18 - 22 May
It’s been an extremely warm week!
This week we highlighted mental health, the importance of looking after our ourselves and our wellbeing. Quite possibly, it’s never been as important because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has had on our lives. We have all been living, working and socialising in different ways for the last few months and we all should find new ways to look after our mental health if we can.
On Monday, I took the opportunity to visit HIRA, a charity based in Feltham which has been providing hot food from Adams Café in Hounslow Town Centre given free to them by the owner, pictured here in the cap. I would like to thank Adam and HIRA for all the work they are doing for the community, both now during coronavirus and the work they do all year round in helping our communities in Feltham and the surrounding area.
Something which has been positive for me personally, is being able to take time out every day for my daily walk in Brentford. It’s been good to walk along the canal as part of my walk. Here’s a picture of a cormorant I spotted on the canal on Tuesday, not a fisherman’s friend! The cormorant was resting after a heavy lunch. Some of you older readers will remember the cormorant in the Noggin the Nog of the Northmen - I enjoyed those stories!
Sadly, over 240 residents in the borough have lost their lives due to coronavirus. My deepest condolences to their families and friends, and to all of those who have lost loved ones to this awful disease. However, it’s a stark reminder of the challenges we still face in fighting this terrible disease, and the importance to continue to stay home as much as possible and to stay alert.
This week, NHS England updated the advice on the recognised symptoms of coronavirus which now includes a third symptom:
- A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
- Loss or change of taste / smell
If you need medical advice you should contact the NHS 111 service in the first instance - visit 111.nhs.uk/ or dial 111 if you can’t access the internet.
The reopening of schools has been a concern for many over last few weeks, following the Government’s advice to open schools to more pupils from next month. Undoubtedly this will raise concerns for many of our parents, teachers and young people across the borough. The Council wants schools to re-open as soon as possible, but only when it is safe for them to do so, ensuring the safety of everyone is our highest priority. You can read Cllr Tom Bruce, Lead Member for Education, Children and Youth Services, statement he issued this week.
On Wednesday, I had my regular interview with Chiswick Buzz TV, if you’d like to listen to presenter, Lorna Ko, ask questions on our response to COVID-19 watch the interview.
On my walk on Thursday, I was delighted to see that the Verdict has reopened, providing a take-away service. Its unique location in the Old Magistrates Court, in Market Place in Brentford, is worth a visit! The Council is doing everything it can to support local businesses, who were already suffering badly, and the crisis has just added to their woes.
On Friday, I was asked by Cllr Daanish Saeed for Isleworth ward to visit Hounslow Open Kitchen at 514 Great West Road, Hounslow, led by Ehsan Shahid Chaudhary. Muslim Hands is a charity that supports the Open Kitchen, which has been open for over a year, and has been providing food to the neediest in the form of lunch or dinner. With start of the lockdown, they’ve now switched to providing takeaway meals. When I was there today there were over 50 residents queuing for food. This is a sight that none of us want to see, but in the circumstances I’m so grateful that charities like Muslim Hands are still providing hot food via Open Kitchen to the most vulnerable in our communities.
In the afternoon, I teamed up with Cllr Hanif Khan, Lead member for Transport and Corporate Property and keen cyclist, Cllr Guy Lambert, at Dukes Meadow as the planters were being delivered to close the roadway under the small bridge to through traffic to allow safe use by pedestrians and cyclists. This is part of our improvement programme for walking and cycling to help keep people safe, make social distancing easier and improve the environment. There will, of course I know, be some inconvenience at first as users of Dukes Meadows get used to the new arrangement. But as the Prime Minister stated clearly, we are all in this together, and we have to make significant change to improve our quality of life and to stop the spread of the virus.
On Saturday and Sunday, the mobile coronavirus test centres will be available again at Grasshoppers’ Rugby Club. There is a mixture of walk-in and drive-through appointments available. Keyworkers, volunteers and their families can book an appointment for a test via the self-referral portal. Members of the public can now register on the NHS website. If you have any difficulty or any questions about testing, please email email@example.com. A big thank you to Grasshoppers Rugby Club for continuing to support coronavirus testing in Hounslow.
As we come to the end of Ramadan, many residents look forward to celebrating Eid this weekend and I know it’s difficult time for families and friends not being able to celebrate in the usual way. The Muslim Council of Britain has published a helpful advice flyer on its website. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all and your families an Eid Mubarak.
On Tuesday (26th May), I’ll be hosting a live online Q&A at 7pm. I really want to hear about your issues or concerns directly, both about what’s happening now and uncertainties about the future. I know there are a lot of questions out there. You can submit a question to firstname.lastname@example.org or write it on the night in the live chat stream. I’ll try to answer as many as I can!
I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable bank holiday weekend, please stay safe and stay alert.