Festival 'thank you' to those who got us through pandemic

Mayor (right) watching children plant memorial tree in Millwall Park to those who sadly died in the pandemic

Mayor (right) watching children plant memorial tree in Millwall Park to those who sadly died in the pandemic - Credit: LBTH

A two-week festival of community events to bring neighbours together and thank volunteers getting us all through the Covid pandemic has started in the East End. 

It follows a memorial planting at Millwall Park to those who have died as a result of the outbreak. 

The festival is being paid for out of a special £3 million Tower Hamlets Council recovery fund. 

Cllr Sabina Akhtar... when first elected in 2015

Cllr Sabina Akhtar... when first elected in 2015 - Credit: Mike Brooke

“The pandemic will have long-term effects on all of us,” Cllr Sabina Akhtar said. “Social isolation was a common impact for many people which is why we’ve set aside money for a fortnight of events to bring people together.” 

The fund has given £50,000 to organisations to hold events such as supper clubs, street parties and mental health workshops to help households, businesses and organisations recover from the impact.  

Mayor John  Biggs... providing help 'where it is needed most'

Mayor John Biggs... providing help 'where it is needed most' - Credit: Mike Brooke

Mayor John Biggs said: “We are able to provide help where it is needed most, those who have suffered mentally and physically through difficult times.”   

Events are under way, starting on Wednesday, November 3 with a tea party in Bethnal Green given by Friends and Neighbours organisation at St Margaret’s House community centre in Old Ford Road. It is the first time volunteers meet residents face to face to celebrate friendships made over the past year.  

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Two evening supper clubs are being held at Spitalfields City Farm off Brick Lane, the first for those who’ve been isolated because of lockdown and the second to celebrate volunteers. The culinary team is creating a sit-down dinner for 70 guests from the farm’s varied produce of fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. 

A “Trans Parent Day” is on Thursday, November 4, held by the LGBT+ Community Forum with a panel discussion at 6.30pm on parenting, register online

A community party by Neighbours in Poplar is on Friday, November 5, at St Matthias centre in Poplar High Street, 11am-3pm. Details online.  

A two-day programme of workshops on building confidence and getting help from mental health services is being run by Leaf Coaching organisation on Saturday and Sunday, November 6-7, dealing mainly with issues faced by second-generation Muslim immigrants, details online.

The fund is aimed at kickstarting the East End’s economic, health and social recovery with money being set aside for more events next April.