All posts by harry

What is LEAP and who am I?

Edhan for LEAP energyLEAP is a charitable, non-profit making organisation operating throughout Renfrewshire, delivering carbon cutting projects and initiatives which offer cost saving in your home and encourage people to take positive action within their own lives for the environment. Established nearly 10 years ago, LEAP was set up when climate change was a more marginal issue.  As LEAP has grown so too has the public awareness about the impact of climate change on the environment. LEAP also focuses on helping people on lower incomes, tackling fuel poverty in local areas, reducing people’s energy bills which also in turn links to climate change.

In partnership with LEAP I will be writing about various topics throughout the year. I’m Edhan, I’m 20 years old and currently in my third year at St. Andrews University studying Geography with a focus on human impacts and sustainability. I grew up in Lochwinnoch and have always been keen to be involved in projects close to my heart near to home.   I am going to be releasing articles on the LEAP website every month, talking about up-and-coming projects and ways in which you can make small changes to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

This month I’d like to talk a bit about what I found out when I visited the LEAP team at their Bridge of Weir office, to understand better what they do locally.

One of LEAP’s main services is to carry out Home Energy Checks in people’s homes. These are free of charge and take around an hour, they involve one of LEAP’s energy advisors coming to your house to assess ways in which you could make your home more energy efficient. These changes in the home can often be subsidised or made free with government and other grant funding.  LEAP is able to offer a variety of subsidised solutions from insulation and draught proofing to making changes in energy sources which I will go on to speak about in more detail in future months. These home energy checks are very worthwhile and I would encourage anyone to take advantage of having one done in your home as soon as possible. They reduce your own home carbon footprint as well as saving you money and make your home more comfortable to live in. Simply get in contact with LEAP and express an interest!

I have also found LEAP very capable of providing advice on energy use in the home, encouraging people to use different sources of energy such as heat pumps, solar panels, wind turbines and even grants to change old, inefficient boilers. The organisation also works alongside Citrus energy, a social enterprise energy comparison site, which removes the bias which can be found on other comparison sites due to the pressure of the larger energy suppliers, and really does find the best value energy plan for you.

Another area of LEAP’s community work is the Car Club – the road to car freedom! This allows members of the community to hire electric and hybrid cars by the hour.  These cars often have a much lower carbon footprint compared to each individual owning vehicles and avoiding the added costs and hassles of car ownership. There is a lot of evidence to show this has a positive effect on the environment, members are more likely to take public transport and more conscious of journeys they are making and if they are necessary or could be done on foot or bike. Along with the Car Club, LEAP is also promoting more bike use with an E-bike scheme as well as bike swaps which have been very successful organised across Renfrewshire.

LEAP is a great project to get involved with, they work alongside many other sustainable living organisations within Renfrewshire and beyond;

Over the coming months I will be writing about many different topics linked with LEAP and sustainable living;

  • Recycling and the change in bins
  • Dietary choices and going Cow free
  • Eco bricks
  • Palm Oil
  • Dog Food and Insects
  • Gum drop bins
  • Single use plastics
  • Sustainable home living: what works?
  • Music Broth musical instrument library
  • Tree Planting and Conservation with EADHA
  • Tradable energy quotas
  • Sustainable Christmas

Look out for my next article on Recycling and the new Renfrewshire bin scheme!


Cycle for Summer Challenge 2018

It’s the time of the year when everyone enjoys cycling, walking or low carbon travel.

At LEAP we’re running a 5 week Cycle for Summer challenge. Whether you are a regular cyclist, you cycle as a family or group, or you cycle on holiday or with friends, simply sign up for ‘Cycle For Summer 2018 Challenge’, pledge TO CYCLE and log your cycled miles or kilometres each week with LEAP.

As part of our work to encourage low carbon travel, we’ll count the miles participants have collectively cycled over the challenge period, share your cycling stories, experiences and photographs if you wish, and provide information on cycle paths and routes neaar you.

Cycle for Summer starts on 15th June and runs until 21st July this year and you may cycle for part or all of the 5 weeks. To sign up for the CYCLE FOR SUMMER 18 challenge or for more information, contact the LEAP team on 01505 612034, email and/or pop into our Bridge of Weir Office on Main Street.

To celebrate CYCLE FOR SUMMER and low carbon transport, we’ll also be holding a Bike Swap, a Guided Cycle and Cycle Maintenance Checks on Saturday 21st July at Castle Semple Loch in partnership with the Big Bike Revival, Clyde Murshiel, RT Cycles and Ride 63.

Bike Swap Lochwinnoch – Saturday 2nd September

The next Bike Swap event is on this Saturday 2nd September, at Castle Semple Loch in Lochwinnoch, from 12pm to 3pm.

What’s a Bike Swap?
It’s as simple as it sounds. You bring in an bike that no longer suits you and leave with one that does. Swap an adult bike for a kid’s bike; a mountain bike for a road racer – whatever works for you.

If you don’t have a bike at the moment, that’s ok. Come at the end of the session and take a look at what we have left over to see if we have one to suit you.

Is it just swapping bikes?
No, there’s more – we have guided cycles, bike maintenance workshops, bike safety checks and more all happening during the swap with the brilliant team from RT Cycles.

Well that all seems too good to be true, what’s the catch?
No catch. By taking part you’re actually helping us achieve our goals:
1. To promote healthy living and get more people on their bikes
2. To help people learn to take care of their bikes so they can ride them safely
3. To help the environment by saving bikes from landfill, and encouraging people to choose a bike over a car.

Alright, I’m in – how do I get involved?
To sign up, or for more information, email or phone 01505 842530. See you on Saturday!


Swish Event – Sat 1st July 7pm – McKillop Institute

Clothes swap event with hands-on workshops, film screenings and refreshments.

Tickets – suggested donation of £2

Donate gently worn or new clothing, shoes or accessories in return for tokens – 1 garment/item in return for 1 token which you can spend in our Swish boutique on the night! Please drop off your donations and collect your tokens at ReMode, High Street, Lochwinnoch, PA12 4AB before the night – see our opening times on ReMode Lochwinnoch Facebook.

Also you can take part in one of our hands-on ‘Meddle and Make’ workshops from 6-7.30pm, gain some ‘make’ skills and find out more about how we can all love our clothes that little bit more! These can be booked via this link:

B.Y.O.B (for 18yrs plus)

BikeSwap, Castle Semple Loch, Lochwinnoch, Sun 19th March (1-3pm)

Old outgrown bike lying unloved in the garage? Looking for a replacement bike? Donate your old bike to be used by someone else or bring it along to SWAP for another. No bike to swap? Come along at 2.30pm to see if we have one that suits you.

While you’re there learn how to do a basic safety check on your bike with RT Cycles. For more information visit, call 01505 842530, or email

LEAP projects benefit from new Climate Challenge Fund Awards!

More than one hundred organisations across Scotland are to benefit from almost £10 million of funding to support local action to tackle climate change, and two of LEAP’s projects are included!

Project number 1 is YEP! (Youth Engagement Programme) which will include the ReMode shop. The shop will continue to produce and trade redesigned clothing, as well as holding a learning hub and workshop space.

YEP! is devised by and for young people across six rural Renfrewshire communities and will develop ReMode as a circular economy enterprise engaging the young and wider community in workshops, pop-up events and social gatherings to achieve textile waste reduction. The project has been awarded a fantastic £77,990!

Project number 2 is Brighter Warmer Renfrewshire, which is going to be run by the energy team at LEAP. It will support individuals, families and community groups across Renfrewshire to improve home energy efficiency, helping to reduce carbon emissions and tackle both fuel poverty and climate change.

Brighter Warmer Renfrewshire will also help people to gain new skills and work together to make better use of the resources they have to realise a vision of a Brighter, Warmer Renfrewshire. This amazing project has been awarded £148,900.

It’s fantastic news for the team, as it means we can continue and extend our work over the next year, but it’s also great news for the communities who will directly benefit from the funding.

Join LEAP Car Club Now and receive £25 worth of free driving

LEAP Car Club offers convenient, 24/7, not-for-profit community car hire and can help you cut the costs of driving. Cars can be hired for as little as an hour or for as long as you want. The Car Club has helped members by allowing them to sell additional cars or to not have to buy one. What our members say:

  • “Reliable cars there when I need them.”
  • “For someone who does not own a car it is very useful to have access to a car at any time for short periods.”
  • “It is so easy to book online. Great value for money too.”

To find out more contact Car Club Coordinator Mike Callaghan T: 01505 842530 E:

LEAP supports residents to MAKE IT HAPPEN

LEAP has launched ‘Making It Happen’ – a programme of FREE practical assistance for Renfrewshire Residents who are struggling with fuel bills and comfort at home this winter. Supported through Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty Programme, the service aims to reach a minimum of 80 fuel poor and vulnerable persons, who are struggling with fuel bills, health conditions, or living in cold, damp, or draughty homes, across urban and rural Renfrewshire by 31st March 2017.

A Lochwinnoch resident who has already benefited from the ‘Making it Happen’ service recently commented, “Thank you so much for fixing my house door so quickly, I can’t believe the difference it has made it is so much warmer, and no more howling wind and water getting in. My family and I are delighted”

LEAP’s Energy team will carry out practical actions to help to improve warmth and save money in the long term The types of FREE practical energy efficiency actions LEAP can provide may include fitting draught strips, letterbox/ keyhole seals, chimney balloons, minor repairs (structural draught proofing), pipe lagging, tank jackets, window seals, secondary glazing, loft insulation including coombed ceilings or tricky areas, loft hatches, and introducing the use of low energy/LED light bulbs, power down plugs, energy monitors and radiator panels to reduce the energy used for heating and lighting in the home.

Don’t delay, get in touch. If you think you or someone you know could benefit from this programme, and you are Renfrewshire Residents then please contact LEAP in confidence by email to, via our website or call 01505 612 034. LEAP will consider and assess everyone who contacts them and if anyone is ineligible for this programme LEAP may be able to provide other help, advice or referrals.

Top Tips for Keeping Warm and saving money this Christmas

As winter starts to bite, LEAP has prepared a few tips to help you to manage the winter months and energy bills in your home through the Festive Season.

– Check your heating programmer/ timer and make sure it’s coming on at appropriate times for the colder weather. £150 per year can be saved by only having your heating on when needed.

– Adjust your thermal radiator valves – using the heating controls appropriately can help you to heat the areas of the home that are needed.

– Measure your room temperature – the recommended temperature for a room thermostat is between 18 and 21o C. Turning your thermostat down by just 1o C could save you £85 per year

– Maximise heat from your radiators with radiator reflective panels. These foil sheets fit down the back of radiators and reflect heat back into the room, meaning you get more heat from your radiators for less money. Come and get yours from our LEAP shops.

– Switch lighting off– we need more lights on for longer periods in the winter, but don’t forget to switch them off. £15 per year can be saved by switching lights off when not in use. For even better savings switch to LED lightbulbs available from our LEAP shops.

– Draught proofing your home – gaps around windows and doors allow heat to escape and let the cold draughts in. Heavy thermal lined curtains will help to keep the heat in. Draught proofing of windows, doors, letterboxes and blocking cracks in floors and skirting boards can save up to 13% of your heating bill each year. If you’re struggling with time and skills to draught proof we can do it for you.

For further information and advice or to purchase your radiator panels, chimney balloons and LED bulbs, contact LEAP Energy Advisors on 01505 612 034, email or visit our shops at Advance place, Bridge of Weir or Church St, Lochwinnoch. Visit

Significant Savings for Social Enterprises on Gas and Electricity Bills

LEAP have managed to save Social Enterprise around £2,000 from gas and electricity bills.  To do this the registered charity who support people get back into work and training had an eye on their costs as they want to make sure they manage their overheads and avoid wasting time and money going to the suppliers on their own or through a commercial broker.  These savings apply to the Thirds sector as much as they do for local Private Sector small businesses, this is the main reason LEAP developed the project to help both sectors save on energy bills.  We also tackle poverty in Renfrewshire with revenues we generate form the suppliers with no direct costs to you. To find out more contact or call 01505 612 034

Passing on the Bikeswap Mantle

LEAP has been spreading the word and building the capacity of new organisations and groups to hold Bikeswaps in their communities. Active Communities Linwood invited LEAP to be part of their 5k Family Cycle day and to show them the Bikeswap ropes. If your community group or organisation is interested in learning more about how to run a bikeswap, support the reduction of bikes to landfill and encouraging recycling, passing things on, or providing a new home for your bike, contact LEAP at


Book your Free Home Energy Check with LEAP this Winter

What is it?
Your LEAP Home Energy Check is a review of your home energy usage. Our City and Guilds qualified LEAP Energy Adviser visits you at home at a time convenient for you and asks you some simple questions about your home and your energy usage. It only takes about an hour and can save you money! During the visit the LEAP Energy Advisor will complete a form which is used to design your follow up LEAP Home Action Plan. This is a personalised plan developed by LEAP to advise simple, inexpensive actions you can take to improve your home comfort and energy usage.

What advice will you get from a Home Energy Check?
You will get free and impartial advice on practical measures you could take to help reduce the amount of energy you use. Many measures are free or very low cost and can save you money at the same time. We recognise that everyone’s needs are different and our Energy Advisers create Your LEAP Home Action Plan specifically for your home and circumstances.

How do you arrange a LEAP Home Energy Check?
LEAP Home Energy checks are a free service to all local residents of Lochwinnoch, Bridge of Weir, Kilbarchan, Houston, Crosslee, Brookfield, and Howwood; home owners, private let landlords and tenants, and council and housing association tenants.

For your FREE Home Energy Check phone LEAP on 01505 612034, email, or pop into your nearest LEAP Office at either Advance Place, Bridge of Weir, or 22 Church St, Lochwinnoch.




On Work Placement with LEAP

Thomas Hodgson, a 4th year pupil of St Benedict’s Secondary School in Linwood, spent his work placement week with LEAP in November. Thomas from Lochwinnoch was familiar with the LEAP charity, but he wanted to find out more about its work and services`.


‘I have learned about the free home energy checks that LEAP do. The Energy Adviser, Alasdair told me that he asks questions about what fuels people use to heat their homes, where their boiler is located and finds out what the temperature is in their homes.’ Thomas learned how the car club cars can be booked online by members, and that there are 4 cars, 2 hybrids, 1 electric and 1 diesel car. ‘I know that the hybrid cars don’t give off as many carbon emissions and are better for the environment. It also takes 3 and half hours to fully charge the Nissan Leaf’. Scott Duncan, LEAP’s Project Manager congratulated Thomas on his good work ethic during his week with LEAP and the LEAP staff were impressed by his interest in their work and his administrative skills. Well Done, Thomas!

Your Feedback is Welcome

LEAP are carrying out community consultations to help us inform the work we plan to do in the future and make best use of the needs identified within the local villages.  To get involved please visit:, if you are involved in a community group or organisation and have ideas on how we could work together in the future please contact Lesley Ritchie (Community Development and Outreach Officer) 01505 612 034.  LEAP really appreciate your feedback and want to say a big thank you to individuals and groups who have taken part in the most recent survey.

Cycle for Summer – Proud Thea with her dad Neill sporting Cycle for Summer Certificate

Neill Ritchie travelled over 200 miles to work as part LEAP’s Cycle for Summer event. Neill cycled from Bridge of Weir to Johnstone back and forth to work in August ’16 and popped in with his Daughter Thea to pick up his certificate for taking part. Neill was one of several people who LEAP want to thank for taking part. Keep an eye open on the leap website for more community based activities and events.