A message from Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council

Up update on COVID-19, a new heritage centre, free fitness classes and more


Dear resident

Thank you to everyone in Southwark who has played their part in bringing COVID-19 rates down significantly. The national rule changes today mean that we can now meet indoors in groups of six or two households, or outdoors in groups of up to 30.

We all still need to be careful. We are still seeing cases of Covid in Southwark every week. So, please keep following the rules and wearing a face covering when required (unless exempt), so we can all help keep rates low.

Like so many others I had my first vaccine dose recently – it was quick and painless – and I encourage you, if you’re eligible, to book your vaccination now. There is a real risk of rates will go back up again over the coming month and getting your jab is the best way to protect yourself.

Today’s rule changes also mean that pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can reopen indoors. We are working hard to support businesses through the pandemic. We’ve distributed nearly £130m of financial support to businesses in Southwark and issued over 250 licenses allowing more pubs, cafés and restaurants to put tables and chairs outside their premises. My thanks go to all businesses in Southwark who have been working hard to make their premises safe for returning customers.

Similarly, whilst our leisure centres and libraries reopened a while ago, the new rules mean more group activities can now restart. I was delighted to look round the brand new Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library recently. It’s a fantastic facility for the whole community and I thoroughly recommend local residents visit when they get a chance. I know just what a vital role good local libraries play in our communities and that’s why we have and will continue to invest in them. This is the third new library building we’ve opened in the past six years and a fourth is due to open early next year on the Aylesbury Estate.

Finally, I wanted to share that we’re putting together plans for a ‘summer of play’ in Southwark. The pandemic has hit children and schools really hard and we want to see children having a summer of fun, with their friends, doing what they enjoy and improving their physical and mental wellbeing. There will be lots we’re doing to support this and we’ll share more details soon. We also have big plans for the future of our adventure playgrounds too, with £3m of improvements on the way so Southwark’s children can enjoy them for years to come.

Thank you for all you’re doing to keep Southwark safe.


Get tested for COVID-19 twice a week

As lockdown restrictions ease it’s important we continue to get tested regularly, even if we’ve been vaccinated. If you don’t have have symptoms there are different ways to get tested in Southwark:

Book your COVID-19 vaccination now

Everyone aged over 38 is now eligible, as well as people with certain health conditions, those who work in health or social care, those with a learning disability and those who care for others.

If you’re eligible book your vaccination now or go to a pop-up vaccination clinic in Southwark this week.

Don’t miss your second dose

The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from COVID-19 from 3 or 4 weeks after you’ve had it.

But you need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.

When you’re called for your second vaccine please do turn up.

Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library opens

The new Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library officially launches this week. Delivered by the council, in partnership with Lendlease, as part of the regeneration of Elephant and Castle, this brand new facility combines a heritage centre for the whole borough with a local library for Walworth. Drop-in to borrow one of 20,000 books, check out the Story of Southwark and Myth Making exhibitions or simply make use of the free wifi and study space.

Find out more about fostering

Read our foster carers’ profiles which show #WhyWeCare about fostering. If you are thinking about fostering you can email us to arrange a 1-2-1 informal chat with our team to find out more.

Support for businesses as they reopen

Get support to reopen your business safely and reassure customers you have minimised COVID-19 risks on your premises. You can also download posters to help keep staff and customers safe from COVID-19.

Shop local as restrictions ease

Please support your local high street as restrictions ease. Many of our favourite local shops, pubs, cafés and restaurants have struggled through the different lockdowns, but from today the hospitality industry is now able to open up inside as well as outside, with the right safety measures in place. Remember that when the weather permits, it’s still safer to choose to be outside.

Please shop local wherever possible, and help our local businesses get back on track after a difficult year.

Schools-led approach to mental health benefits over 30,000 pupils

We approved £2m in funding to support and grow the work of schools to promote the mental health and wellbeing of the borough’s children and young people. Hear from pupils and teachers about initiatives that are building resilience and improving mental health in schools.

Get checked for cancer to catch it early

If you’re due for bowel, cervical or breast cancer screening, you’ll get an invitation. But don’t wait to be invited if you’re worried about changes to your body – contact your GP straight away.

Free online family fun fitness classes

Work on your fitness and create a balanced lifestyle for your family. Join in online yoga, dance and fitness classes, suitable for families with young children. Join new classes each week at 10am on Tuesdays, Thursdays or Saturdays, or on catch up.

Join in your local housing forum

You can now register to attend your next local housing forum meeting. These online meetings are for anyone who lives in a council home, including council-owned temporary accommodation. The next meetings will take place in the first two weeks in June, and the topic of rooftop homes will be on the agenda.

Quick survey: renting in Southwark

We want to change the way we license rented homes in Southwark. We want to do this to improve the quality of rented homes in the borough and create a fairer system with better protection for tenants.

>> Please share your views about renting in our survey

Anyone can take part in the survey and share their views. Your feedback will help us finalise our proposals.

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