Council credits Foster Care Fortnight with raising profile of the rewarding role

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Renfrewshire’s foster carers have shared their inspirational stories as part of Foster Care Fortnight and helped spread the word on their rewarding role.

To mark the event, which ends on Sunday, the Council launched a campaign to boost the numbers of its foster care family from 81 to 100.
In the wake of a series of drop in events and existing foster carers sharing their own experiences, the visibility of the role has increased.
Education and Children’s Services convener, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “We have been delighted with the response to our appeal for foster carers with enquiries coming in from people who think that the role may be for them.

“They’ve taken heart from the incredible stories shared by our carers but also realised that although they do an extraordinary role, they are ordinary people like them.
“Becoming a foster carer can change the life of a child or young person for the better and boosting our numbers over the long term will help us ensure that we can give all children the best possible start in life so that they can fulfil their potential.”
Foster carer Lynn Smillie said: “If telling my story encourages just one person to pick up the phone then I am delighted. It’s enriched my life in so many ways and is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and has also helped transform the lives of children.”
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 be supported on every step of the journey with advice, specialist training and peer support and will also receive a generous allowance.
Anyone interested in more detail can call the team at Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 1199 or email at

A year of building and working for the future

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By Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson
This month marks one year since the local council elections were held and since I took up my role as Council Leader.

Since becoming a councillor in 1990 I have witnessed tremendous change in the area and reflecting on my first 12 months as Council Leader, I believe the Council is better placed than ever before to listen to and articulate the views of the communities we serve.
I am proud to lead an administration with so many new councillors, with the majority being women and having a wide range of ages and talents, each bringing a fresh perspective and new ideas on how the Council can support the needs of our local residents.

Leading a minority administration has seen us adopt a different approach, one based on working across the political parties and this has brought with it an important change in how we work.
All parties came together to support Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and while the outcome of the competition was not the result we all wished or worked towards, we are all better for the experience. Working so closely with communities delivered a renewed pride in our area, gave us a national profile and strengthened our community connections, highlighting the potential of what we can achieve when we work together.
We are determined to deliver on the legacy opportunities the bid has created and this work is already well under way, with £100million of town centre infrastructure improvements planned alongside a new destination website and visitor plan to celebrate our heritage and attract more people to Renfrewshire.
We have secured major inward investment in Renfrewshire from the Scottish Government in recent months to boost the provision of affordable housing and support the expansion of early learning and childcare services. This has happened because we rejoined council partnerships and because of our positive working relationships with the Scottish Government.
By being around the table we can get the best deal for communities across Renfrewshire as we were part of the decision making process which saw councils receive a better budget settlement.
There is no doubt that all councils face a tough time balancing budgets while having to meet an increased demand for our services; changing expectations and changing needs.
It is a priority for me that we deliver and maintain excellent public services that our customers rely upon.
From the outset when we were elected, we knew the importance people placed on having a clean Renfrewshire, free from littering and dog fouling. We’ve invested in more street cleaning and litter picking and established the Team Up to Clean Up campaign to change behaviours and promote community pride. Results from the first six months show a positive impact, with more than 2100 volunteers taking part in the campaign, while our street teams have unblocked and cleared 15,000 gullies.
A stark statistic is that we can expect a 79% increase in the number of people aged 75 and over in the next 20 years. By 2035, it is estimated that almost 4,400 older people in Renfrewshire will be experiencing dementia. We must be ready to support people with dementia and that’s why I was pleased to see Renfrewshire become the first local authority in Scotland where all our councillors will become Dementia Friends, learning the small, but significant steps which help people living with the condition.
The working age population in Renfrewshire is set to shrink by 13% over the same period so it is vital we do all we can to grow the local economy and attract people to live, visit, invest and work in Renfrewshire.
We are on course to achieve the ambitious target of 1000 affordable homes by 2021, complementing the major housing development projects across Renfrewshire.
Renfrewshire has always boasted a strong heritage in manufacturing, whether weaving shawls, producing whisky or airplane engines. Manufacturing already employs 9000 people in the local area and we will be the beating heart of Scotland’s manufacturing sector once again through the establishment of the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland, being built in a new site under development next to Glasgow Airport.
Our ambition is for this national facility to be the first tenant of an advanced manufacturing innovation district, enhancing the research and development expertise already based here and attracting new businesses to locate here.
Major City Deal funded projects in the area will develop our roads infrastructure, connect communities, support employment and widen access to jobs and services, in turn attracting new investment. We too have pledged the largest ever single year investment in our roads and pathways and will continue to prioritise improvements to our transport infrastructure.
Investment in our future is exemplified by our work to tackle poverty and give children in Renfrewshire the best start in life, regardless of their background.
The past year is a positive start, our teachers are raising attainment in our schools; employability programmes are the best performing in Scotland; we had record numbers of visitors and Renfrewshire residents have more say than ever before on the things that matter most in their communities.
This is just the beginning and by working together we will create a thriving Renfrewshire.

Pupils can get sporty with new kit from Renfrewshire Leisure

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SCHOOL pupils are to receive a boost with thousands of pounds worth of new sports equipment being provided for local schools by Renfrewshire Leisure.

The new kit is being provided as part of Renfrewshire Leisure’s Active Schools programme that provides hundreds of youngsters with extra-curricular sports sessions held in schools and sports centres.
Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “Encouraging young people to take part in sports activities is an important part of the work we, along with sportscotland do in Renfrewshire schools.
“The new sports equipment will make sure pupils have a wide variety of sporting activities to choose from.
Joyce explained that it’s not just pupils who benefit from the Active Schools programme in Renfrewshire. Volunteers helping run the programme are also given training in sport and leisure, gaining qualifications that mean they can apply for jobs in the sector.
“We’re delivering a high quality Active Schools programme to pupils in Renfrewshire with fully-trained staff. And with our volunteers receiving training and being able to gain qualifications, we’re also providing a pathway to employment for them.”


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West College Scotland’s Principal, Audrey Cumberford, is leaving the organisation to take up a similar role at Edinburgh College.

Ms Cumberford has been Principal and Chief Executive of the College since its formation five years ago, following the merger of Clydebank College, James Watt College (Inverclyde) and Paisley’s Reid Kerr College. Before merger, she had been Principal of Reid Kerr College.
In a message to all College staff, Keith McKellar, who is Chair of the Board of Management, said:
“I want to record our deepest thanks to Audrey for her outstanding leadership of our College.
“Audrey led us through a period of unprecedented change and significant turbulence in the sector.  In doing so, she built for the College a reputation as one of Scotland’s most dynamic and highly-regarded educational institutions.
“Whatever challenge Audrey faced over the past five years, she did so with integrity, honesty and openness.  These qualities are her hallmark. For me, her greatest achievement has been to ensure those same qualities now define the culture of the organisation which she led so well.”
Ms Cumberford, who is widely regarded as among the most influential and forward-thinking leaders in the sector, commented:
“Having worked at Reid Kerr and then West College Scotland for nearly twenty years, it will be a wrench for me to leave so many wonderful professionals and good friends. Together, we met many challenges and I want to thank them all for the support they have shown me throughout.
“I am confident the ambitious plans we have developed will allow the College to continue to enhance its reputation as a first-class provider of education and training, delivered in state-of-the-art facilities in Clydebank, Greenock and Paisley.
“I am now looking forward to taking up my position at Edinburgh College, which is where I began my career in the sector in the 1990s.
“In the meantime, I wish everyone at West College Scotland the very best for the future.”
The Board of Management will now begin the process of appointing a new Principal.

Thousands turn out for world’s best pipers as Paisley hosts British Pipe Band Championships

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Thousands of people descended on Paisley to see more than 130 of the world’s best pipe bands compete in the first of the summer’s calendar of major piping events.

The British Pipe Band Championships saw more than 4,000 pipers and drummers descend on the town’s St James Playing Fields, from throughout the UK and Ireland, and as far afield as Denmark.
The event – organised by Renfrewshire Council and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association – was in Paisley for the third year in a row.
The championships will return to Paisley for another three years from 2019 to 2021 as part of the expanded programme of events planned via the legacy of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid.
A huge turnout of families from Renfrewshire and beyond enjoyed entertainment including a funfair and Highland dancing competition, plus sporty activities from Renfrewshire Leisure, Paisley Rugby Club, and Renfrewshire’s award-winning Street Stuff team.

Many pipers and their pals also took the chance to relax in the sunshine at the bar and international food village, while there was a range of street traders in attendance.
Transport to the event was free, with McGills running shuttle buses to and from Paisley Gilmour Street station, St Mirren’s Paisley 2021 Stadium, and West College Scotland.
In the piping arena, local interest came from the Johnstone Pipe Band, the Kilbarchan Pipe Band and the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band – who were making their major championships debut.
Handing out the prizes as event chieftain was Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, who said: “Once again, the British Pipe Band Championships was a wonderful family day out and it was a pleasure to be part of it.
“It brings with it a massive audience from the length and breadth of Scotland and internationally, and that influx of visitors is worth a six-figure amount for the local economy.
“Today was also a chance for those visitors to explore Paisley and all it has to offer – hosting events like this is helping to establish us as a key destination within Scotland.
“It was also great to see our own school pupils get the experience of competing as part of a major championships – and showcase the musical talent we have here in Renfrewshire.”
Ian Embelton, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, added: “Today kicked off our annual calendar of majors and the standard of piping was top class – as you would expect from a field containing most of the world’s top bands.
“Once again, Paisley and Renfrewshire made a great host and we look forward to bringing the event back here over the next three years.”


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Glasgow Airport has today (Wednesday 16 May) confirmed that Mark Johnston has been appointed as Managing Director.

Mark Johnston is currently the airport’s Operations Director, a position he has held since 2015.
He first joined Glasgow in 2004 and went on to hold a number of senior roles including Head of Terminal and Security, and Head of Infrastructure and Technical services.

Mark will take up his position on 1 June 2018 reporting directly to Derek Provan who recently took up the post of Chief Executive of AGS Airports Ltd, which owns Aberdeen International, Glasgow and Southampton airports.

Commenting on the appointment, Derek Provan said: “Since joining AGS in April I’ve had the opportunity to review the organisation with a view to creating a simple, transparent and consistent management structure across our three airports. As a result, and as is the case with Aberdeen and Southampton airports, this has led to the introduction of a standalone Managing Director role for Glasgow.

“Mark has held a series of senior positions during what has been an extremely successful 14 year career at Glasgow Airport and I am looking forward to working closely with him in his new role to help deliver even further success.”

Mark Johnston added: “The connectivity provided by Glasgow Airport plays such an important role in supporting the wider Scottish economy so I am relishing the opportunity of taking on the role of Managing Director. We are operating in what is a challenging marketplace, however, we are firmly committed to ensuring Glasgow delivers for the city, for Scotland and for the millions of passengers who travel through our doors every year.”

Foster Care campaign asks ‘Can you help us reach 100?’

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A campaign to boost foster carer numbers in Renfrewshire is asking  ‘Can you help us reach 100?’
Renfrewshire Council is aiming to increase numbers of foster carers by almost a fifth, from 81 to 100.

A series of drop in events were set up to allow anyone who thinks the role may be for them to meet the Council’s specialist team, as well as existing foster carers.
Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, visited one of the information and advice sessions at Paisley’s Lagoon Centre, held to mark Foster Care Fortnight which runs until 27 May.
He said: “It was great to come along today and meet some of our foster carers and hear what amazing work they do.

“By becoming a foster carer you could make a positive difference to a child or young person’s life.
“What is also apparent is how much that the foster carers themselves personally get out of the role and how rewarding it is.
“We want to encourage people who think that becoming a foster carer could be for them to get in touch.
“You will be fully supported, with specialist training and also support from your peers.”
Foster carers can be in work or unemployed, be single, married or in in a same sex or heterosexual relationship and can own or rent the property they live in.
As well as training and support, carers receive an allowance.
Anyone interested in more detail can call the team at Renfrewshire Council on 0300 300 1199 or email at

Glasgow Airport and Shanghai Airport Authority form alliance to grow visitor numbers between China and Scotland

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Glasgow strengthens Scotland’s growing links with China by working closely with one of country’s largest airport groups –  
Glasgow Airport and Shanghai Airport Authority have today (Thursday, May 17) signed a partnership agreement that will see the two cities work together to jointly petition China’s main airlines to establish a direct air link in the future between the West of Scotland and the Chinese powerhouse city of Shanghai.
Glasgow Airport and Shanghai Airport Authority, which operates the city’s Pudong and Hongqiao airports, have formed the Shanghai Airport Authority and Glasgow Airport Alliance with the goal of jointly developing a strategy to increase the number of passengers travelling between China and Scotland.
The partnership will see the airports work together to share expertise and best practice in all aspects of airport business and exchange ideas in order to help promote tourism opportunities between the two cities while creating an attractive environment for future direct air links.
The decision to form the alliance is as a result of months of discussions involving Shanghai Airport Authority’s president and senior executives and representatives from Glasgow Airport. It was during these discussions that representatives from Glasgow shared their vision for expansion into China and the potential appeal of the airport and city as the gateway to Scotland for tourists from the Shanghai area and beyond.
Commercial Director Francois Bourienne, who today signed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of Glasgow Airport, said: “It is a tremendous honour to be in Shanghai today to sign this partnership agreement, which marks a significant milestone in the relationship between the cities of Glasgow and Shanghai.
“This Memorandum of Understanding provides us with a unique opportunity to work alongside and share ideas with our new colleagues from Shanghai Airport Authority, which is responsible for operating the Chinese mega-city’s two main airports, handling in excess of 100 million passengers combined annually.
“The alliance will ensure both partners not only learn from one another, but work together to further enhance the growing business and tourism links between Scotland and China.
“As well as being the country’s leading long-haul airport, Glasgow is a popular gateway to Scotland for hundreds of thousands of visitors from the Asia each year. This partnership will seek to build on this.
“Through the exchange of ideas and continued collaboration, this strong partnership could bring the very real prospect of introducing a direct air link between the West of Scotland and China’s biggest city closer than it has ever been before.”
Mr Ruijun Jia, Vice President of Shanghai Airport Authority, said: “Shanghai Airport Authority is delighted to enter in to this long-term partnership with the airport of Scotland’s largest city; Glasgow Airport.
“Our aim is to work collaboratively with the management of Glasgow Airport to exchange best practices in airport operations and to jointly implement initiatives to grow visitor numbers between Glasgow, Scotland and Shanghai.”
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Stuart Patrick said: “This is a fantastic coup for Glasgow Airport, and one that the Chamber will support with great vigour not least since the majority of Scotland’s Chinese community live and work in Glasgow. The airport team is to be warmly congratulated for their initiative.   
“China is at the top of our international trade priority list, with Shanghai one of its most strategically important cities. There are enormous opportunities in China which has gone through three decades of extraordinary change and where the Scottish Chambers of Commerce has been active in developing connections.”
David Leven, Greater China Director for Scottish Enterprise, said: “This is a great step forward in efforts to secure deeper collaboration and another direct link between China and Scotland, and between Glasgow and Shanghai specifically, one of the world’s largest and most dynamic cities.  
“China has recently become a top 5 source of inward investment for Scotland and Shanghai is an increasingly important export market for a wide range of Scottish goods and services, from financial services to education to seafood.”

Renfrewshire high rise homes proving popular as ever

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Hit BBC Scotland TV show Still Game captured the camaraderie of residents living in high rise homes.
And Renfrewshire’s very own Jack, Victor and Isa – or Frank, Martin and Myra to be more precise – have become great friends thanks to the welcoming environment at their 15-storey Glencairn Court building.

The Gallowhill block boasts a community garden and ground floor social area complete with a darts board, kitchen, TV and plenty comfy chairs.
“You can go out without having to go outside,” jokes sixth floor resident Martin Heron, who moved to Paisley five years ago to be closer to his two sons. “I’ve met many folks since I came here and it really is the best move I’ve ever made.”

“This social area is great,” adds 12th floor resident of 40 years and counting Myra Young. “We meet on a Monday and a Thursday night to play games and on Tuesday morning we have a coffee morning. We play dominos; I win most of the time, but not all the time. I’m down here so much my daughters keep phoning me to find out where I am.”

Frank Milne, swapped Bridge of Weir for his high rise home 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. He said: “They’ve fair spent the money on it and it’s a really nice, safe environment. It’s very good here because of the friendship and company – you’ve got to have that friendship and knowledge of the people you live with.”
Glencairn Court is one of 14 Renfrewshire Council run multi-storey blocks, providing more than 1000 homes across the region.
Significant sums are being invested inside and out to ensure residents have homes to be proud of. Alongside social areas like the one at Glencairn Court, many flats have benefited from new kitchens and bathrooms.
There has been electrical re-wiring, all-new foyer areas, new heating systems installed and high quality insulation added to the exteriors, improving both the building’s energy efficiency and its aesthetic appearance.
Five blocks have also seen tailored improvements to cater for elderly and disabled residents, such as walk-in showers and easier to reach switch and socket points.
Add in a friendly concierge or caretaker on hand to offer advice and assistance and it really is a welcoming and warm environment.
“We know how popular our high rise housing is with both Council tenants and private owners alike, as demand continues to outstrip supply,” explains Councillor John McNaughtan, Depute Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board.
“It makes up eight per cent of the Council’s total housing stock and it is very important to us that all the homes we provide are well-maintained, sustainable and attractive to residents now and in the future.
“That’s why we’re spending £15million this year to continue to upgrade our housing stock and ensure people have homes they are proud to live in as we look to create positive, thriving communities throughout Renfrewshire.”
Councillors will note the ongoing investment in Renfrewshire’s multi-storey housing and its fire safety arrangements in a report to the Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board on Tuesday 22 May.
Following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London, Council staff have been working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to ensure effective fire safety management practices are in place across Renfrewshire high rise housing.
Fire alarm systems are being enhanced in all blocks while work is also under way throughout 2018 to upgrade smoke and heat detectors, and fire suppression systems are being installed in bin areas.
Councillor McNaughtan added: “We know from close partnership working with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service that our properties are well-maintained and have excellent fire safety arrangements in place, but we must not be complacent.
“We commissioned an independent audit of our fire safety measures and this is informing ongoing works across our estate. We will also support any further guidance and advice from the Scottish Government on any future fire safety improvements and residents can discuss the fire safety arrangements with our dedicated concierge and caretaking team.”

Renfrewshire Council backs Week of Action on Roadside Litter

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Road users in Renfrewshire are being reminded to give their litter a lift home as part of a national campaign this week.
The Council has joined forces with national environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful to support their Week of Action, which aims to make motorists recognise the effect littering can have on the environment.

Running from 12-20 May, it encourages everyone across Scotland to take action to help tackle roadside litter by getting involved in roadside litter-inspired clean ups and sharing the message on social media.
Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “It is unacceptable for roads users to discard their litter at the side of the road and it is important that people recognise the seriousness of their actions.

“It is not only a blight on the attractiveness of our area but it can have a severe impact on the local environment.
“We are getting set to introduce a Roadside Litter Rapid Response Team as part of our Team Up to Clean Up campaign which outlines our commitment to tackling this issue in Renfrewshire and it will be a key strand of our work moving forward.
“We’re pleased to be working closely with Keep Scotland Beautiful to promote this campaign and I would encourage everyone to show their support and give their litter a lift home.”
National charity Keep Scotland Beautiful campaigns, acts and educates on a range of local, national and global environmental issues to change behaviour and improve the quality of people’s lives and the places they care for.
Carole Noble, Operations Director at Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Our latest figures show that the amount of litter and flytipping in Scotland is at its worst level in a decade, with 82.8% of motorways and A class roadside verges recording a presence of litter in 2016/17. Our Roadside Litter Campaign aims to address this problem at its source.
“We recognise that each piece of litter on our roadsides, in our parks and on our streets, was discarded by a thoughtless individual. Those who clean litter up, the local authorities staff, the road operators and the volunteers are not to blame. Littering is illegal.  We need individuals to do the right thing; to use a bin or to take their litter home.”
For further information on the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, and for the Week of Action,