Avoid the riverfront say Police and Councils

Image above: Hammersmith riverfront; photograph Hammersmith & Fulham Council The Met Police joined Hammersmith & Fulham and Hounslow councils in urging local residents to avoid the busy riverfront to help stop the spread of Covid-19. The stretch of riverfront running from Chiswick Mall to Hammersmith Mall and down to Bishop’s Park in Fulham is extremely busy, they say, especially at weekends. Markings will be laid this weekend (16 - 17 January) to help maintain distancing along this stretch. Rain is expected on Saturday, but the forecast is for sunshine on Sunday, so the authorities are expecting people to come out in large numbers. 'The large number of people congregating in these small, congested paths vastly increase the risk of transmitting the virus. W

Explore Chiswick’s cultural history, online and on foot

Train services to be reduced to 72% of pre-pandemic levels

Above: Photograph by Marianne Mahaffey  Train services across the country, including those which service Chiswick, will be reduced by up to 72% of pre-pandemic levels. The changes will come in place gradually over the next few weeks and passengers will be asked to check before they travel whether their regular service is running. The rail industry argues that the timetable cuts will mean a more reliable service for passengers. They put themselves in danger of catching Covid-19 by interacting with the public. A reduced service means fewer rail staff will catch the coronavirus. If they tried to run a full schedule, more staff get sick and the greater the disruption would be to the schedules. A spokesperson for South Western Rail told The Chiswick Calendar: “Our pri

Chiswick Head Teacher “devastated” that exams have been cancelled

Image above: Laura Ellener, Head Teacher of Chiswick School (library picture not taken during the pandemic) Head teacher of Chiswick School Laura Ellener told the Chiswick Area Forum on Tuesday 12 January she was "devastated" that GCSE and A Level exams were not going ahead this year. She said her Year 11 and Year 13 groups were still working very hard but she felt very bad for them that they would not be able to prove their ability in public exams. Schools have been told that the public exams are cancelled, but as yet, she said they hadn't been given any alternative framework, there's "no back-up plan". Laura Ellener was reporting on the school's record over the past twelve months. In January 2020 Ofsted inspectors pronounced Chiswick to be a 'Good' school, after a l

Hear first hand from Kelly O’Neill about how Covid is affecting LB Hounslow

  Images above: Kelly O'Neill; Laura Ellener; Xanthe Arvanitakis LB Hounslow's Director of Public Health, Kelly O'Neill, will be speaking at the Chiswick Area Forum on Tuesday 12 January. The meeting starts at 7.00pm. She will be giving an update on how LB Hounslow is coping with the Covid crisis. Laura Ellener, Head Teacher at Chiswick School  will also be giving her report. The school has recently started Rapid Covid testing of staff and students who are not showing any symptoms of the illness. Staff are teaching children considered vulnerable and the children of key workers on site, while teaching the rest of their students remotely. They are

Which ‘non-essential’ shops are still offering click & collect or deliveries

By Pam O'Toole Retailers whose shops are deemed “non-essential” (such as clothes, art work and ceramics, books, toys) are still trying to work out how much business they can salvage during the current lockdown. Some, particularly the larger ones, have wholeheartedly embraced click and collect services and/ or delivery services. Other, smaller, operations are more cautious, saying they’ll certainly offer click and collect for the time being, but may change their position if they discover that offering this service jeopardises their chances of getting a Government grant. Some, but not all, smaller businesses are also offering deliveries. See below for details. Bookshops Foster Books. This lovely 18th century bookstore on Chiswick High Rd is open for local

First vaccinations being carried out at Chiswick Health Centre

Image above: Queue for vaccinations mid-morning on Friday 8 January The Covid vaccination programme is being delivered primarily at GP surgeries, with 1,000 GP practices at the forefront of providing jabs to the public. The vaccinations are being offered first to elderly people and those who are clinically vulnerable. The NHS will contact you if you are eligible for vaccination at this stage. Chiswick Health Centre is one of those select locations to offer vaccinations. The centre has had queues of elderly people waiting outside for vaccinations, referred by GPs in the area. The first cohort, over 80, received texts before Christmas and they're now moving on to the over 75s.  Those The Chiswick Calendar has spoken to have received

Vaccination programme rolled out

Image above: Boris Johnson with Chief Executive of the NHS Sir Simon Stevens and Brigadier Phil Prosser The Prime Minister gave a press conference last night (Thursday 7 January) with Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS and Brigadier Phil Prosser, who is leading the Armed Services' contribution to organising the roll out of Covid vaccinations. He said over 1,000 GP led sites were at the forefront of the vaccination programme and that the 'first wave' of community pharmacies would soon also be involved. In Chiswick elderly people have started getting their vaccinations at Chiswick Health Centre. The plan is to provide a vaccination centre for everyone within a ten mile radius of their home, Boris Johnson said. He promised every elderly care home resident w

Chiswick School starts COVID testing programme

Chiswick School starts testing programme Staff at Chiswick School have this week started administering coronavirus testing to its staff and students. Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson announced on 15 December that secondary schools would be required to provide mass testing for students from the beginning of the Spring term. They're using the Lateral Flow Tests, the so-called 'Rapid' tests which give a positive or negative result in 30-40 minutes, without having to be processed in a laboratory. The tests are being used in schools to help identify people who have high levels of virus who do not have symptoms and would not otherwise come forward for a test. Rapid Covid testing centres for the general public have also been

The Royal Albert Hall – VE day Concert

The Royal Albert has had to cancel its schedule until March. But its YouTube channel has a series of fundraising online concerts put together since the first lockdown to raise money for the iconic institution. They range from Katherine Jenkins singing to mark the 75th anniversary of VE day in the (empty) Hall to the Kaiser Chiefs, Sir Cliff Richard, K.T Tunstall and Richard Thompson doing home gigs. Viewing is free but you’re encouraged to donate anything from a fiver upwards to help with the Hall’s upkeep youtube.com

Rapid COVID-19 tests available in Hounslow

LB Hounslow are now offering rapid, asymptomatic COVID-19 testing to help reduce the spread of the virus in the borough. Hounslow currently has a very high rate of infection. Data published on Wednesday 6 January shows that 49 people died of COVID-19 in LB Hounslow in December. That’s almost twice the number who died in November and more than twice the number who died in the previous five months. About 1 in 3 people with Coronavirus have no symptoms, but can still pass the virus to others without knowing. Book a test if you have no symptoms Members of the community with no symptoms can book a free rapid test online via LB Hounslow's website.

Christmas impact – Covid cases up by nearly 50% in Chiswick

Big rise in Covid deaths in LB Hounslow in December

Deaths from Covid-19 in LB Hounslow shot up in December The figures for deaths from Covid-19 show a dramatic increase in the month of December in LB Hounslow. Over the period June - October 2020 there were 21 deaths. In November alone there were 25 deaths but in December the number went up to 49 deaths. The total number of deaths with Covid-19 on the death certificate in Hounslow since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 287, according to the government's coronavirus data. These latest figures were released by the Council on Wednesday 6 January. Council Leader Steve Curran told The C

Alert Level 5 – what it means

Weeks ahead "hardest yet" Boris Johnson has said that the weeks ahead would be the "hardest yet" but he believed the country was entering "the last phase of the struggle". Announcing a national lockdown on Monday 4 January, he said the Government is once again instructing us to stay at home. We are at Alert Level 5, the highest level in the plan announced in May. Level 5 means there is a significant risk that the healthcare services could become overwhelmed, and strict social distancing rules are needed. Boris Johnson's speech in full A Consultant at one of west London's largest hospitals has told The Chiswick Calendar

Can businesses still offer Click & Collect?

This is our third national lockdown; businesses have become very adept at changing to accommodate each new set of restrictions at the last minute before the deadline when they become law, but the latest set of instructions has retailers scratching their heads. On the day that the new lockdown comes into force, many retailers are still trying to work out whether they are able to offer any services to the public. The Prime Minister announced on Monday 4 January that we should stay home and only leave the house for specific important reasons. Exercise is one of them. Shopping for basic requirements is another. Non essential shops must close from the morning of Wednesday 6 January, but retailers were struggling on Tuesday 5 to understand whether that meant they could continue to offe

Top four categories vaccinated by mid Feb “if things go well”

Image above: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing that Britain is re-entering national lockdown Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday 4 January that as we go into the third national lockdown, there is one key difference compared to last year. We now have effective vaccines. He described as a "realistic expectation" that by the middle of February, "if things go well" the first vaccine dose will have been offered to everyone in the four top vaccine groups. These are: residents in care homes - both older adults and their carers, everyone over 70, all frontline health and social care workers and everyone who is considered 'extremely vulnerable'. Professor Jeremy Levy is a kidney doctor at a London hospital, who got his

Prime Minister announces third national lockdown

The Prime Minister announced last night (Monday 4 January) that we are going back into a national lockdown. The new variant of Covid-19 is between 50 and 70% more transmissible. The hospitals are under more pressure than at any time since the start of the pandemic. In England alone the number of Covid patients has increased by nearly a third in the last week, to almost 27,000. That number is 40% higher than the first peak in April. We've set a new record for the number of people testing positive - more than 80,000 tested positive on 29 December across the UK. The number of deaths is up by 20% over the last week. Primary and secondary schools will be closed across the whole of the UK until after the February half term, for all but children considered vulnerable and the childr

Latest Covid figures for Chiswick

Who is a key worker?

Image above: Police (library picture taken before the pandemic) Throughout the pandemic, when the schools have been closed to the majority of pupils, they have been open to those children who are considered 'vulnerable' and to the children of key workers. If a child is considered 'vulnerable', both the school and the parent / carer is aware. There are formal processes involved, which include children on Education Health Care Plans. The definition of a ‘key’ or ‘critical’ worker is set out on the Department of Education website, which you can see 

Majority of Chiswick school children stay home

Image above: Cavendish Primary School; Google Street view The schools were meant to be going back this week (5 January 2021). The majority of children and teenagers in Chiswick will be staying at home. Schools in LB Hounslow, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham are amongst those forced to delay the start of the new term in the latest Covid-19 restrictions announced on Wednesday 30 December by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. See 30 December: Chiswick Schools among those closed to majority of pupils by Covid restrictions At leas

Chiswick Schools among those closed to majority of pupils by Covid restrictions

Primary schools Primary schools in LB Hounslow, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham are amongst those forced delay the start of the new term in the latest Covid-19 restrictions announced on Wednesday 30 December. Children of key workers and those defined as vulnerable will still be able to attend. The closure of primary schools will be reviewed on 13 January, Boris Johnson has said. Early years provision will continue, but school-based nurseries in primary schools have discretion to follow the same arrangements as the primary school. Secondary schools The start of term will also be delayed for secondary school children, with p

Latest Covid figures for Chiswick

Click and collect in Chiswick

  Images above: Foster bookshop; Book Case London 'Non essential' items such as clothes and books cannot be sold in person over the counter in Tier 4. Many shops in Chiswick are however offering click and collect services, where you can ring the shop or order through their website and arrange a time to go and pick up your shopping. Bookshops Foster Books - open from 10.30am - 5.30pm every day up to and including Christmas Eve for click & collect. Browse the books for sale on their website. '50 years of selling lovely rare and secondhand books from our 18th century bookshop in

Which shops are considered ‘essential’ and which are not?

Image above: Windfall Natural, Turnham Green Terrace Many of Chiswick's shops sell goods which in Tier 4 are not considered 'essential' - books and clothes for example. They are not allowed to open for customers to enter the shop while Tier 4 restrictions are in place. You may be surprised though at what is included on the 'essential' list. 'You can leave home to buy things at shops which are permitted to open in your area, but you should stay local. For instance you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items - including food or drink - ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (e.g. from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services'.

Retailers scramble to salvage Christmas

The announcement by Boris Johnson that London would be going into Tier 4 and non-essential shops must close, left retailers and customers scrambling to work out what they could still salvage from the Christmas chaos. "Kick in the teeth" Stephen Foster, owner of Foster Books described Saturday's announcement as "a kick in the teeth". What makes him so angry is the timing of it. "The British Medical Association has been telling the Government it

London in Tier 4

Image above: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing that London is going into Tier 4 Following a meeting of the Covid Operations Committee, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that from midnight on Saturday 19 December, London, the South East and various parts of the East of England would go into a new Tier 4 of anti Covid restrictions, equivalent to the national restrictions which were in place in November. The last minute cancellation of Christmas meant there were many tearful phone calls on Saturday night as families unpicked their plans. England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty told the nation: "unpack your bags". With sharply rising levels of infection, many people were uncertain about travelling to visit relatives, but just three days before th

A critically important Covid message

Hounslow's Director of Public Health, Kelly O'Neill, issued the following message on Friday 18 December: 'Today I am sharing the latest infection rate chart for Hounslow borough. The graph below is stark. It is hard to make the risk to you, your family and your friends any clearer. Look at the recent rise. We're currently at 283 cases per 100,000, the highest ever in the Borough. This is what the numbers show after Lockdown 2, after weeks of Tier 2 restrictions. 'Put bluntly, these are numbers that lead to deaths. The deaths of your friends, your family and maybe yours. The rules are clear. You know the main

Long queues at the post office – and how to beat them

Queues at the post office can be long at the best of times. At the moment queues at Chiswick Post Office are unusually long. Christmas fast approaching might seem like the obvious answer for this, but this year Covid-19 is having an additional impact. When you've queued for up to an hour to post your parcel it is very annoying to see just half the service counters open, but customers aren't the only ones who need to adhere to social distancing. The manager of Chiswick Post Office told The Chiswick Calendar they are short-staffed, but also that they can't have too many desks occupied, as this would violate social distancing guidelines and endanger their staff. The result is that you could be waiting in line for quite a while. Depending on the time of day, it's likely you'll be queuing

Can I still go away for Christmas?

London enters Tier 3 On Monday 14 December Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that London was going into Tier 3. The restrictions include avoiding travelling outside our own area. But the rules for the five day period around Christmas are different. From one minute past midnight on the morning of Wednesday 16 December If you live in a Tier 3 area, you should avoid staying overnight outside of your area other other than where necessary, such as: for work. for education. because of caring responsibilities. to visit your support bubble.

Hogarth Club – what you can and can’t do in Tier 3

As London goes into Tier 3, businesses adjust once more, and this time you can go to the gym Each time there's a change to the Covid restrictions, the businesses in each sector scratch their heads, consult their trade bodies and work out the best they can do for their customers. Gyms and health clubs suffered during the first lockdown, but since 2 December they've been regarded not as part of the hospitality industry but as their own separate sector, in recognition of the benefits they bring to people's physical and mental health. Ambi Devetta at the Hogarth Club explains what they can still do in Tier 3 and what they can't. Image above: Outdoor gym area; new tented gym space We are open Despite today's announcement that London will move into th