Kingston Conservatives earlier today launched a bogus attack on Kingston’s response to the Coronavirus crisis, claiming our volunteer service was not providing sufficient support to vulnerable residents. Personally I have been touched to see our communities pulling together during this pandemic, and am disappointed this hasn’t been recognised across the political divide. I would be more than happy to hear constructive criticism of our local response, but the fact that the Conservatives have attempted to play politics at this time is shocking.
The council moved quickly to set up a volunteer hub and was quickly overwhelmed with offers to help, and every Kingston resident received a letter from me advertising the hub’s contact details. So far, over 200 staff volunteers and nearly 200 resident volunteers have been deployed directly by the hub, while hundreds more have since gone through other organisations - for instance faith groups.
Since then, our volunteers have been calling the almost 6,000 residents who have been told to shield, checking whether they need help, for example with food or medicine deliveries. We have successfully phoned everyone on this list of vulnerable residents. The result of these efforts has been the delivery of over 15,000 frozen meals and 3,000 food packages, and nearly 500 medication pickups. In my view this is a record to be proud of.
We were one of the first councils in London to start taking distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus, for instance closing leisure centres, libraries and playgrounds, and have also delivered over 100,000 items of PPE to care home workers and frontline staff. This swift action, and our amazing community response, has kept Kingston’s infection rate below the London average.
The last thing we want is for anyone to slip through the net, so if you or someone you know does need support due to Covid-19 then please call the hub on 020 8547 5000 or fill out a support form here.