Weekly email bulletin from Newham Council 03 September 2020

Newham Council is issuing regular e-bulletins to residents about what’s happening at the Council and in the borough, including the latest information about how we are responding to Covid-19.

You can read the latest message from Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz below:

Hello Everyone.

I hope you and your loved ones are keeping well as we welcome the start of September, signalling the start of the new academic year with schools reopening and the phased return of pupils to classrooms.

For many of our children and young people, it will be the first time they are back at school since March when lockdown began. I know that many parents and carers in Newham will be worried about what measures schools have been putting in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their children as we continue with the challenge of living with Covid-19. That’s why Council officers have spent the summer speaking with a number of parent and carer groups to listen to their concerns, working closely with them to produce guidance. Our website has a very handy booklet for families with loads of information, which you can read here.

We’ve also been working closely with teachers and schools to ensure that they have all the required safety measures in place in line with our local Covid-19 response, so that every school provides a safe and enjoyable environment for our youngsters. We are monitoring the implementation of every school’s Covid-19 risk assessment plans, through Newham’s Health and Wellbeing Board as well as the Council’s Public Health Team, as well as the establishment of a Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Well-Being Group, which has been established in partnership with the Anna Freud Centre.

As with all things during this challenging time, we are monitoring the Covid-19 situation in Newham very closely, and from today you’ll be able to check up on the latest weekly status summary in the borough, via our Covid-19 dashboard, which provides information about the level and rates of cases and testing. Check it out here: www.newham.gov.uk/coviddashboard.

You’ll see that while the numbers are low compared to some parts of the country, the number of positive cases and the rate per 100,000 of the population has risen over the past week. There has been a similar picture across London, which is likely to be a result of the easing of restrictions that were in place during lockdown. It’s an important reminder that all of us have a vital role to play in limiting the spread of Covid-19 in Newham as we head into the winter months. The dashboard also shows that the rate of testing in Newham is currently too low, and while we have expanded our testing capacity locally, not enough people who have symptoms are getting themselves tested to reduce the risk of infecting others.

That’s why we are continuing our crucial work with our Covid-19 Health Champions to get important public health messages out to all sections of our community here in Newham. You can read about the Covid-19 Health Champions here. They are a network of local people who are being kept regularly updated on all the latest developments about Covid-19 in Newham, through regular Zoom meetings, webinars and WhatsApp groups.

We’ve also held more than 30 Zoom engagement sessions with voluntary sector groups, faith representatives, business leaders, councillors and young people. In addition, we are working closely with all Newham GPs, who have sent text messages to their patients about the importance of downloading the app and using it to help the local Covid-19 test and trace effort across all communities. Because of this, the NHS national app team were keen to work with us to trial the app as an ‘early adopter’.

Today, I invited the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to Newham to show him around one of our local NHS Test and Trace centres in East Ham. He was impressed with our collaborative work with our residents and joined in with #DownloadThursday, where we encouraged more residents to download the NHS Test and Trace App, which we launched a couple of weeks ago here in Newham. More than 300,000 residents have already received a letter with unique download codes; and thousands of businesses including restaurants, cafes, shops, salons, leisure centres and places of worship have been encouraged to download their unique ‘Quick Response’ (QR) check-in posters so that app users can scan them when they visit participating venues.

If people visit the venue or place of business and later test positive for coronavirus, other App users who were there at the same time can be sent an alert. Any businesses, venues and premises that use the code will not be identified or detected as part of robust privacy features that track the virus, not people or venues.

Newham is one of only two places, along with the Isle of Wight, testing the new App, so that we assess it on behalf of the rest of London and the country. We are providing valuable feedback before it is rolled out across the nation. If we show that the app works here, then it will work anywhere.

The App is really easy to use; it can be downloaded in different languages and it has the most optimal privacy measures available, which means all your personal data stays on your own phone and you can of course delete it at any time if you really want to. Your feedback will be welcomed.

So if you haven’t already, do download the App and encourage your family and friends to do the same. The more people that sign up, the more effective our local contact test and tracing approach in Newham can be, as it’s another useful tool to stop the spread of the virus in our borough. Don’t forget to also follow all the important public health advice about wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance and washing your hands regularly.

We experienced some of the most significant impacts of Covid-19 due to the health inequalities and vulnerabilities in our communities. So far, a total of 1,462 residents in Newham have tested positive for coronavirus, and tragically 310 people have died. My thoughts and condolences are with their loved ones. It’s a constant reminder that the risk of Covid-19 is still around us and we must do everything we can to reduce its transmission in our communities as restrictions lift, people go back to work and schools re-open.

Sadly, tomorrow marks another tragic day as it was three-years ago when 14-year-old Corey Junior Davies, or CJ as he was known to his friends, was murdered in the most brutal way imaginable. As yet, despite the on-going police investigation, the perpetrators haven’t been found.

On 4 September 2017, CJ was with a small group of other young people in a playground in Moore Walk at just after 3pm. An unknown assailant or assailants passed by in a stolen Range Rover vehicle and multiple shots were fired into the crowd. CJ received a bullet wound to his head and was taken to hospital but died as a result of his injuries the following day, surrounded by his mother Keisha McLeod and loved ones.

While no arrests have yet been made in relation to his death, please come forward if you know anything about this murderous outrage. Please help us bring justice for CJ’s mum and if you know who did it, please don’t protect them.

If you don’t want to speak to police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, or its youth service Fearless, anonymously on 0800 555 111. They will never ask your name and cannot trace your call or any electronic device such as your phone or your computer. No one ever knows that you’ve passed on information anonymously. You can also make contact via Twitter @MetCC or call the non-emergency police 101 number, or the dedicated incident room number on 020 8345 3775. A £20,000 reward is being offered by the Metropolitan Police Service to anyone who can provide information that leads to a conviction.

I want to end by offering my deepest sympathies to CJ’s mother, Keisha McLeod. Over the two years that I have got to know her, through her valuable input as a distinguished member of our Youth Safety Board, I have seen first-hand her grace, strength and focus in pursuing justice for her beautiful son CJ, despite the daily anguish and pain that his murder has caused her.

As we move forward with our plans to build a better and brighter future for young people in Newham, we do so in remembrance of CJ and other young people who have been senselessly killed on our streets. I mourn their loss and offer condolences to their families. They, like CJ, are not forgotten. My administration’s commitment and focus on youth safety will never diminish. Our children and young people in Newham, will not be ignored as they are our future and we will invest in them.

Best wishes,

Rokhsana Fiaz OBE
Mayor of Newham

Read more Covid-19 updates from Mayor Fiaz or follow her on Twitter @rokhsanafiaz

Published: 03 Sep 2020