Cllr Eddie Grady with the council's procurement team

Renfrewshire Council procurement team celebrates success.

Renfrewshire Council’s procurement team is celebrating after its performance was recognised at its industry Oscars.

The team – which oversees the council’s purchasing needs – was highly commended in the Team of the Year category at the Government Opportunities (GO) Awards Scotland this month.

The council established its procurement team in 2009 and since then has achieved significant financial savings by introducing more efficient practices.

Cllr Eddie Grady with the council's procurement team

Councillor Eddie Grady, who attended the GO Awards ceremony with the team, said: “The council spends more than £200 million a year on a massive range of goods and services from thousands of different suppliers, both big and small. It’s crucial that we get value for taxpayer money in all our dealings.

“The job of the procurement team is to co-ordinate all contracts and spending as efficiently as possible. For the team to be recognised by their peers is testament to how well they are doing.

The team was also shortlisted in award categories for excellence in collaboration and corporate social responsibility.

The team may be in line for further success with the recent news that Julie Welsh, Head of Procurement and Business Support for Renfrewshire Council, has been shortlisted for the national award of ‘Procurement Professional of the Year’ by the Society of Procurement Officers (SOPO).

The corporate procurement unit’s innovative structure – with one centralised team dealing with all council spending – is considered rare within local government.

Scottish Property Valuation Rolls for 1920 Go Online.

‘Homes fit for heroes’? New historical records offer a fascinating snapshot of Scottish society in the wake of the First World War

The names and addresses of more than 2.6 million people living in Scotland during the post-WW1 period will be published online at 10am on Monday 28 October, as records of Scottish properties in 1920 are released on ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, the government’s family history website.

scotlandspeople_logoComprising over 76,000 digital images taken from 169 volumes, these new records – known as Valuation Rolls – cover every type of property in Scotland that was assessed as having a rateable value in 1920. As the records contain details for the owners and occupiers of properties, they will offer genealogists and historians fresh insight into Scottish society in 1920.

Each Valuation Roll entry on the website is fully searchable by name and address, with the records listing the names of owners, tenants and occupiers of each property – in many cases occupations are also included. As the Rolls include all types of property, from castles and mansions to crofts and tenements, in turn, the records also include people from across the whole social spectrum.

The Rolls also reveal some fascinating trends in Scotland’s social history at this time, such as the building of the first council housing estate, and the growth of urban allotments and gardens cultivated by working-class gardeners to achieve self-sufficiency. The Rolls also reveal the widespread disposal of land by owners who faced new tax and other burdens from 1918 onwards, and the opportunities for tenant farmers to buy their own farms.

Researchers at the National Records of Scotland have also been spotting celebrities (and family ancestors of famous people) in the records, and have highlighted entries for Muriel Spark’s father, Sir William Burrell, Sir Harry Lauder, Sir Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Samuel Peploe and the great-grandparents of The Proclaimers. The researchers have even found a quirky entry for a cottage in Dunblane, named for a poem by Robert Tannahill, the contemporary of Burns.

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs in the Scottish Government, said:

“ScotlandsPeople is a wonderful resource that enables Scots, those of Scottish descent and anyone with an interest in Scotland to discover more about our nation’s fascinating family and social history. The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1920 strengthens the digital tapestry of Scotland’s story that is available through Scotland’s national archive.”

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“The release of the Valuation Rolls for 1920 will be of enormous help for family and local history research, enabling people to discover ancestors and where and how they were living almost a decade after the Census of 1911. The newly-available records are part of the commitment by the National Records of Scotland to improve our service to the public and provide researchers with the resources that they need.”

Annelies van den Belt, the CEO of DC Thomson Family History (formerly known as brightsolid online publishing), who enable the ScotlandsPeople website on behalf of the National Records of Scotland, said:

“We’re very pleased to add this fourth set of Valuation Roll indexes and images to the ScotlandsPeople website – bringing the current total of index entries on the website to over 94 million. These new records will complement the 1895, 1905 and 1915 Valuation Rolls, which have been published over the past 20 months, and will also help family historians who are looking to fill in gaps after the 1911 Census.”

The 1920 Valuation Rolls will be available on the ScotlandsPeople website (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk), at the ScotlandsPeople Centre in Edinburgh, and at local family history centres in Glasgow, Kilmarnock, Hawick and Inverness.

Tannahill

“Jessie the Flower o’ Dunblane” – Jenny Tennant, the sweetheart and muse of Robert Tannahill

One of Scotland’s finest love songs is undoubtedly “Jessie, the Flower o’ Dunblane”. The words were composed by the famous weaver-poet, Robert Tannahill. On Tannahill’s untimely death in 1810 at the age of 36, a search began to identify the girl immortalised in the poem. Although there were many contenders, it is believed that the real ‘Jessie’ was Jenny Tennant.

Jessie/Jenny had in fact been Tannahill’s sweetheart and muse for some three years, yet the poet believed she had been unfaithful. Tannahill then composed another poem to Jessie, this time entitled ‘Farewell’.

Jessie/Jenny was born in Braeport, Dunblane. A cottage, erected in 1808 on the site of her birthplace, can still be seen.

In the Valuation Roll entry included below, it’s possible to see the title of the poem in the ‘Description’ column (line number 504). The description reads:

“Cottage site of Birthplace of ‘Jessie, the Flower of Dunblane’, Windyhill Cot.”

We think this is the only Valuation Roll entry for 1920 (or any other year) that contains the title of a poem.

Valuation Roll entry for “Jessie, the Flower o’ Dunblane” – VR113/66/592

The ScotlandsPeople Media Website

To download images and stories for the launch of the 1920 Valuation Rolls, as well as background information and statistics, visit the ScotlandsPeople Media Website:

– http://media.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

clyde-commonwealth-games

Renfrewshire searches for community champs to star in Queen’s Baton Relay.

Renfrewshire’s Provost wants residents to nominate their local heroes to have a starring role in the final leg of a global journey – as the area gets set to host the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay

The baton will travel across the globe through the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth before a final 40-day lap the length and breadth of Scotland.

On Thursday 17 July it will make a visit to Renfrewshire – the official ‘Gateway to the Games’ – with a day of special events and sporting taster sessions arranged in each of the area’s towns and villages.

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Renfrewshire Council and Commonwealth Games Scotland need up to 100 people to be given the honour of carrying this unique symbol of the Commonwealth Games through Renfrewshire towards the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said; “The Commonwealth Games coming to Scotland is a hugely exciting prospect and we look forward to seeing the Queen’s Baton travel through Renfrewshire.

“The organisers are looking for those who have made a contribution to their community to have the honour of carrying the baton and I know there are many deserving examples in the area.

“I would encourage everyone who thinks they know of a suitable candidate to put their name forward to be a batonbearer.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to try each of the 17 Commonwealth sports and five para sports at venues and sports centres throughout the area. Venues and clubs already signed up include the Linwood ON-X Sports Centre, Victory Baths in Renfrew, Paisley Rugby Club and the Johnstone Wheelers Cycling Club.

An evening of cultural entertainment, from each of the countries involved in the 2014 Games, is planned for Paisley Town Centre, featuring live music, food, drink and more.

Until 22 November anyone can nominate their own local champions to be batonbearers.

To be a batonbearer, people are required to:

  • Be 12 years or older at the date of nomination
  • Have made a positive contribution to the lives of others through community sport
  • Undertaken voluntary work or contributed to schools or youth organisations
  • Contributed towards greater inclusion for disadvantaged or marginalised sectors of the community
  • Been a role model or mentor to youth through sport
  • Displayed a level of individual achievement against the odds
  • Made a significant contribution to their local community

Nominations can be made online from today on the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games website on www.glasgow2014.com.

A judging panel including representatives from a wide cross section of Scottish community organisations will assist to select the successful nominations for each local authority area.

Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman Michael Cavanagh said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games and its arrival in Scotland gives an important signal to both the athletes and the public that the Games are just around the corner.

“It’s important as many people as possible feel part of this special moment and from today there’s a chance for everyone to nominate the people in their street, village, town or city that they would like to see honoured as batonbearers.

“This is a real chance to recognise the efforts everyday champions that make a real difference to their and we look forward to seeing them centre stage in their communities when Glasgow and Scotland’s Queen’s Baton Relay makes its memorable final journey to the Games.”

Over 248 days and 190,000km the baton visit all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth and it will be the first baton ever to visit Rwanda. The international journey of the baton will be captured by global adventurer Mark Beaumont who will report for the BBC.

The baton will be relayed on its journey by Emirates, the Official Airline of the Queen’s Baton Relay and an official Partner of Glasgow 2014.

Renfrewshire Rockin’ Rollers seek Sponsorship.

We are Renfrewshire Rockin’ Rollers! Our team name is Mirin Maulers and we are a mixed, over 18 team who play roller derby, a hard hitting, full contact sport on skates. We are a team who promote teamwork, confidence, equality and hard work.

rockin-rollers

Roller derby is a multi discipline and inclusive sport that encourages fitness, strength and a strong commitment to furthering the team. We are looking to both raise awareness of the team and seek sponsorship.

If you can help sponsor the club then please find out more information and contact details for the team by visiting their Facebook Page here.. www.facebook.com/renfrewshirerockinrollers

Joining the team:

So…. thinking of joining? Then you’ll need the following to start training:
Quad roller skates
Helmet
Wrist guards
Elbow and knee pads
Mouth guard

You can get most things (apart from the helmet and mouth guard) second hand off ebay and the UK roller derby recyclables group. You don’t need to spend wads of cash, and if you do, your protection is most important as you’ll soon find out! Any quads to start would be great to get you rolling initially! Also, the shops 5th Blocker in Glasgow and Into the Nitemare in Falkirk are on hand to let you try on, give advice and of course purchase from!

www.facebook.com/renfrewshirerockinrollers

Happy holidays for Renfrewshire’s kids.

A new scheme from Renfrewshire Council has seen hundreds more children taking part in activities during the October school holidays.

The new local activity sessions, which keep children entertained, cared for, and fed during the holidays are part of the council’s £7 million commitment to giving Renfrewshire’s children the best start in life.

Delivered as part of the council’s wider ‘Families First’ programme, the activity sessions were available free of charge in 14 venues across Renfrewshire.

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As well as keeping kids active during the school break, the Families First sessions offered a nutritious holiday lunch to children who normally receive a free meal during the school term.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board said: “School holidays can place further strain on families who are already struggling.

“We want our youngsters to return to school after the break feeling healthy, refreshed and ready to learn again.

“These new local activities help to ensure this and are a great example of how Families First is helping to reduce the pressure on parents.

“We have to make parents aware of the support and services available to them. Over the coming months, Families First will be bringing a range of existing council, health and voluntary services together; making them easier to find and easier to use for those who need them most.”

The free local activities were piloted in Linwood and Ferguslie during the summer. The On-X and St Fergus Primary played host to 60 children for four days of play and healthy lunches. Following their summer success, the activities were rolled out for children throughout Renfrewshire during the October break.

Families First will continue to expand, offering a range of local services to families across Renfrewshire.

Parents with young children have until the 1 December 2013 to take part in a survey about the forthcoming changes to nursery provision in Renfrewshire. They can advise the council about what arrangements would suit them and their child best by logging onto www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/familiesfirst

Image: Quads, Kayam, Eshan, Anika and Rayan (left to right) aged 6 enjoy the Families First holiday activities at Renfrew High School

Energy advice service will help hard-pressed families this winter.

Renfrewshire Council and Linstone Housing Association (on behalf of FLAIR) will launch a dedicated energy advocacy service this winter to target support to hard-pressed local people.

As part of the service, residents will be able to make use of an expert adviser who can help them on a range of issues from resolving problems with energy companies to securing funding for new energy measures in their home.

The move means the previous Renfrewshire energy advocacy role that was run by the council and funded by the Scottish Government until March 2013, can be re-launched in time for winter.

Councillor Macmillan and Mrs Kerton

It helped many local people last year including elderly home owner, Elizabeth Kerton who had no hot water and poor insulation until an adviser stepped in.

Mrs Kerton, 64, from Johnstone explained: “The service was able to help me out during winter last year when my boiler wasn’t working properly. I was getting heat – but I’d had no hot water for over a year and had to constantly rely on my shower. The adviser was able to sort that all out for me and I got a new boiler, plus loft insulation. I’m absolutely delighted because the house is definitely holding the heat much better now. I’d recommend the advocacy service to others.”

Council Leader, Mark Macmillan met Mrs Kerton recently to hear how the service helped her. He said: “I’m pleased that with our partners at Linstone, we are able to re-launch this worthwhile service to offer a wide range of support on energy issues. I was delighted to hear first hand from Mrs Kerton who benefitted previously from energy advocacy. She had a faulty boiler and no hot water and they took on her case, resulting in a brand new boiler and loft insulation. I’m delighted for Mrs Kerton and look forward to other people who need help, getting dedicated support.”

Gary Dalziel, Linstone’s Director of Finance and Corporate Services, said: “We recognise that one of the most expensive aspects of having a home are the energy costs and we are confident that the introduction of this service of will be a tremendous benefit to our residents to ensure they are receiving expert, tailored and independent energy advice on what can be an extremely complex system. We are delighted to have been able to secure funding to allow Renfrewshire Council’s energy advice team to deliver this service on our behalf and across Renfrewshire.”

Councillor Macmillan added: “With national Energy Saving Week from 21 until 25 October, we’re reminded of the importance of doing all we can to be energy efficient to not only help cut down our bills, but to also reduce our impact on the environment.

We’ve set up a dedicated energy section at our website to offer tips and useful advice, and I’d urge everyone to visit the pages.”

The new service will be up and running by the end of October. To get in touch with the advocacy team, call 0141 618 7515 or email emu@renfrewshire.gov.uk

For more information visit: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/energy

GA LOGO Proud to serve Scotland

GLASGOW AIRPORT PUTS £50,000 UP FOR GRABS

Charities and community groups have been granted an additional four weeks to apply for a £50,000 lump sum from the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund.

The closing date for applications, originally Friday 18 October, has been extended to Friday 15 November.

Charities and community groups have been invited to compete for a £50,000 lump sum from the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund.

GA LOGO Proud to serve ScotlandThe money will be given to the organisation which makes the most convincing case for a significant community project which will bring a lasting benefit to those living under the flightpath.

In order to be considered for the airport’s third Challenge Fund, applicants must demonstrate their project will lead to positive outcomes in at least one of three areas – education, employment and the environment.

On two previous occasions the Challenge Fund has awarded large sums to worthy projects. The community departments of Celtic and Rangers football clubs received £50,000 between them to enable educational youth football programmes to take place in Clydebank and Drumchapel.

This funding ensured 280 young people were able to benefit from more than 40 hours of coaching and workshops designed to tackle anti-social behaviour and sectarianism, while also increasing the number of young people taking part in physical activity.

And the charity Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) received £40,000 which allowed them to pilot a new project called Skills for Sustainable Tourism, which introduces young people to the career opportunities available in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Amanda McMillan, Glasgow Airport’s managing director, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a local community group or a national charity delivering local projects to think of a really innovative and beneficial project which would not be possible without this level of donation.

“After two successful Challenge Funds in recent years we are confident this will generate a lot of interest. Through the FlightPath Fund we support a wide range of organisations and hopefully the applications we receive will reflect this diversity.”

Bob Christie, SBC’s regional manager for Glasgow, said: “The Skills for Sustainable Tourism project was very successful and would not have been possible without the Challenge Fund money. It’s fantastic that a high-profile business such as Glasgow Airport, which directly and indirectly supports thousands of jobs in tourism and hospitality, both funded and participated in the programme.

“By committing so much of its money and time, Glasgow Airport showed it is willing to invest in the future of the young people in its community and the future of tourism in Scotland. Charities and community groups should be really excited that another Challenge Fund has been launched.”

The Challenge Fund is supported by money from the Communities Trust, formerly the BAA Communities Trust, which is the charitable arm of Glasgow Airport’s parent company.

The Communities Trust is one of the revenue streams which make up the airport’s FlightPath Fund, which was established in 2010 to ensure nearby communities share in the airport’s success.

It supports communities in those areas of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire which lie under the flightpath. Each of these four local authority areas is represented on the decision-making panel.

The FlightPath Fund has awarded in excess of £550,000 to more than 150 community groups and charities, and in 2012 made awards totalling more than £200,000.

If you are a charity or community group seeking funding and your project meets the criteria below then why not apply?

To be considered a project must:

  • Create a significant and sustainable benefit to the community.
  • Yield positive outcomes in at least one of the following areas: education, employment and the environment.
  • Benefit a significant number of people.

Applications must:

  • Provide clear evidence that the project will fulfil a local need.
  • Provide clear evidence of the financial viability of the project.

The closing date for applications is Friday 18 October. The Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund’s decision-making panel will shortlist the strongest entries and the winner will be chosen by the trustees of the Communities Trust.

If you would like more information on the Challenge Fund or FlightPath Fund visit www.glasgowairport.com, e-mail flightpath@glasgowairport.com or write to FlightPath Fund, Glasgow Airport, St Andrew’s Drive, Paisley, PA3 2SW

Epic town hall artwork puts Johnstone in the picture.

Johnstone’s newest building is being used to celebrate its existing ones – thanks to an ambitious piece of artwork devoted to the town.

Renfrewshire Council has just unveiled a specially-commissioned illustration of Johnstone landmarks to cover the hoardings around the site of its new town hall.

Construction on the £14.5m facility is due to start before the end of the month, with the building expected to be finished by summer 2015.

But council chiefs wanted to make sure the local community had a backdrop which represented the town while work was ongoing.

Glasgow-based artist Adrian McMurchie was brought on board to create an illustration of Johnstone’s buildings.

The resulting epic artwork will be displayed on three sides of the site hoardings, stretching from Ludovic Square, along William Street and into the adjacent car park.

A small section is already on display, with the rest to follow shortly. It features the town’s station and Paton’s Mill, as well as local churches, shops and housing.

Renfrewshire’s Deputy Provost John Caldwell met Adrian and representatives of the local community in Ludovic Square to see it for themselves.

Deputy Provost Caldwell said: “We wanted to make sure people weren’t just looking at a blank wall – that they had something unique and eye-catching instead.

“Adrian has done a great job with the drawings – and I’m sure people will enjoy wandering round them picking out the local sights.

“But while we are admiring the town’s existing architecture, one of the most exciting developments of all will be the one going up behind the hoardings.

“The new town hall represents a massive investment by the council which will transform the centre of Johnstone.

“We hope residents will identify sites of personal and community significance in this artwork and enjoy the sense of continuity between the past, present and future.”

Once complete, the new town hall building will house a new library, marriage suite, theatre and conference space, meeting rooms and a café.

It will also contain offices for council housing and social work staff, as well as Police Scotland and Macmillan Cancer Support.

 

The artwork around the town centre has been given the thumbs-up by local community activists.

Throughout the project, Renfrewshire Council has been keen to involve members of the Johnstone community in the plans for its design.

Over the next few months, there will be various community activities, including the chance to contribute to public art which will be displayed inside the new building.

George Kennedy, secretary of Johnstone Community Council, said: “The new hoardings look very smart – much more interesting than a blank wall.

“It depicts the town very well – there were a few bits I instantly recognised, such as the High Church, and the former health centre.

“We are pleased we are getting a new building – it should be a big improvement on the last one and we are looking forward to it.”

Community council chairman Dennis Lavery added: “I like the way it is laid out – it isn’t meant to be a map of the town but it depicts it well.”

Artist Adrian McMurchie explained how he was able to create the mammoth artwork. He said: “It was a great job to work on and it is great to see it going up.

“We initially discussed doing lots of photos but decided drawings would work better. I had a drive around and that gave me a lot of ideas.

“I had never worked on anything as long as this before – I ended up doing the drawing on a 10m piece of paper.

“Johnstone has some great architecture but we didn’t just want it to be about the old buildings, we wanted to include some of the housing too.”

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

More nursery time on the way for Renfrewshire 3 and 4 year olds.

Renfrewshire Council has launched a new consultation for parents about changes to nursery provision.

Currently every three and four year old in Scotland is entitled to 475 hours of government funded pre-school education each year. The Scottish Government is increasing this annual entitlement to 600 hours from August 2014.

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Families in Renfrewshire with children under four have six weeks to tell the council what nursery arrangements suit their needs best so the council can plan for this change.

Whether it’s longer days or more days at nursery for their child, parents can register their views online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/familiesfirst

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board: “It’s necessary that we plan and develop a nursery provision that meets the Scottish Government’s commitment, but more importantly, also suits the needs of children and families within Renfrewshire.

“This change complements the work already underway to give children in Renfrewshire a great start in life.

“Our £7 million Families First programme is improving access to early learning and supporting families to deal with the issues that impact on their youngster’s ability to learn and develop or which prevents them for reaching their potential.

“A nursery provision that meets the needs of families will give parents the option to participate in work, training or education and the opportunity to build a better future for their family”.

Parents have until 1 December to take part in the consultation, which can they do online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/familiesfirst or by calling 0300 300 0300 to arrange for a paper copy to be sent to them.

Conferences will make 2023 plan real for Renfrewshire communities.

Leaders of Renfrewshire’s community planning partnership met with local community leaders at Renfrew Town Hall to launch a programme of conferences aimed at achieving ambitious targets for Renfrewshire by 2023.

The community planning partnership is made up of Renfrewshire’s main public services, including the council, the police and the health service, along with representatives of community and voluntary organisations.

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Each of the five conferences run from 9.45am till 3pm and will look in detail at one of the key themes of the recently approved Renfrewshire Community Plan 2013-2023:

* Children and young people – Thursday 14 November – St Mirren Park

* Community care, health and wellbeing – Friday 15 November – West College Scotland

* A safer and stronger Renfrewshire – Monday 18 November – West College Scotland

* A greener Renfrewshire – Monday 25 November – Anchor Mill, Paisley

* Jobs and the economy – Wednesday 27 November – Kibble Centre, Paisley

The conferences will develop action plans for community and voluntary organisations and local residents to shape the plan to help them deliver better services and identify areas where they can help with the delivery of services.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Councillor Mark Macmillan, said, “Community planning is about involving local people in shaping and delivering the services that they need. The themes of the community plan reflect the big issues that face Renfrewshire and the shared priorities of the council, the police, the health service and all of our other public services.

“All of the public services who were here today are committed to delivering the best possible services to our communities, particularly those that are facing the most challenging circumstances.“

Alan McNiven, Chief Executive of Engage Renfrewshire, which supports voluntary organisations, community groups and charities in the area, said, “One of the most important things about this community plan is the central role local voluntary and community organisations will play in developing the plan and achieving its targets.

“You only need to look around to see the important role that community organisations and charities have in delivering services, such health care, social care, child care and sport and leisure to Renfrewshire’s communities. The increased involvement of these organisations will play a big part in ensuring that the community plan achieves its aims.

“The programme of planning conferences announced today will provide a focus where public services and the communities that they serve can get together to make the community plan real.”

Renfrewshire’s community plan for 2013-2023 can be viewed at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

To find out more about attending one of the community planning conferences, email

lesley.jones-ce@renfrewshire.gov.uk or call 0141 618 7353.

Readers can contribute to the discussion about the community plan on Twitter using hashtag #mpowren