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Coronavirus: Hackney Council operating as normal, task force set up to support people

PUBLISHED: 10:06 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:34 18 March 2020

Hackney Mayor Phil Glanville. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Hackney Mayor Phil Glanville. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Emma Bartholomew

Hackney Council says services are operating as usual, with a new group made up of cabinet members and senior officers launched to respond to coronavirus.

Mayor Phil Glanville said in statement to people in the borough that everyone has a part to play in making a difference and supporting each other.

“Our focus from the start has been health protection and continuing to deliver vital frontline services such as adult and children’s social care, waste collections and support for homeless families,” he said.

“Schools currently, with a few exceptions, remain open and the Hackney Learning Trust is continuing to closely monitor updates to the advice from the government. If you are a parent, you should check with your child’s school if you are concerned.

“It is absolutely essential we all follow the advice of public health professionals and do all we can to protect those who are vulnerable or at higher risk from the virus. We also recognise our role in communicating what is happening here in Hackney as we work together to support our community through this challenging time.”

The mayor said it was inspiring to see the community response, with thousands of people now signed up to the Hackney Covid-19 Mutual Aid group to support vulnerable people and those self-isolating.

“Responding to this crisis will require a borough-wide effort and the can-do spirit of solidarity, innovation and ingenuity that Hackney is renowned for,” he said.

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“That’s why yesterday I announced a new group to support volunteer and citizen efforts as best we can.

“The first job of that group will be to work with the established voluntary and community sector in Hackney to ensure that everyone is working together – and that residents who want to help have a place to go to offer their support.

“We have already been in touch with the voluntary and community groups that we fund to lift restrictions from the way they spend the money we already invest freeing up funding to support this crisis and making it easier for organisations to work together and with active citizens. It will also help these organisations to be more resilient.

“One thing is clear – this situation will likely continue for months, and it’s vital any measures we take are sustainable for the long-term. We will announce more details in the coming days and are actively exploring some of the ideas that you have already shared.”

In terms of government support packages for people and businesses announced in recent days, Mr Glanville said the council would be in touch about how to apply as soon as more information is released. He encouraged people who have lost their income to apply for Universal Credit urgently, as it can take weeks to come through.

Businesses can sign up to the Hackney Business Network newsletter, which is posting the latest updates on business relief. Business owners can submit feedback on how the pandemic is affecting them to help the council shape its response.

People experiencing hardship can apply to the council’s discretionary crisis support scheme for help with urgent financial needs. Click here.

Discretionary housing payments can be applied for here, and check whether they are eligible for housing benefit or a reduction in council tax here.

For the latest coronavirus news from Hackney and across London follow our live blog here, visit our coronavirus page, or join our Facebook group here.

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