It feels like a strange time to be writing an update on what the council is doing… it is doing so much and its quite daunting to think the update may be out of date as soon as I write it!
As you will all know, at the moment we are in lock down, something that we are all finding difficult. Many of us feel trapped inside our homes, lonely or overwhelmed living on top of each other with no space. But there have been many examples of people making the most of this, from baking incredible cakes, rediscovering an aptitude for growing vegetables or reconnecting virtually with old friends. I’m at home with my husband and three children, two of whom are teenagers. We tried to do a quiz with my family in Ireland and other parts of London last week. We won’t win Mastermind, but it was good to spend time with family even virtually.
My thoughts go out to everyone who has been affected by COVID-19. There have been so many terribly sad stories. But it has also really has brought out the best in our community. Its great to hear of WhatsApp groups that have sprung up for neighbours (Grange Road even managed to pool together eggs that enabled one houses to bake a cake for the whole street!). I know many of you are already part of Twickenham’s incredible army of volunteers through residents’ associations, neighbourhood communities, foodbanks, churches and local clubs. A number of people have asked if they can offer extra support at this time – if so, Richmond CVS (richmondcvs.org.uk) is registering those who can offer support with shopping, deliveries, prescriptions and phone conversations.
But unless we are a key worker, we must remember that staying at home is the most important thing we can do – to protect our own health and for the benefit of society. It’s hard but it’s really important that we continue to keep our distance – only going out for essential shopping or once daily exercise and when we do this trying to avoid popular places like the river towpath and local parks. We need to share these places and remember that the longer we spend there the less time other people have to enjoy the same space. This is particularly important for those of us who have gardens… let’s make sure that those without any outside space have priority access to these spaces.
To help people during this period, the council has launched the Community Hub, a dedicated helpline to deal with local enquiries on COVID-19 and help signpost people to the right support. The helpline number is 020 8871 6555 – please do contact us on this number if you need assistance. The service has been taking approx. 300 calls a day and 50 emails, supporting those within our community that most need it.
The Council has had to amend some regular services as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions, for example, we have paused garden waste collections. This has enabled us to continue with weekly collections for waste and recycling at a time when some of the workforce is self isolating, there is greater residential waste (probably because we are in our homes more) and social distancing measures are in place. We hope to return the service as soon as possible and are extending the validity of any sign ups. If you have questions on this or other regular services you should continue to check the website or call the normal contact centre on 0208 871 6000.
While Michael Butlin, Richard Bennett and I have had to cancel our surgeries due to social distancing, please just send us a quick email or call if you’d like to talk through anything!
Cllr.K.Mansfield@richmond.gov.uk Cllr.M.Butlin@richmond.gov.uk Cllr.R.Bennett@richmond.gov.uk
Katie Mansfield, Councillor, South Twickenham Ward, Cllr.K.Mansfield@ richmond.gov.uk