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Doorway still open

DOORWAY staff would like to reassure their guests that we are still open, on Mondays from 9.30am to 12.30pm and Thursdays from 12.30pm to 3.30pm at the Salvation Army Hall on Foghamshire in Chippenham.

Although we have had to make adjustments to how the sessions are run in order to protect our volunteers, many of whom are themselves in the vulnerable bracket, we are still offering food, clothing, showers and laundry facilities to people who are sleeping rough, and giving advice and food bags to others who are vulnerably housed or without their own home.

In this climate it is particularly important for us to be able to reach those who need our support the most, and with the social distancing and isolation rules currently in place we will need to be more flexible with how we reach people. We are open to collaborating with other local agencies and charities where appropriate - any queries can be emailed to me at

Jo Kitching, Director, Doorway, Chippenham

Why do we not test?

THE Prime Minister is increasingly looking weak and indecisive. Stephen Glover wrote in the Daily Mail, that “every significant new measure has had to be wrung from Boris Johnson, and then it is too late!”

Promises are made and then ignored. Protective equipment and clothing for frontline NHS staff has been promised for weeks. Staff have become infected and the NHS damaged because of the lack of this equipment.

Whilst the government becomes ever more authoritarian in its attempt to control the coronavirus, they deliberately ignore the key World Health Organisation recommendation, to substantially increasing testing for the virus.

The government has been promising more coronavirus testing for months. Only now, in the midst of the totally predictable health crisis, are they promising to buy millions of tests. Yet they are still talking of FOUR more weeks before testing 25,000 a day.

Jeremy Hunt, the highly experienced former Health Secretary, has warned that “Lack of testing means we have lost track of the virus.” We don’t know who has the virus or where the next outbreak will appear. No testing has been done outside of hospitals March 13.

Countries which have been more successful in achieving control in this virus, Germany, (with a far lower death rate than Britain), and South Korea, both have much higher levels of testing. They are even employing drive through testing for the virus, to speed up the process. South Korea routinely tests 20,000 people a day.

Increased testing would show the British people the government is deeply concerned about the situation and taking action. Instead we just get lectures and recommendations. Empty rhetoric!

A successful coronavirus strategy involves testing, quarantining positive cases and tracing of their contacts, and then isolating those contacts in turn. It is simple and straightforward. Other countries are doing this and protecting their precious health staff with protective clothing. Why aren’t we?

Andrew Milroy, Bellefield Crescent, Trowbridge

Respect for drivers

I AM disgusted to read that UK lorry drivers are denied basic facilities and access to onsite toilets at regional distribution centres, which are large warehouses of the biggest and most well known firms.

Signs on toilet doors saying drivers can not use their toilets, they blame Covid 19, and banned drivers use of the toilets and told to use Portaloo’s outside which do not have hot running water to wash their hands. Also drivers are crammed in o waiting rooms, which is not ideal with spreading the virus, drivers are banned from waiting in their cabs while being unloaded, due to health and safety reasons.

With the influx of panic buying, the DVSA have now relaxed the EU rules for tachographs and legal driving times have been increased, daily rest periods reduced and weekly rest periods reduced, this will make drivers more fatigued and more likely to pick up an infection with reduced immunity levels.

More reading can be obtained from the RHA website and the drivers website of Trucknet.

Tim Williams, Helens Court, Shails Lane, Trowbridge

Thank you to Co-op

PLEASE allow me to say a huge thank you to the Co-op in Malmesbury for their prompt action during the OAP shopping hour, by not allowing young people to do their shopping at this reserved time.

It enabled our elderly people to find the few items they were looking for.

This is what we need to see in all supermarkets.

Well done and thanks for your help Co-op.

Ann Paterson, Brunstock Beck, Didcot, Oxon

But shame on Tesco

TESCO’S superstore Trowbridge this morning, I went there to do a small necessary shop for my elderly parents. I was truly shocked at what I saw.

The store looked like it had been ransacked. No milk, eggs, teabags, bread, toilet rolls, fresh vegetables, tinned food, freezers empty.

What control is Tesco’s management putting on customers? This stockpiling is selfish, greedy and thoughtless. Tesco’s management what do you have to say ?

Shelley Nelson, Trowbridge

An idea for stores

ALL hospitals, doctors surgeries have hand sanitisers for everyone to use coming into their buildings. I think it would be very wise to install these into every supermarket and store NOW.

This would help to keep their customers safer and help staff keep safe, also supermarkets with sick customers and staff are not going to last long.

We the customers would like to stay healthy and our supermarkets still trading.

Robert Taylor, Trowbridge

Our town needs this

I FIND it shocking that Calne Town Council have voted against a proposed new medical centre for the town. Goodness knows we need one. The Patford House surgery, which it would replace, has this week closed its doors, unable to maintain sufficiently high levels of hygiene in the old building in the face of coronavirus.

Yet if the proposed new medical centre does not go ahead, there is no other site in Calne which is suitable and available. In voting against one being built on the Silver Street site, those councillors were voting against one being built at all.

As the town has grown the pressure on the local infrastructure has increased - roads, schools, doctors and dentists. Here there was an opportunity to provide the town with a purpose-built, state-of-the-art new medical centre, that could be ready to open within 12-18 months.

I know the proposed site is not ideal, and there are real concerns about access, but through a range of conditions including a 20mph speed limit outside it, a widened pavement and pedestrian barrier, signed walking routes to it etc, these could have all been overcome.

The process is that the planning application now has to be considered by Wiltshire Council. I sincerely hope they overturn Calne Town Council’s decision and give their approval to this project. And I hope the delay entailed in this application having to go before Wiltshire Council does not jeopardise this development.

As councillors our primary duty surely is to represent the wishes of our community and to act in the best interests of Calne. I believe there is huge local support for this medical centre and I have no doubt it would be of great benefit to the town.

Councillor John Boaler, Calne Central ( Labour), Woodland Park, Calne

We’re here to help

I KNOW we are currently facing unprecentended circumstances in our community and across the country. Some residents may be feeling quite anxious and even a little scared at the measures we are all being asked to take. It’s OK to feel that way, you are not alone. Over the past few days I have taken many calls and answered dozens of emails from residents who are concerned over how they and their loved ones will be supported through these coming days and weeks, if not months.

Your Town and Parish Councils have been working tirelessly to set up a Melksham Community Support hub which will organise volunteers who wish to help those who are having to self-isolate. If you are self-isolating or would like to volunteer we encourage people to do so through the dedicated website, email address or phone number.

I’d like to reassure residents that your Town and Parish Councils will continue to adapt to the changing needs of the community. I have been incredibly impressed at how our community has come together to support one another and would like to continue to encourage residents to be kind and considerate to each other.

Many of our key businesses are still operating to serve the community and they deserve our respect and patience during this time. I will continue to provide updates to our residents as things progress, in the meantime let’s remember that the virus will pass, however our kindness towards one another will always be remembered.

Cllr Vanessa Fiorelli, Leader of Melksham Town Council

01225 809 265

Let’s work together

IT HAS been great to see and hear of so many communities looking after each other in both my ward of Box and Colerne, and also By Brook ward, where I am now ‘buddying’ with Cllr Howard Greenman (a Conservative Cllr) to provide cover, now that the By Brook by-election has been postponed.

Communities under the aegis of the Parish Councils are establishing lists of the potentially vulnerable and ‘self-isolating’ and as importantly lists of volunteers who will be able to help with shopping and picking up prescriptions. If you are either in need or would like to volunteer and have not yet been contacted, then I suggest you reach out to your local parish council, or your Wiltshire Councillor. Addresses and phone numbers can be found online.

The smartphone system WhatApp is proving its worth, for street or hamlet communication, while Skype is useful for face to face meetings, albeit over the internet, for things as diverse as lent groups, other community groups and even political meetings, or just to chat with friends.

So it’s not all bad news, people are coming together to help each other, and the lovely weather that we have been having over the last few days has helped those who are able, to get out and avoid cabin fever by walking our beautiful countryside, while keeping a sociable and safe distance.

A number of pubs, while now formally closed, are also providing a fine service along with the village stores, selling at a fair price the essentials, so there is no real need to drive into the towns to use the supermarkets. The same can be said of the small shops in our market towns.

It is a good time to shop local and keep these businesses afloat. Stay safe and look out for each other.

Dr Brian Mathew, Liberal Democrat Wiltshire Councillor for Box & Colerne

Help for the children

WHAT can I say that you won’t already have heard at this frightening time? Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is facing a very real concern that we will not be able to continue supporting families with a terminally ill child. We urgently need your help.

The families we support are already facing the unimaginable thought that their child may die before them. Now, they are also experiencing enormous coronavirus fears. Our Family Support Workers are continuing to do all they can - this week they delivered expressed breast milk to a neonatal ward from a mother who wasn’t allowed to visit her premature baby, due to strict visitor restrictions.

Families often tell us that Rainbow Trust Family Support Workers are one of the only trusted ‘constants’ in their lives, helping them as they face uncharted territory and uncertainty. That is not changing in the short term. We will continue to be there in whatever way we can, for as long as is possible.

However, we desperately need funds in order to keep Rainbow Trust going. 98% of our income comes from the generosity of the public and all our fundraising events for the foreseeable future have been cancelled or postponed.

I implore you to give whatever you can at this frightening time, so that families caring for their seriously ill child can still be supported. Please visit

Zillah Bingley, Chief Executive, Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity

Cassini Court, Randalls Way, Leatherhead, Surrey

Social care needs us

LAST week in response to the COVID19 outbreak the Government called upon retired nurses and doctors to return to work with the line ‘your NHS needs you’. Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, is complementing this message, ‘social care needs you too’.

The adult social care sector too will require the support of the nation in the coming months if it is to continue to support some of society’s most vulnerable at these most worrying of times. We encourage those who are willing and able, to do so by joining the adult social care workforce.

Our message is that social care is still open for business – social care needs your help.

Firstly, we call upon retired staff with experience in the adult social care sector to engage in this national effort to keep social care operational.

Secondly, those who are currently not working; particularly those in catering, hospitality or air travel, as a result of the outbreak are encouraged to support the adult social care sector.

In addition, we encourage the UK’s population to utilise the provisions made within the Coronavirus Bill with regards to ‘Emergency Volunteering Leave’.

Lastly, if you have previously worked in the social care sector, there has never been a more important time for your skills and knowledge to be reclaimed.

If you’re in one of these groups – social care needs you.

Many providers have noted that they already see rising levels of Covid-19 related absences. This combined with the already extremely high levels of vacancy rates in the adult social care sector has the potential to create a perfect storm for the sector.

However, with your help we can act to avert such a reality and the negative implications it would have upon some of society’s most vulnerable individuals.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive, Care England, Independent Sector Dementia Champion

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