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Views sought on mental health services

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views soughtREBECCA EVANS AM, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has asked the Health Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, to respond to the lack of in-patient mental health services in mid Wales following claims at the recent public meeting in Aberystwyth (January 10) that some young people were being offered beds as far away as Scotland.

Mrs Evans, who chairs the Assembly’s Cross Party Group on Mental Health, used Ministerial question time to highlight the lack of in-patient mental health facilities at Bronglais Hospital. Mrs Evans described reports of people in mental distress being offered beds as far away as Scotland as “clearly unacceptable” and went on to ask Mr Drakeford to explore with Hywel Dda University Health Board how this occurred, and asked “what can be done to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”

In response, Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, said: “I thank the Member for that question”

“I have heard reports of some of the things that were said at the public meeting in Aberystwyth, and specifically on that point. So I have already asked the local crisis resolution team, the local health board itself and the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee for any evidence they have that that sort of thing has happened.

“So far, their reports to me are that none of them have been able to identify a single case of a patient from that area being placed in Scotland. Indeed, they were unable to identify any patient being placed in a facility outside the area other than when that care was specialist care necessary for that patient’s treatment.”

This is not the first time that Mrs Evans has raised mental health provision in mid Wales in the Assembly Chamber, having previously raised the issue with the First Minister. Following a meeting with Aberystwyth Students Union, Mrs Evans spoke in the Senedd about the rising number of crisis mental ill health cases amongst students in Aberystwyth, and the lack of after-care.

Mrs Evans has been scrutinising the Health Board on its mental health provision since its decision to close Afallon Ward in July 2012. The closure came in response to safety and sustainability concerns following a protracted period of recruitment difficulties for qualified clinicians.

Mrs Evans said: “At a recent meeting with the Health Board I requested a briefing on mental health provision.

“I was pleased to learn that a space has been identified in Enlli Ward, in Bronglais, to develop a designated S136 suite for Ceredigion to replace the facility previously provided at Afallon ward. S136 suites are places of safety where the police can hold people in mental distress for up to 72 hours. Holding people in police stations, as sometimes happens now, can be completely inappropriate. I understand that plans are awaiting final approval, and I would urge very speedy action on this.”

Other developments on which the Health Board has briefed Mrs Evans included the extension of the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment to provide a 24 hours per day service, following successful recruitment to the posts in December, and developments in the Therapeutic Day Service.

Mrs Evans said: “I would like to hear about people’s recent experiences of mental health services in mid Wales. I am particularly keen to hear the experiences of people who have been unable to access in-patient mental health care in Bronglais, and would like to know where they were treated instead and what impact that had on their mental health and their recovery.”

All information will be treated confidentially. Readers can contact Mrs Evans at rebecca.evans@wales.gov.uk

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New Quay dog charity supported by national company

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John Burns: Has been feeding happy and healthy pets since 1993​

​A CHARITY based in New Quay, Ceredigion, that rescues and rehomes German shepherd dogs, is celebrating securing backing from the charitable arm of one of the UK’s biggest and most successful independent pet food companies.

The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation, part of Burns Pet Nutrition, a family company in Wales that makes specialist foods designed for the health and well-being of pets, has unveiled three charities it will support in 2018.

One of these is the UK German Shepherd Rescue, a rescue charity made up of volunteers who donate their free time to helping rescue and rehoming unwanted German shepherd dogs and puppies throughout the UK.

Suzanne Syers, founder of UK German Shepherd Rescue, said she is looking forward to partnering with Burns on many levels.

Suzanne said: “UK German Shepherd Rescue are thrilled to be chosen as one of Burns’ Charities of the Year for 2018, and are grateful for the package of support from Burns which will help us immensely. We are looking forward to developing a strong partnership with everyone at Burns and also to benefit from the nutritional advice and support that they can bring to help improve the quality of diet (and overall wellbeing) of the dogs in our care.”

The other two charities backed by Burns in 2018 are: Forever Hounds Trust, which matches greyhounds and lurchers to happy homes; and Dogs for the Disabled, an Irish charity that trains assistance dogs to assist physically disabled children and adults to carry out a range of practical tasks.

The Burns Pet Nutrition Foundation has run the Burns’ Charity of the Year since 2015 in addition to other community schemes including Burns in the Community and Burns by Your Side, a scheme that helps school children improve their literacy and communication skills with the aid of trained volunteers and their reading dogs.

The chosen charities will receive free, healthy pet food which has been developed by Veterinary Surgeon, ​​John Burns and has been feeding happy and healthy pets since 1993. The charities will also receive expert advice from Burns’ team of in-house nutritionists, joint promotional opportunities, and in some cases, financial donations. These new charities will replace the two charities it supported this year: the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) and Appaws for Autism.

John Burns, Veterinary Surgeon and founder of Burns Pet Nutrition, said: “Myself and the Burns Pet Nutrition team are extremely passionate about supporting and giving back to the community in any way, shape or form possible – and the same goes for charities in need of the support they aren’t currently receiving.

“We are looking forward to working with the selected charities throughout 2018 and, hopefully, they will feel the benefit of the support Burns Pet Nutrition can offer. We’re proud to be entering our third year of running Burns’ Charities of the Year, and we look forward to the years to follow.”

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New Sensory Room for Aberystwyth respite service

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Opening the sensory room: Adrian Jones

A FANTASTIC facility is ready to use in Aberystwyth which will aim to benefit the disabled within the community.

Bryn Siriol, a respite service for adults with learning disabilities located on Fifth Avenue in Penparcau, has now opened a new sensory room for those with learning disabilities throughout Ceredigion and is the result of a three-year project.

The Herald spoke to Karen Dagg, who had been the registered manager at Bryn Siriol for seven years.

Describing the sensory room and its benefits, Karen said: “The sensory room provides a ‘quiet’ room where the people we support can relax. The people using our service have varying support needs all have a learning disability and some have physical disabilities.

“The sensory room is now equipped with fibre optic lights, bubble/light machine, projector, glitter ball and a water bed. The room is accessible to people who are in wheelchairs.”

She described the journey that was taken to open the sensory room: “The sensory room has always been a dream for myself and the staff at Bryn Siriol. A few years ago we were fortunate enough to receive a bequest from Mr Williams, whose daughter Thelma used to use the respite service before moving into supported living in the Cardigan area.

“The money Mr Williams left to us was enough to purchase the sensory chalet, have it erected and for some of the equipment, however there was a considerable shortfall.

“The shortfall has been possible due to the hard work of the staff team at Bryn Siriol doing car boot sales with items generously donated by the residents of Ceredigion. Also some of the staff from CTLD (Local Authority) did a sponsored walk.”

“How important do you feel it is for Bryn Siriol to have such a facility?” we asked.

“The sensory room will be available to all people with a learning disability and this gives them the opportunity to enjoy the facilities as well as meeting other people from within the area. As far as I am aware there is not another facility like this within Ceredigion.”

Karen told us how successful the sensory room had been so far and how she thinks it will bring the community together.

“The sensory room has been used by people who access the respite service and there has been fantastic feedback not just in words but in the faces of the people with profound disabilities who are unable to communicate verbally.

“The sensory room has only been open since October 4 and we are anxiously waiting for people from outside of our service to enjoy the facility.”

Bryn Siriol will be holding a tea party on November 8 at the service. People are welcome to go along and join them for tea and cakes, as well as to look at the sensory facility.

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Going for Growth event helps businesses reach new markets

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Going for Growth: A successful day

F​OOD CENTRE WALES recently hosted a very successful ‘Going for Growth’ event to help local food and drink businesses to focus their attention on developing and reaching new markets.

The event was well attended with over 70 attendees, mainly consisting of local food and drink producers as well as other business support agencies.

In extending a welcome to everyone to Horeb, ​​Leader of Ceredigion County Council, Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, said​:​ “The food industry is one of the main industries in the County, with some 3,700 people working in it and, of course, based on our excellent agricultural products. Some of the most strategic and iconic companies of the food sector in Wales have sites in Ceredigion, for example, Rachel’s, Dunbia (formerly Oriel Jones), Tŷ Nant and Volac. Horeb Food Centre has served most of the Ceredigion food and drink companies since it opened in 1996. We are very pleased that the Centre has also successfully provided services to many other companies across Wales and beyond.”

Rachel Rowlands, founder of Rachel’s Organic, opened the event by sharing her experience of growing a food business. Welsh Government presented the latest industry research data to help businesses identify potential growth areas for their businesses. Ruth Davies from Cwm Farm, who shared her experience of product development, supplying Selfridges and exporting.

Arwyn Davies, new Business Development Manager for Food Centre Wales who will talk about how food and drink producers can benefit from the support offered by the Food Technologists and the HELIX project. The morning finished with Morrisons buyer, Matt Trigg, explaining what they look for in food products and how to get onto their supermarket shelves. He also met with many of the producers for private meetings in the afternoon.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Economic and Community Development highlighted the important role of Food Centre Wales in the food and drink industry in Ceredigion, saying, “This event goes to show how valuable Food Centre Wales is for small and medium businesses. I’m certain that local food and drink businesses were inspired from the Going for Growth event where they were treated to experience, knowledge and advice. We’re proud of the high standard of our locally produced food and drink within Ceredigion and are enthusiastic about how we can show support in local businesses to flourish. I’m very much looking forward to the exiting developments in the food and drinks industry in the future.”

The delegates enjoyed a lunch of locally produced food incorporating many food producers who have received help from Food Centre Wales. The afternoon started with attendees participating in a tour of the Research and Development building, followed by 1-2-1 sessions with Food Technologists, Matt Trigg and other business support Agencies – Business Wales, Landsker, Finance Wales, Antur Teifi, Menter a Busnes and Lantra.

The event was organised in collaboration with Cywain and the LEADER groups – Arwain Sir Benfro (Pembrokeshire), RDP Sir Gâr (Carmarthenshire) and Cynnal y Cardi (Ceredigion).

The HELIX project is a Welsh Government initiative designed to help develop the food and drink industry in Wales take advantage of the much needed funding available to help their businesses grow in the marketplace. New and existing small and medium enterprise food and drink manufacturers are able to access bespoke assistance from food technologists that is specific and tailored to the individual business.

If you are a food or drink producer and would like to receive help from Food Centre Wales, phone 01559 362230 or email gen@foodcentrewales.org.uk.

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