Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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01.04.2021 weekly update

Welcome to the weekly update.  This edition includes:

1. Coalition Update

2. Social /Peer support coming up

3. Tech Update

4. Mary Frances Trust Safe Haven Engagement Survey

5. Surrey County Council Older Peoples Strategy 2021 – 2030 Coproduction and Engagement Feedback Form

6. Carers Hospital Discharge Survey

7. Centre for Psychology Groups April – June

8. Fix Your Bike Scheme Voucher

9. Spelthorne Committee for Access Now (SCAN) Newsletter

10. Surrey Faith Links Newsletter

11. Pavement Licence application -Two Rivers Harvester, Staines

12. Disability Rights UK E Newsletter

1. Coalition Update

Visit to the Rural Life Living Museum – On Monday visitors to our virtual café were able to enjoy a virtual trip to the Rural Life Living Museum in Tilford.  It was a fabulous day for it, the sun was shining and the birds were singing.  The group particularly enjoyed see the prefab house (including very basic toilet paper!) and the gypsy caravan with intricately carved details and a space to keep chickens underneath!  We have a number of virtual trips planned for April including, Guildford Museum Part 2, Wisley Winter Walk complete with an expert Gardener, Monkey World and the Charles Dickens Museum.  If you would like to join us please contact Yasmin for more details.

Save the Date! Empowerment Training for Members – We are very pleased to be able to offer our members free empowerment training.  The training will take place online, spread over two mornings on the 14th and 15th of June.  More details will be sent out nearer the time.  Spaces are limited so please book your place now by contacting Yasmin!

New Training Videos – Following on from last week’s video on how to use the mute button, we have uploaded a video on how to join a zoom meeting from an android tablet or device. Please use this link to access our helpful guide.

2. Social/Peer support coming up

No Social Activities on Good Friday and Easter Monday – Unfortunately, we will not be hosting any social activities on Good Friday (2nd April) and Easter Monday (5th April) to enable the staff team to have a break.  Activities will begin again on Tuesday 6th April.

Reminder Guildford Museum Part two! – We are returning to Guildford Museum during our virtual café on Monday 12th April at 11am.  We will be exploring the second floor with Melanie, our expert guide.  Please use the details below to join us.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 871 7519 2377
Password: 484923
0800 031 5717 United Kingdom Toll-free

Wisley Winter Walk – This will take place on Wednesday 14th April at 11.30am.  If you wish to join please use the details below.

Meeting ID: 830 0994 1950

Passcode: 069368

0800 031 5717 United Kingdom Toll-free

Book Club – Next week we will be reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society  Book Summary ( We start at the beginning and work up to the 1st April. Questions will be about the story, characters and social impact of the war. Join us on Wednesday at 2.30pm.

Quiz – Next Thursday at 2.30pm the quiz will be on four subjects and one tie break. The subjects are Mothers, Ireland, Easter, 1921. The tie break will be Kings and Queens of England.  

3.  Tech Update

Please find attached four documents which outline how to join and participate at a zoom meeting.  We have included instructions on how to join a meeting from an Android device, Apple ipad, Apple iphone and a Windows computer.

The topics covered in each document include:

  • Joining a meeting from an email link
  • Description of the Zoom Meetings screen
  • Description of the available controls and how to use them
  • Finding out who is in a meeting
  • Asking questions in a meeting (Raising and lowering your hand)
  • Sending Chat messages
  • Leaving a meeting

4. Mary Frances Trust Safe Haven Engagement Survey

The MFT Safe Haven Service is currently located in The Larches, 44 waterloo Road, Epsom, Surrey, KT19 8EX and after five years of service MFT are reviewing the location and potential other options.  MFT would love your feedback on what is important to you when visiting a Mental Health Crisis Service running between the hours of 6-11pm.  Please complete the survey to share your views.  The survey is anonymous and open between 22 March 2021 and 22 April 2021.  This is the direct link to the Survey:  or you can access the Survey through the Mary Frances Trust website: Safe Haven Engagement Survey | Mary Frances Trust

5. Surrey County Council Older Peoples Strategy 2021 – 2030 Coproduction and Engagement Feedback Form

If you are an older person please take a look at this form and give your feedback on older peoples services. Including what you would like to see in the future

Surrey County Council Older Peoples Strategy 2021 – 2030 Coproduction and Engagement Feed (

6. Carers Hospital Discharge SurveyLeaving hospital and getting the right support: a survey for Surrey carers

A big worry for carers this past year has been supporting their loved one while they were in hospital – and when they were discharged from hospital too. Many Surrey carers have reported not being consulted with, or properly informed, when the person they cared for was being discharged. Surrey NHS hospitals and Surrey County Council are aware of these challenges and are looking to improve the hospital discharge processes and want to hear from carers in Surrey.

So, Action for Carers, working with Healthwatch Surrey, want to find out about YOUR experiences of hospital discharge since last summer. What’s worked, what were the problems, what could be done differently? The information will then be passed on to the NHS and SCC to help them plan for better future care.

Please complete this survey:

It’s open until 31st May 2021. If you’d prefer a paper copy or require assistance with completing the survey, please get in touch:

If you would be interested in taking part in a longer, telephone interview, please get in touch using the contact details above. They are particularly looking for very elderly carers to speak to, as well as carers from minority ethnic communities.

There’s a prize draw (£50 voucher) available – which will be given to one randomly selected participant when the survey closes.

7. Centre for Psychology Groups April – June

Please find attached a poster for the following groups run online by Centre for Psychology.

Chronic Fatigue
CBT for Sleep Difficulties
Coping with Worry & Low Mood
Living Well with Anxiety
Coping with COPD
Coping with IBS

The attached poster has more information, including how those interested can refer to the service (clients are required to refer and complete an assessment to ensure their suitability for the group).

8. Fix Your Bike Scheme Voucher

The fourth batch of Fix Your Bike vouchers is now available.  If you have an old bike gathering dust at home, you can apply for a voucher of up to £50 to get it repaired. Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme: apply for a voucher

9. Spelthorne Committee for Access Now (SCAN) Newsletter

10. Surrey Faith Links Newsletter

Please see attached document or follow this link.

11. Pavement Licence application -Two Rivers Harvester, Staines

Please also find attached the following information;  

  1. the application
  2. a plan clearly showing the proposed area covered by the licence in relation to the highway, if not to scale, with measurements clearly shown.  The plan must show the positions and number of the proposed tables and chairs, together with any other items that they wish to place on the highway. The plan shall include clear measurements of, for example, pathway width/length, building width and any other fixed item in the proposed area.
  3. a risk assessment demonstrating how the applicant will manage social distancing and the conflict between pedestrians using the footway, those using the tables and those queuing to access the premises
  4. photos or brochures showing the proposed type of furniture and information on potential siting of it within the area applied;

 You are invited to make comments in relation to this application

12. Disability Rights UK E Newsletter

News Round-up
Government continues to fail Disabled election candidates Questions have been asked this week in the House of Lords about why there isn’t a Government fund to support the reasonable adjustments of Disabled election candidates. The Government continues to argue that it is the responsibility of political parties, ignoring the fact that the structures and organisation of such parties don’t always provide the necessary support and that candidates may stand independent of political parties. DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “Given the appallingly low representation of Disabled people in political office, the re-introduction of a fund that supports reasonable adjustments is a modest step to take. The Government could even ask political parties to refund the expenses, taking away the negotiation from individual Disabled candidates.” The Government has failed to release two key reports, one evaluating the Enable Fund, which did provide support for reasonable adjustments, and the other outlining the barriers Disabled people face in seeking political office. This week, Disability Rights UK has again written to the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, asking for a permanent fund to be re-introduced . DR UK CEO Kamran Mallick said: “The voices of Disabled people need to be heard in Parliament and across local government. We make up 21% of the population and as the pandemic has shown, we are often overlooked or ignored. “A fund which meets the reasonable adjustments of standing for elected office, where people can apply for mobility or communication support, is a very modest step and should be part of a wider plan with concerted commitment and effort to increase the number of Disabled people in political office.” Coronavirus Care Act easements to be removed The Care Act easements which allowed local authorities to remove Disabled people’s rights to social care under the Coronavirus Act, are to be removed ‘at some point’ after Easter. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that: “We are rightly ending as many national measures as safely as possible, while maintaining those which remain necessary and proportionate to help reduce and control infections further as we cautiously but irreversibly ease restrictions and our historic vaccination programme continues apace.” Eight local authorities in England used the easements at the start of the pandemic, but the powers have not been used since 29 June 2020. In a new report on its one-year review of the 2020 Act the government says that the decision has been made to expire twelve sections that are no longer seen as necessary to respond to the pandemic, including section 15 that relates to ‘Local authority care and support’ in England. Read the one-year review report here. Coronavirus SEND easements to remain in place Despite the Government’s decision to remove Care Act easements, measures which allow the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to amend parts of the Children and Families Act (CFA) 2014 to let local councils use only “reasonable endeavours” to provide named needs in Disabled children’s Education, Health and Care plans (EHC plans) will stay in place. Under the Coronavirus Act, a school also no longer has a duty to admit a Disabled child if that school was named in the child’s EHC plan. Disability Rights UK, The Alliance for Inclusive Education, Liberty and Inclusion London have written to the Education Secretary to ask him to remove the CFA easements from the Coronavirus Act. DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “There is no consistency in scrapping the Care Act easements and keeping the CFA easements. It is just plain wrong that we are putting back the human rights of Disabled adults but not those of Disabled children.” ALLFIE Policy and Campaigns Co-ordinator Simone Aspis told Disability News Service that some local authorities and schools had used the CFA easements last year when they were introduced, but: “some local authorities and schools are still acting as though those easements are still in place” even though they have not been switched on since last July. “It is very serious in terms of the impact. It could end up with more and more children being out of school, being denied access to education and falling behind in the progress they could be making, and not having the same opportunities. “We could be finding ourselves with a lost generation of Disabled people as a result of this.” Special educational needs assessment system a ‘roll of the dice’ Schools are a ‘lottery’ and have the most bearing on whether a child will be identified as having Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) according to a new report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI). The report says that the school that primary school children attend makes more difference to their chances of being identified with SEND than anything about them as an individual, their experiences or what local authority they live in, and matters an awful lot as to whether they receive SEND support at both the lower and higher levels. The system of assessment is inconsistent and not well adapted to children’s individual needs. This is in stark contrast to school attainment, where between-school differences explain only a small minority of the differences in pupil test results. The report also found that there is a mismatch between what schools focus on in assessing SEND needs and what local authorities focus on. Schools focus mostly on communication, language and literacy skills, but local authorities make decisions that are more aligned with personal, social and emotional development. Academy schools are associated with depressed chances of being identified with SEND. This is not just the case for children attending academies; in local authorities with the highest proportions of academised primary schools, the chances of being identified with SEND at the higher level are just one tenth of those in local authorities with the fewest academies. This is not explained by deprivation levels, ethnic mix or a range of other factors. This is likely to indicate under-identification of children with SEND. DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “We welcome this report which backs up what parents have been saying for years. It is completely unfair to children that there is such inequality of SEND provision across the country. We know that the pandemic has compounded problems for families trying to access adequate SEND support. It is vital that the Government acts on the findings of this important report.” Read the EPI report here. Grenfell recommendations – DR UK open statement Almost four years after the Grenfell Tower fire in which 72 people died, including Disabled people, the Government has still not implemented the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations relating to the safety of Disabled people in high-rise buildings in the event of fire. This week, Disability Rights UK has circulated an Open Statement to MPs (PDF) involved in the Fire Safety Bill calling on them to implement the Grenfell Tower Inquiry recommendations relating to Disabled people. DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “There appears to be strong resistance from some within the housing sector and fire service, to putting in the basic protections that Disabled residents need in the event of fire. “Building owners and managing agents in the private and public housing sectors, rightly need to keep buildings well maintained and up to modern safety standards. Ensuring that there are evacuation plans for Disabled residents who cannot self-evacuate in the event of fire. These should be viewed as part of their safety obligations.” Read more on Grenfell here. Business leaders call on Government to improve employment opportunities for Disabled people Business leaders, including the CEOs of the Post Office and Schroders, have written to the Prime Minister urging him to make changes to improve employment opportunities for Disabled people. In the letter, co-signed by (among others) Lord Shinkwin, Baroness Grey-Thompson and Mark Harper MP, former Minister for Disabled People, they advise that “Equality of opportunity at work is key to progress.” Further, government is urged to “…harness the talent of people with lived experience of disability, and ensure they are driving and leading the conversation…”.  Read the full story on employment opportunity equality here. Blind woman secures promises from government to provide accessible pandemic communications A blind woman has won a legal case which secures fundamental promises of changes to how the Government communicates with people during the pandemic. Sarah Leadbetter, who is registered blind, was due to have a judicial review hearing concerning the government’s failure to provide her with accessible shielding information. DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “Accessibility should be standard across all NHS and government communications. It’s incredible that 25 years after the Disability Discrimination Act became law, that we are still having to bring cases like this to court.” Read more on Sarah’s case, including the promises that have been secured, here. Students unable to access online exams The Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) is urging universities to review their exam practices, amidst fears that blind and partially sighted students will be unable to complete their exams remotely online. Many new exam platforms block assistive technology and screen adjustments which blind and partially sighted students have to rely on to access on-screen information. The charity has published guidance to help Higher Education Providers tackle the issue. TPT Student Support Manager Tara Chattaway said: “These new circumstances demand changes to how we work, and we are all learning to adapt. We want to help universities understand what they can do to support their blind and partially sighted students and enable them to sit their exams remotely and independently.” The guide can be found on the TPT website.   New CSJ report on Disability The Centre for Social Justice’s Disability Commission chaired by Lord Shinkwin has released a new report including proposals for the forthcoming National Disability Strategy. It covers recommendations for a range of issues including education, employment, housing and transport. You can read the executive summary here.
Pre-order your new Disability Rights Handbook today for dispatch at the end of April 2021
Updated for 2021/22 including: Benefits for people living with health conditions, injury or disability and for carers, children and young people How the system works, how to claim and how to challenge a decision Support for people in education or work, not in work, looking for work or in retirement Getting and paying for care and support services ORDER NOW
Get page-by-page updates as legislation changes throughout the year. Published bi-monthly from June 2021 to February 2022 it will arrive in your email inbox in an easy to print A4 PDF format. ORDER NOW The same handbook just in an accessible word document format to allow searching. Delivered to your email inbox within 3 days of ordering. This will be available from May 2021.  ORDER NOW
Get Involved
Let’s talk about… charging for care and support In Control is running a webinar on Wednesday 31 March from 1pm to 2.30pm about increased charges for social care provision. The webinar is for people who want to know more about the charge for Social Care provision at home. It relates to non-residential care charges (eg for people living in their own homes or in supported living). Katie Clarke from Bringing Us Together, Sally Warren from Paradigm and Jon Abrams from Inclusion London will talk directly about the issues being experienced and Mitchell Woolf from Scott-Moncreiff & Associates Ltd will give a legal and advisory perspective. Find out more here  or register to attend here. This webinar will be recorded and added to the previous series of webinars which can be found at: Social Care Future is also running a survey about Social Care. You can respond to this here. Join the Moving Social Workers’ co-production group Get Yourself Active is working with Durham University to influence the social work practice of today and tomorrow and to improve Disabled people’s health. The Moving Social Workers’ project aims to produce the first research-led teaching and community-based training materials and resources on physical activity.  To ensure the project is co-produced, Disability Rights UK will be developing and leading on a co-production team that will run alongside the advisory board to help to steer and deliver the Moving Social Workers’ project. If you have lived experience of using social work as a service, are a student or post qualified social worker, social work programme lead or community leader and wish to express your interest in joining the group, please email for more information. School for Social Entrepreneurs applications now open Applications have opened up for the tenth round of the School for Social Entrepreneurs’ biggest UK programme: the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund.  The scheme welcome applications from everyone, with priority given to those working in deprived areas, people from BAME backgrounds, Disabled people, people who identify as LGBTQIA and/or organisations supporting these groups. The programme provides free support for a year in the form of an entrepreneurial learning programme (14 days over a year); supportive network; a grant (£1,000 to £7,000, dependent on level), and a mentor. Apply before Friday 16 April. Where to look for jobs (part 2) RNIB and Blind Ambition are hosting the second part of their where to look for jobs seminars from 8-9pm on Tuesday 30 March. Register your interest. The following session will be on how to present yourself from 8-9pm on Tuesday 6 April. Register to attend here For more information, go to the Blind Ambition website and the RNIB website.   Benefits training courses   DR UK is offering two essential online courses in partnership with the Benefits Training Company. Each course is run in two parts, using Zoom and facilitated by an experienced benefits trainer.  Introduction to welfare benefits will be held on 17 and 18 May. The course is aimed at professionals who work in advice or advocacy who need to know more about – or need a refresher on – changes to welfare benefits and social security.   Part 1: The structure of the system and the importance of health and disability benefits – Monday 17 May 9.45am – 12.45pm   Part 2: Universal Credit, the wider benefits system and maximising income – Tuesday 18 May 9.45am – 12.45pm  Read more information and book your place.   Preparing for an appeal tribunal will be held on 29 and 30 April. This course is aimed at professionals who work in advice or advocacy who need to know about how to prepare an Appeal Tribunal. A working knowledge of Personal Independence Payment and the Work Capability Assessment is assumed.    Part 1: Assessing the case, reviewing the DWP decision – Thursday 29 April 9.45am – 12.45pm  Part 2: Composing effective written submissions, preparing claimants for appeal hearings – Friday 30 April 9.45am – 12.45pm   Book your place for Preparing an appeal tribunal course. These courses sell out fast so early booking is encouraged. Each course costs £112.50 + VAT per person for DR UK organisational members. After booking you will receive a Zoom link and supporting materials by email.   
Our Helplines 
Our helplines are operating as normal: Personal Budgets Helpline Telephone: 0330 995 0404
Opening hours: 9.30am -1.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays Disabled Students Helpline Telephone: 0330 995 0414
Opening hours: 11am-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays Welfare Rights Helpline for Member Organisations Telephone: 0203 687 0779
Opening hours: 10.30am-12.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays

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