Lochwinnoch Arts Festival returns for its 17th year


The popular Lochwinnoch Arts Festival returns to the idyllic Renfrewshire village for a 12 day celebration of music, theatre, comedy and much more.

It has been part of the local cultural scene for 17 years and for two weeks from Tuesday 13 March – Sunday 25 March across a range of village venues, the 2018 Lochwinnoch Arts Festival will offer something for everybody.

Many of the events are free, while others are being held to raise funds for good causes – with a special focus on St Vincent’s Hospice, which is marking its 30th anniversary year.

The opening concert will be both raucous and at the same time poignant. The Small Fezzes, the ever popular Lochwinnoch Ukulele band will get Lochwinnoch 2018 underway ‘with friends’ at the McKillop Hall. This will be a Concert for Anne Moore –dedicated to the memory of a wonderful lady, lover or the arts, huge supporter of the festival and a founding member of the Small Fezzes. The Annie’s Song tribute is free, though tickets are required for entry – all donations will go towards the funding of equipment for Corseford School, where she taught for more than 30 years.

World renowned crime writer Christopher Brookmyre will be appearing with the Lochwinnoch writers group on Thursday 15 March, while local author Corrine Hutton will be in conversation with Professor Rowena Murray on Saturday 24 March.

The popular ‘A Buddy Good Laugh’ returns to the Mckillop Hall on Friday 16 March featuring some of the country’s top comedy talent, including TV and radio star Des Clark.

Some old favourites are also on the festival bill including the fantastic jazz band Rose Room, this year joined by international saxophone player Laura Macdonald.

A special evening of classical artists from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s brass quintet and classical guitar featuring Matthew McAllister is also set to be a highlight of this year’s programme.

Among the considerable local talent on show is the ever popular Calder Drama Club, this year with the comedy ‘Lady Chatterley’s Charter’ on Thursday 22 March.

Musician and entertainer Willie Gamble and friends; rock band Howlin’ radio; the unique sound of Witches’ Brew; an all-new selection of tunes from Glasgow Theatre Guilds Musicality; and a community concert in the Parish Church with the Lochwinnoch Choral Society add to the eclectic mix on offer.

In addition to the fantastic music, theatre and comedy offering there will also be art and photography exhibitions, craft fairs, pottery and felting try-out events and drop in jamming sessions in local pubs. The festival really has something for everyone.

Festival organiser Dr Morag Thow said, ‘The Lochwinnoch Arts Festival is, as we have badged it, the friendly festival. For two weeks it offers a chance for local talent to mix with national and international starts in music, comedy, writing, drama, painting and crafts.

“It is a brilliant thing to be part of, whether as a performer or a member of the audience. I cannot thank our supporters and sponsors enough, as without them the Festival would simply not be possible.

“This year we are remembering our dear friend Anne Moore, and will hope to raise both money and awareness of the great causes that she herself supported – St Vincent’s Hospice and Corseford School.”

There really is something for everyone at the Lochwinnoch Arts Festival from 13 – 25 March 2018.

For more information about the festival and to find out where you can get tickets please visit: http://lochwinnochartsfestival.co.uk/.

Glasgow Airport weather update – Wednesday 28 February 2.50pm


Due to continued severe weather conditions and the large number of flights which airlines have had to cancel, there will be no further flights to or from Glasgow Airport for the remainder of the day.

Further heavy snowfall is forecast and we will provide updates regarding tomorrow’s scheduled services later this evening.

We would advise passengers not to travel to the airport and anyone with travel plans should contact their airline directly for specific flight information.

Renfrewshire Council Weather update – schools and council buildings closed tomorrow



The Met Office have now issued a red weather warning for Renfrewshire and parts of Scotland due to extreme weather conditions expected later today – running from 3pm today until 10am tomorrow.

The advice is not to travel under any circumstances during those hours. Ensure you remain safe and follow the advice of the emergency services at all times. Council services are affected as follows:

All schools and nurseries will remain closed today and Thursday. We will update you tomorrow on whether they will reopen on Friday.

All bin collections today and tomorrow are cancelled and will not be collected until the next scheduled collection day for that colour of bin.  At that time we will also collect any excess waste left at the side of the bins.

All essential council services – such as care at home and some social work services – will be operating to the best of our ability but council offices will be closing later this afternoon.

We hope to be able to reopen council buildings at some point tomorrow but as the red weather warning is in place until 10am tomorrow and the advice is not to travel, this will only be when it is safe to do so. Council staff should speak to their line manager about their own service arrangements.

We will issue any updates on here and through our social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.

As it stands the conditions are making things very challenging but our gritters and snow ploughs have been out overnight and will stay out all today. We are sure you appreciate we can’t get to every residential street but all main roads are open at present. Our street teams have also been out since 5.30am helping to clear the snow from pavements.

Obviously the situation may change so we advise you keep an eye on the Met Office for weather updates and follow Police Scotland and Traffic Scotland for the latest travel advice. Stay safe out there and we will keep you posted.

Severe weather closes sports and leisure facilities


Due to severe weather warnings all sports and leisure facilities along with libraries, Paisley Museum, Paisley Arts Centre, community centres and town halls operated by Renfrewshire Leisure closed at 2pm today. (Wednesday, February 28.


And due to the Red Alert warning from the Met Office, these facilities will also be closed tomorrow. (Thursday, March 1)

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “With the updated weather warning and the travel advice from Police Scotland our facilities will close early on Wednesday and remained closed on Thursday.

“We take the safety of our staff and customers very seriously and a decision on whether to open on Friday will be made when we get an updated weather report on Thursday.”

Labour calls for boost in road spending after ‘perfect storm conditions’ cause pothole misery.

Labour has called on the SNP Administration running Renfrewshire Council to commit millions of pounds to fixing Renfrewshire’s pothole-ridden roads in the upcoming budget.

Eddie Devine, Leader of the Labour Opposition on the Council has said the SNP needs to match or even increase the record amount of money set aside for road repairs in the last year of the Labour Administration.

During the year 2016-2017 the Labour-run Renfrewshire Council committed £6.7 million for roads, but Councillor Devine says this winter saw the ‘perfect storm’ conditions for potholes to appear on the roads.
Councillor Devine said ‘the biggest talking point in the past few months has been the state of our roads and there needs to be a massive effort from the Council to get out there and repair them properly’.

‘The last year Labour were in power before the Council elections in May 2017 we had the largest amount of money ever budgeted for road repairs’. ‘Unfortunately, the weather conditions this winter created the perfect storm for potholes to appear on many of our roads. We had periods of rain then hard frosts, which caused the water to expand when it became frozen causing potholes in the road surfaces’.

He continued ‘it is now the time when the SNP Administration decides on the Council’s budget for the next financial year and we would call on them to make road repairs a priority and commit the same, or even more money, to repairing our roads as we did’. ‘Because of the winter we’ve had, more money is needed to fix our broken roads than ever before’.

‘That would be a priority for the people of Renfrewshire and its also a priority for Labour on Renfrewshire Council’.

Councillor Devine added ‘the SNP Administration also needs to make sure the repairs that are
being carried out are done properly’.

Renfrewshire’s Provost offers a helping hand at local foodbank


Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron joined volunteers of the Renfrewshire Foodbank to prepare and hand out parcels to those in need.

Provost Cameron helped bag up food parcels alongside the regular helpers at the Paisley distribution centre located in the Central Baptist Church.

The Paisley branch is one of four foodbanks in Renfrewshire, set up in partnership with the Trussell Trust and local churches, which gives emergency food and support to local people in crisis.

Since 1 April 2017, the Renfrewshire Foodbank has provided a three day supply of food for more than 7000 people using donations totalling almost 90 tonnes from the local community.

Provost Cameron said: “The selfless work which the volunteers of the foodbank carry out is fantastic and they are a shining example of the community members we have in Renfrewshire.

“While it is sad that people find themselves in the position of needing the support of the foodbank, the vital service provided by the volunteers is extraordinary and I thank them for their unwavering commitment.

“If you are able to donate your time or some food items then please do and ensure that the foodbank can continue to provide support to those who need it.”

Renfrewshire Foodbank Manager, Elizabeth Alexander, said: “I’d like to thank Provost for taking the time to visit the foodbank and offer a helping hand to our fantastic team of volunteers.

“We work hard to support those in need at the foodbank and without their dedication, and the donations from the local community, we couldn’t do the work we do.

“The number of people we have been able to help has risen again this year so it is vital that we continue to receive the support of the local community to ensure we can help those in crisis.

“If you are able to offer your support in any form, please get in touch and we’d be happy to have you on board.”

You can find out more about Renfrewshire Foodbank via their website: renfrewshire.foodbank.org.uk.

Glasgow Airport statement following Ryanair announcement


A spokesman for Glasgow Airport said: “We are bitterly disappointed at this decision by Ryanair which is not only damaging for Glasgow and wider Scottish connectivity, it will impact approximately 100 jobs locally. This is a result of the airline’s review of its single aircraft bases, however, we have been left in no doubt it is also a consequence of the Scottish Government’s inability to introduce its proposed 50% cut in Air Departure Tax (ADT).

“Despite clear and repeated warnings from both airports and airlines about the potential impact of this policy not being implemented, we are now faced with a stark scenario that includes the loss of 20 services and a significant number of jobs.

“This is the second example in as many months of an airline cutting capacity in Scotland because of the lack of movement on ADT. The reality is this capacity will be reallocated elsewhere in Europe to countries with more favourable aviation taxation policies to Scotland’s detriment. We cannot sit back and risk Scotland’s connectivity being further eroded. It is imperative there is immediate action on ADT.”

Shortlist revealed for fans to pick Saints legends for Love Street names

St Mirren fans can now cast their votes on which club legends they want to name a street after when new housing is built on the site of the club’s old Love Street ground.

Earlier this month Renfrewshire Council launched the #SaintsStreets competition, inviting fans to submit suggestions for St-Mirren-related street names – and there was an incredible response, with more than 1,000 submissions made.

Those have now been sorted through and a final shortlist chosen – meaning fans have until the weekend to make the final call on which names will be honoured.

The £17million Love Street housing project is being delivered by Sanctuary Scotland in partnership with Renfrewshire Council and the Scottish Government – with work to start soon on 132 new affordable homes.

There are five streets to be named on the site – two have already been named North Bank and Cairter’s Corner after well-known sections of the old ground they sit on the locations of.

The expert panel which picked the shortlist was Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Communities, Housing and Planning Policy Board; Pat Cahill, director of Sanctuary Scotland; St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott; celebrity Saints fan and broadcaster Chick Young, and the club’s fan-elected director David Nicol, of the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association, which part-owns the club.

They picked the following 15 names, from which the five most popular will be chosen during the final vote. Fans have until 4.45pm on Saturday 3 March to cast their votes via www.surveymonkey.com/r/SaintsStreets

– Abercromby Avenue (cult-hero midfielder Billy Abercromby came through the youth ranks and won the 1987 Scottish Cup);

– Bryceland Avenue (the late Tommy Bryceland won the 1959 Scottish Cup and had two spells at the club);

– Copland Lane (Paisley-born defender Jackie Copland had two spells at the club and later became the club’s general manager);

– Fitzpatrick Way (current club chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick is a club legend, winning the 1987 Scottish Cup and enjoying two spells as manager);

– Gemmell Gardens (forward Tommy Gemmell spent his whole career at St Mirren and was part of the 1959 Scottish Cup winning team);

– McCrae Crescent (David McCrae is St Mirren’s all-time record goalscorer, with 222 goals from 1923 to 1934);

– McGarry Terrace  (local lad Steven McGarry helped the club he supports to the 2000 First Division title, while his late father Tam was a well-known supporter);

– McWhirter Street (Johnstone-born defender Norrie McWhirter dedicated his whole 15-year career to the buddies);

– Money Street (one-club goalkeeper Campbell Money spent 15 years at the club and was part of the 1987 Scottish Cup Final winning team)

– Saints Street (affectionate name for all St Mirren supporters);

– Somner Street (Dougie Somner played for St Mirren from 1979-1983 and scored plenty goals, including the Saints first ever UEFA Cup goal);

– Telfer Street (stalwart defender Willie Telfer played for St Mirren from 1943 to 1957);

– Torfason Terrace (Icelandic international Guðmundur Torfason was a cult hero at the club, top scorer in each of his three seasons from 1989-1992);

– Van Zanten View (David van Zanten enjoyed two spells at St Mirren, helping the side to the 2006 First Division title and the 2013 League Cup);

– Yardley Avenue (striker Mark Yardley scored crucial goals en route to the 2000 First Division title and is warmly remembered for his eight-year spell);

There were a number of suggestions the panel couldn’t consider due to Royal Mail requirements intended to stop clashes with existing streets in the area.

That ruled out a number of notable past players and managers, including Jim Clunie, James ‘Daddy’ Dunlop, Sir Alex Ferguson, David Lapsley, Hugh Murray, Alex Smith, Steven Thompson and John Cockles Wilson.

They were also unable to name streets after numbers – with key dates such as 1959 and 1987 having been put forward – or after St Mirren itself.

Sanctuary Scotland will also name the children’s play area at the new housing development after Paisley Panda.

Councillor McGurk said: “We are pleased to be working with Sanctuary to bring the Love Street site back into use – with the new housing making a big contribution towards the council’s target of 200 high-quality affordable homes being built in Renfrewshire each year.

“Given how much the Love Street site means to so many people, we wanted to be able to let St Mirren fans decide how best their club’s history should be reflected within it.

“The panel had a tough task to whittle the names down but after some very lively discussion we arrived at a shortlist which spans the generations and different eras of the club’s history.”

The development will provide 103 houses for social rent. A further 29 houses are available for affordable sale through the New Supply Shared Equity scheme.

Sanctuary is also building homes for social rent in Station Road, Renfrew and at the former Co-op site in Wellmeadow Street, Paisley.

Renfrewshire has a bright idea to tackle dog fouling

Streets across Renfrewshire are being sprayed pink, red, blue and green as part of an innovative campaign to tackle dog fouling in the area.

As part of Renfrewshire’s Team Up to Clean Up campaign, streets where dog fouling has been identified as a major issue are being targeted to improve their cleanliness.

Officers will be spraying any dog waste found within the targeted street with biodegradable spray paint, as well as stencils in each street with the message “‘Someone isn’t picking up after their dog…is it you?”.

There will also be informative posters placed in the area as well as enforcement activity carried out to monitor the situation, reducing the level of dog fouling in the short and long term.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “It is unacceptable for an owner not to pick up after their dog or fail to dispose of it correctly.

“This innovative campaign will force people to sit up and take notice of the problem within their street and think twice before they fail to pick up after their pets again.

“We know there is a large majority of responsible dog owners in Renfrewshire who always ensure they carry a bag with them on their daily walks, it is the minority who don’t that we wish to change.

“If we can grab their attention through this campaign then we can begin to change their behaviour and make our streets safer and cleaner for everyone.”

The approach has been trialled successfully in other areas local authority areas across the UK and has seen a significant reduction in the level of dog fouling in the area, as well as a change in the behaviour of local dog owners.

To sign up to be a Responsible Dog Owner in Renfrewshire, go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/responsibledogowner.

For more information on the Team Up to Clean Up campaign and how to get involved, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/teamuptocleanup or like the Team Up to Clean Up Facebook page.



Provost Lorraine Cameron is urging everyone to go on a stag do – but it’s nothing to do with celebrating getting married.

Renfrewshire’s Provost recently paid a visit to Paisley Museum to see the iconic Scottish painting, Monarch of the Glen, by Sir Edwin Landseer, which is on display there for people to see for free until March 11.

And she’s encouraging people to go along and see the painting of the majestic red deer stag on a mist-covered Highland hilltop for themselves.

Youngsters from St Mary’s Primary, Paisley were also at the Museum to see the painting as part of their project about Paisley and Provost Cameron joined the youngsters in marveling at the famous image.
The Monarch of the Glen was painted in 1851 and has been used in modern times as an advertising tool on everything from beermats, biscuit tins to bottles of whisky.

The painting is an iconic image associated with Scotland and Paisley is only one of four venues in the country chosen by the National Galleries of Scotland for it to go on show.

Provost Cameron said: “I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to see the iconic Monarch of the Glen painting in Renfrewshire and it was great to see local schoolchildren also visiting, who will hopefully be inspired by the stunning piece.

“It’s only fitting that Paisley, being so rich in culture, should host this fantastic painting and I would encourage everyone to ensure they visit the Museum to see the eye-catching piece of artwork while it is here.”

The painting was bought for the nation for £4 million from drinks giant Diageo last year, after a four-month fundraising campaign supported by the National Lottery, Art Fund, the Scottish Government, private trusts and public donations. Diageo had agreed to sell the famous painting for half the market value.