Friday 3 June 2011


Monte Carlo has nothing on this. Today's stage of the "Taking the Wheel" Welsh Rally finds the chrome on our 1964 VW microbus catching the intense sun-light as it glides around the scenic corniche overlooking Cardigan Bay and comes to a dignified halt on the sea-front in Aberystwyth.

Anna Bellingham, Hafal's Aberystwyth-based Training and Development Manager, says: "Our popular campaign camper van and racing simulator is on hand for visitors to view and enjoy; visitors are literally able literally to ‘take the wheel' as they race in a camper van rally simulator which is proving to be a lot of fun. There's plenty of information on serious mental illness available for people to take away, too."

Anna says the message from service users to come out of today's event is one that resonates throughout Wales, that is the lack of move-on accommodation for service users currently having 24-hour support."

Service-user led organisations Hafal and MDF the Bipolar Organisation Cymru have joined forces with the Mental Health Foundation to support the campaign which will empower people with serious mental illness to:

• Take the driving seat in managing their own recovery from serious mental illness.

• Make use of their new rights under the Mental Health (Wales) Measure.

• Make choices about the care and treatment they receive – and who provides them.

• Develop and manage services themselves.

• Engage with the providers of mental health services so that they can get involved in planning and commissioning those services.


Believe it or not the Prince of Monaco attended a St David's Day luncheon in Monte Carlo this March which was also graced by one of our Principality's respected royalty - I mean of course Dame Shirley Bassey. What the Prince made of the Welsh rabbit and cawl on the menu was not reported. Although, come to think about it, just as Aberystwyth on a sunny day looks very like Monte Carlo so too Monegasque cuisine is oddly familiar: Barbagiuan (a cheese'n'leek pastie - no really, I kid you not); Socca (a heavy pancake - what we call a crempog). At the risk of sounding disloyal I wonder if like us they go to France if they want something decent to eat.