Updated: Mar 25
I have been getting many calls into my office today about the new restrictions on movement announced by the Prime Minister last night. I strongly support these measures, which have been put in place to help slow the spread of the virus and keep the infection rate low enough to allow the NHS to manage cases effectively. The more we can slow down the spread of the disease, the fewer people will die. It's that simple.
Please stay at home unless you need to leave the house for one of these four reasons:
● Shopping for basic necessities, such as food and medicine, as infrequently as possible
● Safe exercise, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household ● Your own medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
● Travelling to and from work, if your work is designated as essential according to the government's critical sector list, and can't be done from home
Please comply voluntarily with the new rules and ensure everyone in your house does the same. The government has summarised the rules very clearly and succinctly in a two page document you can find here:
I am still getting a lot of calls and emails from self-employed people, and would like to assure you that we are pushing the government as hard as possible to offer you more support. Sir Ed Davey, the MP for Kingston and Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, raised an Urgent Question in Parliament today asking for more support for self-employed people. The Secretary of the Treasury's response was this:
"We know that many self-employed people are in real distress, but we are working urgently to address this problem, and I say to the self-employed:
we have not forgotten you—help is coming."
We are hoping the government will have another announcement about that very soon, but in the meantime rest assured all parties are working on plans to support you. You can see the full video of the secretary's response, including an explanation of existing support here: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/bfded31a-6dcb-42ac-b727-1bbe7816f2cd?in=12:31:47
RESOURCES FOR PARENTS - please contribute!
My list of resources for parents is starting to grow, and now includes some fun movement ideas to keep your children active while at home. Please keep sending your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list. You can see the list by clicking on COVID-19 Resources at the top of this page.
We have created a new temporary parking permit, which can be used by staff of key organisations such as the emergency services and healthcare providers for their commute or any travel for work. This will provide essential parking across the borough and its car parks.
All car parks will remain open as usual to ensure customers can still reach businesses for essential journeys, however spaces will also be offered to support key workers and approved volunteers at this time. Further information on parking services is available on the website
Kingston Council Contact Numbers
General enquiries - 020 8547 5000
Housing (Homelessness) - 020 8547 5003
Adult Social Care - 0208 547 5005
Achieving for Children - 020 8547 5008
Job Centre Plus
Enquiries - 020 8914 7001
Universal Credit - 0800 328 5644
RICHMOND'S NEW HELP AND ADVICE HUB HAS LAUNCHED!
Richmond's Community Resilience Hub is a new dedicated call centre for enquiries about Covid-19, providing support and advice on a wide range of issues, with a particular focus on the vulnerable and those most in need. The line is NOW LIVE, so please make a note of the number and pass it to anyone who needs assistance in Richmond Borough: 020 8871 6555
The various voluntary and community groups in Barnes have gotten together and published an excellent guide to assistance available in Barnes. Please check it out here: https://mailchi.mp/osoarts.org.uk/to-our-fabulous-theatre-audiences-caf-customers-and-supporters-1557555?e=cbf25335e5&fbclid=IwAR3ubkkxg_yW9DnZiSH5apixsNyhcPaMx6Y3s4rRfjlbYGCkymBbTzUNgF4
I know many of you are already supporting neighbours who are elderly or vulnerable and donating to the food banks that so many people are relying on. Please continue to offer support to your friends, family and neighbours, and if possible donate to your local food bank. You can donate to many food banks monetarily online if you are not able to leave your house to make a physical donation.
I hope we will continue to see this spirit of care for others in our community, while also seeing an increase in compliance with instructions to stay at home, not meet anyone outside our own household, and maintain the two meter safety zone when we need to go out.