Parents get to swim with their water babies for free

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PARENTS of babies under 12 months old can now go swimming with their children for free at all Renfrewshire Leisure-run pools.

The new initiative was launched after mum, Laura Bartlett, from Johnstone approached her local councillor, Jacqueline Cameron about people on parental leave not getting a concessionary price to go swimming, even though they are being paid less money, or getting no wage from their employers.
Councillor Cameron raised the issue with the chair of Renfrewshire Leisure’s board, fellow councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes and it was decided to introduce the free swimming for parents who come to pools with their babies, who are under a year old.

Laura, who regularly goes swimming with her daughter, Rosie, now aged one, said: “I think this is fantastic news and it’s a great encouragement for parents of young babies to go swimming together.
“I’ve been taking Rosie to the pool at Johnstone Sports Hub since she was about three months old and it’s great for her development. It’s an activity we enjoy doing together.
“I didn’t think it was fair that I was having to pay full price to go swimming, even though I wasn’t bringing in as much money while I was on maternity leave and there would be other people in the same position as me.”
Councillor Cameron added: “When Laura came to see me and explained the situation I thought hers was such a good idea I wished I’d thought of it myself!
“I spoke to Councillor Hughes as chair of Renfrewshire Leisure and she agreed we should give free access to swimming pools for people on parental leave with babies under 12 months.”
Councillor Hughes said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to live healthy lifestyles. It’s a good idea to introduce babies to the water at an early age and they love being in the pool.
“As a board, we didn’t think it was right that if parents were bringing home less money because they were on parental leave, they should pay full price when they came to one of our pools with their babies.”

SNP Councillors welcome youth commission to research services for young people.

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A team of young people are aiming to improve mental health services by leading a study, commissioned by the Scottish Government. This comes as part of the 10 year Mental Health Strategy launched last year.

Cllr Jim Paterson

In a partnership between the Scottish Government, Young Scot and the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), 22 members of the Youth Commission on Mental Health Services will begin work this week in an effort to reshape the support available.

The Youth Commission will work together to develop recommendations for ministers and service providers on how child and adolescent mental health services can be improved.

Mental health is a key theme of the Scottish Governments Year of Young People 2018.

Renfrewshire Council’s Convener of Education and Children’s services Cllr Jim Paterson has welcomed this progress:

“I am pleased to see that this Commission will begin work this week. This is the Year of Young People 2018 in Scotland and it is extremely encouraging to know that this study will give young people the chance to shape and develop their own strategies and ideas on the best ways to improve mental health services for them.”

 “This commission gives an opportunity to deliver real change, based on evidence and experience, and create a society and health service that better meets the mental and physical health needs of our children and young people.”

“Here in Renfrewshire, the SNP fully understand that young people should be involved in decisions that affect them. I am very proud that Renfrewshire was one of the first local authorities to have a young person put forward a motion to Council which will see young people in Renfrewshire involved in the development of the Personal, Social and Health Education.”

Vice Chair of the Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board Cllr Jacqueline Cameron added:

“Improving mental health in young people is a key aim for the SNP group in Renfrewshire Council and it is encouraging to know that future policy can be built around work undertaken by young people themselves.”

“The Scottish Government have been very supportive in the innovative ways that we can improve the mental health needs of our younger generations. This commission is a step forward in improving the mental health of young people in Renfrewshire.”

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Time to hoop some praise on unsung sports heroes

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SCOTLAND basketball star, Chris Cleary reckons we should be hoop-ing praise on the unsung heroes of sport.
Chris – who recently returned from Australia’s Gold Coast where he and his team mates narrowly missed out on a bronze medal – is urging people to nominate those who deserve an accolade in the Renfrewshire Sports Awards 2018.
These awards, organised by Renfrewshire Leisure, aim to showcase the dedication and hard work of local sports club coaches, volunteers, officials and those taking part in sport. Nominations are open until June 29.

Categories in the awards are – Community Coach of the Year; Young Coach of the Year; Disability Sports Coach of the Year; Technical Official of the Year; Volunteer of the Year; Young Volunteer of the Year; Community Health Volunteer and a Dedication to Sport Award.
Chris, who works for Renfrewshire Leisure as an Active Schools and Community Club Officer said: “I started playing basketball when I was 16 and at Gryffe High School, in Houston, Renfrewshire.
“One of our PE teachers there was Lindsay Lang who started a basketball club in Paisley and my sporting career really took off when he encouraged me to join. That was my pathway into the sport of basketball.

“It’s thanks to people like Lindsay who devote so much of their time to running sports clubs that young people get the chance to develop their skills.”
Chris added: “There are lots of unsung heroes of sport out there and I think it’s time they got some recognition. I’d encourage people involved in sport to nominate someone who deserves an award.”
Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “Without the dedication of the many people who give up their time to help run teams, sports clubs, or coach young people, there wouldn’t be the same sporting opportunities for everyone else.
“Tell us who these people are and we’ll give them the recognition they deserve.”
Log on to  awards to nominate someone for an award.

SNP Councillors Welcome Workers Memorial Day

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“Too many families suffer the horror of seeing a loved one go to work and never return. It is important that health and safety legislation at work is tackled seriously”, says Cllr John McNaughtan (SNP – Paisley East and Central).

Workers Memorial Day takes place on Saturday 28thApril 2018. The purpose of the day is two-fold, to remember those who have died, been injured, or made ill by their work and to ensure that this loss and suffering is used to reinvigorate the campaign for healthier and safer work; for those still at work, their families, and their children who will become tomorrows’ workers.
The theme of this year’s event is to highlight that unionised workplaces are safer workplaces.
There will be two commemoration events in Renfrewshire on Saturday 28th April, one at the Workers Memorial Cairn in Robertson Park, Renfrew at 11 am and the other at the memorial outside Renfrewshire House in Paisley at 1pm.
Cllr John McNaughtan said;
“As a former shop steward, I know that health and safety in the workplace isn’t an optional extra – it is a fundamental right for all workers. However, there are serious fears that Brexit will reduce health and safety legislation within all workplaces.
“Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents”. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day (WMD) commemorates those workers.”
Cllr Cathy McEwan, SNP Renfrew and Gallowhill added:
“It is also a very special occasion with the very first event taking place at the Workers’ Memorial Cairn in Robertson Park, Renfrew. I worked alongside Cllr Jim Paterson and my former colleague Bill Perrie to support the campaign for this cairn and I am honoured to be speaking at this event on Saturday”.

Public exhibition on plans for new business development site

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Plans to develop a new business development site next to Glasgow Airport will be presented at a public exhibition in May.

Renfrewshire Council’s City Deal team will be on hand to discuss the proposals at the Normandy Hotel in Renfrew, from 11am to 7pm on Wednesday 2 May.
The City Deal team intend to apply for planning permission in principle for the new business development located at Netherton Farm, to the east of Abbotsinch Road.

A 158-acre site, it would have a focus on advanced manufacturing and research and development, with opportunities for a wide range of businesses large and small.
And the proposed site would be at the centre of the development of emerging plans for an advanced manufacturing innovation district.
Planning consent is already in place for the enabling roads, bridges and cycle routes, which is funded through £39.1million from the Glasgow City Region City Deal, with work expected to start on this in late 2018.
Feedback from this public consultation will be incorporated into an application for planning permission in principle to ensure the site is in prime position to attract investors and welcome new tenants.
Planning permission in principle addresses common planning, environmental and statutory requirements for the land, streamlining the process for potential developers, who would still be required to submit detailed planning applications for any proposed developments.
Members of the public will have further opportunity to make formal representation to the planning authority once the application is submitted.
A City Deal spokesperson said: “We would encourage people to come along and learn more about these exciting proposals which have the potential to attract major investment into Renfrewshire and create thousands of jobs.
“This exhibition is an important part of the pre-application planning process and all feedback will be carefully considered before any application is submitted.”


johnstone town hall

Last weekend saw Renfrewshire Council’s first Big Spring Clean with more than 1000 volunteers taking part in 31 community clean ups across Renfrewshire. Volunteers, pupils, services and local businesses all worked together to collect just under 500 bags of rubbish and joining with them were your local SNP councillors who took part in clean ups across Renfrewshire.

Litter picks were arranged across the area by schools and community groups, while Renfrewshire Council provided the equipment and were on call to collect rubbish at the end of each event.
Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean was created as a part of the SNP administration’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign and the success of this weekend shows the continuing support for the campaign.
Cllr Cathy McEwan, Convener of the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Board stated, “I am thrilled about the success of the Big Spring Clean weekend and the continuing success of the SNP’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign. It was fantastic to see so many people out working together and taking pride in their local areas.”

“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 a huge success, with a noticeable increase in the cleanliness of all communities after the weekends efforts.”
“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.”
The SNP budget recently allocated £2.5 million over the next five years, to the Team Up to Clean Up campaign and environmental efforts. Investment over the last year has already seen a programme of increased gully cleaning, mechanical street sweeping, a strengthened Rapid Response Team and additional litter pickers however with increased investment, the SNP will be looking to take this even further.
Cllr Don, Depute Convener of the Infrastructure, Land and Environment Board has stated that she hopes the results of the Big Spring Clean will be maintained in the future. 
“Just under 500 bags of rubbish were collected by volunteers and while this is fantastic, I want to get to a stage where this level of litter is non-existent in Renfrewshire.”
“The council has a responsibility to maintain the fantastic work carried out by volunteers over the weekend and the SNP’s increased investment will allow the council to continue to invest in new ways to improve the cleanliness and appearance of our local environment.”
“As local residents however, we also have a responsibility too. We need to discourage the throw away culture which has developed and I hope that the visual presence of a huge number of local residents picking up litter in their area, may make people think twice in the future.
“It was fantastic to see many local businesses getting involved, with some even carrying out litter picks of their own. Education is key to the Team Up to Clean Up campaign; people have to understand that it is not ok to drop litter and the more attention the campaign gets, the more we will be able to get this message across. Thank you again, to everyone who got involved.”
More information on the campaigns initiatives, following the increased investment, will be available in the coming weeks. Although the Big Spring Clean weekend may now be over, the Team Up to Clean Up  campaign continues with new litter picks being organised regularly.If you would like to get involved or for more information on the campaign, visit or join the Team Up to Clean Up Facebook group where you can keep up to date with the campaign and volunteers across Renfrewshire.

Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean brings out more than 1000 volunteers

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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 or join the Team Up to Clean Up community group on Facebook.

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Paisley Food and Drink Festival set to be a treat for the tastebuds

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Some of Scotland’s best food and drink producers and vendors will be in Paisley this weekend for the annual Paisley Food and Drink Festival for what is set to be the event’s biggest year yet.

The festival takes place this Friday 27 and Saturday 28 April, when the very best of Scotland’s producers will showcase their wares to visitors in Paisley’s iconic Abbey Close. Visitors can enjoy a fantastic selection of street food vendors, food and drink stalls, interactive workshops, live music and Scotland’s largest real ale festival.
For the first time Pitt Street Food Market, Scotland’s first street food market which won the Scottish Street Food Awards and have catered Electric Fields and Meats and Beats Festival, will be at the festival with some of the best street food vendors from around Scotland such as shellfish and speciality meat vendor Barnacles & Bones, Scottish food favourite Bruadair, The Buffalo Truck and Harajuku Kitchen.

Hal Prescott of Pitt Street said: “The Pitt is delighted to be a part of this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival. We’ll be bringing some award-winning traders, from far and wide across Scotland. Expect some stunning food, drinks and entertainment across an amazing couple of days.
“People should come along to the event and try some amazing international cuisine from some of the best street food traders in the country. Come down and try dumplings from a tuk-tuk, hanger steaks off a bespoke bbq or shellfish with gourmet fries. It’s going to be a feast for the senses.”
Foodie fans can also sample some more taste sensations from Babu Kitchen, Mighty Mexican, Linton and Co Coffee, Scozzese Pizza and Sharma Street Food. Smaller portion sizes for children and a range of halal, gluten free, veggie and vegan options will be on offer and visitors will also be able to sample a wide range of craft beers, small batch gins from Gin 71 and prosecco on tap from FizzBuz. Visitors will be able to purchase some great produce from the Farmers’ Market, trader stalls and craft market.

Cooking demonstrations will take place with former Masterchef the Professionals winner, chef Jamie Scott, to allow visitors to learn the best tricks of the trade.
Chef, Jamie Scott, said: “I’m really looking forward to being part of this year’s Paisley Food and Drink Festival. Events like this are a great way to get insight into local producers, suppliers, restaurants and cafés.  It’s a great way for people to get involved with food particularly those that take an interest in cooking.”

There will be plenty to keep the kids entertained with a selection of free children’s workshops where they will have the chance to get some hands-on foodie experiences with Events Diva’s calzone and cupcake making sessions or Sweet Science’s fun food experiments. There will also be entertainment from kids favourite Mr Bloom.
Ben Faulks, who plays the role of Mr Bloom said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to have attended the Paisley Food and Drink Festival before and it’s a great event that boasts a variety of different activities for the whole family to enjoy.
“I’m very much looking forward to making a return this year with my show, as well as getting the chance to sample some of the great activities on offer.”
There will also be a live music entertainment and giant lawn games providing all the ingredients for a great day out.
The festival will run alongside the Paisley’s Beer Festival which will take place from Wednesday 25 to Saturday 28 April run by the Renfrewshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, which attracts people from all over Scotland and beyond.
To find out more about what’s on at Paisley Food and Drink Festival along with updates on other great events taking place in Renfrewshire please visit