Participants in Renfrewshire Council’s Not Far? Leave the Car campaign can now pick up prizes from OneRen for getting active and using sustainable travel.

Every mile that people travel on foot, by bike, or using public transport will earn a BetterTicket entry into the prize draw, with up to a maximum of twenty per week available per person, and one lucky winner will be drawn at the end of each month.

Prizes worth more than £500 include gym memberships, tickets to a OneRen Arts Performance‍ and adult swim pass‍es, as well as spot prizes of reusable coffee cups, water bottles and OneRen bags.

This adds to discounts and money off from more than 100 local Renfrewshire businesses, all from purely getting active and leaving the car at home.

All people have to do is start tracking their journeys by downloading the free app via

Elaine Lorimer is the lead officer for the Renfrewshire Council project and is delighted with the support for the campaign so far.

Elaine said: “It’s brilliant to see so many people signing up to take part in the campaign as we encourage people to leave the car at home to lower our emissions in Renfrewshire and support people to have healthier, more active lives.

“We’ve connected with more than 100 businesses so people can exchange their points for £5, £10 and £20 gift cards at their favourite local stores, cafes and restaurants.

“Join hundreds of others taking part by downloading the app, leaving the car at home and picking where to spend your prizes.”

OneRen is the local charitable trust in Renfrewshire providing culture, leisure and sporting opportunities to help people enjoy active and healthy lives.

Mark Tokeley, Head of Leisure and Community Services at OneRen, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Renfrewshire Council’s Not Far? Leave the Car campaign.

“As we all play our part in the region’s journey towards net-zero, we must embrace alternatives to using our cars whenever we can.

“As a community charity helping people to leave better, healthier lives, this campaign chimes heavily with our own aims and our team members look forward to meeting the prize-winners, with advice on all types of exercise available at all of our leisure centres.”

For more information on the range of services OneRen deliver, visit


Supporting those most in need and recovering from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are two of the priorities for the returning Renfrewshire Council SNP administration following decision on key appointments on Thursday 19 May.

At the first council meeting of the new session following the recent election, Councillor Iain Nicolson was appointed Leader of the Council, with Councillor Jacqueline Cameron appointed as Depute Leader. Councillor Lorraine Cameron and Councillor Cathy McEwan both return as Provost and Depute Provost.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said:

“We’re delighted to be back to serve our local communities, focusing on the things people have told us matter to them. Supporting those in need and helping tackle some of the impacts of the cost of living are high priorities for my administration and I’m sure all councillors will support our plans to help those most in need. The past two years and the coronavirus pandemic have been one of the biggest challenges we’ve all faced and will have impacted everyone, and I would like to thank all the key workers who continued to provide vital public services, including our NHS workers, during this time and continue to do so. Our key focus will now be on our recovery plans, how we support communities and help our local businesses to grow and thrive.

“We know the local environment is important to our communities and helps people connect with and improves pride in our place. We will continue to invest in our green spaces and parks as well as play our part in tackling climate change. There are undoubtedly challenges ahead but my administration will continue to work hard for Renfrewshire, working with partners and our communities.”

As Council Leader and Depute Council Leader, Councillors Iain Nicolson and Jacqueline Cameron have been appointed as Convener and Depute Convener for the Leadership Board.

Elected members have also been appointed to each of the council’s policy boards. The conveners and depute conveners are:

-Councillor Marie McGurk as Convener and Councillor Robert Innes as Depute Convener for the Communities and Housing Policy Board

-Councillor Andy Steel as Convener and Councillor Michelle Campbell as Depute Convener for the Economy and Regeneration Policy Board

most in need and recovering from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are two of the priorities for the returning Renfrewshire Council SNP administration following decision on key appointments on Thursday 19 May.

At the first council meeting of the new session following the recent election, Councillor Iain Nicolson was appointed Leader of the Council, with Councillor Jacqueline Cameron appointed as Depute Leader. Councillor Lorraine Cameron and Councillor Cathy McEwan both return as Provost and Depute Provost.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said:

-Councillor Emma Rodden as Convener and Councillor Jim Paterson as Depute Convener for the Education and Children’s Services Policy Board

-Councillor John Shaw as Convener and Councillor Fiona Airlie-Nicolson as Depute Convener for the Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board

-Councillor Michelle Campbell as Convener and Councillor Stephen Burns as Depute Convener for the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board

-Councillor Jim Paterson as Convener and Councillor Bruce MacFarlane as Depute Convener for the Planning and Climate Change Policy Board.

Councillor Andy Doig was appointed as the Convener of the Audit, Risk and Scrutiny Board. The Depute Convener will be appointed at a later date from one of the opposition groups.


Local voters are being encouraged to use their opportunity to cast their vote in the local Council elections in Renfrewshire on Thursday 5 May.

There will be 43 councillors elected across 12 ward areas and those elected will represent Renfrewshire for the next five years.


Polling takes place on Thursday 5 May between 7am and 10pm, with the votes  counted and the results announced on Friday 6 May at the Lagoon Leisure Centre.

People casting their vote at  a polling station should check their poll card as some venues may have changed since the previous election, with information on changes available on the Council website.

People who opted to vote by post but have missed the deadline to send it back are able to hand it in at any Renfrewshire polling station and there is a 10pm deadline for the replacement of lost or spoiled postal votes which can be obtained by calling the Election Office on 0141 618 2300.

Anyone who requires an emergency proxy vote can apply to the Electoral Registration Officer by 5pm on Thursday 5 May 2022 and the application form can be filled out via the Council website.

Alan Russell, Returning Officer for Renfrewshire, said: “I would encourage everyone to have their say and cast their vote on polling day as those elected will represent you for the next five years in Renfrewshire.

“Our polling places will be safe places for you to visit on 5 May, but please make sure you use your polling card to double check where you should vote as some of the venues may have changed.

“This election uses the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system so please make sure you mark your choices in order of preference, i.e., 1, 2, 3 etc – you can choose as many or as few candidates as you wish.

“I’m looking forward to election day as it approaches, and I want to thank all of our staff who are working hard behind-the-scenes to deliver this election smoothly.”

The results will be published on the Council website and social media channels as they are announced on Friday 6 May.

For more information about the election in Renfrewshire, you can visit

Ren Labour manifesto launch

Renfrewshire Labour today launched its manifesto for the May 5th Renfrewshire Council election, with a promise to “put Renfrewshire first” and “get the basics right.”

Unveiling its plans for a Labour administration in Renfrewshire over the next five years, the party outlined a raft of policies in the areas of education, the cost-of-living crisis, the economy and work, housing, local environment, health and social care, and transport.

Ren Labour manifesto launch

Launching the manifesto, Chair of Renfrewshire Labour’s Local Government Committee Margaret McCormick said:

“Renfrewshire has been going backwards under the current SNP Council. They have been content to manage decline. They have broken promises, cut services, and continuously wasted taxpayers’ money. They have also completely failed to stand up for Renfrewshire against the cuts being inflicted on our community by both the SNP and Tory governments. The people of Renfrewshire deserve better.

Renfrewshire’s election on May 5th isn’t about the constitution or your position on independence. It’s about local people, local services, and the local community. Labour has a clear plan for change and for getting the basics right – with policies targeted to clean up our streets, fund the frontline, reinvigorate our town centres and local economy, and work to bring local buses under public control.

Renfrewshire Labour isn’t promising the earth. We’re just promising to run Renfrewshire properly. Plenty of councils manage to fix the roads and keep the streets clean. The SNP have had their chance in Renfrewshire and they’ve failed. It’s time for change.”

The policies detailed in the manifesto include:

  • A freeze of all council fees and charges for at least two years, and a pledge to keep council tax low.
  • A refreshed strategy to repair our roads and footways and an end to sub-standard road patching.
  • Targeting wardens and CCTV in anti-social behaviour hotspots to make our streets and parks safer.
  • Zero tolerance for fly-tipping and dog-fouling.
  • Reducing Renfrewshire’s educational attainment gap and demanding a renewed emphasis on literacy and numeracy skills.
  • School swimming lessons for all children by age 10.
  • Creating a new master plan for town centres to unlock the potential of our high streets.
  • Supporting local businesses by using council resources to buy local.
  • Working to create a Strathclyde-wide bus network run for people not private profit.
  • Building and enhancing the stock of social housing.
  • Defending our green belt and giving local communities more say over planning decisions.

Speaking as the manifesto was launched, Paisley Northwest Labour candidate Ben Smith commented:

“The reception on the doors has been really encouraging. Residents who have historically voted for all parties and none are expressing enthusiasm for Labour, and exhaustion with this incompetent SNP Council. Our diverse and energised team of local champions will provide the fresh thinking and ideas that Renfrewshire Council needs.

“The SNP have had their chance. It’s time for change in Renfrewshire, and a vote for Scottish Labour is a vote to deliver that change.”

Omar Taher MSYP Ren North & West

16 and 17-year-olds encouraged to vote in the upcoming Council elections in Renfrewshire

Young people in Renfrewshire are being encouraged to register to vote by the 18 April 2022 deadline to ensure they can have their say in the local Council elections.

Omar Taher is one of Renfrewshire’s representatives at the Scottish Youth Parliament, so he is keener than most to have his say in the local elections on Thursday 5 May 2022.

Omar Taher MSYP Ren North & West

Omar said: “Voting and politics can sometimes feel confusing and there can be a lot of unclear and old-fashioned words and explanations – and it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed.

“That’s why there is information available on the Council website for young people to help ensure that you are ready to vote and know what you’re voting for.

“The local elections will elect councillors who will represent us for the next five years so it’s really important that we vote for the people that we want to be in charge in Renfrewshire.

“Previously it was only adults who could take part, but now anyone over the age of 16 can vote in the elections so let’s make sure we take our opportunity.”

Anyone aged 16 or over needs to be registered to vote in the election, with the deadline for registration falling on 18 April 2022.

Omar added: “You’re not registered automatically so take five minutes to fill in the form online if you’ve never voted before – and if you have voted before but have recently moved house or your name has changed, then you need to register again.

“Being part of the Scottish Youth Parliament has been a great experience and it’s made me realise how important young people are in politics, both locally and nationally.

“We really have the power to make a difference, but we can only do that by casting our vote and then working with the elected members to make the changes we want to see.

“So, make sure you register and then have your say on Thursday 5 May – I can’t wait to cast my vote.”

Voters have a variety of options available to cast their vote, including in-person on the day, by post in advance or nominating someone else to vote on their behalf (by proxy).

If choosing to vote another way than in-person, voters must register this with the Electoral Registration Officer by the following dates:

  • Applying for new postal or postal proxy votes – Tuesday 19 April (5pm)
  • Applying for new proxy votes – Tuesday 26 April (5pm)

Voting will take place on Thursday 5 May, with the verification and counting of votes undertaken on Friday 6 May at the Lagoon Leisure Centre.

For more information on the forthcoming election, visit

Jack Windle, BetterPoints

More than 550 people in Renfrewshire are picking up rewards for getting active after signing up to the Not Far? Leave the Car campaign.

The new campaign rewards people for leaving the car and choosing sustainable travel instead, such as walking, cycling or using public transport.

Jack Windle, BetterPoints

Any sustainable journey that means lower emissions than using the car automatically collects points which can be turned into prizes or discounts at local Renfrewshire and national businesses using the Better Points app, with more businesses being added all the time.

Rewards can be exchanged for discounts at local coffee shops such as Blend, Bianco E Nero and Nomads’, at John McKay Jewellers, as well as national retailers such as Decathlon, Argos, Currys, Halfords, Costa and Ikea.

Jack Windle, BetterPoints Behaviour Change Team Lead, said: “We’ve seen a fantastic response so far to the campaign in Renfrewshire with more than 550 sign ups who are getting active and getting rewarded at the same time.

“Your daily walk of cycle, or even commute to work, is now worth points that you can transform into prizes and all you need to do is download the app and sign up.

“We’re working hard behind-the-scenes every day to add more local businesses to the campaign so that you have even more choice for your rewards so get involved, you’ll be surprised how addictive getting active can be once you start!”

The campaign has been launched by Renfrewshire Council as part of a drive to lower emissions as the area aims to become net-zero by 2030 and also to promote healthier, more active lifestyles for local people.

To take part, people should download the BetterPoints app where they can sign up to the Renfrewshire campaign and start to track their day-to-day journeys – and this can be done by visiting

The project has been funded by the Scottish Government and is provided by BetterPoints Ltd.

YOUNGSTERS who wrote letters to each other in a project encouraging friendship between children from ethnic and migrant communities have met up with their pen pals for the first time.

There was plenty of excitement when the children, aged between six and 11 who are living across Renfrewshire, were brought together for a special event to be introduced to each other.

The Pen Pals project was led by the region’s Ethnic Communities Cultural Steering Group – comprising, OneRen, Pachedu, School of African Cultures, Jambo Radio, Inspiring Families and the University of the West of Scotland.

Its aim was to strengthen connections across the diverse communities locally and for children from different backgrounds to share their experiences.

Gabriella Turay, aged ten, from Paisley, whose pen pal is Christina McEwan, said: “It’s fun getting to know people. We wrote to each other about our families, our friends and what we like doing.

“I enjoyed writing the letters to Christina and I also sent her drawings. I always looked forward to getting a letter from Christina and getting to know what was going on in her life.

“I was so excited about meeting her that I did star jumps when I saw her for the first time. I’m sure we’ll see each other again.”

Christina, aged nine, from Paisley, added: “The best thing about having a pen pal is that I made a new friend and being able to tell them about the things I like to do. It was good that I could find out what Gabriella likes to do as well.

“When we met, we just started talking like we were old friends and we’ll keep on writing to each other.”

Jamelia Moore, aged 11, from Paisley, became a pen pal with nine-year-old Sophia Barr, who stays in Elderslie.

Jamelia said: “I loved getting Sophia’s letters because when you start having a pen pal, you don’t really know anything about the person you’re writing to.

“I’d write and tell Sophia about my family and my friends and she did the same about hers.

“We’re going to speak to our parents and ask them to arrange for us to meet up again.”

Sophia, aged 11, added: “It’s good to find out what’s going on in other people’s lives and having a new friend.

“I wrote and told Jamelia about my pet guinea pigs and that I like to go ice skating. It was also good that I was able to practise my writing skills.”

Jamelia’s mum, Rebecca, said: “The Pen Pals Project has been really good for Jamelia as her confidence has grown and she has learned about different cultures.”

Regine Bews, founder and project co-ordinator at the School of African Cultures, said: “The children were quite excited and looking forward to meeting their pen pals.

“We encouraged the children to use pen and paper instead of an email or text when they were writing, as it’s a bit more special to get a letter through the post. There’s more of a personal connection when you actually sit down with a piece of paper and write a letter.”

When the pen pals met up for a special event at Paisley’s Mossvale Community Church, they also took part in a sewing workshop with the local group, Sewing2gether All Nations, each of them making a pencil case.

Representatives of the Scottish Government also presented the youngsters with a special book featuring the letters the children had written, along with drawings and photographs they had sent each other. Copies of this book will also be on display in Renfrewshire’s libraries.

The Pen Pals Project is one of a series of initiatives across Renfrewshire to strengthen cultural connections across all communities.

The Pen Pals project was supported by Renfrewshire Council’s Future Paisley initiative and made possible through the New Scots Refugee Integration Delivery Project, which is led by the Scottish Government in partnership with COSLA, Scottish Refugee Council and the UNESCO Chair at the University of Glasgow. This project has been part funded by the European Union Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, making management of migration flows more efficient across the European Union.

Rikki Payne, Arts Manager at OneRen, said: “Modern Renfrewshire is a rich tapestry of diverse communities, all of which we should celebrate. It’s important that we build connections between them all.

“Children are so important to this. Not only have they made great new friends but they have gained an understanding of other cultures which will live with them throughout their life.

“Importantly, it was a lot of fun too. We hope many enduring friendships have been formed, as I’m sure the pen pals will all be keeping in-touch.”


Local voters are being encouraged to ensure they are registered to vote ahead of the local council elections in Renfrewshire on Thursday 5 May 2022.

There will be 43 councillors elected across 12 ward areas and those elected will represent Renfrewshire for the next five years.

Polling will take place on 5 May between 7am and 10pm, with the votes then counted and the results announced on Friday 6 May at the Lagoon Leisure Centre.

In order to take part in the election, voters must be registered by Monday 18 April, including anyone who has never voted before, has recently moved house or has changed their name.

Key deadlines that voters should be aware of include:

  • Register to vote – Monday 18 April
  • Applying for new postal or postal proxy votes – Tuesday 19 April (5pm)
  • Applying for new proxy votes – Tuesday 26 April (5pm)
  • Polling Day – Thursday 5 May
  • Applying for an emergency proxy vote – Thursday 5 May (5pm)
  • Replacement lost or spoilt postal votes – Thursday 5 May (10pm)
  • Verification and count – Friday 6 May

In this election, anyone over 16 can vote, as can refugees and other foreign citizens living in Scotland who have leave to enter or remain in the UK, or do not need such permission.

Alan Russell, Returning Officer for Renfrewshire, said: “It’s extremely important that everyone ensures that they are registered to vote before the deadline of Monday 18 April as this will ensure they have the opportunity to have their say on who will represent them for the next five years.

“You can also register for a postal vote where you can vote in advance of polling day, a proxy vote where someone else votes on your behalf but be assured that our polling stations will be safe places for you to vote in-person on the day.”

For more information about the election and to register to vote, you can visit


Renfrewshire has honoured local groups and volunteers for their work in the community at the Provost’s Community Awards.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron was joined by comperè Gina McKie to help celebrate the achievements of devoted community members who go above and beyond to make Renfrewshire a better place to live and work.

The award winners were invited to a special ceremony at the Lynnhurst Hotel in Johnstone after being chosen from outstanding nominations submitted by their peers in the local community.

On the night guests were entertained by talented musicians from Gleniffer High School before the award ceremony got underway.

The recipients of this year’s awards were:

Arts and Culture (sponsored by Renfrewshire Council) – Johnstone Phoenix Theatre Group

Carer’s Award (donated by former Provost Nancy Allison) – Christine Melville, awarded posthumously

Community Group (sponsored by City Gate Construction) – Forever Young

Community Volunteer (sponsored by Glasgow Airport Ltd) – Lauren Roy-Sutherland

Employee of the Year (sponsored by UNISON Renfrewshire) – Sharon Dennison

Sporting Achievement (sponsored by Acre Industrial Services Ltd) – David and Lesley Mushet

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “The Community Awards recognises those who really go the extra mile to make Renfrewshire a better place without looking for reward or recognition.

“This year was the 25th edition of the Provost’s Community Awards and it felt especially fitting to be able to host this year’s awards in person following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These winners were all nominated by their own communities, and I’m honoured to be able to reward them for their dedication and commitment.

“Congratulations to all our winners, your hard work does not go unnoticed.”

The Provost’s Community Awards were first established in 1997 by former Provost Nancy Allison and have been continued by each subsequent Provost, recognising more than 100 deserving community members for their commitment and devotion.

For more information on the Provost’s Community Awards, visit


Residents are urged to give their views on types of housing and homes needed in Renfrewshire as part of a consultation on the new Local Housing Strategy.


Launched today (Monday 21 March), the consultation is open to home owners, renters and tenants to have their say on the priorities and housing needs detailed in the updated strategy that covers the next five years, between 2022 and 2027.

The consultation is open until Monday 13 June 2022.

Visit for further information and to complete the survey.


Brand-new pump track in Johnstone, social garden in Lochwinnoch and bowling green upgrade in Renfrew the latest projects put forward for Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund

BMX riders and skateboarders could have the opportunity to ride a new pump track placed in Thomas Shanks Park in Johnstone should an application to the Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund be approved next week.


Johnstone Community Council are seeking £48,000 to install the pump track which is a circuit of rollers, banked turns and features designed to be ridden using up and down body movements as opposed to pedalling.

There is not currently a similar type of track in Renfrewshire and, if their application is approved, the community council will be engaging with the community on its possible installation – or if a similar activity is more desired.

It’s one of three projects set to be put forward for approval, with a new irrigation system for Robertson Park Bowling Club and a social garden in Lochwinnoch also on the table.

Lochwinnoch Community Development Trust (LCDT) have applied for £25,000 to build a community social garden on leased land behind Lochwinnoch Parish Church, sharing it with local group Local Energy Action Plan (LEAP).

The garden would provide for the community through a community market and foodbank, while they would also look to add flower beds, vegetable patches and an outdoor classroom which would include a sensory garden and learning space.

Robertson Park Bowling Club have asked for £16,675 towards a new irrigation system which will help ensure the greens are maintained throughout the year, particularly during the dry summer months.

It would help the club maintain their regular matches, as well as the weekly school sessions they provide for pupils from Newmains, Arkleston, Kirklandnuek and St James’ Primary Schools.

Councillors will consider the application at the Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board on 15 March.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “This fund has been one of the things I am most proud of since it was launched in 2018 as it has made such a real difference to almost every community in Renfrewshire.

“73 different projects have received funding so far, with play parks, community gardens, nature reserves, growing grounds, sports facilities and more all being created or upgraded in our local neighbourhoods.

“It’s been a real example of the Council and the community working together to make positive change in Renfrewshire.

“I look forward to considering these latest projects with my fellow councillors at the forthcoming board meeting.”

Since the last board, five projects have been awarded funding under delegated authority from the Villages Investment Fund, taking the total invested in village projects to more than £420,000.

Kilbarchan Smile received funding for a bench and a raised flower bed to be installed on the grounds of the Mary Barbour Cairn on New Street, Kilbarchan, while Friends of Howwood Park were awarded a grant to support their 2022 events programme in the park as well as a suite of tools to help with maintenance.

Gryffe Rotary Club have received funding for signage along their ‘Walk for Life’ project which allows villagers to walk down the valley the length of the river through Kilmacolm, Bridge of Weir, Houston, Crosslee, Linwood Moss and Linwood Community Woods to the On-X Sports Centre in Linwood.

Bonnie Bishopton will use their funding to create inviting flowerbeds and maintain them as they look to make their area more appealing and LCDT will use a grant award to plan and design how they would create their community garden.

For more information, visit


Thousands of dedicated volunteers are set to head out on litter picks this April as they support Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean, part of the award-winning Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

The annual event was postponed last year due to the pandemic with Renfrewshire supporting Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Summer Clean event instead, but the popular event is back for 2022 and excitement is building already.

Previous events have seen thousands take part in litter picks across the month of action, with the campaign’s sister event Spotless September seeing almost 1,500 people take part in 430 litter picks – which is more than 14 every day.

Linda Kerr and Kathreen Cannon are avid volunteers and can’t wait to take part in the Big Spring Clean again this year.

Linda said:” Team Up to Clean Up is a wonderful way of getting out in the fresh air and doing some good to make your community look better.

“It’s great for meeting new people too, passers-by stop you just to thank you, and there is a great community of lovely volunteers who are always supportive.

“The Big Spring Clean would be an ideal time to join the Team, new members are always welcome.”

Renfrewshire Council will provide litter pickers, hoops, bibs and bags for anyone or any group wishing to take part in a litter pick, and the StreetScene team will collect the bags of litter afterwards too.

The event forms part of the Council’s £2.5million investment in the Team Up to Clean Up campaign which supports volunteers, but also invests more in roads sweeping, gully clearing, fly tipping prevention and litter picking.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted that the Big Spring Clean is back again this year and I’m looking forward to getting out into my community litter picking.

“With thousands taking part in previous events and throughout the year, I’m so proud of all our remarkable volunteers as each one of them is making a real difference to our environment.

“As always, we’ll provide everything you need to take part and even take any collected litter away afterwards too so please get in touch to get your equipment.

“I want to thank our council teams in advance who do so much throughout the year but put in even more effort during this month of action where numbers go through the roof each time – thank you so much for what you do.”

To request equipment, call 0300 300 1375, email, join our Facebook group at or visit our website at