Empowering people we support
Surrey Choices is passionate about empowering the people we support to speak up about issues that affect them and to have their say in things that are important to them. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic people have been taking part in virtual Speaking Up groups, which are sessions designed for people to discuss matters that affect them and get involved in co-production work with the community.
The Farnham and Guildford Speaking Up Groups have been meeting regularly over Zoom with colleagues Monica Heather and Becki Mitchell. It was important to the group to meet up over Zoom, so they could spend time with their friends and discuss the issues that are important to them.
One of the subjects that the group covered over several weeks was looking after their physical and mental health which is especially important whilst they have not been able to see people and go outside due to the pandemic.
Surrey Choices Speaking Up groups were contacted by a Prevention Citizen Advocate from Healthwatch Surrey, who wanted to talk to people to find out about their understanding of wellbeing and wellness.
The Healthwatch Surrey staff member joined the Farnham and Guildford Speaking Up Group and explained that she is writing a report about what people understand about mental health and wellbeing, and what works best in terms of trying to educate people on these issues. This was a great opportunity for people to give their opinions on how health and wellbeing support can be improved in Surrey communities.
“The group talked to Erin about what wellbeing means to them, and how they all currently try to stay healthy, as well as the support they need to do this. They talked about the friendships that are important to them and how they can stay connected to one another virtually. It became apparent to me as I was listening to everyone speak, that Surrey Choices has an important role to play in helping people to maintain their friendships and social life.” Becki Mitchell, Activity Facilitator
Erin also spoke to the group about the advertising that they see around them on TV, radio or public notices about their health. She asked what they felt works best for getting health information across to people and what they understand best. The group all enjoyed talking to Erin and sharing their thoughts and experiences with her and she will be sending her finished report over to us, so that we can see what she has learned from all the people she spoke to.
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