Covid-19 – FUNDING APPEAL

 Visors for front line medical staff and key workers in Hounslow

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant delays in getting essential Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to our front line medical staff in Hounslow. PPE equipment required by front-line staff includes a number of items, and one of the key ones is Visors, which consist of a framework for the medical staff to then apply a clear plastic Acetane sheet over the front.

Our local Neighbourhood Watch and OWGRA have therefore decided to launch an initiative to make and deliver them.

PLEASE read the attached description and donate via the crowdfunding page set up for this (https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/visors-for-front-line-medical-staff-in-hounslow ). This is your chance to help the front-line medical staff in Hounslow working to save people who are ill with the virus.

Covid-19 – Local News

We have listed below local information regarding the Covid-19 crisis, which is intended to provide you with information on local facilities, etc. in 6 areas

  • Health advice
  • Sources of news
  • Hounslow council advice
  • Local shops, restaurants & takeaways
  • Scams and
  • Community Help.

During these difficult days the main focus of peoples’ attention is on how to keep themselves safe. We encourage everyone to listen to, and follow, the advice from the government. It is simply not the case that we can continue with business as usual. Almost everything we do each day has to change if we are to win what is truly a battle with the COVID-19 virus.

Health advice

The single most reliable source of health-related advice on Covid-19 is the NHS. Their website is https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Keeping a safe distance from other people and minimising the people you do have any contact with is probably the single most important action each of us can do to minimise the spread of this virus. The government advice is crystal chear; we should all listen and follow that advice.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others .

This diagram graphically demonstrates how important this is to getting this outbreak under control, and the impact we can all have on it if we do substantially reduce the number of people we have any social contact with.

The government encourages us to go out once a day for exercise, provided we practice safe social distancing (i.e. stay at least 2 metres away from everyone else). That includes if you’re running and overtaking a walker; likewise if you’re cycling. And please, no team sports like football in the park…. This is a serious health crisis.

Sources of news

Social media is good to communicate – but please don’t use it as your source of fact on the crisis. This crisis is serious and we need to follow the best and most reliable information – and on social media there are too many people who feel they are an expert on things they actually know very little about. It is one thing to pass opinions about music, or sports, or concerts in such a case – it is completely different when such opinions (not facts) could result in readers making a life or death decision.

The following news services have good sources of information on the latest state of play

  • The BBC has a dedicated page for the latest news on the outbreak.
  • Sky doesn’t have a dedicated page but does have a lot of stories and news about it.
  • ITV also has a lot of information, with a number of stories under the “Health” menu option.

All the national newspapers also have a lot of information on their respective websites (Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, The Guardian, etc.).

The government has a very comprehensive website here https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus .    This has a wide range of information about the crisis and the actions being taken by the government. This is the “official” site to use if you want non-health-related official guidance on the COVID-19 crisis.

Hounslow Council Advice

Hounslow Council is maintaining a very useful and comprehensive website ( https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/coronavirus ) on the Covid-19 epidemic detailing their advice and a summary of the help they can provide. The council are also sending out daily eNewsletters providing useful guidance to Hounslow residents. You can sign up to receive this newsletter at the website in the article above. The only information you need to provide is an email address.

Council-run parks remain open, but people are strongly advised to practice social distancing when using them, and to only use them for their daily exercise. However all playgrounds and play areas within them have been closed, to support social distancing. Osterley Park and Syon Park are, however closed until further notice.

They have also launched a Community Support Hub to ensure the most vulnerable residents get the support and help they need throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

They state that “The priority of the Hub for now is to protect the most isolated and vulnerable individuals identified and contacted by the NHS to be ‘shielded’. These residents have serious long-term health conditions and it is vital that we ensure there are support networks in place to make sure they’re looked after. The Hub is also there for anyone else vulnerable and isolated who may not have been contacted by the NHS.   

Working with voluntary and community partners, businesses and local volunteers, the Hub will connect people with each other and ensure food, supplies and other support reaches those most in need. “

The Hub can be contacted on 020 7084 9697 or email hub@hounslow.gov.uk. The Hub is also the place for people, community groups and businesses to volunteer to help, and there’s an online form to register.

Local Shops, restaurants and takeaways

Much has been written about people panic-buying. They need to decide for themselves whether being a good neighbour and looking after older and more vulnerable neighbours and local residents squares with buying 6 months’ worth of toilet rolls in one go.

But what we all should be careful of is only buying food and other consumables that we will actually use. So if you buy 4 weeks’ worth of fresh fruit and vegetables in one shop, quite a bit of it will have gone off by the time you get round to trying to use it (with press reports now appearing of increasing amounts of such food being thrown away unused). If you feel you must stock up, then buy frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables instead; at least these will still be usable months later when you discover them at the back of the freezer / in a box in the garage

Tesco Extra Osterley has been flooded with demand over the last few weeks. They have now taken a number of measures to address this and make for safe conditions in the store, including

  • Social distancing of at least 2m at all times
  • Queuing system outside to regulate the number of people in the store
  • No more than 3 items of any product per customer
  • Dedicated hours for elderly and most vulnerable customers (Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, 0900hrs to 1000hrs)
  • Dedicated hours for our NHS colleagues (Tuesday, Thursday and Sundays, 0900hrs to 1000hrs).

We should also not forget our local shops which are far less busy than Tesco and have a wide range of produce. These include

  • the convenience stores in the Osterley Parade on Thornbury Road and on London Road close to the station housing the Post Office
  • a traditional greengrocers (Isleworth Greengrocers) in the small square off South Street in Isleworth which also does home delivery (telephone 07402 256137) and
  • Tuppers, the butchers, opposite the Woodlands pub in St John’s Road. They open from 7am weekdays, until 5pm, but close 1pm Wednesdays, and Saturday 6am -2pm. They also offer a delivery service ( telephone 020-8560-4959).

Also New Covent Garden Market (normally a wholesale-only market supplying trade customers), now has a number their members offering to supply fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to your home address. Each supplier has their own arrangements for how this will work; further details can be found on this website.

Regarding home delivery of cooked meals, as well as all the local takeaway + home delivery services (Bayleaves at Busch corner is a personal favourite) several local restaurants are now offering home delivery, including

  • Memories of India and Tiger Lily on Thornbury Road (deliveries via UberEats and Deliveroo) and
  • Burchells cafe in Isleworth with the menu changing every week. Contact details are info@burchells.co.uk.

Covid-19 Scams

The Police have issued guidance regarding Covid-19 scams they are hearing about (yes, sadly some people really will stoop that low to make money illegally….).

The key bits of guidance they give are

  • Online shopping scams where members of the public have ordered and paid for personal protective equipment, which has then never arrived. Guidance : look critically at the online vendor. If they are a company you have never heard of, and/or they seem to be selling something unavailable elsewhere / cheaper than elsewhere, then remember – if it’s too good to be true, then usually it IS too good to be true.
  • Unsolicited home visit from anyone offering a service and asking for payment or to be let into your home. Guidance : Immediately request and check their ID and credentials carefully. If you are not convinced or you still have suspicions, shut the door and report the matter to police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.
  • Contact from someone you don’t know, online or in person, and are being pressured to buy something you feel unsure about. Guidance : Take a moment to assess the situation and talk to someone you trust before committing.

In short, please apply the same caution as you would normally. They have also issued a follow-up message here with more details. The Police have also produced the postcard below – please take note of it.

And finally, scammers are also sending out text messages saying words to the effect that “….the government has granted you a goodwill payment – follow this link….” Or “…the police have fined you for not social distancing / going out too often /etc – follow this link…”. These are all scams !

Community Help

After the depressing last section, let’s end on a more cheerful note.

The NHS Voluntary Responders launched at the start of the week and was flooded with applications. If you are interested in signing up, the link to do so is here. The page details what sort of roles you would be doing, and who can join up for the scheme. If you meet the criteria, then the link to register for the scheme is under the “How do I join” section.

There are also local COVID-19 local support groups that have been set up on Facebook. The ones covering this area are

Nextdoor is an online (and phone) application that groups people in areas e.g. there is a Nextdoor Osterley group. It allows people in an area to post up information and message other people on the site in their area. There have been several posts of people offering to help with deliveries, etc.

If you are thinking of using any of these, please do take suitable precautions as you would for anyone offering to provide a service to you.

Or why not simply check in with your neighbours to make sure they are OK. If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours, a short note posted through the door identifying yourself (e.g “Hi, we’re your neighbours from No. 42. We’ve waved to each other when we’ve been out walking our 2 black miniature poodles…”), what you could help with if they need it, and how they can contact you, could be a huge comfort to them in these trying times.

Or if you want to provide financial support

  • Our local hospital, the West Middlesex, is run by the Chelsea & Westminster and West Middlesex Hospitals Trust. If you would like to make a donation to them to thank them for the great work they are doing, you can do so via the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund
  • If you want to make a donation to a local charity that provides emergency food and support and advice to those who are in need and live in the London Borough of Hounslow, then consider Hounslow Community Foodbox
  • There is also a national appeal underway for funds to help those most affected by the epidemic. Further details are here https://nationalemergenciestrust.org.uk/coronavirus/.

We hope you fund this helpful.  Please stay safe