Earlier this week we had a stark reminder of how indiscriminate the coronavirus is as the prime minister himself was moved to intensive care as he battles the virus. This was a real shock to us all.

He is receiving the best possible care at St Thomas’ Hospital, and I hope you will join me in wishing him a speedy recovery. I have been overwhelmed with best wishes for both the PM and his partner Carrie, and I am very much looking forward to seeing him back to work and leading the efforts to tackle the current outbreak.

Our priority right now is to stop the spread of this virus, to get to the other side of the peak, and the best way to do that is for people to follow the advice which is to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives – I know it is tough, but together we will beat this.

On Wednesday, the chancellor announced a £750 million package of funding to support frontline charities with the vital work they are doing during this difficult time.

Tens of thousands of charities providing vital services will benefit from direct cash grants to ensure that they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus and continue their day-to-day activities supporting those in need.

As part of the package, £360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.

Those charities that will be directly allocated funding by government departments will include hospices, to help increase capacity and give stability to the sector; St John Ambulance, to support the NHS; victims charities (including domestic abuse charities), to help with the potential increase in demand for charities providing these services; charities that help vulnerable children, so they can continue delivering services on behalf of local authorities; and Citizens Advice, to increase the number of staff providing advice during this difficult time.

In addition to this, £370 million has been allocated to support small and medium-sized charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund for those in England. This will support organisations working at the heart of local communities to provide vital support, including those delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice.

The government has also pledged to match fund whatever the public decides to donate to the BBC’s Big Night In charity appeal later this month – committing to a minimum of £20 million.

The announcement builds on other measures taken by the government to support charities, which includes deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible with the government paying 80 per cent of their wages.

There are so many people helping make a real difference across our community.

This week even our fantastic mayor, Coun Kevin Parry, swapped his mayoral robes to join the recycling teams out in Stratton and Covingham. This was such a nice gesture to support the staff we all rely on.

I spoke to Kevin and his one plea was that we should all make the effort to separate our recycling which saves the staff a huge amount of time – it’s the least we can do!