I am writing to you with further advice about the support that is available locally if you are in difficulties in the coming weeks. I am trying to cover as many bases as possible, but please do get in touch with me with individual queries and issues. I know that this is going to be very tough for many people, and I will not be able, and nor will the government, to solve every problem. But we are all doing our best.
Firstly, with regard to the overall picture. I know that many people are very scared about losing their jobs or the future of their businesses. I have already sent the most recent information about Government support for business, but I have also been assured by the Treasury that they are working as fast as they can on further measures to try to protect jobs. I will keep you updated as soon as I can.
I know there are many other issues facing local businesses and I am getting a number of worried emails. I will respond to all those issues individually and provide updates when I can. There is a business support Government hotline which is 0300 456 3565, though I know it is very busy. If you are in danger of losing your job, or may end up without income for a period, there is also a Universal Credit hotline on 0800 328 5644.
The breakdown of all the financial support currently available for individuals and business can be found here.
Many of you are very concerned about the availability of food and essential products in the shops. I have heard some disturbing tales of the scenes in the supermarkets in the past twenty-four hours and have been round to see the situation today. This period will require everyone to be restrained. There is no overall shortage of food in the area and the supermarkets are clear that they will continue to stock up as fast as they can. But don’t forget your local corner shops as well, or the local specialists, many of which do seem to have remained reasonably well-stocked.
I have contacted the local supermarkets again and urged them to police more carefully the time set aside for the elderly, as other people do seem to be trying to shop at the same time.
There are now a number of support services for the vulnerable locally. If you are elderly and struggling to get food, or you have another problem, please contact the local branches of Age Concern. The numbers are as follows:
Age Concern Epsom & Ewell – 01372 732 456
Age Concern Mole Valley – 01306 899104
Age Concern Banstead – 01737 352156
Surrey County Council has set up a help line for people needing help more broadly. They will provide information about where to get help. The number is 0300 200 1008
Worried residents can also visit the dedicated Surrey County Council Coronavirus website for community support for more information.
If you want to volunteer to help one of the local charity services, here’s who you need to get in touch with:
In Epsom and Ewell and Mole Valley, contact Central Surrey Voluntary Action on 01372 722911
In Reigate and Banstead, contact Voluntary Action Reigate and Banstead on 01737 763156
Thank you to everyone who has signed up to be a helper through Community Coronavirus Care. They have gathered valuable information about potential volunteers and are now working with Central Surrey Voluntary Action to sort out how to provide that support to the front line organisations working with the elderly and the vulnerable.
Please do also look out for your neighbours and point anyone who needs help towards one of these services.
Finally, can I stress again how important it is to support smaller local businesses at this difficult time. If you can, please do order a takeaway from a local restaurant this weekend if you might otherwise have gone there for a meal instead. Or find another local business you can support. We need them to be still there when all this is over.
Please could you pass this message to your friends and contacts and ask them in turn to make sure that anyone they know who might need supporting in the days ahead knows where to turn.
With best wishes