Caerphilly People First Focus Group

The Focus Group would like to say a massive thank you to staff from the Caerphilly Parent Network who joined the group for this week’s craft session. They taught the group how to make stress balls and decorate them, items which will prove very useful! Everybody had great fun and the Parent Network staff were great, very helpful and interactive. We look forward to undertaking more partnership work with the Parent Network in the future.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week took place from Monday 9th May to Sunday 15th May, and this year’s theme was loneliness.  During the pandemic lots of people experienced loneliness, and sadly 1 in 4 adults will be affected by mental health problems during their lives. During Mental Health Awareness week, the CPF Reconnect Focus Group focused on their mental health and wellbeing by connecting with nature and the outdoors.  We spent some time digging, planting and painting; activities which are really good for physical and emotional wellbeing.  The group also took part in a wellbeing game and touched on what makes us sad, happy and angry. We finished off our session with a lovely walk in the sunshine.

Good Governance for Groups

Caerphilly People First trustees, members and staff recently took part in ‘Good Governance for Groups’ training, delivered by Philippa Davies from All Wales People First. Governance is:

  1. Making sure that a group is following the law.
  2. Making sure that the organisation is doing things properly and following the right rules.
  3. Making sure the organisation is doing what it aims to do.

We found the training very informative, detailed, and easy to understand, and we will take what we’ve learned and use it to improve the way we run Caerphilly People First.

Meeting with Chris Evans MP

We recently met with Chris Evans, MP for Islwyn since 2010, and the Shadow Minster for Defence since 2021.  We talked in detail about the proposed changes to the Human Rights Act (1998) and the lack of consideration given to people with learning disabilities when documents are produced.  Chris Evans has agreed to write to Deputy Prime Mister Dominic Raab to stress the importance of easy read documents, and the concerns people with learning disabilities have over the proposed changes to the Human Rights Act.  We would like to thank Chris Evans and his secretary for taking the time to visit us and hear our thoughts.

Tackling Isolation and Loneliness

This week we held a coffee afternoon at Libanus Lifestyle Centre, as part of our project to tackle isolation and loneliness, funded by the Caerphilly Cares Team.  We were delighted to be joined by new faces, as well as some people we already know.  The group had a great discussion on the effects the pandemic has had on our mental wellbeing.  Some people talked about having to shield because of underlying health conditions, which made them feel extremely lonely, especially over the Christmas period.  The group also talked about the lack of support for people during lockdown.  A couple who attended said it was their first time being out with a group in a social setting for over two years.  The event was also attended by regular Caerphilly People First members, who talked about their anxiety when using public transport for the first time in years.  The next meeting of this group will be held on Monday 28th at March, again at Libanus Lifestyle Centre in Blackwood, and all are welcome to attend.

Medical Students Training

At the beginning of March, Ffion Poole and Natalie King worked alongside Cardiff People First to train medical students on how to communicate with people with learning disabilities. The training involved going into a breakout room and holding a number of interviews with students, where the conversations included what Caerphilly People First does and people’s lives and hobbies. We really enjoyed this and hope we can be involved again in the future.

Winter Wellbeing Week 4

For the final week of our Winter Wellbeing project (funded by All Wales People First) the group took part in a mindfulness session, where they sat in a quiet room, and for 30 minutes listened to a recording to help us relax.  After the session the group felt less stressed and said they will continue to practice meditation in the future as they found it so helpful.

As it was St. David’s Day, the group took part in a quiz about Wales, and they also celebrated Shrove Tuesday with some pancakes and fresh strawberries and bananas.

Human Rights Act Reform

Ffion and Natalie recently attended a workshop run by the British Institute of Human Rights where people discussed the changes the UK government has proposed making to the Human Rights Act.  They want to change the laws that were in place in the UK when we were part of the European Union.  Caerphilly People First is one of the many organisations concerned by this because we believe that it will lead to people in the United Kingdom having their rights weakened.  The UK government have opened a consultation to get the views of people on the proposed changes, but unfortunately this isn’t available in an easy-read format.  This consultation is available until 8th March at:

Our Chairperson Ffion says: We are worried about this as we have not had a say or had any easy read documents explaining why and how they are going to change things.  We feel like we are invisible as people with learning disabilities.

Winter Wellbeing Week 3

For week 3 of our Winter Wellbeing course, the Tuesday Focus Group discussed the benefits of Vitamin C and Vitamin D, and compared foods to see which foods contain the most sugar and fat, and which healthier foods you can replace the unhealthy ones with.  After this discussion, the group took part in a healthy eating quiz prepared by Carmarthenshire People First, following which the group made healthy carrot and coriander soup.