Virtual Easter egg hunt, Victoria Park to reopen, bank holiday bin collections & more

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Message from the Mayor

Weekend updates and wishing you a happy Easter 

The Easter weekend is here but it's clear celebrations this year will be different in Tower Hamlets and across the world due to ongoing efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

People would usually come together at this time, but I know many families and loved ones are currently separated and this may feel particularly difficult over the long weekend.

However, it continues to be critically important that we all stay at home to save lives and protect our NHS. This means celebrating Easter inside through video calls, online worship services and maybe even our virtual Easter egg hunt on social media.

To help families and individuals stay happy, healthy and entertained at home, we've put together a whole host of stay at home activities.

From online Idea Store materials to educational activities, keeping fit or just having pure fun, there's something for everyone. Read more below, or visit

While I continue to urge residents to stay home as much as possible and only go out for essential reasons, I'm pleased to let you know that Victoria Park will reopen this Saturday to enable people who live nearby to use it for daily exercise.

Parks play an important role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of residents during this time. Since Victoria Park closed late in March due to people breaking social distancing rules, we've introduced new measures to encourage social distancing and allow us to reopen the park. We all love Victoria Park, but I urge you to please use it responsibly to help us keep it open. 

As this difficult time continues we must all come together as a community to support one another. Our focus in Tower Hamlets is on protecting and supporting residents, particularly the vulnerable. Our staff will be available over this weekend to help people who need urgent support.

My sincere thanks to those of you who are working in healthcare and the wide range of other essential services keeping our community safe. My thanks also to those of you who are staying home.

I would also like to wish a happy Vaisakhi, which is the traditional Sikh New Year, to those in our community who will be celebrating on Monday 13 April, and a very happy Bengali new year to those marking it the next day, on 14 April. I hope everyone in our community has a safe and peaceful bank holiday weekend.

Stay safe, 

Mayor Biggs

Stay home

Anyone can get it, anyone can spread it

Please stay home this weekend. It won't be the bank holiday weekend we all had in mind, but it's vitally important we all continue to follow the government's guidance to stop the spread of coronavirus.

This means using the borough's parks and open spaces responsibly and in line with the guidance.

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.

NHS advice >

Virtual Easter egg hunt

Happy Easter to everyone celebrating

Easter is an important time for Christians who celebrate Christ’s life, remember his sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection. It’s also the one time a year you can eat giant chocolate eggs!

We appreciate that this year will be a different type of celebration from what many of us had in mind and that it may feel upsetting to be apart from your loved ones or not get out into the sunshine.

We hope you all have a happy and peaceful Easter and are able to share this time with your family and friends using phone or video calls to keep in touch.

To help celebrate Easter a different way, we've also put together some great resources, including:

We're also hosting a virtual Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday (12 April) on our social media accounts, so do keep a look out for that!

And finally, we'd love to see families get creative and share messages of hope, thanks and community spirit in windows and online using #TowerHamletsTogether.

More information >

Stay at home

Staying healthy, happy and entertained at home

We have put together a whole host of resources to help you and your family stay happy, healthy and entertained while you're spending the vast majority of your time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Staying home, whether as a family, alone or with housemates, is a huge change to our daily lives and we know it can be particularly challenging for those sharing smaller spaces, as is the case for many Londoners.

From learning a new skill or hobby to reading e-books, taking a virtual museum or zoo tour, staying active and much more, we've got it all in one place:

We have also included tips and tricks on staying connected with loved ones, including the BBC's step-by-step guide to video calls, which we hope will help families keep in touch over Easter. 

Stay home resources >

Rainbow drawing


Many of you will be looking to keep your little ones busy and entertained this weekend, so why not ask them to draw a message of hope and display it to the community?

We have seen some wonderful and creative rainbows and messages of thanks to the NHS and other key workers, so please do keep them coming. This weekend, we'd love to see Easter eggs and the Easter bunny feature, too. Display them in your windows or share them on social media using #TowerHamletsTogether.

We're all in this together and you never know whose day you may brighten, with many people sadly experiencing profound difficulties at this time.

Visit our Twitter >

Victoria Park now closed

Please enjoy Victoria Park responsibly

Victoria Park will reopen this Saturday, 11 April. It will operate with reduced opening hours of 8am - 4pm on the east side of the park, and 8.30am - 4pm on the west side.

As the park is open again, and the weather improves, we urge you to enjoy it responsibly, which means observing government guidance on accessing green spacesocial distancing, and following the new control measures we have put in place to protect public health. This includes:

  • Only exercise outdoors once a day - such as a run or walk, alone or with other people from your household
  • Leisure cycling is only allowed for children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by an adult
  • Exercise = keep moving → get home, stay at home
  • No gatherings, sunbathing, picnics or sport games 
  • Stay two metres away from other visitors at all times
  • Use of playgrounds, toilets, gym equipment and benches is prohibited
  • Give way to people exiting the park
  • Keep left on pathways and avoid narrow ones
  • Keep dogs on a lead and on the grass, where possible
  • Treat staff, police and others with respect
  • Anyone who enters Victoria Park when it is locked does so at their own risk

These are different times and we need to use our parks differently. Failure to follow guidance or new control measures could result in fines or closure of the park.

Victoria Park FAQs >

Greenwich foot tunnel

Greenwich Foot Tunnel closed this weekend

Greenwich Foot Tunnel will be closed over the Easter bank holiday weekend from 10pm on Thursday 9 April until 10pm on Monday 13 April.

The decision was taken by Royal Borough of Greenwich due to crowds of people walking and cycling through for non-essential journeys last weekend, which made social distancing at two metres apart almost impossible and put many lives at risk. 

Crossing the river for essential journeys will still be possible on the DLR, which allows bicycles onboard during weekends, bank holidays and at off peak times.

Read more >


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.

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 not to attend in person. Instead, please use the online e-consult service or telephone the practice.

More information >

Health Spot

New health service dedicated to helping young people 

Spotlight, Poplar HARCA’s award-winning youth service, has launched a new in-house GP surgery called Health Spot, for young people aged 11 - 19 (or up to 25 with special education needs) living in Tower Hamlets.

Young people will be able to safely access confidential advice on all aspects of their physical and mental wellbeing, including drug and alcohol misuse. Each step of the referral and consultation process will be supported by a trusted Spotlight youth worker and underpinned by Spotlight’s rigorous safeguarding procedure.  

More on Health Spot >


Support for vulnerable residents

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.

If your query is less urgent, you can use an online form and we will come back to you as soon as possible.

Please be assured our staff will be working over the bank holiday weekend to ensure we can offer support to residents who need it, but please be patient if you can't reach us straight away.

How to request support >


Free hot meals for families with children - new location

Hot meals to take away are being offered in Tower Hamlets until Friday 17 April to help support families, many of whom usually rely on free school meals during term time. The newest additional location, Samuda Hall (E14 3JE), was added today. 

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

There are now six locations providing this service, with each serving a maximum of 300 meals a day to ensure social distancing can be followed. Please note meals are available Monday to Friday (and are not available on Easter Saturday or Sunday).

Find out more >

Waste collections

Update on bin collections 

Like many organisations, we are facing an unprecedented challenge in continuing to deliver waste services while responding to coronavirus.

As a result, we are still prioritising our core waste services, with separate food and garden waste collections suspended for the time being. We are all responding to this challenge together and we would ask you to think carefully about buying only what you need and making creative choices with cooking and storage. To help keep food waste to a minimum, please check out Love Food Hate Waste for tips on food storage and recipes.

Forms for missed collections and bulky waste remain suspended as we deliver critical waste and recycling services as part of scheduled collections. Please do not dump bulky items such as mattresses and furniture in the street as this is putting a strain on our crews.

Easter collections 

Our waste crews will be working hard over the Easter period to keep our streets clean, as well as catching up on missed household collections.

Please visit our website to see temporary changes to our household collection schedule for next week (from Monday 13 April). Our normal collection schedule will resume on Monday 20 April.

Recycling sacks

As the Idea Stores are now closed, we are in the process of delivering recycling sacks to residents who need them. We have started delivering to houses in the borough and are working to complete deliveries as quickly as possible. Please bear with us as crews work hard to deliver them.

A reminder that residents in blocks of flats with communal recycling bins, or residents who have purple wheeled bins, do not need to use council issued plastic recycling sacks.

Recycling can be placed into bins loose or in a clear carrier bag. Black sacks must not be used for these purposes. Residents can use cardboard boxes or ‘bags for life’ for storing recycling in their homes and emptying recycling into their communal purple bins – these boxes or bags can then be reused.

More on bin collections >

Coronavirus: useful links

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