On Friday, I joined one of the Council’s first virtual Community Conversation events, to discuss the issue of anti-social behaviour throughout Richmond.
Hosted by the Leader of Richmond Council and senior representatives from the local police, over 170 Richmond residents raised concerns about late night revellers causing unacceptable noise, public urination and defecation and litter – resulting in many fearful for their safety and property.
As a result of the event, the Council agreed to increase capacity of the borough’s Park Guard service (park security provider) – particularly over the weekends. They have also increased the payment to those businesses who join the Community Toilet Scheme for the next three months and are also investigating opening new public toilets in Town Centres.
Licencing officers have written to all cafes, pubs and restaurants in the borough, to remind them that if they are currently open for business and have customer toilets – then they should be open.
Representatives from both Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s attended the discussion and Cllr Roberts pleaded with them to be more responsible with their discounts and sales.
The Police emphasised that they are working hard to deal with the unacceptable behaviour that is causing concern for residents. They have the powers to deal with the rise in anti-social behaviour and encourage the public to continue to report it. Over the weekend an increased number of officers were on duty, including volunteer Special Constables. Unlicensed music events and large gatherings in open spaces are illegal and you can report suspected events by dialling 101, by tweeting @MetCC or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
You can see the video of the event here.

I have been contacted by some of you regarding the presence of harmful Oak Processionary Moths in your gardens and the cost of associated with the removal of the nests. I have today written to DEFRA asking them to provide financial support for the owners of the affected trees to fund the removal of the nests.
For more information visit this link.

As we focus on tackling the spread of infection, our focus on reducing plastic waste has unfortunately been deprioritised as we have had to rely on disposable plastic PPE and now disposable takeaway cups. I would urge all business owners who are offering takeaway food and drink to look for more sustainable packaging options. This will help mitigate any harm we are doing to the environment from moving to disposables for health and safety reasons.

Google have launched a new initiative Open for Business to provide support to a million small businesses across the UK. Local businesses have kept so many of us going over recent months, but we know the impact of Covid-19 continues to be particularly challenging to manage.
This initiative has been designed with a specific focus on helping businesses who rely on in-person interaction – such as pubs, restaurants, shops and hairdressers. It will provide support in several ways:

  • They will connect small businesses and charities with Google Digital coaches and employees, who are offering 10,000 hours of free 1:1 support and mentoring.
  • They will support small businesses to update their online profiles to help them be found by customers.
  • They are sharing £25 million in advertising credits
  • Hosting free webinars to help local businesses adapt to the ‘new normal’. The content of these webinars varies from ‘Get Started with Live streaming’ to ‘Understanding Analytics’.

You can access this package of support here.

The Richmond upon Thames Voluntary Fund, aimed at raising money for two local youth mental health charities, has so far raised £100k.
The Fund was launched in February to collect donations from residents for specific vulnerable groups, where there is a need for additional funding for help and support. The 2020 beneficiaries are Twickenham based charity Off The Record and Richmond Borough Mind.
Off The Record has worked incredibly hard to move their counselling service online during lockdown, so that all young people who wanted to, could continue to see their counsellor. They are also offering counselling to clients on their waiting list, and to any new young people who are in need.
Richmond Borough Mind has been offering workshops online, focussing on the anxieties young people face going back to school or moving to new schools following the lockdown period. They have also been working to provide peer mentoring to young carers as an extension to peer mentoring offered in schools and youth groups.
Residents can donate throughout the year online or by cheque.
For more information, or to donate, go to:

Many thousands of EU nationals based in Richmond have applied to remain in the UK under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS), but there are still many more who are yet to start the process.
Government figures show that 14,560 Richmond residents have submitted an EUSS application and, of these, 13,560 have been concluded. However, the Council believes that there are still many people who are eligible for the EUSS who are yet to apply, in particular vulnerable citizens such as older people and non-EEA nationals.
The Council is urging all residents from EU countries and eligible non-EEA nationals who want to stay in the UK to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme as soon as possible.


Sarah Olney MP

Earlier updates can be accessed here.