Carla Rosenthal is a Participation Officer in our team at Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations. She tells us more about her work:
If a service is to be used by people, it makes sense to ask them how things are going. If it's not working well, it should be changed; if it is beneficial, lessons can be learned that help to improve other aspects.
We live in a world where sometimes it can seem that 'Big Wigs' call the shots and we just have to live with the consequences, however, things are changing. These days, 'Citizen Voices' are being requested to help shape all sorts of services that society uses.
'Grass roots gold dust' is the way I describe the views and opinions from anyone who has something to say about mental health services in Powys. 'Grassroots' describes the individuals who have actual experience of the services - they are the experts (see our Facebook page Powys Experts by Experience). What people tell me is gold dust - invaluable information that gets fed back to Powys Teaching Health Board and other interested service providers on the Powys Mental Health Planning and Development Partnership Board (PMHPDP).
Collecting the "gold dust" from the 'grassroots' across Powys comes from events such as Anne Woods' Stand Up for Emotional Health and Wellbeing meetings, my informal Coffee Moanings ("where constructive criticism meets cake") and Patients' Council meetings held at Felindre Ward in Bronllys Hospital. All the information gets collated into a report that is presented at the Powys Mental Health Planning and Development Partnership meetings by Individual Representatives who work hard to ensure that the people's voices get heard by the right people. Hopefully, through this type of engagement, the services meet the needs of those who need to use them.
The next Coffee Moaning is in Ystradgynlais Library on Friday 7th October 2016 10.30am - 12.30pm in the Wedding Room. Please contact Carla if you would like further information by ringing 01597 822191 or emailing: carla.rosenthal(at)pavo.org.uk
You can read more about Carla's work here.