The last few weeks have been anything but easy, and the current situation remains one of the most challenging events in living memory with no clear end in sight.
However, the purpose of this email is not to depress you, but to remind you of the impressive levels of community spirit that are on display across the constituency and to reflect on how our society has united with this common cause and determination. That alone should be a point to celebrate.
You can find a full list of the volunteer groups in your area by clicking here.
It has been a tumultuous week, but can I thank those of you who have been in touch to pass on messages of best wishes to the Prime Minister. I know that he is grateful to you all for your kind words and I know we all wish him a speedy recovery.
As the lockdown continues it is difficult to contemplate what the exit plan might look like, but we must follow the science first and ensure that we do not move too early and risk being hit by a second wave that would undo all the hard work of the last three weeks.
After many days of pushing and calls from the charity sector for government support, it was particularly welcome to hear the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, announce a support package for our charitable sector.
The measures are as follows:
· The Chancellor announced a £750m support package for the charity sector.
o £370m will go to small, local charities supporting vulnerable people. It will be distributed through organisations like the National Lottery Communities Fund. £60m of this will to be allocated to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland via the Barnett formula.
o £360m will go directly to charities providing essential services and supporting vulnerable people. Up to £200m of this will go to hospices. The rest will go to organisations like St John’s Ambulance, Citizens Advice Bureau and charities supporting vulnerable children, victims of domestic abuse, or disabled people.
· Following the BBC’s announcement last night of a ‘Big Night In’ charity appeal on 23rd of April, the Chancellor announced that he will match £ for £ what the public donate through this appeal. The Government will allocate at least £20m of this for the National Emergencies Trust Appeal.
You can find full details here.
Of course, I am conscious that these measures do not impact the likes of Totnes, Brixham or Dartmouth museums and I am asking what support might be given to our bastions of culture and historical significance.
Hospitals & PPE
Daily calls are taking place with our NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups as well as with Devon County Council with regards to our NHS and its provisions across the South West.
So far, the conversations have indicated that our health service is well prepared. However, this is by no means a complacent position and as the data rolls in the models are being constantly re-evaluated and analysed. We must continue to do so until we can be truly confident that the curve has peaked, and we have reached a downward projection.
Both Derriford and Torbay Hospitals have a significant amount of capacity in terms of beds and they are prepared for any uptick in numbers. This, alongside the recently announced NHS Nightingale hospital that will be opened in Exeter at Westpoint will create a further 200 beds.
Further to which The Fleet, Dartmouth (AKA Riverview) looks set to be opened on the 15th April with 14 beds, which will be increased to 24 beds over the coming weeks. This is an important step and I hope it will reassure residents of Dartmouth about their healthcare provisions.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains a huge issue and I was pleased to hear that 1.3m pieces are being delivered across Devon as I write.
If your organisation is low on PPE, then please do look at the following links:
· Purchase through the market – Applegate Supplies https://www.applegate.co.uk/suppliers/ppe-industrial-supplies-3166307
· Order through National Supply Disruption Resource - https://www.supplychain.nhs.uk/covid19/ordering/
· Contact Devon Clinical Commission Group –
· Contact Devon County Council
I am calling round to all care homes to ensure that they have the PPE they need. If anyone knows of any organisation that is short of PPE, then please do let me know.
I am aware that some businesses may fall between the gaps regarding the packages announced by the government.
The measures that have been announced so far are comprehensive and they help the vast majority.
For those that are left out, I am working with Ministers and MPs to get the support that is needed.
Please go through the government website carefully if you are unsure what support may be available to you:
If, however, you need further assistance, please email: email@example.com
Tourist and Second Homeowners
My office has received a huge amount of calls regarding tourists and second homeowners coming down to the area.
Firstly, everyone must follow the guidance of the government to:
Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives [Insert the slogan picture here]
I am in contact with our Police and Crime Commissioner who is working alongside our councils and local police forces to educate, engage and enforce to prevent people from moving across the country.
I will continue to work with them to make sure people are acting responsibly.
We all should support the #ComeBackLaterCampaign which is designed to welcome people back when we are over this situation.
My office remains open and we are conducting surgeries as normal, albeit through the use of Skype, Zoom and telephone calls. If you would like to speak with me please do not hesitate to contact my office either on 01803 868 378 or by emailing Anthony.firstname.lastname@example.org
A Last Word
If you need support or assistance, then please do look at the list mentioned at the top of this email or call my office on 01803 868 378.
I am aware of the sacrifices that so many have been made to ask and the fear of an uncertain future. This Easter will not be the holiday that many were expecting. But I am confident that we will pass through this period and be able to thrive in the coming months and years. My team and I are focussing on helping those that need it and attempting to ensure that the businesses that are here today will be there tomorrow.
Thank you to all those who are volunteering within their communities and can I wish you all a very Happy Easter.