April 2020 - COVID Special Issue (3)


Local Organisations with an involvement in Disability and Health support services across Surrey are encouraged to submit regular reports and updates. Are you arranging ‘virtual’ open meetings and events? – let us help to publicise them at our Forum Page 

Nominate any ‘Local Heroes’ at our Forum Page 

CORONAVIRUS – COVID19 - TELL US HOW YOU’VE BEEN AFFECTED AND YOUR COPING MECHANISMS
We continue with our ‘Special Issue’ of newsletters that we will, if necessary, distribute on a more frequent basis, to report any changes to or new information as the current situation evolves.

Contact me on info@spelthorneaccess.org.uk  or text me on 07853 038933.   

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) – News In Brief

A MESSAGE FROM POST OFFICE CHIEF EXECUTIVE, NICK READ  
Post Offices have been designated as an essential service by the government and we continue to thank our postmasters for keeping their branches open where possible and serving their communities.   

"The vast majority of Post Offices are open. Many are located in convenience stores, newsagents or stand-alone branches that are allowed to be open by the government. Customers are able to get cash, deposit cheques, pay bills as well as send and collect parcels. These are vital services, particularly for many vulnerable customers.   

Many Post Offices have floor markers and other information on posters to help customers stay two metres apart. Additional protective equipment is also being sourced for postmasters. Where a Post Office has to close (for example, if it’s in a library), posters should be displayed showing the nearest branch. Please check our Branch Finder app for all the latest information for Post Offices that are open."   

POST OFFICE TO MAKE CASH ACCESS EASIER FOR SELF-ISOLATORS  
The post office is making two of its products available to all UK banks, building societies and credit unions, to make it easier for [people who are self-isolating to access cash.

Vulnerable people can arrange to withdraw cash quickly from their normal accounts through any local post office branch, with the help of a friend, family member, carer, or local support worker. The banking provider will arrange for the cash to be withdrawn at the customers local branch

Marti Kearsley, banking director of the post office said “being able to easily access cash is a vital service for older people and those self-isolating. Our ‘Payout Now’ and ‘Fast Pace’ services mean they can access cash quickly and securely to replay someone for a helpful service like shopping or simply to manage the finances, providing peace of mind that cash can be securely sourced with the help of any trusted helper.   

SURREY COALITION OF DISABLED PEOPLE  - News in Brief    
Four weeks ago, we made the decision to change all our face-to-face events, meetings and forums to happen virtually instead of in-person. We gave members the option of joining these using video conference, telephone, SMS text relay or email relay.

Board Members recognised that human connection is more important now than ever before, and they approved an idea for us to create two new social activities – our weekly Virtual Café and our daily Walk and Talk. Both are open to the whole community and are an opportunity to see a friendly face or to hear a friendly voice and participate in some light-hearted chat.

Alongside these new activities, we have run all our usual meetings, you can read more about these on further down in the newsletter. https://mailchi.mp/bd10025fbd81/coalitionnews69 

Food and treats  
Contact your local corner shop to see if they can deliver, a member shared that they had really good success with this.

Order with your local farm shop, this is a bit more expensive but they don’t seem to have had the stock difficulties the supermarkets are experiencing.   One member is also having good success purchasing ready meals from Wiltshire Farm Foods and they are taking on new customers. https://www.wiltshirefarmfoods.com/ 

Surrey Community Helpline  
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, Surrey County Council has set up a community helpline and webpages. The community helpline is there to help direct residents who need support, such as picking up shopping, prescription collections or having someone who can be a telephone friend, to services who can help and to provide advice on how people can volunteer to help the community. 

Please contact the community helpline using the following details:  
Telephone: 0800 200 1008 (Monday to Friday 8.00 am – 6.00 pm)
SMS text: 0786 0053 465 (Monday to Friday 9.0 0am – 5.00 pm)
Textphone (via text relay): 18001 0300 200 1008 and the British Sign Language Video Relay service during the hours 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday and 10.00 am to 2.00 pm at the weekends which you can access here: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/website/accessibility/options#bsl.

Online: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/emergency-planning-and-community-safety/coronavirus/community-support/need-help

Medical help and advice   
For the latest medical advice and to use an online symptom checker, please go to https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 .  For urgent medical advice please contact NHS 111 or 999 in an emergency.

Self-isolating  
We must self-isolate at home for 7 days if we have a temperature or a new, continuous cough. If a member of our household begins to show these symptoms, we must self-isolate for 14 days.

Social distancing  
At of 10th April 2020, the government guidance is that we all need to stay at home. We should only go outside for essential food, health reasons, exercise once per day or work (but only if you cannot work from home). If we go out, we need to stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times and we should wash our hands as soon as we get home. We should not meet with people outside of our household -even friends and family.

Shielding  
Some members with some specific underlying health conditions that would make them ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to Coronavirus have received a letter or text message from the NHS advising that we need to be shielded by remaining inside at all times for the next 12 weeks and minimising contact with other members of the household.  If you have not been contacted but think that you should have been, please register here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable 

SILC (Surrey Independent Living Council) are operating as usual during this time. Contact by phone on 01483 458 111, by SMS Text on 07919 418 099 or by email admin@surreyilc.org.uk .  

SILC have produced some fantastic resources for employers and PAs to use during the Coronavirus pandemic. You can check out the fast fact sheets here:   https://www.surreyilc.org.uk/home.     

‘BLUE LIGHT SERENADE’  
On 16th April, staff from Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals’ were joined by some of our local emergency services partners for a very special #ClapforCarers, an initiative that began a few weeks ago as a display of thanks for key workers across the country.

Police vehicles, ambulances and fire engines joined members of Team ASPH in the A&E car park at St Peter’s and simultaneously flashed their blue lights in a coordinated display to demonstrate the county’s unified approach to tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were also delighted to be joined by a film crew from BBC News who broadcast the display live on BBC 1 as part of the national coverage. The atmosphere was incredible and there was a real uplifting sense of camaraderie. You can see some of the footage on our YouTube channel or take a look at our Twitter account where we’ve shared videos that colleagues posted. Keep your eyes peeled for the ITU team who were clapping from the windows in their PPE, We’re so pleased that some of them were able to join in.

The ‘Blue Light Serenade’ is planned to take place each Thursday and is taking place at all five of Surrey’s acute hospitals - Ashford and St Peter’s, Chertsey; Royal Surrey Hospital, Guildford; Frimley Hospital, Camberley; East Surrey Hospital, Redhill; and Epsom Hospital.

A huge thanks to everyone for making this happen, we look forward to doing it all again next Thursday at 8pm.   

SUPERMARKET CHAINS LAUNCH ‘VOLUNTEER’ SHOPPING CARDS  
Supermarket chains including Asda, Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Sainsburys have launched Volunteer Shopping cards to enable elderly, vulnerable and self-isolating people to have their shopping collected by volunteers safely and securely.

The e-cards are available through the websites of the various stores and can be loaded with specific amounts before each shopping trip. The volunteer will then be sent an email with a bar code that they can use when making purchases.