This week's Councillor Column is written by Helensburgh Central councillor Aileen Morton, the leader of Argyll and Bute Council.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I’m writing this column a week before it will actually be published – which is the norm based on the Advertiser’s deadlines, but this time it feels like a risk.

What more enormous changes could have overtaken our lives in the space of a week?

“Unprecedented times” is the phrase used most often to describe the current situation we find ourselves in locally, nationally and internationally. And it’s the phrase most often used because it’s the most accurate phrase to use!

These are also weird, difficult and hard times for most of us.

READ MORE: Helensburgh's care homes thank community for support during crisis

Most people are struggling with the current situation, and even the privilege of having a garden, or still being in work, or living in the same house as our children doesn’t take away from how challenging these circumstances are.

The knowledge that others are facing a much tougher time due to financial insecurity or grief or illness doesn’t really help.

And it’s OK to feel sad, to be unhappy about the loss of time with grandchildren, or upset about a cancelled holiday.

We have all lost freedom and choice, we have lost time, we have lost control over our own lives to a great extent – that should be recognised.

However, I would wish to go back to those facing an even tougher time in the current circumstances.

READ MORE: Charity offers pandemic help to forces families in Helensburgh

There are some issues most of us are powerless to intervene in – we can’t give a hug to a bereaved widow, we don’t have the right skills to volunteer to work in the NHS, we don’t have the answers for someone worried about whether their business can survive.

But we can all take responsibility for keeping an eye out those most vulnerable – offering to drop off a prescription for an elderly neighbour or volunteering to call someone who lives alone and has been told to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks.

We can also keep our eyes and ears open for children and vulnerable adults who may be at risk during this time.

If you see something, are told something or something doesn’t feel right, you need to report it. Report concerns to the local social work department on 01546 605517 or to the police on 101. If someone is in immediate danger, call 999.

I hope that everyone reading this gets through the pandemic safe and well – take care of yourself and others where you are able to.

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news headlines from around Helensburgh and Lomond