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Council news

Rent waived and deferred for Council’s charity and commercial tenants

13th July 2020
Charities and businesses in Hackney Council buildings will be offered further rent holidays and support as part of a package to support the local economy as lockdown measures are eased.  Around 50 charities and voluntary sector tenants will receive at least a further one-month rent-free period throughout July, following a three-month holiday from April to June this year worth £62,000.  The Council has offered tailored agreements with 300 other commercial tenants – including further rent deferrals, changes to leases and additional support – as they start to reopen, following an automatic three-month deferral from April to June. Other support for all businesses in Hackney has included:  Around £60million in emergency coronavirus grants paid to more than 4,000 businesses A new £3.4m discretionary fund for other firms, with applications now being processed Business rates relief for nearly all businesses in Hackney  Advice and support from the Council’s Hackney Business Network, including free social distancing materials and information packs Using all the conversations we have had with businesses to improve our response and advocate on behalf of local businesses for more support from Government The Council has begun contacting all commercial and voluntary sector tenants directly to discuss what additional assistance they may require, including with their rental payments in order for them to remain viable, with likely outcomes including further rent deferrals and renegotiations of lease terms to reduce rents going forward. For general information and updates on the Council's response to the coronavirus and for links providing details of available support and advice, visit hackney.gov.uk/support-for-business and Hackney’s Business NetworkFor a list of currently available funding opportunities available for Voluntary and Community Sector Organisations in Hackney to mitigate the effects of coronavirus, isit, hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-funding-support

New mental health support website for young people

10th July 2020
The new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Alliance website for City & Hackney went live last month. The website contains information about mental health support services for parents, young people, children and professionals. It has a new 'Resources' tab as well as an 'Events' section. In addition, a YouTube channel has also been set up where service users will be able to access videos and webinars created by members of the alliance.  Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntionette Bramble wants to encourage young people to use the site to support their mental wellbeing.
New Community Partnerships Network launched to ensure long-term coronavirus support
A new partnership between Hackney Council and the local voluntary and community sector has been set up to ensure continued support for vulnerable residents affected by the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Called the Community Partnerships Network, the new arrangement will build on the community spirit shown in the borough during the coronavirus outbreak to provide continued and sustainable support to residents who need it, bringing together Council help for vulnerable residents with the grassroots initiatives that have given a lifeline to Hackney’s communities. As part of a huge community effort in recent months, the Council has worked alongside local organisations and mutual aid groups to support those who need it most – including delivering up to 1,600 emergency food parcels a day to residents forced to shield or self-isolate and taking more than 5,000 calls through the coronavirus helpline, which matches requests for help with Council services or volunteer partners. With lockdown restrictions now easing, shielding ending on 31 July and the need for food parcels reducing, the Community Partnerships Network will refocus this support in line with the changing impact of the pandemic and needs of Hackney’s most vulnerable residents, ensuring this can be maintained in the long-term. The Community Partnerships Network will include: Maintaining the Council’s coronavirus helpline through which residents - or others on their behalf - can request support such as accessing food, prescriptions, befriending services, social care, or digital access. Working with Hackney’s community sector to help them support residents, from grants and training to logistics and storage, including a food surplus hub run by the community, accessible to any organisation offering free food. Continuing to match volunteers with organisations that can support those who need assistance. The Council and community groups working together to secure grants, funding and support for local initiatives.  Being ready to restart emergency support in the event of new outbreaks or local lockdowns. Partnership working has already proven successful in securing £80,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and food donations from investment bank Investec. Residents seeking support for themselves or someone else through the Community Partnerships Network can still contact the helpline on 020 8356 3111 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or visit hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-support
8th July 2020
Young people graduate from supported internship
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
7th July 2020
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