Our regular newsletter contains news and information about various Disability issues and paper copies are distributed around Spelthorne Borough for those in the Community who do NOT have access to a computer.  Copies can be found at the Borough's Community Centres, Libraries, Sheltered Residential housing.

Copies to Volunteer groups and Special Interest Groups and Societies are also distributed via email.  If you would like a copy of the latest newsletter or if you would like news and events for your Community Group to be included in future issues, please email the web administrator. Don't forget to include your postal address if you would like a paper copy.

Some of the news items have been taken from articles in the national press and other publications and SCAN cannot be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any inaccuracy or error in an article that has not been independently substantiated. The inclusion of hyperlinks to these websites does not imply endorsement of any material on such web sites or any association with their operators services or products.

Research shows that a staggering 1.2 million older people in England are chronically lonely and 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with friends or family for an entire month.

Following on from the success of our three previous Café Culture groups in Cranleigh, Farnham and Guildford our fourth was launched at Nostrano Lounge, Staines on Thursday 17th January and runs weekly.

It is a great initiative that helps combat loneliness and social isolation, getting people out of the house and making new friends in a social environment. Anyone aged 50+ can attend, no booking required. Food, as well as drinks, can be purchased and there will be a drinks loyalty scheme. Age UK Surrey staff and volunteers will be on hand to welcome you, make introductions and get involved in the chatter.

Terry, a member who attends our Café Culture group in Cranleigh has said: “When you retire you lose about two thirds of your friends and acquaintances. I don’t have any family and I have lost some of my friends on top of this, so it gets a bit lonely. It’s nice to have somewhere to go where you can meet for a coffee and have a chat with new people and make new friends.”

Loneliness and isolation is a growing issue within our communities. Café Culture is one of the initiatives that we are setting up in Staines to encourage people over the age of 50 to meet up weekly as a social group within the local area.
The meetings will be held between 3pm – 5pm and will be ongoing every week at the Nostrano Lounge, 55 High Street, Staines, TW18 4QH.

If you would like to find out more about Café Culture please call 01483 503414.

Supporting fuel poor disabled people through energy efficiency measures. A Practitioner guide by UK Energy Research Council (UKERC), University of York and Disability Rights UK.
Sue Bott, Deputy Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK writes

Too often fuel poverty is thought of as an issue that only impacts older disabled people, but the reality is that fuel poverty blights the lives of disabled people of any age: from children, to adults of working age, to older people.

Thirty per cent of families living in poverty contain a disabled person and are at particular risk of experiencing fuel poverty.

Furthermore, research has found that people living with a long-term condition aged 24-54 are 50 per cent more likely to be living in poverty than their able-bodied peers. The effects of fuel poverty can penetrate deep into everyday life and exacerbate existing impairments and health conditions.

One of the main approaches to dealing with fuel poverty at the national level is through energy efficiency policies.

Research from the Policy Pathways to Justice in Energy Efficiency project shows how current policy is overly focused on targets and low cost provision to the exclusion of the people living in fuel poor homes. The research also shows how households in need are difficult to find, that they do not receive adequate information that is accessible and from a trusted source, and how their needs are not always taken into consideration during the installation process.

The delivery of energy efficiency policy is variable and patchy, and there is a lack of knowledge and awareness of the specific needs of disabled people.

This guide for practitioners takes these findings and turns them into practical steps for people working in the fuel poverty and energy efficiency sectors. It should be read by everyone whose job involves supporting disabled people in fuel poor households, and its findings should be considered when helping people to live free from fuel poverty and thereby enjoying an enhanced quality of life.

SOCIAL CARE GREEN PAPER DELAYED YET AGAIN – Edited from Disability Rights December 2018
The publication of the Social Care Green Paper has been delayed several times, since its original scheduled publication date of summer 2017. It was finally supposed to be published just before Christmas 2018. However, in a new 'Brexit inspired' definition of the word final, its publication has been further delayed until “the first opportunity in 2019”.
Sue Bott, Deputy Chief Executive of Disability Rights UK, said it was no surprise that the green paper – which itself represented a “failure to get to grips with the urgent and growing crisis in social care” – had been “pushed back and pushed back”.

She attended a round table discuss social care concerning the green paper and younger disabled people with Secretary of State Health and Social Care Matt Hancock on 19 December.

What the House of Commons briefing says
The paper will cover funding for all adult social care in England.

In England, adults aged 18−64 represented 33% of adult social care recipients but accounted for half of all spending on adult social care.

Seven principles for Care

1. quality and safety embedded in service provision
2. whole-person, integrated care with the NHS and social care systems operating as one
3. the highest possible control given to those receiving support
4. a valued workforce
5. better practical support for families and carers
6. a sustainable funding model for social care supported by a diverse, vibrant and stable market
7. greater security for all – for those born or developing a care need early in life and for those entering old age who do not know what their future care needs may be.

So far, the Government has confirmed that the Green Paper on social care will cover:

•a sustainable social care system
• how people pay for social care, including possibly:

-a cap on lifetime social care bills with £100,000 means-test
- an insurance model for paying for social care

The briefing suggests that the government does not see taxation as a ‘valid solution’.
Previous Social Care Green Papers

• 1999 – Government-appointed Royal Commission publishes its proposals
• 2009 – Labour Government’s Green Paper proposes a National Care Service, and a subsequent White Paper proposes the introduction of a two-year cap on social care charges followed by free social care after 2015
• 2011 – Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, set up by the Coalition Government, proposes a cap on lifetime social care charges and a more generous means-test
• 2014 – Coalition Government legislates to implement the Commission’s recommendations with cross-party support, but in July 2015 the Conservative Government postpones their introduction from April 2016 citing funding pressures and a lack of preparedness by local authorities, and in 2017 further postpones (indefinitely) their coming into force.

The Banking Sector Champion, appointed by the Office for Disability Issues, is working with banks, building societies and The Post Office to look at ways they can improve services for disabled customers.

They are carrying out a survey and would like to hear the views of disabled people directly.
The survey is at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SCM37R8

Statement made on 20th December by: Sarah Newton (Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work.
“I would like to update the House on the improvements my Department is making in Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The guidance available to PIP Case Managers was updated in August 2018 to ensure those who are awarded the highest level of support whose needs are unlikely to improve or will deteriorate receive an ongoing award with a light touch review at the 10 year point.

Following on from the introduction of that guidance in August, we have now commenced activity to review the claims of existing claimants on the top level of support to identify those individuals who, in light of the new guidance, should be receiving an ongoing award.

This is still in the early stages and being dealt with in date order, prioritising claimants whose awards are coming up for an award review, but commencing this activity is a really important step to reducing the number of individuals having to undergo an unnecessary award review where their needs are only likely to deteriorate…....

This decision refers to DLA claimants transferring to PIP, who failed to attend or participate in their PIP consultations, and who had their DLA terminated as a result, but where, subsequently, DWP Decision Makers or Tribunals have decided the claimant had a ‘good reason’ for not attending or participating.

The decision states that in these instances claimants’ DLA awards should be reinstated, until a final decision on their PIP claim, and back paid, as necessary.

We accept that the same approach applies where claimants who failed to provide information or evidence were later found to have ‘good reason’ for the failure to comply.

Hannah Jenkins speaks English in the morning and German in the afternoon. It's not a routine she chose to adopt - but something her brain requires her to do. It all started with a cycling accident.

Hannah had been cycling through a park near her home. She'd rounded a familiar corner and collided with another cyclist. She remembers little, but paramedics have since filled her in - the other cyclist saw her lying motionless and bleeding on the ground and called emergency services.

An air ambulance was called for Hannah, who had been identified from items in her wallet. It was touch and go whether she would survive.

Hannah eventually came to on a busy ward in the Royal Berkshire Hospital with no idea where she was, what had happened or why, in her mind, no-one spoke English. "I couldn't understand anything," she says. "I felt as though I'd woken up in a foreign country and I couldn't understand why people weren't speaking to me in a way that I could understand."

Doctors tended to her in this unfamiliar language. Finally, she recognised what she thought was "name" and "date of birth" - and recited that to anyone who approached. It seemed like the right thing to do.

The doctors were puzzled as Hannah's documents all pointed to the fact she lived and worked in the UK. They knew she was called Hannah Jenkins, and yet she didn't understand or respond to English. They contacted her next of kin, her sister Margaret, who asked to speak to Hannah.

As Hannah sat in her hospital bed she chatted away on the phone, relieved that she was finally able to communicate with someone. This bemused doctors, because previously she had only uttered the odd, indecipherable word. Hannah had so many questions for Margaret, one of them being why the doctors weren't speaking to her in English. "They are, Hannah," her sister replied.

The crash, it seemed, had knocked Hannah's knowledge of English clear out of her mind. But she was left with the German that she had learnt as a child - the language that she defaulted to when speaking to her sister. The sisters were brought up in the UK speaking German and English, by polyglot parents. Their Austrian mother spoke four languages and their father, a language teacher from Wales, spoke seven.

Hannah was experiencing something called secondary language loss, according to consultant neurosurgeon Colin Shieff, who is also trustee of brain injury charity Headway. "Our brains are very sensitive and anything that has the ability to disturb the computer in any way can potentially impact upon the words coming out," he says. "There is no algorithm that would follow that a specific injury will invariably result in the loss of German nouns or English grammar, but we do lose those bits." He says the skills learned in childhood are those most likely to be retained - the ability to say "yes" or "no" or even to repeat a nursery rhyme. He says "something that's been ingrained for ever" - is more likely to remain intact and those skills learned later, are the first to go.

The physical impact of the crash was minimal - a bruised leg and a sore shoulder - so Hannah was discharged within days. But via her sister, who acted as her translator, she learnt that her brain injury was significant and would take years, rather than months, to improve.

The crash on an October afternoon in 2015 altered Hannah's life, language and personality, but it is something to which she has learned to adapt. "Mentally I have to see that this is me now," she says. "I'm happy in my own skin again so there's no reason why I can't just run with life as I am now." The full story/article can be read at www.bbc.co.uk/news/disability-45804613

INVALID CARRIAGE RESEARCH PROJECT – Disabled Motoring December 2018
Artist, Simon Mckeown look into the history of invalid carriages and those who used them through his lottery funded research project, ‘The Carrying of Passengers is Forbidden’ and he has now opened an exhibition to showcase some of the material that he has collected so far.

The exhibition is called ‘No Passengers’ and it opened at St George’s Hall in Liverpool on 21st November. Simon has another exhibition taking place at the Museum of Liverpool which includes an AC Acedes Invalid Carriage. This exhibition forms part of DaDaFest International, the event which celebrates disability arts.

As a result of these exhibitions Simon hopes to encourage people to share their own stories of invalid carriages so that they can be recorded for posterity. If you have a story to share then please send it to info@simon-mckeown.com using the subject title “Where are they now”.

DISABLED FACILITIES GRANT REVIEW – Disabled Motoring December 2018
An Independent review commissioned by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health and Social Care concluded that the government needs to make considerable changes to the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) so that disabled people have more scope to have the adaptations they require installed in their homes.

One of the recommendations stated that the government should increase the upper limit awarded through the grant so that it is in line with the rising costs of this equipment and the cost of installation. Another important suggestion made in the report was for the government to introduce a national accreditation scheme for builders and tradespeople to certify that they are trained to install adaptive equipment.

The report states that 90% of the funding supplied through the DFG is currently used to install level showers, stair lifts and ramps. Taking this into consideration, it was recommended that those administering the grant should take “a fresh approach that is all-encompassing and creates a home environment that enables disabled people to live a full life”. In other words, the report is asking for the government to supply the funding for a wider range of adaptations enabling disabled people to carry out a broader variety of everyday tasks independently.

In order for this to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible it was also recommended that occupational therapists and housing staff should be brought together in integrated teams in all local authority areas across the country. At the moment this is only happening in certain parts of the UK and this means that the grant money is not being utilised as well as it could be. In the interest of raising awareness of the grant the report suggested that changing its name to one “that is up-to-date and instantly recognisable”.

In October (2018) the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced that the government would be investing another £55 million in the DFG for 2018/19 following the previous decision to increase the total amount of money allocated for the grant from the £220 million that was available in 2015, to £505 million by 2019/20. Despite this planned increase in funding the number of housing adaptations, at least up until 2016/17, “has not significantly increased” because the financial help offered by local authorities has lowered and the cost of the equipment and its installation has increased.

To help make sure that the government improves the way that it provides housing adaptations to disabled people, one of the final recommendations in the report asked for the government to set up housing and health partnership boards across the country and give these local boards the responsibility of making sure that the impact of the DFG is maximised in their respective areas.

To view the full report visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/disabled-facilities-grant-and-other-adaptations-external-review.


It is important to know what to do before, during and after a fire. It can mean the difference between life and death.
Surrey Fire and Rescue provide the following advice about preventing a fire and information to help you to be ready and survive a fire in your home. As well as help and advice on how to cope with such an emergency and who to contact for advice and support, so you can start to return to normality after a fire.

Safe and Well Visits are carried out by Surrey Fire and Rescue officers and in some instances, our volunteers. They combine home safety checks, reducing the risk of fire in your home and where appropriate, you will also be offered information to help you improve your wellbeing, allowing you to live safer and more independent lives.

Surrey residents can arrange a free Safe and Well Visit by completing the online request form or calling the request line on freephone 0800 085 0767.
www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/surrey-fire-and-rescue (Surrey Fire Service website). They can do fire safety checks. They can also install fire alarms for free.

DayBreak provides day respite care for older people across Spelthorne. We are based at St. Peter’s Church Hall, Laleham Road, Staines and are open on Mondays and Tuesdays. We offer entertainment, personal care and a freshly cooked lunch.

We are looking for volunteers to spend time with our guests, talk to them, play games etc. Volunteers are particularly needed on Mondays. Our hours of operation are 10.00 to 4.00.

DayBreak also has a vacancy for a trustee. We would ideally like someone with a medical background but most importantly an interest in the care of older people. We are a financially sound small charity and have been running since 2008.
If you are interested in either of these roles please contact Tracy Luck, Chair of Trustees at tracyann.luck@gmail.com