Renfrewshire Council

Council Leader Iain Nicolson

Leader's blog: Paisley's 2021 City of Culture bid is changing Renfrewshire for the better

The Council may have been in recess during July, but I made the most of my summer break, getting out and about, speaking to residents and visiting community groups and Council projects across Renfrewshire.

I met young people at the extremely popular Street Stuff camps, a fantastic service that has helped cut youth disorder by 75 per cent in its first five years, spent time at our Customer Service Centres, meeting people who use our services and work for the Council, and attended gala days across Renfrewshire.

It's fantastic to see the pride and love that people have for Renfrewshire and their local communities at these events. People make Renfrewshire the wonderful place that it is and it's always heart-warming to see their passion for the area and their communities on display.

I've also been listening to what's important to you and what you want for Renfrewshire and your communities.

Now that the Council's back in session we are determined to work across the political parties to ensure that Renfrewshire remains a place where people want to live, work and raise families.

Our plan to clean up streets and roadsides, and champion anyone giving up their time to litter pick, fundraise and care for their communities has been warmly welcomed and we hope to extend this work to paths and more remote footways across Renfrewshire.

We are working with our colleagues in Glasgow City Region City Deal to improve infrastructure, which will, in turn, attract major investment and jobs to Renfrewshire. During the summer, I attended the first anniversary of the Tontine building. The building supports companies in the technology, advanced manufacturing and creative economy sectors and, as a City Deal partner, Renfrewshire companies are encouraged to tap into the innovation support it offers.  

The summer may have been busy, but there's no sign of things slowing down following Paisley's shortlisting for the 2021 City of Culture. Getting shortlisted was a brilliant achievement and you can already see the impact it's having on the town.

We are now Scotland's bid and we owe our success so far to the support and backing we have received from people across Renfrewshire. This is the people's bid and their enterprise, ambition and passion has been the driving force behind it. It has created a tremendous energy and pride for Paisley and Renfrewshire that will be around for years to come.

The bid is a key part of our ambitions to transform Renfrewshire and I'd like to pay tribute to everyone working behind the scenes for bringing it to life. The winner will be announced later this year and we're working hard to ensure that Paisley will come out on top. The bid has already changed Paisley and Renfrewshire for the better, ensuring that, regardless of the result, we will walk away as winners.

And finally, I welcome the findings and recommendations of the Accounts Commission report which reported on whether Renfrewshire Council is providing best value. It was a very positive report which recognises the Council's continuous improvement in how well we deliver services to the public.

It recognises the clear vision and ambition for Renfrewshire to revitalise the area's economy and address issues that cause inequality and the work we do with partners and communities to help shape those services. The report also highlights the challenges ahead, with increasing pressure on funding and impacts from a changing population and welfare reform. Working together with councillors, with partners, businesses and communities, will be vital to shaping and securing the important public services so many of us rely on for the future.