Surrey County Council has announced changes to the Surrey Hubs Information Service
It is almost seven years since the first information hub was established in Epsom. The purpose of the information hubs is to ensure people can access information in an accessible venue in their community and find out more information and support to help them live independently. They also offer peer to peer support which is often so valuable and a venue for people to access specialist clinics and sessions. Last year the hubs across the county managed over 11,000 enquiries for local residents.
While the original intention was to offer access to a hub in each borough and district council area the operational costs and availability of premises do not make it a viable long term option. This means there are changes to the service from April 2016.
A total of five fixed hubs will be supported by a mobile information service across the county that aims to support residents with their information needs in community and health settings. Epsom, Redhill, Woking, Godalming and Staines will remain open although there may be some changes to the opening hours. Addlestone, Camberley and Walton Hubs have closed. Hub Dorking will be closing at the end of May 2016.
What are the Surrey Hubs?
The Surrey Hubs are local services that provide information and support to help people stay independent. They are based in the heart of the community and are open and accessible to everyone. Our teams of experienced volunteers provide a fast, efficient and knowledgeable information service. The Hubs offer access to advice and signposting to services for disabled people, older people, carers, families and the wider community.
Why were the Hubs created?
The national government policy called Putting People First requires that all local authorities work closely with user-led organisations, partners and the voluntary sector to deliver care and support services which put people in control of services they receive. This is known as personalisation.
Information and advice as a universal service available to everyone is the foundation stone of personalisation. The aim of The Hubs is to promote the independence of disabled people, older people, carers and families by helping them to make more informed choices about the different care and support available to them in the community.
Who runs the Hubs?
The Hubs are run by a combination of staff employed by disabled people’s organisations and volunteers, who may be disabled, carers or other members of the public, all of whom have their own experiences to draw upon. Volunteers are well versed and trained to enable them to provide information on a range of issues such as transport, leisure, housing and access to mobility equipment. This peer support works very well to ensure the Surrey Hubs are accessible to everyone.
Advocates and specialist advisors on welfare benefits and independent living are also available at each Hub.
Information and advice is available regarding support in the local area and help in accessing social care, health and other services. Weekly drop-in services are available with advocates and specialist advisors on welfare benefits and independent living, while the Hubs themselves are run by volunteers and trained staff, who can provide information on a range of issues such as transport, leisure, housing and access to mobility equipment.
The Surrey Hubs can also provide printed and online information and advice, including in a range of accessible formats such as Easy Read, audio and Braille.
The Surrey Hubs are gateways to information, advice, advocacy and services to help more people to find the information they need to make informed choices about care and support options available in the community.