I was thrilled to meet Helen Sharman recently, at the opening of The Kingston Academy. Helen was the first British person in space and has been one of my heroes since I was at school. She is a local resident and got in touch today to share the insights she gained on life in isolation while working in space. You can see her excellent tips here.

Having heard from many constituents that they are concerned about falling through the cracks in the support packages announced by the Chancellor, I have written to him to urge him to address the gaps.These include:
• Workers who previously worked under short term PAYE contracts
• Self-employed people who were paid via dividends from their Ltd companies
• Zero-hours workers whose employers have not been given guidance on how to calculate their wages under the job retention scheme
• Self-employed people who had profits over the £50,0000 cliff edge
• All self-employed people who cannot keep themselves going until June
• Foreign workers who have lost their jobs and whose immigration status does not give them access to benefits, many of whom are unable to return home
Some of these workers will be able to apply for Universal Credit.
If you are a non-UK national, you may want to look at this page of resources:

I have been contacted today by TfL about the situation on Hammersmith Bridge. On social distancing they have said: “We are implementing the new arrangements on the bridge with a two way system using the available footway and carriageway with cyclists having to push their bikes across. We have four more marshals on the bridge to help push the message on social distancing and two metres which has also has been marked out on the bridge just as it has been done on the Riverwalk.”
On the subject of the ongoing bridge repairs they have said: “We are working on the bridge so the South Pedestals will see us start removing the paint today. That will last most of the week. So for Hammersmith Bridge advance work it is business as usual. We have approval from the government and are working under strict conditions. We intend to keep to our programme.”

A lot of constituents are unhappy about Richmond Park being closed to cyclists. This step was taken because of crowding at the entrances and some cyclists not observing the social distancing rules. I wrote to Royal Parks about this, and they have assured me that they are continuously reviewing their policies, and share our hope this is a temporary measure.

I have heard from a number of local and national charities that they are in real financial trouble due to the closure of their high street shops and the cancellation of their fundraising events. Many of these charities are more needed than ever right now, and are not sure how they will survive. If you are in a financial position to make a donation to an important cause, here are some that we particularly need to keep going:

Mind: support for those suffering from mental illness –
Age UK: support for older people –
Marie-Curie: support for patients with a terminal illness –
Refuge: support for women and children suffering domestic violence –
Cruse Bereavement Care (Richmond): Support for the bereaved:
Momentum: support for families whose child has a serious illness

I have been contacted by NHS Blood and Transplant to say that they still need people to donate blood to keep supply levels healthy. They have put in place exacting hygiene protocols to ensure that donors are kept safe from exposure. Over the next 12 weeks they will send regular updates of where there are unfilled slots in this area. Please go to and register if you are healthy, able to go out, and willing to donate.

London Early Years Foundation Nurseries (LEYF)
LEYF nurseries are offering childcare to essential workers and vulnerable children during the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis. LEYF is keeping 18 nurseries (out of a total of 39) open across London to provide childcare for key workers and vulnerable children. Visit them at:

Army delivers protective equipment for Richmond’s social care workers
An emergency supply of masks and aprons were delivered to Richmond Council on Friday 27 March by the British Army. These supplies are now being distributed to care homes and other key workers. Richmond’s social care staff provide support for some of the most vulnerable and frail people in the borough, and I am happy to see that the Council has sourced some protective equipment for them.

Thank you to everyone who is reaching out to help someone else today. As Helen Sharman writes in her advice on isolation, I hope that once this is all over we will retain the habits of kindness and care we are developing during this crisis. Stay safe and please do reach out to my office if you need assistance.


Sarah Olney MP

Update 27th March
Earlier updates can be accessed from the above link.