Readers of The Gazette will be aware that, over the past couple of months, I have been working with the local community to campaign against the closure of the Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Renfrew town centre.

RBS has made the mind-boggling decision to close this busy town centre branch, moving all of the business and customers to Paisley – a branch which by, the firm’s own admission, has poor parking facilities and is not easily accessible for those without a car, with closest bus stops 450m away.

This decision will affect all branch users but none more so than elderly people or those with a disability.

RBS know this decision will have dire consequences for local people, as in a leaked email earlier this week, RBS chief executive Ross McEwan admitted these closures would be ‘painful.’

One of the most frustrating aspects of this decision is that banking bosses are wilfully ignoring the fact that the Renfrew branch is a busy bank.

They must realise that it’s a popular bank with local shoppers and businesses as, last year, they spent tens of thousands of pounds upgrading the branch.

A few weeks ago, I was out in the town centre collecting signatures for my parliamentary petition which calls on the UK Government – as the majority RBS shareholder – to intervene and stop this closure from happening.

I cannot begin to explain the strength of feeling towards this decision and I would encourage everyone to pop into my constituency office to add their support to my petition.

By working together, we can try to prevent this closure.

McGill’s Buses

Last Thursday, I met with Josh Kennedy and Maria Alam, who are some of the Renfrewshire MSYPs for the area and have been campaigning against the decision by McGill’s Buses to scrap the student daily ticket.

The campaign has collected more than 5,000 signatures for a petition which calls on McGill’s to reinstate this ticket.

This decision will hurt young people in Renfrewshire and forces those who can afford to do so to buy a weekly ticket, regardless of how frequently they use the service.

I’d encourage everyone to support the effort to encourage McGill’s to reverse the decision.

RAMH Football

I recently attended RAMH’s ‘Football for All’ Open Day at Thornly Park, Paisley.

The event promoted football as an inclusive sport and recognised the role sport can play in helping to improve an individual’s mental health.

It was good to attend this excellent event and speak to the organisers from RAMH.

This was a worthy reminder that sport can help break down all perceived barriers to participation.

Too often, we allow ourselves to doubt whether we can get involved in sporting opportunities but this RAMH event shows that sport is for everyone.