|Dear Adrian ,
Today's COVID-19 update for the 24th April contains information on:
- Haringey Response Update
- Business Grants & Support
- Council Tax reduction for residents on low incomes
- Bulky Waste Collections to recommence
- Citizens Advice Haringey
- Guidance for unpaid carers
- Support for Haringey's autistic children and young people
- Travel update
- London Underground
- Walking and cycling
- Urgent Blood Donations needed
- Carer Job Opportunities
- Donations needed
- Local Food Banks in urgent need
- Volunteering opportunities
- Telephone befriending service
- How you can contact us
- National Response Update
- Coronavirus testing extended to essential workers
- Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Portal now LIVE
- New legislation against aggressive commercial rent collection and closure
- Medical advice for parents
- Free School Meals eligibility gets temporary extension
- Ramadan - safety guidelines for #RamadanAtHome
- British Asian COVID-19 appeal video
- SCAMS: Staying safe
- Focus on Mental Health
- Mental Health and wellbeing support
- Mental Health training if you are calling vulnerable people
- Help us to improve these emails
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1. HARINGEY RESPONSE UPDATE
1.1 Business Grants & Support
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Government announced there would be support for businesses and in particular, small businesses, and those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. This support will take the form of two grant funding schemes, the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund and will be paid out by local councils. Haringey Council received £50 million from the government and has now paid a total of £13.5m in grants to over 800 businesses - more than 25% of the total number of businesses eligible.
Further information on what business support is available can be found here: https://www.haringey.gov.uk/news-and-events/haringey-coronavirus-co...
Haringey Lib Dems are concerned that many businesses in Haringey excluded from these two schemes, particularly businesses in shared premises or those whose landlords are the business rate payer. We have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government asking that financial help is extended to these businesses (view letter here) and have launched a petition in support of our call which can be signed here: https://ldharingey.nationbuilder.com/urgent_help_for_local_businesses
1.2 Council Tax reduction for residents on low incomes
Haringey residents on low incomes will have their 2020/21 Council Tax bill reduced by up to £150, as part of the Government's £500m Council Tax Hardship fund.
This reduction, which will be applied to your bill automatically, means you won’t have to pay anything if you owe less than £150 for this current tax year. A new bill with reduced instalments will be sent to you as soon as possible, but you should continue to pay at your current rate in the meantime.
If you are currently out of work or your income has been reduced due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, you may qualify for help with your Council Tax.
For further information, see the Government's announcement on the fund and the council’s COVID-19: Council Tax Reduction update page.
1.3 Bulky Waste Collections to recommence
Having recently suspended bulky waste collections in order to prioritise other services, Haringey Coiuncil are now in a position to offer a limited number of booking slots for bulky waste collection. Collections will restart on Tuesday 5 May and bookings can be made now. The council hope to bring more capacity online over the coming weeks to allow more slots to be booked.
To book your slot, contact the Veolia Contact Centre on: 020 8885 7700 or for more information about the bulky waste collection service, including what can be collected, please see the Veolia website.
1.4 Citizens Advice Haringey
Citizens Advice provide free, confidential and impartial advice. Their goal is to help everyone find a way forward, whatever problem they face from benefits, housing, money and work.
For advice please phone 0300 330 1187 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm) and for general enquiries call 020 3872 5840 (no advice is given on this number).
1.5 Guidance for unpaid carers
The Department of Health and Social Care has released guidance for those who provide unpaid care to family or friends.
This includes anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to a lifelong condition, illness, disability, serious injury, a mental health condition or an addiction, cannot cope without their support.
The guidance provides essential advice, including for:
Find out more on the government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-pro...
- preparing an emergency care plan
- protecting yourself and the person you care for
- caring for someone who is clinically ‘extremely vulnerable’
- arranging alternative care if you are unable to provide it
Carers FIRST Haringey is an online tool which supports unpaid carers living in Haringey, by providing information, advice, and guidance. If you're looking after a friend or relative, you can talk to someone about your situation and discuss what support you may need. Please contact the Carers Hub on 0300 303 1555 for further information or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Carers First website: https://www.carersfirst.org.uk/haringey
1.6 Support for Haringey’s autistic children and young people
If you’re a carer or parent of a child with autism, you may be struggling to manage their anxiety levels during the ongoing lockdown.
The Government guidance does allow people with specific health conditions, such as autism and learning disabilities, to leave their property more than once a day where there is a medical ... in order to maintain their health.
However, the time spent outside of the home should be limited, should be as nearby as possible and social distancing measures must be followed at all times.
Locally, the council’s specialist autism team has also been supporting our autistic children and young people in the borough. They’ve been sending regular bitesize bulletins to parents twice a week (on Tuesdays and Fridays), while a youth club newsletter is sent out weekly to those aged 11 and above.
Should you wish to sign up to receive the bulletin and newsletter, or you feel you require further assistance, help and support at this time, email us at: email@example.com
The National Autistic Society have some helpful tips too, from keeping a diary and using the ‘Brain In Hand’ app to devising prevention plans and using relaxation techniques.
1.7 Travel update
Passengers are now being asked to board London’s buses using the middle door as part of new measures announced by Transport for London (TfL) to protect drivers and keep passengers safe.
During the period of these temporary arrangements where passengers enter through the middle-doors, passengers should wait for all exiting passengers to alight the bus at a safe distance before boarding and passengers will be able to travel for FREE as you will not be required to touch in. Customers should not approach the card reader near the driver's cab.
If your journey is absolutely essential, the busiest times are 05:45-07:30 and 16:00-17:30. If possible, avoid travelling at these times particularly on the following parts of the network as there may be some disruption to your journey:
Many stations remain closed and some stations have changed entrances and exits. Click here for the latest status updates.
- Jubilee line between London Bridge and Stratford, and Stanmore and Wembley Park
- Central line between Epping and Stratford
- Victoria line
- District line between Upminster and West Ham
- London Overground services into Liverpool Street
- DLR to/from Canning Town, West Ham and Stratford
Walking and Cycling
The Government measures allow one form of exercise a day which includes walking or cycling and their advice is to stay local. Only walk and cycle alone or with members of your household (as long as they have not presented symptoms) and ensure that you keep a minimum 2 meter distance between you and the nearest person.
Following the recent relaxation of regulations by the Department for Transport and to encourage residents to walk and cycle Haringey Lib Dems have written to Haringey Council asking them to look at which streets in the borough could give temporary precedence to pedestrians and cyclists by extending pavements, introducing temprary segregated bike lanes, or by becoming car-free. You can view the letter here.
We believe this would be welcomed by residents given the reduction in road traffic volumes and difficulties in maintaining social distance on many narrow pavements. Please email us here if you would like to recommend a street.
1.8 Urgent Blood Donations needed
Everyday thousands of people’s lives are saved or improved thanks to the generosity of blood donors but sadly there aren’t enough supplies. Blood banks need new blood donors from all backgrounds to ensure there is the right blood available for patients who need it. You can still give blood during the coronavirus pandemic, however please do not donate if you feel unwell.
If you are an existing blood donor, please continue to donate. New donors must be aged between 17-65. New or existing blood donors can use an online service to book an appointment to give blood.
For more information on how to donate, go to: https://www.blood.co.uk or call 0300 123 23 23
1.9 Carer Job Opportunities
Now more than ever we need new recruits to the care sector. If you are a care worker, care manager, social worker, occupational therapist, chef or cleaner or anyone else and looking for work you can help save lives during this crisis.
Register on Proud to Care London (external link), a recruitment site for the sector, and you will be matched to crucial jobs in care.
1.10 Donations needed
Haringey Council’s food distribution hubs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Alexandra Palace are running low on supplies and are looking for businesses and the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) to donate the following:
Due to government rules on social distancing and non-essential travel, the council is not asking for donations from individuals. Businesses and VCS organisations can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a pick up.
- Food that can be stored (e.g. dry goods, tins, cans, packets – NO FROZEN FOOD)
- Essential household items (e.g. sanitary products, soap, kitchen roll etc)
- Cleaning products (for food preparation purposes)
- Nappies, baby formula, milk
- Plastic bags and boxes
- Pet food
Haringey Lib Dems are looking to raise £1,500 for Haringey Giving (a fund managed by people in the Haringey community and endorsed by Haringey Council) which is supporting the borough’s most vulnerable people and community initiatives in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
We are so close to reaching our target so if you can make a donation to our fundraiser please do so here: https://www.haringeygiving.org.uk/Fundraisers/haringeylibdems
1.11 Local Food Banks are in urgent need of supplies & monetary donations
Food banks continue to support residents across the borough and are seeing supplies running desperately low. If you are able to support them please consider doing so.
Muswell Hill Foodbank (The Trussell Trust)
- If you need food
- The Muswell Hill Foodbank on Pembroke Road is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You will need to get a voucher from one of the Referral Agencies (Citizens Advice, Social Services, Job Centres, some schools and doctors surgeries and other local charities) before going to the foodbank. Strict social distancing is in place to ensure the safety of clients and volunteers.
- The foodbank urgently needs donations
The Holy Trinity Food Bank Stroud Green
If you would like to make a monetary donation please email: email@example.com and for more information visit: http://www.holytrinityfoodbank.org.uk/
- Open every Sunday from 1.30pm – 3.30pm.
- Please drop off donations at the food bank between 1.30pm - 3.30pm on Sundays. Alternatively there are dedicated collection bins at:
- Sainsbury’s, 175-179 Stroud Green Road, N4 3PZ
- Londis, 9-11 Ferme Park Road, N4 4DS
Other Local Foodbanks
1.12 Volunteering opportunities for local residents
Our voluntary organisations are working under huge pressure and looking for more help from the community:
1.13 Telephone befriending service
Staying at home can be lonely and it can be difficult to connect socially. As the lockdown continues this become ever more difficult for some of our residents.
Haringey Reach and Connect offer free calls to people in Haringey who would like to receive regular weekly calls from a friendly and supportive volunteer. The calls last approximately 30 minutes, and take place on the same day, at the same time, each week.
They match older people and volunteers carefully, to ensure they have some common interests and friendships are reviewed regularly, to ensure that both parties find them enjoyable.
If you would be interested in becoming or having a telephone befriender, please contact Reach and Connect who are running a special expanded service to respond to COVID-19, using this link: https://reachandconnect.net/get-support/telephone-friendship
2. HOW YOU CAN CONTACT US
If you have any questions about COVID-19 or need to get in touch for support on any other issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Whilst our in-person councillor surgeries have been cancelled in line with government guidance, we are still operating telephone surgeries at the times listed in the image, and you can continue to reach us by email. Please click the image for more information.
3. NATIONAL RESPONSE UPDATE
3.1 Coronavirus testing extended to essential workers
The Government have announced that all essential workers in England and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested.
Employers can register and refer self-isolating staff, and employees can book a test directly for themselves or members of their household who are experiencing symptoms – a high temperature or new continuous cough.
The website has been closed since mid-morning today due to demand as reported here, but is expected to be active again over the weekend.
3.2 Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Portal now LIVE
Following the details we sent last week on updated guidence being published on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing), we can confirm that the portal for managing your employees is now live.
You can access the portal here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus...
More information on the scheme here:
HMRC says: "After employers have made a claim, they should:
Ask their furloughed employees not to contact us directly - we will not be able to provide them with any information on individual claims".
- Keep a note or print-out of their claim reference number – they won’t receive a confirmation SMS or email;
- Retain all records and calculations for their claims, in case we need to contact them;
- Expect to receive the funds six working days after they apply, provided their claim matches records that we hold for their PAYE scheme. Employers should not contact us before this time.
3.3 New legislation against aggressive commercial rent collection and closure
High street shops and other companies under strain should now be legally protected from aggressive rent collection and are being asked to pay what they can during the coronavirus pandemic. The government is temporarily banning the use of statutory demands and winding up orders where a company cannot pay their bills due to coronavirus, to ensure they do not fall into deeper financial strain and is also laying secondary legislation to provide tenants with more breathing space to pay rent by preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.
More information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-protect-uk-high-...
3.4 Medical advice for parents during coronavirus outbreak
Parents should be aware that the NHS are still providing the same safe care they have always done while the coronavirus is taking place.
It is important to follow government advice and stay at home during the pandemic, but there can be confusion on knowing the right steps to take when your child is unwell or injured.
The NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same level of care and the following advice, published by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, should be taken if you notice any of the following symptoms: https://www.rcpch.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2020-04/covid19_advice_...
3.5 Free School Meals eligibility gets temporary extension
More children from low-income families may now qualify for free school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic after the Government temporarily extended the eligibility criteria to include those who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).
These newly eligible children, whose carers or parents earn less than the maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 a year, are:
The children of those who have been refused asylum will also be able to receive free school meals under this temporary extension, which covers both pupils who are attending school and those currently staying at home.
- Children of Zambrano carers
- Children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
- Children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction.
For further information, see the Government’s guidance on the temporary extension of free school meals eligibilit...
3.6 Ramadan – safety guidelines for #RamadanAtHome
Many families in Haringey will have started Ramadan last night. Normally, there would be lots of family and community gatherings but social distancing does not allow these to happen.
No studies of fasting and risk of COVID-19 infection have been performed, but the World Health Organisation says that “Healthy people should be able to fast during this Ramadan as in previous years, while COVID-19 patients may consider religious licenses regarding breaking the fast in consultation with their doctors, as they would do with any other disease.”
Meanwhile, the Muslim Council of Britain has produced this very helpful guide on #RamadanAtHome, which includes information for working and studying from home, Virtual Iftars, advice to employers, line managers and mosques.
3.7 British Asian COVID19 appeal video
A new coronavirus advice video has been launched, targeting the British Asian community, following the disproportionate impact of the virus on BAME communities. The health advice given in the video was developed in conjunction with Public Health England advice and Dr Sam Everington, Chair of Tower Hamlets CCG. Please feel free to share this video within your networks and on social media. Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cvzGw2VWPA&feature=youtu.be
3.8 SCAMS: Staying Safe
Scams continue to see an uplift during the current pandemic such as fake texts and emails from HMRC offering money as a 'goodwill payment', or from the government offering ‘tax relief’. These are fraudulent scams, so always check official sites before clicking on any links.
Fraudsters may contact you pretending to be your bank, HMRC, the police or a utilities company, asking you to transfer money or give them information. If you get an unexpected message or call like this, hang up. Find the the organisation’s number on their official website and call them directly.
Fraudsters can act very professional and sound very convincing, using fake phone numbers and making their emails look legitimate, so always contact companies directly to check.
Please also be aware that if you're being offered something very cheaply over social media, it's probably a scam or a fake. Buy from a trusted merchant where you can check verified reviews, and where you can pay by card. Similarly, legitimate investments don’t happen over social media, and will never guarantee profits. Check if a company’s registered with the FCA before investing.
For more info on Coronavirus scams you can refer to the MSE Guide to scams here.
4. FOCUS ON MENTAL HEALTH
4.1 Mental Health and wellbeing support
Now more than ever, our mental health matters. Whether it’s dealing with stress, combatting loneliness or looking after your wellbeing, there is information and support available for adults and young people locally and nationally.
4.2 Mental Health training if you are calling vulnerable people
For anyone who is interested in calling vulnerable people RedrUK https://www.redr.org.uk/ has designed some free training if you are new to supporting those who are struggling. The training module has been designed by a mental health professional and you can sign up here: https://www.redr.org.uk/Training-Learning/Covid-19-Training
It's a 2 hour interactive training via Zoom, and it'll cover everything you need to know about understanding COVID-related stress, how to manage it in yourself and how to offer emotional support safely and effectively for those who are struggling a bit.
RedR UK is an international charity that trains and supports aid workers and humanitarian organisations.
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