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Emergency support for residents

We are sorry you have been impacted by an emergency.

The council's Civil Protection Unit has made this guide for you.

It gives general advice and signposting to support you in your recovery.

If you have any feedback or suggestions, please contact: emergency.planning@towerhamlets.gov.uk 

Local wellbeing support

For more information, please visit the Tower Hamlets mental health page.

Council services

Parking advice

You can view the most up to date information and apply for permits online.

Children’s Social Care

If you have a concern about the welfare or safety of a child during the office hours of 9am-5pm, you should contact the Tower Hamlets MASH:

Phone: 020 7364 5006 (option 3)
Extensions: 5606/5601/5358/7796

Email: Mash@towerhamlets.gov.uk

If a child is in immediate danger, please call the police on 999.

Your responsibility is to report your concerns. A social worker will follow these up with any necessary investigations or assessment.

You can also contact:

Emergency Duty Team (EDT) – Out of hours service
Phone: 020 7364 4079 (after 5pm and at weekends).

See the Children and Family Care section for more details.

Early Help Hub

The Early Help Hub works with families or young people who would like some extra support to deal with a difficult situation. This can stop things from getting worse and becoming harder to manage.

Calls to the Children Services Hotline (020 7364 5006) and the online enquiry form are directed through to the Early Help Hub (EHH).

For more information please go to Early Help.

Children and Family Centres

We have 12 children’s and family centres in Tower Hamlets

These are free and open for all parents and carers with children from birth-19 years of age (up to 25 those with Special Educational Needs and Disability) who live in the borough.

Services include:

  • play
  • family support
  • health
  • training
  • employment

Children and Family Centres aim to improve outcomes for all children, young people, and their families.  

They allow access to a range of universal and targeted services. The give support with any concerns and play a major part in early identification and early intervention.

If you need general advice and help to find your nearest children’s centre, please call us on 020 7364 1553.

Children’s and Parents Advice Service

Tower Hamlets has a SEND Information, Advice and Support Service.

Email: TowerHamlets&City.SENDIASS@towerhamlets.gov.uk 

Phone: 020 7364 6489 (Monday to Friday, 9am- 5pm)

Address: Parents Advice Centre, 30 Greatorex Street, E1 5NP

Adult Social Care

Tower Hamlets Connect is a new and integrated information and advice service being delivered by Age UK East London.

Its partners are:

  • Apasen
  • Bromley by Bow Centre
  • Deaf Plus
  • Island House
  • Limehouse Project
  • Positive East
  • Real DPO
  • Tower Hamlets Law Centre

The service can support adult residents with health, social care and social welfare information and advice.

This includes housing, welfare and benefits, consumer issues and general advocacy.

They can book residents in for one-to-one appointment with advisors for advice and general advocacy in the community.

We encourage service users, carers, and professionals to contact Tower Hamlets Connect for adult social care matters, such as:

  • information and advice
  • requests for assessments or reviews
  • a safeguarding concern

Email: enquiry@towerhamletsconnect.org
Phone: 0300 303 6070 (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday – note out of hours this will direct to the Emergency Duty Team)

Financial support 

The Residents' Support Scheme is designed to help residents who are:

  • in or at risk of being in crisis
  • in need of immediate help and have no source of financial support available

What kind of support can you get?

The scheme is designed to support residents who:

  • are either in or at risk of being in crisis
  • are in need of immediate help and
  • have no source of financial support available to them

The Residents' Support Scheme will help with short-term living costs such as credit food and gas/electric prepayment metres. It can also help in some circumstances with white goods and furniture.

Cash will not usually be awarded, but a pay point voucher can be given to the applicant.

Vouchers will be given to residents to purchase the items that they need, such as furniture. If white goods, such as a washing machine or fridge are need, then these items will be bought through the scheme.

Delivery will be arranged with the resident directly to their home. Household goods will be paid by voucher. These will be given out within five working days of the decision being made.

The scheme will also signpost residents to other sources of available support.

There may also be referrals for advice/assistance with financial, debt and/or welfare benefits to try and address the resident’s long-term needs.

Who does the scheme help?

Residents must be aged 16 years or over and must not be subject to any UK immigration control.

These groups are priorities:

  • those experiencing domestic abuse
  • families with young children
  • older people
  • people with longer term illnesses
  • people with disabilities
  • people with mental health needs
  • households with a pregnant person

What will not be awarded?

Not every application will be awarded.

The scheme will not award:  

  • any application made that is felt to be ‘not an immediate need’ or where alternative means of support is available
  • applications from those with sufficient income or savings
  • clothing (except in exceptional circumstances where someone is fleeing their home e.g., flood, fire, domestic violence)
  • minor structural repairs that are landlord or owner's responsibilities
  • furniture and household items where living in private rented furnished accommodation
  • furnished temporary accommodation where this is the responsibility of the landlord
  • specialist disability equipment or adaptations, recliner chairs, wheelchairs, and mobility scooters
  • personal debts – we will refer to appropriate agencies for support
  • phone costs or associated expenses

How do you apply?

You can apply online.

You will need to provide information about:

  • where you live
  • who you live with
  • your circumstances
  • your income
  • your health
  • what help you are applying for

If you are finding it difficult to apply online, or if you have other queries about applications, please email lwpqueries@northgateps.com or call 020 7520 7217.

Housing support

Phone: 020 7364 7474

Email: homeless@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Address: Town Hall, 5 Clove Crescent, Mulberry Place, London E14 2BG

Opening hours

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9.30am-4pm
Wednesday, 1-4pm
Access: Wheelchair access
Hearing loop in reception

If you need emergency homelessness advice, assistance, and support outside of these hours or during the weekends please call 020 7364 4079.

Independent Housing Advice

Communities First

Communities First offer free, independent advocacy and legal advice about housing. They can also make a referral to other organisations for more complex legal needs.

Email: enquiries@communitiesfirst.uk.com 

Phone: 0300 365 7150

Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum

The forum celebrates the significant contribution that faith organisations play in our residents' lives.

It enables better communication and understanding between different faiths.

Cleaning up

You can search for local cleaning companies or individuals in your local area you can hire to help you clean up your property.

Always get approval first from your insurance agent/company before committing to a bill.

Food stuffs

Freezers and frozen foods

If your property loses power, you should be mindful of food thawing. Check the packet to see if the food is safe to eat and throw it out if necessary.

If moving the food, use insulated cooler bags or boxes and check the food has not thawed during transit.

If you are unsure whether frozen food has thawed, throw it away to be safe.

Thawed and fresh foods

Any foodstuffs exposed to intense heat, open flame and/or smoke should be thrown away immediately.

Canned goods

Don't eat these if they have been exposed to intense heat or open flame during a fire. This raises the temperature inside the tin and can let harmful bacteria develop.

Cooking utensils

If they aren't beyond repair, wash well with soapy water and scouring pads or powder.

Copper and brass utensils should be cleaned with their specialist cleaners.

Clothes

Smoke damage

Wash smoke and soot from clothes as soon as you can. Make sure you follow the washing instructions. This will also prevent mildew.

If any soot or mildew remains after washing consult a professional laundry service.

Dry cleaning

If there will be a delay in getting the items to a cleaner:

  • remove any shoulder pads or trimmings that may bleed their colour
  • soak items for a short time only in cold water with a small amount of synthetic detergent
  • rinse in cold water and gently squeeze the water from the clothes
  • place on a hanger to avoid wrinkling

Dry cleaners can deal with soot, water damage and smoke odours.

Leather

Remove any surface dirt by wiping off with cold water and then wipe dry.

Stuff shoes with paper and change it regularly to absorb any excess water.

Dry them away from direct heat or sun.

Soft furnishings

Pillows

Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get rid of odours from feather or foam pillows. You may need to buy replacements.

Wool blankets

Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning if possible.

If not:

  • shake and brush off surface dirt
  • soak in lukewarm detergent for 15 minutes turning two or three times by hand (repeat if needed)
  • rinse in lukewarm clear water
  • either dry the item in a preheated dryer with some hot bath towels or hang them over two parallel lines
  • if you use a dryer, remove while still damp and finish the drying using the two-line method
  • gently stretch the blanket into shape and finish by brushing it
  • iron any trim if it has it

Upholstered furniture

If upholstered furniture has been affected:

  • dry it as quickly as possible to prevent mildew and rotting
  • brush off loose dirt then if required shampoo the item
  • apply “suds” only with a damp cloth or sponge not water
  • remove them by using a blotting action with dry cloths
  • brush pile fabrics one way only
  • when it's completely dry, brush or vacuum to remove residue

Cleaning rugs and carpets

If they have been soaked and soiled:

  • allow them to dry thoroughly
  • remove any remaining dirt by beating, sweeping, or vacuuming
  • if needed, then shampoo, using a soft brush in a circular motion
  • wipe area with a soft cloth dampened in lukewarm water, use as little water as you can

Books

To dry books place them on end with the pages separated. After a time press them to prevent mildew.

Continue with this until they are fully dry.

If books are very damp, sprinkle talcum powder between the pages. Leave them for several hours before brushing it off.

Structural

Cleaning walls

If walls have soot damage, wash a small area at a time with a detergent solution.  Start from the floor up. A local industrial cleaning supplies agent/shop will be able to advise you if you are unsure what to do.

For water-damaged walls, if possible, wash while still it's wet.

If there's a lot of damage, you'll need to apply a primer sealer coat first before re-decoration.

Plaster walls can be repaired while still damp. Do not paint them until they are fully dry. If you are unsure, please get advice from a decorator.

Locks and hinges

Where you can, take the lock apart and wipe it clean.

If not, apply a coating of thin spray oil through the keyhole.

Vinyl floors

If water has seeped under the linoleum, it can cause bad odours quickly. If this happens remove the entire sheet(s) until the floor is completely dry. Then lay the sheet(s) again.

Wooden floors

Wood will expand if it's left underwater for any time

If the floor has buckled badly, then remove the trim boards, followed by one board along the edge of each door.

The wood will shrink back to normal when it's dry.

Wooden furniture

  • clean any dirt from the furniture
  • remove drawers until dry enough to return to unit without them sticking
  • scrub with a stiff brush and cleaning solution, dry thoroughly as wet wood can decay and go mouldy. Ensure windows and doors are open for ventilation
  • do not dry in the sun, wooden furniture can warp out of shape

Replacing documents

If these documents be destroyed, they will have to be replaced:

Birth/Marriage/Death Certificates

Find out how from the General Register Office or call 0300 123 1837

Child Support Agency

Find out how on Gov.uk or call 0800 1712 033

Replacement Driving Licence

Find out how on Gov.uk

Vehicle Registration Documents

Find out how on Gov.uk.

UK Immigration services

Find out how on Gov.uk.   

Income Tax Records

Find out how from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Inland Revenue or call 0300 200 3310. 

Insurance Polices

Contact the agents, brokers, or company.

Medical Cards

Contact your GP or the local health authority that covers your area.

National Insurance

Find out how on Gov.uk.

Passports (Identity and Passport Service IPS)

Find out how on Gov.uk.

Phone: 0300 222 0000

Universal credit

Find out how on Gov.uk.

Call 0800 328 5644

Benefit enquiry line call: 0800 169 0310

Department for Work and Pensions

Find out how on Gov.uk.
Phone: 0800 055 6688 

State Pensions

Phone: 0800 731 7898

Wills

If you can remember the name of the solicitor or the company that drafted your Will then you could contact them and ask for a further copy of it.

Otherwise you may have to arrange for a new one to be written. If you make a new Will you can state that the previous Will is no longer be valid.

Warrantees

Contact the supplier or maker of items.