alastair MacLachlan

FITNESS fans got back in the saddle after lockdown yesterday (Monday) when Renfrewshire Leisure began reopening its gyms, swimming pools and sports centres.

A spin cycle session was the first fitness class held at The ON-X, in Linwood, and one of the first people to book a place at the class was Margaret McKinstry, from Houston, Renfrewshire.

alastair MacLachlan

Margaret, 61, couldn’t wait to get back to her fitness classes and has booked sessions every day this week.

She said: “I’ve been going to fitness classes for about ten years and I really missed them during lockdown.

“As well as keeping fit, you also meet friends at the fitness classes and the re-opening of the gyms and classes couldn’t come quick enough for me.”

The re-opening of Renfrewshire Leisure’s fitness suites came at the right time for 31-year-old Stephanie Cunningham, from Lochwinnoch, who gave birth to a baby girl, Carmen, in June.

The competitive weightlifter booked a morning session in the gym at The ON-X yesterday.

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“I’m looking forward to getting back in shape after having a baby,” Stephanie said. “I’ll be booking gym sessions three or four times a week from now on.”

The safety of both customers and staff has been made a top priority as Renfrewshire Leisure reopened most of its sports and leisure facilities in line with Scottish Government guidance.

Clearly indicated measures such as one-way systems are in place alongside guidance on social distancing and spaced out gym equipment, which is cleaned after every use. Hand sanitising points are included in the enhanced hygiene regime. Customers and staff must wear face coverings as they move about the centres.

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The facilities which opened yesterday were The ON-X; Lagoon Leisure Centre, in Paisley; Renfrew Leisure Centre, Renfrew Victory Baths, Erskine Sports Centre and Erskine Swimming Pool.

Mark Tokeley, Head of Leisure and Community Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “It’s been great to welcome our first customers back into our centres. Everyone’s been pleased to return and we’re looking forward to seeing many more of our members and customers in the days and weeks ahead.

“What’s clear from what everyone is telling us is that they have missed coming along to our gyms, fitness classes and swimming pools. Being able to open again is good for the physical and mental wellbeing of people in our region.

“We appreciate that with the new safety measures we have introduced, things may be a bit different, but we’re working hard to ensure a really positive experience. By working together, we will all enjoy the return of these much-appreciated services.”

In the reopened centres, where all appointments must be pre-booked, the team at Renfrewshire Leisure have hit the ground running to provide a wide variety of activities with 110 fitness classes, 4,800 fitness class slots, 4,011 swimming slots and 10,665 gym sessions every week.

Shared leisure facilities at Park Mains High School, in Erskine, and Johnstone Community Sports Hub will re-open during a later phase.

The careful way in which the restart of services has been planned may mean that not all types of classes will be immediately available. But to give customers as wide a choice as possible, spaces have been repurposed to ensure capacity levels remain unaffected. Membership fees have also been frozen until November.

People can watch a video of what to expect at Renfrewshire Leisure’s reopened leisure venues by going to www.renfrewshireleisure.com/fitness.

Fitness sessions can be booked seven days in advance on a first-come-first-served basis by logging on to https://bookings.renfrewshireleisure.com/ and people without internet access can book by calling 0300 300 0250.

Customers are being asked not to visit Renfrewshire Leisure facilities if they are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 – a high temperature, a new or continuous cough, or a loss, or change in sense of taste or smell.

tinyrevRen14_insta_image

Tiny Revolutions Renfrewshire is now in week 14 and we would like your help in promoting yet another fantastic activity enabling anyone across Renfrewshire to take part and be creative.

Big thank you to Erskine Arts for coming up with this week’s activity and for a ‘how to’ video to run along with it – it’s a good yin! Tune in to watch the ‘how to’ video here.

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Please find attached (Facebook/Twitter and Instagram) promotion for week 14 activity for Tiny Revolutions Renfrewshire. More information on the creative project and the new activity can be downloaded every Friday by following this link – https://bit.ly/TinyRevRen (All previous activities are available here to!).

We would be grateful if you will support us in sharing with you communities, groups and networks? Participants are asked to share their creativity via social media using #TinyRevolutionsRen

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We have posts on the project coming out at various time through the week on our Facebook and Twitter pages for Paisley Arts Centre should it be easier for you to share information that way.

FUN PALACES – We are taking part in this year’s Fun Palaces on the weekend 3rd/4th October, for more information and to hear how you can take part click here.

head of renfrewshire leisure

Access to gyms, fitness classes and swimming pools will be via pre-booked time slots only

Bookings for sessions at gyms and swimming pools being reopened by Renfrewshire Leisure can be made from today (Monday September 7th).

head of renfrewshire leisure

The local leisure charity’s online booking system has gone live ahead of the first phase of services restarting at its leisure centres from next Monday (September 14th) following their Covid-19 lockdown closures.

Its team will provide 110 fitness classes, 4,800 fitness class slots, 4,011 swimming slots and 10,665 gym sessions at its reopened venues every week. 

By logging on to https://bookings.renfrewshireleisure.com/ people will be able to book slots for sessions and classes up to seven days in advance. These will be filled on a “first come, first served” basis.

Renfrewshire Leisure has repeatedly stressed that the safety of customers and staff is its top priority. Pre-booking ensures that all Scottish Government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene are adhered to.

Mark Tokeley, Head of Leisure and Community Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “We know how much our services have been missed since their closure in March and are very much looking forward to their return.

“The pre-booking system will ensure that we can manage numbers in our venues at any one time to ensure that social distancing will be maintained. When each booking is made, we will issue advice on the measures we have put in place for people’s safety and instructions of what to do at the venue when they arrive.

“Our team has been working incredibly hard to prepare to welcome everyone back in the safest way. While things will operate differently to what we are all used to, by working together, we are sure that everyone will enjoy being able to benefit from our on-site services once again.”

For those without internet access, bookings can be made by calling 0300 300 0250.

On September 14th, ON-X in Linwood, the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley, Renfrew Leisure Centre, Renfrew Victory Baths, Erskine Sports Centre and Erskine Swimming Pool will reopen, complying with all Scottish Government guidance on hygiene and physical distancing. 

 

Shared leisure facilities at Park Mains High School in Erskine and at the Johnstone Community Sports Hub will open in a second phase, with strictly controlled public access. This will involve detailed health and safety reviews and will ensure there has been sufficient time to settle pupils and staff safely back to school. Planned investment work in maintenance of the swimming pool at Johnstone means that this part of the venue will not be ready to reopen alongside other areas of the site, but will follow later.

It has previously been confirmed that members will not be charged any membership fees until November.

Details on restarting the Learn to Swim programme are being reviewed. An update on this will be provided shortly.

 

Information about all Renfrewshire Leisure services and how they are operating can be found at www.renfrewshireleisure.com/coronavirus.

 

Throughout lockdown, Renfrewshire Leisure has been operating an innovative programme of online services to help people stay fit and healthy. For more details about how to take part in them, go to  www.renfrewshireleisure.com or follow the charity’s channels on social media.

Renfrewshire Leisure Covid-19 sanitiser signage1

Safety the priority as Renfrewshire Leisure confirms the careful restart of services at gyms and swimming pools after Covid-19 shutdown

Local leisure charity, Renfrewshire Leisure, will begin the safe and phased reopening of its leisure centres from Monday, September 14th.

Renfrewshire Leisure Covid-19 sanitiser signage1 

Details of the plans for gyms and swimming pools have been confirmed, along with news that members will not be charged any membership fees until November. This delay to restarting payments is to cover payments made in March but has been extended to thank supporters for their loyalty as the organisation moves into a significant phase in its recovery from the lockdown triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

On September 14th, ON-X in Linwood, the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley, Renfrew Leisure Centre, Renfrew Victory Baths, Erskine Sports Centre and Erskine Swimming Pool will reopen, complying with all Scottish Government guidance on hygiene and physical distancing. 

Renfrewshire Leisure graphic showing two-metre distancing between gym equipment

Shared leisure facilities at Park Mains High School in Erskine and at the Johnstone Community Sports Hub will open in a second phase, with strictly controlled public access. This will involve detailed health and safety reviews and will ensure there has been sufficient time to settle pupils and staff safely back to school. Planned investment work in maintenance of the swimming pool at Johnstone means that this part of the venue will not be ready to reopen alongside other areas of the site, but will follow later.

 

Some outside synthetic sports pitches will reopen to pre-existing club bookings on August 31st, although changing room facilities as well as smaller pavilions and gym facilities (at Seedhill, Ferguslie and Ralston) will remain closed for now as a result of challenging physical distancing requirements. Wider bookings – which must be made by phone – will be opened from September 14th. Full details are available at www.renfrewshireleisure.com.

Renfrewshire Leisure Covid-19 sanitiser signage2 

Entrance to indoor leisure facilities and services will be by online pre-booking of time slots only. Clearly indicated hygiene measures will be in place at each venue, with details emailed to members and customers once bookings are made. More details about the online booking system will be provided ahead of opening.

 

Details on restarting the Learn to Swim programme are being reviewed. An update on this will be provided shortly.

 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week that the earliest possible date from which gyms and pools could reopen was August 31st. This confirmation has allowed the Renfrewshire Leisure team to review the latest Government guidance and enter the final phase of preparations to ensure customer and employee safety.

 

Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “We know how eager people are to enjoy the services in our venues once again and are looking forward to welcoming members and customers back as we work to help improve residents’ wellbeing across Renfrewshire. That’s why I am so pleased that we are able to help people invest in their health by continuing our freeze on members’ direct debit payments until November.

 

“While arrangements at our venues will be different to that which our communities are used to, we are sure that by working together and adhering to all of the guidelines in place that the gradual restart of our services will be enjoyable for everyone.”

 

Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “The safe and phased restart of on-site services at our leisure centres and swimming pools is a major milestone in not only our charity’s careful route out of lockdown, but that of the communities we are proud to serve.

 

“Safety remains our number one priority. The dates and phased approach we have planned for the restart of our services reflect that, ensuring we will be in the strongest position to welcome people back in the safest way.”

 

Throughout lockdown, Renfrewshire Leisure has been operating an innovative programme of online services to help people stay fit and healthy. For more details about how to take part in them, go to  www.renfrewshireleisure.com or follow the charity’s channels on social media.

Victoria Hollows, Renfrewshire Leisure Chief Executive

Detailed planning is underway to prepare for the reopening of leisure centres

Renfrewshire Leisure has welcomed confirmation from the Scottish Government that leisure centres can begin reopening from August 31 as part of the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Victoria Hollows, Renfrewshire Leisure Chief Executive

The latest guidance from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon means that the independent charity can move to the final stage of preparing its plans and procedures for the gradual and safe reopening of services at the gyms and swimming pools it operates, although with access only on the basis of pre-booked time slots.

Details will be shared as soon as they have been finalised in line with Government guidance.

Meantime, details about how all Renfrewshire Leisure services are affected by Covid-19 restrictions, can be found at www.renfrewshireleisure.com.

Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Today’s confirmation from the First Minister of a date from which leisure centre reopenings can begin is an important step in allowing us to finalise our preparations for the careful restart of our on-site services.

“The safety of our staff and those who use our service is our absolute priority. We are  working incredibly hard to ensure that our venues are ready to welcome visitors in the safest, most enjoyable way just as soon as we are able to do so.

Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, added: “We know that our services have been missed and that people are eager to see them return – we want to restart to support the health and wellbeing of our communities.

“I would like to thank our loyal members and customers for their patience and ongoing support as we finalise our arrangements, as well as the team here at Renfrewshire Leisure for all of their work.”

Throughout lockdown, Renfrewshire Leisure has been operating an innovative programme of online services to help people stay fit and healthy. For more details about how to take part in them, go to  www.renfrewshireleisure.com or follow the charity’s channels on social media.

Renfrewshire-Leisure

Safety the priority as Renfrewshire Leisure has to wait for “green light” on leisure service, including gyms and pools.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today (Thursday, 30th July) confirmed a further delay before gyms and swimming pools can reopen, with opening now identified as likely to be allowed on 14th September. That timeline is dependent on maintaining low levels of virus in the community as well as ensuring that all social distancing and hygiene protocols are followed, although the First Minister held out the prospect of particularly favourable conditions perhaps permitting an opening date at the end of August.

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Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa Marie Hughes said: “We really do value the support of our members and the wider public and know how much people in Renfrewshire have missed these services. These centres are important parts of our communities, playing important roles in helping our health and wellbeing. We are looking forward to welcoming people back and working with them to ensure their return is both safe and enjoyable.” 

 

Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “We know how eagerly the community is waiting for news on a date for reopening our leisure facilities, not least of all because of the vital part they play in ensuring we can get everyone active again after a long period of closure during lockdown. 

 

“With reopening now no earlier than the end of August, and perhaps not until mid September, we will continue to use the time before then to refine our procedures – continuing to reflect that our first priority for opening will be the safety of our customers and staff.”

 

Renfrewshire Leisure will also be working with Renfrewshire Council’s education department towards the recommencement of its Active Schools programmes from the start of the new school term, as well as working with local sports clubs and teams to make earliest possible use of courts and pitches after confirmation that these can commence from specified dates in August.

Lily the frog with joke book

It’s time for youngsters to join the Silly Squad this summer.

All kinds of daftness is the theme of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge and children between the ages of four and 11 are being encouraged to sign up for a celebration of funny books, happiness and laughter.

Lily the frog with joke book

The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends who love to go on adventures and read all kinds of humorous books. This year’s Reading Challenge also features characters designed by the award-winning author and illustrator, Laura Ellen Anderson who created books like Amelia Fang and Evil Emperor Penguin.

The challenge runs from now until August 15 and to join all you have to do is visit www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk where you’ll find the link to the Silly Squad website. Parents or carers will need to give consent for children to sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.

Once registered, youngsters can set their own personal reading challenge and the website helps keep track of their books, reviews and the rewards for reading books during the summer.

Lily the frog with joke book

The website is also packed with suggestions of brilliant books to read and tips on how to keep reading over the summer. There will also be heaps of super silly activities, quizzes, videos and games to keep children entertained.

Youngsters can also tune into the #ScottishSillySquad on YouTube where every week three authors and storytellers will broadcast their tips on how best to enjoy and complete the Summer Reading Challenge.

A wide variety of children’s books and e-books can be borrowed for free with library membership. To do that, or to join a library, just go to the Renfrewshire Libraries website.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “Reading should be fun for children and that’s exactly what this year’s Summer Reading Challenge is.

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“Last year more than 2000 young people took part in our reading challenge and even though we have been in lockdown in recent months, we’re making sure children don’t miss out on the joy of books this year.”

The Summer Reading Challenge is being organised by Renfrewshire Libraries and the Reading Agency with the aim of getting youngsters to read books during the summer break.

Renfrewshire Libraries have now re-opened for click and collect and returning books only. For more information go to www.renfrewshireleisure.com.

virtual 5k

Fans of the Paisley 10k can still take part in a road race this year as a new competition gets up and running.

The annual Paisley 10k and Fun Run may have had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the team at Renfrewshire Leisure have organised a series of virtual races to take its place.

virtual 5k

Runners can take part by signing up for the Renfrewshire Leisure Virtual 5k Summer Series for free and after registering, they are asked to submit their best times for running a distance of 5k.

They can start submitting their times once every week for three weeks starting on July 27 and runners can complete the distance either on an outdoor run, or on a treadmill.

Week One is July 27 to August 2; Week Two, August 3 to August 9 and Week 3, August 10 to August 16.

Registration via www.renfrewshireleisure.com/5ksummerseries will be open throughout each week and once signed up, runners will be sent an email with a weblink to a Google Form where they can submit their times.

Runners can choose to register and submit their time for Week 1, Week 2, or all three weeks. At the end of each week, results will be collated and a leader board will be posted on the Renfrewshire Leisure website and social media.

The Virtual 5k Summer Series is being organised in conjunction with Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club and the event’s charity partner is Erskine – Scotland’s foremost provider of care for military veterans and their spouses.

Although entry to the event is free, runners are being encouraged to make a donation to Erskine at www.erskine.org.uk/support-our-work/donate/ .

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “It’s a shame the Paisley 10k and Fun Run has had to be cancelled this year, but we’re making sure all the training that runners have been doing throughout the year will be put to good use.

“Our team has been very creative in coming up with the idea for a Virtual 5k Summer Series and I hope lots of runners sign up and log their best times for running the 5k race distance.

“I’m sure those taking part will join in the fun and competitive spirit of the event and if they aren’t top of the leader board after the first week, they have another two opportunities to post even faster times.”

Renfrewshire's libraries

It was one for the record books as avid reader Ann Clark was the first person to visit Johnstone Library after it re-opened after months of lockdown.

The sprightly 77-year-old was at the head of the queue before the library opened at 10am to return 15 books and borrow another nine books to keep up with her favourite pastime of reading.

Renfrewshire's libraries

As she clutched her latest supply of books outside Johnstone Library, Ann, from Kilbarchan said:

“Being able to visit the library was the thing I missed most during lockdown. I’ve loved reading since I was a young girl and I always had my nose in a book.

“I was overjoyed when I heard the library was reopening, as I visit the library twice a week and I must be their most regular customer.”

Ann whose favourite books are romance novels and wartime stories added: “When the library was closed over the past few months I got books from friends and I even read some books twice.”

All 12 Renfrewshire Leisure libraries re-opened yesterday (Monday) for members to return titles and pick up books they had ordered by phone or online by click and collect.

The move comes after the Scottish Government last week gave the go-ahead for libraries to open as part of the move into Phase 3 of the route map out of the coronavirus pandemic.

To keep both staff and the public safe, only one customer at a time will be alllowed into a library to drop off books, or collect pre-ordered books and face coverings should be worn inside the building.

It has also been decided that there won’t be any fines for people returning overdue books.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We encourage people of all ages to read books, as it brings enjoyment and knowledge into our lives.

“Libraries have always been an important resource in our community and it’s brilliant to be able to open up our libraries again and provide a vital service to the public.

“Due to the current coronaviris guidelines from the Scottish Government we will have to operate our libraries in a different way for the time being. But I’m sure our customers will understand and we thank them for their patience and willingness to abide by these guidelines as we welcome them back.”

Renfrewshire’s libraries are at: Bishopton; Bridge of Weir; Erskine; Ferguslie; Foxbar; Glenburn; Johnstone; Lochwinnoch; Linwood; Paisley Central Library; Ralston and Renfrew.

Books can be reserved online at www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk or by telephone on 0300 300 1188.

Louise Drennan, Renfrewshire Leisure

Renfrewshire Leisure highlights success of services online as all 12 of its libraries prepare to launch click and collect service from Monday

Bookworms have borrowed more than 24,000 ebooks and emagazines from Renfrewshire’s libraries during lockdown.

Louise Drennan, Renfrewshire Leisure

The remarkable figure – representing an 80 per cent rise on this time last year – is among a string of successes secured by library staff as they’ve met massive demand for services online during the coronavirus crisis.

Renfrewshire Leisure will begin the gradual restart of physical operations at its libraries on Monday (July 20) as part of the latest phase of the community’s route map out of the pandemic, starting with a click and collect service.

But libraries staff will continue to develop their online offering in tandem with in-library services after experiencing huge demand for activities including quizzes, games, storytimes and writing workshops.

Between March 18 and July 13, Renfrewshire Leisure recorded 24,000 eloans – 16,963 ebooks and audiobooks and 7,096 emagazines. That compares to 9,267 ebooks and audiobooks and 4,096 emagazines – a 13,363 total – between the same dates last year

Joyce Higgins, Digital and Library Development Manager at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “While we may not have physically had people visiting our libraries in the past few months, our online engagement has gone through the roof. We have been blown away by the engagement in the services and activities we have been running online and via social media.

“Our team have done a tremendous job in the way they have innovated, reimagined some of our services for online and ensured that – despite our physical buildings having been closed – we have continued to work with huge numbers of people across Renfrewshire to support their health and wellbeing during lockdown.

“We are excited about continuing to develop our online offering.”

Other online successes include the Bookbug sessions, which have been led by Kirstie Burns, a volunteer at Renfrew Library. She started her sessions from the first week of lockdown, broadcasting them on YouTube. She has produced 15 sessions which have had about 80,000 video views.

A series of Libraries Live Lunchtime Quizzes – broadcast via Facebook Live – have also been viewed more than 10,000 times.

The Skoobmobile team have been keeping in-touch with families through storytimes on RENTV channel including readings of “Oi Frog!” by Kes Gray and “Whiffy Wilson the Wolf who wouldn’t wash” by Caryl Hart and Leonie Lord.

Meanwhile, The Reading Agency and Renfrewshire Libraries are excited to introduce Silly Squad, Summer Reading Challenge 2020. The Silly Squad is a team of animal friends who love to go on adventures and read all kinds of funny books. More than 200 children have already signed up to take part in the challenge, which is digital this year. Visit www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk for more details.

All 12 of the libraries operated by Renfrewshire Leisure will be open for returns and for borrowing on a click and collect basis, as part of measures being put in place to ensure the safety of staff and library users. Books can be reserved online at

www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk or by telephone on 0300 300 1188. Access to buildings will be on a one in, one out basis. Each one will have a simple drop-off point for returns.

On top of this, staff will continue with the Libraries Direct service they have been operating throughout lockdown. This has seen them work with volunteers and Renfrewshire Council to deliver books and make wellbeing phone calls to people who have been shielding in their homes throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Morag Macpherson, Head of Cultural Services at Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Our libraries team can be really proud of the work they have done during lockdown. I’m delighted with what we have achieved and look forward to developing our online services further, in tandem with what we offer in our library buildings as our services restart there.”

Opening arrangements for each library will be available at www.renfrewshire leisure.com. As well as the click and collect service, people will be able to phone library staff for recommendations and will contact them when their book is ready to collect. Computers in the libraries are not yet available for public use.

Social distancing and hygiene requirements will be clearly displayed at each building.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s libraries are at: Bishopton; Bridge of Weir; Erskine; Ferguslie; Foxbar; Glenburn; Johnstone; Lochwinnoch; Linwood; Paisley Central Library; Ralston and Renfrew.

Renfrewshire Leisure continues to await further guidance from the Scottish Government on the reopening of leisure services.