Poem to NHS, food parcels, mail and Covid

Nurses hold a meeting on a Covid-19 ward. Picture: PA

Nurses hold a meeting on a Covid-19 ward - Credit: PA

Poetic tribute to our NHS staff

Rose Sharpstone, Vienna Close, Ilford, writes:

Anatomy Lesson
This is the elbow that greets its colleagues at the start of the shift
These are the arms that turn over and lift
These are the feet that pace the floor that wheel the bed through the door
These are the ears that listen to the chest
These are the eyes that read the notes to decide what’s best
These are the nostrils at risk and so brave, that belong to the nurse determined to save
These are the knees that bend and implore their God that Covid should be no more
These are the tears so bitterly shed when one of their number lies in a bed
These are the shoulders that carry the burden of saving lives
Supporting the neck where the stethoscope lies
This is the sweat from the PPE that medics endure in an effort to cure
This is the voice and the mouth and the tongue that talks to the daughter allaying her fear, that gives her the news that she’s longing to hear
These are the lips, the eyes, and all of the face, along with the hands that applaud the father who departs from this place
This is the heart along with the soul that strive to keep patients safe and whole
This is the gut that ties into knots because of despair with oxygen not there
This is the hair that’s pulled out in frustration as disease threatens the whole of the nation
This is the blood that boils when people are careless with all of these toils
This is the brain in its quest to combat this strain of disease
This is the chin that sticks out in defiance ready to fight with this vaccine alliance
This is the elbow so weary and wan that touches its colleague when the long shift is done

Tell me if you got a food parcel 

Cllr Judith Garfield MBE, Labour candidate for Havering and Redbridge London Assembly, writes: 

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The images posted by parents showing the inadequate food parcels provided to families eligible for free school meals are heartbreaking.

It is a failure of the Conservative government that children are still going hungry.

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We have all know of the amazing work of Marcus Rashford in highlighting this and forcing the government into yet another U-turn. Once again, the contract for providing the food parcels has been outsourced to a company, Chartwells, that has links to Conservative Party donors.

I am proud that Redbridge was one of the first local authorities to ensure our 7,000 children received free school meal vouchers and to be fed over the half term, Christmas holidays and whilst the schools are closed. As a volunteer with Redbridge Foodbank and a councillor in Redbridge, we are the ones that pick up the pieces of these failed contracts. I know our Labour council and our local foodbanks will not let our children go hungry.

Why postal routes cannot be rotated

A postman wears a mask and gloves to deliver letters in Broadstairs, Kent, after Prime Minister Bori

Postal deliveries have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic - Credit: PA

Dave Williams, Dellow Close, Newbury Park, writes: 

I’m aware of the problems existing in certain areas of Ilford at the moment with postal deliveries.

Here in Dellow Close, Newbury Park, we’ve had no deliveries since Saturday, December 19!

On Monday morning I visited the local sorting office in Chadwick Road to ascertain the latest situation.

I know that some parts of the borough are getting deliveries and when I asked why the postmen and women couldn’t be rotated to cover all the areas, to my astonishment, I was told that when they tried doing this the posties complained of being stressed out and then went sick!

Honestly you couldn’t make it up!

Virus shows how vulnerable we are

Cllr Khaled Noor, Muslim Professionals Forum chair, writes:

The virus has exposed how vulnerable we all are, and these are difficult times for us all. 
We must all take our individual responsibilities to our families, to our communities and to our religion seriously. 

We must keep healthy in body and in mind and help each other to do so too. 
There is hope. Mass vaccination is now under way, and if we can be patient now we can defeat the virus. 

Streetspace must be expanded

Caroline Russell, London-wide Assembly member, Green Party, writes:

Getting through this new lockdown period will be tough, and it is more important than ever that we have room to make our essential journeys to local shops for food, medicine, or to support our communities, safely. I wrote to the mayor on December 23 asking him to expand his Streetspace programme. It’s vital that he responds. 

Streetspace gave us a glimpse of a more inclusive city, where there was space for children, older and disabled people to safely walk and cycle, and there were fewer cars and vans pumping out pollution across our city.  

We need more of this to make it easier for Londoners to protect one another by maintaining safe social distancing as we queue for food shops or head to the park during the difficult months ahead. 

The mayor must expand his Streetspace programme. 

Help available for RAF veterans

Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot, chief executive, RAF Benevolent Fund, writes: 

While the vaccine rollout out across the country provides some hope, social isolation and loneliness poses a real threat to our elderly this winter, among them many former RAF personnel and their partners supported by the Fund.

To help combat this, last year the RAF Benevolent Fund introduced a weekly Check and Chat service to support members of the RAF Family experiencing loneliness. 
The Fund also facilitates weekly Telephone Friendship Groups, provides access to a Listening and Counselling Service, relationship counselling support, and an online wellbeing portal to help support emotional wellbeing amongst the veteran community. 

  • To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit rafbf.org or call 0300 102 1919.

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