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.


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


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

COVID-19 message from the London Ambulance Service.


COVID-19: How you can help us


On Friday, the Mayor of London declared a major incident for London as the capital battles the spread of COVID-19. Like NHS organisations across the capital, demand for our services has risen sharply over the past weeks and we are now taking around 8,000 999 calls a day compared to 5,500 on a typical ‘busy’ day.

Our staff and volunteers across the Trust are facing extreme pressure as they work incredibly hard to go above and beyond to care for Londoners in need.

How you can help

As a leader of your community, we would greatly appreciate your help in reinforcing both NHS public health messaging about Coronavirus and the importance of calling 999 only in a life-threatening emergency. By helping direct the public to www.111.nhs.uk first for urgent medical advice, you can help us get ambulances to those requiring emergency assistance.

We would be grateful if you could share our suggested key messages with your followers, encouraging them to play their part in protecting themselves and others, whilst also slowing down the spread of the virus and to help us reach those who need us most at this time.

Message #1

#Covid19 cases are increasing in London and the NHS is under enormous pressure.

Please help the NHS by only calling 999 for life-threatening emergencies.

For urgent medical help when it’s not an emergency, please go to 111 online or call 111 if you cannot get online.


Message #2

The coronavirus is spreading quickly in the capital. We must all play our part in helping to reduce the spread, by following the rules.

Stay at home.
Protect the NHS.
Save lives.


Message #3

Around 1 in 3 people with #Covid19 have no symptoms.

The best thing you can do is #StayatHome to protect the NHS and save lives.

If you need to leave home, for the permitted reasons, please follow these simple steps:

▶Wash your hands
▶Cover your face
▶Make space


If you would like to find out how you can support us further during this time, please do get in touch with us via email on londamb.stakeholderengagement@nhs.net

Very many thanks for your support.

London Ambulance Service

Contact Information

Stakeholder Communications Team
About London Ambulance ServiceLondon Ambulance Service answers more 999 and 111 calls than any other ambulance service in the UK. Our crews go to more than 3000 emergencies a day and handle over two million 999 calls a year.

Our 24-hour 111 integrated urgent care services in north east and south east London answer more than 1.2million calls a year.

We are the only NHS provider trust to serve the whole of London and the nine million people who live in, work in or visit the city. We cover an area of 620sq miles and our average response time to the most serious emergencies is less than seven minutes.

We have 8000 people who work or volunteer for us and together we are striving to ensure patients receive the right response, in the right place, at the right time.

We work closely with our NHS partners including NHS England, our commissioners, hospitals, specialist trusts and the five sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICS). We play a leading role in integrating access to emergency and urgent care in the capital.

Our collaboration with the Metropolitan Police Service, London Fire Brigade, London’s Air Ambulance and London’s Resilience Forums means we are ready and prepared to respond to major incidents; and ensure we keep Londoners safe.

By integrating our 999 and 111 services we are able to treat more patients over the phone; in their home; or refer them to appropriate care in their own community. This is key in achieving our strategic ambition of reducing the number of unnecessary trips to hospital; and should mean 122,000 fewer patients a year being taken to emergency departments.

Continue reading

National Lockdown – Stay at Home

Dear TRA committee member,

As you’ll be aware, we are under a new national lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus variant and relieve the immense pressure that the NHS is experiencing in many parts of the country. For Southwark this means the rules are similar to the Tier 4 restrictions that were already in place across London, with a key message to STAY AT HOME. There are, however, some additional restrictions.

Key messages under the National Restrictions:

  •  Everyone should stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS.
  •  Work from home unless you are unable to do so.
  •  All schools will be open only for vulnerable children and the children of key workers, offering remote learning to other pupils until at least the end of the February half-term.
  •  Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs must close; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  •  You can only meet up outdoors with one other person from outside your household if it is to exercise. However, support bubbles can continue as before.
  •  Previously you could leave the house for unlimited exercise – now it should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  •  Outdoor team sports will no longer be permitted – outdoor sports venues including gyms, tennis courts and golf clubs must close. However, playgrounds can remain open.
  •  The government is advising the clinically extremely vulnerable to begin shielding again, and letters will be sent to those affected.

Please refer to the government guidance for full details. These restrictions will continue until at least the end of the February half-term, in the week of February 22.

Please help us to share the following messages with your networks:

  1.  We are under a new national lockdown to help tackle the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Please stay at home to protect the NHS and keep your friends, family, and everybody else safe: www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home
  2.  During the new lockdown please let the council know if a vulnerable or elderly resident might need help. Visit www.southwark.gov.uk/coronavirus-gethelp, phone 0207 525 5000 and choose option 3 or email covidsupport@southwark.gov.uk
  3.  If you have coronavirus symptoms, self-isolate and request a free test via the NHS website, to help keep your family and friends safe. You are allowed to leave home for a COVID test: https://bit.ly/381KiPv

A poster explaining the latest restrictions is attached to this email, which you may also find useful to share.

As ever, a huge thanks for everything you do to support our residents and communities through this very challenging period.

Regards Resident Participation

COVID19 (Coronavirus)

For the latest NHS guidance, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

To read the latest advice and information for Southwark residents, please visit www.southwark.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you have an enquiry about a vulnerable Southwark resident, please email covidsupport@southwark.gov.uk or call 020 7525 5000

England Lockdown Poster

National lockdown: stay at home

Kieron Williams Header

Dear resident

England has moved into a new national lockdown. This is essential because the new variant of COVID-19 is spreading very quickly and our local hospitals are days away from being full.

Infections are rapidly increasing in all age groups and all parts of our borough and city, with over 2,000 cases in Southwark in the last week.

Now, more than ever, we all need to stay at home and follow the rules to protect the NHS and to save lives.

Stay at home rules

The new national lockdown means we are all legally required to stay at home, and to only go out for specific reasons, including:

  • to shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • to go to work if you cannot work from home
  • for exercise once a day in your local area (this can be with the people who live in your household or in your support bubble or with one other person)
  • to meet people in your support bubble or childcare bubble, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • to get medical help (including getting a COVID-19 test) or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • to attend education or childcare for those eligible

Read the full details of what you can and cannot do during the new lockdown.

I know this is another incredibly difficult time for many of you, especially those looking after children or with elderly relatives, those who are sick, or shielding, and many more in very difficult circumstances.

We will do all that we can to support you, providing help from the council for local people and businesses. My greatest hope is that if we all play our part now, and with the vaccine already being rolled out in Southwark, things will get easier soon.

Thank you and stay safe,