Getting vaccinated in a Romford shopping centre, and news on the end of shielding.

Living masthead DMB hand sanitiser version

Friday 19 March 2021  (Update #195)

Cllr Persaud DMB masthead

COVID-19 has taken its toll on my family and friends over the past year, so I was glad to receive my vaccine a few days ago.

My family and friends have all had their first dose of the vaccine too and I feel quite relieved – and so do my children – as it means that we all feel better protected for when things open up again and we can go out and about.

Cllr Persaud receiving COVID jab March 2021

The process was nice and simple. I was booked into the new space inside The Liberty in Romford which is easily accessible. The staff were very accommodating and friendly and the venue is nicely laid out.

Before taking the vaccine, I must admit, I was fearful of making a hospital appointment for another matter, but I’ve now booked my appointment.

I know there is some hesitancy among some people in taking the vaccine but I had no fear whatsoever and know how important it is for people from particular communities, including mine (Caribbean Indian), who are more vulnerable to the virus.

The virus is still out there so we should all still continue to follow the government guidance – washing our hands, keeping our distance and only going out if necessary.

Whatever fear you have, the benefits far outweigh them. The NHS is well equipped to respond to any concerns and I know some people do have some reaction to the vaccine, but these have tended to be mild and is nothing compared to what could happen without the vaccine.

Finally, don't forget that this Sunday is Census Day. If you haven't already completed it, please do so by Sunday. More on this below.

Have a great, and safe, weekend.

Cllr Viddy Persaud

Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Safety

Stay at home slim banner

One year on


Tuesday 23 March marks one year since the start of the first UK lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Havering Council will take part in the National Day of Reflection using the opportunity to pause and reflect on the loss and grief we have experienced.

After observing a one-minute silence at 12 noon on Tuesday, a single bell at St Andrew’s Church, Hornchurch will be tolled for five minutes starting at 12.01pm.

The Town Hall will be lit up in yellow on Tuesday to mark the event.

We have also produced a special commemorative online booklet containing messages of hope, thanks, and remembrance.

You will be able to read this via a link in the next edition of this newsletter that will be published on Tuesday, instead of Monday, next week.

Shielding latest

Shielding visual

The Government has announced that Clinicallly Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) people are advised that they no longer need to shield from Thursday 1 April.

This is because COVID-19 infection rates continue to fall, and there has been priority access to vaccination for all people who are CEV.

CEV people coming out of shielding will still be subject to the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population, but are advised to take extra precautions to keep themselves safe from COVID-19.

The NHS is sending out letters to all CEV people who are shielding with further advice.

For any CEV people who are registered already for priority access to supermarket delivery slots, they will continue to be able to access these until 21 June 2021. However the process will close to new registrations for priority slots on 31 March.

We know that the ending of shielding will be difficult for many of our residents, so we and our voluntary sector partners will still be here - look out for more information in our Living in Havering bulletins next week.

Meal deal for holidays

School meals in holidaybanner 2

The COVID Winter Grant Scheme has been extended, which means that Havering Council will again be able to support eligible families with school meals during the school holidays.

For the Easter holiday eligible families will receive £30 per child.

There’s no need to re-apply if you have previously received money via the School Meal Holiday Scheme. This will be paid automatically into your account by Monday 22 March. Read more on our website.

If you haven’t previously applied, but need to, please click on the button below.

Applications for new claims will open from 9am next Friday, 26 March, closing on Tuesday 6 April at 9am.


New testing site

rapid testing graphic feb

A new rapid community testing site is coming to Romford High Steet from Monday (22 March). It will provide results within an hour. 

It's at 40 High Street, Romford (RM1 1AN), opposite Havering Museum, so it's convenient for anyone working in essential retail and offices in Romford town centre. 

Appointments can be booked online through Havering's COVID-19 testing page, and drop-in slots will be available throughout the day once the site is open. 

From Monday, there will be a total of five rapid testing sites available across Havering, including one directly opposite Rainham Station for easy access to those working in the south of the borough.

The rapid testing sites in South Hornchurch and Gidea Park libraries will no longer be available from Monday, and Havering Council is searching for suitable replacements in these locations.

See our short video explaining the simple process.

Home testing COVID kit March 2021

You can book tests or place an order online for home test kits (pictured) if you are in a household or support bubble where children are attending, or an adult is working in, a primary or secondary school, or a nursery.

You can also collect your home test kits without an appointment from any of our Local Testing Sites.

You should still be tested even if you have had one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Have symptoms?

Of course, it also remains vitally important to book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms. There is information on booking procedures, and opening hours for all our local testing locations on our website.

Hotline help

COVID-19 helpline

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.

Census day on Sunday

Census 2021 square ad block

Census 2021 day is this Sunday, 21 March.

By filling in your census, you will help shape Havering for the next 10 years. 

The census is collecting information about us and where we live on Sunday 21 March, but that is not a deadline that you have to meet for returning forms.

The vast majority of people will be completing the census online, but if you are using a paper copy you can put that in the post after 21 March. If you’d prefer to complete your questionnaire on paper you can request one to be sent to you.

You can also find guidance in 49 different languages plus other formats, including British Sign Language, Braille and Easy Read.

Help is available if you’re unsure how to complete it or you need further support. You can call our local helpline on 01708 432144 (Monday and Thursdas 1 - 7pm, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10am - 4pm, and Saturday 10am - 2pm) or send us an email

There is a special number that you can call if you are from the Polish or other East European communities: 07869 558880. Alternatively, you can email for help. 


Help in 28 languages

Help to apply to EUSS

The Mayor of London has put together new, translated guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme to help European Londoners.

The guidance is available in 28 languages, including all official EU languages and other languages spoken by EU citizens and their family members in London such as Arabic, Bengali, Russian and Somali. 

Please share this information with any neighbours, friends or family who you think would benefit from help in their first language.

The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. You must usually have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. If you have children, you need to apply for them separately.

People who successfully register under the scheme remain eligible for public services, such as healthcare and schools, public funds and pensions, and British citizenship, if applicants wish to apply and meet the requirements.


Support fund

EU and UK flags

Smaller businesses can now apply for grants of up to £2,000 to help them adapt to new customs and tax rules when trading with the EU.

The £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund enables traders to access practical support, including training for new customs, rules of origin and VAT processes.

Small and medium-sized businesses that trade solely with the EU – and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes – are encouraged to apply for the grants.


The Government has delayed the implementation of various import declarations from 30 June 2021 to 31 December 2021. Find out more.

Marking the day

Single Parents' Day Gingerbread image

Apart from being Census Day, this Sunday (21 March) is also National Single Parents' Day.

Single parents have been particularly impacted by the crisis when it comes to losing jobs and income, balancing work and childcare and home schooling.

Gingerbread, the national single parents charity that was founded in 1918 in the midst of the last global pandemic, will be celebrating single parents and what they have achieved.


Learning to cope

Art of being brilliant book cover

Havering Libraries are holding a series of free author events including Andy Cope doing a live Zoom event on wellbeing for adults.

Andy’s books are frequently on the best-sellers list. ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’, ‘Shine’, ‘The Little Book of Emotional Intelligence’ and ‘Zest’ have all topped the personal development charts.

Happiness Route Map’ was nominated as The Independent’s best self-help book of 2018. In this session he will be encouraging people to start loving life, to become their very best self, with tips on how to increase wellbeing and happiness.

You can join Andy on Thursday 25 March from 7 to 8pm.

If you would like to attend, please book in advance by email.

Park life this weekend

Covid Marshalls on patrol in Raphaels Park

This weekend many parks in Havering are likely to be very busy.

If you’re visiting any of them for your permitted daily exercise, or socialising with just one person from outside your household that is now permitted under Step 1 of the Government's lockdown easing roadmap, please avoid busy times, if possible.

Follow social distancing guidelines when walking or jogging on pathways, and use bins for any masks, gloves or empty sanitiser bottles. Littering not only spoils the experience of our parks for others but is damaging to the environment and wildlife.

If you purchase food or drink from any of the takeaway kiosks or cafes in our parks, please maintain social distancing while queueing, and walk away as soon as you have collected it.

COVID Marshals (pictured) will be regularly patrolling our parks over the weekend to make sure that coronavirus lockdown rules and park byelaws are followed.

Roads and rails

Road improvement sign June 2019

From Tuesday 23 to Thursday 25 March road resurfacing work will take place in part of Roseberry Gardens and Waycross Road, Cranham. This work will be carried out between 9.30am and 3pm each day.

From 22 to 26 March road resurfacing works will take place in Gooshays Drive (between Hilldene Avenue and Petersfield Avenue). This work will be carried out between 7.30pm and 6am each night.

The high friction road surfacing around pedestrian crossing points in Rom Valley Way in Romford, close to the junction with Oldchurch Road, will be replaced between 29 and 31 March. Work will take place overnight between 8pm and 6am. 

c2c train at a station

Due to Network Rail undertaking engineering work in connection with the Barking Riverside Project, c2c trains will not run on the Rainham line this weekend (20 and 21 March).

Rail replacement buses will run between Upminster and Grays via Rainham.


Rapid testing jome kits graphic 17 March 2021