Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

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25.02.2020 weekly update

Welcome to the weekly email update.  This edition includes

1.  Coalition Update

2.  Social/Peer Support coming up

3.  Run the virtual London Marathon for Sight for Surrey

4.  ATLAS Blog – Autism in the media and Accessibility Survey

5.  Protecting yourself online

6.  Surrey Faith Links Newsletter

7.  Disability Rights UK E Newsletter

 1.  Coalition Update

Our members had a wonderful start to the week with a virtual trip to Guildford Museum on Monday followed by a display from Birdworld on Tuesday.  On Monday we explored the lower floor of the museum learnt about archaeological finds in Surrey from the bronze and dark ages, and the Saxon and the Roman time periods.  Members were able to ask questions and engage in an interesting discussion. Melanie from Guildford Museum was complimented on her excellent audio description which enabled everyone to fully take part in the trip.  We are already planning a return visit so we can finish our tour of the upper floor.  We have also been invited to attend in person when we can.  We would like to thank Melanie and her colleagues at the Guildford Museum for such an interesting and informative trip which was tailored to our needs.

Birdworld – Over 50 people joined us for a virtual trip to Birdworld.  We were treated to a private display which included Noddy the blue and yellow Macaw and Kirby the tawny frog mouthed bird!  Nikki and Kat from Birdworld answered all our questions including what the birds ate, how long they will live and many more.  Noddy was a great character and when asked could quack like a duck and roar like a lion!

Save the Date! – We have two virtual trips planned for March.  On the 15th March we will visit an Alpaca Farm in Scotland.  We will be taken to meet the baby Alpacas and then to meet the older residents.  On 29th March we will be visiting the Rural Life Living Museum in Farnham.

IMHN Effective Communication & Empowerment Training – taking place Monday 1st & Wednesday 3rd March – please contact the Independent Mental Health Network Coordinator, Guy Hill, if you would be interested in attending or would like further information. There are only 6 places available to attend this two day training course. The theme for the training is Effective Communication & Empowerment for reps.

2.  Social/Peer Support coming up

New Virtual Café! – Next Friday 5th of March we are launching our new Friday Café.  This will be a social group for people to have a chat over a cuppa.  The café will be from 11.30am-12.30pm.  Please use this link if you would like to join us.

Virtual Café – Our Monday virtual café will take place at 11am as usual.  This Monday 1st March we will welcome a visitor to our tech room.  John Popplestone, from Connevans, will talk about specialist aids for those with a hearing difficulty.  John will provide information on headphones and various other things that make hearing whist using a computer, Smartphone or Tablet easier!  If you would like to ask John a question please join the café on Monday.

3.  Run the virtual London Marathon for Sight for Surrey

Please see attached document for details

4.  ATLAS Blog

Autism in the media – Yesterday the latest ATLAS blog went live: It has attracted quite a bit of attention as it talks about Sia’s new film Music as well as the portrayal of Autism in the media with direct quotes from members.  If you are a young person (25 and under) or if you know a young person that might want to get involved please see the get involved page? Thank You!!

ATLAS’s monthly focus theme this month is accessibility and they have put together a survey to support the discussions that the young people are having in virtual sessions.  They would like as many people as possible to fill in the survey, (you do not have to be under 25!). Here is the link to the survey:

If anyone would like more information about ATLAS, please visit their website:

5Protecting yourself online

Most people have anti-virus software on their computers and laptops these days but it is also important to protect mobile devices that also connect to the internet – including your tablet and mobile phone. This week Surrey Neighbourhood Watch look at the dangers inherent in mobile devices and what you can do to protect yourself.  Security needs to be considered for every device you have and particular care needs to be taken if it connects to the Internet and accesses online accounts.

There has long been a perception that Apple products are immune from hackers attacks but, whilst they do have some built in safeguards, they can still be in danger. Some of the main anti-virus software companies will offer versions of their product for mobile devices, often for no additional charge, so do take advantage of these offers if you can. Otherwise look for providers who offer products that can be used on mobile devices.

It is also important to ensure that you have the latest software version on your device – so when you get an advice that an update is available, do activate it as soon as possible. The same goes for updates to Apps – these updates all fix security problems that have been found so do ensure that you are always using the most up to date version.

The two guides attached this week summarise the position for Android and IOS (Apple) devices.

6.  Surrey Faith Links Newsletter

Please find attached the latest Surrey Faith Links newsletter, also available online

7. Disability Rights UK E Newsletter

COVID-19 and the Rights of Disabled People
Open Statement from Disabled People’s Organisations and Allies – February 2021 Coronavirus has hit disabled people hard. 60% of deaths from coronavirus have been those of Disabled People. Disabled People have struggled to access healthcare, social care and food and many have been left without the £20 weekly uplift given to those on Universal Credit. We ask Government and the NHS to recognise the enormous impact of coronavirus on the lives of Disabled People.  We urge Government and NHS to respond more urgently to protect disabled people from coronavirus. We ask that the needs of Disabled People are met in more personalised and accessible ways. In particular, we urge that action be taken to ensure that: The letter to 1.7 million new shielders and 2.2 million existing shielders is sent in plain English and accessible formats and that sources of information and support are provided both digitally and non-digitally. Everyone who has a learning disability or who is autistic or has a cognitive impairment is included in priority group 6, to ensure early vaccination. Disabled People of working age living in residential accommodation or hospitals are included in priority group 6, to ensure early vaccination. Disabled People know that they can contact their doctor for advice on whether they should be included in priority vaccination group 6. Everyone with a learning disability or who is autistic or has a cognitive impairment has their health records checked, to ensure that any wrongful Do Not Attempt Resuscitation notices are removed. This statement already has the support of over 20 Disabled People’s Organisations and allies. Please feel free to promote on your own website and share through social media channels. 1.7 million new Shielders Following a research study identifying factors, which increase risk of serious illness from COVID-19, the following factors have been identified, age, sex registered at birth, pre-existing conditions, ethnicity and BMI. Patient medical records in England have been analysed on the basis of these factors and as a result 1.7 million people have now been added to the shielding list. A risk tool has also been developed that can be used by clinicians to identify others who should be included. The new cohort of Shielders will be sent a letter advising them to stay at home as much as possible until 31 March. The over 2 million people already shielding will also be given this advice. 800,000 new Shielders will be prioritised for vaccination under priority group 6. The remaining 900,000 have already been offered vaccination during the first wave. Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy at DR UK said “People identified to be at serious risk of illness from coronavirus should be supported and protected and it is fantastic that our understanding of risk factors has improved. However, receiving a shielding letter at this late stage, could cause people serious anxiety and concern. We would urge the NHS to ensure that the letter is simple to understand and provided in accessible formats. The letter should offer practical and emotional support that can be reached offline, as well as digitally. People should be able to seek advice on employment issues and be supported to receive food and medicines.” Click here to read the Government press release on this story and the technology being used to identify those at high risk.
News Round-up
Abuse by carers should be included in Domestic Abuse Bill Baroness Jane Campbell, supported by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Stay Safe East, is making a strong argument for new clauses to be inserted within the Domestic Abuse Bill, to cover abuse of disabled people by paid and unpaid carers. Baroness Campbell will tell the House of Lords committee discussing the Bill that relationships between disabled people and paid and unpaid carers should be added to the list of personal connections set out in the Bill. This would enable controlling or coercive behaviours on the part of carers, to be covered by domestic abuse legislation. In addition, such behaviours should be treated as an offence under the Serious Crimes Act 2015. Baroness Campbell has worked with a number of senior social care and disability discrimination lawyers to draft an official legal opinion. Baroness Campbell will make the case that there is no other legislation which effectively deals with domestic abuse towards disabled people by carers and that not amending the Bill would constitute discrimination against disabled people. Disabled People experience high levels of food poverty Last week, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee heard evidence on problems relating to accessing food. Not surprisingly, those giving evidence highlighted that inadequate benefit levels was the underlying cause of much food insecurity. Emma Revie from the Trussell Trust said that their data showed that 62% of working age adults using food banks were disabled people. Anna Taylor from the Food Foundation said that levels of food insecurity were 12% higher for households with a disabled person, whereas pre-pandemic the difference had been 6%. Fazilet Hadi, DR UK Head of Policy underlined the fact that disabled people on legacy benefits had not received the £20 per week uplift. She said that benefit levels no longer provided a safety net, as they didn’t cover basics such as housing, heating, food and digital inclusion. Fazilet also referred to the unaffordability of online delivery charges and minimum basket spends and the hostile environment being faced by disabled people in regard to face mask exemptions. Click here to read the transcripts of the meeting Click here to watch a video recording of the meeting Locked Down and Abandoned: Disabled People’s Experiences of Covid-19: new Inclusion London research report Inclusion London has published its second report on disabled people’s experiences of the pandemic. The report describes how disabled people continue to experience hardship across all areas of life: increasing mental distress, social isolation and loneliness, food poverty, financial difficulties, workplace discrimination, problems accessing healthcare, and unequal access to medicine, vaccines, and social care. The report makes 12 recommendations including: Urgently restoring disabled people’s rights currently open to easements under the Coronavirus Act. Ensure the active participation and representation of Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations (DDPOs) across all Covid-19 planning and recovery work. Maintaining the £20 Universal Credit increase, extending this increase to other disability and legacy benefits and increasing rates of Statutory Sick Pay to match living wage equivalents. An independent inquiry into the disproportionately high numbers of disabled people’s deaths from Covid-19, including the impact on communities that experience multiple and intersectional discrimination. Other recommendations cover the need to close the digital divide, action to address the increased level of mental distress, urgent funding to local authorities to ensure disabled people get appropriate social care support, support for disabled people to get and keep good jobs and more health information in accessible formats. Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy at DR UK said: “This important report by Inclusion London documents the devastating impact that coronavirus has had on all aspects of disabled people’s lives. DR UK fully backs the report’s recommendations. We would urge Government to carefully consider the report, when developing its Disability Strategy.” Read the full report: Locked Down and Abandoned: Disabled People’s Experiences of Covid-19. Guidance on Covid-19 testing for personal assistants The government has published guidance on how personal assistants working in adult social care in England can access weekly Covid-19 testing. Personal assistants will be eligible for testing if they provide care that requires them to come within 2 metres of an adult over the age of 18 who they support. Personal assistants will be responsible for ordering test kits every 28 days – or an employer can order test kits for their personal assistant. Click here for more information on eligibility and the process Get Yourself Active at Home Are you looking for new ways to get active at home? Get Yourself Active has created a new section on their website to help you to find the resources you need to stay active during this time. On this new section you can find the accessible and inclusive exercise videos created in partnership with Sense and Durham University, which are also available on the Get Yourself Active YouTube channel. There are also a number of other useful resources from partner organisations that have been collated, from videos to downloadable toolkits and worksheets. To view the new Active @ Home section, please click here. Northern Rail Accessibility Fund Northern Rail has launched a £250,000 Accessibility Fund where applications for specific projects that will make a positive difference to communities across the north of England. For the first time, the fund will be led and overseen by the Northern Accessibility User Group (NAUG), an independently chaired pan disability user group, whose membership represents a range of disability groups and charities reflecting the communities served by Northern. They are currently looking for nominations for projects or schemes that will enable disabled and older people to travel with Northern, by improving the accessibility of Northern trains and stations for the communities it serves across the north. The Accessibility Fund will consider a wide range of proposals which involve their trains and stations. For more information including details of how to apply, please visit If you would like guidance on how suitable your project might be – please contact  Developing a National Disability Strategy: Views and evidence from the EHRC The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published a briefing to inform the National Strategy for Disabled People being developed by the Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office. The briefing considers the ways that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated the deep-seated inequalities experienced by many disabled people which permeate every area of life. Read more about the EHRC briefing here.
Pre-order your new Disability Rights Handbook today for dispatch at the end of April 2021
Updated for 2021/22 including: Benefits for people living with health conditions, injury or disability and for carers, children and young people How the system works, how to claim and how to challenge a decision Support for people in education or work, not in work, looking for work or in retirement Getting and paying for care and support services ORDER NOW
Get page-by-page updates as legislation changes throughout the year. Published bi-monthly from June 2021 to February 2022 it will arrive in your email inbox in an easy to print A4 PDF format. ORDER NOW The same handbook just in an accessible word document format to allow searching. Delivered to your email inbox within 3 days of ordering. This will be available from May 2021.  ORDER NOW
Get Involved
National Strategy for Disabled People survey extended As mentioned above, the Disability Unit in the Cabinet Office is developing a National Strategy for Disabled People. In January it launched a public survey to gather views. This original closing date for the survey was 13 February, but this has now been extended to 28 February. Click here to visit Citizen Space and tell the government about the barriers you face and what it needs to focus upon to improve the lives of disabled people. Benefits training courses DR UK is offering two essential online courses in partnership with the Benefits Training Company. Each course is run in two parts, using Zoom and facilitated by an experienced benefits trainer. Introduction to Welfare Benefits will be held on 27 and 28 April. The course is aimed at professionals who work in advice or advocacy who need to know more about – or need a refresher on – changes to welfare benefits and social security. Part 1: The structure of the system and the importance of health & disability benefits – Tuesday 27 April 9.45am – 12.45pm Part 2: Universal Credit, the wider benefits system and maximising income – Wednesday 28 April 9.45am – 12.45pm Please click here for more information and to book your place. Preparing for an Appeal Tribunal will be held on 29 and 30 April. This course is aimed at professionals who work in advice or advocacy who need to know about how to prepare an Appeal Tribunal. A working knowledge of Personal Independence Payment and the Work Capability Assessment is assumed.  Part 1: Assessing the case, reviewing the DWP decision – Thursday 29 April 9.45am – 12.45pm Part 2: Composing effective written submissions, preparing claimants for appeal hearings – Friday 30 April 9.45am – 12.45pm Please click here for more information and to book your place. These courses sell out fast so early booking is encouraged. Each course costs £112.50 + VAT per person for DR UK organisational members. After booking you will receive a Zoom link and supporting materials by email.  Amazon smile Are you buying more from Amazon during the pandemic? Follow this link to Amazon Smile to log in and make DR UK your favourite charity. Same products, prices and service, but every time you buy, we receive a donation from Amazon. Simple and automatic, at no cost to you. ELIEZ workshop on Accessible Comms The East London Inclusive Enterprise Zone (ELIEZ) is running a comms workshop on 25 February 2.30 – 4.30 pm. Open to anyone and everyone who wants to find out how communications can be made more accessible. Live on Zoom. Captioning will be available. Book here through Eventbrite Labour Party regional roadshows The Labour Party, through the office of Vicky Foxcroft the Shadow Minister for Disabled People, is eager to speak to as many disabled people, charities, disabled people organisations, unions and other civil society organisations as possible about a New Deal for Disabled People. You can sign up here to take part in your regional or nations roadshow: Appealing decisions on home adaptations Scope is looking to speak to disabled people or parents of disabled children who are planning to, or have experience of, challenging local authority on home adaptation decisions. This is to test some new materials they are producing. The testing will be done remotely on the phone or by video call and take up to one hour. Scope can offer participants a £30 eGift card. This can be spent online or in store at Amazon, Argos, Tesco, Asda, M&S and many more places. The eGift card won’t affect any benefits you might be receiving. If you’re interested in taking part, please email Andy Lancaster Disability inclusion in the LGBTQ+ community Dis-section is Parapride’s new online series, an inclusive and safe digital space for conversing openly, honestly and respectfully about topics that are often not talked about in the wider LGBTQ+ community. On Wednesday 3 March, the topic will be ‘Disability inclusion in the LGBTQ+ community: Breaking stigmas beyond the barriers’. BSL interpreter and live closed captions will be provided. Click here to read more and register for free tickets through Eventbrite. Employment advice webinars for jobseekers with sight loss RNIB and Blind Ambition would like to invite you to their weekly employment advice webinars for jobseekers with sight loss. Session 4: CV Preparation When: Wednesday 24th February 2021 Time: 8pm-9pm Click here to register Please email if you have any issues with registration. Take part in DWP survey on digital services DWP is looking to make improvements to an application used by healthcare professionals via feedback through an online survey. There are questions about yourself and interacting with digital services. They are also asking individuals to take part in the development of the service. Click here to take part in the survey
Our Helplines 
Our helplines are operating as normal: Personal Budgets Helpline Telephone: 0330 995 0404
Opening hours: 9.30am -1.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Disabled Students Helpline Telephone: 0330 995 0414
Opening hours: 11am-1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Welfare Rights Helpline for Member Organisations Telephone: 0203 687 0779
Opening hours: 10.30am-12.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays


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