Friday, 17 January 2020

Knife Angel sends powerful anti-violence message to Powys.

An Angel for Powys

Hands of Hope

It was an emotional day in Newtown in early January when the Knife Angel made his way from the British Ironworks in Oswestry to his new home outside the Oriel Davies Gallery in Newtown. Transported on the back of a large crane he arrived on a cold Friday afternoon to a crowd of people who'd turned out to watch him arrive. It took some time and was breathtaking to witness the 30 foot statue being lifted in to place. The official launch was Saturday 4th January. Newtown resident and former mayor Sue Newham describes the launch in her own words for us.

"Powys County Councillor, Joy Jones, who instigated the visit of the Knife Angel to Newtown, was joined by a large crowd of Newtown residents and visitors at the launch event on Saturday 4th January. Joy explained how a chance conversation with the owner of the British Ironworks Centre in Oswestry, Clive Knowles, led to a 5 week flurry of activity, when a gap in the Knife Angel schedule became available at short notice.

As a Newtown resident, I was aware that not everyone felt positive about this very emotive sculpture coming to an area with few issues with knife crime. However, Clive Knowles, and the artist behind the work, Alfie Bradley, both explained that the Angel is intended as a National Monument against Violence and Aggression. It is made with surrendered or seized knives from all police forces across the UK. Each knife has been individually sterilised and blunted before being incorporated into the monument which stands about 30 foot high. Some of the knives have been engraved with messages from individuals and families who have suffered because of violent crime.

During the event, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelan, spoke about Mid Wales being the area in the UK with the lowest levels of violent crime. There was a round of applause from the crowd, as he said that it was the Dyfed-Powys Police Force's strong desire to keep violent crime out of the area. He mentioned the recent  trials of the County Lines drug gang, operating out of Merseyside into Mid Wales. This led to the successful conviction of 18 people, jailed for a total of 101 years. He warned that drugs gangs use violence and threats to avoid detection, and urged members of the community to work with the police to stop other gangs taking the place of those caught.

The response to the Angel was striking. Its questioning face and outstretched hands reach out to the viewer and seem to ask the question, "Why?" People were clearly fascinated by how it had been created, as well as moved by its message.

After the launch event, I visited the sculpture in the evening, to see it with the colour change lighting on it. It is a phenomenal achievement and a very powerful statement. If you have the chance to see it while it is in Newtown, I would recommend it.

Sue Newham. 
Launch photo thanks to Andy Newham

Joy Jones,County Councillor for Powys, who is the driving force behind the Knife Angel coming to Powys explains why she feels it's important for our local communities. 

"The knife angel comes to Powys with a very powerful message of anti violence. It is touring the UK in a bid to raise awareness for anti-violence. This sculpture also recognises those affected by knife crime. Although Powys doesn’t have a high incidence of knife crime there are various other issues of violence that we see in Powys.There has been a serious problem with 'Countylines' which is drug and dealing gangs, we know there are assaults, domestic abuse or even bullying, etc which the knife angel brings a powerful message to remind people we do not tolerate any of it.

I would like to ask others in Powys to stand up against violence if we all work together Powys could be a better place.It has been very interesting to hear from people who have visited the Knife Angel of the meaning it has for them. I am really pleased to have had the opportunity to bring it to Powys and for Newtown to have had the privilege to host it while it had been here.There has been fantastic community spirit with people and businesses pulling together to help. I am very grateful to everyone for came to support the Knife Angel's visit.Even when the Knife Angel leaves on 29th January we need to keep the message going, Powys Stands Up Against Violence,"

Councillor Joy Jones with Alfie Bradley, Clive Knowles and Matthew Price

There is no doubt that the Knife Angel sends a powerful message. He's located just in front of the Oriel Davis Gallery where his wings reflect in the burnished steel panels of the gallery. Kate Morgan-Clare, Creative Producer for the gallery describes the impact of the Knife Angel, "The gallery is really pleased to play a part in this initiative. News of the Knife Angel’s presence in front of the gallery has brought thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds, from the town and beyond, to visit. The Angel is a powerful monument to the victims of knife crime and an inspiring, skilfully made piece of art. It demonstrates the ability of art and creativity to communicate important social and personal messages. We have met many visitors who pop in to watch the short film we are showing about the making of the Angel. We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of visitors who have often made long journeys to experience the sculpture and moved by the many heart felt comments left in the visitors book in the gallery foyer."

Powerful anti-violence message

The Knife Angel will be in Newtown until Wednesday 29th January. A leaving ceremony is due to be held on Saturday 25th January. Gathering at Wesley St at 4.30 with a procession to the Angel at 5.00 with battery powered tea lights or torches at 5.00. He is due to leave the county to take up residence in other Welsh towns. He has undoubtedly made a huge impact on the local community with people visiting from the all corners of the UK. His visit has sent a powerful message about standing up to violence which will hopefully long remain in people's memories helping to make our communities healthier, safer places to live and bring up future generations in peace. 
Powys stands up against violence.

Friday, 10 January 2020

It’s Time to Talk About Dying

what to do when someone dies? 

Last year we celebrated the ground-breaking  “My Life My Wishes,” a PTHB Palliative care initiative, focusing on those often difficult questions around death and dying, with the launch of the Powys Advanced Care Planning document. What has become clear as a result of this initiative is that there is a need for a dedicated approach to end of life and bereavement care. What is important to establish from the beginning is how support is co-ordinated and delivered. What do we do in Powys when someone dies?

SATH Swan Scheme
At the moment there isn’t a dedicated bereavement strategy in Powys, it’s a blank canvas with the opportunity to shape services and provision for our local Powys communities. To find out what bereavement services are offered in neighbouring Shropshire we visited the SwanScheme at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

.SWAN is an acronym for Signs Words Actions and Deeds.

SATH were early implementers of the SwanScheme, devised by Roy Lily and pioneered by Fiona Murphy in Manchester hospitals. The premise of the Swan Scheme is that “we have one chance to get end of life care right,” so we need to do it well.  In Shrewsbury there’s a dedicated bereavement suite based in the old mortuary viewing suite , opened in 2015, and two end of life care two bereavement rooms, with a special children’s room. It feels like you’re visiting someone’s living room with a welcoming, calm atmosphere. There are pictures on the walls, comfortable chairs with lots of thoughtful and sensitive considerations and attention to detail, such as mood lighting and CD players.

The end of life volunteer service began in 2017, with 23 current volunteers and plans to expand with a SWAN room on each ward. Every individual or family with an end of life care plan through the SWAN scheme receives a memory box containing several helpful items for the bereaved such as tissues, a small ribbon-tie soft bag for jewellery or a lock of hair and a swan bag for the bereaved’s possessions. What is particularly beneficial about these bags and boxes is that everyone at the hospital recognises the significance of the SWAN and takes this in to consideration.

The Rules
thinking outside of the box
An underlying premise of the SWAN scheme is that the rules are there are no rules. Rules can be broken and out-of-the-box thinking is encouraged and welcomed, for example flowers, a favourite food or drink and pets are all allowed, with special pet passports to allow access to the hospital, it’s the little things that can make an end of life experience more personal and less clinical, bringing moments of joy to the final moments of someone’s life.Time is also irrelevant when it comes to SWAN end of life care. It’s possible to share a final Christmas in June or a Mother’s Day in December. What is important is that the death is as personal as possible and as long as it’s safe and kind with no harm to anyone it’s OK. This approach encourages open and honest dialogues around death and dying. Demystifying the stigmas and taboos we cloak death in and making it more acceptable and approachable, making any fears and concerns easier to talk about.

Important Points
Conversations about death and dying are encouraged to be seen as ‘important,’ rather than ‘difficult,’ It’s one of the most significant conversations we’ll have about our life and how we choose to leave it so it’s important to be honest and open. It’s important to take in to consideration, where we want to die, who we want to be there, who is going to represent you if you’re unable to represent yourself. Kathryn Mannix talks about these important conversations in  her short but poignant You Tube Video, “ Dying is not as bad as youthink,” 

Powys Bereavement Launch
The visit to the SWAN scheme at SATH was particularly thought provoking and inspiring with lots to consider moving forward with a Powys Bereavement strategy. Planned to coincide with “Grief Awareness Week,” the Powys Bereavement Project was launched at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod on Tuesday 3rd December The event was well attended with a mixture of statutory and third sector organisations. The launch opened with a video of Julia Samuels MBE of the “Good Grief Trust,” with the message that, “everything about grief and loss is chaotic and messy,” promoting the fact that there are no set rules and we really need to talk about grief, death and dying and bereavement.

Several people shared their perspectives about grief and bereavement with the room. Becky Evans from Credu was the first person to address the room. Becky Shared a powerful Vlog with us from Powys young carer Emily Bleakley who cared for her mother during her illness and death from terminal bladder cancer last year. Emily’s story is shared in our PAVOMental Health Blog Becky’s key message to the group was that it’s important to help people with all types of grief and support people with caring during end of life, through to bereavement and beyond.

Sue Westley, chair of CRUSE Bereavement Care spoke next. CRUSE is a national organisation found throughout the UK and Northern Ireland. It’s reliant on volunteers and in Powys has an area co-ordinator based in Newtown. Sue informed us that approximately 600,000 people per year are bereaved. Most people have good social support networks. CRUSE is there for those people who don’t that don’t have that support . CRUSE offer one to one appointments at home or in a safe place, giving support and offering advice to help people in their grieving. They offer different types of support including pre-bereavement, major incident and dementia and also run workshops to support people who are bereaved. Sue highlighted the importance and value of talking, not internalising feelings. With 60 years of supporting people through grief and bereavement CRUSE have now delivered a powerful Manifesto for Bereaved People. They are also planning to recruit more volunteers this summer, if this is something you'd be interested in please contact them at

Marion Baker talked to us about the services provided by the BrackenTrust. Based in Llandrindod they offer support to people affected by cancer, their friends and family and carers, providing a range of activities and group support from gardening to singing to mindfulness and massage. They are currently in the process of standardising their bereavement service.

The Samaritans were represented by Alison Davies who described the services offered. All roles at the Samaritans are filled by volunteers, there are currently 80 members of staff in Powys, 40 shop workers and 40 listening volunteers. Their aim is for fewer people to take their own lives. They currently offer support by phone, e-mail and sms. There are always two volunteers and a leader on duty, employing SHUSH listening tips to provide a safe place where people can talk openly about their feelings and experiences.

The morning session ended with an open and honest, heartfelt message from Alison Edwards-Lewis, Palliative Care Secretary with the PTHB, which highlighted the need for a Powys Bereavement scheme to be established. Julie Rowles, Director of Workforce, Organisation Development & Support Services for PTHB thanked everyone and spoke movingly of her own personal experience of grief and loss.The Tenovus Voice Choir joined us for the final moments of the launch. Tenovus is a choir for people affected by cancer. It was set up 75 years ago and has gone from strength to strength in that time. There are 18 choirs in Wales and 2 in London with 1800 weekly singers. Tenovus provides support 365 days of the year and base their support on the fact that singing makes you feel better. Something we were able to experience first-hand as the Llanidloes Tenovus Choir joined us to sing Christmas carols.

Next Steps For Powys
The launch was a powerful first step towards implementing a Powys Bereavement Plan. There was music, cake, laughter and tears and a real sense of a united passion and commitment to supporting people in end of life care and bereavement. The palliative team are in the process of working on a project plan with these initial steps and intentions:

  • We want to ensure that everyone who is bereaved in Powys has accessible, individualised and holistic support.
  • We recognised the huge breadth of experience in terms of types of loss and grief reactions and that individuals may need very different things, at different times, across a large geographical area.
  • We celebrated what support is already there which surprised many in the room, and agreed it needs a central directory for accessibility (with a search engine function, probably through infoengine)
  • We explored how grief is totally natural process that does not need medicalising – but it needs to be normalised and supported within community contexts
  • We recognised the support needed for professionals working with people who are grieving, and that education and easily accessible information is needed for everybody.
  • We recognised that particular kinds of deaths and losses need particular support, for example, death by suicide, miscarriage, death of a child.
  • We are committed to work together to radically improve bereavement services in Powys in the next year.

The words of Tiffany, choir leader with Tenovus, Llanidloes stay with me as we move forward with the bereavement project, “Grief is a build up of love with nowhere to go,” Hopefully by coming together and working out what good grief looks like in Powys, we’ll find healthy avenues and channels for the grief.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Powys Sexual Health Services - A year to be proud of.

Sexual Health Services Powys

I had the pleasure recently of joining Julie Richards, Suzy Fairclough and their dedicated Sexual Health team in their one year celebration of Sexual Health Services in Powys.

And what a successful and inspiring year to be proud of. Sexual Health Services Powys have a five year improvement plan with an All Wales approach linked to the Health and Social Care Strategy In their first year they have:

  • Made sexual health a priority for all ages.
  • Encouraged and adopted a culture of open honesty.
  • Appointed a Condom Card Co-ordinator and made this an accessible service throughout the county.
  • Widened the provision of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)
  • Increased access to emergency contraception in rural places.
  • Improved access to STI screening for all. 
An inspiring carousel model of sharing the progress that's been made in the last year, made the morning an informative and productive session. We split in to small groups of three or four and visited each stand to find out more about the services provided and the developments made. 

LGBTQ & Powys Pride

Powys Pride - 27th June 2020

Shaun Griffiths from Mid Powys Mind talked to us about STI testing. Fear and stigma surrounding HIV and STIs often presents a barrier to testing for the older generation. This sector of society is increasingly at risk with relationships breaking down  and bereavement in later life, new relationships are formed and contraception is not always seen as a necessity. The younger generation are also more complacent about STI testing, more secure in the knowledge that HIV is treatable, they are often of the opinion that HIV and STIs are something that happens elsewhere and to someone else. Hopefully with the improved access to home testing and screening, people will be able to receive the information, care and support that they need. 

It was exciting to hear about the plans for Powys Pride on Saturday 27th June 2020. The event is due to take place in Llandrindod Wells, the afternoon will start with a walking parade through the town. Community events and activities are planned for the afternoon at Temple Gardens with all welcome. 
The evening event will be a celebration party for adults at the Pavilion with live music.  

The Powys Pride committee meets once a month on a Monday evening at Mid Powys Mind in Llandrindod. If you're interested in taking part or would like to know more please contact Shaun at Mid Powys Mind.

Sexual Health Services

Sally - Clinical Lead PTHB Sexual Health Services. 

Sally Irving the clinical lead for Sexual Health talked us through the developments of the last year. It was great to hear that 52 members of staff have been trained in FSRH (Faculty of Reproductive & Sexual Health) Essential Skills with two members of staff completing the full FRSH training. The service will increase provision to provide Midwife and Health Visitor post-natal contraception. This service is due to be extended to include emergency contraception with pilot projects being trialled in Newtown and Llandrindod in the next few weeks. In addition to this it is planned in the future to be able to offer contraceptive implants and coils with a contraceptive 'kit bag,' for outreach services.

A pilot project in Brecon plans to run a LARC clinic alongside the Gynaecology clinic, reducing waiting times. Other outreach services are being planned to offer support with sexual abuse, pregnancy testing and emergency contraception, reducing travel times and providing different pathways of support. 

Powys Gender Identity Service

New gender identity service to be established 
In September this year the Welsh Health Service established the first Welsh Gender Identity Service According to Vaughn Gethin Welsh Minister for Health & Social Care, "Establishing the new Welsh Gender Service is the first step in enabling people to access services closer to home. We are committed to continue to engage with our stakeholders as the new service evolves," Julie Richards described what Powys was doing to meet the all wales initiative and what is available for the residents of our county. The PTHB is anticipating that the number of people wanting to access the service will be small, up to 10-12 people per year, as such the service in Powys will be a virtual one. Jonathon Shaw is the clinical lead, he's based in Machynlleth with the service available to people over the age of seventeen and a half. Awareness of Gender Identities will be promoted to communities throughout the region in an attempt to reduce the loneliness and isolation that people accessing the services can experience. It's clear that gender identification is no longer clear cut with 14 different genders to identify with. The Powys service will virtually link in to the All Wales service on a fortnightly basis to keep up to date with developments and help people link to the service, accessing the support they require. 

Condom Card Scheme

Serena Jones - Condom Card Co-ordinator.
I remember sharing the job description for a "Condom Card Co-ordinator," earlier this year via our H&W bulletin. A member of our PAVO staff enquired if that was actually a 'real job'? I was delighted to meet the new Condom Card Co-ordinator for Powys, Serena Jones. Serena has been in post since May this year ad already made incredible progress with the provision of free condoms throughout the county. 

It's easy to register for the service, all you need to do is fill out a simple form, providing a username and postcode. Once registration is complete you'll receive a key fob with a QR code. Scanning this code will display the access points to collect condoms from and whether these access points are open or closed. The first visit has to be an in person appointment, the next 10 collections can be made without an appointment then another appointment is needed before another collection can be made. This ensures that checks can be carried out and that no further services are required. Each collection contains 10 condoms for adults and 6 for people under the age of 16. There are 21 access points in the North, Mid and South of the county. Access points include LARC nurses, YFC, Kaleidoscope and CAIS. Brecon Mind and Breocn outpatients have recently completed their condom card training with plans for Montgomery YFC in the North to undertake training in the not too distant future. A possible three month pilot with Freedom Leisure is in the pipeline which would make the service more widely accessible throughout the county. 

It's great to see just how much progress has been made and how committed Serena is to the scheme, keep up the good work! 

Pyscho-Sexual Health Services

mental & emotional wellbeing.
Linda Durgan talked us through the Pyscho-Sexual Health Services available. Referrals to the service are made initially through a GP, once you've attended the clinic you can self refer and connect back to the service to make appointments at any time in the future. At the moment there is only one clinic that runs fortnightly on a Thursday in Builth Wells, with a wait time of approximately 2/3 months. 

It's important to recognise the significance of adult sexual relationships and the impact of those relationships on all aspects of our lives. Understanding that a problem with sexual health can have an impact on our mental and emotional health, our relationships and families, leading to break downs of some of our most important and significant relationships and connections. It can be difficult to open up and discuss such a private and intimate topic and often the issue is left to escalate until being addressed.

It's imperative for people accessing the service to feel as comfortable and as  at ease as possible.
Change has to come from within, we can't change what's happened or make things different, how we manage that emotionally and physically is something we can work on.


Effects of drugs & alcohol.

Last but not least we spoke to Rob and Sarah from Children's Alcohol & Addiction Service.  They work with children and young people aged 10-18 supporting them with substance misuse issues. They deliver lessons in schools to years 7, 8 & 10 about the effects of drugs and alcohol on our relationships and capacity to make rational, informed judgements about consent. With Year 10 the risks of unprotected sex are discussed as well as the unwise choice of sexual partner and unwanted pregnancies. They shared a video with us that makes the case for consent clearly and succinctly, as easy as making "A Cup of Tea,"


The carousel was a great way of sharing the breadth and scope of Sexual Health Services in Powys. It was easy to engage and ask questions and to find out about just how much this hardworking, dedicated team have achieved in their first year. They have drive and vision and a friendly, professional staff who are clearly committed to improving sexual health services in Powys. The team offer carousel style training and presentations about the services they offer, something that I would highly recommend as a hands on way to learn more. 

To find  out more please contact:

Suzy Fairclough -  Sexual Health Services Program Manager / 01597 828711

Safer Sex Powys.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Sicrhau bod ein cymunedau’n ystyriol o oedran a dementia

Making our communities age- and dementia-friendly.

Adnodd Newydd - Taflen Cymorth Iechyd Meddwl Gwasanaeth Ambiwlans Cymru ‘Dwyt ti ddim ar dy ben dy hun’

Mae Taflen Iechyd Meddwl Gwasanaeth Ambiwlans Cymru o’r enw Dwyt ti ddim ar dy ben dy hun, bellach ar gael, gan roi ystod o Llinellau Cymorth Iechyd Meddwl. P'un a ydych chi'n poeni am rywun rydych chi'n ei adnabod neu'n gweithio gyda chi, eich hun neu rywun annwyl, gall y llinellau cymorth a'r gwefannau hyn gynnig cyngor arbenigol.

Dilynwch y dolenni ar gyfer:

Daeth y syniad o ymgysylltu â phobl sy'n profi anghenion iechyd meddwl gan ein Tîm Profiad y Claf a Chynnwys y Gymuned Gwasanaeth Ambiwlans Cymru. Mae hyn bellach wedi'i greu mewn partneriaeth âInterlink RCT <> a Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil <> a'u Cynrychiolwyr Defnyddwyr Gwasanaeth o Fwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Cwm Taf Morgannwg Gyda'n Gilydd ar gyfer Bwrdd Partneriaeth Iechyd Meddwl. Mae'r daflen newydd yn cynnwys rhestr o Llinellau Cymorth Cenedlaethol sydd wedi'u hen sefydlu, sy'n nodi a ydyn nhw am ddim ac ar gael 24/7 (neu gyda therfynau perthnasol i hyn).

Mae’r daflen ‘Dwyt ti ddim ar dy ben dy hun’ - sydd ar gael i’w lawr lwytho o Wefannau Galw Iechyd Cymru a Gwasanaeth Ambiwlans Cymru - bellach yn cael ei hanfon yn electronig at bob Asiantaeth Bartner, felly cylchredwch yn eang i'ch holl rwydweithiau. Hefyd wedi'i becynnu'n barod i'w ddanfon i bob gorsaf ambiwlans ledled Cymru ac yn barod i'w ddosbarthu mewn digwyddiadau cymunedol fel rhan o waith Cynnwys Cymunedau parhaus Gwasanaethau Ambiwlans Cymru, mae i Griwiau Ambiwlans allu rhoi i gleifion yn ôl yr angen, gan gyfeirio pobl at gefnogaeth i'w hanghenion iechyd meddwl.
Gobeithiwn y bydd yn adnodd gwerthfawr ac yn ffynhonnell gefnogaeth,
Os ydych am roi unrhyw adborth am y daflen, cysylltwch â ni:
Tîm Profiad y Claf a Chynnwys y Gymuned

Ffôn: 01792 311773
Ewch i'r dudalen Cymryd Rhan ar ein gwefan 
Twitter: @WelshAmbPIH

New Resource – Welsh Ambulance Service Mental Health Signposting Leaflet ‘You are not alone’

The Welsh Ambulance Service Mental Health Leaflet entitled ‘You are not alone’, is now available, giving a range of Mental Health Support Helplines. Whether you’re concerned about someone you know or work with, yourself or a loved one, these helplines and websites can offer expert advice.

Follow the links for:
The idea came from engagement with people who experience mental health needs by our Welsh Ambulance Service Patient Experience and Community Involvement Team. This has now been created in partnership with Interlink RCT and Voluntary Action Merthyr Tydfil and their Service User Representatives from the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board Together for Mental Health Partnership Board. The new leaflet contains a list of well-established National Helplines, indicating if they are free and available 24/7 (or with relevant limits to this).
The ‘You are not alone’ leaflet -also available to download from NHSDW and WAST Websites- is now being sent electronically to all Partner Agencies, so please circulate widely to all your networks. Also packaged ready for delivery to all ambulance stations across Wales and ready to be distributed in community events as part of the Welsh Ambulance Services’ ongoing Community Involvement work, it is for Ambulance Crews to be able to give to patients as needed, signposting people to support for their mental health needs.
We hope that it proves to be a valuable resource and source of support,

If you wish to give any feedback about the leaflet contact us:
Patient Experience & Community Involvement Team
Telephone: 01792 311773
Visit the Get Involved page on our website
Twitter: @WelshAmbPIH