MORE THAN A HUNDRED people celebrated recovery and the success of the Cyfle Cymru peer mentoring programme at a special fun day and barbeque.
Dozens of participants from across North Wales joined residents and staff of the Bryn y Wal supported housing project in Rhuddlan to enjoy a day of food, music, sport and activities.
Together members of the group were able to enjoy far-reaching views of the Vale of Clwyd – and reflect on the progress they have made in their recoveries from substance misuse and mental health conditions.
The event also marked the launch of the Bryn y Wal gardening project, which helps people from across Conwy and Denbighshire tackle isolation, get more active, gain confidence, boost their skills and overcome barriers to employment.
Former plasterer Michael Morris is one of almost 30 people to have taken part in gardening work at Bryn y Wal over the last two-and-a-half months. The 48-year-old has been drug-free for more than two years.
“We’ve been helping to prepare the beds for planting, building the compost bins, building fences and general gardening stuff like that,” Michael said. “It’s a lovely place up here.
“I like the practical stuff. It helps with my confidence and self-esteem. I had many years in addiction and I’ve lived my life the wrong way – but working here has enabled me to learn and to work with other people.”
Cyfle Cymru gardening coordinator Gareth Evans said Michael was one of a number of participants to have made great strides as part of the Bryn y Wal project.
“Working on the garden helps to bring people out of themselves, and helps them to learn new skills; all the time they’re here they are meeting people and they’re not isolated,” he said.
“The benefits are enormous. You can see people growing from the therapeutic and social benefits of being out here, in the garden, and working together for a joint purpose.”
Volunteering certificates were presented to participants from across North Wales by Mayor of Rhuddlan Andy Smith and Denbighshire County Council carers champion Cllr Ann Davies.
“What gets done here is quite incredible – and I think sometimes initiatives like this go overlooked,” Mr Smith said. “I’ve seen it first-hand, so I just wanted to say a big thank you to for everything that you do here at Bryn y Wal.”
Cllr Davies said she was pleased to see how the projects were able to help people move on in their lives.
“It’s wonderful to see the support on offer here at Bryn y Wal for people who need it, and for their carers – because issues like these affect everybody,” she said.
Outside catering was provided by Porter’s Coffee Shop, a social enterprise providing training and work experience for people with barriers to employment – with the help of a kind donation from Edwards of Conwy.
Run by Hafal in partnership with CAIS, The Wallich, Clwyd Alyn Housing Association and Denbighshire County Council, Bryn y Wal is a supported housing project for people with mental health needs.
Led by CAIS, EU-funded Cyfle Cymru is a peer mentoring and employability programme for people with history of substance misuse or mental health conditions – offering support, training, qualifications and volunteering opportunities as part of the Welsh Government’s Out of Work Service.
So far, more than 4,700 people have received support from Cyfle Cymru’s team of peer mentors throughout the North Wales, Gwent, Dyfed, Powys and Western Bay areas.
Together, the team have delivered in excess of 71,000 hours of support, and helped more than 1,000 people to a new qualification or certificate. More than 600 people have taken part in volunteer events, making a significant contribution to communities across Wales.
For more information about Cyfle Cymru visit www.dacw.co.uk, call 0300 777 2256 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyfle Cymru is delivered by members of the DACW Consortium.
Cyfle Cymru is part of the Welsh Government’s Out of Work Service, supported by the European Social Fund.