Rushcliffe MP Ruth Edwards writes her April column for West Bridgford Wire.
This is normally my favourite time of the year. There’s nothing better than sitting in the park under the blossoming trees and watching spring unfold. After a long winter, it’s always wonderful to feel the warm sunshine and see the trees and plants bursting into life.
But unlike previous years, this spring hasn’t really registered for me. Like all of you, I have spent the last few months worried about coronavirus and the impact it may have on my family and friends. I have also seen the effect it is having on our communities here in Rushcliffe. Events cancelled, pubs, shops and businesses closed, restrictions on movement. Coronavirus has forced its way into every corner of our lives.
My heartfelt condolences go out to those families who have lost loved ones, this terrible virus is claiming so many lives before their time.
Even during these difficult times, the response to the coronavirus lockdown across Rushcliffe has been brilliant and everyone should be proud of what they are doing. Communities who have pulled together to deliver food and supplies to elderly and vulnerable residents; the NHS staff, care providers, delivery drivers, supermarket workers and all the other people who are putting themselves at risk. Not forgetting the police who have had to enforce the lockdown. I went on patrol with officers last week in West Bridgford to see first-hand, using social distancing, some of those issues and I was struck by how few people are out on the streets and how people are adhering to the rules.
I believe the first job of any MP in a situation like this is to try and reassure people and help anyone who has experienced problems with the implementation of the huge changes we’ve all needed to make to our lives. That’s been my focus in the last few weeks. My team and I have dealt with a huge volume of requests for help, more than triple the normal amount. People have written in with a wide range of issues; including constituents stuck abroad and businesses who are having problems accessing the Government’s support packages.
I am incredibly lucky to have such an efficient and hard-working team working with me. They have been brilliant in working to find answers to the concerns which people have raised. I could not have done this without them. Thank you, Paul, Leslie, James and Scott.
I’ve also been using technology to continue my parliamentary work. In the last few weeks, we’ve been holding online sessions of the Home Affairs Select Committee, taking evidence about the police response to coronavirus and on the impact of the lockdown on domestic violence. For anyone who feels unsafe in their home, Government guidance and support is available here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): support for victims of domestic abuse. Importantly, the Coronavirus household isolation instruction does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse. Anyone in fear of domestic abuse can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free and confidential advice, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.
Here in Rushcliffe, I’m keen to stay in touch with as many local businesses and organisations as possible, despite being unable to meet with them in person. I’ve been in regular contact with the Leaders of Rushcliffe Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council and with healthcare managers in the county. I would like to praise the fantastic work they have been doing. I’ve also written to every business, school and doctor’s surgery to offer my support. Every house in Rushcliffe is currently receiving a coronavirus information leaflet from me with useful and important information and contact numbers.
I’m still holding weekly surgeries – but on the phone, for anyone who needs my help.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who has signed up to volunteer or help their local community. Whether you can do a little or a lot, every bit helps. I’ve signed up to help Sewa Day with their food deliveries and as an NHS volunteer but there are so many different ways you can help. You can register as a volunteer or to receive help from volunteers via Nottinghamshire County Council’s Coronavirus Community Support Hub
Above all, please stay safe and remember the words of Captain Tom: ‘We can get through this folks because it will end and there are better days ahead’