When you are shopping, please try to resist the impulse to buy more than you need.  Grocery stores are going to remain open and there will be enough stock for everyone if we are all sensible.  While you are shopping, though, please consider buying a few extra items to donate to your local food bank, which will see increased demand as the effect of the virus on lower paid workers takes hold.

As the number of people restricting their movement grows, please think about family, friends and neighbours who may be in need of assistance, and contact them by phone or electronic means to check on them.

I know that many people do not have their neighbour’s phone numbers or email addresses, but you can drop a note through their letterbox giving yours, or perhaps start a WhatsApp group for your road.

Age UK Richmond has been in touch with me today to ask Richmond residents who wish to volunteer in the community to please use existing voluntary organisations, which will have safeguarding practices already in place for volunteers and users. They suggest contacting Richmond’s Council for Voluntary Service on 020 8843 7945. Their website is

Kingston Voluntary Action is meeting with Kingston voluntary organisations today to develop a coordinated volunteer program. Please check their website later today, when the results of that meeting will be posted at .

Here are some established neighbourhood organisations you can contact: combats loneliness and social isolation in older and vulnerable people living in Barnes, Mortlake and East Sheen.

Kew Neighbourhood Association also connects local volunteers with people who need practical help. Their website is

Richmond Good Neighbours also provide services to the elderly, the disabled, the housebound. Their website is

In North Kingston, BRaG is a local community group for Burton, Adelaide and Gibbon Roads. They have created some WhatsApp support groups for specific roads, which can be found at

Of course it goes without saying that if you or someone you have been in recent contact with is showing symptoms that might be coronavirus, please keep your distance from those who are elderly or medically vulnerable.  And if you yourself are showing symptoms please self-isolate.

Kingston Hospital are implementing a number of practices this week:

  1. They are putting temporary restrictions in place for patient visitors, asking friends and relatives to only visit patients at Kingston Hospital if absolutely essential, with a maximum of one visitor per patient at a time. You should not visit the hospital if you have flu-like symptoms, cough, fever or cold and follow the hospital’s hygiene protocol.
  2. Children will not be allowed to visit, except if agreed in advance with the ward manager.
  3. In line with other NHS hospitals Kingston Hospital is planning to make outpatient appointments available by telephone.  If you have a pending out-patient appointment they will be contacting you.

Both Richmond and Kingston Boroughs are well prepared for this situation and are working closely with the NHS and the government to ensure the local response is as effective and coordinated as possible.  Please continue seeking information from reliable sources like and local and national government web sites.

I have just posted a video on my Facebook page with my current advice. Please watch and share it here:

Further updates will be posted on my Facebook page (@SarahOlneyLD) and my website blog(  Please follow me on Facebook or subscribe to my website to be kept up to date.

And don’t forget to wash your hands!

Sarah Olney