Renfrewshire Provost’s reminder on Awards nominations.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall is urging people to ‘take their last chance’ to nominate people for a leading awards scheme.

The Provost’s Community Awards honour those who devote their time to helping others in the Renfrewshire community or who are an inspiration to others.


Open to people who live and work in Renfrewshire, nominations can be made up until 31 January 2014.

This year the categories for the awards have been revamped into five themes: Community Group, Community Volunteer, Sporting Achievement, Carers’ Award and Employer of the Year.

Provost Hall said: “Taking time to honour our unsung heroes is an opportunity to give something back to those dedicated individuals and groups in our communities.

“I would encourage everyone who knows a special carer, a sporting enthusiast thriving in adversity or an employer exceeding expectations in developing employees to take the time and nominate them for an award.

“The categories in this year’s awards have been redesigned into five easily identifiable and distinctive themes but have kept the same spirit behind the awards.

“It’s never been easier to put someone forward. Nomination forms can be made online and it only takes a few minutes of your time.”

Nomination forms can be filled in online at Printed forms are also available at Council offices and facilities.

The closing date for nominations is 31 January 2014.

Winning candidates will be invited to the Provost’s Community Awards ceremony on 21 March 2014. The evening will be compered by Gus Michael of Pulse Community Radio.

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Renfrewshire education bosses reassure parents over new exams.

Education chiefs have moved to reassure parents in Renfrewshire that their children will sit the exam most suited to their abilities during the transition from Highers to the new Level 6 Higher qualification.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said, “We want to ensure that we do the best for all of the pupils in our schools. We don’t want any child to be disadvantaged by being presented for an exam for which they haven’t had an opportunity to prepare properly.

renfrewshire council logo .JPG“We have full confidence in the professional judgement of our teachers and head teachers. They know their pupils best and the decision on which exam pupils sit will be left up to individual schools in consultation with parents.

“We have been teaching the National 4 and 5 qualifications in Renfrewshire’s 11 secondary schools since the start of the current school year as part of our roll-out of the Curriculum for Excellence.

“The content of some Level 6 courses is radically different under the Curriculum for Excellence than the previous Highers. However the Scottish Qualifications Authority hasn’t yet provided schools with details of the marking guidelines for the new exams and these aren’t going to be published until March or April.

“Without these guidelines it is very difficult for schools to develop course work, assist with revision or know which areas of study are important for pupils to address.

“Teachers are being hamstrung by the lack of information that is available. The Scottish Government allotted two extra in-service days for teachers to prepare for the new Nation 4 and 5 qualifications but no extra time has been made available for Level 6 courses.

“While we are calling on the Scottish Government to provide adequate time and resources for schools to prepare for the new qualifications, we want parents to know that we have their child’s best interests at heart and the decision on which exam they sit will be taken by the people best placed to judge their abilities.”

From the 2015/16 school year all candidates will sit the new Level 6 Higher qualification.

Street Stuff football festival street stuff coaches

Award-winning activities for young people kick off the new year.

Young people in Renfrewshire can kick start the new year with FREE evening activities taking place across the area as part of the award-winning Street Stuff programme.

Street Stuff will be running sessions on Monday to Saturday evenings providing young people aged between 10 and 18 with a range of free activities including Street Football with coaches from St Mirren FC and The Box multi-purpose activity space among others.

Street Stuff football festival street stuff coaches

There will also be activities taking place in the fantastic Carbrini@JD Airdome facility at St Mirren Park.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “The Christmas holidays may be over but there’s still plenty of fun to be had for young people in Renfrewshire thanks to the Street Stuff programme .

“These sessions are a great way for young people to get out and have fun in a healthy, positive environment with access to high quality facilities and top class coaching from St Mirren Football Club. The new timetable has activities running in lots of locations across the area which I’m sure will be as popular as ever.”

Street Stuff is a diversionary project providing young people with an opportunity to have fun, get fit and active and meet other people their age.

The new timetable will run from January to March with activities taking place in Gallowhill, Linwood, Bargarran, Foxbar, Shortroods, Ferguslie, Johnstone and St Mirren Park.

Street Stuff sessions will take place on

Mondays 6.30pm-9.30pm at:
·       Our Lady of Peace Primary School , Linwood,
·       Shortroods MUGA, Paisley,
·       Johnstone Castle Top Spot, Johnstone

Tuesdays 6.30pm -9.30pm at:
·       Gallowhill Community Centre MUGA, Paisley
·       Our Lady of Peace Primary School, Linwood
·       Amochrie Road MUGA, Foxbar, Paisley
·       Ferguslie MUGA, Paisley,
·       Johnstone McMaster Centre MUGA, Johnstone

Wednesdays 6.30pm – 9.30pm at:
·       Gallowhill Community Centre MUGA, Paisley
·       Bargarran MUGA, Erskine
·       Brediland Road, near Esk Drive, Foxbar, Paisley
·       Ferguslie MUGA, Paisley

Thursdays 6.30pm – 9.30pm at:
·       Ferguslie MUGA, Paisley
·       Johnstone McMaster Centre, Johnstone

Fridays 6.30pm -9.30pm at:
·       Gallowhill Community Centre MUGA, Paisley
·       Bargarran MUGA, Erskine
·       Brediland Road, near Esk Drive, Foxbar, Paisley
·       Johnstone Castle Top Spot, Johnstone
·       SMFC Carbrinin@JD Airdome, Paisley

Saturdays 5.30pm -8.30pm at:
·       Gallowhill Community Centre MUGA, Paisley
·       Bargarran MUGA, Erskine
·       Brediland Road, near Esk Drive, Foxbar, Paisley
·       Johnstone Castle Top Spot, Johnstone
·       SMFC Carbrinin@JD Airdome, Paisley

Street Stuff is run in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Engage Renfrewshire and St Mirren Football Club.

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Council pledges to use bedroom tax loophole to help local people.

Renfrewshire Council is working flat out to apply the recently-discovered bedroom tax loophole to local residents.

The loophole means those who continuously claimed Housing Benefit since 1996 are entitled to receive the Housing Benefit they lost since the ‘bedroom tax’ was introduced, and have it backdated to April last year.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGIt also means they can be made exempt from the ‘bedroom tax’ until the UK Government changes the legislation.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “I’m not surprised that the UK Government didn’t get its house in order as it ploughed ahead with this ill-thought-out policy, and I’d again like to urge them to do the right thing and scrap the ‘bedroom tax’.

“This loophole demonstrates utter chaos at the heart of benefit reform and will only lead to worry and confusion among benefit claimants who are already anxious about welfare changes.

“We are doing all we can to find the residents this loophole applies to; make them exempt from the unfair bedroom tax and backdate this to April last year when it was introduced.

“We realise this is likely to be a temporary loophole which will no doubt be closed in the near future so I’d like to assure residents that our officers are working as fast as they can to check our systems and find everyone who this may apply to.”

Source: Renfrewshire Council

Paisley Museum

Paisley excellent for tourists says Visit Scotland.

The Paisley Museum and the Coats Observatory have been named as four star visitor attractions which offer tourists an excellent standard of welcome, hospitality and service.

The award follows a series of secret inspections by mystery shoppers from Visit Scotland, the national tourism organisation.

Paisley Museum

The grading system focuses on the standard of the welcome, hospitality and service attractions provide. The Renfrewshire Council attractions were awarded three stars in 2011.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said, “Paisley Museum is home to an iconic and nationally significant collection of artefacts including the Arbuthnott Missal. Side by side with this mediaeval treasure are contemporary exhibitions including the incredibly popular Lego Brick City.

“Visit Scotland has recognised the sheer quality of the museum and the observatory and the dedication of the employees who make both attractions so welcoming for visitors.

“After the inspection in 2011 the council decided to aim for four stars. An improvement plan was put in place and it is excellent news that our efforts have paid off.

“As part of the improvement plan we installed a new automated planetarium in the Coats Observatory. We also invested £110,000 in a nine month restoration of the Pillar Gallery. During the modernisation, a suspended roof installed in the 1960’s was taken down unveiling the Victorian splendour of the original twin barrel vaulted ceiling.

Paisley Museum

“The next step is clearly achieving five stars and that’s our target for 2015.”

The number of stars awarded to an attraction tells visitors what they can expect:
*       1 star – clean and tidy, a fair and acceptable, if basic, standard
*       2 stars – a good overall standard
*       3 stars – a very good standard
*       4 stars – an excellent standard
*       5 stars – an exceptional standard.
The Paisley Museum opened in 1871. The building was designed by the well-known Glasgow architect John Honeyman and paid for by Sir Peter Coats of the famous Coats thread manufacturing family.

The museum is home to Paisley Shawl Collection which is a Recognised Collection of National Significance to Scotland.
Coats Observatory opened in 1883 and is the oldest public observatory in Scotland. It was gifted to the people of Paisley by Thomas Coats and was also designed by John Honeyman.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at

Renfrewshire Arts & Museums is delighted to announce its brand new arts programme for spring 2014.

The arrival of the New Year marks the start of a fresh new events programme for Renfrewshire Council’s Arts & Museums service.

Prepare to be entertained at monthly comedy nights, live gigs from award-winning musicians, captivating theatre performances, fascinating new exhibitions and a remarkable number of activities for children – there really is an event to suit all tastes taking place in our venues from now until July.
Some performance highlights include: a brand new bill of stand-up comedians for A Buddy Good Laugh; a fascinating biopic of a superstar in The Unremarkable Death of Marilyn Monroe; a thrilling live folk gig courtesy of Lau and a beautiful ballet performance of the timeless classic, Swan Lake.


To book tickets to any of our forthcoming performances please contact the Box Office at Paisley Arts Centre on 0300 300 1210 or book online at

Paisley Museum will be unveiling several fascinating new displays too. Visit in March and be Inspired by incredible works of art from talented Renfrewshire school pupils, or take in vibrant prints by the French artist Matisse in the exhibition Matisse: Drawing with Scissors, opening in June.

Paisley Museum will also remember Gerry Rafferty with a display of his album covers created by his long term friend and fellow Buddy John Byrne. Catch the Bring It All Home exhibition when it opens to the public in March.

For a full view of what’s on this January – July pick up a copy of The Guide, the Renfrewshire Arts & Museums brochure.

The Guide is now available to collect, for free, from Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre, Paisley Museum and Renfrew Town Hall or alternatively can be viewed online, just visit

For the very latest Arts & Museums news follow us on Facebook (, Twitter (@RenArtsMuseums) or sign up to our free, weekly e-news service; simply email and provide an email address.

suicide memorial tree, purple hearts

Fifth annual service to remember suicide victims.

The fifth annual service to remember those who have lost their lives to suicide in Renfrewshire will be held on Tuesday 21 January.

The ceremony will take place at council HQ in Cotton Street, Paisley, where there is a memorial tree for victims of suicide.

The event is being organised by the Renfrewshire support group, Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS), and will be attended by Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall.

The service will be led by Reverend Alan Birss of Paisley Abbey and Father John Tormey of St Mirin’s Cathedral.

Provost Hall said: “This annual event is a worthy cause which we are happy to be able to support. I would like to extend the invite to any local people who wish to join us on the day.

“Suicide can affect people of all ages and backgrounds and there are various groups which can offer help. This occasion offers support to those who have lost loved ones and, crucially, highlights the help that is in place to prevent suicide.

“Talking about problems can save lives and there are plenty of people and organisations where individuals or their families and friends can talk and get help.”

Friends and relatives should meet from 3.15pm on Tuesday 21 January in the marriage suite to collect a commemorative purple heart on which they can write a message for their loved one.

At 3.45pm, there will be a procession to the tree, where the Provost will lay a wreath and light the tree, after which visitors can place purple hearts on the tree.

Afterwards, all attending are invited to join the Provost for refreshments in Paisley Abbey.

The event is being supported by Choose Life, the national strategy to prevent suicide in Scotland.

Anyone wanting more information on the Renfrewshire meetings of SOBS, can call Choose Life’s Young Person’s Resource Worker Lisa Jane Aitken on 0141 849 2200, or email

The national helpline Breathing Space can be reached on 0800 83 85 87, and the number for The Samaritans is 08457 90 90 90.

The Bungalow One Chance Nights

First Gig of 2014 and the Biggest and Best To Date

On Saturday the 1st of February in Paisley, Scotland’s largest town in it’s only dedicated music venue, The Bungalow. One Chance Nights will be holding their first gig of 2014 and is shaping up to be the best to date. This will be the first of bi-monthly nights held in the 300 capacity venue.

The Bungalow Bar, located on the towns night life hotspot, Shuttle Street has been open for over a year and is a reincarnation of The Original Bungalow Bar that seen, The Jam, The Clash, The Skids, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Tourists, Buzzcocks and Primal Scream to mention a few take to the stage. Since opening over a year ago, it has been very successful and the 1st of February will be no different. The venue is located in the centre of the Town, It’s a 5 minutes’ walk from two train stations, bus links and is not hard to find if you’re out on a Saturday night. Just follow the sound of people having a good time.

Three bands will take to the stage. Vagabond Poets, a Psychedelic Rock band based in Cumbernauld who take their main influences from bands in the sixties. They have recently supported the likes of The Milk, The 1975, Theme Park and The Strypes across the country. Joining them will be Knock on Effect, “A bluesy, folksy and classic hit quality all packed in here” from Greenock. To finish the line up off they have The Twisted Melons, “Psychedelic beatpop. Combination of intellectual rock, hard-core riffs” who are from Kintyre.

Entry will cost £6 on the door, but email with your name and number of guests to be added to the £4 guestlist before 31st of January.

Museum award boosts Renfrewshire tourism success.

Renfrew Museum has become the latest visitor attraction in Renfrewshire to gain a top tourism award.

VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation, has awarded Renfrew Museum a 4 star visitor attraction rating which means that visitors can expect an ‘excellent’ standard.

Renfrew Museum joins Paisley Museum and the Coats Observatory in Paisley which have already gained the same high rating from VisitScotland.

All three facilities are run by Renfrewshire Council.

The new Renfrew museum opened in January 2012 alongside the refurbished Renfrew Town Hall after a £5.2m investment by Renfrewshire Council.

Gerald Melvin, Quality and Tourism Adviser with VisitScotland, said:

‘We are delighted to award Renfrew Museum a 4 star grading. The first glimpse of the building, on approach from the High Street, is very impressive and the building scores at the highest level with the condition and quality of the stonework being really outstanding. Good use has been made of space to ensure that a wide range of information and displays are in place.

“I’m confident Renfrew Museum is ready to welcome the world this year with so many high profile events taking place in Scotland such as the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and Homecoming Scotland 2014 events on every doorstep and I hope all attractions and businesses will make the most of these opportunities.”

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said:   “There has been a very positive response from the local community and visitors to the new Renfrew Museum.

“It’s very encouraging to see that reflected in this top award from VisitScotland.

“The museum has rapidly established itself as a key attraction for Renfrew and has been widely praised for the quality of the exhibits, the innovative design and the overall quality of the visitor experience.

“It’s a tremendous tribute to the work of staff, and the approach taken by the council, that this is the third of Renfrewshire’s major attractions to be rated as ‘excellent’ by VisitScotland.

“Alongside the modern Renfrew Museum, there is the restored grandeur of Paisley Museum and Art Galleries, and the oldest public observatory in Scotland, Coats Observatory in Paisley, built in 1883, and which now features a state-of-the-art digital planetarium.

“Renfrewshire has a proud industrial and cultural heritage and the council is doing all we can to make that heritage vibrant and relevant for future generations.”

Renfrew Museum’s displays are divided into four sections:  Earth, Air, Fire and Water. These tell the story of the town and its people from medieval times to the present day using objects, pictures, film and people’s own words.

The town’s shipbuilding, transport and engineering traditions are prominently celebrated.

One of the displays features a Merlin engine from a Spitfire plane built at Hillington.

Renfrew’s strong sense of community is reflected in the continuing support given to the museum by the Renfrew Museum Group which has been closely involved with the museum since before it opened in its new setting. The group also collates oral histories and delivers walks and tours of the museum.

Christine Black of the Renfrew Museum Group said: “We have developed a series of temporary exhibitions in the museum’s community exhibition case that celebrate the rich history of Renfrew.

“That work has included exhibitions on Renfrew Juniors, Renfrew Trinity Church, Moorpark Primary and the current exhibition, 100 years of Renfrew Boys Brigade.  

“We had a great response on all these subjects in terms of historical information shared and the interest from visitors to the museum.”

Photograph taken by Alex Slaven for


Four Scottish hockey players have scored the opportunity of a lifetime as they join the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship on the upcoming world tour.

The players – Graham McCamley (26) of the Paisley Blackhawks, Liam Brady (28) of the Hamilton Hawks, Callum Boyd (20) of Kilmarnock Storm and Haydn Bain (16) of North Ayrshire Wilds – will join a world tour that starts in February, taking in cities such as: Helsinki, Finland; St. Paul, Minnesota, USA; Quebec, Canada and Moscow, Russia.

Red Bull Crashed Ice is an extreme sports race, which pits four competitors from all over the world against each other on a steep ice track involving sharp turns, rolling jumps, and high vertical drops.

Graham said, “I can’t wait to get started. I’ve played hockey since I was 10 years old and been lucky to play in some amazing places but this will be a completely different experience.”

Before heading off to a week long training camp at the permanent course in Switzerland the boys visited hockey equipment specialists, Cold Blooded Sports, Lawn Street, Paisley to be fitted out with top of the range Alkali inline skates to help with their preparation.

Owner of Cold Blooded Sports, Steven Gardner, said “The guys beat competition from all over Europe at the qualifying event at Murrayfield ice rink in Edinburgh, so we’re more than happy to help them take on the rest of the world!”

The youngest member of the team, Haydn, who has to reschedule his prelim exams at Greenwood Academy to take part said, “I’ve been to America before on family holidays but to get the chance to tour the world doing something like this is a bit of a dream. My dad is just as excited as me so hopefully he can come out and see one of the events.”

The Red Bull Crashed Ice tour starts in Helsinki on 31 January before visiting St. Paul on 20 February, Moscow on 6 March and finally Quebec City on 20 March with all of the events broadcast live online at

More information on Cold Blooded Sports can be found at

All photos by