Keeping Up-to-date with advice from the Council
Public Health England Advice About Staying At Home
Protecting Ourselves From COVID-19 Scammers
Trading Standards is reporting an increase in doorstep, call calling and email scams by people targeting particularly vulnerable people. Advise your friends and neighbours not to respond to the scammers, and to report them to the National Trading Standards Scams Team at www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk
Croydon Rapper’s Covid-19 Song A Hit
The national Guardian newspaper reports that Croydon’s Psychs’s track Spreadin’ on Instagram ‘is about the pandemic and features lines about the importance of using no-contact greetings instead of traditional handshakes It warns against the hubris of young people who think it will not affect them.
The song, which has more than 275,000 views on YouTube, features lyrics including “wash your hands, don’t touch me, please. Please don’t hug me” and “we can make a handshake using our feet … I’m not trying to catch no virus”.
The 18-year-old rapper told the Guardian that the idea to write a song about the outbreak came from his manager. He said: “The first draft was just me rapping about the events that have happened so far. I sent it to a friend who said: ‘If you’re going to do this, it should be an awareness thing.’ So I changed a couple of lines and that’s how we ended up with the song we have today.”
If You Are Experiencing Hardship Or Difficulties
If you or any of your neighbours, family and friends living in Croydon are facing hardship or difficulties then the Council special services can help
If local business need advice and support and want to know about their business rates position then they can look at:
Council Reduces Refuse And Related Services
The Council says that:
- Recycling and waste collections are taking place but with a reduced workforce.
- Collections of general waste and food waste are being prioritised.
- There may be missed collections.
- Bulky waste collection service suspended
- Rubbish and recycling bin orders suspended
- Household reuse and recycling centres are closed until further notice.
What Should Self Isolating Households Be Doing Re-Rubbish?
The Council says that residents should continue to use their recycling and rubbish collection services as normal, but households that are self-isolating should follow the Government’s stay at home advice (see link above), which states:
- store personal waste, such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, within disposable rubbish bags
- place these bags into a second bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste
- these bags should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external general waste bin
Please dispose of your other household waste as normal.
All Council Meetings Are Now Cancelled
The Cabinet meeting on Monday 23 March was cancelled. And now every meeting including the full Council, the Planning Committee and Sub-committee, Health & Well Being Board, Traffic Management Advisory through to 9 April are cancelled bar the Pensions Board.
Law Centres’ Experience Views On Croydon County Court And Lack Of Support For Gig Workers
Do Some Covid-19 Groups Need
An Easier Social Media Presence?
Some Covid-19 groups that have sprung up across the Borough are operating on What’s App and Next Door? This will exclude many from participating who do not have smart phones or cannot cope with the technical aspects of registering, and cannot read the very small print used. How many people are going to be unable to afford to continue to be registered on them when mobile phones are cut off because they can longer afford them? Should the groups also have Facebook and blog sites? How to communicate with as many people as possible is going to be a key challenge for this crisis. Should all the groups also have Facebook sites? We need as many ways to communicate with people as possible. Any suggestions?
On Sunday Roy Aird of Ruskin House sent out the following email:
‘Please note that the Club Bar and related activities are not operating due to the Coronavirus and government directives. There will be access to the building for office use, maintenance and security purposes only. It’s going to be a tough time for Ruskin House over the coming weeks and probably months.’
Croydon Council Response
The crisis has resulted in enormous problems for Croydon and every other Council to tackle. Last May the London Councils organisation issued advice on how to deal with emergencies explaining what Leaders and Cabinet members and Ward Councillors should be doing.
‘During the emergency response phase, Leading Members should:
- Contact the Chief Executive (or duty ‘Gold’ on-call senior officer) to receive an initial briefing and agree any urgent steps to be taken.
- Decide which member of the Cabinet will be the ‘public face’ of the council in support of its civic leadership role (by default, this would be the Leader/Directly-elected Mayor).
- Work with council’s communications team to act as the ‘public face of the council’ in interactions with the media and local communities affected by the incident.
- Decide which member of the Cabinet will lead on ‘business-as-usual’.
- Decide which member of the Cabinet will lead on providing political support to initial recovery work.
- Decide which member of the Cabinet will lead on Ward councillor engagement.
- In conjunction with the Chief Executive, senior communications officer and Cabinet member responsible for Ward councillor engagement, put in place arrangements for briefing Leading Members and Ward councillors during the response phase.
- Provide support and encouragement to council staff and others involved in the response effort.
- Maintain a record of significant actions and events for use in subsequent debriefs, scrutiny activity and official enquiries etc.
- If necessary, lead on making representations to the Government for financial assistance.
- Represent the council during visits by VIPs and ensure that such visits are sensitive to the ‘mood’ and needs of the community.
- Consider initiating dialogue with Leaders/Directly-elected Mayors of other councils impacted by, or responding to, the incident.
- Consider initiating dialogue with MPs whose constituencies are being impacted by the incident.
- Consider initiating dialogue with the Mayor for London – particularly where a pan-London response has been mobilised.’
While this advice is very useful Covid-19 poses challenges other types of emergencies do not. It puts even more strain on the Croydon’s Leader and Cabinet members and decision making. There is a serious danger that the stress involved for them will make them ill.
As community leaders:
- Be a visible, trusted and reassuring presence in the community
- Advise the Local Authority Liaison Officer (LALO) when providing direct support to communities, so that officers are aware of your involvement and can arrange necessary briefings etc
- Communicate key messages and reliable information to the public and media on behalf of the council.
- Signpost members of the public and businesses towards the right agency to get the support they need.
- Provide support and encouragement to council staff and others involved in the response effort.
As community representatives
- Be present locally to identify the needs of individuals and the wider community and feed them in to the appropriate response organisation via council officers
- Confirm the reliability of information before passing it on.
- Avoid attempting to get involved in the operational response to the emergency and do not cross access-controlled cordons
- Avoid attempting to evaluate the effectiveness of the emergency response.
- Maintain a record of significant experiences and actions for use in subsequent debriefs, scrutiny activity and official inquiries etc.’
Much of this is not applicable in the current crisis with the now local-down announced by the Prime Minister yesterday. Many Councillors will have to self-isolate because of their own personal vulnerability to the virus. They cannot be out and about speaking to people or door knocking. So the best thing to do is to make contact with them by phone (voice, message, text) or email listed on the Council website at:
They may be inundated with people contacting them, so it may take time for them to respond. If you have not heard back within 24 hours, contact them again.
Dave Hill of OnLondon explains the preparations by London Councils at
RSPB Will Give Advice On Wildlife From Your Home
RSPB has closed its reserves to visitors until further notice. ‘Our efforts will now move to helping the millions of people spending time at home. We are determined to do our bit to try and help connect people with the amazing wildlife to be seen in gardens or from balconies or windows, and offer some hope and joy in these difficult times. Over the coming days and weeks, we will also be helping people to share their wildlife encounters and provide ideas for things they can do for wildlife close to home.’ To see what advice they give check their website from time to time: www.rspb.org.uk
You do not have to wait because you could start keeping a daily record of the birds that visit your garden or you if you are in a flat through your window or from your balcony. You can check out how at:
This is a potentially good activity with your children and teenagers now stuck at home.
Campaigning For Social Justice
With so many of us now at home, it is possible to spend time signing petitions for social justice in the current crisis such as:
There is also a raft of petitions on subjects which could get forgotten about because of the crisis, and will need to be campaigned on after the crisis is over.
Recording Stories Of Positive Action
The educational campaign organisation Journey to Justice’s mission ‘is to galvanise people to take action for social justice. Although this is such a very difficult, worrying time for everyone, it is moving to see the levels of care and solidarity shown by people.
We will be collecting stories of positive action from around the country. And we’re compiling online resources for home learning for all. More details soon.’
The ‘team is carrying on with our work, meeting virtually and focusing on planning the Economic (In)Justice project which seems ever more needed. Covid 19 affects everyone, but the crisis it has brought amplifies all the social and economic inequalities which were already so stark. You are welcome to join the Economic (In)Justice advisory group. See details on our website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It quotes former Guardian journalist Gary Younge’s tweet: “It was MLK who said the ‘arc of history is long but it bends towards justice’ – but it doesn’t bend by itself.”
and cites Lemn Sissay’s poem.
“Said the sun to the moon
Said the head to the heart
We have more in common
Than sets us apart”