THE coronavirus has had a devastating effect on the lives of every single person in Glasgow.

It has been damaging to the physical health of many of our citizens, but also to their mental health too.

Tragically nearly 3000 of our fellow citizens in Greater Glasgow and Clyde have lost their lives to the pandemic.

Most of those who have died have succumbed to the virus itself, but there can be no doubt that over a year of lockdown restrictions in our city has had a huge psychological effect on the population too.

Health professionals advise that they have had to treat depression and other mental health problems on an increasing basis in the last 12 months. Worryingly, suicide rates have increased during that period.

People have been unable to access around 170 council facilities, which are managed on our behalf by Glasgow Life, for most of the last 12 months.

These facilities are much loved and valued by our citizens and include Museums and Libraries, Arts and Cultural venues, Sports Centres and Community Facilities. This is all the more galling given the very substantial investment that has taken place over many years to develop these state-of-the-art venues.

Late last year the council recognised the value of these facilities, and adopted a resolution proposed by the Labour Group to reopen all venues just as soon as it is safe to do so.

Everyone recognises that these closures have been absolutely necessary to keep our staff and service users safe. No-one seeks to apportion blame for the closures. Recently a small number of venues have reopened on a part-time basis, providing people can make an appointment to use them. We welcome this small step forward.

I suspect that most councillors, like me, will have a large number of inquiries from constituents as to when their museum, their library, their sports or music venue will reopen for them to use.

Some more are scheduled to reopen at the end of the month but nowhere near the number that Labour would like to see. We fear that Glasgow Life simply won’t have the staff or financial resources necessary to reopen many of these venues any time soon.

Given that council policy is that ALL venues should reopen as soon as possible, it is incumbent on the SNP administration to allocate the resources necessary to Glasgow Life to implement council policy.

Together with the reopening of these facilities, the Labour Group is calling on the leadership of the council to commission academic research into the damage caused to the physical and mental health of our citizens by the year-long closures.

This research would include, crucially, engaging with the service users of these facilities in order to get a proper understanding of the damage these closures have caused to the communities we serve.

Only when all these venues have been reopened and this research is complete will we have a true understanding not only of the value our citizens place on being able to access them, but also the damage that has been caused by their closure in the last 12 months.