From Michelle Donelan MP <[email protected]>
Subject Easter Update
Date April 11, 2020 10:26 PM
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Email: michelle.don[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES

** Essential Coronavirus Information

The coronavirus outbreak continues to pose challenges to us all, but I have seen some incredible acts of selflessness and community spirit since this began and I want to thank everyone reading this for your sacrifices and hard work. In this e-news update, I will give as much local and national information as possible to help you get through this.

I must also take this opportunity to restate the importance of staying at home to reduce the spread and save lives. It is imperative that we continue to adhere to the isolation measures and do not go out of our own household for Easter lunch or take part in any other public celebrations. Scientists are already predicting a potential spike in deaths as a result of the bank holiday weekend, so please let us all work together to avoid this happening and stay in our own homes this Easter.

This is unprecedented action for unprecedented times, but it is also essential action if we are to save as many lives as possible and protect our NHS and the fantastic healthcare staff who are now being called upon to look after every single person who is seriously affected.

In all of this I know that many people will be put in challenging situations where they may be concerned for their own health, the health of a loved one, the security of their job or the future of their business. I want you to know that both myself and this Government are doing everything we can to support you, to protect you, and to carry us all through these challenging times.

** The Prime Minister's Condition

The Prime Minister has thanked NHS staff at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London for saving his life while he underwent treatment in intensive care for coronavirus. Boris Johnson has said: “I can’t thank them enough. I owe them my life.”

Needless to say, the care he and everyone at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital received has been extraordinary. We thank all of our NHS heroes for their astonishing work at this time and for keeping the country going. I am sure everyone will join me in sending their thoughts and prayers to everyone suffering from this terrible virus. I will also be sending the Prime Minister and his team all of our best wishes from Wiltshire when I next speak to him.

** Call For Local Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Our local NHS services need personal protective equipment for staff urgently and some local businesses may be able to help. Some have already made donations of PPE that are having a profoundly positive effect on the frontline.

Any businesses that can help with the supply of PPE are asked to email [email protected] with the subject line PPE support. The key items required are water repellent surgical face masks, non-latex gloves, and disposable plastic aprons. The UK is manufacturing and importing millions of these items but they are still being used at a phenomenally high rate, please get in touch via the email above if you have a supply or access to a supply of PPE.

** Local Cases / Trends
At the time of writing, Wiltshire has 180 confirmed cases of coronavirus. However, the actual number of cases is expected to be considerably higher than this. In terms of NHS region, the South West has 2,277 confirmed cases of coronavirus. This means the South West has so far seen the lowest number of cases for any region in the UK. But this can change very quickly if we stop adhering to the isolation measures.

Nationally, the number of cases stands at 60,733 and sadly, 7,097 people have passed away with coronavirus. Although rural areas are showing fewer cases at the moment compared with cities, scientists warn against complacency in rural areas. Regardless of where we live, we must follow the Government’s guidelines.

The Government has set up a live tracker for coronavirus cases that provides accurate numbers nationally and by local authority, in our case Wiltshire, which you can view here: [link removed].
I have been trying new ways of staying as accessible as possible during the coronavirus lockdown and recently I held a very successful Facebook Live Q&A. This allowed any constituents on Facebook to ask me questions live via the comments section. I will be holding another Facebook Live Q&A on Wednesday 15^th April 2020 at 17:00 – 17:30. Follow my Facebook page ([link removed]) to join in.

You can also ask me questions in advance by sending me an email with the subject ‘Facebook Q&A’. If you do not use Facebook, I am still available on all of my usual channels of communication, including via email at michelle.donel[email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) .

* Avoid all unnecessary travel and unnecessary social interactions, staying two metres apart at all times. Please listen to a Doctor’s plea to stay at home ([link removed]) and why this is so important
* If you have the symptoms of a new and continuous cough or a high temperature you must stay at home and isolate for 7 days. If one person shows symptoms, the whole household must isolate for 14 days
* Use the 111 coronavirus service ([link removed]) online if you need help, only call 111 if your symptoms worsen.
* Work from home if possible
* Shop responsibly and think of others. There is no need to stockpile as this country has more than enough food and supplies for every single household and this Government has taken action in conjunction with supermarkets to accelerate the delivery of goods to stores across the country.
* Look out for your neighbours and those who you know are vulnerable or elderly in the local community. Whether it is getting a bit of shopping for them, picking up prescriptions or simply having a chat, you can make a real difference to those who now must isolate for weeks on end. You can print off a postcard to advertise you are ready to help neighbours here: [link removed]
* Join local online support groups for your area to see how you can either help or get help -
Wiltshire Council Online Support Group and Advice ([link removed]*F&hc_location=group_dialog)
Chippenham Facebook Support Group ([link removed])
BoA Facebook Support Group ([link removed]) and BoA Town Council ([link removed])
Melksham Facebook Support Group ([link removed]) and Melksham Town Council ([link removed])
Corsham Facebook Support Group ([link removed])
Hilperton and Staverton Support Group ([link removed])
* If you have set up or are part of another local group please let me know so I can promote it

** Local information and help for those self isolating
*This is being updated as I obtain the information*

Atworth – Atworth Parish Council Contact: Effie Gale-Sides 01225702228

Bradford on Avon – BOA Town Council Contact: 01225864240 or [link removed]

Bradford Leigh – South Wraxall Parish Council Contact: Philippa Edgley 01225868092/07778796644

Broughton Gifford – Broughton Gifford Parish Council Contact: Henry Lumley 07720558982 or Georgina Berry 07947474620

Chippenham – Chippenham Town Council Contact: 01249446699 or

Corsham – Corsham Town Council Contact: 01249702130 or [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) or [link removed] and for Katherine Park: [link removed]

Hilperton – Hilperton Parish Council Contact: Gary 07920042838 or [link removed]

Holt – The village has been leafletted and preferred contact is by email [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) or Martin Moyes 01225782444

Lacock and Gastard – Lacock Parish Council Contact: Jane Durrant 07739750630

Limpley Stoke – LiFERAFT Contact: John Adler 01225 722439

Melksham Town and surrounding villages – Melksham Community Contact: 01225809265 or [email protected] (mailto:[email protected]) or [link removed]

Semington – The village has been leafletted and further info at: [link removed]

South Wraxall (Upper) - South Wraxall Parish Council Contact: Gilly Strawford 01225864468/07980012922

South Wraxall (Lower) - South Wraxall Parish Council Contact: Margaret Gill 01225868069/07851006854

Staverton – [link removed]

Westwood – Westwood Village Shop – 01225862117 or we[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])

Winsley – Winsley Parish Council Contact - Selina Jobson 07841024739 or [email protected] (mailto:[email protected])

My office - 01249704465 or [email protected]
Wiltshire Council - [link removed] or Wiltshire Council Online Support Group and Advice ([link removed]*F&hc_location=group_dialog)

** If you are vulnerable:
Those who are elderly or suffer from underlying health conditions must take extra care to shield themselves from this virus. You can check whether you qualify as a vulnerable person by following this link: [link removed] If you fall into this category, you must immediately follow a set of special measures to keep yourself safe:
* Strictly avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
* Do not leave your house.
* Do not attend any gatherings. This includes gatherings of friends and families in private spaces for example family homes, weddings and religious services.
* Do not go out for shopping, leisure or travel and, when arranging food or medication deliveries, these should be left at the door to minimise contact.

Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

** Support for businesses and people
Businesses small and large have contacted me about their concerns over what coronavirus means for their future and I know many employees are similarly worried that this pandemic will leave them financially vulnerable. As the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has made clear, we will do whatever it takes to support our business and support our workers. I want to underline that we are very aware of the impact this is having on organisations, especially those like pubs and cafes who have been forced to shut the door to customers, which is why this Government will not let these businesses fall and the Treasury has taken seismic steps to stand behind our economy:
* £330bn funding for Government backed and guaranteed loans to support companies – up to £5m for small or medium-sized businesses with no interest to pay for 12 months
* £10,000 cash grants for the smallest 700,000 businesses
* Business rate holiday of 12 months and up to £25,000 cash grant per business for all those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
* Government grants will cover 80% of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month and the scheme will be backdated to March 1^st
* £6bn of extra support through the welfare system and support for the self-employed by suspending the minimum income floor for Universal Credit.

I want to underline that the support and situation will keep changing because we must be both proactive as well as reactive tot eh situation in hand to ensure that people are both safe and also financially secure.

More information on the support available for businesses can be found on the official government page, ([link removed]), and on Wiltshire Council’s website, ([link removed]).

** School closures
With schools closed, the Department for Education has established a coronavirus helpline (0800 046 8687) if you are unsure on how this affects you and you can also email them on [email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Schools will remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend. It is really important that we try to reduce social contact so if you are a key worker but your partner is working from home then please do not use the school facility this will only work if we all think of the wider picture.
Please, therefore, follow these key principles:
* If it is at all possible for children to be at home, then they should be.
* If a child needs specialist support, is vulnerable or has a parent who is a critical worker, then educational provision will be available for them.
* Parents should not rely for childcare upon those who are advised to be in the stringent social distancing category such as grandparents, friends, or family members with underlying conditions.
* Parents should also do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus. They should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.
* Residential special schools, boarding schools and special settings continue to care for children wherever possible.

Pupils will still get the qualifications they need despite the cancellation of exams and the Secretary of State for Education and the Prime Minister are working closely to ensure the impact on education is minimised.

** How can I help?
As an individual: Many of us will want to help the national effort to beat coronavirus if we are able to do so. There are a number of safe ways that we can all help each other and the NHS at this time beyond following the isolation measures. The Government has created a list of ways you can help here: [link removed].

As a business: Businesses across Wiltshire will be temporarily closed or changing their usual work programmes to adapt to the circumstances. Some may well be in a position to help beat coronavirus, so please follow this link to see whether you can help: [link removed]. We are also calling on able businesses to help build the UK’s testing capacity, please see this link if you think you might be able to help with your business: [link removed].


Ofcom have found that 46% of people have been exposed to false or fake news on the internet related to coronavirus. There continues to be widespread misinformation on social media and the internet about coronavirus and so we need to use the Government’s factchecked data and information as our base.
Stay updated with the daily press conferences which the Prime Minister and senior Ministers are running and also follow my social media channels through which I will be doing my best to publicise the latest announcements. You can also monitor the below web pages which are being constantly updated to reflect the evolving situation:
* NHS Coronavirus Guidance and Advice ([link removed])
* Guidance for Employees, Employers and Businesses ([link removed])
* Travel Advice ([link removed])
* Guidance for individuals as well as different organisations ([link removed])
* Information on the number of cases, including for each local authority ([link removed])
* Guidance on social distancing for everyone but also for vulnerable people ([link removed])
* Wiltshire Council Coronavirus Advice ([link removed])
* Michelle Donelan MP Essential Information Page ([link removed])

** Positive Coronavirus News:

Positive local news:
* Local business Wavin who are based in Chippenham has supplied materials for the construction of Nightingale hospitals around the country. On top of this, Wavin are donating a supply of PPE to Great Western Hospital in Swindon, where some of Wiltshire’s coronavirus victims are being treated.
* In response to the COVID -19 outbreak, Airbus Defence and Space has worked in partnership with the MoD to agree business continuity plans for programmes for national importance. This includes the Skynet programme which delivers vital military satellite communications to the Ministry of Defence in support of military operations across the world. Airbus’ Service Management team based at Hawthorn swiftly implemented contingency plans and are currently delivering vital Skynet services with no disruption.
* Scout volunteers are producing personal protective equipment for NHS staff using 3D printers. They’ve already supplied over 100 visors to local hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, and care homes in the South West. Bear Grylls Chief Scout said: “I could not be more proud of all the Scout volunteers helping to support the fight against COVID-19. Volunteers share their skills with young people in Scout Groups around the country, and now those skills are supporting our amazing NHS heroes.”
* An entrepreneurial young Chippenham sous chef has turned losing his job into a burgeoning bumper bakery business. 24 year old George Freegard starting making bread for his girlfriend and her family while sitting out the Covid 19 pandemic. Now he is supplying more than 200 loaves a week.
* A generous local tailor has handmade over 400 protective masks for nurses, doctors and carers in the South West. He then donated them all free of charge where they were put straight to use in Swindon after testing.

Global positive news
* Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, is donating more than a quarter of all his wealth to “disarm this pandemic”. The $1 billion donation ranks as the biggest single contribution to fighting the virus.
* The NHS has launched a free mental health hotline to offer support to hundreds of thousands of health workers on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus. More than 1,500 volunteers have been trained to respond to calls or texts. The phone number is 0300 131 7000 while staff can text FRONTLINE to 85258.
* Cambridge University is setting up a new Covid-19 testing laboratory to help the Government meet its target of 100,000 tests a day.
* Local organisations are receiving support from big businesses through a charity founded by HRH The Prince of Wales. Business in the Community has launched a microsite ([link removed]) where local organisations, charities and councils can ask for support during the pandemic. Last week the charity matched furloughed call centre employees at an IT company, BigChange, with a local Befriender group, South Seacroft Friends & Neighbours, in order to make ‘befriending' calls for those in isolation.

Email: michelle.don[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES

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