1 - 5 February
I hope you and your family and friends are well.
Although it’s been positive to see the number of COVID-19 infections decline across London this week, it is still far greater than it was during the first wave in the summer of 2020. That’s a clear indicator that we’re not out of the woods yet. So, it will be no surprise that I’m urging residents in Hounslow and all Londoners to keep sticking to the rules. We must keep driving down the rate of infection significantly if we are to see changes to the lockdown restrictions, and more importantly if we are to protect lives from this deadly disease.
We’ve also heard this week that London’s Asian communities have been more devastatingly impacted by this second wave of COVID-19, as confirmed by Professor Kevin Fenton, London Region Director for Public Health. This is particularly worrying for individuals and families in our Borough, as we have a diverse community and a large Asian population. So, I urge residents to take this message seriously. We must protect those who are more vulnerable to this disease and do our best to keep protecting our communities in Hounslow.
Please do the right thing, continue to follow the Government guidance.
The Council is here to help; you are not alone. There is a wide range of guidance available at https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/coronavirus as well as help and support through our Community Hub which can advise and assist residents who may need help with food supplies, clothing, financial and other community support. You can also contact the Hub by email Hub@hounslow.gov.uk or on 020 7084 9697.
One way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 within our communities is by taking a Rapid Test. They are available to those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and gives a positive or negative test result within 30-40 minutes. You can book a FREE rapid test, available at Hounslow House, Heston Library, Staines Rugby Club and Isleworth Library, online via the Council’s website www.hounslow.gov.uk/rapidtest or by phone on 0207 084 9697. You can also just walk up and get tested now too.
Residents who do have COVID-19 symptoms, such as a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, a change to, or loss of, smell or taste, should self-isolate and book a ‘PCR 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.
On Monday, I was delighted to hear from Arthur, a PSCO for MPS Hounslow, who has been awarded a British Citizen Award for his work in the local community. I’ve known Arthur for a long time now and would like to congratulate him on his achievement, and thank him for his contribution to the community. Well done Arthur, keep up the good work!
Arthur quite rightly showing off his BCA medal!
On Tuesday, the Council published its proposed budget plan for 2021/22, to protect services and lead the borough through recovery. You can read more in Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Lead member for Finance & Corporate Services statement. The proposed budget will be presented to Cabinet on Tuesday 9th February, and if it passes it will then go to Borough Council for approval. Despite the pressures of COVID19, I’m proud of Council staff who, as always, have worked hard to continue our track record of sound financial management, while protecting services for our residents and meeting the challenges of the pandemic. This Council has been able to offer financial support to thousands of local businesses and households during the pandemic, as well as successfully setting up a community hub to support our most vulnerable residents. It’s been a very difficult year to say the least, and I’m immensely proud of this Council and its staff who have worked tirelessly for the benefit of residents and businesses of Hounslow.
On Wednesday I was interviewed by ITV News London. That was about digital exclusion and the massive shortfall of laptops provision by this Government so far, for the many young people home learning, and about what we are doing to tackle this issue in Hounslow. It’s very sad to know that many pupils locally and nationally are missing out on their education simply because they don’t have the technology they need for online learning. That has been an absolute failing of this Government since the beginning of the pandemic. Our young people have suffered and lost so much during these past 10 months; we all have a moral obligation to step in for the next generation. In Hounslow, we will do everything we can to tackle digital exclusion and provide pupils with the equipment they need.
Video credit: ITV News London
I’m proud the Council has been able to provide 750 laptops across the borough in addition to others already supplied. I would like thank Richmond Rugby Club again for their ‘second-hand tech’ initiative and everyone who has donated devices to be professionally refurbished so pupils have access to online learning. A huge thanks to all those who stepped in for the benefit of children in Hounslow. If you would like to make a donation, you can find the details on how to do that on the Richmond Rugby Club website here: tech for students.
Last week, I mentioned the MS Society Hounslow – a charity which supports anyone affected by MS, whether they are suffering from the disease or caring for someone with it. This week I would like to share their winter newsletter, which also includes details of their virtual meetings for 2021 and how you anyone can get involved; download it here.
You can also find out more about the work of the MS Society Hounslow, how to access support and/or how you can be involved in their campaign for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Some of you may be aware that following previous visits and enforcement action taken by the Council’s enforcement team, Tesco, Osterley was served with a prohibition notice for allowing access to the first floor for customers to purchase clothes and other non-essential items. I’m pleased to say Tesco have made significant improvements to the store, putting in more safety measures to safeguard people visiting the store. The lifting of the notice followed a site visit by officers. You can read more in Cllr Katherine Dunne, Lead Member for Communities & Climate Emergency statement
Having received the call from my GP this week, I was delighted to have my first COVID vaccination today (Friday) administered by my GP, Dr K. Hugh-Jones at the Thornbury Health Centre. Like most jabs it only took a few minutes and just felt like a scratch! I would like strongly to encourage everyone who has received their call for the vaccine to take it. It is the best possible way for you to protect yourself and others. Please remember the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn, not the Council. I would like to thank NHS Staff and all the volunteers who are working tirelessly to vaccinate residents in Hounslow and more widely.
Having my first jab of the Astra Zeneca Oxford Vaccination against COVID19
The weekend is here again and it’s set to be colder, with the Met Office issuing a 60-hour snow warning for all of London. The first one starts at midday on Saturday and goes through until 11.59pm on Sunday. Another warning is in place straight afterwards, from midnight on Sunday to 11.59pm on the Monday. So, if you must go out for essential activities and/or for your daily exercise please be careful and wrap up warm. Be mindful of any vulnerable neighbours who might be struggling and check-in on them if you can.
Remember, hands, face, space.
Take care and best wishes,
Cllr Steve Curran