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Start-Up Street will help Renfrewshire businesses grow

Chloe Wright

A new project in Paisley will support start-up businesses looking to make the leap into their first commercial premises.

Chloe Wright

The town’s George Street will become Start-Up Street as vacant Renfrewshire Council-owned units are adapted into a range of low-cost, high-quality digitally-connected workspaces for up to 20 businesses.

It follows a survey of new and early-stage Renfrewshire businesses, with more than 80% looking for subsidised space to grow, but many citing high costs and a lack of know-how preventing them taking this significant step.

George Street is next to the University of the West of Scotland business school and close to the council’s existing economic development hubs.

Businesses based here will benefit from an on-site business advisor, training space and a shared reception.

George Street

Each company can rent the space for up to two years, with lease costs incrementally increased until they are ready to move to an alternative commercial space in Renfrewshire.

The Council’s Leadership Board rubber-stamped the proposals yesterday (Wednesday 5 December 2018) and now its economic development team will further develop the plans, working jointly with London Youth Support Trust, a charity which specialises in supporting young entrepreneurs from deprived backgrounds.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We have a responsibility to nurture new businesses and Start-Up Street is being developed in response to what local businesses are telling us they need.

“It will provide a whole package of support to enable businesses to overcome any barriers and grow sustainably, offering an environment which helps them achieve long-term sustainability, moving into commercial premises in our town centres.

“We’re excited to be working in partnership with the London Youth Support Trust, who have an excellent track record in helping young people progress, adding to our own economic development team’s fantastic achievements in helping local businesses to grow and local people to find jobs.”

The project comes as Renfrewshire’s regeneration continues to make excellent progress, according to the latest economic indicators.

Renfrewshire’s Economic Profile published this week highlights an employment rate outstripping its neighbouring local authorities and well above the national average.

Laura Provan

There are more than 4500 private companies based in Renfrewshire, with a lower average closure rate recorded than across the rest of the country.

And over a two-year period, visitors to Renfrewshire attractions have risen by more than 400,000, while ambitious housebuilding targets remain firmly on target, with 630 new homes completed in the first nine months of 2017.

Councillor Nicolson added: “The latest economic figures give us many reasons to be positive and Start-Up Street is the latest investment in Renfrewshire’s future, building on the five-year funding we have put in place to deliver support to the people and places who need it most.

“We boast the best performing employability programmes in Scotland and our local economy is growing, bolstered by an incredible rise in visitor numbers to the area.

“Against a tough financial outlook for all councils, we remain committed to creating the conditions which attract more companies and bring more jobs to Renfrewshire, ensuring inclusive growth across the region.”

Interested businesses can contact InCube Start-Up on 0300 300 1180 or email incube@renfrewshire.gov.uk

Loopy Lally Designs

Textile designer Chloe Wright is excited by the opportunity Start-Up Street will offer for creative businesses. The former Paisley Grammar School pupil founded Loopy Lally Designs in 2017, producing colourful, abstract interior products including cushions, framed prints and lampshades.

Having outgrown her Paisley house, Chloe is now looking to establish her own premises. She said: “I work from home in the wee spare room, but I’m fast running out of space and from a professional perspective, I don’t want to be inviting people into my house.

“My business is growing and moving into new premises is the natural next step for me, it’s really exciting. You can be waiting for years for studio space so Start-Up Street is coming at the perfect time.

“It sounds great, especially having business advice available whenever you need it. Sometimes you can be too close to your business and so it helps to pick people’s brains and get helpful feedback. It’s really exciting what’s happening in Paisley and for school kids to know that there is an opportunity to do creative arts and set up your own business in the town is great.”

www.loopylally.com

Paisley Pins

For Laura Provan, the buddie behind Paisley Pins, the opportunity Start-Up Street will provide is a “no-brainer” for businesses.

Laura took on her own workspace in her hometown this summer and has not looked back as her popular product continues to build a local, and international customer base.

“It’s amazing the amount of people with connections to Paisley that I meet, I even get orders from Paisley in Oregon in the USA. The acrylic pins continue to fly off the shelves and now there’s a much more diverse product range on offer, with ear-rings and necklaces, tie pins and cuff links.

“I’d been looking for premises for a while as I just didn’t have the space I needed to keep working from home and it was a lonely experience being there, with no opportunities to meet people or collaborate and lots of distractions like tidying up after my kids.

“Having a dedicated workspace has been fantastic, having somewhere where people can find me has definitely improved my business-to-business relationships. Upstairs there’s workspaces for other jewellers to rent out and downstairs we’ve space to run workshops.

“The emotional connection people have with jewellery is very important and people want to know the provenance of a product so it was so important to me that my Paisley product is made here in Paisley.

“Start-Up Street is a fantastic idea and it’s the one thing myself and other creative businesses have always said was sorely missing. It is definitely something people should go for if they’re looking for space, advice and being able to move their business forward – it’s a no-brainer and can only be a positive move.”

www.paisleypins.com

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Schools go head to head!

Winners Fordbank Flames

Six schools from Renfrewshire and one from East Renfrewshire took part in the annual Intergenerational Quiz last week, organised by Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership.

Winners Fordbank Flames

The event, held at the Lagoon Leisure Centre in Paisley, sees a team from each school matched up with a group of older people to go head to head in a quiz featuring everything from sport and history to general knowledge and music.

The teams for 2018 were:

Fordbank Flames – Fordbank Primary School and Johnstone Seniors Forum/Altpatrick Sheltered Housing
Ralston Rebels – Ralston Primary School and Ralston Day Centre
Newmains Renfrew Rainbows – Newmains Primary School and Renfrew Day Centre
Mossy Monkeys – Mossvale Primary School and Springbank Sheltered Housing
Todholm Turtles – Todholm Primary School and Springbank Sheltered Housing
SJO Sharks – St.John Ogilvie Primary School and Glentanar Court Sheltered Housing
Neilston Brainboxes – Neilston Primary and Kirkton Services

The teams meet regularly in advance of the quiz to learn from each other, as well as learning new things that will help them on the day. The project aims to break down the barriers and stigmas between the generations and help build relationships which continue after the event has taken place.

This year’s quiz came down to a tough tie-break between the Todholm Turtles and the Fordbank Flames, with Fordbank pulling ahead to be crowned the overall winner.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron was on hand to give out the trophies. She said “The Intergenerational Quiz is one of my favourite events. The atmosphere is always fantastic with both old and young alike getting involved in the fun.

“I especially love the dancing round, where we were entertained this year by some fabulous routines to the ‘Macarena’ and ‘Baby Shark’.

”It’s inspiring to see the relationships that form between the generations and I can’t wait to hear what else the participants get up to.”

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Putting the fizz into Christmas

could it be take that

REVELLERS can put the fizz into their Christmas party night with a special offer from Renfrewshire Leisure.

A special ‘Four 4 Fizz’ ticket deal is being offered for a fabulous Christmas Party Night featuring tribute band, Could It Be Take That, being held from 7pm to 1am, on Friday, December 21 at Johnstone Town Hall.

could it be take that

Anyone buying four tickets for the show will be charged £20 per ticket with a free bottle of fizz thrown in to help get the party started. Individual tickets are £27 each.

The night begins with a red carpet entrance, bubbly, a delicious three-course meal and entertainment from Scotland’s one and only Take That tribute band, followed by a glittering disco.

Victoria Hollows, Renfrewshire Leisure’s chief executive said: “This is a great deal for family, friends and work colleagues to get together and enjoy a fun, festive night out.”

Call the box office on 0300300 1210 to book your ‘Four 4 Fizz’ tickets.

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Brave pupils aim to improve bereavement support

Gryffe High School

Students from Gryffe High School are attempting to raise awareness of the issues facing young people who have lost a parent or loved one by sharing their own experiences, and pioneering a new approach to bereavement support in school.

Gryffe High School

In a collaboration between the Children and Young People’s Service at St. Vincent’s Hospice and Gryffe High School, the pupil’s own words and experiences of some of their hardest moments after the loss of a significant person in their life, and attempting to readjust to school life, have been shared as part of a new set of support and information materials, aimed at teachers, parents and other pupils.

Gryffe High School

Children and Young Persons Bereavement at St. Vincent’s, Alison Provan, said “Being a teenager is a difficult time for anyone, there are so many changes going on in your life that it can be overwhelming at the best of times. Now imagine going through that after the death of a parent or someone close to you.

“Sadly, for most schools and teachers, the resources simply aren’t available to provide proper training and development to give staff the confidence and knowledge to effectively manage issues around bereavement.  The students felt so passionately that they wanted to help people to understand, that we thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with Gryffe High School and develop materials which can make a real difference and offer tangible, practical support.”

As well as being a specialist provider of palliative and hospice care for people with life limiting conditions in Renfrewshire, St. Vincent’s Hospice also offers bereavement counselling and support for children and young people aged 2-18, helping them come to terms with major changes in their lives.

As part of the project, which included creating practical guides and advice for teachers, pupils and staff, the group created an “Advice from our Pupils” booklet. This listed significant incidents, issues, worries or concerns that the students had experienced while coming to terms with loss, written in their own words.  This has now been made available to all teachers and support staff across the school.

 

 

Andrew Findlay, Principal Teacher for Guidance at Gryffe High School, said: “The collaboration with St. Vincent’s is something that has been in development for a couple of years. Gill Brand, a fellow Guidance Teacher at Gryffe High School, and I identified a large gap in the universal support offered to young people within a school setting. As we supported pupils who were experiencing loss and bereavement, we found that there was no specific guidance for all pupils, staff and parents to follow to ensure the pupils and their families received the best, and most appropriate support required at such difficult times.

“Through conversation with Alison, who already supported a number of pupils within the school, we discussed the possibility of creating resources to aid that process. The relationships and confidence that she had built with the pupils, allowed a unique insight into the approach staff members could take to ensure an environment is created in which a pupil would feel safe and supported.”

These materials have now been rolled out across the school, and are available for all members of staff, pupils and parents, to help them gain a more meaningful understanding of bereavement and loss for children and young people. The materials, and more information, can be found at: http://www.svh.co.uk/services/supportive-care

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Extra food bank funds agreed after introduction of Universal Credit

universal credit

Renfrewshire Councillors have approved £30,000 funding to Renfrewshire Food Bank to reduce the impact of Universal Credit.

universal credit

The proposals to give the food bank the money over a three year period were agreed at a meeting of the Council’s Leadership Board today (December 5).

The funding follows the introduction of Universal Credit in Renfrewshire in September 2018.

Administered by the Department of Work and Pensions, Universal Credit replaces Housing Benefit, Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits with a single monthly payment.

However, research by Trussell Trust has shown that there has been a 52% increase in demand at food banks in areas where the new system has been in place for 12 months.

Renfrewshire Council’s Convener for Finance, Resources and Customer Services, Councillor John Shaw, said: “The introduction of Universal Credit by the UK Government in other areas has put a lot of additional pressure on food banks with more demand from those most in need. This funding will help Renfrewshire Food Bank cope with any increased demand that may come, allowing it to continue supporting anyone in Renfrewshire that needs its help.”

Renfrewshire Council has provided the food bank with funding in recent years, working flexibly with them to provide extra money when needed from its Tackling Poverty Fund.

The Tackling Poverty Programme has been at the centre of many projects to help struggling families and households in Renfrewshire since launching in 2015.

The Healthier, Wealthier Children Service, which is funded by the programme, helped 219 families in Renfrewshire boost their household incomes by a total of £300,000 between April and September 2018. The service gives financial, debt and welfare rights advice to new and expectant parents and helps families check what benefits they are entitled to before and after the arrival of their baby.

The Tackling Poverty Initiative’s energy advice service, which provides support to people who need to reduce their energy bills, has also helped 177 households in Renfrewshire save a total of £49,220 since July 2018.

In March 2018 Renfrewshire Council announced £5million funding for the Tackling Poverty Programme over five years to deliver key projects and activities that will support people and families on low incomes.

Projects within the programme are designed to provide support for families that need it most, remove barriers to participation for children and young people, and support health and wellbeing for young people.

Councillor Shaw said: “The work that the Tackling Poverty Programme is doing is making a real difference to the lives of families in Renfrewshire who are struggling to make ends meet.

“This additional funding will ensure that these crucial services can help families in need in Renfrewshire for years to come.”

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Hundreds march to raise awareness of domestic abuse

Campaigners marched through Paisley on Tuesday 27 November to mark the beginning of Renfrewshire’s 16 Days of Action campaign, which aims to eliminate violence and sexual abuse towards women.

The Reclaim the Night march left from the University of the West of Scotland and marched to Dunn Square where Renfrewshire’s Provost, Lorraine Cameron led a two-minute silence in memory of those affected by domestic and sexual abuse.

reclaim the night

The assembled campaigners also heard speeches from Renfrewshire’s Year of Young People Champion, Councillor Michelle Campbell, and from White Ribbon Scotland Ambassador, Gavin Newlands MP.

The theme of the march this year was “Year of the Young People let’s talk about it” reflecting on the statistic that young people experience the highest rates of domestic abuse of any age group.

Provost Cameron said: “For far too long, fear, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions – and one in three women worldwide now experience gender-based violence.

“It was inspiring to see so many people, including a huge turn-out of men and young people at the march this year. They are breaking the silence on this issue and giving hope to those who are suffering.”

The 16 Days of Action takes place from 25 November to 10 December.

Anyone suffering from domestic violence can get help via two national helplines, which are available 24 hours a day and are free to call from a landline.

Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 027 1234

Abused Men in Scotland Helpline – 0808 800 0024

Locally, Women and Children First can be contacted on 0300 300 0345

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Festive fun comes to Johnstone

Johnstone Christmas Lights 2018

Thousands descended on Johnstone town centre to mark the start of the festive season this weekend at the annual Christmas Lights Switch On.

Johnstone Christmas Lights 2018

The Pulse FM DJs hosted a main stage in Houstoun Square packed with young up-and-coming talent who helped get everyone in the festive mood.

Youngsters in attendance were spoilt for choice with the chance to visit Santa’s Grotto as well as take part in free festive face painting and Christmas crafts.

Johnstone Christmas Lights 2018
Kids could also meet some of Santa’s reindeer and enjoy the funfair rides in the square.

A Christmas market was run by St Vincent’s Hospice with a selection of goodies available for those early Christmas present ideas.

At 5pm, Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron was joined by lucky competition winner, nine-year old Jonathan from St Anthony’s, on stage to push the button and light up Johnstone

Provost Cameron said: “It’s been another fantastic event and I was so pleased to see such a great turn out in Johnstone this year.

“I was honoured to have Jonathan with me to switch the lights on and I hope he had an incredible day that he will remember forever.”

The lights switch-on was organised by Renfrewshire Council as part of its town centre events programme.