In in this column today, I make no apologies for lavishing praise on Copeland Council’s workforce.

The UK population has, rightly, applauded key workers across the country during this unprecedented crisis – and this has been as evident in Copeland as anywhere – with richly-deserved support shown for our fantastic NHS staff and public workers.

The response of Copeland’s team in rising to the immense challenge has been absolutely fantastic. Our Revenues and Benefits team turns around payments in super quick time; our Housing and Homeless team leads the way to support to the most vulnerable. They have worked hand-in-glove with partners and community groups in a co-ordinated operation to provide both reassurance and practical support, at a level that is matching – or exceeding – anything anywhere in the UK.

Those teams have been supported by redeployed colleagues who show incredible adaptability to enable us to turbocharge efforts to address this crisis.

I’d like to say a particular thanks to Sellafield Ltd’s Martin Chown and his team, who have provided incredible support, in resources and financially, demonstrating a fantastic level of social responsibility in our community. Much of what we’ve achieved would have been unattainable without them.

Our Recycling, Waste and Street-Cleaning crews have been exceptional, increasing productivity with volumes of collections up in excess of 40 per cent despite the increased pressure and very stretched resource, while our Parks and Open Spaces team do an exceptional job – not least in brightening up our towns with the care and attention they have given to the NHS floral tributes.

I’d like to shine a spotlight on others working incredibly hard every day to keep services functioning. Colleagues in Customer Services, Council Tax, HR, ICT, Legal Services, Finance, Property and our PAs are working tirelessly keep our staff and services running smoothly. Our Communications team is doing an excellent job of keeping the public up to date with an ever-changing situation, and our Bereavement Services team are supporting our residents with compassion and kindness throughout the most difficult of times.

Then there are those whose day job continues throughout the crisis, showing resilience to adapt where necessary; our Planning staff (both Development Management and Strategic Planning), Building Control, Environmental Health and Licensing departments.

Our Economic Development team are attentively supporting our business and tourism community – both now and, crucially, as we enter the recovery phase – while Copeland Community Fund are as committed as ever to supporting our community and voluntary organisations.

Speaking of adaptability, the team at The Beacon Museum have found new ways of providing engaging and interactive content to visitors via social media. Please check them out for a bit of fun and learning at the same time.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank our councillors. Supported by our diligent and committed Democratic Services team, they are standing up and representing their communities with pride and commitment.