Blaenau Gwent People First Conference

On the 28th February Ffion, Amy, Christy and Cyril attended the 2020 Blaenau Gwent People First Conference.  The first speakers  were Andrew Day and Paul Swann who talked about the Gwent Advocacy Strategy, and how people with learning disabilities have been involved in the work.  Andrew also stated that the GATA (Gwent Access To Advocacy) helpline is now in place for people needing information about advocacy.

The second speaker was Emma Scherpatong from Blaenau Gwent County Council who spoke about the equalities plan for 2020.  The plan will be published in easy read format and will be available in March 2020.

Geraint Griffiths from the Engage to Change project was the next speaker and he explained that Engage to Change helps people ages 16-25 who have autism or a learning disability to get paid employment.  To do this they help you write a CV and also prepare you for your interview.

David Arnold from Blaenau Gwent 50+ Forum spoke about places being more accessible and age friendly.  He said that the next meeting of the forum will host Gwent police talking about cyber crime, internet safety and scams.

Next, David Williams from the Gwent Citizen panel spoke about what the panel does.  He said that recent discussion have been around transport, public toilets and accessible areas.

Sadie Rogers from Growing Space discussed their new Travel Buddies training scheme. Growing Space are hoping to encourage people with learning disabilities to use buses and trains and become more independent.

After lunch we attended the ‘What Matters to Me’ workshop.  We split into groups and discussed transport, health, housing, and relationships/friendships.  Each person had to write 3 concerns they had on these topics and this was then fed back to everyone attending the conference.

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National Council Meeting

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.

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.

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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.

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Learning Disability Awareness Training In Schools

Caerphilly People First has been involved in a very important project which involves visiting schools to provide learning disability awareness training to pupils aged 7-11.  The training was put together by Caerphilly People First along with Hayley Gray and David Williams from the Gwent Regional Partnership Team.

The first training sessions took place at Pontnewydd Primary School in Cwmbran in October 2018, and was carried out by Caerphilly People First members Ffion Bethell and Kath Toms, with support from staff member Christy Taylor.

The team trained 233 pupils aged 7-11—including some with special needs—and on completion each student was given a goody bag and certificate as a thank you for taking part.

In January training continued in Malpas Park Primary School in Newport, where training was delivered to 115 pupils.  The training will continue in various other schools during the next few months.

We hope that the outcome of the training will be that young people will become more aware of the issues faced by people with learning disabilities, and gain an understanding of their lives. school training

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Student Nurse Placements

For two weeks during October we welcomed two nurses on a one week placement each. We had the pleasure of training Natalie and Mariain subjects including Learning Disability Awareness, Safeguarding, Hate Crime Awareness, and Ambulance training.  The training was delivered by Ffion Bethell, Kath Toms and Sharon Cochrane. It was a pleasure to have Natalie and Maria join us for their placement and we wish them all the best in their nursing careers.

Ambulance Training Thursday 16th August 2018

Sharon Cochrane,Colin Hill and Kath Toms went to Wood-field side day centre to deliver Ambulance training it includes,when to ring 999 and when not to ring 999. If you want more information or would like to have this training please contact us on 01443834444 and ask for Ffion Bethell or Christy Taylor.

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New Zealand People First Visit

Last Thursday (7th June 2018) we were honoured to receive a visit from New Zealand People First. Caerphilly People First members began by talking about our organisation and the work we do, and this was followed by members talking about their personal experiences with Caerphilly People First. We then presented the people from New Zealand People First with Welsh souvenirs (rugby balls, mugs, Welsh cakes).

Also at our office to welcome New Zealand People First was Councillor David Poole, leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, who also presented the visitors with a gift. New Zealand People First then gave their own presentation about their history and current activities, and their presentation was outstanding. We were then presented with a New Zealand rugby shirt, which we will have framed, and will hang in the office to remind us of this special day.Picture1