1 - 5 March
I hope you’ve had a good week.
The number of COVID-19 infections are declining across the Borough and London, but lockdown measures remain in place and we must all keep following the rules. Being tested regularly for the virus, whether you have symptoms or not, and having the vaccine when it’s offered to you, are crucial to protecting ourselves and others. Those things will keep us on track to see the lockdown measures ease for the 21 June 2021 as set out by the Government in the roadmap.
Since the beginning of January 2021, more than 10,500 rapid tests have been taken in Hounslow and now, with our Mobile Testing Units available, even more families will benefit as we all follow the roadmap out of lock-down. Hounslow’s Mobile Testing Units are making regular stops at supermarkets to help residents who do not have symptoms get a rapid test while doing essential shopping. Read more about Helping Hounslow families get tested for COVID 19.
It’s also encouraging to see residents taking up the offer of the vaccine. The number of residents in priority groups having their first dose has been going up over the past weeks and months. Hounslow has had exceptional uptake to date. Over 90% of our top four priority groups, and more generally over 54,000 people in the Borough have had the vaccine in total. There has also been excellent uptake in care homes amongst both staff and residents, with some of the highest rates in the city. I’m thankful to all the NHS staff, volunteers and the many others who are working hard to rollout the vaccination programme which is ultimately helping to protect and save lives.
If you are aged 60 or over, are clinically vulnerable, a frontline worker or get Carer's Allowance, you can now book your COVID-19 vaccination through the NHS website even if you haven’t yet received a letter. Appointments are available in Ealing and Wembley.
You must book your appointment before you go to a vaccination centre. We are aware of other scam messages circulating – please ignore them. The NHS will never ask you for money or your bank details for your vaccination – it is free.
You can book an appointment now if:
- you are aged 60 or over
- you have previously received a letter saying you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- you are an eligible frontline health worker
- you are an eligible frontline social care worker
- you get Carer's Allowance – find out more about Carer's Allowance on GOV.UK
You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centres or a pharmacy that provides COVID-19 vaccinations.
I know there are untruths about the vaccine, but you can get more information about the vaccine and how to get it here.
Please also remember the three basic steps we must all stick to, to protect ourselves and others. Wash your hands regularly. Wear a face covering. Keep 2 metres away from others.
Visit the Council’s coronavirus advice and support pages for more information, and to access a wide range of help and support available to residents, communities and businesses. You can also seek support by contacting our Community Hub for help with food supplies, clothing, financial advice and other community support.
I would encourage you to sign up to receive regular updates from the Council on a range of topics for everyone. It’s an easy way to keep in the loop on lots of important information on services, advice and support available.
On Monday, I attended the funeral service of the late Mr John Dwyer at Mortlake Crematorium. I was with members of the community who expressed a wish to be part of his funeral arrangements after learning of his death in early February 2021. John slept rough under the A4 fly-over at Chiswick roundabout for over 30 years and became a well-known character across the borough. Despite the Council’s extensive search for any known relatives, the funeral was organised by the Council and I would like to thank staff who ensured John had a very respectable, dignified send off. I would also like to thank Georgina Eales and Declan Moroney for their kind contributions to the funeral arrangements.
Flowers (yellow) from Georgina and also from the Council.
We also saw the funeral service on Tuesday of Michael Shepherd, a much-loved member of staff at Hounslow Council. Michael worked in the Facilities Team at Hounslow House and he was well liked by all his colleagues. His death was a real shock to everyone. I know many colleagues would have joined virtually to pay their respects and say their farewells. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.
Cllr Tom Bruce, Lead Member for Education, Children and Youth Services announced in his statement on Monday that 94 percent (more than nine out of ten) of Hounslow pupils received an offer to one of their preferred secondary schools. I know how stressful waiting can be for pupils, parents, and carers so I’m delighted with this positive news. This is an overwhelmingly positive figure.
At Tuesday’s Borough Council meeting the 2021/22 Budget proposals were approved. The report, presented by Cllr Shantanu Rajawat, Lead Member for Finance & Corporate Services focuses on helping the borough to recover and protecting services and investing in the support residents need for jobs and apprenticeships, as well as our ambitious plans for a greener borough. Read more in Cllr Rajawat's statement.
This week the Council also launched a new Corporate Plan, which was also approved at Tuesday’s Borough Council meeting. The plan sets out an ambitious vision for the borough, putting residents at the heart of Council services in the context of Covid-19, and beyond. The plan to deliver a fairer, greener and stronger Hounslow focuses on outcomes that the Council will work with partners and communities to achieve.
Read more in my statement and/or download the full document A Fairer, Greener, Stronger Borough Corporate Plan 2021
On Thursday, the Orchard Road (car park) planning application was approved by the Planning Committee. This development will provide five family council homes at council rents and contribute to our 5,000 affordable homes pledge as well as our commitment to build 1,000 Council homes across the borough by 2022. This zero carbon scheme forms part of our green recovery and our ambitious plans for the benefit of residents, with longer-term sustainability in line with our climate emergency action plan. The four, three-bedroomed houses and one, four-bedroomed house will have triple-glazed windows, wastewater heat recovery systems, and air-source heat pumps to provide hot water and heating, with solar panels on the roof to generate electricity.
This is a fantastic achievement for the Council, and I would like to say a huge thanks to all the staff involved for their hard work and commitment to Hounslow. This is an exemplary scheme; I really look forward to seeing these homes being built.
A carbon zero scheme at Orchard Road
I’m also very pleased the Council agreed its Digital Strategy. That aims to have connected, collaborative and inclusive communities in Hounslow supported by innovative, digitally-optimised services. Our approach to ‘doing digital’ is to ensure we do it in the open, using our http://Hounslow.Digital site. We are working with our communities through community-centred design to make sure we deliver the digital services they need for our Community Solutions work, as well as for areas such as Housing and Planning. The Council has signed an agreement that will improve fibre optic connectivity in the Borough and make it easier for communication companies to install fibre into premises, and provide faster, more reliable services for our communities. That’s so important at this time!
On Friday, I was delighted to be invited to the official opening of the Bike Hub on Brentford high street. I was joined by Cllr Katherine Dunne, Lead Member for Communities & Climate Emergency, Cllr Guy Lambert, Lead Member for Highways, Recycling and Companies, and Cllr Hanif Khan, Lead Member for Transport & OneHounslow. The bike hub is a community-based organisation. Please check out their website to find out more about what they do; London Bike Hub
Left to Right: Cllr’s Dunne, Lambert, Khan and Brian waving, and me at London Bike Hub 59 High Street, Brentford TW80AH
We saw another disappointing loss for Brentford FC against Stoke City on Wednesday (1-0). Better luck next time – we’ll be rooting for you at the next match on Friday 12th March playing Blackburn Rovers. Come on you Bees!!!
Good luck to London Irish for tonight as well. They’re up against Leicester. At the midway stage of the Premiership season, the Exiles are seventh, five points and two places above the Tigers. Best of luck to the Exiles!!! Match starts at 7:45pm. I know what I’ll be doing this evening!!
Have a good weekend everyone. Stay safe.
Cllr Steve Curran