Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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22.07.2021 weekly update

Welcome to the weekly update.  This update includes:

1.  Coalition Update

2.  Social/Peer Support coming up

3. Volunteer to join the steering group for SASH external website

4. Test the Voiceiit App

5. Disabled People and their Covid experiences

6. Consultation – The Health and Disability Green Paper 

7. The Sunnybank Trust Covid statement July 21

1.  Coalition Update

Thank you all for responding to our survey last week about how you were feeling about the lifting of the measures for Covid-19.  If you haven’t completed this yet, you can do so here: How do you feel about the changes to the Covid 19 restrictions .  So far we have heard comments from members including “I am terrified and will not be going anywhere” and “I feel that vulnerable people have not been taken into consideration”.   Please respond to the survey by the 29th July so we can (anonymously) share all your feedback to raise awareness.  

Thanks for helping us to name our bot!  As we mentioned last week, we have been developing a bot to help with lots of different things – the fun and the functional!  We have had some really brilliant suggestions so far (including Chaterbot, Wordsworth, Mercury, ASH – assistance, signposting and help, Bottina and many more!).  If you would like to suggest a name and be entered in a raffle to win an amazon voucher, please do so here by the end of July: Name the bot

2.  Social/Peer Support coming up

Chat with Guy – Following a review of our social activity we have decided to merge our chat with Guy with the Get More Active group on a Friday afternoon.  

Get More Active  – as we move to stage 4 it’s a mixed week for being physically active. On the one hand there is the excitement of being able to return to the group activities we love without restrictions, but on the other hand for many people so-called “freedom day” was anything but. This week Katy looks at the long-awaited return of the phenomenon that is parkrun as well as investigating online options to support being active whilst staying at home. Join us on Friday at 2pm Click here to join

You can find out more about parkrun in the attached information from Katy, or as a blog post here: The return of Parkrun!.  If you would like some help with printing a barcode, please do get in touch and we would be happy to help!  We are thinking of doing some group introductions to parkrun, subject to us finding some funding – if this is something you are interested in then please let us know!  

3. Volunteer to join the steering group for SASH external website

SASH are in the process of redeveloping their external facing website as it is very out of date.   They are looking for people to form the steering group for the scoping sessions. The first scoping session has provisionally been booked for Friday 30 July.

SASH would love to have someone from the Surrey Coalition of Disabled People in the group. There are three scoping sessions which will look at are top-level details, such as designs of the website and discuss user journeys, accessibility, etc. All meetings are likely to take place over Teams.  SASH are looking for an individual to use their experiences, skills and knowledge to help make strategic decisions so they end up with a new website that works for everyone.

4. Test the Voiceiit App

We have been lucky to gain access to a pilot scheme which may be some interest you, or people you know.

The ‘Voiceiit’ Project is a speech recognition app for people with speech disabilities, disorders, or impairments. Using a phone or tablet computer it learns your unique speech pattern and produces either a written or audible version that will work with google/alexa/siri or in conversation via your phone’s loudspeakers.

As a pilot it is fully funded, they provide the device, the training and if required the data. It is currently only for over 18’s but we will see if that changes over time.

Running into the autumn the primary aim is to find people who want to try the devices and system, provide them with 1-2-1 support and just see how it works for real people.

If you have difficulty getting people or device to recognise your voice then this no cost, no nonsense scheme might be for you.

If you want to drop out at any time then there are no costs, or concerns, we thank you for trying.

If you have any interest or questions please contact us. It costs you nothing but may make a difference to you and others.

Text 0747 1518998

5. Disabled People and their Covid experiences

Disability Rights UK would like to introduce a service set up for disabled people by The Care Quality Commission (CQC) to enable a simple feed-back webpage for disabled people to share their experiences of NHS and care services.  These could include anything from getting a GP appointment, to how they find their local pharmacy services.  The CQC acknowledge that when planning NHS and care services they have not focussed on Disabled people’s needs in the past and want to use the ‘Tell Us About Your Care’ webpage to gather evidence – anonymously if the person prefers – to help shape their future plans.

Could you please use your social media and newsletters to share the ‘Tell Us About Your Care’link with those you work hard to support.  This is a great opportunity for disabled people to share their experiences of NHS services and to help right any wrongs for the future.

6. Consultation on the Health and Disability Green paper 

The DWP has recently published Shaping Future Support: The Health and Disability Green Paper.

This Green Paper explores how the benefits system can better meet the needs of disabled people and those with health conditions. The conversations they have had with disabled people, people with health conditions, and their representatives, have shaped the ideas, proposals and questions in the Green Paper. 

The consultation includes changes which could: 

  • Enable independent living and testing the role of advocacy so people who need extra help to navigate the benefits system get the right level of support and information first time. 
  • Review how assessments are carried out including exploring the potential for longer-term use of telephone and video assessments and looking at how reassessments work including testing a new Severe Disability Group (SDG) for people with severe and life-long conditions that will not improve. This could see those who meet the criteria experiencing a more simplified application process, without the need for an assessment to receive financial support 
  • Improve support for disabled people to help them start, stay and succeed in work through the Work and Health Programme, Access to Work and on personalising employment support, recognising that one size does not fit all. 

The consultation started by the launch of this Green Paper will last for 12 weeks. We want to hear from disabled people and their representatives about the approaches we should consider to improve the system. Following the consultation, detailed proposals will then be brought forward in a White Paper next year, setting out how we can better enable people to take up work and live more independently, and outline the changes we want to make to the benefits system to better address structural and delivery challenges.

The Green Paper, along with accessible versions and a link to the consultation site, is now available on

7. The Sunnybank Trust Covid statement July 21

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