Your coronavirus update: Enjoying Halloween safely, our new corporate strategy, and Kickstart scheme to help the unemployed

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Leader of the Council Clare Coghill green background

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update 

Walthom Forest
Test and Trace

As half term, Halloween and winter approaches it is tempting to meet indoors with friends and family outside of our household. As we're in the High alert level we cannot meet indoors with anyone outside of our households or support bubbles, and I urge you to follow this rule. Mixing indoors with people you do not live with will bring an increased risk of exposure and potential infection of coronavirus to you and your family. See the full list of high alert level restrictions on the government website.

With cases still rising in Waltham Forest, 281 new positive cases this week and tragically, five Covid deaths in the last four weeks it is important we protect our loved ones. Our Director of Public Health, Joe McDonnell has produced a short video with details of some of the financial support available and what you should do if asked to self-isolate. 

I know that your priorities at this time are the safety and wellbeing of your families, friends, and neighbours and the economic security of our community. As we continue to face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic together we know that we as an organisation must change the way we work to support you and look to the future after the pandemic. Our new commitment to you is laid out in the Public Service: Standing Together in Waltham Forest strategy. You can read more about this below.

Test and Trace

Standing together in Waltham Forest

Cllr Coghill and TSS

The Council today launch our new ‘Public Service: Standing Together in Waltham Forest’ strategy, alongside the commitment to connect people with jobs, the strategy also outlines how the Council will help residents lead safe, healthy lives where new ways of working will boost mental and physical wellbeing, how we are creating 15-minute neighbourhoods where people can access services and retail outlets within easy walking of their homes, and how we are building confidence through involving you in creating a shared vision of the future.

Through engagement with the Waltham Forest community we have come to realise that residents are not concerned with who performs an act of public service; it is the act itself that is the public service.

Pictured is Leader of the Council Clare Coghill meeting a group of apprentices at Total Security Solutions in Chingford.

Read more here.

Not sure how to use the NHS Covid app?

Test and trace

By downloading the NHS Covid app, you'll be able to protect your loved ones quickly and securely.

The NHS Covid app allows you to check in to public venues and will let you know if you've been exposed to coronavirus so you know when to self-isolate and order a test. 

The app also provides you with an update of the alert level in your local area, and also lets you check symptoms and book a test. 

The app does not use your personal data and people will not know who you are or where you live. You can download the app from your app store or through the link below. 

Learn about the app

Black History Month continues

Black History Month

Bernice Burton MBE features and was involved with the We Are Here exhibition about the Windrush generation at Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow. Arriving in London from Dominica in 1967 and a Waltham Forest resident for decades, Bernice is a retired nurse, who was awarded an MBE in 2009, predominantly for her work as a genetic counsellor to spread awareness of sickle cell disease and thalassemia.

We caught up with Bernice, to discuss the huge contribution black people have made to society in this country and about the importance of continuing to educate and inform people about this contribution through initiatives such as Black History Month. You can book your tickets to We Are Here on the website.

Watch the interview

This week, we're also profiling The Body People, a fitness and yoga class business, which has been growing in the Walthamstow area for the last decade.

Founder Chloe Redmond told us about the challenges of lockdown, shared her thoughts on the local community and explained what Black History Month means to her.

The Body People

Kickstart scheme launched to help the unemployed


The Government has launched the Kickstart Scheme to help people aged 16 – 24 at risk of long-term unemployment get into the job market.

Residents can gain experience in a variety of employment sectors. The Council has been working closely with local organisations Crate St James Street and Project Zero, who have developed a kickstart programme, Boost:ed that benefits both businesses and younger residents.

Their programme will offer wraparound service before, during and after placement and you can find out more by visiting the Project Zero and Crate’s kickstart website. 

If you are interested Kickstart placements or would like more information, please contact us.

Email the team 

Help shape the future of your new civic space, Fellowship Square

Town Hall

Countryside's, our delivery partner for phase 2 of the Town Hall transformation, is undertaking public engagement to find out your priorities about the open spaces, access and movement and what activities you would like to see happening in and around Fellowship Square to shape it into your future civic space.

Now, more than ever we appreciate the importance of our outdoor spaces and your priorities and ideas can help shape the future of this new neighbourhood at the heart of the borough.

Tell us what uses and activities you would like to see around the Town Hall on our map and view the emerging designs to feedback on our four design principles over on our website.

In the coming months we will be offering an array of ways for people to get involved, have their say and provide feedback on the design proposals as they develop. 

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Council Services

Our staff are continuing to work hard to deliver services to our residents, adapting these to make them safe where required.

Find out more

Stay safe whilst getting spooky!

Test and Trace

We know that many families across Waltham Forest enjoy the tradition of going out trick or treating on Halloween, but it's important your safety comes first this year. 

If you decide to go trick or treating, please make sure you only visit households that you know are participating, so you don't add further risk to yourselves anybody who is shielding or self-isolating.

Remember, that you should only be mixing outdoors in groups of six and you should still be keeping two metres from anyone you do not live with. 

If you do not want trick or treaters knocking this year, why not download and print our window poster so families know not to visit? 

Download the poster

We spoke to Dr Orestes Couppis about the flu jab

Dr Orestes Couppis - Flu Jab Case Study

We spoke to Dr Orestes Couppis, Primary Care Lead for Diabetes and Respiratory in Waltham Forest to learn more about the flu jab, he said: "With the challenges that lay ahead regarding Covid-19, and the difficulty health care providers and patients will have in differentiating symptoms of differing viruses, knowing patients are protected against the deadly flu virus, will help us to risk stratify our patients and their symptoms, and keep them as safe as possible.

"All vaccines have a variability in efficacy, some people may have mild side effects but they only last for a day or so following the vaccine, but thousands of vulnerable people still lose their lives from flu each year, and this year more than ever, vaccination will provide a degree of protection against flu we could only wish for the covid-19 viral pandemic we face.

"Please vaccinate against seasonal flu, please keep you and your family safe.”

Flu vaccination programme

Happy 3rd birthday to Walthamstow Wetlands


This week, Walthamstow Wetlands has turned three and over these years we have seen more than a million visits to this special local space. 

Just 15 minutes from the heart of London, the reserve is free to visit and provides home and shelter to a wide range of wildlife, from rare waterfowl to birds of prey. 

We all need to make sure we get outdoors, even throughout winter, so if you're looking for somewhere to visit, make sure the Wetlands is on your list.

Learn more  

We want to hear from you!

Enjoy Waltham Forest

2020 has made us change our routines in many ways, and we want to hear from you about how it has affected the way you travel. Whether you now travel more by foot, and feel less likely to take public transport, or you’re now more likely to jump on the tube – we want to hear from you.

At the end of the survey, you’ll have the opportunity to enter into our prize draw to win one of 10 £20 Love2Shop vouchers.

This survey will close on 31 October 2020.

Tell us your thoughts

Need a handyman?


As we spend more time at home and the weather is getting colder, it’s a good time to catch up on some odd jobs around the house or garden. Waltham Forest Service Store is here to help!

Service Store’s trustworthy handyman service can help you to tackle a wide range of jobs, including painting and decorating, fencing, plastering, tiling, fitting shelves, assembling furniture and much more. All workers are covid secure and will bring their own tools to help you get through your to-do list. Book here.

If you’re struggling with rats, mice, bed bugs or another pest problem at your home or business, get in touch with Service Store’s pest control team for a reliable solution. To find out more about prices and how to prepare your property, click here.

Service Store offers these services and many more. 

Visit the Service Store

Keeps kids entertained this half term


Keep the kids entertained during October half-term 2020 with a range of fun nature activities put together by Suntrap Forest Centre.

Suntrap, is currently closed for major refurbishment reopening Spring 2021 but the council-owned environmental education centre in Epping Forest has been busy putting together a checklist of inspirational ideas. 

This is a half-term like no other but, just because you need to stay safe and socially distanced, doesn't mean that this October can't be fun for the kids too. Just follow the safety measures, get out and enjoy yourself in Epping Forest. 

Visit Suntrap website

Test and Trace

Information and advice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing quickly and its important you keep up to date with those changes. The Council will be using email newsletters to keep residents and businesses up to date.

If residents have questions please visit our website, and use live chat to talk to one of our team, it's quicker than phoning.


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