I have been touched by the good wishes so many constituents have sent me since the death of my colleague Sir David Amess last Friday, and I thank you for your kind concern. I delayed sending out my regular newsletter last Friday out of respect for Sir David. However, crime was to be the main theme last week, so the information I intended to include is more relevant than ever.
Crime has been a running theme at my coffee mornings over the past two weeks, raised by residents across the constituency. Following appalling incidents in Richmond Park itself, and a further theft nearby on Tuesday, I wrote to Sophie Linden, the Deputy Mayor of London for Policing and Crime to urge that she looks at the issue and explores ways of ensuring that my constituents can feel safe and protected across the constituency. To read the letter in full, click here.
The Royal Parks Police sergeant for Richmond Park has explained that Officers are currently investigating the robberies inside the park and providing extra patrols in the park to offer reassurance to the public. I urged them to think far more expansively about what kind of measures can be put in place to ensure that visitors can be confident of having a safe and enjoyable stay in the Park, including more potential support for the Parks Police from the Metropolitan Police.
I went out on patrol with the Met Police's Safer Neighbourhood Team for Tudor last Monday, looking at the areas where residents have expressed concerns to me, and where the police feel they have work to do. I was assured that more patrols in Canbury Gardens are being put in place to address antisocial behaviour there in the evenings.
I have made representation last week to the Government and to the Met Police about officer numbers in my constituency. One of the reasons we have a low police presence in this area is that our officers are re-deployed elsewhere when protests or other large events take place, on the mistaken belief that this area is safe and doesn't need a police presence.
The Prime Minister has promised to bring in 20,000 extra police officers, of which 6,000 are meant to be coming to London. I am determined to make sure that we get our fair share here in Southwest London.
Another area of concern for my constituents is catalytic converter theft. Catalytic converters are devices fitted to vehicle exhausts to reduce the amount of dangerous gases emitted. They are often targeted by thieves as they contain valuable metals and can be removed easily and resold. Hybrid vehicles are most commonly targeted, as their metals are more valuable, but any vehicle can be at risk of catalytic converter theft. To keep your catalytic converter safe, you can ask your car dealer for advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer.
I also want to remind my constituents who are over 50 and eligible for Covid-19 booster shots that the NHS does not charge for the vaccinations. If you receive a letter or phone call asking you to pay for your vaccination please do report that to the police, as you are being targeted by a fraudster.
On a London level, I am happy to report that Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the Night Tube will be returning. The Central and Victoria lines will run throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays from Saturday 27 November, making journey times shorter and offering safer routes home, especially for women. Hopefully other lines will follow soon.
Lastly, I want to urge all of my constituents to report all criminal or antisocial behaviour they see to the police, every single time. Please use 999 if there is an immediate risk to someone's safety, or call 101 if the situation is less urgent. You can also report antisocial behaviour online here and you can report non-emergency crimes like bicycle theft here.
I understand that it can be discouraging to report crime and not see action taken in response. But it is of vital importance that the police have an accurate record of crime and antisocial behaviour across the area if we are to be allocated the resources necessary to tackle it. So please report all criminal and anti-social behaviour through the proper channels (not via social media!)
ST GEORGE'S NEW MENTAL HEALTH SITE VISIT
Last Monday I visited the mental health facilities at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust with my colleague Munira Wilson, the Member of Parliament for Twickenham, to tour their existing services and learn more about the exciting new facilities at Springfield University Hospital.
It was a pleasure to meet with the Clinical Service Lead for the SWLSTG Perinatal Mental Health Services to discuss the work the service is doing to support the mental health of new families in Richmond and Kingston. It was great to hear about current initiatives such as the culture session workshops in which staff participate, and plans to provide more support for dads. Raising awareness of perinatal mental health problems and improving care and services for those impacted by them is a key priority for me.
I also enjoyed touring the construction site for what will be the new Bluebell ward for deaf adults with mental illness and mental health problems. The new facilities will provide superb conditions in which to deliver effective mental health care that matches the deaf community’s complex language profile and cultural identity and will rapidly improve the lives of patients.
I was pleased to host coffee mornings for my Mortlake, East Sheen and Barnes constituents last week. Residents raised many important issues with me, around traffic, buses, safety, climate change, business, electric vehicles and the forthcoming ULEZ expansion. For residents in all three areas the continuing closure of Hammersmith bridge to buses and cars is a significant concern. I will be taking your issues to the appropriate authorities and reporting back to constituents on my actions.
I would like to thank Jay and Lizzy at the Hare and Hounds in East Sheen and Lauren and Sarah at The Bridge in Barnes for their community spirit in hosting these events, and for their cheerful and warm hospitality to us. Please do visit them if you are in the area!
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Transport for London (TfL) has teamed up with Black Cultural Archives to launch a Black History Tube map, celebrating the rich and varied contribution Black people have made to London and the UK from pre-Tudor times to the present day.
The reimagined map, which can be viewed at www.tfl.gov.uk/Black-history-map, replaces station names across the iconic Tube map with notable Black people from history, with the associated Tube lines renamed to link them together by common themes – Firsts and Trailblazers; Georgians; Sports; Arts; LGBTQ+; Physicians; Performers; Literary World and Community Organisers. By doing so, the map aims to highlight how Black people have played an intrinsic role in all parts of British life for thousands of years.
Richmond Council invites resident to join them in celebrating Black History Month in Richmond upon Thames this month. This is a chance to learn more about the achievements and contributions of Black people not just in the UK, but throughout the world, and to improve awareness of Black history.
‘Our Stories’ Poetry Night
On Friday 15 October, students at St Mary’s University will host an interactive poetry workshop at The Exchange, 75 London Road, Twickenham, TW1 1BE. Register to attend.
Auction and exhibition at the Riverside Gallery
On Monday 18 October, students at St Mary’s University will open their art exhibition residency at the Riverside Gallery in the Old Town Hall, Richmond, TW9 1TP. The exhibition celebrates Black history and culture and will run until 30 October.
#RichmondReads book for Black History Month is Matt Ruff's Lovecraft Country and you are invited to read the ebook or eAudiobook for free via Borrowbox and share your thoughts with @RichmondLibs on Twitter using the hashtag #RichmondReads.
Page Turners shared reading sessions will feature literature from the world’s best Black writers and poets. No need to book or read anything in advance, just join the session via Zoom.
Sessions will be held in October on:
· Tuesdays - from 10.30 to 11.30am
· Wednesdays - from 2 to 3pm
· Thursdays - from 2 to 3pm
The Richmond Libraries blog will also feature short works by Black authors, providing an accessible way to engage with Black history and literature.
Internally, the Council will also be recognising Black History Month through a series of weekly events organised by its Race Equality Network, including a talk by Avril Nanton, the author of Black London: History, Art & Culture.
In Kingston, Cllr Thay Thayalan has sent a message for Black History Month, in which he pays tribute to the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the vast contributions people of Black African and Caribbean descent have made to the UK and world history.Read the full message
RICHMOND CLIMATE WEEK
Local environmental charity, Habitats & Heritage, is working with Richmond Council to run a week of engagement and education activities about climate change during the COP26 Conference, 1-7 November. As part of climate week, they are to running both a primary and secondary climate conference on Wednesday 3 November. For further information or to register your interest please email email@example.com by Wednesday 27 October.
The council is also looking for entries from all ages to create posters for three different categories. The posters will be displayed throughout climate week and across the entire borough. Categories are:
COP26 and why it’s important
Local impact of climate change
What your school has done to positively impact the climate
Prizes awarded to the winning posters. Deadline: Friday 22 October. For further information or to register your interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW SEND PRIMARY SCHOOL
Capella House, a free school for children with special educational needs and disabilities, has opened its brand new primary school centre in Twickenham. The school, which is run by the Auriga Academy Trust, offers 72 places for 4-16 year olds with speech, language and communication needs, across two sites. It opened to secondary children in September 2019 and has now opened to primary children at Amyand House in Twickenham. The primary school centre has capacity for 28 pupils.
I know how desperately needed these places are and I was delighted to hear this news.
NEW PLAY AREA FOR SHEEN COMMON
East Sheen Common has a new woodland play area and nature trail. The new play area has been open to the public since last month and had an official opening on Sunday 26 September. The play area is within the historic woodlands and adjacent to the football pitch. Play equipment includes a mix of swings, multi-play units, an accessible wide slide and climbing apparatus. The nature trail consists of steeping stones, a bridge and other elements. Equipment is suitable for children up to 11 years old and there is an accessible footpath from the football pitch to the playground.
Do you want to improve your mental and physical health and like the idea of gentle exercise outdoors?
Come and join one of Connected Kingston's free, regular, volunteer-led social walks in Kingston. Search 'walk' on www.connectedkingston.uk to see the wide variety of options, or contact the team via email or call 0208 547 6815.
FIRST DRAW FOR COMMUNITY LOTTERY
More than £11,000 has been raised for local good causes as Kingston Community Lottery had its first ever draw on Saturday 9 October. All the money raised will be ploughed straight back into local charities and organisations, directly benefiting the wider community. The borough’s new lottery allows local good causes to raise new funds online for free, with 359 tickets sold to date.