The Money for Life Challenge is a national competition that provides £500 grants to help empower teams of 16-24 year olds in further education, work-based learning, adult community learning or a training organisation to develop innovative money management projects that impact their communities.

The Challenge is now in its fourth year, and with financial education becoming part of the national curriculum from September 2014, we are keen to continue to raise awareness of the competition amongst education, community and training organisations in Renfrewshire South. 

We would like to encourage at least one learning provider or community organisation in your constituency to get involved in the Money for Life Challenge. Organisations can support teams of young people to enter the competition ahead of the closing date for applications on Friday 21 November 2014. 

The Money for Life Challenge is run by Lloyds Banking Group in partnership with skills agencies in each of the four nations of the UK. In Scotland, we work alongside Young Scot. 

Young people interested in taking on the Challenge should keep an eye out for news of the 2014/2015 competition at, visit the Facebook Page at, or follow on Twitter at: @MoneyforLifeUK.

Money for Life Project at Young Scot 


Power cuts guide for consumers

As winter begins and severe weather is forecast for the week, I wanted to make you aware of our Power cuts guide for consumers.

Ofgem have set rules on how quickly companies have to respond to restore power in both normal weather and severe weather conditions.

We are committed to protecting consumers’ interests by ensuring that their electricity supply is reliable, whatever the weather. These are service levels that should be met by each distribution company. If the company fails to meet the level of service required of them, the customer may be entitled to a payment. 

The attached link gives comprehensive guide for consumers if they experience a power cut and will prove useful if your constituents experience any problems. 



Hugh backs volunteering campaign

A local MSP is backing a new campaign which is hoping to get more folk in Renfrewshire to volunteer in the community.

Hugh Henry has pledged his support to the Focus Scotland initiative and is urging people of all ages with any spare time on their hands to consider helping others in the community.

The politician said: “Volunteers can change lives just by giving up a couple of hours a week. They can make the lives of themselves and others better by contributing their time, skills and care in a wide variety of ways.

“There are many groups and charities right here in Renfrewshire who desperately need help to keep ticking over. Volunteers can bring so much to an organisation and the people it serves.

Hugh added: “As well as using their skills and talents they get the chance to improve their own too by gaining valuable experience which, if they want, could help them find a job.

“I am also told that volunteering can have major positive benefits, including skills development, health improvement, mental wellbeing, building confidence and self esteem. I would urge anyone looking to fill in a couple of hours to think about getting involved in volunteering this year.”

Selina Ross from Focus Scotland, who is running the campaign, said: “Volunteering has never been more in the news and we want to see 2013 be the year we put community volunteering clearly on the map We hope in 2013 even more will take the time to get involved.”

The last Scottish Household Survey showed that 30% of adults volunteer; this campaign hopes to add to that figure.

If you have any time to donate to and would be interested you can find out more about volunteering by visiting the portal for all volunteering in Scotland or contact Engage Renfrewshire on 0141 887 7707 or at


Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry who is backing one of his constituents as he campaigns to improve services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley said he was shocked to learn death rates at the hospital DOUBLE at weekends.

Hugh Henry, Renfrewshire South MSP with
campaigner Ian McConaghy outside the RAH

Figures obtained under Freedom of Information legislation show that the Monday to Friday death rate is around two per cent – but this increases to around four per cent on Saturdays and Sundays.

Now campaigners, joined by the Labour politician want to know if weekend staffing levels at the RAH are partly to blame. Johnstone pensioner Ian McConaghy, who has had a string of run-ins with health chiefs over his NHS treatment in recent years, told Hugh: “As a patient, I was staggered to see the difference in death rates.

“Something has got to give at the RAH and I would say they need to have more staff on at weekends. I believe that, if there is fewer staff at weekends than there are during the week, then people are at more risk of dying.

“The staff who are on duty just don’t have enough time.”

The double death rate has been consistent over the five years from 2007 to 2011 and is on course to be the same for 2012. In 2007, the in-patient death rate was 1.92 per cent during the week but rose to four per cent at the weekends.

And, in 2011, the death rate for emergency admissions was 2.49 per cent during the week but, at weekends, stood at 4.63 per cent.

Mr McConaghy, 65, said: “The figures show that you are twice as likely to die at the RAH at the weekend than you are during the week. I won’t accept the excuse that this is because of emergencies. If the NHS says the hospital is busier at the weekends, then they should have more staff on duty.”

Mr Henry is asking for answers.

He said: “These figures are extremely worrying and the Scottish Government needs to explain why it is happening. Is it because of reduced staffing levels or is there another reason?

“Patients and their families deserve a full explanation as quickly as possible.

“In addition, the public needs to know that the RAH is providing the best possible service, seven days a week.”

Ian has set up a special group for people with issues concerning the RAH to get in touch. He can be contacted at

Hugh backs new patient group planned for RAH

A campaigner who has had various run-ins with the health service is hoping to set up a patient liaison group for Paisley’s main hospital.

Ian McConaghy, 65, believes that both staff and patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital would benefit from having a community group to voice concerns, raise funds and discuss important issues.

And he has the support of Renfrewshire South MSP who has been working alongside his constituent to ensure that patients are getting the best service possible from their local hospital.

In March last year, Ian revealed his ambulance had broken down THREE times on the way to the RAH while he was suffering chest pains.

He was terrified that his condition would worsen as the emergency vehicle continually stuttered to a halt with suspension problems on the four-mile journey from his home in Johnstone Castle. Ambulance chiefs later apologised to Ian for the incident, which happened in November 2010.

On another occasion, Ian was sent to the Vale of Leven Hospital, in Alexandria, for a tennis elbow procedure, which could not be carried out because he has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.It appears that staff at the RAH, where he was initially seen, did not tell staff at the Vale about the lung condition.

It was deemed at the Vale that the COPD made Ian an anaesthetic risk and the consultant could not operate on him because there “may not have been the necessary support on site.”He eventually had the op at the RAH.

Then, in May this year, Ian hit out at RAH bosses for a lack of toilet and shower hygiene in his ward when he was admitted with breathing problems.Now he hopes that setting up a patient liaison group can be a positive step forward for dealing with such issues.

Ian, who uses a nebuliser and inhalers for his lung problems, told Hugh: “The purpose of the patient liaison group would be to look after the public’s and patients’ interests.It would be a voice for people who don’t know where to turn to for help or how to complain.

“In my opinion, the complaints procedure is not very straightforward for ordinary people to negotiate their way around. You find more obstacles than anything else. I want things to be simpler for people using the RAH.If cutbacks and changes are being made, health chiefs should notify patients.

“For example, they stopped the RAH minibus that used to take disabled people from the disabled parking area to the top of the hill.The disabled parking bays have since been moved to the top of the car park but it is still 100 yards to the entrance and, for somebody who is disabled, that might as well be 100 miles.This is the type of thing the group could notify people about.”

Ian’s vision is not for a group that will simply complain about things. He says it will also arrange public meetings on big issues, help to fight cutbacks and raise cash for equipment.

He added: “We could help people, from the cradle to the grave, with the complaints procedure but we could do a lot of positive things for the RAH too.”

If there is enough interest, the patient liaison group will be set up with a committee and it will be non-political and self-financed.

Ian’s plans have been backed by Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry, who joined him at a special meeting with bosses at the RAH.

The Labour politician said: “I congratulate Ian on his tireless efforts to make sure that the highest standards are applied throughout the NHS.

“His suggestion of a patient liaison group is worth exploring.”

“I believe it is in the interests not just of the RAH but of all hospitals to know what patients and their families feel about their experience in hospital and it could be seen as a way of contributing to improving services.

“I was encouraged by the positive response from senior management at the RAH at the meeting Ian and I had with them and I await with interest to see their response to the suggestion of involving patients in a closer partnership.”

If you want to get in touch with Ian email him at

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde added: “We are very pleased to hear about Mr McConaghy’s enthusiasm to support the work of the RAH and our patients.There are, however, already a great many ways in which members of the public can get more involved in helping to both shape and support local NHS services.

“These include joining one of our community health Public Partner Forums – of which there is already one dedicated to the Renfrewshire area - or there is also our acute services Patients’ Panel. Members of the public are also encouraged to join our Involving People Network, of which there are now some 4,000 members, and we also run a number of condition-related patient involvement groups.

“If Mr McConaghy or any other member of the public would like to find out more about joining one of these groups, our Community Engagement Team would be delighted to help. They can be contacted on 0141 201 5598 or can be e-mailed at”

Local Labour Team welcomes Linwood Town Centre Progress

Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry and his Labour colleagues MP Jim Sheridan, and councillor Anne Hall visited the site of the new Tesco store in Linwood to observe the progress being made there.

The new development will consist of a new supermarket, modern retail units and lay the groundwork for the creation of a new community hall, library and office space. The new store is scheduled to open in 2013.

Speaking as he toured the site Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry said: “I am delighted to see the eyesore finally being demolished. I know local people are relieved the work is underway because the area had become a health hazard and a den for those intent on anti-social behaviour.

“I know that the new Tesco will be welcomed by the local community who have waited a long time for this to happen and can now see some progress being made. I have impressed on Tesco the need to consider a Post Office facility and I am pleased that Tesco have indicated they will keep this in mind.”

Councillor Hall, Provost of Renfrewshire said, “As a Linwood resident and having served as a local Councillor many years, I am well aware that for lots of people locally, just seeing the old town centre demolished is a significant victory. Labour has worked hard to keep the pressure on Tesco to deliver on their promise to Linwood residents and I am delighted to see it paying off with the old Regional Shopping Centre torn down and the rubble being removed.”

Speaking after the visit Jim Sheridan said, “Following the long delays in getting work started I was pleased to see that it is now moving on apace and we are on our way to ensuring that the people of Linwood have a town centre they can be proud of and which will reinvigorate the town.”

“The future for Linwood is looking bright and I know that Hugh, together with myself, Anne and Councillor Stuart Clark will be looking to work with the local community to build on these improvements to deliver for Linwood.

Gloria Coats, Corporate Affairs Manager for Tesco, commented: "We are pleased to welcome everyone to the site this morning, demonstrating the progress that we are making towards bringing this significant and exciting development to Linwood.

“We are proud to be delivering this important development in Linwood and look forward to starting work on the community facilities as part of the first phase of construction next year. When this work is completed we will relocate Linstone Housing Association, the Tweedie Hall and the Library, allowing us to finish demolition and move forward with the construction of the new store.

“We are organising a drop-in session at the beginning of February to update the local community on the project and provide more detail about what will be available to customers in the new store. We will publicise all the event details in the New Year. Members of the community can find out more about the Tesco proposals for Linwood by contacting Gloria on or 0845 521 8425.

Hugh gives posties stamp of approval

Delivering a first class service: Michael Rossi, Delivery
Office Manager, long-serving staff Willie Gardiner and
Bobby Quinn with Hugh Henry MSP and
James Donnelly, depute manager
 Hugh Henry MSP got up with the lark to make an early morning visit to Royal Mail’s Johnstone delivery office where he got a behind the scenes look at the life of our local posties at their busiest time of the year.

Mr Henry met the postmen and women who are working hard to sort and deliver all the cards and parcels in his Constituency in the run-up to Christmas.

He was shown round the office in Walkinshaw Street by local Delivery Office Manager, Michael Rossi, and was introduced to the team of 30 full and 27 part-time staff making sure no-one misses out on a special delivery.

During his visit the Renfrewshire South MSP chatted to two of the men who have clocked up almost 70 years service between them.

Bobby Quinn, who was born and bred in the town, is one of the longest-serving posties at the depot and is a well known face on his regular round in Brookfield where locals see his as a local treasure.

He said: “The job has changed quite a lot since I started many years ago but I still enjoy it and meeting all the folk in Brookfield where I know most personally and they know me.”

The team are pulling out all the stops to
make sure we have some festive cheer

And his colleague, Willie Gardiner, who arrived at the depot 28 years ago to work for a day after being unemployed for five years said: “I had been out of work during the time of the Tories and couldn’t get a job.

“I travelled up from Dunfermline to work for the day and got another and another. Eventually I moved up here and have been working in Johnstone for nearly 30 years now.”

Mr Henry said: “It was good to meet Bobby and Willie and the rest of the team and get an insight into what goes on in the background to make sure the operation runs smoothly at this time of the year.

“It is easy to forget just how much effort our diligent Royal Mail postmen and women at Johnstone give to handle the increased workload at this time of the year. I was impressed with the professionalism of everyone I met.

The Labour politician added: “Postmen and women do such a valuable job, not only during the festive season but all year round and it was great to meet those who make sure the service to everyone in Renfrewshire is first class.

“I would like to thank them for their efforts which I know are appreciated and wish them all the best over the busy festive period.”
Michael Rossi, said: “Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail. Our people really do pull out all the stops throughout the year to ensure mail is delivered quickly, but even more so over the busy festive period. We are grateful that Hugh Henry MSP came along to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.”

“Our people do a fantastic job at this time of year to ensure that friends and families stay in touch through their Christmas greetings and gifts. And as usual, we’d like to remind our customers to post early so that friends and family have longer to enjoy their Christmas greetings!”

Hugh Henry MSP is urging the most vulnerable in his constituency to check they are getting all the cash aid they are entitled too as they face soaring energy bills.

One simple phone call could lead to a rebate of £130 in some cases he revealed..

Speaking from his office in Linwood Road, Paisley, Mr Henry said: “Many people in Renfrewshire South will suffer silently through the cold winter months trying to cope with energy bills they just can’t afford.

“I would ask everyone in my constituency to take another look at their supplier and to get in touch with them to make sure they are on the cheapest tariff and to ask if they qualify for any discounts. Some people will be sitting freezing in their own homes this winter and if there is help of any kind out there they need to get it.

“Scottish Hydro, for instance, offers its most vulnerable customers a £130 rebate off their electricity bills. They have told me the elderly, low-income families, families with children claiming free meals and those who are disabled and out of work could qualify for the Warm Home Discount.”

Mr Henry, MSP for Renfrewshire South, added: “I would encourage anyone who believes they may qualify for support to make the call and anyone who has any questions about their costs to get in touch with their supplier now.”

Scottish Hydro say they have been pro-actively identifying customers who may qualify and if they haven’t been in touch readers should contact them direct. Customers who need help with payment plans, tariffs or benefit checks should also give them a call on 0845 026 0655.

 £10,000 for bowlers

     Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry and Provost Anne Hall joined bowlers to celebrate a major cash boost after they won a lifeline £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.
     The cash from the Awards for All grants scheme will be used to refurbish the clubhouse, provide disabled access and improve the area for junior members as well in a bid to attract young people into the sport and benefit the community as a whole.
     And it is hoped membership of Linwood Bowling Club will increase as a result of the changes which are already underway.
     The money will make it possible to have the locker room refurbished and to replace old crumbling lockers which have been around for decades. Disabled ramps and handrails and a toilet with disabled access will also be installed.
     Plans are also being made to open up space for small committee meetings so that the people of Linwood will have somewhere new to meet as the makeover takes place over the next few weeks.
     The Provost and Mr Henry went along to the club in Napier Street to meet and speak to members and to see for themselves how the money would be used to benefit the community as a whole.
     Hugh said: “This money will make a huge difference to the club and make it possible for them to open up membership to even more people in the community. I would like to congratulate everyone on their ambitious plans and for winning this award.
     “It comes at a time when many bowling clubs are struggling to attract new members – especially young people – and I hope these improvements help attract the younger generation to a wonderful sport in which Renfrewshire has an excellent reputation with an outstanding number of champions.”
     Provost Hall added: “I am absolutely delighted that the club has been awarded this money. All the time I have been in Linwood it has been a great community club. Local people with a disability will now be able to come along and join in the activities. I am also pleased that the club intends to make space available for local groups to meet too.”
     Club president, Gavin Anderson, the driving force behind the application for the grant, is delighted they got Lotto cash.
     He said:”We are obviously delighted we won this award which makes it possible for us to rip out lockers that were literally falling apart they are so old; to give the area for our younger members a facelift and to have disabled ramps built which is something we have wanted to do for such a long time.
    “Bowling clubs everywhere are struggling for members at the moment and if you lose members you lose income and it becomes harder to keep making improvements and therefore more attractive to potential new members.
     “We want more people to join us. We want people to use the club and enjoy the facilities and we want the popularity of the sport to increase. We also believe that getting the younger generation involved as early as possible is the way forward. We hope that by making the club more attractive to them they will take up the sport. It also means we can offer the disabled better facilities and play an even bigger role in community life here in Linwood.”
     Vice president Colin Sadler added:”We hope the award and what we manage to do with the money will help us bring in new members of all ages. For just £10 a year you can join the club and enjoy the sport and all the facilities here as well.
     “I started playing bowls when I was just 12 years old and have stayed with it. It is a great sport and I would urge anyone interested to come along and see what we are all about.”
 Commonwealth Games official mascot Clyde at the Scottish Parliament

BEST BUDDIES: MSP Hugh Henry and Commonwealth
Games mascot, Clyde, who is coming to Renfrewshire

     SPORTING MSP Hugh Henry got the chance to catch up on the progress of Scotland’s journey to the Commonwealth Games when he met official mascot Clyde at the Scottish Parliament.
Clyde, who will play a major role in the run up to Glasgow 2014, was the star of the show as the politicians at Holyrood were brought up to date on what will be Scotland’s largest ever sporting event.
     And the MSP for Renfrewshire South was delighted to learn that Clyde will be making his first visit to Renfrewshire when he makes his way to Park Mains High School in Erskine to take part in a special event as part of the Games for Scotland programme later this month.
     Hugh, Labour’s spokesman on Education in Scotland, said: “It is important that our young people in particular are motivated to make the most of the country’s largest ever sporting and cultural event.
     “We see how our children are influenced by the success of stars such as our own Andy Murray, Sir Christopher Hoy and stars like Mo Farah. The games will give everyone the chance to be there and support their heroes savouring all the special moments for real rather than on television.
      “I believe the day at the school is for the whole community to enjoy and I hope many young people will take the chance to go along and join in this venture which promises to be a sporting success. “It should be a real treat for everyone when Clyde, the official mascot of 2014 and the team, drop in.” 
     He added: “It is also important for organisations and individuals across Scotland to work together to deliver an outstanding Games with a lasting legacy. I believe there will be opportunities for communities, organisations and individuals across Scotland to be involved in the Games, particularly through the Cultural programme, the Queen’s Baton Relay and the Volunteer programme.”

MSP Hugh Henry backs Muslim women's campaign

Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry is pictured
with Samina Ansari from Amina after signing
the declaration at the Scottish Parliament
A campaigning politician is backing a Muslim women's group in their bid to change damaging perceptions of who they are.
     Hugh Henry, MSP for Renfrewshire South, is getting behind the "I Speak for Myself" project being run by the Muslim women’s organisation Amina in an attempt to challenge the stereotypes through personal messages from the women.
     Their project -which features an exhibition of 300 Muslim women, from various ethnic backgrounds, displaying their messages was launched after members of the group visited dozens of schools across Scotland and were shocked to find that some children associated words such as "terrorist" "oppressed" and uneducated" to describe Muslim women.
     Far from projecting themselves as submissive and sedate, the messages talk about careers, motherhood, movies, high heels, lipstick and love.
     The exhibition has now been launched at the Scottish Parliament where Hugh pledged his support to the women by signing a declaration aspiring for a Scotland where all people can flourish and be themselves.
     The politician also committed to stand up against intolerance and prejudice, speak out against discrimination and to being respectful in words and actions towards others contributing to making a fairer Scotland.

Robina Khan with her message
to fellow Scots

     Samina Ansari, 31, of Amina decided on the project after visiting 23 Scottish schools including Castlehead High in Paisley and Gryffe High in Houston.
She said: "The 300 women who took part all lived in Scotland and the majority considered themselves Scottish. “This was about Muslim women sharing their messages with fellow Scots.
     "The messages talk about all the things that women talk about,regardless of their race and religion. In their own words they say, "this is who I am'"
      Samina, who has been the victim of a racist attack, added: "My identity is Scottish. My country is Scotland, my mother was born in Dundee and my grandmother came here in the 50s.
     "We are delighted to have the backing of such a senior politician as Hugh Henry."
Robina Khan, whose message talked of her love for James Bond, has two degrees, goes to the movies and helped build her husband’s business.
The 38-year-old said: “I wanted to put across that most Muslim women are not oppressed and reclusive. They go to the movies, they go out and eat in restaurants and they have careers.
     Hugh Henry said: "Everyone should have the chance to live in a country where they are not judged or labelled by their colour creed or religion.
This is an excellent campaign and I wanted to show my support by signing the declaration.
"I would urge others to do the same and support what Amina is trying to achieve."

Teens urged to check it out
RENFREWSHIRE South MSP Hugh Henry is used to asking questions in the Scottish parliament and today he is asking every young reader of the Paisley Daily Express: “Would you know if you had cancer.”
Teenage Cancer Awareness Week was run in a bid to get teens worried that they might have the disease to do something about it.

But Hugh is urging young folk to keep checking long after the week of events highlighting the problem and organised by the Teenage Cancer Trust is over.

It is believed that there are over 200 new cases of cancer diagnosed in young people aged between 15 and 24 each year in Scotland but early diagnosis can be difficult with some teenagers visiting their GP four times or more before being referred.
The politician said: “Cancer in young people is rare making it vitally important that everyone understands the warning signs so it can be spotted early if it does occur.
“Nobody knows your body better than you! Be ready to spot when something changes and if it’s worrying you it’s worth talking to someone and getting yourself checked out.
“If you feel you just can’t and see someone about your concerns, then you could talk to your parents, a teacher or someone you're close to and you can go and see your doctor together.
“On the other hand, if you wanted to go and see a doctor on your own, you can do this too - doctors will take your concerns seriously.”
The Trust says: “Some signs and symptoms of cancer are very similar to other less harmful health problems you may experience throughout life. It could be that the symptoms you may be experiencing are due to an ordinary every day illness. In any case, if you have any of these, it's important to talk to someone and make an appointment to see your doctor - just to be sure.
Look out for:

·         An unexplained lump or swelling anywhere in the body
·         Any bleeding or bruising that isn’t normal
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain that either gets worse or doesn‘t get better
  • Very bad headaches
  • Very bad and unexplained tiredness (fatigue)
  • Changes in the size, shape and colour of a mole on your skin
  • A cough, sore throat or a hoarse voice that won’t go away
  • A change in bowel habits

World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

STIRRING IT UP: MSP Hugh Henry, Iain Irvine (far right)
and workers join the party for charity

HUNDREDS of pounds have been raised by big hearted businesses and their staff who managed to stir up tremendous support for cancer charity Macmillan when they took part in World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

Workers in the various offices at the St James Business Centre in Paisley found the recipe for success when they got baking for the big event.

And those who didn’t use their culinary skills supported the charity by taking time out from their duties to buy up the home baking which ranged from strawberry meringues, delicious cupcakes and fruit loaves to tablet and other sweet treats.

A whopping £451 was raised in less than an hour – beating their total from last year by more than £100.

COFFEE BREAK: Organising it and ready to coin in the
cash for Macmillan are (from left to right) Laura Mills,
Linzi Harvey, John Workman and Janice Reid

And the organisers are delighted at the response.

Mr Iain Irvine, a director of the Centre on Linwood Road, Paisley, said: "It was a tremendous effort and we would like to thank all those businesses and their staff who contributed in any way to making the coffee morning for Macmillan a real winner.

John Workman, another director, added: "We are delighted at the amount of money raised and know it will be appreciated by the charity who do a great job .It is wonderful that we topped our figure from last year but we couldn’t do that without everyone here in the building giving us their support."

Hugh Henry, Renfrewshire South MSP, whose office is based at the Centre, was invited to serve up the coffee.

He said: "I was pleased to be able to help out in any small way for such a worthy cause. John, Iain and their staff did a magnificent job organising the fund raiser and it was great to see so many of the businesses in the building support their efforts.

"To collect more than £400 in less than an hour is quite an achievement and I am sure Macmillan Cancer will be delighted."

Pushkin Prizes

The search is on to find talented schoolchildren who would like to follow in the footsteps of the likes of best selling author JK Rowling by entering a unique writing competition.

MSP Hugh Henry is encouraging pupils in S1 and S2 to compete for one of ten awards in a national contest to find the country’s up-and-coming young writers.

The Renfrewshire South politician is supporting organisers of The Pushkin Prizes as they launch this year’s bid to find the winners. Boys and girls are being invited to submit their folios which must contain three pieces of creative writing, each no longer than 1200 words long. Pupils can write about anything they wish, and they can write in any genre, or combination of genres.

Previous winners have included poetry, prose, reportage, debate, travel writing and autobiography. The judges are looking for imaginative, lively and original writing. Attention to detail is essential - accurate spelling and punctuation can make all the difference.

Hugh said: "This is an excellent opportunity for our schools to spotlight the writing talents of their pupils. I would encourage the children and their teachers to consider taking part."

"The winners get to attend a five-day creative writing course at the Arvon Foundation Writers' Centre near Inverness getting the chance to write with courage and imagination in a week packed with discovery, delight and enterprise."

Past tutors have included professional writers, Gerry Cambridge, Anna Crowe, Alan Durant, Diana Hendry and Catherine MacPhail.
A spokesperson for the organisers said: "We believe it makes a tremendous contribution to the development and confidence of the young people who participate. It also results in some stunning literary pieces!"

Every secondary school in Renfrewshire has already been sent an information pack but individuals who want to enter should go to for more information.