Last week I was invited to join colleagues from Thermo Fisher Scientific at the ribbon cutting ceremony as they expand their Inchinnan facility.

The expansion will enable manufacturing of products used in cell biology for small and large laboratories worldwide and will see 10 new manufacturing roles being created at the campus, which adds to their 800-strong workforce. 

I’d like to thank them for letting me share in their celebrations – I’m delighted to see such an important local employer continuing to grow and provide high skilled jobs and opportunities.

With the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre both to be built in Renfrewshire, it is exciting times and we are determined to create the conditions which attract new businesses to the area.

In my last Gazette column I wrote about a new fund open to community groups who want to enhance green spaces and play areas, and funds for projects which celebrate the heritage and identity of our villages.

My SNP administration is putting communities at the heart of its approach, listening to what they want and empowering them to play a greater role in shaping the look and feel of their towns and villages.

Alongside these new funds, we are also adopting a fresh approach to local decision making. There has been cross-party support for the creation of seven Local Partnerships, which are replacing the old area committees.These partnerships are designed to be more informal and inclusive. 

Membership of the partnerships is split evenly between councillors and community representatives, so all community voices will be heard and everyone will have a say in awarding grant funding and in leading their future direction.

There’s introductory events taking place now until Friday, November 9, to outline how the partnerships will work and community members of all ages are encouraged to come along and get involved.

For more information, call 0141 618 4168 or visit: 

I must also mention how incredible it was to see so many people enjoy the Halloween Festival in Paisley at the weekend, with thousands coming from all over to experience the spooky happenings.

No sooner have the pumpkin candles been snuffed and the ghosts gone than the next date for the diary is upon us. 

This Saturday is the Fireworks Spectacular in Paisley, with lots of entertainment in Paisley Town Hall including a 90s themed silent disco which I’m reliably informed is great fun. The stunning fireworks display starts at 7pm.

The excitement then continues with the Christmas Lights Switch-On events in Paisley on Saturday, November 17, in Renfrew on Saturday, November 24, and in Johnstone on Saturday, December 1. Make sure you get along and make the most of the festivities!