Support is there if you need it during the second lockdown
While the current national lockdown may feel quite different to the restrictions we all faced earlier in the year, with schools and more work places remaining open, I know that many people will be finding this period difficult, especially as it coincides with the start of winter. Whether it’s being apart from friends and family, or being worried about the impact on jobs and the economy, this year has been tough on so many of us.
However, these restrictions are needed, and I joined calls for further restrictions in the weeks before the Prime Minister confirmed a national lockdown. In Hackney coronavirus cases are now falling slightly but they are still too high. Over the last seven days, the infection rate in Hackney has been 161 per 100,000 people. This is an increase from the week before, after a period of decline, and in our over 50’s and under 19’s we are also seeing an increase in the number of cases - you can always find out more by visiting our Hackney Coronavirus data hub.
We’re now at a really important point, half way through the second lockdown, when it’s absolutely vital that we do everything we can to protect ourselves, each other and the NHS by following public health guidance and the national restrictions.
None of us have been through a year like this before, and I know that many are still grieving from losses earlier in the year and resilience can be low for individuals, communities, businesses and public services. As a Council, despite the recent cyberattack, we’re continuing to do everything we can to support residents and our local businesses, as well as making sure local voices are heard at a national level by lobbying the Government.
We’re determined to use this time of lockdown to improve our response from expanding testing to continuing to play a part in local test and trace efforts. We also look to the future, committed to further innovation and after calling on the Government to allow Hackney to take part in rapid testing, last week it was confirmed that we will be involved in the next phase of this programme, and we expect to receive more details about what that will mean soon.
Last week we also launched our new Love Hackney Shop Local campaign, to support local businesses, including those currently forced to close their doors. Our new online business directory features a wide variety of Hackney-based fashion, craft, electronics, and homeware retailers who are having to operate online-only for the time being and also includes independent food retailers, supermarkets and other essential businesses that are allowed to remain open under current rules.
This week I took part in a summit held by HCVS, it confirmed to me the the incredible job our community and voluntary sector - as well as volunteers and informal mutual aid groups - have been doing throughout the pandemic, to support vulnerable people to access food and just making sure people don’t feel alone at this difficult time. We’re continuing to work with them to make sure everyone who needs it can access support, and our coronavirus helpline remains open, to help people who need support. I’d urge anyone who is struggling to get in touch.
Here’s some more information about how the Council is supporting residents.
Our helpline remains open, to help residents asking for support. Staff are on hand to help residents access supermarket deliveries, signpost them to support from local organisations - including food support - and, where necessary, help them to find longer term support. Call 020 8356 3111. There is advice on our website about getting a supermarket delivery hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-food-delivery
Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme
Residents who are employed or self-employed on a low income, and can’t work from home while self isolating may be entitled to financial support of £500. To qualify you must have been notified through NHS Test and Trace and have received a unique eight digit ID number. The Council has introduced a further discretionary scheme that can provide £500 in exceptional circumstances for people who don’t meet the conditions of the national scheme, including those with no recourse to public funds or who don’t claim in-work benefits. hackney.gov.uk/test-and-trace-support-payment
Community Partnerships Network
The Council is incredibly grateful to Hackney’s brilliant local voluntary and community organisations, who continue to work hard to support those who need it most.
We have worked closely with a wide range of community organisations to set up the Community Partnerships Network to help us support communities through the pandemic, including access to food and other essentials.
Organisations within the Partnership are currently delivering over 3,000 meals a week and 1,200 food parcels/grocery top-ups. Advice agencies are also members of the Partnership, helping people claim benefits and access debt advice. The Council is providing grant funding to fund further support for those who have been told to self isolate, those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and other people in need. Help from the partnership is accessed through the helpline.
Support for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
Those who are classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ have been advised against going to work and to shops or pharmacies. Everyone in this group will have been contacted by central government and advised to register for help if they need it through the national shielding service website. The Council has also contacted all 7,850 local people on this list to find out about their support needs, and explain how they can get support if they need it.
Supporting for residents who have No Recourse to Public Funds
The Council is committed to helping residents who are not entitled to Government support due to their imigtation status. Where people have lost jobs and are unable to afford to cover their housing costs they may be at risk of homelessness or unable to comply with public health guidance.
The Council has committed that none of the rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation will be asked to return to the streets, including those with no recourse to public funds; we have increased subsistence payments to families supported under the Children Act and we have also funded a hardship scheme delivered by Family Action and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
The domestic abuse intervention service continues to operate, though there is some alteration to service due to the current public health crisis. You can get help and support by contacting DAIS on: 020 8356 4458 (Monday-Friday, 9-5pm) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline 24-hours for free on 0808 2000 247.
Book a test if you have coronavirus symptoms by calling 119 or visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus. In Hackney there are a number of testing sites:
Dalston, Bentley Road Car Park, N1 4BZ (open 7 days a week 8am-8pm)
Hackney Central, Mare Street, E9 6ND (open 7 days a week 8am-8pm)
Stamford Hill, Yesodey Hatorah School, Egerton Rd, N16 6UB
Homerton, Hackney Marshes Centre, E9 5PF
Stamford Hill, Sandford Court, Bethune Road, N16 5BB
For more information on local support please visit the support services map.