Free public wifi goes live in Renfrew town centre

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The latest phase of Renfrewshire Council’s £1m investment in free public wifi internet has rolled out – with Renfrew town centre the latest place to get the service.

Visitors to Renfrew now have fast and easy access to internet from key outdoor areas in the heart of the town – as part of a wider push to make local town centres more attractive places to visit
The Renfrewshire Council free public wifi is active on High Street from the town hall to Queen St, and on Hairst Street/Canal Street between the junctions with Inchinnan Road and Station Road.
The service went live in the area around Johnstone High Street and Town Hall earlier this year, and will be switched on in key outdoor areas in Paisley town centre next month.

The free wifi can also be accessed within many public buildings around the area – including town halls, libraries, council offices and some children’s homes.
Renfrewshire Council’s deputy leader Jim Paterson visited Renfrew town centre to test it out for himself, and said: “The council made this investment in free public wifi across our three biggest town centres to make them more attractive places to visit and drive footfall to local businesses.
“We live in an increasingly-connected world and access to fast, reliable internet is now an everyday necessity for many.
“This service is already proving popular in Johnstone and we are delighted Renfrew town centre can now benefit too, with Paisley to follow soon.”
Iain Kerr, operations manager of Braehead-based Boston Networks, the firm who installed and will maintain the new service, added: “We are delighted to have completed the latest phase of the project, which will see high speed wifi internet access rolled out throughout Renfrew town centre.
“As a Renfrewshire business, we’re thrilled to be working in close partnership with the council to design and deliver these fantastic new digital public services.
“This will not only provide free internet access for residents, but will deliver multiple benefits for local businesses; offering visitors to the town centre and public buildings fast and easy access to information on local services and events. “
The free outdoor public wifi will complement the internet connections already available inside buildings and private businesses, by extending coverage to outdoor areas.
Miro Tramita, manager of popular restaurant and bar Luna Rossa, which has outdoor seating within the wifi area, added: “It’s definitely going to help bring business into the town.
“More and more these days, people come into the restaurant and one of the first things they ask for is the wifi password and that’s especially the case if they have kids.”
The service is open to anyone with a wifi-enabled device within the coverage zone –  just find ‘Renfrewshire Public Wifi’ in your list of available networks and connect. First-time users will have to accept the terms and conditions but after that you will connect automatically.
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New initiative will clean up Renfrewshire’s roadsides

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Roadside litter is set to be tackled as the latest element of Renfrewshire’s growing Team Up to Clean Up campaign.

The latest strand of the campaign aims to deter drivers from throwing litter out their windows onto the roadside and pedestrians from failing to use litter bins.
A dedicated Rapid Response Team (RRT) has been set up to tackle the problem and will work to clear verges and pavements across the area of discarded litter.

Residents will be able to report areas of concern and issues will be assigned to the new RRT as part of their ongoing programme of work.

The new team will work in tandem with the current RRT who were expanded at the beginning of the campaign and carry out daily patrols across Renfrewshire, tackle issues of flytipping and work with local businesses to ensure they are disposing of their waste correctly.
Grant Roderickson, Roadside Litter RRT, said: “Unfortunately people tend to throw all sorts out of their car windows and we have to go out to clean up after them.

“We put out signs to warn motorists we are there but often drivers don’t slow down enough which can be one of the main dangers of this role.
“We’re working hard to pick up all the litter that is thrown out of cars, tackle flytipping on rural roads and really trying our best to keep Renfrewshire clean.”
Renfrewshire Council recently supported national environment charity Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Week of Action on roadside litter which asked motorists to ‘give their litter a lift’ and consider the local environment.
Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “Roadside litter has been a key issue I have wanted to tackle as part of the campaign as it is damaging to the environment and a blight on the beautiful scenery we have in Renfrewshire.
“Drivers need to recognise the damage they are causing and that what might just be one piece of litter to them is actually causing a much bigger problem.
“Working at the side of a busy road can be dangerous and our new team have to undergo training to ensure their safety as they clear the roadsides of litter.
“Please take the time to think before you throw litter away incorrectly and instead keep it with you until you get home or until you make it to the nearest bin.
“Small changes can make a big difference and that is at the heart of our Team Up to Clean Up campaign.”
£2.5million has been allocated to Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign over the next five years to allow the continuation of an enhanced programme of gully cleaning, increased mechanical road sweeping, the replacement or removal of out of date street signage and an additional six community litter pickers.
The campaign also challenges the community to play their part and this has proved extremely successful with more than 120 community clean ups taking place throughout the area and more than 2100 volunteers taking part.
A number of high-profile businesses, including ThermoFisher, McDonalds and Diageo, have also engaged with the campaign and have undertaken litter picks of the local area with their staff.
For more information on the campaign and how you can get involved visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup or join the dedicated group at www.facebook.com/groups/teamuptocleanup.
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Renfrewshire Leisure chief executive to retire

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The chief executive who transformed Renfrewshire Leisure into a multi-million pound business creating jobs and new facilities has announced she is to retire.

Joyce McKellar, 56, who has been chief executive since 2005, will step down from her role at the end of October. The position will be advertised later this month.
With the recent birth of her first grandchild and the health of her father deteriorating, Joyce had decided to spend more time with her family.
She explains: “I have been with Renfrewshire Leisure for 13 years and in that time I’ve been proud of the way the organisation has grown to provide hugely expanded sport, leisure and cultural facilities.
“I now think it’s time for me to concentrate more on family matters and I want to help with my father’s care and spend more time with my grandchild.
“Health and well-being will always be important to me and I’ll now also have more time to up my fitness regime by doing more cycling, running and swimming.”
Joyce has spent 38 years service with local government and leisure trusts and since she became chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, the number of people employed has risen from 250 to almost 800 and the annual turnover doubled from £6 million to £19 million.
She has led major changes in the organisation, which includes the transfer of cultural and sports services from Renfrewshire Council to the leisure trust.
Joyce was also seconded to the council to lead the development of their leisure facilities strategy, which saw a £42 million investment in building a brand new sports and leisure centre – The ON-X, in Linwood – and the creation of a new sports hub, in Johnstone.
Chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure’s board of trustees, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “Joyce has been a fantastic chief executive for Renfrewshire Leisure and the people of Renfrewshire.
“It’s thanks to her forward thinking, expertise and determination that we have seen such huge improvements in sports and leisure facilities locally.
“She has modernised and expanded sports and leisure services in Renfrewshire in the face of increased competition from the private sector.
“Joyce will leave an organisation that is fit for purpose and thanks to her efforts, whoever picks up the baton as the new chief executive will be starting from a high point as they take the company forward.”
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Gavin Newlands MP congratulates UWS Graduates

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Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has congratulated all the UWS students who graduated recently, including his wife, Lynn.

Gavin Newlands attended the UWS Graduation Ceremony on Wednesday 4th July in the Paisley Abbey to support his wife, Lynn, who graduated with a first class honours degree in Human Management.
Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:
“Congratulations to all the student who graduated from UWS. It’s a fantastic achievement to have reached this stage and I hope all the student and their families had a memorable day in the Paisley Abbey.
“Graduation days are always special occasions for the student, but they’re probably more memorable for the wider family who are in attendance to celebrate this special occasion. I know this as I am incredibly proud of my wife Lynn who joined her fellow students in graduating.
“I am extremely proud of Lynn’s success and she has worked incredibly hard to graduate with a first class honours degree. Not only is she a full-time mother, who has to put up with me being in London for most of the week, but she also works part-time as well. She’s put in the effort and the whole family is proud of her.
Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland, said:
“I was pleased to welcome MP Gavin Newlands to our ceremony at Paisley Abbey on Wednesday 4 July to celebrate the achievements of all our graduates, but in particular his wife Lynne, who I know he is incredibly proud of.”
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Mall backs Saints for record-breaking 13 years

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The longest-running major sponsor of St Mirren, intu Braehead has signed up for another season.
The shopping and leisure destination has pledged a five-figure sum of money to the club in what will be the 13th year in a row they have been a Saints sponsor.
The intu Braehead logo will be on the back of the away shirt and also on signage around the stadium.
St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott said: “We’re grateful for the financial support intu Braehead has given the club over so many years.
“The centre plays a massive role in the local economy providing jobs that pay wages that people can spend in towns and villages throughout Renfrewshire.
Braehead sponser St Mirrin FC
“And intu Braehead has also been a great supporter of local charities and organisations, as well as being a major backer of St Mirren since 2005.”
Braehead sponser St Mirrin FC
Peter Beagley, regional centre director with responsibility for intu Braehead said: “We’ve always been a supporter of St Mirren who are synonymous with Paisley and Renfrewshire.
Braehead sponser St Mirrin FC
“A successful St Mirren gives a huge boost to the morale of the local community and you can see that’s what happened when Saints were promoted to the Scottish Premiership last season.
Braehead sponser St Mirrin FC
“I’m looking forward to seeing St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership this year and a successful and growing intu Braehead means we can support organisations like St Mirren and other good causes even more in the future.”
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Council cracks down on commercial dumpers

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Renfrewshire Council is cracking down on businesses illegally dumping commercial waste – by bringing in a permit scheme at the area’s five Household Waste Recycling Centres.

In a move to stop commercial operators using the centres, anyone driving a van, pick-up, mini bus or towing a trailer must from 16 July register online for a free permit by 4:30pm the day before they plan to visit a facility.
Permit holders must ensure they bring photo identification and proof of residency to the centre when they visit.

The new system does not apply to residents using a car unless they are towing a trailer.
Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We are unfortunately having issues with commercial businesses and traders attempting to use our Household Waste Recycling Centres free of charge to dump their trade waste.
“This is illegal and is not fair to other Renfrewshire residents who are using the sites correctly.

“Under the new system, drivers of commercial-style vehicles will need to apply for a permit each time they visit a site, and the permit will only be valid for the date and vehicle applied for.
“Waste brought to any of our five centres may be subject to inspection and, if deemed to be commercial waste, the person will be refused access to the site.
“This change brings us into line with other local authorities and aims to stop illegal commercial dumping and free up our centres for residents who are using the service correctly.”
Residents can apply online for a free permit by filling out an application on the Council’s website at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/HWRC.
The website also includes detailed information and frequently asked questions to help residents familiarise themselves with the new permit system.
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Bin collections set to change for Renfrewshire residents

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Residents are set to see a change to their bin collection service later this year as part of a drive to improve recycling across Renfrewshire.

With evidence showing 69% of rubbish being placed in the general waste bin could have been recycled, the new service aims to encourage people to be better recyclers and help Renfrewshire fulfil the national Household Recycling Charter objectives.
As part of the changes, residents will be provided with an additional bin to help separate out their recycling and reduce the amount of waste produced ahead of a ban on sending untreated biodegradable waste to landfill by 2021.
The changes to collections will include:

A new green wheelie bin, for plastics, cans and glass and will be collected on alternate fortnights with the blue bin
The blue bin will now be for paper and cardboard only and will be collected on alternate fortnights with the green bin
The grey general waste bin will be collected every three weeks
There is no change to the brown food and garden waste bin which is still collected fortnightly

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The change to the bin collection service later this year will give residents the opportunity to reduce the amount of rubbish in their general waste bin and spread it out into an extra recycling bin.
“We recognise that that this is a change for residents but everyone will still receive a weekly collection and by recycling correctly they will be able to see a difference in the level of rubbish they are producing.
“Other local authorities who have moved to a similar service have seen a significant improvement in recycling, meaning there are less disposal costs and the money saved can be reinvested into other vital services including investing in our schools, our roads and caring for the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We will be launching a campaign in the next few months to ensure residents have all the correct information in advance of the changes and we will work closely with them to guide them through the new process to ensure the new service works efficiently.”
The new collection service delivery model will impact on the 90,000 properties across Renfrewshire which have a kerbside collection service and is set to be delivered in late 2018.
Approximately 30,000 Renfrewshire properties, which includes tenements, maisonettes and high flats, will see no change to their general waste collection but the service will be tailored to allow these properties access to the new service.
All residents affected by the changes will see receive detailed information in advance of the new service change on how to recycle correctly, what can be placed in each bin and the schedule of bin collections.
Information and updates will be provided via the Renfrewshire Council social media accounts and at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/mybins.
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Renfrewshire’s long-term commitment to help people find work

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Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson has set out his long-term commitment to help people most in need into work and improve opportunities for future generations.

The £4.5million funding plans for Invest in Renfrewshire – the Council’s economic development service – were approved yesterday (Wednesday 20 June 2018).
This will provide targeted job support to people, communities and local businesses over the next five years.
“We want to provide support to the people and places most in need, to make the greatest difference,” said Councillor Nicolson. “We must ensure the area’s economic growth benefits everyone and that’s why we are targeting our resources to communities facing deprivation and to help people unemployed and underemployed, changing their opportunities and that of future generations.”

The new service will start from 1 October 2018 and includes further development of a community based pilot project under way in Ferguslie which supports people facing a range of barriers to employment.
It is already achieving positive results for local residents like Ronnie Lockhart, who’d been out of work for the past 20 years, but is now working as a gardener with Linstone Housing Association thanks to the support from the Invest team.

The 49-year-old said: “I love it, I’m out cutting grass, using the leaf blower, strimming, litter picking and tidying places up. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me, I’m even out cutting the neighbour’s grass for them.
“I was in a routine of going out once a fortnight to sign on then back home to watch TV. Eventually I got sick of being in the house doing nothing. Now I never want to go back to that – I love the job and the team work. We have such a laugh and we get the work done. I’m learning every day and I’m hopeful I can get kept on.
“My mum is proud of me, my whole family are proud of me and I couldn’t have asked more of the support from Invest, they do their damnedest to get you into employment, they do a great job and I’m really grateful for what they have done for me.”
More will be done to support start-up and early stage businesses through the new service, with exciting plans in place to grow the creative business sector and increase the number of sustainable small businesses and social enterprises.
Local communities will also reap the benefits of staff working locally to grow services and support voluntary groups looking to secure external funding, with 40 applications already in development.
And there is a major focus on maximising key economic growth opportunities in Renfrewshire, including in manufacturing, care and the creative industries by working with local businesses to provide direct pathways into these job growth areas.
Renfrewshire’s economy has grown significantly in the last six years with 8000 more jobs across the local area and employment figures dramatically improved.
Councillor Nicolson added: “Renfrewshire is open for business and there are major areas of growth coming here, with new jobs in the creative and tourism sectors as we build on the legacy of our Paisley 2021 bid and in the care sector as we expand our childcare and nursery provision.
“We are also developing an advanced manufacturing district which will be home to Scotland’s manufacturing institute and a world-first medicines manufacturing centre. This all means new jobs and we want to make sure Renfrewshire people are best placed to seize these opportunities.
“We will tackle the challenges head-on and develop Renfrewshire as an attractive place to locate and do business, supporting local businesses to grow and improving the area’s economic, social and physical regeneration.”
Find out more at www.investinrenfrewshire.com
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Provost joins in with Carers Centre choir to give shoppers a song

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PROVOST Lorraine Cameron helped make sure the malls were alive to the sound of music when she joined in with the Renfrewshire Carers Centre Choir for an impromptu rendition of a classic ABBA song.

The Paisley-based carers group had been given free space at the intu Braehead shopping centre to raise money and awareness of the work they do and then be treated to a slap-up lunch by mall management to help celebrate Carers Week.
Provost Cameron was due to present certificates to volunteers from the Carers Centre and when she arrived at the mall, the choir was in full voice entertaining shoppers.

The Renfrewshire Provost was asked to join the choir for a song and she immediately agreed, belting out a version of ABBA’s Super Trouper along with the other singers.
As Provost Cameron handed out certificates she told the carers and volunteers: “I’m delighted to be here today to recognise the essential part you all play in the Renfrewshire Carers Centre. It gives me great pleasure to present you with these certificates of thanks.”
Christine Macdonald, intu Braehead’s marketing manager said: “The carers and volunteers at Renfrewshire Carers Centre deserve huge credit for the work they do.
“Giving them a lunch and mall space to have a display stand giving people advice and raising funds is just one way we can pay tribute to the vital work they do.
“The Carers Centre Choir gave shoppers some great entertainment and well done to Provost Cameron for joining in with the singing.”
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History inspires pupils to create their own comic book

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PUPILS at Renfrew High have created their own comic book with storylines inspired by the town’s rich history.

Now they have seen their work, called ‘A Trip ‘Frew Time’ printed and published with a special launch event at the school.
The project was in collaboration with Renfrewshire Leisure’s school libraries attainment and creative learning teams, along with West College Scotland and the Scottish Book Trust who provided funding.

The comic book’s fictitious stories written by 30 pupils and accompanying illustrations were based on events and historical places in Renfrew and was part of the school’s participation in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge pilot project, at Renfrew High.
Pupils were helped to produce the comic book by Magic Torch Comics, who held a series of workshops in the school.
As well as having a copy of their own comic book creation, pupils will also receive an accredited qualification from West College Scotland to add to their school record of achievement.

Renfrewshire Leisure’s chief executive, Joyce McKellar said: “The pupils have done a tremendous job in creating not only the storylines, but the publication of the comic book itself. It’s something they can be proud of.
“As well as learning about their home town, the project has also stimulated the pupils’ enthusiasm and engagement in reading for pleasure.”
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