Welcome to our latest Community Connector newsletter!
For the latest edition of our newsletter, we have focused particularly on what we believe are the most pressing concerns for families. This includes financial and relationship support, along with the help available for both children's and adults' emotional wellbeing.
Aside from the suggestions we have made in this month's newsletter, there are also many more services to be found on our Family Information Service and Local Offer websites and Directories so please take a look.
We hope this information will be helpful to you.
- Financial support
- Mental Health
- Parenting support
- Applying for and getting ready for school
- Surrey County Council fostering campaign
- Spotlight on Services
Food and essential items
If you are struggling financially, you may like to contact one of the services in the shortlists below, which includes details of local foodbanks:
- North East Surrey (Spelthorne, Epsom and Ewell and Elmbridge)
- North West Surrey (Surrey Heath, Woking amnd Runnymede)
- South West Surrey (Guildford, Waverley)
- South East Surrey (Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead and Tandridge)
Free period products can be collected or donated at most libraries in Surrey, you can find out more about the scheme on the Period dignity across Surrey webpage.
The following services may be able to offer, or help you find, financial support:
- Help for households page - is a government support page with information and advice relating to the cost-of-living crisis.
- Gingerbread- provide expert advice and practical support for single parents. This support is offered through online forums, parent groups, advice webchat and a helpline. They have a specific advice page relating to the cost-of-living crisis.
- Turn2Us- have a search tool for grants which you could use to see if you are eligible for any other support from charities. You can also check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to, by using the Turn2Us benefits calculator.
Our Family Finance web page provides further details of the financial support available to families including organisations offering financial support to families.
Clothing, furniture and school uniforms
The services on this shortlist can also assist families in need of clothing and furniture.
You may also like to contact Surrey County Council's Health and Welfare Hub which helps signpost people to information about financial, health and welfare support available.
Support with children and young people's emotional wellbeing
It is understandable that children and young people may have a number of worries about returning to school, or starting a new school. The following services may be helpful to them if they want to speak to someone about how they are feeling or need more immediate support.
- Childline is a free, private, and confidential service for children and young people where you can talk about anything. The phone service 0800 1111 operates between 9am and midnight.
- The Mindworks 24/7 mental health crisis line, is available for children and young people who are worried about themself, a friend, or for parents worried about their child or young person. It can be contacted on 0800 915 4644, is open all day and all night, seven days a week.
- CYP Haven are safe spaces for young people to drop into to talk about worries and mental health confidentially. There is also a phone service and virtual workshops operating alongside the face-to-face sessions. The opening times and phone number are listed on their website.
- Kooth is a free, anonymous, confidential, safe, online wellbeing service, offering counselling, information, and forums for children and young people aged 11 to 18.
- The Mix offers information and advice about any subject to children and young people from 13 to 25. It provides helpline and online support.
If you are concerned about your or another child's emotional wellbeing, you can contact the Young Mind's Parent Helpline on 08088 025544.
Support for parents and carers emotional wellbeing
If you have find that your mental health is poor at present, there are a number of services that can offer advice or emotional support, including both national and local helplines and online support services for parents.
Parenting can be challenging for a number of reasons, Some of the services below may be helpful to receive help, advice and tips.
- Family Learning also offer a wide range of free parenting courses from Surrey County Council, including on understanding children's behaviour.
- All Surrey residents can Register for free online guides for families. The guides cover a wide range of topics and include tips from childcare, education and NHS health experts. A brand new course 'Back to School' has recently been added.
- Family Lives, also have a dedicated web page which provides tips on establishing a school routine.
Our Parenting courses and advice web page has the details of various available courses.
Applying for and getting ready for school
Secondary school admissions opened on 1 September! If you're a parent or carer with a child reaching age 11 between 1 September 2023 and 31 August 2024, you have until 31 October 2023 to apply for their 2024 school place. The Secondary school admissions article in Surrey Matters, has some top tips for choosing schools to apply for.
It's never too early to think about what will happen when your child will start primary or infant school. Our Get Ready for School online booklet can help answer your questions, explain the application process and give you information and tips on how you can help your child prepare for school.
Surrey County Council fostering campaign
Fostering is an incredibly rewarding experience that can transform the lives of both the children being fostered and the foster carers themselves. A caring, stable foster family can make a significant difference to children's wellbeing and development.
Nationally there is a significant shortage of foster carers, with around 9,265 new foster families needed in the next year alone. In Surrey, there are over 1,000 children in care and Surrey County Council have just under 400 foster families.
Foster carers come from all walks of life and backgrounds, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fostering. Whether you are single or married, young or old, own your own home or rent, you can still become a foster carer. The most important thing is a willingness to provide a safe and loving home for a child in need.
This is the message that Surrey County Council is promoting in national recruitment film 'Any of Us'. The film has been jointly funded by over 80 councils across England and aims to raise awareness about fostering, particularly among those people who may not have previously considered themselves suited to fostering. The film looks at the potential of three people from different backgrounds to become foster carers, and the potential of children they care for to grow and thrive.
You can contact Surrey County Council Fostering Service on 0800 096 9626, via email at email@example.com or by visiting their website.
Spotlight on services
Recently we have met with a variety of different services, who support families in different but similarly inspiring ways. We have mentioned a few of these below:
- The Beautiful Minds Family is a support group run by parents who have children who are neurodiverse, for parents who have children with a neurodiverse condition such as autism, ADHD, anxiety, or with other special educational needs. They meet twice a month in Bosco's (All Saints Church, New Haw) and have a mixture of informal "cuppa and catch up" sessions and presentations from our growing speaker list.
- Preston Food Club (Food Club at St Mark's Church, Tadworth supports local residents experiencing financial hardship by giving access to food and basic supplies at a very reasonable price. Residents are welcomed with light refreshments, before making their selection from the produce on offer for a small fee. Food Club receives food from FareShare and the Epsom & Ewell Foodbank as well as local collections.
- Buddy Up Charity provides support to young people who might benefit from a dedicated and experienced youth worker to offer one-on-one guidance and support. Its mentors support young people who may be facing various issues in their personal and social lives, all mentors receive up to date training delivered by Buddy Up's experienced core staff and undergone an enhanced DBS check.
- Sayer's Croft Trust is a registered charity working in partnership with the Sayers Croft field centre, set in beautiful woodlands in Ewhurst. The Trust serves and supports the local community by providing fun, adventurous and challenging activities for young people at their site which includes outdoor adventure activities, walks, learning through history and geography, etc. They run regular youth clubs and holiday clubs and more.
Subscribe to the newsletter
If you would like to be added to the distribution list for the newsletter please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find out about activities through the events page on our Family Information Service directory. Or we also share details of new and existing groups and helpful information all the time on our social media accounts. Why not take a look?