Thirty girls take part in area’s first ‘opt in’ rugby academy

Thirty Renfrewshire girls rolled up their sleeves earlier this week to take part in the area’s first ‘opt in’ rugby academy and give the sport a try.

Youngsters from primary 6 through to sixth year were given expert coaching from the council’s rugby development officer, Lindsey Smith, who also plays for the Scottish women’s team.

They also heard first hand how enjoyable rugby is from two local teenagers who only took up the sport this time last year – and now make the national under-20s team.

Amanda Moore (from Paisley) and Lauren Hagan (from Bridge of Weir), both 17, were coached in the sport for the first time last year at a rugby development day and now play for the Scottish women’s under-20s team.

Lindsey said: “Rugby is a fantastic sport. It helps youngsters develop key skills such as decision making and working as part of a team while encouraging them to be active and gain fitness and strength.

“As a female rugby player and coach, I think it’s really important that girls realise that rugby is very much a sport they can take part in and enjoy. The academy was fantastic and I was delighted that Amanda and Lauren came along and show the younger girls just how fun rugby is.”

While girls’ rugby sessions have taken place in Renfrewshire as part of school PE – this is the first time an ‘opt-in’ academy has taken place. It includes learning the laws of the game, learning to run and avoid tacklers and tackle techniques.

The academy will continue into the New Year on Wednesday afternoons at Castlehead High. Anyone interested in taking part should call 0141 842 3000.

Councillor Susan McDonald, Renfrewshire Council’s Sports Champion, said: “The girls’ rugby academy is a wonderful idea. There’s an ideal sport out there for everyone, and I’d urge Renfrewshire girls to give rugby a try. Who knows? You could enjoy the sport as much as Amanda and Lauren and get to be part of the national team one day.”

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

Meso Derek Mackay

A Renfrewshire company that sparked interest from Hollywood star Tom Hanks over its latest hi-tech project has welcomed a rising star at Holyrood.

Derek Mackay, MSP for Renfrewshire North & West, visited award winning product design company Meso Design at their Renfrewshire HQ.
The fast growing company was formed in 2008 by three design engineering graduates – Danny Kane, Gregor Aikman and Craig Lynn – and now employs 12 staff at its base in Inchinnan.

Since its launch, Meso has worked on more than 40 projects for clients across a range of sectors, including food and drink, medicine and consumer products.

Its latest collaborations include Popa, which transforms the iPhone into an instant camera, and MoviePeg, an easy to fit stand that allows users to watch movies on any smartphone and tablet device. Both products were developed by Manchester based Beep Industries with design support from Meso.

Another product, a portable camera dolly for film makers, designed on behalf of Paisley based Glidetrack, is due for release in the next month.
Meso’s growing client list of high profile clients includes SECC, Glasgow School of Art, Whyte and Mackay, Famous Grouse, Thales and Courvoisier.
And from next year, Meso intends to design, manufacture and market its own range of products, and expand into new premises in Renfrewshire.
Meso director Danny Kane said: “We were delighted to welcome Derek Mackay to meet the team at Meso. We’re a relatively small company, proud of our association with Renfrewshire, and ambitious for the future. We’d like to think that, in our own small way, we’re helping to establish Renfrewshire as a centre of excellence for product design and manufacture.

Derek Mackay MSP said: “I am thoroughly impressed by the work that Meso are doing, and from what I have seen during my visit, it is not surprising that there has been strong demand for their services and products.

“Renfrewshire is increasingly becoming a fantastic place for business growth and success, attracting business from both the local area and from further afield.

“This is a thriving local company, I’m pleased to see them expanding into new premises to support their growing business and I wish them all the best with their future success.” Read more


Renfrewshire council tenants and owner occupiers are being invited to give their views on ways to improve housing in the Blackstoun Oval and the Tannahill area of Ferguslie Park.
The council’s housing team will be out in the area with their mobile office to speak to residents from the area about their views on how to attract more people into housing in the area.
The officers are also keen to speak to people living elsewhere who would consider moving in to the area.

The mobile office will be visiting the area on:

  • Tuesday 22 November, 10am – 12.30pm, at Blackstoun Oval
  • Tuesday 22 November, 1.30pm – 4pm, at Tannahill Road
  • Thursday 24 November, 10am – 12.30pm, Blackstoun Oval
  • Thursday 24 November, Thursday 24 November, 1.30pm – 4pm, at Tannahill Road.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren, Renfrewshire Council’s Housing Spokesperson, said:

“This is an opportunity for tenants to and residents to share their ideas and views. We want to hear from local people so that we can take on board all of the issues affecting housing in the area.

“The Council is currently working on the biggest ever investment programme to improve Council housing across Renfrewshire. As part of this £138m investment programme, new kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems are being installed and external improvements are being carried out. Tenants in Ferguslie Park will benefit from these improvements and the Council is speaking to tenants about housing issues in the area generally before the planned work starts.”

To find out more information about Delivering Housing Improvements go to

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A postcard designed by a Renfrewshire schoolgirl will be used by a major car dealership to contact their customers.

Lucy Wight, of Ralston Primary, was chosen from hundreds of entries from across Renfrewshire after primary five pupils were set a design challenge by Infiniti Car Dealership, at Braehead.

The competition came about after Renfrewshire’s schools became members of the Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, of which Infiniti are also a member, earlier this year.

Infiniti centre manager Jason Blane set the challenge of asking local school pupils to design Infiniti a new customer postcard.

Another Chamber of Commerce member, Fission Creative, based in Paisley, also came on board by running a training session for staff to learn about the process of approaching a design for a business client. The staff were then able to use what they’d learned to support the pupils taking part.

A total of 244 primary five pupils entered the competition and all of their designs will all go on display on the front window of the showroom for two weeks.

Six finalists were selected and invited to an awards ceremony hosted by Infiniti at their showroom.

The finalists were:

  • Lucy Wight, Ralston Primary
  • Billy Todd, Bargarran Primary
  • Rebecca Dolan, Ralston Primary
  • Ruairidh Sutherland, Bishopton Primary
  • Laura Nicole Eadie, Ralston Primary
  • Ellie Little, St Fillan’s Primary

Each of their finalists and their families were driven to and from the event in cars sent out by Infiniti.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson, who was there on the night to help present the prizes, said: “This is a great example of how local schoolchildren are learning about the business world through their partnership with the Chamber of Commerce. The task they were set was to design a postcard that will be used by a major car dealership to contact their customers. They were given a real brief just as if they were a company commissioned by a client and they all took it seriously and approached it in a professional manner. I’d like to congratulate Lucy and all the finalists, as well as all those who took part.”

On the night Lucy was announced as the overall winner whose design will be on the postcard. She was also presented with a framed version on her design.

Bob Davidson from Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Morag Malloy of Fission Creative were also there to meet all the finalists.

Jason Blane, Infiniti Centre Manager, said: “I wanted the postcard to have a real feeling and to have a picture of the centre on it so that people could visualise what we looked like. We are always looking to do things in the local market and thought that it would be great to involve the children in this project. I have to say the standard was incredibly high and so creative, we had a real task in choosing the six winners but with the help of Wilma, Morag and the staff at the centre we eventually did it. The prize giving was such a good night and it was fabulous to see all of the children and their families, they were all so excited, well done to everyone who took part.”

Renfrewshire’s schools became members of the Chamber of Commerce in March in order to build up contacts with local employers who may be able to contribute to the curriculum and support enterprise initiatives.

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Paisley logo large

We are always looking to increase our partnership within organisations in the Paisley area, we find it essential for the growth of not only our social enterprise but the business and organisations awe are associated with, everyone gains from a partnership with ourselves. We will be running various courses soon and our partners get a discount.

What does a partner with us mean? Well it means we should essentially be in contact and share a common goal, we should help each other out with experience or pass on the details of someone who could help further.

How do you become a partner? Simple contact us and in your title just put partner. And tell us a wee bit more about yourself and organisation.

How much does it cost to be a partner? Well it’s free, yes it really is, if you wish to make a donation then that’s fine by us but primarily we want to talk to as many people as possible and take it from there, we are centrally based in the town and ideal for meeting up with other groups informally or formally. Just give us a shout.Paisley

Paisley Town Hall

Council signs green pledge to promote sustainable timber

Renfrewshire Council has signed up to a new scheme committing the local authority to buy sustainable timber.

The scheme, operated by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), discourages the illegal harvesting of timber products and the destruction of large parts of forest with no replanting taking place.

The council has pledged to support events that spread the message about sustainable timber and to train its own purchasing managers in responsible buying of timber products.

Figures from the WWF show that 1.5 million cubic metres of timber imported into the UK each year comes from illegal sources. New EU regulations to be introduced in 2013 will require anyone introducing a forest product into the UK to show where it’s come from and prove that it isn’t illegal.

Cllr Allan Noon, Renfrewshire Council’s finance spokesperson, said: “Last year, the council spent £95,000 on timber products for various services. And the public sector as a whole is responsible for 20% of all the timber purchased in the UK.

“As significant buyers of these products, we want to do what we can to influence and encourage responsible purchasing.

“We’ve all got a part to play in protecting our environment and a greener Renfrewshire is a major commitment of ours.”

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Provosts Awards Launch 2011

Still time to nominate Renfrewshire’s unsung heroes

Renfrewshire residents are being urged to nominate their friends, loved ones, colleagues and neighbours for Provost’s Community Awards.

The awards take place in February but the nomination period ends at the end of November so time is running out.
Businesses, individuals and community groups across Renfrewshire are being invited to put forward their local heroes for these long-running awards.

Now in their 14th year, the awards celebrate those in the community who have made special achievements and gone out of their way to make a difference to the lives of others.

The awards, which will be held in the Glynhill Hotel on Saturday 25 February, hosted by STV’s Sean Batty, who is himself from Paisley.

They are also set to be Provost Celia Lawson’s last as host in her role as Renfrewshire’s civic leader.

There are seven award categories:

  • Arts and Culture Award (sponsored by Acre Industrial and Cleaning Services)
  • Adult Achiever, sponsored by Diageo
  • Special Needs (sponsored by Scottish Power and former Provost Ronnie Burns)
  • Community Volunteer Award (sponsored by BASF Performance Products UK)
  • Carer’s Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison)
  • Spirit of Fairtrade Award, (sponsored by the Piazza)
  • Child of Achievement (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd)

Provost Lawson said: “There are so many people around us who go above and beyond to contribute to our community or who have achieved something inspiring and these awards are a chance to recognise that. It may be someone who doesn’t even realise they difference they make or how proud their family and friends are.

“The Community Awards are one of my favourite jobs as Provost of Renfrewshire because they celebrate the real heroes on our doorsteps.”

The final date for nominations is Friday 25 November.

Nomination forms are available at all council buildings or on the council’s website


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Paisley Cenotaph

Communities across Renfrewshire are preparing to commemorate Remembrance Day.

Members of the Royal British Legion and the armed forces will join representatives of Renfrewshire Council and a wide range of organisations and community groups at services.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson, who will be attending Paisley’s Remembrance Service, said: “This is a time for all of us to honour the service given by our armed forces and their sacrifice in military conflicts past and present.

“The services of commemoration are a time to remember those who gave so much for us.”

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Free Festive Parking for Paisley Christmas Shoppers

Christmas shoppers in Paisley will find their lives a little bit easier thanks to a free parking scheme in the lead up to the festive season.

The scheme will see 1700 free car parking spaces available in the town every weekend from Saturday 12 November 2011 to Saturday 31 December 2011

Spaces will be available at all council car parks including on-street parking, as well as the Piazza and Paisley Shopping Centre car parks.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson said: “We know it’s a very busy and expensive time of year for people so the free festive parking scheme is a way of making it easier for people to come into Paisley town centre and do their shopping. Read more

Teenagers who take part in a project of activities designed to steer them away from antisocial behaviour are being urged to take part in a new scheme to give back to their communities.

The Kick and Collect scheme is being launched as part of the hugely successful Street Stuff project.

Street Stuff sees activities including street football with coaching from St Mirren FC, the Renfrewshire Youth Bus and the youth gym bus being taken out to communities across Renfrewshire. Over the last three years the project has helped contribute to significant reductions in youth disorder in communities across Renfrewshire.

Now the partners behind the project are working with the young people on projects which give back to the community, including clean ups of local areas, clearing graffiti and rubbish and during the Winter clearing snow from residential areas.

As a thank you for their efforts contributing to the community organisers are giving the teenagers the chance to take part in other activities through the Kick and Collect scheme.

The scheme encourages the teenagers to give back to communities and in return get the chance to take part in more activities. For example, one group recently enjoyed a trip to the SNO!zone donated by Xscape after taking part in a clean-up with Renfrewshire Wardens Service. St Mirren are also providing free tickets to their matches for those who take part and another 30 received special passes from Renfrewshire Council and Paisley Vision Board to the Paisley Christmas Lights Switch On event.

They will join other community groups in the VIP area for a prime viewing spot for all the acts performing and for the spectacular fireworks finale over Paisley Abbey.

St Mirren Manager Danny Lennon said: “Street Stuff has been a huge success and the club are extremely proud to be able to play such a major role in it. But it’s about more than just keeping kids off the streets. It’s about giving them a sense of pride in their community and being a positive example to other young people.

“There are young people who have been coming to take part in the street football and other activities for a couple of years now so it’s great to see them giving up their own free time to give something back to their communities. The Kick and Collect Scheme is a great way to show our appreciation for their hard work.”

The Street Stuff programme attracts more than 15,000 young people a year and has led to youth disorder dropping between 14% and 30% in each area where it operates.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson, who is also chair of Paisley Vision Board, said: “Over the last couple of years I’ve had the chance to see first-hand the fantastic success of the Street Stuff programme and it’s brilliant to see it evolving into a wider community project with the teenagers themselves working with the organisers on projects to give back to their communities. This is a great example of partnership working being successful.

“The Paisley Christmas Lights Switch On is Renfrewshire’s biggest events and in appreciation of their efforts we wanted these young people to really feel like a part of it.”

Street Stuff is run in partnership by Renfrewshire Council, Strathclyde Police, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, Engage Renfrewshire, Arriva, St Mirren FC and Reid Kerr College.

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