Rule of six as Covid-19 cases rise, have your say on safer streets and more

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Message from the Mayor

I hope you are all staying well and children are enjoying being back to school. As we all get back into some of our regular routines, we need to continue doing the right thing to keep cases of Covid-19 down, protect our community and keep those most vulnerable safe.

Last week we issued a warning about a rise in cases in London, including in Tower Hamlets. This has continued and in particular there has been a significant rise in cases amongst young people between the ages of 17-19 and young adults between 20-39. This trend is occurring around the country, and is happening in our community too. Young people are less likely to suffer serious harm from Covid-19 but if they have it, then it will spread to more vulnerable people too, including our families and neighbours. So we have to be more careful to try to stop the rise.

The government has announced new measures we must all take on board to prevent further outbreaks of Covid-19. This is not politics. We support the new measures too.

From Monday 14 September, the rule of six needs to be followed. You must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than six, indoors or outdoors, including in private homes. Covid-19 secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and pubs can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to six must not mix or form larger groups. A single household or support bubble larger than six can still gather together and educational and work settings are not affected.

To ensure that cases don’t continue to increase we need to follow the guidelines and be sure we are all following the basics:

  • Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, then use hand sanitiser.
  • Keep a safe distance from other people outside your household (two metres where possible).
  • Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and other enclosed areas, or anywhere it is difficult to socially distance.
  • Book a free test now if you have any symptoms of Covid-19 (a high temperature, a new or continuous cough or a change/loss in your normal sense of taste or smell) and stay at home until you get your result. A mobile testing unit will be near Canary Wharf on 12 and 15 September.  
  • Stay at home if you test positive for Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

You can check the latest advice and see the data on cases of Covid-19 in Tower Hamlets on our website.

I know this is a difficult time, particularly having just started to get used to a more ‘normal’ routine, and we would all like to put the pandemic behind us – but it’s not over yet and it is absolutely crucial that we all play our part to keep cases down. This will help us keep Tower Hamlets ‘open for business’ safely, including our schools and local businesses, and avoid another lockdown.

Remember, support to self-isolate is available from the council. Please reach out to us if you need help, or if you have family, friends or neighbours who may be vulnerable or feeling lonely at the moment, please keep in touch with them.

Finally, I want to reiterate the importance of the NHS Test and Trace programme. It is central to keeping Tower Hamlets safe, by ensuring anyone with symptoms of the virus can get tested quickly. We want to make sure the programme is as effective as possible in Tower Hamlets, so are also asking you to give us your thoughts on Test and Trace.

Read more in this newsletter and please stay safe and aware, and do everything you can to follow the rules and protect yourself and others. Our community has shown fantastic strength, resilience and spirit throughout the pandemic so far. We’ll keep getting through this tough time together in Tower Hamlets.

Stay safe, 
Mayor Biggs

Hear from local GPs in our video on test and trace

Update on NHS Test and Trace

With cases of Covid-19 rising, testing is more important than ever. Hear from some of our local GPs and healthcare staff in Tower Hamlets about the importance of NHS Test and Trace and how it is vital in helping contain the spread of the virus.

We know there has been an increase in demand recently for tests, resulting in some delays in people accessing a testing slot locally. This is because care homes and high-risk areas in the country are being prioritised. However, new appointment slots are becoming available all the time, so if you have been unable to get a slot at a local testing centre, please try again in a few hours.

Typically, additional appointments for tests are released in the evening for the following morning and in the morning for that afternoon. If you are still unsuccessful in getting a slot, you can request a postal test by calling 119. It is recommended you take the test within 72 hours of first developing symptoms wherever possible, as this is when the test will be most accurate.

We are working with partners to improve access to tests locally. Please remember, if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and are struggling to book a test, you should self-isolate until you can book a test (unless for an urgent reason such as a medical emergency or to access food). Also, please remember – do not attend a GP surgery or hospital if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

Watch the video >

More local news and updates...

Sept parks

Pulling together to take pride in our parks

Keep Britain Tidy's Great British September Clean kicks off tomorrow and runs until Sunday 27 September. Residents and park visitors are being encouraged to help keep our 120+ parks and green spaces clean for everyone to enjoy by simply putting rubbish in the bin or taking their litter home if the bins are full.

Volunteers from Victoria Park Friends are backing the campaign and with our support, will come together at The Hub at Victoria Park for a mass, socially distanced litter pick this Sunday 13 September at 11am.

Over the summer, 90 volunteers and staff spent 9,180 hours cleaning Victoria Park. Help us to help you, and do your bit to keep our parks clean.

Join the national effort > 

Poplar High St

Memories of the Blitz

This week marked 80 years since the start of the Blitz, which devastated lives and cities across the UK. The East End, the docks and Tower Hamlets suffered some of the worst impacts.

Collections at our Local History Library and Archives reveal the scale of the destruction across streets, buildings and communities in our borough. The images also show the resilience of east Londoners who, after the war, rebuilt their lives, their housing and infrastructure.

Find out more >

Stepney City farm

Stepney City Farm welcomes visitors again

Stepney City Farm has started welcoming visitors again this week and is now open to the public from Tuesdays - Sundays. On Saturdays, visitors will also be able to visit the on-site farmer’s market.

The farm team has been working hard to put processes in place to allow visitors back on site, while continuing to protect staff, volunteers and animals. Check out the farm's advice and safety measures before your visit. 

Go back to the farm >

Ask About Asthma

#AskAboutAsthma starts next week

One in 10 children and young people in London have asthma but less than half of these have an asthma management plan or know how to use their inhaler correctly. Many have badly managed asthma – to the extent that 4,000 are admitted to hospital every year and 170 have such a severe episode that they require intensive care.

This month, #AskAboutAsthma is urging children and young people and their families, and those involved in their care, to put three simple and effective measures in place to help them control their asthma. With children back at school and Covid-19 still a challenge, this has never been so important. 

Learn more >

Business masterclass

Let us help you get back to business

It has been a year of unprecedented challenges for business. The pandemic has impacted organisations of all sizes and while the economy is beginning to rebound we know that for many of you, the path to recovery will be long and not without difficulty.

Our enterprise team has teamed up with Mastersome, a network of business consultants, to deliver a series of online masterclasses that will provide free training and advice to businesses in Tower Hamlets. 

The next session will take place at 11am on Thursday 17 September, and will focus on social media for small businesses.

Find out more >

Small grants

Small grant scheme

Are you a small voluntary organisation or individual based in Tower Hamlets?

The Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund has been established by Foundation for Future London to support local people and organisations to accelerate new project ideas, support start-up enterprises and increase education, training and skills development for our local communities.

Grants from £200 up to £5,000 are available. The application deadline is 12 noon on Monday 28th September 2020.

school children

School streets to improve safety on school run

Children and families in Tower Hamlets will benefit from quieter and safer roads outside schools thanks to the implementation of our first six school streets.

Changes include wider pavements, safer crossings, bike and scooter storage, restricting traffic at the start and end of school days, as well as trees and plants to filter pollution from neighbouring roads.

Alongside the first school streets, there will be temporary measures at 25 schools to enable safe social distancing near the school gates thanks to funding from Transport for London.

Find out more >

Every Mind Matters v2

New children's mental health campaign 

Most families have experienced upheaval in their daily lives during the pandemic. With
children and young people now back at school or college, Public Health England has launched a campaign to help children look after their mental wellbeing, and equip parents and carers with knowledge to support them too.

The advice has been endorsed by the NHS and developed in partnership with leading children and young people’s mental health charities. It aims to help parents and carers spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health, and provides tools to help.

A powerful short film has been created featuring a range of celebrity parents, to help launch the campaign.

Find out more >


Eat out at a selection of local restaurants

There are endless restaurants, cafés and pubs to visit across the borough and for September, a selection of them are extending a version of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ offer.

Made possible through a partnership with Cobra Beer, you can now claim up to £10 off your bill per person (on food only) at a handful of participating venues in Tower Hamlets.

This includes some restaurants on Brick Lane, where we have temporarily pedestrianised parts of the road to support safe social distancing and provide alfresco dining.

Find a restaurant near you, or if you’re a business owner, sign up to take part.

Find out more > 

Have your say...

SP map

Have your say on the South Poplar masterplan

We're drafting new planning guidance to help make sure growth in South Poplar is positive and that development benefits our new and existing communities – and we want to hear from you.

The guidance will have an impact on future planning applications and local decision making on things like transport links, community facilities and open spaces.

Have your say >

QMUL plan

Share your thoughts on university campus expansion

In the coming months, our planning team will be producing a masterplan to guide the growth ambitions of Queen Mary University of London.

The plan will ensure that future changes to the campus are aligned to the interests of the local community and surrounding sites.

Share your ideas >

Safer streets

Help shape safer streets in Shadwell

We’re running online workshops with residents and traders in Shadwell next week.

As part of our Liveable Streets programme, we want to hear how we can make Shadwell safer, greener and easier to get around.

Numbers are limited so please book your place before Sunday 13 September.

Book your place >

Useful links

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