I must begin by wishing our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, a speedy recovery in his fight against this deadly virus and, indeed, my thoughts are with all those who are battling Covid-19.
Power is no protection against this invisible, yet deadly, enemy. The virus does not discriminate. Anybody can catch it, and anybody can spread it, the Prime Minister of this great nation included. Not one of us is above this.
Together, we can defeat this pandemic. The message to us all is that the instructions the Government has set out; to stay at home, to protect the NHS and to save lives, must be obeyed.
The last month has been a frightening and distressing time for us all and I understand how difficult adhering to the Government’s guidance is for our communities, for businesses and for families. This weekend, a time when we should be celebrating Easter with our families and loved ones, is going to be particularly difficult. However, the more disciplined our adherence is to these guidelines, the faster we will overcome the virus. I am sure many of you will have shared in the comfort that Her Majesty the Queen’s words brought last weekend when she said: “We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us. We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return; we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again."
I have been inundated with messages of support and good will for our Prime Minister from across our constituency. Once he is recovered, I look forward to telling him that the people of Somerton & Frome were united in their hope for his swift recovery.
Once again, I must pay tribute to the fortitude, professionalism and dedication of the doctors and nurses, and indeed all the staff, working in our NHS. And remember, please, that as they go to work for us, we must stay at home for them.
And it is just not the workers of the NHS that deserve our gratitude. Supermarket and shop workers have worked tirelessly, under unprecedented pressure, to keep us fed. Teachers have provided invaluable support to our NHS in providing care for children of key workers. At a time when so many of us are shopping online our refuse collectors have risen to the challenge and managed record levels of household waste and recycling. And, in the face of immeasurable pressures in minimising non-essential travel and other effects of the Government’s guidance, Somerset & Avon Police have been steadfast in their duties. Care home workers, truly unsung heroes of this crisis, are working to keep the most vulnerable people in our communities shielded from this terrible virus while providing their residents with love and comfort at a time when their families are unable to visit them. And, of course, our Armed Forces who have taken on so many vital roles such as in building our new Nightingale Hospitals. All the key workers, who are working around the clock to keep our country running and to keep us safe, deserve our respect and I am hugely grateful for all that they are doing.
The contribution made by the seemingly countless number of volunteers across the county has been both inspirational and invaluable. So many people have given up their time to ensure that those people in their communities who are in the greatest need of support have not had to face this frightening time alone. Again, Somerset owes a huge debt of gratitude to its army of volunteers.
It's an uncertain time for everyone and my office has been understandably inundated with questions and below are some basic tips on how to best get in touch and to find the answers you need.
The following four links are where you’ll find probably 95% of the answers to questions that people are asking:
You can also call the Somerset Coronavirus Helpline on: 0300 790 6275
I have also set up an information and advice portal on my website. You can access the portal by clicking on the button below or by entering www.davidwarburton.org.uk/advice into your browser.
I’m getting several hundred emails, calls and contacts each day. Both I and my very small office team need to be able to focus on those across Somerton & Frome who need help the most.
I’m working with the Foreign Office assisting dozens of local people from Somerton & Frome who are stranded abroad who are all desperately trying to get home.
I'm also dealing with some extremely vulnerable people and trying to make sure that they get the support they need, as well as helping hundreds of local businesses to access the government support on offer, as quickly as possible to stay afloat, to keep their staff paid.
So please, if you can, do please take the time to have a look for yourself at the information provided before getting in touch.
However, if you can't find the answers on the links above, or there’s a particular issue you want me to raise, please email me at email@example.com or call 01373 580500.
We will do everything we can support jobs, we will support incomes, we will support businesses, we will help you protect your loved ones. We will do whatever it takes to get through this.
Although we face unprecedented challenges, and although this weekend will be particularly difficult, I wish you all a happy Easter and I hope that, through the wizardry of modern technology, you will be able to speak to, and laugh with, as many of your friends and loved ones as possible. Do, please, take a moment to remember those who are fighting for their lives, their families and friends and all those brave men and women who are supporting them.
Please forward this email and my contact information to anyone else across Somerton & Frome who might find this useful.
Member of Parliament for Somerton & Frome