Thursday 6 May 2010

A Capital Event

I attend the first of 22 County events in our “Road to Recovery” campaign at Hafal’s National Resource Centre in Cardiff. The rain holds off most of the time and nearly 100 people call in to see the microbus and learn more about the key messages.

I am delighted to see all four touch-screen computers mounted in the bus are in constant use as guests check out the principles of mental health recovery (link here) and the campaign itinerary (link here). Junaid Iqbal handles the barbecue expertly: assisted by staff and volunteers everybody gets a substantial and healthy meal without tedious queuing. Fred Dymott, improbably dressed as a flower person circa 1967, sells a huge quantity of garden produce from Hafal’s horticultural project adjacent to the Centre, including a carful of bedding plants for me. Hafal Chair Elin Jones does a professional job of the S4C interview; she then pops out momentarily to St. Fagan’s legendary bakery and very kindly gives me a loaf (half of which I disgracefully devour during the drive back – well, it was still warm and the smell...).

A good crowd from Hafal’s carer group join service-users at the Centre: over 70 sign up on the campaign message calling for:-

- A new Welsh law (Measure) which gives priority to timely treatment and comprehensive care planning.
- All mental health services to be developed and delivered in response to individuals' care plans.
- New resources to bring mental health services up to scratch.

The Cardiff crowd also has plenty to say about the replacement of Whitchurch Hospital and the future of community-based mental health services in the city: see this link for more pictures and the full message sent from Cardiff as an "e-postcard" to the movers and shakers.

Nobody mentions the election but there is a fin de siecle atmosphere in the sunshine and warm Spring rain - whatever the result somehow from tomorrow things will never be the same again...