Christmas and end of year message
I would like to wish local residents a merry Christmas and happy New Year in what will be my final newsletter of 2020.
The coronavirus restrictions of course mean festivities will be far from normal this year. I know that the news of London going into Tier 4 has been devastating for many. Like many of you, I have also had to cancel my family’s Christmas plans with children and grandparents heartbroken not to see each other. I am all too aware that many local residents face the prospect of spending Christmas alone. My heart goes out to them, and if you know anyone who will be lonely this Christmas, please take the time to pick up the phone and have a chat.
We all must continue to pull together and follow the rules to keep ourselves and others safe. Cases in Richmond-upon-Thames have seen a significant increase, as has the whole of London, and the discovery of the new faster spreading variant means that we must do everything we can to contain the virus. We know there’s light at the end of the tunnel soon, with the hopeful news of more vaccines on the way, and I’m so excited to hear about local residents starting to be vaccinated. We must not let our guard down now.
Over the last year, it has been an absolute honour to serve as your MP. Although these times have been exceptionally challenging and required enormous sacrifices from everyone, I have been overwhelmed and so proud to see the fantastic community spirit locally. So many people have acted with immense kindness and generosity to help others and support the most vulnerable. I would like to say a big thank you.
Take care of yourselves, stay safe and see you in the New Year.
I am aware that many residents with Gmail addresses did not receive my previous (bumper!) newsletter last week. If you missed it and would like to catch up with everything I’ve been up to in Westminster and locally in December, you can read here.
Latest Covid Numbers
At the time of writing, from 14 to 21 December, there were 780 cases of coronavirus in Richmond Upon Thames. This represents an increase from the previous week. The incidence rate is 393.9/100,000, compared to a London-wide incidence of 605.5/100,000 and England-wide rate of 314.5/100,000.
Data source: https://www.datarich.info/covid-19/
Community testing for those without Covid symptoms
Residents living in Heathfield, Hampton North and West Twickenham wards are being invited to apply for an asymptomatic Covid-19 test, for people not experiencing symptoms.
You can book a test online at: www.richmond.gov.uk/book_lateral_flow_test or if you do not have access to the internet, by phone at 020 8891 1411.
Christmas support for the borough’s most vulnerable
Vulnerable, isolated residents and those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable will still be able to get emergency support over the Christmas period from the Council’s Community Hub. The Hub is for residents who need support to access medical/care services and food supplies.
If you are vulnerable and need help, you can find out more here. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call the Hub for emergency issues over the Christmas period on 020 8871 6555.
Coronavirus and your wellbeing
If you are feeling worried or anxious during this period, you are not alone. It’s important you take care of your mental health.
There is available support if you need it. Please see the council’s webpage that contains a list of support services and resources available to local residents.
Support available for unpaid carers this Christmas
Christmas is a time to take a break and relax for many, but not most unpaid carers who care for loved ones around the clock. Unpaid carers are reminded of the help and support services that are available. A carer’s assessment can help carers understand the impact caring is having on their life and the support available to them. For more information please see here.
For more information on the general support available to unpaid carers during Covid-19, please see here.
Christmas Day lunch for those in need
St James’s Church in Strawberry Hill will be doing “meals on wheels” and takeaway lunches from the church on Christmas Day for those who are struggling at this time. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone/text 07960 406434.
Additional funding for local businesses
A further £3.96m pot of cash is now available for local businesses which have been impacted by the pandemic, with grants of up to £10k to be paid out.
For more information, or to apply: www.richmond.gov.uk/apply_additional_restrictions_grant
Local meetings and visits
- It was fantastic to visit RUILs and Richmond AID’s foodhub and meet some of their lovely volunteers. They’ve been doing amazing work throughout the pandemic, delivering food and essentials as well as providing a befriending service to tackle loneliness
- I filmed a Question and Answer session with Richmond Chamber of Commerce about how I’ve been standing up for local businesses in the constituency. Thank you St Mary’s University for hosting!
- It was great to have the opportunity to speak at Marymount School’s career fair about how I became an MP. I enjoy encouraging more girls and young women to get involved in politics!
- I visited Park Lane Stables to learn more about their lease renewal problems which could lead to their closure. I will be working closely with the council and community groups to do all I can to ensure the beautiful horses, as well as the fabulous and committed team, can stay on at Park Lane
Standing up for you
Calling on the Prime Minister to block Heathrow expansion
The Supreme Court overturned a judgement from earlier this year that ruled a third runway at Heathrow was illegal. This now means Heathrow can seek planning permission for the runway, unless the Government blocks it.
I called on the Prime Minister to urgently cancel Heathrow’s expansion, particularly if he’s serious about achieving net zero. Expansion completely undermines the UK’s climate commitments and would be a disaster for tackling the climate emergency.
You can read more here.
Questioning how the Covid-19 vaccine will be rolled out to those not registered with a GP
I am very concerned that the Government currently does not have a plan on how it will roll out the Covid-19 vaccine to those who are not registered with a GP. There will be vulnerable populations such as the homeless and those who move around a lot who will need to be vaccinated.
I questioned Matt Hancock over what plans are in place to ensure they can access a vaccine. His answer was not clear.
You can read more here.
Supporting Park Lane Stables so they don’t close
I wrote to the landlord of Park Lane Stables, urging him to prevent the closure of the much-loved stables. This follows the news last week that the landlord has chosen not to renew the lease. Given the importance and value of the riding school to the local community, I am doing all I can to ensure Park Lane Stables can continue their vital work.
You can read more here.
A plan for re-opening schools safely in January
I have co-signed a letter led by my colleague, Daisy Cooper MP, calling on Education Secretary to set out a clear plan for re-opening schools safely in January so that parents and teachers can prepare and plan accordingly. This must include more support for rolling out long overdue testing, as well as financial support for the costs of making schools Covid-secure.