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Nicola Richards MP: If we work together we can halt the spread of this horrendous disease

West Bromwich | Politics | Published:

Writing in the Express & Star, West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards says she feels inspired by the community around her in the battle against coronavirus.

West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards

We are living in truly unprecedented times as the whole country takes measures to protect the most vulnerable from the threat of Covid-19.

The restrictions placed on work, socialising and travel are affecting us all and the Government is taking steps that have never been seen in our peacetime history to support businesses and communities.

As a Member of Parliament, I am used to dealing with a broad range of issues raised by constituents in West Bromwich East, many of whom feel they have nowhere else to turn.

But over the last few weeks, I have been amazed by the number of calls and emails I have received from businesses and individuals offering to help with the response to coronavirus in any way that they can.

I have been awed and inspired by the community in West Bromwich and the wider Black Country, with so many generous people stepping in to help both neighbours and strangers in their community.

As such, I wanted to ensure that people are aware of the support available to them, as well as suggest some options for those of you who want to do more to help.

Over the last three weeks, I have written to as many restaurants, pubs and takeaways as possible; as well as every school, nursery, care home, college and place of worship to offer my assistance and support.

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If you haven’t heard from me, think I can help, or have an offer of assistance, please do get in touch.

I want to thank each and every person contributing to our communities overcoming this virus.

Heroes

To all those on the frontline in the NHS, social care, pharmacies and emergency services. To all the teachers, childminders and school staff. To all the shelf-stackers, delivery drivers and warehouse operatives keeping our country running. And to all of you following the Government advice and saving lives by staying home. Thank you.

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I know it’s an incredibly tough time, that will likely change the way many of us live our lives forever.

When this is over and things return to some form of normality, I for one will be more grateful than ever for the freedoms and privileges we all enjoy in this great country.

I will certainly never take leaving the house for granted again.

There have been some truly heart-warming moments, with millions cheering and clapping the NHS on their doorstep being just one.

When we look back on this period in our country’s history, I want us to remember the many small acts of kindness and love that brought us together as a community to fight this virus. We should be immensely proud of our society.

There are still tough days ahead for us all. More people are going to die before their time from this invisible killer. But this will not last forever.

We will get through it and by working together and supporting each other, we can halt the spread of this horrendous disease.

Let’s give our heroes on the frontline a fighting chance. Let’s save thousands of lives. Let’s stay at home and stay safe.

Here is some of the support available and useful helplines for those effected by COVID-19:

– Universal Credit: for details on making Universal Credit claims, call: 0800 328 5644

– Business support and ventilators helpline: 0300 456 3565

– HMRC: for tax advice, for business or individuals, call HMRC on: 0800 015 9559

– Business and employee support schemes: the Government has provided a package of measures to support businesses in the form of a business loan scheme, grants, business rate relief and a major job retention scheme for employees – read about this in full here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

– Sandwell MBC should be reaching out to businesses eligible for small business grants. If you have not yet received information on this and believe you are eligible, please do get in touch with my office and we can make representations on your behalf.

– Food Packages for clinically vulnerable: contact me directly at nicola.richards.mp@parliament.uk and I will pass the necessary details onto the right organisation.

– Help for renters: there has been a ban on evictions for the next 3 months – you may wish to contact your landlord for more information.

– Mortgage holidays: the Government has announced a three-month mortgage holiday – contact your mortgage provider directly for more details.

– Help with energy bills: contact your supplier directly. Many companies are offering support.

– Vulnerable people: if you are looking for some support yourself, or are worried about a vulnerable neighbour or family member, visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

– School closures: 0800 046 8687

– NHS: only call 111 if you cannot get help online at www.111.nhs.uk

– Free travel is available for NHS staff on buses and trams across the West Midlands

If you would like to help with the Coronavirus response, you might like to consider:

– Joining the NHS Volunteer Army www.goodsamapp.org/NHS

– Donating to local food banks: if you email me at nicola.richards.mp@parliament.uk, I will be more than happy to pass the details of our local food banks on.

If you live in West Bromwich East and I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me on nicola.richards.mp@parliament.uk, call me on 0207 219 6945 or write to me at Houses of Parliament, London, SW1A 0AA.

Alternatively, if you live in one of my colleague’s constituencies, they are also available to help and their contact details are as follows:

West Bromwich West: Shaun Bailey MP – shaun.bailey.mp@parliament.uk; 0207 219 3982.

Halesowen and Rowley Regis: James Morris MP – james.morris.mp@parliament.uk; 0121 550 6777.

Warley: John Spellar MP – john.spellar.mp@parliament.uk; 0121 423 2933.

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