News of a public online meeting this Thursday, and more testing capacity in Havering.

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Monday 25 January 2021  (Update #172)

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By the time you read this it is likely that the COVID-19 vaccination programme will have passed the seven million mark nationally and better days are ahead.

But we must remember that coronavirus vaccines may not fully prevent people from passing the virus on to others so people who have had the jab should still continue to abide by lockdown restrictions.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said at the weekend that if those who have been vaccinated begin easing off because they are protected, they are potentially putting at risk those further down the priority list who still need inoculation. He also said that it is possible to contract the virus in the two to three week period after receiving a jab.

Therefore, continue to act as if you have the virus whether you have been vaccinated or not.

Encourage everyone to take up a vaccination when it is offered as that will reduce the pressure on the NHS. Join our online public meeting this Thursday if you have questions about the vaccine. Read more on this below.

If you want to contact me directly, email me. However, please be patient as there may be a delay of a day or two in getting back to you due to the volume of messages I am receiving.

Cllr Damian White

Leader, Havering Council

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Questions answered

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Over the coming weeks, there will be information available to help answer any concerns and questions about the vaccine.

This includes an online public meeting organised by Havering Council with local health professionals on Thursday, 28 January, from 4pm.

Find out about the vaccination roll-out and what is happening locally to help reduce COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations.

Information on the vaccine is available in a variety of languages including Gujarati, Urdu and Punjabi to help explain the coronavirus vaccine and the importance of having it to protect yourself, and reduce the potential of spreading the virus in your community.

The COVID-19 vaccinations used in the UK have been endorsed by the British Islamic Medical Association.

The NHS's East London Health and Care Partnership also have a website with information on the coronavirus vaccine, including answers to many frequently asked questions.

Attend the meeting

Help when you need it

Hotline call handler

If you, or someone you know, has concerns around care, urgent issues with their health and wellbeing or lack of access to supplies, including food, please call our free to use helpline: 0800 368 5201.

It is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, and between 11am and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays for emergencies only.

You can also email us if you, or someone you know, needs help.

Testing remains vital

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It remains vitally important to book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

Click for details of all types of local testing locations and opening hours.


More testing capacity

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Dorrington Gardens car park in Hornchurch, will be the site for a new permanent COVID-19 local testing site. 

This will be a walk-through facility, designed to allow local people to access testing and will be on the upper tier of the car park.

The lower tier will continue to be available for parking.

It will be open 8am to 8pm from next Monday, 1 February, seven days a week.

If you need testing now, see the information on our website.

Stay safe in parks

Kids on play equipment in Bedfords Park Nov 2020

Parks are crucial for exercise and mental wellbeing, particularly during the pandemic when permitted activities are limited.

Therefore, it's vital that residents respect these spaces and behave appropriately so that they can be enjoyed by everyone.  

To stop the spread of COVID-19, you must continue to follow the Government’s rules and only leave home for permitted reasons.

Please remember:

  • Do not visit a park if you have any COVID-19 symptoms
  • Don't enter a park if it is crowded and you cannot safely stay two metres from others
  • To ensure you can continue socially distancing, use all areas of the park that remain open, not just the paths
  • Be respectful of others and give them space
  • Avoid touching surfaces (such as gates or handrails) and if children use any play equipment use hand sanitiser afterwards
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • To use bins provided or take litter home with you
  • If you purchase food or drink from any of the takeaway kiosks or cafes in our parks, please buy your snacks and then walk away to continue your exercise. 

If you believe that social distancing rules are being broken you can report that online.


Small business support

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One in three people get COVID-19 and have no symptoms, passing it on to others without realising.

It is now more important than ever to get tested regularly, especially if you have to enter other people’s homes as part of your job.

Havering Council understands that self-employed people and sole traders, especially tradespeople, are worried about the financial impact of testing positive, and so we have launched our new SafeTrade grant support scheme.

Tradespeople who are registered with the scheme can claim a £500 grant to help with ongoing business costs if they test positive and have to isolate. All we ask is that you get tested twice per week at one of our rapid testing sites.

Eligible businesses might include:

  • building trades
  • domestic cleaners
  • suppliers routinely entering a home to measure or estimate for work
  • tutors.

The grant is intended to support single-handed businesses – sole traders and owner-managed limited liability companies with a single employee.


Schooling at home

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Schools will continue to provide remote education until February half-term at the earliest, and the key message for parents is that you are not alone, and you should keep in touch with your school and seek help if you need it.

When being taught remotely, your child’s school will set work each day in several different subjects, which will include either recorded or live direct teaching, and should be similar in length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school.

As a guide, this will be:

3 hours a day for Key Stage 1 (years 1 and 2, pupils aged between 5 and 7)

4 hours a day for KS2 (years 3 - 6 with children aged between 7 and 11)

5 hours a day for KS3 and KS4 (secondary school up to age 16)

Those hours include both direct teaching and time for pupils to complete tasks or assignments independently.

Read more

Text scam alert

Scam text message Jan 2021

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has provided many opportunities for fraudsters to prey on people at times of stress.

We are aware of text messages (an example of a scam text is pictured) pretending to come from the Government telling people they are entitled to money under a "lockdown support plan". 

Official UK Government websites begin with, so any addresses you see on texts like this one pictured are bogus and you should not click on any link provided. 

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Taking care of ourselves

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Experiencing mental health issues can feel isolating, but it's important to reach out if you feel like you're struggling.

The pandemic has affected us all in different ways, and it is only normal to feel uncertain about what the future holds.

The stress of this uncertainty and the new challenges we have had to face has had an impact on the mental health of many.

With limited contact with our friends, family, community and colleagues, taking care of our mental health and wellbeing has never been more important.

Local support services can help you.


Memorial Day

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Holocaust Memorial Day takes place this Wednesday, 27 January.

Tributes to commemorate the day will be posted on our Facebook page.

The theme of this year’s Memorial Day is ‘Be The Light In The Darkness’.

This theme asks us to consider different kinds of ‘darkness’, for example, identity-based persecution, misinformation, denial of justice; and different ways of ‘being the light’, for example, resistance, acts of solidarity, rescue and illuminating mistruths.

Meeting this week

Cabinet March 2019

Havering Council's Cabinet (pictured pre-COVID) meets on Wednesday night (27 January).

On the day you can view the proceedings via our website and a live video stream.

The meeting will be a virtual one to ensure appropriate social distancing with most members joining the meeting via video link.

The agenda for the meeting, which starts at 7:30pm, includes a decision on proposals to spend £1.5million to make better use of Council buildings and land in order to make ongoing savings of £900,000 per year. This includes space in the Town Hall and surrounding grounds being prioritised for those services that cannot be delivered remotely, with remaining capacity serving as space for staff working predominately at home or elsewhere. 

Also on the agenda is the next phase of the Council's Smart Working programme.


Time to count

Let's Count Census 2021 graphic Jan 2021

Let's Count is a way for primary school pupils to get involved with the next census. 

Census 2021 will take place on Sunday 21 March.

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and gives a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales. This helps to plan and fund public services across the country and provides invaluable data to Havering Council.

There’s no other survey that gives as much detail about us and the society we live in.

The Let's Count programme will include a special live stream lesson on equality and representation, delivered by British historian, Professor David Olusoga.


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