Updated: Feb 15
Since the vaccine rollout began I have heard from a number of constituents asking how to register relatives who have been displaced by Covid-19 with a local GP. Our Southwest London Clinical Commissioning Group asked me to let constituents know that everyone is entitled to a GP whether they are a permanent resident of the UK or not. If a GP refuses to register someone, the Southwest London CCG can intervene and place them with a GP surgery.
I'm also concerned about constituents whose immigration applications are still in the system. The Institute for Public Policy Research recently released a new report, ‘Beyond the Hostile Environment’, which exposes the human cost of harsh immigration policies. I have heard from many constituents about the damage done to innocent lives by these policies. Families often live in extreme poverty while they wait years for their cases to be decided, because while they wait they are neither entitled to work nor entitled to public funds.
I am glad that at least the NHS is there for those who are caught in the immigration system. If you know of anyone who has been unable to register for a GP and needs assistance, please ask them to contact my office.
SMALL BUSINESS SURGERIES
I will be holding a Brexit-focused small business surgery this Friday. The session will give business owners the opportunity to share their experiences and obtain useful information on what assistance is available. This is an incredibly difficult time for small businesses, and I’m committed to helping people understand exactly what they can do to support themselves. If you’d like to attend, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REGISTER NOW TO VOTE IN LONDON ELECTIONS IN MAY
The Government recently announced that the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections will go ahead on Thursday 6 May 2021. I want to encourage all Richmond Park constituents to register to vote, and to consider applying for a postal vote in this election.
On 6 May you will have a chance to vote for the Mayor of London and for the holder of the constituency seat shared by Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow in the London Assembly. You will also have your say on the additional London-wide Assembly Members, who are allocated by proportional representation.
I hope lockdown rules will be eased by May 6, but given the many uncertainties we are facing I would strongly recommend applying for a postal ballot. No one needs to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote. Your vote counts the same, whether you cast it by post or at a polling station. Voting by post also reduces the risk of infection for your family, poll workers and fellow voters.
For more information about the London elections, please visit the London Elects website.
You can register to vote on the government website here: register to vote.
Richmond residents can find out about registering for a postal vote here: voting by post
Kingston residents can find out about registering for a postal vote here: kingston.gov.uk/postal-voting
NEW CONSULTATION ON THE STAG BREWERY DEVELOPMENT
The Greater London Authority (GLA) recently launched a new consultation on the proposed development at the former Stag Brewery in Mortlake. This consultation will be running until March 8th, to give residents the opportunity to feed back on a series of technical notes submitted by the Applicant. These documents contain materials looking into the impact of Hammersmith Bridge’s closure on traffic, the Applicant’s response to issues raised during previous public consultations, a summary of traffic modelling findings and Highway Mitigation Option Plans.
Hammersmith Bridge will, regrettably, be closed for the foreseeable future. It would therefore be a mistake to assume its availability as an access point for the proposed development, as was initially the case. I’m grateful that GLA has postponed the hearing and given the Applicant time to look into how this will impact local traffic.
I urge as many people as possible to engage in the consultation and make your voices heard. Many constituents have expressed serious concerns about the impact that the development will have on Mortlake’s existing traffic congestion. This is your opportunity to put forward your case.
Information on the consultation, including links to the documents provided by the Applicant and details on how to respond, can be accessed here.
NEW PODCAST: POLICING IN RICHMOND DURING COVID-19
Talk Richmond has posted a new episode of their popular podcast, hosted by Cllr Jim Millard. This episode focuses on policing COVID-19 and features Inspector Rebecca Robinson, the Met Police Inspector for Richmond Neighbourhoods. Click here to listen as Inspector Robinson talks about what the police are doing to help with the COVID-19 response, including how they are enforcing the rules and issuing fines to those flouting them.
Here are some other ways to keep up with local policing:
To follow the local borough police team on Twitter: @MPSRichmond
You can find your safer neighbourhood team and see statistics about your area here.
BECOME A COVID-19 COMMUNITY CHAMPION AND HELP KEEP OTHERS INFORMED
A new campaign aimed at providing timely, easy to understand and reliable information about COVID-19 and vaccinations is to launch in Richmond upon Thames – and the Council is encouraging local people to take part.
The new COVID-19 Community Information Champions scheme aims to recruit individuals who live or work in the borough and want to help make a difference in their community by ensuring people are kept up to date with the latest COVID-19 information and guidance, including the roll out of the vaccine programme.
Anyone can volunteer to contribute – you don’t need any previous experience - and you will be given everything you need to carry out your role effectively by the Council, its Public Health team and the NHS.
You might be a person that lots of people know and trust; you might be involved in a community group or organisation; you might have lots of family that live in the borough; you might be involved in a popular business – whatever it is, you just need a willingness to help others and to work with like-minded individuals.
If this sounds like something you would like to do, please visit this page and fill in the registration form.
HELP WITH ANNUAL FUEL BILLS
Grants of up to £85 per household are now available from the Council to protect residents who are at risk from living in fuel poverty. If you are on benefits or have a low income you may be eligible for help from the Council with heating bills, even if you are already receiving help from elsewhere, including via the COVID-19 Hardship Fund. Last year over 900 people received the one-off grant.
The closing date for applications is Friday 2nd April 2021. Applications received after the closing date will not be processed. Successful applicants will be notified after the closing date.
If you would like to apply you can download the FuelGrants application form from the Council website or call 020 8891 1411 to arrange to have one posted to you.
KINGSTON ADULT EDUCATION: ONLINE CLASSES AVAILABLE
If you feel like trying something new, a range of 5-week online introductory courses is available from Kingston Adult Education from 22 February 2021. Courses include: Botanical Art; Drawing and Painting; Introductory courses in Oil Painting, Watercolour or Portraiture; Beginners French, German, Italian, Japanese or Spanish; Nutrition for Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Enrol on one of the courses with a friend and both of you get 10% off the fees. Offer ends Monday 15 February.
KINGSTON LIBRARIES VIRTUAL JOB CLUB
Kingston Libraries host a Virtual Job Club offering residents support and advice on employment topics. This includes CV tips, interview techniques, local job opportunities, advice on how to apply for Universal Credit, local training and education courses, and business start-up support. The club connects residents with experts who deliver weekly sessions.