I have become aware that increasingly sophisticated scammers seem to be out in force at this time of year so I was pleased to meet Police Scotland and Trading Standards at a recent advice event and see the wealth of information and advice they can provide on how to avoid scams. 

Remember anyone can be caught out but help is available. You can call 0300 123 0900 or visit www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/trading-standards for further information.

Ayr Advertiser: With Trading StandardsWith Trading Standards (Image: Allan Dorans MP)

You may remember reading in this column about the important work of the foodbanks and the increased demand on their resources. I was therefore pleased to be able to meet with just a few of the wonderful foodbank volunteers and participate in the joint Tesco and South Ayrshire Foodbank initiative to collect donations for the foodbank at Ayr Tesco.

Customers may make purchases in store, donating them to the foodbank as they leave the store. Further information is available here: www.southayrshirefoodbank.org   www.trusselltrust.org   www.tesco.com

Other supermarkets have similar provision and all donations are gratefully received.

As the countdown to Christmas continues, many constituents will be celebrating the season with a night out. While it’s important to enjoy such occasions it’s equally important that everyone gets home safely afterwards.

Ayrshire Road Policing Officers are carrying out road checks across Ayrshire this month: part of the Festive Drink/Drug Drive Campaign. Remember you can be tested for drink and drugs at the roadside and could lose a lot more than your licence. Please don’t put yourself or others at risk by driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Ayr Advertiser: Promoting SafeKabPromoting SafeKab (Image: Allan Dorans MP)

One solution is to take a taxi home. I recently met with a Scottish based company who have developed an app known as Safekab, which allows customers to interact with taxi companies, improving safety and it’s being rolled out across Scotland.

The app also allows users to communicate with friends and family to further ensure they are safe when waiting for a taxi or walking from the taxi to their destination.  For further information please visit www.safekab.org.

On a brighter note, I have very much enjoyed the appearance of the Christmas decorations in our towns, providing great cheer at this darkest time of year and enhancing the shopping experience.

I would urge you all to shop local whenever possible this December and support the many family businesses who rely on your patronage. 

A growing feature of this festive season is the number of private dwellings suberbly lit up by their owners. 

Their displays often attract visitors from far afield and raise vast sums for local charities. It seems to me that this really sums up what Christmas is all about: doing something for others and giving back to our communities.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank those key workers and emergency services who work over the festive period and remember those who are not able to be at home this Christmas.

Whatever your plans, please accept my warmest wishes for a happy Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous New Year.