A book has been returned to Paisley’s Central Library – more than 50 years late.

Staff were stunned when the postman delivered a large white padded bag and when opened, they discovered a copy of the book, Mrs Balbir Singh’s Indian Cookery, along with a £20 note and an anonymous letter apologising for the book being so long overdue.

The book is thought to have been loaned out around 1968 from the Central Library, in Paisley’s High Street. But since this was so long ago and before records were digitised, there is now no way of knowing who had borrowed it.

The letter accompanying the returned book, published by Mills and Boon in 1965, said: “Please accept my apologies for the late return of this book.

“Enclosed is a token payment in recognition of this oversight. Thank you.”

The £20 is now going to be donated to charity, as Renfrewshire Libraries is currently not charging a fine for the return of overdue books.

Mrs Balbir Singh was born in the Punjab in 1912 and became an internationally renowned chef, cookery teacher and cookbook author.

Her Mrs Balbir’s Singh’s Indian Cookery book was met with much acclaim when it was first published in London, in 1961 and went on to inspire future generations of Indian chefs and home cooks.

The book sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and several editions with revisions, and recipe additions were printed in the following years. Mrs Balbir Singh died in 1994.

Linda Flynn, Paisley Central Library Team Supervisor said: “I was more than a little surprised when I opened the padded envelope and saw what was inside.

“It’s rare to have a book returned after being overdue for so many years. I suspect the book had been lying in a cupboard or a drawer for some time and was only recently discovered.

“It was a lovely gesture from whoever found the book to take the time to send it back with a £20 note as a token gesture for it being so long overdue. We’ll make sure the money goes to a good cause.”

Linda added: “You could see that the book had been well used and some of the marks on the pages suggested that someone had followed the recipes to make a good few dinners.

“Unfortunately, the book isn’t in a condition to put back on our shelves for people to borrow, but since it’s become a talking point among library staff, we’ll keep it in a safe place.”

Transition to level 0 allows for further gradual expansion of cultural, leisure and sport services for the local community.

Renfrewshire Leisure is making plans to further expand its range of services in the wake of the Scottish Government’s confirmation that Renfrewshire moves to level 0 COVID restrictions. With the long period of restrictions gradually easing, the charity wants to extend delivery gradually to support local people in living lives which are healthy, happy and fulfilled.

The return will be aiming to reinforce community well-being as the charity’s priority. Ever since COVID restrictions were introduced, the organisation has maintained safety as its top priority for those using its facilities or benefiting from its services. 

The latest extension of services provided will be phased in over the coming weeks and follows a gradual reopening of facilities since the most recent period of enforced lockdown closure came to an end on April 26th.

The next developments will be:

  • Indoor leisure services further expanding to include the recommencement of indoor contact sports in line with information from Sporting Governing Bodies
  • Swimming pool capacity constraints easing to allow us to introduce a 25% increase at the Lagoon and ON-X leisure centers in booking slot availability next month, although COVID precautions will remain in place. 
  • The Active Schools programme and the schools’ library service is set to recommence at the start of the new school term.


Locals are being urged to monitor the charity’s social media channels and website (www.renfrewshireleisure.com) for up to date confirmation on individual activities.


Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, emphasised the importance of moving to build capacity to meet the needs of local people and help them rebuild their physical and mental health after the long period of restrictions since March of last year. She said:


“We take very seriously our commitment to local people who depend on our range of services to support their wellbeing, so we are gradually and carefully expanding provision to meet that need. However, it will inevitably take time to do so in a way which ensures that members and users of our services and facilities can continue to do so safely, whilst we monitor infection rates in the community.


“We know how much local people have missed our wide range of activities, and how important it is to their physical and mental welfare so we will be constantly reviewing demand, usage and local infection rates to meet people’s needs as quickly as we can.


“We look forward to continuing to welcome you back, safely.”


Information about all Renfrewshire Leisure services and how they are operating can be found at www.renfrewshireleisure.com, where details can also be found about the innovative programme of online services, which staff have been running help people stay fit and healthy during all phases of lockdown and the route map out of it.

A UNIQUE insight into Renfrewshire’s social history that has been captured through the lenses of local filmmakers is being broadcast on Ren TV.

Picture by Stephen Mansfield.


A mini film festival, called Reel Life Screen Gems is being first shown on Renfrewshire Leisure’s Ren TV internet channel at 7pm, on Tuesday, July 6.

Supported by Creative Scotland, the programme brings together a series of social history films made by local filmmakers.

Reel Life Screen Gems was curated by Renfrewshire Leisure’s Film Projects Producer, Richard Weeks and local filmmaker, Paul Russell.

Richard said: “Amateur filmmakers create more films annually than their professional counterparts and many of them are real diamonds in the rough, which are seldom seen publicly.

“We wanted to remedy this and sought out many of Renfrewshire’s untold stories, bringing hidden gems to the surface and telling the story of people’s lives from the perspective of the person in the street.”

Paul added: “I’ve long been fascinated by the idea of big history versus little history. The powerful will always have their stories recorded and re-told – but often I find the little history more interesting, giving a closer glimpse of how my forbearers lived.”

The Reel Life series explores the archive of retired Press photographer Stephen Mansfield, who covered much of Renfrewshire during the late 1970s and 1980s. His photojournalism documents everything from bowling club prizegivings to Royal visits and the celebrations after St. Mirren won the Scottish Cup in 1987.

Also featured in the film festival is the work of Paisley Buddie, Jack Wardrop who filmed Ferguslie Mills being demolished and Ann Cameron, archivist with the National Library of Scotland, as well as train enthusiast Alexander Cunningham.

There is a film by Paul Mothersole about Dan Cattigan, who ran the La Scala cinema in Paisley and unique footage of Paisley’s Home Guard.  Among the collection is film from when Johnstone Burgh won the Scottish Junior Cup.

Reel Life is part of PAC To the Future – a celebration of Paisley Arts Centre looking back to more than 34 years of cultural programming and looking forward to when the Arts Centre re-opens after the refurbishment currently being planned.

Janis Marshall Reilly, PAC to the Future Producer said: “The Reel Life film festival showcases the talents of local filmmakers and the outstanding contribution they make in documenting and preserving our social history.

“If it wasn’t for these filmmakers, we wouldn’t have so much archived material of life in past times that may otherwise have been lost.”

Go to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/rentv to watch the film.

RIG Arts are super excited to announce the launch of the EVOLVE project with 2 FREE weekly outdoor arts workshops, open to all. Join artists Marie and Seamus and the RIG Arts team to get creative in Seedhill.

McKerrell Street Playpark

Every Friday starting 9th July for 6 months.

– 1pm-3pm

– 4.30pm-6.30pm
What to expect:
– arts, crafts and fun!
– masks and costumes
– creative map-making
– exploring Seedhill in a new way
– creative planning for the future
– have your voice heard – your thoughts count!
Just drop in and get involved. Stay for as long as you like.
Covid precautions will be in place and we’ll have plenty of hand sanitiser and surface cleanser on hand.
For more info, contact Rebecca on rebecca@rigarts.org or info@rigarts.org

Find us on FB: @RIGArtsInverclyde, IG and T: @RIGArtsGreenock
@CultureColSco @CreativeScots #EvolveSeedhill #CultureCollective

YOUNGSTERS can enjoy their summer holidays filled with fun and games – and it’s all for free.

A whole range of exciting sports and leisure activities has been organised by Renfrewshire Leisure’s Active Schools team at venues throughout Renfrewshire.

The Get Into Summer activities, which include multi-sports taster sessions, colour runs and disability sports clubs, are being funded by the Scottish government and are taking place from now until Friday, August 13.

The Get Into Summer Multi Sports Clubs for young people from Primary 1 to Sixth Year take place between noon and 2pm every Tuesday, at Johnstone Sports Hub; every Wednesday, at Park Mains Sports Complex, in Erskine and every Thursday at the ON-X, in Linwood.

Sessions feature tasters in various sports including archery, bushcraft, orienteering, dodgeball, rounders, and many more sports and fun activities.

There is fun for all the family with two colour runs being held at the ON-X, in Linwood between noon and 2pm on July 7 and July 21.

The colour run is an obstacle course with a difference, with participants getting sprayed with various colours of powdered paint as they complete the course.

A Get Into Summer Active Families Disability Sport and Activity Club is being held at the ON-X, in Linwood, between 3pm and 4pm every Tuesday until August 3 for primary school age children.

Youngsters will be able to take part in sports and leisure activities led by qualified coaches. These include boccia, archery, football, basketball and frisbee golf. And if Renfrewshire is within Covid restriction Level 1 or 0, youngsters can play on two bouncy castles.

This club is available to any family with a young person aged between five and 12 with a disability and/or sensory impairment. Siblings are welcome to attend.

A Get Into Summer Outdoor Disability Sports Club is being held at Johnstone Community Sports Hub pitch every Thursday. The sessions for Primary school age children are between noon and 1pm and those in secondary school, between 1pm and 2pm.

The club is open to any young person with a disability and/or sensory impairment and they will take part in outdoor activities including football, archery and frisbee golf delivered by qualified coaches.

Covid-19 guidelines will be followed at all activities with temperature checks on arrival, sign in and sign out required, one way system in place inside, and a reminder that children should not attend if they are experiencing Covid symptoms.

A new summer challenge to travel the 13,503 km distance from Renfrewshire to Tokyo where the Olympic Games are being held later this month has been launched.

The Trek to Tokyo idea is for children and grown-ups to run, walk, skip, swim, pedal, or paddle as many kilometres as possible without leaving the country and added together reach the target.

Go to https://www.cognitoforms.com/RenfrewshireLeisure3/RLTrekToTokyoChallenge to register for the challenge and you will be asked to submit the distance that you have covered.

Fiona Watson, Renfrewshire Leisure’s sport and health services manager said: “We’re aiming to make this summer as active and fun-filled for everyone.

“There are plenty of sport and leisure activities to choose from and best of all everything is free, although activities should be booked in advance.”

Find out more at https://www.renfrewshireleisure.com/get-into-summer/ . And to book activities go to https://renfrewshire-leisure.class4kids.co.uk/ .

YOUNGSTERS can have a summer of fun and games thanks to Renfrewshire Leisure’s Summer Activity Camps.

A wide variety of fun sports and leisure activities – organised within the current Scottish Government’s coronavirus guidelines – will be held at Johnstone Sports Hub, The ON-X, in Linwood and Park Mains, in Erskine, between June 28 and August 6.

Kids can join the Activity Camps, which run from Monday to Friday, between 10am and 3pm as well as joining in with the Early Risers Club, between 8am and 10am. There’s also an Afternoon Kids Zone between 3pm and 5.30pm.

The activities include a variety of sports, visiting the Skoobmobile mobile children’s library, outdoor activities and a series of arts, drama and play workshops as part of Paisley Museum Reimagined.

They include a drawing workshop, called Play Pieces Art, which is based on the theme of Young People Past and Present with youngsters being shown how to recreate a painting by celebrated Scots artist, Joan Eardley.

A second workshop, Let’s Chalk About It will teach young people how to make chalk drawings of Eardley’s work and a third, Colour Trail drama and play workshops involve creative play, dance and music based on the artist’s paintings

Paisley Museum and Art Galleries has acquired and exhibited several paintings by Joan Eardley since the 1960s.

Primary school age children can get on the ball at a Football Camp between July 5 and 9 and July 12 to 16, at Park Mains. Organised in partnership with the Scottish Football Association, Renfrewshire Leisure’s Sports Services Active Schools team will provide coaching to improve skill, teamwork, fitness and communication.

Dance and Movement workshops are being held at St Benedict’s High School, between July 5 and 9 and July 12 to 16. The Dance workshops are for Primary school age children and will feature a variety of styles including street dance, disco, cheer, lyrical, ballet and jazz.

The Movement workshops will teach rolls, handstands, cartwheels, round off, bridges, walk over and progressions.

Renfrewshire Leisure are also organising activities for children of Primary school age with assisted support needs every Tuesday during the six-week programme of summer activities.

This takes places at the ON-X, in Linwood between 3pm and 4pm. A parent must attend this session and siblings are also encouraged to come, although only the first child will pay £5 to attend.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Head of Leisure and Community Services, Mark Tokeley  said: “Our Summer Activity Camps are ideal for parents who want their children to stay active and have fun during the summer holidays.

“There’s a wide variety of activities youngsters can take part in and enjoy. And you can be sure everyone will be safe, as we’ll have all the correct Covid protection measures in place during the camps and activities.”

To book for the camps and for more information head to renfrewshireleisure.com

Date confirmed following Covid-19 restrictions update by Scottish Government

Indoor fitness classes run by Renfrewshire Leisure will restart from May 17th, it has been confirmed today.


The Scottish Government has stated that indoor group exercise will once again be allowed when the region drops into Level Two of Covid-19 restrictions.

A programme of 119 weekly classes – operated in line with all public health guidance – will begin across Renfrewshire Leisure’s venues from next Monday, with 3,852 slots available for booking each week.


The timetable includes Vitality and new Easy Exercise classes designed to give people living with medical conditions, older adults and those just starting out the greatest support to get active to improve their physical and mental health.


A number of outdoor exercise classes – which have proven incredibly popular while indoor group sessions have not been allowed – will continue at ON-X in Linwood.


Fitness class bookings can be made from tomorrow (Wednesday, May 12th) via www.renfrewshireleisure.com, where full timetable details are also available. All classes must be pre-booked.


Measures in place to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic in the region means that Monday will be the first time since October that indoor group exercise has been allowed.


Mark Tokeley, Head of Leisure and Community Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “We know that our indoor classes have been massively missed and that many people cannot wait to get back – and we are very much looking forward to welcoming them. Our team is ready to support them in returning to a regular exercise programme. This is an exciting step for us all and we expect uptake to be extremely positive.


“In every element of our recovery from the impact of Covid-19, the safety of our customers and staff is our priority. People should rest assured that we are doing all we can to protect everyone’s health while creating great opportunities to improve the wellbeing of the region’s residents at this critical time, allowing them to return to activities they really enjoy. Hygiene and social distancing measures are in place at all venues.”


Swimming lessons will restart from the end of the month, with plans for a phased return currently being finalised.


Classes at Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley and Renfrew Sports Centre will run in tandem with mass vaccinations centres being operated at each site at the request of Renfrewshire Council. These will have separate entrance and exit points.


Renfrewshire Leisure’s gyms and swimming pools reopened for individual exercise and family swims – alongside its libraries and heritage centre – on April 26th.


An extensive library of exercise content also remains available online.


Regular updates on all services – both in-person and digitally – will be posted via Renfrewshire Leisure’s website and social media.

Key themes to be discussed as part of work behind £42m transformation of 150-year-old attraction

Renfrewshire’s residents are having their say in shaping the future of Paisley Museum.

A series of “creative conversations” will be held to develop ways in which the 150-year-old venue and its team will best serve the region’s communities following its £42m transformation.

They will involve representatives from many of the near 70 local organisations which took part in earlier engagement events with service operator Renfrewshire Leisure to examine the issues they face in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kirsty Devine, Project Director of Paisley Museum Re-Imagined, said: “The transformed museum will not just be about celebrating our globally-important past, but being inspired by it to forge a stronger future.

“That’s a future that will undoubtedly be framed by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it has had on local lives.

“We want to make sure that our work meets the community’s priorities – addressing the challenges we face and creating new opportunities for our residents while supporting the region’s health, social, cultural and economic recovery. To create a programme which achieves that, we want to best understand the needs of our communities.”

Six priorities for the revitalised museum’s work emerged from the previous round of listening sessions carried out by operator Renfrewshire Leisure with organisations and other local stakeholders. They are:

  • Community health and wellbeing
  • Tackling social isolation
  • Employability and skills
  • Local history and heritage
  • Confidence / belonging / feeling of ownership
  • Play, literacy and creativity

The creative conversations to be carried out this summer will explore these themes in more detail, looking at how partnership working can develop events for museum audiences.


Kirsty Devine added: “The engagement we have had has already led to some of those we have spoken launching activities which are benefitting people now, and which will develop as the museum’s transformation continues.


“It’s rooted deeply in the fabric of the museum to have the community’s involvement. In the late 19th century the founding committee recognised the importance of community involvement, commenting that the museum ‘only needed to be put in the possession of the community to be appreciated and that the advantages would be of service to all’. That’s an ethos we are embracing as we look to the future.”


As well as its work with community organisations, the museum team is also working with colleagues in Renfrewshire Leisure’s libraries, sports and leisure teams, as well as across Renfrewshire Council and The Great Place Scheme.


Dates for the creative conversations will be confirmed in the coming weeks.


For more details, go to https://reimagined.paisleymuseum.org.





Jambo! Radio  is the only radio station for the people of African and Caribbean heritage in Scotland, serving Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Based in Renfrewshire it broadcasts programmes in multiple languages commonly spoken by people of African and Caribbean heritage in Scotland. 


As part of the initial listening exercise, the museum team interviewed station founder George Tah  who then invited Paisley Museum to partner in a funding bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  Our Heritage will support four heritage trainees over 18 months.  They will visit Paisley: The Secret Collection museum store on the High Street, the local history  Heritage Centre at Abbeymill Business Centre, Seedhill and will find out more about the plans for Paisley Museum.  From this, they will produce a series of heritage-themed radio programmes for African and Caribbean communities and Jambo! Radio listeners.


This will be the start of a long-term relationship between Jambo! Radio, Paisley Museum and African and Caribbean communities.

A group of young people who produce their own artistic shows and events have won a top national award.

Art Boss was started in January 2020 for young people from Renfrewshire between the ages of 14 and 18, giving them an opportunity to produce, write, direct and appear in their own artistic performances.

And they have been so successful, they have recently won the Arts category in the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards.

When Art Boss was launched by Renfrewshire Leisure, in partnership with Renfrewshire Youth Services, the idea was for the young people to perform their live shows at various arts festivals, but the coronavirus pandemic meant they had to adapt and take their performances online.

Already, they have launched their own graphic novel, called The Attic, which was published online and in print; produced their own Hallowe’en horror movie called, The Devil and the Art Bossers and created a video called This Is For The… by narrating a poem paying tribute to the workers on the frontline in the fight against Covid.

Marie Collins, is the music project producer with Renfrewshire Leisure’s Arts Team and helps the young people in Art Boss.

Marie said: “Winning this award means a lot to the young people involved in Art Boss and they were buzzing when they heard about it.

“The young people have put a lot of hard work into their projects over the past year and this recognition for what they have achieved is very well deserved.

“They have had a fantastic year and are very committed. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about Art Boss in the future.”

The Art Boss group has been made possible with the support of Future Paisley – the radical and wide-ranging programme of events, activity and investment using the town’s unique and internationally-significant cultural stories to transform its future.

Chief executive: Charity excited to safely welcome back members and customers to venues and facilities as Covd-19 restrictions ease

Renfrewshire Leisure’s gyms, swimming pools, libraries and heritage centre will reopen from Monday, April 26th.

The announcement comes after the Scottish Government today formally confirmed that the region will drop down to Covid-19 level three restrictions from that date.

This means the gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise, in line with all public health guidelines. Outdoors, all organised activities except adult contact sport can also now take place. 

In addition to those facilities available before Christmas, Renfrew Victory Baths will reopen following maintenance work, with extended opening hours in place. Meanwhile, the gym at Johnstone Community Sports Hub will be open outside of school hours. The swimming pool at Johnstone remains closed pending maintenance work.

Gym facilities previously at Park Mains High School will be located at Erskine Sports Centre.

The rule-change also allows for capacity at Renfrewshire Leisure’s popular outdoor fitness classes – which restarted last month while indoor classes are not permitted – can be doubled to 30 people from Monday. That takes the number of weekly slots available to 570.

All 12 of the region’s libraries will reopen too – on a click-and-collect basis for items, with public access to computers also available at each venue.

Members of the public will also again be able to access the heritage centre in Paisley.

Hygiene and social distancing measures will be in place at the venues. All gym and swimming sessions must be pre-booked, as should visits to the heritage centre. Details about opening times and making a booking can be found at www.renfrewshireleisure.com. Bookings for gyms and swimming sessions will open on Wednesday, April 21st.

Monday will be the first time that the venues have been open to the public since lockdown restrictions came into force on December 26th, although online services have been operating throughout.

Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “We are excited to welcome back our loyal members and residents to our venues. We know how keen people are to return and enjoy more of our services. Our team stands ready to support them as best they can.

“In so many ways, the work we do has never been needed more. Encouraging and supporting better health and wellbeing is going to be vital for people as they recover from the impact of Covid-19 on their lives. 

“We are determined to play a key part in our region’s recovery from the pandemic, with the safety of our community and staff the utmost priority.”

The restart of individual exercise sessions at Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley and Renfrew Sports Centre will run in tandem with mass vaccinations centres being operated there at the request of Renfrewshire Council. These will have separate entrance and exit points.

Rules for the use of outdoor pitches have been shared with sports clubs.

Staff are also once again manning Barshaw Golf Club. Bowlers, meanwhile, were able to return to Lochfield Bowling Green, Paisley, and Robertson Park Bowling Green in Renfrew from April 1.

Direct debit payment for members – which have been suspended during the disruption to in-person services – will restart from May 7th. Those with annual memberships will have time reimbursed before re-opening.

Regular updates on all services – both in-person and digitally – will be posted via Renfrewshire Leisure’s website and social media.

FAMILIES can enjoy an eggs-travaganza of fun events and activities during the Easter break from the comfort of their own home.

Renfrewshire Leisure Arts, Libraries and Museums teams have created an exciting programme of online events for children and grown-ups that would have the Easter Bunny jumping for joy.

All the events and activities – from theatre performances and music sessions to arts and crafts and library workshops – are easy to access by logging on to www.renfrewshireleisure.com . The majority of the events are free to access online.

For the youngest audiences, Ipdip Theatre present Up and Down at 10.30am and noon on April 12.  This is an adventure on Zoom for children under five, giving them a chance to connect to distanced friends and relatives who are encouraged to join the fun.  There is a £3 charge to view this event.

The over-fives will love M6 Theatre’s beautiful short film When We Started Singing, exclusively on the Ren TV online channel from April 12-18.

For 11-15 year olds The Big Data Show by Civic Digits is a ground-breaking, immersive theatre experience using performance, gaming and digital magic being shown online 10am on April 7, or 7pm on April 14.  There is a £3 charge to view this event.

And youngsters can shake, rattle and roll with TRASH percussion, at 10am on April 17, or enjoy some gentle movement and simple crafts at Balloon Babies, 10am on April 10.

Scotland’s top musicians continue to entertain with Sally Simpson and Catriona Hawksworth on fiddle and piano – and Valerie Barr on classical accordion, our Sunday Continental brunch-time boogie sessions will be recorded live for you to enjoy.

And don’t forget the weekly Stuck In The House Music sessions on Ren TV every Thursday, at 8pm.

They are encouraging people of all ages and abilities to become inspired to create a piece of art based on the outdoors. The artwork could be in the form of collages, sculptures, or photographs. If you submit a photograph of your artwork to the Renfrewshire Leisure website, there’s a chance it could be included in the online exhibition.

There are also two Library Workshops broadcast on Ren TV, on April 7 and 14 at 10am. The first is Wooly Easter Crafts and the second is Growing Green.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s Arts Manager, Rikki Payne said: “Our Easter programme this year is all about entertaining, informing and passing on new skills to young and old alike.

“Although our venues remain closed due to Covid restrictions, we’ve pulled out all the stops to bring a wide range of quality events and activities into people’s homes.

“The emphasis is on fun and there’s plenty for young and old to enjoy.”

The Easter events are made possible with the support of Future Paisley – the radical and wide-ranging programme of events, activity and investment using the town’s unique and internationally-significant cultural stories to transform its future.