First, a response to a query from a little while back:
Yorksgirl - The vast majority of Southwark's public toilets should be equipped with hot water - including all of those in parks. The only exception I have found so far is in East Street. With regard to pubs and supermarkets this is something we can look at in the longer term.
Second, thanks to everyone who has raised points about pavement-widening and other suggestions for safe active transport. I have been pushing the council on this matter and am happy to say that they are exploring it. I am told there should be an announcement in the near future on our first initiative.
The challenges of council resources, particularly during the lockdown period, mean that we inevitably will not be able to reallocate road space everywhere in the borough, but we will consider carefully where we can do this to ensure safe social distancing where we can.
Third, I have a couple of updates regarding children and young people.
Laptops and equipment for Southwark children and young people
If a child or young person is unable to access and complete work that has been set online because they do not have access to a laptop (or other essential equipment) then they can apply for an immediate grant from the Newcomen Collett Foundation. Once accepted, the foundation will aim to get the laptop to the student within 4 days.
The fund is only available for Southwark students up to age 25. There are only a limited number of laptops available, so please reach out to those young people and families in most need.
Parents or students have to apply online, and will need access to an internet/broadband service. They will need a school, college or university teacher/lecturer to support their application and to countersign a supporting form that will need to be sent off along with the main application form. To apply, the child/ parent should go to online applications (https://marshalls.flexigrant.com/areadetail.aspx?farea=1121) then follow the link to 'grants to individuals'. Alternatively, the school or university can apply via this link on their behalf.
Free school meals
Schools and families eligible for free school meals have now converted over £20 million worth of vouchers into supermarket gift cards (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-free-school-meals-guidance). Vouchers can either be sent directly to the family, or to the school.
The DfE are temporarily extending free school meal eligibility to include some children of groups who have no recourse to public funds (NRPF), subject to a maximum household earnings threshold of £7,400 per annum.
These groups are:
· children of Zambrano carers
· children of families with no recourse to public funds with a right to remain in the UK on grounds of private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights
· children of families receiving support under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989 who are also subject to a no recourse to public funds restriction
The DfE are also temporarily extending eligibility to children of a subset of failed asylum seekers supported under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
The extension, effective immediately and lasting until the schools reopen fully, is temporarily in place to support families facing difficulties due to the current unique circumstances. It covers both children who are attending school and children who are at home.
James McAsh - Labour Councillor for Goose Green ward
Surgeries: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month at 7pm, East Dulwich Community Centre on Darrell Road
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