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Council news

Young people graduate from supported internship

7th July 2020
17 local Hackney residents have overcome the unprecedented challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic to graduate from this year’s supported internship scheme with Hackney Council and Homerton Hospital – a programme to support young people with Learning Disabilities and Autism into work. The interns, who despite the limitations of working from home since March completed their classroom learning online in interactive classes, were joined by their parents, mentors, colleagues, Cllr Carole Williams and Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville in an online Graduation Ceremony.  During their placements interns have developed valuable skills of how to work remotely both individually and as part of a team and have all successfully completed their BTEC Work Skills Qualification. With the support and dedication to continue the programme from their job coaches, tutors and mentors, graduating interns are now well-equipped with the tools to progress into paid employment. During the ceremony the interns spoke about their experiences and how the programme has readied them for full time paid employment. Adam Hollingworth, 21 who worked in the Communications and Consultation team said: “I’m very grateful to my mentors and my fellow interns for all the support they have given. I have loved this opportunity and feel ready for the working world.”Reflecting on his time as a Supported Intern, Soner Atma, 23 who worked in the Organisational Development team said: “My confidence has built up. I’ve used databases and worked in the busy election team. I never thought I would be able to do that.”Speaking at the ceremony Jenny Mbombo, parent of intern Reece Bendela said: “I would like to thank all of the staff involved in making this programme so great. Reece has learnt valuable life lessons, and skills for life and I’m so grateful to the team for their hard work and dedication.” The programme supports young adults between 16 and 25, with an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) who have a learning disability or autism, providing an academic course, running alongside three work based placements either at Hackney Council or Homerton Hospital.Applications are now open for the 20/21 programme, which is open to both in and out of borough applicants. Apply here: https://www.hackneylocaloffer.co.uk/kb5/hackney/localoffer/service.page?id=v18b7Cf-sKo&localofferchannel=3&medium=email&source=govdelivery

Hundreds of laptops sent to students that need them

6th July 2020
Over 1,500 laptops have been distributed by Hackney Council to disadvantaged school children in Hackney to help them continue learning at home during the coronavirus pandemic. Along with the laptops, over 100 4G routers have been delivered by the Hackney Learning Trust as part of the government’s Covid-19 Technology Support Scheme, which seeks to provide support to disadvantaged Year 10 pupils, care leavers and children with a social worker aged 0-19.  As students in Hackney and beyond are facing the prospect of more home learning, the tech will form an integral part of the education for some pupils over the next few months. However, although the scheme will help some vulnerable students, the borough has received less than half of the devices needed to help pupils who fall into the eligibility criteria and do not have the adequate facilities to learn. The equipment was delivered to the Council last week and is in the process of being distributed to young people over the next couple of weeks. The Council is also looking at other local options to supplement this initial batch of laptops if the Government fails to meet the remaining need.
Alcohol temporarily banned in London Fields
Alcohol is now temporarily banned in London Fields Park following weeks of unacceptably high levels of litter, public urination/defecation and disturbance to local people, which is significantly impacting on the local community and results in people feeling excluded from the park.  Following a successful injunction application, the ban will be in place from tomorrow (Saturday 4 July) for a temporary period pending a review hearing in court on 9 July, and will be enforced by the police and Council enforcement officers.  The Council will then engage further with local people and businesses on the issues and consider longer-term options to ensure the park is safe and remains an inclusive space for all park users.  A significant number of complaints from local residents in nearby streets and estates have been received by the Council – detailing the weekly disruption to their lives, with loud music, drunken behaviour, public urination, littering and public defecation making them feel unwelcome in the park and disrupting them at home. Examples of these complaints are included below.  Some recent weekends have seen thousands of people in the park, with DJs setting up sound systems; people urinating against trees in the park, in people’s gardens and outside their front doors; defecation in the park’s woodland; and dancing, loud music and noise continuing late into the night. As of 25 June, the Council had issued 193 fines at London Fields for urinating, defecating and littering in May and June alone, compared to just nine in the previous 12 months. It also issued 13 antisocial behaviour warning notices in May, compared to just six in the previous 12 months. 101 of the 193 fines were issued to people who do not live in the borough, including 10 issued to people with SW postcodes, 9 with SE postcodes and others from Ilford, Bow, Poplar, Archway, and as far afield as Chelmsford, Bishop’s Stortford, Bexley and St Albans.  Young people have also told the Council’s Young Future’s Commission that the way some people behave in London Fields makes them feel unsafe in the park and concerned about the potential for spread of infection among BAME communities, who are more at risk from coronavirus.  While intended as a last resort, the injunction is aimed at limiting the antisocial behaviour caused by drinking and large-scale music events. It will prohibit people in London Fields from: consuming alcohol; damaging wildlife; possessing, consuming or selling nitrous oxide, laughing gas or CO2; playing loud amplified music; lighting fires or barbecues; driving vehicles or using generators in the park; and leaving litter.  The injunction will give the police the power of arrest for breaches of these conditions.  The Council has already put extensive measures in place to manage issues at London Fields: installing 25 large commercial waste bins at the park, opening toilets with additional cleaning, implementing additional summer waste collections earlier than usual, issuing nearly 200 fines for urinating and littering in May and June and printing dozens of banners reminding people of the guidance.  There are concerns that, as lockdown measures continue and pubs and restaurants continue to be impacted by social distancing restrictions, the issues may get even worse over the summer. In addition to the injunction, the Council is set to recruit an additional 12 enforcement officers to support parks staff to keep London Fields and other parts of the Borough safe and clean over the summer months.  In the meantime, additional security guards are working with the Council to help manage the issues in London Fields.  The measures the Council is taking to manage behaviour at London Fields are coming at a cost of approximately £150,000, at a time when it is under extreme financial pressure from the coronavirus pandemic. Local residents’ views: “Today I witnessed three individual groups of the public using the estate on Richmond Road as a toilet. This is unacceptable behaviour and inconsiderate for the local community as well as peoples homes.”“There are people in this building who haven’t been out for two or three weeks because we have nowhere to go, nowhere that is safe for us to exercise or get some air.”“On Saturday there was a huge gathering/ party/festival taking place in London fields, that went on to at least 3am Sunday morning. My friend told me, they were defecating, and urinating everywhere, in bins, on pavements outside people's home, in kerbs, and through the railings of Gayhurst Nursery sch. Absolutely disgusting..!!!”“We live with two small children not far from London Fields. It is our local park. But we can't go there anymore - we have to drive out of the borough (I am heavily pregnant) instead. All weekend from early afternoon it’s just people drinking, and urinating, and worse, in the childrens’ playground, in the woods (even now it is shut, they were in there today), in all of the bushes, against trees. We can't go the morning after as it’s so grim and we can't let the children run free. It doesn't feel like a place for Hackney residents anymore.”“This is disgraceful. No social distancing and you are letting people trash our park and endanger others. My son was told to f*** off when he told someone not to piss in the park.”“As a resident of the area I usually spending time there on the weekend, but at the moment I do not feel safe to do so. It looked like a festival scene, people being drunk from early afternoon on, plastic and garbage everywhere, masses of people. I have never seen London Fields that busy, not even pre-lockdown. How can you defend that nothing is being done to parents with kids, who definitely cannot use the park at the moment (I don’t have kids and don’t feel comfortable there)?”Views from members of the Council’s Young Future’s Commission, which looks into young people’s experiences in Hackney, how they view the borough, respond to its challenges and how they feel about Council services:"I live opposite London Fields, there is a lot of antisocial behaviour, drinking and parties. It doesn’t feel welcome - it feels unsafe.”"There is no social distancing - I was scared to go through there. I wouldn't want to affect anyone" "More people should be concerned about others. If they think they’re in the high risk category, they should stay at home, even if they don't have the virus they should stay at home. Today I went to London Fields and it was packed.”FAQsWhat effect do you think this will have on nearby businesses?We appreciate that this may have an effect on some types of trade. We’ve worked with businesses to encourage them to trade responsibly, including by asking some traders on Broadway Market not to sell alcohol in open containers. We are speaking to businesses about the proposed injunction, which will not ban the sale of alcohol. We’ve asked businesses to support us by letting customers know that the Council is applying for a temporary ban on the consumption of alcohol in the park. Are you anticipating a knock-on effect on nearby parks?Because London Fields has become a destination for people who are not local residents - including one weekend where minibuses were seen arriving at the park - we are not anticipating a significant knock-on effect on nearby parks. Full details of the injunction: hackney.gov.uk/london-fields
3rd July 2020
Stay safe in Hackney this weekend: supporting businesses to reopen
Residents and businesses are being urged to act responsibly as Hackney Council supports pubs, restaurants and other businesses and venues in reopening safely this Saturday. The Council’s enforcement teams and extra police officers will be patrolling over the weekend to help keep residents safe – alongside support, information and free materials for businesses and their staff to help them follow Government coronavirus rules.  Customers should follow the rules and instructions put in place by businesses – including washing their hands regularly, watching their distance and wearing a face covering where 2m social distancing isn’t possible. Shoppers will also be welcome back at more Council-run street markets, with Hoxton and Kingsland Road markets reopening on Saturday, and Leonard Street, Old Street and Narrow Way markets reopening from Monday. Ridley Road Market has remained open throughout the crisis providing essential supplies and continues to be, with details about Chatsworth Road and Broadway markets available soon. Strict safety measures will be in place, including crowd barriers, two-metre floor markings and one-way systems, with social distancing advisors on hand and signage displayed to help customers. Council play areas and outdoor gyms will remain closed this weekend, while safety checks are completed on equipment that has not been used since March, and signage is produced to advise on their safe use. The Council hopes to reopen play areas and outdoor gyms in parks from next week. From 4 July, pubs, restaurants, hotels and other businesses, as well as places of worship, will be able to reopen as long as they follow the Government’s covid-secure guidelines. Residents can also meet in groups with up to two households, and meet outdoors in groups of up to six people from any household.The Council’s Hackney Business Network has run advice sessions and distributed free social distancing materials over the last few weeks to help businesses plan to reopen.Licensing, environmental health and trading standards officers will also be working over the weekend, visiting businesses to address any concerns raised. If residents are worried a business isn’t operating safely, they can contact technicalbusinesssupport@hackney.gov.ukThe Council is already seeking an injunction to temporarily ban drinking in London Fields Park following weeks of unacceptably high levels of litter, public urination/defecation and disturbance to local people.Broadway Market remains closed to through-traffic and pavements remain widened at several locations across the borough to make it easier for people to maintain social distancing and shop safely, and more details about how the Council will support businesses with other measures – including pavement trading – will be published in the coming weeks.The Council is also providing a comprehensive advice park to churches, mosques, synagogues and other religious buildings to help them reopen further – allowing some services.The full guidance about what you can and can't do from 4 July is available on the Government's coronavirus website. For detailed information about business support, visit the business support pages.
3rd July 2020
Council to seek temporary alcohol ban at London Fields
Hackney Council is seeking an injunction to temporarily ban drinking in London Fields Park following weeks of unacceptably high levels of litter, public urination/defecation and disturbance to local people, which is significantly impacting on the local community and results in people feeling excluded from the park.  The injunction, if it is granted by the Court, will be in place for a temporary period while the Council engages further with local people and businesses on the issues and considers longer-term options to ensure the park is safe and remains an inclusive space for all park users.  A significant number of complaints from local residents in nearby streets and estates have been received by the Council - detailing the weekly disruption to their lives, with loud music, drunken behaviour, public urination, littering and public defecation making them feel unwelcome in the park and disrupting them at home. Examples of these complaints are included below.  Some recent weekends have seen thousands of people in the park, with DJs setting up sound systems; people urinating against trees in the park, in people’s gardens and outside their front doors; defecation in the park’s woodland; and dancing, loud music and noise continuing late into the night.  As of 25 June, the Council had issued 193 fines at London Fields for urinating, defecating and littering in May and June alone, compared to just nine in the previous 12 months. It also issued 13 antisocial behaviour warning notices in May, compared to just six in the previous 12 months. 101 of the 193 fines were issued to people who do not live in the borough, including 10 issued to people with SW postcodes, 9 with SE postcodes and others from Ilford, Bow, Poplar, Archway, and as far afield as Chelmsford, Bishop’s Stortford, Bexley and St Albans.  Young people have also told the Council’s Young Future’s Commission that the way some people behave in London Fields makes them feel unsafe in the park and concerned about the potential for spread of infection among BAME communities, who are more at risk from coronavirus.  While intended as a last resort, the injunction, if granted by the Court, is aimed at limiting the antisocial behaviour caused by drinking and large-scale music events. It will prohibit people in London Fields from: consuming alcohol; damaging wildlife; possessing, consuming or selling nitrous oxide, laughing gas or nitrous oxide; playing loud amplified music; lighting fires or barbecues; driving vehicles or using generators in the park; and leaving litter.  The injunction, if granted by the Court, would give the police the power of arrest for breaches of these conditions.  The Council has already put extensive measures in place to manage issues at London Fields: installing 25 large commercial waste bins at the park, opening toilets with additional cleaning, implementing additional summer waste collections earlier than usual, issuing nearly 200 fines for urinating and littering in May and June and printing dozens of banners reminding people of the guidance.  There are concerns that, as lockdown measures continue and pubs and restaurants continue to be impacted by social distancing restrictions, the issues may get even worse over the summer. In addition to the injunction, the Council is set to recruit an additional 12 enforcement officers to support parks staff to keep London Fields and other parts of the Borough safe and clean over the summer months.  In the meantime, additional security guards are working with the Council to help manage the issues in London Fields.  The measures the Council is taking to manage behaviour at London Fields are coming at a cost of approximately £150,000, at a time when it is under extreme financial pressure from the coronavirus pandemic. Local residents’ views: “Today I witnessed three individual groups of the public using the estate on Richmond Road as a toilet. This is unacceptable behaviour and inconsiderate for the local community as well as peoples homes.”“There are people in this building who haven’t been out for two or three weeks because we have nowhere to go, nowhere that is safe for us to exercise or get some air.”“On Saturday there was a huge gathering/ party/festival taking place in London fields, that went on to at least 3am Sunday morning. My friend told me, they were defecating, and urinating everywhere, in bins, on pavements outside people's home, in kerbs, and through the railings of Gayhurst Nursery sch. Absolutely disgusting..!!!”“We live with two small children not far from London Fields. It is our local park. But we can't go there anymore - we have to drive out of the borough (I am heavily pregnant) instead. All weekend from early afternoon it’s just people drinking, and urinating, and worse, in the childrens’ playground, in the woods (even now it is shut, they were in there today), in all of the bushes, against trees. We can't go the morning after as it’s so grim and we can't let the children run free. It doesn't feel like a place for Hackney residents anymore.”“This is disgraceful. No social distancing and you are letting people trash our park and endanger others. My son was told to f*** off when he told someone not to piss in the park.”“As a resident of the area I usually spending time there on the weekend, but at the moment I do not feel safe to do so. It looked like a festival scene, people being drunk from early afternoon on, plastic and garbage everywhere, masses of people. I have never seen London Fields that busy, not even pre-lockdown. How can you defend that nothing is being done to parents with kids, who definitely cannot use the park at the moment (I don’t have kids and don’t feel comfortable there)?”Views from members of the Council’s Young Future’s Commission, which looks into young people’s experiences in Hackney, how they view the borough, respond to its challenges and how they feel about Council services:"I live opposite London Fields, there is a lot of antisocial behaviour, drinking and parties. It doesn’t feel welcome - it feels unsafe.”"There is no social distancing - I was scared to go through there. I wouldn't want to affect anyone" "More people should be concerned about others. If they think they’re in the high risk category, they should stay at home, even if they don't have the virus they should stay at home. Today I went to London Fields and it was packed.”FAQsWhat effect do you think this will have on nearby businesses?We appreciate that this may have an effect on some types of trade. We’ve worked with businesses to encourage them to trade responsibly, including by asking some traders on Broadway Market not to sell alcohol in open containers. We are speaking to businesses about the proposed injunction, which will not ban the sale of alcohol. We’ve asked businesses to support us by letting customers know that the Council is applying for a temporary ban on the consumption of alcohol in the park. Are you anticipating a knock-on effect on nearby parks?Because London Fields has become a destination for people who are not local residents - including one weekend where minibuses were seen arriving at the park - we are not anticipating a significant knock-on effect on nearby parks. Full details of the injunction: The Council is asking for an injunction which will prohibit any person from doing the following:The Defendants, unless the Council has given prior written permission, are forbidden, whether by themselves or by instructing or encouraging others, from:1. Organising or participating in any of the following activities in the Prescribed Area shown on the attached map marked Schedule 1:i. consuming anything which a Police Officer or Authorised Person reasonably believes to be alcoholii. failing to comply with a request made by a Police Officer or Authorised Person to surrender anything which is reasonably believed to be alcoholiii. unlicensed music events and/or Ravesiv. the destruction or damage of trees, shrubs, plants or any other flora, fauna, woodland or wildlifev. the possession, consumption or sale of nitrous oxide, laughing gas or nitrous oxide, save when used for a valid and demonstrable medicinal purposes or is given to an animal as a medical remedy.vi. the playing of loud amplified musicvii. the lighting of fires, stoves, barbeques and/or naked flames (with the exception of a cigarette lighter) on any equipment or entertainment deviceviii. the entry of vehicles, including any engine or generator, onto any part of the Restricted Area, with the exception of vehicles/engines/generators belonging to the emergency services.ix. leaving litter in the Prescribed AreaThe Council intends to ask for a power of arrest to be attached to the above clauses.
2nd July 2020