THE closure of bank branches and post offices due to economic shifts and technological advancements has left many people feeling overlooked and isolated.

Yet the UK Government, which is meant to protect these services, has instead overseen the wholesale destruction of the entire infrastructure of public banking and post office services in Scotland and the UK

Following the news that the TSB in Alloa is to close, I have launched an online petition to campaign for a banking hub in Alloa where postal services, personal and business banking, and bill payments, all under one roof.

Local people feel let down by the big banks. And quite rightly. The closure of the TSB means the whole of Clackmannanshire will be left with only one bank and Alloa town centre with only two cash machines – all very concerning for the people and businesses who still rely on cash transaction and face-to-face services.

You can go online to sign the petition at

I have asked to meet with LINK who are the organisation responsible for deciding where to locate these hubs and the Post Office who have a key role in their operation. In my view, Alloa is the ideal location for a hub and I will make this case.

Over the past few weeks I was pleased to be able to take part in the debate and votes in the Scottish Parliament on the Bill which ensure that convictions for offences related Horizon Post Office Scandal will be automatically be quashed.

Those exonerated not only have their names cleared but will also now be able to access the compensation scheme.

Of course, quickest, easiest route to overturn these miscarriages of justice would have been for the UK Government to extend their Bill to cover sub-postmasters in Scotland; however, the Scottish Government's repeated requests for this were refused.

This week, 3rd to the 9th of June, is the 40th annual Volunteers' Week and I think you would struggle to come up with a group of people more worthy of having one week in the year set aside to recognise the contribution they make to our society.

Volunteers' Week is about celebrating and thanking those who give up their time to make a difference – in a vast array of different ways and here in Clackmannanshire our local volunteers will be celebrated at an event on 6th June.

Running community facilities, youth groups and sports clubs, helping out with charities and community events, the list of ways in which people volunteer is seemingly endless and it is estimated that almost one in five of the population volunteer at least once a month.

So, to each and every one of you I want to say a massive thank you. Volunteering really does make the world go round.

Another group of people very worthy indeed of a bit of recognition are those who have served in our armed services.

Last week. I attended a parade and flag raising ceremony organised by Clackmannanshire Council to mark Armed Forces Day.

It was great to see such a good local turnout in support of our armed forces.

I am very aware of what is involved in being part of the armed services and the issues that can arise as people try to adapt to the very different demands of life as a civilian and I am proud that I have been part of a Scottish Government that has made a genuine difference in providing practical and meaningful support for our veterans.