Independent skills in Surrey Libraries

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An 8 week course to teach skills that support independence. Run in collaboration with Communities and Prevention.

This is a program of classes taking place at local libraries. The goal is to enable participants to live with as much choice and control for as long as possible.

What are independent skills?

The Independent Skills project is about building a toolkit that to empower individuals to live independently. These skills could vary from person to person. Common examples include budgeting money, light exercise routines, and basic computer skills.

Partner organisations will help us by delivering each session. This will help people to identify the support available, and introduce them to someone they are likely to meet when reaching out to an organisation for support.

What are the goals of this project?

We want our participants to feel more connected to their community and other residents. They should feel more informed about the support available to them in the community, with increased confidence to engage with local support. We want them to be more in control of their health and wellbeing, and future health and care needs. The main goal is for people to remain independent for longer.


After an initial conversation with participants to establish any specific needs, we will then have 6 courses covering a range of topics and where to get further support. Each session will be in-person and around 2 hours long, with a break in the middle.

Avoiding scams and financial planning

Course will be run by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards.

The first half of the session will cover staying safe and avoiding scams, and how to spot and report them. The second half will cover common issues in the current cost-of-living crisis, with financial advice, planning and budgeting. There will also be support from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Mental wellbeing

Courses will be run by Richmond Fellowship and Catalyst.

This session will focus on the basics of emotional wellbeing, how to look after and improve our emotional wellbeing (including connection with nature). Some locations will be supported by the Mary Frances Trust.

Digital skills

Course will be run by Surrey Adult Learning.

The session will focus on the basics, to help reduce digital exclusion. It will include day to day helpful apps/websites such as the National Health Service (NHS) app.

Physical wellbeing

Course will be run by Active Surrey.

For the first half of the session, this session will cover light exercises and fall prevention. The second half will cover topics such as healthy eating, sleep hygiene, alcohol and smoking.

Using your existing skills

Run by Surrey Adult Learning.

This session will go through how to identify strengths and skills and how to use these to find employment and volunteering opportunities.

Staying independent

Run by Surrey Libraries in collaboration with local prescribing teams.

The final session is built specifically for the individuals on each course. It will cover places to find ongoing support within the community.


We have four courses starting from the middle of June in the following libraries:

  • Camberley, Tuesdays from 10.30am until 12.30pm
  • Dorking, Fridays from 10.30am until 12.30pm
  • Guildford, Wednesdays from 10.30am until 12.30pm
  • Staines, Mondays from 10.30am until 12.30pm

From July onwards we will be starting courses in another ten libraries:

Final locations will be dependent on demand and availability. Transport may be available if you are unable to use public transport to get to your course.

Your questions answered

Do I need to attend every session?

Yes, it is an 8 week course with all sessions designed to come together and give a full experience.

Can I bring someone else with me?

Yes, you can come with someone if you need to, for example, a carer or parent. However please do inform us in advance as some of our rooms have a limit on attendees for safety reasons.

Are the rooms accessible for people with limited mobility?

Our rooms have been checked, and any rooms with access via stairs will be avoided if you inform us of your need in advance. If necessary, transport can be provided to an alternate library.

Who can be referred?

Anyone over 18 years of age can be referred to the program who would benefit from the support provided in the sessions.

How can you be referred?

To make a self-referral, please call the Community Helpline on 0300 200 1008 which is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm, where one of their friendly staff will fill in a form for you. A member of the Independent Skills Project team will then contact you to invite you to a pre-course chat.

If you prefer, you can also speak to a member of staff at Surrey Libraries. Pop into one of our libraries. Find your nearest library.

Talk to someone about welfare support.

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