Over 150 service users, carers and their families have gathered to celebrate the client-run Taking the Wheel campaign at Hafal’s annual North Wales event which is today being held in the glorious setting of Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay.
The campaign, which aims to empower people with a serious mental illness in Wales to take control of their lives and the services they receive, has been a big hit across Wales this summer particularly at the Royal Welsh Show which took place last week.
Thomas, a service user attending the annual North Wales Event for the second year running, said: “I’m really interested in this idea of taking control of resources so I can purchase my own care package. This sounds really good to me because it not only means I would get a choice, but it would also keep services on their toes because they would have to convince me to choose what they have on offer. This could make all the difference because at the moment services often have a take-it-or-leave it approach and they aren’t really incentivised to provide what we want.”
The Taking the Wheel campaign’s eye-catching camper – a 1964, 21-window VW Samba sourced from Colorado and fully reconditioned with authentic parts – has been a popular attraction at today’s event. Visitors have also enjoyed being able to literally ‘take the wheel’ and race in a camper van rally simulator, another highlight of the day.
Today’s event has seen service users and carers from across North Wales take the opportunity to compete in a number of activities including Tai Chi, boules, kite-making, five-a-side football, a treasure hunt and a tug of war.
Hafal’s Janet Randles said: “It’s been a fun day out for clients, carers and staff as there’s been so much to do.
“Our annual event is designed to be enjoyed, it has something for everyone, but there’s also a serious message behind it, too.
“This event brings people together and highlights how maintaining physical health is a key part of recovering from mental illness.”
For more information on Taking the Wheel please visit: www.hafal.org