Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Introducing Tim Skelcher of Hafal

Tim Skelcher is a name familiar to us as he was previously a DIY Futures co-ordinator working here at PAVO. Since May this year Tim has worked for the Powys Seibiant Family Support Service for Hafal in Powys, and we talked to him just as he was about to launch a new carers' group for Newtown.

Tell us about your new role
My new role with Hafal is mostly about supporting carers of people with a mental illness in Powys, through both one to one support and through mutual support through carer groups. The service provides carers with news, information and advice; as well as providing short breaks for carers through providing activity based support for those they care for, along with the opportunity to focus on recovery using goals set with either their Care and Treatment Plan or Hafal’s Recovery Programme. The other aspect of my role is representing Hafal across Powys at events and meetings.

How is it going so far?
I think it’s going well. I’ve been busy introducing myself to people who use the service, as well as to lots of agencies around Powys. I’m also enjoying becoming part of the Hafal team, and learning about what makes them so effective in Wales.

What are your aims for Hafal in Powys?
Broadly my aims are to provide support to people in Powys with mental health issues and their carers, and to help them to have their voices heard. I’d like there to be more carer groups focusing on mental health throughout Powys, as there is only currently one Hafal group which is in Brecon. I will be working towards getting one set up again in Newtown as a priority, and will follow that with other groups. I’m also working towards making the Family Support Service cover Powys more evenly, as historically it was based in south Powys, with more support being given in the south.

What do you bring to your new role from your DIY Futures experience?
DIY Futures was where I learned about Recovery. I gained a strong belief in people who feel stuck being able to take control of their lives, make changes and get the lives they want. I’ve taken this with me to Hafal, where these beliefs are shared.

Tell us about some of the highs and lows working in the field of mental health
For me the highs are mostly about seeing people make changes, that before they only hoped and dreamed were possible. Almost without exception these have been achieved by a series of small steps. Also I think it’s inspiring when people develop services to help themselves and others facing similar issues, or when they influence change in services. The lows are simply when people aren’t listened to, or aren’t valued.

Have you been inside that famous Hafal VW campervan yet and what did you think?
Yes, I was at the Royal Welsh Show with Hafal recently, and the campervan was there. It really worked to draw people to Hafal’s stall, and gave us the chance to talk to people about mental health issues who, without the campervan, we may not have reached.

Thank you Tim! The first Newtown carers' group meeting which Tim referred to takes place on Wednesday 25 September 2013, 2 - 4pm, at Ponthafren, Longbridge Street, Newtown, SY16 2DY.

You can contact Tim for further information about the new group in Newtown, or with any other queries about his new role and the work of Hafal, by ringing 07875 373525 or emailing: powys@hafal.org

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