July 2020

2021 Newsletters     
Summary of 2021 newsletters   
Summary of 2020 newsletters     
Summary of 2020 COVID Newsletters     
Archived Newsletters 
Current News  

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) – News In Brief   
To contact Disability Rights UK (DR UK) see www.disabilityrightsuk.org/contact-us

SCAN is conscious that groups represented at the Spelthorne Forum are experiencing a range of challenges at the moment and will continue to do so for at least the next 12 weeks.

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.  Nominate any ‘Local Heroes’ on our Forum page.

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

We are the leading charity of its kind in the UK. We are run by and for people with lived experience of disability or health conditions.

Our key decisions are made through our members who elect the Board of Trustees: and by our Senior Management Team.

We work with our members to influence national policy on independent living, benefits, education, employment, transport, human rights and other issues – shaping policy through direct experience and expertise.

We also work with our local individual and organisation members to empower and to influence local policy and services.

To contact Disability Rights UK (DR UK) see www.disabilityrightsuk.org/contact-us

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) – News In Brief  

What we’re doing to make travelling with us safe:

  • Continuing to pay particular attention to commonly touched surfaces such as ticket machines, grab handles, stair handrails and door buttons when cleaning our stations and trains.
  • Introducing floor markings at our stations to encourage social distancing.
  • Introducing stickers on board our trains to encourage social distancing when you are looking for a seat.
  • Playing regular announcements and using our information screens to remind customers of the latest guidance on social distancing.
  • Rolled out hand sanitiser machines at over 100 of our stations.
  • No longer accepting cash payments at our ticket machines and ticket offices.
  • Encouraging good hand hygiene amongst our colleagues.
  • Following the latest guidance from Public Health England, the Department for Transport and other Government agencies.

Ticket Acceptance
If you have a ticket that is for a specific train operator this may be used on any service provided by any operator between the same start and end station, group or Zone.

Normal Peak/Off-Peak time restrictions will still apply.

Advance ticket holders will be permitted to travel on other operator’s services if the original booked service has been delayed or cancelled. Travel must still be on the same date. London Underground and DLR services are currently not included in this acceptance.

Assistance and advice when travelling 

If you are using our services:

  • Guards will still be on our trains
  • Colleagues will still be available at most stations
  • Our Twitter team will be able to provide essential journey information
  • We will update our web pages with the latest information
  • Train time information can still be found on our journey planning and live train times pages

Please do not overload our Twitter team with non-urgent enquiries (e.g. regarding refunds), as doing so will reduce their ability to provide essential journey information to those who need to travel. It is important that we keep everyone working or travelling on the railway safe at this time.

But if you do need help or see something that does not look right, please contact one of our guards, station teams, rail community officers or the British Transport Police by texting 61016 or calling 0800 405040.

Face Coverings    
We want people to wear face coverings from when they enter a station all the way through their journey, including exiting the station at the other end. If people are then moving onto the bus, tram or tube, they should avoid taking off their face covering while they interchange to avoid touching their face or mouth unnecessarily.

If someone isn’t wearing a face covering, they will be reminded of the rules and told where they can get one. Only as a last resort will someone be issued with a fixed penalty notice (effectively a “spot fine”). Fines are £100, or £50 if you pay the fine within 14 days.

Please also be aware that some passengers may not be able to wear as mask due to medical issues. Regardless of whether someone is wearing a mask, people should keep their distance – at least two metres, if possible.

The industry is looking at getting transparent face coverings for people in our mobility teams. Elsewhere, a common-sense approach will be taken

North Surrey Disability Empowerment Network covers the areas of Runnymede, Spelthorne, Woking & Surrey Heath and is one of three groups of local disabled people, and carers, who meet up quarterly with representatives from local organisations like the NHS and supportive charities for information and advice. Next Meeting on Monday 7th September 2020

Please Note All Empowerment Meetings Are Being Held ‘Virtually’ During The Covid19 Pandemic And will start at 1pm after the Virtual Café sessions.

Please contact Yasmin Broome, Engagement Officer at Surrey Coalition email: Yasmin.Broome@surreycoalition.org.uk Telephone or SMS text 0745 5267424 for details of how to participate in meetings remotely.

YOU DON’T LOOK SICK: ‘Being diagnosed with a chronic illness was surreal’ - Edited from a series published in Metro.co.uk telling the stories of people with invisible illness and disabilities.  
Gary Taylor, 36, from Meriden, Coventry, has primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and ulcerative colitis (UC). PSC is a condition which affects the liver as the bile ducts are narrowed or restricted, affecting the flow of bile. He also has ulcerative colitis – a condition which causes inflammation in the colon and rectum – which is closely associated with PSC.

Gary explains that he first realised something was wrong in October 2008 after complaining about how tired he felt. ‘Within a couple of weeks, I had jaundice and was admitted to hospital on 1 Nov 2008. I wasn’t discharged until 22 Dec. ‘It took a couple of years to diagnose the PSC. Eventually, Gary was told he would eventually need a liver transplant. ‘It was very surreal,’ he says. ‘I was told there was no cure, that the disease was progressive and the definitive treatment was a liver transplant. I didn’t know what to think and to begin with I put it to the back of my mind and tried to get on with life. I thought there was no way I’d need a transplant!’

But in 2017, the damage to his liver became so severe, he was told that he needed a new liver and he agreed to the surgery. Although the transplant has helped his liver function, Gary, says he still has good days and bad days, especially because he now needs to take anti-rejection drugs to keep his transplant working, as well as dealing with the effects of UC. ‘On a good day, I can usually leave the house around 9 am, I can’t take my kids to school even on a good day, so this responsibility sits with my wife. If she isn’t well for any reason, we have to get my father-in-law to take them. On a bad day, I may not be able to leave before 10 am. I have to plan my route to work to ensure I’m not caught short on the way.

There have been countless times where I have come out of a disabled toilet because I’ve had no other option and had the comment, “you shouldn’t be using that.” ‘I now carry a “Can’t Wait” card and RADAR key from the Crohns & Colitis UK Charity, which gives me access to public and disabled toilets and at least have something to show to people, should they question me.’

Gary also works as a trustee for PSC Support, https://www.pscsupport.org.uk/ a UK-based charity to help people with the condition. He says that the team and other members have been a huge support for him throughout his journey. He wants to see more support for people with invisible illnesses to use facilities without being judged.

If you have an invisible illness or disability and fancy taking part, please email youdontlooksick@metro.co.uk. You’ll need to be happy to share pictures that show how your condition affects you and have some time to have some pictures taken. https://metro.co.uk/2019/12/08/dont-look-sick-diagnosed-chronic-illness-surreal-11409558/