Renfrewshire Council

Message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 19 March 2021

This week, more of our pupils returned to school with all primary school children now back at school full-time and a part-time return for our secondary school pupils in the weeks up to the Easter break.

This is a positive step towards getting all our young people back into the classroom where they can meet their friends and continue their learning in a face to face environment. I know our teaching and schools staff as well as parents, will be hopeful of a full time return for all our young people after the school holidays next month.

Further cause for optimism came this week with an update from Scottish Government on a timetable for the easing of restrictions over the coming weeks. This set out an indicative timetable for the gradual relaxation of the current restrictions starting at the beginning of April with further dates set until the middle of May. You can read more about the details here: Updated timetable for easing restrictions.

This is very welcome news and gives us great hope that if we all continue to follow the rules over the coming weeks, take up the vaccine when its offered and help stop the spread of the virus, then these positive changes can be made over the coming weeks and by June, we could all be returning to the normality we all desperately want to see and be able to hug our friends and family once again.

Next week, sees the first anniversary since the first lockdown in March last year. It's a sombre reminder of the sacrifices so many have made to keep us safe and the losses people have suffered, whether that's been as a direct result of the virus or whether people have not been able to grieve and remember loved ones in the way they would normally.

To commemorate and reflect on those we have lost over the last 12 months, there will a National Day of Reflection with a nationwide minute's silence on Tuesday 23 March at 12 noon and in the evening, people will be encouraged to shine a light at 8pm to remember family and friends no longer with us. If you need support, then we have a range of services available to help you, please reach out if you need it and either speak to your line manager or visit the Taking Care of Our Wellbeing hub on our website which has a range of useful resources to help you.

The national vaccination programme remains on track to ensure all adults over the age of 50, unpaid carers and all adults with particular underlying health conditions, have received at least their first dose by mid-April. This remains subject to the supply of the vaccine but it's a real sign of the partnership working that those in the last two priority groups - those aged 55-59 and 50-54-year-olds are now being invited for their vaccination.

When you receive your invitation, I would like to remind all our staff, that you can attend this during work time but please seek the usual permission from your line manager in advance. It is only by following the rules and ensuring as many people as possible take up the vaccination that will help us return to the normality we all crave, so I would urge everyone, when the invite comes to please 'Roll Up Your Sleeve' and get the vaccine. If you'd like to know more about the vaccination, you can find a range of information on the NHS Inform website here: Roll Up Your Sleeves - information on the vaccine

This week, Scottish Government also launched a campaign to target any unpaid carers aged between 16-64 who provide face to face care for someone else, so they can also access the vaccine themselves.

Some carers may have already received appointment letters over the last few weeks, however it is now possible for people to self-refer to register for the vaccine.

If you think you might be eligible or perhaps know someone who might be, please visit www.nhsinform.scot/carersregister for more information. Alternatively, they can call the COVID-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 to complete a registration from.

Please remember carers can still receive all types of support from local carer services. For more information please visit the carer pages on the NHSGGC website. To refer a carer to these services staff can call 0141 353 6504.

As we look forward to Spring and following the update from government this week, there are many reasons to look forward to the weeks ahead and it's exciting to see another of our great events launch this week.

The much-loved Paisley Food and Drink Festival goes online this year with a fantastic nine day programme from Friday 16 to Saturday 24 April showcasing the rich diversity of Renfrewshire's very own food and drink offer through a series of short films and interactive experiences, including online cooking demonstrations, tastings, workshops and much more.

The Festival aims to support local businesses, cafes, bars, restaurants and growers across Renfrewshire and the surrounding area, with spending local more important now than ever. There's a really exciting and varied range of events online to either watch or take part in. 

More programme details for this year's Paisley Food and Drink Festival will be announced online in the coming weeks. Follow @paisleyis on Facebook and @paisleyfoodanddrink on Instagram for the latest updates.

Information on the events and how to get involved in the interactive experiences and online cooking demonstrations can be found at Paisley Food and Drink Festival

Thank you and take care.

Sandra