Hello, and welcome to April’s edition of The Caterham and District Independent.
This is not the letter I thought I would be writing this month. Instead of celebrating the borough’s Easter events, the Covid-19 virus has catapulted us into a surreal world of empty calendars, failure to obtain basic groceries and conversations with loved ones via video calling, instead of face-to-face.
The decision to print and distribute this month’s streamlined newspaper has been one we have spent a long time considering. In the end, two factors convinced us to go ahead. On 20th March Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden posted a message on social media:
‘Public service news across TV, radio and print has never been more important than it is right now. I can confirm that broadcasters, journalists and the necessary ancillary staff are included as Key Workers.’
Secondly, we know the demographics of our readership include many people who aren’t online and who rely on physical copies of our newspaper to keep them in touch with their local area. We have a public duty to keep them connected to the Tandridge community in these difficult times, as well as a part to play in helping break up the monotony of isolation.
We are, of course, ensuring that The Caterham and District Independent team and it’s printers and distributors keep safe by following the government’s social distancing guidelines.
I know that lots of us are struggling at the moment. School closures are making it problematic for many to juggle work and childcare and there is still huge uncertainty around finance, whether that’s school fees, mortgages, rent, wages or bills. It’s understandable that people are feeling anxious and overwhelmed by everything that is happening.
However, while we are undoubtedly living in challenging times, I’ve also been cheered by the many acts of kindness happening throughout the borough. From groups coordinating food and medication distribution for the vulnerable or those self-isolating, through to those offering free products and services to our amazing emergency workers, there seems to be no shortage of community spirit in Tandridge.
To help you find the people supporting those in need, we’ve put together a special Coronavirus feature. As well as sharing important information, it also includes a list of local shops and businesses that are going the extra mile to make life a bit easier for as many people as they can.
For example, Pedrick’s Zero Waste shop is now offering home delivery or collections in store. Via their website you can either book a food box to be delivered to your house with basic food staples to cover you for a week, or you can book a collection slot for their store open days and take your containers and bottles down to be filled by staff members while you wait.
Everything in the paper is also available on our regularly updated website: caterhamindependent.com. If we haven’t got details of you or your business here, and you are in a position to offer help to residents, please get in touch and we will add you.
Moving away from Coronavirus, the paper has our usual coverage of local news and issues affecting our towns and villages. We’re also looking at how Tandridge can continue to improve its recycling capabilities and move towards plastic-free living.
It’s difficult to know what to expect over the coming weeks and months but I have no doubt that our wonderful community will continue to pull together. We will do our best to be back in May with more information and updates but until then please continue to look after yourselves, and each other.