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Sobering news, but community is rallying

This is the text version of what I said in my latest video above (posted 31 March 2020):

If anyone is in any doubt about the seriousness of the COVID-19 crisis that we are in at the moment, two pieces of news over the last few days have sobered me and hit hard as to what this all means.

We had the sad news over the weekend of the death of Ricky Singh, who was the CEO of Ealing Equality Council (now West London Equality Centre). I have known Ricky for many years. He was a wonderful, kind man who was always fighting injustice and inequality wherever he found it and he sadly dies in intensive care as a result of COVID-19.

I paid tribute to him on social media and also extended on behalf of all of the councillors and all of the borough our condolences to his friends and family, in what must be a realy difficult and hard time.

I have also just heard news today that one of our MPs, Virendra Sharma, has been hospitalised with breathing difficulties and was subsequently found to have coronavirus; and, fortunately, Virendra has recovered and returned home from hospital and so we send him best wishes from us all for a speedy recovery.

But all this does is re-emphisise to follow the guideance to stay at home, protect our NHS and to save lives.

As part of this challenge that we are facing we have been really worried about the amounts of protective clothing that our care workers have, both in our care homes in the borough and also as they go in to vulnerable peoples homes to provide that social care that they need. There has been a shortage nationally and worldwide actually. And we’ve been trying to make sure that we have enough protective equipment for our fantastic key workers and health carers. And so I have been delighted by the response that we have had from local people and local businesses to my call at the weekend to have people bring any spare PPE equipment that they have, masks, aprons, gloves, sanitisers. Anything really that can help us to protect both the residents of our care homes and those receiving social care and our carers that are delivering this vital care at this difficult time.

We’ve also launched our Ealing Together service and delivered over 100 food packages over the last few days. We’ve had over 500 people come forward and say they want to help Ealing Together. We’re delighted and very thankful to all those that have come forward. We’re also grateful for Ealing Community Transport who have been helping to get those parcels out. So I want to thank everybody, our council staff, volunteers, everybody, businesses who have been helping with that response to protect those most vulnerable in the borough.

Going forward we have got that phoneline for people to call in on 020 8825 7170 that is staffed Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, and 10am- 4pm at the weekends. And you can ring up if you know of anybody, or yourself, who need help to have some food parcels for Ealing Together

Also, if you need help outside of those times, ring the council’s out-of-hours service 020 8825 5000.

And, finally, I just want to say that we have helped over 700 key workers have free parking in our council car parks and our street parking bays, so we are doing everything we can to help. I am really grateful to everybody following the guidance to stay at home, protect our NHS and to save lives, thank you.

Council leader Julian Bell
Council leader Julian Bell

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