Paisley museum

Renfrewshire’s future is bright, despite tough challenges facing all local economies, says Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson.

More than £100million is currently being invested in Paisley town centre cultural venues as part of plans to use the region’s rich heritage to drive its economic regeneration.

Paisley museum

And 2019 signals the start of construction of an advanced manufacturing innovation district next to Glasgow Airport which is set to bring thousands of highly skilled jobs to the region.

“Every high street in every town and in every city is facing tough challenges, but we have a bold vision and are already taking significant steps towards securing Renfrewshire’s long-term economic future,” said Councillor Nicolson.

“This year will see us take the next steps on this exciting journey, working together with the business community and skills agencies as every organisation has an important part to play in delivering a bright economic future for Renfrewshire.”

Glasgow Airport Investment Area manufacturing district

Celebrating the region’s rich traditions – from weaving the paisley pattern to the iconic Paisley Abbey – and establishing Renfrewshire as a key visitor destination are at the centre of the regeneration plans.

New figures show great progress, with visitor numbers more than doubling to 5.3million between 2015 and 2017, while hosting major events attracted record numbers and ploughed £3.5million into the local economy this winter.

Paisley town centre cultural venues are about to undergo a total transformation – including the flagship project turning Paisley Museum into an international-class destination anticipated to attract 125,000 visitors each year.

There’s also been the launch of destination brand Paisley Is showcasing all the area has to offer and new funds rolled out to help grow the cultural sector, encouraging the sustainable growth of local arts, music and other creative organisations.

Alongside this are major infrastructure projects funded through the Glasgow City Region City Deal, including the £39.1million Glasgow Airport Investment Area project, with construction starting in spring on new connections underpinning the site which has already been confirmed as home to two multi-million pound national innovation centres.

Councillor Nicolson added: “I’m immensely proud that Renfrewshire will once again be the beating heart of Scottish manufacturing, soon to be home to national innovation centres transforming the future of manufacturing and inspiring future generations.

“And as the town centre cultural venue work progresses, we are already seeing the positive impact of our focus on culture and tourism as visitor numbers have increased exponentially and events like Paisley’s Halloween Festival are proving immensely popular, drawing on our rich history and attracting large local, national and international audiences.”

Renfrewshire already boasts an employment rate outstripping its city region neighbours, while weekly earnings for Renfrewshire residents exceed the national average.

And the council has committed a further £4.5million until 2022 to provide business support and help people into employment.

Building on the success of business incubator InCube, 2019 will see the launch of Start-Up Street – providing low cost workspaces helping companies make the leap into their first commercial premises.

Councillor Nicolson added: “We’ve committed long-term funding for business development and to help people find and sustain employment. Our focus is on inclusive growth, ensuring we target support to the people and places most in need so that we can make the greatest difference and improve the opportunities for future generations of Renfrewshire residents.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer and it is our priority to make it a place people want to visit, live, work and invest in. The next year will see more houses built and we will continue to listen to what our communities tell us they want and need, ensuring everyone benefits as the economy grows.”

Incube

The latest line up of InCube entrepreneurs are seeing their businesses bloom through the innovative business support and employability programme, run by Renfrewshire Council.

InCube developed by Invest in Renfrewshire, allows local creative start-ups to benefit from support to improve their growth.

Incube

InCube’s Class of 2018 are already seeing their businesses benefit from the package of support offered by the programme, including attending a range of workshops and having the chance to sell their products in the dedicated InCube shop.

Designer Geraldine Donnelly, of textiles and homewares brand Obsidian Ore, said her time at InCube has been amazing and a helpful experience for both herself and her business.

Geraldine added: “Without the support of InCube, I wouldn’t have won the chance to design the prizes for the 2018 Scottish Album of the Year Awards – my first big commission as a professional designer.”

Designer Eva Arnaudova who designs childrens clothing under the name Atelier Eva Art, said that InCube helped her to develop new ideas and gave her confidence in her own abilities.

She said “Incube covers all the steps for creative businesses and was a great help to me in every possible way.”

The programme is now accepting applications for the 2019 intake and is open to those wishing to start or grow a business in the creative retail, textiles, jewellery, design, fashion, crafts and makers sector.

Designer Sohelia Keyani said that InCube offer warmth and guidance to help fledgling businesses become strong and self-sufficient.

She added: “If you’re a creative needing support and business acumen, then InCube is the place to be!”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “InCube continues to nurture local creatives every year and this is helping to establish Renfrewshire as a place where creativity thrives.

“The support in 2018 has been phenomenal and I would encourage everyone to continue to visit the InCube shop in 2019 and continue to support local designers who are showcasing the skill and talent we have here in Renfrewshire.”

Applications for the 2019 InCube intake close on Monday 11 February. For more information and to apply visit www.incube.ren/incube-competition-2019

Emergency services Renfrewshire

The work of the emergency services has been praised by Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson as they continue to operate throughout the festive period.

Emergency services Renfrewshire

While many places close or offer a reduced service during the festive period, our Police, Fire and Rescue, Ambulance and NHS staff continued to serve Renfrewshire at full capacity.

The festivities can often be one of the busiest times of the year for our emergency responders and the Council Leader has offered his thanks for the work they do to keep the area safe.

Councillor Nicolson said: “The festive period can often bring added pressures to our emergency services, with Christmas nights out sometimes ending in a need for their assistance.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson

“However, each of the emergency services copes admirably and provide an outstanding service to those in Renfrewshire who need them.

“We often don’t realise how lucky we are to have such dedicated and highly-skilled staff available to help us and I want to thank them for all they do to keep us safe.

“If you’re heading out for Hogmanay, or even just during the festive period, please be careful and ensure you are safe at all times.”

Anyone who needs the assistance of the emergency services should call 999 immediately. If the situation is not an emergency, then please call 101.

Most council offices will be closed over the festive period, although all essential services will continue to operate.

A handy guide on how to access council services during the closure period has been created and can be found on the council website or in your local library, leisure centre or at Renfrewshire House.

For full information on council opening hours and emergency contact numbers, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/festiveclosure.

Highland Fling Swing

Throughout 2018, Provost of Renfrewshire, Lorraine Cameron, has been doing her piece for charity, helping to raise funds and awareness for her chosen charity – MND Scotland.

Highland Fling Swing

From hopping aboard trains spreading awareness to all corners of Renfrewshire, to taking a team up to Killiecrankie for a sponsored swing, Provost Cameron has been keeping busy.

MND Scotland was founded as the Scottish Motor Neurone Disease Association in 1981 by John Macleod, a Strathclyde police officer and his wife Peggy.

At the time, services were limited, and health professionals had little or no knowledge of the condition.

John had been visiting Charing Cross Hospital in London when he learned about a charity that was already providing support for people with Motor Neurone Disease in England, and became determined to set up a similar organisation here in Scotland.

Today, MND Scotland strive to reduce the impact of MND on the lives of those affected, by offering services such as benefits advice, equipment loans, counselling, advocacy and a grants programme.

There are over 450 people in Scotland currently living with MND and on average almost 200 people are diagnosed each year.

Sadly, around 53% of those diagnosed will die within one year.

Provost Cameron said “I lost my mum to MND in 2011 and the charity is very close to my heart. I really love that as part of my role as Provost I’m able to support the amazing work that charities such as MND Scotland undertake in our communities.

“It’s been a brilliant year from start to finish and I’ve had a ball getting out and about in the community spreading the message far and wide.

“One of the highlights was taking a team of daredevils up to the Garry Bridge in Killiecrankie to take part in the Highland Fling Swing. Our brave fundraisers experienced a 15-metre free fall from the bridge and everyone had a great day.

“I’ve also been honoured to work closely with Scotrail this year, who also support MND Scotland. For MND Awareness Day I travelled around Renfrewshire by train, raising money and awareness for the charity, and I also worked for a day at Johnstone Train Station as part of my Working Challenge.

“There are currently 14 people living in Renfrewshire with MND – but when you consider the number of family, friends, and colleagues the number of people affected by MND locally is actually much higher. All the money raised this year will help MND Scotland offer essential services and go towards research to find treatments and a cure for MND.”

As well as working with Scotrail, Provost Cameron also spent a day working with City Gate Construction and hosted a charity ball to raise essential funds.

Iain McWhirter, Head of Fundraising at MND Scotland said: “MND Scotland was very grateful to be chosen as one of Provost Cameron’s chosen charities and we have enjoyed following her activities throughout the year.

“This summer we announced the launch of the first Motor Neurone Disease clinical drug trial in Scotland, in over 20 years.

“This funding is part of a total commitment of over £1.5 million into clinical drugs trials being made by MND Scotland, and developments like this can only happen thanks, in part, to the support given by Provost Cameron and the people of Renfrewshire.”

Provost Cameron will support local charities, St Vincent’s Hospice and ACORD Hospice, in the next two years and will return to fundraising for MND Scotland in 2021.

Tony Fitzpatrick, Eric Phillips, Cllr Natalie Don and Sean Batty (1)

Snow is falling outside; the presents are wrapped under the tree and a family favourite is just about to begin on tv – then the phone rings.

Tony Fitzpatrick, Eric Phillips, Cllr Natalie Don and Sean Batty (1)

While many of us may get to experience that stereotypical cosy night in at Christmas, for workers on the frontline they could be called out at any minute.

Renfrewshire Council’s gritting teams work on a 24/7 schedule from October to March to keep the roads clear and free of ice, and sudden weather can have big effect on their festive plans.

Gritter drivers Eric Phillips and John Clark

Eric Phillips has been working as a gritter driver for more than ? years and has faced many challenges along the way.

Eric said: “Along with the rest of the team, we work non-stop throughout the winter to stay one step ahead of the snow and ice as best we can.

“When cold weather is forecast, we head out during the day to grit the roads before the ice gets a chance to take hold and then again overnight to clear any snow and put down more grit for the morning commuters.”

Renfrewshire Gritters

More than 4000 tonnes of salt is stored in advance of the winter period to ensure that the gritters are fully stocked to protect Renfrewshire’s 800km of roads.

Eric added: “It’s not always straightforward though as the Beast from the East showed last year, with sudden downpours of snow meaning we couldn’t clear it fast enough.

“Many drivers were caught out on the roads, with one car even climbing the Gleniffer Braes in front of my gritter when really it should have been the other way around!

“We often hear that the gritters haven’t been out which can be frustrating when you’ve just driven for hours throughout the night, so I’d ask people to take the time to think about our teams and the work we put in all winter.

“Unfortunately, we can’t reach every residential road, but we do the best we can to keep our main routes, including schools and hospitals, clear and keep Renfrewshire moving when bad weather strikes.”

The team in charge of the gritting vehicles, who were newly-named by the public this year and include famous names such as Ploughlo Grittini and William Wall-ice, are constantly on weather watch and take decisions throughout the day dependant on the forecasts.

Duty controller, John P Wallace, said: “We’re always looking ahead in this role and we do three weather checks, at 7am, 12pm and 7pm, before deciding how many of the gritters need to be on the roads.

“We have 20 drivers on each shift, day and night, meaning we can provide a 24-hour service for winter gritting and the teams do a great job in keeping our roads safe and clear.

“If need be in extreme weather events, we can call on our stand-by workers to help strengthen the team’s efforts and return the roads back to normal as quickly as possible.”

The nine gritters in Renfrewshire have set priority routes to follow which include main roads within Renfrewshire, and bus, emergency and schools routes – before moving onto more residential roads once these are clear.

The vehicles are loaded with salt at the depot before the automatic spreading system ensures that it’s spread evenly across the roads when the gritter is moving.

Once the route is complete, the vehicle returns to base where any leftover salt is weighed and returned to the store and the vehicles are cleaned ahead of their next outing.

For more information on winter gritting and Renfrewshire’s #RenReady campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/readyforwinter.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

People who are worried about post-Christmas debt are being urged to get help now before their bills start arriving in January.

At least a third of all families will have spent more money than they can afford at Christmas, leaving many struggling in the New Year.

council logo

If you are worried about post-Christmas debt, help is available. Organisations like Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau and Renfrewshire Council’s Advice Works provide free, impartial and confidential expert advice on managing debts and what to do if you have got big bills coming in.

The Money Advice Service also provides information on its website about how to manage your money, including online budgets and a financial health checker tool.

Renfrewshire Council’s Convener of Finance, Resources and Customer Services, Councillor John Shaw, said: “I would urge anyone who is struggling with debt after Christmas to contact one of Renfrewshire’s advice services as soon as possible.

“Dealing with debt early is key to making it much more manageable. Advice experts will deal with your situation confidentially, providing you with free and impartial money advice to help you manage your debts.”

It may seem far away, but many money experts are advising people to take the financial strain out of next Christmas by starting to save for it now.

Setting up a Credit Union Christmas account will allow you to put away money regularly and can help you borrow cash without hefty interest charges.

Councillor Shaw added: “It’s always advisable to start saving for the next Christmas as early as possible. You can find out more about managing your money on Advice Renfrewshire’s website.”

For debt advice visit www.advicerenfrewshire.org or call freephone 0808 164 2922. You can also visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.

For more information on Credit Unions visit www.mycreditunionrenfrewshire.co.uk.

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

Almost 30 projects have been supported in 2018 through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – including a two-day music festival, a mini Mela and jewellery making classes.

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

The fund was launched in February 2016 to support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and has continued as part of a wider plan to use culture and heritage to transform the area’s future, supporting 27 projects in 2018 alone.

It aims to create more chances for people to get involved in cultural activity, help young people develop, boost the local economy, raise Renfrewshire’s profile, and show how creativity can boost education, social inclusion and quality of life.

Three rounds of the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund have been completed in 2018, with a fourth round closing for applications in early December.

Paisley International Tango Festival 2018 (2)

Local groups and organisations supported in 2018 include The STAR Project, Paisley YMCA, Right2Dance, Media Monty, Johnstone Band, Paisley Opera and Renfrewshire Carers Centre.

Since 2016, almost 300 applications have been received to the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund from communities, businesses and cultural organisations in Renfrewshire and across Scotland – with a total funding request of £3,422,984. Over a third of these have been supported, with a total of £886,544 spent.

Successful completed projects to date include teenage animator Morgan Spence’s Lego stop-motion animation about Paisley – now seen by millions – and local dance group Right2Dance bringing Sir Matthew Bourne’s Re:Bourne company here for a week-long residency.

The CHE Fund is part of a wider cultural regeneration plan for Paisley which also includes a £100m investment in town centre venues, including the £42m project to turn Paisley Museum in to an international-class destination based around the town’s unique heritage and collections.

Drew Moir, who was awarded funding to host the 2018 Paisley International Tango Festival, said: “The Paisley Tango scene would not exist without support from the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund. We now get approached by two or three professionals a month who want to be invited to perform here, a testament to the quality of the event and the friendly environment our town can create.“

This year, Renfrewshire Council have also launched a new fund, designed to support Renfrewshire’s cultural sector. The Cultural Organisations Development Fund is open to cultural and creative organisations across Renfrewshire and will complement the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund, providing support to build the resilience and sustainability of local organisations, helping them realise their cultural ambitions.

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Iain Nicolson said: “The CHE Fund has been key in involving local people in cultural and creative activity and it’s great to see so much interest in the fund over 2018.

“We know involvement in culture has a positive impact on health and wellbeing and the projects supported have given people the chance to take part in new experiences and benefit in a number of different ways.

“Through the CHE Fund we’ve seen activities supported in communities right across Renfrewshire and I’m looking forward to seeing what projects the fund can support in 2019.”

The results of the current round of funding are due to be announced in February, with further funding rounds to be announced for 2019 in the new year.

For more information on Renfrewshire’s cultural grants, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/culturalgrants

Paisley Christmas Lights 2018

Paisley businesses have hailed a multi-million economic boost thanks to major events this winter.

A new economic impact study has found that three Renfrewshire Council events – Paisley’s Christmas Lights Switch-On; the Halloween Festival and The Spree – delivered a combined £3.5million for the local economy.

Paisley Christmas Lights 2018

Record numbers flocked to the town for each event, as 72,000 people enjoyed the activities on offer.

More than 27,000 people packed the Paisley streets for the Christmas Lights Switch-On as Santa and his reindeer were joined by Princesses of Pop and X-Factor stars The Cutkelvins.

The family fun day delivered a £1.07million economic boost – more than double the 2017 tally – while visitor spend soared to £406,000.

Paisley Halloween Festival

Paisley Halloween Festival was supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

It brought in almost £2million and achieved a 300% increase in visitor spend as 34,000 people flocked to experience the town’s dark and deathly witch history.

And the seventh year of The Spree saw the highest ticket sales yet, as almost 11,000 people enjoyed the 87 shows on offer right across Renfrewshire, raising £434,700.

Satisfaction levels soared at all the events and attendance surveys also showed they reached new audiences from across Scotland and further afield.

Spree Festival - Martha Reeves

The Winter bonanza adds to the £1.25million boost from major events in the spring and summer – with more than 70,000 people coming to April’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival, May’s British Pipe Band Championships and Sma’ Shot & Weave festival in July.

Revellers in the town have also been enjoying Paisley First’s WinterFest which features an outdoor ice rink, a Big Wheel and a free festive Nutcracker Trail.

Paisley restaurateur Colette Cardosi said: “The way people shop and socialise has changed and we have to offer something different, an experience, to attract visitors to the town. Recent events organised by Renfrewshire Council and Paisley First have shown that people are happy to visit Paisley town centre when there are events on. Whether it’s one day events like Sma’ Shot and Halloween or longer events like Jurassic Bricks and Paisley First WinterFest, it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness of the diverse range of businesses within the town to different audiences.”

Paisley-based multimedia production company Brick Lane Media was commissioned to capture the events on camera, with three young Renfrewshire filmmakers producing the final videos.

Director Alan McEwan said: “Being part of the council events has given us opportunities to up-scale our filming operations and grow our business model and at the same time has seen young filmmakers from Renfrewshire gain experience and earn an income. Without these opportunities we would not have seen the positive growth we’ve had this year.”

Paisley Abbey provided the perfect backdrop for Halloween and has hosted a range of family activities throughout the winter events.

Reverend Alan Birss said: “We’ve been very happy to support Paisley’s winter events programme, which have brought many people into the Abbey for a whole range of activities and our volunteers have been able to welcome them and share their enthusiasm for this wonderful place.

“The stalls, the shop, the café and donations made by visitors at these events all help raise the funds needed to keep the doors open every day of the year both as a place of worship and prayer and as a visitor attraction and the income from these events is an important part of our annual revenue generation.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Our winter events programme is going from strength to strength and these numbers underline the huge impact they are having with more people attending and spending more than ever before, which puts millions into the local economy and into the pockets of local businesses.

“It was also great to see these winter events reaching new audiences including many people from across Scotland and the rest of the UK, which is testament to the high quality of these events and the fantastic programme on offer having a wide appeal.

“Alongside the numbers, to see satisfaction levels hit the highest levels yet and for the first year of Spree for All so well received across Renfrewshire’s towns and villages gives us many reasons to be cheerful. We are working hard on another brilliant programme of events in 2019 which will build upon this and further extend support to events across our communities.”

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

Communities across Renfrewshire are being urged to submit their applications for the Community Empowerment Fund before the next deadline of 16 January 2019.

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

The £1.5million fund is open to all community groups who want to take over ownership and running of a building or piece or land in their local area.

The fund is designed to assist local people to develop a Business Plan for the takeover of the asset, support the person or group to have the skills and capacity to manage and develop it, and provide the upfront capital investment in an asset.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “When the New Year begins, people are always keen for new beginnings and full of ideas on how to make their lives better.

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

“So why not use this enthusiasm to get the project you want to develop for off the ground?

“We recognise the wealth of knowledge local people have to make our towns and villages better places to live, work and visit and the Community Empowerment Fund offers the opportunity to bring these ideas to life.”

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

Hand over of Johnstone Police station to community groups 20.8.18

Previous projects which have been awarded funding and support include £10,000 for Active Communities to carry out a feasibility study on the conversion of the former Johnstone Police Station into a local health hub, £20,000 to assist in the relocation of the West End Growing Grounds Association to a site on Underwood Road and £10,000 for Paisley Community Trust to develop their businesses case for the transformation of the former Arnott’s building into a cinema, arts venue and theatre.

Councillor McGurk added: “We’ve already seen some fantastic projects coming forward and receiving support which will help move them to the next level.

“The fund really is an opportunity for local people to take a key role in improving their community and shaping its future success.

“We’re here to help so the team will be able to support you to discuss the feasibility of your idea and identify how to take it forward. Get in touch and don’t miss your opportunity.”

The fund is just one of a number of ways that communities can make a difference to their local area, including joining their nearest Local Partnership and helping to shape decision making and award funding to groups in the local area.

Community groups and volunteers can also apply for the Green Spaces and Villages Investment Fund which provides funding and support to improve underused or neglected green spaces or take forward projects which will strengthen the character, identity and heritage of the local community.

To find out more, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/CommunityEmpowermentFund, call 0141 618 7408 or email communityplanning@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

Morwyn Doran, Community Connector volunteer

More than 1,000 people across Renfrewshire have been helped by a project which issues ‘cultural and social prescriptions’.

Morwyn Doran, Community Connector volunteer

The Community Connectors programme also aims to free up GP’s time so they can focus on acute medical conditions.

All 29 GP surgeries in Renfrewshire have signed up to have a ‘social prescriber’ who works with patients for whom medical intervention isn’t necessarily the most appropriate route.

Funded by Renfrewshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP), the link workers support people experiencing social and financial struggles, as well as housing issues and loneliness and isolation.

They can be referred on to local social and cultural organisations and programmes to get the targeted support they need and to help them feel part of their community.

The project, a partnership between RAMH, which promotes recovery from mental ill health, Linstone Housing Association and voluntary sector organisation, Active Communities, has helped more than 1,000 people since the pilot scheme was set up in October 2016.

Linstone provide a dedicated service to support the clients with any housing issues, and Active Communities have developed Community Health Champions. They support and motivate people into activities to help them manage their own health and wellbeing and help them with lifestyle changes and building confidence and support networks.

The aim is to carry out an assessment of individual patients needs and connect them to the most appropriate sources of support.  Often people are not aware of all that’s available to them in their own communities.

Each three month period sees around 170 new referrals from GPs, which is expected to rise with all GP practices across Renfrewshire now signed up.

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, Vice Chair of the Renfrewshire Integration Joint Board, the main decision-making body for HSCP, said: “The social prescriptions can be putting someone in touch with a housing advisor, or something as simple as joining a group, putting people in touch with activities and resources that will help enrich and reward their lives.

“Poverty and deprivation are massive factors in people’s health and use of health services, but even in the most affluent communities no one is immune from mental illness or from feeling lonely or isolated.

“People can also feel trapped in an unsuitable house or area. The issues can’t be resolved by medication but can still be a drain on a GP’s time. They are also quite often not necessarily the best person either in these cases, so people don’t get the service they want and their condition doesn’t necessarily improve.

“This is a way of getting people the support they need and freeing up GPs’ time, allowing them to focus on more acute medical conditions.”

One example was where one person visited their GP three times a week simply because they wanted somebody to talk to and the GP would see them because they recognised they needed the emotional support.

Cllr Cameron added “We want to make sure that people are getting the right kind of help and also try and free up GP time where appropriate for other medical treatments. Often in these circumstances, it isn’t necessarily the best use of the GP’s time, especially when the person could be signposted to other services to give them the type of support that would have a much more positive impact.”

“If we can make space and capacity for the GPs it means they can spend more time with more people with complex medical needs.”

Marwyn says Community Connector helped her get back on track

Marwyn Doran was referred to RAMH by her GP two years ago after suffering anxiety.

The 68-year-old from Inchinnan said: “I withdrew myself from everything. Your family don’t know how to help you and you hide it from people because you feel ashamed.

“I don’t tick any boxes because I don’t have any addiction or financial issues and I don’t have any family worries. There wasn’t any real reason for it, it just came. I was at the end of my tether and I was too scared to go out.”

Her GP referred her to link worker Irene Brown from RAMH and Marwyn added: “She got me counselling and then they introduced me to different groups, like a relaxation and walking group.

“I’ve never looked back. We walk round all different places in Paisley and we just walk and talk. It’s great because everybody’s in the same position as you and you don’t feel scared or isolated.

“Ten minutes in the doctor’s surgery isn’t enough. When you’ve had a mental health issue, getting back out into the community is really difficult because you isolate yourself.”

Marwyn is now determined to give something back and actually volunteers herself now.

She said: “I volunteer at walking and swimming groups because I feel they were so beneficial for me.

“I don’t think I would have been able to do it on my own. It’s so important, I think every doctor’s surgery should have a Community Connector.”