BRACKNELL’S MP has called on people to come together as a community and make sure they look after others during this difficult time.

James Sunderland spoke exclusively to Bracknell News earlier this week to talk all things coronavirus.

The newly-elected MP has been busy helping the community effort and urged everybody to do their bit to make sure Bracknell’s most vulnerable people are being looked after.

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He added: “Being stuck in the house clearly has an effect, so it’s important we come together as a community to watch out for others.

“There is such a thing as a society. We’ve all got neighbours and it doesn’t take much to pick up the phone and ask ‘are you okay?’

“The great thing is we’ve got these great facilties locally. Healthwatch is particularly good in the Bracknell Forest area.

“We’ve got the Citizens Advice Bureaus working wonders as well.

“It would concern me greatly if there are people who are vulnerable, with mental health issues, older people perhaps, who are sitting in their homes not being contacted.

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“We have a responsibility to others and I would commend anybody reading this to look after others.”

In the past few weeks, Bracknell’s parliamentary representative has been splitting his time between Westminster and the constituency.

He has been “lobbying hard” on behalf of Bracknell, taking part in debates and receiving “useful” and “regular” coronavirus briefings from Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

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Back in Bracknell, he has been volunteering and been in regular contact with council bosses and organisations such as Healthwatch.

He said: “I’m making some calls to people to say hello, how can we help you? I’ve been asked to walk dogs, we’re doing deliveries later this week and we’ve extended the same possibilities with Wokingham Borough Council as well.

“The bottom line is: I’m fit, I’m healthy, I’ve got a lot to offer.

“My role is strategic in terms of dealing with government and the cabinet office, but it’s also tactical in the sense that I’ve got a role in the constituency and I want to be here supporting the constituency.”

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James is part of a four-person team co-ordinating his office’s response to the community’s issues.

Gerry Barber is communicating with businesses and the self-employed from around the constituency, caseworker Jon Woodburn is tackling the issues faced by some of Bracknell’s more vulnerable people, and Katie Craven is sorting out information coming from the government.

The team is getting around 500 emails and letters every day when they would normally get around 200.

James said: “We’ve got a system now for how we are doing it. I know what I will personally respond to and I’m doing that.

“These are long days, we are working into the night as well with many cases.

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“I’ve said to the team I want to be providing a personal response to every single letter and enquiry and so far I think we are almost there.”

One of the key issues troubling residents during lockdown is the availability of supermarket delivery slots, a problem many readers have told the News about.

James offered to help constituents who have worries about this.

He said: “Supermarkets I believe are going to be ringfencing slots now.

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“They are prioritising their online delivery service for the most vulnerable, so we’re going to be seeing that hopefully in the next couple of days.

“Locally, I can absolutely pick up the phone and ring supermarkets and say ‘come on, let’s do this’.

“Because this observation has been taken very seriously by the government I’m confident that we’ll crack it.

“What I would say to people is: if you get no joy in the next day or so, please come back to me and I’ll open some doors.”