be followed by a performance by local dance group right2dance who will showcase a specially choreographed routine on Abbey Bridge and Forbes Place highlighting the town’s unique relationship with the White Cart. This section of the event is supported by the Paisley Townscape Heritage and Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (TH.CARS2) funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Renfrewshire Council and is part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, said: “Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day is always a great event in the town’s calendar that attracts thousands of people into Paisley each year to celebrate our town’s important and rich history.

“There’s even more to keep the family entertained this year with the jam-packed programme and the seaside transformation of the area is sure to bring a real holiday-feeling to the town for all to enjoy!”

The event will feature performances from youth theatre school PACE who will re-enact the struggles of the Paisley weavers in their efforts for payment of the Sma’ Shot, the Makers’ Market will showcase a variety of innovative Scotland-based designers and makers.

There will also be a series of arts and craft workshops for all to enjoy as well as a number of weaving demonstrations which will take place at the Sma’ Shot Cottages, Threadmill Museum and Paisley Museum throughout the day.

One of the weaver’s in residence, Shielagh Tacey, said: “As part of our weaving residency in Paisley Heather Shields and I have been researching the term “Sma’ Shot”. It is such an important part of Paisley’s weaving heritage and yet not many people understand what it is or looks like.

“This Sma’ Shot Day and Weave Festival we will be based at the Sma’ Shot cottages, alongside their fantastic volunteers, demonstrating what a woven ‘Sma’ Shot’ is and what it looks like using various looms.”

Visitors can look forward to a raft of music, poetry and spoken word performances at the Dooslan Stane Stage which will this year see a Youth Poetry Slam take place to mark the Year of Young People 20218 and encourage young people to express themselves through language and culture.

In addition to the firm favourites visitors have come to expect from the event there will also be a new raft of activities to attract and entice the crowds. The town centre will be transformed into a seaside escape complete with sandy beach, ice cream, candyfloss for the kids.

Vibrant street brass band, Brass Aye, will add a carnival flavour to the event while That Swing Sensation & Boogie Box Jive – Scotland’s award winning big swing band – will perform a mix of big band swing classics and rock n roll, while dancers from Boogie Box Jive will perform demonstrations. In addition to this the popular Tea Dance will return to Paisley Town Hall.

Also, aerial performers from All or Nothing will amaze and dazzle visitors with their aerial acrobatics as they sail through the air to celebrate the Scottish summer holiday. There will also be ‘Watch, Fly, Come and Try’ aerial workshops where people will have the chance to try trapeze and other activities during the drop-in taster sessions.

It’s sure to be a great day not to be missed!

To find out more about the event please visit

Residents in Renfrewshire’s villages have a unique opportunity to shape their own place, according to Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson.

Councillor Nicolson attended Kilbarchan Community Council on Tuesday 26 June 2018 in the latest of a series of community council visits to hear about local issues.

They discussed a range of new funds set out in the Council’s 2018 budget which will give local communities the opportunity to lead projects that matter most to them.

A £1.5million Community Empowerment Fund is now open, supporting community members to take ownership of assets such as a community hub or sports facility in their area.

And a £370,000 Villages Investment Fund and £1.5million Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas Fund are being rolled out later this year.

Local groups are also benefiting from changes behind the scenes to create a single point of contact for information and assistance.

“We have committed dedicated funds to give residents in our villages and towns the chance to make things happen within their local communities,” said Councillor Nicolson. “These funds can act as the catalyst for our talented thriving community groups to drive positive action on their doorstep. We want to encourage groups to lead grass roots activity and are here to support smaller projects too.

“There was a positive response from members of Kilbarchan Community Council to these new opportunities and they agreed with our approach to develop a partnership approach with community groups.

“It can sometimes be difficult to know who to contact at the Council and that’s why we’ve simplified the process ensuring people can access the support we offer as easily as possible.”

There was further discussion on the review of Local Area Committees, restructuring them to give community delegates a greater say, and on possible traffic calming measures for the village.

The visit to Kilbarchan follows meetings with Inchinnan, Bishopton and Paisley North Community Councils in recent months.

Councillor Nicolson added: “I have always said that I want to meet community groups and organisations who share in our ambition to make Renfrewshire a great place to live, visit, work and invest in.

“These community council visits give me an important opportunity to hear first-hand about what’s happening across Renfrewshire, to share best practise and highlight new opportunities. We are listening to what our communities have to say and want to help them to achieve our shared goals.”

Damon Scott, Chair, Kilbarchan Community Council, said: “Iain’s interest and attendance at the Kilbarchan Community Council was much appreciated. We were excited to hear of plans to provide more support to local communities via community empowerment.

“We very much believe an identity and pride in place is at the heart of every successful community and this was also highlighted as a focus for the partnership approach in the future. We look forward to working with the council and other partners to continue to make Kilbarchan an even better place to live, work and visit.”

Community groups can call 0141 618 7408 or email for more information.

PROVOST Lorraine Cameron helped make sure the malls were alive to the sound of music when she joined in with the Renfrewshire Carers Centre Choir for an impromptu rendition of a classic ABBA song.

The Paisley-based carers group had been given free space at the intu Braehead shopping centre to raise money and awareness of the work they do and then be treated to a slap-up lunch by mall management to help celebrate Carers Week.

Provost Cameron was due to present certificates to volunteers from the Carers Centre and when she arrived at the mall, the choir was in full voice entertaining shoppers.

The Renfrewshire Provost was asked to join the choir for a song and she immediately agreed, belting out a version of ABBA’s Super Trouper along with the other singers.

As Provost Cameron handed out certificates she told the carers and volunteers: “I’m delighted to be here today to recognise the essential part you all play in the Renfrewshire Carers Centre. It gives me great pleasure to present you with these certificates of thanks.”

Christine Macdonald, intu Braehead’s marketing manager said: “The carers and volunteers at Renfrewshire Carers Centre deserve huge credit for the work they do.

“Giving them a lunch and mall space to have a display stand giving people advice and raising funds is just one way we can pay tribute to the vital work they do.

“The Carers Centre Choir gave shoppers some great entertainment and well done to Provost Cameron for joining in with the singing.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson has set out his long-term commitment to help people most in need into work and improve opportunities for future generations.

The £4.5million funding plans for Invest in Renfrewshire – the Council’s economic development service – were approved yesterday (Wednesday 20 June 2018).

This will provide targeted job support to people, communities and local businesses over the next five years.

“We want to provide support to the people and places most in need, to make the greatest difference,” said Councillor Nicolson. “We must ensure the area’s economic growth benefits everyone and that’s why we are targeting our resources to communities facing deprivation and to help people unemployed and underemployed, changing their opportunities and that of future generations.”

The new service will start from 1 October 2018 and includes further development of a community based pilot project under way in Ferguslie which supports people facing a range of barriers to employment.

It is already achieving positive results for local residents like Ronnie Lockhart, who’d been out of work for the past 20 years, but is now working as a gardener with Linstone Housing Association thanks to the support from the Invest team.

The 49-year-old said: “I love it, I’m out cutting grass, using the leaf blower, strimming, litter picking and tidying places up. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me, I’m even out cutting the neighbour’s grass for them.

“I was in a routine of going out once a fortnight to sign on then back home to watch TV. Eventually I got sick of being in the house doing nothing. Now I never want to go back to that – I love the job and the team work. We have such a laugh and we get the work done. I’m learning every day and I’m hopeful I can get kept on.

“My mum is proud of me, my whole family are proud of me and I couldn’t have asked more of the support from Invest, they do their damnedest to get you into employment, they do a great job and I’m really grateful for what they have done for me.”

More will be done to support start-up and early stage businesses through the new service, with exciting plans in place to grow the creative business sector and increase the number of sustainable small businesses and social enterprises.

Local communities will also reap the benefits of staff working locally to grow services and support voluntary groups looking to secure external funding, with 40 applications already in development.

And there is a major focus on maximising key economic growth opportunities in Renfrewshire, including in manufacturing, care and the creative industries by working with local businesses to provide direct pathways into these job growth areas.

Renfrewshire’s economy has grown significantly in the last six years with 8000 more jobs across the local area and employment figures dramatically improved.

Councillor Nicolson added: “Renfrewshire is open for business and there are major areas of growth coming here, with new jobs in the creative and tourism sectors as we build on the legacy of our Paisley 2021 bid and in the care sector as we expand our childcare and nursery provision.

“We are also developing an advanced manufacturing district which will be home to Scotland’s manufacturing institute and a world-first medicines manufacturing centre. This all means new jobs and we want to make sure Renfrewshire people are best placed to seize these opportunities.

“We will tackle the challenges head-on and develop Renfrewshire as an attractive place to locate and do business, supporting local businesses to grow and improving the area’s economic, social and physical regeneration.”

Find out more at