A political column this may be but now is definitely not the time for politics.

The shocks have been coming thick and fast in the past few weeks, culminating in the Prime Minister’s speech on Monday evening urging us to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to fetch supplies or our work is in some way connected to the national effort to beat the coronavirus.

These are troubling times and most of us have experienced nothing like it in our life time.

One of the hardest things to bear is not knowing how long these extreme measures will remain in place.

We have been warned that there will be further loss of life as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. All our combined efforts have the shared purpose of keeping the number of deaths as low as possible while creating capacity within the NHS to provide the level of care that is needed for those of us who will require hospitalisation.

But this crisis will pass and I wonder whether, at the end of it, we will emerge with new attitudes and alternative ways of doing things that will benefit our communities.

I wish the term ‘social distancing’ had not been adopted. It would have been better to call it ‘physical distancing,’

We need to be more socially aware than ever and this can be done safely using the different methods of communication at our disposal. Keeping in contact has never been easier than now when so many of us have access to social media. And a chat on the telephone could make the world of difference to a person in self isolation.

We can still look out for each other.

As the local provider of health and social care services, Cumbria County Council is leading on the coordination of voluntary support and matching this to where it is needed. Allerdale Borough Council is fully engaged in the process and liaising closely with the county council.

At Allerdale House, we have had to scale back staff numbers – the same as everywhere else. But our website continues to be regularly updated and we can still be contacted by phone and the myAllerdale app. Wherever possible we will continue to maintain our services to residents.

Allerdale’s Executive Committee members meet daily via a digital conferencing link to ensure that we are fully updated.

I am confident that all members of the council will join me in saying that we encourage residents within our wards to let us know of their concerns. We will do our best to help.

By working together we will get through this.

Take care, everyone.