Redbridge reflects – one year since first COVID-19 lockdown
Published: 20 March 2021
As millions mark the 23rd March, the day our lives changed dramatically with the start of the first national lockdown, the council will join the Marie Curie’s National Day of Reflection and share stories of Redbridge residents who suffered but came together to stand strong against the biggest global peacetime crisis for generations.
Leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, said:
“Our world turned upside down on 23 March last year as we entered the first national lockdown and lives and livelihoods were lost and destroyed. To say the past year has been tough is an understatement. But through it all, we have also seen the kindness of strangers and the determined resilience of neighbours, frontline workers, friends and family in fighting this pandemic. This mixture of sacrifice, grit and compassion continues to shine through. So, this week is about the people of Redbridge as we remember and reflect whilst also looking to the future and the rebuilding of Redbridge.”
Marie Curie’s National Day of Reflection is a tribute to everyone who has suffered, and continues to suffer as a result of the pandemic. The day will be marked by a minute silence at noon on 23 March (Tuesday).
Marie Curie Chief Executive Matthew Reed said: “We need to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen this year and show support for everyone who has been bereaved in the most challenging of circumstances. We cannot simply stand by and not recognise the effects the pandemic has had on the bereaved. We know people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened.
“The National Day of Reflection on 23 March gives us a moment to reflect, remember and celebrate the lives of everyone that has died, as well as show our support to family, friends and colleagues who are bereaved during these challenging times – from COVID and other causes.”
At one time, Redbridge had the highest rates of COVID-19 infection in London. As of 12 March, 833 people in the borough have died after contracting the virus. The latest information shows infection rates in Redbridge have dropped to 44.2 per 100,000 people. In addition:
- 447,605 tests have been carried out in the community since the beginning of the pandemic
- 93,702 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the borough
- 606,325 masks have been handed out to local residents and businesses
Redbridge Director of Public Health, Dr Gladys Xavier said: “The past year has been extremely challenging. From the first announcement of the virus until today, lots of people have had to adjust to a way of life that no one could have expected. Many people have lost loved ones, jobs and people’s mental and physical health have suffered.
“The virus has also exposed and amplified existing health inequalities in Redbridge and across the country, especially in those from a BAME background. One of the reasons Redbridge had such a high infection rate and been hit hard by the economic impact of COVID-19 is due to the high number of frontline workers in the borough.
“The roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme was fantastic news. Just under 100,000 people have received the first dose of the vaccine in Redbridge and I encourage everyone else who is eligible to get their vaccination to keep themselves and loved ones safe.”
Notes to editor:
Here are some of the ways the council supported residents in the past year:
- Over 10,000 residents’ council tax instalments have been deferred, supporting those furloughed or under financial pressures
- Over 8,000 grants (£62m) business support grants have been awarded to small businesses, and those in the retail, hospitality, leisure sectors, along with a discretionary scheme (grant of up to £25,000)
- 904 care packages were delivered to families not in permanent housing with school-age children
- 78,805 packed lunches were delivered to vulnerable children
- 300 rough sleepers received accommodation, support and intervention during last years as a result of “everyone in”
- A further 43 rough sleepers have been supported to bring them off the streets as a result of the cold weather and second wave of COVID since Christmas.
- The council handed out 606,325 masks to local residents and businesses
- The council’s engagement teams knocked on around 11,000 doors to provide COVID-19 information and handed out 6,674 home test kits
Throughout the week, the council will share COVID-19 stories from the local community. Visit social media channels to stay updated.