Yesterday the government announced that the roadmap out of lockdown would proceed to Step 4 on July 19th. This means the lifting of all remaining restrictions, such as numbers that can attend live events, people who can visit care homes and limitations on numbers meeting indoors. While the numbers show that case rates continue to climb at a rapid rate, we can also see that the vaccination programme has been successful in breaking the link between case rates and hospitalisations and deaths.
I am concerned that too many people are still unvaccinated - especially in the younger age groups where spread is more prevalent - and that increasing case rates represent a risk. The government have asked that people carry out their own assessment of risk and I would urge constituents to continue mask wearing and social distancing when out in public, especially on public transport and in shops. Consider, particularly, if you are using services with a younger-aged workforce, that they are not as well-protected as older age groups and, even though younger people are less likely to be hospitalised, they can still suffer severe symptoms or contract long Covid which will be very unpleasant for them. I know that we're all tired of wearing masks, but I would encourage you to continue for the time being, until we see high levels of vaccination across all age groups.
I would also urge all constituents over the age of 18 who have not yet had a vaccine, to get one as soon as possible. If you have only had the first jab, you may be able to arrange to bring forward your second jab appointment, which will give you a greater level of immunity. Anyone over 18 can book a vaccination here. A new walk-in clinic has also just been added in Richmond town centre this weekend, at Richmond Adult Community College from 10-6 on Saturday. Both Pfizer and AstraZeneca will be available.
QUESTIONING THE GOVERNMENT ON SCAMS
Today, in oral questions for the Deparment for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, I asked Undersecretary of State Amanda Solloway what guidance the Department gives to retailers and consumers to protect themselves from scams. I explained that I am particularly concerned about small and medium-sized businesses who may be vulnerable to banking fraud because the closure of high street banks has driven them to use online banks.
The Undersecretary did not address my question about banking fraud directly, but instead relayed some resources that businesses and consumes can use to combat scams, including Business Companion's guide to business scams and the Citizens Advice pages on identifying scams and for reporting consumer scams.
I can also recommend the Met Police's Little Book of Big Scams for those looking to protect themselves. I will continue asking the Government to put more energy into tackling fraud. You can read the text of our exchange here or see a clip here.
SUPPORTING MILITARY VETERANS
Yesterday, during Oral Questions for the Department of Defence, I took the opportunity to ask Secretary of State Ben Wallace what the department is doing to assist veterans at risk of homelessness now that the eviction moratorium is ending. With military service a risk factor for homelessness I am keen to ensure that the department does all it can to support veterans.
For those who are already homeless, sleeping rough in the summer brings different challenges to sleeping rough in the winter. Homeless people are at risk of dehydration and heat-related conditions in warmer weather, and may have more trouble finding shelter at night. If you see someone sleeping rough during the summer months and want to help them, please look at this page from Homeless Link for advice. You can report seeing someone who may be in need of assistance to StreetLink London here.
NEXT VIRTUAL COFFEE MORNING - WEDNESDAY 14 JULY
If you would like to join myself and some of your fellow constituents for a brief update on what I've been working on Westminster and in the constituency, followed by informal conversation about local and national issues of interest, please sign up for one of my coffee mornings here. My next two events will be on Wedneday, July 14 and Wednesday, August 11, both at 10:00.
SURVEY FROM SOUTHWEST LONDON ST GEORGE'S
In 2022 Southwest London St George's NHS Mental Health Trust, the body that provides all the mental health services in this part of London, will be launching its new 5 Year Digital Strategy. The theme of the Digital Strategy is digital inclusivity and codesign, and they are asking resident to help outline the key priorities, You might have views on how they can manage data better, deliver a better service, or on the latest clinical systems. You can fill out the survey here.
SHOW YOUR WORK: LOCAL ARTS AND CRAFTS FESTIVAL JULY 24
Makers United and Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College are organising an arts and crafts festival at their venue in Parkshot in Richmond. The festival will take place on Saturday 24 July from 10.30am to 4pm. There will be arts and crafts stalls, demonstration of crafts, arts tours of the school and even a band playing. Makers United has places available for arts and crafts makers who would like to book a stall at the event. If you would like to join the Makers United’s community or you would like to know more about the Festival, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Makers United website.
BARNES POSITIVE LIVING GROUP
Richmond Borough Mind's Positive Living Group has now resumed face-to-face sessions at its new venue at Barnes Methodist Church. This group, which meets on Wednesdays, 12.30 - 2.30pm, provides an opportunity for people to connect through therapeutic cooking. You can self-refer by filling out the self-referral form on their website or by emailing email@example.com .
Richmond Mind would like to say a big thank you to The Barnes Fund and Richmond Active Fund for their support. You can find more information about the Positive Living Group here.
PROPOSED CONTRAFLOW CYCLING ROUTE IN NORTH RICHMOND
Have your say on a new scheme of contraflow cycling routes introduced to support safe cycling in Richmond upon Thames. Contraflow cycling is when cyclists are allowed to ride against the traffic flow on a one-way street. The proposed areas for contraflow cycling schemes include Kingsway East, Kingsway West and Shalstone Road in North Richmond. The consultation page, where you can share your comments, has detailed drawings of each area and an overall plan of the routes. The consultation closes on 26 July 2021.
EARLY PLANS FOR KINGSFISHER LEISURE CENTRE OUT NOW
Kingston Council is looking to redevelop the Kingfisher Leisure Centre, Guildhall and Cattle Market car park site to create a new destination for leisure, well-being, learning and culture. This will help to diversify the local economy beyond retail and ignite a vibrant leisure and cultural scene. Earlier this year residents were asked to tell the Council what their priorities are for these sites. Residents ageed that replacing the Kingfisher Leisure Centre, particularly the much-loved swimming pool, was their top priority. Based on the feedback the Council now has some early plans to share.
The Council wants to hear what you think about these early designs for the new community leisure facility and outdoor spaces, and what we might deliver on the Cattle Market car park site. You can provide your feedback by:
Joining one of our webinar sessions held on Zoom on Tuesday 13 July from 6-7pm or on Monday 19 July from 1-2pm. To register your attendance please visit the website, email or call as below.
Visiting the website to complete the online survey at www.transformkingston.co.uk.
Sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling on freephone: 0800 044 3916.
HEALTHWATCH KINGSTON REPORT
Healthwatch Kingston, the independent health and social care champion put in place to involve local people in the provision of health and social care services, has published its report on community engagement for 2020/21. The report shows the pandemic’s impact on wellbeing across the borough.
Over 18,000 experiences, views and concerns were shared on a range of issues and over 25,000 were assisted with health and social care advice and information.The consequences of the deep change in service levels for health and care forced by the pandemic are serious and long term. Healthwatch Kingston is determined to ensure that the views and experiences of the public are at the forefront of decisions taken for the recovery of higher levels of service provision.
KINGSTON SUMMER OF FUN
Kingston's Summer of Fun starts on Thursday, with free outdoor activities for everyone. Look for their events on the grass area adjacent to Kingston Museum on Wheatfield Way, where the unique Umbrella Tree can be found. There will be free events for the whole family, arts and crafts, drop in sessions, information stalls and much more.