Tragedy and Duress Drives Community Spirit and Action

Brentford and Isleworth MP Ann Keen writes to her constituents

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The Brentford and Isleworth constituency

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The new year continued with the coldest spells we have had in over 15 years, making us reach for the heating control more than usual. The cold weather has caused disruption across the constituency, impacting heavily on our daily routine and reducing people’s mobility. Schools have had to close due to the snow, transport has been severely delayed, and we know it’s serious when football is cancelled - even at the Griffin Park!

The other Friday Brentford’s pavements were the worst I have ever seen, I did my own version of dancing on route to Pappadoms in Brentford. Although, there is one good thing that was reported on a news article which I read recently - this said that the number of dating site visits had increased during this period due to a large number of people being housebound, so there is something to smile about after all!

However, what is worth commending is the relentless work and support that many charities and volunteer groups provide across the constituency during these times. For example, in Hounslow the programme of cultural activities for all age groups provided by the Hounslow multi-cultural centre, in particular the multi-cultural lunch service and the older people’s club is commendable as is the service provided at St. Paul’s Church in Brentford. The staff, many whom are volunteers, are dedicated against all odds keep working hard.

My thoughts also take me to the tragic disaster in Haiti. Towards the end of the last year, I met with a number of constituents including Vicar Matt Boyes from Turnham Green church who supports the Haiti Hospital Appeal, a UK charity set up to provide safe maternity care. Fortunately, the hospital was not damaged and is now at the centre providing much needed healthcare support to victims and families. I was also pleased to learn that Sarah Brown and the fashion industry have launched “Fashion Relief TM” with some of the money raised going directly to the Haiti women’s hospital. Our global resident GlaxoSmithKline has also been extending their support and donating medicine to the hospital. In hindsight, I would have never expected last year to be assisting a charity that only a few months later would be experiencing one of the worst disasters that the world has ever seen.

Lastly, it is encouraging to see signs of economic recovery as Britain polls out of one of one of the worst recessions this country has seen. Along this, I noted that the national Guardian reported that a recent survey showed that the amount of people that give to charity has fallen by 11%. However, it is during these times of duress and tragedy where the demand for charitable services such as the ones I mentioned above are needed the most. What is very clear to me in all of this is that, charities grow during this process. Tragedy and duress drives community spirit and action …….people are committed to giving and recognise other’s need!!

Ann Keen MP
Brentford and Isleworth


January 27, 2010