Our own walking hero, ways to spend the bank holiday at home and advice on accessing health services

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Message from the Mayor

Tomorrow is VE Day. It's an opportunity to pause and remember the bravery and sacrifice of those who triumphed against the evils of fascism in World War II. Like many of you, I would have enjoyed the street parties and other community events that were due to take place across the borough. It's a shame that we can’t mark this moment in the way we had planned but I’m pleased that with the help of technology, we’ll still be able to come together in different ways. There’s more information about how in this newsletter and on our website.

One of the things we most admire about the wartime generation is their grit, their determination and their sense of service. We were all moved by the efforts of Captain (now Colonel) Tom Moore who raised millions for NHS charities from his garden. In recent days, another heroic fundraiser – Dabirul Islam Choudhury from Bow – has emerged from right here in Tower Hamlets, demonstrating that age is no obstacle when it comes to being an inspiration.

Dabirul is 100 and has been walking laps of his local community garden to raise more than £60,000 for coronavirus relief and support. His selfless efforts have even greater significance during this holy month of Ramadan and I know we are all grateful to him.

I have written previously in these messages about the importance of following the government's guidelines to help stop the spread of coronavirus. That responsibility has not gone away and for now the message remains to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

On Sunday, we expect the Prime Minister to tell us more about how that advice might start to change gradually in the weeks and months ahead. I will be watching closely to see what is said and the council will work quickly to understand how to adapt to any new guidance in a way that keeps our residents safe and secures a future for businesses and community groups.

I would urge everyone to remember that no matter what changes are announced, the dangers posed by this virus are real. Anyone can get it and anyone can spread it if social distancing measures aren’t followed. Let’s take a leaf out of the generation who we celebrate this VE Day by staying calm, looking out for our neighbours and putting the safety of others first.

Thanks for all you are doing as we take on this challenge together and have an enjoyable bank holiday weekend.

Stay safe, 

Mayor John Biggs 

Stay at home this bank holiday weekend

Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

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

You should only leave your home for the following reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities such as 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 >

VE Day

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day from home

Tomorrow is Victory in Europe (VE) Day where we mark the end of fighting with Nazi Germany, and the end of World War II in Europe. On 8 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill made an announcement on the radio at 3pm that the war in Europe was finally over following Germany's surrender.

Many community events had been planned for this day, with a rearranged bank holiday that would have seen residents come together at street parties. Sadly the important advice on social distancing means those events have had to be postponed or cancelled. 

However, the nation can still celebrate and mark the occasion from home in a variety of ways and we would encourage you all, particularly those with children, to take a look at the different ways to get involved.

Join in at home > 

Royal London Hospital

The NHS is still here for you this bank holiday

GPs are reassuring residents across Tower Hamlets that local NHS services are ‘open for business’ and ready to safely provide care to people who need it. It is important you do not wait if you need urgent medical help.

GP practices and hospitals have strict infection prevention and control measures in place, so it is safe to attend appointments. It is important that you continue to attend routine appointments, including for antenatal checks, sexual health advice and contraception and childhood vaccinations, as normal, unless you have been told not to attend.

Community pharmacies across the borough will also be available this bank holiday weekend. Before visiting your local pharmacy, first check the opening hours on the NHS.UK website. When you visit you must comply with the social distancing measures in place to protect yourself and staff.

More information >

Waste collection truck

Waste collection day changes due to bank holiday weekend

Our crews will be running a normal scheduled waste collection service tomorrow (bank holiday Friday), which is the early May bank holiday for VE Day.

Like many organisations, the council is facing an unprecedented challenge in continuing to deliver waste services while responding to coronavirus. We are all facing this challenge together and we would ask you to think carefully about buying only what you need. This will help keep waste to a minimum.

We are reminding residents that all waste must be stored in refuse sacks that have been securely tied up to help reduce the risk of infecting our waste collection team. Thank you for doing your bit.

More information >

Child carer and children playing activities in classroom

Registration for childcare now open

The integrated early years’ service can help key workers and parents of vulnerable children, including those with special educational needs and disabilities, to find childcare places for their children during the pandemic.

Applications are now open and can be submitted using a straightforward online form.

Apply now >

Phone number slide

Phoneline to support vulnerable residents 

We have a dedicated phoneline to support vulnerable residents and those identified by the NHS as being at the highest risk of severe illness from coronavirus. 

If you’re a vulnerable resident, please let us know about any urgent requirements or help you may need managing your care. The line can also be used to discuss any concerns around social isolation and help you may need with food supplies, access to medication or worries about debt, for example. Family members, carers or friends are also encouraged to use the line to talk to us about vulnerable residents they feel may need help.

Find out more

Food preparation

Summer 2020 healthy holidays scheme

Clap for carers

Clap for our courageous carers

We've had so many messages about the excellent work foster carers are doing across Tower Hamlets so we wanted to show our appreciation to them. To all foster carers, thank you.

We'll be clapping tonight for those people on the frontline and others who are keeping our community healthy, safe and supported. Please join us from your garden, front door, windows or balconies and give them a round of applause or bang your pots and pans to show your appreciation.

We'd like to thank everyone who has so far responded to our appeal for care workers. Our care providers are still urgently looking to fill care worker roles to support some of our most vulnerable residents.

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

Watch the video >

Stay at home resources

Stay at home resources

While you're spending the vast majority of your time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic we've put together a host of activities and things to do for everyone to enjoy.

This bank holiday weekend, why not compete with your family or housemates in the quiz about the history of Tower Bridge put together by historians, host a theatre night or start taking up a new skill like photography or videography.

Check out the resources >

Deaf Awareness Week

Helping those with hearing loss

Did you know that one in six people in the UK experience hearing loss? During Deaf Awareness Week, we thought we'd remind you that our sight and hearing service is here to support any Tower Hamlets residents who are deaf or who have a hearing or a dual sensory loss.

We provide general information and advice and you may also be eligible for practical support and specialist equipment following an assessment. We can also put you in touch with NHS services as well as local community groups that work with adults who have a sensory loss.

Find out more >

Canary Wharf short story competition

Canary Wharf short story competition

Our partners at Canary Wharf are holding a competition to discover new short stories to add to their popular stations that dispense tales to visitors.

All you need to do is write a one, three or five minute long story or poem about ‘life in lockdown’, drawing inspiration from the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in and how it has impacted you.

There is an adult competition and a young writers' competition for those under 16. 

Enter the competition >

Popar fire station windows covered in rainbow artwork

Positivity makeover

Poplar Fire Station has had a positivity makeover with help from local children. The windows facing out into the community are now filled with colourful rainbows and messages of thanks and hope.

It's a heartwarming reminder to us all that while we are living through challenging times, we will get through them together. 

Have your children been getting creative at home? We'd love you to share their art or their words with us on social media using the hashtag #TowerHamletsTogether.

#TowerHamletsTogether >

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.