From Jo Stevens MP <[email protected]>
Subject News from Jo Stevens MP
Date April 30, 2020 4:41 PM
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COVID-19 updates, updates on my work and good news stories from Cardiff Central.

Thank you for reading my April newsletter.

I hope you, your families, friends and neighbours are all staying safe and well.

I want to start with a huge thank you to each and every key worker providing essential services, especially in our NHS, social care, council services and retail to mention just a few. Thank you also to everyone who has volunteered to help our community across Cardiff Central.

As the lockdown continues, thank you to the overwhelming majority of Cardiff Central residents who have been following public health and government guidance and instructions closely, playing your part in helping to slow the spread of the virus.

I know it is frustrating not being able to do the things we have always taken for granted, but everyone’s efforts to keep to social distancing have protected our community, protected our NHS and saved the lives of people around us. Let’s keep going together.

** COVID-19 Advice Hub
[link removed]
My website ([link removed]) has a dedicated section containing the most up-to-date information and advice from the UK Government, Welsh Government and Cardiff Council on a range of matters from employment, business, housing, volunteering and more.

We are continually updating it with the latest information as soon as it becomes available and I hope it has been helpful to you. If you need help with an issue that isn’t covered there, please call or email me (contact details are below).
* Find out what to do if someone in your household has symptoms of coronavirus ([link removed]) .
* If you are concerned about your symptoms, check if you need medical help ([link removed]) .
* Find out how you can reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus ([link removed]) .

** Helping Constituents Through COVID-19
I and my staff team are all working from home and we’ve received twice as many enquiries and requests for help during the pandemic. Each day of the week we are keeping on top of the new announcements from the UK and Welsh Governments and changes to Council services, so we can advise and help individuals, families, businesses and organisations in the constituency across a huge range of questions and issues.
We’ve also been busy trying to help bring constituents home safely, who have been stranded abroad. As Coronavirus has driven travel industries into meltdown, we’ve helped repatriate constituents from countries including Peru, Spain, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Syria and Iraq amongst others. Working with Labour MPs from across the country, our pressure has secured Government agreement to charter flights to bring constituents home from some countries, and provision of financial support to return home safely, too.

We’ve been busy helping businesses in Cardiff Central access the support schemes put in place by Welsh and UK Governments amid the unprecedented financial pressures they are now facing due to lockdown. Many of our favourite Cardiff Central businesses have had to close, but some are still operating a limited service as takeaways and home delivery services – please do consider supporting these businesses if you can, you can find a list of Cardiff businesses still operating by via Cardiff Delivers by clicking here. ([link removed])

I have been able to raise and resolve issues directly on behalf of constituents through regular online meetings with the First Minister, Welsh Government Ministers, the Chief Constable of South Wales Police, Cardiff Council’s Leader and Chief Executive and the Health Board’s Chief Executive.

I’m here to help so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

** Good News in Cardiff Central

** Cardiff High School/Cathays High School PPE
As you may have seen from social media, the Design Technology departments of Cardiff and Cathays High Schools have been busy putting their skills and technology to use to provide vital PPE to our frontline health staff across South Wales. Between them, they’ve already made more than 5000 masks and are targeting 7500 next – they’re currently fundraising for purchase of the materials they need to get there, and you can donate by clicking here. ([link removed])

** St Teilo's High School Foodbank
St Teilo’s Church in Wales High School in Llanederyn is providing emergency supplies to families experiencing food poverty. School staff are delivering packages to family homes including food and drink, toiletries and feminine hygiene products. In partnership with Cardiff Foodbank, they’re also issuing Foodbank vouchers every Wednesday between 10am and 12.30pm from the school.

Any donations would be gratefully received. In particular, the school would benefit from gifts of: toiletries and household cleaning products; tea, coffee and sugar; fruit juice and lifelong milk; and tinned meats. Donations may be dropped off at the school every Wednesday morning. Any members of the community requiring practical help or assistance – or those who would simply like to hear a friendly voice – are encouraged to visit Support will be arranged between community partners, including Christchurch United Church, Cyncoed Ministry Area, Glenwood Church and St Teilo’s.

** Dar-Ul-Isra PPE Appeal
Dar-ul-isra Mosque has been fundraising to provide every GP practice in Cardiff with a PPE box, containing masks, visors, gowns and more. They’ve already raised over £15,000 for this effort, and have now moved on to their second project of supplying the intensive care unit in the Royal Gwent Hospital, along with district nurses, palliative care teams and community care teams right across South Wales. Their work has been inspiring, thank you for all your efforts in keeping our carers and health workers safe.

You can read more, and contribute to the effort by clicking here. ([link removed])

** Councillor Norma Mackie

One of the most inspiring things throughout this crisis has been the sight of so many retired NHS staff returning to work in their thousands to support the frontline fight against COVID-19. Our very own Cathays Councillor, Norma Mackie, has re-joined the NHS as a bank care assistant. Thank you Norma and to everyone who has re-joined the NHS and care sector at personal risk, to help. It is inspiring.

** Local Labour Councillors

Local Labour Councillors have been busy across Cardiff Central helping their communities through the pandemic. Dan, Sue, Mary and Pete in Roath, Owen in Adamsdown, Ali, Norma, Sarah and Chris in Cathays and Frank in Llanedeyrn & Pentwyn have all been busy collecting prescriptions, doing shopping and delivering green bags for residents who are confined to their homes for self-isolation. It’s been great to see all parts of our communities springing into action to help those most in need. Thank you to all of your for your efforts.

** Local Support Groups
Support groups, run by amazing community volunteers have sprung into action right across Cardiff Central. There is now a support group covering each and every corner of the constituency – helping with shopping, dog walking, telephone calls and more. Thank you to all the incredible volunteers. It’s these acts of kindness that we will all remember once we are through this crisis. If you need support, or want to get involved, the support groups and volunteering information is below.
Cathays/Roath COVID-19 Support Cyncoed COVID-19 Support ([link removed])

Penylan COVID-19 Support ([link removed])

Cardiff Network COVID-19 Support ([link removed])

** Al-Ikhlas Centre Support and Food Appeal
The Al Ikhlas Culture and Education Centre in Adamsdown have also been working hard to support local people by shopping, collecting prescriptions and organising donations of food for the foodbank. Thank you for all your efforts so far, and if you can help the collection, you can find out more information by clicking here. ([link removed])

** Cardiff Foodbank

Cardiff Foodbank are currently going above and beyond to maintain their level of service to the most vulnerable in our city. I was in the distribution centre this week and it’s clear that a perfect storm of increased demand but reduced donations is taking place. If you can’t make physical food donations, but do have a few spare pounds, please consider donating to Cardiff Foodbank so they can continue their critical work in ensuring nobody in Cardiff goes hungry.

You can find out more about their work, and how to donate by clicking here. ([link removed])

** In Parliament
Following Keir Starmer’s election as Labour leader at the start of the month, I was delighted to accept his invitation to serve in our strong, new and inclusive Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. A wide ranging sector very close to my heart, and one that’s very close to home here in Cardiff Central particularly with our vibrant Capital City music and creative scene, many charities and of course, a constituency that usually plays host to most of our national sports.

Work started straight away. I’ve been meeting organisations, businesses, charities and trade unions, putting pressure on the Government to ensure their support for creative industries and charities is adequate to get the sectors through this period of unprecedented challenge. Since then, we’ve seen announcements on funding for the charity sector and creative industries, but there are still far too many holes in these schemes (especially for freelance workers). I continue to raise specific issues with the Government in discussions and correspondence. You can see my recent letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden below or by clicking here. ([link removed])

I wrote in the Daily Mirror twice last week, firstly in a joint piece with Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey ([link removed]) to stress the exemplary efforts of the BBC in stepping up their education resources to help parents and pupils locked down at home and then last Sunday in a piece calling for the Government to honour their 2017 manifesto promise to maintain free TV licences for the over 75s as the BBC is so vital to them during the lengthy shielding requirement, which you can read by clicking here. ([link removed])

I had my first (virtual) DCMS Questions as Shadow Secretary of State. My question was on the need for more support for the charity sector. After 10 years of austerity, many of the front-line public services responding to the pandemic are provided by charities. The Government’s support package announced is insufficient and 3 weeks on, hardly any of the promised money has reached charities. I’ll keep pushing for extra financial support from the Government before charities start to go under.

You can watch the Questions by clicking here. ([link removed])

This crisis has shone a spotlight on how important and integral to our daily lives, access to digital services, sport, media and culture is. We have to ensure that when the crisis is over, the importance, public value and benefit, and wellbeing that they all bring to our lives is better recognised, supported and invested in. The whole sector will be critical to us recovering and hopefully moving on successfully from this unprecented time.

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** Twitter ([link removed])
** Link ([link removed])
** Website ([link removed])
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