Cllr Marie McGurk, Oran Kearney, Gordon Scott and Street Stuff participants

Street Stuff celebrated the start of its 10-year anniversary in style with more than 1200 young people took part in the free Spring Break programme.

Hundreds of young people flocked to activities every day of the two-week holiday camp, as football, gaming and more was made available at venues across Renfrewshire.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Oran Kearney, Gordon Scott and Street Stuff participants

A free healthy meal was provided to all participants at the afternoon activities, meaning 675 young people were refuelled throughout the duration of the programme.

Stevie Gallacher, Street Stuff Manager, said: “We’re delighted to see more and more young people spending their school holidays with us.

“Our holiday programmes are so important as they provide an opportunity for young people from all walks of life to take part in sport and exercise while they don’t have school as an outlet.

“To see so many young people leave with a smile on their face is brilliant and we have our fantastic coaches and volunteers to thank for making it so enjoyable.”

The spring programme marked the start of Street Stuff’s 10th anniversary celebrations which will be marked with a series of events throughout the year.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “What a fantastic start to Street Stuff’s tenth anniversary celebrations and to see more than 1200 young people taking part is a great achievement.

“By providing the programme for free, we are giving all young people the opportunity to take part in sport and exercise and this can be vital in keeping them on the right track in life.

“The programme has changed so many lives over the past ten years and we’re proud of the work carried out by our staff, coaches and volunteers to provide these opportunities for young people.”

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

The programme began in 2009 in Renfrewshire and has contributed to a sustained reduction of 65 youth disorder and anti-social behaviour.

The programme runs six days a week, all-year-round, at venues across Renfrewshire and young people aged 8 to 16 are encouraged to turn up and take part for free.

For more information, visit or follow @SMFCStreetStuff on Facebook and Twitter.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Oran Kearney, Gordon Scott and Street Stuff participants

Renfrewshire’s award-winning diversionary programme, Street Stuff, is celebrating ten years of making a difference to the lives of young people in the community.

Since its inception in 2009, the programme has seen more than 200,000 young people come through its doors, each having the opportunity to take part in sport, make new friends and engage in social activities.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Oran Kearney, Gordon Scott and Street Stuff participants

Providing activities such as football, dance and gaming six days a week, the Street Stuff team aim to offer young people, often in disadvantaged areas, with the opportunity to access exercise and social activities which they may otherwise not have the chance to take part in.

The programme hosts four holiday camps throughout the year to ensure that young people have an outlet during the school holidays and a healthy meal is provided to each young person who attends – with more than 26,000 healthy meals provided in the last four years.

Street Stuff partners

The project runs in partnership between Renfrewshire Council, St Mirren Football Club, Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Engage Renfrewshire.

St Mirren FC Chairman Gordon Scott said: “Street Stuff is a great conduit to enable the club to foster stronger links with the community and the young people within it.

“The programme has massive health and social benefits and, as the programme hits the ten-year milestone, I think the number of both local and national awards it has received speaks for itself, in terms of both its success and the efforts of those who take part and run it.”

Malcolm Gillies is the longest-serving Street Stuff coach having been part of the programme for more than 10 years and he considers joining the programme as one of the best decisions he ever made.

Malcolm said: “Street Stuff brings young people into a safe environment, gives them a sense of responsibility and plays a big part in their childhood.

“It’s a place where they can get advice, talk about anything and provides an environment where they are not judged and can be themselves completely.

“There are many examples of kids enjoying the programme, getting to do some tasks and then becoming members of staff, and it’s an honour being part of such an amazing programme.”

The programme encourages and supports young people who attend to become volunteers and coaches and almost 80% of volunteers are former participants of the programme.

Stephen Gallacher, Street Stuff Manager, said: “The volunteers and staff take immense pride in the success of the programme and the difference being made to the lives of young people in Renfrewshire.

“We are actively working to engage with young people, ensure they have positive activities to take part in and aim to guide them into positive destinations which they may otherwise not be able to achieve.

“I’m delighted to see the number of attendees who go from taking part in the activities to helping to deliver them to the next generation of young people and we’ll continue to give young people the skills and experience they need for the future.”

The programme has been a firm feature in Renfrewshire for a decade and has contributed to the delivery of a sustained 65% reduction in reported youth disorder and anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “We’re extremely proud of our Street Stuff programme and the success it has achieved since it was introduced in 2009.

“The sustained reduction in anti-social behaviour makes a real, tangible difference to our communities and we are seeing young people actively seeking out the activities Street Stuff provides.

“The success of the programme is down to the fantastic staff who run it, the wonderful coaches and volunteers who give their time every week, but also to the young people who have embraced it.

“Street Stuff gives young people access to facilities and experiences within local communities they may otherwise not be able to access and we’re committed providing opportunities for everyone within Renfrewshire, regardless of their background.”

The success of the programme was recognised with more than 20 awards, including three high-profile awards in 2017 at the COSLA Excellence Awards, ROCCO Business Awards and Scottish Public Sector Awards.

For more information on Street Stuff and how to get involved, visit or follow the team on Twitter @SMFCStreetStuff.

street stuff

Young people can access free, fun activities across Renfrewshire throughout the school holidays as Street Stuff hosts its popular Spring Break programme.

Gaming and sports activities will be available for ages eight and above, with a free healthy meal thrown into the bargain too.

street stuff

Activities will take place every weekday between Monday 1 April and Friday 12 April, with all young people welcome to go along and take part.

Young people can go along to activities on:

street stuff

Monday 1 and 8 April (1.30pm-4.30pm)
Gleniffer HS and McMaster Centre Johnstone

Tuesday 2 and 9 April (1.00-5.00pm)
St Mirren FC Airdome

Wednesday 3 and 10 April (1.00-5.00pm)
St Mirren FC Airdome

Thursday 4 and 11 April (1.00-5.00pm)
St Mirren FC Airdome

Friday 5 and 12 April (1.30pm-4.30pm)
Linwood HS and St James PS Renfrew

Consent forms should be filled out in advance where possible, although they will be provided at the young person’s first session.

street stuff

The programme marks the start of Street Stuff’s 10th anniversary celebrations which will be marked with a series of events throughout the year, beginning with a launch event at the Simple Digital Arena on 4 April.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board, said: “The Street Stuff programme is a chance for young people to stay active over the school holidays, make new friends and get involved in sport and other fun activities.

“There’s also a free meal available at each session to keep their energy up for all the activities.

“So if you’re searching for something to keep them occupied during the break, everyone is welcome at Street Stuff.”

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

The programme began in 2009 in Renfrewshire contributing to a reduction in youth disorder and anti-social behaviour by 75 percent over the first five years with a sustained reduction of 65 percent.

For more information, visit

st mirren

St Mirren striker Duckens Nazon had a go at out-jumping Cristiano Ronaldo heading the ball.

The Haitian international, currently on loan with The Buddies from Belgian club St-Truiden, paid a visit to the Soar at intu Braehead leisure destination to see a massive wall graphic showing Ronaldo’s giant 2.6-metre leap in the air to head a ball that created a world record.

st mirren

And although Duckens didn’t quite hit the heights of the Juventus superstar, he had a real good go jumping high to head the ball.

The Ronaldo leap is just one of the amazing feats shown on a series of wall graphics at Soar showing record-breaking jumps, the height of various animals, wingspans of birds and flying insects, the size of the largest human hand along with animals’ paws and feet.

st mirren

The graphic has become popular with youngsters and adults alike as they make their way through Soar and they’ve been measuring themselves against the different sizes of people and animals.

As Duckens looked up at the mark showing how high Ronaldo had jumped to head the ball he said: “That’s amazing. It really was some leap into the air.

“Ronaldo a fantastic player both with the ball at his feet and jumping up to header it. And he’s got this great knack of timing his jump perfectly and hanging in the air waiting to head the ball.

“Obviously, as a striker I do a lot of heading practice from cross balls in training. Although I’ve got two goals for St Mirren since I came to the club, I haven’t yet scored with a header. But after all this jumping and heading the ball trying to beat Ronaldo’s record, maybe I’ll score a header very soon!”

David Lyon, marketing manager for intu Braehead said: “Duckens might not have leapt as high as Ronaldo, but he wasn’t far off the mark when he visited Soar.

“Our wall graphics have really caught the imagination of the visitors to Soar and you’ll usually see a youngster comparing the size of their hand up against the largest human hand with a span of 32.3cm, or seeing if they can jump as high as a kangaroo at 1.82 metres.”

rosalind carr

St Mirren football legend Tony Fitzpatrick’s autobiography is being read in all corners of the globe.

He’s been sent photographs of people reading his book Fitzy – The Story of My Life, in faraway places like New Zealand, the Caribbean and Bangladesh.

rosalind carr

Tony says he’s been “overwhelmed” by the reaction to his autobiography and people have even been stopping him as he leaves church on a Sunday, at St Mirin’s Cathedral, in Paisley asking him to sign a copy of his book they’d brought with them.

Lifelong St Mirren fan, Richard Bradbury works for the Salvation Army, in Bangladesh and he was sent a copy of Tony’s autobiography. He wrote on Twitter:

richard bradbury bangladesh

“Fitzy was one of my boyhood heroes following St Mirren. The more I read, the more my admiration and respect I have for Tony. Stories are full of inspiration and motivation.”

Paisley Buddie, Martin Wallace was on holiday in New Zealand and sent home a photo of himself reading Fitzy’s book on the other side of the world.

martin wallace new zealand

Martin and Rosalind Carr are well-known Saints fans and when they recently went on holiday to the Caribbean, they packed TWO copies of Fitzy’s book in their cases. That was so they could both read the autobiography at the same time as they soaked up the sun.

martin carr

Reviewing the book on Amazon, Stuart Hall said: “A very well written account.

“From the start, it was obvious that Fitzy has lived no ordinary life and the hard upbringing he had brings nothing but admiration for what he has achieved.

“This book is a real mix of tough stuff, heartache and inspiration – so an emotional roller coaster and well worth a read whether or not you’re a supporter of the black and white.”

People who have bought the book have also been in touch with Tony on social media.

Stephanie Hampsey, from Paisley wrote to Tony and said:

“I would highly recommend the book to anyone.

“Your story proves that you can and will be anything you want in life if you believe in yourself, like you did when you were a child.

“A wee boy from the Possil area of Glasgow now a legend and current CEO of St Mirren Football Club.

A lot of humour and football banter and few surprising stories along the way to keep you wanting to read more.”

And a Tweet from the Rays of Hope cancer support group charity Tweeted: “Great read, takes you through all the emotions, happy, sad, joyful, mad and back to happy again.”

Mark Nicholas posted on Twitter: “Reading the Fitzpatrick book and would highly recommend it.”

And Jed McCabe said on Twitter: “Just finished reading the book. 10/10 Fantastic!”

Tony Fitzpatrick said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the reaction to the book especially as people have been saying they have taken inspiration from my life story.

“It’s very humbling to think that by telling my story I’ve been able to help people.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has bought the book and those who have taken the time to contact me and say how much they have enjoyed reading it.”

Fitzy – The Story of My Life is published by Macdonald Media Publishing and is available from for only £11.99.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

St Mirren legend Tony Fitzpatrick has revealed he used a bogus scouting report to get players fired up for one of the most important matches in the club’s history.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

Tony was Saints manager when the team needed to win away from home against Stirling Albion to avoid relegation. It was the penultimate game of the 1998 season and if Saints dropped into the Second Division, it would have meant a financial meltdown for the club.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

In his newly-released autobiography, Fitzy – The Story of My Life, Tony says the future of St Mirren was at stake and describes how he used a cunning plan to trick his players into putting in the performance of their lives to win 1-0.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

In his book Tony reveals: “I came up with a ploy to get the players wound up for the game. When we arrived at Forthbank and while the players were out on the park before getting changed, I sneaked into the away dressing room and left sheets of paper lying on a table before I headed back out to join them.

“It was a spoof scouting report for the Stirling Albion manager, Kevin Drinkell, whose name was on the top of the first page. It was an assessment of each St Mirren player and how they performed in our last game.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

“But it didn’t come from any of the Stirling Albion coaching or scouting staff accidentally leaving it in the dressing room – I had written it and deliberately left it there. Since I wanted to get our boys fired up, I slaughtered every player in this ‘performance report’.

“I told our coach, Matt Kerr where in the dressing room I had put the sheets of paper and he was to make a big deal in front of the players when he ‘found’ the report.

“The players are getting changed when suddenly Matt shouts: ‘Gaffer! You need to see this.’

“He hands me the sheets of paper and I act like I’m intently studying what’s written on them. After a minute or so, I turn to the face the players, hold the sheets of paper above my head and say: ‘Bastards! I can’t believe this. It’s a report on how you guys have been playing and you should see what they’re saying about you. You’re getting slagged off something rotten.’

“I go through the fake report reading it out to them. ‘Murray – you’re too slow, you run like Bambi and you’ve only got one star out of five. McGarry – says here you’re a clever player, but if you get hit hard that’s you lost interest and you won’t want to know from then on. You only get one star as well.’

“I go through all the players and every comment is criticising them. I could feel the players bristling with indignation. I go in for the kill: ‘You going to let them away with that? They think you lot are hopeless and are there for the taking.’

“By this time the boys are raging and we’re having to hold them back as they’re desperate to get out on to the park and start a war.”

Tony says that after his team talk with the bogus scouting report the players made sure Saints were never in any danger of losing the game and a Hugh Murray goal in the second half sealed the win.

Fitzy – The Story of My Life is published by Macdonald Media Publishing and is available to buy for only £11.99.

paisley own hall
Ensuring the benefits of Renfrewshire’s ‘buoyant’ economy reach right across the region was the hot topic at the area’s annual Economic Development Conference yesterday (Tuesday 20 November 2018).
paisley own hall
More than 150 staff from jobs, skills and economic development agencies attended the popular conference organised by Renfrewshire Council’s economic development team Invest in Renfrewshire, held at Paisley Town Hall, which this year focused on tackling inequalities and delivering inclusive growth.
Delegates heard how Renfrewshire’s economy is greatly improved, with the highest employment rate across the Glasgow city region and more businesses generating a greater turnover than this time last year.
paisley own hall
They also learned about new developments and opportunities set to boost the economy even more, including a manufacturing innovation district being developed next to Glasgow Airport and £100million being invested to transform Paisley town centre and its cultural venues.
Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills delivered the keynote speech.
He said: “The Scottish Government recognises a strong, vibrant and diverse economy is essential to our national prosperity. We are committed to delivering inclusive growth and tackling the inequalities that prevent people from achieving their potential.
“We have invested £48 million to develop a National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland. Located at Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, it will provide support for manufacturing businesses, help to attract investment, and connect all of Scotland’s engineering universities and colleges.
“Our devolved employability support service, Fair Start Scotland, offers a distinctly Scottish approach where participation is voluntary for everyone who chooses to take part. We want the process of finding work and starting a new job to be seen as an opportunity and choosing to take the opportunity of support can’t be driven by fear of sanctions.”
Colleagues from Creative Scotland and the Council’s regeneration team outlined plans to develop Renfrewshire’s creative economy, while delegates also discussed the changing labour market.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Renfrewshire’s economy is buoyant, and this conference sees the organisations contributing to its success share best practice and consider the next steps.
“We’re helping more people find and sustain work and are working hard to create the conditions which bring new businesses to the area and enable established businesses to grow and innovate.
“Over the next five years we have made a long-term commitment to help people most in need into work and do more to support start-up and early stage businesses with exciting plans in place to grow the creative business sector and attract thousands of high skilled jobs in manufacturing.
“I am pleased that the conference focused on how best to achieve inclusive growth as this is central to improving the opportunities for current and future generations in Renfrewshire. It is vital the area’s economic growth benefits everyone and that’s why we are targeting our resources to communities facing deprivation and to help people unemployed and underemployed.”
Fast facts on the Renfrewshire economy
• Business incubator InCube supports the start-up of 300 new businesses each year
• Programmes to help people into work are rated the best performing in Scotland
• At 76.1%, our employment rate outstrips the entire Glasgow city region
• Weekly earnings for Renfrewshire residents are £28.50 higher than the Scottish average
• Hosting major events this summer boosted the local economy by £1.25million
• 80% of 16-64-year-olds are economically active, but by 2041, our working age population is expected to decrease by 2.1%
• Manufacturing provides employment to 11% of our total workforce with 358 different manufacturing sites in the area, including world-renowned Rolls-Royce and Diageo.
Photo 1 shows the Town Hall conference
Photo 2 shows (l-r): Ruth Cooper, Economic Development Manager, Renfrewshire Council; Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Scottish Government; Alasdair Morrison, Regeneration Manager, Renfrewshire Council and Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board.
Tony Fitzpatrick, Councillor Cathy McEwan and St Catherine's Primary pupils (3)

Pupils at St Catherine’s Primary in Paisley were delighted to receive a visit from Renfrewshire Council gritter ‘Tony Gritzpatrick’ yesterday after the name they submitted was voted to be one of nine famous names for the gritting machines.

Tony Fitzpatrick, Councillor Cathy McEwan and St Catherine's Primary pupils (3)

Pupils from the school’s Citizenship Committee wanted to honour friend of the school and St Mirren legend Tony Fitzpatrick, and the man himself took the time to pay them a visit and meet his winter namesake.

Tony said: “It’s fantastic that the young people at St Catherine’s Primary put my name forward for one of the gritters and I’m humbled to have been chosen.

Tony Fitzpatrick in his winter namesake

“The competition caught the imagination of everyone, for all the names, and I just want to again say thank you to everyone who voted, and especially to the pupils at St Catherine’s.”

The pupils had taken part in the council’s #NameOurGritters competition which set out to recognise the local heroes within Renfrewshire who keep the area moving throughout the winter period.

Famous faces, places and landmarks were sought for their new names and Tony’s gritter will be joined by names such as Ploughlo Grittini, Fridge of Weir and Paisleigh.

Lauren Berry, Head of St Catherine’s Citizenship Committee, said: “The pupils were delighted to take part in the competition and had fun coming with ideas and learning about what happens to prepare for winter.

“They’re all big fans of Tony and they’re thrilled that their suggestion was chosen as one of the winners and that they got to meet the newly-named gritter alongside their hero!”

The competition was part of the annual #RenReady campaign which aims to prepare local communities, groups and businesses for the effects of winter weather.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The competition reached people of all ages and we received more than 1600 suggestion and over 8000 votes in the final polls which is fantastic.

“We need to celebrate the people who work in our gritting teams, our Care at Home staff and our homeless support team as these are the people keeping Renfrewshire going throughout the winter, and this competition gave us the chance to highlight that.

“We saw last year the trouble an unexpected weather event can cause so it’s important that we are all #RenReady to cope with anything winter can bring.

“Please check our website for advice and guidance on how to keep safe this winter.”

For more information on the competition, visit, and for advice and guidance on how to be prepared for winter, visit

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

St Mirren football legend Tony Fitzpatrick escaped a life of poverty and violence to become a trophy-winning footballer, manager and now chief executive.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

Tony has penned his autobiography, Fitzy – The Story of My Life, revealing many humorous and heart-breaking tales of his time in and out of football.

Bullied at school, he was seconds away from taking his own life by drowning himself in the Forth and Clyde Canal and was saved when he found a tiny statue of the Virgin Mary he had been carrying around in his pocket.

Tony tells of the violence that was the norm in his life and how he was arrested for carrying a knife and attacked by a machete-wielding thug, who left him with his pinkie hanging off his hand by a thread.

He tells how as a teenager he was left devastated after Aston Villa told him he would never make it as a footballer because he was too small.

Tony defied his Celtic-daft father and signed for St Mirren. It was a good move on his part though, as when he was still a teenager, Saints manager, Alex Ferguson made him team captain. But not before Tony’s dad had to phone Fergie pretending to be the family doctor assuring him the young footballer was fit enough to play after suffering pleurisy!

Tragedy struck at the height of Tony’s football career when his six-year-old son, Tony Jr. died from cancer. And if burying his boy wasn’t heart-breaking enough, when Tony returned home after the funeral, he discovered callous thieves had ransacked his house, stealing anything and everything they could load on to a furniture van.

Tony goes on to win the Scottish Cup with St Mirren and tastes alcohol for the first time by drinking champagne from the trophy in the Hampden dressing room. He also describes at length the worst moment of his football career. The St Mirren game against Hammarby, who scored two last-minute goals to put them out of the UEFA Cup, still haunts him.

Tony twice becomes manager of St Mirren and admits he behaved like a “mad chimp” during his first stint in the dugout – trying and failing to emulate Fergie and his infamous hairdryer treatment.

But in charge for a second time, he tricked his players with a bogus scouting report to get them fired up to win a game that would save the club from relegation.

He was sacked after constant battles with the board and Tony goes on to run Livingston FC’s youth development programme. He pours thousands of his own money into the club and loses it all when the club goes into administration. But he bounces back and as part of a groundbreaking police initiative, works with some of the most violent young men in Glasgow’s gangs encouraging them to give up the blade and the gun.

Now the chief executive of St Mirren FC, Tony’s must-read autobiography is a heart-warming story of personal triumph over adversity.

Fitzy – The Story of My Life is published by Macdonald Media Publishing and is available from for only £11.99.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

FOOTBALL legend Frank McAvennie is teaming up with an old football Buddie for a book signing session.

Macca will be at intu Braehead shopping centre on Saturday, November 17 between noon and 2pm to sign copies of his former St Mirren teammate, Tony Fitzpatrick’s newly-released autobiography.

Tony Fitzpatrick book launch

Fans will be able to buy the book, Fitzy – The Story of My Life, at the signing session being held outside Costa Coffee in the lower mall.

Tony Fitzpatrick not only won a league title and a Scottish Cup medal with St Mirren, he also had two spells as manager and now he’s the club’s chief executive.

frank mcavennie

In his book he tells some hilarious tales from the dressing room and reveals the behind-the-scenes boardroom battles he had.

But behind the football banter and bust-ups, there’s an amazing story of being brought up in one of the poorest and most violent areas of Glasgow and how he used his football skills to escape that life.

While at the top of his football career, tragedy struck when his six-year-old son, Tony Jr. died after cancer struck down the young boy. And on the day of his funeral, callous thieves ransacked the family home stealing anything and everything they could load on to a furniture van.

Sir Alex Ferguson, in only his second managerial job, made the teenage Fitzpatrick the captain of St Mirren FC.

But not before Tony’s dad had to phone Fergie pretending to be the family doctor assuring him the young footballer was fit enough to play after suffering pleurisy!

Tony said: “Frank McAvennie is one of the great characters in Scottish football and he was a fantastic teammate. He’s still a good friend and we keep in regular contact.

“I can’t wait to hear some more of his banter with the fans at my book signing session at intu Braehead on Saturday.”

 Fitzy – The Story of My Life is published by Macdonald Media Publishing and is also available from for only £11.99.