FOUR YEARS SINCE GRENFELL
Four years ago, after the tragic loss of so many lives and homes, the Government promised that they would get to the bottom of how this avoidable devastation could happen in 21st century Britain. They promised to support the Grenfell families and give them everything they needed to rebuiild their lives as best they could. And they promised to hold accountable those who were responsible for causing this loss of life.
Four years later, we have Grenfell families still living in temporary housing. No arrests have been made in connection with the disaster. Thousands of high rise buildings, housing tens of thousands of people, are still cladded in dangerous materials. And hundreds of thousands of people are trapped in the cladding scandal, unable to afford the remediation work needed to bring their homes up to the new fire safety standards and unable to sell them as they are.
In their recent fire safety bill the Government fought off amendments I supported that would have saved leaseholders from financial ruin caused by historic poor regulation and shoddy building work. They have refused to allocate enough funds to make all of the high-rise buildings safe. They have failed to support those who live in buildings below 18m with dangerous cladding.
I am working with many constituents whose lives have been impacted by the cladding scandal. I will keep pushing for justice, both for victims of the fire and for leaseholders trapped in combustible buildings of all heights. The Government owes it to the Grenfell families to keep the promises they made.
ROADMAP OUT OF LOCKDOWN DELAYED
While it is right to slow down the road map on ending Covid-19 restrictions in light of the worrying increase in case rates, I am frustrated that this avoidable delay was necessary. We must be quicker to act to protect ourselves in future. Had the Prime Minister put India on the red list sooner we might be days instead of weeks away from the end of restrictions.
The Covid-19 vaccine is now available to everyone over the age of 23. If you are 23 or over and you have not yet had your first dose, you can book your appointment here.
There are also walk-in vaccine clinics happening locally this week:
AstraZeneca walk-in clinics will be held this week for those who are aged 40 or older and haven't had a first dose, or who had their first dose before mid-April:
The Stoop, Harlequins' Rugby Stadium in Twickenham:
9am to 7pm, Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 June 2021
Hawks Road Health Clinic, Kingston upon Thames:
9am to 7pm, Tuesday 15 to Sunday 20 June 2021
Pfizer vaccination clinics will be held for those aged 23-40 years old at Essex House Surgery in Barnes. This is specifically for those who have NOT yet had their first dose. The surgery will be open as below, with no appointment needed:
Tuesday 15 June from 7pm – 9pm
Wednesday 16 June from 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Thursday 17 June from 7pm – 9pm
Additional Pfizer walk-in sessions are being held at Kingston University on Thursday 17 June and Friday 18 June from 1pm-7pm.
Please note that supply of vaccine at the walk-in clinics is limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. All clinic leaders apologise in advance if there are queues or if the supply runs out.
SCHOOL VISITS IN THE CONSTITUENCY
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting The Russell School and Strathmore School and seeing The Russell School's new building. It was fascinating to hear how each school has adapted to working through the pandemic. I was, however, concerned to hear of the extent to which learning gaps and children's mental health have both been flagged as serious issues.
Next I visited St Elizabeth's RC Primary School, where I learned about the funding problems the pandemic has caused for them. I also had the pleasure of meeting their year 5 pupils and talking to them about the process of becoming an MP and what being in Parliament was like.
NEXT VIRTUAL COFFEE MORNING TOMORROW
If you would like to join soem of your fellow residents of Richmond Park for a brief update on what's happening in Westminster and the constituency, followed by informal conversation about local and national issues, please join me for my next Virtual Coffee Morning tomorrow at 10:00am. You can sign up for this event, or future coffee mornings, here.
CLEAN AIR DAY ON THURSDAY
Clean Air Day is coming up on 17 June with the theme ‘protect our children’s health from air pollution’. The annual campaign is a moment when thousands of people up and down the country come together to collaboratively voice support, make pledges and take action on toxic air.
Children are more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution; it not only impacts their health but also their ability to learn. The damage can start early and carry on through to old age.
As we return to our lives, we must create a clean air environment where they can learn and play safely.
MENTAL HEALTH EVENT TOMORROW: SOUTH LONDON LISTENS
Community leaders from across South London invite you to the South London Listens mental health summit on Wednesday 16 June 2021 from 6pm to 8pm, where they will present urgent actions to tackle the looming mental health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Whether it is dealing with the virus itself, losing your job, juggling the demands of work and home schooling, feeling lonely, missing friends or the tragedy of losing a loved one, we have all had a very personal experience of living through this pandemic. For some of us its effects will be short lived, but for others Covid-19 will cast a long shadow as they begin to rebuild their lives. Sign up to take part here.
LOOK OUT FOR FALLEN SWIFTS
Residents are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for fallen Swift chicks in parks and open spaces. During the recent cool and wet May, there was an increase in reports of casualties. Swift chicks can often be saved if the right treatment is applied quickly.
The Swifts Local Network (SLN) have released a document to assist residents or vets who come across or who may receive Swifts and similar species of wild bird that have got into difficulty. Download the printable document here.
A Swift can be reliably identified by its scream-like call and its long crescent-shaped wings. The grounded bird may be otherwise healthy but unable to fly due to immaturity, exhaustion, temporary incapacity, or injury.
The Swift Conservation organisation offers guidance on how to provide ‘first aid’ to ensure the Swift stays healthy before being taken into care. Read the first aid guidance here. Residents can also use the list of nearby Swift carers to make contact with carers if they come across a chick.
YOUTH COMMUNITY HERO AWARD WINNER
Richmond Council was happy to present a Community Hero Award to young local resident George. George won the Community Heroes Award for Youth Achievement earlier this year after raising over £7,000 for Children in Need. Having been inspired by Captain Tom, George (who has cerebral palsy) did his longest ever walk to raise the money. To see more about his feat, watch this video.
KINGSTON RESIDENTS: PLEASE GET A PCR TEST
I encourage my Kingston constituents to listen to Iona Lidington, Kingston Council's Director of Public Health's message, as she urges everybody to get a PCR test. PCR testing helps health authorities track the movement of different variants and plan accordingly.
Walk-in test sites have been set up across the borough. There is no need to book at these sites - simply turn up to get your test.
The Market House, right in the heart of Kingston. Open 7 days a week, 9am-4.30pm.
Worcester Park Train Station car park - Seven days per week, testing from 8am to 5pm each day.
Chessington World Of Adventure overflow car park - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, testing from 8am to 5pm. Testing starts from 9 June until 29 June.
Kings Centre car park, Chessington - Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Testing from 8am to 5pm. Testing starting from Friday 11 June until 28 June.
Cattle Market car park, Kingston - Wednesday to Saturday, 9am-3pm until 26 June.
NEW CREATIVE SPACE ON FIFE ROAD IN KINGSTON TOWN CENTRE
Kingston town centre has a new space for creatives and artists, filling an otherwise empty shop unit. Not My Beautiful House has enjoyed over 3,400 visits in its first month of opening, and there are opportunities for more local businesses to participate.
The initiative, led by Kingston University’s creative agency, Studio KT1, and the Students Union, is a multi-purpose venue showcasing creativity from Kingston students, alumni and small businesses, with 80% of every sale going straight back to the creative person.
The stock is rotated regularly and the displays change every few weeks - the next exhibition will be "William Morris, Wallpaper Man", from 25 June until 24 July.
The venture will operate on the current site until at least August with hopes that a follow-up space can be found to continue the project.
CANBURY AND RIVERSIDE ASSOCIATION EVENT
A new exhibition called The Origin, by London-based artist Ben Judd, is now open at Stanley Picker Gallery in Kingston upon Thames. The exhibition is a collaboration with the local community and Kingston University students. The exhibition will expand on 17 June with a boat moored on the River Thames. The boat will host performances, workshops and events.
Canbury and Riverside Association (CARA) has been working with Ben and his team of students for several months to bring the boat to the river in Canbury Gardens. On Thursday 1st July 2021, the boat will be docking at The Boaters Inn jetty in Canbury Gardens for a full day of CARA-organised events.
Plans include an interior design talk, an art class, a Riverside Design competition display, Lockdown Photo and Lockdown Literature competitions, and lots of live music.
More information about the event can be found in the latest CARA newsletter here.