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Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Director of Public Health is reminding residents of the importance of social distancing and urging those with symptoms to stop the spread by self-isolating and booking a test.

 In the past week 60 cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Southend-on-Sea and our weekly rate is currently 34.4 cases per 100,000 people. This is slightly above the East of England average (c.33 per 100,000), and around four times what it was four weeks ago.

 Krishna Ramkhelawon, director of public health, says: “In recent weeks we have seen a rise in confirmed cases across the country, across Essex and across Southend-on-Sea. Most of these are attributed to people not following the public health advice including not self-isolating.

 “With additional testing in place this was predicted and although we are doing everything we can to slow this rise in cases locally, we must remember that Coronavirus is still with us and we must continue to be vigilant, and do our bit to help and follow national guidance.

 “It is extremely important that we all maintain social distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, maintain good hand-washing, wear face coverings and follow the ‘rule of six.’ This is even more important now that schools have restarted and I urge parents to socially distance at the school gates and young people not to congregate in groups before and after school too. I know this is difficult but please do try and help our communities to stay safe.”

 Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for adult social care and health, says: “Knowing what to do if you have symptoms is also key to stopping the spread.

 “If you have any symptoms, it is crucial that you self-isolate. Get tested as soon as possible, and isolate until you know the result.  Do not be put off requesting a test if you have symptoms and please do so as soon as possible. There is support in place for those on low incomes. Please visit our website for further details.

“You must also self-isolate if you are told to by the national test and trace system. In this scenario, you must do so for the full period regardless of whether you have symptoms or not, or whether you receive a negative test result or not. This period will be 10 or 14 days depending on the circumstances. Due to the incubation period of this disease which can be up to 14 days, you must self-isolate for the period advised.

“To be clear, even if you don’t have symptoms or even if you get a negative test result, you must still continue to self-isolate for the full period advised if you have been contacted through the test and trace system. Please follow this and national advice. If people don’t, we will continue to see cases rise, spread and reach people who are more vulnerable in our communities, leading to more severe illness and deaths in our community.”



Rise in coronavirus cases prompts public health appeal

With Christmas fast approaching (yes, really), in a year none of us could have anticipated, the council’s annual Toy Drive is set to launch this month to provide some Christmas joy for vulnerable children across Southend.

The Toy Drive, now in its seventh year, is an annual project set up by the Council to gift Christmas presents to vulnerable children who may not have the opportunity to celebrate Christmas like most, with the gifts being distributed to local children’s centres, food banks, refuges and children’s parties set up by local charities.

 Each year the council’s elves get prepared at the Civic Grotto to try and break previous records for the number of gifts donated. However, they are fully aware that following the unprecedented challenges the country has faced this year, the focus is now for residents and businesses to support the Toy Drive in any way they can.

The Toy Drive has proven to be a huge success since its inaugural year and has grown in popularity. Over the past seven years, 7,034 gifts have been donated to vulnerable children in Southend.

Gifts can be donated from Monday 12 October up until Friday 18 December. However, we are unable to accept individual donations at the Civic Centre this year, but you can purchase a gift from any of the following local shops, purchase the gift at the shop, leave it with them in store and we will arrange the rest.


Argosy Toys – 553 London Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 9LJ


Toys n Tuck – 1 Queens Road, Southend-on-Sea, and Essex, SS1 1LT


If you prefer online shopping or are unable to get to the shops, check out Argosy Toys website. At the point of check out please choose the option of Toy Drive as your delivery option. This will allow your purchase to be sent direct to us without leaving your home or workplace.

 The gifts will be left for 72 hours before being sanitised and expertly wrapped by the council’s elves.

 Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “With Christmas just around the corner, it is important to remember that there are many children who won’t have a present to open come 25 December. The Toy Drive is a truly wonderful project and it makes a huge difference to those who need it most.

“Whilst we continue with our recovery from Covid-19, this is a fantastic opportunity to support a good cause whilst also supporting local businesses with the council’s ‘Shop Local, Shop Southend-on-Sea Campaign’.

“I completely understand that this year is like no other, and whilst in previous years we push to break the record for the number of gifts donated, we know that this year it would show a lack of compassion to ask for more and more donations. Having said that, it would be brilliant if we could provide as many gifts as possible, so I ask anyone that is able to donate to please support this fantastic project.

 One of the charities that are supported through the Toy Drive is Southend YMCA. They gave some feedback for the generosity of last year’s Toy Drive:

 “We just wanted to say again, thank you to all the team involved in both collecting and delivering the Christmas gifts to our residents and many, many other children in the local area. They were greatly received by our young people and caused some real excitement. In many cases these, and a gift from the YMCA, were the only presents they received, so I’m sure you will understand how appreciated this was.

 “Again, thank you for giving your time, in what is a very busy department and please pass on our thanks to all those kind people who donated and were so generous.”

 If you are a company, charity or school and wish to donate more than one gift that you need collecting or wish to drop off, please contact us on the details below in order for us to run through the new procedure to ensure you and our staff are kept safe and social distance measures are maintained at all times.


If you have any questions, please call Lorraine on 01702 215481 or email [email protected]


What can you donate?


New toys only, suitable for babies, boys and girls aged up to 17 (if any toys require batteries, please include these too)

Vouchers for toys or days out

Selection packs

Pens, pencils and colouring books

Toiletry sets




Different route for 2020 Toy Drive

Southend Youth Council, working in partnership with the Southend Association of Voluntary Services (SAVS), are holding an online event called ‘Celebration of Black Lives’ on 24 October, beginning at 10:00am.

This event is taking place as part of Black History Month and will have workshops and guest speakers including personal statements, cooking demonstrations, art, singing, dancing and lots more. It will be hosted on the One Southend website ( and will be led by the Youth Mayor, Madi Faulkner-Hatt, who co-chairs the Racial Committee which was established as a response to Black Lives Matter.

 ‘Celebration of Black Lives’ is an opportunity for people in Southend-on-Sea to connect with their community and the event offers information, live content and pre-recorded videos for residents to participate in and enjoy. The event will also promote local services.

 A Black History Month zone on the One Southend website will include a programme of live events, pre-recorded videos, positive stories and links to online resources which have been created with the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council BAME Staff Forum. The content will be added to throughout the month and will be used to showcase the variety of diverse things happening in the Southend community.  

 Youth Mayor Madi Faulkner-Hatt hopes many people get involved on the day. She said: “We have been working on and are glad to host  ‘Celebration of Black Lives’ as part of Black History Month and would really like as many people as possible to get involved. The event is a chance for people across Southend no matter your age or race to find out more about black history, participate in workshops and learn about the diversity of our community, along with so much more.

 “To join in, just visit on the day, see what live events or videos you are interested in and click the links.”

 If you would like more information about ‘Celebration of Black Lives’ before the event, please email [email protected] or visit



Youth Council to hold online Celebration of Black Lives event