Update from Epsom & Ewell Council

Today 31st March 2020 Epsom and Ewell Council has sent a press release with update regarding Epsom Cemetery, Some parks and street parking. See details below.

Epsom Cemetery

In line with the government requirements, Epsom Cemetery is now closed to the public but funerals and interments will continue to take place, with some restrictions on the numbers of mourners attending as per government instructions.

This decision reflects the requirements of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, which came into force last week.

Social Distancing in parks

We would like to thank our residents who are diligently following government instructions to stay at home and only go outside for essential supplies, to help the vulnerable, and to exercise once a day.

We are still seeing non-family groups gathering in some of our parks and we urge residents to only exercise, not socialise, within walking distance of your home.  Mixing with people outside of your household is risking people’s lives. 

Unfortunately Long Grove Park has seen large gatherings of people, whilst Bourne Hall has been so busy people have been unable to practice effective social distancing. Both parks have been temporarily closed. We will be reviewing the situation and re-opening the parks when it is safe to do so.

To avoid further closures and ensure the safety of you and others, please follow the government’s instructions. 

Parking in residential streets

We recognise that due to the coronavirus outbreak, there is less parking capacity on some of our residential roads as more people are at home.

Surrey County Council, as the local highway authority, has agreed to temporarily suspend parking restrictions on single yellow lines in quiet residential roads.

It’s essential that we maintain safe roads and pavements for pedestrians, and the free flow of traffic, particularly for emergency services and refuse collections. Therefore we’ll be concentrating our enforcement on dangerous or inconsiderate parking, for example on corners or blocking access. Illegal parking in disabled bays, at bus stops and on double yellow lines will continue to be enforced.

Update from Chris Grayling MP

Dear constituent

I am writing with a further update about the Coronavirus crisis. Many of you will be aware that the Chancellor has just announced a new support package for the self-employed. I have attached at the end of this message a detailed explanation of how the scheme will work, which I hope will be helpful to those affected. The scheme will be backdated to the 1st of March, though as you will see, it will take a few weeks to set up. So those eligible will get money that covers this month and the scheme will last for at least three months.

I also want to draw the attention of those of you who are over 70 to the guidance about movement and staying at home. I think there has been a little confusion over this. If you are one of the 1.5 million people who have been contacted by the NHS and require shielding you should stay at home and not see anyone else face to face for the next three months. These are the guidelines for you.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/ 

But if you are over 70 and healthy, you should take very great care but otherwise the general guidelines apply to you.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

All of the rest of the guidance for people about what is happening is here.

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

I know many of you are still struggling with getting home deliveries of shopping as you are worried about going to the supermarkets. I have been round all of our major stores locally and they are all now managing access carefully to protect shoppers and staff.

I have spoken to them about improving the situation for those who are self-isolating and trying to get those who need it access to home delivery. They are trying to register more vulnerable people, but the home delivery services are clearly swamped with applications and so for those who are self-isolating and are struggling with getting shopping done, please either call the local branches of Age Concern…..

Age Concern Epsom & Ewell – 01372 732455 or 732456

Age Concern Mole Valley – 01306 899104

Age Concern Banstead – 01737 352156

….or the Surrey County Council Helpline 0300 200 1008
There are volunteers available to help you with shopping if you cannot go out yourselves.

Please let me know if you have any problems accessing this support.

Finally I am putting up all the information I get on my website www.chrisgrayling.net

I have also started to collect a list on my website of local restaurants, pubs and cafes which contact me to say they are switching to do takeaways. Please let me know of any which should be included. Please do support these local businesses which are suffering as a result of the virus and of the closures ordered by the Government.

Best wishes

Chris Grayling MP

Surrey Police asks residents to be extra vigilant to fraud

Police are reminding Surrey residents to stay on the alert as reports come in other parts of the country of fraud or attempted fraud related to Covid-19.

While no reports have been made to Surrey Police so far, there have been more than 100 reports nationally to Action Fraud since the start of February, with total losses reaching nearly £970,000.

The majority of reports are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser and other products which have never arrived.

Other frauds being reported include ticket fraud, romance fraud, charity fraud and lender loan fraud.

There have also been over 200 reports of coronavirus-themed ‘phishing’ emails. These attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details.

Some of the tactics being used in phishing emails include:

• Fraudsters purporting to be from a research group that mimics the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO). They claim to provide the victim with a list of active infections in their area, but to access this information the victim needs to either click on a link which redirects them to a credential-stealing page or make a donation of support in the form of a payment into a Bitcoin account

• Fraudsters providing articles about the virus outbreak with a link to a fake company website where victims are encouraged to click to subscribe to a daily newsletter for further updates

• Fraudsters sending investment scheme and trading advice encouraging people to take advantage of the coronavirus downturn

• Fraudsters purporting to be from HMRC offering a tax refund and directing victims to a fake website to harvest their personal and financial details. The emails often display the HMRC logo making it look reasonably genuine and convincing

Superintendent Sanjay Andersen, head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, said: “Fraudsters will use any opportunity they can to take money from innocent people. This includes exploiting tragedies and global emergencies.

“The majority of scams we are seeing across the country relate to the online sale of protective items, and items that are in short supply across the country, due to the Covid-19 outbreak. We’re advising people not to panic and to think about the purchase they are making. When you’re online shopping it’s important to do your research and look at reviews of the site you are buying from.”

PC Bernadette Lawrie, Surrey Police financial abuse safeguarding officer said: “The advice is simple, think very carefully before you hand over your money or bankcard and don’t give out your personal details unless you are sure who you are dealing with.

“We are working together across law enforcement, government and the private sector to combat this criminal activity and protect the public. If you think you have been a victim you can report to Action Fraud, but if you are elderly or vulnerable report directly to Surrey Police on 101 or online.

“You can protect yourself by:

– watching out for scam messages – don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details

– when shopping online, if you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carrying out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one as most major credit card providers insure online purchases

– protecting your devices from the latest threats – always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. The National Cyber Security Centre offers advice on looking after your devices.

Surrey Police’s Operation Signature offers further information on how to keep yourself safe from unwanted callers and other approaches.

The NHS and Public Health England websites offer the latest health information and advice about Covid-19.

David Munro, Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “Whilst a national crisis will often bring out the best in a lot of people, sadly there are also those callous criminals who will look to exploit the situation.

“These opportunists will seek to target the most vulnerable in our society and I urge residents to heed this police advice around ‘coronavirus scammers’ and to be extra vigilant at this time.

“The warning must go out to those perpetuating this despicable activity that the police response must, and will, deal robustly with anyone trying to take advantage of this virus outbreak to further their own criminal ends.”

STATEMENT FROM THE ASHLEY CENTRE

During this extremely challenging period we want to reassure you that the wellbeing of our customers, retail staff and employees is and will continue to be our number one priority.

In line with the latest Government guidance, our Centre remains open. We have an obligation to remain open so our community can continue to buy essential health, hygiene, food and toiletry products that they need during this difficult time.

Safety for all is of paramount importance. We are taking many extra precautionary hygiene measures such as enhancing our already stringent cleaning protocols which includes an increase in frequency of cleaning/sterilising of common areas. We are also reminding employees and visitors in our centres of the guidance given by health authorities particularly the need to leave adequate space between themselves and other shoppers and retail staff. Wherever possible we would also encourage people to use contactless payment methods.

We have postponed all future events including our Mother’s Day workshop, Kids Club monthly activity and holiday craft workshops.

The evolving nature of the situation makes some disruption inevitable, and we apologise if this causes inconvenience.

The policies and opening times of individual stores will vary – so please check on a daily basis by visiting our website and going to the individual store profile page https://www.theashleycentre.co.uk/sh…/a-z-alphabetical-list/

Our retailers are working hard to help our local community, and we ask that our visitors shop sensitively and respectfully.

Our site teams are available to help visitors with any questions they may have.

Education Resources

With the schools closed we have put together some online education resources links to help past the time and to help continue with education. If you know of any useful sites we can add to this post please email us a link .

Online Resources 

A great place to start is Chatter Pack the site has interesting blogs but also a whole host of info and links including their Home Learning Resources List for Schools and Families

Another site used a lot by schools is Sparkle Box  this is aimed at Primary years and has 1000’s of free downloadable resources. My only advice with this page the adverts on the site look as if there are part of the site so be aware what you are clicking. But it’s still worth a visit.

Twinkl offers free and paid educational resources from Early Years up to KS4 and also SEND and EAL. They also have an Home Learning section which offers resources and packs for parents to use during school closures.

Of course the BBC’s Bitesize website covers all areas of the curriculum, ranging from primary school level up to GCSE exams. It’s free to use and includes animations, revision flashcards and interactive sections to help your kids learn.

Oxford Owl is aimed at children aged three to 11 years old and is free to use. With expert advice, educational resources and free eBooks to support children’s learning at primary school and at home, from Oxford University Press.

Top Marks  like Chatter Pack and Twinkl is aimed at children aged three to 18 years old and is an independent educational website for kids, parents and teachers.  It’s free to use and links through to useful online resources for subjects including maths, science and languages.

Physical Education

Its not just the mind that we need to exercise but the body as well. Local lad Joe Wicks is running live free PE classes every weekday morning at 9am to keep kids fit during school closures on his YouTube Channel to join in CLICK HERE

The NHS also has a great page full of exercises for the whole family fun gym-free activities to improve your health and fitness. CLICK HERE BUT remember to stay in your own home. 

Jemma, a final year student at Laines Theatre Arts will be hosting FREE kids Jazz Dance Classes via Zoom for more details email Jemma CLICK HERE

Online Museums  and Galleries 

Due to Covid-19 we are all having to spend more time indoors but thanks to Google Art & Culture page you now have access to over 500 museums and art galleries around the world.

We are so lucky to have London on our doorstep and in normal times we would just hope on the train and we would be exploring this amazing museums. The good news is you can still explore but from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Practical Educational Fun

Its all well and good learning from a screen but you brain needs more than just looking at images. So why not try some practical stuff. 

The BBC Good Food has hundreds of recipes for you to choose from. You can even browse by ingredients to find your perfect recipe by adding your favourites or leftovers below.

WOW Science is a great page. From making bogies to creating a tornado in a bottle, this website is packed full of fun and weird science experiments that you can try at home for primary school ages. 

For secondary school kids Home Science YouTube channel is packed with a lot of amazing science experiments, chemical reactions and optical illusions. 

If you decide to try any experiment at home

PLEASE BE CAREFUL 

Followers Suggestions

Here are more links sent to us our followers 

Maths:  https://whiterosemaths.com/resources/
PE: https://www.jumpstartjonny.co.uk/free-stuff

However long the schools are closed we still need to educate our kids and to keep us all safe from Covid-19.

Its going to be hard to keep them off Playstations and Xboxes etc but all children need to play so don’t be to hard on them. For the older children it’s a great way for them to talk to their friends online

I hope this helps if you have any useful links please post in the comments below 

Local Business and Community Support Advice

Further update from Chris Grayling MP

Dear constituent

I am writing to you with further advice about the support that is available locally if you are in difficulties in the coming weeks. I am trying to cover as many bases as possible, but please do get in touch with me with individual queries and issues. I know that this is going to be very tough for many people, and I will not be able, and nor will the government, to solve every problem. But we are all doing our best.

Firstly, with regard to the overall picture. I know that many people are very scared about losing their jobs or the future of their businesses. I have already sent the most recent information about Government support for business, but I have also been assured by the Treasury that they are working as fast as they can on further measures to try to protect jobs. I will keep you updated as soon as I can.

I know there are many other issues facing local businesses and I am getting a number of worried emails. I will respond to all those issues individually and provide updates when I can. There is a business support Government hotline which is 0300 456 3565, though I know it is very busy. If you are in danger of losing your job, or may end up without income for a period, there is also a Universal Credit hotline on 0800 328 5644.

The breakdown of all the financial support currently available for individuals and business can be found here.

Many of you are very concerned about the availability of food and essential products in the shops. I have heard some disturbing tales of the scenes in the supermarkets in the past twenty-four hours and have been around to see the situation today. This period will require everyone to be restrained. There is no overall shortage of food in the area and the supermarkets are clear that they will continue to stock up as fast as they can. But don’t forget your local corner shops as well, or the local specialists, many of which do seem to have remained reasonably well-stocked.

I have contacted the local supermarkets again and urged them to police more carefully the time set aside for the elderly, as other people do seem to be trying to shop at the same time.

There are now a number of support services for the vulnerable locally. If you are elderly and struggling to get food, or you have another problem, please contact the local branches of Age Concern. The numbers are as follows:

Age Concern Epsom & Ewell – 01372 732 456

Age Concern Mole Valley – 01306 899104

Age Concern Banstead – 01737 352156

Surrey County Council has set up a helpline for people needing help more broadly. They will provide information about where to get help. The number is 0300 200 1008

Worried residents can also visit the dedicated Surrey County Council Coronavirus website for community support for more information.

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/emergency-planning-and-community-safety/coronavirus

If you want to volunteer to help one of the local charity services, here’s who you need to get in touch with:

In Epsom and Ewell and Mole Valley, contact Central Surrey Voluntary Action on 01372 722911

In Reigate and Banstead, contact Voluntary Action Reigate and Banstead on 01737 763156

Thank you to everyone who has signed up to be a helper through Community Coronavirus Care. They have gathered valuable information about potential volunteers and are now working with Central Surrey Voluntary Action to sort out how to provide that support to the front line organisations working with the elderly and the vulnerable.

Please do also look out for your neighbours and point anyone who needs help towards one of these services.

Finally can I stress again how important it is to support smaller local businesses at this difficult time. If you can, please do order a takeaway from a local restaurant this weekend if you might otherwise have gone there for a meal instead. Or find another local business you can support. We need them to be still there when all this is over.

Please could you pass this message to your friends and contacts and ask them in turn to make sure that anyone they know who might need supporting in the days ahead knows where to turn.

With best wishes

Chris Grayling MP

EEBC Supporting our local businesses

Press statement from the Chair of the Strategy & Resources Committee, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Councilor Eber Kington:

“I want to reassure everyone that we are determined to keep vital services running during the current situation and provide the support everyone needs, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

“We also know that our local businesses are facing an uncertain financial future, so I am highlighting some of the measures that Epsom & Ewell Borough Council is taking, in line with the new Government guidelines, alongside other initiatives which may be of help”. 

  • Temporary business rates retail discount
    The Borough Council will be re-billing all local businesses with properties below £51,000 rateable value to provide for a year’s “holiday” break from business rate payments.
    Find out about government support for businesses on GOV.UK.

  • Out of hours deliveries
    To support the community and local retailers providing essential products, we will be taking not be enforcing any breaches in planning conditions related to out of hours deliveries.
    Further information on the government’s advice is on GOV.UK.

  • Hot food takeaway
    To support our restaurants and pubs, we will waive the requirement for planning permission to be obtained so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak. This follows the government suggesting that regulations be relaxed to enable businesses to deliver this service without a planning application. Further information on the government’s advice is on GOV.UK.

  • Statutory sick pay
    For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 14 days of statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government in full.
    Find out more about the government support for statutory sick pay on GOV.UK

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
    A new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, will enable businesses with a turnover of no more than £41m to apply for a loan of up to £1.2 million, with the government covering up to 80% of any losses with no fees.
    Find out more via the British Business Bank.  
  • ACAS information for employees and employers
    ACAS has published information for employees and employers, including simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff during this time.
    Find out more on the ACAS website.
            
  • HMRC helpline
    A dedicated helpline has been set up to help businesses and self-employed individuals in financial distress. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call the HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559 or visit the HMRC website.

  • Government support for businesses
    The Government has announced measures to support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, this includes one-off grants of £10,000 for small businesses that are currently eligible for small business rates relief or rural rate relief. Grants of £25,000 will be available for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector with properties below rateable value of £51,000. No details of the grant are currently available but businesses can sign up for alerts on GOV.UK.  Epsom & Ewell Borough Council will also share further information about these grants as soon as it becomes available. 

    If you have any further questions about the support available to businesses, please contact the Government’s free Business Support Helpline on: 0300 456 3565.

Update From Chris Grayling MP

Dear constituent

I am writing to you to give you some further updates about the Coronavirus crisis. I know that this is an extraordinarily difficult time for many people.

Firstly the latest information from the NHS can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

For those of you with businesses or self-employed, you may have seen that the Government has offered a big package of support to business. It has also promised additional support if needed. Details of what is available and how to ask questions about it can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses

I will circulate any further information I receive about the suspension of schools at the end of the week once I have it. I am also expecting an announcement about people who rent their homes later this week.  

Many people have contacted me to express concern about the lack of key goods in supermarkets. I last spoke to the local supermarkets a few days ago and they assured me then that they are not suffering from shortages in the supply chain. The issue is the level of bulk buying. For those of you who are concerned about this, Sainsburys and Asda have introduced restrictions on the quantity of an individual item you can buy. Sainsburys are also introducing dedicated shopping time for the older generation. I will talk to retailers again in the next couple of days.

But can I also urge people locally to buy from small shops too, who are really feeling the pinch. The same applies to helping out local restaurants. Whilst the new recommendations from the Government ask us not to go to pubs and restaurants for a few weeks, that does not stop us getting takeaways from those that offer that service – and the Government intends to make it easier for them to do so with a change to the licensing rules in the very near future. I would encourage everyone to do anything you can in the current situation to help smaller local businesses.

I know that this is a particularly unsettling time for those over the age of 70 and for those who are unwell, or have had to self-isolate. Whilst many have family and friends who can rally round, I know that not everyone does. A considerable amount of work is being done right now by local charities, the Councils and the different volunteer groups that have emerged in recent days to ensure that they can provide everyone with the support they need , and also to make the best use of the people who have offered help. Please make your neighbours your first port of call to make sure that they are OK. But those involved will send round more details later in the week of how to help, and what to do if you need help.

Finally a big thank you to all of you who work in the NHS. This is an incredibly difficult time for the NHS and I am very grateful to you.

Best wishes
Chris Grayling MP

Sainsbury’s and Covid-19 Changes

Message from from Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe regarding what Sainsbury’s are doing to help elderly and vulnerable customers regarding Covid-19.

“Dear Customer,

I wrote to you last week to tell you about some of the steps we are taking to support increased demand for food and other essential items.

After I wrote to you last week, many of you replied. You wrote to share your concerns about our elderly and vulnerable customers and to ask if we can do more to restrict the number of items each person can buy. I have listened to feedback from you and from Sainsbury’s colleagues across the country and wanted to share some of the extra steps we are taking to make sure everyone has access to the items that they need:

A number of you suggested that we reserve an hour in stores for elderly and vulnerable customers. In response to this request, we will set aside the first hour in every supermarket this Thursday 19th March, for elderly and vulnerable customers. I hope that you can respect this decision and will work with us as we try our best to help those that need it the most. If you or an elderly family member, friend or neighbour would like to shop during this hour, please check online for your local supermarket opening hours.

We will also help elderly and vulnerable customers access food online. From Monday 23rd March, our online customers who are over 70 years of age or have a disability will have priority access to online delivery slots. We will contact these customers in the coming days with more details.

For any online customer who can travel to our stores, from Monday 23rd March, we will operate an expanded ‘click and collect’ service. We are significantly increasing the number of collection sites across the country over the coming days in preparation for this. Customers can place their order online as usual and pick it up from a collection point in the store car park. We believe this will also work for people who are self-isolating.

As we work to feed the nation, we are also focusing all of our efforts on getting as much food and other essential items from our suppliers, into our warehouses and onto shelves as we possibly can. We still have enough food for everyone – if we all just buy what we need for us and our families.

To help us get more essential items onto the shelves, from this Thursday 19th March, we will be closing our cafes and our meat, fish and pizza counters in supermarkets. This means we can free up warehouse and lorry capacity for products that customers really need. It will also free up time for our store colleagues to focus on keeping the shelves as well stocked as possible.

I mentioned last week that we had put limits on a very small number of products. Following feedback from our customers and from our store colleagues, we have decided to put restrictions on a larger number of products. From tomorrow, Wednesday 18th March, customers will be able to buy a maximum of three of any grocery product and a maximum of two on the most popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk. We have enough food coming into the system, but are limiting sales so that it stays on shelves for longer and can be bought by a larger numbers of customers.

Finally, I wanted to end by saying a huge thank you to Sainsbury’s colleagues across the business. Everyone is working flat out in difficult circumstances to do their best to serve our customers. If you’re able to say thank you to them when you see them, I know they would hugely appreciate it.

Best wishes

Mike”

 

Message From Chris Grayling,MP, Regarding Covid-19 Virus

Chris Grayling, MP
Dear constituent

I am writing to you concerning the current health crisis posed by the Covid-19 virus. I wanted to make sure that you know where to access the latest information about how you should respond to the virus. I know that this is a very difficult time for everyone.

Firstly, the latest information about the virus and the strategy for dealing with it in the UK is available on the NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

In addition, for older constituents I have had the following message from Age Concern which may be helpful.

I am writing from Age UK with information and advice for your older constituents on Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This webpage has information from Age UK about the symptoms of coronavirus and the steps to take to stop it spreading:
https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/coronavirus/
If your constituents have concerns about anything else, including welfare, care or housing, they can contact Age UK’s free advice line, 8am-7pm, 365 days a year: 0800 055 6112

I know that everyone in our health service is doing everything they can to prepare for the impact of the virus. I have met the leadership of the Epsom and St Helier Trust to discuss their preparations and what they need. I have also spoken to our main local supermarkets and have been assured that whilst they are under great pressure at the moment, they expect stock of goods that are in short supply to continue to be delivered as normal.

I know this is a very difficult period for the country, and I will endeavour to keep you up to date with any relevant new information that I receive.

Best wishes

Chris Grayling MP