At the beginning of March, Amy Jones, Cyril Luke and Christy Taylor attended the Gwent Citizens’ Panel meeting. The first speaker was Matthew from MIND Monmouthshire, a mental health charity. He spoke about the project and all that they do to help people with mental health issues. The next speakers were Sian and Grant from Aneurin Health Board talking about building stronger communities together. They also spoke about the Health Board giving physiotherapists and other health workers work experience in doctors’ surgeries.
On the 2nd March, Ffion Poole and Amy Jones—supported by Christy Taylor—attended the University of South Wales to talk to the student nurses about what it’s like living with a learning disability and how difficult it can be.
As part of the training, everyone watched a video about how nurses should interact with people with learning disabilities. We then went into groups with the students and discussed our lives and what things are difficult for us. The students will use this information to design a poster which will be marked by us at the end of May.
On Thursday 20th February, Ffion Poole, Hannah Thomas and Christy Taylor went to Swansea where they gave a presentation to Mandy, Leanne and Matthew from the Welsh Ambulance Service. The presentation was of the training Caerphilly People First provides to medical students, and was filmed in order to publicise the working relationship between the Welsh Ambulance Service and people with learning disabilities.
The possibility of Hannah becoming a Learning Disability Community Champion for the Ambulance Service was also discussed. Ffion is already a Champion, and the role involves talking to groups of people with learning disabilities about the work ambulance staff do.
We were recently visited by two officers from Gwent Police who talked to us about Mate Crime. Mate Crime is a form of hate crime that is defined as abuse or theft being carried out by someone who claims to be a friend. This can include financial abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse. People with learning disabilities are often the target of mate crime.
The Crime and Disorder Reduction Officer and Community Support officer who visited us told us that the police take these crimes very seriously and they want people to REPORT IT! They acknowledged that this can be scary but there is always someone that will look after you and support you. They said that you can call them on 101, or contact them via Crimestoppers or Facebook. If a crime is in the process of being committed you can call 999.
On the 27th and 28th January Ffion Poole and Christy Taylor attended the first All Wales People First National Council meeting of 2020, which was held in Flint, North Wales.
During the two days the group spoke about what they like and don’t like about National Council meetings and how they can be improved in the future. Other items up for discussion included bus passes (some members are still waiting for their new ones), if people are happy with the term learning disabilities, and whether All Wales should campaign to have the Welsh Assembly appoint a learning disability commissioner. 100% of members voted yes to this question. The group also discussed appointing a patron to All Wales People First. This is usually a famous person who is able to create media interest and encourage donations.
Also during the meeting, the Chair of All Wales People First, Joe Powell, gave a presentation on the ‘Five Giants’ strategy. Joe explained that this strategy aims to solve the problems with self-advocacy in Wales. The five giants refer to five big problems in self-advocacy, which are: IPA Contracts (which state that local authorities must fund advocacy), Funding Cuts, Mission Drift (moving away from core work), Competition (sometimes with other People First groups), and Lack of Funding.
The next meeting of the group will be held in South Wales in May 2020.
At the beginning of February Stacey and Edward from the University of South Wales visited Caerphilly People First to get our views on what information should be included on hospital passports for people with learning disabilities.
A hospital passport is designed to give hospital staff helpful imformation about you which will help them make your stay in hospital more comfortable. During the meeting Ffion, Hannah and Amy were asked to decide which ten pieces of information they thought the passport should include, and then rank those ten pieces of information in order of importance.
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.