Our history

 

October 2010 saw the official birth of Brighter Bridge of Weir. In fact, the seed that developed into Brighter Bridge of Weir goes back a bit further.
It was around 2008 that three members of the Bridge of Weir Tenants and Residents
Association (TARA) brought up the idea of tidying up the village centre, which was at that time in a sorry state. The global financial crisis had brought about some drastic cuts to local authority budgets, and ground maintenance was a relatively easy target for cutbacks.

But for Alice Johnstone, Margaret Greenlees and Marlene Preece, enough was enough. They decided to address the falling standards themselves and set about organising ‘Village Clean-Up Days’, engaging the help of other local groups and individuals to breathe new life into the tired village centre. They also badgered the Council, who at that time had no department set up to advise residents’ groups how to go about such tasks (a situation which has since changed - Renfrewshire Council are now very supportive of groups like ours).
It soon became clear that some sort of funding would be required, but since the small group was already part of the larger TARA, they were not eligible for additional funding; they would have to be funded from TARA’s meagre budget. That was clearly not sustainable, so Alice, Margaret and Marlene, now joined by Hamish Henderson, another resident, drew up an official constitution and formed Brighter Bridge of Weir.
The Group’s inaugural meeting was held on October 22, 2010. Alice was elected Chair, Margaret Treasurer, and Hamish secretary. Shortly after, they received a generous financial donation from a local couple, and donations of bulbs and compost from local hardware store Gibb Stuart, which enabled them to plan other projects. They then secured £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, which led to the purchase of street planters and barrier baskets.
Great oaks from little acorns grow, they say. Brighter Bridge of Weir hasn’t turned into an oak, but it has branched out quite a bit.


Pictures: (main, at top) the founding members of Brighter Bridge of Weir

(l to r) Marlene, Margaret, Alice and Hamish;  

next row: (left) first planting in Main St; (centre) clearing some undergrowth;

(right) the result of a deep clean in the undergrowth. 

Having got this far, the Group's next task was to build on their efforts, and so they turned their 'village clean-up day' into an annual event, involving local residents and youth groups. Soon, neighbouring villages began their own groups, clearing litter, cultivating 'stalled' sites and installing planters. Renfrewshire Council then set up a 'Team Up to Clean Up' team which now provides support and encouragement to many such groups throughout Renfrewshire.

Pictures: (left) an earlier 'Clean Up' poster; (centre) 'extreme clean-up' at Torr Road; (right) 'generation game' at Livery Walk.

The next steps

We now have over 100 street planters, ranging from single, free-standing tubs to large, rectangular ones, post- and barrier-mounted baskets. The projects we've undertaken amount to 8 sites ranging from a few square yards/metres to over 400. These total almost 800 square metres (955 sq. yds.) of more stuff to be maintained - planted and nurtured, watered and weeded (and perhaps even spoken to!).  It's not always easy but, although none of us is paid, it is very rewarding.