Messages of hope in the fight against coronavirus, changes to free school meals and much more

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Tower Hamlets bannerRainbow hearts for NHS

Rainbows and hearts bring #TowerHamletsTogether

Put your hands together for Cyril Jackson Primary School in Limehouse for decorating its windows with these fabulous paintings.

They’re a colourful and uplifting reminder to the community about getting through this challenging time together and the vital need to stay at home. The school shared the images to remind everyone to stay strong and that there is a rainbow after every storm.

It’s great to see so many drawings and paintings popping up in windows and balconies across Tower Hamlets, and on social media too. If you or your children have been getting creative with messages of hope and thanks, please share them using the hashtag #TowerHamletsTogether.

#TowerHamletsTogether >

Child eating their lunch

Extended eligibility criteria for free school meals

On Thursday 30 April, the Department for Education temporarily extended the eligibility criteria for free school meals. It was extended to include those who wouldn't normally be able to access financial and other support from the government or council due to their immigration status. You may have seen this referred to by its technical term of having 'no recourse to public funds'.

Eligible families in Tower Hamlets, with children who are not currently attending school, will receive either a voucher to spend in selected supermarkets or a weekly food bag, which will need to be collected. In most cases, your child's school will contact you, but if you don't hear from them please get in touch to check if you are eligible.

Find out more >

Altab Ali illustration

Remembering Altab Ali as we continue to fight for equality

Today we remember Altab Ali, the young Bengali man whose brutal murder in Whitechapel in 1978 mobilised the Bangladeshi and wider community to take a stand against racial intolerance. 

He leaves behind a legacy reminding us of the importance of community cohesion and standing united against racism. 

Mayor John Biggs has paid tribute to Altab Ali's memory in a video commemorating his life. Despite not being able to gather to mark the day, we still reflect on the struggle against division and discrimination.

To mark the anniversary of his death, we have launched The Fight for Equality, a fantastic new online education resource. We are also premiering the short film, Altab Ali and the Battle of Brick Lane, to acknowledge the anti-racist cause for which Altab Ali has become an important symbol.

Sign our No Place for Hate pledge to show your support for equality and social justice in our borough.

More on Altab Ali >

Social distancing saves lives

Changes to make more space for pedestrians

From tomorrow, a section of Old Ford Road near Victoria Park will be temporarily closed to motor vehicles to aid social distancing.

Narrow pavements make it difficult for pedestrians on essential trips or taking exercise to maintain a two metre gap from others.

Pedestrians and cyclists can cross Skew Bridge as normal and motorists can use Grove Road, Roman Road and St Stephen’s Road as alternative routes.

Quit For Covid

Quit smoking for good

We know some people are using this time as an opportunity to give up smoking. New research has shown that as many as 300,000 people in the UK have successfully quit during the coronavirus crisis.

If you smoke, now is the time to quit so you can stay as healthy as possible. Smoking damages your lungs and weakens your immune system, which could increase your risk of developing complications from coronavirus.

There is plenty of help available to get you on track. Quit Right Tower Hamlets provides local support and advice for anyone hoping to stop smoking or using other tobacco products. For more information, visit its website or call 020 7882 8230.

#QuitForCovid >

Good Thinking mental health resources

Mental health resources for you and your family

Idea Stores

Free online membership to our Idea Stores

While our Idea Stores remain closed during the coronavirus outbreak, you can access a wide range of resources and activities by becoming a member online. Membership is free and can provide you and your family with hours of entertainment, including e-books, audio books and magazines.

Idea Stores are also moving some of their much-loved activities for children online, including art club and story time, where you can see staff sharing some of their favourite books or nursery rhymes from their homes.

More info >

Firefighters hold a minutes silence

Thank you to our firefighters

Today is Firefighters Memorial Day, a time to remember and thank the incredible dedication, commitment and sacrifices of our firefighters.

It's also a day to pay tribute to those firefighters who have sadly lost their lives while protecting others. Firefighters across the UK honored those who died in service today with a minute's silence. 

We also want to acknowledge the incredible firefighters who are stepping in to help with the coronavirus pandemic. Please join us in thanking our firefighters for all of the amazing work they do in times of crisis.

Mental health research

Take part in coronavirus research

Want to help with vital research on coronavirus? University College London is running a study into the effects of coronavirus and social distancing measures on mental health and loneliness.

Any adult in the UK can take part and your participation could help to inform government advice and decisions. Participation involves answering a 10 minute online survey followed by a shorter follow up survey each week while social isolation measures are in place.

Take the survey >

Stay at home heart

Metropolitan Police: thank you London

The lockdown measures haven't been easy for many, but staying home has been vital in protecting our vulnerable residents and NHS services.

It has taken a huge team effort from all Londoners to help stop the spread of coronavirus. To say thank you, the Metropolitan Police has put together a heartfelt video with messages from frontline workers to thank everyone for coming together in times of adversity.

Watch the video >

Coronavirus: useful links

Thank you for reading

We hope you have found this bulletin useful. Share this with your family and friends to ensure they have the latest advice on coronavirus.

Anyone can subscribe using this link

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.