Since the outset of the pandemic, we have lost close to 500 Wandsworth residents to the virus (ONS). That’s 500 families grieving a lost one, 500 people with their own stories to tell, and a community collectively grieving those no longer with us.
To remember those who died, I recently visited the National Covid Memorial Wall outside St Thomas’s Hospital, stretching across the south bank of the River Thames.
The National Covid Memorial Wall was set up by the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK, who I had the pleasure of meeting with in November last year.
Hearing the evidence confirming what we knew and feared, of how severe failures caused countless avoidable deaths, results in a devastating combination of anger and heartbreak. All those bereaved are in my thoughts and will continue to be as we build back from this pandemic.
On Tuesday, I was alerted to a team of Met Police officers stopping fast food delivery drivers and carrying out immigration checks on Mitcham Road.
The only concerns I have received from local residents (which authorities were copied into) were about social distancing, for which an operation of this size seems excessive. However, the police say it was 'a road safety policing operation'. The Home Office say it was in relation to 'suspected immigration offences'.
This looks like racial profiling - and under the Equalities Act 2010, this may amount to indirect discrimination due to its disproportionate impact on ethnic minority groups. If it's not unlawful, then it's definitely immoral and I cannot defend it.
Our community here in Tooting is inclusive, diverse and welcoming. The celebratory nature of the police’s response to any arrests is not in line with our local values.
I have met with the police since and encouraged them to focus their time on fighting crime – not targeting people at work.
This May marks Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Month.
BPD, also known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD), is a serious and complicated mental illness that around 1 in 100 people live with.
A type of ‘personality disorder’, BPD affects how individuals cope with life, manage relationships, and feel emotions. Those with BPD can experience deep distress, which is often caused by previous trauma.
If you would like to find out more information on BPD, Mind and Rethink - two leading mental health charities - have dedicated pages on their websites. Mind’s can be viewed here and Rethink’s here.
If you are experiencing BPD, BPD World also provides information and support to those affected by personality disorders. To find out more about the support they offer, see here.
It is vital that we raise awareness of BPD to ensure that people receive the support they need and deserve without feeling stigmatised.
I would like to congratulate Sadiq Khan on his return to City Hall, where he will be serving as Mayor of London for a second term. As a fellow Tooting-ite, having grown up on the Henry Prince Estate, I know our community has a sense of collective pride seeing Sadiq returned as Mayor of our incredible city.
I would also like to congratulate Leonie Cooper on her re-election as Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth.
Thank you to every single person in Tooting and across London who put their trust in the Labour Party, and thank you to all of the volunteers who hit the ground running, knocking on doors, delivering leaflets, and making phone calls.
We will leave no stone unturned to get our city back on its feet. A brighter future is possible, and we’ll deliver it together.
Rites for Girls is a local group which aims aims to prepare girls for that all-important transition from primary to secondary school, focusing on their wellbeing and self-esteem.
Girls in Year 6 and 7 are being offered the opportunity to participate in monthly sessions over the course of the year, in which they will be taught about puberty, and learn strategies to take charge of their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing.
As we look to the end of Government lockdown measures, during which time many girls have reported feeling disconnected from family and friends, the support Rites for Girls offers girls is more important than ever.
Sessions will be held at the Woodfield Pavilion, Tooting Bec Common. For more information see here, or to book a place for your daughter contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a new mum, it can be vital to talk and share your experiences with those in the same situation as you.
No new mother should have to suffer in silence if they are struggling with their mental health.
To mark Maternal Mental Health Week, I would like to share some brilliant charities and support services available for women and birthing people:
Family Action offers specialist support services for parents with mental health difficulties. This includes services during pregnancy and after birth. Further information on Perinatal Support Services Family Lives can be found here.
The Association for Postnatal Illness offers information and support for those experiencing postnatal depression. The APNI are available between 10am and 2pm, Monday to Friday on 0207 386 0868. Alternatively, an online chat box on the bottom left of their website can be found here.
Family Lives offers confidential support, information and advice for parents. Support is available via email email@example.com or via there helpline on 0808 800 2222.
PaNDAS - Postnatal Awareness and Support is a community organisation offering peer-to-peer support. PaNDAS has a free helpline, open 7 days a week, 11am to 10pm on 0808 1961 776. Alternatively, they can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and a trained volunteer will aim to get back to you within 72 hours.
If you are at crisis point, the Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 on 116 123.