Across the UK, Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted and there is now a real sense of the world having turned a corner.
Spring, more than ever, will feel like a time of renewal, and I look forward to seeing our wonderful parks and green spaces brimming with visitors in the months ahead.
The revamped Union Terrace Gardens promises to be a catalyst for wider regeneration within the city centre when completed.
There is much, then, to look forward to.
The virus, science tells us, will continue to mutate – new variants will emerge – but governments everywhere are bringing forward plans for living with Covid-19.
Our council is doing the same.
In reclaiming our way of life, we’re able to move quickly and safely thanks in part to people taking greater responsibility for their own actions.
The pandemic has revealed the interconnectedness of all our lives and degree of dependence on one another. This in turn promoted a new-found solidarity among communities, begetting new alliances.
Before looking to the future, it’s worth reflecting on the way we pulled together to help Aberdeen get through the pandemic.
Our support line received 54,000 calls.
We have processed nearly 20,000 welfare grant applications worth £2.5 million.
Our officers dealt with 15,000 business grant applications totalling £75 million.
Delivering food packages to those in need, laptops to support children with home learning – we kept our city functioning through the darkest days of the pandemic.
We should be proud of all that we’ve done and continue to do, as an organisation and as individuals, and in partnership with others.
Yes, we need to remain vigilant, but we can allow ourselves a smile too.