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Renfrewshire Council Leader in ‘toxic debt’ of payday loans warning

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan is urging local residents to avoid falling into the toxic debt spiral of using payday loan companies and join the local credit union instead.

Renfrewshire Council has banned access of payday loan websites from council PCs and the Leader recently met with the board of the Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union to hear about their services.

Anyone who lives or works in Renfrewshire can join and make full use of a range of financial services including affordable credit – meaning there’s no need to resort to payday loans.

renfrewshire council logo .JPGCouncillor Macmillan said: “Put frankly, these payday loan companies are absolutely shocking. To charge ridiculous interest amounts of anything up to 4,000 per cent, fail to check if the customer can afford the repayment then use bully tactics to hound for payment when they fall behind, is appalling practice. The result is vulnerable people falling into a spiral of toxic debt that they can’t get out of.

“I’d urge all Renfrewshire residents to avoid these companies. They are still unregulated and they will unfortunately be looking to take advantage of hard-pressed families in 2013 as benefit cuts start to take hold.

“Our local credit union offers a far better alternative. I had a really useful  meeting with its board recently. The credit union has a positive role to play in the community to help people through these difficult times by encouraging saving and ensuring access to affordable credit rates.”

For more information drop into the Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union at 41 High Street, Paisley, or call on 0141 889 7442.

Apprentice event attracts hundreds of young people

A special event designed to promote the benefits of modern apprenticeships drew a crowd of more than 200 young people to Paisley town centre.

The modern apprentice showcase run by Renfrewshire Council was designed to allow those aged 16 to 19 to meet employers with training and employment opportunities on offer.

Among those there were staff from the council’s own modern apprenticeship scheme, Renfrewshire Leisure, Skills Development Scotland and Reid Kerr College.

Local businesses there on the night included Napier Hair and Beauty, Penny Lane Homes and Cairellot Childcare.

Young people planning to leave school or who have left but are not in training or employment were able to chat to representatives about what a modern apprenticeship could offer.

There was also a ‘meet the apprentice’ feature allowing visitors to speak to young people who have benefited from apprenticeships about their own experiences.

The event was taking place as part of Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Week, on from 20 to 24 May.

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, paid a visit to the event, which was held at the Youth Employability Hub in Gauze Street, Paisley.

Councillor Glen said: “I was delighted to see such a good turnout on the night – we had more than 200, which was more than we had expected.

“From speaking to some of the exhibitors on the night, I could see there is a great range of apprenticeship options available to young people in Renfrewshire.

“Modern apprenticeships are a great way for young people to pick up valuable on-the-job experience which studying for a vocational qualification at the same time.

“I would encourage any young people looking for a first step on the job ladder to investigate what one could offer.”

The council’s own modern apprentice scheme for 2013 will soon be offering further opportunities in horticulture and in office-based apprenticeships. Posts will be available on the MyJobScotland website.

The scheme was recently honoured at a prestigious national awards ceremony, when it was named the joint-winner of the Apprentice Award category at the s1jobs recruitment awards.

For more information on apprenticeships visit

Cllr Roy Glen

Details of extra £4.5m jobs cash boost agreed

Details have been agreed over where a £4.5million cash injection for the Renfrewshire economy will be spent.

The money will be used over the next two years to deliver Invest in Renfrewshire, a council programme pulling together a number of schemes aimed at supporting local businesses and tackling youth unemployment.

At the council’s budget meeting in February, councillors agreed to pump an extra £4.5m into Invest in Renfrewshire, which – when added to the initial investment from the programme’s launch a year ago – takes the total to £7m.

Cllr Roy GlenThis week saw members of the council’s Economy and Jobs Board agree a report which lays out where that money will be spent between 2013 and 2015.

Just over £3.85m will be targeted at supporting businesses, with the largest chunk to go on wage subsidies to encourage companies to take on new staff.

Money has also been set aside to help companies grow, with funding to help pay for new premises, staff and technology, and grants to improve the look of shopfronts.

Another £1.5m will be spent on supporting unemployed young people to find and keep work.

This includes funding for graduate internships – with the council and with private-sector employers – and money for training and support for schools.

Councillor Roy Glen, Convener of the Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said: “Supporting the local economy and helping young people find work are two of the major priorities of this council.

“We have been able to make this substantial investment in both in spite of the challenges caused by the tough financial climate, and the reduction in the council’s budget by the Scottish Government.

“We are determined to make Renfrewshire a better place to do business, and want to work with local firms to do that.

“June will see the first anniversary of the launch of the Invest in Renfrewshire programme and in the past year, almost 300 businesses have signed up to the scheme.

“But we want others to come forward and take advantage of the range of funding packages which are available to them.

“I would encourage all Renfrewshire businesses to speak to one of our team, who will advise them on what we can do.”

For more information, visit, email, or phone 0300 3000 144.

iPad gift is boost for Paisley pupils

Pupils at a Paisley school have been given a technology boost – after they were gifted an iPad.

Kersland School – which caters for pupils with a range of additional support needs – already uses touchscreen technology to help the children communicate.

When bosses at IT consultancy Sopra Group – Renfrewshire Council’s technical partners – became aware of how the technology was helping the pupils, they kindly offered to donate an iPad to the school.

The award was made as part of the company’s commitment to rewarding innovative use of technology in the public sector.

John Bailey, Sopra Group’s Head of Local Authorities and Health, visited the school to see for himself how the gift would help the children.

There, he met Councillor Jacqueline Henry, the Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, and Robert Naylor, director of the council’s Education and Leisure Services Department.

Councillor Henry said: “I was delighted to visit the school to see for myself how new technology is making it easier for the pupils to develop their social and communications skills.

“We would like to express our thanks to Sopra Group for their very kind gesture in donating the iPad.”

John Bailey said: “We believe people who take forward innovation should be rewarded and wanted to do so within Renfrewshire in a way related to the work of Sopra Group.

“We were moved by the story of how technology has helped the pupils at Kersland. It is fantastic to see how technology can make a difference to people.”

At Kersland, the pupils have been using iPads and smartboard technology to communicate their needs, to say how they are feeling, and even to order lunch.

Kersland School head teacher Michelle Welsh said: “Being able to use iPads has really increased the children’s independence.

“It’s been really positive for the children and staff, they have really taken to it, and we are delighted.

“The pupils use various pieces of technology which allow them to communicate much more independently and are really easy to use.

“All the children get something out of it and it’s been life-changing for some of them. It’s been a great opportunity.”

Renfrew gearing up for Gala Day. 

Renfrew Gala Day 2013 will take place at Robertson Park on Sunday 2 June with a huge variety of fun-filled, free entertainment for all the family.

This year’s Gala Day theme is Fairytales and Superheroes, so expect to see plenty of pretty princesses and caped crusaders on the Parade when it departs from Canal St at 1pm to make its way to Robertson Park to kick start the festivities.

As well as the usual stalls, fairground rides and live on-stage entertainment, there will also be storytelling and arts and crafts, a Pet Show plus the chance to take a trip on a genuine 1950s bus for a free tour of the town, courtesy of McGills Buses.

renfrewIn addition to Gala Day itself there will also be a range of free Gala Week Events in the run up to 2 June, including the Bonnie Baby and Toddler Competition on 28 May from 12pm – 1.30pm (registration at 11.30am for 0 – 12 months and 12 months to 4 years) at the Cherrie Centre and a Youth event at the YMCA Hut for 18 – 12 year olds, featuring a motivational speaker discussing career opportunities. On 29 May Renfrew Museum Group will be presenting a lunchtime lecture at Renfrew Town Hall at 1.30pm with an introduction to the history of Renfrew and a guided tour of Renfrew Community Museum. On 31 May Renfrew Town Hall will also play host to a Family Ceilidh from 7pm until 10pm. Tickets for the ceilidh are available from the Renfrew Gala Day Planning Group or by emailing

Renfrewshire Arts & Museums staff who coordinate and organise the event with tremendous support from the community have taken on board the comments they receive on a regular basis from customers and hope the wide offering of activities, stalls and entertainment planned for this year will provide a great value family day out for local residents.

For more information on Renfrew Gala Day or any of the Gala Week Events please visit or follow us on Facebook

Image from Undiscovered Scotland

Provost practices before charity abseil

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall has been getting in some last-minute practice before leading a charity abseil with a difference.

Provost Hall will join Renfrewshire Council chief executive David Martin and  will be part of a group of 20 people who will abseil from the roof of the council’s HQ in Cotton Street, Paisley, at noon on Saturday. (May 25)

Abseil Lapwing Lodge 04
The event will launch a new charity-giving scheme to support four local charities chosen by Provost Hall.

And joining in the event, representing charities and council departments, will be Superman, Supergirl, Batman and the Black Widow from the Avengers who will all abseil in costume.

In keeping with the Provost’s aim of involving the community in the new project, a range of entertainment has been arranged for the watching crowd on the day.

Starting at 11am, the upper deck of the council HQ car park will host a bouncy slide, an inflatable beat the goalie and a range of charity stalls.

In advance of the big day, Provost Hall visited Lapwing Lodge Outdoor Centre in Paisley for a spot of abseiling practice.

There she met up with representatives of Civil Defence Scotland (CDS), a registered charity which provides a volunteer national emergency response team to assist in emergencies such as flooding and extreme winter weather.

CDS also help other organisations and charities run fund-raising events and have offered their knowledge of organising abseils to Provost Hall for the occasion.

“I’d like to thank CDS for the time and commitment they have given to our event,” said Provost Hall. 

“And while I am looking forward to my first abseil it did no harm to get in a spot of practice!

“I’ve been very encouraged by the positive response to my aim of using the office of Provost of Renfrewshire to highlight and support the work of four outstanding local charities.

“I’d urge people to sponsor friends, family or colleagues who are taking part.  Or they can support the charities by simply donating direct to the collective charity fund online or in bank branches using Account Number: 20041937 
Sort code: 82-54-04.  Further information on the scheme is available at

“I also hope as many people as possible come along to enjoy the event and join in the activities that have been laid on. 

“People can  take advantage of the free parking in Renfrewshire Council marked bays in Paisley town centre every weekend.”

Four charities will share equally the donations received – Renfrewshire Carers’ Centre, RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health) and two hospices – Accord and St Vincent’s.

One week left for 10k and fun run discount. Don’t miss out!

Renfrewshire runners are being urged to get their entries in for this year’s Scottish West 10k Championship and Fun Run and make the most of the early-bird discount that ends soon.

The cut-price entry fees are still available – but only until Saturday 1 June.

Runners taking part in the 10k can save £3 on the normal entry fee, while adult fun runners save £1 and children save £2. The discounts are only available to people entering online at

The annual event takes place in Paisley, this year on Sunday 25 August and is expected to be the biggest ever. Last year over 1,400 people took part, ranging from serious athletes to fun runners raising cash for charity.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said:  “This year’s Paisley 10k and Fun Run is shaping up to be the best yet and there’s no better time to get your entry in for the early bird discount that ends soon.

“The event offers people the chance to develop a more active lifestyle in an enjoyable and fun way. It’s also a great way to raise Paisley’s profile as one of the British Heart Foundation’s three Scottish Heart Towns – and I’d urge as many local people as possible to get involved and sign up before 1 June.”

Paisley’s 10k is flat and fast, with a course that takes competitors through the historic town centre, along Paisley canal and Kilmacolm cycle track.

The entry fee for the 10k is £18 with a t shirt (early bird £15) or £12 without a t shirt   (early bird £10). There is a group discount where one free entry is offered for every five paying entries.

The entry fee for the Fun run is £8 with a t shirt for adults (early bird £7) or £5 without a t shirt (early bird £4) and £6 with a t shirt for children under 16 (early bird £4) or £3 without a t shirt (early bird £2). The adult and child discount offers a joint entry for £12 with t shirts (early bird £10).

Scottish Athletics League members are eligible for a further £2 discount on all categories.


Rail links plea on Paisley’s Mòd

Scottish Ministers are being urged to reverse cuts in rail services at Paisley Gilmour Street in time for Paisley’s hosting of the Royal National Mòd in October.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan has written to Keith Brown MSP, Minister for Transport and Veterans, asking him to reverse controversial cuts on rail services stopping at Paisley Gilmour Street on Glasgow-Ayrshire routes.  The changes were introduced in December 2012.


“Everyone is working hard to make Paisley’s hosting of the Mòd a success,” said Councillor Macmillan

“It’s vital that the Scottish Government plays its part too.

“Paisley has a unique product to offer the thousands of competitors and visitors who will come to the town.

“We can offer unique event spaces and an unrivalled cultural, industrial and architectural heritage.

“A major part of Paisley’s appeal has long been its public transport links by train, bus or plane at nearby Glasgow Airport.

“Discussions are continuing with local bus companies to amend services and timetables to cater for potential travel demand during this special event.

“However, the Minister’s decision to support cuts in rail services stopping at Paisley Gilmour Street is a potentially damaging factor in our efforts to attract visitors.

“It would be a massive boost for the Mòd, and The Spree, the national arts and music festival which is held at Paisley at the same time, if these damaging cuts were reversed by October.

“Paisley Gilmour Street is the fourth busiest rail station in Scotland and its role as an important regional transport hub should be reinforced not reduced.

“There has already been some tinkering at the margins in bringing back some off-peak rail services stopping at Paisley Gilmour Street on Saturdays.

“It’s time there was fair treatment and fair services for rail passengers in Renfrewshire.  With these major events coming to Paisley, there’s no better time for the Scottish Government to make that change.”

A festival for everyone: Refugee Week Scotland, 17 – 23 June 2013.

Refugee Week Scotland is an exciting programme of events happening across the country to celebrate diversity and raise awareness of refugee issues. Heritage is at the heart of this year’s celebration, with many events highlighting togetherness and commonality through music, dance and food as well as the unique and surprising contributions of new Scots to communities. With well over one hundred arts  and cultural events set to take place across Scotland from 17 – 23 June, there is a little something for everyone to enjoy coming up.

Paisley Arts Centre is just one of the cultural venues participating in the week-long celebration; bringing you top notch theatre, an astonishing photography exhibition and an uplifting film with a football theme. Plus we are delighted to have worked with local community groups, namely Renfrewshire Effort to Empower Minorities (REEM) and African Association of Communities in Renfrewshire (AACR) when programming this year’s events.

Please see below for more information on each of the Refugee Week events taking place at Paisley Arts Centre.

Exhibition: Spirit 

Launched in 2012 by the Scottish Refugee Council in partnership with Streetlevel Photoworks, Spirit is an inspiring photography project supported by the Big Lottery Fund.

Based on interviews and photographs taken by Refugee participants, this inspiring photographic exhibition explores what ‘spirit’ means to our communities and people in Scotland today.

Spirit will be on display at Paisley Arts Centre from 4 June – 1 July. Admission is free.

Film: Africa United 

Chosen by the Association of African Communities in Renfrewshire (AACR), Africa United (12A) is an extraordinary story of three Rwandan children who walk 3000 miles to the Football World Cup in South Africa. The film will be followed by a short performance from Renfrewshire Effort to Empower Minorities (REEM).

Africa United will be shown at Paisley Arts Centre on 18 June at 7pm. Tickets to the film are free, but should still be booked to ensure seats. Call the Box Office on 0300 300 1210.

Theatre: Some Other Mother 

Making its debut and touring nationally as part of Refugee Week 2013, Some Other Mother is a touching story of loss and survival written by A J Taudevin with support from the Tron Theatre, Stellar Quines and the Scottish Refugee Council.

High up in her 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 will be at Paisley Arts Centre on 20 June at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10 (£6 conc) and can be booked by calling the Box Office on 0300 300 1210 or going online to Suitable for ages 14+

For further information on any of our Refugee Week Scotland events, future exhibitions or shows log on to or follow us on Facebook

hardeeps indian takeaway

Hardeep Singh Kohli Interview

Peter Greenwood from Interviews Hardeep Singh Kohli before his upcoming show at Paisley Arts Centre (see below)


An Evening of Comedy, Cooking and Curry UK TOUR 2013

“Kohli’s cookery and anecdotes left a reassuringly warm aftertaste.” «««« The Times

Following the success of his other live shows, Nearly Naked Chef and Chat Masala, Hardeep Singh Kohli would like to invite you to his brand new show, Indian Takeaway.

The country is obsessed with curry. That much we know. But how do Hardeep’s home-cooked curries – the recipes inspired by his Mum and his Gran – compare to the local Indian Takeaways we love and adore? Let’s find out!

hardeeps indian takeawayAt the beginning of each show Hardeep will order a takeaway live on stage for delivery to the theatre, having selected a local Indian takeaway from audience suggestions submitted via He will then order an audience member’s favourite meal. Whilst waiting for the order to arrive Hardeep cooks his own food.

Two curries with side orders of delicious cooking tips and lip-smacking Comedy. What’s not to like?

“The ever-affable Glaswegian makes an excellent host and is well worth a taste.” «««« Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Hardeep’s love of all things culinary has led to him touring the UK constantly for the last three years with his hit shows The Nearly Naked Chef and Chat Masala which have both been huge hits with audiences across the UK. He was also runner-up on the first series of Celebrity Masterchef which led to two series for UKTV Food, New British Kitchen and Chefs and the City.

His first book Indian Takeaway was nominated for an Independent Book Award and he has written about food for Olive, Observer Food Monthly, The Spectator, The Times, The Sunday Times and various other publications and is a columnist for Waitrose Food Illustrated.

Hardeep is a regular host on Channel 5’s hugely popular current affairs show, The Wright Stuff and has been a regular reporter on BBC1’s The One Show and a guest on BBC 1′s Question Time, and This Week with Andrew Neil. For Channel 4 he has written and presented the BAFTA Award winning In Search of the Tartan Turban, the critically acclaimed and award winning Hardeep Does… and the seminal gambling series 50 Says You’ll Watch This.

As a journalist, his column in Scotland on Sunday called “hardeep is your love” saw him twice nominated in 2007 and 2008 for Scottish Columnist of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards. He is also Contributing Editor on the Spectator Magazine, has written for the Independent on Sunday, The Times, Observer Woman, Conde Nast Traveller to name but a few.

Having started his broadcasting career in radio he still holds the wireless very dear, presenting extensively across Radio 4 and Radio 5 Live and has made a plethora of documentaries for Radios 2, 3 and 4. Hardeep’s Indian Takeaway will be at Paisley Arts Centre on Sat 15 June, 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 (£13 conc) and can be booked by calling 0300 300 1210 or visiting Hardeep’s show is suitable for ages 14+