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Council’s new measures to support tenants facing benefit cuts

Renfrewshire Council is so concerned about the impact of benefit changes that it will now consider reclassifying homes where tenants are penalised by Under Occupancy Rules for having a bedroom which can’t be used because of disability or medical requirements.

This means tenants can apply to have their properties re-classified so that an extra bedroom wouldn’t be classed as a ‘spare’ but judged as necessary where no suitable alternative accommodation was available.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGThey would then not face reductions to their benefits as part of the Under Occupancy Rules – dubbed the ‘bedroom tax’.

The move is part of a package of measures that Renfrewshire Council has approved to manage the impact of benefit changes on its housing service and tenants.

There will also now be increased priority in housing allocations for tenants who are worst affected by the bedroom tax.

Renfrewshire Council has already agreed that, where tenants are engaging with the Council, it will not resort to eviction to collect rent due to bedroom tax.

The council has now gone further and has agreed that tenants with bedroom tax debt can still be considered for a move to downsize to a property with no spare bedroom, which will improve their financial circumstances.

Consideration will also be given to ending the right to buy for one-bedroom council properties.  The council’s housing stock is now mainly consists of flats as a result of right to buy and so the restriction may be applied to any houses the council has left which are in short supply.

That would enable greater flexibility in allowing tenants to move to properties that are more suitable for their particular circumstances.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said:  “Welfare Reform is one the biggest issues to impact upon our area and Renfrewshire Council is generally regarded as being at the forefront of the approach councils are taking to try to help tenants, families and communities deal with the severe impact of the UK Government’s cuts.

“We are prepared to work with other social housing organisations and tenants’ groups to do all we can to give our tenants the help they need in these difficult times.

“I am pleased we taking steps to help those who are caught in the trap of the ill-informed Under Occupancy Rules.   These measures that we are now taking forward can make a real difference to those of our tenants who are on housing benefit and who are in an increasingly difficult position as a result of the benefit change programme.”

The proposals were agreed at a meeting of Renfrewshire Council on Thursday June 27.

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Renfrewshire Council plans new measures to support tenants facing welfare cuts

Renfrewshire Council is so concerned about the impact of welfare changes that it is looking at reclassifying homes where tenants on benefits are being financially penalised for having a bedroom which cannot be used because of disability or medical requirements.

The change would mean that tenants wouldn’t be hit by under-occupancy restrictions.  The second bedroom would no longer be classed as a spare bedroom but would be judged as necessary where no suitable alternative accommodation was available.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGThe move is part of a package of measures that Renfrewshire Council is looking at to manage the current and future impact of welfare changes on its housing service and tenants.

There would also be increased priority in housing allocations for tenants who are worst affected by the bedroom tax.

Renfrewshire Council has already agreed that, where tenants are engaging with the Council, it will not resort to eviction to collect rent due to bedroom tax.  The council has now gone further and may allow tenants with bedroom tax debt to still be considered for a housing exchange move to a property with no spare bedroom, which will improve their financial circumstances.

Consideration will also be given to ending the right to buy for one-bedroom council properties.  The council’s housing stock is now mainly consists of flats as a result of right to buy and so the restriction may be applied to any houses the council has left which are in short supply.

That would enable greater flexibility in allowing tenants to move to properties that are more suitable for their particular circumstances.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said:  “Renfrewshire Council is generally regarded as being at the forefront of the approach that local authorities are taking to try to help tenants, families and communities deal with the severe impact of the UK Government’s welfare cuts.

“We have prioritised this issue and are working with everyone involved to put in place practical measures to provide support on benefit, debt and welfare issues.

“Regarding the council’s housing service, we are bringing forward what we believe are practical and achievable proposals which could make a real difference for those of our tenants who are on welfare and who are in an increasingly difficult position.”

“We are prepared to work with other social housing organisations and tenants’ groups to do all we can to give our tenants the help they need in these difficult times.

“We want our housing service to be best placed to meet the continuing challenges it faces through the impact of welfare changes.  I believe these proposals are a positive step in that process.”

A report on the proposals will be considered at a meeting of Renfrewshire Council on Thursday 27 June.

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Paisley Museum’s Lunchtime Talk: ‘Wings over the Heather’

Paisley poet and weaver Alexander Wilson was known as the ‘Father of American Ornithology’. To celebrate his contribution to the study of birds, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park Ranger Service will be at Paisley Museum next Wednesday to tell us about their own work and study of the Hen Harrier, one of the UK’s rarest raptors.

The Lunchtime Talk, ‘Wings over the Heather’, will take place at Paisley Museum on Wednesday 26 June at 12.30pm. Admission is free and open to all.

For more information on Lunchtime Talks, future performances or events please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts 

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Area’s land-use plan reaches key milestone

The planning overview which will govern how Renfrewshire’s land can be used for the next five years has reached another key milestone.

The Local Development Plan is the council’s view of how land should be used for different purposes – such as housing, industrial or retail use. Once agreed, it will be used as the basis for all future planning decisions.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGLast year, the council approved new version of the plan, which was published and advertised in January, giving the Renfrewshire public six weeks to have its say on the contents.

All representations received have been compiled into a single report, which has now been published on the council’s website and was this week circulated around councillors on the Planning and Property Policy Board.

Around 1,780 parties responded to the consultation, and their comments have been grouped into 46 issues.

The next stage is for the council to pass the proposed plan, the objections made to it, and the council’s response to those objections, to Scottish Ministers.

They will review all the material and will report back early next year with a decision on any changes that should be made to the plan.

Councillor Terry Kelly, Convener of the Planning and Property Policy Board, said: “We want to ensure Renfrewshire continues to be an attractive place to live, visit and do business.

“The Local Development Plan is a vital part of that, as it lays down guidelines designed to ensure the right developments take place in the right place at the right time.

“We have to strike a balance between using the area’s land in a way which encourages economic growth, while also protecting our communities and the environment.

“The area of the plan which has attracted the most comment is land for housing. The local economy cannot grow without some degree of expansion for new homes.

“The strategy laid out in the plan is for the vast majority – 88% – of future housing development to be contained within brownfield sites.

“Provision has been made for some limited release of greenbelt land, but residents should be assured this will only happen in areas where we feel any development would be sustainable and appropriate.”

For further information, or to view the summary of representations, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/localdevelopmentplan

Over 1,000 children take part in Renfrewshire’s Gateway to the Games Week

Over 1,000 children took part in Renfrewshire Council’s Gateway to the Games activity week which included the seventh annual Special Games for children with physical, sensory and learning disabilities.

Pupils from a total of 17 primary, secondary and special schools are took part representing: Bishopton, Castelhead High, Clippens, Corseford, Heriot, Houston, Johnston Hish, Kersland, Langcraigs, Lindwood High, Mary Russell, Mossvale, St Andrew’s Academy, St Anthony’s, St Benedict’s, St Paul’s and Trinity High.

The children enjoyed some of the following: athletics, boccia (a special type of indoor bowls), bowling, curling, football, golf, hockey, karate, rugby and tennis.

A range of partners have come together to make the games a success including volunteers and students from: Renfrewshire Council’s Active Schools Team, James Watt College, sports leaders from Parkmains High, Johnstone High, Glennifer High, students from the Renfrewshire School of Sport Education, St Mirren and Sports Development.

All Photographs taken for Paisley on the web by Tom Chittick.

Glasgow Airport MD awarded OBE

Glasgow Airport’s managing director, Amanda McMillan, has been recognised by the Queen for her services to business and tourism by being named on the 2013 Birthday Honours List.

Ms McMillan, who was appointed managing director of Glasgow Airport in 2008, has received an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in recognition of her success in steering it through the worst downturn in aviation history.

During this time she has succeeded in growing passenger numbers and fostering positive relationships with the airport’s city and national partners, with whom she has worked to further strengthen Scotland’s connectivity. This has included the introduction in June 2012 of Emirates’ second daily Glasgow to Dubai service.

Commenting on her achievement, Ms McMillan said: “Not only is receiving an OBE a tremendous honour, it is both humbling and wholly unexpected. To be recognised by the Queen in this way is a source of great personal pride but I truly believe it is in recognition of my team, who work tirelessly to ensure Glasgow Airport continues to deliver for the city and for Scotland.”

Earlier this year, Ms McMillan unveiled details of an ambitious £17 million investment programme which will see key parts of the main terminal building undergo a major makeover in 2013. This includes international arrivals which for many will be the gateway to the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

http://www.glasgowairport.com/

Paisley Museum’s Lunchtime Talk: Renfrewshire’s Frontier Poet.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the death of Alexander Wilson. Born in Paisley, Wilson immigrated to the United States as a young man. Poet, artist, scientist and social commentator, he rose to become one of the towering figures in the history and science of ornithology.

This Wednesday, June 19, local historian Alan Steel will survey the astonishing range of achievements Alexander Wilson has made and the lasting impact he has had on American identity.

The Lunchtime Talk, ‘Renfrewshire’s Frontier Poet’, will take place at Paisley Museum on June 19 at 12.30pm. Admission is free and open to all.

For more information on Lunchtime Talks, future performances or events please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events or follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/renfrewshirearts

Some Other Mother – Half price theatre at Paisley Arts Centre

Part of Refugee Week Scotland, Some Other Mother is just one event taking place from 17 – 23 June that celebrates the diversity of Scottish culture and raises awareness of refugee issues. 

Some Other Mother is a new play by AJ Taudevin produced in association with The Tron, the Scottish Refugee Council and support from Stellar Quines. Set high up in a Glasgow tower block, ten-year old Star and her mother await the outcome of their claim for asylum. As Mama’s mind fragments under the pressure of their unknown future, Star constructs a poetic and fantastical world of her own. Some Other Mother is a story of loss and survival which explores the traumatising impact of the asylum system, regardless of the outcome.

Some Other Mother (part of Refugee Week Scotland)

Paisley Arts Centre

Thursday 20th June, 7.30pm

£5 (£3 conc)

Booking: Call the Box Office on 0300 300 1210 or go online to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/onlinebooking

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Johnstone Class

Hello! Welcome again to another instalment of the ‘Historical Adventures’ blog.  Recently our Johnstone Class has been tremendously hard at work, putting scenes together as well as remembering their lines for each scene (and believe us, there are a good few scenes to remember!).  The children have been fantastic and as such, we’ve even had them doing some character work for their characters to help emphasise their performances.  It has been a wonderful sight to see the villagers of Pantoland be so happy and jolly, to see Buttons so historical-adventuresenergetic.  On the other hand however it has been a very scary time watching how nasty the evil Step-Sisters are to poor Cinderella.  As well as how cruel her Step-Mother is to her by making her do all the housework and all the chores.  It simply isn’t fair.  Although, you can help!  By coming along to the show and cheering Cinderella on and booing all those nasty people who are so unfairly mean to her.  I’m sure Cinderella and her friends would appreciate all the help they could get at this point!

To help, simply come along to our performance of Cinderella in St Aidan’s Church Hall at (TIME).  Tickets will cost (PRICE) per person!

Our Johnstone Youth Theatre (for children and teenagers aged 7 – 14) takes place on a Monday evening at 6:00 pm and finishes at 7:30 pm in St Aidan’s Church Hall.

For more details or inquiries, please contact David O’Rorke by email at:

historical-adventures@yahoo.co.uk 

Or alternatively, contact by phone at the following number: 07812437559 or go to our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HistoricalAdventuresLtd

Foxbar Class

Hello! Welcome again to another installment of the ‘Historical Adventures’ blog.  Recently our Foxbar class has been tremendously hard at work putting scenes together as well as remembering their lines for each scene (and believe us, there are a good few scenes to remember!).  The children have been fantastic and as such, we’ve even had them doing some character work for their characters to help emphasize their performances.  It has been a wonderful sight to see the villagers of Pantoland be so happy and jolly, to see Buttons so energetic.  On the other hand however it has been a very scary time watching how nasty the evil Step-Sisters are to poor Cinderella.  As well as how cruel her Step-Mother is to her by making her do all the housework and all the chores.  It simply isn’t fair.  Although, you can help!  By coming along to the show and cheering Cinderella on and booing all those nasty people who are so unfairly mean to her.  I’m sure Cinderella and her friends would appreciate all the help they could get at this point!

To help, simply come along to our performance of Cinderella in the Foxbar Community Centre at (TIME).  Tickets will cost (PRICE) per person!

Our Foxbar Youth Theatre (for children and teenagers aged 7 – 14) takes place on a Thursday evening at 5:30 pm and finishes at 7:00 pm in the Foxbar Community Centre.

For more details or inquiries, please contact David O’Rorke by email at:

historical-adventures@yahoo.co.uk 

Or alternatively, contact by phone at the following number: 07812437559 or go to our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HistoricalAdventuresLtd

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New smartphone app makes repairs reporting easier

Tenants of Renfrewshire Council now have repairs reporting technology at their fingertips as the council launched a new smartphone app this week.

The ‘Ren Repairs’ app lets tenants report repairs needing made to their property and book in maintenance work such as annual gas servicing.

Tenants wishing to download the new app should search for ‘Renfrewshire Council’ or ‘Ren Repairs’ on their Apple or Google Android app store.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGThe app can be downloaded to any smartphone, device or tablet with the Apple or Android operating systems.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of the Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “Ren Repairs is an exciting new development for council services.

“Apps are not replacing the existing channels of customer service, but they are designed to complement them.

“Increasingly, we know that people conduct their online activities using smartphones and tablets – for example, more than a third of visits to the council website each day are from phones and tablets.

“Apps are what these people want to use and we have to match up this new technology with our most in-demand services.”

The new app has been developed in conjunction with the Looking Local service which helps public sector organisations make use of new digital technologies.

The council also uses the Looking Local digital television service which is available on Freeview, Sky TV and Virgin Media.