VIRTUAL MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT NOW AVAILABLE FOR ALL YOUNG PEOPLE
Young people aged 11 to 18 can now access free anonymous counselling from qualified counsellors via an online mental wellbeing platform.
Kooth.com is designed for young people experiencing issues with their emotional wellbeing, such as anxiety, low mood or stress. Counselling can be accessed through a drop-in service or booked sessions; there is no referral needed from a health professional, no waiting lists, and no criteria to meet to get support.

NEW HARDSHIP FUND FOR FAMILIES STRUGGLING TO ACCESS MONEY FOR FOOD
A new Council hardship fund will be available for a limited period for those households with children (in receipt of Child Benefit) who have suffered a loss of income or loss of employment, and those with no access to other public funds. It will also support those with no funding and unable to access the benefits system due to their immigration status.
The Council has received £1.1m of funding from the Government to support those in most need and has already helped around 1,700 of the borough’s poorest households with their Council Tax bills.
To apply for the Fund, go to: www.richmond.gov.uk/richmond_covid-19_hardship_fund

WASTE & RECYCLING CHALLENGES
I have heard from many of you about issues you have experienced with your waste and recycling collections during the lockdown. And, whilst 95% of borough households have experienced a good service since the pandemic began, the Council are striving to do better.
They are working in partnership with the new contractor, Serco, to address the issues and deliver a service that residents need. Since lockdown began, there have obviously been substantially increased quantities of household waste and recycling presented for collection. This increased tonnage has put pressure on the service. In some cases, refuse vehicles have filled up before the end of their rounds and this has caused knock-on difficulties with some rounds not getting finished as they usually would.
To address the challenges, bin crews have worked over longer hours to collect our waste and recycling and reinstate our Garden Waste service. They have also re-configured some of the vehicles to handle the recycling loads more effectively and brought in additional crews and vehicles to make collection rounds work better.

FISH VIRTUAL OPEN GARDENS
We are blessed with wonderful outdoor spaces but hidden behind many houses are small (and not so small) gems of gardens. From cottage gardens bursting with colour to woodland gardens with amazing foliage, every style abounds.
Once every two years we get the chance to see some of these secret spaces as their owners open them to raise money for FiSH. This year the coronavirus means we can’t walk around them physically but we can do so virtually.
Please visit FISH Open Gardens – available now from the comfort of your armchair on this link https://www.fishopengardens.org

CHILDREN ENCOURAGED TO SEND #LOVETHROUGHTHELETTERBOX
Children are encouraged to write letters for older residents in the borough, who are amongst the most affected by the COVID-19 crisis and who might be feeling particularly lonely.
#LoveThroughTheLetterbox is an opportunity to bring back letter writing as an activity for children and help the older generation feel connected and less isolated. The letter doesn’t necessarily have to include words, artwork and drawings are also welcomed.
Send your letters to Love Through The Letterbox, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ and they will be forwarded to care homes that want to be involved. Please include a first name, year group and the name of the school that the young person attends so that the recipient can respond to the letter if they wish to.

SUMMER READING CHALLENGE FOR KIDS
Children aged 4-11 are encouraged to join the Silly Squad for this year’s Summer Reading Challenge.
The challenge runs until September and is the biggest children’s reading for pleasure programme in the UK.
This year, children can sign up to the challenge by heading to www.sillysquad.org.uk. Silly Squad aims to be fun and so users can unlock all sorts of activities, games and rewards.
Whilst libraries remain closed in accordance with government guidance, online library services are open 24/7. Richmond Card holders can access free eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, an online music library, and many more online services. For more information and to access the digital library, please click here. To apply for a Richmond Library Card online, click here.

COMPETE FOR THE BOROUGH AT THIS YEAR’S LONDON YOUTH GAMES
Young people are invited to represent Richmond at the virtual London Youth Games starting this week.
Over a period of four weeks, a number of sport related challenges will be set that can be done at home, at school or while out on your daily exercise. The challenges will go live every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 9.00am on the London Youth Games website and its social media channels. Participants will then have until Friday at midday to complete the challenges and submit their scores via the website.

Sarah

Sarah Olney MP
www.SarahOlneyMP.org.uk
email: office@saraholneymp.org.uk

Earlier updates can be accessed here.