We are now into the great British summertime and over recent days the weather seems to have recovered with warm summer days replacing the gloom of winter.

There seems to be a bit of a recovery in our area as well, which coincides with the better weather.

The summer has brought in a bit of feel-good factor; there are more people out and about and they seem a lot happier.

Many of the people who spent the best part of a year isolating at home are out in their gardens, chatting to neighbours, meeting family and friends, and passing pleasantries with strangers.

The simple things in life really matter to us.

As the restrictions start to lift, local people can now look forward to local shops and businesses opening up again, getting back into gyms and churches opening their doors.

There is an expectation that those social spaces closed to us will open up again with clubs for young and old and a return to some form of normality.

Although there is still some nervousness and uncertainty, most people feel that change is in the air and they feel they can begin to look forward to a better future.

Recovery seems to be the key focus for the council as well, as the construction of new homes and public infrastructure improvements continue.

The previous Labour administration had a plan to build 1,000 homes, and we have seen lots of these come to fruition with new builds on Dumbarton Waterfront, in Bellsmyre, Haldane, Alexandria and so on.

The new homes are about recovery and renewal, providing jobs and new homes for local families as well as bringing derelict land back into productive use.

I was also pleased to see that the theme of recovery underscored the Labour party’s election manifesto.

I was delighted to see that Labour is promising a recovery focused on jobs for young people under 25 and those older out of work.

It also included 5,000 more apprenticeships building skills and capacity for the future, and I liked the £75 prepaid card that would kick start the local economy.

It seems that a lot of people who worked throughout the pandemic may have built up savings and Labour is hoping that the great Scottish staycation initiative will encourage people to spend more time visiting Scottish towns and cities to boost tourism businesses in our area.

This is a really exciting time for us all, the weather is picking up, people are getting back to normal and there is a sense of optimism and recovery.

We need to use this time to support those businesses and shops that have suffered due to Scottish Government restrictions and let’s make sure that those who are out of work or have had to cut back their hours get a chance to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.