East Surrey

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First Community Health and Care has taken over the contract to provide dietetic services for children with learning disabilities in East Surrey.

The company’s highly experienced children’s dietitians will be supporting children and young people under 19 with a learning disability who have dietary and nutritional problems. Children with a learning disability can often experience eating and swallowing difficulties which can lead to missing out on the essential nutrients they need for their physical and mental development. The team assesses children and develops treatment plans to meet the individual nutritional needs of each child. Children may need to be supported by the service throughout their childhood and their plans will be regularly reviewed and updated as their needs change.

Service Lead, Anna FitzGibbon, said: “We are delighted to be taking on these services for such a vulnerable group of children and young people. The interventions of our experienced staff will have a positive impact for the children both now and in the longer term. This service complements the other dietetic services we currently provide to children and adults across east Surrey, Crawley and Horsham.”

Families who have been receiving support from the previous providers, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, will be introduced to the new team within the coming weeks.
Referrals can be made by GPs and other health and social care professionals directly to the dietetic team.

In April 2019, Children and Family Health Surrey launched a two-year outreach programme to improve the health of local Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.

The project is the first NHS-led Surrey-wide GRT health initiative and is funded through Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership transformation funds.

 Following the launch, the impact of the new service has proved extremely successful.

To date, 479 people have been seen, including:

  • 7 antenatal contacts
  • 7 new birth visits
  • 10 6-8 week reviews
  • 4 Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) developmental checks
  • 16 adults weighed
  • 23 adults given blood pressure checks
  • Referrals to a variety of partner services, including 6 GP referrals and numerous calls from GRT mothers which saved A&E attendances
  • 3 referrals to the continence service
  • 2 referrals for urgent dental treatment
  • Referrals for babies with severe tongue tie and developmental delay

Many other health issues were picked up during visits which included hypertension, domestic violence, sexual health, mental health, public health and environmental risks, safeguarding and poorly managed chronic illnesses.

The team is working with existing links within GRT communities as well as partnering with a range of health and other agencies such as Maternity services, the new Primary Care Networks, Children’s and Adults Social Services (including the Early Help Hub), Diabetes UK, Cancer support services, St. John Ambulance and others.

NHS staff and partner agencies across Surrey are now being offered Cultural Awareness Training to improve their engagement with GRT communities and to help reduce the inequalities the GRT communities face trying to access healthcare.

Surrey has the fourth largest GRT population of any UK county with the GRT population estimated at around 10,000-12,000. Research continues to show life expectancy is lower for GRT people and their health needs are not fully met by traditional NHS services.

As a parent, you play a vital role in making sure your child approaches school with a spring in their step. According to Sophie Baber, Headteacher at Brookham School in Hampshire, this doesn’t mean starting a rigorous regime of phonics and maths:

“If there is one word that your child should be able to read when they start school, their name has to be at the top of the list. It will be plastered on every available surface in school. Their register label, table, chair, pegs, books and obviously their uniform, beautifully labelled by you, will all be adorned with their name in an array of different fonts.

The first letter is the starting point, but don’t stop there. Teachers are, by nature, organised creatures, so Isabel, Isabella and Isabelle will have their coat pegs positioned neatly all in a row. While these parents are bound to become your new best friends, you may not want the daily stress of returning various items of clothing.

So, how to help? That’s simple, follow the school’s example, and label everything! If it doesn’t move put your child’s name on it. The font does not matter, printed or joined, comic sans or handwritten, use them all. Just remember to use the same name that you’ve put on your child’s registration forms. There is little point teaching your child to read Joe, when every label at school will say Joseph.

Just as important is engendering a love of language. This starts with the good old fashioned nursery rhyme. You have probably been singing Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for the last four years. But what about Sing a Song of Sixpence or Hickerty Pickerty, My Black Hen?  Nursery rhymes are lots of fun to sing, while having the added bonus of being key to building the foundations for learning phonics. The more a child hears and learns, the more they tune in their ears to phonic rhyming patterns.

Speaking of tuning in the ears, learning to listen is another vital prerequisite to reading. Summer is a wonderful time to practise listening. Lying in the garden listening to the bees buzzing and the birds singing is a lovely way to encourage a young child to practise sound discrimination. This skill will in turn help a child learn the units of sounds in words as their auditory discrimination becomes more fine-tuned.

Moreover, teach your child to love books. As a parent, this is one of the greatest gifts to give.  Cuddling up for the bedtime story should be a treat for both you and your child. The bonus is you are doing a huge amount to support your child’s learning at the same time. You will be modelling how to hold a book, turning the pages, using the illustrations to support the text, but most importantly, you are filling your child with a wonderful array of language. But, what should you be reading? The honest truth is it doesn’t matter. Whatever sparks your child’s interest and imagination. Just read!”

On Wednesday afternoon, Cumnor House School for Boys welcomed Michael Clarke former Australian cricket captain to school for an afternoon of cricket skills and training. Michael who is regarded as one of the best batsman of all time, is in the UK as part of the Sky Sports commentary team for the ICC Cricket World Cup and kindly visited Cumnor House, one of the Top 50 preparatory schools in the UK for cricket to share his knowledge, talk about his career and discuss cricket techniques with boys in Year 2 who are starting their cricket career to those in Year 8 who will continue their cricketing success at some of the leading schools in the country.


Cumnor House Cricket 
“Sport and in particular Cricket runs through the DNA fabric of our school. We are delighted to welcome Michael Clarke to school this afternoon to share his experiences and insights with our pupils, all of whom have shown great skills and developed throughout the cricket season. Cumnor House School has been the leading preparatory school for cricket in Surrey over the past 5 years with exceptional success at Year 6 and 8 level.”
Mr R Brotherton, Director of Sport, Cumnor House School for Boys

“The PE department at Cumnor House School is by far the most dedicated and professional set up I have witnessed at this age range and we are extremely privileged to welcome a sportsman in Michael, who has had not only success on the field, but also with work in the community helping children be the best that they can be, providing guidance, support, motivation and confidence needed to reach their goals; something that is intrinsic to us here at Cumnor House School”
Mr Daniel Cummings, Headmaster, Cumnor House School for Boys

About Cumnor House School
Located in South Croydon, Cumnor House School has a long history of sporting and academic achievements. The school has an outstanding scholarship record to outstanding senior destination schools and is proud of the number of highly successful international sporting alumni it has produced, within multiple sports including cricket, rugby, football and swimming. The school is proud to have a dedicated sports department, an extensive timetable of sporting fixtures, competitions and meets as well as outstanding and varied sporting facilities including onsite swimming pool and 10 acres of sports field.

For more information, click here.

Help your kids step away from the screens! Head to Memorial Park in Redhill (Surrey) to have a go at spotting the birds nesting in 22 new colourfully decorated bird boxes installed around the park by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council.

The uniquely designed boxes and accompanying trail leaflets aim to encourage visitors to the park to spot the colourful boxes and birds nesting in them, while also benefitting the wildlife that inhabits the park. Keep your eyes peeled for blue tits, great tits, robins and thrushes, and even bats!

The trail – which is both wheelchair and pushchair friendly – was installed earlier in spring before bird nesting season began by the Council’s Greenspaces team. The boxes were created by the Men in Sheds Group at Furnistore in Redhill, and decorated by local artists and council staff,

Cllr Alex Horwood, Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “The 22 bird boxes make a wonderful addition to the park. Not only do they show off the skills of our many talented local artists, but they also encourage us to get back to nature and appreciate the bird life that our green spaces bring to us as visitors to the park.

“The trail forms part of our work to encourage healthy lifestyles through making our open spaces more accessible, fun and educational. I would encourage residents to take time to explore the trail, see how many nest boxes you can find and spot what is living in them.”

The new installations follow the success of the Earlswood Lakes Bird Box trail in 2018, where 23 bird boxes can be found in trees around the lake.

Find the trail at Memorial Park, London Road, Redhill RH1 1SZ. Trail leaflets are available to pick up at the Park’s pavilion cafe. To find out more click here.

If you visit the trail be sure to tag us in your pictures on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook on @reigatebanstead using the hashtags #LookUp and #SpotTheBox – we’ll share the best ones.

Santa’s Post Office exists, and it’s in Lapland, Finland! So if you have a word or two to share with him before Christmas, be sure to start writing, and he will read it before taking off with Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Santa Claus’ Main Post Office is situated at Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, where Santa opens his doors to the public every day of the year. His Post Office, maintained by the Finnish Posti Group Corporation, is not an ordinary one: every year, around 500 000 letters arrive from every corner of the world addressed to a particular person: Santa Claus himself.
And they arrive every single day!

Most of the letters that Santa receives are written by children, but sending a letter to Santa is definitely not limited to the small and pink-cheeked. Santa’s Post elves have revealed that even politicians and pop stars write to him. So why not you?

If you want to mail your greetings or wishes to him this Christmas, just send your letter to his address:
Santa Claus’ Main Post Office

Tähtikuja 1
96930
Arctic Circle

Finland

You can be sure the hard-working elves will get that letter straight to the Big Guy himself!
The Post Office, as well as Santa’s Office, are great places to visit throughout the year too. Every year, half a million people step in to enjoy the genuine Christmas feeling, and maybe send their greetings back home with an authentic Santa’s Post Office stamp on their letters.

So if you plan to go to Rovaniemi, be sure not to miss that exciting opportunity!
More information and instructions of how to receive a reply from Santa Claus, click here.

BAFTA award winning impressionist, comedian and actor Alistair McGowan is set to perform as pianist at The Children’s Trust Christmas Concert at Cadogan Hall, London, on Monday 10 December, raising funds to support children with brain injury.

Set in the heart of Chelsea, The Children’s Trust Christmas Concert will delight audiences with classical Christmas music and celebrity guest readings, hosted by journalist and broadcaster Nicholas Owen. Conductor Crispin Ward will lead performers such as soprano Ana-Maria Rincon and the Amici Ensemble, and special guest, reigning recorder virtuoso, Piers Adams of Red Priest promises guests a unique musical experience.

Katie Roberts, Head of Voluntary Fundraising at The Children’s Trust says: “Cadogan Hall will provide the perfect backdrop for our annual Christmas Concert. It promises to be a magical evening to get everyone into the Christmas spirit”.

Tickets start from £25, click here to book. Gala tickets offer post-concert drinks and canapés with performers.

The Children’s Trust was honoured with a top award at the prestigious BMA Patient Information Awards this week (25 September). The charity, which supports children with brain injury across the UK, had two of its resources, a short film and a handbook, recognised as exceptional and powerful information sources at the ceremony which took place at BMA House, London.

The Awards encourage excellence in the production and dissemination of accessible, well-designed and clinically balanced patient information.  This is something The Children’s Trust is also passionate about when producing information that will help young people and families affected by brain injury

The charity’s short film ‘From Me to You’ won the User Engagement Award, with judges noting it as ‘powerful’ and ‘heart-warming’. The film was created with three families telling their experiences honestly and openly to help future children and families going to the centre for neuro-rehabilitation with what they can expect while they are there. The film can be viewed here.

Also recognised at the awards was The Children’s Trust book, ‘Me and My Brain’. This book, which gives advice and guidance to teenagers affected by brain injury, was awarded Runner Up in the Information for Young Adults Award, and shortlisted for the User Engagement Award. Judges noted that it was an ‘exceptional resource’ and that ‘the advice given is practical, sensible and non-judgemental’. Copies of the book can be ordered here.

Almost 3 in 5 parents believe lunches prepared at home are a healthier option for their children than school dinners, with 6.6million UK school children tucking in to them each day. However, new analysis from Aviva reveals that many packed lunches may contain significant amounts of hidden sugar and unhealthy treats.

For example:

  • Yoghurt has a typical number of 5 sugar cubes per serving
  • Fruit juice also has 5
  • A cereal bar has 2
  • A typical chocolate bar has 5

Aviva’s Medical Director has come up with four top tips for packing a healthier lunchbox:

  • Sneak in the vegetables – Adding vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumber to your child’s sandwich can be a quick and easy way to up your child’s vegetable intake throughout the day.
  • Make it wholemeal – White bread can be packed with added sugar, while wholemeal bread comes with nutritional benefits and can keep them fuller for longer. If your child is reluctant to swap to wholemeal, why not make the swap gradual, changing just one of their sandwiches to wholemeal a week as a first step.
  • Mix it up – While every child has their favourite fruit or sandwich filling, mixing up the contents of their lunchbox can ensure your child has a varied diet, benefiting from a wide range of vitamins and nutrients. Remember that seasonal and locally sourced produce can often retain more nutrients.
  • Count the sugar – Snacks that on the surface may seem healthy and harmless such as fruit juice, smoothies, cereal bars and dried fruits, can be hiding a significant amount of sugar. Keep your child’s sugar intake in check by counting up their sugar consumption throughout the day. The NHS suggests a daily maximum amount of five cubes for four to six year olds, six cubes for seven to 10 year olds and seven cubes for those aged 11+.5

The top ten ways that parents survive long car journeys with their children include playing classic car games such as iSpy (48%), followed by being forced to listen to their children’s favourite song on repeat (32%).

  1. I spy with my little eye! Nearly half (48%) of parents said that they used classic car games, like iSpy and 20 Questions, to entertain their children.
  2. Can we listen to it again, and again, and again? Nearly a third (32%) have listened to their children’s favourite song on repeat.
  3. More sweets? One in four (24%) parents admitted to bribing their children to be well behaved with treats and sweets.
  4. I stayed awake until 10pm! Nearly a quarter (23%) admitted to allowing their children to stay awake in the car later than their usual bed time.
  5. Look at the state of this car! Nearly a quarter (23%) said that on long car journeys they are more relaxed about the mess being made by their children.
  6. First person to see the Golden Arches! One in five (21%) have bribed their children to behave with the promise of a visit to a fast food outlet.
  7. Can I use the iPad? One in five (20%) admitted that they allowed electronic devices to be used for longer than they would normally allow at home.
  8. Don’t forget your headphones! To promote a tranquil car: one in five (18%) provide headphones for electronic devices so they don’t have to listen to the game, YouTube video or film.
  9. Get the beer and wine on ice! 11% of parents have survived a long car journey by visualising their first pint or glass of wine on arrival.
  10. “I think we have another ‘H’ ‘O’ ‘U’ ‘R’ to go” 10% have spoken in code about distance to destination and possible rest stops so children don’t pick up on the conversation.

Happy days!