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Major investment planned to help residents through hardship

Renfrewshire Council will invest an additional £200,000 into helping local people who are struggling to pay their rent, if the move gets the seal of approval next week.

Council bosses want to top up a fund that’s in place to help residents receiving Housing Benefit who are having difficulty meeting their housing costs – by £215,648.

If the move gets rubber-stamped next week, it will bring the council’s total investment into the Discretionary Housing Payment fund up to £365,648, following a £150,000 contribution in December.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Mike Holmes, Deputy Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “We know the UK Government’s benefit changes are having an impact on local communities. More people are coming to us for advice, more people are falling into arrears, more are applying for DHPs, and more families are using food banks.

“This latest investment will bring our overall contribution to this key support fund up to more than £365,000 – the maximum we are allowed to contribute to DHP. We want to do all we can to help local residents through these tough times.”

“Our message is clear: if you’re facing financial hardship and are struggling to meet your housing costs, apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Help is there and we don’t want local families to struggle. Our Advice Works team can even help you if you need support to fill in the form, so please get in touch.”

Any Renfrewshire resident who is claiming Housing Benefit and having difficulties meeting their housing costs can apply for a DHP.

Application forms are available at or you can call 0300 300 0204 to ask for one to be sent out to you. If you need help to fill out a form (and for general financial support) please call Advice Works on 0300 300 1238.

The proposed top up of the DHP fund will go before the Finance and Resources Policy Board for a decision on 28 August.


Glasgow Airport’s FlightPath Fund has reached a significant milestone after awarding more than £550,000 to over 150 community groups, charities and innovative projects since it was established in 2010.

The FlightPath Fund was set up to ensure surrounding communities share in the airport’s success and in 2012 it made awards totalling more than £200,000.

As the FlightPath Fund has grown in scope, an ever increasing and diverse range of organisations are applying for support, from small community-based groups to national charities delivering local projects.

The main focus is on the communities in the four local authority areas of Renfrewshire, Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire which lie under the flightpath. Elected representatives from each local authority sit on the FlightPath Fund Board which meets every two months.

While funding is generally targeted in three key areas – education, employment and the environment – exceptions are occasionally made for worthy projects in other areas, such as sport.

The Fund provided £40,000 to the charity Scottish Business in the Community to support a new project which introduces young people to the career opportunities available in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Both Renfrew High and Castlehead High participated in this project.

The Fund also awarded £50,000 to the community departments of both Celtic and Rangers football clubs to expand educational youth football programmes in Clydebank and Drumchapel. Local schoolchildren were invited for a kickabout on the airport’s runway to launch the initiative.

Archie Hunter, a retired chartered accountant formerly in charge of KPMG’s Scotland practice, is the Chair of the FlightPath Fund. He said: “To reach this milestone in just under three years is a fantastic achievement and it is testament to the hard work of everyone involved. We receive a huge number of applications and it is always a fascinating challenge to find the most worthy projects.

“It is hugely rewarding to watch charities and communities groups prosper and go from strength-to-strength as a result of the funding they have received from the FlightPath Fund.”

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, added: “As one of the largest businesses and employers in the West of Scotland, we have a responsibility to support the communities we serve. We are grateful for the support of all our board members who work tirelessly to ensure our funding is targeted in the right areas and that it ultimately helps deliver a lasting legacy for the communities around our airport.”

Funding is drawn from the Communities Trust, charity collection boxes in the terminal, and a donation from Glasgow Airport based on annual financial performance.

Other recipients have included:


  • Loud n Proud (£7,500) – A Paisley-based youth charity which has established itself at the forefront of the development of young musicians in Scotland. The funding was used to improve access and support for young people from across Renfrewshire to get involved in and participate in the various elements of music by providing a workshop space. Young people now have the opportunity to learn the basics of playing an instrument, how to perform live on stage and work with PA equipment.


  • CHILDREN 1st (£4,600) – A charity which helps young victims of domestic, physical or sexual abuse received a cash injection from Glasgow Airport. CHILDREN 1st was awarded £4,621 to support its Paisley-based Renfrewshire Recovery from Abuse and Trauma service, which supports children aged from 5 to 18 who have been affected by either domestic, physical or sexual abuse. The service is funded jointly by Renfrewshire Council and CHILDREN 1st. However the donation from the FlightPath Fund enabled the charity to enhance the service significantly. Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “CHILDREN 1st does outstanding work to help children who need our support. Renfrewshire Council has recognised the importance of the charity’s work and it’s very encouraging that Glasgow Airport’s well-established community programme also contributed significant funding to help young people across Renfrewshire benefit from this vital service.”


  • Renfrewshire Schools Dragons’ Den (£1,500) – Budding entrepreneurs from eight nursery, primary and secondary schools competed in the latest staging of Renfrewshire Council’s Dragons’ Den competition. A distinguished judging panel of business dragons, including John McConnell of Glasgow Airport’s commercial team, gathered at the final of the event held at Reid Kerr College to listen to presentations from the competing teams. Each team was trying to secure funding for their ideas from the dragons, with half of the total £3,000 in prize funds awarded by the FlightPath Fund. The team from St Andrew’s Academy in Paisley were overall winners and also took the Secondary Section Trophy for their proposal ‘The Chill Zone.’ Established last August to assist new pupils adapt to the school, the zone provides an area where they can meet new friends, do their homework and play computer games.  

Find out more from the Glasgow Aiport Flightpath Fund by visiting

New service for Huntington’s Disease sufferers

A new service is being set up to help people in Renfrewshire and across the Clyde Valley, who suffer from Huntington’s disease (HD).

Renfrewshire Council is joining forces with East Renfrewshire Community Health and Social Care Partnership (CHCP), West Dumbarton CHCP, Inverclyde CHCP and East Dunbartonshire Council to fund the service which is being provided by the Scottish Huntington’s Association (SHA). Each body is contributing £8,000.

sha logoThe SHA already provides a network of specialists throughout Scotland and the new local service will include; carrying out assessments and one to one support in the home, training and help through support groups.

Huntington’s Disease is a progressive illness which damages the brain, leading to a steady deterioration in muscle co-ordination and mental abilities. The damage also causes behavioural and mental health changes. There is presently no cure for HD and those living with the condition will require full-time care in the later stages of the illness.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said, “Huntington’s Disease can have a devastating impact on families due to the fact that it is an inherited disease. There are the obvious, debilitating effects for the person with the condition but their children also have to live with the knowledge that they might develop the illness too.

“The new service will help provide people living with HD and their families with the emotional support they need while also making sure they have the information and coping strategies to manage their condition in the long-term.

“By working together, the local authorities of the Clyde Valley are providing an important service for people which taps into the experience and expertise of the Scottish Huntington’s Association.”

SHA is the only charity in Scotland working directly with HD families.

John Eden, Chief Executive of the Scottish Huntington’s Association, said, “Since we started back in 1989 our most important goal has been to establish specialist support services across Scotland. Securing this funding takes us one step closer to achieving this goal.

“Step by step we are steadily rolling out our services to more and more families whose lives have been blighted by HD.

“We will now be able to deliver our lifeline support to around another 240 families living with the condition in Clyde Valley area.”

Huntington’s is hereditary with children having a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. The Clyde Valley has one of the highest populations of people living with Huntington’s disease of any area in Scotland.

The physical symptoms of Huntington’s disease can begin at any age from infancy to old age, but usually start between 33 and 45 years old. The disease may develop earlier in life in each successive generation.

Symptoms vary between individuals, and even among family members, but they usually follow a predictable course. The earliest symptoms are often subtle problems with mood or reasoning.

A general lack of coordination and an unsteady gait often follows. As the disease advances, uncoordinated, jerky body movements become more apparent, along with a decline in mental abilities and growing behavioural and psychiatric problems. Over time coordinated movement becomes increasingly difficult and mental abilities generally decline.

The life expectancy for people with Huntington’s Disease is approximately twenty years after symptoms start to be apparent. There is no cure for Huntington’s and full-time care is required in the later stages of the disease.

Renfrewshire’s Top Recruits are revealed

A group of young Renfrewshire people were revealed as job winners at a glittering ceremony to mark the conclusion of a popular youth employment programme.

The finale of the summer edition of The Recruit took place at Paisley Town Hall in front of a crowd of invited guests and proud parents.

The Recruit is loosely based on TV favourite The Apprentice and sees young people compete through a series of business-based challenges.

This year’s saw two versions of the programme – one for S5/6 school leavers and one for unemployed young people aged between 18 and 24.

Two young people were crowned as the Top Recruits on the night, with Ryan Barbour (S5/6) and Deanna O’Connor (18-24s) walking away with the top awards.

There was also a Recruit’s Choice award, chosen by the young people themselves, which went to Rachael Fletcher and Mark Brown.

In total, 17 young people secured jobs or training opportunities at organisations including Renfrewshire Council, Renfrewshire Leisure, A&B Blinds, Crazy Capers childcare and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, who welcomed guests to the ceremony, said: “Helping young people find work is one of our biggest priorities.

“Over the past four years, the Recruit has helped boost the job prospects of almost 200 local young people.

“You only have to listen to the stories of some of those who have passed through it to see the positive effect the programme has had on them.”

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, added: “Once again, the Recruits were a credit to themselves and to the area, and through their hard work they have earned the opportunities presented to them.

“I would like to thank all the companies who helped support the programme by running challenges and offering their expertise, and look forward to working with them again in the future.”

The full list of job winners was as follows: David Paterson and Paige Barr (client support assistants, Renfrewshire Council); Mark Brown and Craig Woods (leisure assistants, Renfrewshire Leisure); Chloe Swordy (modern apprenticeship, Renfrewshire Council); Vanessa Young (administrator, A&B blinds); Calum Breslin (management trainee, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce); Chelsie McCool (Crazy Capers childcare).

Another six Recruits – Shannon Boyle, Michael Campbell, Mateusz Hadjecki, Andrew Cunningham, Ryan Blair, and Deanna O’Connor, all received public-sector traineeships with Renfrewshire Council.

A further three young people managed to secure employment elsewhere while on the programme: Christopher Baillie, Connor Smith and Connor MacDonald.

Young people encouraged to attend job-help events

Young people looking for work are being encouraged to get along to two council-run events designed to help them increase their job prospects.

Friday 23 August will see the Futuresfest careers fair at the Lagoon in Paisley, as well as an open day for the council’s youth employability hub in nearby Gauze St.

Futuresfest is on between 11am and 3pm and is intended to let young people aged between 16 and 24 meet people who can help them achieve their career goals.

There will be around 40 exhibitors on the day, including JobCentre Plus, Skills Development Scotland, Renfrewshire Leisure and the NHS, plus various training and further education providers.

Councillor Mark MacmillanCompanies there on the day will include Hewlett Packard, Mackays Stores and St Mirren.

Staff from Renfrewshire Council will offer information on apprenticeships, graduate internships and training, while there will be workshops throughout the day.

Meanwhile, Futuresfest visitors are also being encouraged to visit the open day at the council’s youth employability hub, in Assurance House, between 11am and 4pm.

The hub is open to all young people aged between 16 and 24 looking for advice about education, training and employment.

The team of advisors there can help with job-hunting, CVs and letter writing, budgeting and personal development, and access to training and work experience.

The youth hub sits on the first floor of the building, of which the ground floor is now a business hub.

The business hub is being run through the council’s £8m Invest in Renfrewshire programme and offers a one-stop shop for firms to access advice on the support available to them.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council Leader, said: “Helping young people find work is one of the biggest priorities of the council and we run a range of initiatives designed to make this happen.

“Futuresfest is always a well-attended event, and anybody attending will find plenty of people there who could help them get to where they want to be in their careers.

“Our youth hub has been open for over a year now, and our team of dedicated advisors has helped hundreds of young people in that time.

“I would encourage all young people living in Renfrewshire to check out both of these events and find out what is on offer to them.”

Information from Renfrewshire Council.


Clyde visits Renfrewshire’s Commonwealth sports programme

Renfrewshire’s Councils summer activity programme has been voted a hit by record numbers of school children taking part.

Youngsters of all ages from Renfrewshire took part in sports camps, outdoor activities and organised day trips.

They were treated to a visit from Clyde, the energetic 2014 Commonwealth Games mascot to mark the end a successful summer of sport.

clyde-commonwealth-gamesHe was welcomed to Renfrewshire with colourful celebrations at St Benedict’s High School before travelling to the On-X to cheer on Renfrewshire’s future sporting talent enrolled in the Star Track Athletics camp.

The Commonwealth Games was the theme of this year’s summer programme with participation in six of the disciplines encouraged through the provision of sports specific coaching for rugby, triathlon, hockey, cycling, badminton and athletics.

Supported through funding from EventScotland, children aged primary 7 and above were able to develop their skills within their chosen field by taking part in structured training sessions lead by qualified coaches.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board said, “The summer activities programme forms part of the council’s strategy to develop a sporting legacy inspired by the 2014 Games.

“An active lifestyle is key to achieving and maintaining good health, which is so important if you want to get on and succeed in life.

“It’s been great to see Renfrewshire’s young people keeping fit and active during their holidays, whether that’s been playing sport, exercising, enjoying games, crafts or exploring new hobbies”.

The Star Track Athletics camp attracted 60 budding athletes. Over four days they honed their skills across all the major track and field disciplines – sprints, hurdles, endurance running, hammer, shot putt, javelin, pole vault, high jump and triple jump.

To take the edge off the hard work and to inject an element of fun into the training, athletes and coaches were encouraged to participate in fancy dress and crazy hair themes and there were visits from local sports personalities including Clyde.

Olympic torch bearer and experienced athletics field marshal, Elaine Green, was also among those that came to watch Renfrewshire’s emerging talent and show support as participants boldly tried to take on various athletics world records.

Each child had a set number of attempts in the shot putt and triple jump to see if their combined efforts could beat the respective world records. They also tried to complete 60, 80 or 100m sprints in less time than Usain Bolt’s 200m world record of 19.19 seconds.

Participants received a certificate, a medal and a slap band to celebrate their achievement.

Equally successful was the council’s badminton programme. Weeklong courses took place at St Andrew’s Academy, Trinity High and St Benedict’s High School, each accommodating 20 competitors keen to develop new skills and improve their performance.

Co-ordinated by the Active Renfrewshire team, course leaders put to use their recently gained Level 1 and Level 2 UK Coaching Certificates. They rounded off the week by putting on a tournament for the children, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their improved game playing ability in front of spectators.

The ticket ballot for the 2014 Commonwealth Games opens today, Monday 19 August. The council however is keen to remind Renfrewshire residents that they don’t have to wait a year to cheer on Scotland’s elite. The Paisley’s 10k road race and fun race takes place this coming weekend on Sunday 25 August. Residents can take their place on the start line or cheering from the sidelines when the starting gun sounds at 10am. For more information: Online registration closes at noon on Friday 23 August.


Batty about St Vincent’s

STV’s Sean Batty, an Ambassador for St Vincent’s Hospice, will be hosting an exciting new quiz dinner in celebration of the hospice’s 25th anniversary.

The ‘Who Wants To Make A Million For St Vincent’s’ Dinner & Quiz is taking place on Friday 4th October, 7pm, at the Holiday Inn Glasgow Airport.

8 quiz rounds will be hosted by Sean, River City’s Carmen Pieraccini, boxing promoter Tommy Gilmour and MSP Hugh Henry. Tickets are only £35 or £350 per team of maximum 10, including a 3 course meal plus coffee.


Sean said “as an Ambassador of St Vincent’s Hospice I am delighted to be hosting the new ‘Who Wants To Make A Million For St Vincent’s’ Dinner & Quiz, as part of their special 25th anniversary year.

“This is a fun, exciting new event, which is sure to challenge even the best quiz enthusiast! So take up the challenge and join me on the night to become the St Vincent’s Hospice Champion.

He added “by getting involved with St Vincent’s Hospice you are supporting local patient care for those living with a life limiting illness, totally free of charge.

“The care provided at the hospice is amazing, but it requires a huge amount of money to keep delivering, and so this is a great way to help raise some much needed funds for the hospice but also have a great time too. What better reason to call and book your team place now!”

MaxSafe Solutions owner and St Vincent’s Hospice supporter Willie Chrystal  is excited about attending the event and said “as a business serving the Paisley and Renfrewshire area I would encourage all local businesses to get involved with this fantastic event.

“‘Who Wants To Make A Million For St Vincent’s’ is going to be a fun night for colleagues, clients and friends, plus you will be supporting local patient care for those living with life limiting illnesses. So take up the challenge and join me on the night, competing to become the St Vincent’s Champion!

Talking about his involvement Willie said “I regularly work with St Vincent’s Hospice providing free Health and Safety training to staff and volunteers. I witness the outstanding work they do providing vital care, totally free of charge, to the Renfrewshire community. I am delighted to be competing on October 4th.”

Gather together your team of colleagues, clients or friends and compete to win the title of 2013 Quiz Champion and help St Vincent’s Hospice raise £15,000 on the night, to care for local people and their families living with life limiting illnesses.

Reserve your table now by contacting Ashley on 01505 705635 or

living wage

Council Leader presses Scottish Government for Living Wage power

Renfrewshire Council’s Leader wants private companies to pay a fair Living Wage to any of their staff who deliver work for the local authority – and he has written to the Scottish Government in a bid to turn this into reality.

living wageCouncillor Mark Macmillan has written to the Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to urge that powers be added to public contract regulations. These would enable councils to specify that contractors’ employees are paid the Living Wage when they deliver work for local authorities. Currently, when awarding contracts to private sector companies, the council cannot take the rate of employees’ wages into consideration.

This move forms part of Renfrewshire Council’s anti-poverty agenda and links to the authority’s work supporting people affected by the UK government’s Welfare Reform and the £8million Invest in Renfrewshire programme that supports businesses while creating work and training opportunities.

Councillor Macmillan said: “I am fighting to get everyone working in Renfrewshire a fair Living Wage. It’s better for business and it means that people can work their way out of poverty. It is simply the right thing to do.

“The Scottish Government needs to change its legislation to let us specify to contractors that, when their staff are delivering work for the council, they have to pay them our Living Wage. It is simply unjust that a worker doing the same job as a council employee is paid at a lower rate.

“Renfrewshire’s Living Wage is fair, it’s encouraging, it shows that we value our employees and their work, and it’s better for the local economy. I’d urge Nicola Sturgeon to give us the powers we need to make sure anyone delivering work for Renfrewshire Council, receives our Living Wage.”

Councillor Macmillan has asked the Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, to address these legal issues regarding contractors in the Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill.

He also plans to work with Renfrewshire employers later this year to encourage them to consider applying the £7.50 per hour Living Wage. Already, companies who recruit employees and interns under the Invest in Renfrewshire programme are paid a £1000 bonus.

The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and updated annually. It is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and employers choose to pay it on a voluntary basis. The current hourly Living Wage outside London is set at £7.45. Renfrewshire Council was one of the first Scottish local authorities to introduce a living wage for its own staff and, for 2013/14, this is set at £7.50 per hour.

The national minimum wage is currently set at £6.21. More information on the Living Wage can be found online at


Laughter, Buddy Guaranteed: Renfrewshire Arts & Museums is delighted to announce its brand new arts programme for autumn 2013.

Autumn has arrived at Renfrewshire Arts & Museums, bringing with it a wonderful selection of theatre and dance performances, exhibitions at Paisley Museum, music and stand-up gigs as well as a superb range of regular events and classes for everyone from creative kids to talented tea dancers.

Our 50-strong line-up of performances, events and exhibitions falls during a busy time for Renfrewshire, with the arrival of the Royal National Mòd and The Spree arts festival, both of which take place in venues around Paisley in October.

PillarGalleryLaughter, Buddy Guaranteed. This autumn we are most looking forward to launching a new, monthly comedy strand featuring all the big names in Scottish stand-up. ‘A Buddy Good Laugh’ is the brainchild of Renfrewshire Arts & Museums and local comedy promoters Dead Sheep Comedy and will see headline acts like Des Clarke, Gary Little & Janey Godley take to the mic at Paisley Arts Centre and Paisley Town Hall. And, just to add a little more intrigue, we have secured a hugely successful mystery guest for our first show. We can’t reveal who it is yet but comedy fans will know this person well from their impressive run of sell-out world tours and numerous TV appearances.

Fringe Links. A number of our forthcoming plays and theatre productions are currently showing at the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. See the critically acclaimed ‘If These Spasms Could Speak’, ‘The List’ and children’s performance ‘Head in the Clouds’ straight after their Fringe run at Paisley Arts Centre. Or break out of the theatre for a nostalgic performance of ‘Linwood No More’ at the former Linwood Rootes Car Factory.

Showcasing the best of local heritage. Paisley Museum commemorates a local landmark with September exhibition ‘Abbey 850’ and the museum will be celebrating Gaeldom in October with a trio of displays highlighting Gaelic heritage and culture to coincide with the Royal National Mòd.

Animal mad! Whether your favourite animal is a sheep, a tiger or even a polar bear, we have many funny, interactive and magical events and performances planned for children and families. Plus our talented Outreach team are set to deliver an array of creative activities involving fashion, animation and even horrible histories!

The new autumn Guide brochure, complete with details of our arts and events programme in full, is now available to collect, for free, from Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre, Paisley Museum and Renfrew Town Hall. Or you can see what’s on online, by visiting

For regular updates on Renfrewshire Arts & Museums, follow us on Facebook (, Twitter (@RenArtsMuseums) or sign up to our free weekly e-news service, simply email to join the mailing list.


Golfers Get On Course For St Vincent’s Hospice

Golf enthusiasts are asked to tee off to support the St Vincent’s Hospice 25th Anniversary Golf Event on Friday 6th September at Kilmacolm Golf Club – “one of the finest village golf clubs in the country”.

Teams of 4 can enjoy 18 holes on this scenic course and take part in golfing challenges along the way.  Team entry for this “Stableford” format unique and lively golf event, with tee-off times available from 8.30am – 1pm, is only £320, including breakfast rolls, and a delicious high tea.

st vincentsBruce Harley – Leisure Manager at Intu Braehead has attended the Golf Event for a number of years and encourages local golfers to get involved.

“Braehead has supported the St Vincent’s Hospice golf day for many years and look forward to playing at Kilmacolm this year. 

It goes without saying that the event is for a good cause and it’s a great way for businesses and individuals can show their support for the local community while enjoying a really well organised day.

The sun usually shines and there are always good prizes on offer for the more serious golfers. But the day is really about enjoying some good company before, during and after the golf and I’d encourage local companies to get involved.”

Tee-off times are now limited for this event so contact Lorraine on 01505 705635 or to guarantee your entry.