All Wales People First Conference 2019

The All Wales People First conference 2019 was held on the 17th and 18th October, at the Village Hotel in Cardiff.  The conference was titled ‘Adfest 2019: Isolation and Loneliness’, and was attended by Ffion, Sharon  and Christy.

On the first day Joe Powell, Chief Executive of All Wales People First, talked about the work that he has been doing during the year.  Joe was followed by Julie Morgan AM, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, who spoke about what plans the Welsh Government has to help people who are experiencing loneliness and isolation.  Later we used electronic voting pads to vote on questions about Loneliness, Relationships, Love and Community.   One of the questions asked was: Has being part of a self-advocacy group made you less lonely?

After lunch we attended a workshop run by Pride Cymru, and one by National Centre Mental Health (Cardiff University).  During the Pride Cymru workshop we were put into groups and talked about definitions such as Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual.  In the mental health workshop we had to shout out words relating to wellbeing, being accepted in the community, and why people are isolated.


We began day two by having a look around the stalls which were set up in the conference room.  Some of the organisations with stalls included: the Welsh Ambulance Service, Welsh Government, Pride Cymru, Public Health Wales, and the Police and Crime Commissioner.  During the day these organisations gave presentations in various rooms, which people were invited to attend.

After lunch Ffion and Sharon socialised and helped out on some stalls, before the conference Mirror Awards took place.  Congratulations to all the award winners!  At the end of the conference everyone swapped details to keep in touch, and we can’t wait for the next conference in 2020!


‘Big Accident, Little Accident’ Training

On Tuesday 22nd of October 2019, Ffion Poole, Sharon Cochrane, Cyril Luke and Christy Taylor visited Gwerin day centre in Rhymney where we delivered ‘Big Accident, Little Accident’ training.  This training is all about when is the right time to call 999.  We talked about people’s experiences when they have called 999 or 101 and how they have been treated by paramedics and other health professionals.

We also handed out the ‘About Me’ sheets and magnets.  We talked about how to fill them in and explained to everyone that if they need to ring an ambulance the paramedics will come into their home and look for the sheets.  These sheets contain information such as a person’s likes and dislikes, allergies, what medication they take, and emergency contact details.



Student Nurse Training

At the beginning of October Ffion Poole, Kath Toms, and Sharon Cochrane – supported by Christy Taylor – delivered communication training to 1st year student nurses at the University of South Wales, Pontypridd.

There were 360 student nurses in the audience, and the training we delivered was about how to understand and talk to someone with a learning disability.  During the training we showed a video of Sharon playing the role of a person with a learning disability who has been admitted to hospital with a chest infection.  The film shows the right and wrong way to communicate with someone with a learning disability.

The students showed great interest and many came to speak to us at the end of the training. We can’t wait to do more training at the University of South Wales in the future.


TRAC (Teaching and Research Advisory Committee) Meeting

It was lovely to catch up with members of other People First groups at the first TRAC meeting of the term at the University of South Wales, at the end of September.

The team is excited about delivering training to student nurses and although it’s going to be very busy we are very much looking forward to the coming weeks.


Pan Gwent Meeting

Towards the end of September we attended a Pan Gwent meeting at Able Radio in Cwmbran.  Growing Space Ambassadors gave a fantastic presentation, and People First groups held a Q&A session with various heads of services.  We talked about Housing, Transport, Relationships and how people’s lives can be improved.

We chatted with the Ambassadors of Growing space about their job roles and how we would like them to feedback to us about what they do and the progress they make.

Jim Wright gave a presentation on The Govtech Catalyst, which is the £20 million fund set up to help private sector innovators tackle public sector problems. Torfaen and Monmouth are now working on taking this forward with the help of big companies such as Apple. They are working together to develop apps that will improve daily life for people with learning disabilities.

Blackwood Safe Places Scheme

The Safe Places scheme has been launched in Blackwood.  In this case a safe place is a place for vulnerable people when they become scared, feel lost, or feel at risk whilst out in the community.  Many shops on Blackwood high street have signed up to the safe place scheme, so just look for the logo pictured on the cards below in their shop windows if you need help.

The ‘In Case of Emergency’ cards you can see below are cards on which you can fill in your personal details, and also the details of the person you’d like to be contacted on your behalf, in an emergency.


Pan Gwent Networking Event

Members and staff recently attended a Pan Gwent networking event at Able Radio, Cwmbran.  People First groups attending talked about future events, and members exchanged ideas about possible funding and talked about which areas we need to focus on.  The groups also discussed the importance of self advocacy.


Public Health Event

On Thursday 15th August 2019, Ffion Poole, Kath Toms, Sharon Cochrane and Christy Taylor attended a public health event, run by the NHS Aneurin Bevan Health Board, held in the Congress Theatre, Cwmbran.  At the event we talked about future plans in terms of Health, Housing, Community, and Wellbeing.  It was a very successful and interesting day, and at the end of the event we received a goody bag to thanks us for our hard work.  We are looking forward to the next public health event.


FareShare Cymru

FareShare Cymru is based on the outskirts of Cardiff and serves charities and community organisations across South Wales.

FareShare Cymru saves surplus food from waste, which they provide to 136 organisations, including homeless shelters, school breakfast clubs and community centres.

Caerphilly People First has recently signed up to this scheme, and for a fixed payment we receive a weekly package of food, which we use in the office throughout the week.


All Wales People First National Council

At the end of July Ffion Poole and Christy Taylor attended the two-day residential National Council meeting in Bangor, North Wales.  One of the issues we discussed was Talkback, the newsletter of All Wales People First.  National Council members voted on whether Talkback should continue being produced as a paper copy, or if people would prefer a video podcast of news, which they could watch on YouTube. The result of this vote was 71% for a paper copy and 29% for a video podcast.

Also at the meeting were Mandy Jenkins and Leanne Hawker from the Welsh Ambulance Service, who delivered a presentation about the work the ambulance service does to include people with learning disabilities.  We also talked about the number of ambulances and rapid response units that are allocated across the seven health boards in Wales.

We also received a presentation from Daron Owens of Bangor University, who gave a talk on the Social Services Health and Well-being act, which came out in 2016.  The act provides the legal framework for improving the well-being of people who need care and support, and also carers who need support.  Daron has been researching the impact of the act and shared some of the findings he has made.