Covid vaccine concerns in the Black community – Saturday 27th at 1pm

Topic: “To jab or not to jab?” Time: 1 pm, Saturday 27 February

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85703091870 – meeting ID and passcode is on the flyer

This webinar provides an opportunity for Black Londoners to ask questions about the vaccine to a panel including GPs.  You can ask questions ahead of the panel by emailing glow@glclondon.church

COVAX Black Community Event_

Register for a free online event about the Covid vaccine – Monday 1st March from 6pm

LetsTalkVacc2

Register for our free online event about the Covid vaccine

We want to listen to any concerns you have about the Covid vaccine. Register for our free online event on 1 March from 6pm to 7.30pm and our panel of experts – including Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Director, PHE London – will listen to your concerns and try to answer your questions.

>> Register now on eventbrite and submit questions to our panel

New Covid testing sites in Southwark

Testing if you don’t have symptoms

There are now two rapid testing centres in Southwark for people who don’t have symptoms. If you leave home regularly, for essential reasons, we recommend getting tested up to twice a week.

Testing site locations

  • London Bridge – St Thomas Street exit, London Bridge Station, SE1 9QU
  • Peckham – Damilola Taylor Centre, 1 East Surrey Grove, Peckham, SE15 6DR

You can book a test now – but walk-in tests are usually available.

>> Book a free test now if you don’t have symptoms

Testing if you have symptoms

There are now three symptomatic testing sites in Southwark: in Peckham, Dulwich and Walworth Square (near Elephant and Castle). For these sites you must book your test in advance.  

>> Book a free test now if you have symptoms

ww.southwark.gov.uk

New Covid testing sites in Southwark

Testing if you don’t have symptoms

There are now two rapid testing centres in Southwark for people who don’t have symptoms. If you leave home regularly, for essential reasons, we recommend getting tested up to twice a week.

Testing site locations

  • London Bridge (open from Monday 22 February), St Thomas Street exit, London Bridge Station, SE1 9QU
  • Peckham, Damilola Taylor Centre, 1 East Surrey Grove, Peckham, SE15 6DR

You can book a test now – but walk-in tests are usually available.

>> Book a free test now if you don’t have symptoms

Testing if you have symptoms

There are now three symptomatic testing sites in Southwark: in Peckham, Dulwich and Walworth Square (near Elephant and Castle). For these sites you must book your test in advance.

>> Book a free test now if you have symptoms

Support a Crowdfunder for laptops for local schoolchildren, rapid testing and more

Kieron Williams Header

Dear resident

In Southwark we’re determined to make sure every child can continue to learn during this lockdown. As most are learning from home, we need to ensure they can all get online so they can take part in the remote teaching our schools are providing. That’s why we are backing Laptops for Learning, and I hope those of you who can, will support the Crowdfunder too.

Over 2,000 disadvantaged Southwark pupils don’t have access to a laptop or internet connection, meaning they risk falling behind. To change that, the council has joined forces with the Teaching School Alliance to get every child who needs one, a laptop or tablet.

The council has committed up to £250,000 to match donations from local people, schools and business. We’ve seen an incredible response already with over £45,000 donated to the appeal in just the first few days.

Please support this crucial campaign if you can. Funds raised will provide children with the digital tools they need, not just during lockdown, but for their long-term education.  

>> Donate to the Laptops for Learning Crowdfunder now

Additionally, I’m delighted to say the council has secured an agreement with internet providers Hyperoptic and Community Fibre to offer free broadband to eligible families so their children can learn at home. This is available where these providers have coverage, including most of our council estates. Families currently without a broadband connection should contact their children’s school who are currently working to identify eligible households. We will continue to work to persuade other internet providers to do the same.

In this newsletter you can also read about progress on the vaccine rollout in Southwark, find out how to get your free rapid Covid test, and learn more about support for residents during the lockdown.

I’m glad to say the Covid infection rate in our borough is now coming down quickly, thanks to everyone who is staying at home and maintaining social distance when you do have to go out. However rates are still very high so please do continue to stick to the rules so we can all save lives together.

Thank you and stay safe,

Kieron


No Covid symptoms? Book a free, rapid test

If you don’t have symptoms and you need to leave home for essential reasons, you can get a regular free test (up to twice a week). Results are usually available within an hour.

>> Book a free test now if you don’t have symptoms

Why you should get tested

  • 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms. Check you’re not carrying the virus and spreading it to others.
  • Covid numbers are very high. Rapid tests help find more cases and help control the virus.
  • Rapid tests are painless and results are usually available in less than an hour.

No Covid symptoms? Book a rapid test to help control the virus

 

Dear resident

We are now offering free, rapid COVID-19 tests to people aged 16 and over who don’t have Covid symptoms. Results are usually available within an hour.

Who can get tested

Anyone who can’t work from home can get a free test (up to twice a week). This includes school staff, supermarket staff, refuse collectors, childminders, transport workers, security guards, cleaners, construction workers and many other roles.

>> Book a test now if you don’t have symptoms

 

Why you should get tested

  • 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms. Check you’re not carrying the virus and spreading it to colleagues, customers or those you live with.  
  • Covid numbers are very high. Rapid tests help find more cases and help control the virus.
  • Rapid tests are painless and results are available in less than an hour.

Where is the testing site?

The testing centre is at the Damilola Taylor Centre, 1e Surrey Grove, Peckham SE15 6DR.

>> Book a test now if you don’t have symptoms


When to not book a test 

  • do not book a rapid, lateral flow test if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, self-isolate and book a free NHS test on the government website
  • do not book a rapid, lateral flow test if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, stay at home and self-isolate
 

Rapid testing, vaccine update and more

No Covid symptoms? Book a rapid test

We are now offering free, rapid COVID-19 tests to people aged 16 and over who don’t have Covid symptoms. Results are usually available within an hour. You can book regular tests, three or four days apart, for greater reliability.

Who can get tested

We are encouraging anyone who can’t work from home to book free rapid tests.

>> Book a test now if you don’t have symptoms

Why you should get tested

  • 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 have no symptoms. Check you’re not carrying the virus and spreading it to others.
  • Covid numbers are very high. Rapid tests help find more cases and help control the virus.
  • Rapid tests are painless and results are usually available in less than an hour.

Where is the testing site?

The testing centre is at the Damilola Taylor Centre, 1e Surrey Grove, Peckham SE15 6DR. More sites will open soon.

>> Book a test now if you don’t have symptoms

When to not book a test 

  • do not book a rapid, lateral flow test if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, self-isolate and book a free NHS test on the government website
  • do not book a rapid, lateral flow test if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, stay at home and self-isolate

35% Campaign update – Social Rent or Affordable Rent?

Social Rent or Affordable Rent?

Jan 16, 2021 12:00 am

Five years on from Ombudsman’s report the question mark remains. -Five years ago today, Southwark Council rejected our complaint that affordable homes secured from private developments weren’t in fact being delivered, Southwark’s Director of Planning saying ‘Southwark Council has appropriate safeguards in place and has not failed in its duties .. therefore your compliant is not upheld”.

We made the complaint after discovering that Neo Bankside, a high-profile development next to the Tate Gallery, had only delivered 62 of the 94 social rented homes required by the planning approval. The story was taken up by the Guardian.

 Guardian article including our findings at the Neo-Bankside development

We were later contacted by a resident living at the Signal building, a new development at Elephant & Castle, who was confused about an affordable housing tenant pack put through his letterbox. He was concerned that a similar trick had been pulled by the developer of his building, as he was paying market rent for his flat. He asked if we knew how to find out if his flat was supposed to be one of the 11 affordable homes in the building and what implications that would have.

We told him that we had no way of knowing whether his home was one of the 11 affordable units and advised him to contact the Council.

 The Signal Building at Elephant & Castle where affordable homes were let at market rent and then sold on the open market

It later emerged that the housing association concerned had sold these and other affordable homes across the borough on the open market, resulting in a court case, brought by Southwark Council.

 https://www.insidehousing.co.uk/insight/insight/the-court-battles-over-section-106-delivery–56141

Given these examples of where there appeared to be no control over affordable housing delivery, we checked the Council’s choice-based letting system for social housing and found homes approved as social rent being let at more than twice social rent levels.

 Extract from the Council’s lettings system for households on its waiting list

We then cross-checked planning committee reports with section 106 agreements, Land Registry information, the GLA affordable housing outturn dataset and the government’s CORE lettings data. From this we compiled a long (but by no means exhaustive) list of 46 schemes which indicated that there had been a potential breach in provision, involving a total of 1,145 social rented homes. We submitted these to the Council as evidence that it was not getting the affordable housing it should be and asked them to investigate.

The Ombudsman

When Southwark rejected our complaint we referred the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman and in November 2016 he published a damning report stating that Southwark actually have no proper procedures for monitoring the delivery of affordable housing. In response Southwark undertook to introduce monitoring procedures and conduct an audit of all the section 106 affordable housing in the borough.

In late 2019, after three years of badgering, the Council finally published a spreadsheet, which it claimed to be an audit.

But the audit is in fact only a list of developments, detailing affordable housing required according to the s106 agreement. A necessary link to what was actually delivered is absent and any breaches cannot be identified from it. It is therefore impossible to tell from the audit if the affordable housing has been delivered according to the planning consent.

In addition, the audit shows that in over two thirds of the developments, the Council still doesn’t have confirmation of the affordable housing provided and nearly one thousand homes have ‘Not Known’ tenure, out of nearly 7,000 affordable homes listed.

In many cases where the housing association has responded confirming the tenure and number of homes provided, they clearly don’t match with the requirements of the planning consent.

For example, phase 1 of the Aylesbury estate (07/CO/0046) is listed as being let at affordable rent (i.e. up to 80% market rent) but the s106 agreement for this scheme requires social rent.

Similarly phase 1 of the Canada Water regeneration (09/AP/1870) required at least 123 homes at social rent. The audit shows these all at being provided at affordable rent.

Also, the 553-home Tabard Square scheme (02/AP/0168) was approved with a requirement for at least 79 social rented units. These are being listed as having been provided by Horizon Housing Association as affordable rent.

Show us the 5,462 social rented homes

The audit clearly hasn’t been conducted effectively. It remains impossible to know with certainty how much affordable housing has been delivered or whether it has been delivered under the tenure required by the section 106 agreement.

Southwark’s Housing Engagement and Scrutiny Commission considered affordable housing delivery at its last meeting at the beginning of December and we have sent the Commission a detailed account of the gaps and flaws in the audit. We have told the Commission that five years on, Southwark still has not properly fulfilled the requirements of the Ombudsman’s decision.

As we have pursued this issue, Southwark’s response has been that it is in the process of developing new software to deal with monitoring. But after 5 years of development this software is still not operational.

Southwark Council has lately been emphasising the number of affordable and the number of social rented homes that they have succeeded in securing from developers at the planning stage, but this is obviously a hollow claim if the homes are not built and or are then let at a higher rent tenure. Until a proper audit is conducted (plus an investigation of any apparent infractions) Southwark’s claim to have delivered 5,462 social rented homes, in particular, can only be met with scepticism.

Southwark Council is now under new leadership – solving this issue head-on, instead of just muddling along and sweeping it under the carpet will be a test of whether it will be any better than the old leadership.

 Southwark’s website claims it has delivered 5,462 social rented homes

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35% Campaign

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Free, rapid COVID-19 tests if you can’t work from home

Dear resident

We are now offering free, rapid COVID-19 tests to people aged 16 and over who don’t have Covid symptoms. Results are usually available within an hour.

Who can get tested

We are encouraging key workers and those who can’t work from home to get a free test (called a lateral flow test). This includes school staff, supermarket staff, refuse collectors, childminders, transport workers, security guards, cleaners, construction workers and many other key worker roles.

Where is the testing site?

The testing centre is at the Damilola Taylor Centre, 1e Surrey Grove, Peckham SE15 6DR and is open from 18 January. More sites will open soon.

 >> Book a test now if you don’t have symptoms


When to not book a test 

  • do not book a rapid, lateral flow test if you have COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, self-isolate and book a free NHS test on the government website
  • do not book a rapid, lateral flow test if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Instead, stay at home and self-isolate