As well as playing a key role in the immediate response to Covid-19, London boroughs will be key to the capital’s recovery, ensuring we emerge from this period stronger and better together. From green deliveries to free online courses, London’s councils are doing all they can to continue to improve lives
Housing & Homelessness
Enfield Council has given support to rough sleepers during the coronavirus outbreak. The local authority has housed and supported rough sleepers in emergency accommodation and taken this unique opportunity to intervene in the lives of our rough sleepers and get them into permanent accommodation, drug and alcohol treatment services and jobs and training.
During Greenwich’s response to Covid-19, the Council were able to free up hospital beds for the NHS, by ensuring a sheltered housing scheme was up and running and could be used for hospital discharges. They have also been supporting residents discharged from the hospital, so they can move back into their homes safely and are comfortable.
In May, Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Okereke launched a digital listening campaign hosting a series of online meetings with tenants and leaseholders, to hear about experiences of housing and the housing service in Royal Greenwich.
The council have been innovative in responding to the Covid-19 outbreak, residents moving in to the brand-new affordable housing development in Charlton were able to see their homes before moving in despite lockdown thanks to creative virtual viewings.
Residents that are experiencing financial difficulties with meeting mortgage repayments because of the coronavirus pandemic may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for three to six months.
The Council also agreed a new Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy in March 2019. The aim of the Strategy is to work closely with their partners to both prevent and resolve the problems faced by households at risk of homeless and to find long term sustainable and affordable housing solutions for those who are homeless. It also enshrines the borough's aim to end street homelessness by 2022.
Sustaining the environment
Work is also underway to widen footways and pavements in other parts of the borough using temporary water barriers to ensure high streets are safe for residents to visit as lockdown restrictions are eased. The council has also started placing markings on pavements and signs in Ealing’s town centres to further remind people to keep to social distancing guidelines.
Enfield has introduced traffic-management measures to help protect pedestrians and cyclists during the coronavirus pandemic. Road schemes have been implemented to allow more space for people to followsocial distancing guidelines and to improve cycling routes. A new interactive map of the borough has also been created so that local residents and business owners can help the Council identify areas where they should consider changes and raise any issues that need to be tackled.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council
Parcels not Pollution, is the council’s emissions-free delivery service for businesses struggling to fulfil deliveries due to the coronavirus outbreak without adding to current overheads. H&F Council is partnering with Hammersmith BID, Transport for London and e-cargo bikes on the scheme. The removal of delivery van journeys from the borough also helps improve air quality, while reducing traffic and congestion.
The removal of delivery van journeys from the borough also helps improve air quality, while reducing traffic and congestion. Streets across H&F are being temporarily adapted to make social distancing easier, walking and cycling safer, and support businesses during the COVID-19 crisis and predicted recession. Pavements have been widened, and new segregated cycling lanes have been installed on key routes, as well as pop-up planters and allotments being introduced.
Haringey have been using e-vans to do home deliveries for residents who cannot go out at the current time; this provides immediate supplies.
A range of traffic-management measures are being rolled out across Hounslow to help keep pedestrians and cyclists healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The projects, will create more space for people to follow social distancing guidelines, include closing some roads, widening pavements, improving cycling routes and introducing more ‘school streets’.
The Council is also launching a public consultation to get ideas from residents on ways they think traffic can be managed better and streets made more pedestrian and cycle friendly.
Kensington & Chelsea Council
Kensington and Chelsea council have introduced traffic-free periods at the world-famous Portobello Road market on weekdays to help social distancing when lockdown is expected to ease for non-essential retailers from June and the market returns. Traders had also been given three months’ rent relief by the council.
Lambeth are using cargo bikes for food deliveries to vulnerable residents
The council have narrowed some roads in order to make the pavements wider so social distancing measures can be easier to adhere to.
Waltham Forest Council
Waltham Forest Council is using Zero Emission Delivery bikes service (ZED) to deliver food parcels to vulnerable residents and collect PPE donated by residents and local businesses. They are also using ZED to deliver the online library service which launched on Friday 24 April. They have offered 30 free “bikes for hire” to key workers for their partner organisations including the NHS and the Police Force so they can stay off public transport and out of cars.
Temporary road measures have also been enforced on the local high street area. The Enjoy Waltham Forest team have been making sure that high footfall areas across the borough are equipped to be able to support safe social distancing. These temporary measures include suspending parking bays to widen pathways and also installing floor artwork and lamp column signage to reinforce this message.
A social media campaign was started to encourage people (while at home more and cooking more) to use their food waste bins (reducing refuse in black bins). The council have seen an increase of 30 per cent in organic food waste collected across the borough.
The council have provided free online courses to help Croydon residents (over 19), who may have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic, explore and develop new skills to help them get into work. Croydon Adult Learning & Training (CALAT), the borough’s adult education hub, and Croydon Works, the council’s free jobs, training and recruitment service, have partnered together and will deliver five one-hour courses to help people sharpen or develop their employability skills.
Haringey Adult Learning Service's (HALS) learning centre at Wood Green Library is temporarily closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but the learning opportunities aren’t stopping. HALS is now fully up and running as an online learning service and all courses are free until July 2020.
Waltham Forest Council
The council has increased access to the Adult Learning Service to help local people to boost their skills and employability.
The council and its partners organisations have launched the Choose Your Future campaign - a local package of online and telephone services to connect with young people throughout lockdown. Young people in Croydon are being encouraged to access a huge range of activities, opportunities, information and support to help them stay safe and well during Covid-19.
Camden Council has teamed up with leading tech companies to deliver online work experience for the borough’s students. High-profile organisations such as Google, Skanska and the Francis Crick Institute, have developed a virtual programme giving students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience during lockdown. 250 local students in Years 11, 12 and 13 are taking part in a number of online placements in June and July to gain the skills and confidence needed to help them in a future career.
As the COVID-19 crisis took grip in March, swift action was taken to ensure any increase in demand for care placements for children and young people would be met.The Council set up a new children’s home, in the space of just four weeks, with support from an army of redeployed council staff from several departments who volunteered to be part of this important project.