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Newsletter: coronavirus support and new role as Shadow Policing Minister

Dear friend,

I sincerely hope that you and your family are keeping well through this difficult time. This update has four parts:

1. Support for vulnerable people in Croydon

2. Challenges in our local care homes

3. Volunteering opportunities for those able to help out

4. New policing role under a new Labour Leader

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Prime Minister and all those who are suffering from coronavirus. With the death toll now at over 7,000, many people are grieving the loss of a loved one. This is a sombre moment for our country.

I also want to pay tribute yet again to the heroism of those on the NHS frontline. This week the new NHS Nightingale hospital opened in London at the ExCel Centre. It was built in a matter of days with the help of our armed forces and will be staffed not only by NHS professionals but by brave volunteers who have stepped forward from across London.

I know you will all want to join me in applauding all those fighting to save lives at the weekly #ClapForOurCarers at 8pm tonight.

If you find anything below useful, please do forward this email to friends and family. 

Best wishes,

Sarah Jones
Member of Parliament for Croydon Central
Shadow Housing Minister

1.  Coronavirus Support

The government and Croydon Council have been contacting thousands of local residents who are vulnerable or have underlying health conditions and who should be shielding (staying at home at all times). I know there have been some people who believe they are at high-risk but have not received a letter. If you fall into this category, there is information on how to register with the NHS and call the council support hotline here.

If you don’t fall into a high-risk category but are experiencing hardship as a result of coronavirus, a reminder that both Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) and local Croydon Mutual Aid groups are coordinating local support. You can contact the CVA on 020 8253 7076 or 07540 720102 – Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm or email You can find your local Mutual Aid group here.

If you can help support the response to coronavirus – see more in part 3 of this email below.

For more information about the coronavirus, please also visit the coronavirus hub on my website here.

2.  Challenges in our local care homes

With so many worrying stories in the press about care homes and the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), we reached out last week to every care home within Croydon Central to see how they were doing.

I want to thank everyone working in our care homes for all their work looking after some of our most vulnerable people. When I contacted them last week, every single care home reported either being low on, or completely out of, PPE. Ten out of the seventeen care homes also reported having staffing issues, with many staff now having to self-isolate, either showing symptoms themselves or having another in their household exhibiting symptoms. These two factors in conjunction painted a very concerning picture for Croydon Central’s care homes. With great sadness I discovered that four of our care homes have reported deaths as a result of the coronavirus.

Along with other MPs, I raised this as an urgent issue with government. I am glad that the government has listened, and have arranged for delivery of sufficient PPE for the time being. The deliveries of PPE as I understand it from government will continue. 

I want to thank Croydon Council for all they have done and are doing to support our most vulnerable – I have seen deeply heroic efforts to keep everyone safe and supported – there are many heroes in local government who go unseen.

Care home staff are also in need of testing to be sure that they are not needlessly self-isolating when they do not have the virus. We know that the Government priority for PPE and testing is for NHS staff, but this quickly needs to be expanded to care workers too. We cannot allow for more avoidable tragic stories of the virus spreading through care homes, particularly given the vulnerability of their residents.  I will be doing everything in my power to ensure that Croydon Central care homes are getting the support they need throughout this crisis.

3.  Volunteering opportunities for those able to help

Call for charity support:

Charities are more important now than ever before. This crisis has exposed the vast chasms that exist across our society, and the vital work that charities do must continue to be supported. Unfortunately, many charities have seen their funding streams dry up in recent weeks, and along with the crisis in society has come a worrying crisis in the charity sector.

Last night the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced funding of £750 million for charitable organisations, with £370 million of that being ringfenced for smaller local charities like the ones that are doing inspiring work across Croydon right now. Whilst this is welcomed, given the two-pronged crisis facing the charity sector of increased demand of their services and reduced funding streams, I fear that this announcement will not go far enough in filling the financial black hole facing the sector. Charities are facing an existential crisis, and if we do not act now, it will be the most vulnerable in our society who bear the brunt of this. If you are able, please do consider giving generously to charities, local and national, at this critical time.


Food Banks:

In a similar vein to the problems that charities are facing, food banks across Croydon are seeing unprecedented demand as people across our community are increasingly having to rely on them for support. At the same time, donations to these foodbanks are stalling. So I ask please, if you can, consider donating to your local foodbank today. You can find a list of all Croydon foodbanks and their donation times here.


Give Blood:

I recently received an urgent appeal from the NHS calling for continued blood donations. There has been a dip in donations in recent weeks, and whilst they assured me that there is enough blood stock in reserve for the time being, it is vital that donations do not continue to fall.

Blood donation centres have now been adapted to minimise contact with other people in light of the coronavirus, with regular cleaning taking place too. So, if you are healthy and able, you can be sure of your safety should you decide to give blood. The NHS have also stated that giving blood is a valid reason for leaving the house at this time too. Please do consider giving blood, you will be helping the NHS in their time of need by relieving one of the many pressures that their incredible staff are facing.  Whether you’re a regular donor or you’ve never donated before, please visit here to find out more about how you can donate.

4.  New Labour leader and my new role as Shadow Policing Minister

Last weekend, Keir Starmer was elected as the new leader of the Labour party. None of us could have predicted the circumstances, but Keir made it clear in his victory speech that Labour’s role in opposition will be to work positively and constructively with the government to help the country get through this crisis.

I’m pleased to say that today I was appointed by Keir as Labour’s Shadow Minister for Policing and Fire. My brief will involve supporting our police in their work – including tackling knife crime – and supporting organisations who are working to prevent crime before it occurs.

I will also continue the work I have been doing on Grenfell – ensuring fire safety is improved so we never see a tragedy like Grenfell again.

I’m very proud to take up this role. Our police play such an important role, often putting themselves in harm's way to protect us. Their role over the coming weeks and months in the response to coronavirus will be crucial. I am grateful for all that they do.

As you will know, I have led the national cross-party campaign against knife crime since becoming elected, so I’m excited to step up and lead Labour’s efforts in this area. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Knife Crime & Violence Reduction which I set up in 2017 will continue its work – though I will step back from my role as chair.

I will also be leaving my current role as Labour’s Shadow Minster for Housing. I’m sorry to leave this brief, but proud of what I achieved in my two years in the role. Alongside campaigners I helped secure billions of pounds in government funding to remove deadly Grenfell-style cladding from tower blocks in Croydon and across the country, helped pass legislation to protect renters from unfair costs, and wrote Labour’s plans to end the leasehold scandal. I will continue to campaign on housing – far too many people in our community are still suffering from the housing crisis.

Contacting me

Despite the coronavirus outbreak I will be continuing to work on constituent cases via email, and my office will be increasing the opening hours of its telephone line. I will, however, be closing my office to members of the public and holding my regular advice surgeries by telephone until further notice.
This is to ensure that we maximise the number of people we can help remotely and minimise the risk of spreading infection.
If you or someone you know needs to get in touch with me - please contact me at this email:

For further information about the coronavirus please see the coronavirus hub on my website. 
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