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Celebrating the life of Scotland’s bard: BURNS! (Your Bard, By the Way) at Paisley Arts Centre.

Robert Burns was a dramatic figure. The events of his life are the stuff of theatre. His humble beginnings as a plough lad, his acceptance by Edinburgh society, the women he loved (and lost) and who loved and lost him, his fiery championing of the underdog are in themselves remarkable. Add to this is talent for finding true expression in the Scots tongue, and you have a man whose life story cries out to be told, over and over again.
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Written in rhyming Scots, BURNS! (Your Bard, By the Way) is a whirlwind of a play, celebrating the life of Scotland’s bard through hilarious comedy, beautiful song, stirring passion and heart-rending tenderness. Two actors play all twenty roles, moving seamlessly across age, gender and class to portray the people and events that shaped the poet’s life and works. Including a dramatic recital of Tam o Shanter, the play is packed with excerpts from many of the bard’s poems and songs so there is plenty on offer for the Burns enthusiast as well as the newcomer. 

BURNS! (Your Bard, By the Way) will be at Paisley Arts Centre on Friday 22 February at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10 (£6 conc) and can be booked by calling our Box Office on  0141 887 1010 or visiting www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/onlinebooking.

For further information on Burns! (Your Bard, By the Way), future events and shows log on to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts.

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Senior diplomat welcomed for Fairtrade visit

Renfrewshire rolled out the red carpet as a senior diplomat visited the area to find out how a Paisley business is helping improve the lives of people in Africa.

Bernard Sande, Malawi’s High Commissioner to the UK, had requested to make a special visit to Fairtrade wholesaler Just Trading Scotland.

Fairtrade products are those which guarantee that producers in the developing world have been given a fair price for their goods.

Mr Sande was welcomed by Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan and Councillor Brian Lawson, the Convener and Deputy Convener of Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group.

Fairtrade visit JTS

They were joined by directors of Just Trading Scotland and by pupils from Gryffe and Trinity High Schools for a tour of the building, before Mr Sande headed over to Paisley Abbey for a discussion on trade.

Councillor Macmillan said: “We were delighted to welcome the High Commissioner to Paisley and it is testament to the good work being carried out by Just Trading Scotland that he asked to come here to see it for himself.

“He told us about some of the issues surrounding the export of rice from Malawi, and of the impact that the Fairtrade movement has had in his home country.

“By buying fairly-traded products, residents of Renfrewshire are helping to improve living conditions for farmers in poorer parts of the world.

“People and organisations across Renfrewshire have been involved in a lot of work to help promote Fairtrade over the past few years.

“Renfrewshire achieved Fairtrade area status in 2009, and Paisley, Bishopton, Lochwinnoch and Renfrew have all become Fairtrade towns or villages.

“We look forward to continuing the campaign with a series of local events planned for Fairtrade Fortnight 2013, which takes place in February and March.”

John Riches, JTS director, said: “We were very encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the High Commissioner for the work we are doing promoting Malawi Kilombero rice in Scotland.

“He pledged support for our plans for development among rice farmers in the north of Malawi. And he said how much he was encouraged by the support and enthusiasm of of young people in schools in Scotland. It’s all a great boost for fair trade and for the work we do at Paisley.”

Just Trading Scotland is unique within Scotland in that it imports and distributes Fairtrade goods, while helping to expand the scheme throughout Africa.

Renfrewshire Council supports JTS, which based at a warehouse at Wallneuk in Paisley, by helping to provide accommodation.

The council’s Fairtrade Steering group features representatives from the council, local schools, higher education bodies and businesses, as well as from the various Fairtrade groups set up in the area’s towns and villages.

Malawi is one of the world’s least-developed countries, where around half the population have to live on less than $1 a day, and agriculture accounts for more than a third of GDP.

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

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Fun on the PlayTalkRead bus

Tiny tots and their parents showed it’s good to talk when a special bus toured Renfrewshire for a week of fun and games.

The PlayTalkRead buses offered parents and carers of children aged three-and-under the chance to climb aboard and find out how to give youngsters the best start.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, the Convener of the Education Policy Board and Councillor Mark Macmillan, the Leader of Renfrewshire Council, hopped on board the bus to speak to some of the parents and children – and take part in a very enthusiastic Bookbug session.
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Councillor Henry said: “Simple easy steps, such as reading books together, singing songs and playing together, aid a child’s development.

“The PlayTalkRead bus is inspirational in its approach. I would encourage parents or carers to check out the PlayTalkRead website for more ideas if they were unable to catch the bus this time.”

Councillor Macmillan added: “We are determined to give Renfrewshire’s children the best possible start in life and the PlayTalkRead bus is one way in which we can support parents and young children to make the most of their early years.”

The Scottish Government’s PlayTalkRead campaign is in collaboration with Working on Wheels, a charity which manages the Scotland-wide PlayTalkRead bus tour. In partnership, Renfrewshire Council supplied information packs, and were on hand to support and publicise the events. Library staff promoted the Bookbug programme and gave out free books provided by Scottish Book Trust. Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership also provided information on their services to families.
For more details visit: www.playtalkread.org or facebook.com/playtalkread , and Twitter @playtalkread

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Have your say on youth parliament poll

Thousands of young people across Renfrewshire are gearing up to make their views known on the issues that matter to them in the latest elections to the Scottish Youth Parliament.

The election will be held in early March and 14 young people are standing as candidates in the Renfrewshire area. Five will be elected to serve in the Scottish Youth Parliament for its next two-year term.

Scottish Youth ParliamentCouncil staff working with schools, Reid Kerr College, the University of the West of Scotland aim to increase voter turnout by 10% in the 2013 elections. The Council’s Youth Services team will support candidates to prepare for campaigning and the election process.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of the Council’s Education Policy Board said: “Young people are key contributors to Scottish society, and we want to ensure that key decision makers hear their views on issues that are important to them.  We’re proud of our political energy in Renfrewshire and encourage all of our young people to play their part in the democratic process.”

Council staff organised the training and recruitment of the 14 candidates. The team will be helping with February’s election campaigns in schools.

Students from the University of the West of Scotland, Gryffe High, Linwood High, St Benedict’s High, Paisley Grammar, Glennifer High, Park Mains High School and St Andrew’s Academy are standing as candidates.

The Scottish Youth Parliament is made up of 150 young people aged 14-25. Two Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MYSPs) represent each Scottish Parliamentary constituency and are selected through nationally co-ordinated elections held across Scotland every two years.

MYSPs ascertain and represent the views of young people, decide upon national campaigns and liaise with different levels of government to bring about positive change.

The Scottish Youth Parliament meets at least three times a year, at national sittings. www.syp.org.uk

renfrewshire arts

Something for everyone: Renfrewshire Arts & Museums is delighted to announce its brand new arts programme for Spring 2013.

Spring has arrived early at Renfrewshire Arts & Museums, bringing with it a wonderful selection of dance and drama performances, museum exhibitions, music gigs and film screenings, as well as a superb range of regular activities and classes for everyone from creative kids to talented tea dancers.

renfrewshire artsOur ever popular array of regular classes kicks off proceedings and places can now be booked for Saturday Art Classes, Creative Art Classes, Fashion Design workshops and Club Animate. Run by our fantastic Outreach Team these classes offer kids the chance to make their own movie, devise a stylish outfit or create their very own masterpiece. Plus, firm family favourites Playdays! @ the museum and themed Baby Discos will be back once again.

Movie time begins in March at Paisley Arts Centre bringing you a great selection of family favourites old and new. Disney and animation fans in particular will enjoy Brave and A Cat in Paris on the silver screen.

On the music scene there will be folk performances from Karine Polwart, Heidi Talbot and the critically acclaimed Southern Tenant Folk Union, a little bit of jazz from Loretta Reid and a tribute to the magic of The Eagles courtesy of Scottish group, Hotel California.

On the stage, hit Edinburgh Fringe show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs will test our social conscience with a hilarious and sometimes harrowing tale about our beloved iPhones. Or if it’s a laugh you seek there will be plenty to smile about at How to Make a Killing in Bollywood, I Spy Mrs Peery and new comedy show Hardeep Singh Kohli’s Indian Takeaway.

This season we will once again be embracing Refugee Week to help celebrate diversity in Scotland and raise awareness of refugee issues. A Refugee Week Film curated by the African Association of Communities in Renfrewshire will be screened at Paisley Arts Centre where you will also be able to view Spirit, an inspiring photography project launched in partnership by the Scottish Refugee Council and Streetlevel Photoworks.

Paisley Museum will also play host to a number of not to be missed exhibitions this season, beginning with a beautiful display of some of our star artworks as part of Delightful in February. Plus our Alexander Wilson exhibition promises to delve into the social and natural history behind the famous Paisley poet and highly respected ornithologist.

The Guide for Spring 2013, complete with details of our arts programme in full is now available to collect, for free, from Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre and Paisley Museum or can be downloaded online by visiting www.renfrewshire.gov.uk.

You can also keep up to date with Renfrewshire Arts & Museums by following us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts), logging on to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or sign up to our weekly e-news service by emailing ram.els@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

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Speed Networking Event

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce is holding a Speed Networking Event at the Normandy Hotel in Renfrew on 19th Feb from 12pm-2pm.

The fast process used by the Chamber allows everyone attending to meet everyone else there. Following the speed networking a light lunch will be served with the opportunity for more informal networking at a more gentle pace.

The popular event attracted over 30 people last year – to book please visit www.renfrewshirechamber.com  and remember to bring lots of business cards Please note there is a limit of 1 person per company.

renfrewshire chamber

 

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Glasgow Airport kits out young people with right tools for the job

A project which aims to improve prospects for school leavers has netted an award of £2,000 from the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund.

The JETs programme works with young people aged between 16 and 20 in East Dunbartonshire to help them secure jobs, education or training.

It is one of two programmes co-ordinated by Positive Alternatives, a diversionary education provider which operates in Bearsden and Milngavie. East Dunbartonshire Council established Positive Alternatives, which relies on a group of 12 local youth workers to deliver its programmes, in 2009.

Positive Alternatives cheque

JETs – short for Jobs, Education and Training – targets those who have left school and offers a range of group activities including outdoor pursuits, conservation projects, keep fit, healthy living, sports and wider achievement awards such as the John Muir Trust Award for Conservation.

The aim is to build self awareness and improve the participants’ employability, life and social skills. More than 80 young people take part every year and referrals come from a variety of sources including schools, social work and voluntary organisations.

The Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund award will allow the purchase of tools and personal protection equipment such as wheelbarrows, hard hats, goggles, high viz jackets and first aid kits for use in local conservation and community gardening projects.

Two teams of young people are currently engaged in conservation projects at Barrhill Fort, near Twechar and Cardowan Moss, near Hogganfield Loch. In partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, the work carried out has long-term benefits for communities.

Councillor Manjinder Shergill, of East Dunbartonshire Council, is a member of the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund Board. He welcomed the award: “The JETs programme is exactly the type of project we are keen to support through the FlightPath Fund as it ticks all the boxes – education, employment and the environment.

“In addition to bringing young people together and teaching them a range of skills which can only improve their job prospects, the local conservation projects deliver real benefits to the environment and the wider community as a result.”

East Dunbartonshire Council’s Convener of Education, Councillor Eric Gotts, said: “These conservation projects are an important element of the JETs programme but if we are asking the participants to carry out physical work in the community then we must provide them with the right tools and safety gear.

“We are delighted to have secured this funding as it means we can continue to identify and carry out these projects. The new equipment will help hundreds of young people as we guide them towards a job, training or education.”

Find out more here www.glasgowairport.com

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Cash boost for friendship service for older people

A scheme to help older people stay out of hospital, and live longer happier lives in their own homes, is to receive a £96,000 cash boost from Renfrewshire Council, bringing the total funding from the council and the Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership to over £250,000.

The money will help Reaching Older Adults in Renfrewshire (ROAR) to continue to deliver its range of volunteer-based services designed to counter the negative effects of loneliness and isolation.

Council Leader Mark Macmillan at the ROAR lunch club in HoustonROAR started as a pilot project in June 2007 and has gone from strength to strength since then. Currently 150 volunteers provide help to 300 older adults.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said, ““The services provided by ROAR offer vital practical help to keep people in touch with the outside world, helping people to maintain their independence and improving their quality of life.”

“As people get older they can become isolated and lonely as their family grows up and moves on and friends and acquaintances pass away.

“This can affect a person’s mood and ultimately their health. Research shows that having friends and an active social life are key factors in staying healthy for longer. They also provide an important defence against dementia.”

ROAR’s services including; activity clubs, weekly health and wellbeing clubs, a befriending service for older adults and people who suffer from dementia, a pilot shopping service and support for older people who have become isolated.

The project helps three main groups:
* Older people who are housebound and experience social isolation
* Older people who may have lost confidence and need encouragement and help to get out and about and stay active
* People whose own support networks may not be adequate and where help would improve their independence and quality of life.

ROAR works with Active Communities Scotland (Ltd), Alzheimers Scotland, Linstone Housing Association, Renfrewshire Council and the Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership to deliver its services. Visit their website for more info..

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A gift in your Will is a gift of future care.
Making a Will is not something you think normally think about, that is until something happens that makes you realise how important it really is. Having a Will in place is the only way of ensuring that all your wishes are carried out after you die.

Local supporter Andrea, 36 from Bridge of Weir recently went through the process of making a Will and leaving a gift to St Vincent’s Hospice. She said; “Making a Will was much easier than I imagined, it was straightforward and quick. I felt such peace of mind once it was done.”

st-vincents-hospiceShe explained, “It’s a big difference knowing that if anything should happen to me, my wishes will be carried out and my family will not have the complications or expense of having to sort out my affairs for me.” This unfortunately is the case for hundreds of families when a loved one dies and there is no Will in place, it can be a lengthy process and expensive to get everything in order and in the end your family may not be provided for as you would have wanted.

You can make vital provisions for your family in your Will as they are your priority after you die, but you also have the opportunity to look after charities close to your heart as well. Andrea very kindly remembered the work of St Vincent’s Hospice in her Will and said, “I’ve included my favourite charities in my Will so that even when I’m gone, my support will ensure that care for local people and their families can continue. That’s a really great feeling.”

Making a Will and keeping it up to date is really important, it provides peace of mind that after you are gone your family’s financial future is secure and they do not have any unnecessary complications or drawn out legal matters to go through. Leaving a gift to a charity like St Vincent’s Hospice in your Will keeps your money helping the causes that are important to you. It could be one of the most important things you do for your community.

email info@svh.co.uk or visit www.svh.co.uk

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Calling all cyclists and walkers.

Be one of 25 locals who are challenging themselves for St Vincent’s Hospice 25th anniversary year on an exclusive weekend duathlon cycle and trek.

Challenge 25 is an adventurous weekend cycle and trek on Arran, covering 42 miles by bike from Brodick to Lochranza on day 1, and trekking 847m to the summit of Goatfell on day 2.

st-vincents-hospiceSt Vincent’s Hospice provides specialist care for those living with cancer and other life limiting illnesses. Their services are available to all, totally free of charge, thanks to the generosity of local communities.

Fundraiser Ashley Moran said “the money raised through Challenge 25 will go directly to caring for local patients and their families.

“It’s a great opportunity to tick some new years’ resolutions off your list; get fit, have a fabulous weekend completing an exciting new challenge while supporting St Vincent’s Hospice in our special 25th Anniversary year.

I can’t think of a better way to raise vital funds for the Hospice and give yourself a new challenge for 2013 – so what are you waiting for? Be part of it!.”

An Information Evening is being held on Feb 21st at 6.30pm at St Vincent’s Hospice, with coffee and cake and the opportunity to pick up your free t-shirt.

All transport, meals and accommodation are provided on the weekend and no expensive gear is required, just your own bike and walking shoes.

St Vincent’s Hospice has a full 25th anniversary programme of celebrations and has launched a £1m appeal to maintain and develop its crucial services. For more info email info@svh.co.uk or visit www.svh.co.uk.