spree launch

The Spree Festival Paisley Launch

A new Scottish national music and arts festival will kick off in Paisley on 25th October, running until 28th October and includes a line up of artists such as Roddy Frame, Francois and the Atlas Mountains, Damien Dempsey and comedian Craig Hill as well as a full day of Celtic Connections on the Sunday. This photocall and interview opportunity will be held the day before for print or broadcast on Thursday, 25 October.

In the pictures below: In the specially imported and very colourful spiegeltent, called Idolize, kids from PACE Youth Theatre joined Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, and Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of the council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, to mark the occasion.

The kids from PACE were wearing Spree orange t-shirts and the councillors even got their hands on the over-sized cut out guitar, fiddle and microphone. The kids will also danced with voile ribbons in Spree colours to add a touch more colour to an already colourful picture.

Location of the Spiegeltent, County Square, Paisley, PA1

All Paisley Photographs taken by Ian McDonald for Paisley on the web.

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Views of Paisley available to buy now in 2013 Calendar

Renfrewshire Arts & Museums are delighted to announce that the new calendar, ‘A Tale of Two Decades’, is now on sale.

This fascinating calendar showcases a selection of nostalgic photographs of Paisley, dating from 1960 to 1979. Featuring well-known locations such as the Town Hall, Paisley Abbey and The Watermill Hotel, this year’s calendar is sure to evoke memories for locals who lived in the town during or around that period.

Each of the photographs originate from the archive collection held at Paisley Museum. This collection comprises of over 20,000 historical images dating from the 1850’s up to the present day and features pictures relating to Paisley and other parts of Renfrewshire.

Earlier in the year, when preparations for the 2013 calendar first began, Renfrewshire Arts and Museums enlisted the help of their Facebook followers to help shortlist the huge selection of pictures we had to choose from. As a result, the image of the Christmas Lights over the River Cart from 1979 emerged as the clear favourite and the perfect choice for the front cover of the calendar.

The archive collections are available to view in either Paisley Museum or Paisley Central Library. Copies of images from the historical photographic collection are available on request. A range of postcards and prints are also available to buy from the Museum shop.

A Tale of Two Decades’ is available to buy from Paisley Museum and Paisley Arts Centre now, priced £7.99. www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

Sarkar Defence Solutions of Hillington has become the 100th local business to sign up to Renfrewshire Council’s Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

The company, which manufactures and exports body armour products, received its certificate at a recent Invest in Renfrewshire business breakfast hosted by Council Leader, Mark Macmillan at Reid Kerr College.
The Invest in Renfrewshire programme encourages Renfrewshire businesses to recruit and train local unemployed young people. In return the council can provide support for the businesses in the form of employment subsidies, training support and business loans and funds to help the businesses grow.

Since the scheme was launched in June, a wide range of businesses have signed up, from new enterprises to established multi-million-pound companies such as Steel Engineering of Renfrew.

Sam Sarkar, Managing Director of Sarkar Defence Solutions, said, “As a business that started up in this area, we’re pleased to be supporting the Invest in Renfrewshire programme. We’ve recently taken on a local graduate intern under the scheme and they will be working on some of our marketing projects over the next seven months. Working with a global company like ours will give them a lot of valuable experience.

“The council’s Invest in Renfrewshire team has been very helpful in helping us with our plans to develop our factory in Hillington.”

Council Leader, Mark Macmillan, said, “It’s great that local businesses like Sarkar Defence Solutions are supporting Invest in Renfrewshire. There are clear benefits for the business and for local young people who are struggling to find work at the moment. I would encourage all local businesses, big and small, to sign up to the programme.”

For more information on the Invest in Renfrewshire programme, go to www.investinrenfrewshire.com or call 0300 3000 144.

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Brides Make An Extra Special Entrance In Renfrew Town Hall

A group of lovely ladies from across Renfrewshire Council have come out in force to show their support for the newly re-opened and beautifully restored Renfrew Town Hall by donning their bridal gowns one more time for a unique town centre bridal gathering.

 

bridesRenfrewshire brides and bridesmaids who have been married in the town recently to others who are celebrating longer anniversaries all jumped at the chance to wear that special dress again though this time with friends and colleagues in order to help raise awareness of Renfrew’s hidden gem fairytale castle style wedding venue.

 

Sheonna Anderson, Valerie Kelly, Michelle Carslaw, Linsey Matthews, Bobbie O’Donnell , Mary Longwell and Tricia Gault all from various sectors across the Council braved the weather and stopped traffic in Renfrew town centre yesterday as they made their way up the High St in their beautiful gowns.

 

Kathleen Kennedy of Renfrewshire Arts & Museums Service said,’ We were absolutely delighted to have received so much support from our colleagues across the Council, many of whom live in the area, to get involved in our campaign ‘Your Dream Setting Is Nearer Than You Think’ and to raise public awareness of such a beautiful venue which makes for the perfect wedding location. We hope the elegant and classic style of the facilities, which were just restored to their former glory earlier this year will make more bridal parties think of the Historic Burgh of Renfrew as their choice.’

 

Renfrew Town Hall has a rich and varied past dating back to 1670. It has served as a courthouse, an early 19th century jail, a focal point for community and civic activities and more recently of course a wedding venue.

 

The venue was officially opened by deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 28 January 2012 after a £5.2million programme to fully refurbish and renovate all aspects of the building.

To view the building and take full advantage of the event planning service offered by Renfrewshire Arts & Museums, enquiries and visits can be arranged by calling 0141 887 1007 or emailing ram.els@renfrewshire.gov.uk

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Renfrewshire Council Leader hits our at rising fuel costs

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader Mark Macmillan has hit out at the latest hikes in energy prices, saying the move will force the area’s most vulnerable residents into fuel poverty this winter.

British Gas has announced above-inflation price rises from November that will add £80 a year to the average bill, with Scottish and Southern Energy set to increase charges by 9% from next week.

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1Renfrewshire Council Leader, Councillor Mark Macmillan said: “People in Renfrewshire will quite rightly be angry at yet more price hikes by the major energy providers in time for winter. The real worry is that residents will struggle to heat their homes at a time when UK benefits are being cut – with children and pensioners going cold this year. Quite frankly, that’s not good enough. Local people have an absolute right to be safe and warm in their homes this winter.

“I urge the UK Government and energy regulator to do more to break the dominance of these large companies, to simplify tariffs and to protect vulnerable customers from being ripped off. Families and businesses who continue to feel the squeeze of the recession need more transparency from energy companies on pricing and profits.

“In Renfrewshire Council we are delivering a range of improvements in our housing stock to improve the energy efficiency of homes, reduce fuel consumption and energy costs, and address fuel poverty for our tenants – but the bottom line is that Renfrewshire residents need a better deal on energy costs during these tough times.

“I’d urge everyone to take steps now to do what they can to avoid crippling bills as winter progresses. Steps can include making use of offers of free loft and cavity wall insulation, trying an energy switch website to see if it finds you a better deal, speaking to one of our energy advisers or looking at the Energy Saving Trust website for efficiency tips.”

Renfrewshire Council’s own improvements for its housing stock include:

* Installing more efficient heating systems in over 3,750 houses in the past two years. Further programmes planned to 2015 should see upgrades in a further 4,000 homes.

* A range of insulation programmes planned or in progress including loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and thermal over cladding. Projects include the over cladding of high rise blocks incorporating 180 homes at Gallowhill and Glencairn Courts currently in progress. A further 630 high rise homes will benefit from programmes over the coming 2 – 3 years.

* Insulation measures completed on over 800 terraced and semi detached houses by April next year and with upgrades then started on a range of shared blocks of flats and maisonettes.

The council is also taking part in the Universal Home Insulation Scheme UHIS which provides energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall insulation and loft insulation to private home owners.

Help and advice

* Renfrewshire residents who would like to be considered for insulation measures, call 0800 512 012 (quoting: Renfrewshire UHIS 2011).

* Renfrewshire is one of the few councils to offer an Energy Advice Service where help and support is available over the phone with home visits available to help reduce fuel bills. Our Energy Advice team can be contacted on 0141 840 3704.

* British Gas Free Insulation Programme ends on 30 November. Check www.britishgas.co.uk/insulation for full details.

* To check if you or a relative is eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme go to directgov.co.uk and type Warm Home Discount Scheme into the search box.

* The Energy Saving Trust website is full of useful tips and can be found at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk

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Gateway to the Games stokes Commonwealth Games fever in Renfrewshire

Hundreds of Renfrewshire children are being given the chance to take part in a week long programme of free activities designed to raise awareness about the countries taking part in the Commonwealth Games and the events in which they’ll be competing.

The Renfrewshire Gateway to the Games Sports programme runs from 15-19 October 2012 and has been organised by Renfrewshire Council. Games for Scotland 2012 and EventScotland have made the sports week possible thanks to £8,000 in funding.

Active-RenfCouncillor James Harte, Renfrewshire Council’s Sports Champion, said, “This week long series of sporting events will raise awareness about the upcoming Commonwealth Games and help teach local youngsters about the countries and sports involved.

“The aim is also to inspire and motivate local young people and build a pride in Renfrewshire, in Scotland, in our team and in what we can achieve.”

During the week youngsters will be able to try a variety of sports including: hockey, tennis, badminton, cycling, netball, bowls, rowing, martial arts, athletics and volleyball.

The week is targeted at all youngsters from P7 up to 18 years old. Sessions are being staged at Park Mains High School, King George V playing field Renfrew, Lochbar in Lochwinnoch, Linwood Sports Hub, Castlehead High School, the Power League in Blackhall Street, Erskine Swimming Pool, Ferguslie Sports Hub and Paisley Rugby Club.

Friday 19 October sees the culmination of the week’s activities when competitors will be able to take part in Renfrewshire’s first ever triathlon for young people and meet ‘Clyde Bear’, the Glasgow 2014 mascot. The triathlon takes place in Erskine and includes running, swimming and cycling. The competition starts in Erskine Pool at 1pm and finish on the Waterfont in front of Bridgewater Shopping Centre.

Friday also sees evening a Commonwealth Football League Tournament at Ferguslie Sport Centre from 5.30pm to 9pm. Teams can enter by contacting 0141 889 1110.

Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, said, “This year’s impressive Games for Scotland programme highlights the passion and enthusiasm communities across Scotland have for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Importantly, the programme will give thousands of people the opportunity to be part of the building excitement as we move closer to 2014.

“The wide and diverse nature of the Games for Scotland programme perfectly illustrates there’s more to the 2014 Games than just sport. The Games coming to Scotland provides an exceptional opportunity to make our nation healthier and celebrate our modern and vibrant culture, delivering a legacy Scots can be proud of both now and in the future.”

David Grevemberg, Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive said, “With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games just finished, the attention and focus will now turn to Glasgow and Scotland as proud host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the excitement is already building across the country. We’re delighted that Renfrewshire Council is holding this sports week as part of the Games for Scotland programme. The programme will provide a fantastic opportunity for people across the country to participate in a number of fascinating events that will celebrate Scotland’s culture, heritage and role as host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.”

More information on how to sign up for the sessions is available at http://activerenfrewshire.co.uk/ or by phoning 0141 889 1110.

Group shot outside Glencairn Court

Phase two of Gallowhill makeover underway

A £6million project to transform two blocks of multi-storey flats in Gallowhill, Paisley, has entered its second stage.

External work is now underway which will see the two blocks of high flats get a complete new look thanks to over-cladding and enclosed balconies.

Scottish Gas are now on site carrying out the over-cladding at Glencairn Court and Gallowhill Court.

Following this the balconies will be enclosed with brand new state of the art windows which will allow tenants the option of keeping them closed or sliding back the panels to sit outside in good weather.

As well as giving the flats a fresher, more modern look, the makeover will also make the buildings more energy efficient.

Environmental improvements and changes to the entrance to each block will further improve the external appearance of the area.

Flats are also being improved internally, with new kitchens, bathrooms and rewiring where required. Improvement works within the blocks include new front doors to each flat and redecoration of the landings and foyers.

The flats at Glencairn Court are being converted to amenity standard for people with mobility needs and older people and a single storey extension will be added to provide a social space for residents.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “This work will really transform the overall look of these flats and provide modern, energy efficient homes for our tenants. It’s also making a major contribution to the overall regeneration of the Gallowhill area. The internal improvements are already well underway and we’ve had a really positive reaction from the tenants who’ve already moved in.”

Steve Gapik, CESP Manager for Scottish Gas, said: “We’re very pleased to be working with Renfrewshire Council on the second phase of works to improve the energy efficiency of homes in Gallowhill. Residents can expect a real transformation over the coming months. Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Gas are investing substantially to improve the flats in these two blocks, installing an insulated cladding render which will give homes a bright new appearance whilst also making them warmer. These improvements will make a real difference, making homes more energy efficient, more comfortable to live in and potentially lowering heating bills significantly.”

As well as investment by the Council in the high flats, Gallowhill is also benefitting from a new-build housing project. Working in partnership with the Council, and drawing on grant funding from the Scottish Government, Sanctuary Scotland Housing Association is building 71 new back-and-front-door houses for social rent at nearby Dundonald Road.
Roddy Macdonald, Sanctuary’s head of development – Scotland, said: “Sanctuary Scotland is delighted to be working in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government to help regenerate Gallowhill. The 71 houses built by us will provide much-needed new homes for local families for social rent.”

www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

6 Book Challenge winners

Six Book Challenge
More than 50 people who signed up for a reading challenge through Renfrewshire Libraries have been honoured at an awards ceremony.

Renfrewshire Libraries hosted an awards ceremony for those who took part in the Six Book Challenge.

Now in its fifth successful year, the Six Book Challenge was launched in 2008 by The Reading Agency, a charity which works to inspire more people to read more. It is promoted through libraries, adult education, prisons and workplaces.
This year Renfrewshire Libraries signed up over 50 participants through working with partners including Adult Learning and Literacies , the Disability Resource Centre and the STAR Project.
6 Book Challenge winnersOn the night, held in Paisley Central Library, author, playwright and poet, Des Dillon, who has himself written material for emergent readers, gave a talk on the importance of reading.
Certificates were presented to each of the participants by Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board.

Councillor McMillan said: “The Six Book Challenge is a great way of inspiring more people to take up reading. By working with our partners, our libraries service were able to sign up more local people to take part. They’ve each done a fantastic job and I was delighted to present them with their awards.”

The Six Book Challenge is a UK-wide annual incentive scheme that encourages less confident adult readers to develop a reading habit through choosing, reading and expressing their views about books. Research confirms that engagement in reading for pleasure through the Six Book Challenge increases confidence, motivation and skills.

Also on the night, Emma Richardson from the STAR Project spoke about the impact the challenge had on her group.

She said: “Through taking part in this challenge, parents have grown more confident in reading along with their children. As a result families have become more motivated to come along and join the library.”

www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

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Renfrewshire Council services win recognition at excellence awards
Four Renfrewshire Council services have won runners up prizes at this year’s annual Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Awards.

The awards saw over 300, UK, local authorities competing to show how they deliver the goods for local customers.

Paul O’Brien, Chief Executive of APSE said, “These are not awards that recognise obscure or meaningless targets or initiatives. These awards are about the services that local councils deliver on the frontline, day in and day out, to local residents. From emptying bins to serving up nutritious school meals these awards are about the frontline services that matter to the public.”

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1“APSE is celebrating the very best in service delivery and rightfully recognising the contribution that workers within local councils make to frontline public services in the UK.

“These awards not only recognise and promote individual achievement, but also provide an invaluable opportunity for information to be shared with other authorities and bodies that recognise the hard work and dedication involved in delivering continuous improvement.”

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, said, “Our goal is to provide the best possible services that we can to the people of Renfrewshire. It is a credit to our staff that we secured a place in the finals in four key categories against tough opposition from virtual every other local authority in the UK.

“These awards are about excellence and innovation. We are consistently looking for new ways to deliver the top quality services that local people deserve and our success in these awards is a welcome recognition of that hard work.”

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit local government body which works with over 300 councils throughout the UK. It promotes excellence in public services and hosts a network for front line service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.

The following Renfrewshire Council services made it to the finals of the APSE Awards:

Category 6a Best Partnership Working Initiative (Public/Private) – Kick and Collect
Kick & Collect is a community involvement reward scheme. It is a new development of the Street Stuff programme which was successfully established to tackle problems with young people not connecting with services and being antisocial. Kick & Collect encourages disaffected and hard-to-reach young people to take pride in their local communities. Reward activities are run across West Central Scotland. On average approximately 3,500 young people attend the youth activities each quarter. Strathclyde Police attributes a recorded 20% drop in disorder (aged 10 to 18 years old) to the project.

Category 6b Best Partnership Working Initiative (Public/Public) – Safer Renfrewshire Partnership
The Safer Renfrewshire Partnership works to tackle the causes of violence and antisocial behaviour and build safer and stronger communities. A range of innovative initiatives over the last three years have led to significant reductions in violent crime, antisocial behaviour, disorder and vandalism. Police Statistics show a 42.1% drop in violent crime across Renfrewshire since 2008.

Category 10c Service Team of the Year – Building FM Cleaning Services
For the last two years, Renfrewshire Council’s Site Services have been rigorous reviewing of their services, challenging existing methods and considering whether they provide Best Value.

The objectives of this review were to:
1. Develop and introduce new specifications for services
2. Introduce new working practices, and
3. Identify £600,000 efficiencies to contribute to the council’s overall efficiency targets.

The submission identified how these goals were achieved.

Category 10g Service Team of the Year – Streets Cleansing and StreetScene
The StreetScene Services undertook the same review process as Site Services.

The objectives of this review were to:
1. Develop and introduce new specifications for services
2. Introduce new working practices, and
3. Identify £2.1 million efficiencies to contribute to the Council’s overall efficiency targets.

The submission identified how these goals were achieved.

APSE Award categories
· Best Employment and Equality Initiative
· Best Local Democracy Initiative
· Best Housing & Regeneration Initiative
· Best Efficiency Initiative
· Best Health and Well-being Initiative (inc. Social Care)
· Best Partnership Working Initiative
· Best Community & Neighbourhood Initiative (inc. Community Safety)
· Best Information Technology & Communication Initiative
· Best Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Initiative
· Internal Service Team of the Year.

www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

business-improvement-district

Paisley Business Improvement District

Derek Mackay MSP  announces support for Paisley businesses

Local Government Minister Derek Mackay today announced £20,000 funding to support the development of a Business Improvement District in Paisley.

Business Improvement Districts offer a sustainable financial model to support businesses in a defined geographical area of a town, city or commercial district. BIDS can augment existing public sector investment to provide mutual benefit and contribute to sustainable economic growth in the local economy. The businesses work together reducing costs, sharing risks and creating new opportunities for growth.

business-improvement-districtAnnouncing the award to support the development of the Paisley Business Improvement District, Local Government Minister Derek Mackay said:

“I’m delighted to support the work of local businesses in taking forward their proposals to form a Business Improvement District (BID) for Paisley and to help private and public sector partners to transform opportunities for the town.  Today I have announced the award a £20,000 grant to support the development of this project.  The BID aims to enhance events and the promotion of Paisley, which I wholeheartedly endorse.

“The Business Improvement District (BID) initiative links directly to this Government’s commitment to support sustainable economic growth and is particularly relevant in the current economic climate.  The initiative supports private and public sector partners in working together to  invest in improvements to the local business environment, while contributing to the wider regeneration of the local community.”Partners will now use the seed corn funding we have provided to develop  their proposals and work to enhance the prosperity of Paisley’s town centre.

“I look forward to seeing the Paisley BID progress and wish all involved well.”

Piero Pieraccini, Chair of the Paisley Development Trust added:

“I welcome the decision by the Scottish Government to give £20,000 grant funding to take forward the Business Improvement District for Paisley.  We look forward to working with people locally to take it to the next stage.  This will kick-start activity, and is great news for the town.”