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Work of mental illness charities highlighted

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Local philanthropist: Mental health issues given a financial boost

Local philanthropist: Mental health issues given a financial boost

A LOCAL Milford campaigner, and Philanthropist, is donating his own money to raise awareness of mental health issues, and the support that is available for those out there who may need it. Hywel Davies has been placing adverts in the local press not funded by the local health charities. The Herald spoke exclusively with Mr Davies, who explained for whom the adverts are intended: “They are for the community to raise awareness of mental health charities and groups that are available for those that have, or have had, mental problems and/ or mental disabilities in the county. I am a volunteer and a year ago I was approached by the late Susan Evans, of Hakin and Mind, to put an advert in the Pembrokeshire Herald so people are aware of what’s available in the County.

I was labelled myself by psychiatrists as having a ‘schizoeffective’ disorder in 1983, and I am chair of ‘Hearing Voices Network Cymru’. Traditionally there is stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health. Help is available and you don’t have to feel alone. There are people available to provide fellowship, companionship, hope and inspiration, so that you can fulfil your potential.

Pembrokeshire Mind is very busy, and at least 25 people come to the Haverfordwest branch daily which is a good response. I also want to target the advertisements in those months when the evenings are dark and the weather is cold, at times when people are more likely to feel depressed and run down, in November, December and January.” He went on to discuss the issue of mental health and people’s awareness of the illness, and what support is available in Pembrokeshire.

“I don’t think enough money is spent on mental health in Pembrokeshire – mental health is regarded as a ‘Cinderella surface’, that is to say it isn’t invested in as fully as it might be so the voluntary sector has to take the lead in raising awareness to combat the stigma and discrimination and what is available in Pembrokeshire.

The charities have websites and also offer fellowship and sometimes employment, and lead the service as a sensitive and humane service. There is also Frame, which is an excellent social award winning enterprise that employs more than 40 people who have had or have mental health problems. There are also paid staff connected to Mind Pembrokeshire. I think that people who hear a voice or voices, that are inaudible to others, are saints, prophets, geniuses etc. or at least have the potential to be, and people who have had or have mental health problems have this potential too, and have something to contribute.

Traditionally, these people are misunderstood or feared. For example, I am a retired teacher and lecturer of Spanish, and between 1987 and 1996 I taught Spanish in Pembrokeshire and contributed positively to the community.” The Herald asked if there should be more education made available for people to understand about mental health, perhaps at school level, to which he responded: “I think that would be a positive way forward to improve people’s emotional intelligence.”

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Pembroke and District Male Voice Choir’s fantastic Sunday evening concert in Templeton

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SPECIAL guests were among the audience when Pembroke and District Male Voice Choir returned to Templeton Parish Church for a Sunday evening concert – the Bishop of St Davids, the Rt Rev Dr Joanna Penberthy, and her Chaplain, the Rev Shirley Murphy.

Bishop Penberthy and the Rev Shirley were welcomed along with the choir and audience by the Rector, the Rev Martin Cox, who reminded that Rev Shirley had been Curate at Templeton before taking up her role in the Bishop’s office.

He also spoke of his long connections with the male voice, over more than 30 years, during which the choir had staged at his churches at Monkton, Gorseinon and now Templeton.

Musical Director Juliet Rossiter chose a varied programme in Welsh and English, with Carole Rees as Accompanist and Matthew John as MC.

Regular soloist Alyson Griffiths, on flute, played ‘Pie Jesu’ and ‘Somewhere’ – from the musical West Side Story – and First Tenor Peter Halifax accompanied himself on guitar with two items. Singer/songwriter Peter sang a folk song in the Ukrainian language, ‘Bili Kashtani’, and an original piece entitled ‘’Greater is He that is within you’, all to warm acclaim.

Juliet and Carole joined forces for a second concert duet at the keyboard to play two pieces by Johan Strauss – ‘Blue Danube’ and ‘Radetzky March’.

Before the encore – the traditional South African melody ‘Siyahamba’ – Bishop Joanna gave the Blessing and added how much she had enjoyed a live concert again.

Excellent refreshments were provided by the church ladies and they were thanked by Choir Chairman John Hillier.

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Pembrokeshire prose and poems at Llangwm’s 5th Literary Festival

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‘LLANGWM’S fifth literary festival is a wonderful showcase for Pembrokeshire talent.’ says
Michael Pugh, Director of the Llangwm Literary Festival.

‘We some very powerful images from the renowned photographer David Wilson who lives in
the village.’ continues Pugh. ‘In his book ‘The Village’, David’s images capture the soul of
Llangwm’s tight knit former fishing community. These images are all the more important
because many of them were taken during lock-down. It is amazing to look back and see how
far we’re advanced from there and how the human spirit can triumph over adversity.
Local artist and photographer, Ian Jacob, who was born in Llangwm and lives there now is
excited to be unveiling his first book at the festival. ‘Body Rock Sand’ is the fruition of an
idea that developed in Jacob’s mind when, as a young art student, he was captivated by the
images of Lucien Clergue’s, ‘Née de la Vague’ (Born of the Waves). Clergue’s images are
the inspiration for Ian’s very own images on the interplay of skin, sea and sand in
Pembrokeshire’s beaches.

St David’s based master-forager Julia Horton-Mansfield returns to the festival for the fifth
time to invite guests to ‘Come Forage with Me’ and explore the richness of the Cleddau
shoreline and to find out more about the health-giving properties of the delicious foods
literally growing all around us. On a darker note, and for those who enjoy a spine-tingler,

Llangwm-based writer, Pippa ‘the Pen’ Davies, joins Pembrokeshire’s Diana Powell, and
Maggie Himsworth for the unveiling of an intriguing Crime Cymru anthology of short stories
by Welsh Women and to explore what it is that attracts us to read about crime!

For those who have their own story to tell, Narberth’s Emma Baines will be running ‘Write
by the River’; a creative workshop on the Cleddau for those who wish to write about the
mighty river and what it means to them.

Poets, and writers, and anyone who just wants to share a poem or song are warmly invited to
Llangwm rugby club’s ‘Poems and Pints’. This year’s session, inspired by the themes of
Joyce’s Ulysses, and Poems of War in connection with Ukraine, promises to be very high-
octane indeed. No festival in Wales would be complete without a song, and Llangwm is no
exception with its bold Village Voices to entertain with their latest repertoire.
Llangwm’s Ellie Brick, in support of the idea that you need a fit body to get the best out of
your mind, will be blowing the cobweb’s away with a Sunday morning stretch and dance.

And for those who just want to sit back, leave it to Deb Winter, local storyteller
extraordinaire. Her tales will take you to new horizons and undiscovered worlds.

For more information on the festival, please contact llangwmlitfest@gmail.com, or visit our
website: www.llangwmlitfest.co.uk

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Rhian scoops prestigious care award

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A PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL employee has been awarded at this year’s prestigious Employers for Carers Awards held by Carers Wales, which recognise and celebrate those who have supported unpaid working carers in Wales during the last year.

Rhian Bennett, Commissioning Manager, Social Care and Housing, scooped the Line Manager award at the event which was held last month.

The awards, which were part of Carers Week, are designed to recognise those in an organisation who have gone the extra mile in the last 12 months in supporting working carers – such as raising awareness, supporting peers and being a workplace champion, network facilitator or chair.

Rhian’s accolade recognises her efforts as a line manager who supported working carer’s and had a positive impact on helping them to balance care and work within the organisation.

She was nominated by a member of the team she manages, who is an unpaid carer – and this was in relation to her gratitude for the support that she receives and the wider team.

Rhian said: “It was a lovely surprise to win but it was an honour to be nominated and receive the award.

“It’s crucial to support and enable staff to provide care outside of their day job. This award is for everyone who is an unpaid carer and goes the extra mile to ensure their loved ones are supported.”

Carers Week was established by Carers UK more than 25 years ago and is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring and highlight the challenges unpaid carers face. This year’s theme was – ‘make caring visible, valued and supported’.

Jonathan Griffiths, Director of Social Services and Leisure, Social Care & Housing, added: “My congratulations to Rhian for this award, the recognition of her impact on supporting carers shows her commitment and drive to make a difference for people.

“To ensure employers protect carers time and support them, is essential and it’s pleasing to see Rhian’s approach has been recognised in this positive way.”

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