These are obviously very concerning times. With a number of emails coming in on covid19, the public health emergency which now spread in implications to every area of our life, I am writing to you with some general information on various aspects.
Health advice and information
The best source for up to date health advice is the Public Health England website:
Below are some of the key info graphics giving information about coronavirus and the actions we all need to take.
Mental health support
It is also important that we all take steps in the days and weeks ahead to look after ourselves and the people around us in our communities in Ealing, Acton and Chiswick. There will be a great deal of information about what we can do to protect our physical health, yet, it is also important to remember that maintaining good mental health will help alleviate the pressure and stresses being felt at the moment.
For example, many of us are now working at home for the first time or have to adjust to having family members at home for longer periods of time when they otherwise would be out and about.
There are some practical things that we can all do to take care of ourselves. Maintaining a routine and trying to go out on regular walks during the day, whilst maintaining social distancing, around the block or to a local park will ensure that we all don’t develop ‘cabin fever’ moving forward! The BBC has put out a helpful article that details some useful tips and hints for us all: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799
There are also some fantastic local organisations which are seeking to continue providing support within the constituency. I have attached their contact details and the necessary links to their websites as appropriate: Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing AND Hounslow MIND – https://www.hfmind.org.uk
MIND are able to provide a range of mental health services in the constituency. They are able to provide general advice and support over the phone, as well as more comprehensive counselling if required. Please do give them a call on 0207 471 0580 if you have any mental health related queries.
Ealing Advice Service – https://ealingadvice.org
The Advice Service has paused in-person advice appointments but is continuing to take phone calls at the moment. They are able to provide advice on a wider range of matters including housing and employment issues. Please do contact the Service on 0300 012 5464.
West London Mental Health Trust – https://www.westlondon.nhs.uk
The Trust is available to contact if you, or a person you know, is currently struggling with their mental health and are in distress. Anyone can contact the Trust and they can be reached on 0300 123 4244.
Finally, as with physical health, if you feel that your mental health is deteriorating to a point where you become concerned about the symptoms you are displaying, it is imperative that you seek the correct medical advice and support. For this, please do contact 111 to speak to a trained member of staff or 999 if it is an emergency situation.
Further help and support
This is a difficult time for many people facing uncertainty about work, housing, bills, childcare and many other issues. I am liaising with the Local Authority to ensure that residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable, receive the support required during this challenging time.
Earlier this week, the leader of Ealing Council, Cllr Julian Bell, published a statement setting out the potential community impact of Covid-19 and the support being made available to residents: https://www.ealing.gov.uk/news/article/1961/councillor_julian_bell_leader_of_ealing_council_-_statement_on_coronavirus
Ealing Council has also published a information guide for residents, which is being regularly updated. Please do monitor these pages for up to date information:
If you require assistance from the Local Authority, please find further information on dedicated sources of help here: https://www.ealing.gov.uk/info/201262/coronavirus_covid-19/2665/i_need_help
The latest updates from Ealing’s Clinical Commissioning Group can be found here:
More information for families with disabled children can be found here: https://contact.org.uk/
With the announced school and nursery closures across the UK from this week, I know that many parents are concerned about the amount of leave they may be able to take to look after their children. I myself am affected, with a child due to take GCSEs. Here is my question in the week to Education Secretary on this: https://twitter.com/RupaHuq/status/1240999639949729793?s=20
You can find information about your rights to time off for dependants here. Please also check with your employer as some have more generous allowances than others.
The government has said that school provision will be made available for children of key workers (such as NHS workers, police and those charity workers involved in the Coronavirus response) and vulnerable children. See who qualifies as a key worker here. You will need to inform your child’s school or nursery if you are in this category and want to use this provision and a reduced service will operate rather than what would have been missed including over the Easter break to allow essential services to continue.
Ealing Soup Kitchen: https://www.ealingsoupkitchen.org/ (open as of 20/03/20)
Ealing Foodbank: https://ealing.foodbank.org.uk/ (with a new centre at Ealing Broadway, open 10-12 on Tuesdays)
City Harvest: http://www.cityharvest.org.uk/
Ealing Churches Winter Night Shelter is closed as of 19/03/2020. If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in London, you can use this website to send an alert to StreetLink: https://www.streetlink.london/.
There are plenty of ways to support vulnerable people in the community. Here are some websites with further information about volunteering in Ealing:
Constituency surgeries and my role as Member of Parliament
Since 2015 I have conducted advice surgeries every Friday. In line with the current public health advice, I have reluctantly paused these. My team and I are still working hard (now remotely) to respond to constituents’ concerns as quickly as possible, do bear with us.
I have continued to attend Parliament to hold the government to account but am being advised to scale back. To watch my recent BBC Politics interview on these subjects please click here https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000gqq2/politics-london-22032020
I hope that you and your family stay safe during this difficult time – please do reach out for help if you need it. After a decade of austerity the community response to this situation has been truly heartening. For all living in the Ealing Central and Acton constituency needing further advice or support, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Together, we will get through this and ensure that we support those who need help.