This past year has been unprecedented, starting off in high spirits, businesses and communities soon had to adapt and learn to survive during this pandemic. As a Chamber we have seen the business community respond with compassion, working together to support each other while coming up with innovative strategies for survival.

Covid-19 has forced us into a shift in habit for millions of businesses, accelerating us into flexible working that, prior to the pandemic, seemed quite a way off for many of us. In this new era of working from home, businesses of all types have been forced to embrace remote working practices and solutions; entering into online meetings with virtual collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom meetings that can be done at the simple click of button.

Although many of us are looking forward to a time where we can get back meeting face to face, we can also see the benefit to this new working model and believe going forward there will be a mix of online and in person meetings and events.

Looking back on this year, businesses main priority has had be survival and making their way through various lockdown restrictions. Although survival has been the focus of this year, there has been some good news for a local businessman.

David Sibbald of Bathgate, West Lothian was delighted to be recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list at the beginning of October.

The generous local businessman who founded Sibbald Training and Cappers Group based in Blackridge was awarded an MBE for his long-term commitment to business and charities in West Lothian, with particular focus on his work with young people in the local community.

He has long been a champion of youth engagement within the construction sector and has generously provided resources, time and finances to various projects over the past years seeking to give young people vital experience in the construction industry.

He is also an avid fundraiser for the Lighthouse Charity and sponsors various awards which recognise achievement in technical subjects amongst schoolchildren.

Finally, he also plays an important role in promoting the role of entrepreneurial women in business through his activities within the Chamber of Commerce and sponsorship of a ‘Woman in Business’ award at West Lothian Business Excellence Awards. David is thoroughly delighted to have been nominated for this prestigious accolade and plans to keep up the good work in the future.