Archive for August, 2007

You can lead a horse to water…

August 23, 2007

…but you can’t make it drink!   Sometimes being endlessly patient is self defeating and self damaging, so today it’s going to be a bit different.  It’s hard to understand how not one member of the LGBT community in Monmouthshire could spare one hour last night to attend a consultation.   How can that be?   Monmouthshire is a desert for LGBT interests and services, and yesterday there were representatives from the police, Stonewall, THT, and others who had come together from some distances to listen and talk – but only to themselves apparently.    Getting information out is not easy in this situation, but it was got out to those who knew others who would have an interest, and it was on this blog, and on posters.  Communication is a problem when you have to rely on information being passed from one to another before an interest group can be brought together, but word of mouth can be quick and effective if the will is there.   Clearly something was lacking here, and that’s a pity.   People came together with good will, but how did they feel as they left,  after lengthy journeys and a couple of wasted hours ‘talking among themselves’, and then long journeys home late in the evening?  

But it’s not just this particular meeting, is it?   Every month there are Network and Forum meetings taking place for Mental Health Service Users and Carers – and which are structured to make it easy and comfortable for people who use services and want to improve them to talk with those who fund and provide services, and want to know how best to develop them.   From the conversations that take place outside of these meetings you would think there is a  real interest and need to support people getting together in this way and working together to iron out problems, and bring in useful changes.   And then you hold the meeting – with advance warning, agenda’s, refreshments, and repayment of travel costs, or organisation of free transport – and think yourself lucky if you have more than three attending!  Yes, it can be up to 15, and sometimes down to zero.   Inconsistency does nothing to raise other people’s opinions of service user involvement and interest, and only results in those who are making the effort to meet together losing their motivation.    As I said to someone yesterday, sometimes when you encourage people to come along, you would think from their reaction that you were offering them a miserable afternoon.   What is it about not being able to invest three hours of a month in helping to improve your life situation?   Why is it cool to talk disparagingly about services but do nothing to work positively to improve them?   The bid being put together for the Big Lottery grant could result, if successful, in one of the biggest funding injections for mental health in Monmouthshire for a long time.  It is well worth making the effort, and unwise to rely on the ideas of others who may not have your understanding and experience of the needs of the area.   If you don’t attend the discussions and meetings then you can’t have an influence on them the way you might like.  OK, this is probably enough said for now, but it is intended to be a ‘wake up’ call to anyone who wants to see their life situation improved, or that of those they care for, in whatever way, to start helping to do something about it, and not leave it to every one else.   Yes, we are glad to have the support of those who do come together for meetings, and especially to the regulars who always try to give a hand, but just how many service users and carers are there in Monmouthshire – quite a few more that our best ever attendance of 18, I think?     

So, if you have LGBT interests and did not know of the meeting last night, or just couldn’t make it, and would still like to get something going now, then please contact THT on the phone number provided in this blog – lower down the page.   And if you would like to get more involved in User and Carer services, then come along to the next Network and Forum (Sept 26th at 1pm in Usk), or ask for a copy of the newsletter CONCUR (ring 01291-673728) or keep an eye on this blog for updating information and new links.   If you need help with transport, then ask and we will do our best to help.  We want to meet up with you, and hear what you have to say.



a comment turned into a post…..

August 17, 2007

The following came through as a comment but I felt it should become a post as time is short and it may get overlooked.   Please see THT Cymru Consultation info further down this page.  

Yes! Please do come along if you’re LGBT or someone who supports and works with LGBT people. Stonewall Cymru, Gwent Police and THT Cymru are going to be there and it looks like some people from Safer Wales and Cardiff Mardi Gras will be coming, so it’s turning into a great opportunity to tell them all about your needs.


More Forums and things

August 16, 2007

The next meeting of the Monmouthshire Mental Health Service User and Carer Network and Forum – what a mouthful! – will be at The Sessions House, Usk at 1pm on Wednesday 22nd August.  (Please note the starting time.)  The  Forum – 1 – 2.30pm – will meet in the Library and will look at the Big Lottery Bid – we need your support or guidance to move this forward.  This is an important proposal for future service provision – please come along.   There will also be report-back from service Managers.  The Network meeting will be in the Resource room as usual – 2.45 – 3.45pm.  The agenda will include the Mind Abergavenny photo exhibition – how we can help you enter for this, and a showing of a 30 minute dvd ‘Visible Memories’ – which deals with self injury, stigma, and the misunderstanding that surrounds it from the individuals point of view.   Light refreshments as usual, and reasonable travel expenses can be paid – but please car share if you can.

Forums and things.

August 16, 2007

If anyone is unsure about taking part in the THT consultation (below) then be encouraged to go along and listen in.  The Terrence Higgins Trust (Cymru) has been actively working over the past year to establish LGBT forums in four locations in SE Wales, and if this consultation is successfull then Monmouthshire will have the fourth Forum and, more importantly, a place in which to work together with the partners to get improved services and attitudes.   The other Forums are ‘up and running’ and have adopted a positive approach to working together, and the involvement of young people in some ares is encouraging.  Contact the THT for more information if what is provided here is not enough.      

Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru

August 14, 2007

THT have asked to advertise this Consultation in the blog.   The setting up of an LGBT Forum is new for Monmouthshire and it is hoped people will want to go along and support the proposal. 

Terrence Higgins Trust CymruForum Consultation Monmouthshire 

We’re pleased to say that we now have the date and venue booked for our Monmouthshire meeting this month.  

7pm,  Wednesday 22nd August  

at Abergavenny Leisure Centre, Old Hereford Road,  Abergavenny, Mons. NP7 6EP  The consultation meeting will focus on the main issues for LGB people in the area, including community safety and homophobic hate crime.  We’ll be inviting representatives from Gwent Police and other relevant organisations. We’re very keen to find out about the needs of people living in Monmouthshire, but if you’d like to attend from Torfaen or Newport you’re more than welcome to come along.   If you’re planning on coming, it would be great if you could let us know so that we can make sure that we cater appropriately.   Please contact by ‘phone, FAX, or e-mail.  

Mair Rigby.  Community Development Administrator, South East Wales LGB Forum. 

Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru
Canton House

435-451 Cowbridge Road East
Canton Cardiff CF5 1JH

Tel: 029 2066 6465
Fax: 029 2066 6465

THT Direct: 0845 12 21 200 Website:

Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru
Ty Treganna

435-451 Heol Bontfaen Dwyrain
Treganna Caerdydd CF5 1JH

Ffôn: 029 2066 6465

Ffacs: 029 2066 6465

THT Direct: 0845 12 21 200 Gwefan: