Today is Earth Day, and although the events have been cancelled it's worth taking a moment to appreciate the improvements to air quality we have experienced during the lockdown, especially here in London. Let's all have a think about what measures we can put in place ourselves to help keep our air clean once this crisis is over. Contact my office with your ideas by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post your ideas here tomorrow.
CLAP FOR CARERS+
Michele from North Sheen has made this beautiful work of art to thank our key workers - I'm sure it will inspire extra applause this week when we clap for carers. Her work reminds us of all the non-health care key workers who are also making sacrifices and taking risks for us.
The Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign calling for a Frontline Support Package, a five-point plan to give frontline workers the support they need and the recognition they deserve. The package includes measures to scale up the procurement of PPE, a frontline service reward and a deployment allowance of £29 per day in line with the Operational Allowance Armed Forces personnel deployed to dangerous areas.
We believe our frontline workers deserve recognition and thanks from the country. I know they appreciate the clapping and the wonderful handmade signs in windows, but they should also be officially recognised and compensated for their heroic efforts.
BBC BITESIZE - NEW DAILY CURRICULUM AVAILABLE NOW
The BBC has launched its new Bitesize Daily to help ensure that every child in the UK has the opportunity to follow the appropriate core parts of the national curriculum from home. . Bitesize Daily, will bring 14 weeks of educational programmes and lessons to every household in the country. Content is available across BBC iPlayer, BBC Four, BBC Sounds and the Red Button as well as the BBCBitesize website and app, so it will be accessible to children who do not have access to a computer.
This service will involve a host of well-known faces from Professor Brian Cox explaining science topics to Manchester City footballer Sergio Aguero teaching children to count in Spanish. The curriculum is designed to minimise disruption to children’s education and provide rhythm and routine for them. I've had a look at it today and it is extremely well organised, easy to follow and appealing. I'm sure it will be very helpful and enjoyable for children (and their parents and carers!)
TURN2US - NATIONAL CHARITY FIGHTING POVERTY
Turn2us is a national charity that provides practical information and support to people facing financial crisis. Go to website at turn2us.org.uk or call our helpline at 0808 802 2000 for:
Benefits Calculator to can work out what you are eligible for (coronavirus updated)
Grants Search – containing over 1,700 charitable grants (searchable by profession, health condition, location and age)
CARERS UK - SUPPORT FOR UNPAID CARERS
Carers UK, the charity supporting unpaid family carers, have written to ask me to share with you the resources, information, and advice they have produced to help support unpaid carers through this crisis. They include:
Detailed advice pages for unpaid carers: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice
Email advice (email@example.com) and a telephone Helpline service (0808 808 7777)
Local directory for carers, with details of local carers organisations and local authority support. https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/local-support
LOCAL ROCKIN' THE LOCK-IN CONCERT
Local musicians will come together on Saturday to host a live music show from their homes in aid of Crossroads Care Richmond and Kingston upon Thames. The show will be live on Facebook on Saturday 25 April from 5pm – 10pm. Go to https://www.facebook.com/rockinthelockin/ to see the Rockin’ the Lockin’ line up.
Richmond Council -- 42% increase in recycling puts pressure on collection service
Additional vehicles and crew rounds have been put in place to respond to the huge increase in household recycling since the lockdown began. With more homes ordering items online and eating at home, blue and black boxes are regularly overflowing with more card, paper, cans and bottles. Recycling has increased by a third in the borough, from an expected collection of 33 tonnes to almost 47 tonnes every day. The additional refuse causes vehicles to fill up early and in some instances crews are unable to complete their routes.
Residents are asked for their patience over the next few weeks. The Council is committed to maintaining the service; however with more waste being discarded than at Christmas there may continue to be disruptions. Any collections missed will be collected, but possibly not on the scheduled day.
The Council has launched a campaign to help support households manage their waste and recycling, with ideas around using food and composting. Go to www.richmond.gov.uk/tips_to_support_our_waste_crews_during_covid_19
Richmond tops the league tables in distributing business grants
Richmond Council is at the top end of the UK league table for distributing grants to local businesses who are struggling during the pandemic.
On Monday the Government published data on the amount of money distributed to SMEs by every local authority in England as part of the two grant schemes launched to help businesses deal with coronavirus. Richmond is the fourth Council in London, and 19th in the country, issuing over £31m to around 1,872 local businesses.
Small businesses who receive Small Business Rate Relief are eligible for a £10,000 grant, with a few exclusions such as properties occupied for personal uses and car parking spaces. In Richmond upon Thames this will provide £15m of support for small businesses. A second grant scheme focuses on the retail, leisure and hospitality sector. It is thought that this funding will provide a further £30m of support to local businesses.
Eligible businesses can submit their application online.
Kew Scrub Hub
Local sewing volunteers in Kew have had so many offers both of help and of requests for their handmade scrubs that they have branched off into Twickenham, Teddington, Kingston and New Malden.
As a group they have supplied gowns to local care homes, community nurses and GP surgeries as well as Hammersmith and West Middlesex hospitals.
Visit their Facebook group for more information: https://www.facebook.com/Kew-Sews-Scrubs-109675780693578/
Love Kingston appeal
Love Kingston (a project of Kingston Voluntary Action, with support from the Royal Borough of Kingston) is again asking the public for donations to help meet the day to day needs of the most vulnerable people in the community. Donations will provide grants to local charities now, ensuring that people receive food, and essential supplies. It will continue to support them to help local people rebuild their lives after it is all over. Please go to this page if you are able to donate: https://localgiving.org/appeal/Kingston-covid19appeal/
The Vice-Chancellor of Kingston University has written to let me know about their response to Covid-19. While doing as much as they can to support their students, they are also trying to help the local community. They have donated over 1,300 pairs of safety spectacles and 16,600 disposable gloves, in addition to overshoes and disposable face masks to Kingston Health Centre and Kingston Hospital. They have also begun production of face shields for local NHS services using 3D printers at their Roehampton Vale campus. Colleagues at the University are also in frequent dialogue with local partners; Prof. Mark Fielder, their medical microbiology expert, has been providing expert advice to emergency services personnel, local government officials and healthcare providers.
Kingston Grammar School
After donating their stock of PPE to local hospitals, KGS has, like Kingston University, moved on to making more in their Design and Technology Department. They have made 560 face shields so far and sent them to dozens of local hospitals, surgeries, care homes, charities and individual key workers.
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