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06.01.2022 weekly update

Welcome to the first Coalition weekly update of 2022!  This update includes:

1.  Coalition Update

2.  Social/Peer Support coming up

3. Sports Mental Health Survey Sport in Mind Leatherhead  

4. Sight for Surrey Centenary

5. Are You Leaving The Door Open For Hackers?

6. Epsom Strength and Balance

7. Spelthorne Committee for Access Now (SCAN) Newsletter

1.  Coalition Update

Happy New Year! – Welcome to our first weekly update of 2022.  We hope you were able to relax over the Christmas holiday.  Thank you to all those who joined Inca and Jessie on their dog walk on Christmas day, it was so lovely to see you all!  Our daily social activities have begun again, please contact Yasmin if you would like to join them.

Direct Payments Survey Reminder – Please help us by filling in our short Direct Payments Survey.  Surrey County Council is working in partnership with Surrey Coalition of Disabled People and We Coproduce to create a new strategy for Direct Payments across the whole of Surrey. We are really interested in hearing your experience and thoughts about Direct Payments in your own words, we will read all the comments and they will help us to understand how Direct Payments are working now, and how they can work better.  The survey should take less than 5 minutes to complete.  Please find attached an easy read and screen reader accessible version of the survey.  If you require the survey in large print please contact Yasmin and let her know which font size you require.  The closing date for the survey is Monday 17th January 2022.  If you have any questions please contact Yasmin by email or phone/SMS text 07455267424

Here is the link to the online survey Direct Payments Survey

2.  Social/Peer Support coming up

Rhymes and Rhythms – To celebrate the new year, and new horizons, the first Rhymes and Rhythms of 2022 will be full of inspiring, exploratory and joyous music and poetry! Come along on Monday 10th January at 2.30pm, bring your aspirations and dreams for the new year and share in some lovely sounds, words and exaltations. Happy new year!

3. Sports Mental Health Survey Sport in Mind Leatherhead

Sport in Mind delivers free sport and physical activity sessions to help people experiencing mental health issues (17+).  There is work underway to develop a sports club in Leatherhead.  Sport in Mind would like to find out what local sessions would be of interest near you and where.  They would really value your feedback by filling in this short survey.

4. Sight for Surrey Centenary

Please see a press release regarding a call out for historical information for Sight for Surrey.

5. Are You Leaving The Door Open For Hackers?

Why are software updates important? Software updates are an important part of staying secure online. But why? You’ll often hear about the new features or performance improvements in a software update, but what isn’t talked about as often are the bug fixes and security improvements. Out-of-date software and apps contain weaknesses. This makes them easier to hack. Companies fix the weaknesses by releasing updates. When you update your devices and software, this helps to keep hackers out.

Why would cyber criminals target me? Your device contains a lot of personal data that is highly valuable if it fell into the hands of a fraudster. The likelihood is your device will contain your full name, date of birth, address, bank details, passwords, as well as many other forms of personal data such as private photos or videos.

Improve your online security by using automatic software updates.  We understand it can sometimes be annoying to remember to update your devices every time a new update is released, that’s why we encourage you to enable automatic updates wherever it’s available. That means you don’t have to manually install updates every time they’re released. 

We’ve provided some useful links below where you can find step by step instructions on how to enable automatic updates for your devices and apps.

For more of the government’s latest advice on how to stay secure online, visit the Cyber Aware website:

6. Epsom Strength and Balance

Four ways to get active in 2022.  Start 2022 with the ideal way to get active. Look forward to an easier life with improved balance and flexibility.

  • Monday 10.30 Epsom Strength and Balance at home via zoom £6.60, weekly, starts 3/1/22
  • Tuesday 2 pm Upperbody Strength and Flexibility at EMC from £8, weekly, starts 11/1/22
  • Wednesday 11.30 and 1.30 Epsom Strength and Balance at EMC  from £7, starts 12/1/22
  • Wednesday 11.30 Epsom Strength and Balance via zoom from £6.60, weekly, starts 5/1/22
  • Thursday 10 am Upperbody Strength and Flexibility via zoom from £10, weekly, starts 6/1/22

Email Karen to find out more about these classes:

Or or call Karen on 07771647132

7. Spelthorne Committee for Access Now (SCAN) Newsletter

My long Covid journey

My long covid journey

I have been housebound since catching covid in March 2020. Please be careful out there people even if you are double jabbed and boosted, you can still catch covid and while you might be unlikely to need hospital treatment at the time you could be left with long covid. I never had a stay in hospital and have struggled to get the help I need from the NHS in the last 18 months. The long covid clinics you see on the TV are a postcode lottery.

You don’t want what I’ve been left with, even when the pandemic is over I may still be housebound and effectively in isolation. You think 10 days isolation is tough try 18 months. Before a recent trip to my parents I’d gone 8 months without being in the company of others for more than a couple of hours. I can only cope with really short face to face meetings or phone calls because I get so fatigued and have so much brain fog.

I  now pay for a home help to pop to the shop, do some housework or washing up. I’ve recently come out of a two month long relapse. I moved to my parents – while other family returning from living abroad needed to quarantine in my home. It pushed me beyond my physical and mental limits causing a kind of physical distress I have never had before – not even last winter when a trip to get an x ray triggered a 3 month relapse. I’ve also relapses for a month after each vaccine.

I’ve learnt from the winter relapse and organised hospital transport so I could be stretchered in for recent checks on my heart. I’ve probably got POTS.  POTS is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, a condition that impacts the part of the brain that is responsible for the control of bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat and digestive process.  I tried with varying success the lifestyle stuff to help with this for a year although yet to get advice from an NHS professional about POTS.

The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) that are responsible for commissioning new services set up a long covid service in September and in March I had a hurried 10 minute call with a Respiratory Consultant who referred me back to my GP – they didn’t understand my examples of breathlessness nor know I was having respiratory physio to help chronic hyperventilation syndrome.

I’m lucky my GP surgery has been supportive of long covid. Thus a year after I’d become ill my GP had to start again with referrals and I waited 3 months for another hurried 10 minute phone call  – this time a cardiologist who seemed shocked I had gone so long (15 months) without having my heart checked – I will likely need a tilt table test to diagnose POTS which sadly thousands of people with long covid now have. Cardiologist said my bloods were good and I laughed because they had been done a year ago! Two months after an echo and ECG the Cardiology department has been so short staffed the cardiologist has yet to look at the result.

NHS Respiratory Physio was great, the exercises have helped although I’ve often been too fatigued to do them. Slowly week by week I have been breathing more through my nose and less through my mouth. And more into my belly rather than my upper chest. But only in the last few weeks have I seen an improvement in how long I can hold my breath. 10 private osteopath appointments have helped release my chest bit by tiny bit and I no longer get severe chest pain that I had for the first year. This second year of long covid I have developed frequent headaches that require me to rest – don’t think I’ve even mentioned them to a doctor. The first few months GP calls were pretty frequent but this year they have been every time a new fit note is needed – so two monthly – this has recently become three monthly.

Through long covid Facebook groups I found an amazing long covid yoga/PT group with twice weekly live classes to build back up my body strength and help me restore my autonomic nervous system. I could tell when I was coming out of my recent relapse because I was able to do both live yoga classes a week and there was no washing up for my home help. I chart my progress by noticing improvements in my bodies ability in yoga/PT and physio exercises – my yoga ability is about 5% of my pre covid self. The yoga/PT classes have given a structure to my week, given me hope for the future and a place to feel I’m not going through this alone.

I’ve learnt from my recent relapse home alone is the best place for me to heal at the moment as I can go at my own pace and rest in the quiet I need. (I’ve stopped yearning for a day trip to the beach or a week in Cornwall). Most of my life has moved downstairs I only go upstairs twice a day for my daily period of complete rest and to bed at night. Thankfully my toilet is downstairs.

Family members recently got my car back on the road and sold which was a relief. Although others seemed more worried that my car hadn’t been used for over a year than I did – just getting through the day takes all of my effort. Yet I still have transport needs. Getting a taxi is awkward because I  have to sit cross legged on the seat and the driver may not like shoes/feet in their seats.

I have improved I can now bend forward, kneel and even crouch – until very recently I had to sit with my bottom on the floor when putting stuff in the washing machine or oven. I did feel immediately weird when sitting with my legs down but now I can now sit with legs down to put on my socks -but not for longer. Thus because I can’t sit with my legs down I don’t think I could use a wheelchair- I’d need one I could sit cross legged in or with my legs out front.

So there is hope I will improve – at a pace that I’ve accepted will be frustratingly slow. But for now I have to pass up invites to dinner, celebrations for milestone birthdays or seaside camping trips. One face to face visit is my norm at the moment – some weeks that’s just my home help. I’m often just too fatigued to reply to messages while my memory is there, my recall ability is that of a goldfish. My social circle has shrunk dramatically and I’m lucky to have a handful of very kind family and friends who bring me food, give me lifts, hoover, ask if I need anything or just listen.

The NHS staff are working very hard but if you develop long covid getting help from the NHS will be difficult. Those of us who got ill at the start of the pandemic are still struggling to get help. The great long covid clinics you have seen on the TV haven’t been my experience – it seems a postcode lottery. The best advice for recovery comes from Facebook groups and webinars/short films leading medical specialists in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), POTS etc have made with and for the long covid community. Although I’m too fatigued to watch all those I want to and I’m still figuring out the best way inform doctors involved in my care about what these expert doctors advise.

Woking group session

In December 2021 we organised a group session for digitally excluded women in Woking.  All the ladies involved are now confidently using their devices, and of course they can get further support from a Tech Angel volunteer in the future should they need to. 

We usually support people on a one to one basis through the Tech to Community Connect service, but there was a need in Woking for some group sessions due to language and cultural barriers. See below some photos and positive feedback from the session. 

If you would like to host a group session for your neighbourhood, or to sponsor one then please do get in touch! 

Thank you for everything. It really helped me. We are so happy. Thank you again.


I am very happy that joined this friendly and helpful people who are also desperate to learn how to use the tablet.

I have learnt a lot and a new world has opened to me. I will not be lonely any longer.

I will be practicing, practicing, practicing.

The teachers are calm and very helpful.


It was good to get knowledge about IT and how to do online things.

It is really helpful for me. I really appreciate this effort. Musarat.

Direct Payments survey

Please see below if you are interested in taking part in Direct Payments survey.

10.12.2021 weekly update

Welcome to the weekly update.  This update includes:

1.  Coalition update

2.  Social/Peer support coming up

3. Young Epilepsy The Channel

4. Feel Well, Stay Well

5. Surrey Heartlands seeks Non-Executive Members to join new NHS Integrated Care Board

6. Runnymede affordable housing supplementary planning document (SPD)

7. Runnymede District Installation Update

1.  Coalition Update

Do you have an hour or two to spare each week? Do you know how to use a smartphone, PC and tablet? We have an exciting and rewarding volunteering opportunity for you! We are looking for volunteer Tech Angels who are passionate about helping people, are patient and calm and have good basic digital skills. You would be helping us combat loneliness and isolation resulting from digital exclusion by helping vulnerable adults learn to use technology and access the internet.  We are not looking for tech gurus (though we certainly wouldn’t turn one down!) – your people skills are the most important thing that you bring with you to this role. You will be given training, will have access to lots of resources, and will be fully supported throughout by our friendly and enthusiastic team who work on the Tech to Community Connect project!  For more information, and to apply, look at our website:

2.  Social/Peer support coming up

Get More Active Update – This week Katy has been looking at an e-bike conversion kit you can read all about it in the attached document or join us here on Friday at 11.30am to talk about the ways technology can assist us when we’re Getting More Active. Don’t forget the Y-Mania Jingle Bell Ball at the YMCA Redhill next week – details on the attached flyer

3. Young Epilepsy The Channel

This space provides an area for people to link up with others who have epilepsy and also it is a source of really helpful information.

4. Feel Well, Stay Well

During November 2021, all households in Surrey were sent a copy of Feel Well Stay Well, which contains details of support to improve your mental and physical wellbeing this winter.  The document has also been made available in a number of alternative formats and we are delighted to attach the Easy Read, Screen Reader Accessible and Large Print versions.  If you require this document in any other format or another language, please contact the Adult Social Care Information and Advice Service:

Telephone: 0300 200 1005     SMS: 07527 182 861 (for the deaf or hard of hearing)      Email:

5. Surrey Heartlands seeks Non-Executive Members to join new NHS Integrated Care Board

Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System is on the search for five new Non Executive Members to join the new Integrated Care Board when it comes into being from April 2022, subject to legislation.  Surrey Heartlands has been a leading Integrated Care System since 2017, with strong ambitions and a successful track record in integration and improving health outcomes for local people. Covering a population of over 1.1 million people, at its simplest level Surrey Heartlands is a partnership of health and care organisations working together – with staff, patients, their carers, families and members of the public – to transform local services and support people to live healthier lives.

As part of changes being proposed through the Health and Care Bill 2021, each health and care system will establish a new NHS body – the Integrated Care Board – which will hold a substantial budget for commissioning and ensuring delivery of high-quality patient care.  These new NHS bodies will take on many of the existing functions of current Clinical Commissioning Groups (which will be dissolved as part of the new legislation). Surrey Heartlands are looking for five Designate Non-Executive Members to join them on their journey, bringing independent oversight and constructive challenge to the priorities, plans and performance of the Integrated Commissioning Board, as well as the stewardship of public money.

The Surrey Heartlands independent Non-Executive Directors will play a crucial role in ensuring the voice, and needs, of local communities and patients are central to discussions and decisions, where strategies and services are inclusive and accessible to the entire population, delivering the best possible health outcomes for all.

The five roles will cover the following positions:

  • Audit Committee Chair
  • Remuneration Committee Chair
  • Independent Member
  • General Members x 2 roles

Surrey Heartlands value and promote diversity and are committed to equality of opportunity for all.  Surrey Heartlands believe that the best boards are those that reflect the communities they serve and especially welcome applications from candidates of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity heritage, as our leadership is under-represented in this area.   Remuneration for these roles will range from £13-16,000, depending on time and experience. The closing date for applications is 12 December for the Audit Committee role and 10 January 2022 for all other roles.

For further details including the Job Descriptions and the Application Pack please see the ICS recruitment website – Surrey Heartlands: Designate Independent Non-executive Member of the proposed NHS Integrated Care Board ( 

6. Runnymede affordable housing supplementary planning document (SPD)

It is paramount that local people in Runnymede have the opportunity to live in decent and affordable homes.  Securing homes for all is key to ensuring that people have decent life chances and it also helps to build strong communities and boost the economy.  The Office of National Statistics publishes information on house price affordability and the latest figures for Runnymede show that the cost of accommodation in the Borough is high.  Median house prices in the Borough are nearly 10 times median gross annual workplace-based earnings. 

Many residents therefore often need to rent a home and the private rented market is therefore buoyant, with most rents set above the level payable by housing benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. This results in households, including those in employment, being unable to access good quality rented properties within the Borough. This includes a large proportion of public sector staff and those working in retail, as well as carers, and those working in building trades and other jobs, which are essential to provide services for the residents of the Borough.

As a result, there are a high number of households in Runnymede in affordable housing need. The adopted Runnymede 2030 Local Plan therefore seeks to maximise the delivery of affordable housing where opportunities arise. The Council is committed to increasing the delivery of affordable housing, as set out in the Runnymede Housing Strategy Statement 2021-2026 (February 2021). 

The Runnymede draft Affordable Housing SPD sets out the Council’s approach to securing planning obligations in respect of affordable housing from new development across the Borough. It also aims to provide clarity and guidance on implementing the Runnymede 2030 Local Plan affordable housing policy (Policy SL20) by setting out when, how and what affordable housing the Council expects in new developments. The SPD once adopted, will help to support implementation of the Runnymede 2030 Local Plan and will be a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

The draft Affordable Housing SPD is open to public consultation until Tuesday 25 January 2022. A copy of the draft SPD and supporting documents and how you can make representations can be found on the Council’s website at: 

We would like you to send us your views electronically if possible.  Representations should be sent to:

If you are unable to submit your comments electronically please send your written comments to the Planning Policy and Economic Development team, Runnymede Borough Council, Civic Centre, Station Road, Addlestone, KT15 2AH to arrive by the close of the consultation period. 

If you need help with your representation, please contact the Technical  Administration team in the first instance on 01932 425131 or email

7. Runnymede District Installation Update