Coronavirus – Advice and Information to TRAs

Dear TRA members

We hope this finds you well and safe. We have been contacted by many of you asking for advice on how you can best support your local community and with other queries about the impact of the current situation on TRAs. It is great to see local communities coming together to help those in need and we thought it would be helpful to send the below FAQ to give some reassurance that the council will do all it can to support TRAs at this difficult time.

How can TRAs best support their residents?

The council values and appreciates the willingness of TRA members wishing to help their neighbours. TRA committees wishing to coordinate support activity must ensure they don’t bring people together in meetings face-to-face. Please be mindful of the government’s advice on social distancing and hold such meetings virtually via chat groups or video calling.

  • If you feel at all unwell, do not volunteer
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after you deliver any items
  • Try to support people who live close to you so you don’t travel longer distances
  • If you make a delivery, stay 2 meters away from the person who is in isolation at all times. Place the items outside their door and then step away
  • Be careful about how you share personal information about yourself and other people
  • Be careful about taking money and how many people may be more vulnerable to fraud at this time

We are aware that self isolation will present different issues for different people and it is important that people get the right help and support to get them through this difficult time as quickly as safely as possible. Please refer anyone you come across with the following issues, to the relevant support services

  • Financial hardship and help with benefit applications, call020 7525 2434
  • Concerns aboutRent payments
  • Serious health issues – residents should be advised to contact NHS 111 or their local GP
  • Support for those who are homeless. If you are aware of anyone sleeping rough please let the council know viaStreetlink. Our council funded outreach team will visit people where they are and find them a safe place

Can we continue to utilise our TRA hall facilities?

Given that many of those using TRA halls can be vulnerable or older we are advising all TRAs to close down their TRA halls and cancel existing bookings in order to follow government’s latest advice on social distancing and minimising non essential contact.

The council may contact TRA halls key holders if the space is required by the council or its partners in order to deliver services locally. Please ensure you let Ian Brinley know the up to date details of all key holders by calling him on 07943721674. If you are already planning to use your TRA hall for support activities such as to distribute food and / or donations for vulnerable residents please speak to Ian Brinley first and let us know what you are doing. This is to ensure a coordinated response and safety and welfare of volunteers. It is important that if you are doing this that you follow the advice that is elsewhere in this message on social distancing, making deliveries safely, not sharing personal data and avoidance of cash handling.

There should not be face to face meetings in these spaces, this should be done using group chats and conference calling instead. Please provide any social contact for those in need by phone and not face to face.

The council will be setting up web pages in the next few days on food provision and we will be sharing this information with TRAs once set up.

How will the TRA apply for this year’s grant if we are unable to hold our AGM?

The council will contact TRAs which were due to have their AGM during this period to ensure they can still apply for and receive their core annual grant.

Will there be special fast tracked grant funding for TRAs to help those in need?

We welcome proposals from TRAs about what support they can provide those in need.

We are worried about the TRA’s loss of income if we cancel our bookings. How will the council help?

The council will look at measures such as rent payment holidays and grants available to those TRAs in financial difficulties due to coronavirus related loss of income

Advice on potential corona-virus related scams.

We have heard reports from the Police that individuals may be taking advantage of the vulnerable by posing as door-to-door Coronavirus testers in order to gain access to people’s properties. Nobody, and specifically neither the NHS nor the Police, are conducting such tests. If anyone attends your property and claims to be conducting such tests please call the Police on 999. Unfortunately, there are some people who will try to cash in on people’s vulnerability at a time when they may be distracted by concerns regarding the coronavirus.

It is worth taking time to make sure you are protecting yourself and your family from those hoping to take advantage of this situation. Fraudsters may well exploit this unprecedented situation to prey on others. They may try to target those assisting vulnerable people or those in self-isolation, sending coronavirus-themed phishing emails in an attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments or revealing personal and financial details, or even coming to people’s houses to try and target them in person.

The advice around fraud and cyber-crime has not changed because of this virus. The most important thing to remember is if you are contacted by someone you don’t know, either in person or online exercise caution and if something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t. If you can’t be sure, check with someone you trust, or the Police.

If someone knocks at your door claiming to be from a company or organisation, first check their ID. If you’re not happy, don’t let them in. Ask the person to wait outside, shut the door and contact the organisation by using a trusted method. If they’re genuine, they’ll understand. The Met has a range of advice on how to protect yourself from fraud, which can be found here:

https://www.met.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/

Kind regards.

Larri Alleyne,
Community Premises Assistant.
Communities Division

Housing & Modernisation Department.

(020 7525 5475 / 07535541327 |Larri.Alleyne@southwark.gov.uk

5th Floor, Hub 3, Area D
PO Box 64529
London SE1P 5LX

www.southwark.gov.uk

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