Welcome to this edition of the Adferiad Partnership newsletter.
We have been incredibly proud to witness the spirit in which you have all pulled together in recent times, facing significant challenge but working tirelessly to support the most vulnerable people in Wales.
The way our organisations have worked together in partnership over the last three years has stood us in good stead and prepared us to weather the storm we are currently facing. It has been a joy to read in these newsletters of the great examples of services continuing, adapting and thriving, and of the good news that continues to be shared, despite the circumstances we find ourselves in.
Whatever your role in this partnership, you should be proud that there are vulnerable people succeeding through these difficult times because of you and your commitment to them and their wellbeing.
As we’ve watched you all persevere and innovate, we’ve been struck by the sheer dedication, passion and commitment of our staff teams. We are grateful to you all. Thank you all for your hard work.
Clive, Alun, & Karen
- Commemorating Dr Dafydd Alun Jones
Sadly, in recent days we have lost CAIS Chairman, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. We have been inspired by Dr Jones over many years and hold him in great affection. It would have been impossible to miss this opportunity to talk about the huge impact Dr Jones had on CAIS, and the work that we deliver, and to show our gratitude to him in doing so.
This is an abridged version of an article originally written by CAIS board member, Carys Roberts:
We all sometimes feel helpless when faced with the medical and social problems of our time. Some problems seem beyond our control. We need individuals with vision and courage to inspire others to act. One such individual is psychiatrist Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.
Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was a young doctor at Denbigh mental hospital when he noticed that alcoholism was becoming a more common problem and there was little support for these patients in our hospitals and outside. In 1968 Dr Jones set up a dedicated unit to treat alcoholism in one of the hospital’s empty wards. But he realized that hospital treatment was not enough and that patients needed to be supported in their homes and communities after leaving hospital. He began a campaign to establish the North Wales Alcohol Council.
Rev Harri Owain Jones and Rev. E. R. Lloyd Jones and others from the Presbyterian Church were very supportive and were joined in their support by ministers, elders, teachers, doctors, nurses and social workers. The commitment to the work remains among friends such as the Rev Cledwyn Williams and Miss Lucille Hughes, who are committed CAIS board members today.
An old children’s home in Llandudno was chosen as the headquarters for the Alcohol Council and the Rev Aneurin Owen became an effective chief executive of the work. Grants came from the Presbyterian Church centrally and from individual churches and health councils and authorities as well as individuals and families in memory of loved ones.
The service relied heavily on goodwill and volunteers, but despite the goodwill money was limited at first. It was a challenge to maintain buildings such as Ty’n Rodyn in Bangor as a refuge to help alcohol addicts.
It was decided in 1992 that the charity needed to be strengthened and a new name needed to replace the Alcohol Council. CAIS was selected an abbreviation of the Cyngor Alcohol Information Service.
An important step was to enter into an agreement with Cymdeithas Tai Eryri who were willing to offer two houses in Llanrwst so that people would have homes to move to after finishing their treatment.
CAIS realised that the way forward was to partner with other voluntary services, and to persuade councils and government to invest money in the work.
By 1993, we had grown from 6 to 122 staff, and patients were turning to the charity for help with a variety of conditions – now not only alcoholism but also the problem of drugs, depression and unemployment. The Falklands war had ruined the lives of many. Soldiers were coming out of the forces with various problems, and so CAIS was given a new challenge to address.
In the mid-1990s it became apparent that Denbigh Hospital would close. That, of course, would mean losing the units Dr Jones had set up to treat alcohol and drug problems. Many more patients would end up on the street without support.
Dr Jones led the campaign for the Home Office to provide funds for a purpose-built centre to help people with alcohol and drug addiction. Hafan Wen was subsequently built near the Maelor hospital, Wrexham. However, as we know, many of the patients who turned to CAIS for help faced a range of related problems. CAIS had to expand and offer services beyond the drug and alcohol service.
CAIS has now developed into a very influential charity, offering a huge range of services and working in partnership with many similar charities, and supporting thousands of individuals each year.
So, from a small seed a substantial charity has developed.
Individuals with vision can truly make a difference, and this is demonstrated in no better way than by our friend, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.
Our work continues, redoubled in his memory.
- Celebrating an article published 50 years ago which led to the creation of Hafal
Fifty years ago an article appeared in The Times which would change the conversation around mental illness – and eventually lead to the creation of Hafal.
On 9th of May 1970, The Times published an anonymous article by John Pringle in which he wrote about his experience of caring for his son who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and the ways in which that diagnosis had affected the family.
The article had a huge impact: carers across the country subsequently wrote letters sharing their own experiences. A community of carers grew, and in 1972 John Pringle formed a new charity: the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (NSF). In 2003, the NSF in Wales became Hafal – an independent Welsh charity.
Speaking about the 50-year anniversary of John Pringle’s letter, Alun said: “The letter was a landmark moment. It changed the way mental health was spoken about because it brought together carers from the UK who suddenly realised: it’s not only us, there are other people out there in a similar position and facing the same issues.
“As a result of John Pringle’s words, carers – and the people they cared for – came together, gained a voice at national level, and campaigned vigorously over five decades for a fairer deal. That work continues today. At these difficult times it has never been more important to fight for the rights of people with a mental illness and their families and ensure their needs are met. And thanks to John Pringle’s letter, we are here, as a Member-led organisation, to do just that.”
- Shepherds of the Fog
Wynford Ellis Owen, Chief Executive Officer of Living Room Cardiff, writes:
There was an old shepherd on the slopes of Snowdon in the summer acting as a guide to visitors. But in time, some of them were saying that they had no need for a guide, because they had some small maps with them – with every path on the map, every rock and precipice marked down in detail.
But one day, when the thick fog descended, the small maps were no good at all to them at that time. Yes indeed, at some stage on life’s journey, we all of us need the services of a shepherd to guide us through the fog.
Our privilege, as CAIS colleagues across Wales and beyond, is to offer that guidance humbly and un-assumingly to the many that are suffering at this most difficult time because of Covid-19, and to the numbers who are returning, having discovering that the small maps weren’t enough to protect them in the fog.
The services that I offer through Beat the Odds, that helps excessive gamblers and their families; and Cynnal, the counselling service for all clergy, ministers of religion and their families, are flourishing despite everything. Membership of some online groups has trebled and others have increased exponentially over the last few weeks. Every day, one or two people contact me in abject despair and wanting to end it all as a ready answer and an attractive option to the pain and the nightmare they’re experiencing.
The impersonality of the internet isn’t ideal – face-to-face counselling is so much more effective – but it’s hundredfold better than leaving these poor clients to grope dangerously close to the cliff edge and in the fog.
So, ‘Shepherds of the Fog,’ keep at it – ‘stick-to-itiveness’ is the right word for it. Keep at it with your good works, without fret or weariness, and by knowing that you are needed and valued more than ever at this most critical time in our history.
- New WCADA service supporting people with their tenancies
Sarah Hockin, Lead Floating Support Worker at WCADA, writes:
On the 1st April 2020, WCADA launched the Neath Port Talbot Alcohol and Drug Housing Support Service. It is a pilot project providing peripatetic housing related support services for adults with alcohol and/or drug use issues. It is funded through the Housing Support Grant in partnership with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council. We have employed two full-time Floating Support staff to deliver this specialist service to support individuals to secure and /or maintain a tenancy and develop the ability to live independently in the community.
Referrals routes to the service are open, i.e. we accept self-referrals and referrals from organisations working with individuals who use alcohol and/or drugs. Referrals should be emailed to the Council’s Supporting People Gateway (email@example.com). Those who are street homeless and/or referred by the Neath Port Talbot Street Vulnerable MARAC (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference) are prioritised.
The service works closely with individuals in the community, providing support tailored to meet their needs. The service provides advice, advocacy and liaises with other organisations to help a person effectively manage their housing, finances, health and wellbeing. The service also provides advice and support around personal safety, and works with individuals on reducing the stigma in accessing specialist alcohol/drug services. The support offered is intensive and the aim is to provide individuals with regular support to achieve identified goals. The service is flexible and confidential, and provided by trained staff who respect the individual and their environment. Service users will be involved in all aspects of their support plan and are encouraged to take ownership of their plan and learn how to deal independently with recurring situations in the future.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the service is currently providing support to individuals who are street homeless and who have been given emergency accommodation. The service is providing support to help them maintain their accommodation through this pandemic by completing telephone interventions and outreach appointments whilst adhering to the government social distancing and PPE guidelines.
The Floating Support team are very excited to be a part of this new initiative and believe that by working intensively with the individual and in partnership with other services, it will help to provide a holistic approach to individuals that will benefit their overall wellbeing.
- Competition fever hits Cadw CAIS
Can you grow the tallest / largest sunflower in CAIS, before the 1st September 2020?
If you would like to participate in a bit of fun, all we ask is that you purchase your own seeds, get planting, watering and send in monthly pictures of your sunflower (Facebook – CadwCais or firstname.lastname@example.org).
And for all you bakers out there – this one is for you! Get creative and submit the cake of your dreams.
All entries to be in by Monday 1st June 2020.
Please let us know who is joining in with the fun! This competition is open to staff, volunteers and children!
- Juggling, wellbeing and exercise – all online with Hafal’s new resources!
Hafal staff and supporters across Wales have been developing a range of video and audio resources to promote wellbeing both for now and when we emerge from lockdown. These include guided stress management and relaxation sessions, Mindful breathing exercises, recipe ideas, How to Juggle videos, gardening tips – and daily exercise routines with our very own answer to Joe Wicks – Dafydd James!
Future plans include arts and crafts you can do at home, and how to create a record of your own positive memories. All the resources can be accessed on Hafal’s Facebook, Twitter, Intagram and YouTube pages.
If anyone has any ideas/skills that they would like to share please contact Michelle Boyd, Jason Cockings or the Hafal Communications Team.
- Funding success for Adferiad Recovery
The Adferiad Recovery Team have been successful with a number of emergency grants being awarded to support our services in recent weeks. Funding from Tesco Bags of Help, Community Foundation in Wales, Landaid UK, Morrisons Foundation and the Clothworkers Foundation has meant we have been able to continue to provide vital support, reaching out to those who would like our help. We have online groups running daily providing a much-needed virtual connection in the absence of physical connection, as well as our one to one telephone support. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who continues to support us in all that we do.
- Time to Change Wales launches new newsletters to keep everyone up-to-date!
Time to Change Wales is the first national campaign to end the stigma faced by people with mental health problems. The campaign is delivered by partners Hafal and Mind Cymru.
In recent weeks Time to Change Wales (TtCW) has launched weekly e-newsletters for both TtCW Champions – people with lived experience of mental illness who visit schools and businesses and talk to the media to share their experiences – and TtCW Pledged organisations.
You can download the new newsletters here:
Rachelle Bright, Community Engagement Officer at Time to Change Wales, said: “This is a really exciting project as it gives us the opportunity to better connect and interact with our employers and Champions, particularly through this challenging period. We wanted to showcase the great work that our Champions and employers are doing to tackle mental health stigma, as well as sharing their top tips on how to stay positive through this time of restriction.
“We’ve had a lot of contributions from employers and Champions to input into our e-newsletters so far which has been fantastic. Some of our Champions in particular have said how they really welcome the e-newsletter as they feel better connected with us and empowered by the stories.”
Please note that while we are doing our very best to deliver our services across Wales during the coronavirus outbreak, including by digital means and by phone/video conference, this is no substitute for the face-to-face delivery of services. We look forward to delivering our services in person following the lockdown as we know how important this social interaction is to our clients across Wales.