Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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20.05.2021 weekly update

Welcome to the weekly email update.  This update includes:

1.  Coalition Update

2.  Social/Peer support coming up

3.  Guildford Quilt Project

4.  Refurbishment of Kingston Hospital’s eye emergency clinic

1.  Coalition Update

Volunteers Week 1-7 June – We are planning a number of activities during volunteers week 1st-7th June to thank our amazing volunteers for their invaluable contribution to Surrey Coalition.  The weeks events will culminate during our virtual café on Friday 4th June where we will host a virtual morning tea!  Bring your own scones and clotted cream and chat with other volunteers in a social setting.  This is your chance to join the jam or cream first debate!  Volunteers include all our members who attend meetings representing disabled people and carers as well as those in specific volunteering roles like our Board Members, Tech Angels and office support team!

Empowerment and Effective Communication Training –  Come along to two sessions of coaching which are friendly, inclusive and relaxed.  We focus on building on existing strengths and developing new ones to support you in your life and work. Build your confidence and skills as a communicator by learning how to be concise, effective and ‘heard’.    Learn how to prepare input for a meeting, deliver the message with appropriate assertiveness and focus on action centred results.  As a representative of SCDP and IMHN, you can practice gathering relevant feedback from meetings you attend which can be shared with other members.  The training will take place over two mornings on the 15th and 16th June.  Please contact Yasmin to book your place.

Turning on subtitles on YouTube – Our latest ‘How to’ video is now on YouTube.  The latest video shows you how to turn on subtitles on a YouTube video.  Please let us know your ideas for ‘How to’ videos we can make in the future.  View the latest video here

Bluebell Railway – Members enjoyed a trip to the Bluebell Railway during the virtual café on Monday.  Ruth our host, gave a very informative talk about the railway and we learnt that it is run mainly by a team of 800 volunteers!  We heard about the three main jobs ‘Cleaner, Fireman and Driver’ and that it can take 10 years to become a driver.  We were able to witness a ‘ghost train’ a practice run before the railway reopens today.  There are two accessible carriages, one of which has space for 6-8 wheelchairs.  If you would like to find out more about the Bluebell Railway or arrange a visit please visit

Calling all Disabled People of Surrey and North-East Hampshire who would like to be involved in co-designing a virtual Disability Hub

The idea of the project is to design a new hub to support the Disabled community in the recovery from Covid-19.   

The Virtual Disability Hub will be a collaborative effort, with SILC and Surrey Coalition as well as other partners.  The aim is to build a hub that has ‘one front door’ (or one joining form!) to access lots of different organisations and support services.  One of the ideas that has emerged from the engagement work we have been doing, is to have a volunteer virtual host every day, so that everyone can talk to someone friendly for some help in finding the information they need, or just to have a friendly chat with.  At the Hub you will be able to access information, find out more about services that are available, using guides, blogs and vlogs produced by disabled people for disabled people.

The engagement and co-design for this project is happening during May and June, and we are planning a small working group meeting.  So far we have had 156 different suggestions about what the Virtual Disability Hub could offer the Disabled Community and they are all fabulous.  If you would like to be part of the Working Group and help co-produce the Virtual Disability Hub then please email, text or phone Karen using the details below.  The first Working Group will take place at 1pm on Tuesday 25th May.  Join the Working Group Meeting 

Text or Telephone to arrange an appointment; – 07534521878 

2.  Social/Peer support coming up

Watts Gallery – On Monday 24th May our virtual café will host a trip to the Watts Gallery.  Join us to discover the stories behind the Watts Gallery as you explore the ideas of artists George and Mary Watts, followed by a post-trip chat. Join the Watts Gallery trip.

If you are thinking about Getting More Active but aren’t sure where to start please see a short blog attached with some top tips! Of course, you can also contact the Get More Active project for some friendly support and ideas. Email or phone/SMS text on 07434 865062.

Get More Active Group – Join our upcoming peer support group on Friday at 2pm.  This week we will be sharing our tips for staying motivated and discussing  returning to face to face activities following the latest easing of lockdown.

3. Guildford Quilt Project

Melanie at Guildford Heritage Services has contacted us to let us know about a new project that you might wish to be involved in.  Guildford Heritage Services are asking local people to contribute a square to our Guildford Quilt to reflect their memories of kindness experienced during the pandemic or hopes for the future. You can either sew a square or if that’s not your thing do a design on paper. Melanie would also be happy to talk to anybody about alternatives to these if you aren’t able to sew or draw. There is more information in the attachment and in the link to the website

4. Refurbishment of Kingston Hospital’s eye emergency clinic

The eye emergency clinic in Kingston Hospital’s Royal Eye Unit is being refurbished to create more space and to improve the experience for patients.  The clinic will be closed from 24 May 2021 and will reopen in August 2021.

What if I need urgent eye care during this time? – If you have an urgent eye problem, please phone 020 8934 6799 or, if you use SMS text then do get in touch with the Coalition and we will put you in touch. If you are already under the care of The Royal Eye Unit and your eye problem is related to the condition you are being treated for, an appointment will be booked for you at Kingston Hospital, if necessary.  If you are not currently a Royal Eye Unit patient, you will be given advice on where your eye problem can be dealt with. This may be another eye hospital or a community service.

I already have an appointment at The Royal Eye Unit. Will my appointment still go ahead? Routine planned treatments, operations and outpatient eye services will not be affected by the refurbishment and will continue to take place within the Royal Eye Unit during this time.

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