Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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16.07.2021 weekly update

Welcome to the weekly email update.  This update includes:

1.  Coalition Update

2.  Social/Peer support coming up

3.  Disability Cup Finals to be shown live on BT Sport

4.  Mole Valley Friendship and Fishing Course

5.  Website for disabled travellers

6.  Bus Service Improvement Plans. Your Input Requested

7.  No Place for Hate Newsletter

8.  Sling Your Hook Campaign Launched By Neighbourhood Watch To Tackle Scams

1.  Coalition Update

Covid-19 restrictions lifting on the 19th of July 2021 

We are aware that the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions on the 19th of July is causing concern for many members, particularly those who are (or care for someone with) immunosuppressed.  How are you feeling about the lifting of restrictions, and is there anything you would want the wider community to do to help?  Tell us here: How you feel about restrictions lifting on the 19th of July.  In the meantime, the government guidance for people who are extremely clinically vulnerable was updated on the 9th of July and you can find it here: Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 – GOV.UK (

The Coalition Board met last week and made the decision to carry on operating as we are for the time being until we can see what is happening with infection rates in the community once restrictions are lifted.  The Board will review this decision when they next meet in September.  

Name the Coalition bot and win yourself a voucher! 

We have been working away on a chatbot (a chatbot is a kind of virtual assistant that can use artificial intelligence to help to find you the information you need).  

Eventually, our chatbot will be able to help you with all sorts of things, both the fun and the functional! For example, it will help with information about us (obviously), information about getting more active in Surrey, information and help with tech, information about what’s on in Surrey that might be of interest, information about mental health services and how to get involved in improving them, chit-chat about a range of subjects and much more!  

To start with, our bot will be on our website, then it will be enabled on social media channels and then, finally, available through your Alexa device or Google smart speaker.  We will launch the basic bot in the next couple of weeks and will then ‘build out’ over the next year or so – so it will be constantly growing and getting better (and more clever!).  

You can suggest your name using the following link: Name the Coalition bot!.  All entries need to be in before the end of July.  Please give your name and email address if you would like to go into the draw to win a voucher.  

2.  Social/Peer support coming up

Thank You to Gary – Gary has been working with us to support our ‘tech room’ in the Coalition Café during the course of the pandemic and he managed to keep going with this even when his furlough period ended.  Thanks to Gary many people have been able to keep learning and expanding their knowledge in the café.   

We will now be reverting back to delivering (probably monthly) sessions focusing on a specific device or app, starting with a workshop about the new ‘voiceitt’ app that we will be testing with members.  Please watch this space for further information.  

Volunteer Tech Angels continue to support people who are digitally excluded across Surrey as part of the Tech to Community Connect project.  If you would like their help (or know someone who does!), please email  The service is aimed at adults who are disabled, living with a long term health condition, Carers, people of older age, people from minoritised backgrounds and others with a significant vulnerability.       

Virtual Cafes – Our virtual cafes continue to run on Mondays at 11.00am and Fridays at 11.30am.  During the café last Friday we recorded a good luck message to the England Football Team which you can view here!  Unfortunately, our zoom rendition of Sweet Caroline did not make the cut but we had fun trying.  On Monday we commiserated with each other on the result but all agreed we were extremely proud of the whole team.  Bring on World Cup 2022!

Get More Active Update – There’s plenty of physical activity to get involved with this week. Click here to read more information about Flyerz hockey and the new online Wobble seated exercise classes. There is also a fantastic opportunity to have some free personal training for one month to help a trainer with their level 3 – Exercise for disability qualification. 

Katy has also been chatting to Luke Tye about his love for VI tennis. Read all about it here.

Don’t forget to join us for the Get More Active chat group on Friday at 2pm: Join here. This week we will be talking about these opportunities and others as well as looking at the upcoming “Freedom day” and what that means for us.

3. Disability Cup Finals to be shown live on BT Sport

The FA Disability Cup Finals are taking place this weekend at St George’s Park, with two matches featuring either blind or partially sighted teams.

The matches are being broadcast live on BT Sport and the RNIB have been working with BT to ensure that they’re the most accessible live broadcasts of football matches in the UK to date. 

BT Sport 3 will feature enhanced Audio Description, delivered by an expert based at the ground. You’ll be able to watch the games without a subscription via the BT sports website.  

Next season, BT sport will trial the inclusion of these accessibility features around several sports.

More details on how to watch, including channel information and how to access all the accessibility features are available on the BT Sport website.

4. Mole Valley Friendship and Fishing Course

Please see document below.

5. Website for disabled travellers

 Use the link below for a website which provides tips and advice for people with disabilities who are considering travelling abroad

6. Bus Service Improvement Plans

DRUK are working with Bus Users UK, and bus operators with a good record on accessibility, to ensure that BSIPs (Bus Service improvement Plans) benefit disabled passengers.  These plans are a major part of the Government’s National Bus Strategy. 

Organisations led by Disabled people have repeatedly made the point that millions of disabled and older people depend on public transport for day-to-day life, leisure and key journeys for medical reasons, so, disability access on buses must be fully addressed by Bus Improvement Plans. Meaningful participation and active involvement of disabled people in the development and delivery of bus use is key to ensuring the future strategy is fully inclusive, and takes an intersectional approach, by embedding the principles of equal choice and control, and the right to live independently whilst responding to the inequalities still rife in our society.

Bus Users UK has created a 10 key point paper to assist Local Transport Authorities and service providers in developing effective operational BSIPs before the deadline of 31 October 2021.

Disability Rights UK believes that it is vital that Disabled people influence BSIPs, to ensure that bus travel can be used safely and independently by Disabled passengers.  We ask that you join with us and influence your local Bus Operator’s Improvement Plan, so that it genuinely addresses the needs of local disabled bus users.

In the 10 point guide, Bus Users UK  suggest that every stage of a bus journey should be accessible and that community engagement is critical in ensuring that Disabled people are included in the design and utilisation of accessible space.

Given new opportunities and challenges, it is essential that we act to improve the inclusion of bus travel.  Please get in touch with DRUK if you have any questions. Email

7.   No Place for Hate Newsletter

Please see document below.

8.  Sling Your Hook Campaign Launched By Neighbourhood Watch To Tackle Scams – The Neighbourhood Watch Network are excited to tell you more about their SLING YOUR HOOK campaign running throughout July to help tackle scams

The campaign taps into the psychology that scammers use to hook people in, helping you stay one step ahead and protect yourself and your loved ones against the increasing variety of scams happening every day. They’ve identified the following five behaviours scammers commonly use: 

  • They imply they’re doing you a favour (reciprocity)
  • They indicate everyone else is doing this (social proof)
  • They say your only chance is to act now (urgency)
  • They act like they’re similar to you, so you like them and want to please them (connection)
  • They ask you to do one little thing which makes you do more (commitment).

Often victims of scams report that in hindsight they felt something wasn’t quite right at the time.  This campaign aims to raise awareness of the tactics scammers use and encourages people to ‘stop and think’ if something doesn’t FEEL, SEEM, LOOK or SOUND right.  This allows them time to trust your gut instinct and help prevent becoming a scam victim.

“Everyone likes to feel special. But watch out! If a stranger is going out of their way for you, something fishy may be going on instead. Scammers like to offer one-off deals and favours. Don’t be afraid to tell them no.” John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network

How can you support this campaign?

  • LEARN: Visit the scams website pages to learn more about common scams, preventing scams, reporting scams, supporting victims and a scams campaign toolkit
  • SHARE: Follow them on our Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / LinkedIn channels and share their posts       
  • JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Join them for an online talk (details below)

ONLINE TALKS – The Neighbourhood watch Network are delivering a series of scams awareness online talks in partnership with the Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU), the National Trading Standards Scams Team (NTSST) and Avast.

Anyone can attend, but there are waiting lists only for all the webinars apart from one! Last week they ran an online talk on ‘Exploring the psychology behind scams and how scammers are so effective at their crimes’. It was so popular they have decided to re-run it on 27th July, 5pm.  Click here to book your place. Please note – this event will not be recorded.

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