It’s about time I brought everyone up to speed with what’s happening with Stronger Communities: Better Services…

All the groups have now appointed project leads and PLANED, Crossroads Care, Disability Wales and spacetocreate are all under way, with others in the starting blocks.

PLANED have launched their Clywed (‘Listen’) project with a view to finding new ways to engage with local communities.  The launch event included a talk from Luke Conlon on Men’s Sheds, an opportunity for (mainly) older men to get together, which originated in Australia and is now being taken up in Ireland and in Wales.  There was also a workshop with Theatre Fforwm Cymru which generated a lively discussion on intergenerational prejudice.

Over the course of the portfolio, Theatr Fforwm Cymru will be involved with all the projects – starting in January with Pembrokeshire Care Society’s Homelessness project – offering their innovative techniques to create theatre pieces which will explore the issues raised by and the experiences of each of the groups.  Ultimately, pieces of ‘legislative theatre’ will be produced to present powerful and emotional stories to service providers and the like.

Crossroads Care and Disability Wales held a joint event in Saundersfoot which included an enlightening talk on changes to the benefits system, followed by a ‘Jargon Busting’ session, introducing carers to the language of service commissioners.  Alongside this was a launch for Disability Wales’ ‘Planning Together’ project, where several interested parties were signed up to the Project Advisory Group with a view to establishing a Disabled People’s Forum over the next few months.

spacetocreate are currently running two projects with older people.  These involve working with a wonderful group of people who attend Meadow Park Day Centre in Haverfordwest. The projects will result in a series of portrait photographs and a short documentary film, exploring different aspects of ageing and what is important to older people.  Following these, they will be working with the Alzheimer’s Society, Royal Voluntary Service and Age Concern Pembrokeshire.

One very significant aspect of this portfolio of projects is that different groups can work together for mutual benefit.  Already, Disability Wales and Crossroads Care have identified ways to help each other, and more co-operative work is sure to develop as the projects become established.  I’ll try to keep you up to date as that happens.

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