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Provost's Christmas Message

Posted on 20 Dec 2019

In May 2020, I will celebrate 25 years as a local Councillor.

For the past four years, it has also been a huge honour to be the Provost of this wonderful area that means so much to me.

I have met some wonderful and inspiring people and it has again been an absolute privilege to represent our communities for the last 12 months.

Like most of you I’ll be enjoying my Christmas dinner with nearest and dearest. It is something I am extremely grateful for. However, there will be many others across North Ayrshire who sacrifice that, to help others less fortunate. You are all incredibly special people. Thanks for everything you do.

Our communities here in North Ayrshire are strong. We’ve had it tough over the years, but that has helped to bond us together. As you will know, I host the Provost’s Awards each year to celebrate some of the stars of our communities.

I’ve decided to shake it up in 2020. I wanted to get into the heart of our communities and that’s why I am launching the Provost Recognition Awards.

Nominations will open on Valentine’s Day 2020 and awards ceremonies will take place in each of the localities – Irvine, Kilwinning, North Coast and Cumbrae, Arran, Garnock Valley and the Three Towns – in May. Watch this space for more details.

Our communities have again played their parts in some brilliant events this year. Obviously Marymass is very close to my heart and was again outstanding in 2019, while the Viking Festival was hugely successful and enjoyable for people of all ages.

There are many, many more and too many to mention.  These events really matter, as they provide a focal point for communities and bring everyone together.

Away from these community events, this has been a really busy year. From celebrating 100th birthdays, to doing the conga around Hampden Park, with hundreds of schoolkids for a Faith Event, it has certainly been varied.

The work I do with young people is always particularly inspiring. Breakfast clubs in our schools are always a great source of pride and the work staff and parents carry out to make these happen is just fantastic.

This year, I’ve again worked with the Prince’s Trust and have seen the work they are doing with our “Developing the Young Workforce” team and Ayrshire College to help our young people learn essential new vocational skills within the school environment. We now have “baristas” and “nail bars” at each of our secondary schools with the young people running them. Well done to all involved in this and many other projects.

Giving our young people the best start in life is a priority for the Council and I’d imagine, to most of you reading this column. This year I’ve met many of our fabulous foster parents and kinship carers at a variety of events and every time I’m left humbled and in awe, of their dedication and determination to make a difference to the lives of our young people. 

At the other end of the age spectrum, I’ve again worked closely with Poppy Scotland, Veterans First Point, Royal British Legion, among others, and taken great pride in our Remembrance Day celebrations, Poppy Scotland appeal and other events held over the course of the year.

A big part of my role is to promote North Ayrshire, and my relationships with many Consulates, including those from India, China and Poland, is continuing to grow.  The Economic Growth team at North Ayrshire Council are carrying out a lot of work, which I support as much as possible, and I really hope we all see the benefits further down the line.

My first public engagement of 2020 will again be the Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day. Jumping into the freezing Firth of Clyde might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I can assure you it’s great fun. And it’s the perfect cure if you’ve had a wee dram or two on Hogmanay!

Anyway, I will sign off now by wishing you all a lovely time at Christmas, and a happy and prosperous new year.