Published: 01 May 2020
A note from Tom
Lockdown has left most of us locked up but a few have been out serving our community. I'd like to thank everyone who is playing their part either by fighting the disease, serving our community or following the Government guidelines to help prevent the spread. From key workers in the NHS to shop workers in our towns, people are staying home, protecting the NHS, and saving lives. Thank you.
I'm also grateful to the Foodbanks, Parish Councils, and Kent County Council, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, and Sevenoaks District Council for their Community Hubs. I am delighted to have secured nearly £70million from Government this month to support this vital work our councils are doing.
There is a fantastic network across our area. There is also a new website which matches people to services based where you are and what you need. If you have a skill, or need one, perhaps you can find someone on the 'Invicta' network. On your phone, you can download the Kalido app and it will match you to people who need help. You need to enter a few personal details and, like with other social media, you need to decide what you want to share. I hope this online community will help support the real community too. Have a look below for more details.
I hope that this information, and what I have included below, gives you information on just some of the help available at this difficult time. As ever, this is just a snapshot of what I'm working on. I can't put everything here so please look at my website, which has more information about what I've been up to. If there's something you think I should be doing, please get in touch. You can always contact me by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01732 441563.
I look forward to hearing from you.
In the Community
I've produced this poster with the latest supermarket opening times, accurate at the time of writing. Many are changing their opening hours regularly but please do print this off and give it to neighbours who may not be online.
Of course there are many other smaller shops and superb independent stores still offering collection and delivery services. Please do support them too, they are the heart of our towns and villages.
The message to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, and Save Lives is still as important as ever. I'm hugely grateful to everyone who continues to follow this advice, while also supporting our front line workers.
If you are over 65 or if you need to leave home for work, and you have symptoms of coronavirus - you or a member of your household can get tested here.
Many people have kindly offered to help with Personal Protective Equipment. Please let me know if you have supplies and I can help get them to the front line. If you have a business able to help, make sure you let the Government know here.
The support offered by the Government to business and employees over the past few weeks is unprecedented. I know there are still some issues, which is why I am delighted that Bounce Back Loans are being offered to businesses to recover quickly following the lockdown. This will provide support of up to £50,000 for eligible companies.
The scheme starts on Monday and you can apply here, and find out more information about whether you are eligible here.
We are more dependent on China than ever before. We need to understand what this means for the UK and how we should look at this growing power. I have set up the China Research Group in Parliament to promote debate and fresh thinking about how Britain should respond to the rise of China.
If you are interested in following our work, we issue a regular update which you can subscribe to here, or follow our Twitter feed here.
How you can help:
Supporting our Charities
I am delighted that the Government offered £750 million of help for charities, many of which continue to struggle to fundraise at the moment. If you are involved in a local charity, please take a look at the guidance here and see if you are eligible.
Charities continue to innovate and provide a service for our community. Spadework's vegetable boxes are proving particularly popular, especially for those who are self-isolating at the moment.
Help beat Covid19
To beat Covid19, we need to understand as much about it as possible. You can do your bit by downloading an app developed by scientists at Kings College, and taking a moment each day to report how you feel. This is a worthwhile initiative, and you can join the fight here.
There is understandable concern about waste, with tips being closed and garden waste collections suspended in Tonbridge and Malling Borough. The Government has announced this week that plans will be published on re-opening tips, and I know Kent County Council will do as soon as they can be operated safely.
In Other News:
My last speech in the House of Commons before lockdown
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest issue for many of us was the effect of numerous Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings on the River Medway and its tributaries. I used my last speech in the House of Commons before the pandemic to speak at length about the impact flooding has on our community, and how important the Leigh Flood Storage Area is to our homes.
It was great to pay tribute to Flood Wardens, Local Councils and all those who helped protect our homes. I also wanted to make it clear that those who build and manage properties need to take responsibility for flood prevention measures too.
All those properties built near the River, especially in Tonbridge, are designed to cope when the river bursts its banks. However this will only work with the co-operation of those house builders and management companies.
Charity of the Month - The Friends of Keyworkers Charity
This is a relatively new charity, set up this month, to help frontline NHS staff and other emergency service workers. It is great to see they are already registered with the Charity Commission and I am sure that many of us will support them. More details are available on their website here.
As I mentioned above, once on Kalido, please:
1. Tap the ‘About me’ tab and fill out additional information about yourself, including: profile picture, skills and help you can provide (or need), experience and interests.
2. Tap ‘Nearby’ to see who from your local neighborhood is around and browse their profiles to see what they need or can provide. Here, you can also invite people you feel could benefit from Kalido too.
3. Add the skills you can offer or are searching for to your profile, for example:
* What you can provide:
** “a maths tutor”
** “shopping collection”
** “emergency plumbing”
** “someone to talk to”
* What you want:
** “a maths tutor:
** “someone to do my shopping”
** “an emergency plumber”
** “someone to talk to”
Once you are on board Kalido will send you a handful of timely communications to help you get the most out of the app.
For the foreseeable future my surgeries have all moved online, and will be done through Facebook Live, as face to face appointments will only resume once it is safe to do so.
If you would like to raise something in private then please e-mail me on email@example.com and I will get back to you.
My next Facebook Live surgery will be on
Monday 4 May 2020
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