Jerry Ratcliff, Chief Operating Officer thanked everyone for attending and introduced those in attendance. Jerry gave an overview of our Day Service recovery plan and our progress including what buildings will be providing support, how we are keeping people safe and our digital agenda.
Please click on the meeting below to read the Questions and Answers:
West Area: Tuesday 29 September 2020
When will the Harbour Building be opening and on what day and will the infection rate not be too high by then? Should we not have returned in July when the rates were lower?
Janine – We aim to open in early November, but the infection rate is not something that we can answer or predict. We were simply not ready to open in July. The building works were delayed due to lockdown but are now complete and we are making final preparations to open. We do not know what the programme will be at this stage; our main priority is to get the building ready. If people need support before then we will look at how we can provide this.
Jerry – We will be undertaking a further survey on what support is needed and will let you know more information when we can.
Mark – We have completed a risk assessment, created a plan for being in bubbles and worked out how we can safely use the building. The deep clean is imminent.
Jerry – Last week the Government referenced their expectations for social care providers over the coming months and they have said in the context of a second wave that they are asking day care providers to continue to provide support where it is safe to do so. This mirrors Surrey Choices’ proposal and is aligned with our recovery plan. We intend to continue to provide support, we do not have any intention to reduce this. If the Government put further restrictions in place which means legally we have to stop then we will, but I think this is unlikely as vulnerable people are exempt from the restrictions. We will do all we can to keep people safe but it is down to the choice of the individual as to whether they would like this support.
Will the Woking Resource Centre open mid October?
Janine – yes it will, we have spent time getting it ready and working out the number of people we can support in the main area as one larger bubble. Amanda is working hard with Surrey County Council to do the required checks, such as fire risk assessments. Once this is done and our Health and Safety Manager agrees it is Covid safe we will be ready for people to access the building. We are also waiting on the deep clean.
Will community support be limited to the same two days as the buildings are open, does this mean community support will change to only be on these days? Will there be any transport support?
Janine – Support in the community will still be in place and will continue. We hope to extend community support but the buildings will be used as a base for only these two days, for now.
Jerry – If people are struggling with transport, do let us know. We are starting to use our own vehicles which are all sanitised and have strict hygiene measures in place.
Janine – However, transport will be limited and priority will be given to those who have no other option of transport.
Will people be allocated a certain amount of hours on the days that a building is open and how will these days be decided? Will transport be provided for activities?
Janine – We will have a mixture of community and in house support. We are starting with two days to give us a chance to look at what people want to do, how we can provide support around this and extend our offer into the community. This could be access to the gym in the morning then an activity in the centre in 2
the afternoon. We will also look at those who cannot access the community and work out how we can support them. With regard to transport, we will look at the best options for each person to help them keep their independence.
Do you have any ideas as to which day my relative will be attending Camberley Community Group?
Lydia – We are currently looking at customer needs and discussing the best options for them. We will finalise this next week and I will provide details as soon as I can.
Janine – We will be undertaking a deep clean at Camberley before it opens which may push back the opening day, but we will keep you updated.
How many people will be in each of the Camberley sessions and what plans are in place to support practicalities such as using the toilet?
Lydia – We will be allowing one person at a time in the toilet and it will be cleaned three times a day. We will have one bubble group for each day – some of this may be in the community in Camberley and then using the buildings as a drop in. There will be a maximum of 9 people allowed in our building space, which will be one person in the office, two staff and six customers. We have been looking at how the room is laid out and removed the soft furnishings, which are hard to clean.
Jerry – As we get to grips with the Covid secure measures we can better understand how many people we can support safely, but that may affect the number of people we can accommodate.
Janine – We ask that you do not enter the Camberley Community Group building, please use the buzzer in the hallway of the Ian Goodchild Centre when you arrive, to help us to keep everyone safe.
Will people be returning to Camberley Community Group for a whole day in the centre?
Janine – We will be offering a mixture of support including some in the morning and some in the afternoon. We know that some people cannot do community activities for the full day so will take this into consideration when preparing that person’s programme of support.
Lydia – Sometimes people may only be able to access the community for half days and not go into buildings, but we will try to support as much as possible.
When you sort out the Camberley programme please can you do what you can do ensure they are with their friends?
Lydia – I will do my best to do this.
In line with your Changing Days programme, will times of support like day centres be retained between 9.00am – 4.00pm as this is when we require support?
Jerry – These times will be retained and expanded – we need to provide support when people want it, not when we want to provide it. We want to break down the time barriers as some people may want support out of those times, but we will maintain it for those who continue to need it.
How often are staff going to be tested? Should Care Workers not be given priority to tests?
Jerry – we ask staff to be tested fortnightly but this may not always be possible due to the high demand for tests. It is hard for us to answer why care workers are not able to get tests. In the past 2-3 weeks it has been more challenging, even booking through the provider portal is difficult.
I would not feel happy for staff to support in house or in day centres without testing. I would love to have a break and have support but I do not think I can when numbers are increasing.
Lydia – I will be in touch when we have regular tests.
Jerry – People are right to be cautious but it is important to note that more tests being taken means an increase in positive results. Remember though, testing is not the only way for us to measure how safe we are keeping people, it only tells us if a person is infected or not at the time when the test is taken. The way we are keeping safe is through good hygiene and use of PPE. Mette is a member of the Board of the National Care Forum, one of the key organisations who are involved in supporting and lobbying the Government, highlighting the challenges we are facing.
For those of us who are having to shield the most vulnerable in the long term, do you have any plans to support Carers?
Jerry – We are offering welfare calls, virtual support and providing support to vulnerable people wherever we can and going above and beyond for PPE measures.
Zoom sessions are really useful but not all of them are of interest to my family member? Are you going to do social coffee mornings so they can see their friends and feel part of something?
Lydia – We are aiming to run these once a week, with a different staff member each time.
Jerry – We can increase this if people want to. I have asked our digital programme lead to look at what we are offering for zoom sessions to make sure we have a wide range of choices and more sessions available.
My relative lives in a home and the staff there are unable to support them to access zoom sessions, would you be able to support with training so they do not miss out?
Lydia – We have created a guide and resource pack for the staff to use. We will look at how we can offer further training so they are able to support them.
Zoom sessions are inappropriate and aimed at those who are highly functional eg women’s rights and lawnmower maintenance. I would like the Harbour to just have coffee mornings. Zoom sessions helped to structure my family member’s day.
Mark – We understand your worries and will look at the option of introducing coffee mornings.
Lydia – Although our Growth Teams sessions may not be appropriate for everyone, they help to refresh the skills of the customers in our Growth Team while they are not out using tools.
Jerry – Our programme needs to encompass a range of activities for as many of people we support as possible, so we will have varying sessions, but we also need sessions for those with complex needs. There is still work for us to do on this.
My family member has had support from you to access their sessions virtually at home. Although they find it difficult to socially distance when getting this support I would like to thank you for your support with this for them to be able to join these sessions.
Closing remarks – Jerry – A further survey based on what support is needed will be carried out over the next few weeks and we will hold another Parent and Carers meeting in 6 weeks’ time.
North Area: Wednesday 30 September 2020
You talked about distanced virtual support, currently my relative has no internet connection where they live. If we were to rectify this and get an internet connection what would the support you could give look like?
Jerry – We provide 60 virtual sessions a week where people can join with others, and there are closed group sessions for virtual social interactions and direct support. Karen and Hari can help to get people online and talk through the programme with them. We can offer training to the staff who support them where they live to help get them online as well.
Re setting up internet access, could someone send me the names of the people who could help with getting this started for me to liaise or pass on.
Sam – Dawn is going in weekly to support so we could ask her to do this. I will let you know.
Given that you are hoping to get people into The Knowle starting from the end of October, in your opinion would it be worthwhile getting them online for support at this late stage?
Jerry – Yes, as the support in buildings will be limited, it will not be 5 days a week like before. The building will operate at 20%-35% of its previous capacity so the more mixed support we can give, the better, so I would advise you to do this. We can help with equipment if you need it.
Will you rotate who attends the day centres so that everyone gets a chance to attend?
Jerry – We will prioritise those in greatest need, including those who live at home with family carers, those who live with Shared Lives and those who live at home. After that it will be people who live in homes.
My relative has 24 hours support in a flat so is not supported by us, would they be on the list to come back to The Knowle?
Jerry – We will look at each individual and their own circumstances. There are some struggling in supported living so when that occurs we will focus on them as well. The more we can make use of our virtual programme to maintain friendships and relationships the better.
In the last meeting you said that The Nexus was waiting on being deep cleaned before it was opened. My relative got excited about coming back but it did not happen. Dean took my relative for lunch yesterday, which was great. Can you confirm that it is definitely going to open this time?
Dean Foley – Thank you, we have done everything we could do to get the building ready, there is nothing we would like more than for everyone to come back. At the moment we have to prioritise people which is difficult, as all of us have suffered. Our building is almost ready, we have had the required checks and surveys done and have worked out that we can have 10 people at a time in the building including staff. The building is now covid secure, we are just waiting on the deep clean and then we will be ready.
Are you going to open Stanwell?
Jerry – It is not on the list to open as when we did an assessment we found that it is hard to make the building Covid secure. We are keeping it under review and looking at what other buildings we can provide support from.
I would like to say how supportive Nexus staff have been checking in and taking out my relative. When you are a full time Carer at home people forget how hard it is. I am preparing my relative for not doing a full day but when will we get an actual date for when we are returning?
Dean – We are waiting on the deep clean until we can confirm a date. I know it has been difficult for everyone but there are certain customers we have to prioritise. We will work with these numbers and liaise closely with parents and Carers and when we’ve done this we will contact you.
Jerry – We must be cautious about numbers, and as we start to get back we may be able to increase them but we must be safe.
On Monday I am at the Knowle, Tuesday Wednesday at AOP, not Thursday, Friday Star struck. What day will we open?
Jerry – The Knowle will open in October. Are you doing online sessions?
Dad – Yes, 18 a week now.
Jerry – Is it good seeing your friends?
I miss my friends and when I go to my clubs I miss them there too.
Jerry – We know how important friends are and that is why we are doing online sessions. When people come back we want to bring people back in their friendship groups.
When I am at respite, I am with my staff in the house there and I don’t know what day I can go in.
Sam – Maybe we can set up a zoom call with Rodney House so you can see it.
Karen – We could also see what friends you are missing and make a bubble with them.
Are The Laleham Project and Ashford Office Project run under The Knowle or separate?
Jerry – They are separate. There are challenges for The Ashford Office Project as they are in a shared building with Surrey County Council’s Reablement Team. For Laleham we are looking to start providing support.
Sam – We are working with our Health and Safety manager to open Laleham, which is now Covid secure, we are just finalising the cleaning.
Is The Knowle clean and Covid secure and ready to open for the end of October?
Sam – Our Health and Safety Manager is working to make it Covid secure and we are waiting on a deep clean.
We have been waiting for weeks for Surrey County Council to do the deep cleans, if they do not do them soon as you are saying you are prepared to get private contractors in and what is your time limit as to when you will decide to do this?
Jerry – If we don’t have confirmation by the 16th October we will look at alternatives.
Does it include The Knowle as well, for private companies doing deep clean?
Jerry – Yes
We are grateful for staff who are supporting my relative in the community but my relative is not coping mentally from being in the house and there is nowhere for them to meet their friends.
Karen – We are limited to what is available in your area. We are looking at opening some of our other buildings and could look at how we can support them in other places.
Jerry – To date we have not used our Surrey Choices vehicles but after putting Covid secure measures in place, we are going to be using these now. This will give more opportunities to support people to not be stuck in their areas.
You say you’ve been helping people in the community. I have had call once a week for the last 4 weeks and on and off other times but I have asked for someone to come out to my relative but no one can come out as they don’t have the appropriate training. I have only had someone come out once since March to take my relative for a walk. I have asked but I have not had any help in any shape or form from The Knowle. I’m not expecting to be priority but what shall I do? I would like time to go out as I am hands on when my relative has their 1:1
Sam – I have identified three staff who have had the correct training, and they know your relative – I will call you after this meeting to arrange for them to visit. We will get this sorted for you.
Jerry – This is not good enough and I am sorry. We will manage this.
When you come out to the community to support my relative I wondered if they can go in a staff member’s vehicle? I do not want them going on public transport as it is too much of a risk.
Jerry – We are getting Surrey Choices buses up and running. It is a challenge to use staff’s own cars because it is difficult for us to evidence deep cleans and they also need the proper insurance, so for those areas that are isolated we will look at using the Surrey Choices vehicles. We need to look at ways we can protect everyone, please bear with us for this.
You are talking about PPE for staff in The Knowle and temperature checks for clients, would you expect clients to wear them if they can?
Jerry – We would ask them to if they are comfortable to wear it, but it is important to wear it safely and take it off properly, e.g. not wearing it on the chin. But we know some people cannot wear masks so we’re not making it compulsory.
Thank you for joining us, we will keep you all updated specifically around individual dates and what support we can offer. If you have any questions please contact your service or email me or Sam. We genuinely know how difficult this is and we’ll do all we can to support you. Please accept our apologies for the times when this has not happened.
East Area: Thursday 1 October 2020
East Area: Thursday 1 October 2020
Jerry – apologised for the non-attendance of the Area Manager in the meeting and gave the reason why.
Our relative has been going to Priory Gate with only one other person– when are you going to increase these numbers?
Jerry – We have had a small uptake for the number of people who actually want to use buildings. For example, in Lockwood previously we would support 60 people on one day and we now only have three people who want to access the building. We have been prioritising those who need support the most but we anticipate more people will want to use the buildings in the winter. At the moment people are getting out and doing things but as winter moves in and restrictions may increase, we want to have our buildings proactively open.
It would create more of an atmosphere and variety if more people were there. I thought that there would be more people, in bubbles of 4. 6
Jerry – That is a real challenge to us as we want to be in bubbles, and keeping to the same staff helps to minimise the risk of contamination. We are repeating the survey that we did in July to better understand what people want going forward and to make people aware of what’s available. Everyone’s circumstances are different, some people want to get back to normal and some people have no intention of going outside until the virus has gone. It is all about individuals’ circumstances and keeping people safe, both from the virus and from isolation. This is why we have online sessions to help.
How are the staff chosen to go into the centres, is it from those that drive? I want my relative to have good interaction and stimulation.
Jerry – That is helpful feedback which I will take back to Anne and the team. We want to utilise our staff’s skills as effectively as we can, and that means having a mix of staff.
When you open Bletchingley will you close Priory Gate?
Jerry – Priory Gate and The Larches will remain open. Bletchingley’s building works were delayed but have now finished and a deep clean needs to be done. When it opens this will be in addition Priory Gate, not instead of.
What is happening with the Redhill Garden Centre?
Jerry – We are having a meeting for those who use that service specifically, on Tuesday 13 October 2020 at 4.00pm. Surrey County Council have had plans for while to redevelop the Colebrook site and we are moving off Noke Drive and the garden centre at the end of this year, to give the site back to Surrey County Council for the redevelopment to take place. We will be moving to an old school building site in the middle of Redhill and SCC have purchased a high quality modular building which has a sensory room, Changing Places toilet, accessible training kitchen, IT space and a poly tunnel for some of the garden centre, but unfortunately we won’t be operating the garden centre in the same way again. We have made a provision for some of the garden centre in Longmead but unfortunately the greenhouse has reached the end of its life, it is 30-40 years old.
I represent a residential home with 12 people who used to access The Civic Centre and Woodmansterne. These are small hubs, where is the thinking for these?
Jerry – Woodmansterne has challenges as it is a sports club and the layout means you have to go through a room to get to it, so we do not have any plans to move back there at this time.
The Civic Centre is a shared space and we are looking at how best we can use it, but for those who need the support we will look at using another hub. The highest priority will be given to those with family carers, then residential and supported living. We are looking at developing a new offer in this part of the county at Bourne Hall which is right by the park, and we are working in partnership with Epsom and Ewell Borough Council to develop this, in around a year’s time. We are also looking at how we can share library space in Banstead.
Is there going to be a small hub in the old Colebrook site?
Jerry – The council has two developments. Colebrook and Longmead. They will move us to a temporary site on Longmead while they develop Colebrook. This will be a mix of residential accommodation in tower blocks and a community space on the ground floor, where we will potentially be with the library and youth services, and we are starting to talk about what that space will look like. Even with the modular build in Longmead, the specification is so fantastically high we cannot compare it to anything we currently have, it will be our standard as to what we expect in the future. People still need Changing Places and sensory rooms in buildings, and they will use these alongside what’s available in the community.
Colebook is nice and close to the town centre.
Jerry – This is what we are prioritising. The old Bentley site is 10 mins away, and whenever we develop new buildings we want them to be close to town centres. Our largest building is on an industrial estate in Guildford and not accessible on public transport. Sometimes where we support people can be as much of a barrier as the disability itself. Our model will be smaller hubs, right in the heart of the community.
Priory Gate has a minibus but it has been an ongoing problem that they have no drivers. They say they will start using but need to do rearrangements? 7
Jerry – Our Transport Coordinator has been assessing the buses, we have purchased cleaning kits for them including fogging devices for weekly use, and we are deep cleaning them this week. Your point about drivers is a good one. We offer significant pay enhancements to encourage people to drive but unfortunately they are reluctant.
What we want for our relatives is to go to a lake or see somewhere different and see people and for trips out for coffee.
Jerry – We will feed this back. Surrey has a lot of places to get out and experience.
Thank you for your time and I apologise again that it is just me at the meeting. I will feed back your comments to the services.
Closing Remarks by Jerry Ratcliff:
We’ll send out the notes of these meetings and include our contact details. If there is any way we can work in a different way with you to help with your caring, please contact us. We are mindful that the last six months have been extremely difficult and we want to help in any way we can. Thank you for your comments, it’s really helpful to talk to you all. If you found it useful too, we would be happy to repeat this in a couple of months’ time.