It's been another wonderful year in East Renfrewshire and we hope all of our readers have a very merry Christmas. 

Our community leaders have sent us their festive messages and their wishes for everything 2020 will bring. 

Jim Fletcher 

East Renfrewshire provost 

Barrhead News: Provost Jim Fletcher Provost Jim Fletcher

Let’s all look out for each other this Christmas

The festive season can be a wonderful time for many families across East Renfrewshire – a time to treat our loved ones and have fun.

It is also a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the year gone by.
Highlights for me include the Provost debates with our primary school pupils, meeting visitors from Barrhead in Canada and having the honour of attending our Armed Forces Day flag-raising ceremony.

The annual Provost Awards have also been the star on top of the tree.

This year’s deserving winner is Evelyn Baxter, secretary of Busby Community Council, who plays a fundamental role in Busby Memory Lane, plans and delivers weekly sessions in Duff Hall to more than 30 older people and was instrumental in bidding for funding for Spider Park – a play area in Busby.

Let’s all follow Evelyn’s example by looking out for our loved ones and neighbours.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New year to you all.

Kirsten Oswald 

East Renfrewshire MP 

Barrhead News: Kirsten Oswald Kirsten Oswald

It will be a huge honour to serve you again in 2020 

It is a huge honour to have been elected to represent East Renfrewshire as your MP.

I will represent every person, every community and every area in East Renfrewshire to the best of my ability – and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to do so.

It was a hard-fought election and I hope to have a couple of days off over Christmas with my family, which I know is a luxury that some people will not have.

Retail and hospitality workers will be exhausted, carers will not have a day off and we will all rely on those working in essential roles, including transport and the teams gritting our roads.

In particular, I am grateful to everyone working in our emergency services, keeping us safe at Christmas and all year round.

I love Christmas but I know it can be a difficult time for many people.

Financial struggles and the pressure to have the picture-perfect Christmas can be a huge strain on families. This Christmas, if you know someone will be alone, why not pop in for a quick cuppa?

I wish all readers of the Barrhead News a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Jack McHugh 

Paisley and Greenock Presbytery moderator 

Barrhead News:

Christmas marks birth of Jesus and God’s greatest gift

We have all probably heard the song played in shops and supermarkets that tells us Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year – a time for families to get together and a time to give and receive gifts.

Sadly, the true meaning of Christmas can often be forgotten in the frantic shopping, cooking and celebrating. There is something special in remembering once again that Christmas marks the coming into the world of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

I always look forward to Christmas, to be reminded afresh of God’s love for each one of us.

But even in the excitement and celebrations there will be many with heavy hearts. Let us not forget those who face this Christmas without someone they love or the folk who will spend Christmas alone. Think of families who depend on foodbanks to feed them.

I thank God that He loved us so much that He sent Jesus Christ into this world. May He be at the centre of all our Christmas celebrations.

I pray that we might all know the joy and the peace of Christmas and

I wish you and your loved ones a joyful, blessed Christmas and new year.

Jackson Carlaw 

Eastwood MSP 

Barrhead News: Jackson Carlaw

I'm asking Santa for a year with no referendums 

It has certainly been an exhausting few weeks for everyone, with the first December General Election for almost 100 years pre-occupying attention, and I know that the country is very much looking forward to having a break from politics to enjoy the festivities.

The election has brought resolution to the issue of Brexit and the return of a Conservative majority government means that we will be leaving the EU early next year, in accordance with the result of the 2016 referendum.

The Prime Minister has reinforced that Nicola Sturgeon will not be given the Section 30 order required to hold a legally-binding referendum and, going forward, it is incumbent that the 2014 ‘once-in-a-generation’ vote for Scotland to remain part of the UK is respected by all.

In East Renfrewshire, I was naturally disappointed that Paul Masterton was not returned as MP for the constituency.

I have been touched by the many messages I have received commending Paul for his work and for his commitment to the constituency.

Let’s look forward to a referendum-free 2020!

Tom Arthur 

Renfrewshire South MSP 

Barrhead News: Tom Arthur Tom Arthur

Help to make sure no-one feels alone at this time of year 

I hope that everyone in Renfrewshire South has a lovely Christmas and is looking forward to welcoming a new year – and the start of a new decade – filled with joy and opportunity.

As well as a time for celebration, this is also a time to reflect and to help those who may be alone at this time of year.

We are lucky to have so many groups and organisations across Renfrewshire South working tirelessly all year for the good of our communities.

I’d like to thank everyone who took part in my 2019 Christmas card competition, which this year had a theme of ‘what Christmas means to you.’

It was great to receive so many responses and I was hugely impressed by the wealth of talent and creativity on display in our local primary schools.

As we move into another period of wintry weather, it is also important to thank members of the health and emergency services, postal workers and everyone working over the festive period doing everything they can to serve our communities – especially in difficult conditions.

Gill Wilkins 

Territorial Envoy of the Salvation Army 

Barrhead News:

Thanks to all who have donated gifts to help homeless 

At this time of year, the Salvation Army seems to be much busier than usual, dealing with all sorts of appeals, extra singing and band playing activities and many other responses to various needs, both local and national.

Our message to you is that God’s love in action sent Jesus into a dark and needy world and that all of us may respond to God’s love.

Thank you for all the fabulous donations you have made towards our corps’ appeal this year, such as shower gel, spray deodorant and shower-sized towels, which we will be passing on to Glasgow City Mission – a charitable organisation providing practical help to homeless and disadvantaged people.

These people struggle most at this time of year, so it’s important we help them.

Other physical gifts have been passed on as necessary.

Financial contributions to the work of the Salvation Army will be used to meet the needs of the coming year and we are very, very grateful to everyone who has found it in their heart to dig deep this year.

May God bless you this Christmas and may you be drawn closer to God’s wonderful love in 2020. I hope you all enjoy your celebrations and enjoy quality time with loved ones.

John Keenan 

Bishop of the Diocese of Paisley 

Barrhead News:

Christmas season is a celebration of everlasting light 

A VERY Happy Christmas to all the readers, supporters and staff of the Barrhead News.

There is something in all of us that wants to bring light into the darkness of winter time and I am sure that, since human beings have lived in this area, they will always have had their festivals of light to chase away the fear and gloom of the season with the magic of fire and flames.

The word Barr means a poet, or someone who sings ballads and songs to brighten up his folk’s lives with tales of gods and heroes, of good triumphing over evil, of love winning out over hate, of faith conquering lingering doubts, and of hope chasing away fear.

The Christmas story would have given our local Barr the best ballad of them all.

Best of all, his story would be true, about a bona fide entry into our history – a sure consolation that God is with us in our journey through life, promising us a home in Heaven at the last.

I hope all of you can hear this song in the carols playing along Barrhead Main Street and be sure your Christmas season is celebrating something real – the promise of true and everlasting light and joy.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Tony Buchanan 

East Renfrewshire Council leader 

Barrhead News: Council leader Tony Buchanan

A year full of great achievements, with much more ahead 

The last year has been memorable.

Here in East Renfrewshire, we’ve managed to stay focused and I am delighted by the good work that has been going on in the council.

Tenants moved into our first council homes to be built in a generation, we invested an additional £3million in road improvements, our schools continued to excel with phenomenal exam results, we introduced a fairer way of allocating our social houses with an online bidding system, work began on building six new nurseries and we even welcomed world-class musicians to one of our parks.

And, of course, our own home-grown hero Andy Robertson won the Champions League with Liverpool.

I am pleased 2020 is also shaping up to be another good year. We’ll have the official opening of Maidenhill Primary, in Newton Mearns, the Playground Festival will return and businesses will start to move into the Greenlaw Works business centre.

I’d like to thank all the hard-working staff at the council who put the hours in to deliver these projects.

Spare a thought for our staff who work through the festive period.

I hope you all have a wonderful festive break and I look forward to serving you all in 2020.