2023 has been for most of us a pretty dreadful year, with the ‘cost of living’ crisis playing a major part in all of our lives.

The cost of energy and food continues to be a problem, as does the rise in problems people are experiencing with their mental health thanks to everything that has been thrown at them in recent times. 

I know that I have been constantly concerned about how families in the Cumnock and New Cumnock Ward are coping with these pressures.

However, I have been involved in, and attended, so much across the ward in the last 12 months that has been positive. Those good things have included:

● Saving the Cumnock Public Toilets from closure.

● Attending the Official opening of the ‘New’ Netherthird Primary School.

● Meeting Pupils at New Cumnock Primary School for the ‘World of Work Week’.

● The completion of the New Cumnock Flood Defence Scheme.

● Joining the Community at the Cumnock celebrations for the King's Coronation.

● The Launch of the Netherthird ‘School Streets Scheme.

● Spending the Day at Lochnorris Primary School for their ‘ World of Work Week’.

● The Summer Concert at Robert Burns Academy.

● Helping to organise the successful Re-Discover Woodroad Family Fun Day.

● Fighting to keep a free cash machine in the proposed Banking Hub in Cumnock.

● The completion of the Hedgerows Habitat Project at the Netherthird Community Garden.

● Meeting the King at Dumfries House for the 15th Anniversary of The Prince's Foundation.

I also had an amazing visit to the Scottish Parliament to discuss local issues and concerns with MSPs in Scotland's shadow cabinet.

Looking forward to 2024, I will work to ensure that East Ayrshire Council continues to do everything it can to help hard pressed families and people in our area.

I will also continue to push the Re-Open Cumnock and Mauchline Railway Stations campaign, as well as lending my ongoing support to efforts to enhance and increase the range of community events in Woodroad Park and continuing the fight for a primary school swimming scheme across the whole of East Ayrshire.

I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year; let us hope that 2024 is much better for us all than 2023.