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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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Council recognised for its work on domestic violence

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In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported being a victim of domestic abuse.

CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has once again been recognised for its work to combat domestic abuse.

It has achieved the White Ribbon UK accredited status for the second time running and departments will continue to work to raise awareness around domestic abuse and to contribute to ending male violence against women.

In the last year nearly 2,880 people in Carmarthenshire reported as being a victim of domestic abuse.

The White Ribbon campaign is a global initiative that encourages people, especially men and boys, to individually and collectively take action and change the behaviour and culture that leads to abuse and violence.

Domestic abuse affects both sexes with the largest number of violent incidents involving men against women. 

To show its commitment County Hall in Carmarthen will be lit up in purple on White Ribbon Day on November 25 and the White Ribbon flags will be flying in council buildings at Llanelli and Ammanford.

A message will also be printed on staff payslips signposting them to support channels.

Carmarthenshire County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Rural Affairs and Chair of the Safer Communities Partnership, Cllr Ann Davies, said: 

“I am pleased that we were again successful in receiving accreditation from the campaign and recognising the work we have done and also plan to do going forward as part of our commitment to ending domestic violence. The figures in the last 12 months are still too high and that is those that have come forward to seek support. The pandemic has seen a significant rise in the number of referrals so it is vital that we do whatever we can to encourage people not to remain silent and speak out and seek support.”

Support and advice for anyone affected by domestic abuse is available by calling Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800.

For local advice you can contact Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service (CarmDAS) on 01267 238 410 who provide support to both men and women 9am-5pm.

More information on the campaign can be found on the White Ribbon website

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Let’s get digital – Ceredigital

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Internet of Things

A NEW section, ‘Ceredigital’ dedicated to digital services, is now available on Ceredigion County Council’s website.

Ceredigital aims to provide clear information upon how digital technology can be used to support business growth, the economy, the quality of life for residents, tourism and the environment.

It covers a range of work and projects that the Council is currently involved with to improve the provision of digital technology across the county.

Information on the following services is included in the new section:

  • Broadband
  • Mobile
  • Digital Skills
  • Public Wi-Fi

It also includes information on the creation of a LoRaWAN network that the Council has been creating across the county which will accelerate the ‘Internet of Things’ innovation within the region; an open network used to improve business efficiencies.

Councillor Clive Davies, Digital Champion for Ceredigion County Council said: “Having access to affordable and reliable high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity has quickly become essential for everyone. The last two years have seen more people working from home than ever before, and the only way many of us have kept in contact with friends and family is through online catch-ups. It can be confusing and time consuming when you have connectivity issues and don’t know what support is out there.

“I’m very happy to announce that this new section is available. This resource can assist residents and businesses in finding out how to improve connectivity, funding that is available to do this, brushing up on digital skills, as well as providing details upon fixed and wireless projects that are currently being undertaken with Ceredigion.

With a county-wide LoRaWAN Internet of Things network, the largest in Wales, now is the time to focus on data innovation. This is no longer the gift of large organisations, or so called “Smart Cities”, we have the solid foundations of a rural smart network available right now, that can enable data driven decision making to take place right here in Ceredigion, enabling efficiency savings, and new product offering and opportunities as we recover from COVID-19”.

So, if you or your business is not reaching its digital potential for one reason or other, head over to Ceredigital to see what options are available to you right now.”

The new Ceredigital section can be found here: www.ceredigion.gov.uk/business/ceredigital.

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Helping you to make a difference in your community

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Ceredigion Rural

THE CYNNAL y Cardi Local Action Group is launching a new Grant Fund, as part of the Cynnal y Cardi LEADER scheme, which will support small scale LEADER activity in Ceredigion.

The fund will provide small-scale financial revenue to support pilot projects, feasibility studies, facilitation, networking activities and training and mentoring ideas. Applications are welcomed from organisations in the third, public and private sectors. They must meet the criteria and priorities of the Local Action Group.

The Grant Fund will focus on the following priorities from the Cynnal y Cardi Local Development Strategy:

  • supporting activity with the aim of strengthening opportunities for developing Ceredigion’s circular economy
  • supporting early intervention for the development of pre-commercial activity with the aim of developing entrepreneurial activity
  • strengthening community resilience activity with a focus on the role of Town and Community Councils in supporting and engaging with their communities
  • developing opportunities for re-engaging people and reinvigorating community activity following COVID-19 and piloting innovative uses for community facilities

The Cynnal y Cardi LEADER Grant Fund, which is administered by Ceredigion County Council, is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

Councillor Rhodri Evans, Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Economy and Regeneration, said: “We understand that COVID-19 has made the past two years a tough time for the county, and in light of the pandemic, the priorities for Ceredigion’s Local Development Strategy have been reviewed in September 2020. This new grant scheme provides opportunities for us to tackle the issues and build on the opportunities following COVID-19 within our communities in order to strengthen our resilience. I urge you to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

The first closing date for submitting your applications is 17 January 2022. Submissions are welcome in Welsh or English. You will need to discuss your ideas with the team. Contact the team by email at cynnalycardi@ceredigion.gov.uk or visit www.cynnalycardi.org.uk for more information.

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