Victoria Hollows, Renfrewshire Leisure Chief Executive

Detailed planning is underway to prepare for the reopening of leisure centres

Renfrewshire Leisure has welcomed confirmation from the Scottish Government that leisure centres can begin reopening from August 31 as part of the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Victoria Hollows, Renfrewshire Leisure Chief Executive

The latest guidance from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon means that the independent charity can move to the final stage of preparing its plans and procedures for the gradual and safe reopening of services at the gyms and swimming pools it operates, although with access only on the basis of pre-booked time slots.

Details will be shared as soon as they have been finalised in line with Government guidance.

Meantime, details about how all Renfrewshire Leisure services are affected by Covid-19 restrictions, can be found at www.renfrewshireleisure.com.

Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “Today’s confirmation from the First Minister of a date from which leisure centre reopenings can begin is an important step in allowing us to finalise our preparations for the careful restart of our on-site services.

“The safety of our staff and those who use our service is our absolute priority. We are  working incredibly hard to ensure that our venues are ready to welcome visitors in the safest, most enjoyable way just as soon as we are able to do so.

Lisa-Marie Hughes, Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, added: “We know that our services have been missed and that people are eager to see them return – we want to restart to support the health and wellbeing of our communities.

“I would like to thank our loyal members and customers for their patience and ongoing support as we finalise our arrangements, as well as the team here at Renfrewshire Leisure for all of their work.”

Throughout lockdown, Renfrewshire Leisure has been operating an innovative programme of online services to help people stay fit and healthy. For more details about how to take part in them, go to  www.renfrewshireleisure.com or follow the charity’s channels on social media.

1- Freedom of Renfrewshire recipient Corinne Hutton

Five groups will share more than £47,000 following successful applications to Renfrewshire Council’s Community Empowerment Fund.

1- Freedom of Renfrewshire recipient Corinne Hutton

The £1.5milllion fund aims to empower local organisations to takeover community assets and helps to fund the creation of business plans, as well as the initial investment to ensure buildings are fit for purpose.

Councillors approved funding for five organisations, including:

  • £8,500 for local charity Finding Your Feet to carry out a feasibility study into the creation of a charity hub which would give the charity a permanent home in Renfrewshire;
  • £9,450 for Erskine Music and Media to investigate the development of an activity hub within Erskine Sports Centre;
  • £9,650 to Spateston Tenants and Residents Association to develop a business plan in partnership with Klas Care for a community hub at the former Spateston Nursery;
  • £9,625 for national disability organisation Values into Action Scotland to create a business case for a new HQ at the old nursery site on Mill Street in Linwood.
  • £10,000 to Friends of Howwood Park to carry out surveys and feasibility work on the pavilion in Howwood Park following a number of upgrades to park already.

Council officers will continue to work with each organisation to assist in the development of their plans moving forward.

Play park

Corinne Hutton, Founder of Finding Your Feet, said: “”The feasibility study is the first step towards a project we believe could be truly ground-breaking for the third sector in the area.

“Our goal is to have a charity hub where Finding Your Feet and the amputees we support can gather, as well as providing space to other local charities who are committed to helping the community.

“The fact that Renfrewshire Council are backing the idea in its initial stages is extremely encouraging, and only the latest in a series of meaningful gestures we have received since basing ourselves in Paisley.

“We’re here for the local community, and to know the local community is here for us too is a great motivation.”

The £1.5million fund supports community asset transfers by providing up-front investment in the condition of assets prior to transfer, while putting the community at the heart of the design, delivery and sustainability of the projects.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “It’s great to see so many local organisations applying successfully to the Community Empowerment Fund and looking to take control of buildings in the local area.

“We want to empower our communities wherever we can, and this fund gives groups the financial support they need to create business plans – with the aim of taking over and then managing an asset.

“It also allows them to invest in the property to ensure it’s a viable proposition for both themselves and the council.

“I’d encourage anyone who has an idea to get in touch with us and we’ll support them to create an application.”

For more information, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/CommunityEmpowermentFund.

Bereavement

Local organisations are collaborating to pilot the Renfrewshire Bereavement network, a new grief and bereavement service for families in Renfrewshire.

Bereavement

COVID-19 has seen most of 2020 being spent under lockdown conditions and while the full impact of the virus is still not known – many people have lost loved ones and are experiencing grief and hardship.

In response, local organisations have this week come together to pilot a new grief and bereavement service for families in Renfrewshire.

The pilot launches today (Wednesday 19 August 2020) and is initially scheduled to run for a six-month period, until 19 February 2021.

The group of organisations, known as the Renfrewshire Bereavement Network, includes local hospices ACCORD and St Vincent’s, as well as the Renfrewshire Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP), Renfrewshire Council and RAMH.

Collectively, the Network aims to provide support to people in the Renfrewshire area who are experiencing loss or dealing with grief – by offering access to the most appropriate advice, guidance and counselling available – all from a single point of access.

People who need support will be able to contact a new helpline where they can discuss the help they need. After an assessment, staff who have been trained to manage calls, will aim to make sure they receive the most appropriate support for their individual circumstances.

The service is available to adults in the Renfrewshire area, regardless of their gender, social group or location. Following a review of the pilot and depending upon demand, there is potential for the service to continue beyond the initial period to become a more permanent feature.

Councillor Jacqueline Cameron, Chair of the Renfrewshire Integration Joint Board, said: “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that more people and families than normal have sadly had to experience grief or loss. This comes in different forms, such as losing loved ones, or even the loss of freedoms, which previously helped maintain positive mental health and wellbeing.

“We aim, through this pilot, to make a bigger impact by working collaboratively to help those who are experiencing loss or grief at this time.”

Jacki Smart, Chief Executive at ACCORD Hospice added: “This joined-up approach enables us to mobilise quickly and effectively, responding to the needs of local people.”

If you or somebody you know needs to get in touch with the Renfrewshire Bereavement Network, call the helpline number on 0800 038 6020 or email: support@renfbn.org.uk.

For more information visit: www.renfbn.org.uk

social security scotland

Over 4,300 people in Scotland qualified for a payment to help towards the cost of a loved one’s funeral, according to the latest Funeral Support Payment statistics published today.

Eligible applicants currently receive an average of £1,593 to help towards the costs of a burial or cremation, and expenses such as travel and flowers.

social security scotland

June saw the highest number of applications to date received with 780 people applying for vital financial support.

Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“My thoughts are with everyone who has lost a family member or friend. Coping with the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult events any of us can face – it’s even harder when there’s extra stress trying to find the money to pay for a funeral.

“The growing need for Funeral Support Payment over the last few months could sadly be linked to the financial impact of Covid-19. Many more people are receiving Universal Credit or other qualifying benefits, which means they might also be eligible for Funeral Support Payment.

“I’d encourage anyone who thinks they might qualify for this important financial support to find out more and apply today. You can apply for the payment up to 6 months after a funeral has taken place, although if you could not apply within this timescale because of COVID-19, we’ll accept your application as on time.”

Chief Executive of Social Security Scotland David Wallace said:

“Since the outbreak of coronavirus, we have been working in different ways with the vast majority of our colleagues working from home. And we know that other organisations will also have had to adapt due to coronavirus, including registrars, funeral directors and advice services.

“Many of these organisation are key in making sure that people know about this payment and we are glad to see that the message is still getting out there – I’d like to thank these services for their ongoing support.

“Despite these restrictions, we remain committed to getting payments to people who need. I am pleased that we’ve been able to protect our service and process Funeral Support Payment applications as quickly as possible – more than meeting our promise of processing within 10 working days of a completed application, once all the evidence is received.

“We are encouraging people to apply online in the first instance. For those that cannot access the online application, a limited telephone service is available where people can speak to one of our specially trained Client Advisors.”

Corona virus fund

A new package of support for Renfrewshire businesses to tackle the immediate impact of Coronavirus is now open for applications.

Corona virus fund

The £1.3million Renfrewshire Coronavirus Business Support Fund offers local businesses, including people self-employed, the opportunity to apply for:

  • An interest free Business Restart Loan between £1,000 to £5,000 repayable up to three years to assist with short-term cashflow
  • A 50% match-funded Business Resilience Grant from £1,000 to £10,000 to help businesses meet changed objectives and plan for growth
  • A Business Adaptation Grant providing match-funding from £1,000 to £2500 for businesses adapting their premises to meet physical distancing requirements, open for retrospective applications.

Details of each fund, eligibility information and the online application is available now at Renfrewshire Council’s business support page.

Applicants will also receive a call from one of the Council’s Business Gateway advisers to discuss their application and provide tailored advice to meet their specific needs.

This fund has been created following detailed discussion with 500 local companies to determine what they feel can make the biggest difference in the short-term.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “I am acutely aware from regular dialogue with our business community throughout the pandemic of the economic harm Coronavirus is causing in Renfrewshire and we know we must be ready to help tackle this now, and in the months ahead.

“We have awarded more than 2600 government grants totalling £27.5million to help local businesses address the immediate impact and have now established this fund, listening to what businesses tell us will help them most.

“I recognise we are on a long and difficult journey, but we have a strong local economy and a business community that supports one another. We also have an excellent track record of tackling unemployment and helping people find work and together with immediate assistance, we are working with business, enterprise and education partners locally to prepare Renfrewshire’s long-term roadmap to recovery.”

The Council is also offering barriers for cafes using outdoor spaces and Business PPE packs to local businesses, having secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Towns and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) Resilience and Recovery Fund, which is run by Scotland’s Towns Partnerships.

Businesses may also benefit from up to two days of fully funded consultancy support from experts across a range of topics including: finance, IT, Legal, Property and HR. The team can be contacted on 0141 530 2406 or by email to renfrewshire@bgateway.com.

Business adviser Robert Kinniburgh said: “We know how stressful a time this is for Renfrewshire businesses and are here to help however we can. It might be you want to discuss your business plan or need assistance with moving into the digital market. Whatever support is needed, I would encourage people to call us and also look out for the different webinars being run regularly on different specialist subjects.”

Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce said: “We warmly welcome the additional support package which offers targeted support to those companies that need it most. Based on feedback drawn from a survey of over 500 companies this new funding is a positive step to support our business community.”

Hisashi Kuboyama, Federation of Small Businesses’ Development Manager for Renfrewshire, said: “With small businesses in Renfrewshire going through extremely challenging times, we need to do absolutely everything we can to help them stay open and protect and create jobs. Many local FSB members told us that access to finance has been one of the problems, so we welcome the Renfrewshire Coronavirus Business Support Fund and urge our members and the wider small business community to have a look and see how it can help them.”

Mark Newlands, Head of Partnerships at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We know the economic impact of COVID-19 on businesses is severe. This additional tailored funding from Renfrewshire Council will be welcomed by local businesses as they face continuing economic uncertainty. Working with our partners, we’ll continue to do all we can to support companies through this time of unprecedented challenge and play our part in resetting, restarting and recovering the country’s economy.”

Renfrewshire Council has joined forces with Zero Waste Scotland to promote their anti-littering campaign, Scotland is Stunning – Let’s Keep It That Way.

Highlighting the beauty of Scotland’s lochs and mountains, city parks and country woodlands, the campaign is backed by the Scottish Government and Keep Scotland Beautiful and aims to inspire people to enjoy the great outdoors, but without leaving litter behind.

In Renfrewshire, local people will be reminded that Renfrewshire is Remarkable and Paisley is Picturesque, as part of a drive to encourage local people to take pride in where they live.

The campaign aligns closely with Renfrewshire’s award-winning Team Up to Clean Up campaign which has seen thousands of local people tidying their communities and has created a dedicated community of like-minded volunteers.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted to continue our work with Zero Waste Scotland by promoting this campaign as we want to ensure that Renfrewshire remains a beautiful place to live, work and visit.

“Our own Team Up to Clean Up campaign has the same values and we’ve been delighted to see its success as local people come together to make a real difference to our communities.

“Renfrewshire really is remarkable so please, let’s work together to eradicate littering and take pride in where we live.”

As well as being an eyesore, dropping litter is a criminal offence. Discarded waste can also be a danger to young children and animals, and it is estimated that 80% of marine litter washing up on our beaches started out on land.

Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, said: “People are understandably keen to enjoy everything Scotland has to offer this summer, and onwards. If you are camping, exercising, having a barbecue or just enjoying the scenery, have fun, but remember to bin what you don’t need or take it with you.

“I’m delighted Renfrewshire Council is getting involved in our campaign. Go home with happy memories and leave Renfrewshire litter-free so others can do the same. We know Scotland is stunning, let’s keep it that way!”

The campaign can be followed on social media using the hashtag #BinYourLitter and volunteers are encouraged to post their pictures of beautiful scenery in their area, as well as their efforts to keep it tidy.

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful, added: “We welcome this new campaign highlighting the beauty of Scotland and all it has to offer. Litter levels across Scotland are unacceptable, and in many places are getting much worse. Alongside this campaign we will continue to offer support to all those who have already stepped up to tackle this problem in their own communities with litter clean ups and projects to improve and protect the places they care about.”

For community groups and other local organisations keen to spread the message, a free downloadable campaign toolkit is available online at www.managingourwaste.scot/litter and for more information on the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/TeamUptoCleanUp.

Renfrewshire-Leisure

Safety the priority as Renfrewshire Leisure has to wait for “green light” on leisure service, including gyms and pools.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today (Thursday, 30th July) confirmed a further delay before gyms and swimming pools can reopen, with opening now identified as likely to be allowed on 14th September. That timeline is dependent on maintaining low levels of virus in the community as well as ensuring that all social distancing and hygiene protocols are followed, although the First Minister held out the prospect of particularly favourable conditions perhaps permitting an opening date at the end of August.

Renfrewshire-Leisure

Chair of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa Marie Hughes said: “We really do value the support of our members and the wider public and know how much people in Renfrewshire have missed these services. These centres are important parts of our communities, playing important roles in helping our health and wellbeing. We are looking forward to welcoming people back and working with them to ensure their return is both safe and enjoyable.” 

 

Victoria Hollows, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, said: “We know how eagerly the community is waiting for news on a date for reopening our leisure facilities, not least of all because of the vital part they play in ensuring we can get everyone active again after a long period of closure during lockdown. 

 

“With reopening now no earlier than the end of August, and perhaps not until mid September, we will continue to use the time before then to refine our procedures – continuing to reflect that our first priority for opening will be the safety of our customers and staff.”

 

Renfrewshire Leisure will also be working with Renfrewshire Council’s education department towards the recommencement of its Active Schools programmes from the start of the new school term, as well as working with local sports clubs and teams to make earliest possible use of courts and pitches after confirmation that these can commence from specified dates in August.

methodists

Get a discount with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

From 3 to 31 August, get a 50% discount when you eat in at restaurants that are registered with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme opens on 3 August 2020.

Use the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme at a participating establishment:

  • to get a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner)
  • every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August
  • as many times as you like

You do not need a voucher to use this scheme and you can use it at the same time as other offers and discounts. There is no minimum spend.

You cannot claim discount on alcoholic drinks or service charges.

The discount will be automatically available to you at participating establishments. Establishments will then claim a reimbursement from the government for the discount they’ve given you.

Participating establishments may include:

  • restaurants, cafés, bars or pubs
  • work and school canteens
  • food halls

All diners in a group of any size can use the discount.

Find a restaurant

Click here

virtual 5k

Fans of the Paisley 10k can still take part in a road race this year as a new competition gets up and running.

The annual Paisley 10k and Fun Run may have had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the team at Renfrewshire Leisure have organised a series of virtual races to take its place.

virtual 5k

Runners can take part by signing up for the Renfrewshire Leisure Virtual 5k Summer Series for free and after registering, they are asked to submit their best times for running a distance of 5k.

They can start submitting their times once every week for three weeks starting on July 27 and runners can complete the distance either on an outdoor run, or on a treadmill.

Week One is July 27 to August 2; Week Two, August 3 to August 9 and Week 3, August 10 to August 16.

Registration via www.renfrewshireleisure.com/5ksummerseries will be open throughout each week and once signed up, runners will be sent an email with a weblink to a Google Form where they can submit their times.

Runners can choose to register and submit their time for Week 1, Week 2, or all three weeks. At the end of each week, results will be collated and a leader board will be posted on the Renfrewshire Leisure website and social media.

The Virtual 5k Summer Series is being organised in conjunction with Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club and the event’s charity partner is Erskine – Scotland’s foremost provider of care for military veterans and their spouses.

Although entry to the event is free, runners are being encouraged to make a donation to Erskine at www.erskine.org.uk/support-our-work/donate/ .

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “It’s a shame the Paisley 10k and Fun Run has had to be cancelled this year, but we’re making sure all the training that runners have been doing throughout the year will be put to good use.

“Our team has been very creative in coming up with the idea for a Virtual 5k Summer Series and I hope lots of runners sign up and log their best times for running the 5k race distance.

“I’m sure those taking part will join in the fun and competitive spirit of the event and if they aren’t top of the leader board after the first week, they have another two opportunities to post even faster times.”

Renfrewshire's libraries

It was one for the record books as avid reader Ann Clark was the first person to visit Johnstone Library after it re-opened after months of lockdown.

The sprightly 77-year-old was at the head of the queue before the library opened at 10am to return 15 books and borrow another nine books to keep up with her favourite pastime of reading.

Renfrewshire's libraries

As she clutched her latest supply of books outside Johnstone Library, Ann, from Kilbarchan said:

“Being able to visit the library was the thing I missed most during lockdown. I’ve loved reading since I was a young girl and I always had my nose in a book.

“I was overjoyed when I heard the library was reopening, as I visit the library twice a week and I must be their most regular customer.”

Ann whose favourite books are romance novels and wartime stories added: “When the library was closed over the past few months I got books from friends and I even read some books twice.”

All 12 Renfrewshire Leisure libraries re-opened yesterday (Monday) for members to return titles and pick up books they had ordered by phone or online by click and collect.

The move comes after the Scottish Government last week gave the go-ahead for libraries to open as part of the move into Phase 3 of the route map out of the coronavirus pandemic.

To keep both staff and the public safe, only one customer at a time will be alllowed into a library to drop off books, or collect pre-ordered books and face coverings should be worn inside the building.

It has also been decided that there won’t be any fines for people returning overdue books.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We encourage people of all ages to read books, as it brings enjoyment and knowledge into our lives.

“Libraries have always been an important resource in our community and it’s brilliant to be able to open up our libraries again and provide a vital service to the public.

“Due to the current coronaviris guidelines from the Scottish Government we will have to operate our libraries in a different way for the time being. But I’m sure our customers will understand and we thank them for their patience and willingness to abide by these guidelines as we welcome them back.”

Renfrewshire’s libraries are at: Bishopton; Bridge of Weir; Erskine; Ferguslie; Foxbar; Glenburn; Johnstone; Lochwinnoch; Linwood; Paisley Central Library; Ralston and Renfrew.

Books can be reserved online at www.renfrewshirelibraries.co.uk or by telephone on 0300 300 1188.