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.
Financial support for businesses
We have now paid over £15 million to local businesses in business grants and another £45 million is due out this week. Read more about the support available for businesses and if you’re self-employed.
Are you worried about domestic abuse?
If you are feeling isolated at home and are worried about domestic or sexual abuse, help is available. The Solace Advocacy and Support Service is available to women and men in Southwark aged 16 or over in Southwark.
Looking after your wellbeing
During this time, you may be bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also feel low, worried, anxious, or be concerned about your health or that of those close to you. Public Health England has produced a new guide to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Advice on coronavirus-related scams
We have been advised by the police that individuals may be taking advantage of vulnerable people 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.
Our libraries are now closed. However, we are auto-renewing all loans and cancelling overdue fines until we can reopen, so there’s no need to worry about any books or DVDs that you’ve already borrowed.
All foodbanks in Southwark are asking for donations. We know lots of you want to help your community, and giving to a food bank is a great way to help. There are different ways to donate to foodbanks including financial contributions, ordering products to be sent directly to foodbanks, or dropping off products if you can do so safely and within current government guidance (for instance as part of daily exercise).
Cemeteries and crematoriums
In line with national government legislation during this emergency period, we have closed all of our cemeteries and our crematorium grounds, to all but those attending funerals. This will make the areas safer for grieving family and friends, at an incredibly difficult time, as well as maintain public safety. We will also be limiting the number of people able to attend funerals to 10, in an approach consistent with other boroughs. We know how sensitive these matters are, but must follow public health advice and discourage large gatherings, to help protect our residents from COVID-19.
Nearest tube – Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).
Nearest Railway Station – Elephant & Castle
Buses from Elephant and Castle – ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45