New support for businesses, changes to restrictions + remembering Grenfell ūüíö

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Message from the Mayor

This has, for many reasons, been a historic week. One which has caused us to take an uncomfortable look back into the past, but also while looking forward with a sense of community spirit and togetherness.

This Sunday marks the third anniversary of the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, which took the lives of 72 people and left many more injured and traumatised. On Saturday night, we will be paying tribute to all those affected by illuminating St George‚Äôs Town Hall in green as part of the nationwide ‚Äėgreen for Grenfell‚Äô memorial. Canary Wharf will also turn green at the top of One Canada Square. Churches across Tower Hamlets will ring their bells on Sunday in memory of those who died.¬†

In the years since the fire, Grenfell Tower has been a driving force behind improvements to building safety, fire protection and the council has led from the front on that effort. We continue to work to ensure that where the public sector has set the standard, the private sector meets it.

The huge international focus on the Black Lives Matter movement has rightly made institutions of all forms, and their leaders challenge themselves to recognise the serious inequalities that remain in our society. It was important that we took the decisive action to remove the Robert Milligan statue from West India Dock and to start a review of other locations that need a greater focus. Education is the key; it helps to tackle ignorance and will help shape the work we will do across our community to face up to the legacy of the past.

Community is what makes our borough great. It’s been on show more than ever in the incredible approach to tackling coronavirus. Many examples of that special spirit have been captured in our new film. Enjoy it, and share it with friends and family so everyone knows what an amazing place we call home!

Finally, coronavirus has not gone away and we are continuing our efforts to support local people. I’d like to remind you that as government guidance on coronavirus is regularly being updated, we all need to keep adhering to social distancing and strict hygiene practices to help keep ourselves and each other safe and well. 

We are continuing to support vulnerable residents. We are also giving advice to businesses, particularly as shops reopen. And we are urgently looking at what further local support and advice we can give to residents as we begin to return to a new version of normal.

In Tower Hamlets, there is understandable anxiety about the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on our residents who are Black, Asian or from a Minority Ethnic group. We are working in partnership to develop further specific advice and provide reassurance in response to this. We need you all to be safe.

Take care, 

Mayor Biggs

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New coronavirus advice includes face coverings 

This week, the government announced a number of updates to the coronavirus advice and restrictions.

This included that face coverings must be worn for the full duration of journeys on public transport from Monday 15 June. People using taxis and private hire vehicles should use a face covering for the duration of all journeys to help reduce the chance of infecting others. 

Please remember that avoiding public transport, where possible, remains key. You should also avoid busy stations and peak times (5.45am - 8.15am and 4pm - 5.30pm).

Face coverings should also be used by people in enclosed or busy spaces, such as shops.

Other important changes include that from Saturday 13 June:

  • If you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children, you can form a ‚Äėsupport bubble‚Äô with one other household.
  • You can attend a place of worship for individual prayer where buildings can be made safe.

And from Monday 15 June, you can visit shops and some outdoor attractions such as drive-in cinemas, zoos, and safari parks.


Social Distancing saves lives - BN

Streetspace for Tower Hamlets

To help stop the spread of coronavirus and support social distancing, we’ve temporarily allocated extra space for pedestrians on Roman Road in Bow.

We’re working on similar changes at other locations in Tower Hamlets. You know your local area best, so we want to hear from you.

Suggest a busy place >

Let's talk coronavirus

Just five days left to have your say

The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our daily lives. There are challenges we all have in common, and others that may be affecting some of you more than others.

We are running a survey to help us better understand how you're feeling so we can support you on the road ahead. 

What are you worried about? Have you noticed any positives to the situation? Let us know by Wednesday 17 June.

Have your say >

Young carer

Supporting our unpaid young carers

In Tower Hamlets, we have an estimated 25,000 unpaid carers, including more than 3,300 young carers.

Support for these unpaid carers is absolutely vital and is provided through the Carers Centre Tower Hamlets for those aged over 16. We also offer support for young people aged 8 - 18 through our Young Carers Project.

These services are now hosted virtually and many activities, such as social clubs and meditation sessions, take place over Zoom calls. As part of Carers Week, we have also launched an exciting virtual music project to give young carers the chance to learn something new and work towards an accreditation. 

To register as a young carer or for details, email or call 07923 242449.

Get support >

DGS funding

New funding for small businesses and charities

In response to the pandemic, the government announced support for small businesses through the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Leisure and Hospitality Grant Fund.

Although this brought relief for many, some businesses were excluded from these grants as they did not fall into certain categories and were not business ratepayers. 

A new Discretionary Grants Scheme has been launched to support small businesses, market traders and charities that cannot apply for previous schemes. Applications can be made from Monday 15 June until Monday 6 July 2020.

Find out more >

Tower Hamlets Together video

New film thanks and celebrates our communities

At times of challenge, we see the very best of the human spirit. While it's not over yet, we want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you.

From volunteers and key workers to those staying home over the last three months, you have shown that we will come out of this pandemic stronger than before. 

Watch, share and like the film on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone in our community for helping to get us through this together. 

What's #TowerHamletsTogether? >

Support line hours changing

Coronavirus support line ‚Äď update on opening hours

The opening hours of our coronavirus support phoneline (020 7364 3030) will be changing from Saturday 20 June. From this date, the phoneline will be available Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm. It will no longer be open at weekends or in the evenings.

Until then the phoneline will remain in open Monday to Friday 8am - 8pm, Saturday 10am - 5pm and Sunday 10am - 4pm.

Get support >

Test and Trace scams

Test and Trace: How to spot a scam

Cyber security experts and charities are warning people not to be tricked by scammers posing as contact tracers. 

Test and trace employees will never ask for financial details, PINs or banking passwords over the phone, and tracers will not be making any home visits.

Elderly or vulnerable people could be especially at risk and so it is important everyone knows how official contract tracers will reach out.

Be Test and Trace aware >

Ask the Mayor

Join our virtual Ask the Mayor event

Mayor John Biggs will be hosting a virtual Ask the Mayor event at 7pm - 8.30pm on Tuesday 23 June.

This is your chance to hear from the mayor on local issues that matter to you.

We'll keep you posted on how to take part online nearer to the event through our website and social media pages.

Event page >

Social care consultation

Let’s talk adult social care charging

We are now consulting on proposals that will change the way we calculate how much our residents pay towards the cost of community-based adult social care services. These services include care provided to a person in their home, care provided in day centres and care purchased with a direct payment from the council.

Like all other councils, we are facing significant financial pressures. The changes we are putting forward will help us make savings to ensure we are able to continue providing a sustainable social care offer.

Find out more >

Planning applications image

Mayor’s concerns about Westferry planning decision

We have released a statement following questions asked on the Westferry planning decision in the House of Commons. The government has accepted it acted unlawfully in a legal dispute with the council over plans for the former Westferry Printworks on the Isle of Dogs.

Mayor Biggs said: "Not only did the Secretary of State try to force this oversized development upon our community, he did it a day before a new £50m infrastructure charge would have come into force and only weeks after discussing it with the developer at a political party fundraiser.

"Instead of sending a junior minister to respond to questions, the Secretary of State should come clean and published all of the advice and documentation related to his Westferry decision.

"If the public are to have faith in the integrity of the planning process, we need full transparency about what happened with Westferry and assurance that donations to political parties played no role. I hope the HCLG Select Committee will seriously consider launching an inquiry into the matter."

More about this issue >

Coronavirus: useful links

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