12 January 2021
A national lockdown is now in place again to control the spread of Covid-19 as rates rapidly increase across London and the country. Everyone must now stay at home, and only leave home for specific reasons
You can find up to date advice on how to keep you and your household safe, including information on restrictions, how to get a Covid test locally and extra support for those who need it, on Tower Hamlets Council’s website.
We're following government guidelines and advice to ensure your safety when we deliver our services – this has meant we’ve made some changes to the service offer. We are now prioritising emergency repairs, health and safety related work, letting empty homes and estate services. We will also continue to make sure that our most vulnerable and elderly residents receive the help and support they need. At times it might take us and our contractors longer than usual to deliver these services and meet our published service standards.
We’ve carried out risk assessments to make sure that we comply with the Governments guidance on managing risk and being ‘Covid- secure’ so that our service offer takes a safety- first approach.
Remember follow the Government advice - stay at home, , protect the NHS . Full details of what you can and cannot do are available on the Government’s website
Stay alert, stay safe and get in touch with us if you need help.
Read more about our service offer below:
Most THCH staff are still working from home. However, you can still speak to a member of staff, report a repair or pay your rent by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or using our main phone number 020 7780 3070. Please bear with us if it takes longer than normal to meet our published service standards.
Our office is still closed to the public and only open on an exceptional appointment basis where we are unable to complete your service request via the phone or email and you need to see us face to face. This is to keep both staff and customers safe and well. We will keep this under review and when it is appropriate to do so we open back on our usual basis.
The national lockdown and increased rates of transition in London mean that we are now only carrying out emergency repairs. This is to protect residents, contractors and staff by only visiting where absolutely necessary.
Emergency repairs can be reported in the usual way by phoning our customer services team on 020 7780 3070 and will be given priority. You can find out what is an emergency repair by clicking HERE. We will do our best to respond to emergencies within our usual service offer but are not able to guarantee this still because of the pressure on resources.
Gas servicing and other essential health and safety work is also continuing as it has done, throughout this period. All contractors are following COVID-19 working guidance and are wearing PPE when entering people's homes. Our priority is keeping our residents, staff and contractors safe during this period. Please remember that THCH has landlord obligations to deliver compliance related checks and maintenance work throughout the lockdown period and your cooperation in giving access is appreciated.
New routine repairs can still be reported through My Corner or by emailing email@example.com - these will be logged but an appointment will not be offered at this stage.
To continue to safeguard against the risks of Covid 19 we will only visit you at home if we cannot deal with your service request in any other way - for example we will need to visit your home to complete a repair, but we may be able to do property inspections via video calls.
When we do visit you at home please help us by doing the following:
- Make sure all internal doors are open so that we don’t need to touch door handles
- Open windows if possible, to increase ventilation in the areas where the repair or inspection needs to take place
- Make sure you keep a 1 or 2 metre distance from contractors or staff
- Ask other family members to move to another room if possible
Our staff will wear face coverings, sanitise their hands before they enter your home and contractors will wipe down any areas they’ve touched after they complete a repair. Please tell us if you or any member of your household has Covid 19 symptoms or is self-isolating when they arrive at your home and when you make an appointment with us.
We know that your finances might be affected by the current situation. We are here to help you if you need us.
The Govt has increased the benefits and support available to people whose incomes are affected by the current situation. This includes help for the self employed and furlough support for people who are laid off by their employers. We urge you to claim any govt support that you’re entitled to - we can advise you on how to do this.
We need you to continue to pay your rent and service charge as normal as your rent helps fund essential frontline services.
If you are worried about paying your rent and service charge during this time or require support with your benefits please email or telephone us. We are here to support you and as well as our Income Team we have Tenancy Support Officers who will be able to offer you up to date advice. We’ve put together some helpful advice for you in this leaflet: FAQ’s for Rent and Service Charge payers
We will continue to offer the regular cleaning service with an additional focus on cleaning and sanitising touch points such as lifts, handrails, handles, bin areas etc. Our resourcing has been impacted by the pandemic but our staff are doing their best to provide a good service.
We ask that you respect social distancing when you see our staff and contractors out on the estate.
Our other contractors including those that provide gardening, bulk rubbish removal, pest control etc are working as normal but have been impacted by a pressure on resources. They are doing their best to provide a good service.
We need your continued support
We need your continued support to keep communal areas clean and safe. You can help us by:
- Disposing of rubbish properly in bin stores
- If anyone in your house has COVID-19 symptoms then your waste should be double bagged and kept inside your flat for 72 hours before disposing into the communal bins
- Follow advice on effective hand washing (i.e. wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds) before going into any communal areas and when you get back home
- Don’t leave items in communal areas
- Let us know if you see people dumping rubbish or fly-tipping
The Government Guidance means that our Community Centres must remain closed.
Following the completion of Health and Safety Risk Assesments, these Playgrounds are now open: Ada House, Farrell House, Hanbury street, Luke House, Frank Whipple, Cameron Best, Minerva play area, Sebright/Beechwood, Boden, Woodseer St, Martha St MUGA, Bigland St MUGA.
Thanks for your patience and please follow the guidance posters!
We understand that this will be a stressful situation for many of you and we want to make sure that we can continue to provide you with a service whilst prioritising your health and safety. We are contacting vulnerable and elderly residents to provide advice and support but also to check that they are coping alright.
The council also have a phone line for vulnerable residents where you can discuss any concerns around:
- social isolation
- help needed with food supplies
- access to medication
- worries about debt.
The phone line is open: Monday to Friday (9am - 5pm) Tel: 020 7364 3030
If you need any extra help or if you know of an elderly or vulnerable neighbour who might please contact us.
If you or someone you know is at risk of or is suffering domestic abuse, many services are still running in Tower Hamlets .
Also the government’s household isolation guidance as a result of coronavirus does not apply if you need to leave your home to escape domestic abuse.
Remember, in an emergency always call 999. If you’re in danger and unable to talk on the phone, call 999 and then press 55. This will transfer your call to local police who will assist you without having to speak.
- Men’s Advice Line – The Men’s Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic abuse and those supporting them. Telephone: 0808 801 0327
- National Domestic Abuse Helpline – Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, which you can call for free, and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.
Keeping children safe
Families are under new pressures and will be spending much more time at home and children are not seeing other adults, like grandparents and teachers who might normally be able to help.
We can all play our part by checking in with families and reaching out for support and advice if we have any concerns.
The NSPCC website provides lots of useful guidance on how to spot the signs, ways to keep in touch and where to access help.
If a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999 straight away.
If you are worried about a child, the Tower Hamlets Early Help service can provide support with parenting, money troubles, emotional health and much more, to help stop problems becoming more serious. You can make an online referral here.
As you might expect with more people at home you might hear more day to day noise such as children playing, voices, music etc, than you would ordinarily hear.
We ask that you are tolerant during this period but also mindful of how you might impact neighbours who will likely to be at home more often too.
Its also important to stay connected with friends and family - why not chat to people virtually using apps like WhatsApp, Zoom , Skype, Houseparty or simply give them a call.
Remember if you now invite friends or family over you must continue to follow the government guidance to reduce the risk of bringing the virus to your home.
Please continue to practice social distancing in line with the Government guidance between yourself and anyone outside of your household in communal areas. Remember:
- Do not gather at entrance doors to a block
- Do not gather in the corridors or communal areas
- If you have a lift in your block, only share it with members of your own family
Respect our neighbours and make sure you keep a 2-metre distance
Being at home constantly can be a challenge . Here are some useful links to information on how to stay well - both mentally and physically- at this time.
Here are some Top Tips:
- exercising at home - see easy low impact home workouts from the NHS
- spending time doing things you enjoy - this might be reading, cooking, listening to the radio and watching TV
- eating healthy and well-balanced meals, drinking enough water, exercising regularly, and trying to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
- opening your windows or going into the garden for fresh air and natural sunlight
- going for a walk outdoors - this is fine but remember to stay more than 2 metres from other people
The charity Mind has provided the following guidance:
- Practical advice for staying at home
- Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing
- Support for work, benefits and housing
- Checklist for staying at home
For further mental health support:
Find out more information about maintaining your physical health here:
The Metropolitan Police have received reports of coronavirus-related scams:
- NHS tests: Fraudsters claim to be doing coronavirus tests on behalf of the NHS. If anyone knocks on your door, ignore them and call the Police.
- Phishing emails: Fraudsters claim to be from research organisations linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious or unsolicited emails, and never respond to emails, calls or messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
- Free school meals: Fraudulent emails ask for bank details to support those entitled to free school meals. Do not open these emails, and delete immediately. Find out more.
- Shopping for the elderly: Fraudsters claim to be from supermarkets, take money from elderly residents for shopping and then don’t return. Do not hand over money to anyone knocking on your door and call the Police.
- Online shopping: If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first and use a credit card if you have one. Find out more.
THCH has completed a comprehensive risk assessment and consulted with all colleagues through the staff consultative group as well as with the THCH Health and Safety Forum. A summary of this risk assessment can be found here:
Alongside the risk assessment, we have worked hard to ensure that we have met the 4 other steps of the Government guidelines in our office. As set out here:
There is lots of useful information on the signs and symptoms of the virus on the government website and NHS website.
Here are some useful links:
- Symptoms of coronavirus and how to avoid it on the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
- Use the 111 online coronavirus service if you feel you need medical https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
- Guidance on how the UK is affected by coronavirus (GOV.UK is updated daily and is the best source of reliable information https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public