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Click on WalesValuing and engaging carersSupporting the services that support carersEmployers can play a key role in a carer’s life outside caringBack pedalling on the road to equalityMy life as a young carerClosing the attainment and opportunity gap for young adult carers  Celebrating and supporting carersMaking the metro really work for the valleys and CardiffIt’s not just bad weather that’s slowing our economy – it’s bad BrexitCanolfan Arbenigedd Rhanbarthol Cymru ar gyfer Cynaliadwyedd a Llesiant pobl heddiw a Chenedlaethau’r Dyfodol – A Wales Regional Centre of Expertise for Sustainability and the Well-being of Current and Future Generations. Thu, 14 Jun 2018 06:00:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 141933260 Thu, 14 Jun 2018 06:00:49 +0000

Valuing and engaging carers

Aimee Danzi reflects on the practical steps Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has taken to improve its offer to carers

The post Valuing and engaging carers appeared first on Click on Wales.

Carers Week provides a welcome opportunity to reflect on the dedication and value of carers and the importance of engaging and supporting them within healthcare settings.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is committed to delivering for carers, and this is in part evidenced by the existence of my role as Carers lead. In this blog, I would like to focus on one particular approach used by the Health Board to improve carer engagement within Mental Health Services.

In May 2017, we bought together a range of organisations to identify a way forward. Through discussion, it was agreed to develop a formal pilot of the Triangle of Care across North Wales. The Triangle of Care is an approach which was developed by staff and carers to improve carer engagement in acute inpatient and home treatment services.

The original guide was launched in July 2010, and emphasised the need for better local strategic involvement of carers and families in the care planning and treatment of people with mental ill-health.

Since its launch, the programme has been adapted for use across all mental health services, not only inpatient. The Triangle of Care best practice guides and audit tools aim to build upon existing good practice to recognise and include carers as partners in care. It offers key standards and resources to support mental health service providers that can be incorporated in their everyday practice, policies and procedures.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board established a task and finish group, to undertake a range of tasks including:

  • Mapping what Triangle of Care provisions were currently in place throughout mental health services across the whole health board
  • Sourcing feedback from professionals and carers about how these services could be improved and built upon
  • Supporting, extending and standardising the provisions that the Health Board already had and looking at future opportunities to continue to build upon this
  • Presenting findings to Service User Experience and Mental Health Heads and ultimately help inform the work of the Patient Experience Group and the Mental Health Strategy

The Triangle of Care task and finish group brought together a range of professionals and experts from a number or organisations including: Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, Carers Trust Wales, Hafal and Caniad (a commissioned service that aims to deliver better health and wellbeing for the users of alcohol, drug and mental health services, their carers and their communities).

Since its inception the group has completed audits with a multi-disciplinary approach including a health professional, carer and third sector representative, with very positive outcomes.

Themes and Trends identified to date.

Using the Triangle of Care self-assessment process, it was very clear from initial conversations with staff and carers that there was a need to improve awareness of carers, processes for engagement and training for staff.

As part of this, we were able to identify the need for a renewed focus on developing:

  • clear pathways for carer engagement and inclusion,
  • systems to follow once a carer had been identified to ensure they receive the right information and support
  • processes to ensure appropriate consents were obtained and confidentiality protected and
  • inclusive approaches to involving carers in the care and treatment planning process

Partnership Working

Hafal and Caniad were key partners in supporting the completion of the self-assessments which, in most instances, involved staff and carers.

There were a range of approaches used to help allay any staff fears in completing self-assessments honestly, which was crucial to ensuring that the right support and training is put in place. For example, one unit actively encouraged completion of the audit independently by carers to offset any power imbalance, this not only helped compare perspectives but proved extremely insightful.

My role has been central in the facilitation, training and support for all the pilot sites. This has included meetings with the Ward Manager and Carer Champion of each unit in turn. The meetings have been extremely productive and offered an opportunity to:

  • scrutinise the findings from the self-assessments
  • apply recommendations of how to improve on certain areas
  • discuss how best to make changes to policy and paperwork to forge a legitimate carer pathway

Regular support, advice and guidance were provided throughout by Carers Trust Wales in relation to the approach, audit reviews and additional Triangle of Care resources.

Achievements to date

Through commitment to the Triangle of Care approach, we have been able to deliver a range of outcomes which have had a positive impact on staff, carers and those they care for.

  • A unified carer pathway has been forged within rehabilitation services.  It is our intention to replicate this in other service areas.
  • Carers Champions have been identified in each rehabilitation unit
  • Ward managers are engaged with the initiative and involved at all levels
  • Multiple sessions of staff training have been undertaken around general carer awareness and the Triangle of Care
  • A Rehabilitation Unit Carer Champion Network has been established. This is led by the Modern Matron and the Carers Lead within the Health Board. This allows an opportunity for the carers champions to meet with their peers, share good practice examples and protected time to engage in support around this additional responsibility
  • There has been agreement from the units to adopt an amended consent form created by one of the Home Treatment Teams to capture more detailed information about carers
  • All Rehabilitation Units have taken ownership of the Triangle of Care action plan and are regularly updating with achievements. Ward managers have agreed that after six months of working on the action plan we can begin to sample dip in the case files to capture quantitative data and to see if there is a marked improvement for carers. We will, for example, be able to assess what percentage of the time carer information details are captured on admission
  • A Carer Welcome letter is being developed by the rehabilitation units that will include information on their rights as carers, how to access support and what carers they can expect from the service
  • A commitment has been made by the units to slightly adapt the admissions procedure to include separate carer and next of kin sections
  • A commitment has been made to record carer information within the continued Care and Treatment Plan notes and within part A of the Mental Health Measure Paperwork
  • Notice boards have been developed within the units with local and regional information for carers
  • The rehabilitation service is looking to alter the Care and Treatment Plan invitation letter to include encourage carers to submit their views on the return slip or via phone call if they cannot attend the meeting.  This will standardise the inclusions of a carers’ views in the plan even if they cannot physically attend.

Whilst further analysis is needed, early indications and anecdotal evidence suggests many staff and family carers have benefited from increased opportunities to have open and honest discussions. Additionally, raising awareness of who carers are and offering an insight into what carers can offer, has helped to build a rapport between carers and staff breaking down barriers.

Although some outcomes of the implementation of the Triangle of Care may take several years to evidence, it is already clear that staff are now actively identifying carers and ensuring that they comply with the carer pathway.  Staff are continuously developing their local carer pathway and sharing good practice examples.

Our investment in this approach has had a positive impact on all involved, demonstrating the many benefits of partnership working. Across the Health Board we are proud to have implemented a range of projects and processes aimed at ensuring that carers are recognised, listen to and supported.

This series of articles to mark Carers Week have been guest edited by Kate Cubbage

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

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]]> 0 30041 Thu, 14 Jun 2018 06:00:12 +0000

Supporting the services that support carers

Cath Bowen argues that services which carers rely on need to be put on a sustainable footing
The post Supporting the services that support carers appeared first on Click on Wales.

We are proud of the services provided across the Carers Trust Wales Network and their impact on carers and those that work with them. However, in order for carers services to have the most impact they need to be funded in sustainable ways that fully appreciate both the importance of innovation and the importance of funding long-term mainstream services. There is a clear and growing need for additional investment in social care across Wales with local authorities having felt the pressure of reducing budgets over many years.

Carers deserve and need care and support in their own right to enable them to live healthy and fulfilling lives alongside their caring role.  This is a right given to them under the ground-breaking Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 and one that won’t be fully realised if local carers services are not given sufficient funding.

Within our Network, we have had examples of closures, mergers and the cessation of services as a result of the increasing financial pressures locally. The particular challenges that have been faced are often as a result of commissioning processes that don’t sufficiently prioritise achieving the wellbeing outcomes of those they are designed to support. Whilst Regional Partnership Boards and the Social Value Fora that sit alongside them are, in theory, well placed to ensure that support needs are identified and met in innovative and creative ways – the reality is that there is still significant work to be done to make this aspiration a reality.

As employers, all of our Network Partners have seen rising salary costs in line with rises to the National Living Wage. Whilst fair and appropriate remuneration is of course important, this alongside the costs associated with training and developing the workforce has made the cost of delivering services, substantially higher. This increase in cost has not been recognised by all commissioners with many service providers themselves often facing real-terms cuts year on year.

As providers, Network Partners have experienced a range of challenges to being commissioned in a way that enables them to continue to deliver a high-quality service for carers and those they care for in a way that is sustainable.

To develop appropriate and impactful services, it is important that when service specifications are developed the third sector are engaged as equal partners in determining what support is needed and how this can best be delivered to the individual. Many of the additional benefits that can be gained as a result of providing care within the home, such as signposting to other services, providing assurance and support to the family and delivering appropriate and compassionate care are often curtailed by seemingly arbitrary limits on call times.

Within our Network we have had examples where Partners have been commissioned by Local Authorities to deliver domiciliary care at a rate that is below what it costs to deliver the service. This has resulted in some Network Partners handing contracts back with others facing significant financial difficulty as a result.

Other examples, in terms of financial disincentives to providing domiciliary care, include the cost of travel between calls in rural areas. This cost is both the pay for the care worker and the actual cost of travel which can be prohibitive in some rural areas. We have numerous examples from within our Network where Partners have had to cease providing care to those in rural or remote areas because it is not financial viable to do so under the current system.

Local authorities can and have changed their method and timing of payments, sometimes moving from in advance to in arrears. One of our Network Partners reports that if they had not had sufficient reserves to withstand a short-term shortfall because of a change in payment methods and process they would have risked closure.

As more people are choosing to live at home with increasingly complex needs, the skills required to deliver this type of care are growing. Upskilling the workforce presents challenges, both the time and cost implications of doing so, and the challenge of retaining them within the social care sector once they have been trained. Training and recruitment costs, can be significant for care providers and are often not accounted for in commissioning processes.

The regulations under the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 are a welcome move towards the creation of a recognised and highly-skilled registered workforce. While our Network supports the professionalisation of the workforce, we are concerned by the potential to add pressure to the ability to recruit and retain the workforce on current terms and conditions. These measures will undoubtedly create additional costs for the sector in terms of training, administration and registration fees.

The challenges facing unpaid carers in Wales today are significant and have growing potential to impact on our public services if they are not robustly addressed. The demand on health and social care services is growing and projected to grow further still. If just a small percentage of carers stopped caring, health and social care services could easily become unsustainable.

Supporting our unpaid carers is the definition of a preventative integrated health and social care service:

  • Carers provide 96% of care in the communities of Wales
  • Unpaid carers contribute £8.1 billion to the Welsh economy each year (this is calculated at the cost of an hour of unpaid care being paid at the minimum wage).

Failing to address the pressures currently facing carers will undoubtedly have economic consequences. Additionally, failure to change will risk the health, wellbeing, financial security and life chances of a whole generation of carers.

We believe that for health and social care services to survive, the services carers rely on must be placed on a sustainable footing and given the tools to thrive.

This series of articles to mark Carers Week have been guest edited by Kate Cubbage

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

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]]> 0 30044 Wed, 13 Jun 2018 06:00:21 +0000

Employers can play a key role in a carer’s life outside caring

Claire Morgan argues that employers have a crucial role to play in keeping carers in work
The post Employers can play a key role in a carer’s life outside caring appeared first on Click on Wales.

Most people’s lives will include at least one episode of caring.  

Already 1 in 9 of the workforce is caring for someone and 90% of working carers are aged 30 plus, employees in their prime employment years. Carers work in every industry, at every level and are in almost all workplaces across Wales.  With so many people in the workforce having a caring role, it is critical that we consider the needs of working carers for both their own wellbeing and in the interests of the economy. In the current economic climate, with fewer young people entering the job market and people working for longer, there has never been a more important time to focus on the benefits of retaining skilled workers, rather than incurring the costs of recruiting and retraining new staff. 

The peak age for caring is 45-64 when many employees will have gained valuable skills and experience. However, caring can affect people’s ability to stay in work. Quite often the impact of caring means that carers opt to give up work completely, with 47% surveyed in the 2017 Carers UK State of Caring Report doing just this. The research showed of those who gave up work, retired early or reduced working hours, 69% said the stress of juggling work and care was a contributing factor. Reducing hours or giving up work can leave carers financially far worse off and vulnerable to accruing unmanageable debt, as well as potentially making them increasingly isolated from their peers.

Caring is different from mainstream childcare and needs a separate response from employers. Caring for a sick or disabled relative or friend – for example, as a result of an accident or stroke – can happen overnight, and can be unpredictable.  Caring milestones are different too – a disabled child may still be at home with parents as a disabled adult. Caring often ends with a move to residential care or bereavement, bringing its own complicated mix of emotions such as sadness, relief and guilt. Carers need employers to understand and be supportive of their needs, to enable them to have the confidence and resilience to seek, secure and retain employment.

Interviews undertaken by Carers Wales in 2018 clearly identified the benefits of supporting working carers. When a carer feels supported in the workplace; working while caring can have a positive impact on the carer, the cared for person and others in the care circle.  Carers spoke about their increased self-esteem, the pleasure the whole family derived from sharing news about their day and having new things to talk about. Working didn’t reduce the level of busyness, but being out of the house with something else to think about was motivating, energising and good for their mental health and the family environment. One carer said:

“Going out and meeting other people, having adult conversation making those social connections that are so important. As a carer it’s very easy to become isolated, where you only see the cared for person one or your immediate family maybe, a conversation down the shop and that would be it. Well, now I’m having all sorts of conversations with all different types of people from different backgrounds, five days a week�.

Another carer reflected: 

“Carers want to see just a little bit of leeway given for having to attend Doctor’s appointments and various other bits and bobs. If they can catch the work up in another way, then let them- they will catch it up. They won’t let you down, they’re not taking the mick or pushing their luck! You can work with them to support them and they will pay you back. They’re grateful for being allowed to do their jobs and for being allowed to have their identities�.

If employers can learn to embrace the opportunities presented by supporting working carers, it can be truly transformational leading to the retention of highly skilled staff, reduced absenteeism and an increase in morale and productivity.  

Employers are being urged to identify carers in their workforce and offer help and support. Employers for Carers (EfC) is operated by Carers UK and was established in 2009. It is a membership scheme that provides practical advice and support for employers. Carers Wales is launching its Wales Hub of Employers for Carers, as a response to the needs of employers in Wales. Backed by Welsh Government and its commitment to giving carers ‘a life outside caring’, the service will deliver hands-on advice to employers on how to support the 180,000+ of working carers in Wales.

Carers give so much to society, yet as a consequence of caring they can experience ill health, poverty and discrimination.  We want to ensure employers have the tools available to support their employees who are carers. This will ultimately mean that working carers feel recognised for their contribution at work and to society more widely.

This series of articles to mark Carers Week have been guest edited by Kate Cubbage

Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

The post Employers can play a key role in a carer’s life outside caring appeared first on Click on Wales.
]]> 0 30036 Tue, 12 Jun 2018 13:00:13 +0000

Back pedalling on the road to equality

Ellen Jones reflects on the role the bicycle has and can continue to have in the fight for gender equality
The post Back pedalling on the road to equality appeared first on Click on Wales.

On the weekend we saw thousands of women take to the streets of our cities to celebrate 100 years since the first women in Britain got the vote. As we saw the streets of Cardiff paraded in colours of purple, green and white there seemed to be something missing…

What is long forgotten is that bicycles have played a large role in the Women’s Liberation Movement. When bicycles came into mass production in the UK in the late 19th Century, women who had long had to rely on men to travel were finally given the independence to travel alone.

Bicycles not only gave women freedom to travel, they gave women the freedom to move. Women’s fashion was heavily influenced by the bicycle, as you can imagine long restrictive skirts and impossibly high neck lines were impractical for cycling, and slowly bloomers and even trousers became mainstreamed for women.

Suffragettes were often seen with their bicycles which were adorned with ribbons and placards calling for Votes For Women. Bicycles played a huge part in their campaigning, most notably when suffragettes blocked Winston Churchill’s motorcades with bicycles.

So, why it is then that over 100 years later almost three quarters (70%) of women living in Cardiff never ride a bike for local journeys?

Inclusive City Cycling a report published today by Sustrans, details women’s travel habits, views and attitudes towards cycling based on an ICM independent survey of over 7,700 residents living in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Greater Manchester.

The report revealed that 31% of women in Cardiff who do not ride a bike would like to, with the majority of those wanting to see cycle safety improved.

Claire O’Shea is one of those women:

“I would love to cycle but I have had my confidence knocked after being run off the road by a car. Cycling should give me that time to be mindful to and from work and it is the easiest and cheapest option. In reality riding a bike isn’t mindful or easy on the streets of Cardiff. Its hard work navigating through patchy cycle lanes with cars cutting up your route and watching out for car doors opening on the other side.�

A huge 79% of women surveyed would support building more protected cycle lanes, even if it means less space for other road traffic. This new data goes to show how important it is for Welsh Government and Local Authorities to invest in good cycle infrastructure, not only to bridge the gender gap when it comes to cycling, but to improve the health and wellbeing of its population.

Investing in cycle infrastructure has many benefits to the Welsh economy:   only 51% of women in Wales meet the recommended physical activity levels. Changing perceptions and making it easier for women to get on their bikes for those short journeys could go a long way to improving Wales physical and mental health. Increasing the amount of women in Wales being physically active is essential to reducing strain on the NHS, with physical inactivity costing NHS Wales £35 million a year. For many people, especially those living in cities, the easiest and most accessible forms of physical activity are those that can be incorporated into our everyday lives, for example walking or cycling to work, education or other everyday journeys. 

Cycling infrastructure also benefits social mobility with 43% of women in Wales not having daily access to a car. Women from low income households are less likely to travel far from home for work, and are more likely to rely on public transport. Still, their male counterparts are twice as likely to cycle in all seven of the cities surveyed. Increasing the opportunities for women to walk and cycle will have a positive effect on their prospects and horizons, and the overall prosperity of Wales.

Investing in improving mobility can go a long way to breaking down existing inequalities in society, improving health and wellbeing and improving air quality, so let’s stop back pedalling and take investment in walking and cycling seriously. For women’s sake.

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

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]]> 1 30046 Tue, 12 Jun 2018 06:00:58 +0000

My life as a young carer

Lucinda Childs reflects on her own experience of being a young carer, and the difference that understanding and support can make
The post My life as a young carer appeared first on Click on Wales.

My name is Lucinda Childs and I’m a Young adult carer. I’m now 21 years old and have been caring for my mum since before I can remember. My mum has Schizoaffective disorder which is seen in about 0.3% of the world’s population. It is a lot like bipolar with rapid mood and thought changes but it also causes hallucinations. She also has Spina Bifida Occulta, which is a malformation of one or more vertebrae and causes her severe pain at times, This combined with NEAD (non-epileptic attack disorder) means that she can spend the day bed bound and has to be careful when leaving the house. When I was seven my sister was born, she had a severe speech impediment and has a slight case of ADHD.

All through school I coped with my home life by not letting anyone see what I did at home. In primary school I didn’t even realise what I was doing was any different from any one else, and felt as though I wasn’t good enough as all my friends seemed to have so much time to themselves; to play and do things after school. I spent the time before school helping my mum out of bed and setting her up for the day with plenty of water, food and the tv remote close to hand.

During school I’d often use toilet breaks to call her to check she was okay and spend most of my time at break and lunch checking on her and my sister. Being on the phone at break times and lunch times caused the other kids to label me as a ‘mummys girl’ or spoilt for having a phone.  This caused me to have arguments and my teachers, seeing this often, offered me their rooms so that I could have peace, however this often increased the separation and the feeling of being alone. I was a bright kid and fought to keep people from knowing what I was doing by completing homework and tasks before they were due to keep teachers from looking too closely. I used the fact that I was ahead to my advantage, going to my mother’s appointments and having days off where I needed them never affected my work as I was ahead and my teachers knew I could catch up.

At 12, I realised I wasn’t normal. The other people in my class weren’t rushing home to look after their mothers or siblings, but I thought that perhaps they hid it better than me. I didn’t realise that I had my issues buried so deeply that no one else noticed. In high school it got harder to hide but I pushed myself to keep on top of everything, missing out on sleep seemed like a small price to pay to keep up the charade that everything was fine. I kept everything hidden from everyone, even my family, due to fear of being ‘found out’ and social services getting involved and then separating my family. My mum and sister mean everything to me, and the thought of my mum being put into hospital and me and my sister going into care terrified me. If I had known then what I know now, that social services wouldn’t have done that, perhaps I would’ve come forward and sought help sooner, but the mind of a child and teenager is hard to change on the social stigmas we’re brought up exposed to.

At 16, teachers started to notice that I was more and more tired. My sister’s ADHD was starting to manifest in more violent ways and it was affecting my mum. They started to check on me more regularly, but I convinced them that it was just exam stress and they backed off. During sixth form my head of year started to notice that again I wasn’t sleeping well and took time to ask how I was every time she saw me. Having her there for me, for the first time I felt I could explain that I was just tired because of home life.  Even though I knew I was different, I still didn’t completely believe what I was doing wasn’t normal, such was my denial.

Eventually I told her about the extent of my caring responsibilities and she put me in touch with the Rhondda Cynon Taf Carers network who took me out of the house on days out and showed me that it was okay to talk about what was going on at home.

Now, 5 years after meeting with the carers group, I’m able to talk about it and have the support I need to do anything I want. My support worker sat me down and went through all the logistics about me moving out, and how it was possible to take a step back without leaving my mum without support. When I started my University application I was worried about not having any extra curricular achievements due to my need to be home all the time.  She talked to me about how extra curricular activities weren’t as important as I thought, but then wrote me an extenuating circumstances letter filled with all the skills being a carer gives you which helped take some of the pressure off. Even with this I was still so nervous when interviews came around. I still remember being the last in the room as the head of department had requested my interview be with her. I was so nervous until she told me why she wanted my interview; she was a carer too. She cares for her daughter (who by the way, is lovely) and wanted to make sure I knew I could talk to her about anything. It was so reassuring having someone in my corner.

I took my A-Levels and applied to university, I just missed out on the grade I needed for the ‘Mathematics’ course but I had a phone call from the head of maths at the university asking if I would like to do ‘Mathematical sciences’ which is the same course but with a different entry grade.  If it wasn’t for her my life would be completely different right now. With the help of my lecturers and my carers network I’ve just finished studying my BSc Mathematics and have my placement at Cardiff Metropolitan University to study for my PGCE in September so that I can reach my dream of being a high school mathematics teacher. I’m now proud to say I am a carer and it is something that has had a very positive impact on my life and how I perceive the world.

This series of articles to mark Carers Week have been guest edited by Kate Cubbage

Photo by Alaric Duan on Unsplash

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

The post My life as a young carer appeared first on Click on Wales.
]]> 0 30027 Mon, 11 Jun 2018 13:00:04 +0000

Closing the attainment and opportunity gap for young adult carers  

Elizabeth Taylor and Calvin Lees introduce a practical resource developed to help further education providers identify and support young adult carers
The post Closing the attainment and opportunity gap for young adult carers   appeared first on Click on Wales.

For many young adult carers continuing into further education does not seem like an option that is open to them. This can be because of a range of barriers, including:

  • incompatibility of the demands of their caring role with that of their chosen course
  • low self-esteem
  • the financial implications of continued study on their household income
  • not having the right academic qualifications to access the courses they would like to study.

Further education providers have an important role to play in encouraging more young adult carers to continue their education. To enable them to provide this support, it is essential that all professionals are given the information and tools to understand the challenges facing carers and how they can best be overcome.

“At 15 I left school with 2 GCSEs. I was told by my mother that I must go to college or get a job that earnt me enough to cover the money she would lose in tax credits should I choose not to continue in education.

I loathed school and the thought of college appealed to me even less. Throughout college I’d be constantly late as I would need to dress my brothers, give them breakfast, try to wake my mother up to take us and then walk the 15 minutes to school as I’d almost always fail to wake her in time. I never seemed to plan my time well enough to ensure I could get my brothers there for 8:45 and myself to college by 09:15, which was a 30-minute bus ride from the school.

In addition to being late, I struggled to concentrate, I was ‘easily distracted’ or so my tutors would tell me. In reality, I was struggling to concentrate because I’d be worrying: worrying that I’d had no time to do my course-work and what new excuse I could use or that it was my brothers non- school uniform day and I hadn’t done a wash load. Worrying what state my mother would be in when I returned home, would she still be in bed, would she have made dinner or would she be sat on her own sobbing; all topics to sway my concentration from the classroom.

When you read this, you might be asking yourself, “why is a young person having to do all these things that a parent is usually tasked with�. The answer- I was a young adult carer. My mum suffered and still to this day suffers with Clinical Depression�.

The scale of the challenge

There are at least 21,000 young adult carers aged between 16 and 25 in Wales who deal with very similar challenges to those outlined above, throughout their education. They may look after a friend or a family member with an illness, disability, mental health problem, or an addiction, who would not be able to cope without their support, often leading to a negative impact on their educational attainment and wellbeing.

For those that go onto further or higher education, they are four times more likely than their peers to drop out without gaining a qualification or completing the course they are registered on.

Young adult carers remain substantially less likely than their peers to not be in or outside of education, employment or training.

Some positive steps have been made to understand the support available to young adult carers who attend college, for example Estyn collect data through pre-inspection questionnaires. But more needs to be done to fully understand the needs of this cohort and how they can be meaningfully addressed.

It is important that further education providers and local authorities are encouraged to work together with young adult carers and their families to fully understand their needs and how they can be most appropriately supported.

What barriers do Young Adult Carers face?

Carers Trust Wales and Learning and Work Institute have worked in partnership to develop research to gain a broader understanding of the barriers student carers face in education.  

The research revealed that there is a lack of support for carers within many colleges in Wales. In the worst cases this resulted in some young adult carers feeling unable to continue in education. It also demonstrated that support for young adult carers is inconsistent, and often inadequate.

Young adult carers frequently reported poor attendance and difficulty concentrating in lessons as a direct result of their caring responsibilities:

“I would always be under so much stress, worrying about my dad and everything. …. I would be writing everything up and then all of a sudden …I would be like, ‘Oh, I forgot to do that’ or, ‘I need to do that later for my dad’ and it would affect it.’

Making successful identification and support easier

There are many ways young adult carers can be supported to achieve their ambitions. Carers Trust Wales and The Learning and Work Institute have developed an interactive resource designed to help further education providers increase their awareness and understanding of young adult carers and their specific needs.

Supporting Students with Caring Responsibilities: A Resource for Further Education Providers to Help Young Adult Carers Succeed In Further Education in Wales is an interactive guide which draws together good practice and makes recommendations for how student carers can be supported to sustain their participation in learning and achieve their potential.

A range of further education providers have welcomed this resource and we hope that it will generate momentum for identifying and supporting more young adult carers within colleges. It is our intention that the toolkit will be used to inspire and assist all colleges to build on the good practice already identified to develop their own approaches to identifying and supporting this student group.

It is essential that students who are caring for others – who have often overcome difficult circumstances and acquired extremely valuable skills along the way – are able to reach their potential and successfully achieve their aims in education.

This series of articles to mark Carers Week have been guest edited by Kate Cubbage

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

The post Closing the attainment and opportunity gap for young adult carers   appeared first on Click on Wales.
]]> 0 30022 Mon, 11 Jun 2018 06:00:15 +0000

Celebrating and supporting carers

Kate Cubbage introduces a series of blogs she has guest edited for Click on Wales to mark Carers Week
The post Celebrating and supporting carers appeared first on Click on Wales.

This week is Carers Week – an opportunity to celebrate the fantastic contribution of carers across the country, and to reflect on how we can all do more to ensure that they are given the recognition and support that they deserve.
Last Carers Rights Day, in November 2017, the Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies set out three national priorities for carers:

  • Supporting life alongside caring – All carers must have reasonable breaks from their caring role to enable them to maintain their capacity to care, and to have a life beyond caring.
  • Identifying and recognising carers – Carers deserve to be recognised and supported so that they can continue to care. It is vital that carers identify themselves as carers.
  • Providing information, advice and assistance – It is important that carers receive the right information and advice when they need it and in an appropriate format.

As part of delivering against these priorities a new Ministerial Group for Carers has been established and it will begin delivering an ambitious agenda for carers later this month.

Whilst collectively the Ministerial Advisory Group has the potential to support the development and delivery of better services for carers, it is important that we all take time during Carers Week to think about our own contribution to supporting carers.

3 in 5 people will be a carer at some point in their lifetime. Undoubtedly you or someone close to you has caring responsibilities, be that a family member, friend or colleague.

Why is it important to support carers?

Behind every figure is an individual, each often with a very powerful story. However, the figures themselves make a very strong case for the need to do more to support carers in Wales:

Supporting carers appropriately delivers benefits for carers and the people they care for. For example:

  • supporting carers by providing breaks and emotional support helps to prevent burnout and keep carers caring for longer;
  • working to encourage carers into or to continue in education improves their emotional well-being and personal fulfilment as well as widening their options for future employment, education or training;
  • involving carers in hospital treatment and clinical decisions improves communication and planning which results in better outcomes for both patient and carer.

However, too often carers are not supported in any of these ways.

The roles undertaken by carers are of clear benefit to the Welsh economy and contribute to easing pressure on local authorities and NHS Wales in a challenging financial climate. To maintain their caring role, and their own health and wellbeing, different carers need different kinds of support.

In our experience, this can range from requiring better information on managing medicines to having access to reliable services to provide a much-needed break from caring. However, the first step in delivering appropriate support will always stem from individuals and professionals being equipped with the information and tools they need to identify carers and to understand the barriers they face.

This is why Carers Trust Wales has prioritised developing a range of resources for and with professionals including:

Throughout this week I  have the pleasure of guest editing for Click on Wales, to raise awareness of the contribution made by carers and the challenges they continue to face. Contributors include voices from local carer services, national charities, Local Health Boards and a young adult carer. Each day, we will help to share the learning from some excellent work already being undertaken in Wales to support carers. We will also reflect on what more can and should be done to ensure that carers live healthy and connected lives, supported to do more of the things that matter to them most.  

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

The post Celebrating and supporting carers appeared first on Click on Wales.
]]> 0 30015 Sun, 10 Jun 2018 07:00:57 +0000

Making the metro really work for the valleys and Cardiff

Professor Mark Barry reflects on plans for the South Wales Metro from KeolisAmey and shares new thoughts on how to maximise the opportunity
The post Making the metro really work for the valleys and Cardiff appeared first on Click on Wales.

Disclaimer: This article is based on Mark Barry’s own ideas or those already in the public domain and not those of Transport for Wales, Welsh Government, Cardiff University or any other organisation.

So now we know a little more; the next phase of the South Wales Metro really will be a radically improved and innovative network for the core valley lines from Merthyr, Rhymney, Treherbert, Aberdare & Coryton to Cardiff City Centre, Penarth and Barry.

We will see four trains per hour (tph) from all points on the network periphery and many more on the core routes into Cardiff from Pontypridd, Barry and Caerphilly (I think the 2tph specified for the Coryton line will be quickly revised up to 4tph and the City line will probably require a little further infrastructure work to get to 4tph).  It will exploit new types of Heavy Rail (HR) rolling stock serving Vale of Glamorgan to Rhymney and on-street capability via a tram-train Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) on routes north of Cardiff via Pontypridd and to the Bay, delivering faster, more frequent services and more capacity; flexible extendibility is built-in via the tram-train capability and an initial tranche of new stations deliver greater accessibility.  The wider commitment to invest to upgrade every station across Wales is also impressive.

The new metro stations will be at Gabalfa, Crwys Rd, Loudon Square, the Flourish opposite the Millennium Centre in Cardiff and at Nantgarw (near Coleg Y Cymoedd and the planned DWP office). This is a significant increase in public transport accessibility.  I also expect to see more details in due course of how Ebbw Vale will be re-connected to Newport.

In due course I expect a few more stations to be added to this list; for example, Pontypridd bus station (inconceivable for the largest bus station in the mid valleys and next to the rail line not to be integrated) and at Herbert St (to take pressure off Cardiff Central) and Wedal Rd (see below), as originally set out in the Metro Impact Study commissioned by Welsh Government in 2013. I’d like to see the additional station works expanded and accelerated so they are all delivered by 2024.

So now let’s get behind Welsh Government, Transport for Wales (who have done a remarkable job in running this procurement) and KeolisAmey to build, deliver and operate this next phase of the South Wales Metro – it is vital that this essential foundation is completed successfully.  

There will be some finessing of the scheme and some adjustment during detailed design and implementation to tease out the maximum benefits, but if all goes well it will be operating in the early to mid-2020s; pretty much along the lines of the vision I originally developed, with the support of the Cardiff Business Partnership & published by the Institute of Welsh Affairs, in 2011,  followed up in further studies in 2012/13 and developed later with Welsh Government.  I am pleased with how this is all turning out. Going further back, it really delivers Prof Marquand’s vision for an electrified commuter rail network across the valleys he published in, “South Wales Needs a Planâ€�, in 1936! Nor am I forgetting the work of groups like SEWTA and other local authority proposals going back to the work to reopen lines in Mid and South Glamorgan in the 1980s and later the Ebbw Valley and Vale of Glamorgan in the 2000s.


Options for the Future:  A Public Transport grid for Cardiff

In Cardiff, Metro presents a unique opportunity to develop a new integrated public transport grid right across the city (Figure 1).  Some further metro rail measures and new cross city express bus services east to west which interchange with the metro lines to Pontypridd at Gabalfa and the Rhymey line at Wedal Rd station (which also needs to be added to the scheme) will provide a real alternative to car use and the resulting congestion and air quality impacts.  In doing so, new public transport network planning capability, commercial arrangements and perhaps some bus franchising maybe needed.

Figure 1 Using Metro to develop a high quality public transport grid across Cardiff

An “on-streetâ€� extension from “The Flourish“, across the docks to tidal siding freight line via Splott/Tremorfa onto the main line at Rover way opens up huge development potential in the south of the city and provides a means to route some future tram-train services from say Ebbw Vale to the city centre via Cardiff Bay, freeing up capacity at Cardiff Central.  Similarly, the completion of the link between the bay line and Cardiff Central, probably to connect to the City Line, also presents a valuable extension opportunity linked with urban realm improvements all the way from Central to Cardiff Bay along the current bay line & Lloyd George Avenue. There is also the prospect of completing the Cardiff Circle Line at Radyr.


Options for the Future: Re-thinking the region

Now that we have the foundation of a South Wales Metro on the starting blocks, we can begin to seriously think about how we can “rebuildâ€� the region.  The extendibility capability via tram-train is not just about on-street operations down into Cardiff Bay & city centre or extending the metro through the new Plas Dwyr housing in north west Cardiff onto Creigiau and Talbot Green. It’s also about re-imagining the whole of the region and using this new transport capability to enable a more equitable spread of economic activity across south east Wales. This also means developing a statutory and much more strategic capacity to undertake land use planning in south east Wales on a regional basis.

Given the application of tram-trains on much of the core valleys through Pontypridd – which enables more flexibility in developing new routes –  then those involved in local development planning, economic development, community regeneration, housing, etc should be tasked to explore ways better connectivity can help sustainably grow the regional economy (see my Metro economic impact article for the Bevan Foundation in 2016).  From “bricks and mortarâ€� agglomeration through to local and community focused interventions (see my recent speech for Wales in London week for a flavour).  In doing so they should be thinking out to 2030 and beyond and developing ideas for future phases of the metro once the core is complete in the early to mid-2020s. Much of the work set out in the 2013 Metro Impact Study now has a new relevance.  The increasing importance of Pontypridd as a regional centre also demands that we consider how we can improve its accessibility even more than is provided by this next phase of Metro.  


Options for the Future: A Cross-Valley Tram-train service

So, if I may, here’s a crazy idea to kick around! A x-valley tram-train service using a combination of existing, new and reinstated lines. From Pontypool to Treherbert via Pontypridd, Nelson, Hengoed, Blackwood and Crumlin.

Figure 2 The old x-valley line from Crumlin to Treharris as shown on a map from the 1940s

This route could augment north-south tram-train operations on the core valleys via Pontypridd and reconnect the mid-valleys east-west for the first time since the Beeching cuts of the 1960s, before which passenger services operated all the way from Pontypool to Aberdare and beyond (Figure 2).

With a total length of ~50KM from Treherbert to Pontypool it would utilise ~30Km of existing rail infrastructure and require ~20Km of new rail, some of which can use old alignments (Figure 3 ) .  There are clearly some challenges, for example the re-introduction of rail on the Hengoed viaduct and crossing the Ebbw Valley at Crumlin.  But we have done all this before….so it’s not so much an engineering challenge but an institutional and psychological challenge!

X-valley movement will become much easier, faster and more convenient.  High quality interchanges with frequent North – South services at place like Pontypool, Crumlin, Hengoed, Abercynon and Pontypridd north effectively delivers a high-quality, rail based, public transport grid covering the vast majority of the most densely populated parts of south east Wales.

Places like Blackwood, Pontypool and especially Pontypridd will have their accessibility dramatically enhanced, supporting more economic activity and helping both larger scale and local community focussed regeneration.  Such a scheme, or even the prospect of it, may enhance the potential of other extensions across the region: to Abertillery, north into Merthyr and to Hirwaun.

Figure 3 Potential x-valley Tram-train service from Pontypool to Treherbert

Yes, expensive – but now at least possible with tram-train capability able to operate on both the existing network, “on-street� or via alignments not possible with pure Heavy Rail (which some of this route may need).

Key Features and Benefits:

  • New high-quality 50Km x-valley rapid transit service for ~250,000 people (Figure 4  )
  • A total end to end journey time of perhaps one hour ten mins; Pontypridd to Blackwood in perhaps twenty-five minutes
  • Brings Blackwood & Pontllanfraith (pop. ~50k) onto the rail network, the largest population centre in the valleys without a direct rail service
  • Provides a real and sustainable alternative to the car
  • Increases the “net effectiveâ€� population density of the central valleys area – so more people can get to more places, more easily & more quickly
  • Will support further economic development at key centres such as Pontypridd, Ystrad Mynach/Tredomen Business Park & Blackwood with increased employment catchments;
  • It could also help grow the tourist and visitor economy across the valleys especially if linked to the development of the “valleys regional parkâ€�
  • Help bring forward new “Transit Oriented Developmentâ€� housing and mixed-use schemes; especially at/between Treharris and Ystrad Mynach
  • More options to better integrate with local bus services
  • Helps create a more balanced regional economy.


Figure 4 Overlay of route proposal with population distribution and density

Image Credit: Duncan Smith,  at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London

This is an expensive proposal (probably comparable with the cost of the Heads of the Valleys road) and may or may not have a good business case. And if there is a case, it may have to be delivered in phases or modified to ensure best value for money.  But in my view, it is worth exploring.

If we are serious about really changing the future of the valleys for the better, then this is the kind of transport scheme that we need to consider.  It’s taken 8 years to get Metro this far…I’d like to see this x-valley scheme operating by 2028!

A shortened version of this article first appeared on Wales Online

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

The post Making the metro really work for the valleys and Cardiff appeared first on Click on Wales.
]]> 5 29991 Sat, 09 Jun 2018 07:00:25 +0000

It’s not just bad weather that’s slowing our economy – it’s bad Brexit

Ahead of the EU Withdrawal Bill returning to the Commons next week, Jonathan Edwards MP reflects on the economic slowdown and argues for the UK to maintain its place in the Single Market and Customs Union
The post It’s not just bad weather that’s slowing our economy – it’s bad Brexit appeared first on Click on Wales.

The bad weather in the first quarter of 2018 has certainly had a dampening effect on the UK economy, but boiling it all down to the weather ignores the red, white and blue elephant in the room: it’s Brexit.
The first quarter of 2018 was characterised by low growth, a fall in business investment and the shrinking of the economy. This is tempestuous news for us all, but particularly the Brexiteers. Those who once dismissed all pre-referendum forecasts of a weakening economy as ‘project fear’ are now faced with the cold, hard facts: their Brexit utopia is shaping up to be nothing more than a bust. And it hasn’t even happened yet.

I know in Brexit Britain we don’t trust experts, but let’s look at the facts for a minute.

The UK’s GDP growth in the first quarter of 2018 was 0.1%. When you look at GDP per capita, arguably an even more crucial measure, the UK’s growth was negative. In comparison, almost all of our European neighbours enjoyed a much brighter outlook. Austria grew at 0.7%, Finland 1.1% and Spain 0.7%. In case you’re wondering: they too had bad weather.

It’s important to also look across to the Republic of Ireland, which the EU has predicted to grow by 5.7% this year. Once again, the Republic of Ireland shows Wales and Scotland just how much a country can achieve with the full powers of independence.

One reason for low growth has been the fall in business investment in the UK. This has fallen by 0.2% this quarter, but this is a fall in the already anaemic levels of investment caused by endless austerity. Now with Brexit on the horizon, businesses are not going to invest in the UK when they have little or no idea what is going on. With no clarity over the type of Brexit, and no end to the will-they-won’t-they charade over the border with Ireland, why would businesses invest further in blusterous Brexit Britannia?

And finally, the governor of the Bank of England confirmed that, as he had warned pre-referendum, the economy is 2% smaller than forecast before the Brexit vote: this is a loss of £40 billion which would have generated an additional £15 billion of tax revenue. Each household across the UK is more than £900 worse off as a direct result of voting to leave the EU.

All this is happening before we have even left. Plaid Cymru has maintained since the referendum that economic uncertainty is toxic, particularly for Wales.

Misruled by successive Welsh Labour governments lacking in any ability and overlooked by its Westminster overlords, Wales is not only the poorest country in the UK, but also in Western Europe. In fact, Wales receives more than five times the UK average and almost seven times as much as England in European Regional Development Funds per person as a result of this economic mismanagement.

Oxford Economics UK Regional Forecasts have projected England and the UK as a whole to grow by 1.7% this year, while Wales is once again subject to playing catch up, with gloomy growth projections of only 1.3%.

Shackled as we are to Brexit Britain and crippled by Westminster-rule, Wales is being failed and our people are being left with less money and a poorer standard of living than our neighbours.

The fall in UK growth earlier this year was, in part, caused by a fall of 0.9% in exports at the end of 2017.

As a net exporting nation, this hits Wales harder than anywhere else. Wales exported £16.4 billion last year, 60.3% of this going to the EU. With Wales exporting more to the EU than the UK average of around 49%, according to the Cross-Whitehall Study, Wales has the most to lose from crashing out of the EU.

Leaving the Single Market and Customs Union, a “hard Brexit�, would wipe £5 billion off the Welsh economy. For a country that is already the poorest among its neighbours, Wales can’t afford this stormy outcome and neither can our people. It will be the families, businesses and farmers that will pay this price with wages dwindling and the cost of living soaring.

If Theresa May is truly committed to frictionless trade with the EU and an open border in Ireland as she claims, she must put people’s livelihoods before her bitter, blundering Brexiteers. This means staying in the Single Market and Customs Union, as Plaid Cymru has always maintained. This has served Wales well. It gives us access to the staff our NHS needs to treat our sick, and removes all barriers to trade for our food and drink and manufacturing sectors that depend on the time-critical and delay-free transfer of goods.

We can’t afford to lose it.

In 2016, the then UK Chancellor began his Spring Budget Statement reporting on an economy “set to grow faster than any other major advanced economy in the world.� This year, the current UK Chancellor confirmed in his Spring Budget Statement that the UK economy is now the slowest growing advanced economy in the world.

We’ve always had bad weather. This change is down to Brexit.

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

The post It’s not just bad weather that’s slowing our economy – it’s bad Brexit appeared first on Click on Wales.
]]> 0 30003 Fri, 08 Jun 2018 15:05:02 +0000

Canolfan Arbenigedd Rhanbarthol Cymru ar gyfer Cynaliadwyedd a Llesiant pobl heddiw a Chenedlaethau’r Dyfodol – A Wales Regional Centre of Expertise for Sustainability and the Well-being of Current and Future Generations.

Dr Einir Young yn cyflwyno grŵp Addysg Uwch Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol ac yn annog darllenwyr i gymryd rhan
Dr Einir Young introduces a new Higher Education Future Generations group and invites readers to get involved

The post Canolfan Arbenigedd Rhanbarthol Cymru ar gyfer Cynaliadwyedd a Llesiant pobl heddiw a Chenedlaethau’r Dyfodol – A Wales Regional Centre of Expertise for Sustainability and the Well-being of Current and Future Generations. appeared first on Click on Wales.

Os nad yw hynny’n llond ceg dwn i ddim beth sydd. Efallai, wedi i chi ddarllen y blog hwn, y gallwch ein helpu i ddod o hyd i deitl mwy bachog.
Fy enw i yw Einir Young, rwy’n Gyfarwyddwr Cynaliadwyedd ym Mhrifysgol Bangor, ac rwyf hefyd yn cadeirio Grŵp Addysg Uwch Cymru ar gyfer Cenedlaethau’r dyfodol (HEFGG)1 sy’n cynrychioli pob sefydliad AU yng Nghymru. Enw gwreiddiol y grŵp oedd Addysg ar gyfer Datblygu Cynaliadwy a Dinasyddiaeth Fyd-eang ond esblygodd i’w ffurf presennol mewn ymateb i Ddeddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol Llywodraeth Cymru ddaeth i rym yn Ebrill 2016.

Ar ran y grŵp hoffwn gyflwyno ein cyd-fenter newydd a’ch gwahodd i gymryd rhan. Dyma’r cyntaf mewn cyfres o flogiau sy’n arwain at ddwy gynhadledd, un ym Mangor ym mis Medi ac un arall yng Nghaerdydd ym mis Tachwedd – digon o amser a gwybodaeth i benderfynu a ydych chi eisiau  ymuno â ni neu beidio.

Ar ôl gweithio gyda’n gilydd fel grŵp ers peth amser, penderfynom ei bod hi’n bryd rhoi egwyddorion y Ddeddf Llesiant ar waith, yn enwedig y pum ffordd o weithio. Dyma’r cwestiynau gododd ymysg ein gilydd:

  • Beth yw cyfraniad hirdymor y grŵp? Beth yw’r pwynt i ni gyfarfod o dro i dro i rannu’n syniadau? Beth sy’n digwydd i’r syniadau hynny? Beth sydd gennym i ddangos am ein hymdrechion?
  • Nid yw cyfarfod er mwyn ticio bocs yn rhywbeth gwerth chweil i’w wneud felly sut allwn ni osgoi syrthni sefydliadol a marweidd-dra a sicrhau fod ein grŵp ni’n berthnasol?
  • Mae cydweithio yn rhywbeth yr ydym yn anelu ato ond yn rhy aml mae’n sefydliadau’n cystadlu â’i gilydd; diffiniodd rhywun ‘cydweithio’ rhyw dro fel ‘gohirio casáu’n gilydd dros dro wrth chwilio am fwy o gyllid’. Cododd hynny wên yn ein mysg gan ein bod i gyd yn adnabod fod llygedyn o wirionedd yna. Sut felly y gallem ni gydweithio go iawn?
  • Mae integreiddio yn ddyhead arall – integreiddio’r hyn a wnawn yn hytrach na dilyn ein hamcanion ni ein hunain mewn sylos. Sut allwn ni wneud yn well?
  • Mae tynnu pobl i ymuno mewn yn syniad sy’n cario llawer o bwysau ond mae’n anodd ei gyflawni. Pwy ddylai fod yn rhan o’r grŵp? Pwy ddylai wneud beth? Pryd? Ble?

Wrth i ni ystyried y cwestiynau hyn fel grŵp yng Nghynhadledd Newid Ymddygiad Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru yn Aberystwyth ym mis Ebrill 2017, heriodd Yvonne Jones o Brifysgol Abertawe (yr unig aelod craidd sy’n weddill o ysgrifenyddiaeth y RCE Cymru gwreiddiol), ni i adfywio Canolfan Arbenigedd Rhanbarthol Cymru (RCE Cymru) i adlewyrchu ein ffordd newydd o feddwl a’r syniadaeth y tu ôl i’r Ddeddf Llesiant. A dyma ni, ddeunaw mis yn ddiweddarach yn awyddus i ail-lansio RCE Cymru ar ei newydd wedd, yn barod i gyfrannu’n weithredol i rwydwaith rhyngwladol o dros 160 o grwpiau tebyg sy’n brysur yn cymhwyso amcanion cynaliadwyedd byd-eang i gyd-destun cymunedol lleol, gyda phwyslais ar les cenedlaethau’r presennol a’r dyfodol.

Mae gan rwydweithiau’r RCE reolau penodol a’r ddwy reol aur yw i) bod rhaid i RCE gael ei arwain gan Brifysgol a ii) mae’n rhaid iddo ymgysylltu â’r gymuned ehangach. Felly, rydym wedi dod â grŵp bach o dri o bobl ynghyd i weithredu fel Ysgrifenyddiaeth i ddelio ag adrodd ond mae’r gweddill yn hylif ac yn agored i awgrymiadau.

Ar hyn o bryd rydym yn datblygu nifer o gylchoedd o ddiddordeb ac yn chwilio am gyfranogwyr sydd â diddordeb. Hyd yn hyn mae’r grwpiau canlynol wedi dod i’r amlwg:

  • Yr economi gylchol (wedi’i gydlynu gan Dr Gavin Bunting, Prifysgol Abertawe)
  • Prifysgolion a Cholegau Iach (wedi’i cydlynu gan Chris Deacy, Met Caerdydd)
  • Adfywio (wedi’i gydlynu gan Dr Sheena Carlisle a Tim Palazon, Met Caerdydd)
  • Addysgu a Dysgu (wedi’i gydlynu gan Dr Carolyn Hayles, Prifysgol Cymru, Drindod Dewi Sant)
  • Mae cyfathrebu yn thema drawsbynciol ac fe’i cydlynir gan fy nhîm ym Mangor.

Mae cylchoedd eraill ar y gweill:

  • Addysgu ar gyfer system fwyd well (Jane Powell)
  • Presgripsiynau Cymdeithasol (wedi’i gydlynu gan Nina Ruddle, Glyndŵr)
  • Iaith a Diwylliant (cydlynwyr i’w cadarnhau)
  • Seinfyrddau ar gyfer y Byrddau Gwasanaethau Cyhoeddus (Nina Ruddle a Dr Einir Young – yng ngogledd Cymru i ddechrau)

Felly i ateb ein pum cwestiwn gwreiddiol, dyma lle rydym ni arni:

Ein gweledigaeth hirdymor yw creu strwythur gwirioneddol ar y cyd (credwn y bydd trefn yr RCE yn hwyluso hyn) i ddarparu ‘lle i feddwl’ ar gyfer cylchoedd o ddiddordeb i drafod eu heriau penodol, yn eu hamser eu hunain a’u ffordd eu hunain. Mater i bob grŵp yw penderfynu sut maen nhw’n rhoi trefn ar eu hunain a mesur llwyddiant.

Bydd y cylchoedd o ddiddordeb yn darparu gofod ar gyfer sgwrs ddwy ffordd rhwng y grŵp RCE craidd a’r cylchoedd yn cynhyrchu llif cyson o syniadau newydd a darparu cyfleoedd ar gyfer croes-ffrwythloni syniadau rhwng y cylchoedd. Bydd cyfarfodydd yn cael eu trefnu fel bo’r galw gan y grŵpiau eu hunain er mwyn osgoi diflastod.

Rhaid i gydweithio gael ei seilio ar ymddiriedaeth ac mae hwn yn gyfle i archwilio, yn hollol rydd, sut y gall cyfangorff fod yn fwy effeithiol na chyfanswm y rhannau gwasgaredig. Nid cyllid i gecru drosto, nid oes targedau allanol. Nid oes pwysau i ymuno ac yn bwysicach fydd does dim cywilydd o ran methu – rydym yma i ddysgu gyda’n gilydd.

Mae yna lawer o fentrau o gwmpas sy’n gysylltiedig â’r holl gylchoedd o ddiddordeb yn barod. Bu sawl ymdrech i orfodi sefydliadau i weithio gyda’i gilydd yn ‘oer’, heb ddigon o amser i sicrhau fod sylfeini o gyd ymddiried yn bodoli. Rydym yn gobeithio y bydd natur wirfoddol RCE Cymru drwy’r HEFGG yn hwyluso mwy o integreiddio a rhannu syniadau er mwyn goresgyn y tueddiad i gadw pethau i ni’n hunain a meddwl am bethau mewn termau ‘ni v. nhw’.

Y newyddion da yw y gall unrhyw un a phawb gymryd rhan os dymunwch. Nid yw hwn yn glwb caeedig. Prif gymhwyster cael eich cynnwys yw bod gennych chi feddwl agored, agwedd bosib, meddwl creadigol a pharodrwydd i gymryd risg (lle gallai methu fod yn opsiwn) ac ymrwymiad i drio. Ond nid ydym yn chwilio am ferthyron chwaith – os ydych yn rhy brysur, dim problem. Dylai’r cyd-weitho gyda’r cylchoedd diddordeb ffitio mewn gyda’ch gwaith bob dydd neu fod yn rhywbeth ychwanegol fydd o fudd personol i chi o’ch gwirfodd. Mae cydbwysedd bywyd a gwaith yn holl bwysig

Cadwch eich llygad ar agor am gyfres o flogiau fydd yn esbonio dyheadau pob un o’r cylchoedd o ddiddordeb yn eu tro.

Dwi’n aros yn eiddgar am donau o sylwadau ac adborth. Ymlaen mae Canan!

If that’s not a mouthful, I don’t know what is. Perhaps, after you’ve read this blog you’ll be able to help us find a snappier title.

My name is Einir Young, I’m Director of Sustainability at Bangor University and I also chair Wales’ Higher Education Future Generations Group (HEFGG), representing every HE in Wales. Originally the group was called the Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship group but morphed into our new form in response to the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015 which became law in April 2016.

On behalf of the group I’d like to introduce our new joint venture and invite you to get involved. This is the first in a series of blogs leading up to two conferences coming up, one in Bangor in September and another in Cardiff in November – plenty of time and information to decide whether you want to be involved.

Having worked together as a group for some time we decided that it was time to put the principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (WFGA) into practice, in particular the five ways of working, asking ourselves the following questions:

  • What is the long term contribution of the group? What’s the point of us meeting every so often, and exchanging our ideas? What happens to those ideas? What can we show for our efforts?
  • Just meeting to tick a box is not a worthwhile activity so how can we prevent inertia and stagnation and make our group relevant?
  • Collaboration is something that we aspire to but too often our institutions are in competition with each other and as someone said: ‘collaboration is the suspension of mutual loathing in search of further funding’. That produced a laugh, because we all recognised a grain of truth. How could we then truly collaborate?
  • Integration is another aspiration – integrating what we do rather than pursuing our own goals in silos. How could we do better?
  • Involvement is another word that carries a lot of weight but is difficult to achieve. Who should be involved? Who should do what? When? Where?

As we were pondering these questions as a group at the Wales Audit Office’s Behaviour Change Conference in Aberystwyth in April 2017, Yvonne Jones from Swansea University, the last person standing from the secretariat of the original Regional Centre of Expertise Wales (RCE Wales) challenged us to revive and revitalise the RCE to reflect our new thinking and the thinking behind the WFGA. And here we are, 18 months later about to re-launch RCE Cymru in its new guise, ready to contribute actively to an international network of more than 160 similar groups who are busy putting global sustainability objectives into a local community context, with an emphasis on the well-being of current and future generations.

The RCE networks have rules of engagement and the two golden rules are that i) an RCE has to be led by a University and ii) it must engage with the wider community. So we have brought together a tiny group of three people to act as a Secretariat to deal with reporting but the rest is fluid and open to suggestions.

Currently we’re developing several circles of interest and are looking for interested participants. So far the following groups have emerged:

  • The circular economy (co-ordinated by Dr Gavin Bunting, Swansea University)
  • Healthy Universities and Colleges (co-ordinated by Chris Deacy, Cardiff Met)
  • Regeneration (co-ordinated by Dr Sheena Carlisle and Tim Palazon, Cardiff Met)
  • Teaching and Learning (co-ordinated by Dr Carolyn Hayles, UWTSD)
  • Communication is a cross-cutting theme and is co-ordinated by my team in Bangor.

Other circles are starting to brew:

  • Education for a better food system (Jane Powell)
  • Social Prescribing (co-ordinated by Nina Ruddle, Glyndŵr)
  • Language and Culture (co-ordinators to be confirmed)
  • Sounding boards for the Public Service Boards (Nina Ruddle and Dr Einir Young – in the north of Wales initially)

So to answer our original five questions, this is where we’re at:

Our long term vision is to create a truly collaborative structure (we think the RCE set up will facilitate this) to provide ‘thinking space’ for circles of interest to explore their theme-specific challenges, in their own time and their own way. It is up to each group to decide how they organise themselves and measure success.

The circles of interest will provide a two way dialogue between the core RCE group and the circles, generating a constant flow of new ideas and providing opportunities for cross-fertilisation of ideas between the circles. The meetings will be organised as required by the participants thus aiming to avoid ‘meeting fatigue’.

Collaboration has to be based on trust and this is an opportunity to explore, with no strings attached, how the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. There is no funding to squabble over, there are no targets to dispute. There is no pressure to join and most important of all, no shame in failing – we are here to learn together.

There are many initiatives associated with all the circles of interest and many attempts to force institutions to work together before the necessary foundation of mutual trust has been built. We hope that the voluntary nature of the RCE Cymru relationships emerging through the HEFGG will facilitate greater integration and sharing of ideas breaking down the protectionist ‘us v them’ barriers.

The good news is that anyone and everyone can be involved if you want to. This is not an exclusive club. The main requirement of involvement is an open mind, a can-do attitude, creative thinking, a willingness to take risks (where failing might be an option) and a commitment to have a go. But we are not looking for martyrs either – if you are too busy, it’s not a problem. Involvement with any of the circles of interest should fit in with the day job or be an extra that you particularly want to invest your time in. Work-life balance is a goal for all of us.

Watch this space for the forthcoming blogs explaining the aspirations of each of the circles of interest in turn. I am ready and waiting for comments and feedback to flow like a tsunami. Let the fun begin!

All articles published on Click on Wales are subject to IWA’s disclaimer.

The post Canolfan Arbenigedd Rhanbarthol Cymru ar gyfer Cynaliadwyedd a Llesiant pobl heddiw a Chenedlaethau’r Dyfodol – A Wales Regional Centre of Expertise for Sustainability and the Well-being of Current and Future Generations. appeared first on Click on Wales.
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