84.59% – That’s a magic number…

Friday 19th September 2014 – It’s the day after the night before – Scotland’s referendum is complete and no matter which way you voted yesterday the turn out showed that the democratic system available to all of us in Scotland can offer a fantastic opportunity to engage people. Could you ever have imagined – based on recent election turn-outs – that if you were registered to vote and you didn’t, you would be in a very small minority who chose not to take part?

I’m no expert but the scale of that engagement – over 3.5 million votes cast – surely means that people living in Scotland understand that the democratic process works, and that they can use it to show that they care about their communities and their future?

Both campaigns regularly touched on the need for all of us to tackle inequality in our society – personally I think it’s been refreshing to hear the theme of ‘social justice’ being to the fore in a number of the debates and I’m optimistic that that as new debates begin it will retain a position of priority for all.
Hopefully all of us in Scotland can benefit from this upsurge in interest regards what local influence and empowerment truly means – ‘a triumph of democratic participation’ Laurence Demarco notes in today’s SENSCOT bulletin which is available here:


Engage Renfrewshire’s fourth AGM took place on Tuesday 16th September 2014. Hopefully if you were there you found it an enjoyable evening. We had some great presentations – including one from John Wilby on the work of community councils and one from the ‘Star Project’ which showed clearly how the community plan in Renfrewshire is closely linked to the work of the project. I was particularly taken by the very cool ‘Prezi’ presentation prepared by Renfrew YMCA – young people doing some excellent work. Their presentation is available below – be prepared to be impressed! :





We also launched our 2013/14 Annual Report at the AGM. Please take the time to have a look.

Click to access Engage_Annual_Report_2014.pdf

All the best


Time flies by when I’m the driver of a train…and I ride on the footplate, there and back again

Our fourth AGM is coming up – 16th September 2014 – and it hardly feels like a year has gone by since our third.

I remember very clearly my mother telling me how each year went by quicker and quicker – this was back when I was much, much younger and each year seemed to have a ‘forever’ quality. There are many theories as to why time goes faster as we get older and many contributing factors. One theory is that as we get older there are fewer memorable events, fewer “firsts” (first day of school, first family holiday etc.).

“Time pressure” certainly seems to contribute significantly to our perception of time – across all age groups. So while the feeling of time running away may be inescapable I’ve decided that remembering to take a moment to slow down and enjoy the time spent with friends and colleagues at our next AGM might help to make it feel like if not a ‘first’ certainly a memorable ‘fourth’!

Hope to see you there.


Nominations from Renfrewshire organisations are being sought for the 2015 Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The award recognises exceptional contributions made by voluntary groups who go the extra mile for their local communities. It was introduced by the Queen in 2002 in celebration of the Golden Jubilee and ranks alongside the MBE.

This is a great opportunity to get recognition for some of the great work that is being carried out in our communities.

The closing date for nominations is 30 September.


And of course the ROCCO 2014 is now open for entry. Deadline extended to 12th September!! See here for more information:



Good luck to all – All the best!