I’d like to begin this weeks column with some exciting personal news.

Last Wednesday, my wife Alyson gave birth to our second daughter Caitlin.

Both mum and Caitlin are doing well and Rosie is delighted to be a big sister.

I’m absolutely thrilled and delighted.

These are difficult times for all of us and it is nice to be able to share some happy news.

This column also gives me an opportunity to thank the amazing midwives and staff at Ayrshire Maternity Hospital.

It is an incredibly difficult time for all our NHS staff right now but their professionalism, bravery and kindness never ceases to inspire and amaze.

Both myself and Alyson are so grateful to them and can’t thank them enough.

There will be a lot of expectant mothers who are understandably feeling more anxious due to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in.

But, please be assured, the staff at our local maternity unit, health visitors and local community midwives are doing an amazing job and providing first class care and support to new mums and their babies.

Our own social care staff are always doing a fantastic job. While this is a difficult situation we all find ourselves in, our vulnerable residents will be feeling particularly anxious. We provide such a range of support to so many people and we are lucky to have such dedicated and passionate staff. Our Care at Home team, for example, continue to work across our communities and do so with such humility, love and compassion. A huge thanks to all of you.

Our Community Hubs continue to grow and are providing an invaluable service. I know we were ahead of the game in terms of offering community support and that’s because of all the work our Connected Communities and

Community Planning Partnership teams have done over recent years. We have established a lot of really good relationships with key groups and individuals in every locality across North Ayrshire and that work has really helped us get these off the ground so quickly.

The hubs are based in each of our localities and are answering thousands of calls. The support hubs have been working tirelessly alongside passionate volunteers to meet the demand of assisting residents in Arran, North Coast & Cumbrae, Garnock Valley, Irvine, Kilwinning and the Three Towns.

In one week, the teams carried out a record 2,153 food deliveries and 746 prescription drop-offs, while the hub teams have provided advice and signposting to over 400 residents to key statutory services.

They really are doing an incredible job and a massive thanks to all involved.

You really are making a difference.

We know, we can, and will, beat this virus but we will only achieve that if we follow the guidelines and look out for each other.

A massive thank you to everyone who is doing their bit to keep everyone safe.