Caerphilly People First has been very closely involved with TRAC (Teaching and Research Advisory Committee), which is based at the University of South Wales. At the end of October the members attended a TRAC meeting at the University where members of TRAC delivered a presentation on communication. After the presentation we spent an hour chatting in groups with the student nurses about our lives and personal experiences. Each student will now design a poster based on the comments of individuals from the People First groups, which people will read and rate for accuracy.
There was a further meeting in November where TRAC members talked about delivering training in 2020/2021, and discussed the new curriculum. The group also talked about the modules for year 3 students. TRAC has yet to have any involvement with year 3 students and look forward to helping them with their ‘Communication and Complex Needs’ module.
Also in November, Ffion and Kath were at the simulation ward in the University of South Wales, helping to train year 2 students. Kath played the part of a patient with asthma who needed to learn how to use the asthma pump. Also on the ward were people playing other roles, including someone having a panic attack and someone suffering from dementia.
The most recent Caerphilly People First county meeting was held in Bargoed YMCA at the end of November. At the meeting we were joined by Anwen, Stacy, and Liz from the Caerphilly County Borough Council Equalities team. The ladies were at the meeting to gather the views of our members on the 7 equality objectives the council have written, with the aim of making Caerphilly County Borough a fairer place to live and work.
The objectives are to:
- Understand and remove the barriers people face when getting services (such as health, transport, housing).
- Improve education for everyone.
- Help create communities that are strong and include everyone.
- Make sure people who live in Caerphilly have a say in how services are run.
- Make sure people can get services in Welsh.
- Have a workforce that includes all the different types of people who live in Caerphilly.
- Lower the pay gap between men and women.
Members gave their views on the 7 objectives, and these will be included in the report that is due to be published in April 2020.
At the meeting we were also joined by another guest speaker, Adam from Pride Cymru. Adam explained that Pride is an organisation which works to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion or ability. Their aim is for the LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) community to be valued and accepted in their community, and to be free from hate crime, discrimination and prejudice.
Adam also talked about Pride Cymru’s Big Weekend (attended by Ffion and Sharon from Caerphilly People First in 2019), which Pride would like to make more accessible for people with disabilities. Adam also stated that 180 Pride event volunteers have attended learning disability awareness training, to prepare for the annual Pride Big Weekend.
During the first week of November Caerphilly People First attended the GAVO Annual General Meeting at Llancaiach Fawr in Nelson.
Edward Watts, Chair of GAVO opened the meeting by welcoming those in attendance, and thanking everyone for the dedication and hard work people have put in to ensure GAVO continues to build its influence and impact across Gwent in the year of its 90th anniversary.
Other items on the agenda included GAVO’s financial and annual reports for the years, the launch of the GAVO business plan for 2019-2022, and a presentation from Dr Sarah Aitken, Executive Director of Public Health & Strategic Partnerships.
Caerphilly People First would like to say a big thank you to the Lloyds Bank Foundation’s ‘Get Online at Home’ scheme for donating three computers to our organisation. We would especially like to thank Mike Lewis for informing us about the scheme. As you can see from the picture, the computers are already up and running and being used by volunteers at the office.
The most recent All Wales People First National Council meeting was held in Swansea at the end of October, and was attended by Christy, Sharon (standing in as deputy for Ffion), and Natalie (a student nurse on placement with us).
At the meeting, elected reps from various People First groups came together to discuss issues relating to the lives of people with learning disabilities. Some of the subjects discussed included the issues people are having with renewing their bus passes and blue badges. Caerphilly People First members have also been having problems with this. Joe Powell said he would contact Transport for Wales to see if they will attend the next meeting and talk to reps about these issues. The group also talked about voting and the difficulties people with learning disabilities face when trying to vote. The next national council meeting will be held in Flint, North Wales in January 2020.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.