From Helen Whately <[email protected]>
Subject Supporting people during coronavirus
Date April 10, 2020 9:51 AM
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
  Links have been removed from this email. Learn more in the FAQ.
An update on my work in Westminster and beyond

Welcome to my newsletter
View this email in your browser ([link removed])

** Introduction

The Easter weekend is usually a time to be with friends and family or get away for a few days. But this year is very different.

Coronavirus is having an impact on every aspect of our lives. I know from the thousands of emails I've received over the last few weeks, the extent of the pain and anxiety it is causing.

From people stranded abroad, businesses concerned about their future, to vulnerable people needing help getting food and medicines. This is a worrying time for everyone.

This virus does not discriminate, anyone can catch it and anyone can become ill, as the Prime Minister has shown. Like many of you, I'm continuing to wish him well and thinking of his family at this time.

I urge everyone to follow the advice issued by the Government in order to protect the NHS and save lives. This newsletter is aimed at providing practical help and information, including:
* National helplines (#helplines)
* Local support networks (#networks)
* Support for the most vulnerable in Kent (#vulnerable)
* Local volunteer opportunities (#volunteer)
* Advice on social distancing (#social distancing)
* Support for jobs and businesses (#jobs and businesses)
* Supporting our farmers (#farmers)
* Advice for British Nationals abroad (#Brits)

I have a dedicated page on my website where you can find the latest news/guidance here ([link removed]) .

The Government has been clear that our number one priority is to protect life, and that our decisions will be based on the best available science. Coronavirus demands dramatic action and we are working tirelessly, in partnership with local councils, businesses, charities and other organisations, to ensure that people have the support they need.

Please be assured that I will be continuing to work hard both locally and in Parliament to do everything I possibly can to support people, particularly those who are most vulnerable and at risk.

Our response to the virus requires a national effort. We need to come together and look out for each other - particularly the most vulnerable in society - to get through this challenging time.

* Business support and ventilators: 0300 456 3565
* Charities: 0300 066 9197
* HMRC: 0800 015 9559
* Universal Credit: 0800 328 5644
* School closures: 0800 046 8687
* Travel advice: 0207 008 1500

** Local support

Councillors and volunteers are playing a crucial role in our response to the coronavirus.

I’ve been truly impressed at the scale and speed of the response here in Faversham and Mid Kent, from our County Council to parishes and community groups, and everything in between.

My website has a list of key contacts and local support groups, which will continue to be updated. If you need financial support, or help collecting shopping or medicines, have a look at the web page here ([link removed]) .

** Kent Together - supporting the

A 24 hour helpline has been set up to support vulnerable people in Kent who need urgent help, supplies or medication.

The helpline – called Kent Together – aims to provides a single point of contact for anyone in the county who is in urgent need of help during the coronavirus outbreak. It’s a collaboration between KCC, central Government, District, Borough and local councils, the voluntary and community sector, the NHS, emergency services, and other partners to help the most vulnerable at this difficult time.

It is also the place to report your concerns about the welfare of someone else.

If you are vulnerable and have an urgent need that cannot be met through existing support networks, you can contact the Kent Together at or by calling on 03000 41 92 92.

** Will you

There’s been a tremendous response from people wanting to volunteer during this time.

Both Swale and Maidstone Borough Councils have put out requests for volunteers to support people during the coronavirus outbreak. Volunteers are mainly required to help with food deliveries to vulnerable residents.

Information about volunteering in Swale can be found here ([link removed]) .

Information about volunteering in Maidstone can be found here ([link removed]) .

Thank you to the thousands of people who've signed up as NHS Volunteer Responders. Over 750,000 people across the country have registered to help. There's been a temporary pause in recruitment, but keep the checking the website ([link removed]) for updates if you want to get involved.


The most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection.

That means you should only leave the house for very limited purposes:
* shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
* one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
* any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
* travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

The latest guidance on social distancing can be found here ([link removed]) .

Thank you to vast majority of people who have been following this guidance. I know it is difficult. The Government is keeping these measures under review and they will only be in place as long as they are absolutely necessary.

** Social distancing & Self-isolation

Whilst we are all being told to follow the guidance on social distancing, high risk people are being asked to go a step further and self-isolate ([link removed]) for a period of 12 weeks.
This includes around 1.5 million people who have received organ transplants, those living with severe respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis and severe chronic bronchitis (COPD) or specific cancers. You should have received a letter or text message from NHS England or your GP if you are within the high risk category.

Other people, including those over 70, people with a weakened immune system, and those who are pregnant, are being asked to pay particular attention to the social distancing guidance. This is being kept under review.

A full list of conditions in each category can be found here ([link removed]) .

People who have symptoms of the virus, or who have come into contact with someone with the virus, are also being asked to self isolate. More information can be found here ([link removed]) .

** Support for

This is a hugely difficult time for people and businesses in Kent and across the country.

The Chancellor has committed to doing whatever it takes to support the economy.

I’ve seen over the last weeks how Government departments have shifted their focus to helping people affected by coronavirus. And we're continuing to look at additional ways of supporting people during this time.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows employers to furlough workers, paying 80% of salaries up to £2,500 per month. A similar scheme is in place for self-employed people to compensate for loss of earnings.

We've also increased payments under Universal Credit, and the Department for Work and Pensions is making more staff available to handle the increase in applications for benefits.

More information, including how to apply for financial assistance, can be found here ([link removed]) . Guidance for employees can be found here ([link removed]) .

** Give a hand on the

Our farmers need help bringing home the harvest this year as restrictions limit the number of people willing or able to travel to the UK.

It's crucial that farms keep up the supply of fresh fruit and veg to supermarkets and local shops, so we need more British people to step up and work on farms this season.

The Government is working with the NFU and other groups to make recruitment easier and help match interested workers with employers. We’ve recently published guidance to furloughed workers ([link removed]) about additional employment and there is also guidance available to people under 18 ([link removed]) about seeking work.

To apply for a position near you, to go:
* HOPS ([link removed])
* Concordia ([link removed])
* Fruitful Jobs ([link removed])
* British Summer Fruits ([link removed])

Or search Kent's Land Army on Facebook where jobs are being advertised.

** Bringing home

I’ve been contacted by a number of constituents about returning to the UK during this crisis.

We face a constantly changing picture, based on restrictions on travel and lockdown in countries across the globe, sometimes with no notice at all.

Foreign Office travel advice strongly urges British Nationals who are currently overseas, but living in the UK, to return home as soon as possible. Guidance is available here ([link removed]) . Country specific advice can be found here ([link removed]) . For specific help and advice, contact 020 7008 1500.

The Government is providing £75 million to charter flights to priority countries, operated by commercial airlines, and emergency loans are available to support repatriation.

** Supporting people on the front line

As a Minister in the Department for Health and Social Care, I’ve been helping people on the front line get the support they need.

I’m in awe of the dedication, skill, and professionalism of our NHS staff, care workers, and other medical professionals.

A national effort is underway to ensure the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) over the coming weeks and months to hospitals, care homes, and other places that need this kit. The Government has already shipped millions of items of PPE to thousands of organisations across the country. This will continue in the weeks ahead.

We’re also significantly increasing the number of tests being carried out, with a goal of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month. Testing is currently focused on critical NHS staff and their families, to help ensure they can stay in work if they test negative. We plan to expand testing to all NHS staff, and critical key workers, then to all key workers, and then to the whole population.

** In other news...
With Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, calling for investment in Kent ahead of the Budget

We're a step closer to seeing the back of queues at Brenley Corner. Last month’s Budget ([link removed]) outlined £27.4 billion in road improvements, which includes funding to develop a proposal for improving this junction. I’ve called on the Roads Minister to ring-fence funds for Brenley and make money available as soon as possible.

The Government’s Universal Service Obligation for broadband came into force on 20 March. It means every home and business in the UK has the legal right to request a decent broadband connection from BT ([link removed]) . With more of us working from home, better broadband is needed more than ever!

A decision on the Cleve Hill solar plant is due next month. I’ve called on the Business Secretary to reject this development on the basis that it will do more harm than good to the environment. Find out how you can get involved in the campaign here ([link removed]) .

We need better buses in Kent. I’m backing Kent County Council’s bid for investment ([link removed]) from a new £200 million fund for bus services across the country. The bid from KCC will help deliver low fare, high frequency bus services in Kent as well as help transition to a fleet of electric buses.

Residents in Platts Heath and Sandway are getting a new woodland instead of a lorry park. Land next to the M20, which had been considered for a giant lorry park, will now be used to plant over 300 acres of trees ([link removed]) . We still need to fix problems with lorry fly-parking, but this was completely the wrong place for development.

Please remember to stay home, work from home as much as possible, to protect the NHS and save lives. Thank you.

** Please pass this email onto anyone you think might be interested and encourage them to sign up to these newsletters on my website, here ([link removed]) .
Unsubscribe ([link removed])

** ([link removed])
** ([link removed])
** ([link removed])
Copyright © 2020 Member of Parliament for Faversham and Mid-Kent, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you signed up to Helen Whately's newsletter at

Our mailing address is:
Member of Parliament for Faversham and Mid-Kent
House of Commons
Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
United Kingdom
Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can ** update your preferences ([link removed])
or ** unsubscribe from this list ([link removed])
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
[link removed]
Screenshot of the email generated on import

Message Analysis