A message from Surrey Choices – Thursday 29 March 2021
Following the Government’s publication of their roadmap out of lockdown, Surrey Choices has reviewed the approach that we will take to recommence support. We are acutely aware of the pressures that many individuals and families are under, and therefore the new arrangements set out below should be interpreted as guidance rather than rules. The plan outlined is contingent on the government maintaining their roadmap timescales. For every person and family there will be a unique set of circumstances, and we will always seek to take those into account. We want to do everything in our power to limit the spread of Coronavirus, whilst at the same time responding to other risks and issues faced by individuals and family Carers after many months of living with restrictions.
Keeping Safe – PPE, Testing and Vaccines
As we take steps to expand our offer, we will continue to assess the safety of our activities and will take every possible precaution to keep everyone safe:
- We are continually reviewing our health and safety arrangements in the light of changing Government guidelines.
- Our colleagues continue to have access to PPE to ensure they can work as safely as possible. They have also received additional training in infection control and Covid security measures, such as cleaning and disinfecting premises and materials.
- All of our frontline care and support workers have now been offered the vaccine, and our take-up so far has been very positive; our employees understand and value the opportunity to take steps to keep themselves and others safe. Vaccinations commenced on Sunday 24 January and continue to be rolled out with over 70% of our staff having been vaccinated so far.
- We have seen an increased number of people who access our services being vaccinated, although it is not a requirement for people to be vaccinated to receive support from us.
- Weekly PCR testing is also now being rolled out for Surrey Choices colleagues, which together with our other infection control measures will make a significant contribution to keeping everyone safe.
- We will provide advice and guidance to people using our services, about how they can keep themselves safe, including in Easy Read formats.
- We will continue to support social distancing for all support provided.
Day and Vocational Services
- We will be reopening some of our buildings across the organisation and our support will initially prioritise those in critical need and people who live on their own or with family Carers. People who live in supported living or residential services will continue to benefit from our Virtual Programme and remote support.
- We will be opening six of our Activity Centres across Surrey from Monday 22nd March to support those people who cannot readily have their needs met at home or in their local community.
North: West: East:
Fernleigh The Harbour Priory Gate
Nexus Cranstock The Larches
- These buildings will be operating at reduced capacity to ensure social distancing can be maintained and access will therefore be prioritised for those people in greatest need.
- Prior to opening, we will be contacting people and their families to confirm what support individuals require.
- We will continue to support people in their homes as well as in their local communities including enabling people to meet their friends in small groups as well as some individual support.
- Day and Vocational Services will continue to provide a range of live online sessions that will be available though the Surrey Choices website.
- Social distancing measures on vehicles will reduce passenger capacity to a small number of people. Transport will therefore be restricted to those who do not have access to their own transport, such as a Motability vehicle. We will be available to discuss any transport issues with individual families and Carers.
Recovery Plan Roadmap
- From Monday 29 March we will be increasing the support outlined above to also include group support in open spaces and support to access outdoor sport and recreation.
- From Monday 12 April we will be increasing the support outlined above to also include support in community settings such as libraries, leisure centres and community centres. We will also undertake a review of the capacity within our buildings inline with the demand for building support.
- From Monday 17 May we will be increasing the support outlined above to also include increased support in community settings as restrictions ease with continued transition to new support arrangements. We will be increasing our support within and from our buildings and increasing transport where required.
- From Monday 21 June, as the country sees a return to the new normal, we will continue to provide support within and from our buildings with new community support arrangements embedded.
- FlexiChoices has had to cease providing building based support except in exceptional circumstances and instead are prioritising alternative support, where possible providing support within the family home.
- We will commence support in buildings from April and will contact individual families to let them know when this commences.
- We have contacted all families affected by these changes to put alternative support arrangements in place, taking account of their particular circumstances.
Short Breaks Banstead
- The service will continue to operate critical support, but with reduced capacity; this enables additional measures to be put in place, such as easier social distancing and separate bathroom facilities.
- Short Breaks Banstead are continuing to accept referrals for critical support and future visits, so please get in touch if you require an assessment for this service.
- Long term support arrangements will remain unaffected.
- Respite support will continue to be provided where there is a critical need: new bookings will be reviewed to ensure every possible precaution is taken to reduce the risk of infection.
EmployAbility and Future Choices
- Direct support will be limited to those who require support to undertake a critical job role.
- Where a critical need for direct support has been identified, guidelines will follow those for Day Services and FlexiChoices.
- We are constantly developing our virtual programme, enabling all other support to continue to take place digitally.
- From Monday 17 May we will be increasing direct support via EmployAbility into workplaces.
Support, Admin and Managerial Staff
- Our administration, support functions and management colleagues will continue to work remotely and only access our buildings where this is required to undertake their role, such as for the collection of vital PPE, or to ensure adequate Covid-security arrangements are in place.
Reviewing our Arrangements
As restrictions are lifted we will review our situation to ensure that our arrangements remain proportionate, and balance the risks associated with the virus with those potentially arising from social isolation or pressures from family caring.
If you have any questions or you are concerned, please contact your usual service or our main office:
Head Office Address:
Surrey Choices, Fernleigh Activity Centre, Fernleigh Close, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. KT12 1RD
Office – 01483 806806 (Monday – Friday 8.00am – 4.00pm)
Short Breaks – 01483 806550 (24 hours a day)
Text – 07860 020130