14 - 18 December + Christmas and New Year message
I hope you and your families are well.
Due to the continued sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, the Government made the decision to move London into Tier 3 – Very High alert restrictions from Wednesday. This means Hounslow, like all other London boroughs, is now in the very highest category, and has tougher restrictions. I urge residents to read the Government’s guidance on what we can and cannot do in Tier 3: Very High alert.
On Sunday, I had a virtual meeting with other London Council Leaders and Professor Kevin Fenton, the Public Health England Lead for London. We listened to and discussed the recommendations he was going to make to the Minister on the Tier level. We now know the result!!
I know this move to Tier 3 will have been extremely disappointing and worrying for residents, particularly as we approach Christmas, given the impact this will have on how we celebrate with our friends and families. However, we must take these measures very seriously, and ensure we do everything we can to reduce infections in Hounslow and protect our most vulnerable. We have lost over 270 residents to COVID. We must act now to prevent extra pressure on our local NHS, avoid more hospital admissions and more lives being lost to this awful disease. Although, we have seen the vaccine begin to be rolled out, we must remember there is some time to go before we can be confident our residents and communities are safe and we can return to life as we knew it before COVID.
Latest figures show 1 in 3 infected people in England show no symptoms of having the virus. But they can still pass it to others, so I urge you to follow the rules and continue with the three basic steps we can all do to help stop the spread; wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering and keep space.
Household mixing is one of the key contributors to the increase in transmission and the sharp rise in cases. So, I urge you to not socialise indoors with any other people not in your household or support bubble. You can continue to meet people outdoors in open public spaces in groups of up to six. I would like to remind residents that if you have COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, a change to or loss of smell or taste), you must self-isolate and book a COVID-19 test. You can book an appointment or order a home testing kit via, the government’s website www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test, the NHS COVID-19 app or by calling 119.
I would like to assure residents and businesses; the Council and the support of our Community Hub are here to help you during these difficult and challenging times. If you or someone you know needs help and support, please contact the Hub on 020 7084 9697 or Hub@hounslow.gov.uk.
Recently I mentioned I was invited by the Trustees and Volunteers to Hounslow Community FoodBox to take part in their Christmas donation appeal video. Sadly, the demand for help from organisations like Foodbox has quadrupled this year. They desperately need more help and support from those who can help, whether that’s by donating food, money or your time.
I would like to thank Foodbox, Brentford Football Club and London Irish Rugby Football Club (players and staff from both clubs) as well as all those voluntary and community groups who have been doing a terrific job. They have supported their communities in truly commendable #1Hounslow spirit. We couldn’t have done so much without your help and support. We mustn’t forget that food poverty was here before COVID-19, but it has now become much, much worse.
If you can please donate to your local foodbank, I’m sure it will be very much appreciated.
On Thursday, I met Lee Hoos (Chief Executive) and other representatives from Queens Park Rangers Football Club, who wish to develop their training ground in Heston. There’s nothing like having healthy competition with two London rivals in the borough. It will reduce their carbon footprint as their scouts will have less distance to travel between the two training grounds; one in Osterley and the other in Heston.
On Thursday I was delighted to host the Mince Pie Event, along with Cllr Lily Bath, Deputy Leader, and Chief Executive Niall Bolger. We wanted to thank our staff for the fantastic work they’ve done throughout the most challenging year the Borough has faced. Of course, this year it was a little different, being a virtual event. It was great to have some time to reflect with staff on the challenges we have faced for the past 11 months, and to recognise and commend their work in continuing to provide services, as well as responding to the crisis. I would like to thank not just council staff and our trading companies, but NHS staff, key workers from our partner agencies, delivery drivers, supermarket staff, volunteers and community groups - the list could go on - for their incredible effort to support and protect residents in Hounslow
I will never forget how everyone has come together with one common goal. From this crisis we have seen the importance of working together as one. With support from each other we will face the challenges ahead.
Apologies to the Trinjan Group! Last week, I mentioned being invited by them - a local women’s social and community group who raise money for charities – to present their very generous donation of £1000 to Hounslow Community Foodbox at Brickfield Community Centre. I want to share this with you again, as its Mohinder Dosanjh, Chair and Founder of Trinjan, presenting the donation, not Mindu. I’m terrible with names (but I do meet a lot of folk!) so I would like to thank Trinjan again for their support to this very good cause.
I’m here with members of Trinjan Group and Hounslow Community Foodbox, delighted to see Mohinder presenting £1000 to Philip of Hounslow Community Foodbox.
Don’t forget about what you can do to help the environment, especially during Christmas!! You can read more in this statement from Cllr Guy Lambert, Lead Member for Recycling, Highways and Trading Companies. It explains how the Council is gearing up for recycling in the festive season. So please think about what you can recycle, and do your bit!
For more information and to view the full Christmas collection schedule visit www.hounslow.gov.uk/ChristmasCollections
Like Cllr Lambert, I would like to thank our Highways, Recycling and Companies staff. They have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to keep our roads and pavements clean and safe, continued collecting our household waste and recycling, and in many other services they have kept going seamlessly for residents. They’ve done a sterling job. A huge thanks to them.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our schools for continuing to provide excellent education to our young people during COVID. They’ve done this despite many challenges put in front of them by the Government, usually at very short notice. Today they’ve had to face a further challenge over the Christmas holiday to prepare for mass testing of young people when pupils return in January. As my mum used to say, you wouldn’t run a biscuit factory like this!!
So, I would like to wish the very best to the Heads, Chairs and Governors, Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Caretakers, Catering staff, Cleaners, Volunteers and everyone else who plays a part in providing high quality education in Hounslow. Please see the statement from Cllr Tom Bruce, Lead Member for Education, Children and Youth Services earlier in the week.
This will be by last blog now before the new year, so I’ll see you in 2021.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Please stay safe and take care.