It has been an exceptionally difficult couple of years for all businesses, large and small. Over the past two years, they have had to navigate the hugely challenging impacts of Covid restrictions, lockdowns, Brexit, labour shortages and rapidly changing consumer behaviour.
Last Saturday was Small Business Saturday, a great opportunity to visit local businesses and meet many of the friendly business owners in Teddington. The campaign encourages everyone to shop local and support your local high street.
I would like to continue the conversation with business owners or managers in the local area. If you would like to discuss any issues with me, please sign up to one of my local business forums here.
Local meetings, events and news
LEH and Hampton partnership with Reach Feltham
It was great to meet representatives from local schools LEH and Hampton schools at the Independent Schools Partnership event last week.
I was delighted to be able to highlight their innovative and pioneering partnership with Reach Feltham to establish a new college for young people who, at present, are unable to access further/higher education, for all sorts of different reasons. See a photo on my twitter here of the event and read about Feltham College here.
Visit to Mogden sewage treatment works
I recently voted against the Government’s Environment Bill because it did not put a legal duty on water companies to reduce sewage discharge into rivers.
I wanted to see the situation at our local water treatment works. The Thames Water facility at Mogden receives sewage from 2.17m people across west London. I was given a tour of the facility and shown the storm tanks, which are used to store excess wastewater during periods of heavy rain. I urged Thames Water to do all they can to reduce discharges into the river and also emphasised the negative impact smells from the site have on residents’ lives.
Read more about my visit on my website.
St Mary’s School Christmas Fair
It was fantastic to keep in the Christmas spirit after the Lights On events over the last couple of weeks and open the eco-conscious St Mary’s Christmas Fair in Twickenham. Thank you to all those involved with the Friends of St Mary’s for organising the event. See some photos from the fun morning here and here.
Small Business Saturday
After the Christmas fair, I visited many small businesses in Teddington. Here are photos from two stops I made at Roan Records:
Primitivo wine and deli:
Teddington and Hampton Wick Voluntary Care Group Christmas Party
Lastly on Saturday, I went to the party for the fantastic volunteers and clients of the Teddington and Hampton Wick Voluntary Care Group. It was great to see so many people able to come together in person again, sing festive songs and enjoy the tasty nibbles. The work of the Group is so valued in the local community, and it was wonderful to celebrate that. Here are some photos from the party.
Chanukah reception hosted by the Jewish Board of Deputies
I was delighted to attend the Jewish Board of Deputies annual Chanukah celebration in Parliament. The food was fantastic, and I spoke along with the President of the Liberal Democrats Friends of Israel, Lord Palmer of Childs Hill. I highlighted the social action projects many Jews are involved in in their local communities and, as Education Spokesperson for the Lib Dems, I reiterated the party’s commitment to including Holocaust education in the curriculum. Happy Hannukah to all who celebrate! See some photos here.
Standing up for you
Ensuring schools remain open this winter
Over the past few weeks the number of pupils absent from school has risen by 47%, the equivalent of 8,300 classrooms of children. The disadvantaged are disproportionately impacted, and we must do all we can to keep children in school safely to tackle this pressing disadvantage gap. I asked Jacob Rees-Mogg to make time available to debate this important issue so we can ensure schools remain open safely this winter, with maximum attendance. See the clip in full here.
Challenging ministers on food standards in trade deals
Many of you have expressed your concern about the ethics and quality of food and thus, the need to protect food standards in future trade deals. Constituents have also emphasised the importance of protecting British farmers who are being let down by trade deals that threaten to undercut them. Therefore, I asked the Trade Minister why he will not give a cast-iron guarantee to protect farmers and food standards in future trade deals? Watch the clip from the House of Commons here.
Signing Mouth Cancer Action’s Charter
In Parliament last week, I met the Oral Health Foundation to sign Mouth Cancer Action’s Charter. This charter sets out vital policies to address increasing rates of mouth cancer. We must increase awareness of mouth cancer nationally and ensure the Government dedicates the necessary resources to training and research.
Support for Lift the Ban
Last week, I was pleased to meet Jalal from Sudan, who had been forced to live on £37 a week for 14 months while his asylum claim was processed. Minutes before I met him, he received a job offer as a computer engineer. I am supporting his and the Maryhill Integration Campaign to lift the ban on asylum seekers working. It is economically smart to do so and fundamentally the right, compassionate, thing to do.
Support for paid miscarriage leave
In Parliament, I pledged my support for the campaign to introduce paid miscarriage leave for miscarriages before 24 weeks. We are calling on the Government to give parents the necessary time to grieve their loss. Please show your support and sign the petition here.
Latest Covid Numbers
In the week November 28th to December 4th, there were 1119 cases of coronavirus in Richmond upon Thames. The incidence rate in Richmond is 564.7/100,000, compared to a London-wide incidence of 390.0/100,000 and England-wide rate of 430.2/100,000. These figures show a sharp rise in case numbers in our borough and significant rise across England as a whole compared with two weeks earlier.
Data source: https://www.datarich.info/covid-19/
Covid testing available to all
To book your free rapid lateral flow COVID-19 test or find your nearest take-home testing kits collection point, visit: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
These tests are for people NOT experiencing symptoms. If you have any of the main Covid-19 symptoms you should arrange a PCR test here.
Walk-in and pop-up vaccination clinics
The nearest walk-in clinic for vaccinations is at Harlequins Rugby Ground Twickenham from the 6th to 9th December. There is also a Pop Up Vaccination Clinic at Essex House Surgery open the 8th to 12th December. Details of which vaccines are being offered and eligibility criteria are available here.