Latest column from our Council Leader
Posted on 10 Jun 2020
I’ve written this weekly column ever since the pandemic hit hard and lockdown was established. Times have been tough for all of us and one day I’ll probably look back at all the columns as a timeline of the progress made over the weeks and months.
Things are different now than 12 weeks ago and in another 12 weeks they will no doubt look very different again, with our ‘new normal’ becoming clearer.
There has been some encouraging signs in recent days but the virus has not been defeated yet. We are certainly nowhere near the stage New Zealand has reached in recent days, where there are now no positive cases in the country. This is a real vindication of the leadership shown by New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who has been clear and decisive since the virus first arrived in the country. Until we reach the same point as New Zealand we must all continue to adhere to the guidance, and I know most of our citizens are.
For those in the ‘shielding’ categories, I know this is particularly difficult. Isolating is not easy; it can have a negative impact on people’s physical and mental wellbeing. The news that ‘shielding’ will be extended until the end of July will be difficult, I hope that the slight relaxation of the guidance, allowing some daily exercise from the 18th June, will provide some reprieve but the rest of us must continue to support those in this group.
This column has helped me a shine a light on the work being carried out by the Council and has given me an opportunity to explain some of the rationale behind some of the tough decisions we’ve had to make.
The response from council staff has been incredible. They have responded in a time of crisis and delivered for our communities. The responsive way in which the Council has supported those shielding, coordinating food parcels, the free school meals, the community hubs, virtual community centres, business support, online schooling and the brilliant exercise classes being delivered by our Active Schools team. There are many more examples too.
But we couldn’t do it without our volunteers. And last week it was great to celebrate them during #volunteersweek.
A total of 600 volunteers have signed up to support the Council’s vital community hub network. They have played a crucial role in ensuring community hubs meet the ongoing demand of assisting residents in Arran, North Coast & Cumbrae, Garnock Valley, Irvine, Kilwinning and the Three Towns.
Since setting up the community hubs at the end of March, volunteers have helped to carry out 26,385 food deliveries and 6,740 prescription drop-offs in our communities.
In addition to the work in the community hubs, volunteers have been assisting in the heart of local communities with cooking and delivering around 400 hot meals a week.
They have been truly amazing and each and every one of our volunteers deserves enormous credit. The selfless work you have put in to help the Council help our most vulnerable residents has been truly inspirational.
Thanks for everything. We really do appreciate it.