Rough sleeping is a significant and growing concern within our community. With its causes and symptoms, it’s a complex issue. But in a country as decent and well off as ours, we should not be seeing this increase in rough sleeping on our streets.
I invited council reps, the City Hall housing team and local police to join me and see the issues in our community first-hand.
I'm working hard to bring agencies together and effect change.
The Year 2s at Tooting Primary School have been learning all about strong women.
I was honoured to be invited to speak with the pupils all about being what it means to be a doctor and represent our wonderful community as MP.
It is so important that we recognise and champion the voices and stories of strong women.
And the students had great questions. They even taught me a few strong women facts!
The Government recently released their “Plan for Health and Social Care”, in which they pledge to help the NHS recover from the coronavirus pandemic and reform the adult social care system - funded by a 1.25% increase in National Insurance payments.
Low-paid families will now be hit with a double whammy of a Universal Credit cut and a hike in tax. In fact, some key workers will end up more than £1,000 worse off.
While I have long called for investment in social care, this is not the appropriate way to fund it. Once again the Tories have put the very wealthiest above working people.
I am proud to have voted against this National Insurance increase, which will be a damaging blow to so many working people in Tooting.
I am concerned about South Western Railway’s planned cuts to local services.
Earlsfield Station could lose two trains per hour off-peak, and direct services to Shepperton could be cut.
With residents gradually returning to offices, I believe that these cuts to rail services are ill-considered. In addition, if we are to tackle air pollution and reduce carbon emissions, we need to be encouraging public transport use - not making it more difficult to use.
The South Western Railway’s Consultation on this matter closes on Sunday 19th September. If you are affected by these planned changes, I would encourage you to submit your view to the consultation here.
Local community champions Dons Local Action Group have joined forces with AFC Wimbledon to continue their fight against food poverty in our community. The Dons will be collecting donations at every home game this season, which will support even more families in need.
The Dons are requesting donations of tinned meat, vegetables, fish, fruit, and pulses. Collection points are located by each stadium entrance.
Next match day, please support this wonderful initiative in any way that you are able – the spirit of giving is what makes our Tooting community so special!
Many local residents have been in touch regarding the expansion of the Cambo Oil Field, 75 miles to the west of the Shetland Islands in Scotland.
I want to be clear in the fact that I oppose the expansion of the Cambo Oil Field. The climate crisis is the defining issue of our generation and should be treated with the urgency required. By expanding oil and gas exploration, we are abandoning our obligations to end the ongoing climate crisis.
Ahead of COP26, we must support the end of oil and gas exploration whilst protecting our communities and jobs.
It was an honour to host my first ever radio show on Riverside Radio last night on all things mental health.
Mental health struggles are nothing to be ashamed of, and tackling the stigma starts with open, honest conversations.
Thank you to all the wonderful listeners who called up with their mental health questions during the show, and to Sahar Beg from Tooting Community Kitchen who joined me in the studio.
If you missed the show, you can listen back here.
Our Tooting community always comes together in the face of adversity, and I know many local residents will want to help those impacted by the current situation in Afghanistan in any way they can. That is why I have compiled a list of organisations and charities currently working to support Afghan refugees:
To provide refugee accommodation:
Refugees at Home: UK charity which connects those with a spare room with refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay. Apply to be a host here.
Room for Refugees: Community hosting network that offers safe, temporary homes and emotional support for insecurely-housed refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable groups - families, the sick, the elderly and unaccompanied asylum seeking children with no recourse to public funds. Apply to offer accommodation here.
Wandsworth Borough Council: Residents, businesses, or other landlords who could offer a property for new arrivals are being asked to register their details - they are particularly keen to hear from those with 3 to 4 bedroom properties available. To offer accommodation, contact Wandsworth Borough Council via email at email@example.com or by phone on 020 8871 7333.
Care4Calais: Asking for volunteers, financial donations and donations clothes, shoes, phones or other essentials at drop off points:
Choose Love: Supporting projects providing vital aid and services to Afghan people who have fled the country: clothes, shelter, support for children and groups protecting women and children’s rights.
British Red Cross: Calling for donations to help staff and volunteers provide emotional support and essential items, including warm clothes, blankets, soap, toothbrushes and nappies.
Save the Children: Calling for donations to an emergency fund.
Action Aid: Calling for emergency donations to help charity provide emergency humanitarian assistance including food, water, and essential items such as hygiene kits, cash, tarpaulins, tents, cooking utensils, clothing, and bedding.
Afghanaid: Afghanaid is a British humanitarian and development organisation, currently asking for donations to assist response to the Afghan crisis
UNICEF: Raising money to support children in Afghanistan
UNHCR: Calling for donations to help the organisation in the distribution of family tents, hygiene kits, core relief items like blankets, sleeping mats and kitchen sets.
The Big Give: Delivering emergency support to families whose lives have been destroyed or uprooted by the conflict.
Muslim Aid: Calling for donations to Afghanistan Emergency Appeal.
Islamic Relief: Calling for donations to aid Afghan’s on the ground in Afghanistan, and when they come to the UK.
Doctors Without Borders: The MSF teams are responding to the crisis in Afghanistan, providing medical aid, expertise and life-saving supplies during the escalating crisis.
Paiwand: Established an Afghan Resettlement Emergency Fund, supporting displaced Afghans in need of assistance.
Refugee Council: Providing aid, including mental health support, for refugees arriving in the UK.
This week, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced London will be welcoming 150 families from Afghanistan. To each and every family coming to Tooting - you are so welcome here.
Want to help those arriving from Afghanistan? Here is what you can do:
Little Village: Urgently in need of warm baby clothes, 9 months - 2 years and 4 - 6 years (specifically pyjamas, snow suits, jumpers and coats). Moses baskets, muslins, small toys and activity packs also needed.
Regular collections are being held at Chancery Mews, SW17 7TD and Chillerton Road, SW17 9BE. Please do check their Facebook page for more information.
Tooting Community Kitchen: Urgently in need of jogging bottoms and jeans in sizes 26-34 waist, jumpers, t-shirts, coats and trainers in sizes 38-45.
Donations can be dropped off Friday 9-1pm and Saturday 3-5pm at Price Close (entrance at 104 Upper Tooting Road).
I was also pleased to write to the Leader of Wandsworth Council alongside my colleagues, Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, and Marshsa De Cordova, MP for Battersea, to call on Wandsworth Council to welcome in refugees from Afghanistan and provide them with a safe place to live.
On Monday 6 September, I’ll be live on Riverside Radio diving into why mental health matters and, perhaps most importantly, all your mental health matters.
The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging for so many of us and have highlighted the importance of mental health care. We need true parity of esteem between physical and mental health. One step we can take towards reducing any stigma is by being open in our conversations around mental health.
Join me for an honest, straight-talking hour, 6-7pm next Monday! And if you have any questions about mental health that you want to ask on air, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.