The latest essential Covid-19 info, help us to tackle inequalities, Bow Idea Store re-opens, and much more..

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Hands face space - protect yourself and others from Covid-19

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Let me thank you for following the latest Covid-19 guidance. With cases on the rise in the borough, it is important we continue to be vigilant to stay safe. We know that residents with potential Covid-19 symptoms have been having problems with accessing tests. We share your concerns and we have been lobbying the government to create more local testing sites. We expect to have a local testing site opening in the borough very soon and will let you know when and where. However, this will be by appointment only and through the NHS Test and Trace programme.  

It’s vital to have quality testing in place where people can receive results quickly – they can then either self-isolate or get on with their lives. We want to make sure the programme is as effective as possible, so are asking you to give us your thoughts on the system.  

Let me repeat the government measures, which came into play this Monday and that we must all take on board to prevent further outbreaks of Covid-19. 

Follow the rule of six. 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. 

There is concern about the recent rises in cases and how the infection can be passed on to more vulnerable groups. Follow the basics and think ‘Hands, face and space’ to help: 

  • Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, then use hand sanitiser. 

  • Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and other enclosed areas, or anywhere it is difficult to socially distance. Read about how you can easily make your own further down in this edition of the e-newsletter. 

  • Keep a safe distance from other people outside your household (two metres where possible). 

  • 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.  

  • 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 Hamletson our website. 

Remember (and please share) that support to self-isolate is available from the council. Please contact us if you need help and also look out for family, friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable or feeling lonely. You can also volunteer to become a Covid-19 community champion. Read on to find out more.  

Finally, can I send my best wishes and Shanah Tovah to those celebrating Rosh Hashanah this weekend. The Jewish New Year is a wonderful time to meet with family and friends and celebrate with others. Sadly, once again, the impact of the pandemic means that plans for gatherings may need to change, especially to reflect the new and important rule of six health messages. We hope that you still enjoy your smaller celebrations, and through video calls and other ways to keep the celebrations going, that you still have a fantastic weekend.  

Everyone, please continue to do all you can to keep yourself, your loved ones, and our communities in our special borough safe and well.

Stay safe,  Mayor Biggs

Wear a face covering

The (very) simple guide to making your own face covering

Please remember to wear a reusable face covering where possible.

Want to learn how to make your own? Don't worry, it's very easy. You can follow this simple tutorial, with or without a sewing machine.

Make your own >

Covid community champions

Become a Covid-19 community champion

As cases of Covid-19 are increasing in the borough, we’re calling on residents to sign up to become Covid-19 community champions to help everyone stay informed and in tune with the latest advice.  

The programme is simple. Residents sign up to become champions and the council then regularly shares up to date advice and information on Covid-19 with them, in their preferred format. Champions then share information with their families, friends and their wider communities, helping them make sense of it.

Find out more information about the Covid-19 community champions programme and sign up today.

Sign up today >

Inequalities Commission

A role for us all in tackling race inequality

Tower Hamlets has a proud history of welcoming people from all over the world and good community relations is something that most residents continually say that they value.

The killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests shone a light on how racial inequalities continue to have a negative impact on people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. This was further highlighted by the fact that people from these backgrounds are far more likely to become seriously ill or die from contracting Covid-19.

As part of the council’s response, Mayor Biggs appointed Deputy Mayor Councillor Asma Begum to lead a new Black, Asian and minority ethnic Race Inequalities Commission to look at what practical improvements could be made especially in the areas of health, employment and community leadership. The commission wants to hear the lived experiences of local people and their ideas for change – so find out more, and get in touch.

Get involved > 

Open House Weekend

A peek behind the scenes at Open House London

Due to Covid-19, this year's Open House 19 - 27 September – the annual festival of buildings and architecture is a little different.

While London has been in lockdown, festival organisers have come together with partners including London boroughs, to create a variety of online tours with Blue Badge guides, self-guided tours, films, podcasts, books, virtual events and accessible building openings to ensure that visitors can feel safe and comfortable.

There’s plenty to see and do in Tower Hamlets including: visits to places of worship such as St Ann’s Church, Limehouse and the New Zawiya school of Islamic based learning in Bethnal Green; virtual tours to explore the borough’s amazing parks or the Colonial Histories of Limehouse; and pre-booked guided tours of the marketing suite at One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, London City Island and more.

Plan your visit >

Victoria Park clean up

Love parks, hate litter

We have joined volunteers from Victoria Park Friends Group at Victoria Park for a socially distanced litter pick at the start of the national Great British September Clean, organised by Keep Britain Tidy.

Residents and parks visitors are being encouraged to help keep the borough’s 120 plus parks and green spaces clean for everyone to enjoy by putting rubbish in the bin or taking litter home if the bins are full.

To do your bit to keep our parks clean, you can organise your own small group clean-up. The campaign runs until 27 September.

Support the clean up >

Keeping young people safe consultation

Keeping young people safe from violence and exploitation

We want to make sure that Tower Hamlets is a place where every child and young person is healthy, safe and successful.

Even though most children and young people are safe in our borough, some are affected by serious violence and criminal and sexual exploitation, which has devastating consequences.

We are seeking your views on our violence, vulnerability and exploitation strategy, which aims to ensure that every child and young person in Tower Hamlets is kept safe and supported to achieve their aspirations. Have your say by 21 September.

Carers' Festival

Festival to celebrate carers - book your place

Calling all carers in Tower Hamlets! Following the success of last year’s very first Carers Festival in Bromley by Bow, London ADASS will be bringing the day online on 26 September from 1pm - 6pm to celebrate the role of unpaid carers. There will be a wide range of activities on offer including music from a live steel band, virtual singalongs, Zumba, meditation and a book recital.

The festival was set up last year following feedback from carer representatives across London and is an opportunity to celebrate and showcase carers and the incredible role they take on.

The event will be hosted on Zoom with a main room/stage and break out rooms so you can choose which activities you want to take part in. There really is something for everyone!

Attendance is free but please make sure you register ahead of time.

Book your place >

Health inequalities webinar

Health inequalities in Tower Hamlets webinar

Healthwatch Tower Hamlets is very excited to be able to invite you to a webinar with Professor Sir Michael Marmot to discuss health inequalities in light of the Marmot Review and Covid-19. 

It will also be launching its own health inequalities community insights report based on feedback from local people over the past year. There will then be a chance for residents and stakeholders to talk together about what they think could be done to tackle inequalities in the local health and care system in the future.

This event is taking place on Wednesday 30 September 1.30pm - 3.30pm on Zoom. More details will be provided closer to the date.

Find out more >

Idea Store

Idea Store Bow is the latest to reopen

We were delighted to be able to welcome back visitors to Idea Store Bow this week. To continue to keep everybody safe, we're offering a reduced number of services, although a number of them have now been extended. Opening hours at Bow and the other two open Idea Stores at Chrisp Street and Whitechapel are Monday - Friday: 10am - 6pm and Saturday and Sunday: 12 noon - 4pm.

You can simply pop in, (there may be a wait at busy times), or book ahead to guarantee your slot. 

Welcome back > 

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