- Get vaccinatedFind a vaccination centre or walk-in clinic near youMore on vaccinations
- Support for businessesFind out about grants, finance, restrictions and general supportMore on business support
- Digital skillsResources and guidance on how you can improve your digital skillsMore on digital skills
- Do you need financial help?Find out what financial help you could be entitled to and how to apply for itMore on financial help
- Find support services mapFind organisations that are open, but providing an alternative to their usual activities in response to coronavirusView the map
- Parenting courses and family supportFree advice and information on childcare, paying for childcare and funded places for 2-4 year oldsMore on parenting courses
Find out more
Why we are making the difficult decision to propose closing two children's centres
22nd October 2021
Cllr Caroline Woodley, Cabinet Member for Early Years, said: “The past 18 months have been a once-in-a-generation challenge: our country, borough -- and every household -- have been impacted like no other time in recent memory. “It’s been incredibly tough for the Council too: the financial help we’ve provided, and are continuing to provide, to help navigate the crisis is unprecedented. “We’ve rightly spent millions of pounds supporting residents and businesses through the pandemic, including millions supporting our schools; families with children on free school meals; and the clinically extremely vulnerable.“We’ve done this while responding to increasing demand for our services in the most challenging of circumstances; whilst also feeling the severe impact of income loss; and now we are faced with rising inflation and commodity costs. We also stood with the whole early years sector at the height of the COVID-19 crisis making sure that local and Government schemes addressed issues around grants and furlough.“This all comes on top of more than a decade of sustained core Government cuts, under which Hackney has suffered the biggest funding reduction, per household, of any London borough. “Until now, we have been reducing spending and making savings in a way that minimises the impact on front-line services. But despite this, we will still need to make millions of pounds of savings this coming year, and we will be left with funding challenges that will impact us all, for many years to come.“We know how important early education, early help and affordable childcare is and yet it remains seriously underfunded. Local authorities across the country have been continually calling for more support for this sector; we simply cannot keep promising to carry on as usual for less and less money - it is unsustainable. Alongside colleagues and the Mayor, I have campaigned, marched, written, Twitter-stormed, petitioned, lobbied, and given evidence to Parliament on behalf of the whole early years sector - all this so far has been ignored by Central Government.“We’ve held off proposing cuts to our children’s centre provision for as long as we possibly can, but we have exhausted all other options, and now must make the difficult decision to consult on shutting two children’s centres in order to make the drastic service savings required and safeguard our wider network of provision. This isn’t about balancing the Council’s wider books by cutting affordable child care. It is about reducing unacceptable pressures on service providers and making our services more sustainable, reprovisioning our children's centres, and targeting resources to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.“Hackney Council has one of the highest numbers of children's centres of any local authority in London and we still will even after these proposed changes. We have spent the last 17 years developing quality provision in all these centres - all of which have been judged either good or outstanding by Ofsted. “We’re so incredibly proud of these centres and our staff; and it is deeply frustrating that despite our calls to central government - to work with local authorities on establishing a funding model that fully recognises the costs of delivery - we now have little choice but to make these stark proposals. We would never consider closing a children’s centre unless there was no other option. “In making these proposals, we’ve looked very carefully at various factors. This includes occupancy: there are approximately 30 vacancies across both sites. A 32% vacancy rate in Fernbank; and 23% vacancy rate in Hillside. This means there are approximately 11 out of 41 full time equivalent spaces unfilled each day, despite work with both centres to turn this around.“Vacancies have a direct impact on each centre’s budget, adding pressure where there is little room to give. On top of this, there are ongoing negotiations with the owners of the Fernbank premises around the increase in the cost of a lease by an estimated £80,000 each year. At the same time, Fernbank requires costly maintenance works, such as boiler replacement and significant remedial works, which are estimated at £120,000. Alone these factors might not lead to closure, but combined with other challenges they make the situation harder.“Other factors that we have taken into consideration when making these proposals are: There are five children centres within walking distance of each other, which would allow children to access ‘stay and play’ sessions at the remaining three centres, and across Hackney.The centres are situated in an area where increasing numbers of children are attending independent settings, up from 1,345 in 2020 to 1,446, with fewer children in the community attending mainstream provision.“We estimate that 29 children in Hillside and 16 in Fernbank are likely to be impacted by the time any changes happen next year; the remaining children will have moved into schools. “We know this is an incredibly disappointing and worrying time for these local parents and carers. We will do absolutely everything in our power to support them and help them access alternative provision where needed; and these children will be given priority where there are vacancies at other children's centres, including at the three within a short walking distance. We have already begun mapping this and won’t leave any family without support.“We have also committed to reviewing arrangements for baby places as part of any reprovisioning of a children’s centre in the north of the borough.“We know the proposed changes will have a significant impact on staff. Should the closures go ahead, staff will be supported and will have the opportunity for redeployment into vacant positions in other Council-run centres and they will have access to the Council’s full redeployment list. We are keen to continue to work with staff and unions around these proposals and minimise any negative impact.“Lastly, I’d like to emphasise that we do not want Hackney’s children’s centres to disappear from our Early Years service one-by-one, as vacancies rise and budget pressures mount. The Early Years Strategy that has also gone out for consultation - alongside these proposals - offers a set of principles that we want to uphold as we seek to reconfigure our provision. “Despite the challenges, the Mayor and I are committed to making important changes and improvements, and channeling our limited resources where they will have the biggest impact for those who need them most. These include: creating ‘early years hubs’, one in the north and one in the south of the borough, for children with complex needs; developing six strategic children’s centres into ‘children and family hubs’ that bring together family support for children of ages 0 to 19 years; and joining Early Years and health visiting teams to provide combined support and guidance for young children and their families.”Take part in the consultation here. Read our FAQs here.
Hackney Museum celebrates borough’s African heritage communities with exhibition and events
22nd October 2021
Hackney Museum is inviting residents to share stories of being African in Hackney, and help shape how African heritage in the borough is discussed and understood, in an exhibition and through a series of free online events.The ‘In Conversation’ workshops, led by writer, researcher and ‘African Object Lessons’ podcaster, Benjamina Efua Dadzie, are part of ‘Being African in Hackney: 1960s-2020s’, a new temporary exhibition at Hackney Museum telling the stories of people moving to, living, working, studying and growing up in Hackney, from the 1960s to today. The exhibition is open until 15 January 2022.This theme continues on 18 November with a talk by Professor Hakim Adi, the first historian of African heritage to become a professor of history in Britain. Professor Adi, Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at the University of Chichester, will explore how Africans have often been hidden in ‘Black British' history.Hackney Museum holds free exhibitions and live and online events throughout the year allowing residents and visitors to explore Hackney's fascinating past and present. The borough’s tradition of welcoming newcomers means that its changing history encompasses the world-wide roots of many communities, revealed through the Museum’s wide collection of interviews, objects and images.Notes for editorsBeing African in Hackney: 1960s-2020s is a new temporary exhibition which tells the stories of people moving and living, working, studying and growing up in Hackney, from the 1960s to today. The exhibition is open until 15 January 2022. For more information on the exhibition, to book events and view opening times visit: https://hackney-museum.hackney.gov.uk/exhibitions/Follow Hackney Museum on social media: Twitter: @HackneyMuseum, Instagram: @HackneyMuseum, Facebook: www.facebook.com/HackneyMuseum Hackney Black History Season - Hackney Black History In The Making - which lasts until December 2021, marks national Black History Month with an extended programme of events to further uplift the work of Hackney Council teams and the local community who acknowledge Black history 365 days a year. www.lovehackney.uk/black-history-seasonFollow Hackney Black History on Facebook www.facebook.com/HackneyBlackHistoryBenjamina Efua Dadzie is a writer and researcher, with interest in West African cultures, especially Akan and Yoruba, and the history and making of the African diaspora. In her work she explores agency, representation and self-determination. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Archaeology from the University of Manchester, and a Master’s in the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas from the University of East Anglia. Benjamina hosts the podcast https://africanobjectlessons.org/ Professor Hakim Adi, BA Hons., PhD (London): Professor of the History of Africa and the African Diaspora at the University of Chichester, is a British historian and scholar who specializes in African affairs. He has written widely on Pan-Africanism and the modern political history of Africa and the Africa diaspora, including the 2018 book Pan-Africanism: A History.
Roadmap to net zero: Council sets out plans for next eight months
A new version of a roadmap to net zero has been released by Hackney Council in the run-up to COP26, setting out the action it is taking to rebuild a greener Hackney, tackle the climate emergency and engage with local people on this work over the next eight months. This forms the first part of longer-term plans to reach net zero emissions by 2040, which means the Council will no longer be a net contributor to climate change by that point. The Council has been codesigning a green recovery engagement event with the local voluntary sector over the past year, which it will host this week as the first part of longer-term engagement to be kickstarted by a climate summit in the new year. Already this year, the Council has: Planted 2,500 mature street trees and 12,000 trees in parks and open spaces, towards a commitment to plant 36,000 by 2022. We work closely with community groups, such as Hackney Tree Musketeers, to deliver this programme, which will increase canopy cover from 20 to 30%Switched Council electricity supply to 100% renewableLaunched London’s first borough-wide thermal efficiency programme, installing insulation at 100 households and trialling home heat pumps, and a solar pilot programme, installing solar panels at two leisure facilities, with projected lifetime carbon savings of 2,259,505kWh. Both are delivered through Hackney Light and Power, its Council-owned energy services companyIntroduced 40 new School Streets - helping over 14,000 children walk and cycle to school - and 15 new LTNs - where through-traffic is restricted to encourage walking and cycling. Introduced fortnightly residual waste collections, with initial evidence indicating a 3.5% rise in recycling ratesAdopted a new local plan requiring development to contribute to biodiversity net gain, and major developments to install living roofsExpanded its glyphosate-free zone, and started expanding it to all 237 green spaces on its housing estates, as part of a commitment to reduce herbicide-use and increase biodiversityConverted 1400 sqm of space on its roads and pavements to rain gardens, helping to reduce impact on the public sewer system and increase wildlife diversity.Over the next few months, the Council is:Tendering for thousands of electric vehicle charging points to be introduced across Hackney by 2030Launching the second phase of the Green Homes programme, which has already retrofitted 100 privately owned homesLaunching a new Library of Things in DalstonPlanting 2,500 more street trees, as part of a commitment to plant a total of over 35,000 trees in the borough by 2022Hosting a green recovery event to kick start longer-term engagement with residents and businesses on tackling the climate emergency, including a climate summit in January. Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, and Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm, Cllr Mete Coban, are visiting Glasgow to attend COP26. In order to further progress this work and reach net zero by 2040, the Council is currently finalising a borough-wide emissions assessment, which will help the Council to further prioritise action to reach net zero. The Council has direct control over 5% of the borough’s emissions and influence over a further third, with the rest made up from sources like aviation, domestic energy and transport. It is also finalising plans for biodiversity, green infrastructure and net zero, and is one of the first councils to develop a nature recovery plan, working with stakeholders to identify nature recovery areas, already meeting on requirement of the draft Environment Bill. Read the full version of the roadmap to net zero: https://news.hackney.gov.uk/download/1092969/hackneyroadmaptonetzerooctober2021.pdf
20th October 2021
Record 28 green flags for Hackney’s parks
Hackney’s parks and green spaces have been awarded their highest-ever number of green flags, the award given to the very best parks in the UK.Twenty-eight parks - up from 27 last year - now meet the tough criteria set out by the Green Flag Award, with maintenance, biodiversity, community involvement and management all part of the judging process.Shore Gardens by Devonshire Hall on the Frampton Park Estate is the newest addition to Hackney’s group of green-flagged parks, with Mayor Philip Glanville, and Cabinet Member for Families, Early Years, Parks and Play, Cllr Caroline Woodley, joining park staff there this month to celebrate the landmark achievement. Commenting on the announcement of this year’s winners, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “As Green Flag Award celebrates 25 years of raising thestandard, Keep Britain Tidy is delighted to be the custodian of a scheme that does so much to ensure our parks and green spaces go from strength to strength. "At a time when parks have been at the heart of every community across the country it is perhaps not surprising that 95% of the public thinks that their local parks and green spaces need to be protected.“This is why the Green Flag Award is so important. It ensures that parks and green spaces are managed to the highest standards and are safe and accessible for everyone to enjoy and we look forward to the next 25 years.”The Council is committed to continuous improvement of its parks and green spaces, with hundreds of new trees planted in its parks this year, refurbished toilet facilities in London Fields and Clissold Park, and significant improvement projects being delivered in Daubeney Fields, Shoreditch Park, Abney Park, Springfield Park and a number of play areas across the borough.The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.Research carried out by YouGov for Keep Britain Tidy over the summer shows just how important parks are to the British public.It reveals that having access to a quality park or green space helped improve people’s mental health with almost six in ten (59%) saying they felt less stressed when using the park and 55% saying they felt more positive in general. That’s why it’s important that parks are managed to the Green Flag Award standardThe survey also showed that more than half of people (53%) visit a park or green space at least once a week and more than nine in ten (93%) think that parks and green spaces are important to their local community.A full list of Hackney’s Green Flag Award winning parks can be found at https://hackney.gov.uk/parks-a-z.
19th October 2021
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Deputy Mayor for Housing Supply, Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy: a major milestone for Dalston
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Deputy Mayor for Housing Supply, Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy, marks a major milestone for Dalston, as work on the £1.5 million improvements to Ridley Road and Ashwin Street get under way:What do people love about Dalston? What makes it, as Time Out magazine puts it, “one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods”? And how can a Council and the community it serves protect its unique character and ensure it has an even better future? These are the questions that everyone set out to answer when the Council began the Dalston Conversation in 2018, which involved 5,000 residents, business owners and visitors, one of our biggest ever community conversations in Hackney. The responses led to the preparation of the draft Dalston Plan, which was launched in May this year, setting out how new homes, workspaces and community facilities could be delivered in a way that celebrates Dalston’s heritage and puts local residents, organisations and businesses first, all based on the community’s priorities. A major concern raised by many locals has been the future of Ridley Road street market, which has been at the heart of Dalston for generations. This is why the Council has acted to secure and invest in its future as a matter of priority. Last week, work began on a £1 million investment that will see improvements such as new street trees, plantings, places to sit, free public wifi, new market stalls, cashless payment machines and improved facilities for traders and better public spaces along the whole of Riley Road for residents, visitors and traders. This is part of a £1.5 million investment from Hackney Council and the Mayor of London and also includes nearby Ashwin Street. The investment enables the Council to realise its commitment to work with residents and local businesses that make Dalston the great place it is, and to bring forward improvements that will help strengthen its future. Designed in collaboration with the street market’s traders, local businesses, residents and visitors over the last year, the plans will help create a greener, safer and more accessible market for everyone, keeping the street market at the heart of Dalston and as the genuinely affordable and diverse market we all know and love.However, the Dalston Conversation didn’t conclude with the draft Dalston Plan. Neither does the work in Ridley Road mark the end of Dalston’s ambitions. During the summer, the Council listened to the community’s feedback through drop-in events, a walking tour and other live events, as well as collating online feedback, which has seen more than 450 people respond to the plans. These describe the community’s priorities, including new homes, workspaces, green spaces, culture, nightlife, transport and community safety. The proposals will ensure Dalston continues to be a great place to live, work and visit for generations to come.It is plain for all to see that the pace of change in Dalston has accelerated in recent years. Its popularity has increased dramatically as it has become a centre for creativity, culture, entertainment and nightlife. This has brought about major benefits – a wide range of diverse businesses on the high street, job opportunities for local people and better connections with the rest of London through improved transport infrastructure. It is worth remembering just how much of what people love about Dalston is backed, run or owned by the Council, from the Rio Cinema to the Bootstrap charity and the Arcola building. These amazing places are unlocked by the talented and enterprising people who run them, but are backed by long-term and stable Council ownership. This plays a huge part in ensuring Dalston's success.As the borough’s population continues to grow; as landowners put forward proposals on sites they own; and as Hackney’s high streets and town centres adapt to the short and long-term impacts of the coronavirus crisis, it is difficult to control all the changes coming to Dalston.That said, the Council is serious about its responsibility to respect the character and heritage of the town centre and listening to your concerns, ambitions and priorities is enabling it to act and ensure that Dalston remains a special place.The Dalston Plan sets out the dedicated planning guidance that shapes new development. This identifies our collective priorities alongside respecting and enhancing character and heritage - not only Ridley Road street market, but other much-loved locations such as the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, Ashwin Street and Gillette Square. It looks at how the town centre can accommodate new homes and workspaces and sets out community-led objectives to provide genuinely affordable spaces in which to live or work.To guide new development, ten ‘opportunity sites’ have been identified in the plan that together could accommodate over 600 new homes – a minimum of half of which should be genuinely affordable – and alongside the new homes, the plan also describes new workspaces and calls for a portion of these spaces to be affordable, their rents restricted to 60% of the market rents. As Hackney rebuilds and reopens after the pandemic, the Council is working to deliver a fair and inclusive recovery for Dalston, creating a local economy that enables community wealth building and inclusive regeneration. We must ensure that policy and actions on the ground embrace tradition and equip the town centre to meet the opportunities and challenges of the future. The Dalston Plan, created from the thousands of contributions, is the guiding hand that will shape a great future for Dalston.
19th October 2021
Hackney Archives celebrates Black History Season with a tribute to reggae legend Ruddy Ranks
A tribute to a legend of the Reggae and Sound System industry Horace Alexander Burke (aka Ruddy Ranks) forms part of this year's Hackney Archives Black History Season. Hackney's Black History Season highlights the contribution and legacy of Hackney’s African and African Caribbean communities, and Hackney Archives is supplementing the work they do all year-round to make Black history visible and accessible with a line-up of free events to celebrate the rich and intricate stories of Black Britain.The tribute to Reggae legend Ruddy Ranks, who passed away in summer 2021, in collaboration with BSix College, honours the memory of Ruddy and the unique digital sound he pioneered alongside his production partner Golden Eye. Golden Eye (formerly Red Eye), Sound System aficionado Sterling (Metro Glory S.O.S - aka Trojan B.I.), Owen Groove, Marshayne (aka Wayne Marshall) and members of Ruddy's family will dig deep into their personal archives and share music and memories of Ruddy's unique contribution to local, national and international music.Hackney Archives Black History Season programme will continue until December with a range of different events including an introduction session to using Hackney Archives' online catalogue, zine making workshops to learn how to create content that will amplify Black voices and culture, a live streamed set from Amaroun, the latest project from multi-talented producer and songwriter Jay Brown, and an open mic night to share music, poetry or prose.Notes for editorsHackney ArchivesResidents can book a place at upcoming events organised by Hackney Archives for Black History Season at www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/hackney-archives-30909670649. Hackney Archives preserves historic documents, photos, maps and information to help Hackney residents explore and share the borough's rich past. If you are interested in the history of a building or street in the borough, a Hackney based business or organisation, or would like to know more about family members who lived in Hackney, then book an appointment with Hackney Archives at www.hackney.gov.uk/archives-visiting Ruddy RanksHorace Alexander Burke (aka Ruddy Ranks) was a Reggae musician and multi-instrumentalist who worked with untold Jamaican and English artists. He was also a music producer at his studio Dub House Production and New Kings Studio.Black History Season This year’s Hackney Black History Season - Hackney Black History In The Making - celebrates with an extended season of events to further uplift the work of Council teams, leaders and the local community who acknowledge Black history 365 days a year.www.lovehackney.uk/black-history-season See the full lin-up of events here: www.lovehackney.uk/black-history-season-events
19th October 2021