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Council news

London Fields Lido to expand for first time since 1932

21st January 2020
London Fields Lido is set to expand its swimming facilities for the first time since 1932, after Hackney Council’s Cabinet approved £4.5m funding for a learner pool at the much-loved community venue.  The popular outdoor lido has seen visitor numbers increase from 120,000 when it reopened in 2006 to 330,000 last year, and now the Council is keen to build a new learner pool at the site to make it more accessible for children and adults to learn to swim.  The proposals will be subject to a full public consultation after a design team is appointed in 2021. Work to build the new pool could begin in 2022. London Fields Lido was opened in 1932. It closed in 1988 and fell into a state of disrepair before being reopened by Hackney Council in 2006 after a campaign by local residents. It was further modernised and renewed in 2017 with a new reception area, refurbished changing rooms and toilet facilities, new internal lockers, new external showers and a full refurbishment of the pool tank and tiles.

SEND co-design group presents recommendations

20th January 2020
Parents, professionals, campaigners and councillors have presented Hackney Council with a number of recommendations that they believe will help to further improve special educational needs provision in the borough. The Council has welcomed the report and the key recommendations will be developed into a model for Cabinet to consider. SEND provision in Hackney was recently judged to be ‘good’ by Ofsted, and the Council hopes these recommendations will help to drive further improvements for children, young people and their families. The SEND Co-design Group developed the proposals over an 18-month period, following a commitment from the Council to co-design a new model for funding Education Health Care Plans (EHCPs). This funding, known as ‘high needs funding’ is allocated to schools to support children with additional needs. The Group’s key recommendation is that the current approach of allocating funding through five unequal funding bands (known as ‘resource levels’) should be reconsidered. The Group believes that more evenly spaced, incremental funding levels could be a better approach to funding EHCPs.  They fed back that they think current funding levels are too uneven and out of date, and that a new approach would allow the Council to allocate more specific funding levels and more easily track how this funding is supporting pupils’ development.  The Group also identified a number of issues around how the Council could better support families, which the Council has committed to embed throughout the SEND service. The Council will report back on this progress later in the year. The Group had 16 members, and was comprised of parents, teachers, specialists, campaigners and back bench councillors, led by an independent chair. It was tasked with considering and advising on options for a model that makes the best use of resources in the wake of severe funding pressures. They met on a regular basis to discuss best practice from across the country and to share ideas for how EHCPs could be funded in a more sustainable way that meetsthe needs of children in Hackney.    The Children and Families Act 2014, which introduced ECHPs, led to councils becoming responsible for providing additional support for young people from 0-25, rather than during statutory school age. This means the Council now supports about 34% more children than when the Act came in - a total of about 2,000. The Government has not funded this additional need and only recently began to address the funding shortfall.In 2018/19 the Government gave Hackney £42.1m in High Needs funding, but the Council spent closer to £50m. We expect this overspend to increase by about £1.7m each year. So far the Council has found this money by making savings elsewhere, using reserves, one-off grants and moving money from other education funds, but this is not sustainable in the long run.Read the full report: www.hackneylocaloffer.co.uk/sendconsultations
New plan to improve mental health support and services in City of London and Hackney
A new plan to improve mental health support and services in the City of London and Hackney has been launched to target more people including those that are homeless and rough sleepers. This is the first joint Mental Health Strategy for City and Hackney, developed by City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group, (CCG), London Borough of Hackney and the City of London Corporation. It aims to address undiagnosed mental health needs of people who 'slip through the net' if they do not access services early enough and end up in A & E, or using ambulance and 111 services. The strategy aims to improve access to support and services for these residents.  Other groups that the plan aims to help include people with alcohol and drug addictions, LGBTQ+ people, older adults and BME groups such as young black men and boys. Young black men and boys are under-represented in early engagement of services and support, but over-represented in more acute services like inpatient admissions, or detained under the Mental Health Act needing urgent treatment for mental health disorders.  Last year Hackney Council and City of London Corporation were also the first governing bodies in London to sign up to the ‘Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health’, a national agreement to help improve mental health and wellbeing for residents. The Concordat outlines a series of actions that all partners can take to ensure there is better collaboration to improve mental health care, promotion and prevention. Hackney and City of London are supported by local health partners including the CCG, Healthwatch Hackney, Healthwatch City of London, East London Foundation Trust, (ELFT), Homerton University Hospital Foundation Trust, and voluntary and community groups. The new joint mental health strategy will focus on an integrated mental and physical health approach to help people with chronic physical conditions and serious mental health problems. It will focus on early measures to support and care for residents within their local communities to promote good mental health where possible in City and Hackney’s integrated care system. Anyone worried about their or someone else’s mental health and wellbeing, can talk to their GP about their concerns to discuss available support. To view the City and Hackney Mental Health Strategy 2019-23, go to https://hackney.gov.uk/mental-health   Local services and supportThere are a number of local services and support available to residents experiencing, or at risk of mental ill health, which are commissioned by the City of London Corporation, Hackney Council and NHS City & Hackney CCG and delivered by mental health providers including Homerton Hospital and ELFT, as well as voluntary and community groups.Support for local workers in City and Hackney is available through initiatives such as the Business Healthy network. For example, ‘Five to Thrive’ is a initiative, based on the New Economic Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing. These five steps can help people improve their emotional health and wellbeing. Health organisations, schools and community projects have used it to connect people and communities, and improve mental health wellbeing.Talk Changes (provided by Homerton University), offers free and confidential NHS ‘talking therapies’ for adults registered with a GP in the City or Hackney, who are struggling to cope with low mood, anxiety or depression. It is one of the best performing ‘talking therapies’ services in London, helping over 6,000 people every year and has above national average recovery rates. Talking therapies involve talking to a trained professional to help overcome negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes. Appointments can be booked online  at https://talkchanges.org.uk/  without having to see a GP first. Most people only have to wait a fortnight only to get an initial assessment, followed by an agreed treatment plan.ELFT also runs a Walk-in Crisis Cafe in The Raybould Centre in Homerton Row from 6pm to 9pm weekdays and midday to 4pm at weekends. People can call the free service on 07393 762 366, which is run by mental health professionals who provide advice and support. In the Square Mile, Dragon Café in the City offers a free and safe space for visitors to release the pressure and look after their mental and physical wellbeing. For more information go to https://dragoncafe.co.uk/
17th January 2020