Important information for you as Havering moves to Tier 3 on Wednesday, and news of more testing in the borough.

Living masthead with woman in mask Aug 2020

Monday 14 December 2020  (Update #152)

Cllr White blog masthead Doing my bit left hand image

We need your help to continue our battle against rising COVID-19 rates in Havering as we move into Tier 3 restrictions from first thing on Wednesday morning (16 December).

Being in Tier 3 means we get extra help from the Government to continue with testing for secondary school and college pupils, staff and families. More details on that below.  

We are also getting additional resources for our three testing centres for people who experience coronavirus symptoms. From today they will be open from 7am to 9pm every day until 23 December.

Some things don't change. Still the best way to prevent catching the virus is by reducing your contact with others outside your household.

Ask yourself whether going out shopping or visiting the park at a busy time is absolutely necessary. 

Get a test at one of our testing centres if you have any coronavirus symptoms. 

And please remember not to mix with people indoors from outside your household.

Follow the Hands, Face, Space guidance: Wash your hands regularly with soap, cover your face with a mask indoors and in public places, and keep a two-metre distance where possible.

Lastly, I am very pleased today to celebrate the start of construction at the Napier and New Plymouth House site in Rainham. See the article later in this bulletin.

The site, which completed demolition in February, is one of 12 estates included in our joint venture with Wates Residential. This regeneration programme will see around 3,500 high-quality new homes delivered in Havering in the coming years. The £1.5 billion project will seek to double the amount of council rented accommodation and more than double the number of affordable homes for local people.

Also, particularly important as we look to recover from COVID-19 in the years ahead, is the borough-wide legacy this joint venture will deliver by investing in education, training and skills opportunities, and by employing local businesses to work on the scheme. The joint venture is also committed to buying British, wherever possible.

Cllr Damian White

Leader, Havering Council

From 0:01am on Wednesday (16 December):

Tier 3 Very high alert 700px

More testing for schools

Testing drive through

COVID-19 testing is being increased as cases continue to rise in Havering with  testing sites available from tomorrow, Tuesday, 15 December.

All secondary school staff, students and families of children who do not have coronavirus should get tested.

Testing will be available at these locations between 9am and 3pm: 

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (15 - 18 December) at Coopers Company and Coburn School, St Mary’s Lane, Upminster, RM14 3HS

and on Tuesday 15 and Friday 18 December at Havering Town Hall, Main Road, Romford RM1 3BD (in front of the Town Hall).

You can walk through these testing sites. There is no need to book. The tests will involve a swab of the nose and throat and results should be available within 48 hours.

These testing sites are run by contractors working for the Government, not Havering Council. The number of tests available each day at each site will be limited and tests will be available on a first-come-first-served basis.

Alternatively, school staff, pupils and families can apply for a home test by going online. Select the option saying you have been told to get a test by the Council.

While awaiting the results, students, staff and parents will be able to return to their schools and colleges until they receive their results. However, if they develop symptoms in the meantime, they should self-isolate.

Pre-bookable testing sites for those with COVID-19 symptoms rae available at the rear of the Town Hall, Cherry Tree Lane, Rainham and Dagnam Park Drive, Harold Hill. Details on those centres later in this bulletin.

Construction begins

Wates joint venture construction site in Rainham 2020

The construction phase on the first site of one of the biggest regeneration projects in London has begun.

The site in Rainham, which completed demolition in February, is one of 12 included in the Havering Council and Wates Residential joint venture's 12 Estates regeneration programme. 

The programme will see around 3,500 high-quality new homes delivered in Havering over the next 12 to 15 years. 


Have symptoms? Get tested.

Get Tested graphic Xmas version

For anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, Havering has three permanent COVID-19 testing centres open seven days a week. 

These three sites will begin operating extended hours of 7am to 9pm from today until Wednesday 23 December.

Residents can get tested at one of the sites if they have symptoms of COVID-19 – a continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste or smell.

To get tested you must book an appointment. See our video on what the test involves.

From today (Monday 14 December) those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus will have to isolate for 10 days instead of the previously mandated 14 days.

People returning from abroad from countries which are not on the travel corridor list now have their isolation period reduced to 10 days.

If you have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace you must self-isolate.

Fines, ranging from £1,000 to £10,000 have also been introduced for those failing to self-isolate when required to do so, or knowingly providing false information about close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.

If you are working and in receipt of a welfare benefit (or earn less than £500 per week for a family with children, or £350 for an individual), you may be eligible for a £500 support payment. To receive this you must be self-isolating or tested positive for COVID-19, told to stay at home by the NHS, be unable to work from home and have no income during this time.

If you think you are eligible for this support, you need to apply.

Local test centres

Christmas plans

Father Dominic Xmas message Dec 2020

The festive period is an important time for many people and the Government has made changes to the social contact restrictions that will apply between 23 and 27 December.

During that time we must each continue to take personal responsibility to limit the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable.

Listen to the festive message from Father Dominic from St Edward the Confessor Church in Romford.

Watch video

Vaccine rollout

PfizerBioNTech vaccine

London's latest vaccination hub, at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, is now finalising plans to go operational this week with many people already booked in for the first of their course of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccinations.

Also this week vaccinations will begin from a number of GP surgeries. Patients in priority groups are being contacted first, including the over-80s and care home workers.

The vaccination clinics have been designed to keep patients and staff as safe as possible.

More GP practices and community pharmacies will join the vaccine programme in 2021.

Martin Machray, Joint Regional Chief Nurse, NHS London writes for Living in Havering: 

"Led by GPs, practice nurses and community pharmacists, vaccines will now be administered even closer to people’s homes from local practices and health centres, sports halls and community venues.

"This is the largest programme in the NHS’s 72-year history and it requires a huge effort and different ways of working from all of us.

"That is why I am extremely proud of the hundreds of NHS workers from around the country who have volunteered to help with this next phase of this remarkable programme.

"Please do not contact the NHS to seek a vaccine. Our staff will contact you.

"When the NHS does contact you, please attend your booked appointments and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the spread of the virus and save lives."

Local democracy in action

Council Chamber

The postponed Full Havering Council meeting will be held tomorrow night (Tuesday 15 December).

It will be a virtual meeting with Councillors joining the meeting by video conference.

The agenda for the meeting includes questions to Cabinet Members and motions for debate.

You can follow the evening's proceedings live via our website from 7.30pm.


Help in tough times

Havering Helps Dec 2020

Havering Council runs an emergency assistance scheme with our partners DABD where you can get financial support with clothes, goods, bills and food.

Low income families can claim payments of £170 per month to help with heating and other essential bills this winter.

Low income individuals and smaller households are also be able to claim payments of £100 per month.

Apply now if you think you need help.

Working for you

Council clearance work

Havering Council teams are working hard to make sure key services are delivered to residents throughout the pandemic.

Up to date information for each service is available on our website

Due to the upcoming Christmas and New Year public holidays there are some changes to Council services and opening times.

Details can be found on our website.


Festive fun

Harold Hll Xmas poster 2020

A series of virtual events to mark the start of the festive season have been organised by Havering Council's Events Team.

Today (Monday 14 December) it's the turn of Harold Hill.

The entertainment includes a nativity performance by pupils from Drapers Maylands Primary School at 6pm, and a vocal performance by Hazel Gibbons at 6.30pm.

Also on the menu is dance from Poppy Dent-Jones at 7pm with choreography by Amy Edwards of Starshine Stage School.

Rounding off the festivities is Harold Hill's very own Elvis impersonator with a special Christmas performance by Chris Vegas at 7.30pm.

Join in the celebrations on the Council's Facebook or YouTube channels, or watch later at your convenience.



Scout volunteer

Havering Volunteer Centre’s Young Volunteers have won a special award from Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, for their sterling efforts of volunteering in Havering.

It is a special acknowledgement of young volunteers who showed outstanding commitment to their local community.

Congratulations to winners Thomas, Hallim, and Aden.

They went that extra mile, especially through the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting local residents with food rallies, dog walking, making PPE equipment, and promoting Havering Council's #doingmybit campaign.

No alarm

Fire Brigade by tower block

Tomorrow, (Tuesday 15 December) the London Fire Brigade (LFB) will be carrying out another training exercise at Thomas England House, an old tower block on the Waterloo Estate, Romford, near the Brewery Shopping Centre. 

Please don’t be concerned if you see smoke or fire engines on site – they will be simulating a mock fire using smoke machines on the fifth and sixth floors, and dummies as casualties to represent a major fire evacuation.

The fire engines will not be using sirens or bells and there will be a LFB Command Unit on site throughout.

Havering Council is proud to be able to support our emergency service colleagues to simulate and train for major incidents and continue to keep us all safe.

Be ready

18 days graphic

The transition period after the UK left the EU ends in 18 days' time on 31 December.

Make sure you are ready for the changes ahead.

There are new rules for importing goods from the EU to Great Britain, and for businesses exporting to the EU.


If you are an EU/EEA citizen living in Havering who hasn't yet applied to the EU Settlement Scheme, you should do so as soon as possible.

While the EU Settlement Scheme is open until 30 June 2021, you should apply by the end of this month because free movement of people ends on 31 December 2020.

The Government’s new immigration system begins on 1 January 2021, which will change the rights of European citizens who are new to the UK. 

After Twelfth night

Xmas tree indoors

If you have a real Christmas tree you can recycle it after the festivities are over.

Local charity, Saint Francis Hospice, operates a home collection service for old Christmas trees in return for a voluntary donation.

You can also recycle your tree at Gerpins Lane Reuse and Recycling Centre in Upminster, or at Gidea Park Sports Ground, Main Road, Romford, on Saturday 9 January between 10am and 2pm.

Lastly, you can, if you wish, use our wheeled bin Garden Waste Collection service provided your tree is cut up and placed in your green bin with the lid closed.


Shopping and learning

Havering adult College Xmas shop

Havering Adult College's Christmas shop is open now for handmade gifts and presents for cats and dogs.

You can also now book for their January 2021 courses.

Courses start in January and include French Patisserie Online, a computer course for "silver surfers", fashion and dressmaking for beginners, and English language courses specially designed for people whose first language is not English.

Call 01708 434955 to enrol or check the course options online.


Hannukah safety
Face coverings NHS Dec 2020