The response of local communities to measures imposed to manage the spread of coronavirus is inspiring and extremely welcome. As the weeks of self-isolation draw out my grave concern is for people who face extreme loneliness. Despite our need to socially distance local communities are finding ways to keep in touch with people left alone. Thank you.
One very effective tool is the simple virtual kindness cards designed by Becky Wass. I’ve distributed several thousand as they help to maintain contact with vulnerable people without breaching the social distancing regime.
Another critical need is to ensure village shops and outlets can continue to meet the needs of their local community. They have been quick to respond and are doing brilliant work in arranging supplies for the most vulnerable in their community. It is vital they can access the supplies they need and last week I contacted George Eustice MP, asking him to pay particular attention to the need for these smaller outlets to have a continuous supply of goods.
For good reason I have received a huge number of enquiries in relation to people’s need for food and other essential items in the light of difficulties caused by panic buying. I know that supermarkets are working hard to respond and the Government is helping announcing last week that “hubs" are being set up around the country to arrange deliveries of groceries and medicines to identified vulnerable people. When asked, the PM made it clear that the hubs would be there to serve everyone, not just those identified as very high risk. Councils, pharmacists and members of the Armed Forces will help this work and there will be opportunities for members of the public to volunteer.
A further rapid response to this challenge has been launched by the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation based in Newlyn.
The initiative called #FishtoyourDoor in partnership with Seafood Cornwall is connecting UK consumers (who want fresh fish delivered to their door) with fish sellers in Cornwall in an effort to support the Cornish industry during these difficult times. If you would like to be added to the list of fish merchants - or if you would like a fresh fish delivery - get in touch! https://www.seafoodcornwall.org.uk/isolated-in-cornwall/
The measures announced by the Chancellor to mitigate in part the impact of measures to control the spread of coronavirus are welcome and offer real help for most so that, when we come through this, the recovery can be encouraged and accelerated. However, as I write this, not enough clarity is available regarding how Government will help people such as our self-employed workforce along with other similarly pressing issues that I’m calling for urgent action on.
A really useful tool of particular help to businesses is the Government’s new Business Support website. This site, businesssupport.gov.uk, provides details of all Government measures in one place.
Unfortunately, following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening, I have closed my office. My website and Facebook page are regularly updated with accurate information and people can continue to contact me (just not in person which is a regret). My staff and I will continue to take up the issues raised as quickly as possible and people can still email me firstname.lastname@example.org and phone on 01736 363038.