Happy New Year to all in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.
It seems very fitting that I am writing this on the day of the ‘Old New Year’.
I’ve no time for another celebration, unfortunately.
Life at Westminster and the Constituency has been particularly busy over the last few weeks.
Looking back over the last few weeks, we’ve had a terrible time of things here.
I sincerely hope that 2016 has not started as it meant to go on for many constituents.
I’ve been working closely with my colleagues and friends to assist people where I can and obtain support and help for those who need it.
I’ve been out to visit as many folks as I can and I’ve also been helping with the clean up, as well as asking questions in the House of Commons and liaising with organisations who can offer large scale support.
I would urge all residents of West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine to sign up to Floodline, a service which is provided by SEPA, which alerts folks to possible flooding in the area around their homes.
Forewarned is forearmed and I am sure that many of us would agree that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting our property and possessions.
For anyone who has been flooded, or feels that they could be at risk of flooding, I would highly recommend the advice and support of the Scottish Flood Forum.
This organisation can offer direct and practical support for folks and have been invaluable in advising my office.
By now everyone should have been in contact with their insurance companies, who will have arranged for loss adjusters to attend your property and make an assessment of the situation.
I have heard reports that there are some private loss assessors in the area, who are not paid for as part of your insurance policy.
Please be very careful that you are happy that the person who is assessing your property is valid for your insurance and that you are not going to be charged money to have the assessment done.
I welcome the announcement from the Scottish Government that a fund will be set up to give extra assistance to folks who have been hit by the flooding.
I understand that if you are interested in applying to this fund then you should email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will continue to press the UK Government and work closely with the Scottish Government and Aberdeenshire Council to ensure that those who need help can access it.
It is also very important that we learn lessons from this time so that we can prepare ourselves better for the future.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend the work done by Aberdeenshire Council, the emergency services, SSE and the Scottish Government who have worked so hard to keep people safe.
Most of all I would like to commend the spirit and resilience shown by the communities of the constituency.
You have come together and worked so hard to make sure that everyone is safe, warm and as dry as can be.
During times as difficult as these you have shone as a community.