Stay alert, shop safe and have your say on libraries

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Newsletter banner 2020

Message from the Mayor of Tower Hamlets

National restrictions ended on Wednesday and London was placed in tier 2 - high alert level but we must all do our bit to limit the spread of Covid-19.

It is important to understand that parts of London, particularly in the East End, were bordering tier 3, which would mean more restrictions – so it’s really important we don’t ‘ease up’ and we prevent London being placed in a higher tier in two weeks when the arrangements are next reviewed.

While it’s great to see businesses reopening where they can in the borough, we need to stick to the rules. I know we are all weary that our lives are restricted but it’s still vitally important we follow these to keep us all safe. 

Mayoral video message

That means following the rule of six when meeting others outdoors, not mixing with other households inside and remembering the basics – wash hands, cover your face and make space so we can limit further cases and restrictions. Please watch my video message for more on this.

It’s encouraging to hear news about potential vaccines and we are working to ensure residents in Tower Hamlets can access this as soon as is possible. These will of course take time to be rolled out to everyone and in the meantime, we must stay vigilant to save lives and protect the NHS this winter.

It’s been a very tough trading year for businesses – you can do your bit by shopping local so we have vibrant markets and high streets for years to come. It’s Small Business Saturday this weekend and many traders are offering online sales, click-and-collect and delivery services on essentials and festive gifts.

We’ve allocated almost £200 million in support to traders and we wrote to businesses this week with details of the latest support grants. There’s further help for self-employed workers affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

With the extra pressures of supporting residents through the pandemic and reduced income, we have difficult decisions to make about funding services sustainably. There’s a week left to have your say on the council’s budget and we recently launched a survey to hear your views on the future of library services.

For vulnerable residents, we have a dedicated phoneline to assist those at high risk of severe illness. Families, carers and those at risk can call 020 7364 3030 (Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm) for support so please contact us for help if you need it.

Stay safe,

Mayor Biggs

Tier 2 graphic

New high alert rules

Make sure you follow the rules now Tower Hamlets is a high alert area (tier 2) of the government’s Covid-19 local alert system.

We all must follow the rules to limit the spread of Covid-19 and keep our community safe. Remember advice around Covid-19 can change quickly in response to the virus so make sure you stay up to date with the latest advice.

Find out more >

Foodhub graphic

Emergency food appeal

We've launched a fundraising campaign to make sure people don’t go hungry this winter amid the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

The council has distributed 190 tonnes of food this year to those who needed it and we've invested £950,000 through our resident support scheme. Despite this, the need is greater than ever this year.

The appeal, which is on behalf of 31 food banks in the borough, is looking to crowdfund at least £5,000 a month towards the cost of providing food support to vulnerable residents. Many local food providers have seen an unprecedented rise in demand and are now reaching crisis point.

We're now asking partners, businesses and residents to please donate to our crowdfunding campaign so that food banks can continue providing this vital service. No family should be without the basic essentials, so please show solidarity and help us to support our community. 

Donate now >

Child reading at Idea Store

Have your say on the future of library services 

Due to changes in funding and the Covid-19 crisis, we have to save an extra £30 million by 2024. To do this, savings have to be made including reducing the cost of our library service, which is currently £4.4 million a year. The changes proposed will deliver savings of £1.6 million.

The consultation sets out options including changes to opening hours and possible closure of our least used sites. 

If you require help with filling in the online survey you can call 020 7364 0237. If you do not have access to a computer or WiFi, you can book a computer at Idea Store BowIdea Store Chrisp Street or Idea Store Whitechapel

Have your say >

We are open sign

Support for local businesses

Applications opened this week for the latest business support grants and there’s further help for self-employed workers affected by Covid-19 restrictions.

Our high streets and town centres teams are also working with businesses across the borough to adapt their service and offer free training to set up online and provide home delivery or click-and-collect options for customers. Businesses can email for more details.

Business advice >

Get ready for winter

Stay safe, healthy and warm this winter 

With colder, wetter weather approaching, we've published advice to help you stay safe and well over the winter months. This year, with Covid-19 in circulation, it’s more important than ever to keep yourself and those around you safe.

By preparing for the winter season, you can help prevent illness and reduce strain on vital health services. Read our top tips to help keep you and those around you warm and well and further information on local support services.

Winter advice >

Christmas presents

Toy Appeal sets up shop at Canary Wharf

This Christmas you can give a gift for a child in your local community through the East London Business Association Toy Appeal.

Running until Friday 18 December, the Toy Appeal pop-up at Canary Wharf offers a chance to donate a toy to a child who may not be able to receive one this Christmas.

Volunteers will then sort and deliver the gifts to children in East London and beyond.

If you're unable to bring a gift to the drop off point but would still like to get involved, you can donate online.

Find out more >

Transport for London face covering sign

Top tips for safe travel

You must wear a face covering on public transport and in taxis and private hire vehicles.

If you do not, you could be denied travel or receive a minimum £200 fine, which will double each time you are caught not wearing a face covering (up to £6,400). Exemptions apply.

Visit Transport for London's quiet times webpage to see the quietest times at stations and stops. Visitors from tier 3 (very high) areas must ensure they follow tier 3 rules when in current tier 2 areas like London. Equally, you must respect tier 2 rules in tier 1 destinations.

Safe travel advice >

Christmas cards

Congratulations to Christmas card competition winners! 

Colourful and creative designs are featured on Christmas cards being sent out by the mayor, our Chief Executive and our Corporate Director of Children and Culture, thanks to the young winners of our annual card competition.

Mayor Biggs, Will Tuckley and James Thomas had a difficult task of selecting winning designs from more than 70 drawings by children aged five to 11.

See the winning entries >

Bethnal Green map

Have your say on proposed ward name changes

We've launched a consultation to consider proposed name changes to three wards in the borough.

Suggestions have been put forward to change Bethnal Green ward to Bethnal Green East ward, St Peter’s ward to Bethnal Green West ward, and Canary Wharf ward to Millwall ward.

The survey runs until 5pm on Tuesday 2 February 2021. If you require help with filling in this survey you can call 020 7364 0872. If you don't have access to a computer or WiFi, you can book a computer at Idea Store Bow, Idea Store Chrisp Street or Idea Store Whitechapel.

Have your say >

Victoria Park earlier in 2020

Victoria Park the 'People's Choice' for a lucky seventh time

In 2020, more people than ever have come to see the benefits of visiting our parks and green spaces, which have been at the heart of our lockdown lives. For millions of us, they have been a lifeline; a place to meet friends and family and exercise outside safely.

It’s not surprising then, that tens of thousands of people took part in a recent vote to uncover the country’s ten best Green Flag Award-winning parks and green spaces.

For the seventh year in a row, Victoria Park has been nominated by popular vote as one of the top ten parks in the country.

Find out more >

WAD t-shirts

Marking World AIDS Day

Tuesday 1 December was World AIDS Day. LGBT+ organisation Elop, which works across London, hosted a special free online concert, which you can watch online until Tuesday 8 December. 

Mayor Biggs marked the day by putting out a video message in support of those living with HIV/AIDS, challenging the stigma and working to end further transmission.

We support Positive East, a local organisation that helps thousands of people living with HIV to improve the quality of their life. They provide free HIV testing, counselling and support, housing and benefits advice as well as health and wellbeing programmes. They’ve worked with 14 local and international artists to create bespoke t-shirts to tackle social injustice, promote LGBTQ+ equality and fight HIV stigma. T-shirts will be on sale until Thursday 31 December and all proceeds will go to Positive East.

Check out the T-shirts >

Budget consultation

Last chance to have your say on the budget 

We're spending £1.2 billion gross expenditure (£354.5 million net budget) on public services this year to support people and improve lives. The Covid-19 impact has been huge, and we continue to work with our partners across the borough to support those greatly affected by the pandemic.

We've already worked hard to save £200m since 2010, and now have to save a further £30m by 2024. Please help shape our budget and give your feedback by 5pm on Wednesday 9 December.

Share your views >

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