I AM joining with thousands of people who are sending one clear message to Shona Robison and the Scottish Government – don’t downgrade children’s services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

The board of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has voted to downgrade children’s services at Ward 15.

As Renfrewshire Council’s representative on the health board, I voted against this move.

And, as leader of Renfrewshire Council, I was proud to support the council’s call for that decision to be rescinded.

On both occasions, I spoke up for more than 6,000 people who signed petitions to retain existing services at Ward 15.

We understand that there are facilities available at the Royal Hospital for Children, in Glasgow, but there is an equally compelling argument to respect the overwhelming and clearly-expressed wish of the people of Renfrewshire.

Our community deserves access to a high-quality local service.

The decision will now be referred to Ms Robison, who is Cabinet Secretary for Health.

All we are asking is that she honours the pledge she gave to the people of Renfrewshire when this issue arose a couple of years ago.

She said that Ward 15 would be protected and health services would be kept local.

The people of Renfrewshire now need action, not words.

Boost for education

One of the projects I am most proud of during my leadership of Renfrewshire Council is the new £19million Riverbrae School in Linwood.

The school is being funded with £10m from Renfrewshire Council and £9m from the Scottish Futures Trust.

The finishing touches are now being applied to the state-of-the-art school, which will open in August, replacing the existing Clippens and Kersland Schools and Hollybush Pre-5 Centre.

Children in Renfrewshire with additional support needs will for the first time be able to complete pre-5, primary and secondary education in one facility.

This ambitious project, supported by our outstanding staff, will allow us to maximise the opportunities available to children and make a lasting difference for them and their parents.

The council has prioritised education and making learning available to all and our whole community can be proud of the work that will be done at Riverbrae.

Runaway success

Kilbarchan Amateur Athletic Club has a proud history of promoting participation in sport and developing high-class athletes.

That tradition is being upheld by the likes of Derek and Callum Hawkins, who competed in the marathon at the Rio Olympics.

Renfrewshire Council is delighted to be supporting the club’s ambitious plans for a new £2.1million indoor athletics training centre by approving a £500,000 funding commitment. The new facility would be located alongside the outdoor track and field facilities at the On-X sports centre in Linwood.