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Richmond Park News: 1 October 2021

On Monday, Parliament went into a three-week recess. I am using the opportunity to hold coffee mornings in different parts of the constituency. I look forward to meeting as many people as possible to find out what issues are mattering most right now.

For more information on how you can get involved, click here.


As many of you are aware, South Western Railway (SWR) recently released its proposed timetable for December 2022. The timetable would result in significant cuts to services which could lead to both overcrowding on trains and an environmentally harmful increase in car use.

I therefore co-wrote a letter with Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham and Ed Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton, to try and secure a meeting with Chris Heaton-Harris, the Minister of State for the Department for Transport (DfT).

Fundamentally, we are concerned that SWR has not fully recognised that passenger numbers remain far below what they were pre-pandemic and that it is too early to be making decisions about the level of service required from December 2022 onwards. We are also concerned at the extent to which these changes are being driven by pressure from the DfT and the contractual agreement that they have in place. To read the letter, click here.


Last week I visited Refugee Action Kingston, an organisation which supports refugees to find homes and start new lives in Kingston, Richmond and Surrey. It was extremely valuable to hear first-hand some of the challenges the organisation is facing, namely in accessing basic medical care. I look forward to maintaining a close relationship with them moving forward and lending whatever support I can

I also had the pleasure of attending the launch of the new games suite at Ham Youth Centre

It was fantastic to meet the Youth Work Lead, along with a number of the Centre's members, to see some of the great work being done. It's clear that mental health remains a concern amongst the young as they attempt to reacclimatise to in-school teaching following so many months of studying from home.


While I was at Ham Youth Centre I had the opportunity to speak with Karen Ali from Richmond Mind. She was there to provide access information to the young people and to ask them to take part in a youth survey. Mind is doing amazing work with people of all ages in the Borough, including young people. If you are a young person and are willing to participate in their study, please


To celebrate World Mental Health Day on 10th October, Richmond Mind is inviting residents to join them for an exclusive workshop, sharing a variety of exercises and resources that can be used in everyday life to build resilience during challenging times. The Ultimate Resilience Toolkit workshop is free, with a suggested donation amount of £10 for those who feel they can afford it. More information here.

Mind is also launching a new 12-week Art Group in partnership with Turner’s House Trust on 4 October. The group, which will meet every Monday from 1.30-2.30pm, is a chance to explore new art techniques with local artists. It is open to both existing and new clients of Mind's Wellbeing Centre. Sessions are free and will be run online with some at Turner’s House and ETNA centre. No previous art experience is needed. To book please email:

We all need emotional support, particularly during these difficult times. Feelings such as low mood, stress and anxiety can impact our mental health, and sometimes you just need to talk about it. Call Richmond Mind if you need someone to talk to 020 3137 9590 or email

Mind would also like to thank the many fundraisers running in events for them this autumn. Some are running in The London Marathon Virtual Event on Sunday 3rd, others are completing the Richmond Marathon Walk on Saturday 16th. Please check out their fundraising pages here and here.

I want to wish everyone running the London Marathon this weekend good luck, especially those running for their important charities like Mind. After last year's cancellation I am delighted that London's keen runners will be able to enjoy this historic event again while raising money for good causes.


During the first lockdown, Saffron created wonderful paper daisies for her friends to display in their windows as a demonstration of community. Saffron then created daisies for her neighbours to display in their windows, creating a ‘daisy chain’ in her neighbourhood in Barnes. A short film documenting Saffron’s work was shown at the Barnes Film Festival this year. If you would like to watch the video, you can see it on Vimeo here.


As the nights draw in and the weather becomes colder and wetter, it’s as important as ever to keep an eye out for those that might need the support of StreetLink. If you see someone sleeping rough please do send an alert to StreetLink on their website here.



In response to the council’s plea for help from the private rented sector, landlords have so far come forward with some potentially appropriate properties. Officers are working to establish with the Home Office how refugees with links to the borough can request to come here via the government resettlement scheme, and hope to be welcoming new arrivals to the borough soon.


Ham Market will be open from