THE queen's passing has powerfully dominated public life and the media over the last two weeks.

Regardless of our differing views about the monarchy and whether it should continue, she made her mark on history and it is right to offer condolences to her family and those who were clearly touched by her life.

Throughout her 70 years as head of state she made time to connect and support hundreds of charitable organisations which are the backbone of our communities.

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a number of groups doing amazing work here in Clackmannanshire.

Clacks Good Food focuses on growing and supporting local produce and reducing food waste while providing fantastic learning opportunities for the community.

It was really inspiring to meet Chef Billy and the volunteers who have created a vibrant community café and garden at St. Mungo's in Alloa.

Incredibly popular with customers, there are opportunities for volunteers to learn from Billy's decades of experience working at the very top of the hospitality sector.

It's also been a very successful way to raise charitable funds and with so much of our cash going to chain cafes in the high street, it's refreshing to see an enterprise which is also investing back in the community.

I also visited Resonate Together with our local Green Councillor Bryan Quinn. We heard about the creative work they are doing with artists in the community, as well as how they are working to empower communities from the grassroots up.

As we recover from the Covid pandemic and look towards a future of tackling climate change, this is the kind of forward-thinking creative organisation that we can all benefit from.

The remarkable old distillery office building they have taken over on Carsebridge Road could also become a real hub for the new community that will be built in the area in the coming years.

The Clackmannan Development Trust also updated me on their many projects. With travel limited during the lockdowns, they have been supporting the growth of walking, wheeling and cycling in the local area.

Offering e-bike hires, bike servicing, training for P6 and P7s, and a bike bus from Clackmannan to Lornshill Academy – their work in this area is very impressive.

There is now a significant increase in active travel funding across Scotland, following the cooperation agreement between the Greens and the SNP.

But it is the organisations delivering the training and building confidence in cycling that will ensure new infrastructure is put to good use when it is built.

Delivering sustainable and affordable food, supporting people to take up active travel and facilitating grassroots empowerment are all examples of the change we need to see, and is exactly the kind of work that governments of all levels should be supporting.