May 2020

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Summary of 2020 newsletters     
Summary of 2020 COVID Newsletters     
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Current News  

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) – News In Brief   
To contact Disability Rights UK (DR UK) see

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’.

Please contact me on or text me on 07853 038933. 

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) – News In Brief

Our virtual Café will have four rooms within the café itself for you to discuss things that interest you. When you join the café on Mondays, please let us know what topic you are interested in and we will assign you to a room.

The rooms available are:  
1. Films, TV and Books
2. Tech Quiz
3. Food and Baking
4. Travel Tales – Talk about your travel adventures!

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 11th May 2020 between 10.30am-12.30pm


Please contact Yasmin Broome, Engagement Officer at Surrey Coalition email:

Telephone or SMS text 0745 5267424 for details of how to participate in meetings remotely.

Disabled Motoring (DMUK) tackles supermarkets over disabled parking abuse. Supported by Baroness Grey-Thompson. Edited from DMUK Website

A common problem for many disabled motorists is not being able to park at their desired destination, especially at their local supermarket. The major complaint is that the disabled bays are all occupied with cars not displaying a Blue Badge.

Disabled Motoring UK’s Baywatch campaign seeks to address this. This campaign researches the level of disabled parking abuse at supermarkets, by asking disabled motorists to survey their local supermarket car park. Specifically, they count how many disabled bays are provided and how many cars that are parked in them without displaying a Blue Badge. The other information we ask for is details of the type of enforcement (if any) carried out by the parking operator responsible for the car park. Details of the operator and enforcement should be displayed on the signage near the disabled bays.

When the survey closes the results are calculated, published and sent to the supermarkets to encourage them to work with the charity to improve their parking policies with regard to tackling disabled bay abuse by using effective enforcement. The Baywatch campaign also aims to change public attitudes by bringing to the attention of disabled bay abusers the impact that their actions can have.

We usually run the Baywatch Campaign in June. However, last year the campaign seemed very popular when talking to people at the summer disability events. Therefore, we have decided to run Baywatch 2020 in the month of August in the hope that even more people will take part. Full details of how to take part will be published on our website in August.

We hope to make this year bigger and better than ever before and have a number of organisations supporting Baywatch 2020.

All our regional centres are closed and therapeutic gardening programmes for client gardeners have been postponed until further notice. We know many of our client gardeners living with disabilities and long-term health conditions rely on the therapeutic programmes and social care we provide, but maintaining client safety, and that of our staff and volunteers, is paramount.

We’ve also postponed all our community outreach programmes, face-to-face training courses and public events, but our work spreading the message about the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening continues, as it is even more relevant in these stressful times.

Everyone is quickly having to adjust to the new normal which is that nothing is normal anymore and nor is it likely to be for some considerable time to come. Most of us will be confronted with the prospect of staying at home and the challenge of keeping our mental wellbeing on an even keel while we take self-isolating measures to protect our physical health.

There is one resource that can make a proven difference to our health and wellbeing and that 87 per cent of UK households have access to – a garden.

If your usual form of exercise is now off-limits, there are many gardening tasks that can help give your body a workout. As former Thrive Patron and ex-president of the Royal College of Physicians, Sir Richard Thompson, puts it: `There’s a gym outside many a window.’

Digging or forking over a flower or veg bed, for instance, will soon have you working up a sweat and burning hundreds of calories that can help healthy weight management. The sheer variety of gardening tasks requiring physical movement means most muscle groups will get a workover, and at the same time co-ordination and balance will benefit too. Just being in sunlight offers an opportunity to top up vitamin D levels, while helping to lower blood pressure.

Psychologists have long advocated that nature is a restorative environment offering recovery from mental fatigue.

`Time in gardens can be very diversionary, offering a mental space for thoughts beyond the current situation and the anxiety it causes,’ said Damien Newman, Thrive’s Training, Education and Consultancy Manager. `Gardens slow us down, occupying our minds and offering us benefits akin to mindfulness and meditation without having to learn those techniques.

To help you keep body and soul together during lockdown, we’ve launched the Thrive Gardening Club, which we hope will encourage, inspire and give you positive things to do and think about.

Sign-up to receive free updates to get the most out of your own garden, including ;  

  • How-to guides for gardening jobs   
  • Activities for children  
  • Tips to help you garden if you have a disability or long-term health condition  
  • Ways to benefit from nature if you don’t have a garden  

Plus, lots more about how gardening can keep you healthy and feeling well, all regularly delivered free to your email box.

Keep the kids happy with Annabelle's garden activities  

ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY (RHS) VIRTUAL CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW 2020  Edited from An open Letter from Sue Biggs, RHS Director General,   
All of us here at the RHS have been extremely touched and moved by all the support, kindness and offers for help from the horticultural industry, our members, volunteers, show visitors, the BBC and so many more following the sad cancellation of RHS Chelsea Flower Show and our other shows and garden events due to Covid-19.

For these reasons, and to do more to support the industry, the RHS will create a Virtual RHS Chelsea Flower Show, to celebrate our great horticultural industry and gardening heritage with ‘press day’ being Monday 18 May 2020 and the Virtual Show running from Tuesday 19 May to Saturday 23 May.

As you can imagine we’re at the early stages of planning this, so more details will be announced in coming weeks. We cannot create the actual show at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, but we are looking at what we can do on our RHS website and other platforms for people to enjoy and to share the joy of gardening. We will of course be asking for the ideas and involvement of growers, nurseries, designers, landscapers and trade stands too and look forward to sharing ideas very soon.

Latest RHS update in summary:  
All four RHS Gardens (Wisley, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor) are currently closed;

The following RHS Flower Shows are cancelled:  
Flower Show Cardiff, Malvern Spring Festival, Chelsea Flower Show, Chatsworth Flower Show and Flower Show Tatton Park, RHS Garden Wisley Flower Show and RHS Garden Harlow Carr Flower Show;

The following RHS Flowers Shows are postponed:  
Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival will now take place 10–15 September. RHS Garden Hyde Hall Flower Show will now take place 2–6 September. RHS Garden Rosemoor Flower Show will now take place 18–20 September;

RHS Libraries are closed until further notice. National RHS Britain in Bloom competition finals cancelled for 2020;

Support For Carers With Shopping  
Most supermarkets are offering extra help for vulnerable groups; both in opening hours and with access to online delivery slots.  Action for Carers Surrey is providing letters enabling unpaid carers to identify themselves and their needs, so these can be more easily met by retailers and others. This is part of a government backed initiative to support carers.

To request a letter or ask for other advice phone 0303 040 1234 or email to:  You can also text them on: 07714 20075993.

Bereavement Support Available  
The Local Resilience Forum (LRF) has been working closely with faith and community leaders, funeral directors, burial sites and crematoriums to ensure that there is an increase in the capacity for funerals allowing people to mourn any loved ones who have passed away. 

Support is available via Surrey County Council’s Community Helpline (0300 200 1008) and the Local Resilience Forum has teamed up with Cruse, the bereavement support charity, to offer emotional support over the phone: Telephone – 0844 477 9400.

Looking After Your Mental Wellbeing During Coronavirus  
The Public Health team at Surrey County Council offers some tips to help look after your mental wellbeing during the Coronavirus crisis:

1. Take breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including social media – overloading on information can impact your mood.    
2. Make time to unwind. If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy because you’re staying at home, think about how you could adapt them, or try something new?
3. Stay connected with others, call friends and family members. Our community helpline can also put you in touch with a telephone friend if you don’t have anyone to talk to.
4. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
5. Stick to the facts. Only read and share accurate information from GOV, NHS and Surrey County Council to understand the actual risks to yourself and people you care about. This can make the outbreak less stressful for yourself.
6. Help others who may be struggling with their mental wellbeing. Check the NHS One You tips on what you can do to help others.
7. Build physical activity into your daily routine, like dancing to music you love, cleaning your home or following online exercise workouts. This can help reduce stress, anxiety and low mood. Find out more on the Healthy Surrey website.

There is a range of support and advice on the Healthy Surrey website which includes self-help resources , local services (including a 24/7 confidential helpline) and information for those with or dealing with an adult in crisis.

Age UK Surrey Offers New Emergency Shopping And ‘Check In And Chat’ Services  
Age UK Surrey is providing two additional services, some of which have been adapted to abide the current social distancing guidance and others have been launched in response to the crisis.

Emergency Shopping Service - a free service and available to older people who are not able to access online food deliveries or go to the shops because they are staying home to keep safe. The Emergency Shopping service is for people who need essential items. It can also help with collecting prescriptions.

Check in and Chat – Due to having to temporarily stop their face to face home visiting Befriending service in Waverley, Guildford, Runnymede and Spelthorne, the organisation is now offering a new telephone service - Check in and Chat - to people across the county. The service is supported by volunteers who are matched with people who would like a telephone call.

For more information, telephone 01483 503414, email  or visit their website. To volunteer please email:  

Facebook Portal Devices Trial Keeps Care Home Residents Connected  
Care home residents and patients across Surrey are now able to keep in touch with friends and family, thanks to newly introduced video calling devices installed in care settings. Facebook Portal devices are now available in a number of care homes and hospital care settings, enabling residents to stay in regular contact with loved ones through the touch of a button.

The initiative is one of a number of measures being introduced by partners across Surrey to support the most vulnerable and socially isolated residents remain connected during COVID-19 isolation measures.

Surrey was the first pilot site in the country to be selected by NHSX, the digital arm of NHS England, to take part in the scheme and learnings from the county will be used to roll out the project nationwide in the coming weeks.

Infection control measures are also in place to maintain the high hygiene levels currently in place across care home settings when using the shared device.  

Dramatize – Bringing Theatre To People’s Homes  
The live streams and video uploads will run at the following times…

9am -   Live stream on Facebook      
10am - Video upload to the website
1pm - Live stream on Facebook
3pm - Video upload to the website

The videos can be found via this link –   
Facebook  page - 
To register for the online parties or family quiz please click on the following links -
Party at Home with Dramatize - 
Family Quiz -

Audiology Team Adapts Support To Ensure Patients Stay Safe At Home  
The First Community Health and Care Audiology Service has risen to the challenge. Although used to providing face to face appointments, they now find themselves having to adjust to home working and relying on telephone and email to communicate with patients who are living in the community. Adapting to the current situation the audiology team is managing to meet their patients’ needs, including:

  • Taking patient histories for their hearing assessment /re-assessment appointment over the phone;  
  • Discussing issues with hearing aids, assisting with replacements and trouble shooting;  
  • Counselling patients struggling with Tinnitus;  
  • Discussing the posting of replacement hearing aids, ear moulds, replacement tubes and batteries as well as organising the collection and delivery of broken hearing aids from vulnerable adults, all free of charge; 
  • Arranging to see a limited number of face to face patients if appropriate.

Contact First Community Health and Care Audiology Service Telephone: 01293 600 312. Text: 07964 439 514. Email

Surrey Libraries May Be Closed But More People Are Joining And Using Resources    
Despite library buildings closing on 20 March, an extra 506 people have joined as library members – double the average joining rate of 260. On top of this, over 4,000 online books, comics and magazines were downloaded last month – ten times the average number of downloads a month, proving that despite buildings being closed, the county’s libraries are still very much open.

Thousands of children across the county have been enjoying Digital Rhymetime sessions on Facebook, with over 7,000 views for the first few sessions and older residents will soon be able to enjoy online reading clubs.

To make the most of their ‘libraries from home’, Surrey residents can find lots of activities and resources for both children and young people, as well as adults on the website:

Follow Surrey Libraries on Twitter @surreylibraries and Facebook @surreylibrariesUK to keep up to date with new content including Rhymetimes, Craft and STEM sessions.

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