Cllr McEwan, Kevin Dick and his daughter (1)

Volunteers in Renfrewshire are being equipped to help their neighbours and keep their residential street ice-free.

The latest addition to the award-winning Team Up to Clean Up campaign will see communities become Winter Warriors as a grit spreader, grit and snow shovel is added to the community caddies.

Cllr McEwan, Kevin Dick and his daughter (1)

Volunteers are able to borrow the caddy from the person in their community who stores it to allow them to grit outside their homes if bad weather is set to strike.

The provision of the new equipment forms part of the council’s #RenReady Ready for Winter campaign, which aims to keep people safe and prepared throughout the winter period.

The council has used more than 6700 tonnes of grit on Renfrewshire’s roads this winter already as it strives to ensure emergency, school and main routes are free of snow and ice, as well as providing more than 500 grit bins for residents to use as they wish.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The Team Up to Clean Up campaign is all about listening to our communities and working together to make Renfrewshire a better place to live, work and visit.

“We’ve been asked by volunteers to provide them with the equipment to grit their residential areas during the winter period as they recognise that it’s not always possible for the council to reach every street.

“Our gritting teams focus on the emergency and main roads first, so if communities can keep their driveways and pavements clear then it will make a big difference – but we will continue to strive to reach all areas of Renfrewshire wherever we can.

“You’ll be able to borrow the new grit spreader from the volunteer storing the caddy and we hope this will be a further chance for people to meet new friends and help each other.”

The Team Up to Clean Up caddies were established when council employee Gail Scoular pitched her idea to the Lens programme, our intrapreneurship programme which gives staff members the chance to be innovative and change the way we work.

She was awarded £12,000 and used this funding to create 14 community caddies which allow volunteers to tidy up their local area with a hedge trimmer, a leaf blower and shears just some of the items available.

These are embedded in twelve different communities in Renfrewshire, with volunteers storing them and facilitating others to access them.

For more information on staying safe in winter, visit and to borrow one of the Team Up to Clean Up caddies, visit

Cllr McEwan and Howwood CC (1)

The renovation of Howwood Park continues to advance as volunteers aim to create a family-friendly space for the local community.

Following a successful application for £50,000 to Renfrewshire Council’s Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund, which was matched funded by LEADER Renfrewshire, Howwood Community Council has overseen the installation of new play equipment, comprising a zip slide, nest swing, roundabout, climbing frame, swing bars, a new football goal and picnic tables.

Cllr McEwan and Howwood CC (1)

Gillian Whyte, Howwood Community Council, said: “The new equipment is being well-used for this time of year and we expect it to increase greatly once the remaining new equipment is in place and the weather improves!

“The improvements have been a catalyst for the formation of our new group, ‘Friends of Howwood Park’, which brings together a group of local residents whose aim is to look after the park and ensure it is used to its full potential.

Cllr McEwan and Howwood CC (2)

“We hope to take over the currently unused pavilion located in the park under a Community Asset Transfer, with a view to having this re-opened for community use and are working closely with the council to explore this.”

Further improvements are still to be undertaken later this year and include new scooter ramps, an outdoor gym and more play equipment.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities Housing and Planning Board, said: “It’s fantastic to see the change in Howwood Park already and it’s been driven by the brilliant volunteers at Howwood Community Council.

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“We want to ensure our parks are inviting places for families to visit for generations to come and this new play equipment, combined with our upgrades to the drainage and paths, are transforming this park for the local community.

“If you’re inspired by the work at Howwood, please get in touch with us and we’ll work with you to access the funding and support you need to make a difference to your local area.”

Thanks to additional investment by Renfrewshire Council, a new perimeter path has also been completed, all other existing paths have undergone improvements, new fencing has been installed and the football pitch drainage has been upgraded.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to make these improvements to Howwood Park and a huge thank you goes to our parks team who have carried out fantastic work in conjunction with the local community.

“We have been working closely with the community council to identify exactly what the park needed to make it more family-friendly and by improving access for visitors and ensuring they have a safe walkway around the park, we’re already seeing visitor numbers increase.”

The £1.87million Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund aims to regenerate and make physical and environmental improvements to areas across Renfrewshire.

Awards from the fund will assist in bringing in external funding, increase community participation in local areas and encourage the process of transferring assets to local communities.

Each application must show it has consulted the local community to ensure there is a need and desire for the project and that it would improve community life.

£370,000 has been ringfenced from the overall £1.87million fund specifically for investment in Renfrewshire’s villages, through the Villages Investment Fund, and applications for this must show that they will strengthen the unique identity, heritage and character of village life.

For more information and to find out how to apply, visit

Nursery - Houston - sod cutting - children - 5 Feb 2020 (6)

Children at Houston Early Learning and Childcare Class were the first to dig up the ground in preparation for their new-build nursery.

Beth, Annie and Isla, aged four, and Leo and Jess, aged three, helped contractors Fleming Buildings Limited start work on the site beside Houston Primary School.

Nursery - Houston - sod cutting - children - 5 Feb 2020 (6)

Houston is one of four new-build nurseries that will be built across Renfrewshire, with work also starting on site for nurseries at Dargavel in Bishopton, Lochfield in Paisley and Kirklandneuk in Renfrew.

Major extension work will also start soon at St Margaret’s Early Learning and Childcare Centre in Johnstone and Kilbarchan Community Nursery, as well as a bespoke centre being created for Inchinnan Community Nursery at Inchinnan Primary School.

The projects are part of a £14million extension and refurbishment programme to support the expansion of nursery provision in Renfrewshire. It will also help the council meet the Scottish Government’s target of 1140 fully funded hours of early learning and childcare for all three and four-year-olds and eligible two-year-olds by August 2020.

Nursery - Houston - sod cutting - children - 5 Feb 2020 (6)

Renfrewshire was recognised for its efforts to close the poverty-related attainment gap in 2019 when it became the first local authority in Scotland to be rated ‘excellent’ by Education Scotland. The early learning and childcare expansion will support much of that work.

Education and Children’s Services Convener for Renfrewshire Council, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “Building these four new-build nurseries will help us provide young children with the best possible start in life by creating the best possible learning environment for them.

“We are also carrying out extension work and refurbishments to nurseries across the area and recruiting staff in preparation for the expanded 1140 hours of early learning and childcare in August 2020.

“We are committed to providing the best learning environments for young children and are driven to maintain quality across all early learning and childcare centres and classes. The building work will support this by creating bespoke centres and facilities that will help young children in Renfrewshire thrive for years to come.

“Applications for children due to attend nursery after August 2020 are open, and I’d encourage as many parents as possible to apply now for their preferred choice of nursery placement.”

Ronnie Burrows, Director of Fleming Buildings, said: “We do extensive work in the education sector and are delighted to use our expertise to benefit the very youngest generation.  For us this latest contract is an endorsement of our collaborative approach, focus on quality and strong working relationship with Renfrewshire Council.  We look forward to delivering new buildings in line with local authority’s aim to provide a sustainable estate and accommodation fit for education in the 21st century.”

Houston Primary School and Early Learning and Childcare Class Headteacher, Jennifer Murray, added: “We are delighted that Houston will have this brand new, purpose-built centre which will offer our youngest learners continued high quality experiences in a top-quality learning environment.”

To apply for a nursery place or for more information, visit

bookbug bath

WATER lot of fun there was for the babies and toddlers who came along to Renfrewshire Leisure’s first Bookbug in the Bath sessions.

Instead of the usual setting of a local library, there were four popular Bookbug sessions held in a swimming pool.

bookbug bath

Children had a splashing time when Bookbug came to the pools at Paisley’s Lagoon and the Johnstone Sports Hub. And there was even storytelling, nursery rhymes and songs in Gaelic at one of the sessions.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes explained: “We know that children love coming to our usual Bookbug groups and they also like splashing about in the water at our swimming pools.

“So we thought we could combine the two fun activities and it worked very well, as both the children and the grown-ups had a great time.

“We also staged a Gaelic Bookbug in the Bath session, as there’s a growing interest in the language locally and we already have Bookbug in Gaelic in our libraries.”

The Bookbug in the Bath sessions were held to coincide with Paisley Book Festival.

Mill Magazine
Over its short time in existence, Mill has grown to become the preeminent culture and lifestyle magazine for Renfrewshire. A free bimonthly, compact-sized and dynamically constructed publication, the title showcases the best people, artists, businesses, events and developments from across the region.
Mill Magazine
Bustling with engaging content that encompasses music, film, TV, fashion, beauty, travel, food and drink, interiors and property, the magazine represents the increasing vibrancy of the area and acknowledges that just as there isn’t a singular demographic that lives here, our magazine’s content should echo the broad spectrum of people that we encounter every day.
Outside of our core team, Mill also plays host to professional guest contributors who can lend their expertise to an array of pertinent topics.
A publication that prides itself on being For Renfrewshire, By Renfrewshire, on average, 6,000 magazines will reach 18,000 to 24,000 readers and potential customers every issue.
New issue out at the end of February.
activity camp 1

YOUNG people can spring into the Easter holidays knowing they can have lots of fun and games.

Renfrewshire Leisure is running a series of activity camps for children in Primaries 1 to 7 at the Lagoon Leisure Centre, ON-X Linwood, Johnstone Community Sports Hub, Renfrew Leisure Centre and Park Mains in Erskine. These camps will be held between April 3 and April 17 and will include a variety of sports, arts and crafts, swimming, games and themed days.

activity camp 1

There will also be outdoor activities for 11 to 18 year olds that include mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing and gorge walking at various locations from April 6 to April 17.

And there are Early Bird Discounts available for people who book between February 24 and March 1.

There will also be football camps at Renfrew’s KGV Pavilion, Ralston Sports Centre, Gryffe High School and Park Mains, in association with the Scottish Football Association.

activity camp 1

Other activities will be taking place at The Secret Collection, along with shows and performances for youngsters at various other venues and libraries throughout Renfrewshire.

Disability Bounce About A Bit event at the Lagoon on Saturday April 4, is for young people with a physical or learning disability or sensory impairment. Participants must be accompanied by an adult.

The Fit4Sport sessions at Riverbrae School and the Lagoon, on April 9 and 17 are multi-sport sessions for children with a physical or learning disability or sensory impairment.

activity camp 1

Go to for more details and to book a place at any of the camps or activities.

Renfrewshire Leisure chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We’ve got something for all ages and interests this Easter. So, there should be egg-stra fun for everyone!”

Dog walk Barshaw 1

Dog lovers in Renfrewshire are being invited to have their say on the introduction of a voluntary dog walking scheme which would ask professional dog walkers to register and commit to providing a high-quality service as set out by the council.

Dog walk Barshaw 1

Dog walking companies that subscribe to the scheme would be given branded materials to show they have signed up and added to the list of trusted partners on the council website.

It is anticipated that a register would improve public perception of dog walking companies, reassure owners that their pets are being treated well and demonstrate the council’s commitment to raising standards – including tackling the issue of dog fouling in Renfrewshire.

Dog walk Barshaw 2

The survey will consider issues such as the maximum acceptable number of dogs to walk at any one time, necessity of appropriate insurance requirements and using appropriate areas to exercise dogs.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We want dog owners in Renfrewshire to feel comfortable when leaving their pets so this new register would give people peace of mind that their chosen dog walker has committed to providing a high quality service.

“It’s important that we hear the views of both dog walkers and pet owners as the scheme would need to work for everyone to make it a success.

Max and Josie Owens

“Please let us know your views as we look to shape how a potential scheme would work.”

The survey will run until 8 March 2020.

For more information and to submit your views, visit

Company Shop 6.2.20-3189

Renfrewshire’s jobs and employability programme is already ranked among the biggest and best in Scotland…now it’s helped source staff for a supermarket with a difference.

Pioneering food redistribution supermarket Company Shop recently opened its doors on its first Scottish store in Renfrew, offering emergency services and NHS staff memberships to buy surplus food at discount rates.

Company Shop 6.2.20-3189

And to recruit its workforce, the innovative supermarket joined forces with the Council’s employability team Invest in Renfrewshire.

The Invest team promoted the vacancies, hosted information sessions and offered training and CV building support in advance of the interviews, which helped 60 people to gain Company Shop jobs.

This includes Jamie Kilpatrick, who works on reception managing new memberships and serving on the shop tills. The 34-year-old previously worked at a creamery and then a jam producer in Arran, but struggled after swapping island life for Paisley seven years ago.

Company Shop staff - Paul Gallagher-Janette OBrien-Jamie Kilpatrick

“Things weren’t going that well for a good few years and it got really bad in 2017,” explained Jamie. “My mental health deteriorated, I had depression and was in a dark place, alone quite a lot. The longer I didn’t have a job, it became such a big deal to me and the prospect of it seemed so far away.

“Thankfully I managed, with the help of my family and others, to get out of the hole I was in and along that process I started with Invest in Renfrewshire about a year and a half ago. The team there really helped to bring me back and make me realise it can be tough to get a job, but I can do it. I did a course there called Steps, which honestly changed my life. I know that sounds drastic, but it did and I lost a whole lot of weight, my confidence and motivation went way up.

“The Invest team are great and the absolute best thing about them is they let you do it in your own time, you’re not rushed into employment and a job which you might not be ready for. My advisor recommended the job at Company Shop and helped me to prepare for the interview. It is going well and working on reception is ideal for me as I enjoy interacting with the public. For my mum, the job is a bonus as long as I’m happy and healthy.”

Janette OBrien

Also happily employed is Renfrew resident Janette O’Brien, who works the 6am shift in the cash office and helps serving customers and stocking produce too.

The 61-year-old had always been in employment, but with her previous company going into liquidation, lacked confidence in starting a new role in retail.

She said: “At my age, as a senior, it can be quite hard for somebody to take you on and that was in my head. All the jobs I’ve had have been long-term, but I hadn’t faced a formal interview before so was nervous about that.

Jamie Kilpatrick

“I saw the Company Shop job on Facebook and Invest then invited me to enrol with them. They helped me to bring my CV up-to-date and then arranged a mock interview, which I scored quite highly in and that gave me confidence to come for the real interview.

“I’ve always worked, it’s great to be back in work and especially so close to my house. My daughter and two grandkids are proud of me and I’m enjoying the variety of the job, I’ve come on leaps and bounds and I’m just about used to getting up at five in the morning!”

Renfrew Company Shop Store Manager Paul Gallagher said: “I’m fortunate to have worked for two multi-national companies, but I have never been prouder of any team than here, to see their journey through the interview process to the induction, to store opening and now serving the customers I’m so proud of them every day.

“We wanted to help people from the Renfrewshire area back into employment, build their confidence and of course earn a wage. Right from the word go, the support from the employability team was amazing. I spent weeks with them, doing interviews and the hospitality, the camaraderie, they were a joy to work with. The work they did to prepare candidates really helped us and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to them as they were phenomenal.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s great to hear how well Jamie, Janette and all the other employees are getting on in their new roles and I wish them and Company Shop well as they continue to serve the local community.

“We have made a long-term commitment to help bring 3000 working-age people back into the local workforce as we ensure that as our economy continues to grow, everyone has the chance to benefit.”

Door Sandbags

Renfrewshire has taken a battering recently with two back to back storms – Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis. The bad weather doesn’t seem to be letting up – there are more weather warnings issued for the rest of the week. The main towns of Renfrewshire have been quite fortunate in that they have not been affected too badly, however localised flooding has occurred, as well as costly leaks and water ingress into buildings caused by the downpours.

Door Sandbags

Lots of people in the UK are at risk of flooding, yet not everyone has a flood protection plan in action. It is one of those disasters that we don’t think about, and it is often left until the threat is imminent before action is taken. That being said, anyone who has suffered first-hand the effects of flooding will be able to tell you just how devastating it can be. Watching helplessly as everything you have worked hard for is damaged and often destroyed, including sentimental items like photographs that are irreplaceable. Flood damage can take an age to clean up and repair properly. More often than not people have to leave their homes for weeks, months or even years.


Flood insurance in the UK is becoming more expensive. Taking steps to protect your home from flooding may, in some instances, enable you to obtain a more affordable insurance policy. For example, if you have suffered from a flood before and continue to be at high risk of repeat flooding you can take advantage of the rebuild and repair works by using flood resilient materials. (Flood resilience refers to measures that reduce the impact and damage caused when flood water enters your property, and flood resistance refers to measures that help prevent floods from happening and entering your property in the first place.) 


A flood protection plan should be a consideration for the 2.5 million properties throughout the UK that are at risk from flooding. An appropriate plan, or even knowing where to get supplies such as sandbags when floods are imminent, can save you money and help protect your valuable property and belongings. Rukeri, a brand of Salt and Grit Solutions Ltd, based on Arkleston Road in Paisley supplies filled, woven polypropylene sandbags that are a perfect flood defence barrier. Lisa Taylor, Marketing manager at Rukeri says, ‘Don’t leave it until it is too late. As with most things in life, prevention is always more effective than a cure’.

You can order sandbags from Rukeri’s microsite – If you have any serious concerns about the risks of flooding,  more information on predicted floods and safety measures can be found at or on Renfrewshire Councils website at .

2018 Renfrewshire Employability Awards winners

Renfrewshire’s leading jobs and employability partnership is calling on local businesses to nominate their star staff.

Nominations are now open for the 2020 Renfrewshire Employability Awards, which celebrate the success of people supported through Renfrewshire’s Local Employability Partnership programme.

2018 Renfrewshire Employability Awards winners

The programme is rated the best in Scotland at helping people to find work, supporting 1,500 people a year and involving more than 1,100 Renfrewshire companies.

It is the sixth year of the popular awards, organised on behalf of the partnership by Renfrewshire Council, who deliver jobs and skills support from a central hub at Paisley’s Russell Institute building. Together, the programme provides direct access to vacancies, work experience, training, personal support and finance.

There are nine awards across a range of categories including Top Intern, Most Promising New Employee and Achiever of the Year, while the awards also recognise school pupils and people building their CV as they prepare for the world of work.

Emma Gormley

Previous winners include Ronnie Lockhart, who collected the Progression in Work award after the Ferguslie Park resident turned his life around from 20-years unemployed to qualified gardener working for Linstone Housing Association and Tivoli Landscaping Services.

Emma Gormley was recognised for her excellent CV building skills in her final year at Paisley Grammar School, where she combined her studies with a motor vehicle course, leading to an Arnold Clark apprenticeship. The ever-popular event is also an opportunity to thank local businesses for their contributions which has helped the Renfrewshire economy grow significantly in recent years.

Ronnie Lockhart

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The Renfrewshire Employability Awards are a fantastic way to celebrate the hard work and dedication of the local workforce and also thank local businesses for investing in their staff and supporting people into employment, which is literally transforming people’s lives.

“If you have trained, supported or employed a Renfrewshire resident who deserves special recognition, then make sure to complete the straightforward online nomination form.

“Our jobs and employability programme is among the biggest and best in Scotland and we have set out plans to help bring 3000 working-age people back into the local workforce as we continue our commitment to help the people most in need into work.”

Deadline for nominations is 13th March 2020, with the awards ceremony taking place at the Normandy Hotel, Renfrew, in May.

For full details of the awards and to make a nomination, visit: