Economic Development case studies

Read our case studies on people, place and business


Our team work with a wide range of partners to help develop and improve our town centres and neighbourhoods across East Renfrewshire and to make them more attractive, accessible and active as set out in the Scottish Government's town centre action plan.

The project consists of the creation of an Enterprise & community hub (a public space that brings community agencies and groups together to offer a range of activities, programs and services) through the regeneration of Cowan Park Gate Lodge in Barrhead, which has fallen into disrepair and has been unused for a number of years.

The Hub will provide a space for a number of local social enterprises, community groups and other third sector partners to operate and deliver a range of services and initiatives from the local area and wider community. This includes tourism & leisure activity, skills development & training programmes for assistance into employment and  vital opportunities for community capacity building through social enterprise growth. Health and wellbeing benefits for residents and will also allow for potential future investment in the park.

The Council's Economic development team secured funding through the Scottish Government's Regeneration Capital Grant Fund together with funding from East Renfrewshire Council.

Local charity, Include Me2, will provide a wide range of services from the centre including a coffee shop which will be part of their Social blend enterprise, helping young people and adults with additional support needs, disabilities and mental health conditions into training and employment.

The images below show before and after pictures of the development.

Cowan Park - before
Cowan Park - after

The Scottish Government's Place Based Investment Programme funded £24,041 to refurbish part of the Dunterlie Community Centre as an Employability Hub.  Dunterlie is the most economically disadvantaged neighbourhood in East Renfrewshire.

The new hub will provide much needed access to ICT equipment and public wifi for local residents.  The services delivered from the hub will support people from Dunterlie and the surrounding area to build confidence and skills to be able to access employment opportunities and vocational training. The hub will bring together key agencies including Work EastRen, Dunterlie Action Group, the Corra Foundation, Skills Development Scotland, Barrhead Housing Association and Voluntary Action East Renfrewshire (Third Sector Interface) to offer a range of activities, programmes and services that will lead to transformational change in the area

The images below show before and after pictures of the development.

Dunterlie Employability Hub
Dunterlie Employability Hub - after

This project forms an important part of the wider regeneration plans for Dunterlie in Barrhead and will complement the creation of the new Employability hub at the Dunterlie Resource Centre.   The car park was in a state of disrepair and many visitors were reluctant to use it due pot holes, uneven surface and lack of lined parking bays.

These improvements will encourage more people to use the centre and will improve access to a wide range of groups who use the facility, such as Dunterlie Action Group, The Corra Foundation, Dunterlie Foodshare, the local tenant group and various youth and drama groups.

Funding was secured from the Scottish Government's Placed Based Investment programme by the Council's Economic Development team.

The images below show before and after pictures of the development.

Dunterlie Resource Centre car park - after
Dunterlie Resource Centre car park - after

Through Scottish Government's Town Centre Fund, East Renfrewshire Council's Economic Development team commissioned the design, creation/build and installation of two Inspired Gateway Entrance features for the village of Neilston.

During the design phase, the Council and the appointed artist consulted with the local community to learn about local history and find out what cultural and heritage aspects of the area could be incorporated into the designs.

Neilston was a textile town historically. It was associated with linen and calico printing following the Industrial revolution. This led to the expansion of the town and the last textile mill only closed in 1997. Agriculture has also played, and continues to play, an economic role for the area and the annual Neilston Agricultural Show is an important trading and cultural event for farmers from southwest Scotland each spring. This event became the inspiration to design the gateway entrance features, which resulted in the creation of two life size bulls made from bent steel.

Located at either end of Neilston, the two bull sculptures pay homage to the origin story of the Neilston Agricultural show, when a local dispute between two neighbours and resulting contest to determine the best prized bull grew into an annual event that has continued since the early 19th Century. The project will create two attractive sculpted features at either entrance/exits to the village and celebrate and promote the local history of Neilston

Neilston Bulls
Neilston Bulls 2

Through Scottish Government's Place Based Investment Programme, East Renfrewshire Council's Economic Development team launched the Neilston Shop Front Improvement Scheme. This was part of wider regeneration works throughout the village which included new benches, a permanent Christmas tree, a digital notice board and the demolition of an unused toilet block.

The fund, which opened to eligible shop owners on Neilston's Main Street at the end of 2021, offered grants to support the redecoration of shop fronts to help elevate the appearance of the ground floor frontages of commercial premises. Eligible residential properties were also offered grants to support the purchase and installation of new close doors.

The Council has already approved a number of applications covering a variety of improvements including new signage, repairs to the fabric of buildings, new doors and canopies, with works due to be completed by September 2022.

The new scheme will create an attractive town centre for residents and visitors to enjoy as well helping local businesses recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Neilston shop front - pharmacy
Neilston shop front - sweetbox

Funding was secured by East Renfrewshire Council's Economic Development team from the Scottish Government's Town Centre Fund to pay tribute to football pioneer, Thomas Donohoe.

Thomas who was from the village is credited with introducing football to Brazil in 1894. Since then, it has become the national sport there, with Brazil crowned world champions a record five times.

Busby Community Council thought that it would be fitting for there to be recognition in the community to mark his achievement and raise the profile of Busby.

The Council's Economic Development team worked closely with the Busby Community Council to identify the preferred option and location which was tendered and project managed by the Council. The Sculpture was designed and created by Kate Robinson and was unveiled by Provost Mary Montague in July 2022 following a one year delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thomas Donohoe Sculpture

The Place Based Investment Programme funded £152,500 towards the refurbishment of the Westbourne Centre in the heart of Barrhead. The Centre provides office, retail, 3rd sector, food and beverage accommodation in a prime central location.

These works have modernised the asset, ensuring existing building users are retained and new occupants are attracted with the aim of sustaining higher property occupancy and employment levels. The refurbishment and modernisation of the common areas within the business centre provide essential office accommodation to both start up and established businesses in the town centre. The elevation in quality of the town's commercial real estate brings it more in line with modern town centre developments constructed over the last 10 years and ensures that Barrhead remains competitive and sustainable into the future.

Phillip Whiting Director of Moorgarth Group Limited said "The investment provided by the Place Based Investment Programme has modernised the Westbourne Centre providing modern business accommodation and completely rejuvenated this popular business and retail destination in the heart of Barrhead.

The images below show the centre after development.

Westbourne Centre - before
Westbourne Centre - after

The Scottish Government's Place Based Investment programme funded the initial construction stages of the Square Go Community Start-Up Space, at the Young Enterprise Scotland facility in Rouken Glen Park.

£121,000 was invested to transfer their disused yard into workshop units and outdoor collaborative space, creating a village square that nurtures business ideas and supports young people to have a "Square Go" at bringing their ideas to life. Square Go will support employability skills, practical skills, enterprise knowledge and personal development to provide transformational change and opportunities for young people. to support their goals and career ambitions.

Square Go will support 16-30 year olds, providing a route map into further education, training, employment or self-employment. It will provide: free safe and collaborative spaces; employability opportunities, links to employers, training and apprenticeships, on site career fairs with a chance to meet employers/entrepreneurs, personal development, wellbeing support and practical working space idea development opportunities

Lynn Kelly (Young Enterprise Scotland) said "The Square Go start-up village provides young people with the opportunity to develop skills, learn by doing and develop a business idea within a safe, supportive and collaborative production space. The Square Go pods will house start up entrepreneurs whilst they navigate the challenges of setting up in business. The larger delivery pods will support young people between the age of 16 and 30 attending our employability and enterprise programmes. We are delighted to be able to introduce this to within Rouken Glen Park, and will be launching in October 2022."

Yes Square Go - complete
Yes Square Go - moth

The historic bandstand in Cowan Park, Barrhead was in a state of disrepair and had become unusable due to health and safety issues. The Council's Neighbourhood Services team secured £100,000 through the Scottish Government Place Based Investment programme, which they matched with a further £25,000 from Council funds, to invest in this much loved community asset.  The refurbished bandstand has been restored to its former glory with modern features including solar lights and an accessible entrance for all our communities to use for events and gatherings.

Total project costs: £125,000

The images below show before and after pictures of the bandstand.

Cowan Park Bandstand - before
Cowan Park Bandstand - after

The Council's Communications team was looking for a new solution for displaying notices and communicating effectively with residents in their local communities.  The Council commonly uses external advertising spaces such as billboards and bus shelter displays which can be costly and temporary.

In order to communicate with our local communities more effectively the team secured £61,219 of Scottish Government Place Based Investment funding and matched this with £10,000 of Council funding to install digital community notice boards in Barrhead, Giffnock, Clarkston, Busby and Eaglesham.

This allows the Council to promote and raise awareness of projects, campaigns and matters of public interest in town and neighbourhood centres.

Total project costs: £71,219

Community Digital Board
Community Digital Board 2

To increase its links to the community, the Avenue shopping centre in Newton Mearns secured £139,000 funding from the Scottish Government Place Based investment Programme. The fund has provided improved external signage, increased promotion of the retailers within the centre, improved landscaping and the delivery of Mearns Community Hub.

Newton Mearns Community Hub 

The PBIP funded the creation of a new community hub within a retail unit located on McKinlay Place, and offers an accessible space for people to connect with local services. These services include the Council's Work East Ren and Economic Development teams, as well as Business Gateway, Education and Skills Development Scotland. 

Speaking at his visit to the new hub, Council Leader Owen O'Donnell said:

"This is a really great new facility for the Newton Mearns community. We're committed to providing residents and businesses with the support they need, in places local to them, so whether you're a local business looking for advice or someone searching for jobs, I'd encourage you to pop-in and see the wide range of help available."

Mearns Community Hub


The Avenue estate signage has been comprehensively renewed. The new signs have improved the visibility of the centre and helped to signpost different stores within the centre. Altogether creating a neat and modern look and enhancing Newton Mearns town centre.

Avenue shopping centre signage
Avenue Shopping Centre Signage 2



The PBIP also funded improvements to the landscaping and outdoor spaces at the Avenue Shopping Centre.

Michelle McCabe, Manager of The Avenue Shopping Centre has quoted: 

"the overall improvement to the Avenue Shopping centre will facilitate the health and the wellbeing of the community by encouraging more time spent outdoors, it has also increased the sense of the community for our pupils in Mearns Primary school who helped with planting. We hope that the landscaping work will improve the biodiversity in our town centre, as the planting of pollinator friendly plants will encourage, bees and butterflies and other insects to flourish."

Avenue Shopping centre - landscaping

The East Renfrewshire Addition Support Needs Parents Action Group (ERA) secured £70,381.92 of funding through the Scottish Government Place Based Investment Programme.

With this support, ERA has transformed the Barrhead Waterworks site into a vibrant hub for communal growth and connection. At the heart of this transformation lies the installation of a "Polycrub" high-quality poly-tunnel, an innovative space for cultivating fruits and vegetables. Beyond its agricultural function, the Polycrub doubles as a versatile meeting space, fostering community engagement and inclusivity.

The initiative has prioritised accessibility and environmental sustainability, featuring a thoughtfully designed composting toilet with disabled access and a separate meeting space with facilities for meetings and learning. The facility is off grid with purpose built solar panels providing power and its own water capture system. These additions ensure that individuals with complex needs feel welcome and accommodated within the shared space.

In the words of ERA team

"This funding not only enriches our physical environment but also allows us to expand our services to week days and allows more groups from the community to use the space, this strengthens the bonds of our community, uniting us in shared purpose and progress."

Barrhead Waterworks 1
Barrhead Waterworks 2

Based in Barrhead town centre, Dunterlie Park serves as the home ground for Arthurlie Juniors Football Club. The public areas around Dunterlie Park had fallen into disrepair over the years but particularly during the pandemic. Some areas could not be used as they had become unsafe and all areas were inaccessible for those with limited mobility. Unsafe conditions and limited accessibility had restricted the park's use.

Arthurlie Juniors Football Club have secured a much-needed boost of £58,400 in Scottish Government funding through the Place Based Investment Programme for some restorations to Dunterlie Park.

Thanks to this support, Dunterlie Park has undergone a welcome makeover to its public areas. Crucially, the improvements prioritised accessibility, ensuring that all members of the community can enjoy the park safely.

In the words of Arthurlie Juniors:

"With this investment and the dedication of local supporters, Dunterlie Park is set to boost its status as a community hub, enriching the lives of local residents, Arthurlie Juniors Football club and visitors alike."

Arthurlie Juniors 2
Arthurlie Juniors 1


Local business plays a critical role in East Renfrewshire's economy.  East Renfrewshire Council and Business Gateway East Renfrewshir work with a wide range of partners to support businesses to access good quality business advice and support, affordable workspace, business finance and public sector procurement contracts.

The Acupuncture Hub is based at Thornliebank and is one of the leading clinics for acupuncture in the UK.

Owner, Neil, was working with a treatment bed that's height couldn't be adjusted.  This was restrictive for some patients that had mobility issues. The solution to this was an adjustable height treatment bed that could be comfortably and safely used by all patients. 

East Renfrewshire Council's Micro Equipment Grant of £500 helped purchase the new adjustable treatment bed that allowed a safer and more comfortable user experience.

In addition to providing a better service for patients it also helped the wellbeing of the healthcare provider as it can be adjusted depending on the treatment provided.

The businesses turnover has grown by 60% in 1 year.

Neil Scott-Kiddie, Owner said "This grant was to help enable an equipment upgrade and to facilitate a more professional service to my clients, and I have experienced an increase in
revenue since then."


The Acupuncture Hub treatment table
The Acupuncture Hub treatment table 2

Mearns Opticians are a local eye care provider in East Renfrewshire that takes pride in their local and professional services to all members of the community. Following Covid 19  lockdown, owner Gerry O'Hear, realised that there was a significant waiting list for eye appointments due to forced cancellations.

The business approached East Renfrewshire Council's Economic Development team for financial assistance to support their own investment in the renovation plans for the clinic. This which would create additional consultancy rooms, a reception area and with a growing staff base, a staff rest room area.

East Renfrewshire Council's Large Growth Grant of £10,000 helped to complete the clinic renovation. The increase in consultancy room capacity has enabled the business to:

  • accommodate up to 1500 new patients
  • reduce NHS waiting lists
  • provide more access to specialist treatments
  • recruit and grow staff, employing further trained staff to assist in the growth of the services offered

Turnover is set to grow in the next 2 years by 20% and staffing by 50%.

The project also included replacing heating, insulation and lighting with more energy efficient measures, reducing energy consumption and saving on costs.

Owner Gerry O'Hear commented

"The support we received from the Economic Development team at East Renfrewshire Council has been paramount to our growth. The ever-changing landscape of primary and secondary health care requires first-line providers to adapt and grow their business, to provide not only more accessible routine care, but offer increased capacity for emergency care. We at Mearns Opticians have forged strong working relationships over the years with allied local healthcare providers, namely GPs and Pharmacies. This recent expansion allows us to further enhance our services for the years ahead."

The images below show before and after pictures of the Opticians.

Mearns Opticians - Before
Mearns Opticians - After

Anderson Landscaping is a family run business based in Barrhead, focused on creating dramatic outdoor living spaces, using quality products and offering great value for money.

The business had grown significantly in the last 20 years with further plans to grow and develop. One of their ambitions was to establish a Landscaping Academy, however this was not possible in their current premises as they were too small. Owners, Colin and Sharon Anderson, attended an ERC Grant Funding event in 2023 and realised the business could get funding to assist with the purchase of new larger premises. They submitted a £50,000 Special Growth Grant application to the Council's Economic Development team, which was successful.

The new premises has allowed the business to:

  • create an area open to customers displaying and showcasing landscaping designs and materials
  • develop plans to open a skills academy for staff development and CPD courses open to the landscaping industry across Scotland
  • develop more efficient recycling of green waste and construction material, with space tomanage stages of recycling, reuse a higher proportion of recycled material, which isminimizing the environmental impact of the business
  • invest in bulk buying, reducing purchase prices, which can be passed onto both the customer and the business bottom line
  • grow the turnover of the business, in the next 3 years by 15% and staffing by 25%

Through specialised procurement support from Business Gateway East Renfrewshire, Anderson Landscaping have been able to secure long-term public sector contracts for landscaping and maintenance in other areas of Scotland. This is a new area of work and has assisted the business in the last 12 months with additional income in this current cost of living crisis.

Sharon Anderson commented:

"Support from the Council's Economic Development team, including Business Gateway East Renfrewshire, enabled us to apply for and be granted a special growth grant to help us secure our future in Barrhead. We now have sufficient space to grow and develop our business and skills academy, providing better access to our services, more space to store supplies, bought at better prices and better opportunities for our staff, whatever their age or experience"

Anderson Landscaping - before
Anderson Landscaping - after

View Business Gateway case studies


Our Work EastRen team help people aged 16 and over in East Renfrewshire improve their skills to get ready for work and find jobs. The team can help with CVs, Job applications, vocational training and access to  Modern Apprenticeships. We also provide a wide range of support and services to local businesses. This includes advertising job vacancies, matching local residents to local jobs, work experience and placements, access to employer recruitment incentives and local job fairs.

View Work EastRen case studies

Last modified on 18 April 2024