Off to the Capital!

The dark nights are coming…

A gang of Community & Voluntary organisations from Renfrewshire will descend on the Scottish Parliament’s chamber and committee rooms this Saturday to take part in the Parliament’s fourth Communities Conference .

A bus will leave our offices with all aboard in the morning and head for a cold but hopefully sunny Edinburgh. The event is aimed at grass-roots organisations, small voluntary groups, civic associations and local action groups who may not have this type of experience before. Our Renfrewshire representatives will attend workshops covering Parliament committees, the role of an MSP, petitions, cross-party groups, use of social networks and the media. The conference is part of the Parliament’s on-going commitment to engaging with all parts of Scotland’s people.

I’m hoping that those in attendance get the chance to talk Renfrewshire up – showing some of the quality that exists in our sector and why we should be rightly proud of the engagement our groups and organisations deliver in our communities. I’m sure it will be lively and all in attendance will learn from the experience. Some might even get the ‘bug’ and think about running for office themselves!

Twitter followers can track the conference news by using #CoCo4

Be sure to turn your clock back on Sunday morning. All the best.



Always the sun…


Following on from the thoroughly enjoyable Social Economy seminar held by Renfrewshire Council in Renfrew Town Hall last Thursday I spent most of my weekend with colleagues from around Scotland in discussions at Glasgow Caledonia University on the merits of Social Enterprise.

One of the speakers was Ronald Macintyre a Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator at The Open University in Scotland. Ronald took us through an excellent presentation on the virtues of the environment in relation to sustainable social enterprises. The presentation covered a range of interesting issues among which he also asked us to consider that everything we buy is energy – food, clothing or even labour. An interesting point that puts environmental issues at the centre of any business no matter what services you’re providing. It’s made me think of the environmental impact of what I do on a day to day basis. I have a tendency to think that recycling and acting ‘green’ is a bolt-on to business but perhaps the impact of considering environment first may lead to reducing the needs to recycle in the first place.

After Roy’s presentation my presentation on improving our approach to social media seemed a little… little. However if you are interested in using social media more Unity Trust Bank and Social Misfits Media have launched a new guide called ‘About that First Tweet’ which assembles the thoughts of nearly 200 small and medium-sized charities and social enterprises on social media. The Guide also includes interviews with social media experts from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, all of who give tips on how to best engage with the platforms they provide; case studies of organisations who’ve successfully used social media to achieve off-line goals; a checklist of reminders and tips; and further reading.

Click here to download “                         About that First Tweet

Speak to you soon.


The best reason for a coffee…

I’m just back from my son’s school’s contribution to the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning – Macmillan Cancer Support’s biggest fundraising event.  Macmillan’s ask people across the UK – and sometimes further afield – to hold a coffee morning, where donations on the day are made to the charity. In 2011 51,000 people signed up to coffee morning, raising a record £10 million.

My lad’s school dinner hall was heaving with contented parents and friends. The event started at 9:30am so it was a delight to eat cup cakes and chocolate fudge brownies for breakfast and the folks here at Engage Renfrewshire also got a treat – home-baking bought in the sale of goods. Here’s a picture of a chocolate fudge brownie cake I brought in – 20 seconds after it was first cut…

…mmmm! …..

The work of Macmillan Cancer Support is of course fantastic. We’ve been delighted here at Engage Renfrewshire to work with the Charity on its ‘Living Well@ the Library’ programme.

I was very proud of my son’s work today – after eating a number of cakes he strode around shaking his collection tin for all his might… I’m back at the office skint but happy…

Speak to you soon


October begins…

Has October crept up on you? We’re into the tenth month of the year and thoughts turn to the nights are fair drawin’ in, getting the heating on, and not forgetting your overcoat when you go out… I left mine at the aforementioned (in my previous post) Paisley South Housing Association (PSHA) AGM. The first time I noticed it was missing I assumed that I’d left it in the car, I’d had it stolen (aye right…), or it had mysteriously vanished into the ether.  I retraced my steps and realised I had in fact:

A)     not had it on in the first place or

B)     I had left it crumpled in a heap at a meeting somewhere in Renfrewshire…

The kind folks at PSHA tracked it down for me. On return I noticed that the music CD in the pocket of my coat was still there… why no one wanted to swipe the first album produced by Ohio’s favourite art-rockers DEVO is beyond me…

For those of you who may have missed it – the Engage Renfrewshire Training calendar is available on-line here

Wrap up warm – speak to you soon.