Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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11.03.2020 weekly update

Welcome to the weekly email update.  This edition includes:

1. Coalition Update

2. Social/Peer Support coming up

3. What is life like for disabled people in 2021 webinar tonight!

4. Ready Willing and Able – Supported employment programme

5. YMCA Free Virtual Exercise Referral Classes

6. Woking’s new Residents’ Panel

7. Surrey All-Age Autism Strategy – Draft for Consultation – Responses needed by Tuesday 16th March

8. Disability Rights UK E Newsletter

1. Coalition Update

We informed you of the sad deaths of two members last week (David Revie and Don Ilman).  We are always very sad to hear of the death of a Coalition member.  Our members work tirelessly to improve life for other disabled people and for those who come after them and we do not want the contributions of our members, and our friends, to ever be forgotten.  Our book of remembrance is a place for you to add your memories, reflections and special anecdotes for members who have died.  It is a place for you to pass on your condolences to the family and friends who have lost a love one:  Book of Remembrance

Don Ilman’s Funeral – please find below details of the funeral webcast which will allow friends and acquaintances to attend Don’s funeral virtually. Please feel free to pass these details on to any of Don’s friends or colleagues that may wish to view the funeral live, or indeed anytime up to 7 days later. They’ll be welcome to join virtually on the day. Attached is a step by step guide to how to access the webcast, for which you will need the following information:

Monday 15th March 2021 – 9.45am at Surrey & Sussex Crematorium

Login / Order ID: 84362

Password: jdcjggxf

The link will go live about 5 minutes before the ceremony begins at 9.45am on Monday. If you would like to send a floral tribute, these should be sent to: Stoneman Funeral Service, Doran Court, Reigate Road, Redhill, Surrey, RH16AZ, to arrive by 8.15am on 15th March.  There will be a link to The Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, for those that wish to make a donation. 

Physical and Sensory impairment Strategy Workshop Reminder – The first Physical and Sensory impairment Strategy Workshop will take place on Thursday 18th March at 10.30am.  The Coalition will jointly host this workshop for people who are Hard of Hearing or deafened to coproduce the new Physical and Sensory Impairment Strategy.  If you have a hearing loss and would like to join this workshop please let us know.

Non Emergency Patient Transport Focus Group for Wheelchair Users – We are hosting a focus group on Non emergency patient transport services for Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).  Surrey Heartlands CCG commissions non-emergency patient transport services for residents within the local catchment area. The CCG is currently reviewing these services and wants to hear the experiences of service users and their family members or carers who have helped them access the service.  If you are a wheelchair user and would like to join the focus group on Tuesday 23rd March at 11.00 am please contact Yasmin.

Covid 19 and Mental Health Survey – The Independent Mental Health Network are trying to gain insight into how the Coronavirus pandemic and the disruption of the last year has affected peoples mental health and the mental health services they have received. If you or someone you care for has experienced mental ill-health in the past please fill in the IMHNs survey which you can find at the link below:

Covid-19 and Mental Health Survey

2. Social/Peer Support coming up

Virtual Café – On Monday 15th March the café is hosting a virtual trip to Bowbridge Alpaca Farm.  The trip should last around half an hour and there will be a chance to chat and debrief following the trip.  It would be great to see as many of you there as possible.  If you fancy a chat or need some tech advice, please join us on Monday at 11.00 am by clicking this link: virtual cafe.

New Virtual Café Launch – Our new virtual café will launch next Friday 19th March at 11.30am.  Please forward the attached flyer to those who may be interested.  All the details you need to join the new café are below

Friday cafe joining link

Meeting ID: 869 7592 1531

Passcode: 451484

0800 260 5801 United Kingdom Toll-free

3. What is life like for disabled people in 2021 webinar tonight!

One of the Coalition Directors (Gemma Roulston) is Co-chairing a webinar, exploring what life is like for disabled people in 2021.  The webinar is this evening (Thursday) at 7.00pm.  Speakers include Dame Tanni Grey Thompson, Dan White and Michelle Daley.  You can find out more and register for the webinar by following this link: webinar registration

4. Ready Willing and Able – Supported employment programme

Ready Willing and Able, is a programme by SeeAbility supporting people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss to reach their full potential in their career aspirations. Ready Willing and Able offers free support to help people to achieve their employment ambitions by providing a person centred approach, skills development and in-work support. Please see the attached document for more details,

5. YMCA Free Virtual Exercise Referral Classes

The YMCA are offering free online exercise classes for people with long term conditions.  Meet new people online and exercise safely under the experienced guidance of a qualified Exercise Referral professional.  Sessions are inclusive for all abilities.  All you need is a chair, free weights (or water bottles/cans) and water to drink.  Make the change at home and enjoy better physical, mental and social health.  Classes will take place every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5th April from 7-8pm online through Zoom.  To find out more and book your place please email Wayne Askin

6. Woking’s new Residents’ Panel

The Residents’ Panel will consist of 1,000 residents representative of the borough. The only requirements are that all panellists must be aged 18 or over, a resident of Woking borough and enthusiastic about participating in local democracy. Panellists are not required to have any prior knowledge, skills or expertise and will not be expected to demonstrate any specific abilities before participating.

Panellists will be contacted several times per year for their views on a variety of issues, projects and services that the Council provides. We aspire to have a panel that is fully representative of Woking’s different communities, to ensure we achieve a balanced view on topics we wish to consult on.

The views of Panellists will form a vital part of shaping Woking Borough Council’s vision to join, please read the information provided on the web page before clicking the link at the bottom of the page to complete your application and fill out a short satisfaction survey.

7. Surrey All-Age Autism Strategy – Draft for Consultation – Responses needed by Tuesday 16th March

Please find below a link to the Surrey All-Age Autism Strategy consultation final draft, sent on behalf of Tom Moore / SCC County Autism Lead. Please note the consultation closes next Tuesday so if you would like to add your response, please click on the link below:

All Age Autism Strategy Framework – Surrey County Council – Citizen Space (

8. Disability Rights UK E Newsletter

News Round-up
Chancellor fails to implement levelling-up agenda In a budget which saw the welcome continuation of support for furloughed workers and the self-employed until the end of September, there were barely any measures to support the poorest in our society, apart from a six month extension on the £20 per week uplift to those on Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit. For the seven million people who either have a disability or have someone with a disability in their household, the budget offered very little. With over two million Disabled people on legacy benefits not receiving the £20 per week uplift and 18% of Disabled people experiencing food insecurity (against 6% of non-disabled people), the budget brought little hope that the Government will level-up society. There was no mention of any increase to the social care budget despite the system being chronically under-funded and Disabled people not receiving adequate levels of care and support. Apart from an increased incentive for employers to take on apprentices, there was nothing additional or specific to support Disabled people into work. This is despite a disability employment gap of nearly 30%. DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “With the National Disability Strategy soon to be published, it is seriously worrying that the Government didn’t do anything to tackle the big issues facing Disabled people such as poverty, lack of social care and barriers to employment.” Number of people who think benefits are too high falls to 15% A survey by YouGov has found that most people now think benefits are too low or about right – a turnaround from the 37% of people who thought they were too high at the height of austerity measures in 2013. Only 15% of people now think benefits are too high. The data also shows a sharp fall in the number of people who think the welfare system is open to abuse, and more people believe that not enough help is given to those both in and out of work. 1.7 million people of working age are currently unemployed, and five million are on furlough. DR UK’s  Fazilet Hadi said: “We know that Disabled people who have to live on benefits often really struggle. The extra costs of living for Disabled people can be over £500 per month. Benefits don’t touch these additional costs. It is frustrating that it has taken a pandemic, mass unemployment, and the pinching of the pursestrings due to furlough wages, to finally grasp that a life on benefits is not a life of ease – it is hard, exhausting and  often punitive.” A fifth of shielders not vaccinated when government declared vaccines win A fifth of people on the government’s clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) list had not had the Covid vaccine by 14 February – the date by when the government said that everyone in the first four groups had been offered the vaccine. NHS England data shows that between 92% and 99% of people in the 70 to 80+ age brackets had had at least one dose of the vaccine by 14 February, but only 81.2% of the listed 2,272,491 clinically extremely vulnerable people in the UK had had the vaccine. The DHSC has suggested that shielders on the clinically extremely vulnerable list  became eligible for the vaccine later than those aged 75 or above which may account for the discrepancy. DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “There are whole demographics of Disabled people who we still believe were not properly prioritised for the vaccine. For example people with asthma may have been put in group four, or group six, or not prioritised at all. We know that people with breathing conditions are at higher risk of complications and dying. The same goes for people with Muscular Dystrophy and spinal injuries. We would encourage people with underlying health conditions who have not yet been put into a group or received a text or letter inviting them to be vaccinated to contact their GPs as a matter of urgency, to outline their conditions, and to request to be put into the current cohort, group six.” Doctors assumed Disabled people not capable of discussing care A report by the British Institute of Human Rights said that doctors assumed elderly and Disabled people were not capable of discussing how they should be treated and as a consequence, do not attempt resuscitation orders were applied at a higher rate for Disabled and elderly people in the early part of the pandemic amid fears that Covid cases would overwhelm the NHS. Of the cases the British Institute looked at, only one in four do not resuscitate orders saw a formal assessment undertaken to see if a patient had the opportunity to discuss their care. Over half of nurses, social workers and managers surveyed for the report said they believed discrimination happens at least sometimes in decisions over do not resuscitate orders. Over 40% said it was assumed that Disabled people with a do not resuscitate order on their file did “not have mental capacity” to have input into their care. The report has been submitted to the Care Quality Commission’s inquiry into the orders. Sanchita Hosali, Director of the Institute, told the Financial Times that the issues with the orders were “deeply rooted in the daily discrimination faced by disabled people and older people”. Fazilet Hadi, Dr UK Head of Policy said “This report is extremely important. It reveals that behind the issue of blanket DNAR notices lies the deeper and more fundamental issue of systemic discrimination against Disabled and older people within the NHS. During this pandemic, it has often felt like Disabled people’s lives aren’t valued equally and unfortunately this report shows this to be the case. The NHS and professional health bodies,  need to take urgent action to challenge negative attitudes and poor processes, which are putting our health and our lives at risk.” Government approach to closing the disability employment gap heavily criticised At the Work and Pensions Select Committee, disability campaigners  gave compelling evidence that there was no government plan to close the almost 30% gap between the employment rates of Disabled and non-disabled people. The Committee heard that there had been no progress in closing the employment gap over the last ten years, that government employment schemes only supported a small fraction of Disabled people who needed support to gain employment  and  that the Disability Confident Scheme wasn’t working. Fazilet Hadi, DR UK Head of Policy, spoke about her personal experience of the Access to Work Scheme. Whilst she thought the Scheme was amazing and she wouldn’t have been able to work without it, she said that the administration was poor and that officials made you feel like you weren’t telling the truth about your needs. Access the transcript or view the session. Find out more on the Disability News Service website. Homes still ‘failing us’ – new report The Centre for Ageing Better has published a new report with Ipsos MORI, ‘Getting our homes in order: How England’s homes are failing us’, exploring the experiences of people aged 50-70 living in ‘non-decent’ homes. The report is part of the Good Home Inquiry looking at the causes of, and solutions to, the poor quality of much of England’s housing. The report has been published alongside findings from the NatCen panel Homes and Communities Study which looked at how people feel about their homes and the impact of lockdown on those aged 50-69. It found that cold, damp and fall hazards are leaving people feeling ‘miserable’ and ‘overwhelmed.’ Emotional attachments to the home can prevent people from making necessary changes. People who feel they can make changes often face financial barriers. DR UK’s Fazilet Hadi said: “We know that many Disabled people of all ages live in inaccessible housing. There is a real and present housing crisis in the UK. Housing is too often not able to be adapted, out of reach financially, and people find they have to wait years on a waiting list to be offered somewhere suitable on a take it or leave it basis. As for choices, they don’t exist. We are not even at the stage where one property is available to be offered for many on the list.” Digital Lifeline scheme now open to people with learning disabilities People with learning disabilities will be able to access a new government £2.5 million Digital Lifeline scheme providing tablets, data and digital support. The scheme will fund 5,000 tablet devices preloaded with data and free tech support for people with learning disabilities who face financial barriers to getting online and who have had to endure social isolation as a result of Coronavirus. Three quarters of people with a learning disability reported that their wellbeing has been affected by the non-viral impacts of Coronavirus compared with 37% of non-Disabled people. Digital Minister Caroline Dinenage said: “The pandemic has been incredibly tough for Disabled people who have struggled to get online for basic things like catching up with loved ones. The Digital Lifeline fund will tackle this divide head on by putting thousands of devices in the hands of those who need them most, with free data and tech support on standby to help people with learning disabilities.” The first devices will be delivered from March. The government is working on the project with charities including AbilityNet. The Good Things Foundations has more information on how to apply. Council accused of discouraging Disabled voters in May elections Woking council has been accused of potentially discouraging Disabled voters from participating in the forthcoming borough, county council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections by asking people to provide photo ID for a postal or proxy vote, despite there being no legal precedent for the presentation of ID. The council says that voters are “requested” to provide ID and proof of address, which does not violate electoral rules. DR UK’s Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: “This is yet another potential barrier to groups of voters, including Disabled people, who are less likely to have relevant documentation. Instead of focussing on ID, a plan the government is likely to implement from 2023, the focus should be on ensuring that the systems we have now are fully accessible. As things stand, election literature is often inaccessible, and some locations for polling stations are not fully accessible. New measures should not be introduced until the current election process is accessible to all.” Read more about this article on the Guardian. Disabled people must form major part of rail review Keith Williams’ review of the railway industry is set to form the basis of the Government’s White Paper and reform package. The Review has been delayed since last year, but Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has now pledged to publish it “as soon as possible”. DR UK’s rail ambassador Stephen Brookes said: “It is vitally important that Disabled and older people are a major part of Williams’ future rail plans. So many Disabled and older people depend on public transport for day to day life, leisure and key journeys for medical reasons. Given the major changes driven by Covid, access must be recognised in this important set of steps. Read more about the reforms on the Rail Magazine website.
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
Government webinars for PAs The government has released new information for PAs in relation to testing for  Coronavirus. Read more, and sign up for live webinars. 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 27 and 28 April. 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 & disability benefits – Tuesday 27 April 9.45am – 12.45pm. Part 2: Universal Credit, the wider benefits system and maximising income – Wednesday 28 April 9.45am – 12.45pm. Book your place now!   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 now! 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.    Help DR UK with easyfundraising easyfundraising is a quick and easy way to raise money for Disability Rights UK. Shop with any of over 2,000 well known retailers listed on and a percentage of what you spend is passed to Disability Rights UK at no additional cost to you.  Retailers include Amazon, M&S, Vodafone, eBay, Tesco, Viking and many more. Please register to support us today.  Communications for change workshops

What kind of society do we want to build after the pandemic? This is a crucial year for shaping public debate and building support for a more just and inclusive society.

Using insights from behavioural science to understand how and why people respond to some messages over others, strategic communications use values-based framing to create messages that change hearts and minds. Equally Ours is offering free one-day training to give you a broad grounding in the theory and practice of this approach.

Sign up and find out more on the Equally Ours website. Social Care survey Have you experienced cuts to your social care services or had increased charges for your social care during the past 12 months? Social Care Future along with other partners, individuals and family carers, is looking to raise awareness of the issues of increased charges, and needs your help. It wants to gather a national picture of the charges and cuts to social care that appear to be happening across England. Complete the anonymous survey now.   Resilience hacks webinar Join Emma Lawton and the East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone at 4pm on Wednesday 10 March for a free webinar on resilience hacks for Disabled people coping with lockdown. Book your place. International wheelchair day rail petition Monday was international wheelchair day, and social media influencers spent the day encouraging people to sign a petition to ask government to make all railway stations accessible. Read and sign the petition online. New Year, New Me, New Job free webinar RNIB and Blind Ambition are running their sixth New Year, New Me, New Job pre-employment webinar for jobseekers with sight loss on personal branding at 8pm on Tuesday 9 March. It will cover how you can create your own uniqueness; knowing who you are and realising what you can offer. Register now! How to claim the ‘severely mentally impaired’ council tax discount The Martin’s Money Tips website has refreshed its information on a council tax discount which could save people who are ‘severely mentally impaired’ £400 a year. The guide shows how to check if you’re due the discount – and how to claim it. Kent PACT is recruiting Kent Parents and Carers Together, which works with families with children with SEND across Kent, is recruiting for a variety of roles as it goes independent from this April. For more information on the roles and to apply visit the Kent PACT website. Get Yourself Active at home Are you looking for new ways to get active at home? Get Yourself Active has created a new section on its website to help you find the resources you need to stay active during this time. On this new section you can find the accessible and inclusive exercise videos created in partnership with Sense and Durham University, which are also available on the Get Yourself Active YouTube channel. There are also a number of other useful resources from partner organisations that have been collated, from videos to downloadable toolkits and worksheets.
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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