COVID-19: an update for residents (26 March)

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

As I’m sure you are aware, the UK has been on ‘lockdown’ since midnight on Monday. While I know this creates many challenges for everyone in their everyday lives, it is absolutely vital that we all follow government guidance on this in order to save lives and protect the NHS.

This means we must only leave our homes for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with a member of your household only
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where you absolutely cannot work from home.

We have made good and quick progress on developing our new community hub that will support vulnerable residents, and especially those who the NHS has identified as needing to take extra care (known as the shielding programme). Our priority will be to work with voluntary and community groups to help those who are unable to rely on friends and family. We will make sure they receive the food, essential supplies, medicines and social contact they need. You can find out more at www.southwark.gov.uk/covidsupport

I want to pay tribute to the many hardworking and dedicated Southwark Council staff who are working to keep vital services going in order to protect our most vulnerable residents. We are ensuring these critical services are adequately resourced whilst closing down some areas of the council’s normal work which cannot carry on under the current conditions.

I would ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work through the changes we need to make to our services to redirect staff to key services like adult social care. We will keep you updated about these changes through these newsletters, our website, and other communications.

In this newsletter you will find some key information about council services and support available to residents and businesses. You can also check our website for regular updates at www.southwark.gov.uk/coronavirus


Financial support for residents

  • We are taking action locally to provide financial protection to those in our communities who are most in need. We have supplemented our Southwark emergency support scheme (SESS) budget of £650k per year with an additional emergency fund of £1.5m.
  • We have suspended all debt recovery actions related to council tax and business rates and are looking at how we can help residents who are struggling financially.
  • We also have information and support if you’re struggling with rent payments.

Financial support for businesses

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

Coronavirus advice for tenants and residents associations

It’s great to see local communities coming together to help those in need. Southwark has a large network of volunteers in Tenants & Residents Associations across the borough who work to make their homes and communities great places to live. The council has the following advice for Tenants & Residents Associations wanting to help at this difficult time.

How can TRAs best support their residents?

The council values and appreciates the willingness of TRA members to help their neighbours. TRA committees wanting 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 this is available.

  • 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 metres 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 and 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, call 020 7525 2434
  • concerns about Rent 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 via Streetlink. 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.  If you are already planning to use the TRA hall for support activities such as to distribute food and / or donations for vulnerable residents they should let the council know in advance.  This is to ensure a coordinated response and safety and welfare of volunteers

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.

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

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

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.

COVID19 Briefing Note – Crime Prevention Advice

BRIEFING NOTE

COVID19 – 2 – 19/03/2020

Dear all,

Advice on potential corona-virus related scams.

We have heard reports 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/.

Please do contact my staff office or me if you have any questions or wish to discuss any further aspect of this incident with me.

Regards,

Colin Wingrove

Chief Superintendent

BCU Commander – Central South

IN AN EMERGENCY, ALWAYS CALL 999

Visit Our Website @

https://www.met.police.uk/your-area/southwark/chaucer/

Covid-19: A message from the Leader of Southwark Council

Cllr Peter John OBE

Coronavirus (Covid-19): an update for residents

These are unprecedented and concerning times for Southwark and the wider world, and I would like to reassure you that the council is working hard to protect residents, staff and services from the impact of Covid-19. I have agreed to stay in post as Leader of Southwark Council beyond my planned departure date of 25 March to offer stability and continuity, ensure our plans to respond to the crisis are robust and working, and that our communities are safe.

We are taking every step to prepare for an increase in confirmed cases of the virus. At the moment most key council services are still running as normal. We have strong and tested plans in place to keep delivering services during this difficult period and we will ensure our most vulnerable residents keep getting the support they need. To support this we may stop doing some non-essential work to support frontline services and redeploy staff as necessary.

We will continue to provide up-to-date information about our services and the support available through all our communications channels.

Thank you for your ongoing support through this challenging time.


Health advice

We’re asking all residents to follow the national guidance on self-isolation and social distancing. This includes not going out to the pub, the theatre, or to other social activities. You should stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Do not go to a GP, pharmacy or hospital and please don’t call 111 unless you have to.

If you are unwell, the people who live with you will also need to stay home.


Financial support for residents

We will continue to do whatever we can to assist our residents where they experience additional hardship. While we await details from central government on how they intend to release to councils the money announced in last week’s budget, we are taking action locally to provide some protection to those in our communities who are most in need. We will be supplementing our Southwark emergency support scheme (SESS) budget of £650k per year with an additional emergency fund of £1.5m.


Council meetings

We are currently reviewing our approach to council meetings. Following recent advice about social distancing, only meetings that are essential for business or statutory reasons will go ahead. The main reasons for cancelling or postponing events are:

  • Exclusion of vulnerable groups who may be self-isolating or social distancing
  • Impact on staff who need to focus on Covid-19 response