Local coronavirus cases
At time of writing, from Monday 28th September to 4th October, there were 212 cases of the virus in Richmond upon Thames.
This is a significant increase on the previous week and it is not yet clear what has caused this sudden jump in numbers locally.
We all need to play our part. Please follow the guidelines – wash hands, keep a safe distance, wear a face covering in busy enclosed spaces and keep to the rule of six. Please download the NHS app to make sure we keep London safe.
Get Lucky Local
Tickets for the GET LUCKY LOCAL lottery which is dedicated to support good causes in the borough went on sale on Tuesday. If you are a good cause, sign up today because players can actually choose where the money goes and your group could benefit directly. Good luck.
Supporting the local hygiene bank
Hygiene poverty can have a huge impact on people’s dignity and wellbeing. That’s why the work of The Hygiene Bank is so important for helping people feel clean, confident and healthy.
The Hygiene Banks in Twickenham, Teddington and Hampton distribute donated products to help support people locally who are struggling. Thank you to local volunteers and hygiene banks for all you do. If you are in a position to do so, please consider donating to a local hygiene bank.
In September, I led a motion in Parliament that urged the Government to take steps to tackle hygiene poverty.
Read more here.
Black History Month
October is Black History Month and Richmond Council has launched a programme of events and activities, including a virtual exhibition, community discussion, podcast series and cultural events. Check out the full programme of events here.
Last week I spent some time meeting with the team at Twickenham Job Centre. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the number of people out of work and having to claim benefits locally has doubled in recent months. The work coaches at the job centre are working hard to support people at this difficult time.
I also met the team at St Michael’s Church in Fulwell and heard about their exciting plans to rejuvenate the building for community use. Previously derelict, over the past five years the church has flourished into a congregation of some 135 families and they’ve already been serving the local community, particularly during the pandemic
Standing up for you
Urging government to ensure care home residents can be visited by loved ones
I’ve been increasingly hearing from constituents but also from charities representing care home residents about the huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of relatives not being able to visit. I urged government to allow regular testing for a nominated family member.
Read more here.
Coronavirus Act – Prime Minister’s Questions
The Coronavirus Act has watered down the right to care for the most vulnerable, particularly disabled people, children with special needs and those struggling with mental ill health.
The act also has serious implications for people’s rights and freedoms. All the restrictions that have been put in place to curb the virus are not reliant on the Coronavirus Act. Therefore, I and my Liberal Democrat colleagues voted against its renewal.
I also raised this at last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
Read more here.
Visit to Harlequins and financial support for sport
It was a pleasure to meet Laurie Dalrymple, the CEO of Harlequins last week. I spoke to Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, straight after to make case for financial support for Harlequins, Hampton & Richmond Borough Football Club and the RFU. I also discussed with the Minister the successful and safe pilot held at Quins last month when a limited number of fans were able to attend the match versus Bath.
Test and trace
Following the IT error whereby some 16,000 coronavirus positive test results were not reported in the daily figures and their contacts were not traced, I raised again with Matt Hancock the importance of putting local authorities at the heart of the Test and Trace system.
I urged Ministers earlier this week to find a solution to the deficit in Richmond Council’s finances as a result of providing support to local children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities. The growing deficit puts the council’s wider finances and services at risks. I was pleased to secure a meeting with the local government minister.
Rule of six
Earlier this week, I challenged Ministers as to why they had included children under 12 in the “Rule of Six” restriction in curbing the spread of coronavirus. There is no evidence to support the inclusion of children and I urged them to think again for the benefit of children’s wellbeing and mental health, and so that larger families are not discriminated against.
You can read my speech on this legislation here.