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Government’s ‘Back to Work’ schemes failing



Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind: “These schemes are not appropriate for people with mental health problems.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive
of Mind: “These schemes are not
appropriate for people with mental
health problems.”

THE MENTAL health charity, Mind, has called for all people with mental health problems to be taken off mainstream Government backto- work schemes and moved onto a specialist programme. Research from the mental health charity claims they have found that support provided through the Work Programme and Jobcentre Plus is damaging people’s health, and making them feel less able to work than when they started.

At the same time, these schemes, they say, are ineffective for people with mental health problems, as they quote a figure of only 5 per cent of people that have actually been helped into work. In addition to this, figures for Preseli Pembrokeshire reveal that, in a three year period, no one with mental health problems on the Work Programme was helped back into work. Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said: “Just five per cent of people with mental health problems are being helped into work, while the vast majority tell us their health has worsened and they feel less able to work as a result of being on these schemes.

“It’s perverse that programmes which are supposed to help those who are unwell and struggling to get into work are having the opposite effect, damaging their health.” He continued: “These schemes are not appropriate for people with mental health problems. If someone is out of work because of depression and anxiety, simply asking them to attend a CV writing course is a waste of time and money, as it doesn’t address the real problems they are facing.

“Forcing people to engage in these activities, and cutting their benefits if they struggle to do so, is inappropriate and counter-productive. This approach assumes people don’t want to work and the only way to motivate them is to withdraw financial support, which only causes greater anxiety and stress, and makes returning to work less likely.” Mr Farmer expressed the opinion that everyone out of work due to their mental health problem needs to be placed onto new, locally commissioned schemes, which reflect individual and local needs.

He added: “Such a scheme would take a personalised, tailored approach which really understands and addresses the complex nature of mental health problems and how they can impact someone’s ability to find and keep a job.” The Herald spoke with a representative from Mind in Pembrokeshire, who have been involved in just such a local scheme.

A spokesperson said: “The Creating Opportunities and Skills Team (COAST) scheme that was funded by the Council did get people back into work. That was run in conjunction with people like ourselves and Frame, which finished in the early part of this year. “People that were on a work program couldn’t be on COAST which we were using, because they wouldn’t fund the two things. People wanted to enrol on our COAST projects, and do the courses, but couldn’t because they were on a Work Programme or Work Choice.

“COAST had a huge range of courses; emotional well being, anger management, bricklaying, motor mechanics, etc. If people came to us they could gain funding through COAST but not if they were on the Back to Work scheme”. They went on to question whether the Government schemes even offered effective back to work courses, such as those that could give them experience of job interviews or just what to wear at these interviews. They said that they had got many people into work through the COAST scheme.

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A40 closed at Scleddau due to collision between car and motorbike



EMERGENCY SERVICES have shut the A40 at in Scleddau due to a serious road collision.

The accident happened just before 2pm. The Herald understands that the collision involved a motorcycle and car at a junction near The Gate Inn public house.

Police said: “Emergency services are currently on scene and dealing with the incident. Please find an alternative route if possible. Update to follow.”

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Moley’s Ambassador March to support those who have lost a child



ON SATURDAY (Jun 19), Andrew Cole (aka Moley) will set off on a 24 hour walk around Pembrokeshire with the aim of doing as many miles in as little time as possible. 

Moley is proud to have recently been made ambassador of the charity ‘2 Wish UponAa Star’ an organisation dedicated to supporting families that have lost a child under 25 years of age.

He will be setting off at 6am in the morning from Neyland and walking all day and night, finishing at 6am the following morning.

2 wish upon a star was set up by Rhian Mannings, who set up the charity after losing her own son.

By celebrating the lives of those lost, and offering support to families through their grief; Rhian and her team offer an essential service to the community and those families who have suffered the devastation of losing a loved one.

Appealing for support from the people of Pembrokeshire he said: “Please give generously to support the wonderful work of Rhian and her team. Also, if you happen to see me in the day, feel free to give me a beep of encouragement’

“If you would like to donate to Moley, and support the charity, you can visit his JustGiving page.”

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Lifeboats and chopper in major air sea rescue off the coast of Tenby



TWO RNLI lifeboats from both Tenby and Angle stations have been launched to assist a coastguard helicopter which has been scrambled from MOD St Athen.

It is understood that a search for a missing person or persons is underway.

Paged this morning: Angle Lifeboat is currently involved in the search south of Tenby

The alarm was raised before 10am this morning (June 18).

Tenby’s Y-boat is also involved in the operation, The Herald understands.


Rescue underway: Coastguard chopper position at 1030HRS on Friday, Jun 18 (Pic MarineTraffic)
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