Local community Team Up to Clean Up in Johnstone

Ahead of Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean next month, pupils from Johnstone High School, St David’s Primary, Cochrane Castle Primary and West Johnstone Pre-5 Centre joined members of the local community to give Thomas Shanks Park a makeover.

67 pupils took the opportunity to improve their local environment as they tackled litter left within the park, while also learning how to influence their classmates into using the bins around the school and at home.

The Renfrewshire Wardens were also on hand to discuss the effect dropping litter can have on the environment and local wildlife, as well as their job of enforcing fines to those caught in the act.

More than 80 bags of litter were collected during the clean up, which has made a real difference to the appearance and cleanliness of the popular park.

The clean up took place in advance of Renfrewshire’s Big Spring Clean which is set to take place between 20-22 April.

A key event as part of the Team Up to Clean Up campaign, communities across Renfrewshire are being urged to get involved with the aim of holding a clean-up in as many towns and villages as possible.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “It’s fantastic to see yet another brilliant turn out at one of our community clean ups, and especially encouraging to have the young people from local Johnstone schools in attendance.

“It is important that the younger generation are aware of the damage littering can do and the importance of keeping their local community clean.

“I hope they’ll be inspired, along with everyone else, to take part in our Big Spring Clean in April where we hope the entire Renfrewshire community will get behind the campaign.

“If we can hold a clean up in as many communities as possible, this will hopefully provide the spark for them to be kept clean and for people to take a pride in their local area.”

The Team Up to Clean Up campaign was given a major boost earlier this month as councillors committed to investing £2.5million in improving Renfrewshire’s environment across the next five years – doubling the initial annual investment.

The commitment ensures the continuation of an increased road sweeping service, improved gully cleaning programme, strengthened Rapid Response Team and dedicated litter pickers out in every community, as well as supporting the local community to undertake community clean ups.

Find out more about the Big Spring Clean at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/bigspringclean or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup.


Renfrewshire athletes set sail for Special Olympics World Games 2019

The entire Team Special Olympics Great Britain (SOGB) sailing squad for the World Games in 2019 is set to be made up of athletes training in Renfrewshire.

Lewis Nicholson (Paisley), Michael Kelly (Paisley), Jamie Kearns (Clydebank), Shannon McGhee (Clydebank), Laura Carrick (Helensburgh, Lothian) and Darren MacGregor (Glasgow) will travel to Abu Dhabi as part of a delegation of 129 athletes set to represent Great Britain.

All six of the athletes who will make up the sailing squad train at Castle Semple within Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park and this will form their base for their preparations for the World Games next year – supported by the coaching team at Castle Semple.

Councillor Andy Steel, Chair of the Clyde Muirshiel Joint Committee, said: “It is a fantastic honour for these athletes to be chosen to represent Team SOGB at the World Games and this comes after a fantastic performance in Sheffield where they won two silvers and a bronze.

“We’re extremely proud that these young people are training and learning at the top class accessible facilities we have at Castle Semple and we will do all we can to facilitate them as they prepare to face the best athletes from across the world.”

The Special Olympics World Summer Games is the biggest global event for athletes with intellectual (learning) disabilities and takes place every four years.

Team SOGB are one of 168 countries taking part and around 7,000 athletes from around the globe will compete in 24 different sports between 14-21 March 2019.

A full list of those selected for Team SOGB can be found here: www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk.

For more information on the Special Olympics World Games 2019 can be found here: www.specialolympics.org/Games/2019_World_Summer_Games.aspx


Gavin Newlands MP meets with Paisley Comic Con team

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, is urging local people to come out in force to support Paisley Comic Con which is being held in the Paisley Town Hall on the 14th of April.

Last week, the Member of Paisley and Renfrewshire North, met with the organisers of the Paisley Comic Con – Alasdair Watson and Thom Wall – to find out what they have planned for this year’s event.

This is the second annual Paisley Comic Con and follows last year high successful event which saw over 2,000 people visit the town hall to meet with their favourite comic book stars.

Gavin Newlands, SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“It was good to meet with Alasdair and Thom to find out more about their plans for this year’s Paisley Comic Con.

“Over 2,000 people attended last year’s event and I know from meeting with the organisers that they have bigger and better plans to ensure that more people attend their follow-up event in the Paisley town hall.

“Paisley Comic Con is a great family day out and it’s good to see that they have a number of events on for small children. If you’re looking for something to do on Saturday 14th of April, I would recommend popping into the town hall for Paisley Comic Con.”

Paisley Comic Con, said:

“Our focus this year is really on making the event bigger, better, and more fun, as well as creating opportunities for people of all ages to get creative and tell their own stories. We’ve also expanded on the Festival of events around town, with fun activities throughout the Easter Holidays for young kids and grown-up kids alike!”


Workshops shine a light on Renfrewshire women who made their mark on history

A heritage project is examining how Renfrewshire women have been making their mark on history for almost 150 years.

Members of Paisley’s Disability Resource Centre have been working with social historian Lil Brookes to discover the contributions made by remarkable local women from the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Those whose achievements have come under the spotlight  in ‘The Ladies, A,B & C’ project, include Jane Arthur, the sister-in-law of Thomas Coats, from the famous Paisley manufacturing family.

Lil, who is leading the workshops supported by Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Heritage and Events fund, said:  “We started in the week of the 100th anniversary of women getting the vote, which seemed very fitting when we were finding out more about these remarkable, strong women. Our first one looked at what women’s positions were in Victorian times and what education was available to them, which was a great icebreaker.”

Jane Arthur was the first Scottish woman elected to a school board in 1873. The feminist and activist also later became vice-president of the Paisley Ladies Sanitary Association, which promoted public baths.

Lil said: “One of our workshops was led on a cartoon from the Paisley Heritage Centre archive by a Scots artist James Elder Christie called ‘The School Boat Race . The ship Jane Arthur is sitting in is called ‘The not so weak vessel’, which all about the school board elections and a woman standing.

“It was the first time women were allowed to take some kind of role in public office.  There were nine places up for grabs on the board and Jane Arthur, who was clearly very popular, was overwhelmingly voted in and got around 6,500 votes. The next man down only got around 3,500.”

Other exceptional women explored in the project include rent activist Mary Barbour from Kilbarchan, who had a statue unveiled in her honour in Govan on International Woman’s Day.

She was a key player in fighting rent increases imposed by Glasgow landlords during World War One.

It also featured three of the Mrs Coats from Paisley’s other famous textiles manufacturing family, and their stories all contain themes still relevant to women today like equality in the workplace, education, healthcare, and housing.

Lil added: “We are all just ordinary women and it’s been great to bring the stories of these women who went before us to life. Often their stories went largely unreported and compared to the men of the era, most of their names are still largely unknown.”

The group’s field trips have included a visit to the National Library of Scotland and to Paisley Museum and Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron dropped into one of the workshops this week to hear the remarkable stories.

She said: “It’s fascinating to hear about some of the amazing women Renfrewshire has produced and their strength and achievements are still inspiring today.”

The legacy of the project will be a short film on the women whose stories were featured.

The CHE Fund was set up in 2015 as a way of getting people involved in culture and unlocking Renfrewshire’s creative potential as part of Paisley’s bid to win the UK City of Culture 2021 title.

It continues as a key legacy now that the competition is over, with applications from local groups invited for further rounds of funding.

For more information on the CHE Fund which is still accepting applications, please go to www.paisley2021.co.uk


Kids charged up for recycling

Two Johnstone primary schools have collected almost 2,500 batteries as part of a nationwide recycling challenge.

Pupils from St David’s and Cochrane Castle Primary signed up for the ‘Big Battery Hunt’ in January, joining more than 1,800 schools across the UK in raising awareness of recycling.

School Eco Coordinator and P1 teacher Stephanie Mackenzie said she was delighted to see the pupils embrace the challenge so enthusiastically.

“All pupils have their own battery box at home which they fill up and bring back to school to empty into our recycling buckets,” she said.

“Several children have been very proactive in building up their battery numbers.

“For example, two of our St David’s pupils have a dad who works with the police and they’ve been bringing in old batteries from items that the forensic team uses such as torches and cameras.

“It’s been great to see the children so interested in this initiative and developing their understanding of how recycling can help the environment.”
Here’s what some of the pupils had to say:

“I enjoyed looking for batteries. My dad collected a full tub of them and then he got a massive box of them and brought them to school” – Iain (5)

“I found batteries from my old pretend computer. I would usually bin them but I now know that I can recycle them so that I can help the planet” – Eilidh (6)

“I got my batteries from old toys in the house. It is good that we are recycling at our school and telling other people about it” – Cameron (5)
Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “The pupils from St David’s and Cochrane Castle Primary are proof that you’re never too young to start recycling.

“Teaching our young people about helping the environment is a positive move toward changing the recycling behaviour of our generations to come.

“With Global Recycling Day being celebrated this month, it’s timely to congratulate all the Renfrewshire primary schools taking part in the ‘Big Battery Hunt’ challenge.”

Entries to the ‘Big Battery Hunt’ competition close on 26 April when all batteries will be collected and recycled.


Renfrewshire schools celebrate British Science Week with range of activities including Whodunits

From turning classrooms into crime scenes and studying tsunamis, schools across Renfrewshire marked British Science Week with a string of activities.

Budding forensic investigators at St Mary’s Primary in Paisley turned detective to take part in a special CSI day, ‘Who killed Mrs Friel?’

The classroom was turned into a CSI lab as the children solved the whodunit of which member of staff killed their head teacher in the gym hall.

A guest speaker explained to the children how evidence is gathered in real life, while they were also given the chance to quiz suspects.

Pupils also enjoyed a range of science workshops, with younger students visiting Glasgow’s Science Centre to mark the ten day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths.

St. Anne’s Primary in Erskine held a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) week with a variety of different activities to promote learning and career choice.

The Scottish Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals talked to children about their work in the care and protection of animals, as well as the impact humans can have on the environment and how this affects other living things.

Microbiologist from Glasgow University undertook experiments with older pupils to help them understand how microbiology works and how it can improve our world.

Staff from Trinity High School, Network Rail and the University of West of Scotland also dropped by, while visiting academics from Strathclyde University helped children learn about wind turbines.

At Howwood Primary, older children heard from a parent based at Prestwick Airport as an air traffic controller and pupils were able to track a plane that passed over the school to Amsterdam.

Other pupils embarked on Space discovery and worked together to create rockets while senior pupils created working volcanoes and disaster movies, while learning about genetics.

Primary six pupils embarked on a bridge building project with local firm Thermo Fisher Scientific, looking at costs and design and then building the bridge in miniature.

Science was also celebrated at St Anthony’s Primary in Johnstone, where children produced a topic on the human body and one class looked at tsunamis and the impact they have on the environment.

Education and Children’s Services Convener, Councillor Jim Paterson, said: “It’s great to see schools putting a range of activities to mark British Science Week and bringing the subject alive in such a fun way for children.“


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