A BARRHEAD community champion has put her spare time to good use during lockdown by gaining a new qualification.

Rena McGuire is now the proud owner of a Level 7 Community Achievement Award, which is the equivalent of a Higher National Certificate (HNC).

It is the latest in a long line of achievements for Rena, who has previously received both the British Empire Medal (BEM) and the Provost’s Award, as well as being named East Renfrewshire Citizen of the Year.

Her latest success comes after she dedicated much of her free time to creating a social group at Dunterlie Resource Centre.

Rena had to gather extensive feedback and identify various milestones from her initiative to secure the Community Achievement Award.

She told the Barrhead News: “I had to plan and set up a new group within Dunterlie. I had to explain the process of how I did it and then get feedback from those who take part in the group itself.

“The social group is for men and women over the age of 18 and involves simple things, such as playing cards and dominoes or just having a chat.”

Rena said the group was becoming well established before lockdown put the brakes on its progress.

“It took me a few weeks to get the idea going but it was doing really well before the pandemic started,” she added.

Rena admits she is delighted to gain the Community Achievement Award.

She said: “Being stuck in the house meant that I could dedicate a lot more time to it. I’m so glad to have done it.”

East Renfrewshire Council has heaped praise on Rena.

A spokesperson said: “Congratulations to Rena, who has worked hard whilst isolating throughout Covid-19 to complete the 80 hours required to achieve her Level 7 Community Achievement Award.

“Rena is completely dedicated to her local community and is so deserving of this award.”