This week's Community Column is written by Vivien Dance, chair of the Helensburgh and Lomond Chamber of Commerce.

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THE Chamber’s primary role is the promotion of Helensburgh and Lomond business, and we have always been proud of our local businesses – but never more so than in the last six weeks, when their contribution to the safety, health and well being of the community has been truly outstanding.

The devastating impact on the commercial sector is obvious to any thinking person. Non-essential businesses have closed, the livelihoods of owners and staff have disappeared almost overnight, and the impact on families is an ongoing and enduring problem.

No-one could have envisaged the change in business circumstances which has happened as a result of lockdown.

READ MORE: Tributes to the Helensburgh businesses soldiering on through the pandemic

Yet many local businesses have come forward with innovative ways of doing business as deliveries and online offerings have developed to provide for the community’s needs.

There are many glowing reports of outstanding commitment from local businesses who are determined to help the community adapt to the new norm of shopping and maintain a routine.

They are leading us in showing a caring approach to each other which will bring us through this. Thank you to every business and individual member of staff who are turning out to work to provide for us; we are indeed very grateful and do not undervalue the risk you are all taking and the daily struggles you are overcoming.

READ MORE: Fears coronavirus could 'devastate' Helensburgh's hospitality sector

No one should underestimate how difficult it will be for commercial enterprises to return to viability, but everyone in Helensburgh and Lomond who has been helped through the first part of this lockdown should remember what local businesses have done.

Never forget who your friends have been in these difficult times, and please continue to support them over the months ahead. Keep spending your pounds locally and help the small businesses for which our area is famed recover quickly.

Meanwhile continue to spread the message that community spirit is working well in Helensburgh and Lomond, a fine place to be in the current extraordinary times.

Stay safe everyone.

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines here