Updated: Nov 12
Richmond Park News: 6 November 2020
Remembrance events will be very different this year, though I encourage all of my constituents to stop for a moment on Sunday and express their gratitude for all those who have sacrificed their lives to protect others.
Kingston residents are invited to join a Commemoration Service livestream via Youtube on Sunday 8 November at 10.55 a.m. Residents are encouraged to lay wreaths at the war memorial in Kingston at any point between the 8th and 15th of November.
Richmond's wreath laying events will be closed to the public, but video recordings will be made available afterwards. Residents are encouraged to lay their wreaths at their local memorial any time, carefully observing social distancing.
I visited Kew Gardens today to meet with the director Richard Deverell. The original guidelines for the new lockdown included the rule that botanical gardens had to remain closed, but I spoke to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care about this on Sunday evening. I emphasised the inconsistency with other guidelines and the importance of Kew Gardens to local residents needing green open spaces for fresh air and exercise during lockdown. I am delighted that the government has now changed the guidelines to enable Kew Gardens to remain open during lockdown, and I encourage you all to pay a visit.
While in Kew I also visited the Original Maids of Honour, one of our most historic local businesses. Owners Kimberley and Darren have been supporting the community, especially the elderly and vulnerable, with delivery of basics such as bread and milk during the pandemic. They will be offering a delivery service during this lockdown and will continue to serve Kew as they have done since 1860.
Funding petition presented to the House of Commons
Earlier this week I presented a petition to the House asking the Government to support Hammersmith and Fulham Council to build a temporary foot and cycle bridge and restore the main bridge. You can see my presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hG_XGxRXFLw
Richmond Council commits to funding for the ferry
Richmond Council agreed this week to fund a quarter of Hammersmith ferry infrastructure costs. The Government has stated that they expect local stakeholders to contribute. To ensure that Richmond Council is doing everything they can to move this project along, last night they approved funding £375,000 to the cost of the ferry. The remainder should come from the Government, Transport for London and Hammersmith and Fulham Council. TfL has kick-started the procurement process for the ferry service and aims to award a contract within twelve weeks, subject to planning permission on both sides of the river.
You can see more details here: https://www.richmond.gov.uk/council/news/press_office/older_news/press_releases_november_2020/richmond_council_agrees_to_fund_quarter_of_hammersmith_ferry_infrastructure
FURLOUGH EXTENDED UNTIL END OF MARCH
I am very pleased that the Government has at last agreed to extend the furlough programme until March, ending a period of terrible uncertainty for British businesses and workers. I wish they had taken this step sooner, and saved the jobs of many people who have been made redundant during the delay.
I am extremely disappointed, however, that the Government continues to ignore the nearly three million self-employed people who were excluded from income support schemes. These are hardworking people, many of them in my constituency, who have not received any support for their livelihoods since Covid-19 struck. The furlough extension is an opportunity to right that wrong, but instead the Government continues to heartlessly ignore them. I will keep calling for them to get the same assistance other self-employed people have received.
NEW LOCKDOWN RULES
I just wanted to remind my constituents of the rules of the new lockdown. You may only leave the house now for these reasons:
For work, if you cannot work from home
For exercise and recreation outdoors
For all medical reasons, appointments, and to escape harm or injury
To shop for food and essentials
To provide care for vulnerable people or to volunteer
Anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms (cough, fever, loss of taste or smell) should book a test here and self-isolate until their result comes back. Their household members should also isolate during this time. If the test comes back positive, the whole household should follow the instructions they will be given.
The virus has an incubation period of up to two weeks, and many people who are carrying it do not show symptoms. So it is vital that anyone exposed to a confirmed case of Covid-19 remain in self-isolation for the full two weeks, to ensure they do not unknowingly expose someone else to the virus.
Please wear your mask any time you are in an indoor public space, and be careful to give other people plenty of space. If you have a smart phone and you haven't yet downloaded the NHS Covid-19 app, please consider doing so. This is an important part of the contact tracing programme. Tracing and isolating the virus is our most important line of defense against the pandemic now.
People who are designated as clinically extremely vulnerable are advised to stay at home all times, unless for exercise or doctors’ appointments. Further information for Richmond and Kingston residents can be found in their respective sections of this newsletter, and the updated national guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
Lastly, please make sure you contact your doctor if you have any symptoms that suggest you may have a serious illness. The NHS is worried about cancer being diagnosed late because people are not going to the doctor. Please call your surgery if you have any of the symptoms on this page:https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms/
WETLANDS CENTRE TO REMAIN OPEN DURING LOCKDOWN
WWT London, the lovely wetland centre in Barnes, will remain open for wintry wetland walks during the lockdown. However, they will be closing their living collections, exhibitions, play areas, shop, café and hides. They will not be able to offer wheelchair or mobility scooters for hire or grain for sale to feed the birds. Toilets and takeaway food and drink will be available. They are temporarily reducing their admission prices to £5 for adults and £2.50 for children for the duration of this lockdown. You can book your place via their website.
COUNCIL SUPPORT FOR THE COMMUNITY
As the UK moves into a second lockdown, Richmond Council has asked me to share their news about Council services during this lockdown:
Orleans House Gallery will be closed
Youth Centres will be closed – with many activities happening virtually.
The Civic Centre will be open on an appointment only basis, offering limited services for those who do not have the internet.
Libraries across the borough will be open for click and collect and home deliveries, with many services also available online.
Sports facilities (including Sports Centres, pitches and tennis courts) will be closed.
Weddings and Civil Partnership ceremonies will not be possible during the lockdown. Schools, parks and playgrounds will remain open.
Council-run day centres will remain open.
Townmead Road Waste and Recycling Centre will remain open, but you must book.
Support available to residents includes:
Help accessing food, paying bills or rent, picking up prescriptions etc - through local community groups and charities, or via grants. More Information
Guidance and support for those clinically extremely vulnerable. More Information
Support for those struggling with their mental health. More Information.
Support for those who do not have any friends and family who can help them (via our Community Hub.) More Information or call: 020 8871 6555.
New Council initiatives to fight Covid-19 include:
Introducing new Covid-19 marshals in hotspots across the borough
New Covid-19 case tracing service to boost the NHS Test and Trace service.
Additional testing site to open in Teddington, to support the Regional Centre at Twickenham Stadium and mobile testing centre at Old Deer Park.
Contacting Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Residents
The Council has been provided with an updated list of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) Residents. They are in the process of contacting everyone on the list The Community Hub has taken on some additional staff to answer calls from residents who need extra support, especially those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. Residents can call 020 8871 6555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm.
Our borough has an exceptional volunteering community and it is no surprise that community groups and residents across the borough are offering their support in response to the outbreak. Find out more about volunteering locally here.
RAISING MONEY TO FEED RICHMOND CHILDREN
Feed Our Richmond Kids (FORK) has partnered with Richmond Council and the Vineyard Community Food Bank to try to crowdfund enough money to offer food vouchers to struggling Richmond families over Christmas. If you want to help ensure that none of our local children go hungry over the Christmas school holidays, please donate here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=FORK&pageUrl=1
NEW TALK RICHMOND PODCAST
Cllr Jim Millard speaks to nurse Mark Sheen, who spent three weeks in Kingston Hospital critically ill with Covid-19, about his experience. You can listen to the episode here www.richmond.gov.uk/podcast or by searching for Talk Richmond on your podcast application.
Mark contracted Covid-19 in early April. He uses his medical experience to explain what happened to him, Including having to spend twenty-two and a half hours a day wearing a CPAP Hood, which provides a continuous positive airway pressure. To learn about this and his experience, listen to this very interesting15-minute-long episode now.
CHANGES AND SUPPORT FROM KINGSTON COUNCIL
Clinically Extremely Vulnerable People
Kingston Council has asked me to share some information for people who are designated as clinically extremely vulnerable. One change to the rules for this lockdown is that people defined as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) can leave their home for exercise if they are comfortable to do so. CEV people will be offered support through the Kingston Stronger Together hub shopping service if they are not able to access other delivery routes. The council will continue working with community groups to ensure those who are vulnerable receive the support they need, and have already begun contacting residents on their updated lists.
Changes to Council services during the lockdown:
Hook Library, Surbiton Library and New Malden Library will remain open for Click and Collect and limited essential PC access. The Community Library service will continue to deliver to homebound residents. All other libraries will close or remain closed.
Adult education courses that are delivered online will continue, and other courses will go online.
Leisure centres and sports facilities will close - although schools that use the leisure centres in Chessington and Tolworth will continue to have access.
Outdoor gyms must close, but playgrounds remain open.
The recycling centre will remain open.
Health and social care workers will continue to receive free parking.
Care home visiting will still be possible, but with extra precautions in place.
Registration continues but wedding ceremonies are paused for lockdown.
Keep Kingston Safe Test and Trace
Kingston Council’s new local contact tracing team will start work at the end of this week, supplementing the work of NHS Test and Trace. Read more
Staying active at home
Kingston Public Health's 'Healthy at Home and Beyond' offer is FREE and now online.
Get Active exercise specialists run 12 week, 1-1 exercise referral programmes tailored to your needs. Call 020 8547 6815 for more information.
Domestic abuse support available
If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse, please be assured that lockdown rules don't apply if you need help. The Police service and the Kingston Domestic Violence Hub remain open and available, find support information online. Contact the Kingston Domestic Violence Hub on 0208 547 6046. Or call 999 if you are in immediate danger.
Supporting young people
This week is National Youth Work Week, celebrating the great work that youth workers do to support young people. Due to the new lockdown restrictions, youth centres will be closed, but they are offering a programme of online activities from 5 November.