This week, Surrey Choices celebrated the first anniversary of FlexiChoices. The service provides support in a fun environment from cooking to singing and dancing, whilst enabling vital respite support for families and Carers. They can have a much-needed break and do things they would be unable to do with their loved ones present.
The FlexiChoices pilot began in September 2020 for eight months. During this team, Surrey Choices received over 100 referrals and supported more than 50 people in need of urgent respite. As a result of the success of this service, FlexiChoices officially began in July 2021 and has since received more than 50 referrals, with 23 of these now receiving service.
Jo Redfern, FlexiChoices Senior Activity Facilitator, was involved in FlexiChoices since day one and reflects on how the year has gone:
“I have personally enjoyed working within FlexiChoices, because I get to know families of the people we are supporting, the situation they are in, and I can follow their journey into receiving the best support they need. I try my hardest to meet each new person that is supported through FlexiChoices, so I can see for myself what their needs are, see their individual personalities and their uniqueness. It is incredibly grounding hearing some of the situations the families find themselves in but knowing we can give them much needed support and guidance is what makes the upset phone calls and feelings of despair all worthwhile.”
Christina Earl, Head of Innovation and Business Development explains the urgent situations some families found themselves in during the pandemic, and looks forward to the future of FlexiChoices:
“Everyone was affected by the pandemic, but for many families supporting people with complex disabilities it felt like everything had been pulled away. Our amazing teams, at extremely short notice and with many obstacles, put on a programme of activities over evenings and weekends to entertain and help people to have fun, whilst the families got a very well-deserved break. It was the small things like giving families time to clean their house or give attention to other siblings which really resonated with me to understand the difference it was making to their lives. It was so successful, and now the pandemic is receding the service will continue with increased opportunities. From fun in the community to making use of our excellent sensory and other facilities, there is support available for a range of needs. Thanks to all Surrey Choices colleagues who have made this such a successful service.”
Find out more about FlexiChoices or get in touch about the service here.