Stay at home - but do get your free COVID test

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Stay at home - but do get your free COVID test

An important message from Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council

Brent and the rest of London are now in Tier 4, a new level of restrictions that reflect the serious increase in the spread of COVID-19. Cases of coronavirus in Brent are rising dramatically and this means we are all being asked to stay at home as much as possible. This is a very dangerous moment for us all, with a new strain of the virus that appears to be passed on much more easily. But it still needs people to give it a chance to spread.

If you limit the time you spend with other people, wear a face covering, continue to wash your hands and keep indoor spaces well ventilated, then we can slow the spread and prevent the risk of severe illnesses.

So, I urge you to please stick to the new rules, which are:

  • You must stay at home, apart from essential reasons like going out to get COVID test
  • No indoor mixing with any other households, including at Christmas.
  • You should not leave Tier 4 areas, or stay overnight away from home
  • You can only meet one person from another household in public outdoor spaces
  • Non-essential shops, gyms and leisure facilities, and personal care services are closed.

The most important thing you can do is to stay at home, unless for essential reasons such as work if you cannot work from home, to get food or medicine, for childcare, to exercise, for medical care, or to get a Covd-19 test. Read a full list of the rules.

The instruction not meet with anyone who you do not live with at Christmas is a major change to the previous ‘Christmas Bubble’ guidance. I know – as happened with other religious festivals, including Eid and Diwali - the last minute disruption to Christmas plans will have been painful to many of you, but the rules are unfortunately necessary to protect each other. If you are finding things difficult there is help available

This situation won’t last forever, so please focus on the decisions you make to protect each other, the NHS and save lives. Please do have a Happy Christmas and let’s look forward to a brighter 2021 together.

WATCH: Dr Melanie Smith, Brent's Director of Public Health, explains the new strain of COVID-19 that is being passed on more easily among us - and what you can do to stop the spread

Video still of Melanie Smith, Brent's Director of Public Health. Click to play.

Free and regular COVID testing in Brent

a lateral flow test site in Brent

Everyone in Brent aged 12 and over can now get free and regular coronavirus tests, even if you haven’t got symptoms. These include the new ‘rapid tests’, which provide results within 40 minutes.

We all need to get tested even if you feel well, as 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 show no symptoms but could be sharing the virus with loved ones and around the community without knowing. The more of us that have the test, the more we’ll be able to contain the virus, and the faster we can get back to the lives we love.

Rapid COVID-19 testing is available at nine sites across the borough, Monday to Sunday, from 9am-6pm (all sites will be closed on bank holidays):

>> Book a test at your local site, or find out more, by visiting the Brent website or call 020 8937 4440.

Holiday period opening hours and service changes

With Christmas and the New Year coming up, the opening hours and some council services will be temporarily changing.

>> Read a full list of changes, including to Brent Customer Services, Coronavirus Help and Support, Leisure Centres, Libraries and Recycling,

Emotional and wellbeing support during the festive period

woman holding head in hands

The pandemic is affecting everyone differently. For many this Christmas will be a tough time and it’s ok to not be ok. Help is available. To speak to someone about how you are feeling, please visit the NHS Central & North West London support service

For urgent mental health support, you can also access the following services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:

  • Samaritans – call 116 123
  • SHOUT – text 85258

Many people may be feeling lonely this Christmas. Lots of Mutual Aid Groups around the borough are offering check in phone calls with people who live locally to you. You can find a list of Mutual Aid Groups in Brent towards the bottom of this page.

You can also contact Ashford Place, for A Christmas Chat – 020 8208 8596.  Choose option 1.  24th Dec – 2nd Jan, 4pm – 5pm

>> More emotional and wellbeing support services in Brent

Flu Jab now available to over 50s


Flu is a serious condition that kills thousands and hospitalises thousands more in England each year. The flu vaccination is the best protection for you and those around you which is why it is offered for free for those most at risk.

Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19 and the free vaccine is more important than ever, to help protect the nation from a double threat this winter. For the first time this year 50-64 year olds are being offered the free flu vaccine – it is important that you get the vaccine to protect yourself and others. Your GP practice will contact you with details about how to book or speak to your pharmacist.

>> Visit the NHS website to find out more about flu vaccination

>> Read flu jab information in other languages here

John the NHS vaccination team

keep brent working

The NHS COVID-19 mass vaccination programme will begin from January 2020, at hubs in Wembley Park and Willesden.  

To help deliver this programme, Brent Works is supporting the NHS to recruit local people who are interested in working in one of the following temporary positions:

  • Front of House Reception
  • Administrators
  • Vaccinators

Candidates considering applying should be available to start work from early January to February and commit to the programme up until late spring.  Rates of pay vary according to shift pattern and all roles exceed the London Living Wage - with an additional allowance for overtime and unsocial hours. 

This is a great opportunity, particularly for those looking to start a career in health and social care and want to be part of a team delivering potentially life-saving protection from the coronavirus to Brent residents.

>> To apply, and for more information, visit the Brent Works website

Accessible formats and different languages

The dedicated COVID-19 section of our website includes information, support and signposts about coronavirus in accessible formats and alternative languages, including:

Vitamin D supplements for people at higher risk of coronavirus

During autumn and winter, everyone is advised to take vitamin D to keep their bones and muscles healthy and to support their general health.

Now, if you're at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) from COVID-19, you can use a free NHS service to get daily vitamin D supplements.

>>Find out more

Death of former Councillor Lawrie Nerva

It is with sadness that we confirm former Brent Councillor Lawrie Nerva passed away last weekend. Lawrie was a Brent Councillor from 1978 to 1986 and he helped found the Brent Council for Community Relations with the late Reg Freeson.

In addition to serving as a Councillor, Lawrie was also a chair of the Brent North Labour Party, Chair of Social Services at Brent Council as well as a member of the Brent Health Authority.

>>Read more

Help develop Brent's Climate Emergency Strategy - tell us what you think!

We're welcoming comments on the proposals to make Brent carbon neutral by 2030.

Getting there will take a huge collective effort – we all need to act together to tackle climate change. To help you think about the kinds of changes you could make to reduce your environmental impact, or how you could join up with friends on environmental projects, we’ve created a survey which you can take here.

You can also find more tips and support on the new and improved climate emergency section of our website at

Pride of Brent Youth Awards 2020

Nominations are now open for the Pride of Brent Youth Awards 2020.

The Pride of Brent Youth Awards aim to celebrate the achievements of young people across Brent. We want to recognise young people who try hard to make a difference in their community and those who often put others before themselves.

Nominations must be received by email by Friday 8 January 2020.

>>Complete nomination form

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COVID isn't taking December off - wear a mask