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Richmond and Kingston Covid-19 Update: April 1


I had a lovely letter today from Ben, a local secondary pupil, with an excellent idea for taking pressure off the NHS: more people accessing online first aid training. Ben recommends (and I second) the many excellent training videos posted on YouTube by St John Ambulance. He believes that if we all watched these videos we could treat more minor injuries at home instead of going to A&E. Look for them here:


I also had a letter from Thames Water today, asking me to clarify a few points for residents:

  • Some customers have been concerned to see their staff at work. These staff members are working to keep normal water and sewerage services running, and employees are following government advice on social distancing.

  • They know that many customers are facing financial difficulties, and have increased the support available for customers who may be struggling to pay their bill. More information is available at

  • Finally, they just want to clarify that water companies do not have the legal powers to disconnect domestic customers from their water supply. No one needs to worry about their water or waste services being disconnected.


HMRC has sent through links to new sources of information on support:

For personal support: Updated helpline number 0800 024 1222, open from 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. This new number provides extra capacity for customers to ring them.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The LCCI wrote to ask me to invite local business owners to their webinar on Thursday 2 April, from 1.00pm - 1.45pm. LCCI CEO Richard Burge will talk about the latest coronavirus developments, implications for business, and how the business community in London is responding. Followed by a 15-minute Q&A session.

Support for Autistic and Neurodiverse People

Autistica has written to me to ask me to let people know about the resources they have developed with and for autistic and neurodivergent people, who are finding this period especially difficult. Resources for managing uncertainty and anxiety, supporting autistic employees and making online events accessible are just some of the useful things you can find on the website here:


Migrant NHS “heroes” should be given indefinite leave to remain

The Liberal Democrats have called for all foreign national NHS workers risking their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic to be awarded indefinite leave to remain. The call follows reports yesterday that doctors, nurses and paramedics will automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, but only for one year.

Extend free school meals

Pupils on free school meals are some of the most vulnerable in our society and often rely on schools to provide their meals. With families struggling at this difficult time there is a real concern these children could go hungry.  The Lib Dems are calling for the free school meal vouchers being offered through schools to be extended over the Easter holidays.


Hammersmith Bridge

Transport for London (TfL) will hold a webinar on Thursday 2 April at 4pm to give residents an opportunity to share their views on the proposed temporary walking and cycling bridge.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, previous plans for public drop-in sessions have been cancelled and replaced with this webinar. Thursday's event will involve a presentation by TfL’s Head of Major Projects, David Rowe, as well as the opportunity to put questions to a TfL panel and to share your views in a feedback session.

To take part in the webinar, please click here to download Zoom, which you can use on a desktop computer, laptop or mobile device, and then click here to register for the webinar.

Please be alert to fraudsters operating in the area

I have also had a call with this disturbing news: apparently a local social services client answered the door yesterday to two people who said they were from an organisation called ‘Take you for a walk.’ They had canvas bags with a ’Take you for a walk’ logo on it and they encouraged the lady to go with them ‘for a walk.’

Unfortunately, unscrupulous people will take advantage of the opportunity to employ scams like this. Please alert your friends and family to make sure they are accepting help only from people known to them or voluntary organisations that are part of the official assistance network. And if you would like to volunteer in the community, go through the official volunteer hub for your borough.

For volunteering and assistance in Kingston this is: Kingston Stronger Together (

For Richmond volunteering go to Richmond CVS ( or to the Richmond Hub if you need assistance (

New listings on my resources page

Lastly, please have another look at my Covid-19 Resources page if you haven't visited in a while. My list of local vendors selling online or delivering locally is quite long now, although I would welcome more additions from Ham and North Kingston.

My list of resources for parents has grown too. It now includes some resources for parents themselves, as well as for their children, like our newest listing Ballet 4 Life, offering online versions of their dance classes, which are geared for older participants with varying levels of experience but would also be enjoyable for children. See this listing and the others at

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