Weekly Update From Councillor Guy Lambert

It's all about getting food to the people who need it most


Guy Lambertguy.lambert@hounslow.gov.uk

tel 07804 284948

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For those of you who expressed concern at my apparent fetish for licking masks as expressed in last weeks episode, I can assure you it was merely a mild case of Corona Virus of the typing finger and I was just picking them up not licking them up. Eurghh.

Anyway I visited the Soup Kitchen as planned and dropped off the food, secured a few masks and gloves at my secret rendezvous and delivered them to the FoodBox. In the afternoon the Lampton360 board took place by audio conference and covered a broad spectrum. The waste, recycling and GreenSpace services are running well with excellent staff attendance – really heartening in the circumstances – but we are very mindful that this may not last and we have contingency plans in place if and when things get a lot more challenging. We might have to suspend some activities such as regular grass cutting to redeploy staff. All our property development activity was in the process of being made safe and stopped. We are also providing hotel accommodation for rough sleepers in various hotels, but of course some rough sleepers insist on staying that way..

Then our FoodBox trustees meeting, held via Zoom. We’re concerned about one of our key volunteers (and trustees) self-isolating and the implications for the service, given that he has been in contact with many other volunteers and obviously present in the small FoodBox premises. We decide to cancel Friday’s deliveries, close for a deep clean and change some operating procedures to enhance safeguarding for our volunteers and also for our clients. All this takes some time, and we have some lively discussions before getting to consensus so I never make it to the Hounslow Cycling Zoom event.

On Friday I get an email from Sally from the Chamber of Commerce. Clayton Hotel is closing and have eggs. Do I want eggs? (Why didn’t this happen a week ago when I would have sold my granny for an egg?).  Later in the day I go round to the Clayton. Turns out the eggs are probably out of date but they have fruit, veg etc so one of those elaborate luggage trolleys is wheeled to the ridiculous car. We can’t really use them in the FoodBox and I get a text from the Soup Kitchen saying they can’t use them either.  


Oops. So I have a carload of fruit and veg some of which looks like it won’t last long and more even than I can manage to get through. So I offer it to my neighbours in Ferry Quays and set it out on sunny Saturday afternoon on the benches by the marina opposite Poppadums, whereupon various people come and relieve me of most of it. I decide to take a few of the mushrooms that are left and make a mushroom soup – a new adventure – but a few dodgier items end up in the bin, sadly. During the course of all this shenanigans I manage to briefly lock myself in the underground car park, showing my usual cool efficiency.


The rest of the weekend was uneventful with my days passing via reading, making a pathetic attempt to learn German via a phone app, watching a bit of TV (but what to watch with all sport suspended?) and taking Pegasus for his daily workout. He is a high-spirited bicycle and gets temperamental if he doesn’t get his exercise so I’m obliged to take him out for an hour each day. Happily, this coincides with my own daily exercise ‘allowance’, ‘zooming’ around the local area. I also try to lubricate the chain with my trusty can of WD40 (I am trying to learn from the lecture I got from the bike shop) but I find the skizzwostie (it’s possible this expression is Liverpudlian, think Thingamajig) on the end of the nozzle is missing so I can only spray my finger.

On Sunday afternoon we have another FoodBox trustees teleconference and thrash out how we will work hereafter. The deep clean has been done on Friday and we’re all set to restart activities. We agree that over 65s will not be permitted inside the FoodBox except in an emergency, which lets me off the hook nicely.

On Tuesday I get a call from the lead FoodBox volunteer/trustee – we are running out of milk, pasta sauce and tinned vegetables. Can I go to Costco and get lots of? I am not a huge fan of Costco but I have a membership card so I trundle off, deciding to try Sunbury to see if I like it more than Hayes. There is a long queue of trolleys, everyone nicely spaced out, but other people without trolleys come pushing through the queue which rather upsets matters. We are allowed in in batches and there’s plenty of milk, and one type of pasta sauce, and sweetcorn. Other than that only tomatoes (which we don’t need) so all I can do is load up with those three items.

I arrive at the FoodBox just as they are locking up but we manage to load onto a Morrisons trolley which lurks there as the official transfer station.

We then have our weekly cabinet and senior management update call, using Skype this time. Everybody is working furiously on contingency plans for when things get worse, as they undoubtedly will. We are still slightly in a ‘phoney war’ period where services are mostly working normally and it’s most surprising and heartening to hear that attendance at work – albeit via remote working in many cases – is actually higher than normal for this time of year. The Chief Exec is visibly delighted and very grateful to the workforce, and that goes for all of us. The Community Hub is now up and running in Hounslow and already contacting and delivering food parcels to the most vulnerable, as identified by the NHS/central government, though information about them is a little patchy. We’re eager for nobody to fall through a crack, so please make sure everybody, especially older and vulnerable people, know about https://www.hounslow.gov.uk/hub. And add your name as a volunteer if you can, or as someone needing help, if you do.

On Wednesday I made another run to Costco to pick up what I was instructed, which was, same again, but more of it. Our referrals are up 500% at the FoodBox, though thankfully we are getting lots of donations of both £££ and food as well. When I arrive the volunteers are just leaving and have just had a large consignment from Waitrose, so I agree to keep the stuff in my car overnight. They say they are completely out of custard and tinned rice pudding and pasta (Heinz spaghetti and the like) so if you’re donating food…

As I write, I hear one of our volunteers is picking up a large consignment from Morrisons.


Great how we are getting together to support the community. Somebody has set up a Chiswick drop off point at 98 Wavendon Avenue W44NS.

Finally, it was very heartening yesterday to hear from the manager of Recycle360 about all the appreciation his crews are getting from their ‘customers’. I know somebody bought them a big box of chocolate biscuits and somebody else did a street clap, but many have left out thank you notes. Here are just a few of them. More of this always welcome, also for the street cleaners and anybody else you see keeping the world going (supermarket staff deserve a big mention too).


Right, so I have a carload of stuff to deliver and an iron horse and a fat old man to exercise. It is still very scary out there and by and large it’s good to see people keeping their distance but I have to avoid popular spots like narrow bits of the riverside because there are just too many people strolling or jogging there in their ones and twos. Keep safe people – we’re going to be cooped up for many weeks yet, all in a good cause.

Cllr Guy Lambert

April 4, 2020

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