Families Matter - October 2020

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Welcome to your monthly bitesize e-bulletin from the Parent and Family Support Service.

We understand the challenges of a busy family life and provide a wide range of services and support for all parents and carers in Tower Hamlets.

Here you’ll find regular updates, information, advice, and support for all parents and carers in Tower Hamlets.

Our services take place in schools and community venues and most recently due to the Coronavirus our support can be accessed online through webinars, virtual meetings and forums.

You can join one of our networks or attend a virtual parenting session to meet other parents and carers, share your experiences and learn from each other. 

For more information about the service, visit our website.

If you like this e-bulletin please share on social media, through community networks or your school website using the following share button, or you can click the hyperlink in the top right corner of this email.

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Financial Worries

Financial worries due to COVID-19?

If you are required to self-isolate by law, you may be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment. This payment is only available to families who have been contacted by Test and Trace and are unable to work as a result of self-isolation. 

Test and Trace Support Payment information >

You can also apply for the Residents’ Support Scheme which is designed to help residents who need immediate help and have no source of financial support. The scheme mainly helps with short-term living costs such as food and utility bills.   

Residents’ Support Scheme information >

Food support

Food support for families

Explore the food distribution offers by checking the Local Offer and the Food Partnership. They list shops that can support you with collection and delivery, food banks, and places that provide hot meals.

Support on the Local Offer here >

Check if you are eligible for Healthy Start vouchers. The vouchers can be spent on milk as well as fresh and frozen produce. You can also get free vitamins.

Check Healthy Start voucher eligibility here >

If your child is self-isolating, ask their school if they are offering a food bag.  Some schools offer food bags which provide food for lunches over the two-week period. Secondary school pupils will need to be eligible for free school meals to qualify.

Free school meals map

Ready made lunch meals for collection - 29/30 October

The council are working with partners to tackle hunger this half term - with a range of support available throughout the week - including ready made meals for collection at seven locations across the borough on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 October.

Find out more >

Virtual Sessions

Support children’s learning with free virtual sessions for parents

With Covid-19 infection rates rising and more families having to isolate, the Parental Engagement Team continue to support parents to navigate this changing learning landscape with their offer of virtual sessions.

These free sessions, which focus on learning, health and wellbeing; give parents an opportunity to share their experiences, ask questions and pick up some handy tips from experienced practitioners.

To book email us stating the session and date you wish to attend. You will be sent an email confirming your place, along with Zoom details nearer the time.

Session details here >

Fun Activities

Fun activities for the family

Looking for fun things to do before the return to school next week? The Local Offer’s event page is packed full of ideas to inspire and entertain families. The page lists upcoming events, holiday clubs as well as any virtual offerings for children, young people and families.

For more details, call 020 7364 6495 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm) or email us.

                       Local Offer event page >

Digital Family Quiz

#YourDigitalFamily – join the fun

Does your family know its TikTok from its Twitter? Its Deliveroo from its Discord or its Bieber from its Baby Shark?

The Parental Engagement Team have been awarded a Parent Zone grant to launch a fun new quiz which will test your family’s tech knowledge.

The interactive event is suitable for parents and secondary school-age children and because it’s online, you can take part from the comfort of your own home. All you need to join is a connected device like a smartphone, app or laptop.

More details here >

children from the holiday childcare scheme

Tower Hamlets childcare scheme recognised for its work to welcome those fleeing conflict

The Tower Hamlets Holiday Childcare Scheme has received a Sanctuary Award, making it the first holiday club in the United Kingdom to be recognised in this way.

The award, from Sanctuary City UK, recognises networks, groups and organisations which foster a welcoming and inclusive culture for people who are fleeing violence or persecution.

Read more >

Keeping Children Safe

Children’s clubs and activities - tips to keep your children safe

In the current climate where children have missed so much school, many parents are turning to private tutors to help fill the gaps in their child’s learning. Others choose to send their child to an after school sports club or activity as an enrichment experience. Parents should be aware that there are no regulations governing these activities (unless it is an Ofsted registered provider).

The Local Offer has listed some useful tips alongside the latest Department for Education guidance for parents, helping you to keep your children safe during community activities, after-school clubs and tuition.

Latest guidance here >

Transition Support

Help applying for a nursery or reception place

The Tower Hamlets Transition Support Service are offering free virtual sessions for parents explaining the application process for nursery and reception places. There is also an opportunity for you to have your questions answered.

The information sessions will be delivered through Zoom after the October half term. Details will be available on the Local Offer and council website.

Email: transitions@towerhamlets.gov.uk
Tel:     020 7364 1533

Transition Support Information > 


SEND Ambassadors provide valuable support

The special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) parent ambassadors and young people ambassadors are available to attend virtual coffee mornings and meetings with parents and young people.

The ambassadors can provide information and support for all parents and young people around SEND issues.

If you would like them to join your parent or young people’s group or meeting, email SEND IASS.

Virtual Workshops

Education, Health & Care Plan and Annual Review virtual workshops for parents

The Tower Hamlets & City Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service (SEND IASS) are offering online workshops for parents to provide key information about the education, health and care plan (EHCP) process and what to expect at an EHCP annual review.

The workshops will take place on Wednesday 25 November and will be delivered through Zoom.

Click here for more details and call 020 7364 6489 or email SEND IASS to book your place.

Education, Health & Care Plan workshop details >

Flu Poster

Protect your child from flu

Flu is caused by a virus and it can be a very unpleasant illness for children. It can also lead to more serious problems like bronchitis and pneumonia. Children can spread flu easily, so vaccinating them is important as it can help protect others who are vulnerable, such as babies and older people.

The children’s flu vaccine is offered as a painless nasal spray and the NHS has produced some helpful advice explaining the process.

Children’s flu vaccine information here >

Covid - 19

How has Covid-19 affected your family?

University College London want to learn more about the impact of Covid-19 on families with young children. If you live in Tower Hamlets and you are pregnant or have a child who is under-five, they would like to hear from you.

Participants will receive a £10 shopping voucher and results from the survey will help shape the council’s services for families and young children.

Complete survey >

Alpha Grove Centre

Help shape services at the Alpha Grove Centre

The Alpha Grove Community Centre is located in the Isle of Dogs and delivers services promoting community wellbeing.

They are keen to explore new ways to serve the community and would like to hear from local families.

Just complete the short survey and help shape future services at the centre.

Complete the survey here >

Calendar of events


Coronavirus updates and advice

The council is supporting the nation's efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus, while running our most critical services and supporting our residents, including those that are vulnerable.  

We are regularly publishing advice for residents, local businesses and more at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/coronavirus 

We are also sharing updates with our subscribers in regular emails, and publishing stories on social media using #TowerHamletsTogether.

Sign up to our 'health and wellbeing - coronavirus' newsletter to get regular updates delivered to your inbox.

 Sign up for updates >

Did you know that Tower Hamlets offers other email newsletters to keep you up to date on a variety of topics?

  See the list and sign up!