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Hackney Council announces this year’s Black History Season and new map of Hackney’s Black history

30th September 2020
A new map charting Hackney’s rich history of African and Caribbean culture is being published as part of a season of events and activities as the borough’s annual Black History season returns in October. The Hackney Black History Map will help residents complete self-guided or specially-led walks through the borough’s cultural past as part of a two-month programme that will also see Q&A film screenings, music sets from former Trojan Sound System DJs, poetry, recipe sharing, and online reading groups.  Hackney’s unique Black History flag, designed by local resident Malaika Parillon Langlais Baron in 2018 through a schools competition to design a new flag, will fly above Hackney Town Hall throughout October to mark the borough’s pride in acknowledging its Black history.  Highlights of Black History Season 2020 include: Disco Loco History of Reggae: hear legendary reggae selector Earl Gateshead (formerly of Trojan Sound System) play records and share stories for families to listen (and dance) to! (Fridays throughout Oct. Visit Hackney Showroom for info)Watch a film screening of African and Caribbean History in Hackney along with a Q&A with performer, rapper and spoken word artist Bad Lay-Dee. (Fri 9 Oct, 7-8.30pm. Free. Online). Booking link.Windrush Generation descendant Rhys Hollis will host ‘Ladybird Boy’ - a cabaret performance about his life as a queer Black artist at the legendary The Glory. Wed 21 Oct 8pm. Booking link.Young Hackney, invigorated by the Black Lives Matter movement, has themed its series of events ‘Young, Black Power’. They will host storytelling, film screenings, a trip to The Tate, African drumming and a celebration of Black characters in gaming. Oct-Dec. Free. Visit Young Hackney for info. Reading recommendations, online craft lessons and brain teasers will be posted on the Hackney Libraries social media plus the upcoming librarian-led Black History Walk will use the new Black History Poster Map pinpointing Black landmarks and legacies across Hackney. The map will be available in a forthcoming edition of Hackney Life and online. Hackney Archives and youth-led police monitoring group ACCOUNT explore policing in Hackney, with discussions and materials from the archives. (Wed 11 November, 6-8pm. Free. Online). Booking link. Black History Season will also see the introduction of brand new learning resources produced by Hackney teachers to teach children in key-stage 1 and 2 about the Windrush Generation. Due to coronavirus restrictions, and with particular consideration to the disproportionate effect the virus is having on Black communities, this year’s programme will feature mostly online or via socially-distanced events. For further updates and information, visit and Full listings are also available via the PDF flyer.  Notes for editors: The Hackney Black History Map will be available at the end of October online and in print via Hackney LifeFull listings are available via the PDF programme and a PDF flyer is available here.Full programme of events will be available via, and on the Hackney Black History Facebook pageFor updates or to contribute to the conversations visit the #HackneyBlackHistory20 tag on all social media platforms Hackney’s Black History Season complements the Council’s extensive and year-round work concerning Windrush and this year’s announcement of the Black Lives Matter motion and review into public spaces. If you are hosting a Black History event and would like to promote it via Hackney’s Black History Season channels please email image credit: Don Travis / Future Hackney

Six tips to stay safe this Sukkot

30th September 2020
Hackney residents enjoying the Jewish festival of the Sukkot have been encouraged not to use candles and to avoid placing sukkahs on balconies to help keep their families and their neighbours safe through this year’s celebrations. The week-long festival, which begins this Friday (2 October), is traditionally celebrated by building a temporary outdoor hut called a sukkah. With outdoor space limited for many families in Hackney, those celebrating are being asked to take simple precautions to avoid risk from fire and ensure the festivities can be enjoyed safely. How to have a safe Sukkot 1. Get permission – you should get permission from your landlord or building manager before fixing your sukkot to the ground or a building if this will leave permanent marking or damage. Try to use temporary fixings like cable ties, or ground pegs if on soft ground. If you live in a Council home, contact the neighbourhoods team on 020 8356 3330 or 2. Choose the right materials – a sukkah can be made of different types of materials. Pick something that doesn’t burn easily, like fire-retardant plywood, rather than flammable items like cotton sheets or dry straw. 3. Pick the correct spot – sukkahs should not be built on balconies, and wherever possible should be placed away from buildings, fences and flammable structures. They should also not be placed in the way of or close to escape routes such as communal walkways. 4.Think about decorations – use materials that are fire retardant, and avoid using candles and oil lamps. Try LED candles instead.  5. Electrical safety – LED lights are the best way to light your sukkah as they pose less fire risk. If you need to use electric cables, make sure they are in good working order and don’t create a trip hazard, and avoid ‘daisy-chaining’ cables by linking them together. 6. Be a good neighbour – many of us are spending more time at home due to the pandemic. Try to be understanding to your neighbours and keep noise to a minimum.
Older people in Hackney get online thanks to help from young volunteers
A new intergenerational digital training programme matching younger people with older people has launched in Hackney. The Digital Buddies Programme is led by volunteers aged 16-18, who provide one to one training to help older people get online and navigate the internet. The programme has already seen one older person set up an Instagram account, with others able to google and watch videos about their interests.  The training sessions are delivered over the phone and cover a variety of topics of the older persons choosing from setting up an email account to learning how to shop online. Programmes like this will help older people who are digitally excluded and shielding because of the coronavirus pandemic, connect more into society, and carry on experiencing the things they love, such as music, dancing and bird watching from the safety of their home.  The programme is also complemented by a digital skills webpage, that hosts how-to videos and written guides for those that may prefer self-learning or would like a reminder of how to do something that they learnt with a buddy.Find out more about the Digital Buddies Programme at or email: Buddies is part of the Ageing Well Strategy, which sets out the Council’s vision for an age-friendly borough where older residents feel empowered, informed, valued and supported. The strategy is currently being consulted on, add your comments here. As not everyone is online, if you have a family member, friend or neighbour who might be interested in responding to Hackney's Ageing Well Strategy, they can contact 0208 356 4979 to receive a hard copy or request a call back service for feedback.  
28th September 2020
£2m project to improve Shoreditch Park takes shape - have your say
New sports facilities, an improved play area, more planting, improved biodiversity and better grassed areas are key features of new proposals for Shoreditch Park, which the Council is asking residents to have their say on.  The designs have been developed as part of the £2m project to improve Shoreditch Park for local people, and follow a consultation last year in which 1,600 people told the Council how they would like to see the park improved.  Landscape architects LUC have now developed designs for local people to have their say on, which include improved grassed areas, a new multi-use games area for basketball and football, an outdoor gym, and more trees, hedgerows, wildflowers and habitats to increase biodiversity in the park.  The play area will also be replaced under the proposals, with new seating and social areas, new entrances and a new perimeter running track introduced.  The consultation will also ask people for their views on the naming of a new public square outside the new Britannia Leisure Centre.  Local people can have their say on the proposals online and in writing, with all residents in the area receiving a consultation pack in the post.  Work to improve the park has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic but, subject to the consultation and ongoing social distancing guidance, work could start in summer next year. Local residents can have their say at or by returning the questionnaire which will be sent to residents in early October 2020.The consultation closes on 11 November. 
25th September 2020
Apply for free insulation to make your home warmer this winter
With autumn approaching, Hackney households are being urged to apply for free home insulation from Hackney Light and Power, the Council’s publicly-owned energy services company.  Hackney’s Green Homes programme is the first borough-wide initiative in London to offer thermal efficiency measures to privately-owned and rented homes, including cavity and loft insulation This could lower energy bills for thousands of local residents,significantly reduce the gases produced heating homes which contribute to the climate emergency, and help landlords comply with the latest energy efficiency rules. From April 2020, new government regulations required all private landlords to ensure any home they let has a minimum Band ‘E’ energy rating.The Council wants to help landlords of Hackney’s 34,000 privately rented homes make improvements to meet the new energy efficiency standards and avoid enforcement action. The Council has already received over 90 applications for the Hackney Green Homes programme since it launched in February. Home visits to assess eligibility have now resumed, with staff following social distancing guidelines when visiting.  Residents can also apply to trial innovative new renewable heating upgrades, such as hydrogen fuel-cell boilers and air-to-air heat pumps to explore the potential of such technologies to reduce the environmental impact of heating, which the Committee on Climate Change has been clear is essential if national commitments to net zero emissions are to be met.  Hackney Light and Power will play a key role in delivering the Council’s ambitious decarbonisation targets set out in the climate emergency motion passed at Full Council in June 2019 - which will see the Council deliver a 45% reduction in carbon emissions relative to 2010 levels across all its functions by 2030, and deliver net zero emissions by 2040, in line with the most ambitious reductions set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Residents can apply for the Hackney Green Homes programme at:
25th September 2020