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Glasgow Airport kits out young people with right tools for the job

A project which aims to improve prospects for school leavers has netted an award of £2,000 from the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund.

The JETs programme works with young people aged between 16 and 20 in East Dunbartonshire to help them secure jobs, education or training.

It is one of two programmes co-ordinated by Positive Alternatives, a diversionary education provider which operates in Bearsden and Milngavie. East Dunbartonshire Council established Positive Alternatives, which relies on a group of 12 local youth workers to deliver its programmes, in 2009.

Positive Alternatives cheque

JETs – short for Jobs, Education and Training – targets those who have left school and offers a range of group activities including outdoor pursuits, conservation projects, keep fit, healthy living, sports and wider achievement awards such as the John Muir Trust Award for Conservation.

The aim is to build self awareness and improve the participants’ employability, life and social skills. More than 80 young people take part every year and referrals come from a variety of sources including schools, social work and voluntary organisations.

The Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund award will allow the purchase of tools and personal protection equipment such as wheelbarrows, hard hats, goggles, high viz jackets and first aid kits for use in local conservation and community gardening projects.

Two teams of young people are currently engaged in conservation projects at Barrhill Fort, near Twechar and Cardowan Moss, near Hogganfield Loch. In partnership with Forestry Commission Scotland, the work carried out has long-term benefits for communities.

Councillor Manjinder Shergill, of East Dunbartonshire Council, is a member of the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund Board. He welcomed the award: “The JETs programme is exactly the type of project we are keen to support through the FlightPath Fund as it ticks all the boxes – education, employment and the environment.

“In addition to bringing young people together and teaching them a range of skills which can only improve their job prospects, the local conservation projects deliver real benefits to the environment and the wider community as a result.”

East Dunbartonshire Council’s Convener of Education, Councillor Eric Gotts, said: “These conservation projects are an important element of the JETs programme but if we are asking the participants to carry out physical work in the community then we must provide them with the right tools and safety gear.

“We are delighted to have secured this funding as it means we can continue to identify and carry out these projects. The new equipment will help hundreds of young people as we guide them towards a job, training or education.”

Find out more here www.glasgowairport.com

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Cash boost for friendship service for older people

A scheme to help older people stay out of hospital, and live longer happier lives in their own homes, is to receive a £96,000 cash boost from Renfrewshire Council, bringing the total funding from the council and the Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership to over £250,000.

The money will help Reaching Older Adults in Renfrewshire (ROAR) to continue to deliver its range of volunteer-based services designed to counter the negative effects of loneliness and isolation.

Council Leader Mark Macmillan at the ROAR lunch club in HoustonROAR started as a pilot project in June 2007 and has gone from strength to strength since then. Currently 150 volunteers provide help to 300 older adults.

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said, ““The services provided by ROAR offer vital practical help to keep people in touch with the outside world, helping people to maintain their independence and improving their quality of life.”

“As people get older they can become isolated and lonely as their family grows up and moves on and friends and acquaintances pass away.

“This can affect a person’s mood and ultimately their health. Research shows that having friends and an active social life are key factors in staying healthy for longer. They also provide an important defence against dementia.”

ROAR’s services including; activity clubs, weekly health and wellbeing clubs, a befriending service for older adults and people who suffer from dementia, a pilot shopping service and support for older people who have become isolated.

The project helps three main groups:
* Older people who are housebound and experience social isolation
* Older people who may have lost confidence and need encouragement and help to get out and about and stay active
* People whose own support networks may not be adequate and where help would improve their independence and quality of life.

ROAR works with Active Communities Scotland (Ltd), Alzheimers Scotland, Linstone Housing Association, Renfrewshire Council and the Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership to deliver its services. Visit their website for more info..

Paisley Town Hall Photographs

As you can see from our Photographs of Paisley Town Hall, the front scaffold has now been removed and our Town Hall looks splendid. Our photographer Alex Kyle was passing today and took some photographs of it, as well as a group of the Invest in Renfrewshire’s recruits..

The Town Hall is being refurbished for this year’s upcoming Mòd festival which should see this beautiful building being central to the music and festivities.

The Townhall

In 1873 George A.Clark, a member of the famous thread family, left £20,000 in his will to build Paisley Town Hall to his native Paisley.

A site was found next to the Abbey which was suitable under the terms of the will; the hall was to be in the New Town, east of the Cart, where George Clark had been born and where his family’s thread mills were.

The George A. Clark Town Hall was officially opened in January 1882 among great celebrations. A procession made its way through the decorated streets, and at night there was a firework display from the High Church steeple.

The impressive building became a landmark in Paisley. The taller of the two towers, with its sculptured figures representing the four seasons, housed a clock and a chime of bells which could play a different tune for every day of the month.

The many rooms of the Town Hall proved ideal for meetings and social events. By the 1980s, however, the chimes no longer worked and the halls and rooms were shabby and run-down. Plans for repair and modernization were drawn up.

By 1988, in time for the celebration of Paisley 500, the chiming mechanism in the bell-tower was restored. In 1990 work began on renovating the interior of the building, and as this continues we can see the Town Hall, over a hundred years old, ready to plan its full part again in Paisley life. read more…

Coats Observatory, Paisley.

Now you can see the stars at any time, thanks to a new digital planetarium at Coats Observatory.

The old and the new combined at Coats Observatory recently when Scotland’s oldest public observatory, managed by Renfrewshire council’s arts and museums service, installed a new £11,500 digital planetarium, purchased from the Thomas Coats bequest, which can be enjoyed by daytime visitors as well as those attending the popular night sky viewings.

The observatory has had a planetarium since the late 1980s, allowing visitors to view a virtual version of the night sky from the comfort of their chair. Recently the planetarium has been upgraded to a state of the art digital version. This can project thousands of stars in an accurate representation of the night sky, can show the constellations by joining up the stars and then add the constellation art, which helps to show what the constellation represents and how its shape is made up from a group of stars.

The projector can also zoom in on many of the objects too faint to be seen except with a powerful telescope. High resolution images of distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters can all be called up at the push of a button, bringing the wonders of the universe much closer to visitors. All of the planets in our Solar System can also be viewed in incredible detail.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said; ‘Coats Observatory is one of Renfrewshire’s most unique buildings, experienced by thousands of visitors each year. The Grubb telescope gives visitors to the night sky viewings an incredible opportunity to view the wonders of the universe, but unfortunately our weather doesn’t always work in our favour. The new digital planetarium will allow visitors to learn about our skies at any time of the year and regardless of the weather. This investment demonstrates Renfrewshire council’s commitment to building on the unique assets of this authority and it is hoped that the new planetarium will encourage even more visitors locally, nationally and internationally.

As well as its ability to display the night sky the digital planetarium can also show films. These full-dome movies immerse the viewer completely as the image is projected onto the entire roof above their heads. The observatory hopes to expand the library of films available and develop a programme of shows which will bring the most up to date astronomical discoveries to our visitors in an interesting and innovative way.

Members of the public are invited to experience this stunning new technology, for free, at the weekly planetarium shows every Tuesday from 2pm to 3pm. Booking is essential and can be made in person at Paisley Museum or by phoning 0141 840 6179. Maximum of 15 places.

To find out more about Coats Observatory click here.

 

All Paisley Photographs taken by Alex Kyle find more of photographs on Alex’s Facebook.

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A gift in your Will is a gift of future care.
Making a Will is not something you think normally think about, that is until something happens that makes you realise how important it really is. Having a Will in place is the only way of ensuring that all your wishes are carried out after you die.

Local supporter Andrea, 36 from Bridge of Weir recently went through the process of making a Will and leaving a gift to St Vincent’s Hospice. She said; “Making a Will was much easier than I imagined, it was straightforward and quick. I felt such peace of mind once it was done.”

st-vincents-hospiceShe explained, “It’s a big difference knowing that if anything should happen to me, my wishes will be carried out and my family will not have the complications or expense of having to sort out my affairs for me.” This unfortunately is the case for hundreds of families when a loved one dies and there is no Will in place, it can be a lengthy process and expensive to get everything in order and in the end your family may not be provided for as you would have wanted.

You can make vital provisions for your family in your Will as they are your priority after you die, but you also have the opportunity to look after charities close to your heart as well. Andrea very kindly remembered the work of St Vincent’s Hospice in her Will and said, “I’ve included my favourite charities in my Will so that even when I’m gone, my support will ensure that care for local people and their families can continue. That’s a really great feeling.”

Making a Will and keeping it up to date is really important, it provides peace of mind that after you are gone your family’s financial future is secure and they do not have any unnecessary complications or drawn out legal matters to go through. Leaving a gift to a charity like St Vincent’s Hospice in your Will keeps your money helping the causes that are important to you. It could be one of the most important things you do for your community.

email info@svh.co.uk or visit www.svh.co.uk

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Calling all cyclists and walkers.

Be one of 25 locals who are challenging themselves for St Vincent’s Hospice 25th anniversary year on an exclusive weekend duathlon cycle and trek.

Challenge 25 is an adventurous weekend cycle and trek on Arran, covering 42 miles by bike from Brodick to Lochranza on day 1, and trekking 847m to the summit of Goatfell on day 2.

st-vincents-hospiceSt Vincent’s Hospice provides specialist care for those living with cancer and other life limiting illnesses. Their services are available to all, totally free of charge, thanks to the generosity of local communities.

Fundraiser Ashley Moran said “the money raised through Challenge 25 will go directly to caring for local patients and their families.

“It’s a great opportunity to tick some new years’ resolutions off your list; get fit, have a fabulous weekend completing an exciting new challenge while supporting St Vincent’s Hospice in our special 25th Anniversary year.

I can’t think of a better way to raise vital funds for the Hospice and give yourself a new challenge for 2013 – so what are you waiting for? Be part of it!.”

An Information Evening is being held on Feb 21st at 6.30pm at St Vincent’s Hospice, with coffee and cake and the opportunity to pick up your free t-shirt.

All transport, meals and accommodation are provided on the weekend and no expensive gear is required, just your own bike and walking shoes.

St Vincent’s Hospice has a full 25th anniversary programme of celebrations and has launched a £1m appeal to maintain and develop its crucial services. For more info email info@svh.co.uk or visit www.svh.co.uk.

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Paisley Property Market on the Rise

Paisley town hit the national headlines in18 December 2012 when the Scottish Government rated Ferguslie Park as the most deprived datazone. The damning statistical revelation was published in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2012 (SIMD 2012). This was not shocking news for Paisley residents because Ferguslie Park topped SIMD’s most deprived datazone rankings in 2006 and was runners up in 2009. However, the news presented major concerns to the town’s administrators and investors alike because of the backlash it was likely to generate in the local business and political circles. Looking at the bigger picture, though, such panic and pessimism was unwarranted. Truth be told, Ferguslie Park is only but a small section of Paisley and its predicaments do not necessarily translate to doom for the entire town. Trends in the town’s real estate sector and other fundamental economic parameters, tell it all.

Paisley Pattern

Paisley PatternReal estate is the bedrock of Paisley’s economy but also the hallmark of its heritage. The mere mention of real estate brings to fore the renowned Paisley Pattern that has dominated the town’s architecture for centuries. Save for the property market glut that was widespread in the town and all over Scotland during the 2009 global economic recession, Paisley’s real estate and housing sectors have remained vibrant over the years. Property dealers in the traditional town centre have been raking in millions of sterling pounds as both residential and commercial property uptake continue to flourish. Property developers, estate agents and commercial property insurance providers are experiencing good business tidings. The Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce has categorically outlined these abundant commercial and investment opportunities in the town.

Property Trends

The recently completed property developments have given Paisley streets major facelifts. One such development was the mega student accommodation facility that was completed at the University of West of Scotland’s Paisley Campus. The building was constructed at a cost of £17.6 million provided an additional 336 bed spaces for Paisley campus. The university’s flats in George Street as well as those that located along the Lady Lane were transformed tremendously with repairs that were worth £4.4 million.

Paisley Town Hall

paisley town hallIndeed, property trends in the town have been changing fast that the Renfrewshire Council issued a directive requiring all privately owned properties to be refurbished or risk demolition. The Council has already commenced repairs on some of its properties, including the Paisley Town Hall and Paisley Arts Centre. Notably, repairs at the Paisley Town hall will reportedly cost £1.6 million. The Council seeks to conduct thorough repairs on all the public facilities in Paisley that are within its jurisdiction. Private property owners were expected to take cue and ensure their properties met the new architectural benchmarks that have been set in the town.

Progressing and Planned Developments

Paisley has been dubbed Renfrewshire’s fulcrum of property for sale and indeed, it has lived up to the billing. The town has been transformed into a bee hive of constructions activities following the realisation of more and more commercial and public planned developments. Some of the major planned developments that are already underway include the Gilmour House, the Paisley Piazza Multi-Story Car Park and Tesco Superstore, Wallneuk.

Gilmour House was purchased by FreshStart Living in August 2012. FreshStart Living then converted this particular piece of architectural wonder from its initially intended office space facility to an accommodation facility for UWS students in Paisly Campus. The building has a capacity of 235 flats and students would have sufficient number of en-suite rooms to choose from. It was estimated that Gilmour House would be ready for use during the 2013 academic year.

NewRiver Retail, a leading real estate developer in Paisley, acquired the Paisley Piazza Multi-Story Car Park at a record-breaking cost of £68 million in 2011. Paisley 2020 reported that the building was earmarked for extensive renovations that were set to begin in 2013. The planned renovation will significantly improve the town’s parking facilities.

Tesco’s plans to put up a hyper retail store right at Paisley’s entry point, Wallneuk, have been underway since 2009. Tesco has been busy preparing and seeking approval for its architectural plan that will see the construction of giant a 24-hour shopping mall. The old structures and facilities that previously occupied the targeted site were demolished in 2012. The planned development is now at its advanced stages and construction activities were expected to commence in 2013.

Article written by Evelyn Moffat.

Paisley Pub Parties

Night life continues to rock in Paisley with the sweet sound of Republic of Soul. The band is a regular feature at the popular Hamishes Hoose, due to move premises next month.

“Who needs Glasgow when this local band always throws a great party?” asks our photographer Alex Kyle who was on hand when they last played in December. This Saturday, 26th, sees the return of this 8 piece band and it’s not the first time members of the audience have joined in creating a brilliant atmosphere.

Their eclectic mix of popular cover versions include: The Kinks, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry and a splash of James Brown. Proving beyond doubt a night out in Paisley will make you feel good!

You can find out more on the Hamishes Hoose website or for more photographs visit Alex Kyles Facebook page here.

suicide memorial tree, purple hearts

Bereaved relatives gather for suicide memorial

Renfrewshire residents who have lost loved ones to suicide gathered in Paisley for a special service.

The event was organised by the local support group of Survivors of Bereavement through Suicide (SOBS), and was attended by Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall.

Those attending the annual event met at council HQ in Cotton Street for a short service led by Reverend Alan Birss and Father Stephen Baillie

They then proceeded outside the building, to a special tree which was planted four years ago as a memorial for suicide victims.

The Provost laid a wreath and lit the tree, after which visitors had the chance to place purple hearts with messages written on them on its branches in memory of their loved ones.

Provost Hall – who welcomed guests to a reception in Paisley Abbey after the event – said: “Hearing the stories of people who have been affected by suicide really brings home the extent to which it affects the lives of those who are left behind.

“Events like this help raise awareness of the issue, and make sure anybody struggling to cope is aware they aren’t alone and help is out there.”

Moira Buchanan, 39, began attending SOBS meetings after her sister Mary took her life two years ago.

She said: “When it happens, you go through so many different feelings all at once. As individuals we have different experiences.

“When I first went along to the SOBS meetings, I found it quite incredible. You can talk in privacy and share your stories.”

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

Local Choose Life co-ordinator Rosemary Mullan added: “Every day, two people in Scotland die from suicide, but talking about it can save lives.

“If you are worried someone is suicidal, ask them – it could make the difference. And if you feel suicidal, talk to someone you trust or call a helpline.”

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

For more information on the Renfrewshire meetings of SOBS, call 0141 849 2200, or email rosemary.mullan@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Renfrewshire Council backs campaign against human trafficking

Renfrewshire Council is throwing its weight behind the Purple Teardrop Campaign designed to stop women and girls being sold into sexual slavery by human traffickers.

The campaign is being run by Soroptimist International, a world-wide women’s organisation which works to improve the lives of women and girls.

Renfrewshire Council is displaying the powerful Purple Teardrop Campaign posters in all its buildings. The posters list the warning signs which could show a house or flat is being used by human traffickers, and the Crimestoppers number.

Liz Cumming_ Cllr Maureen Sharkey_ Jean RamsayMrs Ramsay said, “We are greatly indebted to Renfrewshire Council for its continuing support and we hope other local authorities will follow its example in backing the Purple Teardrop Campaign.”

Jean Ramsay, Programme Action Officer of the Paisley Soroptimists, said, “Human trafficking is a global problem that affects millions of people across the world. But it isn’t something that just happens somewhere else. It happens here too. We want people to open their eyes and act.

“One overriding factor in the growth of trafficking is the fundamental belief that the lives of women and girls are expendable. In societies where women and girls are undervalued or not valued at all, women are at greater risk of being abused, trafficked and forced into sex slavery.

“Our message is, ‘Don’t shut your eyes, don’t turn your back on someone who needs help. Call Crimestoppers if you see something suspicious.’”

Councillor Maureen Sharkey, Renfrewshire Council’s representative on the Renfrewshire Women’s Association, said, “Slavery was supposedly abolished in Britain in 1807 but the recent case in Rochdale shows the horrific truth that it is thriving 200 years later.

“Victims are becoming younger and younger with girls as young as 11 being sold into slavery and forced to have sex with up to 30 men a day.

“Getting the evidence to prosecute traffickers can be very difficult. They control their victims with torture, fear and threats against their families. That is why it is so important for the public to be aware of what is going on and to report anything suspicious.”

Renfrewshire Council’s social work service already works closely with Strathclyde Police and the UK Border Agency to identify and assist victims of child trafficking who may be using Glasgow Airport as their gateway into the UK.

Human trafficking is a global problem but children and young people are being groomed for sexual exploitation and trafficking within the UK as well. There have been a number of cases where teenage girls, born in the UK have been trafficked between towns and cities.

The girls were groomed and lured away from their families by networks of boys and men using tactics similar to those used by child sex offenders.

Warning signs:
*       Physical symptoms (bruising indicating either physical or sexual assault)
*       Sexually transmitted diseases or unplanned pregnancy
*       Evidence of drug or alcohol misuse
*       Phone calls or texts from adults outside their normal group of friends
*       Adults hanging around outside the child or young person’s home
*       Significantly older boyfriend
*       Persistently going missing, staying out overnight or returning late with no explanation
*       Returning home after having been missing, looking well despite having no place to stay
*       Going missing for long periods with no place to stay
*       Having a lot of money, expensive clothes or mobile phones without being able to explain where they’ve come from
*       Having keys to properties that you don’t recognise
*       Low self-image, low self-esteem, self-harming behaviour including cutting, overdosing, eating disorder
*       Playing truant
*       Getting into or out of cars driven by adults you don’t know
*       Going missing and being found in places where the child or young person has no known links.

A property may be being used by traffickers if:
*       A lot of different men often visit
*       Different women seem to live there for short periods
*       Women are never seen outside alone, a man is always with them.