Lights, camera, action for Recruits in fire film challenge.

A group of young people on a popular youth employment programme turned moviemakers for a day to shoot their own superhero-themed fire safety film.

The lights, camera, action took place as part of the council-run Recruit programme for jobseekers, and saw participants devise, script, act and produce their own mini-movie.

The Recruit is loosely modelled on telly favourite The Apprentice and sees 16-24-year-olds take part in a series of business and practical challenges, with job opportunities on offer for the winners.

Picture 2  the cast and crew of the film

The challenge was set by local training firm Code Red Fire Safety, who visited the Recruits to offer tips on staying safe in the home, and asked them to produce the film.

The 38 Recruits were split into five teams and asked to pitch their ideas, with Team Tenacious chosen as the winners and asked to make their film, assisted by Glasgow production firm Baby Grand.

Their winning idea sees a superhero – Captain Courageous – saving a cat from a tree and an old lady from two muggers, then is caught in a blaze at home caused by leaving his phone charger plugged in – showing even heroes aren’t safe from fire.

Filming took place around Paisley town centre with the completed video to be premiered during the finale of the current Recruit programme, in Paisley Town Hall on March 26.

Recruit Connor McCuaig, 18, from Paisley – who plays the old lady mugging victim in the film – said: “The Recruit is a fantastic programme. It opens doors for you, you do new things and meet new people. It’s also a lot of fun.

James McMahon, director of Code Red Fire Safety, said: “We have been involved with The Recruit for a couple of years now, and it is a pleasure to work with the young people.

“We wanted to set them a task around a fire safety theme which would let them get creative – the video has a serious message but was a lot of fun to make as well.”

Councillor Roy Glen, convener of the council’s Economy and Jobs Policy Board, said: “The Recruit has been in operation in Renfrewshire now for four years and has now seen hundreds of young people develop their skills in a uniquely rewarding and enjoyable experience.

The Recruit 01

“Once again, we would like to thank all the local companies who have provided sponsorship and helped run challenges as part of the programme, as their expertise and support is invaluable.”

The current edition of The Recruit has been running since January and includes a mix of unemployed youths and winter school leavers.

Organisations which have helped run challenges on the programme so far include Tennent’s training academy, the Territorial Army, NS Design, Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, Phoenix Car Company and RBS

The Recruit will be back in June with the summer edition, which will feature S5/6 school pupils from across Renfrewshire.

Courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.

Paisley Dyson Centre

Shop aims to clean up thanks to council grant.

A Paisley vacuum repair shop is hoping to hoover up some new trade after it was revamped through help from a council heritage scheme.

Renfrewshire Council’s £3.5m Townscape Heritage Initiative/Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme includes a shopfront grant scheme for local retail properties.

It meets up to 90% of the costs of restoring and reinstating traditional shopfronts – and one of the latest to benefit is the Dyson shop at 35 Causeyside Street.

Councillor Terry Kelly, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Property Policy Board, visited the shop to see the work for himself.

Paisley Dyson Centre

The grant paid for the reinstatement of traditional features on the outside of the shop.

The THI/CARS scheme aims to preserve and improve the buildings and surroundings of the Causeyside area of Paisley town centre.

Councillor Kelly said: “The THI/CARS scheme aims to restore some of the town’s stunning architectural heritage to its former glory.

“That has included a number of big projects within the town centre – but a key part of the programme is that there is money available to help individual shopowners too.

“I would encourage any shopowners within the Causeyside area who would like to know more about the scheme to get in touch with our officers.”

Christina Mains, the landlord of the building, said: “The grant has made a real difference. My previous tenant was a barber, who moved along the street to a different unit so the unit was empty for a while.

“By then I had already started the process of getting the grant, and the prospect of getting a new shopfront certainly helped me clinch the deal with the new tenant.

“I would definitely recommend the scheme to other businesses in the area as it could make a real difference to the look of the street.”

The THI/CARS scheme is funded by Renfrewshire Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland.

So far, it has included £1m public realm works around Causeyside Street, and a £500k revamp of the category B-listed Paisley Arts Centre.

It has also taken in work to turn a vacant unit in Forbes Place into a block of flats, as well as a programme of community benefit schemes focussed on traditional building skills.

For more information, email or call 0300 300 0144.

council wardens

Emissions blitz nets four offenders

A two-day crackdown on dodgy cars which damage the environment saw Renfrewshire Council workers net four offenders.

Staff from the Renfrewshire Wardens Service took to the streets of Paisley town centre to check whether vehicle emissions were within the legal requirements.

Of the 281 vehicles tested, four failed and were issued with £60 fixed-penalty notices.

Also present were staff from the council’s licensing section, who inspected 13 taxis and 20 private-hire vehicles – with one driver given an immediate suspension for failing the emissions test.

Licensing staff also issued six compliance notices to cabbies for a range of defects including worn tyre treads, blown bulbs and missing fire extinguishers.

The tests – at Wallneuk, Renfrew Road, Paisley – were carried out in partnership with officers from Strathclyde Police’s Road Policing Unit, who were responsible for pulling over the vehicles from traffic.

Councillor Chris Gilmour, Deputy Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, visited the testing site to see the operation in action.

He said: “The aim of this campaign was to issue a highly-visible reminder to drivers that it is up to them to ensure their vehicle’s condition complies with the law.

“The fact more than 98 per cent of vehicles passed the emissions test shows that Renfrewshire’s motorists take that responsibility seriously.

“Vehicle emissions which are outwith the legal limit are liable to pollute the air we all breathe, which brings with it various potential health risks.

“The job of the wardens is to make sure Renfrewshire is a greener and cleaner place to live, and preventing damage to the environment is a key part of that.”

All drivers fined on the day will have the penalty waived if they are able to produce evidence the emissions problem has been fixed within 14 days of the offence.

The police also detected a number of minor road offences during the testing, including vehicle defects and seatbelt violations.

All drivers were also given a council leaflet containing information on the problems caused by vehicle idling.

Picture one (from left to right): Martin Brier, civic enforcement officer; Jeanette Love, senior warden; Councillor Chris Gilmour; Andy Redmond, environmental protection officer; PC Sandra Ewing; with Eric Gilday, senior warden (front).

Picture two: Jeanette and Eric test one vehicle’s emissions.

For more information please visit Renfrewshire Council.

Here are some photos of the afternoon session with the Fire Engine Rally in Gilmour Street and County Square, Paisley.

All photos are taken by Ian McDonald for

Please send any photographs you have in and we shall showcase them to all our visitors.

If you would like to send in some photos for display please send them into full credit will be given.

A fleet of vintage fire engines rolled through Paisley town centre today, the popular Fire Engine Rally began its journey this morning at around 11am. (As photographed by Annie Crawford from

The free event will see an impressive fleet of engines, dating from the 19th century to the present day, proceed through the town from the Fire Station on Canal Street to County Square.

There will be plenty of entertainment for adults and children throughout the day, including fire safety demonstrations and giveaways. It is hoped that there will be an opportunity to see some of the impressive fire appliances used at Glasgow Airport.

Festive campaign launches one stop shop for safety

Community safety organisations across Renfrewshire have teamed up to launch a one stop shop for information and advice as part of their festive safety campaign.

The Community Safety Shop has opened in the Paisley Centre and will run until Friday 23 December from 9.30am until 4.30pm every day.

Around 20 partner organisations have signed up to take part and have staff on hand at different times to provide information, advice and act as a point of contact for members of the public.

Renfrewshire Wardens Service, Strathclyde Fire and Rescue, Strathclyde Police and Renfrewshire Community Health Partnership will all be on hand. There will also be officers from Renfrewshire Council’s Trading Standards and Antisocial Behaviour Investigations (ASIST) teams.

The shop will also be used to invite people to sign up for Renfrewshire’s Ready for Winter campaign.

The launch of the shop also marks the start of additional safety measures being introduced for the festive period.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren, Renfrewshire Council’s Community Safety spokesperson, said: “Throughout the year we work closely with our community safety partners to ensure that people in Renfrewshire feel safe. This is particularly important over the festive period when unfortunately the actions of a few can ruin things for others. The festive safety campaign combines support and advice for the public through the community safety shop with extra measures to ensure our town centres stay safe this Christmas.”

A taxi marshal service will be provided by Renfrewshire Wardens Service in Paisley town centre on Friday and Saturday nights starting from Friday 9 December.

There will also be additional and late night patrols in Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew town centres by both the wardens and Strathclyde Police.

Inspector Joe Thomson of Strathclyde Police said: “As at any time of year, we’re here to keep people safe and whilst we want everyone to enjoy the festivities, we would also urge everyone to take responsibility for their own safety too. Increased levels of alcohol make people more vulnerable, cause them to take risks they would not normally consider and increase the chance of being a victim of crime.

“We have seen significant reductions in violent crime in Renfrewshire in recent years. However we are not complacent and in particular at this time of year we will be working extra hard to have a highly visible presence in town centres and hotspot areas in order to deter those intent on violent crime and antisocial behaviour.”

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue’s Area Commander of Renfrewshire, John Ironside, said: “We are delighted to be working with our Community Planning partners to improve Community Safety in Renfrewshire

“Last year we attended 250 house fires over the holiday period where six people died and 68 people were injured. Two of those fatal house fires occurred in Renfrewshire.

“There are simple steps that any householder can take to reduce the risk of fire.  Take care to put cigarettes out properly, and don’t cook if you are under the influence of alcohol.  But the most fundamental step that anyone can take is to make sure you have a working smoke alarm in your home. If fire does break out it could be your only chance of waking up.”

Strathclyde Fire & Rescue will supply and fit a long life smoke alarm free of charge as part of the Home Fire Safety Visit process. Their call centre is open 24 hours a day, and they will arrange to fit a smoke alarm, and offer home safety advice, at a time that suits you.

Contact phone numbers:

Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

Strathclyde Police 0141 532 2000

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue 0800 0731 999

Renfrewshire Council Anti-social Behaviour Helpline 0800 169 1283

Renfrewshire Wardens Service 0141 889 3499


An exhibition and public meeting are being held to showcase final designs for improvements to the environment of Paisley town centre.

The exhibition will feature proposals to resurface and widen pavements, and install new crossing points and street furniture.

The proposals are centred on the Causeyside area of Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area.

The WRVS Cafe, Unit 37, Paisley Centre, 20 Causeyside Street will host both the exhibition and the public meeting. The exhibition takes place from 10am to 5pm each day from Monday 3 to Thursday 6 October. Read more

Scottish Cycling championships head to Paisley town centre


Top cyclists from across the country will head to Paisley to compete in a national competition against the backdrop of the historic town centre.

The Scottish Cycling Circuit Race 2011 will head back to Renfrewshire for the third year in a row but will this year move from Erskine waterfront to Paisley town centre.

Cyclists, ranging from under 8s to the fastest adult riders in the country will compete in their respective categories on this fast and technical course.

The popular event will take place on Sunday 21 August . As well as the races there will be a host of entertainment and activities on offer for spectators including The Clan cycle stunt team showing off their skills.

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, said: “This will be the third time the Circuit Race Championship will be held in Renfrewshire and due to its growing popularity we’ve decided to move it right into the heart of the town centre. This will give riders a new challenging course and make it great backdrop for all the excitement and fun on the day. This is a major cycling event and it is also a great family so I hope to see lots of people heading into the town to cheers on the competitors.”

The event will incorporate the 2011 Scottish Circuit Race Championships, the Youth Road Race Championships and the West of Scotland Circuit Championships.

Starting on Gauze Street at Paisley’s Town Hall the circuit turns left at Paisley Cross, down St Mirren Brae, left onto Orchard Street, left again onto Bridge Street over the White Cart River, past the Council HQ Building on the right, the historic Paisley Abbey on the left, before sweeping round the final bend and the finishing straight up to Paisley Cross.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our Renfrewshire page on Facebook.

Paisley Abbey

Another chance to comment on town centre plans

Renfrewshire residents and businesses are getting another opportunity to have their say on plans to improve the environment of Paisley town centre.

Following the successful exhibition held recently in the WRVS Cafe in Causeyside Street, plans will be displayed in the Piazza Shopping Centre for three days.

The exhibition will display proposals to improve parking, pavements, streetlighting and preserve the architectural heritage of the Causeyside area. The exhibition will take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 8-10 June and will show draft proposals prepared by consultants Ironside Farrar for Renfrewshire Council after the council successfully secured £1.5million from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

Representatives from Renfrewshire Council and Ironside Farrar will be available at the exhibition each day from 8am to 5pm to provide information and answer questions.

Councillor Iain Nicolson, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Planning and Economic Development Policy Board said “This exhibition is providing people with another opportunity to comment on the draft plans and will ensure that a full consultation process has been carried out prior to the designs being finalised. Staff will be on hand at the exhibition to answer questions and I would encourage people to go along and give us their views. This is a key project which will regenerate the historic core of Paisley Town Centre and we want to get it right – we need the input from the community and this exhibition gives people another chance to contribute.”

The detailed proposals include wider pavements, more crossing points, on street parking, and new lighting and street furniture.

It’s hoped that a planning application for the programme will be submitted later this year with work potentially starting in the Spring of 2012.

The Paisley Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland and Renfrewshire Council. Focused on the Causeyside area of the Paisley Town Centre Conservation Area, the THI project aims to support investment in the regeneration of Paisley town centre.


An initial £4million programme has been launched to transform a derelict site in Paisley which was once occupied by the town’s famous department store.

An innovative partnership has been signed between Renfrewshire Council and Park Lane Group who now jointly own the site of the former Arnotts store on Gauze Street, Paisley.

The council and its commercial partner aim to boost the potential for redevelopment by firstly carrying out environmental improvements including some selective demolition work.

Then the partnership will prepare a detailed masterplan for the site with a mix of residential and commercial uses along with car parking.

The Arnotts site has lain derelict since 2002.

“This major investment and joint approach between the public and private sector provides a unique opportunity to boost the regeneration of Paisley town centre,” said Renfrewshire Council Leader Derek Mackay.

“The Arnotts site holds special place in the memories of many Paisley people. What we want to do now is to redevelop this iconic site to continue the town’s regeneration.

“We will work quickly over the coming months to make the site ready for development. Even in the current difficult economic climate, we feel our partnership will get things moving and turn the site’s fortunes around. The council is committing not only major investment but also the experience gained in a range of successful initiatives to improve Paisley. Those improvements have included better road access for motorists to the town centre, a popular and greatly expanded events programme, the redevelopment of the council’s former headquarters and securing of major funding from the Scottish Government and Heritage Lottery Fund.

“People can see that things are changing for the better in Paisley and this redevelopment plan for the Arnotts site is further evidence that the town’s fortunes are improving.”

Sean Robinson, Joint MD of Park Lane Group, said: “Our firm has a strong track record in commercial development in Renfrewshire and throughout Scotland. That includes major regeneration schemes at Glasgow Harbour and the successful development at Renfrew Riverside.

“We fully recognise the historic importance and, more importantly, the significant commercial potential of the Arnotts site. It’s our intention to actively seek interest from a range of developers and operators and we are confident that they site will again play a thriving role in the economy of Paisley.”

The initial £4million programme for the Arnotts site involves a £3m purchase price and a further Phase One £1m fund to carry out environmental improvements. The bulk of Renfrewshire Council’s contribution comes from the £1.83m which the council secured for Paisley from the Scottish Government’s Town Centres Regeneration Fund.

Renfrewshire Council and Park Lane Group will each have 50/50 shares in a limited liability company which owns the site.

The store on Gauze Street originally opened in 1927 and changed to Arnott’s in 1973.