GAVO One Beat Event

The GAVO Caerphilly One Beat Event is an opportunity for organisations to come together, and publicise the work they do, while offering support and advice for anyone who is interested. The Spring 2024 edition was held in Blackwood Rugby Club, and Caerphilly People First were there along with other organisations including Caerphilly Parent Network, Petra Publishing, Llais, Disability Can Do, Platfform, Citizen’s Advice, Person to Person, and many others.

There were also live demonstrations for people to enjoy on the day, including first-aid, tae kwon do, yoga, and Welsh folk music. In addition, there were activities for people to get involved in, including an Easter egg hunt and various craft activities. It was great to see so many people there we already know, and also to meet new people and learn about the great work being done by so many organisations.

Tuesday Group Activities

Head Gardener Morgan Jones:

At TARAGGAN Educational Gardens & Nursery yesterday, me, Rees Powell and the twins Christopher & Anthony Davies planted sunflower seeds. We filled the pots with soil, added the seeds, and covered the seeds with more soil.

When we got back to the office, it was craft time. Cheryl Smith had brought in materials, so everyone could decorate/design their own Easter bunny. We also made chocolate rice crispy cakes.

Reconnect through Cookery

On Friday our esteemed members became master chefs, whipping up a scrumptious spaghetti Bolognese. We chopped celery and mixed it all into a yummy mince and ragù sauce. Linguine, garlic bread, and Parmesan were added to make it a feast fit for royalty.

A big shoutout to our amazing volunteers who worked tirelessly behind the scenes, cooking and serving a whopping 45 delicious lunches. Your hard work and dedication made this event a huge success.

And guess what? The Easter bunny hopped by early with a special delivery of chocolate eggs! We’ll be taking a short break next Friday, so we decided to indulge in this sweet treat a bit sooner.

Thanks to The Parent Network Community Forum for lending us the bunny costume, and thanks to all our special supporters who donated money for Easter eggs.

Mark your calendars for April 5th because we’ve got a sizzling fajita fiesta coming your way. Our very own Rees Powell handpicked this tantalizing meal.

Autism Reality Experience

Christy and Stuart recently took part in the Autism Reality Experience, a hands-on training experience that allows people to walk in the shoes of autistic people and understand the challenges that they face. The aim is to encourage greater empathy and understanding for what it might be like for autistic people.

During the experience, we were asked to put on glasses with blurry lenses, gloves, and headphones. Loud noises were played in the headphones, and bright lights were flashed in our eyes. While this was happening we were given instructions on tasks we needed to complete. We were given 60 seconds to count money, separate green tiddlywinks from the other colours, and find the 5 of Spades playing card. We failed at all of these tasks, which showed us how difficult simple tasks can be for autistic people.

The experience was designed by autistic people who agreed that it was as close as physically possible to what they themselves experience, and it was definitely an eye-opening experience for us, which definitely gave us a greater understanding of the experiences of autistic people.

Reconnect through Music

Yesterday was our last music session with Daniel Fitzgerald from RecRock until Wednesday 20th April. Thanks to Zak and Erin for attending today – it was great to see you as always.

During the session members recorded more vocals for the song we have written, and took part in more filming for the video of the song.

As well as this, members performed a wide variety of songs from artists including Robbie Williams, the Righteous Brothers, Queen, George Michael, and Mumford & Sons. Well done to everyone who sang and danced; it was another fantastic session full of joy and happiness.

Gardening at TARAGGAN

Head Gardener Morgan Jones:

When I had a look at the weather forecast for Tuesday, I was disappointed to see that rain was forecast for the majority of the day. When Christy said “we’re going up the allotments now” I was pretty surprised because at the time it was hammering down outside. When we got to TARAGGAN allotments me, Gethin, Rees, Anthony and Chris went inside the bottle shed to plant broccoli seeds, courgette seeds, and parsley seeds into tubs. This was much better than being outside and getting drenched like drowned rats. In a few weeks when we go back up to TARAGGAN me and everyone else are hoping to see progress with the seeds. Fingers crossed each of the seeds will have some growth.

National Council Meeting

On the 5th and 6th of March Ffion and Christy attended the All Wales People First National Council residential meeting at the Clayton Hotel in Cardiff. On day one, Joe Powell, Director of All Wales People First spoke about the role of the National Council, which was followed by the group going over the minutes of the previous meeting.

We then broke up into small groups and had a discussion about what we like and don’t like about being National Council representatives. Some people said they like being a rep because they get to have a voice for their members, while others said the meetings can be too long and it’s hard for people with autism to process all the information.

After lunch we talked about National Actions (when reps bring up issues from their groups). Caerphilly People First’s national action was that some our members receive limited care hours, which means they have to choose which activities they attend, and then miss out on other activities.

We then played a team-building game called Human Bingo which involved asking people questions like: Have you got a pet? Do you like cocktails? Have you sung at karaoke?

We finished day one with an item called Sub-Groups, where Reps were able to decide which sub-group to join. The groups were: Members (how more people can be self-advocates), Campaigning (what campaigns Reps want to start or join), and Position Statements (what Reps want All Wales People First to say about big issues).

Day two began with Joe Powell giving his Chief Executive’s report, followed by proposals to make changes to the All Wales People First rules at their next AGM. Reps unanimously voted yes to this proposal.

Next we heard from Simone Aspis from the Free Our People Campaign. This is a UK-wide campaign to get people with learning disabilities and autism out of inappropriate hospital settings. Reps voted yes unanimously to join this project.

Our last speaker of the meeting was Dan Biddle, a social entrepreneur who has written a proposal for an All Wales People First business. Reps and board members talked about how All Wales People First can start a business, and Dan presented ideas for the All Wales People First trading arm. Reps agreed with the proposals and All Wales People First will take these ideas forward.

Reconnect through Cookery

At Friday’s cookery session members made cottage pie. Everyone had a go at preparing mushrooms, onions, and carrots to add to the mince beef filling, which was topped off with cheesy mash. This was served with a side of fresh broccoli, roast parsnips, and green beans.

Many thanks to all our volunteers/members who worked very hard as always. It’s great to see so many people coming to our sessions every Friday – this week we had 55 in attendance which means we are now full.

Thank you to the National Lottery Community fund for making this group possible – the difference it is making to so many individuals is immeasurable. The group will be back on Friday 22nd March to cook Spaghetti Bolognaise together.

Reconnect through Cookery

On Friday our cooking group celebrated St David’s Day and enjoyed traditional Welsh faggots, Welsh Pork and Leek sausage, and homemade Welsh cakes.

Lunch was followed by a Welsh-themed quiz hosted by Ffion, bingo hosted by Alex, and a disco. Jamie won the best-dressed award (everyone looked great in their Welsh-themed costumes) and Richard (whose 50th birthday we celebrated) won the award for best dance moves.

Thank you to everyone who volunteered in the kitchen, cooked, dished up lunch, and washed the pots and pans. We’ll see you all next week for cottage pie and fresh vegetables, chosen by our member Nat.

Reconnect through Music

Yesterday our members celebrated St David’s Day early at Libanus Lifestyle with Dan from RecRock, who joined us for week six of our Reconnect through Music project. Our members performed songs by Tom Jones, Duffy, Will Young and many other artists, and sounded as great as ever.

Thank you to Jeremy James for making us traditional Welsh Cakes, which tasted amazing.