Recorder letters: Coronavirus - parks and dementia

PUBLISHED: 12:30 12 April 2020

Use parks responsibly during the lockdown. Picture: PA Images

Use parks responsibly during the lockdown. Picture: PA Images

PA Archive/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Same message but an incredibly crucial one

Mark Camley, executive director, Parks and Venues, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; Shaun Dawson, chief executive, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority; Colin Buttery, director, Open Spaces Department, City of London and Andrew Scattergood, chief executive, The Royal Parks, write:

As those responsible for some of London’s key public open spaces, a weekend forecast for glorious sunshine would normally be just the news we were looking for.

Nothing sums our city up more than parks and riversides packed with people socialising, exercising, sunbathing, boating, eating, drinking and enjoying the freedom and space to do what they want with their families and loved ones.

Of course these are very different times.

Never could we have imagined that, following government’s guidance, we would be asking people to think about how they are using these spaces. There is no doubt our physical and mental health benefits from daily exercise and access to nature. We are quickly finding that you can’t just take that for granted.

Many people in London are not lucky enough to have a garden; many families are living in very cramped conditions. Our public spaces are becoming more and more important as the restrictions go on. As some parks have had to take the difficult decision to close, it is essential we all work together in making sure we can keep as much open as possible.

Please don’t ignore the very clear instructions – go out once a day, stay as local as possible, don’t gather in groups, keep your two-metre distance, take litter home, and keep dogs under control and on a lead in areas where you are told to do so.

It’s clearly not OK to have picnics, sunbathe, cycle where it is not allowed or confront those putting themselves at risk to keep these spaces open.

By working together and being sensible we can make sure our great parks and riversides play their vital role in keeping Londoners as fit and healthy as possible during challenging times.

We are proud to look after the world’s greatest open spaces; please do everything you can to keep them open for everyone who needs them more now than ever.

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Safeguarding the vulnerable from Covid con

Angela Rippon CBE, ambassador, Alzheimer’s Society, writes:

Government advice says that men and women in the UK with chronic neurological conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus and are asked to stay at home for an extensive period. For the 850,000 people living with dementia, their loved ones and their carers, the situation is causing panic, stress and anxiety.

To add to the stress, fraudsters are exploiting the spread of the virus to commit fraud and cyber crime.

For some people, Covid-19 may increase their susceptibility to the risk of financial abuse due to being home alone, answering phones, being on the internet more than usual and potentially trusting others with cash to buy supplies.

We are calling on people affected by dementia in the UK – whether you’re living with dementia, supporting or caring for someone with the condition – to follow and share Alzheimer’s Society’s top tips on avoiding scams.

Current corona-themed scams include: fraudulent sellers claiming to sell protective face masks that haven’t arrived, paying for tests which do not exist, emails that appear to be from a legitimate company or government department attempting to trick you into clicking on a malicious link and providing sensitive information, and door-knockers using coronavirus as a guise to gain entry to homes and steal money.

To avoid scams online:

• Check you’re buying from a real company. You can search on Gov.UK. This will tell you if they’re a registered company or not.

• Check to see what people have said about the company. It’s worth looking for reviews on different websites, such as Which? – don’t rely on reviews the company has put on its own website.

• If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major card providers insure online purchases.

• If you get an email from a company with a strange email address or one that has never emailed you before, asking you for money/payment unexpectedly, don’t click on links. Doing this could infect your computer with a virus. Make sure your antivirus software is up to date to give protection.

With people affected by dementia now being isolated in their own homes, they may be more likely to

answer their door bell and interact with door to door scammers.

Alzheimer’s Society is providing tips for people. Anyone affected by dementia can call their support line on 0333 150 3456.

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