Strictly come prancing

St. Vincent’s Hospice are looking for couples and volunteers from the same household to sign up to take part in their Strictly Come Prancing event in Spring 2021, as the charity begin preparations to allow the event to go ahead in a safe, fun and socially distanced dance spectacular.

Strictly come prancing

St. Vincent’s Hospice is a local charity Hospice at the heart of the community, providing specialist care for those affected by life limiting conditions in Renfrewshire. Every year, Strictly Come Prancing generates thousands of pounds in essential revenue to provide this vital support for people across the community going through some of the hardest times of their lives.

Director of Income Generation for the Hospice, Jackie Young, said: “Strictly Come Prancing is the biggest event on our fundraising calendar, with couples and dance partners coming together in front of hundreds of supporters and sponsors every year, to find out who will be crowned the Strictly Champions.

“With the current pandemic, we have no way of knowing what will be allowed in March: so we are currently working on plans A, B, C and D to make sure that we are able to go ahead in some format. Currently this has involved discussions with venues of limited numbers, doing it across multiple nights, all the way to a live streamed online event. Whatever it takes, to keep everyone involved safe and keep everyone dancing!

“What we do know, is that we need volunteers to sign up and be our dance couples for 2021! So, if you are from the same household or extended household, and want to get involved, learn how to dance, have fun and help out a great cause, we want to hear from you!”

Couples who sign up will undergo dance training from experienced choreographers to make sure they are ready to go on the big night in a way that matches their skill level and is sure to wow the judges. All training will be carried out in line with government guidelines to ensure everyone is safe.

Jackie added: “This event is open to everyone, with former champions including an 81 year old dancing the tango, so please support St. Vincent’s Hospice and get in touch to find out more.”

To learn more, sign up, or speak to the Fundraising Team call 01505 705 635 or email


Councillor Scott Kerr said he is “astonished” the heavily corroded bridge in Houston remains in such a poor condition after three years of pressing the issue

councillor scott kerr

A village councillor is calling for urgent action to be taken to fix a metal bridge in Houston which has been “left to rot”.

Scott Kerr said he is “astonished” the heavily corroded Ardgryffe bridge – which is covered in holes and graffiti – remains in such a poor condition after three years of pressing the issue with both Renfrewshire Council and current owners Taylor Wimpey.

The Conservative councillor claims the two have been at a “stalemate” during the period, with Taylor Wimpey wanting the council to adopt the bridge, while the local authority has insisted it is brought into a better condition before this can be done.

The bridge provides a vital walking route for residents – connecting Houston and Crosslee – and is used daily by schoolkids.

Taylor Wimpey has said it has “no concerns” regarding corrosion on the bridge.

Councillor Kerr said: “I am deeply frustrated the issues surrounding the Ardgryffe bridge in my ward continue to remain unresolved.

“This is an issue I have been pursuing since I was elected three years ago and I find it astonishing we remain at a stalemate.

“It is time for the council and Taylor Wimpey to discuss the matters again and commit to resolving this for the people of Houston and Crosslee.

houston bridge

“I will continue to liaise closely with the community council to demand the bridge is once again fit for purpose for residents in my ward as a matter of urgency.”

Taylor Wimpey said a meeting was held this week with the council and an inspection was carried out at both the Ardgryffe bridge and the wooden Crosslee bridge.

The company also confirmed it has “agreed a specification” to allow the council to adopt the bridge – hopefully by the end of next year – and is committed to carrying out necessary works.

The council said it was agreed in July last year that, subject to conditions being met, it would adopt the bridge for maintenance purposes and bosses continue to be in discussions with the developer.

A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey West Scotland said: “We remain fully committed to completing the works necessary to the metal bridge at Ardgryffe Crescent and the wooden Crosslee Bridge as part of a wider strategy to handover Crosslee Woodland to Renfrewshire Council.

“We are in regular communication with the local authority in relation to this matter.

“Following an inspection on September 10, we can advise there are no missing spars to the metal bridge, and we have no concerns regarding corrosion.

“We have agreed a specification to allow the metal bridge to be adopted by Renfrewshire Council.

“We are also addressing the remedial work that is required to the surrounding woodland to remove diseased and dying trees. However, our approved plan for this has been impacted by the current health emergency and we are in the process of engaging a new contractor.

“We will continue to work in partnership with Renfrewshire Council to resolve matters, which we anticipate could allow the Crosslee Infrastructure to be adopted by the local authority towards the end of next year.”

Text by Paisley Daily Express written by

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Proposals to repurpose existing funds to support Renfrewshire’s culture sector recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 have been approved by councillors.

The proposals, which were presented at today’s Leadership Board (Wednesday 16 September), recommended that £200,000 previously allocated to Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events Fund be adapted to become Renfrewshire’s Cultural Recovery and Renewal Fund to support local cultural organisations and artists impacted by the pandemic.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG

The changes recognise that the focus of the previous Culture Heritage and Event Fund no longer fits the need of the sector as individuals and organisations are unable to deliver projects effectively due to ongoing lockdown restrictions.

Renfrewshire’s Cultural Recovery and Renewal Fund will now be split across three strands; Cultural Organisations Support – grants for cultural and creative not-for-profit organisations facing significant threat which are ineligible for the Business Support Fund; Arts development grant – aimed at freelance artists living and working in Renfrewshire to help develop new work and Town Centre & Neighbourhood Creative Installations –  supporting artistic interventions across Renfrewshire that add value to public and civic outdoor spaces.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “The value of culture and creativity has been one of the defining elements of the pandemic – a time when it has never been more challenging for the sector.

“Renfrewshire’s Culture Sector has responded with innovation and care helping to support the community and lift our spirits in a number of creative ways including delivering online content like classes, exhibitions and concerts, and by making  projects like creativity boredom boxes available.

“This sector has been such an important part of the area’s history and is a key part of the vision for its future and this is why we must do what we can to support it at a time when it is experiencing its greatest challenges.”

Renfrewshire Leisure, on behalf of Renfrewshire Council, will now move on to develop the eligibility, criteria and assessment processes – aiming for applications for the funds to be open by the end of 2020 and distributed in the early part of 2021.

Renfrewshire’s Cultural Recovery and Renewal Fund is supported by Future Paisley – a programme of economic, social and physical regeneration building on the work already done to use Paisley’s internationally significant culture and heritage story to change its fortunes.


Do you want to grow your business or grow as an individual in business? Then who better to encourage you than someone who has already made that journey?

With a diverse pool of Business Mentors across all sectors, you will be matched with someone who has the right skills and experience to add value to your business.

44227 Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce - Webinar Graphics - Unlock FacebookLinedIn

Business Mentoring can help with:

Business strategy

International business knowledge

Export expertise

Creating business opportunities


Teamwork/Leadership skills

Using this service will not just give you the confidence to develop your business, it can also introduce you to a great network of contacts who can open doors and inspire new thinking.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Business Mentoring can help business owners like you realise your personal and business growth ambitions, giving you the ability to take your company to new heights.

We can put you in touch with highly experienced entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to share the secrets of their success.

Take advantage of our fully funded support service and find out how our Business Mentors can help you.

Stuart Murray pic

Stuart Murray is our Development Executive responsible for Business Mentoring in Renfrewshire. He can be contacted on:

Mobile: 07525 323500

Telephone: 0141 847 5458


Clyde walkway after being tidied

Volunteers are making it a Spotless September in Renfrewshire after more than 250 bags of litter were collected in the first two weeks.

Clyde walkway after being tidied

Hundreds of volunteers have taken part in an incredible 75 litter picks so far as inspired individuals and community groups do their bit to make their local community cleaner and brighter.

Litter picks have taken place all across Renfrewshire, including Erskine, Renfrew, Paisley, Johnstone, Linwood, Bishopton, Houston and Bridge of Weir.

Marion McDonald and her two children, Matthew (11) and Ivy (6), from Toddle Tots

Local volunteers have been provided by the Renfrewshire Council with sanitised litter pickers and equipment to take part in their litter picks, as well as information on how to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic while litter picking, and the council’s StreetScene team have collected each bag of litter afterwards too.


Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “It’s incredible how devoted our volunteers are and their dedication to keeping their community clean continues to amaze me.

“We are all working together to not only make where we live cleaner and brighter, but also to change the behaviour of those who think it’s okay to drop litter.

Cllr Cathy McEwan

“The Team Up to Clean Up campaign has created a community of local people who want to make a difference and, slowly but surely, we will make real environmental change here in Renfrewshire.

“I’ve been out litter picking as part of Spotless September and I can’t wait to get out again. Please come join me and hundreds of others as we work hard to make Renfrewshire a nicer place to live, work and visit.”

The award-winning Team Up to Clean Up campaign sees the council and community join together to carry out enhanced cleaning of Renfrewshire’s local environment, with additional road sweeping, litter picking, and gully cleaning assisted by the local community’s litter picks.

For more information, and to find out how to take part, visit

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TRANSFORM: Helping you navigate the post-Covid business environment. 

Funded and developed by Renfrewshire Chamber our TRANSFORM programme is designed to help you adapt and transition to the new business environment post-COVID. With online training and support in key areas including Leadership, Strategy, Digital, Green Recovery and Wellbeing. TRANSFORM is free to join and delivered between August 2020-Feb 2021. Places are limited to max 20 for each discipline. Please contact the team to register your interest now. 

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TRANSFORM: Green Recovery with leading environmental consultants Mabbett

Session 1: 15 Sept 2020 10am-11am Title: What’s the fuss about “net zero” emissions?

  • Background to Scottish government goals and targets – net zero emissions by 2045.
  • Strategic planning and what this means for companies both large and small.
  • Current help available for companies
  • A consideration of your own company’s current status on net zero emissions planning
  • One action to take away.

Session 2: 22 Sept 2020 10am-11am Title: What SME’s can do to reduce emissions and save money

Session 3: 29 Sept 2020 10am-11am Title: Your Net Zero Emissions by 2045 Strategy – Opportunities”


Contact Jill Carrino 07702 9090474

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TRANSFORM: Mental Health & Wellbeing with Brian Costello – Headstrong  

As we return to work Mental Health has been pushed to the front of many of our agendas.  Whether it be for our colleagues, for ourselves or, in many cases, both, it is imperative that business leaders understand the modern Mental Health landscape to create success.

The good news is that’s not as difficult as it may initially seem.

In these sessions HeadStrong’s Brian Costello will give us an insight into everyone else’s minds by helping us understand our own.  Brian will give us some key understandings over these 3 fascinating sessions

Session 1) Wednesday 30th September 12-1.15pm
Session 2) Wednesday 7th October 12-1.15pm
Session 3) Wednesday 14th October 12-1.15pm

Contact Jill Carrino 07702 9090474

TRANSFORM: Leadership for Today: mapping your journey in an ever-changing world. With John Armstrong – On Track Training & Coaching.

The arrival of Covid-19 has had an enormous impact globally and as lockdown restrictions ease, a “new normality” is starting to be established.  So, what does this mean for leadership at work today?  This programme will create an opportunity, for those leaders attending, to reflect on their experiences and learning so far and to map their own journey and their future in an ever-changing world.  The three themes chosen highlight areas where leaders might be able to impact positively on their people and organisation.

  • Thursday 22nd October 2020 12pm-1.15pm The Adaptive Leader
  • Thursday 29th October 2020 12pm-1.15pm The Caring Leader
  • Thursday 5th November 2020 12pm-1.5pm The Resilient Leader


Contact Bob Grant 07702 909476 

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TRANSFORM: Digital with Gary Ennis from NSDesign

Attendees will learn how best to use Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin to help market their organisation and engage with customers. Digital marketing will also be covered including use of video, email & blogging. A great opportunity for Chamber members to learn from the best. Gary is an award-winning digital marketer – and NSDesign is a well-established and respected company in this field

Session 1) Tuesday 22nd September 10am-12pm
Session 2) Tuesday 29th September 10am-12pm
Session 3) Friday 9th October 10am-12pm

Contact Jill Carrino 07702 9090474

44227 Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce - Webinar Graphics - Transform Leadership

TRANSFORM:Strategy – Fit 4 Business (The R-series) with John Leburn –

RESILIENCE (n): the capacity to absorb energy from disruption

Has the COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on your business? Struggling to make sense of it all? Are you looking for some simple guidance in a business world that seems to have turned upside down?

Join our 3-part TRANSFORM:Strategy series designed to help you step back and review how the recent disruption caused by COVID-19 has impacted your business and its future prospects. John Leburn, a Principal Consultant from, will take you through 6 simple (easy to implement) fixes that can often be the difference between success and failure

Session 1) Tuesday 25th August 9am-10.15am

Session 2) Tuesday 8th September, 9am-10.15am

Session 3) Tuesday 15thth September, 9am-10.15am


*new dates to be announced shortly* 


Contact Stuart Murray 07525 323500

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

Fitness sessions can be booked seven days in advance on a first-come-first-served basis by logging on to 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.

L-R David Cannon, CityFibre's City Manager_ Finance Convener, Councillor John Shaw_ Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson
  • Landmark partnership with Renfrewshire Council will cover the historic towns of Paisley, Renfrew and Johnstone, turning Renfrewshire into one of the best-connected regions in Scotland

14 September 2020: Renfrewshire is celebrating a major milestone in its digital transformation, with work now underway to bring full fibre infrastructure to homes and businesses across the region as part of a £40million private investment from CityFibre.

L-R David Cannon, CityFibre's City Manager_ Finance Convener, Councillor John Shaw_ Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson

Building on its long-standing strategic relationship with Renfrewshire Council to upgrade its digital connectivity, CityFibre’s existing network, serving council buildings including schools, local libraries and community centres, will be extended by approximately 700km.

Construction work has officially commenced in Paisley, with the first homes and businesses expected to be able to connect to the network from early 2021. Across the UK, CityFibre is working with an increasing range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deliver next generation broadband services.

PMK is delivering the construction programme on CityFibre’s behalf and is following social distancing protocols to ensure the safety of the build team and the wider community.

L-R Finance Convener Councillor John Shaw_ David Cannon, CityFibre_ Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson

CityFibre has appointed David Cannon, formerly of the David MacBrayne Group and Scottish Enterprise, as its City Manager with responsibility for ensuring close communication with the Council and stakeholders across the region, as well as delivering maximum benefit for the wider community.

Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said: “The £40million investment we are making in the area is the result of years of close collaboration with Renfrewshire Council. Full Fibre connectivity will put the region at the forefront of the digital transformation we are driving across the country. As the world adapts to COVID-19, the importance of delivering world-leading digital infrastructure for residents and businesses could not be greater.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “I am delighted to see work well underway on developing this state-of-the-art Full Fibre network which will make Renfrewshire one of the best connected regions in Scotland and bring benefits to residents and businesses alike.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has underlined how much we all need fast, reliable broadband connections and demand for better bandwidth continues to grow year on year so it’s vitally important for our businesses, for our schools and for our residents that we have a resilient, future-proofed network to be proud of.”

Councillor John Shaw, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, added: “This is an important first step in our plan to transform connectivity in Renfrewshire. We are taking a strategic long-term approach which has prompted this fantastic private investment by CityFibre, with the benefits to reach Renfrewshire doorsteps early next year.

“The Full Fibre network will bolster business as we recover and restart from the impact of Coronavirus and greatly improve connectivity to our schools, tackle digital exclusion and enhance the experience at local libraries, town halls, community centres and care homes.”


Irresponsible drivers are being called on to park correctly after a rise in bus stop parking has caused delays for passengers.

McGills Buses has reported a number of drivers parking in restricted areas which is affecting their ability to run the service safely and on schedule.


Renfrewshire Council is working with McGills to remind drivers that even two minutes is too long, and poor parking can have implications including:

  • Disabled or elderly passengers being unable to board safely as the bus can’t dock correctly
  • Drivers and other road users risking accidents to avoid the parked vehicle
  • Buses becoming late meaning passengers aren’t picked up on time and face delays of their own

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We need all road users to ensure they are abiding by parking restrictions which are in place in Renfrewshire to keep everyone safe.

“You may think that you’re only nipping into the shops for two minutes, but those two minutes can cause disruption to the bus service for the rest of the day.

“The next time you think of parking where you shouldn’t then be aware that you may be stopping an elderly or disabled person being able to get straight onto the bus from its usual place, or causing a passenger to miss their connection as the bus is delayed.

“Don’t be selfish and find an appropriate place to park before carrying out what you need to do.”

Renfrewshire’s Wardens Service will be carrying out increased monitoring of parking in restricted areas such as bus stops and will issue penalty charge notices to any motorists caught parking illegally.

Colin Napier, Operations Director at McGill’s Buses, said: “We strongly welcome the council’s support of the bus user in Renfrewshire.

“Every day, thousands of bus users journeys are negatively impacted by cars, taxis and delivery vans parking illegally and selfishly in bus stops.

“Parking in a bus stop makes it is very difficult and sometimes impossible for our drivers to dock properly onto the stop.  Not only does this disrupt bus services and impede general traffic flow, but it puts the safety of our customers and staff at risk.

“There are many suitable car parks across Renfrewshire and particularly in town centres so bus stops should be for bus users.”

For more information on parking in Renfrewshire, visit

wilma 3

A BRAVE gran celebrated her 56th birthday by having her head shaved for a cancer charity.

Wilma Daley raised £2290 for Macmillan Cancer Support by taking part in the charity’s Brave The Shave fundraising initiative.

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She decided to have her blonde shoulder-length locks shaved to raise money after her own mother, Violet McCall had to have her hair shaved as she battled lung cancer with gruelling sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Sadly, Violet died from the disease and cancer also took her dad James’s life.

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Wilma – whose hairdresser sister-in law, Pauline Dailey took an electric shaver to her head as she sat in the garden of her Renfrew home, on Saturday, September 5 – explains:

“I got the idea to have a sponsored head shave as I remember my mum shaving her head shortly after she started her cancer treatment and her hair began to fall out.

“And afterwards people were saying I look just like my mum when she lost all her hair.

wilma 3

“I’d wanted to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support for some time as they do a phenomenal job helping people affected with cancer.

“I’d been toying with the idea of having my head shaved for about a year. What pushed me to finally do it was when one of my friends took part in Brave The Shave.”

Wilma continued: “I was sitting in my garden when Pauline turned on the electric shaver and I felt the hair falling off my head, I thought there’s no turning back now.

wilma 3

“I felt excited, because it was actually happening and the money on my donation page for Macmillan Cancer Support kept rising. It felt surreal.

“It doesn’t bother me that I’ve got no hair just now because having my head shaved was something I decided to do and thankfully I didn’t have to do it because I wasn’t going through treatment for cancer. Anyway, my hair will soon grow back in.”

Wilma had set a fundraising target of £750 and has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have donated.

“The support I’ve had is amazing and people I don’t even know have been handing in money. I can’t thank them enough.”

Wilma’s daughter, Jen works in the business support team at intu Braehead where colleagues there have been generous with their donations.

Jen said: “My mum is the most selfless person I know and I feel so lucky to have her. I’m so proud of her for what she has done. She has a heart of gold and is absolutely beautiful inside and out.

“Cancer has taken the lives of many of our family over the years and affected many of our friends.

“Macmillan Cancer Support provides vital support to people living with cancer, whether it’s financial, physical, or emotional. All the money my mum has raised will be donated to them as they are a really great cause.”

If anyone would like to support Wilma’s fundraising efforts they can go to to make a donation.