I am looking forward to Parliament returning tomorrow, even in its virtual form. In the current crisis it is more important than ever for MPs to have the means to question government publicly and ensure they are making the right decisions. Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle has published a video about reopening Parliament in this new way; you can see it here: https://twitter.com/HouseofCommons/status/1252300052187488257
SPORTS CLUBS FUNDING AVAILABLE FROM SPORT ENGLAND
I was pleased to hear today that our highly-valued local sports clubs are being offered assistance to make sure they can reopen after the Covid-19 crisis is over. Sport England has made up to £195 million of funding available to help its partners, clubs and community organisations cope with the impact of COVID-19. The package includes a £20 million Community Emergency Fund, which is open now. Clubs and community organisations can apply for grants between £300 and £10,000. Full details, including the application process are available on the Sport England website here.
NEW COVID-19 VIDEO FOR ASIAN COMMUNITY
A number of prominent British Asians have worked together on a new advice video targeting the British Asian community. Covid-19 is having a disproportionate effect on BAME individuals, and they wanted to speak directly to their community about what they can do to protect themselves. You can see their video at:
Youtube link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cvzGw2VWPA&feature=youtu.be
London Employment Rights Hub
Many people are concerned about the financial impact of self-isolating or taking time off work. The Mayor’s Employment Rights Hub has the latest information about what people are entitled to. You can access the Hub and find out what your rights are at
Information on COVID-19 for non-UK nationals
City Hall’s EU Londoners Hub has specific information for non-UK nationals on healthcare, visas and immigration, the EU settlement scheme and employment rights, and how they are affected by the crisis. The Information on COVID-19 for non-UK nationals page can be accessed at https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/eu-londoners-hub
Thames Water: Please keep pipes clear
Thames Water has written to me to say that they are experiencing a high number of blockages due to people using tissues, kitchen roll or wet wipes as loo roll. These blockages can cause sewage to back up into people's homes or pollute the environment. Please do not flush any of these
substitute items, and remember: there is no such thing as a flushable wipe!
London Marathon 2.6 Challenge
London Marathon is inviting people to make up their own challenges referencing the number 26 and execute them on 26 April. You could run 2.6 miles, or skip rope for 26 minutes, or do something else that will represent a challenge to you. More information can be found here https://www.twopointsixchallenge.co.uk/.
Former Richmond Council Leader Serge Lourie was in Kingston Hospital very ill with Covid-19 at the end of March. Serge is home recovering now, and with his characteristic public spirit he is planning to take part in the London Marathon's 2.6 Challenge by walking 2.6km. He will be raising money for the Kingston Hospital Charity to say thank you to Kingston Hospital for the excellent care he received during his time in their ICU. If you would like to sponsor Serge you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/my-2-6-challenge-8df34f13-5603-4afa-94f3-71833203ad84
Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability - spare tablet appeal
RHN is asking if anyone has an old tablet that still works and is no longer needed. They are supplying them to people in hospitals to keep in touch with loved ones who can't visit. Details on how to donate at: https://www.rhn.org.uk/coronavirus/staying-connected/
#Xpress Yourself music challenge for local teens
Kingston and Richmond teenagers showed off their creativity in the first week of Achieving for Children's music competition. The theme for week one was to record a rap including words like ‘coronavirus’ and ‘lockdown.' Congratulations to the winner of week one, Mahmouda Ali, and to all of the wonderful entries received. Listen to Mahmouda’s winning COVID-19 (Coronavirus) rap, as well as second and third place winners here.
The contest is open to residents of Kingston or Richmond boroughs aged 11 to 19. The second week’s theme is to rap about someone or something that has made you proud during lockdown. Details can be found at Project X's Instagram. Voting will start later this week on the Instagram page.
StartUp Richmond - Free Business Support
A new virtual programme of business support has been launched by Richmond Council and StartUp Richmond, offering practical help on how to build strength and resilience during and after the Corona Virus pandemic. StartUp Richmond will provide advice to local businesses and will also serve as a platform to engage local business owners and to help them connect and work with each other. The support will cover marketing and sales, finance, technology, health and wellbeing, legal, staffing and HR and business resilience. There will be three web summits, three online workshops, one-to-one strategic business support sessions and free access to an online portal with a library of over 400 training programmes. Businesses can sign up for free here.
Coronavirus Emergency Grant Fund for Non-profit Groups
Today Richmond Council launched the Coronavirus Emergency Grant Fund. Local charities, voluntary or community groups working hard to support residents impacted by COVID-19 are encouraged to apply for this funding to help them continue delivering vital support. .Full details on the grant fund, including eligibility and the application form, can be found here . They have also set up a webpage which details the other sources of funding that the voluntary and community sector can access. This can be found here.
Love Kingston appeal
Love Kingston (a project of Kingston Voluntary Action, with support from the Royal Borough of Kingston) is 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/
New and expectant mothers: Support to help you feed your baby
Kingston's Community Infant Feeding Team is able to help and advise mothers and caregivers on all aspects of infant feeding and weaning. You can send your queries to the team via email at email@example.com . For additional breastfeeding support, you can call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212, available everyday 9.30am - 9.30pm. Online support is also available via a live chat. Breastfeeding supports a baby's immune system, so please reach out for advice if you are trying to breastfeed and finding it difficult.
A number of constituents have expressed surprise that they are not receiving emails from me even though they received them from my predecessor. Just to clarify, under data protection rules, we can only send emails to people who have given their details specifically to me or to the local Liberal Democrats. We are keen to communicate electronically as much as possible, for environmental reasons, and now for hygiene reasons as well. But I do not have access to constituents' email addresses unless they contact me or the local Lib Dems. So please spread the word among your neighbours, friends and community groups that anyone who would like to know what I am doing on their behalf should subscribe on my website at www.saraholneymp.org.uk/subscribe .
And of course, if you have received my emails from someone else and would like to continue receiving them, please subscribe at www.saraholneymp.org.uk/subscribe.