Have your say on how we represent race and equality in Tower Hamlets

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Message from the Mayor

Today we mark Windrush Day, a celebration of the men, women and children who came to this country from the Caribbean in the post war era. They started families, set up businesses, worked in our schools, our hospitals and our factories and they played an integral part in the story of post war Britain.

Sadly, we know that in more recent years a significant number of the Windrush generation were badly let down by a failure of our immigration system for which the government has apologised. This experience makes it even more important that we acknowledge the essential contribution of the Windrush generation, those who followed them, and our wider Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in shaping modern day Tower Hamlets and Britain.

Events in recent weeks have also led us to pause and think carefully about what more we can do to live up to our core values of anti-racism and equality. We have a proud modern history in Tower Hamlets of championing diversity and standing up to discrimination, but there is more we can do.

A fortnight ago we removed a statue of slave trader Robert Milligan from West India Quay. In the coming weeks, we are asking you, our residents, to tell us if there are additional monuments, plaques, buildings, roads or other representations of history, in our borough, that you feel are at odds with the values that we all champion. We’re also asking you to identify and nominate other names, particularly of under-represented groups, who have done something memorable and who we should celebrate. You can read more about that review later in this newsletter.

The fight against racism is just one of the issues that I suspect will be covered during tomorrow’s Ask the Mayor event. I look forward to these regular opportunities for you to put questions to me on the issues that matter to you. Tomorrow’s event will be held online, which is an exciting first. Taking part is easy and you will find full details below.

Best wishes,

Mayor John Biggs

Race and equality in public spaces

Reflecting our history in a way that champions our modern day values

We’re inviting you to contribute to the ongoing conversation about how issues of race and equality are represented in the borough’s public spaces. From today, until Sunday 12 July, you can tell us about monuments, plaques, buildings, roads or other representations of history, in Tower Hamlets, that you feel should be reviewed. We also want to hear about issues or individuals that you feel are under-represented.

Your suggestions will be reviewed with a range of possible outcomes, including relocation, the addition of explanatory information at an existing site, renaming or removal. In some cases, it may be decided that no action is necessary at all. In the coming weeks, more details will be made available about how we will ensure genuine community involvement in reaching those eventual decisions.

Have your say > 

Windrush Day graphic

Join us in paying tribute to the Windrush generation

As we mark Windrush Day, we're giving you the chance to learn more by paying a virtual visit to our Local History Library & Archives.

Windrush Day pays tribute to the outstanding contributions of the Windrush generation and their descendants.  It was introduced in 2018, on the 70th anniversary of the landing of the first Caribbean migrants who arrived at Tilbury Docks aboard HMT Empire Windrush in 1948.

Among the resources available is 'Windrush: Portrait of a Generation’, a photo essay by Jim Grover which was originally hosted at our Arts Pavilion in Mile End for Black History Month. The essay is the result of 12 months that Jim spent with the Caribbean community in south London capturing first generations of migrants in their everyday lives.

Visit online exhibition > 

Ask the Mayor

Final call to sign up for Ask the Mayor live

A reminder that Mayor John Biggs is hosting a special online edition of his regular Ask the Mayor question and answer sessions.

Join us online tomorrow (Tuesday 23 June) from 7pm - 8.30pm to ask about the issues that matter most to you.

The event will focus on our response to coronavirus, how the council is supporting residents and businesses, as well as a range of other topics.

Register now >

Debbie Jones in a video about returning to school

Considering sending your child back to school?

We have been working closely with our schools to make sure that returning to school is managed safely.

You can watch a video from Debbie Jones, Director of Children’s Services, for more information on what to expect. She explains why it’s important that your child goes back to school, if they can, and what our schools have done to put safety first.

You can contact your child's school to learn if your child(ren) are eligible and discuss any concerns. Or call our Family Information Service for advice and support on 020 7364 6495, Monday to Friday from 9am - 5pm.

Watch video > 

Shielding advice

Advice for people who are shielding

Our local NHS team has produced a leaflet about the advice and support available for those who are shielding at home due to coronavirus. 

If you have had a letter from the NHS advising you to stay at home and avoid all face-to face contact, it is important that you continue to follow this advice, rather than the guidance given to the general public. The government is currently advising people to continue shielding until the end of June and is regularly monitoring this position.

There is lots of local support available to help you manage staying at home. This includes help with getting essentials, medication, staying active and looking after your wellbeing.

Access support >

Met Office website

Stay safe in the heatwave

Temperatures are set to soar and could reach 30 degrees this week. While many people may enjoy the hot weather, high temperatures can lead to serious health consequences, especially for people in vulnerable groups.

We'd also like to remind those of you planning to take advantage of the sun that gathering in large groups is still prohibited and social distancing must be maintained if you are meeting up in smaller groups.

Please also remember that swimming in Shadwell Basin is not only forbidden, but is also extremely dangerous. The water is deep, cold and there are underwater obstructions not visible from the surface. People have sadly died in recent years. Our enforcement officers will be regularly patrolling the area to keep people safe.

Heatwave advice >

Congestion charge road sign

Don’t get caught out by congestion charge changes

From today, the congestion charge that operates in central London, including a small part of our borough, will temporarily increase to £15 per day. The hours of operation will also change, with the charge now payable for any travel inside the zone between 7am - 10pm, seven days a week. The residents’ discount will close to new applicants on Saturday 1 August.

The changes were brought forward as a condition of recent government funding that was provided to support Transport for London with the unprecedented financial challenge it is facing as a result of the coronavirus. Reductions are available to NHS staff and patients in some circumstances.

Read about the changes >

Coronavirus: useful links

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