Coming to the end of a ten-year stint as Clydebank’s MSP, a period of my life I have enjoyed enormously, I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on that time and the many wonderful and community- conscious individuals and groups I have met and worked with during that time.

The problem with this is that there have been so many good people in Clydebank, people who quietly get on with trying to make life’s experience a bit better for others their fellow citizens, and I don’t have enough space in this column to mention them all.

So, to all of the volunteers, NHS staff, council employees, charities, small businesses, community councils, community groups, food banks, Centre 81, St Margaret’s Hospice, the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Y Sort it, the Recycle Room, Strathclyde Autistic Society, Epilepsy Awareness, the Cochno Stone and Faifley Rock Art project, Isaro Network, Clydebank Football Club, local housing associations, WDCVS, WD CAB, the Independent Resource Centre, Alternatives, and many more: I thank you all. Please accept my gratitude for the great work undertaken over the years and all the assistance given to my office.

It is a sad fact that because of the austerity agenda so many in Clydebank have had to rely on charity to get by. In a civilised society, no family should have to use the services of a food bank to feed their families. There has to be a better way, where every family and individual has the right to a living income and where inequalities of opportunity are eradicated. Without the spirit and determination of the many volunteers and the people of Clydebank, I am not sure just how bad matters could have got.

When we thought things could not get worse, we got coronavirus, which has played havoc with healthcare, the local economy, educational attainment, family incomes, and social wellbeing.

Again, though, the whole community has been excellent in dealing with this calamity. But it has become apparent throughout the pandemic is that not everybody, not every community, is affected equally, and those with the least to start with have been hurt most.

But I know that with the calibre of its community activists, Clydebank is in safe hands – and my hope is that when we come out of the restrictions, I hope we can continue the work to reduce inequalities and eliminate poverty.

I also hope that as we rebuild our economy we can do so in a fairer and more sustainable way, and with a better regard for environmental consequences of the decisions we take.

All the best.