Introductions were made and a presentation and slide show was given by Surrey Choices staff and NDTi representatives, explaining how support will move towards more community based, person-centred support and how person-centred support planning will be approached.
Please click on the meeting below to read the Questions and Answers:
North Area: Tuesday 19 January 2021
What is the future plan for ‘Yellow Room’ customers at The Knowle?
Anne Shiels: At the moment the building is not fit for purpose due to ongoing maintenance issues. Our Chief Operating Officer, Jerry Ratcliff, is working with Surrey County Council to identify alternatives.
Sam Howlett: We know the people supported in this group will need a building base due to the equipment required and that is being borne in mind when we are assessing potential premises.
Anne Shiels: The mapping we have been doing helps us to see if there are more appropriate options closer to where the people we support live, which will reduce time spent on transport, coming into a building and then back out again to do activities. Our plan is that wherever possible, staff will meet the person at their home and support them directly to the community activity.
What is the timescale around The Knowle, is there anything that Parents and Carers can do to support the move, such as forming a councillors/parents group to help with accessing appropriate accommodation?
Anne: The Council are already working with us, to support more options for building bases where required for the people we support, including specialised and universal community venues such as libraries and leisure centres. We are considering all possible options in line with the current Covid restrictions, but we do not want people to be supported in unfit environments. We have been using Fernleigh and Nexus for those people who require building based, sensory support needs.
Can a survey be done to find out what customers want?
Anne: A survey was sent out in December 2020 via email. I will check that everyone received this, apologies if you did not. This will feed into the Person Centred Planning, finding out what the people we support want and need to do, while accommodating each person’s needs.
Were customers sent the survey?
Anne: Sending the survey to the people we support as well as their family members was effectively doubling up, although I agree it’s important to receive feedback direct from the people we support. I will check with Annelise about the survey of the people she supports.
Sam: All of the people we support will be contacted individually over the next few weeks, to complete their Person Centred Plans.
Many customers miss the ‘Starstruck’ sessions
Sam: Starstruck is being offered by Zoom at the moment, unfortunately we can’t offer it in a building right now. We would love to see Starstruck sessions offered within a theatre environment and we will be looking into this as an option for the future.
Karen Fallon: We are going to try and extend the online Starstruck sessions in the short term, and when the weather is better we can possibly do some sessions and performances in local parks.
I organise sessions for my relative but I don’t receive any notification if a session changes.
Anne: I’m sorry about that. Timetables are available online. There will be a timetable of 6 virtual sessions per day starting soon, this will change every 6 weeks in line with attendance numbers and feedback from the people we support and their families.
Gary Moore: The North sessions do not change but in other areas they do, so this may have confused some of the bookings. I will try to ensure the people we support and their carers are updated via email with any changes or cancellations wherever possible and look at adding updates or changes to the website.
Some people are unsure and scared of joining sessions. An inclusive drama/theatre group would be great, I am keen to support this wherever I can.
Peter Bates: There is often a culture within theatre companies that is open to new ideas and keen to build relationships. This is something Surrey Choices are working on with many organisations within communities.
Are you looking at more customers going to leisure centres?
Karen Fallon: Yes, we have had meetings with several leisure centres about the different activities that can be accessed.
Leisure pools would be too cold for some customers.
Anne: We are linking with hydro pool facilities about how we can help the people we support to access these.
There is a pool at Manormead school which we could maybe use.
Sam: Thank you, Karen and I will follow this up.
The Winter Leisure Centre is nice and warm and has good accessibility, however this is in Berkshire.
Peter: I think for future meetings we should have an item to collect ideas from the people we support and their family members.
I’m not getting any respite at the moment.
Sam: I’m sorry to hear that. Karen and I will follow this up and report back to you.
Can we have an agenda prior to these meetings so that we can have a think about the topics and get information ready?
Anne: Yes, we will send an agenda with the meeting invitation, we can cover timescales for the property developments and progress we’ve made with community inclusion. We will also collate the feedback from the family engagement meetings in each of the areas and send it out in a newsletter format.
What is happening with the Ashford Office Project?
Karen: It’s similar to what’s happening at the Knowle. It’s closed at the moment but when it opens it will be revamped, enabling the people we support to learn skills relevant to today’s digital world, to support employment opportunities.
I’d like to thank everyone at Surrey Choices for your help and support through the pandemic.
Anne: You’re welcome. Your relative has been very engaged in this session, they could be the North spokesperson at each meeting.
Peter Bates: I’d like to make final point to sum up the Changing Days/Community Choices project. We are getting back to basics and this can be summed up in three points:
- Do something that makes sense to the individual, keep it simple (This is ‘Person centred planning); do something that enriches peoples’ lives.
- What we are talking about is not new (it’s just doing more of the good stuff that we’ve done before)
- Changes will be made little by little, not “tipping people’s lives upside down” all in one go We need stick with it…… but gently!
West Area: Tuesday 19 January 2021
Why is this meeting being recorded?
It’s so that people who could not join in the meeting today can see what we talked about, and to help Liz write up the notes of the meeting.
Will parents and carers have participation in Personal Care Plans?
Anne Shiels: Yes of course. Outcomes are individual and a person’s support network is important and can include many people who know them – a friend, a member of the family or someone in the community, whoever can help them best with their plan.
In the past we’d meet face to face and all sit around a table. The Community Choices programme has six different ways that we can work creatively together to support that person and build a flexible service around them. The good news is that this can be done virtually or in a socially distanced way from the person’s doorstep. One of the few positives to come out of the pandemic is that it has shown how flexible we can be to meet the needs of the people we support, flexing with times and days to suit each person with what they want.
Mark Davidson: In the past reviews have happened and we’ve not known about them. Doing these things jointly with Surrey County Council will help everyone to know what a person needs. The world is closed right now but people are managing to get out, doing things like walking groups and dog walking, and hopefully things will open up again before too long. Mapping works really well to see what activities will be locally available in the future.
Janine Gray: The lockdown has given us time to get PCPs finalised and work on better planning for the future. Patrick Allen: It will be good to do new activities, in the evening and at weekends.
Reviews for the person I support have been far apart but there has always been a member of staff present when they were going on. Years ago we had access to swimming, the library and allotments but it all went because there wasn’t enough money to support it. Is there anything different this time to enable all this to happen?
Janine: It’s not about recreating those groups. We will be using different spaces and doing swimming, bowling, golf, walking groups – giving the choice of what people want to do.
I agree with the earlier question. My relative did the PCP years ago, going out a lot from the centre. I hope you keep the trampolining going, my relative doesn’t communicate very well verbally and I have to pick up the non-verbal communication. The swimming pool at Lockwood has gone, so that means a trip to Woking, but my relative can’t get there as often as when the Lockwood pool was open.
Janine: We’ll be using swimming pools in other leisure centres and there’s also a hydro pool in The Harbour area. The trampoline at Lockwood will be repaired, however trampolining is regarded as a high risk activity just now so the sessions can’t be run. Our aim is to take Rebound and trampolining into the community at various venues, including leisure centres and the new trampoline parks which are opening up.
Our relatives did go into the community for trampolining, then Surrey Choices got their own trampoline which meant more sessions could be run in their own buildings rather than in the community.
Janine: We will be running more sessions in new locations, such as Woking leisure centre, and we’ll be asking staff to go in and run sessions at the trampoline park in Camberley.
How would customers get to the trampoline park? Do the buses go past there?
Janine: It would depend on where the customer lives and what their needs are.
Anne: We’re trying to cut out the two-stage travelling, where people come from home into a Surrey Choices building and then on to a location. The mapping exercise shows us where the people we support live and what amenities are in their local area, then link that with staff who live nearby so that it minimises the time that people have to spend on buses. Our staff will support a customer directly from their home to the community venue, which means they will spend less time travelling and have more time to engage in the activity. I’m hoping to have some more updates and progress to report on next month.
What about minibuses? We know there is a problem with them.
Janine: It might have been that people were bussed into The Harbour and then into the community from there but we’re looking at programmes built around what people want to do, in their local communities. Transport will be different this time.
Mark: The transport review was mistimed, we have another bus and more staff ready to be drivers, but lockdown halted all that. Mapping helps us to find out what’s available locally, to plan bus routes and assess how accessible it is.
Patrick Allen: The mapping we’ve done has located where the people we support are and we can partner them with a member of staff who lives nearby, which will open up a lot more for opportunities, including going out in the evening to the pub, choir, clubs and the like.
Anne; We want to be more flexible not just Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, we want to look outwards and get involved in the local communities.
When lockdown is eased, is Surrey Choices developing changes to the provision of services in the communities with different groups?
Lydia Simpson: This will be mainly for the traditional Day Service/community groups rather than the Vocational Projects or Growth Team. We can still support people to do anything they wish to learn or achieve with Surrey Choices (within reason!).
Peter Bates: This is all about getting back to basics and trying to do something that makes sense for people. If it’s not making sense in peoples’ lives because of their support needs or transport difficulties then we’re missing the point. What we’re talking about here is not new, good things like getting to the community have been happening for years, we’re just trying to do it better than before. Also, this is going to happen little by little, it’s not about suddenly turning your life upside down. We can add little bits to peoples’ choices and opportunities – things they want to do or maybe even to just try, it’s about opening up opportunities for them. Some of the stories we have heard today give me that message. It’s about making sense to the lives of the people we support.
Can the environment and climate change be looked at? To help and support the need to save the planet during the pandemic.
Lydia: We could investigate offering some training and Zoom sessions on how to support the planet and help fight climate change, if you’d like?
Sarah Storer: We’d like to see less and shorter minibus journeys, for example we will support people to travel on public buses.
Jenny Pitts: This is a great argument for walking to local activities or using public transport wherever possible. Great thinking!
I’d like to say thank you to Kim and the staff who are coming into our house. Lockdown has affected my relative so badly, they are not as active as they were and that is having a toll on their body, plus they miss
meeting people so much. Normally my relative would be always out and about, this lockdown has affected them so much.
Kim: It’s a pleasure, you’re so welcome.
East Area: Friday 22 January 2021
My relative was going into The Larches until it shut down at Christmas. They also go to a Mencap group in Wallington and can’t understand why the Mencap group is running but not The Larches?
Anne Shiels: I’m not aware of the Mencap group?
My relative has been going there for 10 years.
Anne: Unfortunately we are unable to open the buildings due to the risk, particularly due to the new variant of the virus. It’s just too much of a risk to have lots of people all together in a building but instead of closing the building and not having a service at all, we have increased our community provision.
We had a phone call after Christmas but since then I haven’t heard from anyone since.
Lisa Knapman: We have been providing outreach support. We’re not going to stop offering support, we will come to your house and support your relatives into the community.
So far I’ve heard nothing.
Lisa: Apologies, I’m not sure what happened there. We’ll pick it up as a priority on Monday. Diana Mooney: I’d be more than happy to make contact to help with outreach if that helps?
I have managed to get both myself and my relative and vaccinated!
Anne: That is great news to hear.
How are you able to communicate all the various ideas you’ve had for being in the community, can you progress with any ideas at the moment, or is it all on hold?
Anne: The programme is on hold right now, but staff have been working behind the scenes making community contacts, so by the time the restrictions start to ease we’ll have done Personal Care Plans with individuals to know what they are aspiring to and we’ll be ready to put them into action. For instance, some people want to go swimming or join an exercise session and we have already made those connections and have a list of the community resources that we can link together when the restrictions start to lift. We still have a bit of time but we want to make sure when the community opens up again, we will be ready. In the meantime we’re trying to be creative, getting out and doing as much as we can, including respite for families. We want to continue providing a service for customers but ensure we are keeping people safe.
When do you envisage you’ll have done all the assessments?
Anne: Currently, we are concentrating on the people that Surrey Choices support who live with their families, who live with Shared Lives Carers or live alone as they receive limited care in a 24 hour period. That’s 92 people in total. Working with Surrey County Council, we have set a target by the end of March to have reviewed everyone’s Personal Care Plans. There is a group of staff in each of the Surrey Choices areas who are trained to review the plans and have been going to the joint meetings with Surrey County Council’s Social Care team to look at each person’s life holistically, including their home environment and their budget.
Jenny Pitts: It’s not just one thing we’re looking at, it’s a whole process, an opportunity to think about what we’ve learned in the last 12 months about each person that we didn’t know before, what they enjoy, it’s a continual process rather than one event, and those plans have to stay live and be reviewed regularly so that we stay up to date with the best way to support people to achieve what they want to enjoy, what they want to try in the community.
When will we be going back?
Anne: At the moment we’ve had to close buildings due to the risks centred around lockdown. As restrictions lift we will be reassessing each building to see which is the safest way to open but it’ll be awhile before we can open Noke Drive again. Keep doing what you’re doing, going for walks and other things, if you want to do something in the evening or on a weekend, just let us know and we’ll see what we can do to support you. Sarah Storer: I’d like to ask parents and carers: If there are any connections you have in the community which could be useful, or if you know about something your relative would like to do, please do raise it when their plan is being reviewed.