Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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Weekly Update 1st August 2022

Welcome to the weekly update.  This edition includes:

  1. Coalition Update
  2. Social/Peer support coming up
  3. How can Surrey Downs get more local people involved in shaping how they provide health, care and wrap around support services in the future?
  4. Guide Dogs Access Refusal App
  5. Healthwatch survey regarding Accessible Information Standard (AIS)
  6. New support videos available
  7. First Community and Mole Valley Life work together to install assistive technology in homes to help keep east Surrey residents safe
  8. Volunteering Opportunities
  9. Surrey Neighbourhood Watch protecting yourself from fraud and cybercrime
  10. Runnymede Borough Installation Update 
  11. News round up

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

1.  Coalition Update

Aldi Parking – One of our members contacted us regarding a parking fine they received at Aldi for staying in the car-park for about 7 minutes longer than the 60 minute time limit.  We contacted Aldi about this and following discussions Aldi have agreed to make a national change to their policy, so that disabled people can send them a photo of their blue badge and they will register them with parking eye for 3 hours parking rather than 1!  We are delighted at this news but advise you check with the store you use before parking for more than an hour (and please note that you will need to register your blue badge with Aldi and parking eye in advance of your visit).  If we receive further updates on this we will let you know.

We want to hear your experience of counselling services in Surrey – Last week, the Surrey Vision Action Group (SVAG) discussed access to counselling services in Surrey.  Following this we said we would ask all members for their experiences so we can feed this back.  Please contact the Involvement Team at Involvement@surreycoalition.org.uk

There is still time to apply 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 involvement@surreycoalition.org.uk

2.  Social/Peer support coming up

Get More Active update:

  • We have a date for our next Get More Active Get Together! We will be trying out sailing on Friday the 2nd September at 1.30pm at Papercourt Sailing Club. In next week’s update we’ll be telling you more about national charity Sailability and the exciting sessions they run at Papercourt. Please contact Katy if you would like to join us or if you want more information. Email katy.hubbard@surreycoalition.org.uk or SMS text/phone 07434 865062
  • Woking Mind will finish running the Woking Ramblers Wellbeing Walks at the end of July. Catalyst will be taking over the running of these walks from the beginning of August. Tasha Feddery who is the walks coordinator will be moving to Catalyst and her contact details will change to tasha.feddery@catalystsupport.org.uk from the 1st August. Her mobile number will remain as 07473 404 962. It is hoped that the schedule for these walks will be added to Catalysts activity timetable that can be found here. Catalyst Activity Timetable. Those who are on the walks mailing list will have the schedule until the end of August. If you do not have this list and would like it please contact Tasha Feddery on the above contact details.
  • Wheels for Wellbeing have added a new session to their weekly schedule. You can now cycle at Croydon Sports Arena on Wednesday’s. There are 2 bookable 45-minute sessions starting at 10am and 11am. You will need to register before your first visit via their website www.wheelsforwellbeing

Please contact Katy if you need assistance with registering.

You can join us in Friday’s virtual café for more Get More Active chat! Friday Virtual Cafe

3. How can Surrey Downs get more local people involved in shaping how they provide health, care and wrap around support services in the future? The health and care services in Surrey Downs need your help! They want to get more local people involved in shaping how health and care can be centred around the people and communities they support in Surrey Downs.

They’re holding a conversation with local community groups, charities and residents from 9:30am – 12:30pm on 24th August at Epsom Racecourse. They will be discussing how to get people involved in shaping health and care and would like to hear your thoughts on what works and doesn’t work to engage the community in this process.  

They are committed to making this event enjoyable and inclusive for everyone. Please get in touch with them if you have any access requirements they should know about or would like to discuss transport or caring costs to help you to attend. Contact Emma Cox at emma.cox25@nhs.net with any questions or to sign up to take part.

4. Guide Dogs Access Refusal App – Guide Dogs has been developing a game-changing new app that makes it quick and easy for guide dog owners to report access refusals, get support, or educate businesses on access rights.

As well as providing guide dog owners with a better service, this will give Guide Dogs the latest information on where access refusals are happening and help Guide Dogs spot patterns or repeat offenders. So, reporting an access refusal can do more than support one individual, it can help Guide Dogs get an accurate picture so we can challenge them at large.

The Guide Dogs access app is free and can be downloaded from the App Store for either iOS or Android devices. Just search for ‘Guide Dogs’ or follow the links below

Visit http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/androidapp which will redirect you through to the Android App Store.

Visit http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/iosapp, which will redirect you through to the iOS App Store.

5. Healthwatch survey regarding Accessible Information Standard (AIS) – As part of their campaign, ‘Your Care, Your Way’, Healthwatch asked the public about their experience of getting accessible health and care information.

Although they heard from a wider group of people, this analysis looks specifically at 605 people who said that they need support communicating with healthcare staff

They shared their views from 26 February to 29 May 2022.  Their findings aim to help NHS and social care decision-makers hear what is working and what could be better from the public’s perspective. Accessible Information Survey Findings | Healthwatch

6. New support videos available – To help you understand when you do and don’t need a TV Licence, TV Licensing has shared seven new videos covering when you need a licence, what it pays for and more.  They also are available in different languages and with subtitles and signing. They’re all on the TV Licensing website here tvl.co.uk/videos

7. First Community and Mole Valley Life work together to install assistive technology in homes to help keep east Surrey residents safe – Working collaboratively with Mole Valley Life, First Community’s Responsive Services have supported the installation of emergency lifeline alarms and key safe boxes for east Surrey residents.

Since the pilot project launched in March 2022, Mole Valley Life, who are operated by Mole Valley District Council, have provided First Community with emergency kits to use with their patients.

First Community’s Urgent Community Response and Intermediate Care Teams identified patients on their caseload who were not only at risk of falling and unable to get around their home safely, but also, unable to look after themselves due to an acute health event (such as a broken bone following a fall). With consent, they installed the assistive technology in their homes for them to trial.

Katie Fox, First Community’s Clinical Team Lead for Intermediate Care works closely with Mole Valley Life, helping to deliver and install the kits and said, “The emergency lifelines and key safes have had such a positive impact for our patients and have provided that extra reassurance to maximise their independence at home.

“Our patients have told us that they’ve always received the support they needed very quickly when using the emergency lifeline alarm, and it’s made them feel safer at home, even when our team or their family aren’t around.

“It’s been great to work closely with Mole Valley Life colleagues to make this happen, and it’s really highlighted the importance and advantages of having strong working relationships with our partners across east Surrey to improve outcomes for our patients.

“As our teams visit patients regularly, we have been able to quickly identify those patients who might benefit from a lifeline alarm and install them when we visit for their appointment; giving patients, their carers and family members reassurance that help is available at the touch of a button from the Mole Valley Life team 24 hours a day. 

“It’s also made such a difference for us to be able to have easy access to properties via the key safes, saving our often very poorly patients from having to get up to let us in.”

A key safe is a strong mechanical box in which door keys can be stored securely and accessed by a combination code. Securing the key safe to the outside of the home allows carers and family members to gain access to the property, should the patient wish. In cases of emergency, Mole Valley Life will also be able to provide the key safe details to the emergency services, expediting help to the patient and allowing the emergency services to access the home without causing damage.

The lifeline alarm is worn on the wrist or around the neck and provides help at the touch of a button 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If patients feel at risk, they can easily activate the alarm by pressing a button which sends an alert through to Mole Valley Life’s Alarm Receiving Centre in Leatherhead, where their fully trained team of Call Operators will be on hand to respond appropriately, either by contacting a friend or family member, or by calling the emergency services.

Mole Valley District Council’s Executive Head of Service (Communities), Rachel O’Reilly said, “With an ageing population, Mole Valley Life are aware that there is an increasing number of older and vulnerable resident’s unknown to them who may benefit from the reassurance of a lifeline alarm and the assistance it can provide. Working with their partners at First Community on this pilot has allowed the team to identify these previously unknown residents and provide them with the opportunity to trial a lifeline alarm; enabling them and their family members (who often do not live locally) to see for themselves how assistive technology can support them to live safe and well at home for longer.

“This reassurance and assistance is invaluable at an individual level, but we hope that over the course of time, the pilot will also demonstrate advantages at place and system level too, through the expedition of assistance to residents and the mitigation of avoidable hospital conveyance.”

Anyone living in the Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead Borough and Tandridge District Council areas can be referred to Mole Valley Life’s Lifeline Alarm and TEC service. The service may benefit those whose health and wellbeing you are concerned about, those who may want extra reassurance, as well as those who live with a disability or long-term condition. Find out more by visiting www.molevalleylife.co.uk/independent, emailing mvlife@molevalley.gov.uk or calling 01372 204500.

8. Volunteering Opportunities – Citizens Advice Guildford and Ash have the following volunteering opportunities:

  • Advice Assistant
  • Assessor
  • Receptionist

Please see the attached documents for more information and details on how to apply.

9. Surrey Neighbourhood Watch protecting yourself from fraud and cybercrime – People often ask how criminal organisations and hackers get hold of their personal information. Whilst some of it can be obtained legally (by purchasing mailing lists for example) a data breach is often the source.

A data breach occurs when information held by an organisation is stolen or accessed without authorisation. It can be from any organisation that has any of your information – for example a company that you have set up an account with.

Criminals use this information within scam emails, text messages and phone calls, so that they appear legitimate. They may even send emails or call pretending to be from an organisation that has suffered a recent data breach, asking you to log in and/or confirm your identity because ‘fraudulent activity has taken place’, or similar.

It has recently been announced that 5.4m Twitter accounts were hacked with Twitter handles linked to email address and phone numbers. If you have a Twitter Account it would be wise to change the password now – just in case.

To check if your details have appeared in public data breaches, you can use online tools such as https://haveibeenpwned.com. Similar services are often included in antivirus or password manager tools that you may already be using.

Further information is on the attached infographic from the National Cyber Security Centre.

10. Runnymede Borough Installation Update – Please see the attached document

11. News round Up

Our members have sent us links to the following articles which you may find interesting.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-62274168 Disabled player’s wheelchair missing after flight

Blue badges may be rejected in Europe, drivers warned – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62287752

Attitudes towards disability: ‘Teenagers threatened to tip me out of my wheelchair’ – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/disability-62263792

Bristol disability-led café ‘breaking down barriers’ – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-62163229


News from the Disability Rights UK latest newsletter

Census follow-up survey reveals huge impact of inaccessible services and businesses – Disabled people face barriers undertaking everyday activities that impose financial, physical and psychological costs, an in-depth study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has found.

Based on interviews with 56 Disabled people across the UK, the study analyses  people’s experiences accessing activities, goods and services.

The participants, who had a range of disabilities and demographic backgrounds, highlighted problems with physical access, restrictive building layouts, inaccessible online services, inadequate information and inflexible design of customer services.

Dawn Snape, Assistant Director of the Sustainability and Inequalities Division at ONS, said: “Listening to participants, it was striking the range of ways they faced barriers in everyday life, and the effort and energy that went into finding ways to navigate them. The cost of navigating these barriers was clear, both financially and in terms of physical and mental wellbeing.”

Disabled people often have to engage in extensive preparation to find “workarounds” while others relied on family and friends for support. The additional financial costs often involved limited choice, while the need to prepare for activities in advance limited spontaneity and freedom.

The study said: “The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) caused negative experiences of isolation with limited access to support for some disabled people, which extended beyond the pandemic. However, others saw the increase in online services as providing them with more opportunities to access, connect and communicate.”

It reported mixed experiences of online services – with some finding they helped mitigate physical design barriers while others reported access problems that amounted to digital exclusion.

DR UK’s Head of Policy, Fazilet Hadi, said: “This is a valuable – but sadly predictable – piece of work by a hugely-credible organisation. It should set alarm bells ringing across Whitehall and amongst all businesses and service providers. It is grotesquely unfair that businesses and service providers are piling additional financial, physical and psychological costs on to Disabled people despite decades of campaigning and legislation.

“Businesses should also wake up to the fact that they losing potential income by alienating or excluding such a large proportion of the population.”

Participants identified priorities for future service provision, including:

·       Accessible physical and online environments that recognise and accommodate a range of needs

·       Service providers involving Disabled people in policy and service decisions

·       Raising awareness and empathy for people with a range of impairments

·       The provision of meaningful, readily-available help for disabled people when accessing activities, goods and services.

The study comes weeks after the ONS published a quantitative report based on last year’s census returns around the experiences of Disabled people. 

Report confirms widespread workplace discrimination – The Equality Act is failing to protect thousands of Disabled workers, a report on workplace discrimination has concluded.

Commissioned by the Association of Disabled Professionals, the report identified “significant misconceptions on the part of employers and line managers with reference to what disability means, how disabled people should be treated in the workplace, and the costs of reasonable adjustments”.

The research by two University College London academics comes six years after the All Party Parliamentary Group on Disability warned that around 46,000 people are “managed out” of their jobs every year.

Key findings and recommendations include:

·       The Government’s Access to Work scheme can frustrate employers and Disabled applicants by being inflexible or slow in responding – leaving the employee to start work without agreed reasonable adjustments in place

·       The cost of legal representation at employment tribunals is prohibitive for many Disabled people and lawyers often recommend early settlement of cases because the tribunal process can be “traumatising”

·       Employers should develop inclusive, accessible and disability-positive cultures to increase trust and create safe spaces for conversations about disability and the provision and costs of reasonable adjustments.

The report is based on interviews with 38 experts on disability – including people from the private sector, politicians, lawyers, third sector representatives, union officials and Disabled people with lived experience.

Highlighting the role of Disabled and Deaf people’s organisations, the report says they should be seen as a valuable source of advice and support.

DR UK’s Head of Policy, Fazilet Hadi, said: “While we hear much talk about closing the disability employment gap research such as this reminds us that decades after discrimination was made illegal Disabled people still face ignorance and grotesque unfairness in the workplace. It is particularly galling that the Government’s Access to Work scheme often lets Disabled people and their employers down – contributing to workplace stress and many people losing their jobs.”

Ableism and the Labour Market, written by Dr Sarabajaya Kumar and Dr Colin Provost, is available here. A link to a podcast with the authors discussing their research can be accessed via this link. You need to scroll down through the publications list.

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