It’s hard to believe we have been living under lockdown for 11 weeks now and I am sure you’re welcoming the news that we are slowly starting to see restrictions being lifted.

I am pleased to see council services gradually restarting and I would ask you to be patient with our employees as we need to take into consideration the new health and safety guidelines from the Scottish Government to protect both our employees and also you as our residents.

I know many families have been working hard at home helping to educate their children. I understand these are unfamiliar times for both our parents and teachers but they have risen to the challenge by helping to educate thousands of children remotely every day.

As the warmer weather returns and people get out into their gardens more, many households were delighted to see the reopening of West Dunbartonshire’s two recycling centres earlier this month.

The smooth reopening of the sites in Old Kilpatrick and Dumbarton were the result of a mix of excellent planning on the part of the council’s officials, and the cooperation of our residents in not rushing to use the sites within the first couple of days. My thanks to all concerned.

As some form of ‘normal’ begins to set in, we are now starting to see the return of some of the council committee meetings which were put on hold in the early days of the lockdown, with recent planning and licensing committee meetings being held online. And on Wednesday, we held our first full council meeting since March.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone across West Dunbartonshire who has continued to work during these very challenging times. I am grateful to every one of you who have supported services, helped and looked after vulnerable residents.

I know of many examples of random acts of kindness which make me very proud to be your Provost. It is at times like these that we really do see the very best in our residents, who are always ready to step up and play their part in ensuring anyone who needs support receives it.

Please continue to follow the advice from the Scottish Government to ensure we can move quickly and safely through the required phases of the ‘route map’ and bring some normality back to our lives.