Wednesday 25 March 2020 – Update for customers, families, Carers and partner organisations on Surrey Choices’ response to the revised Coronavirus guidance
As we all try to find a way to adjust to what is going to be our new reality for the foreseeable future, it is natural to have worries and concerns.We know many of our staff, the people we support, their families or Carers have unanswered questions as we all think about our families, work situation and circles of support.
We want to first of all reassure you that we are working around the clock to respond to the situation, by interpreting Government guidance, and by working with our local and national partners, including Surrey County Council who are not only our Shareholder, but also our main funder and who are of course leading the Surrey wide response to the Coronavirus crisis.
We would like to update you on the current situation:
Following Monday evening’s announcement from the Prime Minister, we have been working to ensure that we can safely close those day services that have remained open to provide essential support. We have now finalised those arrangements so we can confirm that none of our day services will be open from today (25 March 2020) for at least a three week period as per current government guidelines.
At Short Breaks Banstead we are continuing to provide a vital service to people who require it, and have been approached to support others, who for one reason or another, find themselves in a critical situation.
Our Shared Lives service continues to support carers who provide accommodation and support on a permanent basis.
Our EmployAbility service has reduced its activities to remote working and supporting people who are affected by the extensive closure of workplaces.
As we are sure you can appreciate, the impact of the Coronavirus has placed a huge strain on families and local residential and supported living providers, who themselves face challenges to staffing, which is likely to get worse before it gets better. To address this we are working with those families and support providers to identify people who have been, or may in the coming weeks be, identified as being at risk without additional support. Initial feedback is that, whilst most support providers are coping right now, some are beginning to struggle to operate safely.
So what is Surrey Choices’ role in all of this?
As a Local Authority Trading Company operating across Surrey, Surrey Choices is in a unique position, not only because we have been able to close many of our services, but because we hold a special position in the county. We have had confirmation that Surrey County Council will continue to pay our block grant this year, despite our closing services, which means that we can continue to pay our employees.
However, this also means that we have a role to play in the county wide effort to keep people safe during these extraordinary times. Our workforce is uniquely talented, trained and experienced, and we would want to make sure that we help if we can.
We will therefore be asking many colleagues to provide vital support to our customers at their place of residence, be that in their own home, or in support of their supported living or residential care provider, working with their teams to keep people safe.
Our overriding priority is the health and wellbeing of the people we support, and of course our employees and we want to thank our colleagues for their continued support, courage and compassion.
Please stay safe and take care.
Keith Chandler, Chief Finance and Resources Officer
Jerry Ratcliff, Chief Operating Officer
Mette Le Jakobsen, Managing Director