Paisley volunteer Richard Dunne

Local man praises charity’s work as it seeks new volunteers in region to bolster numbers as some supporters return to work having backed cause while on furlough

Food Train is seeking more volunteers to support its life-improving work to collect and deliver critical shopping supplies to older people in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

Paisley volunteer Richard Dunne

The charity, whose mission it is to provide practical, social and emotional support to help older people to eat well, age well and live well at home, was grateful for a surge in support from volunteers as it responded to record-breaking demand at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But, as many of the volunteers who signed up at that time return to their regular jobs as the UK Government’s furlough scheme draws to a close, they are finding themselves with less time to support the cause’s work.

And that comes as Food Train continues to meet massive demand, with the number of customers receiving weekly deliveries in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire 72% higher than this time last year. The charity is currently supporting 279 people in the regions, which are covered by a Paisley-based branch.

Stephen McGinty, Food Train Regional Manager for Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, said: “The support we have had from our volunteers throughout the pandemic – and the response we have from people who could see the extra help we needed to meet the unprecedented demand we have seen – has been fantastic.

“But, as many people who took the opportunity to help us while on furlough leave return to work as demand for our services remains high, we find ourselves in need of more people to both help with shopping for our customers’ orders and in delivering them.

“That’s why we’re encouraging anyone who can spare a few hours a week to get in-touch. It’s enjoyable, rewarding work and we have a great team spirit. The knowledge that your shopping is being taken care of and that someone will deliver it to you makes a real positive difference to the lives of older people across Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.”

Nationally, Food Train’s shopping service is currently supporting 3,118 customers every week, up from 1,905 at the beginning of the pandemic. The numbers have surged because of older people shielding or taking greater steps to protect themselves from Covid-19.

Donald Campbell, of Newton Mearns, is among those supported by the charity. 

He said: “I’m continuing to use the service because it’s a very good charity that is providing me with food.

“Mentally and physically, I am struggling more everyday and, as where other people give me advice, Food Train provides me with practical support that contributes to me living a better life.”

To find out more about volunteering with Food Train, call 0141 887 2557 or go to www.thefoodtrain.co.uk/volunteer.

The September window display

Having had a look in ReMode’s Paisley shop a few times, I was keen to learn more about all that goes on there. Passing by, ReMode catches your eye with their vintage and handmade clothes created by volunteers, but they are much more than just a shop. I spoke with Gillian Steel, Creative Director of ReMode, about what they get up to as an organisation, as well as their wider message of sustainability and recognising your own agency to act upon climate breakdown. 

The September window display

Firstly could you tell us a bit about ReMode in general for those who don’t know much about it, and what the main idea behind it is?

 

So, ReMode is a Climate Challenge funded project and it started about six years ago as an education programme for young people, 11 to 18 years of age, but it has evolved over that time. After the first year-and-a-half or so, we got a shop in the village in Lochwinnoch, and the idea behind the shop was that the volunteers and the participants of the workshops made the clothes, or adapted them, or mended them, therefore learning these skills to do them to their own clothes, providing some of the stock for the shop and the stock was then sold on a tokens basis. 

Water/t-shirt quote with vintage/handpicked items

So that was the general idea, the space in Lochwinnoch is now a Make Space, and we now have a shop in Paisley which has been much more successful in terms of attracting that age group from about 16/17 years until mid to late 20s, which we’re really happy about as that’s really the group of people we want to engage. We have studios at the back of our shop in Paisley, where we have two artists at the moment who are working in there. They are designer/makers with similar ethics around about sustainability and that practice. We usually run a programme of workshops, where people come in, for example, on a Friday evening when we have ReCycle or Dye, which is for 11 to 18 year olds. They can learn all these different skills to make things from patterns or from scratch, using a drape approach. We also work with other groups, such as a boys’ group called the Yang collective who were making shirts. So we’ve got loads of stuff going on; we’re not really just a shop. The shop is a front-facing device to get people engaged and to get them to come in and start a conversation around climate breakdown, and get people to understand how powerful they are, what agency they have in helping to address the issues around climate breakdown.

Token Scheme

Can you tell me a bit about the token scheme?

 

So, when people came in and donated clothing, for example, a couple of pairs of jeans and a few tops, there might be three kilograms of weight in that donation and then they would be awarded three points and they could spend that on the rails. We now have a kind of hybrid system where you can accrue points by bringing in donations, to get points for nothing really, from all the clothes that you don’t want anymore, and we process all that clothing. We cherrypick vintage stuff, we look for special materials like silk, cotton, leather, wool and direct that towards various parts of the workshop programme. That means that those workshops always have free materials to work with and we don’t buy anything new. The hybrid system means that you can now have those points that you gain by donating, but you can also use pound sterling, because we received feedback that people wanted to be able to use pound sterling. For example, if a top costs five tokens or £5, and you have three tokens in your account, then you can use three tokens and put £2 out of your purse, towards it. 

 

So clearly there’s a big focus on sustainability, is this something you see as being on the rise in Paisley? Do you think it still has a long way to go?

Smock dress created using scrap fabrics

Well, sustainability is not the main message, it is the message. We cannot sustain the way that we use natural resources to make our clothing, whether we’re in Paisley, or Malawi or anywhere on this planet. We cannot possibly sustain the amount of virgin materials we are using to make new clothes currently, we can’t keep doing that. Sustainability is the message. 

In Paisley, we are kind of building up more of an awareness of it. Yeah, people are becoming a bit more aware, but it is still kind of a peripheral thing. Really what we should be talking about is: clothing is the practice of growing fibres, gathering fibres, harvesting, making clothes, manufacturing clothes. This should all be a sustainable practice, but it isn’t at the moment, so we’re at the very thin end of the wedge and we’re still at that point where people see it as being kind of a niche area. That’s a really foolish way to look at it because it has to be the central focus, that’s how we have to practice that, not just in terms of our clothing, but also in terms of our food, our transport, all these central ways of living. It all has to be sustainable. 

In terms of whether that’s a new message in Paisley, there are sections of the population who are already quite acclimatised to the idea of: ‘No I don’t buy new, that’s just the way that I am. I go and look for something second-hand, or something that’s been handmade that I can afford, and then if I really don’t find that there then I’ll buy new if I really have to.’ But that should be the way that we all operate from the outset. And it still tends to be the case that it’s a certain group of people, it’s still perceived as being quite a middle-class way of operating. That isn’t necessarily true, because there are people who are in quite low-income bracket groups, who are living in areas that are considered to be areas of high depravation, who have for decades and decades been operating in this way anyway. They’ve been handing clothes down to neighbours, they’ve been mending stuff, adapting stuff as they needed to. So, although it’s perceived as being a middle-class preserve, it is actually out there anyway. What we need to do is to get that much broader group of people to connect, and to come into the shop and not feel; ‘Oh that’s for those weird middle-class people who wear sandals or eat brown rice or order really expensive organic vegetables.’ This is for everybody. We do try and make the stuff that we have in the shop, the handmade stuff, accessibly priced. And sometimes that means that things are being made a below National Minimum Wage level per hour, because we’re really trying to make sure it is accessible in terms of its price. But it’s done by volunteers which makes that possible. We do accept at the same point that there are still a lot of folk who maybe have three kids, and going to Primark is still the most economical way to go and get school uniforms or summer holiday clothes. 

 

I saw you also have a filmmaking group, and are using that to promote the message of sustainability, so it’s really about trying to get people together and find creative outlets, whilst sticking to the ethical ethos, would you say that’s right?

 

Oh, yes, yes. I trained as a textile designer and then I trained in television and electronic imaging and animation, so I have both those things in my background, and it made sense to pull that into the operation of the programme and the shop. Quite often what happens is you’ll get a group of people who don’t see themselves or identify as having an interest in clothing; making clothes or mending clothes, they don’t see themselves as a part of that group. So, the film projects and workshops are a way of attracting a different group of people, quite often boys. 

For example, we recently had Stop/Start, which was a project that was around lockdown, and looking at the link between the COVID-19 virus and how we are, as a species, not being very kind to our environment. We had a group of young people who came and did raps, wrote poetry, they worked with two musicians, and it was an all male group for the rap music side, and an all female group for the animation side. Through that, we reached a very different audience, and through the process of making the film and the soundtrack, those participants got to understand a lot more about what the problems are; it’s the resources and the amount of resources that we’re expecting from our planet in terms of clothing. So, the filmmaking projects are really important. That’s one side of it, the participation because it engages a different group; the other side of it is that we produce these lovely little short films which we can then send out to lots and lots and of different people at the same time. You have this little compact set of ideas within a short film of maybe two to three minutes, that shows what the problems are. 

 

Has it been difficult adapting to a new way of running the shop and the hub and workshops during the coronavirus pandemic restrictions?

Pair of jeans mended by one of their volunteers

It’s been difficult for everybody in every aspect of our lives! And I think, more than anything, there was a real sense of shock. I think everybody reeled with absolute disbelief that this was an actual thing that was actually impinging on our freedom, on our ability just to do the things that we normally do. I think, from my point of view, that’s been an incredibly positive thing, because two things have come out of it. One is the realisation that this is not just a story that there’s a problem with how human beings relate to their environment, but that it’s a reality that will impinge on our freedom and our ability to live the way that we want to live. So we have to address it. The second thing is that it pushed us as an organisation to be really creative, and look at ways in which we could re-devise the whole programme around social distancing, using online Zoom workshops; that was really hard, and I think we were sometimes quite dispirited. I think a lot of people have experienced low spirits throughout this, because we couldn’t be around each other, to be conversational, laugh about things. 

But I think it has been one of the most positive phases of ReMode’s development. What we took from it was: I decided, as the programmer for ReMode, I have to think of this lockdown not just as a one-off, but with the notion that it could happen again. So however we move ahead, we have to be aware that this could happen again, which allows us to address the idea of isolation and remoteness, whether or not there’s a lockdown, and there are people who could take part via Zoom workshops, who couldn’t otherwise. So moving forward, Zoom workshops will be an ongoing part of what we do, and we’ll have to train all the facilitators in being able to communicate the ideas and how you do things step by step, using cameras and by preparing storyboards before the Zoom workshop so that you know exactly what you’re doing with the group. 

We’ve also looked at things like bringing out a zine, so we now have a ReMode Zine that we are starting up, which will come out in the next couple of months. Again, people remotely can write articles, or make photo stories of clothing that they’ve bought that they particularly like, that’s second-hand, or that they’ve mended or adapted. They can send all that stuff to us and got a curator who will collate all that stuff to make an eight page zine. That will be printed so people can pick it up when they come into the shop, and it will also be available online. It’s a fantastic way of getting lots of conversations going, which we wouldn’t have come across if this lockdown hadn’t happened. 

We’ve also developed the online shop. That does broaden the base that we can reach, but it also creates a problem in that it creates a distance between the person buying the clothes and the actual material substances of the clothes; you can no longer touch it, feel it, try it on. I do think that’s a problem. That’s been part of the problem since the end of the Second World War, where we’ve reached that familiarisation with mass production, so we’re becoming less and less connected to those material substances. We just think of them as: ‘Oh yeah there’s loads of it and it’s there’, which worries me a bit. Moving forward, we have to work on continuing to connect people to those materials especially if we are selling them online. But there has been lots of good that has come out of it.

 

Who would you encourage to get involved, and how can they do so?

 

Well, obviously everybody, but our funding and our focus is on young people. Your age group and younger are the people who are going to grow up, get older, want to have kids, want to grow lives, live in different parts of the world and so on. You’re going to face the problems that are being generated right now. So, we want to engage that group of people in the solutions, and there are plenty of solutions. We can resolve this and turn it around. What worries me is that there’s a lot of very negative stuff around it where young people get quite depressed about it, so we want to ensure that we engage an audience of young people, because you’re the people who are going to have to deal with it, and we want them to positively engage with it right now. We want to help to create agile thinkers, people who have the hand craft skills to mend clothes, people who have the mindset to pass on clothes, and accept that as part of life and part of the story of a garment that they enjoy. But of course, we do want to involve everybody ultimately.

There’s lots of ways to get involved. We have a volunteer group, who meet up every Wednesday, and at the moment we have about 25 volunteers, but there’s a core group of about 12-15, who do stuff for us regularly, and they’re all different people with different characteristics. There’s a group of maybe four or five who join in the Zoom on a weekly basis, and they enjoy that environment; they sit doing their mending, they talk about what they’ve been doing during the week. There are others who maybe go and deliver stuff or make up packs of materials. So there’s lots of ways of getting involved just within the volunteer system itself. That could be for people at school age; we can organise volunteering for people at school, through their Duke of Edinburgh award, but also beyond school; someone who wants to build up skills, or an understanding of sustainability and climate breakdown. They can come and work with us and understand more about materials. Or of course if you have a particular interest in clothe making.

We also have our workshop programme which is mainly online at the moment, but we’re hoping that we’ll be able to have small groups together, maybe a group of four participants at any given time; socially distanced and masked up and with a facilitator. 

Get in touch with us! Come into the shop. When you come and join our mailing list in the shop we ask a few things about your shopping habits so that we can gain some data to understand how things are changing, but we reward you with five tokens, which equals to £5 in the world of ReMode, which you can spend on our second-hand clothing, vintage rail. Sometimes people come in just to chat, to see what’s going on, and that’s the main thing, it’s those conversations that are really important. So come and have a chat, find out about volunteering, like us on Facebook and Instagram so you can keep an eye on what we’re doing, and please get in touch if you’ve got an idea of something you think we should be doing that we aren’t yet. 

 

Anything else you’d like people to know?

 

Just that we’re fantastic! I feel incredibly proud of this organisation. I started it on my own, and there was some really difficult stuff at the beginning; forming a community, being on my own and then finding the funding to bring in other people. I’m Creative Director and I have a view of what I want the organisation to do, but what has been amazing is, bringing in other people, like Carolyn, and Emma as members of staff, Jane, who does the very sensible stuff around organising and money, all of that brings in different brains, different characteristics that have made this organisation grow and to change direction. I think that has been incredibly exciting, and I have to take my hat off to their commitment, and also to our incredibly talented volunteers, for the beautiful stuff they make. So come and join us!

 

You can visit ReMode at 43b High Street, Paisley. They are currently open 10am-4pm Tuesday to Saturday. You can also find them on Instagram: @remode_youth, Twitter: @ReModeIt, Youtube: ReMode It and Facebook: ReMode, as well as their website www.remodeyouth.org

Another article from the very talented Rachel Campbell:

“I’m Rachel and I’m a 20-year-old student studying English Literature and History. I’ve always enjoyed writing and after getting involved in the student newspaper during my time at university, I’ve found a real interest in journalism too. I’m looking to write positive stories about what is going on in Paisley, and help readers learn more about the businesses and activities that are so close by. I’m interested in sustainability and how we can support local businesses whilst also doing our bit for the planet. Along the way, I’ll hopefully write about a wide range of topics: music, fashion, theatre, art, health and wellbeing, and anything else that is happening in Paisley. I’d love for anyone to get in touch if they’re interested in having me write an article about their business/charity/event/activity. ”

wilma 3

A BRAVE gran celebrated her 56th birthday by having her head shaved for a cancer charity.

Wilma Daley raised £2290 for Macmillan Cancer Support by taking part in the charity’s Brave The Shave fundraising initiative.

wilma 3

She decided to have her blonde shoulder-length locks shaved to raise money after her own mother, Violet McCall had to have her hair shaved as she battled lung cancer with gruelling sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Sadly, Violet died from the disease and cancer also took her dad James’s life.

wilma 3

Wilma – whose hairdresser sister-in law, Pauline Dailey took an electric shaver to her head as she sat in the garden of her Renfrew home, on Saturday, September 5 – explains:

“I got the idea to have a sponsored head shave as I remember my mum shaving her head shortly after she started her cancer treatment and her hair began to fall out.

“And afterwards people were saying I look just like my mum when she lost all her hair.

wilma 3

“I’d wanted to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support for some time as they do a phenomenal job helping people affected with cancer.

“I’d been toying with the idea of having my head shaved for about a year. What pushed me to finally do it was when one of my friends took part in Brave The Shave.”

Wilma continued: “I was sitting in my garden when Pauline turned on the electric shaver and I felt the hair falling off my head, I thought there’s no turning back now.

wilma 3

“I felt excited, because it was actually happening and the money on my donation page for Macmillan Cancer Support kept rising. It felt surreal.

“It doesn’t bother me that I’ve got no hair just now because having my head shaved was something I decided to do and thankfully I didn’t have to do it because I wasn’t going through treatment for cancer. Anyway, my hair will soon grow back in.”

Wilma had set a fundraising target of £750 and has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have donated.

“The support I’ve had is amazing and people I don’t even know have been handing in money. I can’t thank them enough.”

Wilma’s daughter, Jen works in the business support team at intu Braehead where colleagues there have been generous with their donations.

Jen said: “My mum is the most selfless person I know and I feel so lucky to have her. I’m so proud of her for what she has done. She has a heart of gold and is absolutely beautiful inside and out.

“Cancer has taken the lives of many of our family over the years and affected many of our friends.

“Macmillan Cancer Support provides vital support to people living with cancer, whether it’s financial, physical, or emotional. All the money my mum has raised will be donated to them as they are a really great cause.”

If anyone would like to support Wilma’s fundraising efforts they can go to

https://bravetheshave.macmillan.org.uk/shavers/wilma-daley to make a donation.

Arkleston 1

Volunteers from across Renfrewshire are set to make it a Spotless September once again as they head out into their communities to brighten up the area where they live and tackle litter.

Arkleston 1

A mainstay of Renfrewshire Council’s award-winning Team Up to Clean Up campaign, the month-long campaign saw more than a thousand people take part last year – with community groups, schools, businesses and lone volunteers all heading out on litter picks.

Hundreds are expected to head out again this year either individually or in small groups to ensure they can continue to do their bit, while remaining safe at all times during the ongoing pandemic.

Council staff 3

Anyone who wants to take part can get in touch with the team to be provided with sanitised equipment including litter pickers and bags, as well as having the collected litter taken away by the Council’s StreetScene team.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “I’m delighted that despite the current situation we find ourselves in, our volunteers are still able to take part in what they love – making their community a better place to live and visit.

“We’re seeing more and more people joining the Team Up to Clean Up community every week, with more than 300 people joining our Facebook group during lockdown, and Spotless September is a chance for everyone to come together, albeit not in the big groups they previously have, and show that they care for where they live.

“It’s fantastic to see how the campaign continues to grow and I’d encourage anyone who has an interest in keeping where they live clean and tidy to join us, meet like-minded others and take part in Spotless September.”

Team Up to Clean Up is a joint initiative between the council and the community and aims to improve the area’s local environment and change the behaviour of those who think it is acceptable to litter.

The council is running an increased litter picking, road sweeping and drain clearing programme, while the community are supported with equipment and the collection of rubbish to take part in litter picks.

The campaign has also expanded to include community caddies, which allow volunteers to trim and tidy local green spaces, as well as the creation of children’s book ‘The Clumps’ Big Mess’ which every primary school child in Renfrewshire received to inspire them to be a part of the campaign.

For more information, including how to take part, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/SpotlessSeptember.

Garden Gang Buddies

As pupils returned to school, some retired adults in Paisley & District U3A went to study Geilston Gardens in Cardross.  This U3A’s Garden Gang visited the walled garden and floral mini maze recently re-opened by the National Trust for Scotland.  Mindful of the current lockdown guidance, everyone stayed in small groups, and afterwards members enjoyed a socially distant picnic in the beautiful grounds.

Garden Gang Buddies 

Valerie Reilly who leads the U3A Garden Gang said: “Over 11,000 people come to see Geilston every year.  However, due to funding pressures, its future is not secure.  We were able to learn the history of the property and explore this garden by the River Clyde.  We were so lucky with the weather and it turned out to be an excellent experience.  Many of our members have been shielding so it was lovely to meet up again outdoors.”

Garden Gang Buddies

The U3A Garden Gang is planning another trip on Wednesday 9th September at 11am to Tollcross Park in Glasgow.  This is one of Glasgow’s ‘municipal’ parks with its own guided heritage trail.  Social distancing will be strictly observed throughout this visit.  More details at: https://u3asites.org.uk/paisley/welcome

sword swallowing

This Wednesday, and every Wednesday through to the 30th of September, Create Paisley will be running online graphic novel workshops about a sword-swallowing theatre magnate. John Chalmers and Sandra Marrs will be your hosts, a writer and artist team who work under the name Metaphrog. 

sword swallowing

Metaphrog have been nominated for, and won, several awards, and currently have an acclaimed graphic novel called Bluebeard on release. They’ve also done workshops in Paisley before. “We were at the central library for Will Eisner week and we also did several school visits” John tells me. “They went very, very well.” 

 

As for this event, John tells me, ““We loved doing this research. There are some great sideshow posters and some colourful characters.” Delno Fritz is certainly a character. This man, almost forgotten now, was a big draw in his day and a leading international circus performer – as a sword swallower. “He was a friend to Harry Houdini” John says “and a world famous figure”. Colin Begg from Paisley Heritage dug up his story. “Colin came across Fritz and his Paisley connection in David Rowand’s book Silver Threads” John says. “It’s an interesting and very fertile area. The project was to encourage interest in the past, history and local heritage through the story of this man”.

 

He’s quite a man. Delno Fritz, born 1871, was one of 17 children, who ran away to join the circus. Several times. He eventually succeeded in joining with a friend. The friend went on to become a doctor. Delno became a sword swallower, and people went crazy for his act – he even performed for Queen Victoria. “His date of birth is unsure, and his IMDb entry is a bit loose too” John says. “It’s unlikely he is in the 1931 film Freaks for example, since he died in 1925”. The man had become a myth.

sword swallowing

The workshops around this myth will run over 6 weeks. “We’ll talk about how comics work” John explains. “We show character design and world building all using the life of Delno as a springboard or inspiration. That life includes his involvement with the Empire Music Hall, and hence life in Paisley in the early 1900s”. You knew there had to be a Paisley connection – “So there will be six modules with a different focus – including cover design and discussion of changing attitudes” It should be an involving 6 modules.

 

When I ask John if it’s weird to be doing a workshop in Paisley from home, he laughs. “Everything is weird right now!” adding, “It was very hard to research especially now with archives closed and facts distant. We’re embracing the weird!” Sometimes weird times can be fun, and it’s always good to have something to occupy you. if you’re looking for that over the next six weeks, you’re welcome to tune in to Metaphrog’s Zoom workshops.

 

You can see more details and a trailer about this event at the following link, with the registration form included too: https://www.createpaisley.org.uk/news/delno-fritz/

 

Article by one of our new Journalist’s Keir Hind, lookout for more of Keir in the coming weeks.

provost lorraine cameron

Over the last year, Provost of Renfrewshire Lorraine Cameron supported St. Vincent’s Hospice as her charity of the year and has raised an astonishing £9,637.58 towards their caring services.

provost lorraine cameron

St. Vincent’s Hospice is a provider of specialist palliative and Hospice care for people and families all across Renfrewshire who have been affected by life limiting conditions.

Chief Executive of St. Vincent’s Hospice, Kate Lennon, said: “From charity nights, to constantly helping raise awareness, encouraging other local Councillors to take part in, or organise fundraising activities, and even getting hands on and doing a shift in one of our shops, the support we have received from Provost Lorraine Cameron has been absolutely second to none, and we cannot thank her enough.

“Not only is the total of more than £9,000 an unbelievable amount to have raised for our services, but the attention which this has helped raise towards our services and the difference that St. Vincent’s makes to so many in the community is immeasurable.

“On behalf of all of us at the Hospice, and to the countless patients, families and loved ones who have been supported in some way by these efforts, I want to say thank you to Provost Cameron, and to everyone who helped make this possible. Thank you.”

Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “It’s been an honour to support St Vincent’s Hospice over the past year. They are a local charity in the heart of the community here in Renfrewshire and I know how much the work they do means to so many people.

“I had a great day working in their shop in Paisley and a real highlight of the year was organising an 80’s themed party night to celebrate the 30 years of St Vincent’s Hospice. It was great fun getting all dressed up.

“I’d also like to say thank you to everyone who helped me support St Vincent’s – whether you bought a ticket to the 80’s night, spent money in a St Vincent’s shop or supported them in another way. Every penny makes a difference.”

If you would like to make St. Vincent’s Hospice your charity of the year, and make a difference to people all across your local community, please contact Info@svh.co.uk or call 01505 705 635.

stanley reservoir

During the lockdown, we have all been accustomed to life being on hold whilst this virus is dealt with. Not for Paul, who has turned into a one-man army and decided that he will proceed with his plans to bring kayaking to the Stanley reservoir and let people get close to Stanely Castle.

Paul has started by clearing the woodlands around the perimeter, lifting literally thousands of empty cans, bags and bags (11 on the day I visited) with the help of locals who used their allocated exercise time to lend a hand. Scottish Water had said they had done a clean a couple of years back but I have seen with my own eyes rubbish that had been lying for years.

Images of what the paths and land looked like before Paul started:

Now I know that Paul isn’t getting an easy time of it from some residents and his plans to put kayaks on the water have not gone down well with some, but they think it’s going to be a permanent watersports place. The reality is, if Paul gets a booking he will bring his car and trailer with kayaks taking four people out with two instructors for safety. He has insurance in place, approval from Scottish Water and the appropriate licenses in place, there really is nothing stopping him just going ahead and doing it right now (apart from lockdown).

However, he wants to make a real difference to the surrounding land and is working tirelessly every day to clear up all the mess, glass, cans you name it, he is going more than the extra mile to ensure the place is clean and safe. I spoke to a couple who actually had come by for the first time and had seen the bluebells, deer and sound of singing birds and serenity. This is what Paul is aiming to enhance, improving the area for those who will appreciate it. If the community comes together, and slowly but surely it’s happening (social distancing and safety first) please help, please visit, speak to Paul.

Images after Paul and volunteers got stuck in to clean up the mess, so many bags it’s hard to count now:

 

Now the whole aim is just to take people in a safe manner onto the water and enjoy what we have locally in between two housing schemes. Its a beautiful place and is well used by fishermen, Paul has spoken to loads of them and they are being very supportive and taking their rubbish away with them. It’s refreshing to see such passion and enthusiasm from someone and the rubbish coming out of the woodlands is shocking.

So the facts are simply this:

  • All paperwork and insurance and safety certificates in place.
  • The Reservoir can be used under land access code.
  • Kayaking will be small in numbers and will be properly managed by qualified instructors.
  • The surrounding areas are being safely tidied up by Paul and other willing volunteers.
  • No compound or fixed structures will be in place spoiling the landscape
  • Anything built like seating areas is done by using broken trees, no trees are cut down.
  • Bird boxes, feeders, wildlife encouragement will be in place hence the cleanup.
  • Future upkeep of the site is part of the plan.

One of the things that is required at the moment, and again this is not an encouragement to break lockdown rules, but put your exercise hours to good use by going and helping, enter by the Glenburn side (across from Jet Garage) turn left and follow the trail, Paul will be around and will be extremely thankful of your support and help.

 

Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “In line with national guidance from the Scottish Government on the coronavirus, we have taken the decision to cancel all large-scale Renfrewshire Council-run events until the end of June.

Paisley Food and Drink Festival 2019

“This will include the Paisley Food and Drink Festival which was due to take place on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 April and an agreement with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) to cancel the British Pipe Band Championships in Paisley, which was set to take place on Saturday 23 May.

“We will also look to reschedule both Renfrew Gala Day and Barshaw Gala Day for the end of summer.

“We will continue to review our future events, including Sma’ Shot Day on Saturday 4 July, as the situation progresses.

“We would advise everyone to continue to observe the medical advice available at NHS Inform. For further information, please visit www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus.

“For ongoing updates to our event programme, please visit www.paisley.is.”

Cllr Cathy McEwan

Volunteers are being praised after more than 70 Team Up to Clean Up litter picks took place across the winter period in Renfrewshire.

The award-winning campaign saw 278 volunteers take part from October to January with more than 300 bags of rubbish removed from the local environment.

Cllr Cathy McEwan

Volunteer groups and lone volunteers also identified larger items which had been fly tipped and alerted the council to have them removed.

The dedication and hard work of local people has been hailed ahead of the annual Big Spring Clean event, which last year saw more than 1750 people take part throughout April.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “It’s inspiring to see the dedication of local people and their desire to make where they live a cleaner, brighter place for the community.

“While the winter often sees fewer litter picks than normal, people have still been heading out to do their bit.

“We’ve built a real community within Team Up to Clean Up and it’s fantastic to see the impact of the work of local people – it really is appreciated and is making a huge difference.

“I’m looking forward to the Big Spring Clean next month as we’ve seen thousands of people take part during the previous two events and with the campaign just continuing to grow, let’s see what we can do this time!”

For more information, and to join the campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup.