#AloneTogether, a Ramadan message and advice from some famous faces

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Message from the Mayor

A spring sense of community

As we’re entering the second half of April we start to notice the change in season as spring brings the warm weather and longer days. While this may bring a sense of relief to many people, it also brings its challenges as the lockdown measures continue. I wanted to thank those of you who have been following government guidelines and looking out for each other during this period of change.

Over the coming month many local people will be observing Ramadan, the most spiritual month in the Islamic calendar. It remains important to keep up to date and follow medical advice, that’s why GPs in Tower Hamlets are helping to support people to stay healthy and fast safely during the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s crucial to remember that fasting is not considered compulsory for many groups, including people who are unwell or have a long-term condition. The NHS has published more detailed advice on this.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus during Ramadan, we would strongly advise you to break your fast to avoid dehydration.

Please seek NHS advice if you are unsure.

Social distancing measures continue to be in place to keep us all safe and there are still many ways to stay connected and observe Ramadan with family and friends using technology. Yusuf Dudhwala, Head of Chaplaincy & Bereavement Services at Barts Health, highlights these points in this video.

Whether you are observing Ramadan or not, it’s all of our jobs to continue to stay at home. In doing so you protect the NHS, which helps to save lives.

If you do leave your home, it should only be for one of these reasons and should be for as little time as possible:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to.
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with.
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person.
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary.

I would also like to wish a Happy St George's Day to those of you who will be celebrating at home. The English Heritage page has some interesting facts for history enthusiasts.

Stay safe, 

Mayor Biggs

Older adult


East London Cares Family has re-invented #AloneTogether programmes for older adults, focusing on virtual interaction. These new programmes ensure that over 65s can still feel part of their community during these challenging times.

These programmes include:

  • Friendship over the phone: Matching older and younger neighbours together for regular phone calls, about four a week for roughly 15-20 minutes.
  • Virtual social clubs: Virtual get-togethers between older (65+) and younger people living in Tower Hamlets and Hackney.
  • Postal activity packs: Free monthly postal activity packs, which include an activity for every day of the month to do at home. Visit the Cares Family website for more information.  

If you or someone you know would benefit from a phonecall from the organisation, please make a referral using the link below.

Refer someone >

British-Asian celebrity video

A powerful message from British-Asian celebrities

Many well-known British-Asian faces have come together to send out an important message on how to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Please watch and share the video to help reach our diverse communities with this crucial advice.

Watch the video >


Advice and support for families

The parent and family support service, as well as the family information service, are still available to assist and support families in Tower Hamlets.

Due to coronavirus, the service is currently only available by phone or email. Appointments can also be made using video call. Where possible English, Bengali, Somali and Turkish speaking practitioners are available.

Services include:

  • Advice, guidance and practical support for parents, carers and guardians.
  • Information, advice and support for parents, carers and guardians of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
  • Information, advice and support for young people with SEND.
  • Parenting advice and access to online parenting programmes and support.
  • Information and advice for school transition and appeals.
  • Childcare brokerage, particularly supporting critical key workers and vulnerable families.

If you need to speak to us please call 020 7364 6495 / 6398 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm) or email fis@towerhamlets.gov.uk

For more resources, information and guidance tailored to parents visit the Local Offer, our online directory of services and information. 

Visit the Local Offer >

Stay at home resources

Get creative using our stay at home resources 

It's easy to feel a bit stuck in a rut at home. To help, we've expanded our stay at home resources section to provide you with a bit of inspiration to make life at home more interesting. You can find fun family activities, cultural experiences, health and wellbeing sites as well as virtual services, to practice any religious or spiritual beliefs.  

Poplar Harca has recently launched its online community centres which anyone can join. It is running live activities such as yoga, fitness, health eating, crafts and more every day.

At home resources >

Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Greenwich foot tunnel restrictions

Greenwich Council has restricted use of the foot tunnel to only key workers to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. This is due to crowds of people walking and cycling through on non-essential journeys, which made social distancing at two metres apart almost impossible and put many lives at risk. 

Greenwich has decided to close the tunnel to all users over the weekend from 10pm on Friday 24 April until early 10pm on Sunday 26 April.

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

Find out more >


New guidance for direct payment recipients

Yesterday, the Department of Health and Social Care published detailed guidance for people who receive direct payment support and personal health budgets. The guidance includes a detailed question and answer section. 

A letter will be sent to all those who receive direct payments to inform them of the new guidance and to provide an update on personal protective equipment (PPE).

Next Monday (27 April), the GP Care Group will host a free webinar from 6.30pm - 7.30pm on how to support carers with PPE. 

This webinar is open to anyone providing care, such as home carers, personal assistants, informal carers, and those receiving direct payments.   

Join the webinar >

Coronavirus: useful links

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Updates in other languages

If you know someone who would like to receive updates in Bengali, they can subscribe to 'Bengali newsletter' for news and advice in Bengali. 

The government is also publishing advice in a range of languages on its website.