Vaccine update, COVID-19 anniversary service, Census reminder and more


Dear resident

Next Tuesday, 23 March, marks the first anniversary of COVID-19 taking hold in our country, and will be a National Day of Reflection. In Southwark we will mark this day with a service (details below) including the national minute’s silence, when we will remember those tragically lost to COVID-19 in our borough, and the incredible contribution so many of you have made in supporting friends, neighbours, families and communities through this difficult time.

I am very glad to say the COVID-19 case rate in Southwark is now one of the lowest in London, at 20 positive cases per 100,000 people. However the virus is still as easy to catch and pass on so please keep sticking to the rules and remembering hands, face space. The vaccines are safe and effective and continue to offer us all the best hope for moving out of the pandemic, so I encourage everyone who is eligible, to have their jab.

Young people have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. COVID-19 has meant disruption to their education, reductions in the opportunities available to them as they leave education and an increase in the mental health challenges they face. That’s why we’ve announced our new Southwark Youth Deal that will see us investing additional funding to offer more support and opportunities for young people.

We are investing an extra £1m in local youth services, expanding our free Nest mental health service for all young people into schools and spending £2.5m renewing our adventure playgrounds. This is alongside ensuring young people in our borough have access to paid internships, apprenticeships and scholarships and launching a new Youth Parliament to ensure all of this work is shaped by local young people. We will be announcing more details of some of our new schemes soon. In the meantime, please see below for more information on the support and opportunities available.

I also want to say that like everyone across the country, I was shocked and saddened by the murder of Sarah Everard. My thoughts are with her family, friends and loved ones and with all the women who have been subject to and are survivors of violence. It is good to see misogyny will now finally be treated as a hate crime, something the council has been calling for, for some time. Over the last two years we have developed a detailed plan to tackle violence against women and girls in our borough, and our council-funded Solace Advocacy and Support Services is there for all women experiencing violence. I know there is still much more to do and over the next few weeks we will be setting out further actions we will be taking.

Best wishes,


COVID-19 anniversary service

Tuesday 23 March marks the first anniversary of COVID-19 taking hold in the UK. In Southwark, as part of the National Day of Reflection, a short service will be held (and streamed on our YouTube channel), when we will remember those tragically lost in our borough.

Opportunities and support for young people

Safety update about the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine

Following a rigorous scientific review of all available data, the UK regulator (@MHRAgovuk) has said that the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so. They have confirmed that the available evidence does not suggest that blood clots in veins are caused by the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Census day is 21 March

Census Day is 21 March – every household in the borough is expected to take part. Find out more about what the census means for you. If you need any help filling out your Census form you can call 020 7525 5144 and speak to a trained member of staff.

No symptoms? Book a rapid test now

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

Are you worried about domestic or sexual abuse?

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, you can leave home to seek help or support. There is national domestic abuse advice and support available but you should call 999 if you are in immediate danger. Locally, the Solace Advocacy and Support Service provides help and advice on domestic abuse for anyone in Southwark aged 16 or over.

Sign up for a postal vote ahead of 6 May

Elections in London will take place on 6 May. Your local polling station will be safe but you can avoid any queues by signing up to vote by post now.

Do you have time to care for others?

Have you been thinking about new opportunities or careers that help others? With our support, you could become a foster carer. Find out more at our next online information meeting on Tuesday 30 March at 6pm.

More time to have your say on the regeneration of Old Kent Road

The council has extended the consultation period on the Old Kent Road Area Action Plan. You now have until 10 May 2021 to provide your comments on the updated regeneration plans for the area which were published in December.

Is your child finding returning to school/college challenging?

The Nest can provide free mental wellbeing support for young people aged 11 to 25 struggling with low level mental health concerns such as anxiety and low mood. Young people and their families are able to directly refer themselves to The Nest without the need for a professional referral. To find out more please get in touch or call 020 8138 1805 to speak to a member of the team.

Train to be a social worker in just 14 months

If you’re thinking about a career in social work, find out if you’re eligible and how you can earn while you learn. We’re looking for people to support children and families in the borough. Apply for the social work training scheme by midday on 7 April 2021.

Testing for the COVID-19 variant in parts of SE5

The South African COVID-19 variant has been found in the Faraday Ward. Residents in the affected area have been given home testing kits. The variant doesn’t appear to cause any more severe symptoms than the regular COVID-19 strain, nor does it yet appear to be resistant to the vaccines.

Spring adult learning courses

We are planning new courses to start at the end of April – if you are interested in art, sewing, print making, pottery, dance or fitness courses please email us to enrol or further course details will shortly be available online.

Get checked for cancer – the NHS is open

Cancer screening was paused in 2020, but is back up and running. If you are due for bowel, cervical or breast cancer screening, you will receive an invitation. Going for cancer screening is important and measures are in place to keep you safe. If you are worried about changes to your body, don’t wait to be invited – contact your GP straight away.

Get help if you’re struggling with low mood, stress or anxiety

Get support to improve your mental health. If you’re registered with a Southwark GP you can also self-refer for talking therapies to get support for mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

25 new council homes to be built on the Styles House estate

25 new council homes are set to be built on the Styles House estate after Southwark Council approved the proposals for a new residential development at Planning Committee last month. The proposals comprise a new 14-storey residential tower, at the junction of The Cut and Hatfields, which will provide 25 new homes, all of which will be for social rent.

Survey for young people aged 16 to 18

If you are aged 16 to 18 in Year 12 or 13, please complete our post-16 activity survey if you are in education, employment or training. If you are not in education please get in touch. Our Post-16 Service supports young people back into education and provides advice on training and college courses.

Sign up for a free cycling skills course

TfL is running an online course if you’re new to cycling or want to brush up on your skills. Sign up to improve your cycling skills and get 15% off Halfords own-brand cycle lights, locks or helmets once you complete the course modules.

The Elephant Magazine Spring 2021

Keep up to date with everything that’s happening in Elephant and Castle. The Elephant Magazine brings you all the latest news on the regeneration of the area alongside features on neighbourhood businesses and the local community. The Spring issue is out now. Pick up your copy in Elephant and Castle or read online.

Share your views on private rented homes in Southwark

Share your experiences and help us improve the quality of private rented housing across the borough by completing our consultation.

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