The clocks have not long gone forward. Days are longer. And the hedgerows are filled with daffodils bursting out to find the watery Spring sunshine.

It’s been the Easter recess and MPs have headed north from the turmoil of Westminster to spend time in their constituencies. During term time Westminster sits Mondays to Fridays so recess is a welcome opportunity to criss-cross my huge and diverse area.

I’m a fan of Scotland’s traditional crafts and skills. So I was thrilled to find a nook in a high wall down a wynd in Alva where the Wee County Crafters meet. I felt as if I was approaching a Speakeasy in prohibition America. Silence from without. But a hive of bustling activity within. The beautiful old dance hall has fought off an inexplicable demolition application by the landlord, and now its beautifully laid floors creak not to the click of tap and swoosh of waltz but to the sound of craftsmanship as beginners and old hands alike turn their hands to the turning of wood. I came away with a recycled chopping board delicately engraved with a butterfly in mid flight.

There are no beginners at the Wee County Men’s Shed. A cavernous Tillicoultry spinning mill has been cleared and re-purposed as a home to a band of skilled craftsmen in industrious semi-retirement. Why quit just because you’re 80? In every corner incredible work is being done – ancient Dutch pedal bikes restored to pristine condition, a model railway getting gears custom made, and a skilled French polisher pondering new commissions. Men’s Shedders use camaraderie to tackle social isolation amongst members and pass on skills to new generations.

It would be invidious to single out any one inspiring group or organisation. But, as I write, I’ve just finished a visit to CHAS – the children’s hospice in Kinross. I am awe struck, as always, by the staff there who deal with the most heart rending cases in a way that fills me with admiration. The centre bursts with colour and life. Children’s paintings festoon the walls. The sound of play is everywhere as the children and their siblings scream with laughter.

But the team told me a harrowing statistic: If you are a child with a life shortening condition you are 50 per cent more likely to live in a deprived area in Scotland. Austerity and children’s mortality inextricably linked. That’s chilling.

The Centre has big plans. They want a pool for the children. And because medical advances mean kids with complex needs now live longer and grow taller they need bigger rooms for them and more privacy; ensuite showers are part of their restoration plans. They aim to raise £10 million and are looking for donors. Perhaps that’s you?

You might think the hospice would be gloomy. That’s what I feared on my first visit. But as I left, a word cloud made by the children stayed with me.

What do these terminally ill children associate with their visits there?

The biggest words were ‘love’ and ‘safe’.