Weekly round up 25th April

by Liam Byrne | 25.04.20 | in: Uncategorized

I hope everyone had a very happy St George’s Day this week, and my very best wishes to everyone celebrating Ramadan this year!

It’s been another intensely busy week, so I wanted to share some updates on our work on campaigning for more PPE for our frontline staff, trying to sort the chaos in Free School Meals – and the first ever virtual Prime Minister’s Questions. I also chaired this week the first videoconference of parliamentarians from around the world together with the World Bank, as we try and gather lessons from every corner of the world to fight this pandemic.

A very happy weekend – remember: stay home, save lives and protect our NHS!


Big John’s Donations

After lending a hand with Big John’s & Human Appeal last week packing food parcels to help feed Brum, I’m asking anyone who can to donate here: https://humanappeal.org.uk/app…/coronavirus-emergency-appeal

Working through the Anzal Begum Foundation, set up by the Big John’s founders to continue the great charitable work of their late mother, the team is packing over 1,000 food parcels to go out to the most vulnerable within our communities in the Midlands and the North, including the elderly, homeless and other vulnerable groups who have been affected badly by the current crisis.

These food parcels include pasta, milk, sugar, salt, tinned tomatoes, chickpeas, pitta bread, cereals, biscuits, diluted juice, sweetcorn, pot noodles, porridge, baked beans, and tinned soup.

PPE Letter

It’s simply wrong that frontline workers are being forced to put their lives on the line when they go to work to protect us because Government hasn’t got the PPE they need in place.

Birmingham Live has the story about the points I put to ministers this week

PPE on the BBC

After writing with Ian Ward and Andrew Mitchell MP to the Health Secretary, I went on BBC News to ask the government to come clean about the masks and gowns that our doctors, nurses and careworkers so desperately need.

Our first virtual PMQs

This week we had our first ever virtual PMQs and the first PMQs with Keir Starmer. Here’s a look behind the scenes!

My question, had we gotten to it was, when are frontline careworkers going to be able to work with the PPE they need to be safe?


A number of residents and school leaders have been in touch with me about the problems with Free School Meal vouchers. Here’s the update we’ve had from Department for Education – as  ever, I’d be grateful if you can tell me if what the government says bears any relationship to reality!

Ramadan Mubarak

This year’s holy month of Ramadan will have to be a little different from usual as we are all separated from our loved ones thanks to the coronavirus. Here’s a message of thanks and good wishes to all my Muslim friends; from my family to yours.

St George’s Day

Finally, a Happy St George’s Day to all! Sadly it won’t be a time of parades and parties but I thought I’d share a few thoughts on England from Shakespeare, who’s birthday was this week!

The latest news and advice from Birmingham City Council

Local news

Thousands of face masks for the council to give to its key workers have been donated by the Overseas Chinese Association (Birmingham).

Voluntary, community and faith groups are invited to bid to the city council for grants to help support vulnerable adults affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Grants for community, voluntary and faith groups that support children and families through Covid-19 have also been launched.

The council has recently reviewed its policy on cemetery opening times in relation to Covid-19. From 21 April 2020, cemeteries will open each day for two hours, after burials have been completed. The times of opening for individual sites may vary as the need for more burials becomes evident. Please visit the council’s website for individual site details.

Four Birmingham councillors have condemned verbal and physical abuse towards council staff in a cross-party statement.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Mohammed Azim, and Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities, have written to communities about keeping safe during Ramadan. You can get more guidance on observing Ramadan at home here. Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, has recorded a special message in English and Mirpuri.

The Active Wellbeing Society is the lead for many Birmingham groups working together to look after people in need during this crisis. Contact them here for help. If someone is unable to go online they can call 0121 728 7030.

We are receiving complaints about garden bonfires. While it is tempting, please don’t start bonfires. Be considerate – your neighbours may need to use their gardens to get fresh air during lockdown.

Our community equipment loan provider Medequip UK has launched a Bed Collection Campaign to help support the NHS. Do you have a loaned bed from Medequip you no longer need? Please contact your local Medequip Centre on 0121 503 8850 for safe collection and to help others in need.

The coronavirus pandemic is placing a big demand on community pharmacy teams across Birmingham. Read what you can do to help reduce pressure on your local pharmacy.

If you missed this week’s BhamUpdates Facebook live from Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park, you can watch feeding time with keeper Gareth and the ring-tailed lemurs here.

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