margaret mcdermott

A WOMAN diagnosed with incurable cancer has told how new online fitness classes are making her feel fit and happy.

Margaret McDermott, 67, from Paisley has metastatic breast cancer and signed up for Renfrewshire Leisure’s Vitality fitness programme for people with health issues.

margaret mcdermott

She has been attending exercise classes at various sports and leisure centres and is now keeping up her fitness levels by following the work-out sessions that have now gone online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Along with the Vitality programme, Renfrewshire Leisure has also created online classes for people who normally attend the Live Active and Move More fitness sessions.

The Move More health and fitness initiative is run in association with the Macmillan Cancer Support charity and is for people affected by cancer.

A live video link between participants and a fitness instructor is set up several times a week and already almost 400 people have taken part in 20 virtual exercise classes since they started on Monday, April 6.

Margaret said: “I am so happy to be able to access the online classes.

“I’ve been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and have been very ill for a few years.

ruth miller

“However, I changed my diet a year ago and started to attend vitality and low impact keep-fit classes at several Renfrewshire Leisure facilities.  I am feeling so much better, healthier and happy.

“Having online classes not only helps keep up my level of fitness, it also brings a structure to my day.

“I am very grateful to the staff for having the technical skills to put this in place and the wonderful ladies who present the classes.”

In a partnership between Renfrewshire Leisure and Macmillan Cancer Support, the Move More programme is for anyone affected by cancer, who would benefit by exercise to help them stay fit and healthy.

The Live Active and Vitality initiatives are for people whose health would benefit by better fitness and have been referred by their doctor.

The newly-launched online programme is a series of 12 classes with varying degrees of exercise intensity and there is even a class showing exercises that can be done while sitting in a chair.

Before anyone takes part in the video fitness class they are assessed to make sure they take part in the correct class for their level of fitness. And because video conferencing technology is being used, participants can speak to the instructor while the class is taking place.

For those who don’t have online access, a home pack that encourages walking is mailed to them. The pack includes a pedometer, physical activity DVD, a diary to record daily physical activity and links to online content and resources to support physical and mental wellbeing. Already 46 packs have been posted to local residents.

Professor Susan Moug, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley said:

 “We believe that increasing activity levels is essential to improve pre-operative, post-operative and long term outcomes for patients. Physical activity as an essential part of the surgical pathway and this hasn’t changed in these unprecedented circumstances.

“Renfrewshire Leisure has allowed us to continue to do this and is empowering patients to guide their own care.

“Offering an online physical activity programme and home-based activity has allowed our patients to keep physically and mentally strong, with an added public health benefit.

“Well done Renfrewshire Leisure!”

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We have been running these three specialised fitness sessions in our sports centres and at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for some time and they have been very successful in helping people back to health.

“We felt it was important that even though we are in the grip of the current coronavirus pandemic, the folks who have benefited from the programmes shouldn’t miss out.

“Our Health Services team have done a great job in putting together this online programme so quickly and I hope everyone who would usually come along to a session will take part in their own homes.”

Anyone wishing to join these fitness programmes should email .


I hope you are all keeping safe and well in lockdown. This is a quick update to make people aware of the Wellbeing Fund for the Third Sector launched by the Scottish Government recently. Please follow the link to find out more about this and how to apply.


The Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund will support organisations across the third sector that are providing important services for people as a result of coronavirus. 


The Wellbeing Fund is now open for expressions of interest from all third sector organisations.


If any interested groups in Renfrewshire require guidance or support on any application process officers at Engage are available to help, and you can reach them through their website at and you can sign up for their daily briefings on the front page also.

Stay well everyone,


Renfrewshire residents are being urged to stay home this Easter weekend and follow the latest guidelines to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

The latest government advice states that staying at home is essential to protect the NHS and save lives and residents can follow this by only going outside for essential food, health or work reasons, staying 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people and washing hands regularly.

Anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus should stay at home for 7 days, and other members of the household should stay at home for 14 days, even if the first person recovers.


The advice also includes not socialising with people outside your household and residents should not visit friends or family, but instead phone or video call to keep in touch and increase social activity.

Anyone who is struggling with their mental health during this period can find help and advice on the Renfrewshire Council website by visiting If you need urgent help and advice contact the Samaritans helpline on 116 123. For life threatening mental health emergencies call 999, or 111 for NHS urgent mental health care.

Renfrewshire’s Local Assistance Helpline will be available to those who are shielding and do not have a support network that can collect essential items for them. Anyone who needs this support should call 0300 300 0230 to speak in confidence with an advisor. The helpline will be open over the Easter weekend daily from 8:45am – 4:45pm. You can also email out of these hours and a member of the team will get in touch.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Easter is usually a time to get together with family and friends but please reconsider any plans you may have made and continue to stay at home and help combat the spread of the virus.

“Maintaining our health and wellbeing is vitally important at this tough time and although our parks and green spaces remain open for exercise, I urge you to stay close to home and not be tempted to drive anywhere for an Easter walk.

“The weeks and months ahead will be difficult but by following the guidance and staying at home we will help protect our NHS and save lives.”

The latest information, help and advice can be accessed via

For the latest medical advice from NHS Inform, please visit

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Local businesses in Renfrewshire have received more than £3.3million in the first phase of financial support to help mitigate the impact of Coronavirus.

The Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Grant funds are hitting business bank accounts from today (Tuesday 7 April).

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Cllr Iain Nicolson

Renfrewshire Council approved more than 300 applications in just four days to ensure local businesses have access to the support they need as quickly as possible – with hundreds more in line to be processed and paid this week.

Some 279 applications worth £2.79million has provided one-off grants of £10,000 to small businesses while a further 23 grants of £25,000 were approved to hospitality, leisure and retail businesses.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We recognise the impact that the current situation is having on businesses and employees throughout Renfrewshire and we want to ensure that support is available to help through these difficult times.

“Our teams are working round the clock to ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible and this has seen us award more than £3.3million to Renfrewshire businesses already.

“This grant funding is one of a series of measures providing vital support to businesses at this difficult time, with all the details available on the Council website.

“We ask all applicants to ensure they follow the guidance on our website and complete the application fully, with all the correct documentation required, to ensure we can process this without delay.”

This grant funding is part of a number of measures available to support businesses, employees and the self-employed, and include the Job Retention Scheme, VAT and Income Tax Deferral, Business Rates Relief and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Full details of all the support on offer, with guidance on eligibility and how to apply, is available on the Renfrewshire Council website via

tiddlers and orchestra02
Coorie Doon in Gallowhill
Parents and carers from the Tiny Tiddlers playgroup in Gallowhill write personal heartfelt songs for their children with musicians from Chamber Music Scotland.
Coorie Doon is a very special song writing project – where the creative team from Chamber Music Scotland (CMS) worked with families to write personal songs for their own children. Since beginning in 2015, Coorie Doon has involved families at North Edinburgh Arts Centre, Rachel House Children’s Hospice and the Neonatal Unit at Glasgow’s Royal Hospital for Children.
tiddlers and orchestra02
The Coorie Doon project in Gallowhill began in early February – with the musicians joining the families at the Tiny Tiddlers pre-school group each Wednesday morning. Over the weeks, lyrics and music for the songs were written and developed by the mums, dads and aunties at the group alongside the CMS creative team of Kim MooreAlice AllenKatrina Lee and Una MacGlone.
The finished songs were due to be performed at a community event in Gallowhill in the last week of March. Unfortunately this had to be cancelled due to the COVID 19 lockdown. Instead, the four beautiful and tender songs made during the project are available to listen to online: Interestingly one of the songs was given the title Yous Make Us Stronger, appropriate in the current climate that we are faced with.
Angela Gilmour, who runs the Tiny Tiddlers group and also took part in the project by writing and performing a song for her family, said: I found it really hard to try put words to paper when we were sitting talking about our wee girls but the ladies from Chamber Music Scotland were amazing as they managed to choose words from us while talking about the kids and when they showed us what they came up with I couldn’t wait to start singing our song for our wee girls. It was very emotional hearing our song finished and I’ve started playing and singing it to the girls in the house.”
Coorie Doon is part of a wider Artists & Residents programme in Gallowhill – developing creative community projects with an underlying ethos of warmth, kindness and care coordinated by Kate Drummond, Visual Arts Producer at Renfrewshire Leisure. These Artist & Residents projects in Gallowhill will continue to develop over the next two years and is funded through Renfrewshire CouncilFuture Paisley strategy, developed from the towns 2021 City of Culture bid.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes added: “Music and song is a wonderful way of communicating and touching people’s emotions. Creating a song for your children is something that will last forever and when they get older, the wee ones will be able to look back and know how much they were loved by their parents and carers.”

Future Paisley is the radical and wide-ranging programme of events, activity and investment using the towns unique and internationally significant cultural story to transform its future.
For more information about Renfrewshire Leisures projects in Gallowhill contact:
For more information about Coorie Doon / Chamber Music Scotland contact : Danielle Price:

At Paisley Drinks Company we hope you are all keeping healthy in these unprecedented times. We also wish to thank all the brave and committed people helping to keep our country on its feet. 


At the Paisley Drinks Company, as with many other businesses, we lost 90% of our customers overnight. However, we knew we were not alone. So, we reached out to other local businesses to see if we could team up to provide a service that would help you all through the long hours of isolation. 

We are all micro businesses in there early years of trading and don’t qualify for any of the Governments grants on offer! We are determined to help each other get through these difficult times and continue to offer you a range of different and exciting tastes and services we can now deliver directly to your doorstep. 


So, we would like you to use your sense of adventure and try some of our fabulous and pretty unique products. Bring a little excitement to your day with one of 7 great product ranges t choose from. 

Brian O’Shea, Paisley Drinks Co. “Since starting the business in June 2018 there has been a great response from consumers tasting real soda drinks for the first time. The business has grown from strength to strength, and we had big plans for 2020. However, despite COVID-19 stopping the business in its tracks, I am determined to reach out to as many people as I can to share in the joy of tasting a refreshing soda drink made from real ingredients. They also make great cocktails if you need to upgrade you home bar experience!!” 

He added “It’s been great collaborating with some of my favourite Scottish Brands! I hope our platform provides a new opportunity to help them continue to supply customers. I hope consumers team up to support these growing businesses which are so important to the lifeblood of our local community.” 

Range Shot Pattern Back ground

We now have over 7 local brands featured on our website and talks are ongoing with more local businesses. Hopefully, with your support this will offer a lifeline to each of the following local businesses. Pakora Explorer – Paisley 

Who is The Pakora Explorer? My parents are originally from Pakistan but moved our family to the Orkney Islands in 1988 (via London!) to run a small croft. We were one of the first Asian families on the island and everyone knows the best way to make friends & meet your neighbours is through food! 

Pakora for us is like serving tea and biscuits, the two always go together. In our home, we always had the ingredients to make fresh Pakora, these golden nuggets of goodness soon became very popular with our friends & neighbours around the island Nut Shack – Paisley 

The Nut Shack UK is a family run business based in Paisley, Scotland. Since 2015 we have specialised in making uniquely flavoured peanuts. Our peanuts are only sourced from Argentina, Brazil & U.S.A and then blended with some of the best herbs and spices available. Our Bacon flavour are the flavour that started it all. They have a great smokey flavour that builds on the palette and only ends when the bag does. These pair perfectly with a stout or porter. Our Piri Piri flavour combines onion, garlic, basil and cayenne pepper to give all the flavour of a traditional Piri Piri blend without the heat. These pair perfectly with a gin & tonic or a hoppy pale ale. Our Habanero & Garlic flavour are a customer favourite. A blend of Habanero chillies and garlic gives these nuts a 350,000 Scoville’s kick and are not for the faint hearted. These pair perfectly with a cold beer. Our Tikka Masala flavour are our take on the Nation’s Favourite Dish. These nuts are packed full of flavour, with a well balanced level of spice and low heat. These pair perfectly with a cold lager or cider. Alba Cola – Glasgow Alba Cola is a contemporary cola with soul, inspired by Scotland’s people and culture. Made with natural ingredients from the land, it’s a refreshing take on the traditional. Alba Cola is for those who seek new ways of thinking and new ways of doing. We believe in evolution over revolution. By channeling the progressive spirit of Scotland, we have created a new take on the world’s most ubiquitous soft drink. We don’t take life too seriously, good times with great people is what we’re all about. As for the unicorn, this mythological creature means something different to everyone: it can stand for hope, individuality, even strength. It’s open to interpretation, and it just so happens to be Scotland’s national animal! 

Pure Roasters Dumbarton – Coffee with attitude! 

Good Coffee – Ethical delivery 

We’ve always blended and roasted the finest tasting coffees from ethical sources. Now we can take our 

coffees on the road and provide pop-up coffee shops at your event or workplace. 

We also ship our beans and grounds worldwide, roasted fresh for the best taste. We like our coffee to taste 

like coffee, that’s why we describe Pure Roasters blends as……The best coffee. 

Patter Watter – High Caffeine Light Roast 

Heavy Goth – Dark Roast Ground Coffee 

Mad Wae it – The original blendith none 

Tongue in Peat Glasgow HAND CRAFTED IN SMALL BATCHES FROM SCOTLAND, WE NATURALLY INFUSE FRESH TOMATOES WITH PEAT SMOKE FROM THE ISLAND OF ISLAY. Why? Because peat comes from the ground in this rugged island which sits on the atlantic coast. The peat, smokey by nature, grows underground and absorbes the sea salt notes from the atmosphere. We use a traditional smokery (operated by one individual) to ensure the maximum flavours from the dried peat are infused into the fresh, sweet tomatoes. 

The result? A well balanced yet utterly unique batch of sweet, smokey and salty tomatoes which are then blended (by a team of less than eight people) and bottled for your pleasure. 

Sparklingly Sober – Port Glasgow 

When celebrating or relaxing, no longer feel punished by the limited options of alcohol free drinks with Sparklingly Sober. Proudly Scottish Each batch of Sparklingly Sober is lovingly handcrafted by a team of less than 12 people in a small facility outside Glasgow, Scotland. Want to know more about our roots? Visit The Start-Up Drinks Lab for more information. 

Brian launched The Paisley Drinks Company in February this year after spotting a gap in the market for craft soda made using only natural ingredients and processes – not loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners – and blended with pure Scottish water. 

The Paisley Drinks Company produces high quality craft soda proudly made in Scotland, using the best natural ingredients and real fruit flavours. They have created a unique range of products as a delicious and healthier alternative to the sugary and artificially sweetened fizzy drinks of the big brands. Championing the ‘Real Soda Revolution’, their flavours include Very Berry Raspberry Lemonade, Dreamy Strawberry Coconut Soda, Mystical Rhubarb Cream Soda and Darkest Blueberry Ginger Soda. Delicious on their own and superb as a mixer, Paisley Drinks Company premium sodas are locally made, distinctive to taste and refreshing to drink. 

Food fund graphic

Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, has welcomed confirmation that Paisley families unable to access food due to coronavirus will get support from the Scottish Government.

Local authorities are sharing £30 million of new investment from the Scottish Government Food Fund to support those struggling. 

Food fund graphic

Renfrewshire Council have been allocated £1.063 million from the fund, which is one part of the £350 million Communities Fund.

This funding will support those most in need including families with children who are eligible for free school meals, older people, those with long-term health conditions, and pregnant women.

Councils will have the flexibility to use this additional resource in ways that best meet emerging local needs and circumstances, working with community groups and businesses to support home delivery, provide financial help and meet dietary requirements.


Commenting, George Adam, said:

“Coronavirus has brought enormous disruption to all of our lives, and some people will be concerned about accessing food. This is a distressing enough time with families and friends separated and unable to visit loved ones without having to worry about food or where their next meal is coming from.

“This investment will help those in Paisley who are most at risk – such as older people and children eligible for free school meals – to access food through this unprecedented crisis. I hope this will go a long way in helping to ease one worry many families will have right now.

“Free school meals are vital for families across Paisley and are an important way of ensuring children receive the nutritious food they need. That is why it is so important that support continues while schools remain closed.  

“This is just one part of the support the Scottish Government is providing to individuals and businesses to protect jobs and incomes which we continue to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The £350 million Communities Fund was announced by Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell on 18 March 2020. 

Since it was announced, over £100 million of new support has been delivered to local authorities to assist their efforts. This includes £50 million in hardship funding, £22 million to bolster the Scottish Welfare Fund and £30 million from the Food Fund.

The guidance shared with local authorities outlines seven key principles to support local thinking about how funding can best be targeted and deployed. 

People worried about food during the COVID-19 crisis should therefore contact their local authority for further information on the help and support available to them.

Glasgow Airport exterior

The strict travel restrictions put in place by various governments in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have, understandably, resulted in the widespread grounding of flights.

Glasgow Airport exterior

With many of our airline partners having completed their repatriation flights and in line with passenger demand, there are now only a limited number of services available from the AGS group of airports (Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton). In light of this and to protect the health and wellbeing of all the staff who work so hard to keep our airports running, we will be introducing temporary restrictions on our operations from 1 April 2020.


To support our country’s response to this accelerating pandemic, Aberdeen and Glasgow airports will continue to support essential services. These will include lifeline links to remote communities in the Highlands and Islands, NHS and air ambulance services, and helicopters for the oil and gas industry. Southampton Airport will similarly support lifeline services to the Channel Islands. Our airports will also cater for those airlines who are continuing to operate. At this stage, it is difficult to say how long these measures will remain in place, however, we will continue to follow all government advice and keep them under constant review.


We are facing extremely challenging times and like all organisations, we have a duty of care to our staff, our business partners and to all those who use our airports. Introducing temporary operating restrictions will allow us to significantly reduce the number of staff who must travel to work.


Alongside this, we are working with our people and their trade union representatives to ensure those employees who will be furloughed during this period will have access to the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We have also proposed other measures to support the business at this time including temporary pay cuts for all staff including our Board and leadership team, an end to bonus payments, the option for staff to take unpaid leave and the option for reduced working hours.


These have been difficult decisions to take, however, I am absolutely clear they will enable us to protect jobs, protect the health and wellbeing of our employees and ensure AGS Airports is in a strong position to aid our country’s recovery when we emerge from this crisis.

renfrewshire leisure

MEMBERS of Renfrewshire Leisure’s Active Schools team have created an amazing video showing them juggling a loo roll then appearing to pass it on to each other in their own homes.

They’ve used some clever video editing to create the illusion and then posted it on their @RLSportServices Twitter feed.

Now they are challenging the Active Schools teams from local authorities all over Scotland to match their efforts at the #ASCoordinatorChallenge.

Fourteen of Renfrewshire Leisure’s Active Schools team took part in the video, which has had more than 4000 views since it was posted on Tuesday evening.

Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “Since most of us are being asked to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s good to have some light relief in our lives.

“I have to admit I laughed out loud when I saw the video. Well done to the Active Schools team for coming up with the idea and using some technical wizardry to put the video together.”

Oakshaw green bins

Residents are being urged to recycle more than ever while the current government guidance is to remain at home wherever possible.

Bin collections in Renfrewshire are continuing to run as normal at this time (26 March), but the area’s recycling centres are currently closed.

Oakshaw green bins

With an expectation more waste will be created during this time, the council have offered a list of handy tips to help people reduce, reuse and recycle.

  • Wash and squash your cans, plastic bottles, tubs and trays – a good rinse is all you need to do.
  • Reuse any containers you can. They’re perfect for freezing any batch cooking.
  • Break down cardboard boxes to save space.
  • If you run out of food waste bags, use old newspaper or put it in directly until you can get more.
  • Visit for advice on how to avoid wasting food, using up those ingredients that are stuck in your cupboard and how to store it correctly.
  • The council website has a list of what should and should not go into each bin, do you know what goes where?

Residents are asked to ensure that parked cars do not obstruct collection vehicles to ensure that waste can be uplifted.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “This is an unprecedented time with everyone advised to stay at home unless it is essential that they leave for food, medical issues or to work in a key role.

“Being at home, you are going to create more waste than normal so I would encourage you to take recycling more seriously than ever to ensure you have the space you need in your bins.

“Our waste collections are running as normal at this time, but we need your support to help our fantastic frontline workers do their job so please be patient and show understanding for the position they are in.

“Our teams have been given the appropriate advice and PPE to carry out their role in line with government guidance and I want to thank them for the outstanding service they are providing at this time.

“To all our staff, partners, Unison, RHSCP, health workers and volunteers, thank you on behalf of us all on the way you have risen to the challenge in these difficult times.

“Let’s keep working together and show the strength of community that I know we have here in Renfrewshire.”

For the latest advice and guidance on Coronavirus, visit or follow the council on Twitter via @RenCouncil.