Wear a face covering, the lowdown on Test and Trace + summer fun

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Mayor John Biggs standing next to text that reads 'A message from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets'

I hope you are keeping well and remaining vigilant as we head into the weekend.

As we continue into the 'new normal' it's vital that everyone follows the guidelines so we can avoid local outbreaks. We really are ‘all in this together’ and have our part to play to prevent this!

Face coverings are now required in all shops (including supermarkets, and indoor shopping centres). This is in addition to public transport, where they've been required for some time. You are also encouraged to wear face coverings in other enclosed public spaces or where social distancing may be more difficult.

Wearing a face covering will help us all to protect each other and contain the spread of Covid-19 as more premises are reopening. Remember it doesn’t have to be a hospital mask but just needs to be one that stops you breathing in or breathing out droplets that may carry the virus through the air. The government and the BBC have put together simple guides on how to make your own face covering using material you have at home, such as a scarf, bandana or old t-shirt. Or you can just buy one like lots of you have, and support local business too!

I want to see you all covering up where required as we all get out and about more and more. Please remember that while most of us can wear a face covering, it's not possible for some people with certain conditions to do so. This may not be obvious, so be kind to one another. But remember that for most of us being kind means wearing one.

Another vital way the government and the NHS are working to contain the virus is through Test and Trace. This is a national programme and ensures anyone who develops symptoms of Covid-19 can be tested quickly. It also helps trace close recent contacts of anyone who tests positive, and notifies them so that they can stay at home (self-isolate). Anyone can have a test now – booking online or calling 119.

The council are working closely with the NHS and supporting the programme locally. Yesterday I went to see a mobile testing unit in our borough in action – it was great to see how quickly and easily people can be tested. 

Remember, if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 you must:

  1. Get a test to check if you have Covid-19 as soon as possible. Use the website or call 119 to arrange this, through a home testing kit or at a testing unit.
  2. Stay at home and do not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result.

Test and Trace is central to keeping Tower Hamlets safe and you can read more about it in this newsletter. It’s a way we can all play our part to avoid another outbreak.

We are also asking you to give us your thoughts on the programme so we can better understand residents' perceptions and do what we can to make sure it's as effective as possible in our borough. Read about this and tell us what can we do better locally to help continue to keep you safe.

Please stay safe,

Mayor Biggs

Text: COVID symptoms? Get tested now.

Book a Covid-19 test if you have symptoms

NHS Test and Trace is an essential feature of efforts to keep Tower Hamlets safe and drive down the rates of infection and transmission of Covid-19.

Mobile testing units are operating in the borough and are another way to get tested, alongside ordering a home testing kit. There will be a mobile unit based near Canary Wharf in the coming weeks, including on Wednesday 29 July and Saturday 1 August. 

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, please book a test immediately.

Book a test >

Text: Keep Tower Hamlets Safe - Test and Trace

Let’s talk NHS Test and Trace

As you've just read, NHS Test and Trace is hugely important locally and nationally. But we know that not all of our residents will be as familiar with the programme as others. To help us understand how effective it will be in Tower Hamlets, we’ve designed a new survey to gauge:

  • understanding of the symptoms of Covid-19
  • awareness of NHS Test and Trace
  • ability to self-isolate, along with any support residents may need to self-isolate
  • any barriers our residents may face in engaging with the programme.

The findings will help us generate insights about the effectiveness of NHS Test and Trace locally, which we can use to support residents to engage with the programme.

Complete the survey >

Text: Spotlight Summer Holiday. Five weeks of online / offline fun. 27 July - 28 August.

Spotlight summer holiday programme

Spotlight youth service has put together a five-week summer programme to make sure that young people aged 11-19 are kept creative, active and inspired during their summer holidays.

They are running a mix of online and face-to-face sessions covering music, dance, empowerment, careers advice, photography, construction and more, as well as offering free healthy meals four days a week to young people who need it.

Read more >

Volunteer today

Volunteers still needed

Do you have some free time over the summer? Would you like to volunteer to help run arts and sports activities for children, or distribute meals to families over the summer holidays? 

The Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets urgently needs volunteers for these roles, in particular volunteer drivers with their own vans or cars to help deliver food. 

If you have time and can help the ongoing Covid-19 recovery effort, please sign up with the Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets to find out more about the volunteer roles available.

Volunteer today > 

People shopping on Burdett Road in 1983.

Recording our past for future generations

Pictured above is an amazing 1983 Burdett Road shopping trip snapshot taken by Clara Ely. It is part of the huge archive of historical records held by Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives.

Our expert archives team is reaching out to local businesses, charities and organisations to help them see and protect the unique value and variety of the records that they hold.

Photos are just one of many more types of records the team can help you to preserve.

Find out more >

Altab Ali

Altab Ali and the Battle of Brick Lane 

Tower Hamlets has a proud history of tackling racism – some of which is captured on film in Altab Ali and the Battle of Brick Lane.

Today (Friday 24 July) there will be a special, limited release screening of the film as part of this weekend’s South Asian Heritage Month Film Festival.

This energetic and moving animation was led by young people in Tower Hamlets who were inspired to share the story of the senseless attack on Altab Ali, which was a significant turning point in east London’s race relations. They conducted research through local archives, heritage walks and discussions with those at the heart of the anti-racist movement in recent decades.

You can watch the trailer for Altab Ali and the Battle of Brick Lane in advance of the full release at 5pm today. Please be aware that this will only be available for 24 hours.

More on the Fight for Equality >

Text: Summer activities 2020

Summer activities

School holidays are here and we have loads of activities to keep kids, families and teens busy throughout – and better yet most of our events are absolutely free!

So whether it's an online photography workshop or music production lessons, there's something for everyone. Safety is our priority and all events are virtual or socially distanced.

What's on >

Idea Stores reopening

Welcoming you back to Idea Stores

Our Idea Stores teams have been working really hard so we can start to welcome back visitors.

We’re pleased to let you know that from today, we have started to resume some services from our Idea Store Whitechapel. We have also reopened at Chrisp Street this week.

Please note, our opening hours and services available have been reduced and you'll need to book your visit.

Book your visit >

Person holding a bard with text which reads: eat out to help out. Registration open now.

Eat Out to Help Out: Registration is open for businesses

If you own a restaurant, pub or café in Tower Hamlets, you may be able to register for the government's Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

The scheme will enable you to offer a discount to diners to encourage them to eat out and support your business.

Find out more >

Canary Wharf Trust

Could you get further education funding support?

Are you starting a new education or training course in September but struggling to find financial support? The Tower Hamlets and Canary Wharf Further Education Trust provides grants of up to £6,000 to support those in the greatest need.

Find out more about the scheme and if you could benefit from the support available.

More about grants >

Useful links

Thank you for reading

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