When I last contributed to this column, we were entering into the lockdown which has dramatically affected all our lives. What a remarkable time it has been – bringing hardship and tragedy to some but, at the same time, shining a light on the best human qualities.

We have seen dedication, loyalty and generosity displayed in so many ways throughout the whole community.

I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate all the good work that has been done in the hope that, once we have reached the other end of the Coronavirus tunnel, some things will have permanently changed for the better!

First of all there are the friends and neighbours who have been looking out for each other on an unprecedented scale. Cumbrian communities are close knit by definition but I know that additional care is being taken to ensure that those who have not been able leave their homes for food and medicine have still received essential support.

At Allerdale Borough Council, more than £32m of financial support has been awarded to businesses across the borough affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The team continues to be proactive in contacting businesses we believe may be eligible for the grants.

In common with other large employers, we have had some staff in self-isolation but the majority of these are continuing to work from home, therefore, the level of absence is extremely low. Staff have shown commitment to their work and a willingness to be redeployed where necessary that makes me feel very proud to be a member of this council.

Responding in an emergency situation is not an unfamiliar role for Allerdale given the flooding in recent years. Once again the system has clicked into action, liaising with Cumbria County Council to set up a Community Hub and Helpline to support people at high risk of becoming seriously ill who do not have support available from family, neighbours or friends.

Our thanks go to all key workers who have remained at their posts during this difficult time. I would particularly like to express my gratitude to the staff at Allerdale Waste Services. The bin crews carried out their first collections on behalf of the brand new company on April 6 under the most difficult of circumstances with lockdown at an early stage. It would have been impossible for us to postpone the launch and, thanks to all members of staff, the transition has gone very smoothly.

Working together in this way, being good friends, neighbours and workmates, we will reach the light at the end of this tunnel.