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.


Experts Through Experience Film

On 4th October, an event was held to showcase the success of the various Community Voices Projects.  These are Big Lottery funded projects, administered by GAVO, which aim to provide people with the opportunity to have their voices heard in the development and delivery of local statutory services.

In October 2013, Caerphilly People First and Blaenau Gwent People First  launched our project, which is called ‘Experts Through Experience’.  The project aims to expand the involvement of people with learning disabilities in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.

In order to highlight the achievements of the various projects it was decided to produce films to feature the work carried out and the journey of the people involved. Here is the video that was produced by the Caerphilly People First and Blaenau Gwent People First ‘Experts through Experience’ project.

Message from the Chair – Jamie Roberts

Over the past few weeks, Caerphilly People First members have shown the Adviser of Blaenau Gwent People First around the various day opportunities centres in Caerphilly. These include the work projects in Woodfieldside and Windy Ridge, and Springfield. The Adviser stated that she was very impressed with the opportunities that people with learning disabilities have in Caerphilly. We think this is great news—a person who works outside Caerphilly has seen the good work that goes on here in comparison with Blaenau Gwent .