It’s been a busy few weeks of council business.

I was delighted to welcome COSLA vice-president Graham Houston and chief executive Sally Loudon to our headquarters recently.

This was an opportunity to discuss the role played by COSLA as the voice of local government in Scotland.

The visit gave councillors the chance to hear first-hand about the work being carried out by COSLA and reinforced the message that working together helps to provide a stronger platform for local authorities to make a real difference for residents.

A Learning in Neilston consultation has also been launched in recent weeks, which is considering the potential to create a shared education and leisure campus in the village.

Meetings have been held with Parent Council members at both Neilston Primary and St Thomas’ Primary, with a public meeting also held last night in the Glen Halls.

We have had lots of feedback so far, which is helpful as we consider the best way to provide facilities which offer young people a learning environment which supports their development and is fit for the future.

This is always our aim across the whole area, so I’m delighted that, from August, the first phase of the council’s increased provision of free early learning and childcare will be rolled out.

The new Arthurlie Family Centre, Isobel Mair Family Centre, Braidbar Nursery Class and Busby Nursery Class will be the first facilities to offer families the chance to access 1,140 hours of free childcare – an increase from the current level of 600 hours.

This is the first step on this journey and, once our plan is fully implemented, it will offer families across the area the opportunity to access increased free childcare, providing the flexibility and choice which we know our parents want.

We are also fully committed to driving forward economic growth across East Renfrewshire and supporting local businesses to thrive.

With this in mind, it was fantastic to visit the site of the new Greenlaw Business Centre, in Newton Mearns, which will provide modern office accommodation in a perfect location.

Situated so close to the M77, these office units will support start-ups and existing small businesses to grow and create new jobs.

The £3.8m development is being funded through our £44m Glasgow City Region City Deal investment and the units are expected to open in early 2019.

Finally, we are still aiming to recruit supported carers to take on the rewarding fostering role for 16 to 21-year-olds.

A meet-the-carer event is being held at The Foundry tonight, from 5pm until 7pm, and I’d encourage anyone who is interested to head along and find out more about how to help transform the life of an amazing young person who isn’t ready to live on their own just yet.