A brand-new activity area is set to become one of the most sought-after play parks in Scotland when state-of-the-art equipment is installed for young people.

For the first time in a Scottish play park, equipment will include an interactive DJ booth, dance arch and activity zones offering various games on seven different screens that support learning and activity for all ages.

The new activity area in Bargarran, Erskine has been designed to be a central community resource, where groups and families can come together and socialise safely outdoors and is being created thanks to a £50,000 award from Renfrewshire Council’s Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund.

Young people will be able to play their own music through interactive decks where they can learn to beat match and mix songs with their friends and peers.

A number of activity zones will also be set up around the play area with interactive games they can play individually or as a group, while a zip wire, seating areas, a shelter and outdoor gym equipment will also be available – all key asks from young people as part of a consultation run by Erskine Youth Council (EYC).

The Youth Council organise events, identify activities and develop opportunities to benefit young people in Erskine and deliver campaigns designed to create positive change for their whole community – and they will take a lead role in developing the play park into a social hub.

Graeme Wilson, EYC Treasurer, said: “We are over the moon that we received the additional £50k funding and can now go ahead with the building of the new Erskine activity area.

“This will bring about new and exciting ways for children, young people and their families to have fun and will also be an interactive play facility – the first of its kind in Scotland.

“EYC has been involved in picking the equipment to make sure it will fit the needs and wants of Erskine’s youth and going forward our Youth Council will look after the activity play area, making sure all the equipment is up and running as well as monitoring what games are being played and the settings of the DJ booth.

“We look forward to leading on fun outdoor group activities using the play area equipment once it is built and open to our community.”

Work to complete the project is expected to begin in March with the aim for it to be in place this summer – although construction will be subject to ongoing Coronavirus restrictions.

The latest funding adds to the £110,000 already allocated to the project by the Council to replace the former MUGA at the site of the new primary school joint campus in Bargarran.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted that we are able to provide significant funding to Erskine Youth Council to ensure that this new, interactive play area can be developed.

“It will be one of the standout play parks in the country thanks to the state-of-the-art equipment that is set to be installed and young people have been at the heart of the process every step of the way. I can’t wait to see their ideas become reality.

“The Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund really has given local people of all ages the chance to change their community for the better and it’s great to see the difference that it is making across Renfrewshire.”

The activity area has been designed by working closely with leading outdoor play organisation Jupiter Play and the modern, interactive equipment was purchased from international playground equipment supplier Yalp.

Ian Smith, Regional Sales Manager at Jupiter Play, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Renfrewshire Council. Designing play spaces that create a sense of wonder and engage an entire community is our aim as a business.

“I am delighted that we are delivering this really innovative project at Bargarran and the first one of its kind in Scotland as I know I will see people of all ages really benefitting from interactive play.

“It will be fantastic seeing people of all generations outside, having fun, staying active and socialising in their local park.”

For more information on the Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund, including how to submit your application before the 31 March 2021 deadline, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/greenspacesfund.

Drone

AGS Airports, which owns and manages Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports, is to lead a consortium that will develop and trial what will be the UK’s first national distribution network to use drones to transport essential medicines, blood, organs and other medical supplies throughout Scotland.

Drone

The AGS led consortium, which brings together 14 organisations including the University of Strathclyde, and leading air traffic control provider NATS, successfully secured £1.5 millionfrom the UK Industrial Strategy Future Flight Challenge Fund to demonstrate how autonomous drone technology can enhance access to essential medical supplies, particularly in rural parts of Scotland.

The CAELUS (Care & Equity – Healthcare Logistics UAS Scotland) project started on 1 December and will involve live drone flight trials. In addition to developing the ground infrastructure needed to recharge the drones and the systems to control them while flying, a key aspect of the project will be designing pathways to ensure the drones can safely share airspace with civil aviation. The project will also ensure critical aspects such as public safety, security and noise levels are considered.

A digital blueprint of the drone delivery network will then be created with the potential to connect hospitals, pathology laboratories, distribution centres and GP surgeries across Scotland. The project is scheduled to run until Spring 2022.

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports, said: “This project has the potential to completely revolutionise the way in which healthcare services are delivered in Scotland. Not only does drone technology have the ability to speedup the delivery of critical medical supplies, it could reduce waiting times for test results and, more importantly, help provide equity of care between urban and remote rural communities.

“The organisations within this consortium are some of the most skilled and experienced in drone technology. The funding from UK Industrial Strategy will allow us to work together to overcome some of the challenges associated with scaling drone operations to deliver atransport network that is technically, socially and financially viable.

Although our focus is on healthcare, the CAELUS project could pave the way for the deployment of drone-enabled logistics in other sectors and has the potential to change the way airspace is used by manned and unmanned vehicles. It also has clear environmental benefits as it will play a key role in reducing the carbon emissions generated by existing, road-based distribution networks within Scotland.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran and the NHS West of Scotland Innovation Hub, which supports health and social care innovation across the West of Scotland, will work alongside the AGS led consortium on the project

Karen Bell, Head of Research & Development – Innovation Lead for NHS Ayrshire & Arran said: “NHS Ayrshire & Arran are excited to be leading on the delivery of this project on behalf of the West of Scotland Innovation Hub.

This is an opportunity to work with aviation colleagues to explore the innovative use of drone technology to address some of the potential challenges facing daily delivery of NHS services, not only within NHS Ayrshire & Arran but across the West of Scotland.”

The Scottish Government’s Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “This innovative project will help position Scotland at the forefront of drone technologies to deliver essential healthcare supplies to people more quickly, especially those living remote locations. It also demonstrates, once again, that when businesses, universities and public sector work together they can deliver for Scotland and outperform the competition, attracting welcome funding at this challenging time.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Strathclyde is a founding member of the UK Aviation Research Consortium and we are delighted to play a central role in this exciting project, applying our expertise from across multiple disciplines. The project aligns with our health technologies research cluster and our long track record of working with industry and the public sector. We look forward to demonstrating the potential value of drone delivery of medical supplies for the public, NHS, the economy, social equality and for the aviation manufacturing industry in Scotland.”

Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge Director, added: “At this very challenging time for the international aviation industry, it is a great testament to the UK’s drive and ambition that we have had such a strong response to the first funded Future Flight competition. The breadth, quality and creativity of the bids has been exceptional and the economic and social benefits offered are very significant. The projects we are now launching will position the UK strongly to drive the third revolution in aviation.”

The CAELUS consortium comprises:

AGS Airports Limited​​​​​NATS (Services) Limited

ANRA Technologies UK Ltd​​​​Schneider Electric (UK) Limited

Atkins Ltd​​​​​​Avy – Drones for Good

The Drone Office Ltd​​​​​Connected Places Catapult

Trax International Ltd ​​​​​DGP Intelsius Limited

uAvionix Ltd​​​​​​Leonardo MW Ltd​​

University of Strathclyde​​​​Dronamics

Pro Score Academy

ProScore Academy are offering 1 to 1 coaching in adherence with ScotGov guidelines at Pro Fives in Paisley.

Pro Score Academy
Get in touch to stay active and book your session now.

Youngsters were encouraged to muck about during their last few days at school before the holidays.

Although Covid-19 put paid to their annual Christmas party, pupils from Rashielea Primary 4-7 were given the chance to take part in a fun Rough Mudder assault course, organised by Renfrewshire Leisure’s Active Schools team.

The Rashie Rough Mudder event saw youngsters don their waterproof clothing – funded by the school’s Parents’ Association – and start their messy journey at the bottom of a hill outside their school.

They clambered over logs; weaved through obstacles; jumped in and out of giant tractor tyres, donated by the Hamilton Ross Group; rolled on their stomachs over barrels; crawled under a parachute and slalomed on a space hopper.

As part of their work that led to being given the John Muir Award for improving the environment, Rashielea Primary 6 pupils had cleared a nearby wood and part of the Rough Mudder course included passing through this area and finishing on a mudslide.

Renfrewshire Leisure Active School and Community Club Development Officer, Tammy Johnston said: “We didn’t want the pupils to miss out a last day of fun before breaking up for the Christmas holidays.

“The children weren’t afraid to get muddy and were more than up for a day of messy fun. As soon as they had their waterproofs on they tackled the course with great gusto.”

School staff and volunteers from the nearby Park Mains High were also on hand to help direct the children through the course.

It had been a busy school term for the pupils at Rashielea, as they took part in a reverse Advent Calendar with each pupil bringing in an item for each day for donation to local food banks.

Youngsters video recorded their Nativity Play for residents of LittleInch Care Home, at Inchinnan to watch and pupils also organised a Christmas jumper day raising money to buy toys for the Salvation Army Toy Appeal.

Pupils from Primary 1-3 used technology to transport themselves to Bethlehem for a Christmas carol concert with a difference. They used special green screen recording techniques to video their performance. However, because singing is still not allowed in schools due to Covid restrictions, they used Makaton to sign the words of the songs while accompanied by pupils playing instruments.

1200x1600px-Kenneth-Keegan-Social-Media-TV-SCREEN-Adverts-01-12-2020

When you need us, We’ll be there. Funeral Pre-Payment Plans for your local independent funeral director.

1200x1600px-Kenneth-Keegan-Social-Media-TV-SCREEN-Adverts-01-12-2020

Visit www.keeganfuneraldirectors.co.uk

Val Bissland for Paisley & District U3A

The secrets for a happier New Year will be shared soon with Paisley & District U3A members.  Guest speaker, Val Bissland explores how to develop a positive outlook and create greater enjoyment in life.  As an experienced psychology tutor at the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Lifelong Learning, Val also welcomes questions at the interactive monthly zoom meeting at 2pm on Thursday 7 January.

Val Bissland for Paisley & District U3A

U3A chair, Kathy O’Donnell said: “Life hasn’t been normal since the pandemic began and this has taken its toll on our emotions and mental health.  Some older people seem to deal better with uncertainty than others and part of it is down to coping mechanisms.  So we decided to find out how members could boost their own happiness during 2021.  Val Bissland will explain how helpful choices can make us become emotionally resilient.”

“We often overlook our mental strengths.  Positive psychology has identified many ways we can soothe our anxieties and become a bit happier. I’ll talk about some strategies that seem to work well for most people”, Val remarked.

For details on how to view this free live talk, please visit the U3A website: https://u3asites.org.uk/paisley/welcome

Victoria Hollows, Renfrewshire Leisure Chief Executive.v1

But vibrant programme of digital content and services will be in place to support residents’ health and wellbeing during restrictions

Venues operated by Renfrewshire Leisure will temporarily close in line with the Scottish Government Covid-19 restrictions from Boxing Day.

Victoria Hollows, Renfrewshire Leisure Chief Executive.v1

The Level 4 measures coming into place across mainland Scotland on December 26th will be in place for at least three weeks, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

 

These restrictions mean that all leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, libraries and the heritage centre run by Renfrewshire Leisure must close to the public during that period.

 

While in-venue facilities will be closed, a vibrant and varied package of content – covering everything from fitness and wellbeing to storytelling and nostalgia – will be available at www.renfrewshireleisure.com and via the online REN TV channel.

 

A vast selection of library books are also available for download via the array of services offered online by Renfrewshire Libraries.

 

Outdoor non-contact sports will also continue, whilst they remain in line with Government guidance and that of individual sport governing bodies.

 

Direct Debit payments will not be taken in January in light of this latest announcement.

 

Renfrewshire Leisure Chief Executive Victoria Hollows said: “We hope that people understand why we have to suspend in-venue services to help protect our communities. We all hope that this latest period of increased restrictions will have the desired effect in reducing rates of transmission and that we can reopen later in January.

 

“Even though our venues will be closed, we remain here for our communities and our team will be working hard to continue to create and deliver content for our members and the wider community online and via social media and also through outdoor activity.

 

“While we cannot offer services in-venue, we hope that our work online and outdoor will help the wellbeing of the region’s residents and keep people safe and well at what is a challenging time for us all, perhaps even more so at this time of year.”

 

Plans had already been in place for a revised festive programme – as is normal – from December 24th until January 3rd (inclusive).

 

Details on service updates will be shared as soon as they are available online and via Renfrewshire Leisure’s social media channels.

Johnstone 8.12.20-6758

Landmark locations at the heart of Renfrew and Johnstone town centres are being lit up – as part of a collection of projects aimed at bringing new life to Renfrewshire’s town centres.

The projects have been delivered by Renfrewshire Council using the area’s share of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund, intended to improve town centres across the country by encouraging new investment and uses for vacant buildings and spaces.

Johnstone 8.12.20-6758

Renfrewshire initially received £1.46m from the fund in 2019, for which a series of projects in Renfrew, Johnstone, Paisley and Erskine were put into action, with some now complete.

A further £527,000 was allocated earlier this year when the government added extra money to the fund to help town centres bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

bascule1

Projects which have already been delivered or are nearing completion include:

– new and improved lighting around Renfrew Town Hall and Johnstone’s Houstoun Square. The same fund also paid for new Christmas lights in Johnstone, with the additions to Renfrew Town Hall complementing recent investment in the town’s festive displays through the Renfrew Common Good Fund;

– new lighting added to Renfrew’s Bascule Bridge, with work to add new lighting, wayfinding and CCTV to Robertson Park now partly-complete and due to be finished in the spring;

– work to tidy up the gap site at the corner of Johnstone’s High St and McDowall St;

– refurbishments to vacant shop units at George Street, Paisley, and High Street and McDowall St in Johnstone, plus external improvements to vacant shop units at Renfrew’s Dunlop Crescent;

– a new storage area for commercial waste at 55 High St, Paisley;

Johnstone 8.12.20-6776

The fund is also being used to provide grants to three local community groups to support ongoing work to bring vacant buildings back into use. Each of the following projects is expected to be complete by the end of 2021:

– PACE Theatre’s plans to refurbish Paisley’s former Mannequins nightclub to create a new theatre, called Exchange;

– Active Communities ongoing work to bring the former police station in Johnstone’s Quarry Street back into use as a community hub;

– the conversion of the former toilet block in Renfrew’s Robertson Park into a cycle hub by Kustom Kruisers;

Bascule Bridge - Purple

The council’s leadership board this month also approved a list of additional projects for the second tranche of money to go on, which included:

– a grant to allow the Erskine Arts charity to set up a base within Erskine Leisure Centre;

– funding to extend the council’s Start-up Street hub for new creative businesses to Renfrew as a new use for the vacant units in Dunlop Crescent;

– outdoor improvements to Paisley’s Shuttle St to help support the hospitality businesses in the street, including new a canopy of lighting and a new bin store area

– additional funding for an already-planned refurbishment of upper-floor tenements at 3 County Place, Paisley – a prominent building facing Gilmour St station which has fallen into disrepair;

Robertson Park II December 2020

As the additional money needs to be committed by March 2021, the projects above were chosen as ones which had already been scoped out and could go on site in the next few months.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “Ensuring our town centres are attractive places for people to live, work and invest is a big priority for the council.

“We are very mindful how hard the past year has been for town centres everywhere – we are determined to do all we can to support our traders and communities and this support from the Scottish Government is very welcome.

“We carefully considered which projects would be eligible for the funding and would have the most impact in terms of attracting new uses and investment across all our town centres.

Robertson Park December 2020

“The work has been happening since last year and we are delighted people are now starting to see the results of it – with the new lighting in Renfrew and Johnstone being the most eye-catching of the projects, and ones which have been well-received.

“And there will be plenty more for people to look forward to in 2021 as projects to bring vacant buildings back into use and improve the look of our outdoor spaces are completed.”

provost community awards

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron is searching for community heroes across Renfrewshire as nominations for the Provost’s Community Awards open for 2021. 

provost community awards

This year there are seven categories to nominate in, including a new category to recognise businesses who have adapted to ensure their survival during the Covid19 pandemic. You can nominate anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire for the following categories:

  • Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd)
  • Community Group (sponsored by City Gate Construction)
  • Sporting Achievement (sponsored by ACRE Industrial)
  • Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire)
  • Carers Award (sponsored by former Provost Nancy Allison)
  • Arts and Culture Award (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council)
  • Ingenuity in Business (sponsored by Provost Lorraine Cameron)

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “This year has been unlike any other and it’s important that we pay tribute to the local unsung heroes who keep our communities going.

“We have recently heard of the sad death of former Provost Nancy Allison, who established the very first awards in 1997, and I know, for certain, that Nancy would have been very happy that I have decided to go ahead this year, despite the pandemic.  She knew how important it was to recognise the big hearted people who support their communities and that is why we continue with these awards year after year.

“Earlier this year I awarded certificates to those who I know have gone the extra mile throughout the pandemic, but these awards are different – they come from the community themselves. Now it is your chance to tell me about the hard work that these groups and individuals do.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be able to have an event this year to celebrate these achievements, but we will make sure the winners are announced online and through other media channels. I know there are some fantastic people out there who really deserve to be recognised and I can’t wait to read your nominations.”

The deadline for entries to all categories is Friday 29 January 2021.

For more information, and to submit your nomination, visit http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provostawards2021, or email provostawards@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Renfrewshire

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our health, our wellbeing, our communities and our economy, but I am confident that by working together, Renfrewshire will recover and renew to come back stronger.”

That’s according to Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson, as he welcomes plans for Renfrewshire’s economic and social recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.

Renfrewshire

Councillors will consider the ambitious plans next week which aim to create jobs and upskill employees, bolster business, invest in housing, tackle inequalities and improve the lives of people living and working in Renfrewshire.

Stark statistics within the reports lay bare the impact of the pandemic in Renfrewshire, with 293 local people having lost their lives.

The number of people claiming benefits rose by 80% at the height of the virus, while 6,000 crisis grant applications have been received, thousands have been supported through neighbourhood hubs and local community groups and Renfrewshire Foodbank has helped more than 4,000 adults and children.

Furlough support for Renfrewshire employees is estimated to equate to £115million and self-income support to almost £10million.

 

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Councillor Nicolson said: “The pandemic has impacted on all parts of daily life and in some cases exacerbated existing vulnerabilities or created new difficulties. Many people and businesses have been impacted, through bereavement, loss of income, isolation and loneliness.

“Since the outset, Council staff have been working tirelessly together with community groups and local volunteers as well as with national agencies to support people during these unprecedented times, and the collective response has been phenomenal.

“This work continues and while the true impact of the pandemic will take time to fully emerge, we have been carrying out detailed research and together with community groups, local businesses and economic leaders, we have been preparing our plans for recovery and renewal.”

The two-year economic recovery plan has been prepared with, and approved by, Renfrewshire’s Economic Leadership Panel, which pools business expertise from major local employers and skills and enterprise agencies.

It is underpinned by economic analysis by the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute and by a summer survey of 500 local companies, with further data being collected next spring following the end of the furlough scheme and the Brexit transition period.

Detailing 14 priority actions the panel believe will make the biggest difference locally, the report focuses on support for business, young people, wellbeing, skills and employability, fostering a green recovery and on capital investment.

Councillor Nicolson added: “The building blocks of Renfrewshire’s economy have been consistently strong for some time and there are significant opportunities for growth after the pandemic with a strong business base, excellent educational facilities and £500million in capital investment well under way.

Lovell Cocstruction, social housing, Bishopton

Lovell Cocstruction, social housing, Bishopton

“We will build on this by creating jobs and training opportunities for our young people, including 150 new apprenticeships, with targeted projects to tackle unemployment and reduce health inequalities, and measures to bolster the skills and innovation of our significant manufacturing sector. To achieve this plan, all partner agencies will have a key role to play and by combining our knowledge and expertise, we can achieve so much more.”

Tackling inequalities is at the heart of the developing social renewal plan for Renfrewshire, which is being prepared through a public survey of 1,500 people combined with ‘listening events’ with community groups during winter 2020, to better understand the impacts of COVID-19 and involve local people in identifying solutions to the issues they face.

Council Depute Leader Jim Paterson said: “Local people and communities continue to experience significant impacts on their lives resulting from the pandemic and sadly the initial findings suggest it is most affecting people on low incomes and in insecure employment, in particular women and young people.

“The social renewal plan will act as the blueprint for how we will work with our partners to learn from the pandemic and build on this experience to tackle the inequalities that exist in our communities.”

Councillors will also be asked to approve plans for at least £100million of additional investment over the next 10 years in Council housing across Renfrewshire, with the first phase targeting investment to eight areas across Johnstone, Paisley and Renfrew.

Communities, Housing and Planning Convener Councillor Marie McGurk said: “Coronavirus has underlined the importance of our home on our wellbeing and the need to live within a supportive community environment.

“This planned investment will provide a step-change in housing conditions for Council tenants by enhancing properties inside and out, making them more energy efficient and creating safe, welcoming neighbourhoods.

“At each location, we will develop comprehensive regeneration place plans, engaging with tenants and the wider community to create places to be proud of through a mix of improvements and new homes, this approach will continue the recent investment by the council and housing associations which will see more than 1,000 affordable homes completed by 2022.”