Tottenham responds to Coronavirus outbreak

Local groups and organisations offer support and solidarity to those in self-isolation.

Lela Mamma loads a bike with food for delivery to customers in self-isolation
Credit: Stephen Furner

By Luchia Robinson

Groups and organisations in the community are mobilising to take action locally in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Many people are offering their time, skills and expertise to support the vulnerable: Haringey COVID 19 Mutual Aid Group is using social media platforms to coordinate ways of helping one another in the wards across the borough; Uncle John’s Bakery in West Green Road, is supplying food boxes to care homes, and offering free loaves of bread to NHS staff. Volunteers in the Haringey Self-Isolation Book Exchange Group are leaving books on the doorsteps of neighbours who are unable to leave their homes; Creative Movements Haringey is offering free online activity videos for children under five – covering storytelling, crafts and movement, and local foodbanks are providing non-perishable foods and sanitation products to struggling families.

These are just some of the demonstrations of social responsibility taking place locally whilst nationally advised containment measures are being undertaken.

These measures include: those with a persistent cough (and their household members) staying at home for 14 days (self isolating), avoiding leaving the house if possible; everyone working from home if they can; the stopping of unnecessary visits or travel; only using the NHS if absolutely necessary, by seeking advice online, and minimising social contact.

Several businesses and organisations in Tottenham have already been affected by the changes, with many having to close to minimise health risks.

Sisters Hana and Lela Mamma, owners of the coffee shop, With Milk, in Philip Lane, have been offering cycling and walking deliveries of food and coffee to local residents who are self-isolating or socially distancing.

With Milk co-owner, Hana Mamma
Credit: Stephen Furner

Prior to Prime Minster, Boris
Johnson’s recent decision to close all cafés, pubs, bars and restaurants, Hana and Lela said: “We are a very new café and we would be heartbroken to have to close even short term.

“We want to continue to serve our community and support those who have been here for us since the start.

“We didn’t think too much about [offering the deliveries], it was just something we felt we needed to do to make sure those isolated know they are still valued by us. We have stock that we are also concerned will go to waste if we are forced to close. We don’t want our
suppliers, who are mostly small businesses to feel any additional strain by us cancelling orders.

“We will endeavour to stay open, stocked and supported until we have no alternative. As Tottenham locals it’s important to us not just to survive as a business but also give back and support the area we grew up in and love. We must say it’s thanks to our customers that we have been able to stay open and now jump on our bikes.

“We try to deliver as far as we can, but as we are the only two working in the shop, we are doing our best with such limitations.”

With all cafés and social venues now closed, Lela and Hana are solely providing delivery services.

Haringey Council has addressed concerns around the Coronavirus and its impact.

Borough leader, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor said: “You can have confidence that your council is doing all of the things that you’d expect us to be doing to ensure that we can find a way to keep you all safe.

“The reality is that it’s important that we all take notice of the best advice provided by Public Health England.

“The government has put temporary measures in place to protect small businesses – a number of whom are going to be adversely affected by the
economic shock caused by the Coronavirus outbreak.

“As a council, it is important that we remain best able to deliver the most important services that our residents rely on. That’s going to mean prioritising services for older people, for younger people, and safeguarding services around statutory compliance.

“We might not be able to do everything that we used to do at the same pace that we used to do it because we will be needing to prioritise services for people over resolving things like potholes. That’s going to be our priority.

“This is a live and fluid situation and things are going to change every day.”

For ongoing updates on Coronavirus.

If you are concerned about the impact of Coronavirus on accessing the help you need, call the Haringey Council Connected Communities Covid-19 contactline: 0208 489 4431. Lines open 09.30–16.30, Monday–Friday.

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