dec 2014 ASN sod-cutting big group

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Work has started on a state-of-the-art £18.8m school for children in Renfrewshire with additional support needs.

Pupils, school staff, councillors and contractors recently attended a sod-cutting ceremony on the site of the former St Brendan’s High School on Middleton Road, Linwood.

The new school – scheduled to open in August 2016 – will replace the existing Clippens School, Kersland School and the Hollybush pre-5 centre.

dec 2014 ASN sod-cutting big group

The school has been jointly funded by Renfrewshire Council £10.1m) and the Scottish Futures Trust (£8.7m).

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board , said: “There has been a lot of hard work, discussion and consultation to get to this point and it is very encouraging to launch the final phase of this ambitious project.

“We will provide a school which will maximise the potential of young people, their families and the staff.

“Renfrewshire is building on our existing work with children who have additional support needs and maintaining that same ethos of support and achievement in an outstanding new environment.”

Pre-five, primary and secondary education will all be offered on the one site – the first time in Renfrewshire that children aged up to 2 have been based at a facility which can offer them educational and personal development throughout their school career.

The purpose-built facility will offer improved accessibility for pupils with physical or sensory difficulties, along with better access to sports facilities and IT equipment.

Specialist staff will be located on site widening the range of expertise available to the children.

James McAlpine, managing director of contractors CBC, said: Having recently completed the new St James’ school campus in Renfrew, we are delighted to be helping to deliver this exciting, innovative and inspirational project. The new school will be a huge asset to the local community and CBC are very proud to be bringing it to life.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Pedal for charity plea from sports boss

A CHARITY cycling event has won the backing of Renfrewshire Leisure chief executive Joyce McKellar.
Not only is the Renfrewshire Leisure management trust that runs sports and leisure centres locally supporting the event organisation, Joyce herself has agreed to take part in the Renfrewshire 100 cycle ride.

The event is being held to raise money for Action Medical Research for Children – a charity saving and changing children’s lives from birth through research into diseases and disabilities.


Joyce – a keen road cyclist – is taking part in the Classic Route over a 70-mile course around the west of Scotland. There is also the more challenging Champion Route at 100 miles.

And she is urging cyclists to sign up for the Renfrewshire 100 event taking place from the On-X Sports and Leisure Centre, in Linwood, on Sunday, August 17.

Joyce says: “I would urge the many cycling enthusiasts out there to get on their bikes and take part in the Renfrewshire 100 as it’s a for very worthy cause.

“It will also be a fantastic day of cycling for both the novice and experienced cyclists. And the event will take us through a unique mix of town, country and coastal routes.”

The event is part of the popular Action Medical Research for Children RIDE100 series of one-day bike rides held across the UK. All the events include chip timing, food and water stations, lunch, marshals and mechanics.
The charity’s fundraising manager in Scotland, Janet Balcombe said: “Our RIDE100 events are very popular and we would hope to attract up to 600 cyclists taking part in the Renfrewshire 100.

“These fundraising events are vital to the work the charity does to help sick and disabled babies and children.
“We can’t thank the team at Renfrewshire Leisure enough for providing us with all the help we are getting.
“And of course, Joyce herself who is proving that actions speak louder than words as she gets on her bike and pedals her way around the Classic course.”

Log on to for more information and to register for the charity cycle event.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Paisley to host Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

Renfrewshire has pulled off a major coup as it gets set to host one of motorsport’s most iconic and world-renowned events – the Monte Carlo Classic Rally.

Up to 100 classic cars dating back to the 1920s will assemble in Paisley town centre before setting off for the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera.

The event – on the evening of 23 January 2014 – will see Paisley as one of five departure points, alongside Barcelona, Stockholm, Oslo and Reims.

Date: 23 January 2014

Time: Entertainment from 4pm, cars leaving from 6pm

Venue: Abbey Close, Paisley

Vehicles driven by classic car lovers will set off from outside Paisley Abbey on the 2,688km adventure to Monte Carlo, via the Channel Tunnel and over the snow-covered French Alps.

Since the event returned to Scotland in 2011, around over 30,000 spectators have watched internationally-famous cars such as Imps, Triumphs, Porsches and Bentleys set off for France.

This year’s event is expected to see the total economic benefit to Scotland top the £4 million mark since 2011.

The entry list is truly global, with crews from Scotland and the UK joining crews from across Europe. Among those are a Mediterranean mega-yacht captain in a 1958 Riley, a Zurich-based world land-speed record hopeful in a Porsche, and two French crews who will travel to Paisley only to go all the way back again.

Residents had a chance to see some classic cars up close for themselves at a launch event outside Paisley Abbey today (Thursday) – including a 1926 Bentley and a Renfrewshire-made Hillman Imp.

There on the day were Rosemary Smith, Irish rally driver of the 1960s, who will be starting the race, and Paul Coulter – who wrote the play Linwood No More about Linwood’s former Hillman Imp factory and who will be taking part in the rally.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are delighted to welcome this prestigious event and would like to thank the organisers for bringing it here.

“Being chosen to host an occasion of this calibre is a major thumbs-up for the area and the latest boost to Paisley and Renfrewshire’s fast-growing reputation as a venue for top-class events.

“Our events strategy – including this year’s Royal National Mòd and Spree arts festival – is helping to drive the regeneration of the area and boost local businesses.

“We look forward to another big crowd in January and I’m sure the sight of these magnificent vehicles assembling in the town will be a spectacle not to be missed.”

Douglas Anderson, competitor and spokesman for the Rally Start Committee said: “Since we brought the rally start back to Scotland in 2011, it has surpassed all expectations. It is exciting, colourful and endures in peoples’ imaginations.

“Paisley will be an excellent location as a start venue. It has a stunning visual backdrop, with the historic Abbey and Town Hall.

“It also has quick access to the first stages of the route for the cars of all eras that will be taking part. We know it will be a spectacle which befits such a famous event.”

A still-to-be-announced week-long programme of related events will take place around Renfrewshire to mark the occasion – with the area’s links to the car industry through the former Hillman Imp factory at Linwood set to be celebrated.

Paul Coulter, writer and rally competitor, added: “This year is the 50th anniversary of the production of the first Hillman Imp in the area, and 2014 will be 50 years from the first time Imps took part in the rally.

“Paisley was at one time the epicentre of the Scottish car-building industry and it is fantastic to mark this anniversary with the rally starting from the town.”

You can find information about the rally on its Facebook page.

Images courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

Hillman Imp Linwood Rally

Linwood car factory immortalised in play.

Linwood No More, a new play created by White Stag Theatre Company, will immortalise the former Rootes / Chrysler car factory near Paisley with two site-specific performances on Thursday 7 November.

The year 2000. As the new millennium dawns, a homeless alcoholic awakens to reflect on the events that changed his life. Recalling his first day at the Rootes car factory near Paisley, Linwood No More is a nostalgic, humorous and often harrowing journey through life in the town of Linwood and a factory that is no more.

Hillman Imp Linwood Rally

Written by Paul Coulter, Linwood No More stars well known Scottish actor Vincent Friell (Trainspotting, Taggart, Restless Natives) in the title role. Playing the part of a former factory worker, Friell’s character is made redundant in 1981 when the factory closes, having worked at the plant since 1965 building iconic cars such as the Hillman Imp, Hillman Hunter and the Talbot Sunbeam over the course of his career.

To complete its tour of Scottish theatres, the final two performances of Linwood No More will take place at the only remaining building of the former Rootes factory, within the St James Business Centre in Linwood. The factory closed after only 18 years of production and lay derelict for many years before being transformed into a retail park in the 1990s.

Playwright Paul Coulter comments:

“2013 is an important year for the Hillman Imp and for the village of Linwood. For many years the story of Linwood has been neglected and it is important that in the 50th anniversary of the factory opening we celebrate the success of the Hillman Imp motor car and the huge contribution the people of Linwood made to Scotland and the UK’s motoring heritage. The Hillman Imp was one of the first cars with a hatch back, automatic choke, aluminium engine, split folding rear seats and pneumatic throttle. The car was way ahead of its time at launch and its achievements need to be recognised.”

Linwood No More will be at the former Rootes car factory, St James Business Centre, Linwood on Thursday 7 November. The 7.30pm performance has now sold out but there are a handful of tickets left for an additional performance at 9pm. Tickets cost £10 (£6 conc). To book please call the Box Office on 0300 300 1210 or go online to

For further information on Renfrewshire Arts & Museums’ events log on to or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @RenArtsMuseums.


Laughter, Buddy Guaranteed: Renfrewshire Arts & Museums is delighted to announce its brand new arts programme for autumn 2013.

Autumn has arrived at Renfrewshire Arts & Museums, bringing with it a wonderful selection of theatre and dance performances, exhibitions at Paisley Museum, music and stand-up gigs as well as a superb range of regular events and classes for everyone from creative kids to talented tea dancers.

Our 50-strong line-up of performances, events and exhibitions falls during a busy time for Renfrewshire, with the arrival of the Royal National Mòd and The Spree arts festival, both of which take place in venues around Paisley in October.

PillarGalleryLaughter, Buddy Guaranteed. This autumn we are most looking forward to launching a new, monthly comedy strand featuring all the big names in Scottish stand-up. ‘A Buddy Good Laugh’ is the brainchild of Renfrewshire Arts & Museums and local comedy promoters Dead Sheep Comedy and will see headline acts like Des Clarke, Gary Little & Janey Godley take to the mic at Paisley Arts Centre and Paisley Town Hall. And, just to add a little more intrigue, we have secured a hugely successful mystery guest for our first show. We can’t reveal who it is yet but comedy fans will know this person well from their impressive run of sell-out world tours and numerous TV appearances.

Fringe Links. A number of our forthcoming plays and theatre productions are currently showing at the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. See the critically acclaimed ‘If These Spasms Could Speak’, ‘The List’ and children’s performance ‘Head in the Clouds’ straight after their Fringe run at Paisley Arts Centre. Or break out of the theatre for a nostalgic performance of ‘Linwood No More’ at the former Linwood Rootes Car Factory.

Showcasing the best of local heritage. Paisley Museum commemorates a local landmark with September exhibition ‘Abbey 850’ and the museum will be celebrating Gaeldom in October with a trio of displays highlighting Gaelic heritage and culture to coincide with the Royal National Mòd.

Animal mad! Whether your favourite animal is a sheep, a tiger or even a polar bear, we have many funny, interactive and magical events and performances planned for children and families. Plus our talented Outreach team are set to deliver an array of creative activities involving fashion, animation and even horrible histories!

The new autumn Guide brochure, complete with details of our arts and events programme in full, is now available to collect, for free, from Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre, Paisley Museum and Renfrew Town Hall. Or you can see what’s on online, by visiting

For regular updates on Renfrewshire Arts & Museums, follow us on Facebook (, Twitter (@RenArtsMuseums) or sign up to our free weekly e-news service, simply email to join the mailing list.

Hillman Imp Linwood Rally

Linwood Imp Returns to Linwood.

Photographs of the Hillman Imp Rally at St James Business Centre, Thursday 2nd May 2013. All Photographs taken for by Tracey Clements

The centre-piece of the celebrations was a parade involving a 50-strong convoy of vintage Imps, which have now set off on a 320-mile journey from the Linwood site to the former Rootes headquarters in Ryton-on-Dunsmore.

50 years of derision but the Imp is back on road to success

(Get down to Linwood St James Centre just now to see the parade)

THEY were hailed as Scotland’s answer to the Mini, but quickly turned into a national laughing stock – famed for breaking down and seizing up.

But this week, champions of the Hillman Imp – manufactured during the 1960s and 1970s at the Rootes Group car plant in Linwood, Renfrewshire – will celebrate the 50th anniversary of a car that some believe was ahead of its time.

hillmanAbout 20 former workers will join Renfrewshire’s provost Anne Hall on Thursday as she unveils a commemorative plaque at the St James Business Centre in Paisley – formerly the offices of the Linwood car plant – to mark the factory’s opening by the Duke of Edinburgh on May 2, 1963.

Meanwhile, a convoy of 50 classic cars manufactured at the plant, including the Hillman Imp, will set off from Paisley to Coventry – once the headquarters of the Rootes Group. Organisers have appealed to any owners of a Hillman Hunter to get in touch to help complete the rally.

The event will be a chance for enthusiasts to honour a forgotten icon of Scottish motoring, scrapped in 1976 and followed in 1981 by the shutdown of the Linwood plant, which at its peak employed 9000 workers.

The Hillman Imp was born out of a post-war car boom. The Conservative government of the day introduced a scheme banning new car plants in areas which already had them. At the same time, grants were offered to companies willing to set up shop or relocate to deprived areas.

Linwood – with its high unemployment, proximity to Glasgow, motorways, air and rail links – seemed the ideal site. The plant would go on to manufacture 440,000 Imps. Unfortunately, the move proved disastrous for Rootes. The commercial failure of the Imp, first produced in 1963, ushered in a gradual takeover of the company by America’s Chrysler corporation. read more on the Herald Scotland website here…

Good news for Linwood residents – no land clean up needed

Residents living on the site of the former Sun Iron Foundry and Brediland Chemical Works in Linwood are to receive the good news that the land their homes are built on is safe and no major clean-up is needed.

Around 300 homes were built on the former industrial site in the 1960s.

In 2010 Renfrewshire Council began an exhaustive investigation to find out if there was pollution under the ground, after small amounts of black tar started coming to the surface in the Erskinefauld area.

The investigations involved digging boreholes and testing soil and ground water samples taken from gardens and public land in the area.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said, “This is really good news for the residents living in the Erskinefauld area of Linwood. The council has thoroughly checked the ground their homes stand on and they can rest assured it is safe.

“We have consulted closely with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and expert advisers on the results of the investigation. They have confirmed that there is no need for a major clean-up on health grounds.

“Our investigation also involved a wide-ranging review of health statistics. This showed there is no difference between the health of people in Linwood and anywhere else in the west of Scotland.

“This has been a long process and I would like to thank the people of Linwood for their patience while we carried out this work and processed all the information from the test results.”

The results of the investigations will be discussed at a meeting of the council’s Environment Policy Board on 13 March 2013.

The meeting will also hear proposals to cap the ground at Erskinefauld Road play park with a new layer of fresh soil so that it can be brought back into use as public open space.

When the investigation work started residents were advised to avoid contact with the soil as a precaution. This advice no longer needs to be followed.

The west of Scotland’s industrial heritage means that many homes are built on the sites of old factories. Often accurate records aren’t available on how thoroughly these sites were cleaned up when they closed.

Procedures are very different today and developers must agree to clean up land affected by old industries as part of the planning and development process.

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This summer, Linwood Active Group held a massive clean up of the woodland area behind the Linwood Sports Centre and collected a staggering 26 bags of rubbish. That’s the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tonnes of rubbish!

Linwood Active Group is just one of the many community groups that are continuing to keep Renfrewshire clean and tidy following as part of Clean Renfrewshire. Since 2006, when the group first formed, Linwood Active Group has taken part in clean ups covering four areas of Linwood – Riverside Walk, the woodland area round the Sports Centre, the green belt that surrounds East Fulton and Kintyre Park. The clean ups are a huge hit, attracting up to 30 volunteers at a time, with ages ranging from 2 year olds to pensioners.

Cllr Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, said:
“We are always grateful for the continued support of community groups such as the Linwood Active Group. It is the enthusiasm and dedication from people of all ages across Renfrewshire that we are aiming to engage. They are the lifeblood behind the Clean Renfrewshire campaign.

“Since the launch of Clean Renfrewshire in 2008, these individuals and groups have significantly contributed to the success of the campaign. With their ongoing support, we can continue the momentum of the campaign. I would like to encourage everybody to get on board, to help ensure Renfrewshire is a clean and tidy place to live, work and visit.”

Lesley Compston of the Linwood Active Group said:
“The Clean Renfrewshire campaign is such a great initiative. Our group benefits from the bags and litter picking devises that they provide us with. Our volunteers really enjoy the clean ups and we aim to carry on our tradition of doing more for our local community.”

The Linwood Active Group organises these clean-ups and other community activities including providing the people of Linwood a place to recycle their old mobile phones and unwanted clothes.

The group’s next clean up is scheduled for the 12th of September in Kintyre Park and the Riverside Walk. Anyone from the area is welcome to join the team. For more details of a clean up near you, simply call the Clean Renfrewshire Helpline on 0141 842 4448.

To reinforce the activity being carried out by individuals and groups, the Clean Renfrewshire campaign introduced the Renfrewshire Wardens Service last year to increase further awareness about the need to maintain a clean environment. As part of their wider community role, the Wardens also have the power to issue £50 fixed penalty notices for littering and £40 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling to those who continue to drop litter or allow their dogs to foul the county’s streets and parks, demonstrating that Clean Renfrewshire means business.