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Dear colleagues,

In March our country went into lockdown and the way we live our lives changed overnight.

Yet even when faced with such personal upheaval, your unwavering commitment to the communities we serve has ensured vital council services continue to operate in extremely challenging circumstances.

I send my heartfelt thanks to you all for your tireless efforts.

The way forward

Like the Scottish Government, we are now looking to the future. Although there are still many unknowns, we have started work on a potential local recovery plan that will help guide decision-making once restrictions begin to ease.

The plan will lay down how we will work with our communities and local businesses to boost the local economy, support our children and young people in learning anytime, anywhere, safeguard our environment, and improve the health and wellbeing of all those who live within the Council area. It will also consider how we work in the future and what that means for you.

Over the coming weeks I will be able to tell you more about our potential vision for the future, but for now be assured a great deal of work is being undertaken to create a recovery plan that will form the basis of the Council’s next five-year business plan.

When there's a will, there's a way

This crisis has made clear to me how quickly we can adapt and change.

Numerous problems that would have seemed insurmountable before the pandemic have been solved because we’ve worked together across services and with partners and communities to find creative solutions. Teamwork across and between services has been outstanding.

From working with local third sector organisations to deliver our Support for People service to reinstating waste collections. From partnership working with community groups to distributing food to those most in need, to hundreds of employees volunteering to support other services and the selfless work of our Homecare Team.

These are just a few examples from hundreds I could list that give you a flavour of what has been – and can be – achieved when we work together for the greater good.

Be kind to yourself

Many of you will be supporting family and friends. Some of you will be coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. We're all trying to juggle everything life is throwing.

On difficult days, please be kind to yourself. Take some time if needed and visit our employee wellbeing pages for support options.

By continuing to follow NHS and Scottish Government guidance we are all helping to reduce the strain on the NHS – whether that’s staying at home to protect our families, friends and neighbours, or leaving home to ensure vital frontline services continue to operate.

You are all doing an immense job. Keep up the good work. We will come through this and be stronger than before.

Kenneth Lawrie

Chief Executive