Can we afford to lose Weybridge Children’s Centre

Surrey County’s financial difficulties are putting at risk one of the most useful and effective community services in Weybridge – the Sure Start for All Children’s Centre, based in Churchfields.

Who needs help?

Surrey says that the closure of this, and other centres is necessary as it wishes to target those children “most in need”. Sadly, the way need is assessed is based almost wholly on national measures of disadvantage which ignores the very real needs and risks to well-being presented by more hidden needs such as unrecognised post-natal depression, domestic abuse and the simple isolation experienced by new mothers in commuter centres like Weybridge.

Why place matters

I spoke this week with the Leader of Weybridge Children’s Centre and came away convinced of the need for there to be high quality services available for children and families in most towns in Elmbridge. Daphne described to me the subtle ways of encouraging reluctant parents to attend the centre, and then access further services, which comes about thanks to informal encounters out and about in town. This is just not possible when parents have to travel to another town.

Weybridge’s centre is very special

Daphne and her deputy also filled me on on the range of innovative programmes they have introduced in Weybridge, which have been adopted by other centres and which have participants from other centres, including: a brilliant 7-week post-natal course; a paediatric First Aid course (only centre to run one) and an NHS facilitated 8-week Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based mental health course for mothers with post-natal depression.

What does OFSTED say?

In 2015 OFSTED visited the centre and found:

“One of the most notable features of their work is how successful the staff are in helping mothers and families become more capable.  This goes well beyond mothers and fathers learning how to become better parents.  It has a track record of helping parents to access education and progress to paid work.”

“The centre leader has done a sterling job of maintaining high-quality frontline services alongside inducting new staff and ensuring it is ‘business as usual’ for families during a period of significant change.”

“Her work is highly respected and valued by partners and parents alike.”

“The centre has been recognised as an ‘excellence in
practice partner’ by the health care provider for its work with parents at their child’s developmental check.”

“Targeted one-to-one support for children and families is effective and highly valued. Parents described staff to inspectors as ‘caring, sensitive, non-judgemental and patient’.”

Case files are of good quality and show the tangible impact that staff interventions have, particularly in empowering families to take control. Parents, including those from priority groups, build skills and confidence from attending specific programmes that help them to manage their children’s challenging behaviour positively.”

“The outreach work provided for the relatively high number of children and families who are in most need of support is extremely effective in enhancing their health, safety and well-being and
sustaining their involvement with the centre until their needs are met.”

“The centre provides access to high-quality services for most adults identified as needing help to improve their education and skills. Initial entry-level English courses are delivered by the college at the centre, where a crèche is provided by centre staff.”

Can we really let this disappear without a fight?

Read more on the centre’s facebook page give your opinion to Surrey here

Libraries

Surrey is undertaking several consultations and is seeking your comments by 4 January 2019 to help it shape those services for the future.

More people are using Surrey’s online services with fewer visiting in person, so changes to the library service are proposed to do things differently to fit better with modern life. views are being sought on the strategic principles that will shape the future service – such as whether libraries could bring together a range of local services under one roof.

Further details on all the consultations and the opportunity to submit views on these proposals can be found here.  The consultation response is at the bottom of the consultation webpage.

The analysis of the responses to the consultations will be presented to Surrey’s cabinet in January 2019 for consideration and then to full council in February.  There will then be a second phase of consultation where it will share detailed proposals in 2019 to seek resident’s views before any final decisions are made.

Surrey’s Recycling Proposals

Surrey is undertaking several consultations and it seeks your comments by 4 January 2019

Despite changes to recycling centres last year, Surrey’s financial pressures are so severe that consideration needs to be given to whether further savings can be found at community recycling centres.

Surrey’s proposals include:

  • Permanently closing a number of smaller, less effective CRCs, whilst
    increasing the opening hours at some CRCs. Up to six CRC sites are
    under consideration for closure: Bagshot, Cranleigh, Dorking, Farnham,
    Lyne and Warlingham.
  • Introducing a charge to dispose of construction wood and roofing felt.
  • Increasing the cost of disposing of items we already charge for.
  • Charging an annual application fee for van, pickup and trailer permits.

There are no recycling centres in Elmbridge and residents would probably use
the centres in Leatherhead or Epsom which are not proposed for closure, but
whose opening hours may change.

Further details on all the consultations and the opportunity to submit views on
these proposals can be found here.  The consultation response is at the bottom of the consultation webpage.

The analysis of the responses to the consultations will be presented to Surrey’s cabinet in January 2019 for consideration and then to full council in February.

Disability Bus Passes

Surrey is undertaking several consultations and it invites you to give your comments on disability bus passes by 4 January 2019

The consultation is proposing changes to concessionary bus fares. Surrey has been providing benefits over and above the national scheme for many years. The national scheme allows people with a disabled person’s bus pass to travel free on buses after 9:30am and before 11pm on weekdays and all day at weekends and on public holidays. Surrey is one of a few areas in the country still offering free travel for disability pass holders at all times and a free companion pass for qualifying older or disabled bus pass holders who need help to travel. Under the proposals these extra concessions would be
removed, which along with other efficiencies, would save around £400,000 a year.

Further details on all the consultations and the opportunity to submit views on
these proposals can be found here.  The consultation response is at the bottom of the consultation webpage.

The analysis of the responses to the consultations will be presented to Surrey’s cabinet in January 2019 for consideration and then to full council in February.

Elmbridge Cycle Group

The group’s next ride will begin at the Hand and Spear by Weybridge Station at 10am, on Sunday, 9th December. It will finish at 1pm at the Jolly Farmer Princes Road, Weybridge and be followed by Christmas Lunch  at the Jolly Farmer.

If you would like to come to the Christmas Lunch please let them know by emailing george.james @ elmbridgecycle.org by Saturday, 1st December so that numbers cab be confirmed with the restaurant.  Please also let them know your food selection from the menu here.

Details of the ride route will be sent out, as usual, a few days before the ride.  If you just want to come on the ride, but don’t want to stay for the Christmas Lunch, then you can just turn up on the day.

Special Educational Needs and Disability 

Surrey county is undertaken several consultations and it is seeking your views by 4 January 2019 to help it shape the special educational needs and disability (Send) services throughout Surrey for the future

Surrey says that its draft strategy includes proposals for giving support as early as possible, which would be better for those who need help. The aim is also to provide support nearer to home and reduce the need for children to go to schools out of the county. To achieve this an extra 350 specialist school places are planned to be created in Surrey over the next two years. Surrey believes that, overall, the changes will mean better outcomes for children and families and with government funding failing to keep pace with the big increase in children needing help, they may also avoid more costly services being needed in the future.

Further details on all the consultations and the opportunity to submit views on these proposals can be found here.  The consultation response is at the bottom of the  consultation webpage.

The analysis of the responses to the consultations will be presented to Surrey’s cabinet in January 2019 for consideration and then to full council in February.  There will then be a second phase of consultation where we will share detailed proposals in 2019 to seek resident’s views before any final decisions are made.

Liberal Democrats select Monica Harding in Esher & Walton to fight the next general election

As the party prepares for a possible early general election, the local Liberal Democrats have selected Monica Harding as their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Esher and Walton.

Monica is challenging the incumbent Conservative MP Dominic Raab on an anti-Brexit platform and the Conservatives’ chaotic management of and continuing underinvestment in public services.
Monica said: “60% of Elmbridge voted to stay in the EU and our MP continues to ignore us. Raab’s hard Brexit views do not represent us as a community – that’s why I’m running.”
“I will campaign for a People’s Vote to end a Brexit that serves Dominic Raab rather than his constituents’ best interests. The time for putting self-interest and party politics first needs to end. I will fight for local residents’ interests and represent the views of our community honestly.”
Monica has lived in Thames Ditton for over a decade and is married to
Jon, with four children at local schools in the borough. She is Vice Chair of Governors at a state primary school in Thames Ditton and has held positions on the boards of several charities.
“I demand better for our children – and a different kind of future than the Tories offer. I will fight school cuts, underinvestment in the NHS, the black hole in social care spending, cuts in policing and the justice service, climate change, and the continuing chaos on South Western Railway which lets down our residents on a daily basis.”

Monica has held high profile positions in the public, private and third sector in the UK and internationally. Her CV includes: Associate
Consultant at PA Consultancy, CEO of the Industry and Parliament Trust, CEO at Refugees International Japan and Director of Communications for the British Council – working in Japan, China, France and the UK.
In these roles, she has honed her skills in communications, campaigning and advocacy, strategic direction and driving organisational efficiency.
As a Liberal Democrat Monica will stand up for liberal values and progressive policies and is committed to bringing transparency and integrity to politics.

For more information, please contact:
Monica Harding, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Liberal Democrats in the Esher & Walton constituency
Email – monica_harding@hotmail.com Mobile 07799 704816

Opinion & Analysis – Raab’s Cake is Dog’s Brexit

By ‘Sam Vete’ – 1st November  2018
From an InFacts article: “Raab’s proposals mean that amendments to the motion approving May’s agreement with the EU would not be voted on until after Parliament has decided whether or not to accept the deal … The culture of the Brexiters is that … any action that [brings about] Brexit is justified, no matter the price in terms of law, decency or democratic principles.” ( https://infacts.org/brexiter-chicanery-shows-they-arent-winning-argument/ )

Raaab’s version of Johnson’s cuisine is: “Once we’ve eaten the cake, then you can have it – soaked in bile that is evidence of the chaos of hard-line brexiter regurgitation”. As Justice Minister, this would have been equivalent to executing the suspect before trying the case; as Housing Minister, equivalent to building on green belt before the planning meeting. In these roles, Mr. Raaab’s feet scarcely touched the ground. His meteoric rise to BrexSec left him little time other than the opportunity to practice the kind of ambiguous empty rhetoric which is a prerequisite for a key role in the monomaniac brexiter government that May has cultured.

Since his appointment (which saw the emasculation of his political negotiating powers by May a few days after his elevation!), his behaviour has been reminiscent of a puppet automaton, contributing only the repetition of the dogma: “This Government is committed to leaving the EU”.

Clearly, Mr. Raaaaab is sitting on the pot but has produced only hot air – and, to anyone committed to remaining in the EU, an obnoxious effluvium. It is time for the worthy Tory voters of Walton and Esher to prise the sycophantic Mr. Raaaaaab’s sweaty glutaeal muscles from his safe seat.

For our constituency, the LibDems offer the only centrist activity that can sweep aside the brexit travesty and get Britain back on track.

A new way to see your GP

A new service has just started for people registered with doctors in Weybridge and Walton, and it’s great.  It’s a GP consultation on your smart phone.  North West Surrey Commissioning Group has just introduced this free service, which of course we pay for through taxes.

To use the service, just download the app (you need a smart phone and photo ID to register) and request an appointment. I found this fairly easy,  unlike some computer/phone things!

Sameday appointment

I got an appointment for later that same evening.
Five minutes before the appointment time I received a reminder on the phone.  Then at the appointed time, a clear video picture of the doctor came on the phone, and in the corner I saw myself, so could see what the doctor saw. We had a friendly professional chat.

Any location, speedy outcomes

The GP I spoke with was in central London (I asked) but had access to my Weybridge medical records. When my description of symptoms wasn’t clear, she gently questioned me. The end result was she prescribed a medicine. The prescription was sent by the GP, electronically, to my usual pharmacy, and the doctor explained she would write the consultation up on my GP notes.
Later the same evening, I got a confirming message in the inbox of the app saying that the prescription had been issued.
Next day, 9am, the drug was waiting for me at my local pharmacy.
Just out of interest I popped into my surgery and asked the receptionist for the next non urgent appointment. It was in ten days time .

Urgent Treatment Centres – What to expect

New Urgent Treatment Centre Opens at St Peter’s

From 31 October, there will be an Urgent Treatment Centre, based at St Peter’s Hospital, serving patients of the North West Surrey CCG.  This is the closest such centre for residents of Weybridge.

Which conditions are treated at Urgent Treatment Centres?

Urgent Treatment Centres will treat minor injuries, and illnesses that require urgent treatment, these include:
• minor illnesses
• minor cuts and grazes, including those that require stitches
• minor scalds and burns
• strains and sprains
• bites and stings
• minor head injuries
• common infections, such as chest, ear and throat
• minor skin infections/rashes
• minor eye conditions/infections
• stomach pains
• minor broken bones such as toes, ankles, wrists, fingers and suspected fractures.

What if you cannot judge whether your case is minor or more serious?

Patients will be assessed at the Urgent Treatment Centre and then treated in order of medical need, including being referred on to A&E.
If your condition is assessed as minor and urgent (requiring immediate attention), you will be seen by an appropriate clinician in the Urgent Treatment Centre
If your condition is not urgent or immediate, you will be referred back to your GP.
If you are seriously ill, you will be referred to the Emergency Department which – at St Peter’s Hospital – is located next to the Urgent Treatment Centre.