HOW quickly the Christmas season seems to come around!

Thousands of people have been enjoying Christmas lights switch-on events, where it’s been great to see school pupils joining Renfrewshire’s Provost for the big switch-on moment – what a great memory for them.

These events see communities celebrate together and highlight the pride we all have for the place we call home. My SNP administration is putting more money and focus than ever before to support our towns and villages – with new funds for community groups and new partnerships to work together.

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In the chambers this week, we are discussing the wide range of cultural regeneration projects and opportunities benefitting Johnstone, Renfrew and our villages.

This includes new staff working with local groups to nurture and promote Renfrewshire’s local heritage, as well as a new fund to help cultural and creative organisations grow, adding to existing grants awarded to local artists, schools and community groups.

We’re one year into our visitor plan and have developed Renfrewshire’s first-ever digital visitor guide, with details of what’s on across the region and dedicated websites on key attractions.

The Spree music festival was expanded into Johnstone, Renfrew, Linwood and Lochwinnoch this year, achieving record attendances.

This all complements the daily activities delivered by our colleagues in Renfrewshire Leisure across our local libraries, town halls and community centres. Get involved and spread the word on why Renfrewshire is such a great place.

In other news, for most Renfrewshire residents the new bin collection service is now starting, improving the quality of recycling we collect. This in turn reduces the impact on the environment and helps us re-invest the money saved on the disposal of our waste into our key public services. Information packs have been posted to every household and come complete with a service guide, bin stickers and a calendar.

I’d like to thank everyone for playing their part in recycling. I appreciate different households have different needs, so would encourage you to contact our waste advisors with any questions. For parts of my own ward in Erskine, the service starts in January. Our waste advisors will be contacting these households directly.

READ MORE: Clyde waterfront project takes huge leap forward

Last but not least, a new River Clyde crossing from Renfrew to Yoker has been given the green light by Scottish Government Ministers and is expected to be completed in 2022. It’s an opening bridge, designed by the architect behind the Falkirk Wheel and open to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. It will reduce congestion and improve access for communities on both sides of the Clyde to places of work, education, hospitals and leisure. Independent analysis estimates the subsequent business boost of this Glasgow City Region City Deal project will create more than 2,000 jobs and inject £867million into the regional economy.