What is the latest advice around coronavirus?
Please find the latest government advice on coronavirus here, including how to protect yourself and others and what to do if you or someone you live with has symptoms.
From Monday 14 September, indoor and outdoor social gatherings of more than 6 people will be illegal and fines will be issued to people not following this guidance. This will be £100 for a first offence, doubling on each further offence up to £3,200.
This will apply to gatherings at home, in bars, in restaurants and parks – but not to education settings, workplaces, weddings, funerals and organised team sports.
This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than 6 who will still be able to gather together. This rule will also not apply to education settings, workplaces, weddings, funerals, organised team sports, places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues. However, bars, restaurants and pubs will only be able to host parties of up to 6 people who must not mix or form larger groups.
Staying safe and well
Where can I go for advice on how to keep physically and mentally well during the lockdown?
Keeping physically and mentally fit while staying at home can seem challenging. Luckily there are plenty of resources to help. You can visit the Sport England website to find out about free apps and videos to help keep active at home. There are resources for families, people with disabilities, older adults and pregnant women.
We have pulled together some useful links and information to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing. You can also visit the Camden Care Choices and Mental Health Camden websites for information and support with mental health during this time. Young people can also get support and advice from Camden Rise.
You might also like to try mindfulness. A resource like Headspace is a good place to start.
Keeping busy with activities can also help to improve mental health. For example, find out about online learning.
Support for vulnerable people
How is the Council supporting Camden’s most vulnerable residents?
We know that residents are very worried about COVID-19 (coronavirus), and as your Council we are here to support you.
The welfare of our most vulnerable residents is our highest priority. We are working with Camden’s voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver services and meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents.
We have established a community hub at the Crowndale Centre to facilitate the packing and distribution of food and personal hygiene goods to shielded residents and other vulnerable people in Camden. We are contacting everyone on the government shielding list, whether known to Council services or not, to find out if they need any additional help not covered by the government support they have been offered. For example, this could include additional food to meet dietary requirements or support with care.
We are also providing support to our older tenants and leaseholders, and other tenants we know are vulnerable.
What should I do if I’m worried about a vulnerable resident?
If you are worried about a vulnerable adult please contact our Adult Social Care team via email or phone 020 7974 4000 (option 1).
You can also use our website to find volunteer groups and other services that can provide help – this includes:
- Food shopping
- Picking up medications
- Dog walking
- Financial advice
- Telephone befriending
- Staying social and active in isolation and more.
If you have specific questions and concerns phone us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).
Support for businesses
What support is available for my business in Camden?
Camden businesses are a vital part of our community, city and country. We must work together across the public, private and third sectors to make sure that our community is able to recover together.
Find out about:
If you are a business owner, please also read the letter sent by Georgia Gould, Leader of Camden Council, and Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities and an Inclusive Economy, which outlines the ways the Council will support you and how to access this support.
Housing and council tax
How is the Council making sure housing associations support their residents?
There are 46 housing associations in Camden. We are working closely with specialist housing associations who operate hostels for homeless people under a contract with the Council to make sure that vulnerable single homeless people are housed in the most appropriate accommodation.
We are in contact with our other housing association partners, including One Housing Group, Origin, Notting Hill Genesis and Clarion, about how they are supporting their tenants.
Why has my council tax gone up at this time?
Every year, we have to make sure that all residents receive their council tax bill for the new financial year (1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021) by the middle of March. Unfortunately, this year’s bills started to land through letterboxes as the situation with coronavirus worsened. We’re really sorry about the unfortunate timing because we know that some of our residents’ incomes will have changed, or could change in the future, as a result of coronavirus.
If you’re struggling to pay council tax or worried about your financial situation more broadly, find out about financial support available. You can also get in touch with us directly by calling 020 7974 4444 (option 9).
The reason we put council tax up this year is because over the past decade, the government has halved our funding. This means we have less money to help, while more residents are turning to us for support. That’s why, as part of our long-term approach to managing our finances, we made the decision to increase council tax by 3.99% this year. At the heart of our work is protecting our frontline services, which is why half of the money raised from this year’s council tax increase will be dedicated to protecting adult social care services for elderly residents, and those living with dementia, mental health issues and disabilities, so they can all live full lives as part of our community.
While some parts of the Council are running a reduced service during the coronavirus crisis, we are significantly increasing investment and support in other areas to help protect local residents and businesses. This includes increasing the level of care for vulnerable residents, especially those leaving hospital, working with Age UK Camden to provide food parcels, increasing support for local foodbanks and increasing the level of direct grants to support vulnerable families. We are also commissioning additional advice services to help ensure residents get the support they need, including help with employment opportunities and welfare rights.
How do I request a parking permit?
To support our residents through this challenging time and provide key workers in critical sectors with what they need to keep essential services running smoothly, we have made some changes to how we manage parking and travel across Camden.
If you are a key worker and require parking to travel safely to work, complete our parking request form.
Why is the Council continuing to enforce parking violations?
As lockdown is eased and to further protect parking spaces for key workers, we will start to move back to some level of parking enforcement in the next couple of weeks.
Recycling, rubbish and street cleaning
How are recycling and rubbish collections and street cleaning continuing?
We are working closely with our partner Veolia to minimise the impact of coronavirus on recycling and rubbish services, street cleaning and other key environmental services. We are putting plans into place to make sure our most essential services and continue to be delivered safely.
Voluntary services and volunteering
How is the Council supporting Camden’s voluntary and community organisations at this time?
We are working closely with Camden’s voluntary and community sector organisations to deliver services and meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents.
We will not be billing voluntary and community sector organisations in Camden properties for rent in the March quarter.
We are also exploring other ways we can support the sector, including establishing the Camden Covid-19 Charity Fund with Camden Giving, which will go to local organisations helping people in Camden.
What is being done to support food banks?
We are working with food bank partners including Euston Food Bank to make sure that food banks can continue to provide supplies to people who need them. We have also been working with voluntary and community sector partners, and Tenants and Residents Associations to support local responses to ensure access to food for those in need.
Our support includes matching food banks and organisations with volunteers, providing access to transport, liaising with supermarkets and tech partners, and organising access to buildings to be used as distribution centres. We are also supporting Euston Food Bank with additional funding to help bolster their services.
I would like to volunteer. How do I get involved?
It has been wonderful to see so many members of our community coming forward to help others at this difficult time.
Find out how to volunteer in Camden.
Is there a ‘stay safe’ guide for volunteers?
We have worked with Public Health England and Volunteer Centre Camden to produce our volunteer protocol to help volunteers stay safe during this time. This includes advice around social distancing in a volunteering context, and a checklist of vulnerable groups who should not volunteer at this time.
Volunteer Centre Camden have also produced a guide with advice for how residents can safely help their neighbours.
Is the Council closing parks?
We know parks are a lifeline for exercise and fresh air, and vital for our physical and mental wellbeing. Camden parks are currently open but can only be used in accordance to government guidelines.
We are urging everyone to continue following these guidelines.
- Always keep 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household
- Avoid areas when busy. This is especially important in parks and may mean not using a park if it is busy
- Team sports should only be played with members of your own household
- Always wash your hands when you are back indoors
Please do not barbecue in our parks and open spaces. Playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skateparks remain closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Please exercise locally and avoid parks and open spaces outside of your immediate area. If you have access to your own garden please use that so those living in homes without access to gardens can have space in our parks.
We will be monitoring the situation closely to make sure our parks continue to be used safely.
What is the Council doing about grounds maintenance?
Following advice from central government, we are keeping all green spaces open in order to provide access to outdoor space for the public during the coronavirus crisis.
In order to make sure that green spaces are safe for the public to use, our grounds maintenance contractor Idverde will continue to provide limited services. This includes daily safety checks of green spaces, grass cutting, park keeper provision where necessary, playground inspections to ensure they remain closed, and removal of vegetation from access points and footpaths where necessary.
Idverde have also been working hard to make sure staff can get to work safely, including private transportation and use of their fleet vehicles where possible.
Schools and free school meals
How is the Council ensuring continued provision of free school meals?
We are working to ensure that no one in the borough goes hungry as a result of coronavirus – this includes children entitled to free school meals.
The Council is offering a food parcels scheme for those entitled to free school meals, where parents and carers can collect the food parcels once a fortnight. Specific arrangements are being shared with schools directly about how they can be collected.
We know that a number of our schools are autonomous and have the ability to make local decisions. Whilst we have extended our offer of food provision to all schools, a number of schools have taken the option of providing food vouchers.
Children attending school, whether deemed vulnerable or the children of critical workers, are currently being provided food on site irrespective of their free school meal eligibility.
Camden is continuing to provide food over the Easter holiday through these mechanisms and is also working with schools to understand the voucher scheme that has been announced by government. We will then review our provision arrangements in response to this scheme.