Thursday 18 August 2011

Seventy-Six Trombones

The "Taking the Wheel" campaign rolled into my old stamping ground of Aberdare today to be greeted by a good crowd.

Nigel, a service user from Rhondda Cynon Taf who has schizophrenia, tells us:

"I am 51 years old and have lived with a diagnosis of schizophrenia for the past 25 years. I have been attending Hafal’s local service for the past six months - my first experience of such services - and the biggest benefit to myself and family has been a real raised level of self-esteem. I was stuck in a rut, but now I feel well supported by the staff and other users within the project.

"I take part in all project activities and have recently completed a basic IT course. I really enjoy the woodworking course, too, as this has given me a great opportunity to relearn old skills."

Hafal has been funded by the Big Lottery Mental Health Matters programme to help people with serious mental illness back to work through our Short Steps initiative. We do this by supporting them through training and education, helping them to achieve the qualifications they need. Hafal also works with employers, helping them to understand their role in ensuring that the mental health of all staff is well-managed.

For more information on Hafal’s Short Steps employment project look here.


I moved from Carmarthen to Cwmbach, Aberdare, in the 1980s and have fond memories of the local Allotment Society (membership number 76 - when I got my card the treasurer said I should remember it because of the song "Seventy-Six Trombones"), some respectable and many not-so-respectable public houses, the excellent amateur productions in the theatres in Aberdare and Aberaman, and above all the chippy in Whitcombe Street where the nice Welsh-Italian lady would discreetly slip me an extra piece of fish free of charge.