Renfrewshire Council

Video message from Chief Executive, Alan Russell - March 2023

In his latest message for colleagues, Alan discusses our Council budget, reflects on the one year anniversary of the war against Ukraine and recognises the work of our housing teams in supporting Ukrainian refugees.

Building a fairer Renfrewshire while supporting the Council's financial sustainability was the central focus of the budget agreed by councillors earlier this month.

As I said at the time, setting this year's budget has been challenging, and I'd like to thank colleagues particularly in our finance team for all your work, in arguably the most difficult financial circumstances we have ever faced.

We'll have to make difficult decisions to ensure we remain financially sustainable both now and in the future, but the budget also brings together £5million in funding for people most in need through the Fairer Renfrewshire programme. This includes more money for the Scottish Welfare fund and for Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau as well as a summer activity programme with a healthy meal for children and young people from low-income families and a winter school clothing payment.

There was also a commitment to protect the ongoing five-year, £424million capital investment programme which includes transforming Paisley town centre cultural venues, such as Paisley Town Hall and improving transport links across the area. All of which will support our recovery and play such an important part of our future economic growth.

More information about this year's budget is available here.

Last month also marked a year since the beginning of the war against Ukraine, and I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in supporting our response, in particular our housing support team. The team has welcomed almost 1500 people displaced from Ukraine, at the Welcome Hub near Glasgow Airport, providing them with a warm welcome and a safe place to stay. Our housing teams do a fantastic job, managing our housing investment, as well as our role as the social housing landlord to over 12,000 tenants across Renfrewshire. They really are a great example of our values in action!

Celebrating the success and the fantastic work of our housing teams feels particularly apt just now, as we are about to say farewell to Mary Crearie, who is retiring from her role as Director of Communities and Housing at the end of this month. Mary has been with the council for 14 years and in that time has led major change and improvements in the organisation, especially in social housing, and she will be sorely missed. And we'll have the opportunity to wish her a fond farewell in the coming weeks.