People across the north have been praised for reinstating an “old-fashioned” sense of community during the lockdown.
The resurgence comes as communities rally together to support the most vulnerable, doing everything from collecting prescriptions to delivering bread.
Now leaders in the Highlands have spoken of their admiration and pride at people putting others first.
Nairn and Cawdor councillor Tom Heggie believes the Highlands still retained a stronger community belonging compared to some other parts of the country, but he still felt changes in priorities had changed this in recent years.
He said: “In many of our communities we were maybe on the cusp of losing the old fashioned community instincts that we had.
“We have had a very sharp and painful reminder that we have to live in community and that we are all inter-dependent on each other.
“It has really been down to us, the people, and a lot of it is about people taking personal responsibility for themselves and their neighbour and that has been really, really good.”
Mr Heggie’s sentiments have been echoed by fellow councillor Matthew Reiss, who shares admiration for his community in the ways in which they have adapted to the pandemic.
Caithness resident Mr Reiss has praised the work of Thurso Community Development Trust (Thurso CDT), whose team of around 140 volunteers have been carrying out tasks for those living in the far north, and of Wick’s Pulteneytown People’s Project (PPP), which he has said has been crucial to ensuring all members of the community are cared for.
Mr Reiss said: “The groups up here have everything sewn up and everybody has been thought of and accommodated for.
“There have been examples of people who have been handed aid that they feel they do not require and they have handed these back to be distributed to others.
“It really does take your breath away and it has been heartening to see the community rally round.”
Joan Lawrie, Thurso CDT’s development manager, said: “Before, people had become apathetic to the extent that even the gala had folded.
“The trust has been working for two years on projects to improve things, and we had made some progress, but there’s a much greater community spirit now.
“Now people are shouting to each other from their doorsteps where before they often didn’t know each other.”