The Extra Mile – supporting families in need
Last week, I visited the Extra Mile project at Hampton Methodist Church. This fantastic initiative, run entirely by volunteers, collects baby and children’s clothes, toys and equipment (up to age ten) and distributes them to local families in need, following referrals from social services, children’s centres and healthcare professionals.
If you’d like to donate items or money, more information is available here.
Should Church Street continue to be car-free? Have your say.
Residents and traders are being asked their view about the future operation of the temporary pedestrianisation of Church Street, Twickenham.
The car-free measures were implemented in June, to help facilitate social distancing as part of the Council’s Covid-19 programme and allow local businesses to extend alfresco dining arrangements.
Residents can have their say online until 22 November. Have your say here.
Covid-19 Vaccine Trial – Sign up
Researchers are calling for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds and vulnerable groups (such as those with chronic diseases and over 65s) to sign up to COVID-19 clinical trials as these groups are currently under-represented in trials.
Anyone living in the UK can register to take part in the trials. Registering gives permission for researchers to contact volunteers if they think they are a good fit.
I have signed up and I hope you’ll join me! You can withdraw at any time. The process takes about 5 minutes to complete at: https://www.nhs.uk/sign-up-to-be-contacted-for-research
Healthwatch Richmond Survey
Have you used or tried to use dental services in Richmond since March 2020? Healthwatch Richmond want to hear from you! In response to COVID-19, dental services have had to drastically change the way they work so we want to understand how these changes have impacted you. If you had any experience of needing or using dental services in Richmond during Coronavirus, please take a few minutes to answer this quick survey. Healthwatch Richmond will treat your responses anonymously.
Standing up for you in Westminster
Urging government to provide Free School Meals
Last week, I urged the Government to extend free school meals into the winter holidays. There was not enough time for me to make a speech in the parliamentary debate, but I was able to call on the Education Secretary to follow the lead of Lib Dem Education Minister in Wales, Kirsty Williams, who has already guaranteed free school meal provision for school holidays until at least Easter 2021.
I was delighted Richmond Council has stepped up by providing free school meals during October half term. However, the government must do more. No child should go hungry.
Even before the pandemic, 4.2 million children were living in poverty in the UK. I wrote about the scourge of holiday hunger last year.
Tory Transport Tax
Last week in Parliament, I challenged the Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, whether it was fair to force Londoners to pay extra tax to keep Transport for London (TFL) afloat, whilst commuters from outside London would not.
This follows reports that the Government will take direct control of TFL unless Sadiq Khan, Mayor for London, accepts measures including higher council tax for Londoners, a larger congestion charge zone and higher fares in return for emergency funding.
Sign the petition to stop the tory transport tax here.
Championing those excluded from Covid financial support and unpaid carers
Last week, I raised with the Mental Health Minister the plight of those who have been excluded from financial support, struggling to make ends meet, including freelancers, directors of limited companies and others. At least four have committed suicide and many are struggling with their mental health. So are unpaid carers, many of whom have had to take on additional caring responsibilities during the pandemic and have seen their mental health suffer too. Watch my speech here.
Raising concerns about local crime & meeting Met Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick
I recently spoke in Sarah Olney’s (MP for Richmond Park) debate on policing in South West London.
I raised the need for a stronger and more visible local police presence, following a rise in crime and anti-social behaviour in parts of Twickenham, Teddington and Whitton, particularly in our green spaces. I also condemned the growth of private security providers touting their services to local residents across Twickenham. Policing should be for the whole community, not just those who can afford it. We must not encourage vigilantism.
Sarah Olney and I also met with Met Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, to discuss policing through the pandemic and to raise these concerns.
Pressing government for urgent action on impact of pandemic on those with disabilities
During the pandemic, blanket Do Not Resuscitate Orders have reportedly been placed on a small number of patients with learning disabilities without consultation with their families.
I raised this issue with the Minister for Equalities in Parliament, urging the Government to end this injustice.
Pushing government for transparency on how areas can exit Covid-19 restrictions
People up and down this country are making immense sacrifices in the fight against Covid-19. They need and deserve to know what they are working towards that will allow their area to reduce restrictions. I urged the Government to be transparent how an area can leave the tier to which it is allocated. Read more here.
Following hundreds of local residents signing a number of public petitions regarding Brexit, a debate was triggered in Parliament. You can read my speech regarding protecting citizens’ rights, food standards and protecting our medicines supply following the end of the transition period here.
If you need to get in touch, please email me on email@example.com.
Please do forward on this newsletter to local friends and family and encourage them to sign up to my mailing list here.