Stay home and save lives

Over the last week our community has found its regular rhythm disrupted. Our daily way of life has changed completely. This will continue for months to come. It has been a sudden change and will be hard for everyone. 

However, this is absolutely necessary to save lives. We must adapt in how we work, how we live and how we help each other. If we do what is asked of us, we will not simply save lives. We will recover our economy more quickly and be in a stronger position to rebuild for the future. 

The message is clear. Stay home to save lives. If people don’t follow the advice, the Prime Minister has been clear – the Government will do whatever it takes to and that may mean even greater restrictions. Because otherwise more people will be infected, more people will die, the economic impact will be longer and harder.
 
This is not going to be easy – especially for the elderly and the vulnerable. For this reason, I have set up a ‘Super Neighbour’ scheme With Dover District Council leader, Cllr Trevor Bartlett. This scheme enables volunteers to help their neighbours. Because while you are home, you are not alone. Full details of the scheme can be found here: https://natalieelphicke.com/coronavirus-volunteering-support/
 
Super neighbours will work alongside the council’s own dedicated hotline and email for the ‘Shielded’ and most vulnerable. Operation Shield is a national Government programme aimed at supporting the country’s most vulnerable 1.5 million people who must stay at home for the next 12 weeks.
 
The Shielded group have been identified by GPs and medics across the country in an unprecedented health and public services mobilisation. Meanwhile the Super-Neighbour scheme aims to support residents who are not part of Operation Shield, but are self-isolating or need someone to talk to or help out.
 
Dover District Council has a dedicated hotline (9am-5pm): 01304 82119.

In my role as a ministerial aide in the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, I have been seeing first-hand how incredibly hard Ministers and senior civil servants are working. They are moving heaven and earth to ensure the necessary strategic support is available and decisions are taken at the right time and in the right way. 

Yet they cannot do it on their own. We need to help them. Everyone needs to do their bit. Now is the time for us all to work together to beat the virus. Other countries are winning the battle. We can too. But only if everyone does their bit to stay home and save lives. To buy only what they need from the shops. To keep a distance at all times – especially when shopping or exercising. Please only go out if absolutely necessary. 

And everyone must avoid careless talk. Careless talk costs lives. We need to keep the information accurate – so people must not write nonsense on Facebook or other social media. Whether it is false information or simply to stir up panic. If you see anyone doing this, be sure to call them out and tell them it is their duty – the duty of us all – to be responsible, follow the Government guidance and to do our bit.

One of the greatest challenges to the pandemic is accurate information. My website www.natalieelphicke.com contains links to offical Government guidance for businesses, welfare support, the latest health and social guidance, and a range of other issues. These links have contact details for support in all key areas. 

Over the last week I have been talking to the council leaders, community groups, Ministers and civil servants. My team have been working hard to repatriate Brits stranded overseas – from cruise ships in the Atlantic to camper vans in Morocco. We’ve been working to support local businesses, the Port of Dover and ferry companies.

This crisis has come at us out of the blue in just a few short weeks. Yet our community is no stranger to crisis, no stranger to tough times and we will always do what is necessary to triumph in the face of adversity. We did it then by being resolute in doing our duty and I know we will do it again. Not for nothing are our White Cliffs a timeless symbol of our national spirit – so let’s lead the nation by example once again and send the virus packing for good!

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