Community Connector newsletter – helping families find support

Welcome to our latest Community Connector newsletter!

For the May edition we have focused on what we believe are the most pressing concerns for families. We have resources for parents and carers, events, courses and a spotlight on services section, highlighting some brilliant local groups.

You can find more services, resources and information on our Family Information Service and Local Offer websites and Directories so please take a look.

We hope this newsletter will be helpful to you.

Page Contents


Financial support

Food and essential items

If you are finding things difficult financially you can contact the services below, grouped by location. Including details of foodbanks:

Free period products are available at most libraries in Surrey. Find out more on the Period dignity across Surrey webpage.

Finances

Our Family Finance page provides details of the support available to families. Including organisations offering financial support to families.

The following services may be able to offer, or help you find, financial support:

  • Help for households is a government support page with information and advice relating to the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Turn2Us have a search tool for grants where you can see if you are eligible for support from charities. You can also check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to, using the Turn2Us benefits calculator.
  • The Warmth Matters project aims to tackle fuel poverty across Surrey by providing energy advice and assistance. Along with community pop-up information and advice sessions, they operate a helpline, which offers advice to people who need help with their energy bills.

Clothing, furniture and school uniforms

Our clothing and furniture shortlist has services that provide discounted items for low income families.

You can also contact our Health and Welfare Hub who give information about financial, health and welfare support.


Mental health awareness week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 will take place from 13 to 19 May. This year's theme is "Movement: Moving more for our mental health".

Taking care of our bodies can help prevent problems with our mental health. There are lots of benefits to physical movement. It is a great mood booster, can improve how we feel emotionally, reduce stress and help us to sleep better.

Tips to get moving more

If you'd like to get moving more, this guide from Mental Health Foundation will give you some ideas to get started, as well as tips on how to get the best mental health benefit.

Sport in Mind

Sport in Mind are a charity who want to improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems through sport and physical activity. Their established sessions in Surrey are free to join. You can drop in, no need to sign up. They are open to all abilities and led by friendly coaches.

Activities include yoga, badminton, pickleball and more. Use their activity map to find a session near you.

Health and activity trackers available to borrow from Surrey libraries

Surrey Libraries and Active Surrey are working together to improve the health and wellbeing of residents, focusing on physical activity.

You can now borrow a health and activity tracker (smartwatch) for six weeks, to track your activity levels and get more active. We strongly advise checking availability on the Surrey Libraries catalogue.

Trackers can be reserved for free by Surrey library members, and collected from any of our 52 libraries. If you are not a member, you can join the library online or in person. Find your nearest Library.

Parents and carers wellbeing

Have you found that your mental health needs extra attention lately? Our list of helplines and online support services for parents can offer advice and emotional support. They are free to access in your own time and can help you take control of your mental health.

If you are concerned about yourself or a child's emotional wellbeing, you can contact the Young Mind's Parent Helpline on 08088 025544.


Starting school and exam stress

Getting ready for school

Have you recently received your child's school place for September?

Our getting ready for school booklet gives you all the information you need. From applying for a school place, preparing to start school, what they will learn, wrap around childcare, and guidance for you as a parent.

Family Lives also have a lot of information about supporting your child in their school life. Topics include starting school, routine, changing schools, school gate culture and more.

If you have questions about your child's school place, call the Surrey Schools and Childcare Service on 0300 200 1004.

Exam stress

Exams and pressure to do well can be stressful for your child. Surrey County Council's Exam Stress web page suggests the following to support them in managing or reducing this:

  • Encourage them to organise their revision to include regular meals and relaxation time.
  • Help them think positively about what they can achieve and discourage talk of failure.
  • Be ready to listen but avoid criticising or giving heavy advice.
  • Let them know you believe in them, regardless of the exam results, and try to manage your own anxieties for them.
  • Suggest listening to relaxation tapes. We produce 'Time to be calm' available by calling 0300 200 1004.

If you remain worried about how your child is coping, contact:

  • the school
  • your family doctor

Mindworks Surrey have some great resources for children and young people to help manage emotions and cope with exam stress. Their video about exam stress explains what anxiety is and gives useful strategies to cope. It also talks through tips on planning for exams and what is useful when waiting for results.


What's On

Surrey Day 11 May, is an opportunity for everyone living and working in our wonderful county to take a moment to step back and celebrate what we have. This year's theme is all about seeing Surrey differently – from the sky. Go to Visit Surrey for Surrey Day events and offers. If you plan to travel for Surrey Day, watch out for the M25 closure that weekend.

Advice for Families without an EHCP 13 May. Waverley Family Centre are hosting a drop in session with the Family Communication Officer from L-SPA. They have a range of knowledge and experience of additional needs and advocate the importance of early intervention for young people and their families. Providing the 'right support at the right time' for children without an EHCP. Visit between 9:30 and 4pm on 13th May 2024 at Hale Family Centre, Upper Hale Road, Farnham GU9 0LR. Email: kathy.guy@barnardos.org.uk

Surrey Family Learning have lots of free courses to choose from. Including fun and healthy cooking sessions for your family such as 'Healthy summer bakes' 7 May, 4pm to 5:30pm and 'Help I have a fussy eater!', 4 June, 4pm to 5:30pm. Both are online so can be done from the comfort of your own home.

See what other events are coming up on our Directory.

Our Parenting courses and advice page has the details of other available courses.


Spotlight on services

Over the last month we have met with a variety of different services, who support families in different but similarly inspiring ways.

  • The MYTi Club at Phoenix Centre, Tadworth on Friday evenings from 4.30 to 7.30 pm and for around 37 days during school holidays from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. They provide a range of activities for young people including sports training and art classes with a music room and computer suite available for members. A hot meal is provided free of charge on Friday evenings and breakfast and lunch during the school holidays. The Club's youth workers make time to listen to and understand their members' problems and concerns.
  • Men's Pitstop run confidential meetings for men to talk openly and honestly and support each other. Find a group near you using our Directory. Search 'Men's Pitstop'.
  • The Lucy Rayner Foundation provide a range of mental health services across Surrey. They believe that mental health support should be accessible to all and are strong advocates of awareness especially among young adults. Services include support groups, counselling, suicide bereavement groups and monthly drop-in sessions at the Old Fire Station on Horley, 10am-1pm every first Sunday of the month.
  • Grace Dear Trust are a local mental health charity. They work closely with schools to train students to become mental health ambassadors, provide guest speakers for assemblies, after school clubs that improve wellbeing and training for staff.

Stay in the know

Keep up to date with events for Surrey Day and Mental Health Awareness week this May by following our social channels. We also post family groups, family centre drop-in sessions and much more. Why not take a look?

If you would like to subscribe to this newsletter, please let us know: surrey.fis@surreycc.gov.uk

If you think your team or service would benefit from meeting a Connector and finding out more about the opportunities the Family Information Service and Local Offer might present to families, please do get in touch: surrey.fis@surreycc.gov.uk

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.