Presenting the DoE winners with their awards

Eight more ‘golden’ pupils achieve Duke of Edinburgh success

Eight Renfrewshire pupils from Park Mains High School and Kersland School are celebrating after achieving a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

The golden eight have achieved the highest standard possible in the long-running national scheme for young people.

Renfrewshire Council is an ‘operating authority’ for the scheme and the council’s Youth and Sports Services team is currently taking many local young people through the scheme.

The scheme asks young people to volunteer, develop a skill or hobby, test their physical fitness and undertake an expedition. Participants work through the Bronze and Silver award levels before attempting the ultimate Gold Award.

Councillor Stuart Clark, depute convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, met with the winners and said: “My congratulations to all eight of these pupils and their families.

“The Duke of Edinburgh Scheme needs a major commitment of time and effort and it’s great to meet a group of young people who worked all the way through the scheme to reach the highest standard possible.

“A Duke of Edinburgh Award is a major boost to any young person’s CV and I know it’s highly valued by prospective employers.”

The eight pupils to receive their Gold Award were:

* Miriam Donald (Park Mains)

* Fraser Gunn (Park Mains)

* Sarah-Jane MacIntyre (Park Mains)

* Sandy Sneddon (Park Mains)

* Steven Coutts (Kersland)

* Darren McEachran (Kersland)

* Laura Mitchell (Kersland)

* Rory Wilson (Kersland)

 

Youth and Sport Services are currently looking for adult volunteers who can support scheme activities. If you’re interesting in lending your support, call the team on 0141 889 1110

Futurefest

Renfrewshire Young people turn out for council careers fair

Young people from Renfrewshire turned out to a council-run event to meet people who could help them find their ideal career.

The Futuresfest careers fair for young people aged 16 to 24 took place at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre and featured more than 40 exhibitors.

They included significant local employers such as Quarriers, the Lynnhurst Hotel and St Mirren FC.

Visitors on the day could also speak to staff from training providers, and organisations including the NHS, JobCentre Plus and Skills Development Scotland.

Council staff were on hand to dish out information about their apprenticeship scheme, youth employability hub and £8m Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan popped along to see the event for himself, and said: “The council will do all it can to make sure young people have the best chance possible of finding work.

“The aim of Futuresfest was to give them the opportunity to speak to a range of people who can help them get to where they want to be in life.

“Whether it be further education, apprenticeships, access to training or help finding work, there was something for everyone on offer.”

The same day also saw an open day at the council’s youth employability hub in Gauze Street, Paisley.

Staff at the hub are able to offer young people aged between 16 and 24 help with finding work, access to training and CV and letter writing.

For more information about the council’s youth employment services, call 0300 300 1180, email employability@renfrewshire.gov.uk or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

Renfrewshire Business hub opening

New hub for local firms is open for Renfrewshire business

A one-stop shop where local firms can find out how to get financial help has been officially opened for business.

The Invest in Renfrewshire Business Hub in Lawn Street, Paisley was given the seal the seal of approval by invited guests from the local business community at a recent event.

Invest in Renfrewshire is Renfrewshire Council’s flagship £8m programme to boost the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

Renfrewshire Business hub opening

The new facility is open for any local company – whether big or small – to pop in and find out more about the range of support on offer through Invest in Renfrewshire.

It also boasts meeting rooms and will be a venue for networking and business information events, with a series of ‘meet the expert’ clinics in the pipeline.

To mark the official opening, Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan welcomed representatives of local firms, training providers and partner organisations to a business breakfast at the hub.

He said: “The council sees the local economy as a top priority, which is why we have made a sizeable financial commitment to the Invest in Renfrewshire programme.

“It is essential that small businesses are given the chance to thrive, and the council has a key role to play in creating conditions in which that can happen.

“The new business hub is intended to be exactly that – a central place where local firms can visit, attend events, access funding, and network with other professionals.

“Our team of business development advisors are on hand to offer help and advice, as will staff from Business Gateway, who will be based there one day a week.

“We would also encourage any small businesses who need somewhere to go to meet clients can use the facility by booking one of our meeting rooms.”

Renfrewshire Business hub opening

Support on offer to local businesses through Invest in Renfrewshire includes the following;

– business growth grants of up to £10,000 to help firms develop new products or pay for property improvements and IT equipment

– financial help of up to £5,000 for any company taking on an unemployed person or a graduate intern

– loans to help businesses grow or meet the cost of specific projects

– retail improvement grants and help with staff training.

Find more opportunities and information by going to www.investinrenfrewshire.com

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£100,000 science boost for Renfrewshire schools

Renfrewshire schools are set for a £100,000 science boost after the local council concluded an agreement to take part in a science grant scheme.

The council has linked up with the Edina Trust, a charitable organisation that offers grants to promote the teaching of science and gardening.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGEach year a maximum grant of £550 is available from the Edina Trust to each primary school, pre-five centre, or additional support needs (ASN) school.

In Renfrewshire’s case, that could mean up to £35,200 being available for each of the three years in which the grant scheme is available.

Councillor Stuart Clark, Depute Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said: “The Edina Trust is well known for its work in encouraging interest and achievement in science.

“Renfrewshire Council is delighted to be working with the Trust. Many of our schools already have innovative approaches on science or environmental projects. This substantial funding boost will enhance that work.”

Dave McLavin, Senior Communications Officer. Tel 0141 618 7398.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil.

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New £600,000 fund to soften the ‘bedroom tax’ blow

Renfrewshire Council is setting up a new £600,000 cash pot to help council tenants who are suffering financial hardship as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’.

The money will be available via a new Council Tenant Assistance Fund to help council tenants who receive Housing Benefit and are struggling to pay their rent because they’re affected by under occupancy rules.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Tommy Williams, Convener of the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board said: “This major investment is part of our on-going response to help our tenants cope with the UK Government’s ‘bedroom tax’.

“Between April and July, 684 council tenants applied for Discretionary Housing Payment to assist them with their housing costs, with the majority of those affected by the ‘bedroom tax’.

“But while many have come for support, there are still tenants who are clearly struggling to pay their rent because of ‘bedroom tax’ who haven’t come to us for help. We’ve already said that we won’t evict our tenants who fall into arrears as a result of the ‘bedroom tax’, as long as they’re working with us, and we want them to know that this assistance fund is now available to help them cope with the strain of under occupancy.

“We absolutely do not want local families to face hardship because of the ‘bedroom tax’ and we’ll continue to work with our tenants to help them.”

The Council Tenant Assistance Fund will solely help council tenants in financial hardship because of ‘bedroom tax’. The cash is coming from the Housing Revenue Account which by law, can only be spent on council tenants.

To apply to the Council Tenant Assistance Fund, download a form at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/dhp or you can call 0300 300 0204 to ask for a form to be sent out to you.

Anyone who needs help to fill out a form (and for general financial support) should call Advice Works on 0300 300 1238.

The creation of the Council Tenant Assistance Fund was agreed at the Housing and Community Safety Policy Board earlier today.

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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 www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/dhp 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 FLIGHTPATH FUND FLIES PAST £550,000 LANDMARK

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 www.glasgowairport.com

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.

www.hdscotland.org

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.