Help, support and advice re-Domestic Violence

Support info A5

This information poster has been produced by Cassandra Learning Centre based in Norbury

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Covid-19: support for vulnerable users of essential services

Ensuring access to energy supplies

The energy regulator Ofgem has announced an emergency package of measures designed to ensure vulnerable people do not face any additional hardships in heating or lighting their homes during the crisis. They urge that customers to alert their energy supplier if they or someone they know is vulnerable, of pensionable age, has children under 5, a disability or long-term medical condition, so they can  be added to the Priority Services Register.

Customers who need extra help with an energy problem, including with bills or meters are advised to contact Citizens Advice.

Prepayment meters customers who are unable to top up their meter are advised to tell their supplier straightaway. and have published a list of alternative vendors online.

The Post Office provides top ups for some suppliers.

Smart meter customers should be able to top-up remotely, such as by phone, mobile application or online.

Customers with prepayment meters who are self-isolating or unable to leave their home should be offered other options by their supplier, such as:

  • Sending someone out to top up the prepayment card or token.
  • Adding funds to the customer’s meter credit.
  • Sending the customer a preloaded gas or electricity card in the post.
  • Ensuring that no credit meters are disconnected during the outbreak.

Keeping telecoms consumers connected

The telecoms and broadcasting regulator Ofcom’s  has announced a series of initiatives designed to help ‘stay at home’ consumers keep connected.

Its Stay Connected campaign offers practical tips include using landlines rather than mobiles to make calls and various ways to lower demands on Internet connections.

It has  published consumer guides with simple, practical steps to take to make sure both broadband and mobile phones work well at home.

BT, including its Openreach and EE divisions; Virgin Media; Sky; TalkTalk; O2; Vodafone; Three; Hyperoptic; Gigaclear; and Kcom. have a signed up to a package of government measures to help consumers including removing data caps on fixed-line broadband, offering “generous new mobile and landline packages,” and “fair and appropriate” support to customers who have trouble paying their bills.

BT Video on network resilience aimed at people working from home.

Protecting consumers from scam calls and texts

Ofcom guidance on scams:

Report potential scams to Action Fraud

Protecting vulnerable water consumers

The Consumer Council for Water expects water companies to  protect vulnerable customers.

Water companies should be exhausting the wide range of options they have at their disposal to help consumers whose finances and daily lives will be impacted by the virus. That should include offering support through payment breaks for those whose incomes have been temporarily impacted and flexibility over payment timings and methods for people who normally pay their bill in person but are having to self-isolate. We’d urge anyone who is worried about paying their bill or accessing services to immediately get in contact with their supplier and ask for help, rather than suffering in silence.

Treating finance consumers fairly

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidance:  to financial services providers on how they treat consumers during the Coronavirus crisis.

Access to Access to cash

The FCA is working with the Bank of England and the Payment Systems Regulator, along with Link, to ensure consumers have access to cash through the wide range of ATM networks.

Support for consumers from banks and finance providers

UK Finance guidance : including:

From 1 April the spending limit for contactless card payments will be increased from £30 to £45.

Money and Debt Advice

The Money Advice Trust and StepChange Debt Charity have highlighted an expected surge in debt problems in the wake of the widespread economic and social disruption caused by Covid-19. They are calling for:

  • an immediate package of financial help to households, with a pause to all debt collection, including benefit deductions and bailiff visits to those who cannot afford payments as a result.
  • additional funding to support the UK’s debt advice agencies to cover the cost of adapting their services in the short-term, to continue services during this period, and to serve increased demand in the longer term.

The Money Advice Trust has published new factsheets:

Broadband universal service goes live

As from 20 March 2020, the Government’s broadband universal service scheme  gives eligible homes and businesses the legal right to request an upgraded connection if they are unable to get a download speed of 10 Mbit/s and an upload speed of 1 Mbit/s. BT is responsible for connecting properties, and KCOM the Hull area. Ofcom advises consumers to avoid calling BT and KCOM with their requests if possible, given their resources will be extremely stretched due to the Coronavirus.

A home or business is eligible for a universal service connection if it:

  • has no access to decent broadband; and
  • is not due to be connected by a publicly-funded scheme in the next 12 months.

(Edited from information supplied by the Essential Services Access Network, formerly Public Utilities Access Forum, which I was Secretary of in the 1990s.)

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Croydon Crisis Update 31 March

Latest Council COVID-19 Help Services 

Help with Housing Benefit

Grants to be paid to Croydon businesses

#CroydonTogether: campaign thanks community for response to COVID-19

Food parcels for hundreds in council support drive

Croydon Libraries

‘During this time make the most of our digital services.  Look at our range of eBooks, eAudio, eNewspapers, eMagazines, eComics as well as other online resources. Not a member yet, you can join online now.’

Advice and Support to the Vulnerable

Advice for Vulnerable Users  of Essential Services

Samaritans Are Continuing Their Services

Phone 116 123


A Samaritan volunteer I know says that a special service for NHS staff is being set up using experienced volunteers who are self-isolated by providing them with dedicated phones.

For details of the Samaritans Croydon & Sutton see:

Other Croydon COVID-19 News

Croydon High School vs. COVID-19

Varjitha Kunalan, a student of the School, writes at:

Is Croydon’s COV-19 Death Toll Be Higher?

Croydon COVID-19 cases rose to 313 on 30 March  and 41 deaths at Croydon University Hospital  yesterday.

These figures only include deaths in the NHS, not in people’s homes, in care homes, or other non-NHS places. The Office of National Statistics has now started to collect these figures as well. (The Guardian 31 March)

Will COVID-19 Kill Westfield?

Westfield’s partner for the Whitgift redevelopment Hammerson reports a 2/3rds drop in rents from its shopping centres. (Guardian. 31 March)

Why Croydon’s community has the answers to dealing with the impact of coronavirus

Councillor Caragh Skipper writes about the mutual aid groups:

Other Croydon News

Croydonist New Articles

A Virtual Wander, A Visual Wonder ; Top Takeaways, Take 1; Light and Shade, Delight and Detail –  Croydon’s 1960s architecture, and Croydon in Focus – Lenses of Croydon

Planning Applications

New applications and decisions continue to be posted on the Planning Register.

Fairfield Halls In Your Own Home

You can listen to music provided by Fairfield Halls at:

Ted Knight Has Died

Secretary, Croydon Unite Retired Members branch, Chair Croydon Assembly, former Leader of Lambeth Council die don 30 March. See:

Andrew Dennis Has Died

Former Labour Councillor Andrew Dennis has died from a routine operation.

Looking Forward Past COVID-19

Of course Croydon and the country will come through this crisis, though it is yet unclear whether the public attitude towards the important central and local government will change towards requiring them to be properly funded ,  and a rejection of the Thatcherite slogan ‘There is no such thing as society’. The crisis underscores our interdependence . After the end of the Second World War there were the London Olympic Games in 1948 and the Festival of Britain in 1951. Here in Croydon we can look forward to being Borough of Culture 2023.

This posting includes links to videos by three young Croydon poets:

  • Our Story by Natalie Twum-Barima
  • The Change We Want To Make by Shaniqua Benjamin
  • This is Croydon by Daisy Nash

Class Inequalities in Health and the Coronavirus: A cruel irony?

Article by Sara Arber and Robert nmeadows of the University of Surrey.

The Importance of the State In Times Of Crisis

Reviewing the response to previous crises and what happened as a result Polly Toynbee in The Guardian today writes: ‘Surely this time the lesson in well and truly learnt? Don’t shrink the state, local or national, when nothing else stands between people and penury, or even death. Coronanomics shows that all private commerce relies on the state in the last resort, and that borrowing on a gargantuan scale is not, after all, impossible when most needed.’. (Guardian Journal. 31 March)


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Sad News – Ted Knight has died

Manifesto 13 (Medium)

Ted Knight at Croydon Assembly Manifesto Meeting 2018

It is with much sadness that the news began to go round that Ted Knight, the controversial former leader of Lambeth Council, died today. Ted was known to many people in Croydon as Secretary of Croydon Unite Retired Members branch, Chair of Croydon Assembly, and supporter of Ruskin House.

I first got to know Ted when he was Leader and I was Secretary of the Community Police Consultative Group for Lambeth (1984-9) initially based in the Town Hall until after the 1985 riots. I arranged for him to speak at the Wandsworth Labour Group appealing for donations go the fighting fund to support the surcharged Lambeth Labour Councillors , one of whom Joan Whalley (later MP) had been sacked as part of the Community Development Team by the Conservatives when they came to power in Wandsworth in 1978. I got to know Ted again when I moved into Croydon and started attending the Retired Members branch which meets at Ruskin House. He was a first class Secretary and a man whose sharp intellect not only got to the heart of the challenges on a wide range of issues but also spoke in a way that re-charged listeners batteries.

Tribute by John McDonnell

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer describes him as ‘A giant of our movement ‘ in an appreciation of Ted on his website written with the journalist Paul Feldman, who first got to know at University in the late 1960s.

John says that ‘A memorial meeting will be organised later in the year. In the meantime, an online meeting will be held shortly to allow people to pay their respects.’

Retired Members Comments

Comments from members of the Retired Members branch who I have been able to tell are:

  • ‘Sad day!”
  • ‘That’s a great loss. We must just console ourselves that it was a great life and try to carry forward his ideas and enthusiasms.’
  • ‘I’m so sad and shocked.  ‘How can we commemorate , in this time of virus, Ted’s  enormous contribution to Ruskin’s activities and to socialism more widely? He will be greatly missed by so many people.’
  • ‘Very sad. His energy was prodigious in fighting for many good causes.’

Plus from an active supporter of events at Ruskin House:

‘Very sad.  I liked Ted a lot – he was a lovely bloke.  Please keep me informed if there is any public or collective way of saying our goodbyes to him.’

Other Comments

Chris Williamson has Tweeted:

‘I was privileged to get to know Ted a few years ago and honoured to call him a friend. He never lost his passion & backed my campaign to democratise  @UKLabour

Williamson’s Tweet has been replied to by others:, including  Ken Livingstone:

‘Sad to hear of the passing of my old comrade Ted Knight. He was an intransigent fighter for working people; a thorn in the side of both Thatcher’s Tories & those who didn’t want to fight them. We will keep fighting for a socialist future.’

Richard Burgon. MP, has Tweeted:

‘Sad to hear of the passing of Ted Knight. Ted dedicated his life to fighting for the working class. He was a champion of socialist theory and socialist practice. He was one of those who fought back. I last saw him at an event just a few weeks ago – in typically fine form.

The author of the forthcoming book Radical Lambeth has posted the start of Chapter 1 which introduces Ted.

Additional Comment added 31 March

‘So very sad to hear about Ted Knight, and  I only really got to know him in the last ten years or so …. I enjoyed going to the Croydon Assembly events and speaking to him on several occasions in Ruskin House. One year, he went as a delegate to the Annual Trade Union Councils conference on behalf of Croydon TUC and certainly electrified the conference when he spoke. You could definitely tell that he was professional politician….if that is the correct way of describing him. …. Hopefully there will be an event for Ted at Ruskin house, when it is safe to organise and hold.


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Croydon Crisis Up-Date 29 March

In the  early evening of 28 March My London reported

that Croydon had 261 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Council COVID-19 Action

On 27 March Tony Menwaman, the Council Leader,  announced:

‘As a council we have we have swiftly implemented a major shift in how we operate, enabling us to prioritise critical frontline services that keep everyone safe and protect our most vulnerable.

This means collecting your bins, keeping your streets clean, and caring for children, families and the elderly – all more important than ever with so with many in need.

We are working as a whole council to respond to this challenge, joining forces to strengthen these all-important service areas by redeploying staff to support those on the frontline.’

COVID-19 hubs and Helpline for NHS Vulerbale

These have been set up by the Council and its partners an volunteers. To provide vital support for the most vulnerable, delivering food and medical supplies, and signposting them to services.

Have you received a letter from the NHS? Available from Monday the helpline number for those residents who have been identified for hub support is 020 8604 7787 or email

If you are not in this group, but are in need of support or are struggling to access food or essential supplies, please ask – there are volunteers ready and willing to help. Details at

Help with Housing Benefit and Council Tax

‘Croydon is to receive £4.38million from government from this hardship fund, with councils giving an automatic £150 discount for working-age residents who qualify for Council Tax support. The government estimates that more than 20,000 Croydon residents might be eligible. Any household on Council Tax benefit will have their due date for payment of the tax postponed until June.’ – Tony Newman:

Tenancy and caretaking services

Council Services

Newman: ‘As we increase capacity on our vital services, we have made some important changes to others. You can find out the latest status of all our services on

Keeping Up To Date

Council newsletter: subscribe for email at

#Croydon Together on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and tag in @YourCroydon

Croydon Covid 19 Mutual Aid Group

Useful Advice


(Council posted this link on its website.)

Support guide, including for the vulnerable

Advice for businesses

Government Advice on Domestic Violence  During the Crisis

Jennifer of Cassandra Centre (based in Norbury) draws attention to the Government advice on domestic violence during the crisis

COVID 19 News

Nightwatch sees increase in the hungry

Croydon Nightwatch, which hands out food every night at Queen’s Gardens is seeing an increase in numbers of hungry people.

Surrey Street Market stays open

Boxpark Keeps Paying Workers

Boxpark has announced that using Government Job Retention Scheme  money it is able to  continue paying its 100+ staff across its three sites now on extended leave period for up to 12 weeks.

Message from Tfl

TfL thanks everyone who has stopped using public transport. It says: ‘Our services are for essential journeys by vital workers in the NHS and other critical services. No one else should be travelling. Our staff are working hard to support the NHS and protect all Londoners. Please help them and continue to follow the instruction not to travel for as long as it takes to defeat coronavirus. Stay Home. Don’t Travel. Save Lives.’

We Must Keep Our Eyes on Planning

Croydon Planners are continuing to validate planning applications, take decisions,  and post the details on the Council’s Planning Register. The Government’s emergency legislation  includes approval of the use of delegated powers and digital planning meetings so that local authorities can ensure there is no delay in deciding planning applications.

However, the provisions have yet to come in force. On 26 March Building Design reported:

‘The goal of legalising virtual planning committees is still one step away despite measures contained in the government’s emergency Coronavirus Act which was due to become law today.

It means councils won’t be able to hold remote video meetings immediately because they need to wait for the government to publish secondary regulation.’

Thinking Forward About Greening Croydon

We also need to keep thinking  about greening Croydon. Here are thoughts generated by the spring issue of the London Parks and Gardens Trust’s London Landscapes newsletter.

  • Rain gardens along roads. A rain garden offers the opportunity to manage rainwater runoff from hard surfaces after downpours. Where there are wide pavements on particularly main roads and TfL in particular will not allow tree planting because of damage to the utilities below, rain gardens may be a way forward.
  • Make London More Child Friendly. There is a new report from the London Mayor. l
  • Bird Cities in Trees. The “Tree of Heaven” bird boxes installation by Spontaneous City in Islington shows that more birds can be attracted  in parks and other spaces with trees. See picture at:

The Management of Public Spaces

An Economic History of the English Garden

This book by Roderick Floud is reviewed at

Floud’s Gresham College Lecture The Hidden Face of British Gardening can be seen at:

Revival Strategies For The High St

With our high streets largely closed, we need to think about their future, The article Revival Strategies for the High St may help:


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Need A Good Laugh? Try Losing It All


When it was published in 1991 I read my cousin Simon  The Fate of Glassingall in one sitting, laughing all the way through. Inspired by his holiday visits to our grandfather’s house in Scotland it  was a free-flowing compendium of school days in the 1950s and 1960s, ghosts, rock music, flying saucers, real and model railways, the eccentricity of adults, and the pain of loss when the house was demolished.

Simon has now  modernised, up-dated and sharpened it for a new generation, as Losing It All.

London boy Anthony spends the summer holidays of the 1960s at Glenturret, his grandfather’s fascinating haunted Scottish country house. When it becomes a boarding school, Anthony goes into its Sixth Form, and eventually teaches there until a horrifying mystery closes it. With his inheritance after Grandpa’s death, he buys the house, but the dark force has not gone.

“This sort of book is one of the better ways of recording recent history.” (BBC World Service)

“I was maimed by excessive laughing. Tears blotted out the text.” (A Brook)

“Hilarious and touching.” (The Month)

Online from Amazon (£4.99 paperback, £2.99 Kindle) and from Witley Press bookshop.


About Simon

Simon is  a semi-retired Wimbledon College English and drama teacher, and has now published several books.

I published his reminisence of working for 40 years at the College Carry on College with particular emphasis on the school’s drama productions (out of print).

He and his wife Mary produced seven CD/MP3/audiobooks for SmartPass (1999-2010): “Macbeth”, “Hamlet”, “Julius Caesar”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Twelfth night”, “Pre-20th century poetry” and “Shakespeare: the works” All are available as downloads and CDs from www.smartpass.)

Simon was awarded an MBE for work in education and school drama in 2016.

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Croydon Crisis Update 27 March

Food Banks Need Help

Sarah Jones, the Croydon Central MP, has emailed to say that ‘food is urgently required for local food banks who have a desperate shortage at the moment.’ She has compiled a fuller list than the one posted yesterday – see below for details.

Nightwatch Needs Volunteers

She also reports that Nightwatch, ‘which  distributes food to homeless people in the centre of Croydon every night, has lost many volunteers because of age and the new restrictions, so they need volunteers. If you can help, please click here or email’ 

Volunteering & New Government Restrictions

Sarah Jones says: ‘I know some people are concerned about what the new ‘stay at home’ requirements mean for volunteering. The government has accepted that volunteering will be crucial in the coming weeks and – as long as you follow the guidance – going out of the house to volunteer is still permitted. The government classes ‘essential’ volunteering activities as:

  • Delivering food
  • Helping people with their medical needs, such as picking up prescriptions
  • Providing essential care or to help a vulnerable person or person(s), including through essential public and voluntary services, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions

For more detailed government guidance on volunteering click here.

Contacting Sarah Jones

Fairfield Halls Update

The management announces some rescheduling of postponed events.

Listen to London Mozart Players

The Fairfield Halls based London Mozart Players offer music to listen to at home.

Internet Archive

Croydon artist and author Stefan recommends you use the book resources on the Internet Archive. This is a very useful resource I have used for a long time, It is  now working with libraries across the world to make on-line access to books etc easier.

Stefan’s Facebook

The problems facing workers in the crisis

Trade Union Unite has posted up several statements about problem  it is dealing with supporting its members during the crisis, including a nursery chain and in construction.

National Savings & Insurance

‘We haven’t got as many of our customer service team available as usual, so we can’t offer our full range of services at the moment. Our top priority is to help customers who need to take money out or pay money in. Everything else will take longer than usual.’

Day Food bank Time
Monday Shrublands Foodbank (donations) 9am – 12 pm
Croydon Food bank (West Croydon) 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm
CVA Resource Centre (donations) 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Tuesday Croydon Food bank (West Croydon) 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm
CVA Resource Centre (donations) 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Revivify CIC 11:30am -2pm
Salvation Army 2:30pm to 4:00 pm
The Vine – for donations* 7:00pm to 8:00 pm (donations)
His Grace Foodbank 12pm – 6pm
Trussell Trust Foodbank (Norwood Distribution Centre) 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Wednesday Salvation Army 2:30pm to 4:00 pm
CVA Resource Centre (donations) 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Purley food hub (last session 28/3/20) 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
The Vine – for referrals* 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Thursday Revivify CIC 11:30am -2pm
CVA Resource Centre (donations) 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Shrublands Foodbank (donations) 12 pm – 3pm
Salvation Army 2:30pm to 4:00 pm
Friday Trussell Trust Foodbank (Norwood Distribution Centre) 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
His Grace Foodbank 12pm – 6pm
Shrublands Foodbank (referrals) 12 pm – 3pm
CVA Resource Centre (donations) 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
The Vine – for donations* 7:00pm to 8:00 pm (donations)
Croydon Food bank (West Croydon) 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm
Saturday Purley food hub (last session 28/3/20) 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
The Vine – for referrals* 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
ELIM Church 1:00 pm- 2:00 pm

 Revivify: Alma Houses, Ramsey Court, CR0 1RF.  07757754637.
To donate financially:

Shrublands Trust:  7 Broom Rd. Shirley. CR0 8NG. 02034417887
To donate financially: cheques payable to “The Shrublands Trust”
or email for more information

His Grace Foodbank: . 80-82 Beulah Road, Thornton Heath, Croydon,
CR7 8NP. Tel: 07946546507.

The contact details other food banks are in yesterday’s posting.

Thanks for the appreciative comments received from readers.

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