As the number of people restricting their movement grows, please think about family, friends and neighbours who may be in need of assistance, and contact them by phone or electronic means to check on them.
I know that many people are do not have their neighbour's phone numbers or email addresses, but you can drop a note through their letterbox giving yours. I have dropped notes to my own neighbours and set up a WhatsApp group for us to support each other.
Age UK Richmond has been in touch with me today to ask Richmond residents who wish to volunteer in the community to please use existing voluntary organisations, which will have safeguarding practices already in place for volunteers and users. They suggest contacting Richmond's Council for Voluntary Service on 020 8843 7945. Their website is www.richmondcvs.org.uk.
Kingston Voluntary Action is meeting with Kingston voluntary organisations this morning to develop a coordinated volunteer program. Please check their website later today, when the results of that meeting will be posted at www.kva.org.uk .
In the meantime, here are some of the exisiting hyperlocal groups that are coordinating assistance to those in need:
Ham and Petersham SOS are looking for volunteers to help vulnerable residents. Phone 020 8948 1090 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hamandpetershamsos.co.uk
FishHelp.org.uk combats loneliness and social isolation in older and vulnerable people living in Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen.
Kew Neighbourhood Association also connects local volunteers with people who need practical help. Their website is www.kna.org.uk
Richmond Good Neighbours also provide services to the elderly, the disabled, the housebound. Their website is www.richmondgoodneighbours.org.uk.
In North Kingston, BRaG is a local community group for Burton, Richmond Park and Gibbon Roads. They have created some WhatsApp support groups for specific roads, which can be found at www.bragstreet.org/news/article/brag-support-groups.html.
Of course it goes without saying that if you or someone you have been in recent contact with is showing symptoms that might be coronavirus, please keep your distance from those who are elderly or medically vulnerable.