The days are getting longer and the evenings lighter, which means spring is on its way.

At the end of this month, the clocks will go forward, marking the start of a new season.

February was Heart Month but raising awareness of the importance of learning CPR lifesaving skills is essential every single day of the year.

The British Heart Foundation offer free CPR training via their website. All you need is 15 minutes, a mobile phone or tablet and a cushion to practice on.

For every minute it takes to find a defibrillator and shock a person in cardiac arrest, their chance of survival reduces by 10%.

With CPR and defibrillation, chance of survival can increase ten-fold.

If CPR is performed and a defibrillator provided within three to five minutes, survival chances can increase from 6% to 74%.

Defibrillators are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week and have clear voice prompts to direct the user, concisely stating each instruction one step at a time.

East Renfrewshire Council has more than 20 public access defibrillators in place across the local area, including ones at Barrhead Community Museum, St Andrew’s House and the council office in Main Street.

You can find out the full list of locations on the council’s website and emergency call handlers will always be able to advise you on where the nearest defibrillator is.

If you work or volunteer for an organisation which has a defibrillator, please remember to register it so it can be added to The Circuit – a database of local defibrillators.

It’s so important that this is kept up to date.

My thanks go to those, including the Levern Valley Defibrillator Partnership and Neilston First Responders, who have worked hard to provide defibrillators locally.

On another matter, I enjoyed visiting East Renfrewshire Foodbank’s base in Barrhead and meeting Stan Esson – our Citizen of the Year for 2022 – to present him with his Provost Award.

Stan and the team of volunteers at the foodbank do incredible work to ensure that everyone who requires a food parcel each week is able to get everything they need.

Thank-you Stan for all of your hard work over the last 10 years and taking the time to give me a tour of the foodbank and an insight into how it is run.

Donations are always very much appreciated, including monetary donations, and there are now gaps in levels of stock after the festive period.

The foodbank is especially in need of UHT milk, sugar, jam, tins of rice pudding, chopped tomatoes, spaghetti, carrots, sweetcorn, small jars of coffee, toilet rolls and general toiletries.

If you’re able to assist by donating any of these items, please do so.

Remember that support is always available if you need help with the continued rise in the cost of living.

You can get in touch with the council by phoning 0141 577 8420 or emailing You can also contact Citizens Advice on 0141 881 3660 or 0141 881 2032 or by emailing

Finally, I was delighted to be invited along to officially open Include Me 2 Club’s new Ideas Academy at Crossmill Business Park.
It’s a fantastic space which will be used for a wide range of projects, including DJ skills, podcasts and media work.

I especially liked that every initiative at Include Me 2 Club is born of a need identified by members, so it’s clear it will make a real difference to their lives.

I really enjoyed meeting some of the members and was so impressed with their many skills. I even got to have a go on the DJ decks, although I think

I’ll stick to my day job.