Community Connector newsletter – helping families find support

Welcome to our latest Community Connector newsletter!

For the February edition we have focused on what we believe are the most pressing concerns for families. This includes financial and parenting support, along with resources for wellness and some important additional needs and disabilities updates. We also wanted to spotlight some of the wonderful services we have had the chance to meet and hear about recently.

In addition to the services listed in this newsletter you can find more 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 may like to contact one of the services in the shortlists below, which includes details of local foodbanks:

Free period products can be collected and donated at most libraries in Surrey. Find out more about the scheme on the Period dignity across Surrey webpage.

Finances

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.
  • Turn2Ushave a search tool for grants which can be used to see if you are eligible for support from charities. You can also check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to, by 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 now operate a Warmth Matters helpline, which offers advice to people who need help with their energy bills.

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

We have a saved shortlist online for all services that provide families with clothing and furniture.

You can also contact Surrey County Council's Health and Welfare Hub which helps signpost people to information about financial, health and welfare support available.


Health and Wellbeing

February started with a national Time to Talk Day run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. It was the UK's biggest mental health day for friends, families, communities, and workplaces to come together to talk, listen and change lives. If you or someone you know would like to speak to someone about how they are feeling, or needs more immediate support, here are some services that can help.

Children and young people's wellbeing

  • 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.
  • Mindworks Surrey is a mental health and wellbeing service for children and young people aged 5-18, which offers an array of services. Their website has a wide range of information and crisis support. The 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.
  • 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, opening times a contact details are 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 yourself or a child's emotional wellbeing, you can contact the Young Mind's Parent Helpline on 08088 025544.

Parents and carers wellbeing

If you have found that your mental health needs some attention, 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.

Measles

Cases of measles are on the rise in England and there has been a fall in the number of people vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). If you aren't sure if your child has received the MMR vaccine, please check their health records in their 'Red Book' or contact your GP practice and make an appointment, if needed. If you are worried that your child could have measles, please call your GP practice or call NHS 111 for advice. The NHS website has further information about Measles.


Parenting support

Parenting can be challenging for a number of reasons. The services below may be helpful sources of help, advice and tips.

Sleep

  • Children and Family Health Surrey have produced a range of video guides offering tips and advice from experts about how to support children's sleep. The videos give advice, information and tips about supporting your toddler, child or teenager including those with additional needs and learning disabilities with sleep.

Children and Family Health Surrey top sleep tips


Additional Needs and Disabilities updates

Surrey County Council are launching a new update for families of children and young people with additional needs and disabilities, and the practitioners who help them. Updates will provide news and information and details of support services available in Surrey. To receive updates via email, complete the sign-up form online.

Share your views

  • Family Voice, the Parent Carer forum for Surrey, will be facilitating online workshops where your views about our additional needs and disabilities services can be gathered. What you tell us will directly influence the plans that are developed. Details of these workshops are available on our Local Offer website. If you are unable to attend a workshop, but would like to share your views, you can complete an online survey. This survey will be published shortly and will be available to all families and practitioners who work with Surrey's children and young people with additional needs and disabilities.
  • Surrey Short Breaks are holding a co-production workshop launch event on the 21st February at the Lightbox in Woking. The workshop gives an opportunity for families and professionals to feedback about the Short Breaks Service. To book your place email: shortbreaks.info@surreycc.gov.uk.

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.

  • Andy's Man Club runs nationally and in Surrey there is the founding, significantly well-established, group in Woking. There is now a group in Guildford too, that has just reached 1 month old. These groups are well attended by a variety of men, with very different stories, which has led them to walk through their doors without pressure or judgement.
  • The Lighthouse Woking is a vibrant hub that hosts a range of projects to support, encourage and empower anyone who finds themselves in need. These include money advice, a hygiene bank, community lunches, clothing and toys for families with children under five.
  • Little Diamonds in Stanwell is a smaller group for children with additional needs and the parents and carers who care for them. The sessions offer fun activities, sensory resources; a chance to have a chat with other families and share ideas and experiences. The group is held at Stanwell Family Centre Hadrian Way, Stanwell, TW19 7HE.

Stay in the know

We share details of new and existing groups and helpful information all the time on our social media accounts. Why not take a look?

If you would like to be added to the distribution list for the newsletter, please let us know: surrey.fis@surreycc.gov.uk

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