Yesterday I spoke about my constituency in Parliament, raising a number of the issues that are concerning those who have been touch with me.
I spoke about Richmond Park's businesses in my speech, having had a Zoom meeting with RIchmond's Business Improvement District group and some of their small and medium enterprises yesterday. I have been impressed with the strong way they have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, trying to keep their businesses afloat in the unstable business climate this year.
I then reminded the Government about the thousands of self-employed people in my constituency who have been left out of all of the Government's financial support schemes. I also raised this issue in a Public Accounts Committee meeting with HMRC on Monday, and I will keep reminding the Government that these hard-working, tax-paying citizens have been excluded from support until they do something about it. You can see me speaking about this in the chamber here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CX2boe3Hd0
I also spoke about the inspirational charity sector in my area, highlighting its vital work in responding to the pandemic. We are lucky to have a strong community support network for our vulnerable residents.
Lastly I spoke in the chamber about the children and young people in my constituency, having had the pleasure of speaking with quite a few of them this week. I am glad children are in school, and grateful to our local schools and teachers for the heroic work they have done to keep our children in the classroom as far as possible. I called on the Government in the chamber to provide more clarity for them on next year's exams. It is impossible for teachers and schools to prepare pupils without knowing what assessments will happen and when. I will continue to push this point with the Education Secretary. You can see me speaking about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggqmuAgWW7c
WORLD CHILDREN'S DAY TODAY
Today is Unicef's World Children's Day, a day for children themselves to highlight the changes they want to see in the world.
When I spoke by Zoom with the Sixth Formers at Ibstock Place School and the Year 6 pupils at the Vineyard Primary School earlier this week, they were very keen to talk about climate change and other important issues of the moment.
I enjoyed answering their questions and hearing their thoughts on the world they will inherit from us. As a member of Parliament I very much see myself as their voice and will continue to fight for their interests.
CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY BILL
Constituents who are particularly concerned about climate change might like to know that I met with the organisers of the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill on Wednesday. I wanted to talk to them about how I can help push the bill forward and really ramp up our work on the environment and climate change. If you would like to know more about the bill have a look here: https://www.ceebill.uk/
STAG BREWERY SITE
As you may have heard, the GLA recently announced that it will postpone its hearing for the Former Stag Brewery planning application.
I was very pleased to hear that the Mayor of London's planning team has asked to meet with local community groups, as Gareth Roberts, Leader of Richmond Council, and I requested in our recent meeting with them. The planners have already met with the Mortlake Brewery Community Group and will meet Chertsey Court Action Group, shortly.
I remain very concerned about what impact the closure of Hammersmith Bridge might have on the developer’s plans for the busy road junction at Chalkers Corner and shall keep a close eye on this.
FOOD DONATIONS COLLECTION AT TESCO TOMORROW
Fareshare and the Trussell Trust have been collecting as much long-life food as possible to distribute to those in need this winter, running a collection drive with Tesco this week. Until tomorrow, Tesco will be topping up all the donations customers leave at their in-store collection bins by an additional 20% in cash to the charities.
If you don't have a trip to Tesco in your plans for tomorrow you can still donate to Fareshare here: https://fareshare.org.uk/donate or to the Trussell Trust here: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/ways-to-give/
REPRESENT RICHMOND IN THE LONDON YOUTH GAMES!
Young Londoners can keep active during lockdown by competing for Richmond upon Thames in the ‘Nike x London Youth Games Virtual Cross Country event’.
From Saturday 21 November until Sunday 6 December, four different age groups will have the chance to represent Richmond upon Thames in the London-wide competition. Participants must complete a set running distance and submit their time via the London Youth Games website to earn points for their borough. The age groups are Under 11, Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17. Distances vary for each age group. To find out more and to get involved head to www.londonyouthgames.org/virtual-games/
NEW BOOK AWARD LAUNCHED
A new primary schoolchildren’s book awards scheme has been launched in Richmond and Kingston, alongside a new fund that aims to raise money to help buy books for children from low income families.
Coombe Hill Junior School headteacher, Mark Clutterbuck, teamed up with Debbie Thomas, a Lead School Improvement Adviser for English from Achieving for Children, to launch an awards programme that will help promote reading and writing.
Over 50 books have already been submitted for each of the three age categories. Authors can still submit their books to be considered. More information.
A team of judges will shortlist the books to a list of four in each category. Children will then be invited to read the books next spring and vote on their favourite. Parents are asked to check that their primary school has signed up, and if not contact the SPARK team now here.
COUGH, COLD OR COVID? ADVICE FROM A GP
Winter always means a rise in the numbers of coughs and colds for children. This year it will be more difficult for parents, who may be unsure when cold or flu symptoms might be signs of a COVID-19 infection. Local GP Dr Annette Pautz has shared some advice to help you distinguish between a common cold and something more serious. Read the advice here
KINGSTON CLIMATE EMERGENCY YOUTH SURVEY
Kingston and Richmond Youth Councils, Achieving for Children and Kingston Council have created a Kingston Climate Emergency Youth Survey for young people. The survey aims to gauge how important our younger communities think climate change is and what actions they could take to help tackle it. The survey is open until 14 December.