Community Connector newsletter – helping families find support

Welcome to our June Community Connector update. We are passionate about helping families find the right support at the right time, and this is where we share helpful information on new community services, and promote the established ones that meet your most current needs.

There are also many more services to be found through our Family Information Service directory, and our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities services directory, so please take a look.

We hope this information will be helpful to you.

This month:

Practical support

Food and finances

If you are struggling financially, you may like to contact one of the services in the shortlists below, which includes details of local foodbanks:

You may also find the Financial help web page helpful, and further assistance can be gained from your local Citizen's Advice Bureau. It is also worth contacting your local borough or district council to ask what help they can provide under the Household Support Fund scheme.

The Government have now launched a new debt respite scheme called Breathing Space which gives people sixty days of protection from debt collections on many types of loans and arrears, and a pause on interest and penalty fees, giving them more of a chance to get on top of things with the help of a professional adviser. There is also a related scheme for those receiving treatment for a mental health crisis.

You can find more information about Breathing Space from Citizen's Advice.

The services on this shortlist can also assist families in need of clothing and furniture.

Physical health

Surrey Heartlands NHS Partnership have launched a campaign called Heart Beetz to raise awareness of where to go to get the help you need to manage you and your family's health needs.

View on YouTube

To seek advice on the health and development of your baby or toddler or to make an appointment with a health visitor, call the Surrey-wide 0 to 19 Advice Line on 01883 340 922. Useful advice, tips and resources are also available on the Children and Family Health Surrey website.

If you have concerns about your child's weight, Active Surrey provide a free service to help families with children aged under 12 years to eat better and move more often, with one-to-one and group support sessions. Find out more about the programme on the Be Your Best website.

Mental health

The county's new mental health service for children and teenagers - Mindworks Surrey - is now in operation, and is an alliance of services provided by Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust and a number of local and national charities, including Barnardo's and the National Autistic Society. This new service aims to provide support as early as possible, and without the need for a formal diagnosis.

There are a number of other services that young people can use to receive confidential expert advice to help support their mental health and emotional wellbeing. We've listed some local and national services that offer online or telephone support to children and young people.

Surrey Family Learning provide free online courses to parents and carers on how to support your child if they are experiencing anxiety.

Whilst school can be a place of great friendships, we know it can also be where young people encounter the distress of bullying or harassment from their peers. If your child has been facing these issues in school, online or elsewhere, these sites and helplines about bullying are here to provide guidance and support.

Sadly, many young people will have experienced the death of a loved one over the course of the Covid pandemic. Our Helping children cope with bereavement web page has the details of services that may be of use.

If you have found that your mental health has suffered under the challenging circumstances of the past year, 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.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Relaunched website for families of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Our Family Information Service have recently relaunched their Local Offer website with an improved design to assist families in finding information about the support services that are available in the county and how to access them.

Details of how the Local Offer website can help are in the video below:

View on YouTube


Parenting courses

Surrey County Council and Children and Family Health Surrey have pre-paid for every parent and carer in Surrey to access a full programme of courses provided by Our Place. The courses provide guidance on parenting babies, toddlers and teenagers, as well as supporting children with mental health issues and with autistic spectrum conditions. To access the courses for free, simply enter the code ACORN on the Our Place course page.

For details on the current programme of free parenting courses from Surrey County Council, including on understanding children's behaviour, please also visit their Family Learning service page.

The Workers' Educational Association (WEA), in association with East Surrey College, is offering these free courses to residents in the boroughs of Epsom and Ewell, Reigate and Banstead, and the district of Tandridge:

  • Encouraging Positive Behaviour in Young Children
  • Helping Your Child to Manage Stress and Anxiety
  • Using Relaxation and Mindfulness to Manage Children's Anxiety
  • Parent Relaxation

There is also a range of other courses on offer from WEA to support wellbeing and employment skills.

Baby Buddy: Free Pregnancy and Parenting App

Parenting charity Best Beginnings have a free, multi-award-winning app called Baby Buddy for expectant and new parents that is full of helpful tools and videos for planning the birth and care of your baby, and plenty of practical information and advice from doctors, midwives, health visitors and other health professionals.

To find out more visit Best Beginnings and to download Baby Buddy visit your smartphone app store.

Relationships and separation

If you are finding that your relationships have been put under strain, perhaps more so with the effects of the coronavirus restrictions and the economic downturn, the following shortlist provides details of support and counselling services that may be of help.

If family relations are under such strain that it is severely impacting upon your child's wellbeing or education, you may like to consider an intergenerational mediation process, where trained mediators help family members to improve how they talk and listen to one another and guide them to finding solutions to problems. The service works with families with children aged 12 years and upwards. Mediation Surrey offers a free service to Surrey residents. Applications are made via a professional such as a GP or social worker. Find out more about intergenerational mediation from Mediation Surrey.

If you or your partner are in the difficult situation of separation or divorce, these are services providing support after separation who can give valuable information, advice, guidance and support.

Domestic abuse

If you are experiencing domestic abuse or are concerned that someone may be, please contact one of the services on the domestic abuse information for families page.

Remember if you need immediate help and support phone the 24-hour National Domestic abuse helpline on freephone 0808 2000 247. In an emergency, please call 999. If you cannot speak without endangering yourself, or cannot make a noise to communicate, the call handler will activate a Silent Solution system and may ask you to press 55 to confirm consent to transfer your call directly to the police.

Youth Using Violence and Aggression (YUVA)

YUVA is a service provided by the Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP) which offers confidential, one-to-one support for young people ages 11 to 18 (up to 25 for young people with additional needs) who want to change their behaviour and improve how they communicate with those closest to them. The course of 10 sessions can be done face-to-face or remotely with video calling.

DVIP also provide a group support programme for parents called 'Who's In Charge', as well as one-to-one support for siblings and intimate partners who have been abused or affected by the abuse in the family. The abuser needs to be engaged in the Yuva programme at the same time, so that real changes are made for the whole family.

Referrals can be made by parents or by organisations working with the family. For more information, visit Domestic Violence Intervention Project website, call 020 8741 8020 or email

Anti-social behaviour

It is a sad fact that not only have the national lockdowns seen an increase in referrals to domestic abuse services, but also a rise in reports of disputes between neighbours and anti-social behaviour. If you have been experiencing difficulties in your community, here is a collection of suggested services that can help.

Victims of crime

As part of their 'See the Bigger Picture' campaign to increase the awareness and prevention of criminal exploitation of children and young people, Surrey Police have launched this video. If you have any concerns that a child you know may be being exploited for criminal gain, please call the police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

This shortlist of services offering support to victims of crime provides links to services who can offer information, guidance and help.

Online safety

Online Sexual Harassment - a guide for parents

The Children's Commissioner for England has a guide for parents and carers to support children stay safe online. Using the views and voices collected from young people, it gives tips to adults about how to talk to their children about such issues as sexual harassment, peer pressure and pornography, and guidance on how to support them. There are plenty of links to expert advice services and information on how to report and remove harmful content.

Report and remove, helping young people to remove nude images and videos of themselves from the internet

Childline and the Internet Watch Foundation provide an online tool called Report Remove to assist young people in reporting online nude images and videos of themselves – and getting them removed from the internet. The video below gives a useful overview of the Report Remove service.

Spotlight: Surrey Family Learning

Surrey Family Learning offer a variety of free courses for parents and carers, which aim to help create a happier family life. The courses available include Parenting, support for those with English as an Additional Language, Maths and Cookery. Further details are available on their website.

Further information and support