Since March 2020 our NHS, Scottish Government and local authorities have been grappling with the public health and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of you will have had coronavirus and recovered, others may still be on the mend. Some may have lost dearly loved friends or family to the virus, for which you have my deepest sympathies.
Faced with these unprecedented challenges, I continue to be amazed by the fluidity with which our communities adapt and respond. Small businesses, charities and volunteers have come together to form local support groups and ensure that people across Glasgow Pollok do not go hungry, suffer alone, or slip through the net. We understand that in a crisis, local response is best led by local people and organisations, which is why the Scottish Government has given over £700,000 of Supporting Communities funding to community-based anchor organisations, to distribute where it is needed most during the pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic response, me and my constituency office have never stopped taking your calls or emails – although we have had to adapt as well. My drop-in office on Paisley Road West remains shut, but my staff are working from home and have taken on more cases in the last few months than ever before. We have helped local businesses access Scottish Government-funded business support, referred self-isolating and shielding constituents for food and prescription deliveries, and been a listening ear and source of advice at what is a confusing and sometimes lonely time.
There is a light on the horizon, under the excellent leadership of Nicola Sturgeon, who has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, we are seeing an effective and efficient vaccine rollout and case numbers continue to fall. It is in this context that the Scottish Government published an updated timetable for further lockdown easing, which can be found here.
My heartfelt thanks go out to every single one of you for the sacrifices you have made. First and foremost, to those working in our NHS, Police Scotland, Ambulance Service and Fire Service and other key workers who have worked tirelessly throughout this crisis, putting themselves at risk every day to care for the public. To all of you who have missed out on special occasions, holidays, or the comfort of holding a loved one. To every person who grabs a mask on the way out the door, or washes their hands at every opportunity.
Thank you for all that you have done and all you have sacrificed.