Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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Weekly update 18th July 2022

Dear Members

Welcome to the weekly update.  This edition includes:

  1. Coalition Update
  2. Social/Peer support coming up
  3. Beat the Heat staying safe in the hot weather
  4. Heat Exhaustion
  5. Staying safe during summer
  6. Job Vacancy for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Sight for Surrey
  7. Surrey County Council (SCC) is seeking your support for some testing on a new chat bot
  8. Trustee vacancies Headway Surrey
  9. Guildford Conquest Art group for people with disabilities
  10. TV Licensing Annual Review 2021-2022
  11. Centre for Psychology: Upcoming Groups
  12. What is phishing and how does it work?
  13. News Round Up

If you prefer to listen to the update, please click on the link below:

1.  Coalition Update

Apply today for the Household Support Fund

Worried about how you’ll manage the increasing living costs? We may be able to help.

The government have now extended the Household Support Fund (HSF) until September 2022 to help those that are finding the increasing energy, household and food bills a struggle.

We’re pleased to announce that we have been asked to help distribute £25,000 from this fund to allocate specifically to Disabled people and those with long term health conditions in Surrey.

What funding is available?

One grant per household (Not per person) may be awarded to help with food or energy costs. Please note grants will be awarded on a first come first served basis, once the funds have been allocated we’ll be unable to offer any further grants. So please make sure you apply as soon as possible.

We’ll be able to issue one grant for either:

  • Supermarket vouchers: Tesco/Sainsburys/Aldi (orange gift card)/ Iceland vouchers are available up to a maximum of £100 
  • Water, gas or electricity bills: A payment directly to your energy or water supplier. (Up to a maximum value of £200). We will need a copy of your latest bill in order to do this.
  • Alternatively, we can make payments up to a maximum of £200 to help with household essentials into Supported Managed Accounts.

How do I apply?

For more details on who can apply and how to apply, please visit our website . If you would like help completing the form, please contact the involvement team

2.  Social/Peer support coming up

Get More Active Update: Coalition member Sally sent us a fantastic photo from her recent trip to Woodlarks Campsite. Read all about it on the link below:

Sally’s flying high! « Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

If you are interested in opportunities to Get More Active in the Great Outdoors please contact Katy by phone or SMS text 07434 865062 or email

Get More Active Get Together: We are busy trying to find a suitable date to attend Sailability at Papercourt Sailing Club. We want to make sure that as many members as possible can take up this opportunity. If you would like to go or if you would like more information, please contact Katy.

Don’t forget to join us in the Friday Virtual café at 11.30am for more Get more Active chat. Friday Virtual Cafe

3. Beat the Heat staying safe in the hot weather – The heat can affect anyone, but some people run a greater risk of serious harm. As our climate changes, hot spells are expected to be more frequent and more intense. During this hot weather, you can help protect yourself and others by:

  • Looking out for those who may struggle to keep themselves cool and hydrated – older people, those with underlying health conditions and those who live alone are particularly at risk
  • Staying cool indoors – closing curtains on rooms that face the sun can keep the temperature lower in indoor spaces
  • Drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding excess alcohol
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11am to 3pm, when its strongest
  • Walking in the shade, applying sunscreen regularly can protect your skin, and it’s helpful to wear a wide brimmed hat while outside on sunny days

4. Heat ExhaustionHeat exhaustion is a heat-related illness that can occur after you’ve been exposed to high temperatures. Learn the symptoms and what to do if you or someone else shows signs of heatstroke during a heatwave here

5. Staying safe during summer – In recent weeks we have seen a rise in COVID cases in the South East and across the country, with a shift in the dominant strain from the Omicron BA.2 variant. The latest data indicates that Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 now account for more than half of rising COVID-19 cases in the UK and are driving the recent increase in infections. Remember we can all play our part to help protect yourself, your family and your community. For more information visit

Staying Safe During Summer – UK Health Security Agency (  For the most up-to date guidance click here.

6. Job Vacancy for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Sight for Surrey – Sight for Surrey are looking for a new CEO.  Please see the attached job advert for more details on the role and how to apply.

7. Surrey County Council (SCC) is seeking your support for some testing on a new chat bot – Adult Social Care (ASC) are looking to introduce a chatbot to help people complete the online financial assessments. The financial assessment is part of the eligibility process that determines how much someone will have to pay towards the costs of their social care support.

What is a chatbot? A chatbot is a computer programme used to trigger an automatic on-line chat based on a database of Frequently Asked Questions asked by customers. Banks and main retailers use online chatbots to help their clients with certain tasks, e.g. online shopping.

Can you help ASC review and improve it? Staff from Adult Social Care would  really value the input of Surrey Coalition’s members into the design of this digital solution as it will help to improve the service and also resident’s experience with the online financial assessment process.  ASC are organising a virtual focus group to review and improve the chatbot content and functionality before the system goes live.

They are looking for:

  • 10 people to attend a one hour online session over two alternative dates
  • a balance of Adult Social Care clients and those who have no knowledge of Adult Social Care.

The focus group will not be about testing anyone’s technical abilities, but to find out if the information provided by the chatbot is easy to understand and delivers the desired outcome: providing an adequate answer to a specific query.

Each participant will need to have access to the internet and be happy to send  their email address in advance so they can be invited to their preferred session. Also, they would need to have Microsoft Teams downloaded on their device and if necessary this can be tested in advance to ensure ASC can connect to them.

They are looking for participants who would be happy to take part in the Online Financial Assessment Chatbot testing on one of the following days and times:

  • Wednesday 3 August 11-12am
  • Friday 5 August 1.00-2.00pm

Please note they may need to record participants’ feedback and comments via a video call using Microsoft Teams software. Please email Chloe Sutton ( with the name, preferred date and contact details if you’re interested before Friday 29 July.

8. Trustee vacancies Headway Surrey – Headway Surrey are looking for 3 enthusiastic people with an interest in the welfare of people with acquired brain injury (ABI), cognitive rehabilitation to join Headway Surrey.  We want in particular, skills and knowledge in NHS/Primary care/Adult Social Care, CCG, Neuropsych/rehab, fundraising/income generation, lived experience of ABI or caring for people with ABI.

Headway Surrey are open to considering younger individuals, who may not have any Board experience, who would relish the chance of learning and developing, whilst contributing to our charity. Headway Surrey has a buddy system for new Trustees and for those without Board experience we would provide support and mentoring.

Trustees will need to attend 6 Board Meetings per year, starting at 5.30pm either on Zoom or at the Guildford Centre and one AGM meeting. Trustees are appointed for a five-year term of office and provided with a comprehensive induction and support programme.

If you would like to help make a difference to the lives of adults living with brain injuries, please contact Sonja for a full role description 

To apply: Please send a C.V. and covering letter indicating why you are interested in this opportunity, and what you would bring to the role: to CEO Sonja Freebody   

Application Deadline: 7 September 2022

Interviews: 8-14th September 2022

First Board Meeting: 15th September 2022

9. Guildford Conquest Art group for people with disabilities – Conquest Art is a Charity inspiring people with disabilities and long-term health issues to discover their creative energy and build self-confidence through art.  This friendly group meets alternate Wednesdays of the month at St Catherine’s Village Hall, The Gateway, Chestnut Avenue, Guildford, GU2 4HD from 2:00 to 4:00pm.

No art experience necessary, all materials and refreshments provided. First session is FREE, thereafter £2.00 per week plus an annual subscription of £10 to Conquest Art.  Come along and enjoy the benefits that art can bring, make new friends and have fun. For further information on becoming a member or volunteer email

10. TV Licensing Annual Review 2021-2022 – The 2021-2022 Annual Review has been published.  The TV Licensing Team have visited the DENS meetings in the past.  The TV Licensing Team have highlighted the following;

They have continued to help our customers to understand when they need a licence and ensure they’re correctly covered. As well as collecting the licence fee to fund shows and services enjoyed by audiences, it’s their role to help people who might have difficulty paying. This includes supporting customers with the Simple Payment Plan and the over 75s concession – a free licence for those aged 75 and over who receive Pension Credit, paid for by the BBC.  They’ve worked with over 600 local and national groups across the UK over the past year, including charities, money advice and community organisations. 

11. Centre for Psychology: Upcoming Groups – The Centre for Psychology have the following groups running from September – October 2022.

  • Improving Low Self Esteem
  • Mindfulness
  • Coping with Worry and Low Mood

Please see the attached document for more details.

12. What is phishing and how does it work? – You wouldn’t let a thief enter your home, but what if the thief was masquerading as someone familiar, such as a postman, and tricked you into opening the door? Phishing works in a similar way – criminals impersonate trusted organisations by creating legitimate-looking messages and websites in order to trick people into opening the doors to their personal information. Once criminals have this information, it can be used to perpetrate fraud and cyber against you, or in your name.

How big is the problem? Phishing attacks are a common problem faced by both individuals and businesses on a daily basis.

As of 31st May 2022, the National Cyber Security Centre’s Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS) has received over 12mn reports from the public, and has removed over 83,000 scams and 153,000 malicious websites. The most impersonated organisations in phishing emails reported last year were the NHS, HMRC and GOV.UK.

Most phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report suspicious text messages for free by forwarding it to 7726. When a text is reported to 7726, the provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender, if it’s found to be malicious. As of May 2022, 13,000 scams have been removed as a result of suspicious text messages reported using the 7726 service.

How can you protect yourself from phishing scams? Most of the phishing scams reported to us have one thing in common, they started with an unexpected email or text message. Whether it’s an email asking you to “verify” your bank account details, or a text message claiming you’ve been in close contact with someone that’s got COVID, the goal of a phishing attack is usually the same – to trick you into revealing personal and financial information. 

Here’s some simple advice you can follow when it comes to dealing with phishing scams:

1 – If you have any doubts about a message, contact the organisation directly. 

Dont use the numbers or address in the message – use the details from their official website. Remember, your bank (or any other official source) will never ask you to supply personal information via email.

2 – If you think an email could be a scam, you can report it by forwarding the email to: Send us emails that feel suspicious, even if you’re not certain they’re a scam – we can check.

3 – Most phone providers are part of a scheme that allows customers to report suspicious text messages for free by forwarding it to 7726. If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender, if it’s found to be malicious. 

4 – If you’ve lost money or provided personal information as a result of a phishing scam, notify your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud:

For more advice on how to protect yourself online, visit:

13. News Round Up – This week our members have sent through the following news stories which you may find interesting!

Wheelchair basketball team hopes for Commonwealth Games legacy –

Deaf Southend student playwright wins National Theatre prize –

Disability and the heatwave: ‘Dizziness, dehydration and my cooling body armour’ –

Disability fashion line was a lightbulb moment –

Surrey NHS opens £8.5m mental health ward –

Energy suppliers told to review soaring direct debits

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