Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

Home » Blog

Category Archives: Blog

Weekly update

Welcome to the weekly update.  This edition includes:

1. Coalition update

2. Physical and Sensory Impairment Strategy survey

3. Flu Vaccination

4. Woking Mind Community Wellbeing Calls service

5. Headway Surrey Zoom Carers support Group

6. Carers of People living with Dementia – dance project

7. Cybercrime Newsletter – Facebook Update

8. Surrey Faith Links newsletter

9. Building Society research


1.  Coalition update

We are recruiting! – We have two brilliant opportunities to join the Coalition staff team, working on collaborative projects with SILC. These roles are available thanks to grant funding from the National Emergencies Trust, Sport England and Active Surrey.

Project Coordinator, part time – 30 hours per week

Physical Activity Navigator, part time – 18 hours per week

We are recruiting for two people, working on fixed term contracts until 30th June 2021. Both roles are home based.

Find out more and apply here: https://surreycoalition.org.uk/practical…/job-vacancies/

The closing date for both roles is Friday 11th December 2020.

IMHN Training Course – The IMHN is offering a two-week training course about representing yourself and community at meetings, running on the 3rd and 11th of December. Please email guy.hill@surreycoalition.org.uk if you wish to join the network and/or book a place.

Craft and Chat – Christmas projects are the main topic at the moment.  This week the group talked about the projects covered in Kirstie’s Christmas Quick and easy Christmas Craft programme on Channel 4 last Sunday.  The group then had their own show and tell which consisted of: Napkin flowers, Knitted Teddies, Crochet Wreaths and Making your own advent Calendar – suggested topics exploring different traditions, listening to Christmas music, poetry and books and a creative activity or puzzle and of course a chocolate to enjoy. Two storage suggestions were a felt Christmas character with pockets and Little card boxes with stickers stacked how you chose.  Next week we will be making different kinds of wreaths. If you want to join us at any time  please do. We meet on Tuesdays at 12.00 noon.

BSL group on Tuesdays – Next week we are looking at a simple sentence using the words we learnt – if you are new don’t worry you’ll catch up! We will also cover animals, numbers and the handshape game.  Join us via the wellbeing hub.  https://virtualwellbeing.healthysurrey.org.uk/find-a-session/

Book Chat – Next week the group will discuss two short stories by Saki.  There are two stories; one about cats and the other about a werewolf.  The group meet every Wednesday at 2.30pm.

Dates for the diary – We have two special dates for your diary related to the social programme which is helping us all to stay connected. 

Monday 7th December – Animal special in the Coalition Café! One of our breakout rooms will involve a guided virtual tour around Cronkshaw Fold Farm which will take 20 minutes or so and this will be followed by 5 minutes of ‘goat therapy’ where we will spend some time with one of the farm goats. 

Thursday 17th December – The big Coalition Christmas themed quiz at 2.30pm.  More information on this next week. 

FoCUS Newsletter – Please see the latest newsletter here which includes the dates and zoom joining details of the December FoCUS meetings.


2.  Physical and Sensory Impairment Strategy Survey

Currently, there is no strategy that sets out Surrey County Council’s commitments to residents with Physical Disabilities, and/or Sensory Impairments.  Adult Social Care is developing a strategy to improve how they provide care and support to adults with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments.  SCC wish to develop this strategy through co-production with residents who are living with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments.  This survey is an important part of this co-production and will help them learn from the lived experience of people living with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments. Surrey Coalition are one of the Stakeholders that have agreed to coproduce this strategy with them. 

Unfortunately,  due to timing SCC have been unable to engage with you to develop this initial survey, however it is hoped that you are able to provide feedback on the draft survey so that this can be incorporated before we launch the survey at the beginning of December.  Please can you send your answers on the document attached to Yasmin.Broome@surreycoalition.org.uk any feedback by Tuesday 1st December.

The Survey when launched will be available in a variety of accessible formats along with an email address and SMS contact number to ensure that all are able to engage with the survey.  SCC recognise that not all members will be able to feedback to the draft survey in this short timeframe and that this will exclude some members who are not ‘online’ however SCC will be working closely with all members to coproduce this strategy moving forward and there will be many opportunities to work with them throughout this process.


3.  Flu Vaccination

Getting the flu vaccination is a great way of protecting yourself from flu this winter, especially for those who are at a greater risk of developing potentially serious complications. It’s also the most effective way of reducing the spread of the virus with those we come into contact with, helping ensure Surrey residents stay fit and well this winter.

The flu vaccination is available every year on the NHS to help us all against the risk of flu and its complications, and for many Surrey residents, it is completely free if you fall into one of the groups below. This year, with COVID-19 in circulation, it’s more important than ever that eligible groups are vaccinated to protect them from flu and the vaccine will be offered to more than 30 million people. The expansion of the flu programme means that many more people will be eligible to receive the free vaccine for the first time, but may not realise this.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccination:

  • Children aged 2-11 years (but not 12 years or older) on 31 August 2020
  • Alternative flu vaccine for children – If a child is at high risk from one or more medical conditions or treatments and can’t have the nasal spray, the child will be offered an alternative flu vaccination by injection.
  • Pregnant women
  • People 65 years and over
  • People aged 50 to 64 – Significant new group will be eligible for the free flu vaccine as people aged 50 to 64 will be invited later in the season for a vaccination. Flu vaccinations may also be available towards the end of the year (from December) to people aged between 50-64. Vaccinations for 50-64 year olds will be subject to supply and priority will be given to those in at-risk groups first.
  • People who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household – Significant new group will be eligible for the free flu vaccine. Household members could pass the flu virus on to those who are shielding, even if they have no symptoms themselves. Many household members do not know they are eligible for a free flu vaccination.
  • People in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Health and social care workers
  • People with learning disabilities and their carers
  • People aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups (e.g. living with long-term health conditions such as bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes or asthma)

Action for Carers provide more information on the Surrey Carers flu voucher scheme

There are two new short videos about the importance of the flu vaccination for people with a learning disability now available: 

Please also see Surrey Heartlands CCG Stay Well in Winter web page with these links, here.


4. Woking Mind Community Wellbeing Calls Service

This is a support service for anyone that is struggling with low mood, loneliness and anxiety. Woking Mind can arrange to have a one-off or regular chats about any concerns or troubles at a time that suits. The Woking Mind team can give advice, suggest coping techniques and help people access a wide range of free support service offered by Woking Mind and others in the local area. This includes  their counselling service, peer support groups or walking groups (subject to government guidelines). This service is available to all adults living in Surrey and no referral is required.


5. Headway Surrey Zoom Carers Support Group

Please see below the December dates for Headway Surrey’s Zoom Carers Support Group for families and friends of those with acquired brain injury. If you know of anyone who this would be of benefit to please feel free to forward this email.  Headway Surrey have added a new evening session for those who work during the day.

Upcoming dates for groups this year:

Wednesday 2nd December 7pm-8pm

Wednesday 16th December 2pm-3pm

If you would like to find out more or would like to attend please email chloe@headwaysurrey.org or call 01483 454433

If you are unable to make the groups but find you are in need of some support or advice please do get in touch with Chloe.

The new Headway Surrey Christmas cards are on sale! They have been beautifully designed by one of Headway’s clients. Click HERE  to purchase


6. Carers of People living with Dementia – dance project

Mole Valley Borough Council have received funding for an early onset dementia dance project session with Beatrice Allegrandi, a qualified dance tutor with a specialism in dementia.  Please see the poster attached.  The project can accommodate three people affected by dementia, and their carers, and it would take place in April 2021. 

There is no cost, and it could be of great benefit.  The person would have to be affected by early onset dementia (i.e. be younger than 70), and be a resident in Mole Valley. If you are interested in taking part please email:

beatriceallegrantidancetheatre@gmail.com Or Call or text: 07714 196810 www.beatriceallegranti.com


7. Cybercrime Newsletter – Facebook Update

The Cybercrime Unit at Surrey Police has recently identified a significant increase in Facebook account compromises. In a single week, these accounted for 100% of the reports received by the unit. If you have tried to correspond with a global company about such an incident you will be only too aware how frustrating it can be. And the worst thing is that this is almost entirely preventable – so if you want to secure your social media accounts, please read the newsletter below.


8. Surrey Faith Links Newsletter

Please use the link below.  http://surreyfaithlinks.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/SFL-Newsletter-NOVEMBER-2020.pdf


9. Building Society Research

We have been contacted by someone undertaking some research on behalf of a Building Society with the aim of better understanding the needs of customers with vulnerabilities when interacting with financial services. They are looking to speak to someone who is perhaps involved in policy or with an interest in improving services for those with disabilities. The conversation would last approximately 30 minutes at a convenient time to be arranged, and will focus on gaining an understanding of the needs and how they might be met.  Please let Yasmin know if you would like to help with this.

Domestic abuse help

Your Sanctuary is a Domestic Abuse service supporting anyone experiencing abuse with emotional support, information, and signposting. In light of the new lockdown measures that have come into force, we would like to let you know about their Online Chat service. After the last lockdown, they heard from many people in abusive relationships who told them that communication was much more challenging during that time due to being at home with their abuser 24/7.

Their Online Chat service offers a free, confidential, safe space for people to reach out for support when they are unable to speak with them safely over the phone.

This service is run from 9.30am – 5pm Monday to Friday. They know that Domestic Abuse can affect anyone regardless of class, gender, race, age, disability, sexuality, religion, or educational background. They also know that speaking out about the abuse can be a huge step for people and they want to make reaching out for support as accessible as possible.

If you feel you could benefit from services offered by Your Sanctuary, please visit their website: https://www.yoursanctuary.org.uk/ where you can access the Chat service.

If you would like any further information regarding the support they offer, then please contact their Helpline on 01483 776822 or via email at: helpline@yoursanctuary.org.uk

Ode to the Virus

See below this wonderful Ode to the Virus, written by one of our members, Ann Blishen. I was having goosebumps reading it!

Thank you Ann for this beautiful piece of art.

Heart symbol - Wikipedia

Ode to the Virus

Has anyone noticed, or is it just me

How quickly the time goes, so how can that be.

We are classed as old people, but not in our mind

And urged to stay home till a vaccine they find.

A vaccine that will allow life to resume

But not very soon we are led to presume.

We’ve not been bombarded with offered assistance

So we are in charge of our very existence.

We could ask for help if really in need

But we both work together, that’s how we succeed.

There are clocks that need winding at the end of each week

The dishwasher to empty, a large garden to keep.

And would you believe it’s Autumn again

We’re knee deep in leaves and its such a pain.

So we fill our days, chores have to be done

And every so often we go out for fun.

A coffee, a meal but always alone

Our Family in contact, but only by phone.

So to all virtual friends we are wishing you well

And hope you stay safely during this spell.

We really do value our chatting on line

And join in on Zoom when we have the time.

We thank The Coalition and all the staff too

And we really appreciate all that you do.

Statement of closure

Surrey Coalition Logo

October 2020

The closure of Surrey Disability Register

Dear member,  

Members of Surrey Disability Register (SDR) received a communication from Surrey County Council towards the end of last week announcing the closure of the register following a consultation earlier this year. 

Surrey Coalition of Disabled People and Surrey Independent Living Council both opposed the closure of the register during the consultation and have written to Surrey County Council to express our disappointment in this decision.

We believe that this removal of a benefit for the disabled community couldn’t have come at a worse time, with us being in the midst of a global pandemic which has disproportionately affected disabled people. 

We reject entirely the stated deduction that 71% people not responding to the consultation indicates that they do not value the register.  Of the 29% of members that responded, the majority expressed that they wanted the register to continue.  The ability to respond to a consultation is not a given for the disabled community for several reasons.  The ability to access and respond to a consultation does also rely on receiving consultation documents in an accessible format. 

To support Surrey County Council in their need to make savings, but keen to ensure services for disabled people were not lost, the Coalition and SILC suggested what we felt was a viable alternative; that we take over the coordination of the register, unfortunately this was rejected on the grounds of data protection (GDPR).  Bearing in mind that both organisations coordinate services and projects for both health and care, we were surprised by the information included in the response letter that suggests that we wouldn’t be able to hold personal information securely.  For the avoidance of any doubt, both the Coalition and SILC maintain the highest standards of Data Protection and fully comply with all data protection legislation and best practice. 

Both organisations believe the register is of benefit to disabled people and that it should continue.  Both organisations believe that it could be done better.

We now intend to work on building plans for a new register, a register that becomes a single place for disabled people to register that then links them in with other services and businesses to get the best deal for disabled people.  If you would like to join our project group to help us get this right, then we would love to hear from you. 

Very best wishes,

Clare Burgess    Richard Davy 

October and December FoCUS meeting dates!