Government publishes four-step roadmap to ease restrictions across England and provide a route back to a more normal way of life
• Each step to be assessed against four tests before restrictions ease, starting with the return of schools on 8 March
• PM is clear that the decision on each stage will be based on data not dates, and government will move cautiously to keep infection rates under control

The roadmap, which has now been published on, outlines four steps for easing restrictions. Before proceeding to the next step, the Government will examine the data to assess the impact of previous steps.
This assessment will be based on four tests:

• The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
• Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
• Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
• Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the data to reflect changes in restrictions; followed by seven days’ notice of the restrictions to be eased.
As the Prime Minister said, getting children back into school has been the top priority, and so from 8 March all children and students will return to face to face education in schools and college. By this point, everyone in the top four vaccine priority cohorts – as determined by the independent JCVI – will have received the first dose of their vaccine and developed the necessary protection from it.
Also from this date:

• Wraparound childcare and other supervised children’s activities can resume where they enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group
• Care home residents will be allowed one regular visitor provided they are tested and wear PPE
• The Stay at Home requirement will remain, but people can leave home for recreation outdoors such as a coffee or picnic with their household or support bubble, or with one person outside their household
• Some university students on practical courses will be able to return to face to face learning
As part of step one, there will be further limited changes from 29 March, the week in which most schools will break up for Easter. Outdoor gatherings of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed, providing greater flexibility for families to see each other. This includes in private gardens.
Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will be allowed to reopen, and people can take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
At this point, the Stay at Home order will end, although many lockdown restrictions will remain.
For example, you should continue to work from home where possible, and overseas travel remains banned, aside for a small number of reasons.

The subsequent steps are set out as follows:

Step 2, no earlier than 12 April:• Non-essential retail, personal care premises, such as hairdressers and nail salons, and public buildings, such as libraries and community centres, will reopen.
• Most outdoor attractions and settings, including zoos, and theme parks, will also reopen although wider social contact rules will apply in these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households. Drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances will also be permitted.
• Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen – but only for use by people on their own or with their household.
• Hospitality venues can serve people outdoors only. There will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcohol, and no curfew – although customers must order, eat and drink while seated.
• Self-contained accommodation, such as holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
• Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15 (from 6).

Step 3, no earlier than 17 May:

• Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
• Outdoor performances such as outdoor cinemas, outdoor theatres and outdoor cinemas can reopen.. Indoors, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply – although we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
• Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.
• Larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower) will also be allowed, as will those in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4000 people or half-full (whichever is lower).
• In the largest outdoor seated venues where crowds can spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
• Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. Other life events that will be permitted include bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step 4, no earlier than 21 June:

• It is hoped all legal limits on social contact can be removed.
• We hope to reopen nightclubs, and lift restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.
• This will also guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.
In the meantime, the vaccination programme continues at pace, with the announcement of a new target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to every adult by the end of July.

The government hopes that the increased protection offered by vaccines will gradually replace the restrictions, with the roadmap published today providing the principles of the transition.
MPs will have an opportunity to vote on the regulations that will enable this roadmap in Parliament in the coming weeks.


Beginner iPads Training

Waltham Forest Blind Association (WFBA) will be running iPad training sessions online for 8 weeks begging February 2021 and ending March 2021

Who it is for

Beginners can learn all about one of the coolest machines to come along in combating COVID-19. Maybe you just got a new iPad. Maybe you’ve had one for a bit, and want to squeeze every last drop of awesome out of it.

Members will be contacted to register interest.

What it is:

It’s an iPad. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what it is.

What You’ll Learn:

You’ll learn the ins and outs of using and enjoying your iPad for communication and sourcing of information on the internet.


iPad: Beginner Basics

  • Introduction
  • Terms and Choices
  • What can you do?
  • Connecting to Wi-Fi
  • Hand Gestures
  • Using the Internet Browser
  • Email

Testing centres in Waltham Forest

To help stop the spread of Covid-19,  you must only leave home for work or for other essential reasons. If you cannot work from home or if you leave your home regularly, you should get tested for Covid-19 as often as you can.

In Waltham Forest, we have 10 test sites at various locations across the borough to make it easy for residents to get tested. You don’t need to make an appointment to visit the sites, and most of the sites are open every day from morning until evening. See below for the opening days and times.

Getting tested is quick, easy, and safe.

If you have symptoms, you will need to go to one of our local test sites which offer a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. Many people get their result the next day, but it may take up to 3 days because they are processed in a laboratory. It is important that you get a PCR test if you have symptoms.

If you don’t have symptoms, please go to any of our community test sites.

These sites offer a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) which allows people who have no symptoms to know if they have the virus. It’s a rapid test, and you can get a result on the same day.

Test sites for people with symptoms:

Stanley Road car park, Leyton E10 7EQ:

  • Open every day between 7am to 12pm

Linford Road car park, Walthamstow E17 3LS:

  • Open every day 7.30am to 12pm

Church Lane car park, Leytonstone E11 1HG:

Please note: this site is walk-in only.

  • Open every day from 8am to 12pm

Homebase, 2C Fulbourne Rd, Walthamstow, E17 4EE:

Walk-in via Forest Rd

Drive-through via Fulbourne Rd

Open 9am to 3pm, every other day

  • Tuesday 9 March 2021
  • Thursday 11 March 2021
  • Saturday 13 March 2021
  • Monday 15 March 2021
  • Wednesday 17 March 2021
  • Friday 19 March 2021

Test sites for people with no symptoms:

Open every day 10am to 7pm

  • Aldriche Way Community Room, below 118-132 Aldriche Way E4 9LZ
  • Chingford Assembly Hall, Station Road, E4 7EN
  • One Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 4SD
  • Jubilee Centre, Cathall Rd, Leytonstone, E11 4LA
    Entrance via the car park
  • Leyton Cricket Ground, 2 Crawley Road, Leyton, E10 6RJ
    Entrance is at the corner of Leyton High Road and Crawley Road

Open every day from 8am to 5pm:

  • Methodist Church, 5 New Road, Chingford Mount, E4 9EU

Test kits for families or households with school or college students

From 1 March 2021, if you’re a member of a household, childcare bubble or support bubble of staff or a pupil you can get a twice-weekly test:

  • through your employer if they offer testing to employees
  • at a local community test site
  • by collecting a home test kit from a test site (see below)
  • by ordering a home test kit online

Get a test through your employer 

Your workplace may offer rapid lateral flow testing to you. Contact your employer to find out more.

Take a test at a rapid lateral flow test site 

You can take a rapid lateral flow test at one of our community test sites across the borough. These sites are open every day and you don’t need to make an appointment.

Find your nearest community test site

Collect test kits 

Anyone 18 or over can collect 2 packs of home test kits (each pack contains 7 tests) at one of the collection points below. The sites are open from 1pm to 8pm and you do not need to make an appointment.

  • Stanley Road car park, Leyton E10 7EQ
  • Linford Road car park, Walthamstow E17 3LS
  • Church Lane car park, Leytonstone E11 1HG

Do not visit a collection point outside of the opening hours, as the site is being used to test people with coronavirus symptoms outside these times.

Find your nearest home test kit collection point

Order home test kits online 

If you cannot get tested at your workplace or you are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online.  Do not order online if you can get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most.

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits

What twice-weekly testing involves

You will be asked to:

  • take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart)
  • report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test
  • Report your test result online or by calling 119.

If you test positive or get coronavirus symptoms, you should tell the school and:

  • self-isolate immediately

A negative result means the test did not find signs of coronavirus. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so you should keep following all coronavirus advice including:

  • regular handwashing
  • social distancing



During lockdown, we help with access to the food, services, information and support blind and partially sighted people need to maintain their resilience, health and wellbeing.

(1) Physical fitness and Staying physically active

As well as taking care of your mental health during lockdown, it’s equally important to stay on top of your physical wellbeing. With activities closed and the daily commute cancelled for most of us, it can seem more difficult to stay active. However, there are plenty of ways you can keep your body moving.

We provide weekly online zoom exercise sessions for staying physically active. Please call the office on 020 8556 0355 f or Email: or days and times.

(2) Making connections – reaching out to others

Now, more than ever, we are all at risk of isolation. We are now keeping people connected online through zoom meetings and telephones, reaching out to members who we are able to join. WFBA runs twice weekly zoom meetings where members connect with each other, supporting each other reducing isolation and loneliness.

(3) Food access, Health Foods and Health Eating

We can support blind or partially sighted people who are struggling to access food and maintain health food lifestyles. Supermarkets are advising to book online delivery slots via their apps and through mobile devices where possible, however, in some cases, capacity may still be reached or exceeded. We can provide help and advice.

We provide food vouchers to all members, enabling them to maintain good health during COVID-19.

We provide weekly online zoom meeting and sessions on health eating and maintaining a health diet. Please call the office on 020 8556 0355 or Email: for days and times.

(4) Social and mental health support – looking after your wellbeing

During this challenging time, it’s vital that we look after our mental health. Whether we are struggling with feelings of isolation and need to speak to someone, or if you just want some tips on how to stay active and maintain your mental health, we can support you.

With all the change and uncertainty in life at the moment, taking care of our mental health has never been more important as this helps us to have:

  • reduced stress and anxiety
  • improved moods and clearer thinking
  • a greater sense of calm and increased self-esteem
  • improved relationships.

We provide weekly online zoom meeting and sessions on looking after your health and mental health. Please call the office on 020 8556 0355 or Email: for days and times.

(5) Eye health

If you have questions and concerns about your eye clinic appointment or ordering medicines or prescriptions online, please call us on 020 8556 0355 or Email: for help.

(6) Home learning and technology

At WFBA, we believe in the power of technology to assist people with sight loss to be independent, access information, grasp opportunities and to b​e creative​. We recognise the changing landscape as the world we live in becomes increasingly digitalised, and are excited by the potential this holds.

Learning the ins and outs of using and enjoying your iPad for communication and sourcing of information on the internet is available for beginner and those that want to improve their skills. These include:

  • Introduction
  • Terms and Choices
  • What can you do
  • Connecting to Wi-Fi
  • Using the Internet Browser
  • Email

Please call on 020 8556 0355 or Email: to receive this service

(7) Connecting online (IPADS)

As our members are spending more time at home, WFBA was successful in obtaining grants for purchase of iPads for offering more opportunities for members to connect with others via online; please contact the office if you have not received one. You can also join our popular zoom meeting groups where many people are sharing local information, useful hints and tips and interesting things they have been up to.

(8) Living Well with Sight Loss

We provide zoom online weekly meetings where you’ll connect with other people who know what you’re going through, while getting handy tips and helpful advice for living well with sight loss.

Members discuss and share experiences with others in similar situations, boosting confidence and getting practical advice, information and resources.

If you need someone who understands sight loss, members are here for you, aiming to help you increase your independence, boost your confidence and connect with others to share experiences.

Through these sessions you’ll also have the chance to learn from each other’s personal experiences and share top tips.

(9) “Focus on” series

Do you want to get advice and tips about a certain topic or issue? Our range of themed “Focus on” online zoom discussions/sessions include:

  • Coronavirus: social distancing, guidance and wellbeing.
  • Confident living: independence and confidence indoors and outdoors
  • Wellbeing: living well and feeling great
  • Money matters: finance and shopping.