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More than one million Covid-19 vaccinations given in south west London

More than one million Covid-19 vaccinations have now been given in south west London.

Latest data confirms that the NHS has administered 1,011,913 doses in the boroughs of Merton, Wandsworth, Croydon, Sutton, Kingston and Richmond, with 330,461 being second doses.

The seven-figure milestone has been reached 22 weeks after the south west London vaccination programme launched at Croydon University Hospital – the equivalent of around 6,500 every day.

Dr Nicola Jones, local GP and lead GP for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in South West London, said: “Delivering one million vaccinations marks another incredible milestone in south west London as we carry on with our drive to protect the most vulnerable people.

“It is down to the sheer hard work and dedication of NHS staff, volunteers and venues to ensure that residents get this life-saving vaccine and we’re pleased that local authorities, businesses, residents and the voluntary sector continue to support us. 

“We can all be rightly proud of what has been achieved so far but there will be no let-up in our efforts over the coming weeks and months because this jab offers us all a route back towards normality, so when you’re invited for your vaccination, please do book a slot – it is simple, effective and will protect you, your loved ones and your community.”

In England, the NHS has delivered around 30 million first doses and about 16 million second doses.

The NHS is vaccinating in line with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and once people are eligible they can book a slot.

Currently, people aged over 38, frontline health and social care staff and others most at risk from Covid-19 can arrange a jab through the national booking service – www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

Those who cannot use the NHS website, can phone 119 free of charge. The line is open from 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week. People can also use a local GP-led vaccination site or some pharmacies.

The landmark south west London news comes after it was confirmed last month that half the adult population of south west London had received a first Covid-19 vaccination.

Volunteers offer support to people being vaccinated, manage car parks and register people, who also get a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before their jab, upon arrival. People are asked not to turn up early to avoid creating queues so that social distancing can be maintained.

Find out more about the Covid-19 vaccination programme at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccine.

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Duke of Cambridge visits police custody centre

His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge visited the Met’s Croydon Custody Centre today (Wednesday, 12 May) to pay his respects to Sergeant Matt Ratana, who was tragically shot and killed while on duty in September 2020.

During his visit, The Duke was welcomed by Commissioner Cressida Dick and introduced to Matt’s partner and some of his closest friends and colleagues.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, The Duke also met some of the staff and officers working to provide mental health support to colleagues across the Metropolitan Police Service. Initiatives such as Operation Hampshire look to provide support to Met officers who have been assaulted or injured during the course of their duties. Likewise, across the Met, some 1,200 Blue Light Champions work to break down the stigma of mental health, offering peer-to-peer guidance and support to colleagues in need of help.

Commissioner Cressida Dick, said: “The awful killing of Sergeant Matt Ratana sent shockwaves through the Met and I know we continue to mourn his loss. Matt left a powerful legacy across the Met and I was proud to welcome His Royal Highness to Croydon Custody Centre and to meet some of Matt’s colleagues and friends.

“Police officers put themselves in harm’s way to keep people safe every day and they can be exposed to very harrowing and traumatic experiences. I am extremely proud of the men and women across the Met who support colleagues who have experienced trauma, breaking down the stigma of mental health and ensuring those who need help are supported. I am so pleased that His Royal Highness could meet those unsung heroes of the Met, looking out for the wellbeing of our officers.”

One of those officers who met with The Duke was Inspector Wil Ajose-Adeogun, who was Sergeant Ratana’s line manager and close friend.

He said: “Meeting The Duke today brought back many fond memories of Matt, his enormous energy, his sense of duty and his overwhelming kindness. He was not just our colleague, he was our dear friend. His personality was the life and sound of Croydon Custody Centre and we all miss him dearly.”

As part of The Duke’s visit to Croydon Custody Centre, he also met Police Dog Dexter, the Met’s first wellbeing dog. His handler, PC Mike Sheather, explained how PD Dexter is deployed to comfort police officers and staff who have been exposed to trauma.

Throughout the past 12 months, PD Dexter has also visited hospitals in London, providing comfort to doctors and nurses on the frontline of battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Borough joins “Breathe London” trial

Sutton Council is one of the first London Boroughs to join the ‘Breathe London’ trial which gives it access to a network of air quality sensors and pollution data.

This will help significantly reduce the costs of sourcing accurate air pollution data for local projects and schemes.

As part of the InnOvaTe Project, the Council will combine Breathe London air quality and Vivacity traffic monitoring sensors to provide data which will enable them to gain a deeper understanding of different transport modes, movement patterns and their impact on air quality, and consider future schemes aimed at improving air quality.

Initially, sensors will be installed at Muschamp Primary, All Saints Carshalton Primary, St Philomena’s / St Mary’s, Harris Academy Carshalton, Cheam Park Farm, St Elpheges Catholic Infants & Juniors and Cheam Common Junior & Infants Academy. The Air Quality monitors will be located near the entrance of the schools and will monitor real time data.

Breathe London was launched by the Mayor of London at the end of last year, allowing more than 100 air quality sensors to be installed at hospitals, schools and other priority locations to aid London’s green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Cost effective training initiative launched to protect your organisation from cyber crime

In response to increasing concern from businesses, voluntary organisations and schools about cyber security locally based Cygnet CIC has launched a new training initiative.

The Wallington based company now has available a range of on line video training sessions which highlight how to minimise the many ways that emails, websites and other on line access can be vulnerable to cyber attack.

“It just takes one email, or missent communication and sadly a whole organisation’s information can be jeopardised,” said Chief Executive Darren King.

“The easy access training that we have now developed will hopefully embed in every member of staff in every organisation the importance of ensuring communications and material remain as secure as possible.”

The cost of the training is as little as £25 per person per year.

For full details go to darren@cygnet.it

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Man jailed following investigation into a sexual assault on night bus

A man has been jailed following an investigation by officers into a sexual assault on board a night bus in south west London.

Edward Chirmicii, 24 (7.11.96) of Waltham Forest, E11 was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, 7 May to 16 months imprisonment. He was also given a five year sexual harm prevention order, placed on the sex offenders register for ten years and ordered to pay compensation to victim amounting to £1000 within 6 months.

He had previously pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault.

PC Chris Bowman, from the Roads and Transport Policing Command, said: “Chirmicii targeted a woman travelling alone on a bus. He made a number of unpleasant comments towards her, causing her to fear for her safety.

“Following the assault, he calmly boarded another bus to continue with his journey as if nothing had happened. The woman’s quick phone call to police ensured that he was caught.

“It is possible that Chirmicii may have carried out other offences. If this is the case, I would like to hear from anyone who recognises him. Everyone is entitled to travel safely on public transports, and any behaviour which prevents this will not be tolerated.”

At approximately 01:15hrs on Monday, 1 February, a woman boarded a Route N87 on Wandsworth Road, SW8. Before sitting on the lower deck. Chirmicii was already on board.

Within a matter of seconds, he moved to sit next to the woman before making lurid comments to her. When the woman refused to engage with him, he moved back across the aisle where he proceeded to watch a pornographic video on his phone.

A short time later, the woman noticed him performing a sex act. He then got off the bus.

The woman informed the driver and got off the bus further along the route where she called the police. A second bus pulled up and she saw Chirmicii on the lower deck.

Officers stopped the bus and he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.

Mandy McGregor, TfL’s Head of Transport Policing and Community Safety, said: “It is right this utterly disgusting act committed by Chirmicii has been punished with the full force of the law. No one should have to endure this type of despicable behaviour, which thankfully is extremely rare, when travelling around London. Public transport is a safe, low crime environment, but we would urge anyone who does experience unwanted sexual behaviour on our network to come forward and report it to the police immediately. All reports are fully investigated and we work closely with the police to bring offenders to justice.”

+ If you have been a victim of sexual assault or rape or you have information about an offender, contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency – there are specially trained officers who will listen and investigate where needed.

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NHS Trust secures nearly £3 million to support adult community health services

South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG) has been successful in securing £2.8m to support the development of its adult community mental health services.

The funding will be used to deliver improvements as part of a larger investment over the next three years in community services. In line with ambitions set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, this will see the development of new models of care across South West London, designed to support community and inpatient services to work better together.

Amy Scammell, Director of Strategy and Commercial Development at the Trust, said: “We have been working closely with partners across the care system to secure this funding for community services and are delighted to move forward with this exciting transformation programme.

“At its heart, this work is about breaking down barriers and working together with services users and carers, healthcare partners, and voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver joined-up care that offers choice and flexibility for people in South West London.”

Pilot programmes will begin in Sutton later this year, whilst local design and delivery groups will commence in Kingston, Merton, Richmond, and Wandsworth over the next 18 months.

As well as addressing barriers between primary and secondary care, the programme will seek to reduce waiting times, address inequalities and support care transitions, whilst delivering a variety of new roles including Nursing Associates, Peer Support Workers and Community Support Workers.

SWLSTG Chief Executive, Vanessa Ford said: “The past 14 months have challenged us all in so many different ways. As an anchor in our communities we are committed to supporting our local recovery. Our community services are vital to this, so it is hugely encouraging to see this funding coming through.

“Our mission as a Trust is Making Life Better Together. We aspire to be a centre of excellence, providing safe and effective care; a place service users recommend, where clinicians want to train and where our communities want to work with us. This investment is fundamental to this and will have a positive impact for people across South West London for generations to come.”

The transformation of SWLSTG’s adult community mental health services is one part of a wider ‘Integrated Programme’, delivering improvements across the Trust’s estate, services and for its workforce.

This includes the development of a new mixed-used community, ‘Springfield Village’, in Wandsworth comprising new mental health facilities, residential housing and a new 32-acre park. Further regeneration is also planned in the coming years at Richmond Royal and Barnes Hospital in Richmond and at Tolworth Hospital in Kingston.

Director for the Trust’s Integrated Programme, Ian Garlington said: “We are thrilled to be on the verge of delivering brand new mental health facilities at Springfield Hospital in late 2022, ensuring our service users have the best environments in which to recover. Integrating these buildings into the communities we serve is at the heart of this design, breaking stigma and giving mental health the status it deserves.

“As we strive to make life better together, we are looking not just at the environments we provide, but also the culture of our organisation, the technologies we use in our day-to-day, and the collaborations and partnerships we build across our communities and through our community services.”

Watch the Trust’s recent community broadcast to find out more about the future of mental health services in South West London, and learn more about the Trust’s Integrated Programme including the Community Transformation Programme here.

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Focus on fostering identifies 200 children in the borough who need our help

Foster Care Fortnight takes place from 10 – 23 May and provides an opportunity to celebrate fostering and the impact it has upon lives.

The borough’s Fostering Service has been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to provide homes to some of the borough’s most vulnerable children and young people and have captured the stories of inspiring children and families.

Currently there are around 200 children in Sutton who need to be in care and the borough is always recruiting for new foster carers.

For more information on Fostering in Sutton, please visit – www.fosteringinsutton.gov.uk

Foster Care Fortnight’s theme this year is #WhyWeCare and a range of families shared their experiences:Several fostering families have shared their experiences;

“We have been fostering for about 14 years now and have looked after many children from 0-18 years old. We have had  two lovely children with us for the last nearly nine years and they are our ‘forever boys’.” – Helen Longford, Long-Term Foster Carer

“One of the best feelings in fostering was watching our lovely Georgia graduate with a 2.1 degree in Education and watch her blossom and grow. So immensely proud of everything she has achieved and the love we have for her and the children in our care. To see our beautiful young girl work hard for her A-levels with such creativity in the subjects she has chosen. The little ones who have been with us and helping to prepare their path for adoption.” – Chris Naylor, Foster Carer

“The rewards start with you building a great relationship with the child / young person. Seeing them grow and develop throughout your time together and being part of your family when they are with you is a great experience.” – Mary Deere, Short Breaks Foster Carer

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Council appoints borough’s Mayor for 2021/22

Councillor Trish Fivey was re-appointed as the Mayor of Sutton this week at the Council’s second virtual Annual Council meeting.

Born in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, and one of nine children, Cllr Fivey represented Northern Ireland in netball. She has been a Sutton councillor since 2014 and has lived in the borough for 40 years where she brought up her two daughters and founded a number of successful businesses. 

Cllr Fivey has been re-elected as Mayor just before Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 and this year the Mayor has chosen The Sutton Mental Health Foundation and Home-Start Sutton as her two charities. 

She will also continue her support to the Chris Donovan Trust which works with offenders to try and help them understand the consequences of their crime on their victims.

On her re-appointment, Councillor Fivey said:

“The past year has been hugely challenging for all Sutton residents and businesses. It has also been a very different year as Mayor.

“Madam Deputy Mayor, Councillor Annie Moral, and I have visited many key workers, voluntary sector organisations and local businesses in the borough over the past twelve months to thank them for all their incredible hard work and commitment to our community during the pandemic.  

“In the year ahead, we would like to continue to visit as many voluntary groups as possible, so we can show our appreciation for all their incredible work supporting residents and helping the borough recover.” 

At the annual council meeting, Councillors Cook and Saqib placed on record the Council’s grateful thanks to Cllr Fivey for her service as Mayor of the London Borough of Sutton during the past municipal year, along with her deputy, Cllr Annie Moral.

Cllr Moral will stay on in the role as Deputy Mayor for the next year.

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Police officer dismissed following misconduct hearing

A serving police officer has been dismissed without notice after allegations of gross misconduct were found proven following the conclusion of a hearing on Friday, 7 May.

The hearing found that the conduct of Detective Sergeant Neil Buckmaster, attached to the South Area Command Unit, breached the standards of professional behaviour in respect of ‘equality and diversity’, and ‘authority, respect and courtesy’.

During the hearing, evidence was presented that said DS Buckmaster had used bespoke, racially offensive names for avatars he was using while playing a football game on a computer console. Footage of the game, including the names attributed to both the team and players assigned to DS Buckmaster’s user ID, were also uploaded to a video platform.

An investigation was launched following receipt of a public complaint.

The independent legally qualified chair took the decision to hold the hearing in private to protect the welfare and anonymity of people referred to in the case but not involved.

DS Buckmaster’s conduct was found to have amounted to gross misconduct and he was dismissed at the conclusion of the four-day hearing.

Commander Paul Betts, Professionalism, said:

“Racism and discrimination in any form has absolutely no place at all in the Metropolitan Police Service, whether an officer is on or off duty. To see this example of someone using it so casually is offensive and utterly unacceptable. I know his former colleagues will feel exceptionally let down by his behaviour, as do I.

“Former DS Buckmaster’s conduct fell well below what is expected of our officers and staff, and by its nature can undermine trust and confidence in policing. I hope our communities will appreciate that the matter was reported and thoroughly investigated, and that following a rigorous examination of all the available evidence, he has rightfully been dismissed. Former DS Buckmaster will also be placed on the ‘Police Barred List’ preventing future employment elsewhere in policing.”