Recently we marked one year since the first national lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic that has affected the whole country and sadly seen over 125,000 people lost to this virus – more than 500 of them in Lambeth. Over 4 million cases of coronavirus have been reported in the UK and many people will be living with long-term effects of having had the virus. We send our heartfelt sympathies to everyone impacted by this global crisis.
Over the last year Lambeth’s Labour Councillors have supported and worked with COVID-19 response volunteers and groups by funding local projects, providing tens of thousands of support packages of everyday essentials and helping organise our successful Connecting Tulse Hill Partnership or kids Christmas present share. We have increased access to food by supporting groups to open food distributions centres, estate based food share services and foodbanks in schools and community halls.
We have housed many of those sleeping on the streets, many of whom are vulnerable adults, in local hotels to keep them safe. We have opened our own local testing centres (including one in Brockwell Park and one in Windmill Gardens), taken track and trace in house on a local level so it is more effective as we believe the Council can contact those residents that the national service has not been able to reach, and working in partnership with the NHS and Lambeth’s GPs and pharmacies we have ensured there is a range of convenient places for people to get vaccinated.
We have been signposting local people to support groups, who can help with mental health, loneliness, and financial challenges. Lambeth Council launched its own local contact tracing service on 5th November 2020, which means . At the first Full Council meeting of 2021, we called on the government to cancel the cut to Universal Credit, end the public sector pay freeze and to provide further funding for localised test and trace services.
Lambeth Councillors also put in place a support scheme for local businesses and Lambeth Council has now notified 650 businesses they will receive grants through our Economic Resilience Fund, totaling £6.1 million of targeted support for businesses in four categories: market traders and retail concessions, businesses in shared workspaces, cultural and creative businesses, and independent hospitality and leisure businesses.