COVID-19 – a Council initiative

Following an unexpected visit to a local resident, and questions raised about the publicity around a Council initiative, we are pleased to publish the Council’s statement as below.



Targeted Testing Team – COVID-19

Please be aware that Croydon Council are running a programme in relation to our response to COVID-19 called the Targeted Community Testing programme.

The team are tasked with engaging with residents which includes door knocking to offer information and signposting on Testing, Vaccinations and isolation payments and health issues that have a negative impact with COVID. They also hand out Home Test Kits where required at the doorstep.

The team will attend generally wearing Croydon Council vests and should be carrying badges to identify themselves if required. They will be engaging with residents to see where help might be needed, to identify issues preventing people from getting vaccinated and assisting people to find the right information where required.

They will be asking questions related to COVID-19 and trying to see if there is anything the council can help with to continue to help keep our residents safe.

Tests are provided for FREE. There is no payment required for this service.

We are aware we usually discourage opening the door to cold callers. You do not have to engage with the staff or provide any information. However, please remember the main aim of this engagement programme is to continue to provide an effective response to COVID-19. Therefore, if this team do knock and you are satisfied by checking their credentials that they are part of this programme, the council would appreciate your support.

For further information in relation to COVID-19 and the council response please visit:

Bennetts Way – road works

Signs have appeared along the whole of Bennetts Way advsing that road works will commence there on Monday 13 September.

The works are scheduled to be finished by 15 September (western – town – end) or by 16 September (eastern – West Wickham – end)

Shirley Library – opening times

We have been advised that Shirley Library will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays starting on 6 September, from 10am to 1pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Please see the following link to the Council’s website;

The Second SPRA and SPAN Front Gardens Competition

Tell us about front gardens that cheer you up

Nominations are now open until Sunday September 5 for this year’s SPRA Front Gardens competition.

If when out and about in Spring Park you spot a front garden that attracts you by its colours, layout or insect friendly plants why not let us know – see below for how to do this. It’s a way to say thank you to the garden owners who brighten our street scene and they might win one of three prizes on offer. 

This year we are looking for a late summer garden. There is an additional special category for tubs and planters, (for those whose front gardens are paved over) and we will welcome nominations for local shops and businesses as well as private homes. In due course we hope to make available a list of the nominated gardens via the SPRA web site.

Any SPRA member is able to nominate a garden, from which our judges, including a representative of Croydon Friends of the Earth, will choose the winners over the second weekend in September.  There will be three categories this year, all with prizes, and our thanks go to Croydon Friends of the Earth who are sponsoring categories 2 and 3. The categories for 2021 are:

1. A front garden that cheers us up

2. The best Bee Friendly front garden with bee and pollinator friendly plants in flower beds

3. The best Bee Friendly front garden with bee and pollinator friendly plants in tubs and planters

As last year, the gardens owned by members of the SPRA Executive, Trustees, Auditors, SPAN Editorial Team and any of their close families, are not eligible to be considered for the prizes and the Judges’ decisions will be final. We hope to photograph all the shortlisted entries to share in a future issue of SPAN for those who may not have seen them.

Entering your favourite garden is easy – all you need to do is complete the form below and return it to 79 Shirley Way – or send an email with all the information requested to

We do the rest! We will advise the garden owner that their garden is appreciated, though we will not tell them who entered it, and we will ask for permission to photograph it for SPAN, if shortlisted. (Not giving permission to be photographed will not disqualify any entry).

Entry Form (to be returned to 79 Shirley Way or emailed to

Your name:

Your contact details: (For SPRA internal use only)

Address of the Front Garden you wish to nominate:

What is it about this front garden that cheers you up?

Heathfield – reduction in access for public use of the grounds

SPRA has written to our Councillors as follows

Heathfield – a ‘phoney’ consultation?

Some of you may be aware that there are changes afoot at Heathfield. Somewhat ‘under the radar’ the Council launched a consultation about the lease of Heathfield House to a local private school, Cressey College.  This would appear be to the detriment of visitors to the gardens, and to the Ecology centre which operates there.  SPAN has featured Heathfield regularly (see August SPAN), as we know it receives many visits from Spring Park residents, even though it is outside our membership zone.

In particular, we understand the impact of the plan on visitors to the gardens will include closure of toilet facilities; to the Ecology centre: the loss of indoor space for nature study visits from Croydon schools and removal of storage space for exhibition, catering and bazaar equipment;  to the community : loss of a corporate venue for meetings and events.

Disability access for all groups will be affected by the removal of the only level route for wheelchairs to the rock garden.

A further concern for SPRA is the process of consultation over the plans. It is true that the statutory announcement was made via the Croydon Guardian in mid-June, with the consultation closing on 9 July.  Many Residents Associations including SPRA were thus unaware of the plan and unable to respond.

At a time of far-reaching changes required to offset the effects of the Council’s mismanagement of its finances, it is essential that consultations are open and transparent. We applaud the Council on achieving this so far in the reorganisation of the Libraries. It is very regrettable that the process with Heathfield House seems to have fallen so far short. This instance of poor communication deepens the lack of trust residents have in the Council, a lack which needs to be urgently reversed.

SPRA has written to our Ward Councillors and to our MP to express dissatisfaction over the process and with further questions about how much they were aware in advance of this proposal.

Footnote – see also letter on page XXXX

336 words

Rubbish collection – warning re “bin day” changes

Members may be aware that the collection programme for the various bins may be subject to temporary variation. We understand that this is because of a shortage of crews arising from people being “pinged” and having to self-isolate.

We are not aware of any permanent changes being implemented at this time but recommend that you visit the Council’s website to check whether this is the case for your address.

Members may NOT be aware that unless you report a missed collection within 2 days, you have to wait until the next routine collection date.

Calling all birdwatchers

We have been asked to alert members tothe following …

The British Trust for Ornithology and the behavioural science research group at Middlesex University have just started an online project where volunteers can submit observations of birds for research. I was wondering whether this might be a of interest to your community group?
The first aim of the project is to study how commonly different species in different areas of the UK eat human foods and litter instead of “natural” food like worms and insects. The second aim is to engage more people in birdwatching: a common barrier is that most citizen science projects require bird ID skills, so we designed this study in a way that bird names aren’t required at all. Our hope is that this will help to engage more people with nature and birds.

Could you help us spread the word and distribute this among your group members please? The study will be open until 26th August and volunteers can participate as many times as they like.

GP data transfer

We have received the following …

GP Data transfer to national database (NHS Digital)

There is an important change underway.  From 1 September 2021, medical information held at GP level will be passed to a national database.   Data will be anonymised, so that it cannot be traced to individuals and will be used to improve health service provision, track health trends and aid research.

Individuals who do not wish to have their data moved to a national database, must fill in an opt-out form. Any information passed on after 1 Sept cannot be ‘retrieved’, so it is important to act quickly if you intend to opt out.

To find out more of the details and to access the opt-out forms go to

General Practice Data for Planning and Research (GPDPR) – NHS Digital or speak to your local GP practice.

Croydon Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Update

We have received the following email dated 17 June …

Dear colleague,

We have now vaccinated over 320,000 Croydon residents and this is in no small part down to the hard work of our fantastic GPs and their teams in our six GP-led vaccination centres.

As we return to near-normal health services and focus on our recovery plans, five of our six GP led vaccination centres are now winding down and will close by the end of June 2021.  With higher demand than before the pandemic, our hard-working GP teams will be re-focussing on their clinical practice.

The Valley Park Vaccination Centre led by Mayday South Primary Care Network is continuing to offer the vaccine to patients. 

Of course people who meet the eligibility criteria are still able to receive their vaccine in the local area by booking their appointments through the national booking system here or by ringing 119.  There are thousands of bookable appointments each week in Croydon at:  

  • Centrale Shopping Centre
  • Selhurst Park Stadium
  • Croydon University Hospital
  • Mayday Community Pharmacy on London Road
  • McCoigs’ Pharmacy on Brighton Road
  • McCoigs’ Pharmacy on Wickham Road
  • Valley Pharmacy at Chipstead Valley Road

Second dose appointments can also be booked this way and we are continuing to encourage people to have both their first and second doses of the Covid vaccine for maximum protection.  The latest analysis by Public Health England shows that, after two doses, the Covid vaccines are over 90% effective against hospitalisation with the Delta variant-which is now dominant in the UK.

We are also running a number of pop up clinics, thank you for your support in helping us get the message out across the borough:

  • Centrale Shopping Centre walk in Oxford-AZ first and second dose appointments from 8am to 7.45pm all this week until Sunday 20 June 2021.  Please share this tweet.
  • Turning Point, Lantern Hall Pfizer walk in appointments between 12midday to 4pm on Thursday 17 June 2021.  Please share this tweet.
  • Radiate Festival in Crystal Palace Park at 12midday to 4pm on Saturday 19 June 2021.  Please share this tweet.
  • St Paul’s Church in Thornton Heath Pfizer walk-in sessions 1.30pm to 5pm on Friday 18 June 2021 Please share this tweet

We are continually looking for more sites and opportunities to add to our vaccination programme.  For up to date information about the programme in Croydon, please go to and click on ‘Croydon’.

There has never been a more important time for us to engage with our communities, by listening and addressing their questions and concerns.  Our partners at the Croydon BME Forum, the Asian Resource Centre as well as at Croydon Council and across the NHS have played an essential role in the vaccine programme by facilitating conversations with local people and gathering their views the programme started back in December 2020.

Croydon Voluntary Action have also been essential in this work, in recruiting and coordinating local volunteers to support our GP led vaccination sites to ensure the smooth running of clinics.

Our borough’s local engagement has also been overseen by the Croydon Vaccination Equity Task and Finish Group, led by Nnenna Osuji and our thanks go to the group’s membership including Cllr Janet Campbell and Rachel Flowers and other borough colleagues.  

Together we have achieved a lot, but we still have a long way to go to ensure as many local people as possible are vaccinated and protected.  We very much value your continued efforts and support in helping us to build community confidence and in promoting uptake of the vaccine amongst our communities.

Best wishes,

Matthew Kershaw

Placed Based Leader for Health, Croydon

Dr Agnelo Fernandes

GP Borough Lead for Croydon

NHS South West London Clinical Commissioning Group