Croydon COVID & Financial Crisis Update 11 January

As the spread of COVID overburdens the local health services it is all the more important that people think about how they behave in the street over and above the Government advice, especially as it is not clear how far exhaled breath goes.

Always wear a mask

Don’t smoke in the street

Do not spit – have a tissue if you need to get rid of flem

There is increasing advice that the immune system is helped by taking Vitamin D, especially in winter.

Meanwhile the Council is still going through the process of seeking loan permission from the Government and consulting on the proposed ‘savings’ – cuts from April to March 2024. Croydon Unite Retired members branch heard Deputy Leader Stuart King explain the financial crisis and agreed  resolutions on the effect on services and Brick by Brick.

Croydon Communities Consortium has published details about its meeting on refuse and recycling and follow-up information.

For families without laptops for their children’s at home on-line learning Sarah Jones, Croydon Central Labour MP, appeals for donations and for volunteers to help with the vaccination programme.

There continue to be on-line cultural activities and if you support local authors I highly recommend Marc Wadsworth Comrade Sak. See my review at:

http://historyandsocialaction.blogspot.com/2021/01/is-saklatvalas-influence-fully.html

Keeping Busy During Lockdown

In doors there is plenty to do on-line for those with the right equipment.

Croydon Art Society Virtual Exhibition

www.croydonartsociety.org/360-test

Croydon Art Society talk 25 January – Gwen and Augustus John – Alan Reid

Croydon Art Society demonstration 8 February – Demonstration – Oils – Rosso Emerald Crimson

www.croydonartsociety.org

Croydon Age Concern

www.ageuk.org.uk/croydon/activities-and-events

Creative Croydon Singing for Wellbeing Group

Mondays 8 February and 15 March 7pm.’

More details: creativecroydon@gmail.com

Croydon Community Choir

Croydon Community Choir Facebook page  shares ‘any interesting opportunities to sing, chant, listen and experience online choirs.’

Katie Rose Choir Singing

www.therosewindow.org/choirs

Financial Crisis Issues

Stuart King Briefs  Croydon Unite Retired Members

Council Deputy Leader Stuart King briefed the Croydon Unite Retired members branch Zoom meeting on Friday 8 January about the financial crisis. It was a shortened  version of the explanation he gave to Love Norbury in December – see

Key additional points, including in answer to questions, were:

  • The £29m receipts from the Brick by Brick deal will take time to be received as each individual sale is completed.
  • The second report from PWC on Brick by Brick will be considered by the Cabinet on 18 February.
  • Even though it is the sole shareholder of Brick by Brick the Council has not control over the company’s staffing – in response to a question as to why the CEO was still in post.
  • The previous culture which prevented questioning of details of Executive decisions by Councillors has been ended.

Effect of Council Cuts

Croydon Unite Retired Members branch agreed a resolution at its meeting on 8 February  noting that the Council cuts consultation continues until 24 January, that that elderly services are likely to reduced and that the Council does not provide any details about what the likely effects will be. It is therefore calling on:

(1) the Council to provide details of how the elderly may be affected.

(2) branch members living in Croydon to respond to the consultation and to lobby their local Councillors.

Brick by Brick

After Stuart King had completed his briefing and answered questions and left the meeting theCroydon Unite Retired Members branch discussed Brick by Brick.

A member pointed out that the sale of shared ownership flats will take time. The first batch is often sold quickly, and the remainder take a lot longer. Sales also fall through due to financial and legal difficulties.

The branch agreed a resolution that has been sent to Stuart King, thanking him for the up-date on the £29m and noting:

(1) that Brick by Brick has entered a deal to sell three of its completed housing schemes for £29m

(2) that hopefully this sum will reduce the short fall in funding and thereby reduce the cuts to be made

(3) that the future of Brick by Brick is still under review

It calls on the Council to:

(1) issue a public statement as part of the cuts consultation about the effect on the budget for 2021/2 of the Brick by Brick Deal

(2) re-examine the future development strategy of Brick by Brick to provide new housing appropriate to the needs of the elderly as outlined in the branch’s discussion paper especially to enable older people to move to more suitable accommodation and release family size housing to meet local housing needs on the Council transfer and homelessness lists.

Refuse and Recycle Issues

Following its Zoom meeting on refuse and recycling on 11 December Croydon Communities Consortium has posted up the notes of the meeting and additional information.

https://croydoncc.wordpress.com/2021/01/08/kerbside-waste-collection-issues-in-croydon

https://croydoncc.wordpress.com/2021/01/08/notes-of-meeting-refuse-and-recycling-11-dec-2020

COVID News

The COVID crisis is escalating across London and is stretching local hospital services. There is concern about the number of people who are travelling around the Borough. Council is continuing to deliver COVID related support services. Trading Standards  and the police warn about COVID vaccination scams. Special support serviced continue to be provided such as the Asian restaurant in Coulsdon feeding the homeless. The crisis has delayed the move of a school into new buildings. It is outrageous that Croydon University Hospital is still charging staff for parking. A youth group has been given a large grant  to help it support young people.

www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/croydon-hospital-stretched-challenged-1-19593072

www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/croydon-full-traffic-people-take-19577911

https://news.croydon.gov.uk/covid-19-update-a-message-from-councillor-hamida-ali-leader-of-the-council-10

www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/croydon-police-issue-urgent-warning-19573078

https://wp.croydon.gov.uk/newsroom/trading-standards-warning-over-covid-vaccine-scam

www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/18991810.coulsdon-curry-house-feeds-croydon-homeless

https://croydoncc.wordpress.com/2021/01/07/updates-from-11-dec-2020-meeting-thanks-to-council-officers/

www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/london-covid-croydon-school-dealt-19587499

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/around-185000-nhs-staff-charged-23267776

www.yourlocalguardian.co.uk/news/18990427.new-money-croydon-youth

Family Welfare In New Addington

www.inyourarea.co.uk/news/james-moore-introduces-croydon-peer-group-for-parents-continuing-through-lockdown

Lap Tops Needed For Children Learning At Home

Sarah Jones, Labour MP for Croydon Central, has sent out the following message.

‘Thousands of children in Croydon are now reliant on laptops and remote learning to continue their school education. Children with no access to broadband or laptops are falling behind as a result. Every day that a child tries to learn without the right equipment, their educational development is set back. Can you help by donating a laptop or tablet? Click Here

I have been contacted by many worried parents and teachers about children without internet access or laptops to work from.  

I am so pleased that a fantastic group of people from Croydon Commitment, the Croydon Voluntary Action, Palace for Life and Go2Games are collecting old laptops. 

I am helping this campaign by offering to collect any old or new laptops, mobiles, tablets or webcams that you can donate. 

I am contacting lots of people and businesses across Croydon to ask for help. If you or your family have any spare laptops, tablets, or mobile devices to donate, it will make a huge difference to local children. If you don’t have a spare gadget, or would prefer to donate financially, donations raised through here (https://www.gofundme.com/f/keepcroydonconnected) will be used to place technology in the hands of those who need it in Croydon.

If you can donate a laptop, tablet or mobile device, I can come and pick them up from your office or home. I would be grateful if you can fill in the form below to let us know the details.’

Sarah Jones Urges People To Volunteer Re-Vaccinations

Please ‘encourage anyone who can to:

  • Sign up to NHS volunteer campaigns
  • Speak to friends, neighbours and relatives about the importance of getting the vaccine
  • Ask your faith leaders and local community champions to promote vaccination
  • Start a campaign with your union branch to get your employer to give workers paid
  • Take (and give!) time off to get vaccinated
  • Speak out against disinformation online
  • Check on neighbours and friends to ensure they are safe over the coming months.

Over the coming weeks and months we will need a huge national effort. For those of you who want to carry on or start helping out, please consider registering to volunteer at your local Vaccine Centre and #LetsVaccinateBritain! http://bit.ly/vaccinevolunteer

School Closures

In the posting of 6 January I reported the resolution passed by the South East London Socialist Education Association. The wording had been prepared in discussion in the Croydon Unite Retired Members Branch as part of preparation for its meeting on 8 January. The Branch approved the resolution.

Fairfield Halls Management In COVID

At the moment the Council does not know how much it is spending on looking after Fairfield Halls during COVID lock down, according to a reply (11January) to my Freedom of Information request on the management of Fairfield Halls during COVID.

(1)   What date was the Fairfield Halls management agreement signed with BH Live?

22 July 2019.

(2) Given the COVID closure of the Halls what are the current management agreement obligations of BH Live?

The Operator Agreement remains in place, the council has responsibility for the building whilst it is closed in hibernation. 

(3) How much of the COVID grant to BH Live has been allocated to Fairfield Halls?

This information is not held.

(4) Is the management agreement with BH Live still operational?

Yes.

(5) How much money was BH Live supposed to handover to the Council in (a) the financial year 2019/20,and estimated 2020/21),and how much has been received?

No payments were due.

(6) How many BH Live staff are working on the constructing the programme when Fairfield Halls is able to re-open?

This information is not held.

(7) Is BH Live or the Council currently responsible for the running costs, maintenance and security of Fairfield Halls?

The council has the responsibility for the building in hibernation until January 2021

(8) If the Council is responsible under (1) how is it funding the costs and how much has it spent in 2019/20 and estimated to spend in 2019/20)?


The building is being managed through our facilities management services and the costs are currently being finalised

(9) What budget has all of the money paid to BHLive come from? 

Council budgets, Greater London Authority grant funding, Arts Council funding

About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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