Last Saturday I ran the Richmond Runfest Air 10K, raising over £1000 for Richmond Mind to help with the vital work they do supporting everyone in Richmond Upon Thames. Mental health care has never been more important than it is now, after a year of isolation, loss and anxiety. I am grateful to the Mind organisations in both Richmond and Kingston for caring for my constituents.
Thank you to everyone who was kind enough to sponsor me, especially those I was not able to thank by email. Your support inspired me to keep going that last kilometre!
QUESTIONING THE BUSINESS SECRETARY ON GREEN JOBS
During today's debate on the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy's Ten Point Plan, I asked Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng to clarify whether the Government's assertion that the plan
would create 50,000 new jobs in energy efficiency was in addition to the 80,000 jobs they announced last summer. I also pressed him to tell us how many jobs have been created so far and how they plan to create more, having scrapped the Green Homes Grant. The Business Secretary's reply will disappoint homeowners who wanted to make use of the Green Homes Grant, as well as small contractors who would have benefited from the work.
You can see both question and answer here.
I was recently briefed on the status of local health care provision by southwest London NHS leaders. My constituents might like to know that they are working hard to return non-Covid services to normal levels. They are achieving around 91% of business as usual now, and waiting lists for planned procedures are coming down. While working to make up for missed care and continue the vaccine programme, they are also working on plans for future pandemic surges to make sure that they are prepared if we have another wave. GP surgeries are also working on resuming proactive care, e.g. screenings.
NHS leaders asked me to relay to constituents that patients who contact their surgery may be directed to allied services such as physiotherapy, pharmacists or social-prescribing link workers. These professionals can provide expert care in their fields and patients are assured that GPs have confidence in them.
Lastly, there is now a long covid clinic at Kingston Hospital. If you think you may have long covid, please speak to your GP about a referral to the clinic.
The concerning Indian variant is circulating in West London, so we urgently need everyone who is eligible for vaccination to take up the offer as soon as possible. We must get as much of the community vaccinated as possible before the variant runs out of control here.
As of today, residents who are 36 and over can book a Covid-19 vaccination. If you are 36 or over, or you care for someone vulnerable, I urge you to book your vaccination as soon as you can.
People who are over 50 who have had one dose may be called for a second dose sooner than expected. You do not need to change your appointment yourself, though. Please wait to be contacted.
For a limited time only, Kingston’s Hawks Road Vaccination Centre is offering walk-in vaccinations to over 40-year-olds who have not had a first dose. No appointment will be needed for these, simply turn up at the Hawks Road site. This offer is available between 9.00 and 19.00 Wednesday 19 May, Thursday 20 May, and Sunday 23 May only.
Please encourage your friends and family to get vaccinated. The best guard against dangerous variants is to prevent the virus from circulating in the population.
COOMBE SCHOOL VISITS
On Friday I was delighted to visit Coombe Girls' School, where I met with the Headteacher to discuss the importance of getting pupils settled back into lessons, and how they were going to handle assessments this year. I was also fortunate enough to speak with some A level politics students who were both knowledgeable and engaged.
I also visited Coombe Hill Junior School, where the Headteacher and I discussed the issue of school funding and mental health services in the area. I was pleased to be given a tour of the school by the pupil leaders before meeting with the Pupil Parliament to once again be taken to task!
As always when I visit schools, it was a fantastic day and enormously encouraging to see the innovative ways local schools are responding to the challenges they've faced over the course of the pandemic.
NEWS FROM TRANSPORT FOR LONDON
Constituents who commute into the City will be pleased to hear that the Waterloo & City line will reopen on 21 June, when people are expected to return to offices in greater numbers. The Waterloo & City line will run every five minutes from Monday to Friday, from 06:00 to 10:00 in the morning and 15:30 to 19:00 in the afternoon.
London’s rental e-scooter trial will begin on Monday 7 June in selected boroughs, including Richmond.
Operators Dott, Lime and TIER have been appointed to take part in the trial. TfL wants to assure residents that safety will be at the core of the trial, and data from the trial will play a vital role in helping to shape London and the UK's future policy on e-scooters. Scooters in the trial will have:
A lower maximum speed of 12.5mph
Lights at the front and the rear of the vehicles that are always on throughout any rental
Audible warning systems that can be used without adjusting the rider’s grip
Riders will also need to take an e-learning safety course before they hire for the first time. The rental e-scooters will only be allowed to be used on roads and in cycleways - not on footways.
I look forward to seeing the results of these trials and learning whether e-scooters can make a valuable contribution to safe, economical green transport in the constituency.
HELP FOR HARASSMENT AND ABUSE VICTIMS
If you or anyone you know have experienced harassment and abuse from a partner/ex-partner or family member and would like support, you can call 0208 547 6046 for help in Kingston, 020 8943 8188 for help in Richmond or the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
If you or anyone you know have experienced harassment in public spaces and would like to speak to someone, please contact Victim Support on 0808 168 9111. More information can be found on the Victim Support website
If you or anyone you know have experienced a sexual assault and would like support, please contact the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999.
If you or anyone you know are concerned that someone might be stalking you and would like to access support, please contact the National Stalking Helpline for support on 0808 802 0300.
If you are aged between 13 - 19 years old and have experienced harassment or relationship abuse, you can access further information on the Gettingiton website.
BRENTFORD FOOTBALL FITNESS PROGRAMME
Men and women aged 30 to 60 living in Richmond upon Thames who are overweight are invited to join a 12-week weight management programme delivered by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust in partnership with Richmond Council and Public Health. The Move it to Lose it programme includes coaching by Brentford FC players and coaching staff, nutrition and fitness workshops, free sports t-shirts and one month’s free fitness pass upon completion of the course.
All sessions will take place outdoors on Wednesday evenings in Old Deer Park. Sessions will also be recorded and available online. Prices start from £6.00 per session.
If you live in Richmond upon Thames and would like to take part, you can book your place by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org and expressing your interest.
SMART SENSORS TO PROVIDE TRAVEL DATA
Richmond Council is rolling-out digital sensors to gain insight into active travel and pedestrian movements in the borough, to inform plans for the road network and urban environment. The Council will monitor the use of cycle infrastructure, pedestrian use of town centres and use of motor vehicles.
The new sensors will help the Council understand whether residents have permanently shifted habits since the pandemic began and how they move around their local areas.
The sensors are designed to provide accurate data on road and pavement usage in a completely anonymous way. Please be assured that this technology cannot be used to gather any kind of personal data or for enforcement purposes.
COUNCIL CONDUCTING SURVEY ON SAFETY FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS
Kingston Council has just launched a survey that aims to identify the extent of harassment and abuse experienced by women and girls in public spaces in Kingston. This will be the beginning of a long-term campaign to ensure that the voices of all women and girls are heard.
Respondents can use an interactive map to highlight the areas where they don’t feel safe enough in the borough, say whether there is a specific time of the day when they feel less safe, and leave suggestions for how the Council can improve safety in those areas.
The survey can be found on Kingston’s Let’s Talk Portal: kingstonletstalk.co.uk/women-girls-safety.
ANTI-FLOODING TECHNOLOGY INTRODUCED IN KINGSTON
Kingston Council, together with Sutton Council and Aquasition, are deploying sensors to monitor rising water levels in order to help reduce the risk of disruption from road closures caused by surface water flooding.
Kingston has previously suffered from major surface water flooding resulting in the borough’s road network grinding to a halt within Kingston town centre.
The sensors to be installed, along with an email early warning notification, will allow councils to monitor rising water levels and alert drainage contractors to respond to any surface water flooding.