Victory celebrated on Sunday, have your say on road charges, and an update on travel this weekend.

Living in Havering masthead with Sapphire centre at night

Friday 6 August 2021  

Cllr White blog masthead Doing my bit left hand image

I am really looking forward to Sunday afternoon and the chance to welcome the players, manager and officials from Hornchurch FC to a civic reception at our brand new Harrow Lodge Leisure Centre at the end of their victory parade.

Hornchurch FC made us proud when they beat Hereford in the FA Trophy Final at Wembley in May.

Their victory provided a real boost to many in our borough after a difficult year. The team is a source of inspiration and pride and you don’t have to be a football fan to appreciate the club’s heart-warming success and how they have overcome the odds time and time again in the FA Trophy competition.

They reversed a deficit in all but one of their matches in the run to the final coming from behind to win after initially falling behind. In the semi-final they came from a goal down three times before winning a penalty shoot-out. In the final they trailed for over three quarters of the game only to win by three goals to one.

The team’s resilience reminds me of the resilience shown by colleagues and the community over the last 16-months as we have dealt with the demands of the pandemic.

Do cheer and wave to the team as their open top bus parade makes its way from Hornchurch stadium through Hornchurch and Upminster. Full details of the parade route are shown below and on our website.

Like so many of our Olympians over the last week this football team has made us proud. 

I also want us to be proud of our future footballers, athletes and swimmers.

That is why Havering Council has invested in world-class sporting facilities at our new sports centres across the borough with another, in Rainham, in the pipeline.

It's why we are offering free swimming lessons for young people during every school holiday until summer next year, and why children in care in Havering can now get free access to Council-run leisure facilities to help improve their wellbeing and fitness.

Well done Hornchurch FC, well done Team GB!

If you want to contact me directly, you can email me.

Cllr Damian White

Leader, Havering Council 

Hornchurch FC Aug parade updated banner

Death of former Mayor

Town Hall May 2019

Sad news this week that former Councillor and Mayor of Havering, Del Smith died on 2 August. 

Tributes will be paid to him at the Full Council meeting to be held in 1 September.

A member of the Labour Group, Dereck, known as Del, first stood for the election to the Council in 1982 in the Emerson Park ward. He was unsuccessful on that occasion, but was elected four years later to represent the Hilldene ward.

He later served as Councillor for the Gooshays ward and was a founder member of The Friends of Dagnam Park. He was Mayor from 1997 to 1998.

COVID update banner A

Help for the vulnerable

If you’re a clinically extremely vulnerable person and unsure of what you can and can’t do now that lockdown has ended, support and advice is available online.

Current advice is to offer COVID-19 booster vaccines to the most vulnerable, starting from September 2021. Details about how to get the booster vaccine will be confirmed by the NHS in the coming weeks. However, in the meantime, if you’re worried about your health, please contact your GP.

If you’re struggling with social isolation and would like some support, contact Havering Council's COVID-19 hotline on 0800 368 5201 during office hours or at weekends for emergencies. Or visit the Community Hub.

Testing still vital

Rapid testing mini poster Apr 2021

COVID-19 is still with us, and infection rates, although lower than they were at the start of July, are stil worryingly high, as our weekly COVID-19 report shows.

To help make sure you're not passing on COVID-19 without knowing, regular, twice-weekly rapid testing for people without symptoms is available for everyone in Havering.

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

You can order a test kit online or pick one up from many places in Havering. Find your nearest testing site and collection point.

If you aren't sure how to do a rapid test at home, visit one of these centres first and be shown by the professionals. You can then take a test kit home with you to use in subsequent weeks. 


Have symptoms?

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

Walk in

Moderna vaccine

If you haven't been vaccinated yet the North East London Health and Care Partnership has published a list of all the places in Havering, and in neighbouring London boroughs, where you can get vaccinated close to your home.

You can also still book appointments online using the national booking system, or by calling 119.

To find out more about the vaccine, visit the vaccine facts website.

Young Londoners

The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions have taken a huge toll on the lives of younger Londoners. From mental health to education, life has been turned upside down by the pandemic.  

Following engagement with young leaders in London, a programme is being designed with Public Health England and NHS London to give younger Londoners the space to connect.

Out of COVID-19: Health Conversations with Young Londoners will take place between Monday 23 and Monday 30 August.

However, you could get involved now. Public Health England and NHS London are providing grants of up to £1,000 to support the delivery of creative activities or events that encourage young people to attend and contribute to conversations around these issues. They especially encourage applications for events that are supported, led, and promoted by young people.  

Find out more and make any application before 5pm on Wednesday 11 August.

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Still time

Havering in Bloom 2021 banner

If you haven't yet entered this year's Havering in Bloom competition, there's still time.

By taking part, you will be helping to make the borough a bright and attractive place to live, work, visit and go to school.

There are six categories for you to choose from ranging from 'Best Front Garden' to 'Tallest Sunflower'. There is also an award for best school display.

The closing date for entries is 10 September. Entries can be submitted by email.

Judging will be completed at the end of September and the winners will be announced shortly afterwards.


On the road

Community roadshows summer 2021 logo

Havering’s housing service is holding a series of community roadshows across the borough throughout August.

Attendees will have the opportunity to speak to staff from across different services, receive advice and support regarding queries they may have, and have the chance to feedback on how Havering Council engages with residents.

Here are the dates for upcoming roadshows:

Highfield Towers, Romford, 11am - 3pm on Tuesday 10 August  

Malan Square, Rainham, 11am - 3pm on Tuesday 17 August

Hitchin Close, Harold Hill, 11am - 3pm on Tuesday 24 August 

Roadshows are weather permitting.

If you can't make any of these dates, Havering Council would still like your views on its engagement strategy for tenants and leaseholders living in Council managed homes.

You can give your views online.

Hidden Gems banner

Mum's guide to Romford has been helping us highlight Hidden Gems in Havering ranging from beautiful locations, to fun things to do, to home-grown businesses.

It recommends Kiddiewinks Soft Play as a local business Hidden Gem.


This new facility is located on the upper floor of Romford Shopping Hall in Market Place, Romford.

It has a range of apparatus to keep children aged up to eight years old active and entertained.

Meanwhile, we have received an email nominating the Harrow Lodge junior parkrun as one of our hidden gems.

This parkrun takes place every Sunday at 9am starting at the Warren Drive car park.

It's for anyone aged from 4 -14 years old.

Register at parkrun before you come along. It's free to take part.

Junior parkrun

Set in stone

Cobra stones Aug 2021

An idea from a Havering mum to boost morale in her local community during the early days of the pandemic - has been set in stone, literally, forever.

Covid the Cobra is made from hundreds of pebbles and stones, hand-painted by Arlene Raife from Hornchurch and many fellow residents.

It has now taken up permanent residence in Hylands Park after Havering Council’s parks and ground maintenance teams laid the foundations this week to set the stones in place.

Arlene thought up the idea while at home last year with her young son when a park was one of the few places where people could go when nearly everything else was closed due to COVID-19.

Arlene says that Covid the Cobra will be a constant reminder that the community came together during a horrible time.

Following a few stones being placed there early last year, there are now over 5,000 stones – mainly donated from residents and park users of all ages but others from across the world. Some have messages written on them and others have characters or are just painted in bright colours.

Only water

Schoolboy drinking water

The Mayor of London's Child Obesity Taskforce is asking primary and secondary school children to help develop an advertising campaign to encourage everyone between the ages of 4 and 18 in London to drink only water in school.

The Taskforce is looking for messages that feel inspiring and powerful, but also honest about the benefits.

The deadline for suggestions is 1 October.

Find out more

Living What's Happening banner version D

There's free wildlife and habitat training with the Essex Wildlife Trust, on Tuesday 17 August, between 10am and 3pm.

Meet by the greenhouse at Langtons in Hornchurch for a chance to learn how to identify different species, complete simple environmental surveys and records, and create habitats for wildlife in your own gardens.

You can also get involved in the wildlife surveys and activities taking place at Langtons Gardens and Fielders Field.

Outdoor activities are subject to the weather. Please follow rules of social distancing, and do not attend if you or a member of your household are unwell. 

You can also join a tour of the bath house and orangery at Langtons Gardens on either Monday 16 August at noon, or on Monday 6 September at 3pm.

Tours are free and no booking required but numbers are limited to 30. Meet at the bath house. 

Different pool

Blood plasma appeal Aug 2021

This summer the NHS would like you come and try a different pool.

Join their pool of plasma donors, sit back, relax, and have a biscuit, knowing you are making an amazing difference to people’s lives.

The NHS needs 1,000 plasma donations every week. It currently has 1,035 active donors at the Stratford donor centre, compared to the 1,400 it needs.

Plasma saves the lives of people with rare immune diseases. Plasma donation is safe and easy and doesn’t take long.

Find out more by calling 0300 123 2323 to register or look online.

Read more

Charge consultations

Congestion charge sign

Last year, in response to the transport challenges of the pandemic temporary changes were made to the London Congestion Charge.

This included extending charging hours until 10pm each day and increasing the charge to £15.

Transport for London (TfL) are now consulting on new proposals that include reducing the charging hours to between 7am and 6pm on weekdays and to midday to 6pm at weekends.

Read about the full set of proposed changes, and comment on them before 6 October.

Read more

TfL has also this week launched a new consultation on proposals to increase the maximum fine for contraventions of the rules on red routes from £130 to £160.

Fines would be reduced to £80 if paid within 14 days. All income from fines is re-invested by TfL to cover the cost of enforcement, with any surplus used to fund schemes to reduce road danger. 

Fines were last increased in 2011.

TfL says that increased compliance with the rules is expected to improve bus reliability, reduce congestion, improve air quality and encourage more people to walk and cycle.  

London’s red routes are roads managed by TfL and make up five per cent of roads but carry 30 per cent of the traffic. In Havering they include the A12, A127 and A13.

This consultation is open until 19 September.

Take part

Roads and rails

Road improvement sign June 2019

Heath Park Road is closed between its junctions with Princes Road and James Close, and Manor Road closed at its junction with Heath Park Road to allow for sewer repairs. This work may last until the end of August.

Carriageway resurfacing work will take place in River Drive, Upminster from 9 to 11 August and also in Chestnut Glen, Romford from 12 to 13 August. These works will take place between 8am and 5pm.

On Monday 9 August temporary traffic signals will be in use between 9.30am and 3pm in Petersfield Avenue, Harold Hill, for power work by Volker Highways.

From 16 to 20 August Cadent will be working to install new gas supplies to homes at 72 North Street in Hornchurch. The work will involve the use of temporary traffic lights beween 8am and 5pm on those days.

Lastly, temporary traffic signals will be used by a contractor working for Openreach on Tuesday 17 August in Arterial Avenue at its junction with The Glen in Rainham.

On the tracks

Until Thursday 12 August, there will be no service between Earl's Court and Aldgate East on the District line.

c2c train

Due to Network Rail engineering work in connection with the Barking Riverside Project, c2c services will not run on the Rainham line this weekend (7 and 8 August).

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

Due to Network Rail undertaking overhead line maintenance work on Sunday 8 August between Grays and Pitsea, Ockendon line services will start and terminate at Grays.

Rail replacement buses will run between Grays and Pitsea via Tilbury.

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