Rebuilding a better Hackney

Coronavirus has had a huge impact on Hackney, causing the deaths of hundreds of residents, leaving hundreds more recovering from its effects and many families mourning the loss of loved ones.

Many residents and businesses have also suffered from the economic impact of coronavirus – whether losing their jobs, being put on furlough or having to adapt how their business worked.

The Council’s response has prioritised those who need help most – whether providing thousands of emergency food parcels and essential supplies to shielding households, putting unprecedented financial support for struggling families and small businesses, or simply keeping essential services running in immensely challenging circumstances.

The impact of additional spending to deliver essential and new services, coupled with a loss of income from closed services and properties, means the Council faces a £68million budget shortfall in 2019/20 alone – equal to half of the entire Government cuts to its budget since 2010 in just one year. Although the Government has provided some funding and arrangements to help with this, it will not be enough.

Despite these challenges, as we enter a new phase of managing coronavirus, the Council’s mission is to rebuild a better Hackney – fighting for communities who continue to need support, using its powers to create a fairer economy and ensuring Hackney’s recovery is a green recovery.

The Council has made a series of commitments to residents about its work during this next phase, and has also called for further funding and powers from the Government to support local decision-making.

The impact of coronavirus on Hackney

Between March and July 2020, 225 Hackney residents died with coronavirus, and while the confirmed number of cases stands higher, earlier difficulties in accessing testing mean this figure is likely to be much higher as we expand local testing in our communities.

Factors like age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation and occupation have an impact on the risk of contracting and dying from coronavirus. In particular, the risk of infection for South Asian and Black adults is significantly higher compared to their White counterparts. The odds of infection for South Asian and Black adults are significantly higher compared to White adults.

Find out the latest coronavirus data.

The Council’s response

The Council has worked hard to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and ensure that residents and businesses who need support get it.

From March to July 2020:

  • 600 volunteers deployed
  • 800,000 items of PPE issued to staff and external providers (including individual items, ie each glove)
  • 14,000 emergency food parcels delivered
  • 7,300 calls made to vulnerable tenants and leaseholders
  • 170 rough sleepers in off the streets
  • £62.5million in government grants paid to nearly 4,300 businesses
  • 7 pavements widened/6 roads closed to aid social distancing
  • over 1,500 laptops sent to students that need them
  • £62,000 in council rent relief for voluntary and community organisations

We placed over 170 people in emergency accommodation including those with ‘no recourse to public funds’, to make sure those sleeping rough – or at risk of sleeping rough – during the coronavirus crisis had a safe place to live.

In partnership with Volunteer Centre Hackney and Hackney CVS, around 600 local volunteers were recruited to support vulnerable residents – whether helping to do shopping or pick up essentials or simply regularly checking in with isolated or lonely people.

We set up an emergency food distribution centre in Hackney Wick – an entirely new service – to deliver essential food and supplies to residents who needed support. This service has delivered more than 14,000 parcels since March, with a dedicated helpline taking thousands of calls from people asking for different forms of assistance. It also acted as a PPE hub and distribution centre for Hackney Foodbank.

Other dedicated teams worked directly with the Orthodox Jewish community to provide tailored help and support, contacted vulnerable Council tenants and leaseholders simply for a chat, and kept Ridley Road Market open to provide fresh fruit and veg.

Nearly all frontline services continued – including the Council’s Adult Social Care service, who were provided quickly with PPE to continue vital work. Free school meal vouchers were distributed by schools.


Page updated on: 2 May 2023