COVID-19: please stay at home this weekend

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Normally, many of us would be looking forward to going outside over the bank holiday weekend to enjoy some sunshine. However, this weekend is different.

It is more vital than ever that we stay at home to protect the NHS and to save lives.

This means we must not go out to meet up with friends and family. Parks and other outdoor spaces – including outdoor areas on estates – must only be used once a day for daily exercise, by yourself or with your household members. You must stay two metres away from others.

Many of our residents have no outdoor space. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, please ask yourself whether you need to leave your home this weekend. The fewer people who use our parks, the easier it is for those who need to use them, to do so safely.

This weekend is also an important weekend for many in our faith communities. I am thankful to our faith organisations in Southwark, who are playing a key role in supporting our vulnerable residents and also finding new virtual ways to hold prayers and services, so that their congregations can abide by government rules banning large gatherings.

Every day the council is delivering food to vulnerable people across the borough. Alongside the essentials, the food parcels this week will have a Fairtrade chocolate egg included, secured by the council at below cost price from local Fairtrade company, Divine Chocolate. It’s important to recognise that we can still do little things which can make people smile, brighten their day or uplift them in such difficult times. We hope this will give residents some cheer while they are missing their families and friends at this time of year.

In this newsletter you will find some key updates about council services You can also check our website for updates at www.southwark.gov.uk/covidsupport.

I know that for many of you, this will be a strange and at times lonely Easter, as you miss the family and friends you would normally see at this time of year. These are indeed extraordinary times. But the scenes coming out of hospital intensive care units, the deaths of thousands of much-loved UK residents, and the news about the Prime Minister this week show us just how deadly this disease is, and how important it is that we take the rules seriously.

I wish you all the very best and thank you again for playing your part in keeping Southwark safe.

Cllr Peter John


Do you know a vulnerable resident who needs help?

If you know of a vulnerable Southwark resident who can’t leave the house due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and who may not have friends, family or neighbours who can help with the delivery of essential supplies, please tell us straight away so we can help them.


Grants for community groups

We’re providing grants to local charities and community groups that are supporting residents in Southwark in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The deadline for applications for the first round of grants is 13 April, but there will be three more funding rounds after that.


Important update about COVID-19 (3 April)

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to keeping us all safe by staying at home and keeping your distance. Under normal circumstances we would all be looking forward to a sunny weekend outside, but this weekend it remains vital for us all to keep following the rules about staying at home and social distancing.

If you go to one of Southwark’s parks this weekend for your daily exercise and to enjoy some fresh air, please make sure you:

  • only go by yourself or with members of your household
  • keep at least two metres away from anyone else
  • don’t meet up with friends or family members who you don’t live with
  • only go out for exercise once a day.

Thank you to everyone in Southwark who is doing everything they can to help stop the spread of COVID-19. By following the rules we are protecting the NHS and saving lives.

In this newsletter you will find some key updates about council services. You can also check our website for updates at www.southwark.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Cllr Peter John


Do you know a vulnerable resident who needs help?

If you know of a vulnerable Southwark resident who can’t leave the house due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and who may not have friends, family or neighbours who can help with the delivery of essential supplies, please tell us straight away so we can help them.


Waste and recycling collections

COVID-19: an update for residents (1 April)

Cllr Peter John OBE

Dear resident,

Thank you to everyone in Southwark who is staying at home to help protect the NHS and to save lives. It is making a real difference.

We must all do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home and staying away from other people. This means we must only go out to:

  • shop for food and necessities
  • fulfil a medical need
  • exercise once a day
  • travel to and from work if absolutely necessary.

This week we are sending the first food parcels out to extremely vulnerable residents in Southwark, including those that are part of the ‘shielding’ programme. We are staying in close contact with these residents to make sure they have the food, essential supplies, medicines and social contact they need.

I know that it is not only vulnerable residents who are worried about their finances during this unprecedented time. That’s why the council is making sure we provide advice and support for people who are temporarily struggling with lower incomes. Please see below for the support available.

As well as supporting residents we are also committed to supporting our fantastic local businesses. I am delighted that we have already distributed over £15m in grants to Southwark-based businesses that are struggling as a result of COVID-19, and we are due to distribute another £45m this week.

I continue to be immensely proud of Southwark Council staff who are working so hard to keep key services running and to support our most vulnerable residents.

In this newsletter you will find 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

Thank you for your ongoing support,

Cllr Peter John


Financial support for residents

We know that COVID-19 has increased financial pressure and concerns for many residents. We have created a dedicated webpage that details financial support that is available and will be updated regularly. The page currently includes:

  • information on claiming universal credit
  • how to get help if you’re struggling with rent payments
  • how to get help if you’re struggling with a payment owed to the council, including council tax
  • help if you’re struggling with your household’s urgent, basic needs
  • confirmation that all our debt collection activities have been paused
  • help if you you’re a council homeowner and struggling to pay a leaseholder payment.

Read more about the financial support available.


Financial support for businesses

Further Covid advice and information for TRAs and residents

Dear TRA committee member

I hope this finds you well and safe.

Thank you for your continued efforts to help your local community at this difficult time.

If you need detailed information on what the council is doing and support available please visit www.southwark.gov.uk/coronavirus the pages are updated regularly.

The Letter to residents March 2020 is being posted to all residents in the coming days as the council realises that not everyone has access to information on line. I hope you find it helpful.

Kind regards

Michael Scorer, Strategic Director of Housing and Modernisation

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