Want to help? Paid and volunteer roles available! Plus parking, shopping and other local updates

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Coronavirus: NHS advice for everyone

Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading

Please stay at home. You should only leave your home for very limited purposes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequently as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with people you live with.
  • Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

Please note: these reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

There is further advice for those who:

  • Are at high risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus.
  • Need to self-isolate because they have, or someone in their household has, symptoms of coronavirus.

Please read more on the NHS website, including how to help stop infection spreading, looking after your wellbeing and using the NHS coronavirus status checker.

More NHS advice >

Staff and volunteers

Council volunteer roles now live

The Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets has started to advertise the first volunteering roles at the council. These roles are for people to help distribute food to those in need, and will involve packing food parcels and helping staff the council’s Easter school holidays meals service for children.

In the coming days, more volunteering roles will be added. Anyone interested in registering to help should visit the Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets website.

So far, the centre has filled 22 different roles across 10 voluntary and community sector organisations and incredibly, more than 1,200 people have now signed up to offer their help.

How you can help >


Celebrating Passover this year

This evening (8 April) marks the beginning of Passover, which is one of the most important religious festivals of the Jewish calendar.

Usually, Jewish families and friends would gather together tonight to eat a special meal called a Seder, read religious texts, sing and tell stories. 

We know that for Jewish families in Tower Hamlets, unfortunately this year will be a different type of celebration and that it may feel quite difficult to spend it without loved ones.

We would like to wish you all a happy and kosher Passover, and we hope that regardless of the circumstances, you are able to share special phone or video calls to keep in touch and mark this important festival. 

Staying connected

The BBC has published a step-by-step guide to video calls, which may help families stay connected at this time.

We are also putting together a host of resources on our website to help individuals and families stay well at home. Do check our coronavirus section for updates.


Health services are running over the Easter weekend

GP practices and pharmacies in Tower Hamlets will be staying open during the Easter bank holiday weekend to help ease pressures on the health system due to coronavirus.

In line with health services across the country and to best manage demand at this very busy time, doctor’s surgeries and pharmacies across the borough will be open as a normal day on Good Friday (10 April) and Easter Monday (13 April). 

Patients are reminded to not to attend in person. Instead, please use the e-consult service, which is an online portal for patients to self-check their symptoms and receive on the spot medical advice 24/7, or telephone their practice.

More information >

Talking Therapies

If you're feeling anxious or low, talking therapies can help

Tower Hamlets Talking Therapies is our free NHS service and is available to support people who may be experiencing mental health issues at this time.

Qualified therapists can offer help over the phone or by video call for anyone feeling anxious, stressed or experiencing a low mood, which many more people may be feeling at the moment. The service also has support available to help residents with specific challenges related to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Talking to someone really can help. If you're struggling or need support, you can refer yourself online or by calling 020 8475 8080.​

Food supplies

Food and grocery supplies reaching vulnerable residents

So far, our team of staff and volunteers have arranged and delivered food and grocery boxes to 395 residents across 199 households in Tower Hamlets.

The supplies have come from central government, and have been topped up by the council with fresh fruit, vegetables, milk and other products, to ensure they're varied and nutritious.  

The food boxes are for residents who have been identified by the NHS as extremely vulnerable and as such cannot leave their homes, or for those who are isolating and need urgent help getting supplies.

We're receiving a high volume of calls to our new phoneline, which is in place to support those at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus and those who are vulnerable or particularly worried at this time. 

We are committed to supporting residents but urge people to use this phoneline only if they are extremely vulnerable or need urgent support, as detailed on our website to ensure those who need it can reach us.

How to request support >

Appeal for carers

Reminder: paid roles for care workers 

Do you want to be part of the community’s fight against coronavirus? Our care providers are urgently looking for people to be part of the incredible teams providing care and support to some of our most vulnerable residents.

Whether you already have experience in a caring role or are just passionate about helping those who need support, we need you!

To express your interest or find out more, call our care worker recruitment hotline on 020 7364 2280 or email CareWorkerRecruitment@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

Food stall

Free hot meals for families with school aged children 

Hot meals to take away are being offered at five locations in Tower Hamlets from today until Friday 17 April to help support families who usually rely on free school meals during term time.

Meals will be free for families with school aged children that are struggling to afford or source food as a result of the current situation. 

There are five locations providing this service, with each serving a maximum of 300 meals a day to ensure social distancing can be followed. The meals are available Monday to Friday.

Find out more >

Quality in Play

Holiday childcare 

Our staff have been working tirelessly at this unprecedented time to provide holiday childcare for children of key workers who live and work in Tower Hamlets.

Childcare is only being provided to children of key workers in line with government advice, but alternative arrangements are also in place for vulnerable children and those with an education, health and care plan in Tower Hamlets.

Meanwhile, we have been awarded Quality in Play status for our holiday childcare scheme for demonstrating quality and value for money along with creating and maintaining excellent staffed play environments. The certificate was awarded to us following an inspection of our February 2020 scheme.

Information on childcare >

Canary Wharf parking offer

Shopping, parking and transport updates

Our parking enforcement teams are working across Tower Hamlets to ensure that our streets are safe and free from obstructions and that highways are kept clear for use by the emergency services.

We have already announced a range of changes to parking services at this time, including special permits for key workers and relaxations to restrictions in some areas. In addition, we wanted to share the following updates.

Parking at Canary Wharf

Food stores at Canary Wharf remain open and a free parking offer is being introduced to help residents manage their essential shopping. We hope it will also help to reduce overcrowding at other local supermarkets by giving people more accessible options.

Customers who spend £10 or more at Waitrose, Tesco or M&S will be able to park for free for three hours at the weekend and for two hours during the week. Shoppers should take a ticket when entering the car park as normal, but they will need to get it validated by shop staff before returning to their car.

This offer will initially run for four weeks from 9 April. Keep an eye on the Canary Wharf website for an up to date list showing the operating hours and the stores that are open.

Asda volunteer card

During these difficult times, many supermarkets and shop keepers are taking steps to make food shopping easier.

Asda, which serves a huge number of residents on the Isle of Dogs, has created a Volunteer Shopping Card to help anyone self-isolating or who is extremely vulnerable with their food shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Remember: wherever you're shopping, please shop only for essentials and go as infrequently as possible. Please be mindful of others and be patient in store, and ensure you're maintaining two metres social distance from people at all times.

Taxicard scheme

London Councils is contacting members of the Taxicard scheme through text message or letters to let people know about changes to the scheme.

The rules have been relaxed to allow Taxicard drivers to pick up and deliver essential supplies, and to allow friends and family to travel on their behalf for the same purpose. Find out more on our website.

Electric vehicle charging

NHS and Met Police staff can charge their electric vehicles for free across the Source London network to support their continued commute and wider operations during coronavirus outbreak. For details, you can email subscriptions@sourcelondon.net.

Dog bored at home

How to care for your four-legged friend if you're isolating

The government has published advice for animal owners on looking after your pet's welfare during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes guidance on when you can and cannot walk your dog. In addition, please be aware the RSPCA is currently only responding to emergency calls.

Find out more >

Coronavirus: useful links

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