Rugby sponsorship helps tackle youth unemployment

Three young Renfrewshire modern apprentices have landed sponsorship deals for the second year of their programme with Scottish Rugby Union.

Leading IT consultancy firm Sopra Group provided the sponsorship for local students Amanda Moore, Andrew Evans and Murray Sutherland.

The modern apprentices were funded in year one by the Scottish Rugby Union and Renfrewshire Council. With those organisations’ support, the offer from Sopra Group allows them to continue with the programme.

Two first-year apprentices, Daniel Caine and Martin McKellar, have been given support from the council to begin the apprenticeship programme this year.

The money came through Invest in Renfrewshire, the council’s £8m programme to boost the local economy and tackle youth unemployment.

Sopra’s Managing Director, Ian Huckle, visited the apprentices with Sopra’s Scottish Rugby Ambassador and ex-Scottish rugby international Scott Hastings and Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sports Leisure and Culture Policy Board, as they delivered Renfrewshire rugby’s annual development day for Secondary 1 and 2 boys.

Representatives of Invest in Renfrewshire and the Scottish Rugby Union were also there to witness the apprentices put the pupils through their paces.

Councillor Harte said “It’s great to see companies such as Sopra taking an interest in the young people of the area and helping them reach their potential.

“Invest in Renfrewshire has worked very hard to secure funding for many young apprentices, graduate interns and young people who are out of work.

“It is exciting to see the hard work pay off and local firms getting more involved.”

Ian Huckle said “Sopra Group is pleased to be able to create opportunities for employment via the apprentice scheme. We recognise the positive and dynamic impact sport can have on lives.

“It can inspire and motivate children to strive for a better quality of life and develop core skills. By investing in the apprentices we hope we can help deliver a sustainable sporting legacy in the area.”

Scott Hastings added “With a long involvement in sport and rugby in particular I know that Amanda, Andrew and Murray will be gaining a huge amount from their apprenticeships, as will the children they are working with on a daily basis.

“Coaching has its own rewards and Sopra’s support is helping give young people the confidence to go out into their local communities and make a difference.”

The event, at Paisley Rugby Club, will also see teams from the local secondary schools compete in either the established school or emerging schools 7’s competition, which will feature teams from Castlehead High School, Paisley Grammar School, Trinity High, Johnstone High, Linwood High and Park Mains High.

Johnstone Town Hall exterior

Building work set to begin on Johnstone town hall

The project to deliver Johnstone’s new £14.5m town hall is about to reach its latest major milestone – with construction on the building set to begin in October.

The new town hall is being delivered by Renfrewshire Council and is expected to transform the look of the town centre once completed.

The building will be home to a new library, marriage suite, theatre and conference space, meeting rooms and a café.

It will also contain offices for council housing and social work staff, as well as Police Scotland and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The demolition of the former town hall and library was completed over the summer and with subsequent site investigations throwing up no significant issues, construction is due to start next month as planned.

The construction and fit-out of the new building is expected to take 21 months, meaning it should be open for business in spring 2015.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said: “The council is making a significant investment in delivering this new building, which will provide a striking 21st-century centrepiece to the town.

“This new building is one of the biggest public sector investments taking place in Scotland at the moment.

“Contractors have been busy on site over the summer making sure everything is in place ahead of the building phase of the project.

“Over the next nine months or so, Johnstone residents will be able to see the progress for themselves, as the structure of the new building is put into place.

“Throughout the project, we have aimed to develop good relationships with local residents and traders, and we hope to keep them involved in the months ahead.”

The council is planning a range of activities over the next few months to ensure the community continues to have the chance to be part of the project.

Specially-created artwork depicting iconic buildings around the town has been commissioned for the site hoardings, and will be unveiled soon.

There will also be opportunities for the community to involve themselves in public art which will go on display inside the new building.

The project will also see extensive landscaping and public realm works in the area surrounding the new building, including Ludovic Square.

A temporary library has been opened in nearby Collier Street, and will stay in place for the duration of the works.

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paisley 10k

Paisley 10k road race attracts almost 1,500 runners

Around 1,500 runners pounded the streets of Paisley at the weekend as the annual Paisley Vision 10k road race took place.

The event – doubling as the Scottish Athletics West District 10K Road Race Championship – saw serious runners and enthusiastic amateurs alike strap on their running shoes.

Hundreds of residents lined the streets as they turned out to cheer on the runners in the sunshine.

The 10k course started and ended in County Square and took runners through Ferguslie Park on its way to Asda, before coming back through the west end of the town along the Paisley – Kilmacolm cycle track.

Along the way, runners passed local landmarks such as Paisley Abbey and Town Hall, St Mirren Park and the University of the West of Scotland.

The first man home was Callum Hawkins of Kilbarchan AAC, in a time of 30:40 and the fastest woman was team-mate Hayley Haining, in 34:28.

The road race was followed by a fun run, which saw a record-breaking entry of around 700 runners tackle the 3km route around the town centre.

The winner was Kilbarchan AAC’s Conor Thomson in a time of 08:47.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall, who was there on the day to present medals to the winners, said: “Events like this are great for bringing a crowd into the town centre and it was lovely to see so many people turn out to cheer on their friends and family.

“The runners will have had their own reasons for getting involved, whether it be to raise money for charity or just to get themselves fit – but they are all winners.”

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, added: “The promotion of sport and healthy lifestyles is something the council is very keen to be part of.

“The turnout was up on recent years, which is testament to how well-established this event has become.

“We made changes to the pricing structure for this year’s event in line with feedback from participants, and I am glad people have responded to that.

“I would like to thank all those who gave up their time to help with the organisation of the race, as well as our race sponsors MEPC for their contribution.”

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Clyde visits Renfrewshire’s Commonwealth sports programme

Renfrewshire’s Councils summer activity programme has been voted a hit by record numbers of school children taking part.

Youngsters of all ages from Renfrewshire took part in sports camps, outdoor activities and organised day trips.

They were treated to a visit from Clyde, the energetic 2014 Commonwealth Games mascot to mark the end a successful summer of sport.

clyde-commonwealth-gamesHe was welcomed to Renfrewshire with colourful celebrations at St Benedict’s High School before travelling to the On-X to cheer on Renfrewshire’s future sporting talent enrolled in the Star Track Athletics camp.

The Commonwealth Games was the theme of this year’s summer programme with participation in six of the disciplines encouraged through the provision of sports specific coaching for rugby, triathlon, hockey, cycling, badminton and athletics.

Supported through funding from EventScotland, children aged primary 7 and above were able to develop their skills within their chosen field by taking part in structured training sessions lead by qualified coaches.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board said, “The summer activities programme forms part of the council’s strategy to develop a sporting legacy inspired by the 2014 Games.

“An active lifestyle is key to achieving and maintaining good health, which is so important if you want to get on and succeed in life.

“It’s been great to see Renfrewshire’s young people keeping fit and active during their holidays, whether that’s been playing sport, exercising, enjoying games, crafts or exploring new hobbies”.

The Star Track Athletics camp attracted 60 budding athletes. Over four days they honed their skills across all the major track and field disciplines – sprints, hurdles, endurance running, hammer, shot putt, javelin, pole vault, high jump and triple jump.

To take the edge off the hard work and to inject an element of fun into the training, athletes and coaches were encouraged to participate in fancy dress and crazy hair themes and there were visits from local sports personalities including Clyde.

Olympic torch bearer and experienced athletics field marshal, Elaine Green, was also among those that came to watch Renfrewshire’s emerging talent and show support as participants boldly tried to take on various athletics world records.

Each child had a set number of attempts in the shot putt and triple jump to see if their combined efforts could beat the respective world records. They also tried to complete 60, 80 or 100m sprints in less time than Usain Bolt’s 200m world record of 19.19 seconds.

Participants received a certificate, a medal and a slap band to celebrate their achievement.

Equally successful was the council’s badminton programme. Weeklong courses took place at St Andrew’s Academy, Trinity High and St Benedict’s High School, each accommodating 20 competitors keen to develop new skills and improve their performance.

Co-ordinated by the Active Renfrewshire team, course leaders put to use their recently gained Level 1 and Level 2 UK Coaching Certificates. They rounded off the week by putting on a tournament for the children, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate their improved game playing ability in front of spectators.

The ticket ballot for the 2014 Commonwealth Games opens today, Monday 19 August. The council however is keen to remind Renfrewshire residents that they don’t have to wait a year to cheer on Scotland’s elite. The Paisley’s 10k road race and fun race takes place this coming weekend on Sunday 25 August. Residents can take their place on the start line or cheering from the sidelines when the starting gun sounds at 10am. For more information: Online registration closes at noon on Friday 23 August.

ON-X Linwood

Discount boost for sport in Renfrewshire

Local sports teams are being encouraged to get their pre-season training underway by taking advantage of the discounts available across Renfrewshire leisure facilities.

Renfrewshire Council has halved the cost of its synthetic pitches making it more affordable for local teams to continuing training in the area.  The adult team hire cost for a two-hour session has fallen to £91.90 from £183.80 per hour, effectively giving teams their second hour of play for free.

Under 18s also benefit from the same price as a result of the council increasing its concessionary discount from 30 to 50% off the adult price. The concession for young people extends to all activities, across all sport facilities.

ON-X Linwood

The measures are part of the council’s strategy to increase participation in sport and include a

£5 million overhaul of the council’s grass pitches and changing facilities.

Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said: “Giving residents access to affordable but also modern, high-quality leisure facilities is a key part of our Active Renfrewshire strategy. It increases people’s ability and desire to get active, which is good for individual wellbeing and the future of sport in Renfrewshire”.

Ahead of each new season the council undertakes a programme of maintenance to ensure its pitches remain in match-fit condition. This includes the repair or replacement of goalposts, seeding, weed control and line-painting.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said, “Our pitches are always fully booked. These measures ensure the clubs and groups that regularly use the pitches continue do so and feel they’re getting a better deal as a result.  Local teams play an important role in supporting healthy lifestyles, promoting community involvement, and in giving younger players the opportunity to participate in sport at a level suited to their ability.

“Getting active in Renfrewshire however isn’t just about engaging in competitive sport. We want more people to take part in, and enjoy, whatever form of physical exercise suits them best. By increasing the concessionary discount, our younger residents have the opportunity to experience a whole range of pursuits such as swimming, visiting the gym, cheerleading or taking part in one of the many exercise classes available at our new facilities – all for half the adult price.”

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