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Council news

Rebuilding a fairer Hackney - Ensuring that no child goes hungry over the summer holidays

23rd July 2021
Food vouchers and parcels will be provided throughout the summer holidays by Hackney Council for all families whose children are normally eligible for free school meals. The Council has also been able to allocate funding to under 5s and children from the Orthodox Jewish community who are not on the free school meals list. This is a result of an extension to the winter grant, which was the Government's response to Marcus Rashford’s inspiring social campaign.Over 12,000 pupils in Hackney who are entitled to free meals at school will be offered vouchers to help with food during the summer holidays. 1200 families with children under five years old who have been identified by Hackney’s children’s centres as needing additional support will also receive the vouchers. We are also working with organisations from the Orthodox Jewish community to support 5000 children from households in financial need. For those on the Free School Meals register and those identified through Children’s Centres, vouchers will be sent to families electronically via the national free school meal voucher system Edenred. Parents can check if their child is eligible and apply online, to ensure that they get the support they need. Since December, the funding to help children on holidays has come via the Government’s Covid Local Support Grant (formally the Winter Grant), which has so far supported an estimated 20,000 children and young people. However, as this government funding will not provide help to everyone in Hackney who needs it and it is less funding per week than was allocated in winter, additional support continues to be provided by the Community Partnerships Network. This is a partnership between Hackney Council and local voluntary and community sector organisations set up to ensure continued support for vulnerable residents affected by the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic.The Council has also teamed up with a number of schools, sports activity providers and community groups to offer a wide range of exciting summer activities as part of the government-funded Holiday and Activities Food Programme, which will also benefit children eligible for free school meals. In 2018, the Council agreed to fund free school meals for children in migrant and refugee families with ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ ─ a status that usually makes them ineligible for Government support.Find out more: https://education.hackney.gov.uk/content/apply-free-school-meals 

Local ambition to reduce emissions must be supported by Government funding

23rd July 2021
A drastic reduction in emissions from Hackney Council’s buildings is set to take place over the next 20 years - as it calls for the Government to commit to further funding to help local authorities tackle the climate emergency. The breadth of the work planned by the Council to ensure it meets its 2040 net zero emissions has been revealed in a new strategy presented to its Full Council this week - with Council buildings and estates set to be made more energy efficient through insulation retrofits and large-scale installation of solar panels. The Net Zero Energy Strategy, which forms part of the Council’s commitment to rebuild a greener Hackney, also outlines the Council’s intention to move away from gas boilers both to align with the London Plan from 2025 and to decarbonise its heating supply. As part of the strategy, the Council, with consultants Buro Happold, has identified that significant capital investment is required to help meet its ambitious commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2040. As well as the Council’s own emissions, this target incorporates the embodied carbon within the construction materials of its own developments and emissions related to its vehicle fleet . As a whole, London contributes 8% of UK carbon emissions, and it is therefore vital that – together with support to the wider local government sector – London receives a fair settlement to ensure it can play its part in meeting the national net zero target.In the context of significant reductions in government funding for local councils over the last ten years, and a £58m budget shortfall last year as the Council responded to the coronavirus pandemic, a fairer funding settlement is needed from the Government to help local councils meet ambitious net zero targets. Over the next three years, the Council will develop projects including pilot schemes to test its Net Zero Energy Strategy, with a detailed programme of work to follow from 2023. 
Hello Again, Hackney – new Council campaign and culture fund to support reopening economy
A new £400,000 fund to help the borough’s cultural institutions welcome back customers safely with special offers, discounted tickets and pop-up events is the centrepiece of a major new campaign launched by Hackney Council today. The Hello Again, Hackney campaign will encourage residents and visitors to rediscover their favourite venues, businesses and public spaces and help get the local economy back on its feet after the strain of the coronavirus pandemic – with a packed programme of summer events and family activities.And Hackney residents will be treated to a range of offers at around 80 participating venues, with one-off grants of up to £5,000 available to theatres, music venues, galleries, cinemas and museums through the Council’s Hello Again, Hackney Cultural Venues Reopening Fund.Mayor Philip Glanville joined famous Hackney Carnival regulars Tropical Isles to launch the campaign outside Hackney Town Hall.Hackney Council has provided funding, advice and support for cultural organisations and businesses throughout the pandemic, and has helped them prepare as they have tirelessly worked to reopen safely in line with Covid-safe guidance. Despite the Government’s decision to end most coronavirus restrictions, the Council continues to urge residents to wear a mask in indoor and crowded public spaces and follow sensible public health advice. The campaign, which is part of the Council’s work to build a fair recovery from coronavirus, will include: Advertising on all Council channels and in prominent town centre locations, promoting Hackney’s businesses and encouraging people to share their stories about their favourite Hackney hidden gemsAn online programme of summer events and activities run by the Council, other organisations and businessesA packed Hello Again, Hackney summer guide with activities for young people and familiesApplications to the Hello Again, Hackney Cultural Venues Reopening Fund close on 30 July. Funded activities can take place at any time until March next year, but those taking place between September and December 2021 will benefit from free Council promotion as part of the campaign. Visit the Love Hackney website for more information and to apply. 
23rd July 2021
Series of Events to celebrate 10 years of Young Hackney
Hackney Council will be celebrating ten years of its pioneering Young Hackney youth service, with a series of special events, including a circus themed fun day, track cycling, a play day and many more activities, kicking off from the first week of the summer holidays in July.Young Hackney launched in September 2011 aiming to help all of Hackney’s young people to enjoy their youth, and become independent and successful adults. Highlights include launching a dedicated sports unit in 2012 the year of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, opening Hackney’s Forest Road Youth Hub and renovating the Parkside Youth Club, later renamed The Edge Youth Hub.Young Hackney has continued to offer a flexible service, despite the pandemic, launching a virtual youth hub in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and reaching out to young people through street-based youth work. It has provided early help and support for young people and has developed a specific service for young carers, also improving the ways young people can access mental health support. It has also continued to champion young people’s rights and hear their voices.Young Hackney celebrations will also continue throughout the autumn and winter months with events like the Youth Summit and the Annual Youth Awards which celebrates Young People from across the borough. The ten-year milestones will also be celebrated through 2022 and 2023.For more information visit: https://www.younghackney.orgProgramme of Events24 July, Forest Road and the Edge Youth Hubs: Information open day with Young Hackney - merchandise available.28 July, Outdoor Sports event at Hackney Downs from 11am-3pm with activities including mini-track cycling, multi-sports games, rowing and basketball drills.29 July, Forest Road Youth Hub: Hackney School of food trip with the opportunity to make some healthy alternative party foods. There will also be team building water sports activities, and some preliminary practice events leading to the Young Hackney Olympic sporting event in August. 30 July, Hackney Marsh Adventure Playground - celebrating with a circus themed fun day with a circus skills workshop, stilt walking, plate spinning and juggling. Playground will be open from 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm with workshops from 11am-1pm and 2pm-4pm. In between we will be offering other fun things such as face-painting, hook-a-duck, balance boards, hula hooping, strongman/woman competition, mask-making, alongside clowning about!30 July, Shoreditch Adventure Playground: A carousel of activities running throughout the day from 10am-5pm, for children and young people aged 6-15 years.30th July, Edge Youth Hub, A celebration BBQ 4 August, National Play Day: We will be celebrating play across our Hubs and award-winning Adventure Playgrounds. There will be play packs and lots of opportunities to play with friends and staff! There will also be a multi-sports festival taking place at Haggerston Park.14 August, Annual Family Summer Picnic - eat outdoors, have a break, enjoy the sunshine (hopefully), and have fun with friends.11 August, Summer Olympic fun day at Finsbury Park.20 August, Summer Showcase, bringing young people past and present from across the borough to share and celebrate achievements of the last ten years. This event will include live entertainment, food, sports and lots of fun activities to get involved in.
22nd July 2021
Rebuilding a Greener Hackney: £26m to tackle climate emergency over next three years
A minimum of £26m is being committed to tackling the climate emergency over the next three years, as an update on the Council’s climate response was presented to Full Council yesterday. The funding continues the £25m three-year pledge made by the Council last year, with over £12m spent in the last year alone on schemes to rebuild a greener Hackney and reduce the borough’s impact on the planet. These include: Dedicating £2m to make the homes of residents on low incomes more energy efficient and reduce their energy bills, through the Council’s Green Homes programme Completing the first solar pilot projects at West Reservoir Water Sports Centre and London Field LidoIntroduced fortnightly collections of residual waste to street level properties in March 2021. After a couple of months of implementation the overall borough recycling rate has already risen to 31%, helping to reduce emissions by recycling moreUpgrading 69% of street lighting to LED so far, completing the remaining 31% by 2023During 2020/21, 13% of the Council's road registered fleet (66 vehicles) were fully electric. Based on total fuel consumed, of the remaining 87% of the fleet, 32% no longer run on fossil fuels - these now run on a renewable biofuel which is approx 92% CO2 efficient and up to 69% NOx efficient depending on the drive cycleSeven further sustainable drainage schemes have been implemented in 2020/21 with almost 1400m2 of highway depaved. These help to mitigate against the risk of floodingOverall totals of 2,500 new street trees have been planted with 11,760 trees planted in parks and green spaces since 2019Approved a new Air Quality Action Plan, adopting World Health Organisation limits for particulate matter pollution48 School Streets implemented (50 schools), helping over 18,000 children on their journey to school15 new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were introduced, creating a wider network of low traffic roads that serve as cycle quietways. About 17% of Hackney’s residents now live in new low traffic neighbourhoods. Consultation has been open on these schemes since they were introduced via Experimental Traffic Orders - attracting over 19,000 responses so far.The work is part of the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in 2019, where it committed to net zero emissions across all its functions by 2040 and a 45% reduction on 2010 levels by 2030. For a full outline of the work completed in the last year, view the report presented to Full Council. To support the Council's existing work programme, it has developed a new Net Zero Energy Strategy, outlining how it will reduce its carbon emissions, and is set to publish a Green Infrastructure Strategy and Local Nature Recovery Plan in the coming months. It will engage with local people on its work to rebuild a Greener Hackney through an engagement event in September and a Climate Summit in November, as well as through consultation on its Green Infrastructure Strategy in the Autumn.
22nd July 2021
Community hero to replace name of slave profiteer at Homerton gardens
A public garden will be renamed after a community stalwart who spent six decades supporting her neighbours after a vote by local residents – the first place to receive a new name in Hackney Council’s Review, Rename, Reclaim project.Kit Crowley Gardens will be the new name for the former Cassland Road Gardens after residents voted for the local role model from a shortlist of four. The decision was confirmed at last night’s Full Council meeting.The move is part of a wider review of the names of local landmarks, streets, buildings and public spaces in Hackney to ensure they reflect the borough’s diverse history, as part of the Council’s anti-racism programme.Kathleen ‘Kit’ Crowley was born in 1918 to an English mother and Barbadian father. Kit experienced poverty and racism, and growing up where survival often relied on the goodness of neighbours shaped her resilience and sense of community spirit. When interviewed in 2013, Kit said: “You survived with each other… you shared, that's what it's all about, caring and sharing, no good keeping everything to yourself cause you can’t eat it all…”Kit moved to the newly built Gascoyne Estate in 1948 as a newlywed where she and her husband raised their family. Kit lived there for 62 years, working at Wentworth Nursery for 32 years. She was described by those that nominated her as ‘a role model for children of the Windrush generation growing up in the area’. Her name will replace Sir John Cass, director of the Royal African Company – an English slave trading company that trafficked enslaved Africans for profit in the late 17th Century. The former Cassland Road Gardens sign now lives in Hackney Museum as an educational artifact.Nearly 650 people took part in the consultation to select the new name after signs bearing the previous name were removed in December 2020. A community steering group of local community leaders, cultural experts, historians, teachers and young people shortlisted four names of people who reflected Hackney’s African or African-Caribbean heritage and had links to the area, including nominations by local people. More than half of Cassland Road residents that voted chose Kit as the winner.The Review, Rename, Reclaim project was set up in June 2020 to listen to the views of residents, partners and others about how to tackle public spaces named after slave and plantation owners. As well as Cass, the review is exploring three other contested figures: Francis Tyssen (1625-1699), absentee plantation owner who profited from an enslaved workforce, was a shareholder of the Royal African Company and was an active member in the East India Company Robert Geffrye (1613-1704), an East India merchant and shareholder of the Royal Afican Company, who directly profited from the trafficking of enslaved AfricansCecil John Rhodes (1853-1902), a British imperialist whose policies and practices have had a lasting negative effect on southern AfricaIt is part of the Council’s anti-racism work in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which also includes a groundbreaking black history curriculum in schools, and programmes to report the Council’s own ethnicity pay gap and make its leadership more inclusive. Who was Kit Crowley?Kit (1918-2018) was a beloved member of the local community and her name was voted for by local residents to be the new name of the gardens. Kit’s father was from Barbados and her mother was English. She had a difficult childhood in a single parent household, surviving poverty and racial prejudice in nearby Bethnal Green.In 1947 Kit married John Crowley shortly afterwards they moved into the newly built Gascoyne Estate. This estate provided spacious homes for those, like Kit, that had known only the cramped tenant housing. Kit was to live on this estate for 62 years before moving to the local care home. Kit worked at the local Wentworth Nursery for 32 years. She knew the value of community spirit, and the importance of looking out for your neighbours. She was described as a role model for the children of the Windrush generation growing up on the Gascoyne Estate.Who was Sir John Cass?The gardens and surrounding areas were first developed by The Sir John Cass Foundation during the 1800s, a charity founded by the will of Sir John Cass (1660-1718). Cass was a politician, as well as an official of, and investor in the Royal African Company. This organisation was granted a monopoly over all English trade to West Africa in 1660.Although trade began with ivory and gold in exchange for textiles and weapons, it soon became focused on the trafficking of enslaved people. Between 1662 and 1731, the Company transported approximately 212,000 enslaved people, of whom 44,000 died on route. Cass retained shares in the company until his death and, like all its investors, would have been fully aware of its activities and intended to profit from this exploitation.
22nd July 2021