Richmond and Kingston Covid-19 Update: May 22
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
As we come to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, I want to ask constituents to try to carry on being aware of mental health issues beyond this week. Many residents are anxious, frightened and depressed by their current circumstances and a bit of kindness will help ease everyone's burden. You can see my thoughts about mental health in this video: https://twitter.com/i/status/1263787638504505345
As a party, the Liberal Democrats are calling on Government to improve mental health care for NHS staff, who have been under enormous strain since the virus arrived in March. We want them to have good quality mental health care available at all times.
MORE SUPPORT FOR SELF-EMPLOYED PEOPLE NEEDED
I have had many constituents contact my office in April and May because they are self-employed but are not able to apply for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme due to its arbitrary eligibility requirements. It is right that the Government is helping to save jobs and businesses, but we must make sure that no one is left behind. The Government must extend support for self-employed people in line with the furlough scheme, and expand the scheme for self-employed people to cover those who are currently left out. My colleagues and I will keep pushing the Government to support everyone equally.
BEST WISHES TO EVERYONE CELEBRATING EID MUBARAK
I would like to extend warm wishes to my Muslim constituents at this special time. Places of worship remained closed, of course, in accordance with government guidelines. I am sorry that you will not be able to gather together in person to celebrate this year, and will have to celebrate Eid from home, or virtually with friends and family. The Muslim Council of Britain has published a helpful flyer about celebrating safely, which you can see here:
ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL BOOK OF REMEMBRANCE
St Paul's Cathedral is opening a book of remembrance for all those who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember Me will be an online memorial for people who were living in the UK when they died. A physical memorial will also be created at St Paul’s Cathedral. From today, family, friends and carers of those who have died can submit, free of charge, the name, photograph and a short message in honour of a deceased person on the Remember Me website at: https://www.rememberme2020.uk/
HRH the Prince of Wales has launched the Remember Me project with a video message on the website, and the Cathedral choristers have recorded a special anthem for the book.
PLEASE USE ACTIVE TRAVEL TO GET TO SCHOOL OR COLLEGE
Transport for London have written to councils and MPs asking us to communicate to our constituents the importance of using active travel to get children and young people to school when they return. Public transport should be avoided wherever possible, and everyone who can should walk, scoot or cycle instead.
CHANGES TO BUS SERVICES
TfL has also announced a phased reintroduction of the requirement for bus passengers to touch in on card readers with their contactless, Oyster or concessionary card. Please look out for signs on bus doors announcing the changes. They are continuing their enhanced cleaning programme for buses and making other adaptations to their buses to improve hygiene.
SUPPORT FOR SEND CHILDREN IN RICHMOND AND KINGSTON
Short Breaks During Covid-19
The Achieving for Children Short Breaks Team has continued to offer short breaks to disabled children with an assessed need. They have been unable to deliver group breaks but they have offered 1:1 support in the child or young person's own home or in the centre.
Activity Fund for Children with Disabilities
The Activity Fund provides £140.00 each year towards activities for eligible children and young people to take part in. As activities such as swimming lessons and activity clubs remain unavailable for the foreseeable future, they are offering alternative use of the Activity Fund until the usual activities can be accessed again. The funds can now be used, for example, to purchase play, exercise or sensory equipment for use at home.
RICHMOND AND HILLCROFT ADULT COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Why not learn a new skill or brush up an old one from home this summer? Richmond and Kingston's adult further education college, RHACC, is taking registrations now for short online courses, many of them starting June 1. They have courses to help students access higher education as well as leisure courses in English, the arts, business, IT, history, cookery and languages. They also have women-only courses at their Hillcroft campus (currently running online) enabling female students to develop career skills or learn for pleasure in a comfortable environment. You can also enroll for September courses now.
You can see all their courses here: https://www.rhacc.ac.uk/
Course fees at RHACC are low, and additional discounts are available for those on a low income. Some of their courses are even free to students without GCSE qualifications or aged 19-23. They also offer loans and hardship bursaries. You can see more information about financial support here: https://www.rhacc.ac.uk/help-advice/help-your-fees
ADVICE FROM THE COUNCIL
Richmond Council has produced this handy poster to help you make sense of the current government guidelines.
Council Leader Gareth Roberts has also posted a bank holiday video with very important messages for Richmond residents. Please click here to see his advice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCobxcYVfrU&feature=youtu.be
E-CARGO BIKES GIVEN TO LOCAL BUSINESSES AND CHARITIES
Following a successful bid by Richmond Council, fourteen local charities and businesses, as well as services in Richmond Council, will soon have electric cargo bikes to replace journeys currently carried out by vehicles. The bikes are part of the Energy Saving Trust’s eCargo Bike Grant Fund Local Authority Scheme.
The Richmond Rugby Club Community Department wants residents to know that they are here to support you and your family during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you need help collecting your grocery order, picking up medicine or even taking your dog for a walk, they are available to help. Please contact Dom at CommunityDept@richmondfc.co.uk or call 07808 029 355.