Since being elected in May, I have made a point of visiting every area of East Renfrewshire as many times as possible, meeting as many local people as possible, and being as accessible as I can to all of our local communities.
As well as holding a large number of community surgeries, I am fortunate to have been able to attend a number of useful and positive local events.
It is a real pleasure to be asked to go along to local events, and it is very useful for me to discuss the real issues concerning people in their daily lives.
Recently, I was fortunate to be invited to join Broom Parish Church in Newton Mearns for the visit of the climate change Eco-Baton, which was then making its way to Paris for the crucial COP21 climate talks.
It was clear that the Broom community had a real interest in the environment, and were taking practical action to make positive changes happen for themselves and others.
To see Churches throughout the country come together on such an important issue sends out a real message of hope and highlights the small changes we can all make to help halt the damaging onset of climate change if we work together.
People joining together to make things better for themselves and others has been a definite theme as I have met with different groups. The enthusiastic volunteers at Age Concern Eastwood clearly make a significant difference to the lives of many older people in our area, who enjoy trips out, lunches, and hobbies together.
And the young people from senior schools all over East Renfrewshire who came to speak to me after the recent BBC Big Debate at St Ninian’s wanted to discuss practical ways of making life better for those less fortunate than themselves.
These young people were a credit to their schools and families, with their practical attitude to helping others. I look forward to working with them.
In the run up to Christmas, I have made a point of attending the local community Christmas events run by our local businesses.
Our shopping areas are a vital part of our community, and the business owners are working hard to engage with community groups and to make our shopping areas the best they can be. They can only succeed with our support.
I know just how important the Christmas period is for our local retailers, and if you can, I would encourage you to shop local this Christmas.
Having made a point of doing that for the last few years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what’s on offer, and it’s great to avoid the city centre crowds when you can.
Kirsten Oswald, MP for East Renfrewshire, can be contacted at the constituency office: 1 Spiersbridge Way, Thornliebank, East Renfrewshire, G46 8NG Phone Number: 0141 6488822 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org