A group of young buddies will join Paisley’s long tradition of radical poets at this year’s Sma’ Shot Weave Festival as part of a national campaign to engage young people in literature and culture.

The annual Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day event will take place on Saturday 7 July and will see the return of the popular Dooslan Stane stage. This year it will welcome a group of young people from Paisley and further afield who are keen to carry on the town’s long history of celebrating poetry and the spoken word.

The Dooslan Stane is an important aspect of the day’s events as it has close links with the textile industry. The stane or ‘stone’ was once a meeting place for the Weavers Union and was used as a ‘soapbox’ where the weavers could review the hot political topics of the time and air their grievances against the mill owners.

This year it will serve as the platform for a different kind of activism as young people share their experiences in their own words. The activity ties into the wider Year of Young People 2018 programme which aims to give young people a stronger voice on issues which affect their lives, showcase their ideas and talents, and ultimately, create a more positive perception of them in society.

The Youth Poetry Slam is part of a wider national project – the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam – the project deliberately targets educational and social disadvantage, crossing barriers by using fun, youth culture to nurture language and literacy and to engage young people in literature and culture and upskill them with creative ways to manage mental health.

A group of young people from Port Glasgow High School who won the title back in 2016 will work with young people at Create Paisley to produce work that will be performed on the day.

Emma from Port Glasgow High School, said: “Winning the title of Scottish Youth Poetry Slam Masters 2016 was amazing and since then we have gone on to teach poetry workshops to primary schools and performed for Prince Harry and Megan.

“We are very excited to be meeting and collaborating with young people from Create Paisley to make a performance for the Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day celebration and can’t wait to get started.”

Renfrewshire’s Year of Young People Champion, Councillor Michelle Campbell, said: “Giving young people a constructive and creative outlet to allow them to express themselves is a great way to ensure good mental health and it’s great to see that young people from Port Glasgow and Renfrewshire coming together to share their ideas and talents.

“I’m sure they will produce some fantastic work and I look forward to seeing them perform at this year’s Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day celebrations.”

ConFAB arts company is responsible for delivering the national Scottish Youth Poetry Slam project and has been working with groups across Scotland.

Artistic Director for conFAB, Rachel Jury, said: “Poetry is all about what you want or need to say without the constraints of rhyme and meter that you learn in school. It’s a much freer medium for young people to communicate in their own way, express themselves and build confidence.

“It’s a great thing for these young people to have their views and experiences heard and will enable them to explore their own voices, manage their creativity and improve their mental wellbeing.”

The young people from Port Glasgow High School will meet with members of Create Paisley from 4 July to participate in a series of workshops where they will come up with the pieces they will perform on the day.

Create Paisley Project Manager, Alan Clark, said: “We’ve been doing a lot with young people in the community around writing and poetry in the last year or so. It gives young people a sense of encouragement to use poetry as a tool to express themselves.

“It’s particularly significant that that the young people participating in the Youth Poetry Slam will have a chance to perform on the Dooslan Stane stage and bring their own type or modern-day activism to the event.

CREATE Paisley have collaborated with PACE Theatre Group are producing Write Here Write Now, a Young Writers Festival as part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, which will be open to young people aged 8 – 26 who will create and develop new writings, focusing on plays, songwriting and poetry.

To find out the full details and programme for this year’s Weave Festival and Sma’ Shot Day celebrations visit: www.paisley.is.

To find out more about Write Here Write Now visit: www.write18.com or to get more detail on the Scottish Youth Poetry Slam visit their Facebook page @sypslam

PROVOST Lorraine Cameron helped make sure the malls were alive to the sound of music when she joined in with the Renfrewshire Carers Centre Choir for an impromptu rendition of a classic ABBA song.


The Paisley-based carers group had been given free space at the intu Braehead shopping centre to raise money and awareness of the work they do and then be treated to a slap-up lunch by mall management to help celebrate Carers Week.

Provost Cameron was due to present certificates to volunteers from the Carers Centre and when she arrived at the mall, the choir was in full voice entertaining shoppers.

The Renfrewshire Provost was asked to join the choir for a song and she immediately agreed, belting out a version of ABBA’s Super Trouper along with the other singers.

As Provost Cameron handed out certificates she told the carers and volunteers: “I’m delighted to be here today to recognise the essential part you all play in the Renfrewshire Carers Centre. It gives me great pleasure to present you with these certificates of thanks.”

Christine Macdonald, intu Braehead’s marketing manager said: “The carers and volunteers at Renfrewshire Carers Centre deserve huge credit for the work they do.

“Giving them a lunch and mall space to have a display stand giving people advice and raising funds is just one way we can pay tribute to the vital work they do.

“The Carers Centre Choir gave shoppers some great entertainment and well done to Provost Cameron for joining in with the singing.”

A campaign to boost foster care numbers in Renfrewshire has resulted in a seven times increase in the number of enquiries from prospective carers to the service.

During Foster Care Fortnight last month, carers shared their inspirational stories to help spread the word on their rewarding role, while a series of drop in events also helped increase its visibility.

Renfrewshire Council is aiming to raise the number in its foster care family from 81 to 100 and the campaign to boost numbers continues.

Foster Parents. Renfrewshire council

Education and Children’s Services convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “There was a great response to our campaign to make the role more visible, but the work very much carries on.

“If you think becoming a foster carer may be for you then we absolutely still want to hear from you.

“Our existing foster carers can talk you through every step and have incredible stories to share, but what comes through is that they are ordinary people just like you and me who have taken on an extraordinary role.

“If you want to help change the life of a child or young person for the better, please get in touch.

“By boosting the number of foster care family we can ensure that we give all our cared for children and young people the best possible start in life.”

Foster carer Nicola Hanvey said: “It’s great to hear the campaign has resulted in more enquiries but that doesn’t stop here.

“If you think you have something to offer, then pick up the phone. You’ll be guided every step of the journey and can end up making a huge difference to a child’s life.

“I also like working from home and as part of a team. I get involved in any training opportunities I can and I attend the support group for foster carers. We meet once a month and it’s important to get that support from people who understand the job.”

If you are over 21, have a spare room and are in good health, you can apply to help make a difference to a child’s life.

Children and young people of all ages need carers who will help them feel wanted, valued and safe.

As a foster carer, you can be in work or unemployed, be single, married, or in a same sex or heterosexual relationship, and can own or rent the property you live in.

You will receive advice, specialist training and peer support, as well as an allowance.

Anyone interested in more detail can call the team at Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 1199 or email at childrenandfamilies@renfrewshire.gov.uk

A group of women from Ferguslie Park will join thousands from across the UK at the weekend to celebrate 100 years since women were given the right to vote.

On Sunday 10 June, women and girls from across the UK will come together to take part in PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork. Wearing green, white or violet, the colours of the suffragette movement, rivers of colour will flow through the streets of Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Belfast.

Ferguslie Womans Banner 30.5.18

Joining them, will be a group of women from Paisley’s Ferguslie Park who have been taking part in the 100 Years 100 Banners programme, where 100 organisations across the UK collaborate with 100 female artists to create 100 unique banners for PROCESSIONS.

Based within The Tannahill Centre, the banner is an intergenerational collaborative work between Strong Women in Ferguslie Together (SWIFT), The Feegie Needlers and a variety of young women from local youth groups.

The group held workshops talking about issues that matter to them, raising awareness of the important role women play in the Ferguslie community and helping them to understand that their voices matter.

This has been incorporated in to the banner which features the names of women who have contributed to the wellbeing and creativity of the community, with many of the women mentioned being relations of those who are working in the community today.

For local artist Mandy McIntosh, the banner, featuring the slogan ‘Feegie Wummin’, we’re a breed o oor ain’, celebrates the resilience and strength of Ferguslie women in the here and now.

She said “We wanted to use the word ‘Feegie’ to show the public that these women think positively about their home and are extremely proud to come from Feegie Park.”

Carol Anderson, a Community Work Assistant who works closely with the SWIFT group, says the women have embraced the cross-generational aspect of the project. “It’s been a great opportunity for the different groups to work together, sharing their knowledge and stories of the community.”

The group will be travelling to Edinburgh on Sunday 10 June to march in PROCESSIONS, and will be joined by other women from Ferguslie and across Renfrewshire who have made their own banners or who have joined in with a community banner making workshop.

Other local groups involved in banner making are STAR Project, the Disability Resource Centre and Kairos in Johnstone.

PROCESSIONS is produced by Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm, as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Helen Marriage, CEO Artichoke said: “The 100th anniversary of the passing of legislation which made universal suffrage unstoppable is a moment both for celebration and reflection. Individuals and groups up and down the country, including The Tannahill Centre, will be at the heart of this UK-wide artwork.

“What they make and bring to their chosen procession on Sunday will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “I’m so pleased to see the women from Ferguslie coming together to make their banner and take part in PROCESSIONS.

“The banner truly tells the story of their community and you really get a sense of how proud the group are to come from Ferguslie Park, and so they should be.

“Recently, the Ferguslie community has come together to make changes to their environment, and it is having a very positive effect on the people who live there.

“The local people are making Ferguslie a place to be proud of once again, and the women will further that cause by taking Ferguslie to Edinburgh to display their proud banner

“I would encourage every women or girl, from all generations, to consider making their way to Edinburgh on Sunday for what promises to be a spectacular event.”

PROCESSIONS takes place on Sunday 10 June in Edinburgh. For more information and to register to attend visit www.processions.co.uk

Ferguslie Womans Banner 30.5.18

Last weeks open evening for former and present pupils to attend to see the old building before it is replaced by the new School under construction right in front of the old building right now, many memories were shared, old faces recognised and friendships over the years were rekindled at the school which was opened in 1960 and has seen many generations of Foxbar youngsters attend the school.

Many thanks to Fiona McCreadie for the photographs.

Thanks to Norma Connelly & Mrs Gavin, Louise Maher the head teacher who organised the celebration evening.

What a fantastic evening we had to celebrate the 58 years of success of this school building. Huge thanks to all those who turned out, around 300 over the course of the evening. I am sure you will agree that Fr Joe Burke, celebrated a beautiful mass and there has been great feedback about how valued and appreciated this event was by many people.

Thanks to the staff who worked hard to prepare especially Mrs Connelly, Mrs Gavin and Mrs Nicholson and also to Mrs Scott from St Andrew’s Academy who supported us with music preparation. The liturgy of the mass made this a truly memorable event. The psalm was beautifully sung by the Welsh family and the parent council helped serving refreshments to the many visitors. A real community event and a wonderful atmosphere. Hopefully will have many more events to come.

Goodbye St Pauls old building hello new..

Renfrewshire Council is the first local authority in Scotland where councillors across all parties have signed up to participate in Dementia Friends Scotland sessions.

Elected members at the local authority have committed to become Dementia Friends, joining tens of thousands across Scotland, to learn more about dementia and the small things you can do to help people with the condition.

The initiative has attracted cross party support, and the sessions, run by charity Alzheimer Scotland, are understood to be the first uptake across an entire Council chamber.

It’s part of a move towards being a ‘dementia friendly’ council and Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Many of us will know people affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s and the challenges they and their families can face. By attending the Dementia Friends sessions, we want to make sure we do all we can to understand and support those with dementia, and support communities trying to create a kind and friendly environment that ensures people continue to feel valued and supported.
“It’s an issue that sadly affects almost every family in Scotland and one in which we all want to play our part in helping in whatever small way we can, regardless of political affiliations.”

Dementia isn’t an inevitable part of ageing but is caused by diseases of the brain. There are around 90,000 people living with the condition in Scotland, with more than 3,000 under the age of 65. In Renfrewshire around 2,750 people have dementia and related conditions.

More than half of Scots with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease but other forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

The village of Lochwinnoch has become the first in Renfrewshire to become a dementia friendly community. It is introducing ways of ensuring that those with the condition can feel supported as they go about their everyday lives.

Senior primary school children in the village, which has around 3,000 residents, have attended awareness sessions and local businesses want to support those with the condition to ensure they can remain part of the community.
A steering group set up has organised events like tea dances where people with dementia and their carers can come and feel supported.
Organiser Dr Morag Thow said: “We are trying to encourage people with dementia to stay part of the community and live the lives they want. It’s part of being a kind community and it’s great to feel supported by a kind council.
“It can be a simple as the way shops arrange their displays and signage. A person with dementia might have trouble reading a sign that says ‘Ladies’ but would recognise the picture of a loo. They can also have problems with colour and working out light and shade.
“There are things we can all do – if you meet someone and you know they have dementia you just take your time with them and offer them assistance.
“It’s also demystifying it – people with dementia can and do lead very active lives. They just have limitations with memory, especially in the early stages.
“I would say that most families are affected by dementia, whether it’s somebody actually in your own family or somebody you know who has a relative with it.”

Anne McWhinnie, Dementia Friends Programme Manager at Alzheimer Scotland said: “We’re delighted that Renfrewshire Council have made the commitment to become Dementia Friends. Alzheimer Scotland believes that nobody should face dementia alone. By taking the time to understand a little of what it’s like to live with dementia, and the little ways in which we can be more helpful and patients, we can make a real difference in our communities.”

Additional Information for Dementia Friends release

It should be noted for the purposes of captioning pictures with this release, that many of the people in pictures do not have dementia but are part of the wider supportive community and/or friends, family and relatives of those who do.

Picture caption: Members

‘Since fostering, our family has grown in love, knowledge and laughter’ – Fosterplus inviting people to find out about a career fostering

As part of ‘Foster Care Fortnight’, a well-established fostering agency based in Paisley is calling on people to consider foster care as a career, with around 7,000 new foster families needed across the UK in the next 12 months according to research by the Fostering Network.

Fosterplus is holding the two dedicated open days at its office on Renfrew Road on 15 & 22 May, 10am – 7pm to give people the opportunity to gain information on fostering.

‘Foster Care Fortnight’ is the Fostering Network’s annual campaign that aims to raise the profile of fostering and to show how foster care transforms lives. The fortnight takes place from 14 to 27 May this year.

Geoff Armstrong, Registered Manager for Fosterplus said:

“In celebration of Foster Care Fortnight, we’re hosting two open days at our Paisley office to help people take their first steps into fostering.

“People can come along and meet our friendly team, who will be talking about the role of a foster carer and what this rewarding career has to offer.”

“We also try to dispel some of the myths behind fostering. Being a foster parent is different now than it was 10 years ago. The process is not as difficult as people often think it might be and we support them all the way.”

Suzanne, an experienced carer with Fosterplus, told us: “Since fostering, our family has grown in love, knowledge and laughter. The help we get from Fosterplus and how people pull together is something to be proud of.”

Another Fosterplus carer Carole added: “I am proud to foster because I know, no matter what, we have given children a chance.”

If you would like to find out more about these events, or fostering in general, call 0800 369 8511 or visit www.fosterplus.co.uk/paisley-events

A new streamlined approach is set to improve the support offered to community groups as the Council outlines its plans to empower communities.

Councillors today approved proposals which will simplify the process for community organisations in accessing Council support by introducing a single point of contact for local groups.

The creation of this central resource will see requests from local people directed to the most relevant source of assistance in the first instance, making it easier to utilise support and achieve the shared aims of the organisations.

Communities will also be able to more easily access existing pathways of advice and guidance from council officers, as well as continuing to be supported with external and direct funding applications.

Local people will also be encouraged to utilise the Community Asset Transfer process and will be signposted to possible partnership opportunities with the Council, where appropriate.

The new approach will be piloted during 2018 in consultation with local organisations and is set to be supported by a £1.5million Community Empowerment Fund, announced as part of this year’s budget to run over the next five years.

Renfrewshire Council Leader, Iain Nicolson, said: “It is more important than ever that we work closely with local people and we’re working hard to strengthen the relationships we have with our local communities.

“We’re committed to creating an efficient pathway for local communities to access the support and guidance they need by simplifying the often complex Council processes.

“Creating a single point of contact for community groups will help iron these processes out and ensure that local people can access the support we offer as easily as possible.

“I would encourage communities throughout Renfrewshire to assess their local area, identify how they could make improvements and work alongside us to make a difference to their local community.”

The Council has been evaluating the way it interacts with local communities and identifying how they can be involved in decision making through a review of its Local Area Committee structure.

Nine proposals were brought forward to an extensive consultation process and addressed issues such as ensuring meetings are more accessible and participative, localising the award of grant funding and altering the current boundaries to bring them into line with community councils.

The results of this consultation will help refine the finalised proposals to ensure they fully reflect the needs and views of the local community and allow a more effective process to be maintained moving forward.

Further information on support for local communities, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/community

More than 1000 volunteers took part in 31 community clean ups as the Renfrewshire community were inspired to take part in an action-packed weekend of events.

Almost 500 bags of rubbish were collected as pupils, volunteers, police, and local businesses and elected members worked side by side to brighten the local area and tackle the issue of littering.

Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean was the largest set of events planned since the launch of the Team Up to Clean campaign, and set out to make a real difference to the area’s environment.

Litter picks were arranged across the area by schools and community groups, with Renfrewshire Council assisting by providing all the required equipment needed and removing the collected rubbish at the end of each event.

Donations of water, bananas and sweet treats for the volunteers who took part were made by local Morrisons, Tesco, McDonalds and Greggs outlets across the area.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The level of support we have seen over this weekend has been incredible and has shown the breadth of support for our Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

“Volunteers young and old turned out to work alongside each other to make a real difference to their local area and the event has been an undeniable success, with a noticeable increase in the cleanliness of all communities after the weekend’s efforts.

“We know there are still areas of improvements to be made but with the support of the community, and a desire to eradicate the problem, we will begin to see real results and this weekend shows what can be achieved when we work together.

“Improving the cleanliness of Renfrewshire is a key commitment for the Council and we will continue to do our bit to ensure our streets are cleaner and Renfrewshire is a brighter, more attractive place to live and work.

“Thank you to every volunteer who took part over the weekend. Please continue to harness that community spirit and work with us as we Team Up to Clean Up.”

£2.5million has been allocated to Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign across the next five years to allow the continuation of an enhanced programme of gully cleaning, increased mechanical road sweeping, replacement or removal of out of date street signs, a strengthened Rapid Response Team and an additional six community litter pickers.

The campaign also challenges the community to play their part and this has been a rousing success as almost 100 community clean ups have been undertaken throughout the area and more than 1800 volunteers have taken part.

The campaign also aims to tackle the issue of dog fouling in the area and recently saw more than 50 responsible dog owners turn out for a mass dog walk in Robertson Park in Renfrew.

This followed a targeted streets initiative in which dog waste is spray painted with bright colours, warning messaging is painted sprayed  onto the pavement, enforcement patrols are enhanced and signage is placed around the area to bring the issue to the attention of offenders within that street.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup or join the Team Up to Clean Up community group on Facebook.

National charity Keep Scotland Beautiful have showcased their support for Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean this weekend, which aims to see a community clean up take place in every area in Renfrewshire.

The event, part of Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign, is set to bring out hundreds of volunteers as they take part in litter picks to make a difference to their local environment.

School pupils, community volunteers, police, councillors and more will take part on Friday 20, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 April at clean ups across the area with the support of Renfrewshire Council.

Derek Robertson, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful said, “We’re extremely grateful to all the volunteers across Scotland for taking part in clean ups during April and May, and would urge everyone to get involved in Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean on 20-22 April.

“Through our Clean up Scotland campaign we support thousands of people each year to improve the places they care about by removing litter and fly tipping. We are delighted that Renfrewshire Council is showing a real commitment to make Renfrewshire cleaner and greener – and know that each one of us can make a huge difference collectively if we clean up together.”

Communities across Renfrewshire are being encouraged to host their own clean up in an area in need of attention and the Renfrewshire Warden’s Service will provide them with litter pickers, bibs, gloves and bags to carry it out, as well as removing the collected rubbish at the end of the event.

If volunteers aren’t able to host their own, they are being supported to attend any of the other clean ups arranged across the weekend and meet like-mind individuals taking part.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of a national organisation such as Keep Scotland Beautiful and it shows the strength of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign as it continues to grow.

“Our Big Spring Clean is our most ambitious set of events since we launched the campaign but we’re determined to grasp the enthusiasm of the local community to make a difference to their local area.

“We are working hard to support local volunteers to carry out litter picks while also carrying out our enhanced programme of work to clear drains, sweep roads and refresh signage, as well as expanding our environmental teams.

“We’ve shown our commitment to the campaign through our £2.5million investment and we will continue to work alongside the community to make Renfrewshire a cleaner, brighter, more attractive place to live.”

For more information on the event visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/bigspringclean and on the campaign www.renfrewshre.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup.