URGENT INFORMATION FOR ALL KEYWORKERS and RESIDENTS about CORONA VIRUS TESTING  

Hounslow will be hosting a Mobile Testing Unit for coronavirus testing for keyworkers and residents at Grasshoppers’ Rugby Club, Osterley, on Tuesday 23rd June and Wednesday 24th June 2020. 

Mobile Testing Units are an essential part of the national testing programme as they offer pedestrian appointments as well as drive-through appointments.  

You must register via the gov.uk portal before attending a mobile testing unit, and bring your 16-digit code or appointment confirmation with you on your mobile phone.  

Testing site location: 

Grasshoppers Rugby Club, Syon Lane, Osterley, Isleworth,  TW7 5PN 

Criteria for testing if you are a KEYWORKER 

You can use this testing facility if you are: 

  •  an essential worker 
  • live with an essential worker  

If you are an essential worker in the NHS or social care you can be tested with or without symptoms. Regular testing is important for staff to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus among vulnerable residents.  

If you are an essential worker, but not in the NHS or social care, you can get tested if you are within the first five days of coronavirus symptoms.  

Coronavirus symptoms are: 

  • a high temperature 
  • a new, continuous cough 
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste 

Criteria for testing of RESIDENTS 

Anyone over the age of 5 who is symptomatic is now able to receive a test at one of the testing centres. You should be within the first 5 days of symptoms when you have your test, as otherwise it is not effective.  

Coronavirus symptoms are: 

  • a high temperature 
  • a new, continuous cough 
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste 

This test can tell you if you have coronavirus at the time the swab sample is taken. The test to tell if you’ve ever had coronavirus (‘antibody test’) is not available yet. 

The information on certain pages on the gov.uk website may contradict this. This has been flagged to the national team operating the website. Please be assured that the criteria listed above are the most up to date and correct for testing.  

Book an appointment: 

Appointments are open for both Tuesday and Wednesday at Grasshoppers’ Mobile Testing Unit from 8pm on Monday 22nd June via the gov.uk link:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested 

If you would like a pedestrian appointment at the Mobile Testing Unit, please put “unknown” in the box requiring your vehicle registration number. This should allow you to continue the booking process.  

If you have any problems refer to the helpline detailed below, or you can use the 16-digit authorisation code that is sent you via SMS and go to the testing centre anytime on foot or in a car between 10.30 and 15.30 where local authority staff will help you. Please do not take public transport.  

The testing centre will be operating between 10.30-15.30 on both Tuesday and Wednesday.   

Alternative testing provision 

Please note that if an appointment is not available at the Grasshoppers’ site, then the same testing criteria apply for bookings at the Twickenham testing site and they operate 7 days a week. They do however only offer drive-in appointments. 

There are also home testing kits available, bookable via the same self-service portal on the gov.uk website.  

Questions or problems 

If anyone has any problems booking via the portal, please contact the National Coronavirus Testing Helpline on 0300 303 2713  

Capacity for testing is limited so is released on an hourly basis; it is recommended to try at regular intervals to access an appointment.  

If you have any questions about testing, please contact publichealth@hounslow.gov.uk 

#Blacklivesmatter

Councillor Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency at Hounslow Council, published this statement on Tuesday 2nd June:

“We are deeply saddened ​and angered by the death of George Floyd and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

For this reason we will be lighting up Hounslow House in purple this evening (Tuesday 2 June) to stand in solidarity with ​black people in the US, the UK and around the world​.

It is incumbent on all of us to stand up to discrimination, violence, racism and injustice and to declare that Black Lives Matter.”

Act of Committment

At the turn of the Millennium the faith communities of the UK developed this Act of Commitment. The interfaith group, Hounslow Friends of Faith, continues to share and commit to the same aims.

The Act of Commitment

In a world scarred by the evils of war,
racism, injustice and poverty,
we offer this joint Act of Commitment as we
look to our shared future.

We commit ourselves,
as people of many faiths,
to work together
for the common good,
uniting to build a better society,
grounded in values and ideals we share:

community,
personal integrity,
a sense of right and wrong,
learning, wisdom and love of truth,
care and compassion,
justice and peace,
respect for one another,
for the earth and its creatures.

We commit ourselves,
in a spirit of friendship and co-operation,
to work together
alongside all who share our values and ideals,
to help bring about a better world
now and for generations to come.

An important message on funerals

Father Luke Miller, Anglican Archdeacon of London, Chair of the Faith Cell of the London Resilience Strategic Coordination Group writes:

When a loved one dies it is very important to know that they are being treated with dignity and respect. All those involved in the death management process are aware of this and, in particular,  of the need in some faiths for funerals to take place as soon as possible after death. Others would prefer to wait longer for a burial or cremation than is currently feasible.

However, it is important to know that there are currently significant pressures beyond anyone’s control which may cause delays and difficulties. Automatic referrals to the Coroner, which occur when a loved one has not seen a doctor in the 28 days before their death, are a significant factor which can cause delay for those who have died in the community. In addition, there are sadly many more burials and cremations taking place than usual and many staff are off sick.

Please be assured that the needs of families are at the centre of a great deal of work that is going on to address these issues but it is inevitable that challenges will remain. Please do share this message with your own communities to raise awareness of these issues and encourage families to work with your faith Funeral Directors to help move things forward at this very difficult time.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION for Faith Leaders concerning care of the deceased

To all faith organisations Kelly O’Neill, the Director of Public Health for Hounslow, is happy to take any questions, and consider and respond to any concerns your organisations may have at this time in regards to health matters, however, can I ask you to feed them into my inbox for collation and passing on joan.conlon@hounslow.gov.uk  As you can imagine her email account is swamped. 

If you click on the link below it will provide what we hope is clear and unambiguous advice.  

The guidance is: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased/guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased-with-suspected-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19#responders

In terms of infection control we are advised that ‘from a PH view and based on the reference in the above document regarding handling the body that that there is a small but real risk of contamination and infection transmission, the body handling and washing should not be done by an individual who is within the defined vulnerable group – an older person and/ or someone with a health condition. 

All persons cleaning and handling a body if this is absolutely necessary should be wearing personal protective equipment of fluid resistant masks, gloves and aprons, and should be strictly adhering to meticulous hand hygiene guidance.

Going forward Kelly has confirmed she is happy to have a discussion with any faith leaders who wants help about interpretation of this guidance.

Holocaust Day Event

This year’s Holocaust Memorial Day Event was hosted by St Mark’s Secondary School, Hounslow on Monday 27th January. The event was led by the Area Dean Reverend Richard Frank and attended by the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, the Leader of Hounslow Council and other members of the Council, local MP Ruth Cadbury, representatives from Hounslow Friends of Faith, the local community and pupils from the school. The theme was Stand Together.

The Guest Speaker was Natalie Cumming who gave an enthralling talk based around her book ‘The Fiddle’, a true story about her family and how a violin helped her family to flee from Bolshevik Russia in the 20th century and her aunt to later survive in Auschwitz and Belsen Nazi concentration camps. Members of the school orchestra played the Nimrod theme and  the school drama department performed a dramatised reading of the poem Tormented Hearts by Misba Sheikh.

Walk of Peace and Friendship 2019

Outside the World Zoroastrian Centre, Feltham

This year’s HFOF Walk of Peace and Friendship was held on Saturday 22nd June with more than forty walkers taking part. The walk visited the World Zoroastrian Centre in Hanworth Road Feltham, the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak in Martindale Road Hounslow, the Islamic Integration Community Centre, Staines Road Hounslow and St Mary’s Church in Bedfont. The Mayor of Hounslow Cllr Tony Louki attended and as always the walkers were given a warm welcome at every venue. 

Faiths celebrate their Commonwealth Heritage

A ‘Big Lunch’ to celebrate the Commonwealth heritage of many residents of the borough is being held on 19th April.  Hounslow Jamia Masjid in Wellington Road South is taking the initiative to mark the meeting of the Heads of Government of Commonwealth countries taking place in London in April 2018.  Events have already taken place and Hounslow Friends of Faith was represented at a reception to mark the occasion which took place at Buckingham Palace in February. Members also attended a reception in March at Hounslow Civic Centre at the invitation of the Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Sue Sampson.

General Secretary of the mosque Shafiq Rehman sees the lunch as a great community event, once again celebrating the diversity of Hounslow borough.  He hopes to have people present at the lunch from as many of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth as possible, many of whom will be of different faiths.  Get in touch with Hounslow Friends of Faith if you would like to attend or know someone else who would like an invitation.

Women of Faith celebrate their cultures

People Divya, Trudy, AnneOver 65 women from different faiths enjoyed the diversity of their cultures at a celebration for Inter Faith Week.  Among the activities at Heston Community Centre was mendhi hand painting, rangoli patterns and a demonstration of how to tie a Nigerian head dress.  Somali ladies showed off colourful clothes, drink carriers and performed a traditional dance. Other dances from Gujerat and Israel were also enjoyed.  Information was shared on clothing worn for weddings and other occasions before food from round the world was served.

Thanks to all who contributed to the success of the event and to Elizabeth Azu for a celebratory cake.

Feedback praised the chance to learn something new and requests were made to repeat the event.

Joint work to improve church garden

Volunteers worked together on 19th October to bring a garden in a Hounslow church back to life.  Weeds were removed and pots and tubs replanted.  Litter blown in from the High Street was removed.  The patio at Holy Trinity Church on Hounslow High Street now provides a warm welcome to visitors to the church, including the weekly Olive Branch project for homeless people every Saturday. Support for the project came from Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Sai Baba, Catholic and Quaker communities and was Hounslow Friends of Faith’s contribution to the annual Sewa Day, the International Day of Volunteering. Vicar Stu Wright thanked all who contributed.  ‘It was a great project involving young and old. Holy Trinity is right at the heart of Hounslow and we’re so grateful for joint support for our work in the community.’

See photos of the event in our Gallery.