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Photograph - Jon Perry  enlightenshade
Flower bed outside Strand on the Green School
Photograph - Jennifer Griffiths
The Phoney war

It was lovely to hear the sound of clapping all over Chiswick last night as people came out of their houses to applaud the staff of the NHS.

There's a real war going on on hospitals, with exhausted medical staff already at full stretch in some places, but for many of us who are able to work at home, this must feel very much like the phoney war did, when Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939.

British people expected bombing raids immediately, but nothing much happened for eight months.

I'm beginning to know people who know people who are intensive care, confirmed Covid-19 cases, and plenty of people who think they might have it mildly. Nobody's sure because the testing isn't available.

Street by street mobilisation

For now, unless you work in public services, NHS staff, supermarket staff, transport workers (hats off to you, thank you), I'm guessing most people in Chiswick are able to work from home, are working less or are not working at all. The sun is out, a lot of us are lucky enough to have gardens and the full medical and economic impact hasn't yet hit. 

I find it comforting that people have been using their time productively to think how they can help others. Street WhatsApp groups have sprung up, with the administrators organising leafleting door to door so people who aren't tech savvy are included. 

Chiswick's Covid-19 Mutual Aid Facebook group acts as an umbrella for many of these groups, sharing information. More than 900 people have joined it in the past couple of weeks. The woman who initiated it, Philippa Griffin, told me they are very careful about safegaurding, aware that 'volunteers' may not all be benign. They don't give out members' details, but are able to put people in need in touch with people willing to help.

Find the Facebook group here.
Offer your support

Rev Thomas Couper, St Michael & All Angels
The churches have been quietly organising. Each of the five Church of England parishes which cover Chiswick has a small group of volunteers and are getting in touch with the elderly and isolated they know about, checking on them.

Rev Thomas Couper from St Michael & All Angels told me they haven't had many calls for help yet, as neighbours are looking out for each other, and little local help groups are springing up. 

Nextdoor is also really coming in to its own. The 'hyperlocal social networking service' was set up in San Francisco in 2008 and is currently available in 11 countries.

You can opt to join just your immediate local neighbourhood group or set the radius wider. Until now it's been a useful way to get recommendations of local builders and advertise that your cat's gone missing, 

Now it's full of messages like: 'We went shopping at M&S in Kew Retail park at 5pm yesterday. No queues, easy to distance yourself from most people and plenty of stock except for eggs and flour'.

It also documents the low level guerilla war going on between runners, cyclists and dog walkers - but that's another story...

Steve Curran - Leader of Hounslow Council
Hounslow launches its Community Hub

Hounslow Council has launched its Community Support Hub to match the army of people locally who are willing to do something to help with the most isolated and vulnerable individuals who need support.

"The Hounslow Community Hub is here to harness that fantastic community spirit, connect people with each other and ensure food, medical supplies and other support reaches those most in need" says Steve Curran.

"Thank you for wanting to help out – it’s through generous people, businesses and organisations like you that we’ll make sure Hounslow’s most vulnerable are looked after".

Details of how to ask for help and how to register as a volunteer are on The Chiswick Calendar website.

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New Parking Rules

Hounslow Council has issued new rules on parking.

Although parking restrictions and controls currently remain in place and enforcement activity is continuing 'in line with Government guidelines', Hounslow Council has relaxed parking restrictions so NHS staff can park for free at all off-street car parks and on street parking bays near their place of work.

Residents can also park for free if they are providing services to vulnerable or self-isolating residents. 

Additional temporary resident permits are available for purchase if permit holders have additional family members or carers temporarily living with them for extended periods. 

Find out more on The Chiswick Calendar website.


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Chiswick Calendar help & information

The Chiswick Calendar website has a new section of help and information about the Coronavirus.

All of the above information is on there and we will add to it day by day the new initiatives springing up in this area to help us through this emergency, and we hope you will find it useful.

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More NHS volunteers needed

The Government has increased its target for its volunteer NHS army and is now aiming to recruit 750,000 people to help out and slow down the spread.

When Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the volunteer drive two days ago he originally asked for 250,000 volunteers. More than 500,000 people signed up in just 24 hours. 

Read how to volunteer and to help the NHS and what kind of help is needed (not all of it involves face to face contact) on The Chiswick Calendar website.

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Dr Sheila Hunt
Answering the call

The Government has also asked anyone with medical knowledge who has left the NHS to come back and help out. 

Dr Sheila Hunt, who set up the Grove Park Surgery and ran it for 30 years before retiring in 2017 is one of those who has answered the call.

Read my interview with her on The Chiswick Calendar website.

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Covid-19 Symptom tracker

Scientists at Kings College London have launched an app which they hope will help slow the Covid-19 outbreak. They are asking members of the public to self-report symptoms daily, even if they are feeling well, a task which they say takes just one minute to do.

Researchers will use the data to study the symptoms of the virus and track how it spreads. From it they will be able to identify which are the high-risk areas in the UK, how fast the virus is spreading area by areas and who is most at risk, by better understanding symptoms linked to underlying health conditions.

Read how you can take part in the research on The Chiswick Calendar website.

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Small acts of kindness

I just read a message from a lady who is 93 years old:

'Felt I must write I am 93 yrs just been to M&S good shop no card, only cash till was not working so only available for cards (panic).

'A lovely lady in queue behind me offered to pay with her card and was refusing to take cash from me. Luckily an assistant sorted me out and I was able to pay cash. What kindness this lady showed. I very touched and thank her from the bottom of my heart'.

Food banks make urgent appeal

The people who need help most are the people who always need help, but need it even more at this time.

The founder of Hammersmith & Fulham Food bank has launched an urgent appeal for donations and supplies as the Coronavirus crisis piles pressure on the charity’s work.

Read more on The Chiswick Calendar website.

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City Harvest appeal

City Harvest vans are also still on the road, feeding London's most vulnerable. 

They are currently working overtime to deliver food to their 300 charity partners across London and desperately need food, funding and volunteer support. 

City Harvest serve thousands of vulnerable Londoners, and since the outbreak of COVID-19 they have seen the need for their services skyrocket.

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Sophie Ellis- Bextor
Sophie Ellis Bextor - Kitchen Disco Live

Chiswick's creative talent is rising to the occasion. Singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor is having a party to which you're all invited.

“Friday! 6.30pm UK time! Live on my 
Insta I’ll sing for you in sequins. #sebfamilykitchendisco it’s going to be chaos as kids everywhere but let me be your disco bunny xxxx I take requests disco classics/feel good.. if it’s and success I’ll do it for the foreseeable”

Join Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco on instagram @sophieellisbextor

Children - keep fit with Joe Wicks

The Body Coach star Joe Wicks is hosting a free workout aimed at kids live on his YouTube channel at 9.00 every morning.

A couple of weeks ago you might have bumped into him having a quiet coffee in Little Bird, but now he's busy entertaining kids all over the world. 

'Hey Joe. On CNN in America, they're calling you the World's Best P.E. Teacher. You rock Joe!!

'We are in New Zealand, in lockdown for 4 weeks at this stage, me and my daughter Miss 12 will be doing this every day'.

He also has other workouts designed for elderly people.

The Body Coach TV

A morale boost from Italy

Italy has suffered terribly from the Coronavirus epidemic. The death toll there passed 8,000 last night. 

We've seen the haunting scenes of people singing together from their balconies at night, to beautiful melodies echoing eerily though the empty streets.

Andrea Carnevali, Chiswick resident and documentary film maker, has put together this short video of how Italians have been boosting their morale in cities all across the nation.

Andrea has family in Rome and Milan.

If the video doesn't work in your browser, you can find it on The Chiswick Calendar website in the News and Features section. 

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James Corden in One Man Two Guvnors.
Photo: Johan Persson

National Theatre free online shows

The National Theatre has launched a new digital service so people can watch their productions for free on YouTube. 

While the theatre is closed it is re-running a selection of NT Live productions, recordings of stage shows which have previously be screened in cinemas.

The service starts next Thursday, (2 April) with Richard Bean’s One Man Two Guvnors, starring James Corden. Productions are shown every Thursday at 7pm, and then available for seven days.

See details of the programme on The Chiswick Calendar website.

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Chiswick Calendar lockdown things to do

The Chiswick Calendar website has a new section of things to do while we're on lock down.

The Royal Opera House is also live-streaming free online performances.

Fuller's has launched a happy hour with Quiz night at the Stay Inn tonight (Friday 27 March) at 8.30pm and Broken Bones Matilda playing live at the Fuller’s Virtual Pub, on Saturday night at 8.30pm.

We'll be adding ideas of things to keep us entertained day by day and welcome your suggestions of online events or courses you think people might like.

Have a look at what we've got so far.

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Keith Richards
My Corona blog

The writers are also getting in on the act. Keith Richards, writer and Chiswick resident, currently living on his own, has started writing a daily blog of the quirks and vicissitudes of life on lockdown in Chiswick.

Read entries one and two of My Corona on The Chiswick Calendar website.
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Me and my sock puppet

Boredom is clearly setting in for some of our creative friends on the internet.
And one for mummy ...

And desperation for others cooped up with small children.
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Open John D Wood & Co's Little Black Book to see how to sell your property discreetly


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