Coronavirus Update - 09 April 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic is continuing to have devastating impacts on our communities. This week I have been working to call on the Government to increase access to testing and PPE for frontline staff, to address the serious gaps in the support for PAYE workers and the self-employed, and to act to prevent the virus spreading rapidly through government-funded accommodation for asylum seekers.

The daily increase in hospital admissions and deaths means it’s more important than every to continue to follow Government guidance and stay at home except to shop for food or collect medicine or for exercise once a day, unless you are a keyworker. I hope you will all join me tonight to #ClapForOurCarers and thank the hardworking staff in our NHS, social care, supermarkets, schools, delivery drivers and everyone else working tirelessly to respond to the pandemic.

The Bank Holiday weekend will be a time when many of us miss our usual hobbies and routines and time together with extended family and friends.  I’ve pulled together some free resources for adults and children to help keep busy and well whilst at home this weekend and throughout the lockdown. 

Fun educational sites

Many organisations and websites have created fantastic resources to support parents home-schooling their children for the first time:

  1. The Royal Institutions ‘ExpeRimental’ site has plenty of short how-to films for fun science experiments to carry out in the home. All of the experiments come with information sheets to help teach children the science behind the activity, and most of the supplies can be found in the kitchen cupboard!
  2. The Book Trust’s ‘HomeTime’ site is being regularly updated with activities to support children’s reading. These include competitions, free online books and readings with authors.
  3. Audible has also made all of their audiobooks for children and young people free to download during the pandemic.
  4. The Tate Museums have created a website with plenty of games and crafts for children to help teach them about art history and the museum’s exhibits.
  5. The Black Curriculum, a fantastic organisation who I have been working with throughout the past year, is releasing free weekly resources to help with home schooling and making sure children still have access to a diverse curriculum. You can sign up here
  6. Okido is an educational magazine for younger children, which has some great home learning resources.  You can sign up here

Arts and culture

Many arts and cultural organisations across London and further afield are making content and performances free online. Below is just a selection of what’s available:

  • Brixton Book Group are hosting virtual book discussions throughout the pandemic. You can learn more here. If you are able to, please try to support our amazing local bookshops, including Herne Hill Books, Dulwich Books, Village Books and Bookseller Crow on the Hill, who are continuing to take orders online and by phone and can deliver locally.
  • The Black Cultural Archives has an incredible collection which can be explored online here
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery collection can be viewed online here
  • The National Theatre is hosting a free performance online every Thursday at 7pm. You can learn more here
  • The Globe Theatre are also hosting free screenings every fortnight here.
  • Parts of the National Archives, including the Lambeth Archives has been digitised here

Keeping mentally and physically fit                                       

It is important to make sure that we all look after our physical health and try to exercise everyday. Many organisations are offering free classes online or for donations. You can find chair-based yoga for older people and kids’ yoga here and Joe Wicks’ morning PE lessons here

This time is very distressing for people of all ages, and the resources below give useful tips and advice for looking after your own and your children’s mental health:

  • MIND’s tips are helpful for people of all ages
  • The Children’s society has a website with plenty of great advice for parents worried about their children’s mental wellbeing and how to keep children safe online during the lockdown here
  • Action for Children also has fantastic resources for parents to discuss mental health with their children, alongside some advice for parents of newborns and young children who are unable to access their usual support at this time here

As ever, please do let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Myself and my small team are working very hard to respond to everyone who has been in touch on Covid-19 and any other issues.  Please bear with us as we work through a huge volume of correspondence at this time.


Photo credit: Kevin Mckeon