A message from Surrey Choices – Updated Tuesday 15 June 2021
Like everyone we were disappointed that the current lockdown restrictions will now remain in force until 19 July, due to the increased risks associated with the Delta (or Indian) variant of the virus.
However, while the need for us to ensure people’s wellbeing is paramount we are acutely aware of the continued pressures that many individuals and families are under. Therefore at this time we are not proposing to revise the approach or timescales for increasing direct support that we outlined in May. These continued arrangements, as detailed below, should continue to be interpreted as guidance and they may be subject to change in the event of their being a significantly increased risk from the virus locally.
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. To date 89% of our staff have had at least their first vaccine.
- 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.
- We have now introduced twice weekly Rapid Lateral Flow testing to colleagues in Surrey Choices in addition to weekly PCR testing in line with Government guidance. This testing regime, together with our other infection control measures (mask wearing, hand washing, cleaning, etc), will continue to make a significant contribution to keeping everyone safe.
- We will continue to 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 measures for all support that we provide.
Day and Vocational Services
- From Monday 17 May we will continue to increase our care and support, both in the community and in buildings. We will be extending our offer to people who live in supported living and residential services.
- From Monday 19 July, as the country hopefully sees a return to the new normal, we will continue to increase opportunities and support to enable people to access activities in their local communities. We will also be providing increased support within and from our buildings, as we embed our new ways of working and we will look to increase our offer of transport, to those who absolutely require it.
- All of the above is subject to the Government remaining on course with their national roadmap out of lockdown and our requirements to implement health and social care guidance.
Please see below, the details of when services are opening over the coming weeks:
The Harbour- Opened Monday 22 March
Cranstock- Opened Monday 22 March
Woking Resource Centre- Opened Monday 10 May
Camberley Community Group- Opened Monday 17 May
Lockwood- Opened Monday 24 May
Priory Gate- Opened Monday 22 March
The Larches- Opened Monday 22 March
Westway- Opened Wednesday 2 June
Bletchingley Activity Centre- Opened Tuesday 8 June
Fernleigh – Opened Monday 22 March
Nexus – Opened Monday 22 March
The Knowle – Opened Wednesday 2 June
All of our building’s will continue to implement Covid secure measures to ensure the safety of everyone who uses them.
- Buildings will continue to operate at a reduced capacity to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
- Day and Vocational Services will continue to provide a range of live online sessions that will be available through the Surrey Choices website.
- Social distancing measures will remain in place on our vehicles to reduce passenger capacity to a small number of people. Transport will therefore continue to be restricted to those who do not have access to their own transport, such as a Motability vehicle. We are available to discuss any transport issues with individual families and Carers.
- Due to the success of the FlexiChoices service during the lockdown, we will be launching a new flexible respite service from June 2021 combining building based activities with community support during evenings and weekends.
- Existing users of the FlexiChoices service will be contacted by the end of May 2021 to discuss their future provision
- This service will be available on referral from social care but is also open to people with direct payments or private funders.
- Initially some of the services available will be limited, but the plan is to grow and expand the opportunities available during 2021
Short Breaks Banstead
- The service will continue to operate, increasing capacity to six beds where it is safe to do so. Capacity will remain under review in line with personal risk assessments and the prevalence of the virus in the local community.
- Additional Health and Safety measures remain in place, such as PPE, social distancing and enhanced cleaning.
- 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 remain unaffected.
- Respite support will continue to be provided: new bookings will be reviewed to ensure every possible precaution is taken to reduce the risk of infection.
EmployAbility and Future Choices
- Direct support into workplaces will be increased.
- Where a 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.
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 continue to be 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