There has been a lot of good news for our communities recently.
Firstly, congratulations to Boddam Chip Shop and Dolphin Fish and Chips in Macduff for making it to the finals of the North of Scotland's Best Chippy Awards!
These two local favourites are now in the running for the top prize, which will be announced in Spring 2024.
I am sure I am joined by the whole constituency in wishing them both the best of luck - though with their delicious fare – on which of course I have done my research – I'd say their chances look good!
In other positive updates, Aberdeenshire Council has approved over £3.4 million in UK Shared Prosperity funding for 21 diverse local projects across our area.
This comes from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances.
This investment from the UK Government will support local businesses, develop skills, and enhance community facilities.
Examples include the CCTV Extension and The Haughs Improved Access Projects in Turriff, the Town House Project in Strichen, Rebirth and Repairs to St Brandon’s Inverboyndie, The Elevator Hub in Fraserburgh, and a new Pump Track in Peterhead.
There are also great initiatives to assist new and existing businesses across Aberdeenshire through advice, training and networking.
Adult education programmes will help build numeracy and other critical skills.
And projects to revitalize community hubs, tourist sites and recreation grounds will enrich the places we call home.
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central part of the UK Government's plan to level up all regions of our great country.
With this first round of investments in Aberdeenshire totalling over £3 million, I am confident we will see meaningful improvements in infrastructure, opportunity and quality of life.
This is just another example of the UK Government delivering for Scotland.
I also want to pass my congratulations to all the finalists and winners at last month’s Inspiring Aberdeenshire Awards!
It's wonderful to see outstanding residents recognized for their service and achievements. Special mention to winners from Turriff, Peterhead, Mintlaw, Aberchirder and Fraserburgh for bringing home top honours across these categories.
Congratulations also to Craig and Claire Grant of Kindrought Farm near Strichen for winning Farmer of the Year AND Mixed Farmer of the Year Award at this year's Farmer’s Weekly Awards.
Unfortunately, not all news lately has been positive and the increase of avian flu is worrying as we head into winter.
With five outbreaks in Aberdeenshire since July, tougher biosecurity measures like housing orders for poultry may become necessary.
I was relieved to hear the Environment Minister, Gillian Martin MSP finally admit in the Scottish Parliament last week how serious this situation is for poultry farmers and birdkeepers across the northeast.
But more than admissions, action is needed to protect the safety of birds, and the livelihoods of farmers.
Last week I attended the annual Conservative Party Conference – one of the busiest I’ve ever attended.
Regular readers will be aware of my support for the oil and gas sector and, in particular, the many residents of North East Scotland who are employed in the industry.
It was great to take the opportunity to reinforce the importance of this vital industry and its workforce, not just to energy security in the short term, but also in the delivery of a successful energy transition to net zero.