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Calls for return of mental health beds to Ceredigion

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PLAID CYMRU AM Simon Thomas has called for the return of mental health beds in Aberystwyth in a response to a consultation by Hywel Dda University Health Board on adult mental health services.

Bronglais Hospital’s mental health Afallon ward in Aberystwyth was closed in 2012.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Simon Thomas said: “I am particularly concerned at the failure to provide an adequate mental health service in Ceredigion at present. There being no adult hospital or community mental health beds in the county with people having to travel to Carmarthen.

“It seems that there will be no treatment beds between Llanelli and Bangor, a distance of 145 miles.

“This is a failure to deliver for the residents of Hywel Dda or to recognise the travel to work set ups in the region. It is particularly disappointing that the work of the Mid Wales Healthcare Collaborative has not led to a significant improvement in the area of mental health treatment beds.

“I would argue for the reinstatement of beds in Aberystwyth which were removed without consultation or discussion from Afallon Ward in 2012.”

He outlined his party policy and welcomed certain features of the proposals by Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Mid and West AM Simon Thomas added: “Plaid Cymru believes in improving access to trained counsellors and therapists in the community. We also want to ensure every community should have reasonable access to provision of emergency mental health care beds.

“I hope these proposals mean that Hywel Dda University Health Board will take seriously the need to invest in additional therapeutic models of treatment to widen choice and move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to treatment.

“I support the ‘Time to Change’ campaign against prejudice and discrimination towards those with mental health problems. This means that Hywel Dda UHB itself must set a gold standard in ensuring that support services are available for employees with mental health problems.

“I welcome the proposal in the consultation to ensure a 24/7 Community Mental Health Centre in each county with four crisis and recovery beds on site.

“I’m pleased that they will be a place of safety for people detained by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. This will help prevent people in crisis from having to stay in a police cell for assessment.

“The use of centres as a bridge facility for people to go to after as hospital stay and before they go home will be desirable, as is the 24/7 operation with open access meaning fewer delays for people and no waiting lists for referrals.

“I welcome the proposals to develop social enterprises and cooperatives at Community Mental Health Centres but note that this will need investment and resources to be achieved successfully.

“Even under these proposals there will continue to be real issues regarding travel time for people from Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire with the Central Assessment Unit based at Glangwili General Hospital in Carmarthen and the Central Treatment Unit based at Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli.  This is particularly the case for those reliant on public transport and their families and carers.

“The idea of a Single Point of Contact for people if they want to seek advice or want to make a referral into adult mental health services is a good one. A mix of options to speak to someone on the telephone, via email, or via text would be the best to access the Single Point of Contact.”

The consultation ended last Friday (Sept 15).

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Communities and staff thanked for flood support

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COMMUNITIES and staff have been thanked for their work during the Storm Callum Floods. The October floods caused great damage to homes, businesses, roads and bridges in the south of Ceredigion. The floods were the biggest flood event in the last 31 years in Ceredigion.

During the flooding, the council supported the emergency services to prioritise the saving of lives. This included making sure that roads and bridges made dangerous by floodwater were closed. The council’s emergency response and recovery procedures were carried out during the event. Multi-agency emergency procedures were also carried out.

Ceredigion County Council Chief Executive, Mr Eifion Evans said, “Council staff went above and beyond their duties over the weekend of the floods. I saw their efforts with my own eyes; staff who weren’t on duty were offering to come in to help our residents. We had to send some staff home as they wanted to work longer than the 12 hour maximum that staff are allowed to work in one shift.

I have also been impressed by the huge efforts made by communities to help each other during, and in the aftermath of the flooding.”

After water levels dropped, council staff from Community Wellbeing, Housing and Highways Teams immediately went to the affected areas to offer practical support and advice. They also saw the extent of the damage that had been caused.

Everyone who has been in touch with the council has been offered help with housing, including being offered emergency temporary accommodation where needed. The Housing Team have worked with local landlords and B&B owners to provide additional accommodation, and to provide ongoing support for people who have been affected by the flood.

The Community Wellbeing Team have also provided advice and specialist equipment to residents to help to begin to dry out their homes. This support is ongoing.

The council organised drop-in sessions in Lampeter, Newcastle Emlyn, Llandysul and Llechryd. The sessions were attended by many organisations that can offer support and advice. The sessions gave residents the chance to ask the organisations any questions they had about recovering from the flood.

The Highways Team have arranged a free service to pick-up and dispose of flood damaged materials and have put skips in local household waste sites for flood damaged possessions. The team also cleared 100 tons of earth from the B4459 near Capel Dewi after a landslide covered the road. The Highways Team also repaired damaged roads and bridges.

Mr Evans continued, “The council is dedicated to helping our residents recover from the devastating effects of the recent floods. I understand that the impact is still very raw for people who have been affected, especially those who have been made homeless. I want to reassure every resident that our committed staff are working hard to help you. Despite severe pressure on council budgets, we will do everything in our power to continue to offer practical help to residents.”

A flood recovery group has met regularly to look at how the Council can target help in the most effective way. A further flood newsletter will be published in the near future. The Council will also be hosting flood advice surgeries and building on the work of developing emergency support groups for flooding.

More information about the help the council can offer is available on the website on www.ceredigion.gov.uk/stormcallumfloods

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Training company enjoy successful open evening

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HYFFORDDIANT CEREDIGION TRAINING (HCT) enjoyed a successful open evening on November 7 as it opened its doors to the public.

Opening HCT’s doors gave people the opportunity to see the fantastic range of training opportunities available for them. This included opportunities for young people who are interested in seeing what apprenticeships HCT has to offer.

Mark Gleeson, Manager for Post 14 Vocational Learning said, “It is important that HCT holds open evenings to showcase different learning opportunities that are available to all learners. HCT offers a large number of apprenticeships which ensures that the next generation of skilled workforce is being trained and employed by local companies. This is very important to the economy of Ceredigion.”

There was an opportunity to have a tour of the building, to speak to tutors, to have a look at the workshops, and to see trainees and apprentices in action. This gave a flavour of the kind of work that is done daily at the training centre.

Traineeships and apprenticeships, but also evening classes, are taught at HCT, as Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet Member for Learning Service and Lifelong Learning explains, “If studying towards a full qualification in a given trade is not what you are after, but you want to gain some of the basic skills in the various routes HCT specialises in, why not join an evening class? The next round of evening courses are beginning now. So, what are you waiting for? Contact HCT to see what it has to offer you.”

Evening classes run for six weeks and HCT offers these 2-3 times per year. HCT offers a range of vocational courses for people of all ages, including Hairdressing, Childcare, Business Administration, Information Technology, Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrics, Blacksmithing, Agriculture, Motor Mechanics and Welding.

For more information, find ‘Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training’ on Facebook, or visit the website, http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/public-it/hct/index.html

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Vandalism at coastguard lookout point

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POLICE are investigating vandalism at the old coastguard lookout point at Bird’s Rock.

A council spokesperson said: “We’re very sad to see vandalism to the old coastguard look out at Bird’s Rock on the coastal path a mile to the west of New Quay last week.

“All five windows was smashed – some even had their wooden frames ripped out.”

Melanie Heath, Ceredigion County Council’s Marine Protected Area Officer, added: “This act of vandalism is so distressing to see. The look-out was restored thanks to a special grant from the Crown Estate. It is used by our Dolphin and Porpoise Watch volunteers throughout the monitoring season. It is also a special place for many local people and visitors alike to sit for a while and take in the spectacular views of Cardigan Bay.”

If anyone has any information, contact Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police on 101

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