Between the Ears Deaf Awareness Communication Tactics

What is Between the Ears Project?

Between the Ears Project aims to provide opportunities for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or experiencing hearing loss to meet and enjoy creative activities in a stress-free environment while also building confidence to pursue personal goals and be sign-posted for ongoing support for their condition. Come and meet new people in a friendly environment!

Upcoming groups:

-Deaf Awareness Communication Tactics (For the professionals) Dates: 6th or 23rd May 17 Time: 4pm - 6.30pm Venue: Ludwick Family Centre, Hall Grove, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL7 4PH Email:

-Managing Your Hearing Loss Dates: Saturday, 6th May 2017 Time: 10.30am-1pm (including light lunch) Venue: Wellfield Road, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 0DA Email: or enquiry,

-Finale Dates: Wednesday, 24th May 17 Time: 6pm-8.30pm Venue: United Reform Church, Church Road, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6PS Email:

All groups are free, however booking is essential

General enquiries about the project, please contact us on email:

Please click here to view the timetable for future (and past) events.

Low cost counselling at Future Living in Hertford

Affordable Counselling in Hertford

Private counselling is offered to all of the public (not just those with substance misuse)

Are you or any of your staff, colleagues, family or friends experiencing depression, anxiety, stress, low self esteem and confidence, addiction, relationship problems or any other difficulties in life?  We can match you with a counsellor that can help with your specific problem, working through a range of therapeutic models.

As members of the British Association of Counselling Practitioners and having much experience, we offer a professional, discreet and confidential service to our clients working to the highest standards in our profession.

We can help you to grow as a person, relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety amongst other things - really come along side you to  make some sense of the problems you are experiencing and help you to move forward.

We are offering a really competitive hourly rate of £25,  based on weekly sessions to clients for the coming 12 months from 1st January 2017.

Please contact us in confidence on 01992 537344, and book a free 15 minute consultation to discuss your needs and how we can help. 

Vale House, 43 Cowbridge, Hertford, SG14 1PN

Sandra M Conte, CEO/Counsellor

Herts Valleys Voices Dec 2016

Herts Valleys Voices - December 2016

Herts Valleys Voices

December 2016


We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very happy Christmas and to send you our good wishes for 2017. We also want to say a very big thank you to everyone who has so generously donated their time by attending meetings, commenting on publications, sending in feedback on services and proposals and in all the other ways that you as local people have contributed to improving local health services.


Let's all Stay Well This Winter


It's important to look after yourself, especially during the winter. Cold weather can be seriously bad for your health.


If you start to feel unwell, even if it's a cough or a cold, don't wait until it gets more serious. Seek advice from your pharmacist.  You will be able to find out the opening times of your local pharmacist  here the week before Christmas or you can read more here   


Planning for ‘A Healthier Future’


A newly published plan,  A Healthier Future, details how NHS and care organisations in Hertfordshire and west Essex intend to improve health and care services and control spending over five years. The focus is on: helping people to live healthier lives and avoiding preventable illnesses; improving the health and care services offered at home or in local communities so that people only go to hospital for specialist and emergency care; and making services more efficient.


In west Hertfordshire the new plan builds on the changes already being developed through the Your Care, Your Future programme.


You can read A Healthier Future online at here. We will update Herts Valleys Voices readers in the next edition on opportunities to contribute to the debate on future services.



Hemel Hempstead urgent care centre – changes to overnight opening hours effective from Friday 16 December



There are some important changes happening at Hemel Hempstead’s Urgent Care Centre (UCC) this Friday, 16 December 2016. Staffing the overnight shift at the UCC is increasingly problematic and this has resulted in having to withdraw this service at short notice a number of times recently, including last week.  In view of the prospect of continued staffing issues the UCC’s opening hours are changing. This means it will open at 8am and close at 10pm each night.  The following information provides more detail about this change here

Patients Online

I had been meaning to register for Patient Online for a while.  Now I have, I wish I had done it ages ago!  It is so convenient.   I can log on at any time to book a GP appointment or order repeat medication. It saves so much time.  When I am logged on I can see all the GP appointments available and who they are with.  This means I can choose an appointment on a day and time that fits in with my other commitments”

Most GP practices now offer online services, including appointment booking, ordering of repeat prescriptions and access to summary information in records – giving patients more control over their health and wellbeing, making services more convenient, personal and efficient.  

For more information contact your GP practice or visit here 

      Your NHS wants an appointment with you       

Did you know that every GP practice now has a patient participation group that support and influence the way that services are provided in the practice? To find out more ask at your GP practice reception, look at their website or give them a ring for details.


If you would like to get involved in wider health services such as hospitals, clinics, community, mental health to name a few then there is a locality patient group or network that you can be part of.  For more information contact: Heather


Join us in a conversation in Dacorum about the prevention of medicine waste - how can we work together?

As a Dacorum resident, patient or carer, community member, provider of services or if you work in a local GP surgery, you will know what it’s like to use or provide local health services.   


We would like to invite you, to an afternoon event in Hemel Hempstead. Our main focus will be  a discussion on the prevention of medicines wastage and how can we can all work together to reduce this wastage within Dacorum.


We have called this a ‘conversation cafe’ with the aim of creating a relaxed informal setting so everyone can talk and work together to make our local services the very best they can be.


The conversation café will be held on Wednesday 25 January 2017 between 1pm and 3.30pm (lunch and registration from 12.15) at South Hill Centre, Cemetery Hill, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1JF


Places will be limited – to register for the event please email here  no later than 13th January 2017.   Please also advise if you need any assistance to help you take part in this event or if you have any dietary requirements  


Shaping the future of primary care services

Would you like to find out about plans to deliver better health, better patient care and make services  affordable in west Hertfordshire for years to come. If so, you are invited to our next planned and primary care network on Wednesday 8 February between 1.15 and 3.30pm.  Lunch will be included so to book your place please contact Summera

Give the NHS your views on guidance about involving patients and the public 

NHS England is updating guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) on how they should involve the public in commissioning and ensure that patients are involved in their own care. Patient groups,  patients and the public can comment on existing guidance, and what they would like to see in the updated guidance by emailing here.

The closing date for comments is 13 January 2017. Please include your name and contact details in the email.  

New Leaf College provides a range of free courses to enable you to take control of your wellbeing, learn practical skills and provide an opportunity for reflection on your own life.  Their courses are designed and delivered by people who have experience of overcoming difficulties or life events and this expert knowledge forms part of their core curriculum.

to find out more visit:  here

Are you aware of the five ways to help you feel better and function well?


As well as helping us feel better generally, there is evidence that some of the five ways to wellbeing can also protect against poor mental health.             


Be active
Connect -
 with the people around you

Keep learning – try something new or rediscover an old interest
Give – do something nice for a friend or even a stranger.

Take notice – be curious             


For more information: here

Do you have experience of using mental health services?  Would you like to have your say about them? 

Viewpoint Forums provide an opportunity to feedback on local issues about your services. They are run by Viewpoint staff and can look at many different issues and sometimes include guest speakers. Forums over the next couple of months include:


Hertsmere   -  9 January 2017 (12 – 1.30pm)  

Watford    -  27 January 2017 (11 – 12.30pm)

Dacorum    -    27 January (1.30– 3pm)  

Phone 01707 386136 or  here for full details

Are you looking after someone who cannot manage without your support?

The festive season can be a time of great joy but also a  challenging time for some people: if you are caring for someone who cannot manage without your help then you are a carer and you can get support here


If you have any questions about this newsletter please contact We are also keen to find out what you think of this newsletter so please do let us know, using the email above.

© 2016 Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group

Hemel One, Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7YU

New Leaf - The Hertfordshire Wellbeing College

Could you bring your own lived experience to the new
Hertfordshire Wellbeing College; New Leaf?

‘New Leaf’ opens its doors in October 2016 offering a range of courses to Hertfordshire residents to help support their wellbeing.

The Wellbeing College is built on the Recovery College model which is already in operation in many parts of the UK. It will operate on college principles, be self-selecting for students and solely focused on educational programmes, in contrast with therapeutic services
provided within mainstream health services. The core principles of this model are based on:-

• Collaboration & co-production between people with personal and professional
experience of specific health challenges;
• An educational rather than a therapeutic approach;
• Recovery oriented, strengths-based and person-centred values;
• Inclusivity for people with mental health challenges, their relatives/carers and staff
• Helping people identify and reach their own goals.

All college courses are designed and delivered in partnership with people who have
experience of living with different health conditions. This is to ensure this expert experience
forms part of the curriculum of the college.
We are now recruiting people to be:

• Approved co-producers in helping to design courses.
• Peer Tutors to co-deliver college courses

If you feel you have the skills and experience to bring to this project, either in relation to designing courses or providing training/learning please get in touch now to register your interest!

Payment is available to both course designers and tutors, and we are also happy to provide this as a volunteering opportunity if preferred.
You can register your interest now online at
However if you would like to speak with someone first from one of the partners involved in organising the college, please see contact details below:

James Holland (HPFT) 07770 701543
Sharn Tomlinson (Mind in Mid Herts) 01438 369216 Ext. 204
Melanie Dean (Druglink) 01442 864966
Leslie Billy (Viewpoint) 07505 156109
Sarah Williams (Carers in Hertfordshire) 01992 58 69 69